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Author Topic: I need your wisdom  (Read 438 times) Average Rating: 0
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Red A.
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« on: September 25, 2011, 11:30:09 PM »

I hope this is the correct place to post this.

I am a recovered alcoholic. I have been sober for 21 years doing the AA thing. Being an oldtimer people often come to me for council.

An alarming trend is occurring that this forum might be able to help me with.

As some of you know. the AA program is a spiritual program. The problem I am seeing more and more recently is people that come into AA with no "God stuff" at all. None. They have never been to church. They, have never opened a bible. They aren't mad at God or mad at the pope or whoever, in all their life no one has ever seriously brought it up with them.

Now I don't tap dance around anybodies sensibilities when the meeting topic is God, so often these people gravitate towards me with questions.

Now if you are mad at god, or hate Jerry Falwell, or your Calvinist upbringing is kicking your butt, I'm your huckleberry. I've got tons of experience handling those problems. These new kids, coming in with no concept of God whatsoever really have me uneasy in my answers.

My first thought is there might be some book by an Orthodox author that might be helpful to give them a stepping stone before I just hand them a bible and tell them to read this by Thursday.

The sponsee I've got that had that problem, I had him read one chapter of the gospel a night and got him into prayer. He's getting there, but I'd really like to offer more than that.
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yeshuaisiam
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2011, 10:21:35 PM »

Okay, I kind of understand your question, but is your goal basically to "bring them to God" with your answers, or simply to answer them?  Of course by our understanding of Christianity, I'm sure that you would like to bring them to God. 

Are these people "atheists" or "agnostics" or simply no concept?
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Red A.
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2011, 11:54:28 PM »

No concept whatsoever. The situation that threw me a bit was a woman that has no religious backround at all. She has begun praying at home and her 5 or so year old son began asking questions about God that she wasn't prepared to answer. She bought a childrens bible and has begun reading that with him but she feels unprepared for his many questions. She was wanting to get out ahead of his curiosity but is ill prepared to do so.

I was hoping there was a book out there that could at least give people like this some framework that they can build on as they grow.
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PrincessMommy
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2011, 06:46:16 AM »

There is a book by Fr. A. Coniaris which explains the Creed.  It's a study guide and the "chapters" are short and is called "The Nicene Creed: For Young People".  I wonder if this would be a good starting point?  It sounds to me like they need basic, elementary instruction. 
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jah777
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2011, 08:53:48 AM »

As a simple introductory book, I really like the "Visual Catechism of the Orthodox Church" by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.  You may want to purchase a copy and take a look at it to see if this might be something you could share.  The word "Catechism" sometimes sounds too scholastic, academic, dry, etc., but Met Hierotheos' book is very beautiful and simple.  On each page is an icon, or iconographic depiction, of some aspect of our Faith beginning with Creation and concluding with the Final Judgment.  Under each icon is one simple sentence, and for each page there is a corresponding small paragraph that you can read at the end of the book to elaborate upon the icon and sentence.  I read this with my very young children, and I think it is an excellent introduction to Orthodoxy.

https://www.archangelsbooks.com/proddetail.asp?prod=BTMVLACHO-06&cat=222
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Heorhij
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2011, 09:24:00 AM »

I so understand you. My wife and I had a friend, a great guy who suddenly started to drink very hard about two years ago. He was going down the spiral very fast: got the habit of drinking all night and then sleeping all day and not attending his work, walking down streets at night scaring people in the neighborhood, etc. Once, he was even arrested by our local police. Then, he - again, suddenly, - stopped drinking, and we soon learned that he began to attend AA meetings. But it did not last long. Being exactly what you describe - a person whose family was atheist, an atheist himself, - he resented the fact that AA meetings included prayer. He took it as a kind of "extortion," and stopped coming to these meetings. Last time we saw him - he now lives in another city, in the Southwest of the USA - he was very drunk, and looked terrible. +Lord, have mercy.

My personal experience of trying to even talk about, to even mention God in my exchanges with atheists, is that I was always a miserable failure. My own daughter, being married to a guy from a family with a very strong atheistic theme in their life, absolutely rejects all my attempts to just share anything "religilous" with her or her husband and his relatives. Sometimes I even think that it's some sort of demonic possession. Sorry for not having much else to say...
« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 09:26:13 AM by Heorhij » Logged

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witega
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2011, 09:46:57 AM »

Maybe more advanced than what you are looking to address at the moment, but it's what your post made me think of:

http://www.amazon.com/Steps-Transformation-Orthodox-Priest-Explores/dp/1888212632/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1317130975&sr=8-2
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For it were better to suffer everything, rather than divide the Church of God. Even martyrdom for the sake of preventing division would not be less glorious than for refusing to worship idols. - St. Dionysius the Great
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2011, 12:18:24 PM »

I think that the proper sequence for AA folks with no faith at all would be:

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
Timothy Ware (Metropolitan Kallistos), The Orthodox Church
Fr Meletios Webber, Steps of Transformation: An Orthodox Priest Explores the Twelve Steps
« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 12:18:46 PM by Second Chance » Logged

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Red A.
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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2011, 04:19:28 PM »

As a simple introductory book, I really like the "Visual Catechism of the Orthodox Church" by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.  You may want to purchase a copy and take a look at it to see if this might be something you could share.  The word "Catechism" sometimes sounds too scholastic, academic, dry, etc., but Met Hierotheos' book is very beautiful and simple.  On each page is an icon, or iconographic depiction, of some aspect of our Faith beginning with Creation and concluding with the Final Judgment.  Under each icon is one simple sentence, and for each page there is a corresponding small paragraph that you can read at the end of the book to elaborate upon the icon and sentence.  I read this with my very young children, and I think it is an excellent introduction to Orthodoxy.

https://www.archangelsbooks.com/proddetail.asp?prod=BTMVLACHO-06&cat=222
That sounds like exactly what I am looking for! Thanks!

Steps of transformation is something I have begun to share with my sponsees with a bit of time under their belt. It is a great read and is part of what brought me into the Orthodox church but it is written more for someone with a working knowledge of AA to begin with.

Thanks to all that responded. It has been a great help!
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