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Shiloah
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« on: August 03, 2004, 01:31:03 PM »

It recently dawned on me that in our Orthodox Church we have  in a way a split personality.  It seems there are two categories of Orthodox believers:  those who are born into Orthodoxy and those who are called "Converts".

And no matter how long a person has been part of the Orthodox Church, if they  got baptized and/or chrismated when they were barely  the age of accountability, and are 99 years old now, they still will be referred to and 'classified' as Convert.

I'm always told on this forum that it doesn't really matter what the Bible says. Important is what the Holy Tradition says. So, may I ask those who are familiar and have access to those Holy Traditional Writings, what do the Fathers say about this?

To my simple understanding, a person who comes to believe in Jesus Christ and is baptized and/or chrismated into the Orthodox Faith , becomes a new creature in Christ, according to the words of our Church Father and Holy Apostle Paul, as documented in His second letter to the Church in Corinth. (" Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.")

And again  Saint Paul speaks to the believers in Ephesus as recorded in his letter to them - and I can only quote him from the Holy Scriptures,  my apologies to those who would rather have me refer to something in the other Patristic Writings) -  " Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
 12.  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
 13.  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."

So, in the Orthodox Church, is the one who is "born into it" because he had parents who belonged to the Orthodox Faith already , of greater value than the one who has come to the Faith after birth and by his personal decision?

If indeed a person's sins are forgiven and  the blood of Christ has made atonement,  why do we keep referring to their former state?

Aren't we all considered sinners until the day we die?  

Are Orthodox priests, who once have been, let's say, Baptists many years ago,  less "authentic" Orthodox than priests who have been born, raised and always remained Orthodox?

And could someone please tell me what, according to the Writings of the Fathers in the Holy Tradition of the Church, is the commission of the Orthodox Church in regard to what is commonly called 'the great commission' ? Some say, to make disciples, some followers of Christ, some converts.

I am only aware of what the Apostle Saint Paul says in his writings that are part of the official Canon of the Bible. In his letters to the Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians and Thessalonians he uses the  Greek word 'mimetes' which means imitators and is commonly translated as followers.  He exhorts the believers to become followers.  I understand that to do so, someone has to 'convert' (Greek epistrepho) which the Apostle Saint Mark connects with having one's sins forgiven in Mark 4:12, and that to me is a good thing.

So, why do we keep pointing out 'converts' if in the end, we all have become converts anyhow?

Respectfully,
Shiloah



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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2004, 02:04:37 PM »

Well, we do all have to keep being converted from our former ways into the likeness of God, so yeah!  We are all converts in a sense.

I'm sorry that the impression given by some on this board was that "it doesn't really matter what the Bible says."  What a ridiculous, thoroughly wrong, and entirely un-Orthodox idea.

Pedro, who rejoices with the spread of the Orthodox faith, slow though it may presently be.
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2004, 03:27:20 PM »

Personally I think there are many cradle Orthodox who could stand some converting.

I do not know how it is in other parishes but in my parish there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm and participation among the converts....at a higher percentage than most of the cradle Orthodox.

I have come to view being a convert as a blessing. I have a fuller appreciation of the true faith than many Cradle Orthodox who grew up in the faith.

In regards to the "division" you mention. I just do not see that in our parish which is about 40% converts (and most of those converts are former ROman Catholics). The only real division is the division of enthusiasm and participation expressed by indivuals and families. Those who attend Vespars and Liturgies on the feasts as well as DIvine Liturgy every Sunday....tend to know each other well and are rather close.....where a family that shows up only once in a while but is a family of "Cradle Orthodox" might feel the need to remind you they have been "Orthodox" longer....and maybe even their grandfather helped build the temple....for wahtever reason they just might feel a need to set themselves apart.....perhaps to make up for the guilt over their lack of attendance once they identify you as "one of those converts who show up for everything". They might even say your vigilant attendance is not "Orthodox"....when what they really mean is your enthusiasm is greater than theirs.

There is no enthusiasm like that of a convert. Where would the church be without them?
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Shiloah
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2004, 05:38:53 PM »

Thanks for your reply, Spartacus. Your posts are the most honest and refreshing on the whole Forum with all its boards. And always constructive.
God bless you,
Shiloah
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2004, 07:49:46 PM »

I must admit that I find this whole convert-cradle thing a bit perplexing. It seems an artifact of internet fora and certainly not evident as a problem in the two parishes in which I worship, both of which have plenty of converts..

Every time I see this concern I am reminded of St. John Chrysostom's Paschal Homily (a tradition in Greek parishes):

..."And he that hath arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay; for the Lord is gracious and receiveth the last even as the first. He giveth rest to him that cometh at the eleventh hour as well as to him that hath toiled from the first".

A saint indeed.

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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2004, 11:39:49 AM »

"I have a fuller appreciation of the true faith than many Cradle Orthodox who grew up in the faith."

Wow, that sounds arrogant.  I know you didn't intend it to be, but wow, to a cradle O that would sound very presumptuous I think.  I only say that because one thing I know that cradle Os don't like is for converts to come up to them and tell them how to be Orthodox because of what they have read in such-and such a book.  It just strikes them the wrong way.  I agree that converts bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm into the Church, and that is the specific gift that they bring.  As for the cradle Os, they help bring balance.  How?  Well, in Orthodoxy I think it is very easy for one's zeal to, at times, morph into "Ueberdoxy", which seems okay but in reality can be harmful because it usually is not sustainable and can lead to a kind of spiritual burnout.  I think that the cradle Os can help the newcomers to learn about what it is like to lead a balanced Orthodox life without running off the rail, and I for one, being a convert, have learned much about this specific issue from interacting with, and observing, cradle Orthodox and their families.
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2004, 11:53:34 AM »

Quote
I'm always told on this forum that it doesn't really matter what the Bible says. Important is what the Holy Tradition says. So, may I ask those who are familiar and have access to those Holy Traditional Writings, what do the Fathers say about this?

If you were told that the Bible doesn't really matter, I would flee. I know many people here, though, and I doubt they meant whatever they said to be taken in that way Smiley

The Fathers... I don't know that they cared much. It's a modern day straw man, which cradles who dislike converts, and converts who are cradle-wanna-bes (for some unknown reason) continually bring up. (though of course regular folk also bring it up and debate it now that the idea is "in the air," so to speak) Many of the small and non-sensical divisions in the Church in the 20th century were because of cradles. Have you ever read anything about the history of the old calendarists on mount athos and in Greece? They divided over some of the strangest (ie. smallest) reasons--I say this as someone about to join a Greek Old Calendarist group, and not as someone who means to judge them. Convertitis is a misdiagnosis. "Super-correctness" is the correct diagnosis for some, and it can infect so-called "cradles" just as easily as converts.

But this is all beside the point, IMO. We all convert to the Church. Some convert from Catholicism. Some from Methodism. Some are brought up in the Orthodox Church, but still need to convert from their secular views (which we unescapably get in our society). The point is, unless you were brought up in a monastery that was very cafeful about who talked to visitors, you almost certain have unChristian or unOrthodox baggage that you need to get rid of. And unless you are a Saint (and even if you are a Saint, for that matter), you still need to convert daily: to kill the self daily and learn to say, "not I, but Christ in me." Being a cradle or convert has little to do with that. Some of the most level-headed Orthodox I've known were converts, and some of the most zealous people I've known were cradles.

Perhaps cradles are, for the most part (speaking of percentages), more "stable". And perhaps converts are less stable. yet, I would be willing to bet (if I were a betting man) that at least half the saints in the history of the Church were "converts". I think that pushing the distinction too far does more harm than good. It's just another us vs. them dichotomy that we don't need.
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2004, 12:08:47 PM »

Quote
But this is all beside the point, IMO. We all convert to the Church.

Well said Paradosis.

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-Mother Raphaela

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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2004, 12:14:04 PM »

"I have a fuller appreciation of the true faith than many Cradle Orthodox who grew up in the faith."

When I wrote that line, I was thinking of the hundreds of cradle Orthodox who suddenly appeared at our parish for Good Friday and Pascha.....It is the same for Roman Catholics...Converts to Catholicism are always stunned at the arrival of what is known as the C&E Catholics -- the Catholics who show up only for Christmas and Easter.

Both groups appear as either Orthodox or Roman Catholic more out of cultural traits than out of an expression of deep faith.
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2004, 02:48:42 PM »

When I wrote that line, I was thinking of the hundreds of cradle Orthodox who suddenly appeared at our parish for Good Friday and Pascha.....It is the same for Roman Catholics...Converts to Catholicism are always stunned at the arrival of what is known as the C&E Catholics -- the Catholics who show up only for Christmas and Easter.

Both groups appear as either Orthodox or Roman Catholic more out of cultural traits than out of an expression of deep faith.

Oh yeah.  There are even quite a few who come for Pascha and the procession, but never seem to make it back into the church for the rest of the liturgy after the procession.   Shocked
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2004, 05:25:05 PM »

Oh yeah.  There are even quite a few who come for Pascha and the procession, but never seem to make it back into the church for the rest of the liturgy after the procession.   Shocked

Yup, seen those too.  Rather sad.
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2004, 08:07:39 PM »

However, I've also known quite a few cradle Orthodox who are quite faithful and mature in their faith, and I've learned a lot from them.
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Shiloah
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2004, 11:20:18 PM »

I think that pushing the distinction too far does more harm than good. It's just another us vs. them dichotomy that we don't need.

Paradosis, this is exactly what I was thinking about. From the great commission that Jesus gave the Apostles it seems to me that they were supposed to "make disciples" rather than "make converts". And if it is all about souls and people becoming followers of Christ, why make this distinction all the time and all the talk about converts? In our parish  I hear it all the time , so and so is a convert. It is exactly as you say,  here is 'us' and there is 'they'. We are the real thing, they are just converts. And in the Church literature and even on this board/forum there is so much talk and mention about converts and who got things down right and who hasn't. but isn't it all about the harvest fields and bringing in the harvest?

There is a certain 'stable'  element to cradle Orthodox that I would rather like to call 'static'. They don't see the need to move, to  become a harvester, to care for the  fields that are white to harvest. They are content with what they have and don't see a need to care for others who don't have yet.  there is a certain comfort in going through the motions. We can become so familiar with a ritual that we forget that it is not about a ritual but about the redemption of souls. Jesus did not come to establish a ritual, but "that he might destroy the works of the devil." (1.John 3:Cool  Isn't that worth telling others about it, and bring them into the sheep fold, too? Why then kind of look down our nose on them as "those converts' instead of "fellow laborers" and "yoke fellows" in Christ ?

Yes, we all have to convert at one point in our life, if not daily, even cradle Orthodox will have to live up to the standard and walk the talk if they want to be genuine.  All the Apostles were converts,  but nobody calls them that. So, isn't that a double standard? And are cradle Orthodox better than they?

Shiloah, and thank you all for your discussion. I liked it. It was more open and honest than the usual theoretical  rap.

Edited to fix quotes only.  
 
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« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2004, 10:53:57 AM »

From the great commission that Jesus gave the Apostles it seems to me that they were supposed to "make disciples" rather than "make converts". And if it is all about souls and people becoming followers of Christ, why make this distinction all the time and all the talk about converts? In our parish  I hear it all the time , so and so is a convert. It is exactly as you say,  here is 'us' and there is 'they'. We are the real thing, they are just converts. And in the Church literature and even on this board/forum there is so much talk and mention about converts and who got things down right and who hasn't. but isn't it all about the harvest fields and bringing in the harvest?

How do you reconcile the above with what is below?  

Quote
There is a certain 'stable'  element to cradle Orthodox that I would rather like to call 'static'. They don't see the need to move, to  become a harvester, to care for the  fields that are white to harvest. They are content with what they have and don't see a need to care for others who don't have yet.  there is a certain comfort in going through the motions. We can become so familiar with a ritual that we forget that it is not about a ritual but about the redemption of souls. Jesus did not come to establish a ritual, but "that he might destroy the works of the devil." (1.John 3:Cool  Isn't that worth telling others about it, and bring them into the sheep fold, too? Why then kind of look down our nose on them as "those converts' instead of "fellow laborers" and "yoke fellows" in Christ ?

Granted, there is oftentimes a certain "cradle arrogance" when it comes to converts, and those cradle members, if they were humble enough, could learn a thing or two from those in their midst who have embraced a faith they found themselves in by circumstance.  However, there is also a "convert arrogance", an attitude that assumes that, since converts had to come to the faith the hard way, they obviously care about it more than those born into it.  I see it in what I bolded above.  How do you start talking about how "us v. them", "converts v. cradles" is the wrong way to look at things in one paragraph, and in the next start talking about how *they* don't care about living the faith?  A lot of problems are rooted in misunderstanding, cradles misunderstanding the needs and circumstances of converts and vice versa.  But it's hard for me to read stuff like this and not think that it is possible some converts get what they deserve when cradle Orthodox react badly to them.
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« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2004, 11:06:00 AM »

"A lot of problems are rooted in misunderstanding, cradles misunderstanding the needs and circumstances of converts and vice versa.  But it's hard for me to read stuff like this and not think that it is possible some converts get what they deserve when cradle Orthodox react badly to them."

I just think the problem would be a non-issue if we all approached each other in our churches and parishes with humility.  Even if the other folks are not being humble towards you, you can be humble towards them, and the only thing stopping you from doing that is your own sense of pride.  I've have made every effort -- and I'm certain I've failed at times anyway --  to never approach or react to cradle Orthodox in parishes where I have attended liturgy with anything other than humility, because I know that I have much to learn from them and from everyone else.
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« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2004, 01:42:33 PM »

Mor,

you say
Quote
"How do you start talking about how "us v. them", "converts v. cradles" is the wrong way to look at things in one paragraph, and in the next start talking about how *they* don't care about living the faith?
and ask me how I do reconcile my two passages from which you take it.

I don't see nothing that contradicts the other. In both posts I am talking about the cradle Os who think of themselves as "us" versus the converts as "they". Then I am referring to the cradle Os in Paradosis' post who said that they can be a 'stable' element in the parish. And I related to that as that I would rather call it 'static' because they don't see the need to move or to become harvesters.

So what is it that I am contradicting myself with? Actually you took two quotes from two different posts that were answers to two different things and waffled them together. Not good.
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« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2004, 03:56:38 PM »

However, I've also known quite a few cradle Orthodox who are quite faithful and mature in their faith, and I've learned a lot from them.  


DITTO!!!!
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« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2004, 07:04:18 PM »

I don't see nothing that contradicts the other. In both posts I am talking about the cradle Os who think of themselves as "us" versus the converts as "they". Then I am referring to the cradle Os in Paradosis' post who said that they can be a 'stable' element in the parish. And I related to that as that I would rather call it 'static' because they don't see the need to move or to become harvesters.

Sure, there are cradle Orthodox who think all they need to do is pay their dues, show up somewhat regularly, and that's it, without any regard for many important things, the "Great Commission" being one.  I don't know if you're a "convert" or not; I think you sound like one, but perhaps I'm wrong and you're a "cradle".  Either way, I disagree with you about cradles not seeing the need to "become harvesters"; while true in some cases, I think it is a bad generalisation, and that demonstrates the contradiction I saw in your words.  You see the cradles regarding themselves as "us" versus the converts who are "they", but you are implicitly making converts the "us" versus the cradles ("they").  Otherwise, why the generalisation about what cradles do or don't see the need for?    

I can only speak from my experience in a largely immigrant community.  My parish is one of the oldest in our diocese.  Our founding members came from India in the early 1970's, and even now we have people coming from India and joining us, having come to the States because of marriage, better employment opportunities, etc.  For a long time, and still today, they see the Church in America as a connection to their roots.  "Harvesting" is the furthest thing on the minds of immigrants when they come here.  They didn't/don't come here and think "What's the best way to spread our faith in this country?", they just want(ed) to establish themselves first.  There is, however, a second generation, the grown children of that first wave of people who came here, and they are the ones getting excited about "harvesting" in addition to the other things the parish has always done.  And they are being supported by their Church.  None of this is the result of the work of converts; it is merely the increasing awareness that the Church is more than just "where we go on Sunday".  It's taken a while, but it's happening.  

Cradles can and will get it eventually, but they may need help, they'll need some solid leadership.  That may come in the form of a dynamic priest, or a good form of adolescent rebellion, or from the good influence of converts.  But if those same converts just assume that the cradle members don't care about the faith or about "harvesting" or whatever, but they (the converts) do care about those things passionately, then what I see is an elitist mindset, although a different one in some respects from that you might regard cradles as having.  As Brendan correctly pointed out, humility is the important thing for all.  Elitism is pride.                

Quote
Actually you took two quotes from two different posts that were answers to two different things and waffled them together. Not good.

Actually, it was one post that I took both quotes from.  If you will go back to the post I quoted from, you'll see that I corrected an issue with how you quoted another post.  You quoted Paradosis, and wrote a few paragraphs, two of which I quoted in my reply.  If there was any waffling, it's because you put one paragraph after the other in the same post.  Wink
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« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2004, 07:08:24 PM »

A question I forgot to ask in my last post.  You assert that cradles don't want to move or become harvesters.  What do you have in mind when you talk about how we should "harvest"?  Maybe the cradles just don't know what it means to "harvest".  What can they do to "harvest"?
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« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2004, 10:58:01 PM »

A question I forgot to ask in my last post.  You assert that cradles don't want to move or become harvesters.  What do you have in mind when you talk about how we should "harvest"?  Maybe the cradles just don't know what it means to "harvest".  What can they do to "harvest"?      

Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19-20

That includes the parish neighborhoods,  city, county, state, nation and beyond.
But it seems that's not the concern of the parishioners. They just want to do their thing - going through the motions and have their way, not be admonished in any way nor corrected, and the priest is just a hired servant and exchangeable if he won't cooperate.

In my area the Orthodox Church is so under represented that most people don't even know what it means, never heard of so to speak.

We just had gotten a new priest after the former one had reposed, and not quite half a year in office, he was discharged because the cradles didn't like his approach. He was not "laxadaisicle"  (easygoing) enough..  the new one now is a  "convert" and seems to be more zealous than the other one. I think the expression applies that someone has jumped from the pot into the frying pan here Smiley

And Mor, I want to be accepted as an Orthodox believer, neither as a convert nor a cradle Orthodox, because I think as member of the Body of Christ there should not be made any such distinctions.

Shiloah :cwm38:
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« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2004, 10:03:18 AM »

And Mor, I want to be accepted as an Orthodox believer, neither as a convert nor a cradle Orthodox, because I think as member of the Body of Christ there should not be made any such distinctions.

Dear Shiloah,

The passages you cite are very basic commands.  I guess what I want to know is what kind of concrete things do you want to see happening in parishes to fulfil this command?  For instance, I don't know how you feel about it, but I don't know if I would personally advocate something like door to door missionary work because all the people I know are turned off by it; if Orthodox in my area started doing it, chances are the people I know would think Orthodoxy was a weird religion like JW's or Mormons, and not the true faith.  Something I read once regarding the evangelisation of the Slavs is that there weren't "Gospel preachers" or "evangelists" going around preaching to the people; instead, they went to a certain place, built a chapel, and celebrated the Liturgy: and the people came.  I don't know if that's a fact or not, but if so, that's a very passive way of spreading the Gospel, but it worked rather well.  What are some things we ought to do, in your opinion?

Regarding what I quoted above, I have no problem accepting you as an Orthodox believer rather than as a convert or cradle.  I don't think there are any such distinctions in the Church, but everyone came into the Church somehow, and so there are "converts" and "cradles".  Once they're in, they're in, and everyone's equal, but they all had to come in somehow, and that's basically what those terms indicate.  I question your insistence on the uselessness of such distinctions when I see the way you continue such distinctions by talking about how the "cradles" in the parish helped get rid of a new priest for being less easygoing.  If distinctions are useless, then it is a parish problem, not a problem of "cradles" alone.  They might not be so lazy, after all, if those who disagreed with them (whether "converts" or "cradles") exerted more of a positive influence in the wider parish community, IMO.
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« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2010, 08:51:10 PM »

I just happened upon the OSB translation of II Chronicles 22:1-2

καὶ εἶπεν δαυιδ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ οἶκος κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦτο τὸ θυσιαστήριον εἰς ὁλοκαύτωσιν τῷ ισραηλ
καὶ εἶπεν δαυιδ συναγαγεῖν πάντας τοὺς προσηλύτους ἐν γῇ ισραηλ καὶ κατέστησεν λατόμους λατομῆσαι λίθους ξυστοὺς τοῦ οἰκοδομῆσαι οἶκον τῷ θεῷ

The RSV translates the Hebrew
1 Then David said, "Here shall be the house of the LORD God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel." 2 David commanded to gather together the aliens who were in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to prepare dressed stones for building the house of God.

But the OSB translates the LXX
1 Then David said, "This is the house of the Lord God and this is the altar of whole burnt offering for Israel." 2 So David gave orders to gather the converts to Judaism, those in the land of Israel, and he appointed masons to cut hewn stones to build the house of God.

I would translate it:
And said David "This is the House of the Lord God and this is the altar unto whole burnt offering for Israel.
And said David to congregate all the converts in the Land of Israel and he appointed stonecutters to cut hewn stones to build a House for God."

The term ἀποσυναγαγεῖν is interesting in this context:it is the root of the world synaguogue, and comparing it to the NT term ἀποσυνάγωγος "expelled from the synagogue; de-synagogued" e.g. John 9:22. So the idea here comes out "gathered all the converts into the synagogue to build the House of God."
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« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2010, 03:29:47 PM »

I don't want to diss anyone's experiences, but this is definitely not mine. Only a few people have ever referred to me as a convert, and then it was more with pride and excitement, on the order of: "can you imagine it!!!"

As far as the (what seems to me, anyway) artificial division into "cradle" and "convert", I can only hope and pray that I will someday be able to emulate the beautiful, rock-solid and simple faith of the Greek yiayias that I am privileged to know.

And, not so incidentally, a GOA Bishop I know gently reproved someone who referred to me as a convert (though they didn't mean anything by it) and said, "Please do not call her a convert. She is Orthodox. Period." He went on to explain that everyone is a convert because even if they are a cradle, they have to make the faith of their parents their own.
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« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2010, 05:22:59 PM »

No one is born into Orthodoxy. If they were, there would be no need for baptism or instruction, people would know and believe by instinct. Even someone who has been Orthodox since being a baby needs conversion--that is, repentance--and this over and over again until death.
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« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2010, 05:31:47 PM »

I don't want to diss anyone's experiences, but this is definitely not mine. Only a few people have ever referred to me as a convert, and then it was more with pride and excitement, on the order of: "can you imagine it!!!"

As far as the (what seems to me, anyway) artificial division into "cradle" and "convert", I can only hope and pray that I will someday be able to emulate the beautiful, rock-solid and simple faith of the Greek yiayias that I am privileged to know.

And, not so incidentally, a GOA Bishop I know gently reproved someone who referred to me as a convert (though they didn't mean anything by it) and said, "Please do not call her a convert. She is Orthodox. Period." He went on to explain that everyone is a convert because even if they are a cradle, they have to make the faith of their parents their own.

I came across this looking for something else:
At my old parish (OCA) I had the lovely experience that some parishoners told me that they started coming regular and the extra services too, and took it seriously after seeing me.  The asked themselves, they said, "if someone wants this and comes when they don't have to, maybe I'm taking something for granted."  At the same parish, there is a family that started coming and became active after grandma's funeral.  She was Orthodox, but married someone under Rome, and the children became lapsed Catholics.  When the funeral came, they were astounded, like they found something in her attic, they said.  They converted, and as I said, are among the most active.  Yes, these dry bones can live.
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« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2010, 05:42:09 PM »

No one is born into Orthodoxy. If they were, there would be no need for baptism or instruction, people would know and believe by instinct. Even someone who has been Orthodox since being a baby needs conversion--that is, repentance--and this over and over again until death.
You play with semantics here: of course "no one is born Orthodox", yet some are born into Orthodox families and cultures and for them Orthodoxy will be the only religion they will know.
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« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2010, 05:50:48 PM »

No one is born into Orthodoxy. If they were, there would be no need for baptism or instruction, people would know and believe by instinct. Even someone who has been Orthodox since being a baby needs conversion--that is, repentance--and this over and over again until death.
You play with semantics here: of course "no one is born Orthodox", yet some are born into Orthodox families and cultures and for them Orthodoxy will be the only religion they will know.

Even if they are nominal and phyletist? Just pulling your leg.  Wink
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« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2010, 06:04:04 PM »

No one is born into Orthodoxy. If they were, there would be no need for baptism or instruction, people would know and believe by instinct. Even someone who has been Orthodox since being a baby needs conversion--that is, repentance--and this over and over again until death.
You play with semantics here: of course "no one is born Orthodox", yet some are born into Orthodox families and cultures and for them Orthodoxy will be the only religion they will know.

Even if they are nominal and phyletist? Just pulling your leg.  Wink
Yeah, even if...
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« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2010, 06:47:55 PM »

No one is born into Orthodoxy. If they were, there would be no need for baptism or instruction, people would know and believe by instinct. Even someone who has been Orthodox since being a baby needs conversion--that is, repentance--and this over and over again until death.
You play with semantics here: of course "no one is born Orthodox", yet some are born into Orthodox families and cultures and for them Orthodoxy will be the only religion they will know.

Even if they are nominal and phyletist? Just pulling your leg.  Wink
Yeah, even if...

Seriously, you can convert and become a converted cradle! Grin
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« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2010, 08:40:40 PM »

I was just thinking that the word for "to convert" in Biblical Greek is "epistrepho," which means, "to turn back, turn around." In this sense, conversion is a continual process that extends throughout our lifetime.

I have always believed that one of the distinctives of Orthodoxy is that we are not inclined to think of ourselves as being members of God's "in" group, but rather as humbly and unworthily striving for the attainment of the Holy Spirit. Rather than creating a dichotomy within humanity between "saved" and "unsaved" (a non-Scriptural term), we acknowledge that we are all truly in the same boat, in need of God's grace to overcome corruption. True, there is a sort of division between the Church and the World, but the common human nature that we share with those outside overrides that. We love them nonetheless. We love them utterly. We treat them like brothers and sisters.

Unfortunately, I think this mindset get twisted by some Orthodox people who use it as an excuse to bury their faith underground, planning to give it back to God just the way they received it. They feel that exporting their Faith is somehow unOrthodox. I think this is akin to the mentality some people here are voicing distress over, and I feel the same way. I t is a mild form of apostasy--denial via leaving Christ out of the picture.

I should probably add that I am cradle Orthodox, but have honestly gotten minimal support during my lifetime from other cradle Orthodox people. I know that many people have the opposite experience, and I emphatically do not believe that this problem is particular to Orthodox Christians. Please do not reply to this post by saying, “But I know good cradle Orthodox!!!” I know you know them, so do I. It’s just that this problem can sometimes be very dire, as it creates negative peer pressure and turns away many converts. As an earlier poster said, Orthodoxy is extremely underrepresented considering our numbers. Hopefully future generations in America will take this issue seriously.

In Christ,
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« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2010, 01:30:41 AM »

Face it, the Orthodox are a little strange. They have the fullness of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, yet are  limited by at times by parochial considerations of nationalism and ethnic identity. (There are understandable reasons for that, but I won't go into them here.) In that respect, Orthodoxy often resembles Judaism, being as much a culture as a religion. But we must not allow this to distress or deter us; the truth is within our grasp. Orthodoxy accounts for only about 2% of Christians in the United States, and we converts are blessed, indeed, to have discovered the nugget of gold at the bottom of the pan.

I'm a convert, and I love it. As soon as we can establish an Orthodox Church that identifies itself primarily as American, the attitudes which have so plagued Orthodoxy will fade in importance.
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« Reply #31 on: September 28, 2010, 09:56:33 AM »

But we must not allow this to distress or deter us; the truth is within our grasp.

Amen! Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: September 28, 2010, 10:11:54 AM »

I am very happily a convert.  I will always be a convert.  I was a cradle Catholic . . . I know what it is to take my faith for granted because I've always been RC.  Now?  I have a new fresh newborn love. . .and a wide eyed awe of all that I'm learning and growing in. 

That's priceless. 

If someone who has been in the church since birth judges that in any way, let that be between them and God.  I have a priceless gift that's been given to me. . .I won't allow that joy to be taken from me.
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« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2010, 08:52:42 PM »

Sometimes you have to rock the cradle.
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« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2010, 09:03:04 PM »

Sometimes you have to rock the cradle.

Welcome to the forum.
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