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kmcdaniel
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« on: August 03, 2004, 07:53:24 PM »

First, I want to say hello to everyone as I am new to the forum. I have been studying Orthodoxy for about a year now, but until I found this site, I had alot of un-answered questions. My wife and I have been married for 7 years, and have never stepped foot in a church (we were married in a garden). We have two kids, and after the second one was born, we both began to feel the need, and the calling, to get back into church. We were both raised in Southern Babtist families, but that is where the similarities end.  I have alot of "issues with the Protestant belief system, and that is why I ultimately stopped going to Church. I have always felt there must be a "better" way or more specifically a "right" way to Christianity. When I told my wife that I would like to check out an Orthodox church, she flipped out and said "no way".  She thinks that is another Catholic Church with alot of smoke and mirrors. She cannot get past the Southern Babtist upbringing, and only wants to get back into it.  I guess my questions are: How hard is it for two people to live together (with children), and go to different churches? where do the kids go? Does anyone have any good advice to make my delima easier?
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4Truth
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2004, 08:36:10 PM »

May one enquire approximately where you all live?  (the state)  

A "split marriage" is extremely difficult; kids often "lose out" because of disagreements between parents (both of whom they love and, generally, wish to obey).  However, God can take charge even of that!  

Our archbishop was raised Southern Baptist.  Wish I could introduce you to him!  At any rate, he (and many, many other people) is evidence that one can change!

I have no direct experience of a "split marriage", but surely there are board members who have been there, or who still are.  If you live near an Orthodox parish, get to know the priest and consult him.  If the parish has English-language services, your wife will find that far more approachable than if she has to hear new ideas in a foreign language.  

May your prayers be answered!  (Even years of prayer for unity can pay off, as seen in some of the lives of the saints.)

4Truth


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kmcdaniel
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2004, 09:45:44 PM »

We live in the Oklahoma City area. There are two parishes here, one is Greek Orthodox, and the other one is an Antiochian Parish. I have not been to either church mainly because of family conflict, and also because of the lack of knowledge in the diffrences between them.
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2004, 12:01:04 AM »

We live in the Oklahoma City area. There are two parishes here, one is Greek Orthodox, and the other one is an Antiochian Parish. I have not been to either church mainly because of family conflict, and also because of the lack of knowledge in the diffrences between them.

Given your circumstances, at this time, I would probably (visiting both and others if possible, eventually) opt for the Antiochian parish. Although my Greek parish uses English, that is a rarity. I would think you don't need to add language to the 'smoke & mirror' problem. I believe the Antiochians use English to a greater degree. Any other differences between your two choices would probably not be readily apparent.

Demetri
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2004, 12:07:40 AM »

St. Elijah's -- I believe that's the name of the Antiochian parish there -- is wonderful; I heartily recommend it.  I go there when I visit my Dad in OKC.
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Doubting Thomas
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2004, 08:16:00 AM »

Boy, can I relate to this thread.  I've been SBC all my life and my wife has been either SBC or Presbyterian at different times.  I've been exploring Orthodoxy the past couple of years and I've gone from being a convinced hardcore SBC to one who no longer considers himself Protestant.  I'd try to be Orthodox today, but my wife is pretty comfortable in our church and hasn't done the reading that I have on the subject.  We have a 10 month old son, so I'm hoping we can come to an agreement about where to worship before he gets too much older.
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2004, 09:45:11 AM »

It's possible to have a "split" marriage and be happy and not have totally screwed up kids.  Would I say that that should somebody's first choice?  No way, but it can work out well for everyone involved.

I speak from experience.  I'm nondenominational (although considering conversion to Orthodoxy right now) and my husband is Roman Catholic.  We've been married for 3 years.  I have a 7 year old from a previous relationship (although my husband has been around since he was 3 months old) and we have a 1 year old together.  The children have done fine.  My 7 year old really doesn't have any confusion over anything yet.  He's never questioned why we attend 2 different churches.  We alternate each weekend between the churches, and we also attend both churches as a family.

My husband grew up in a household where his dad was Southern Baptist and his mom was RC.  They did the same thing as we do.  My husband and his sister turned out just fine.  It wasn't as big of a deal as most people think it is.

Our biggest problem was whether or not to have the baby baptised.  We still haven't done that, but I'm sure it's in the near future.

As some encouragement for you (the person considering conversion)...joining a religion that is as old as Orthodoxy (and in my case being exposed to Roman Catholicism which is almost as old as Orthodoxy) sort of forces a person to look into what makes a religion Christian and what it's founded on.  When faced with questions like "Are we going to baptise the baby?" a person has to look into their faith and figure out why they would or wouldn't.  

I was already studying church history, but when my husband posed that question, I really had to do some soul searching.  Luckily he is a patient man.

I strongly believe that if a person looks into church history and theology, they can't help but question certain things concerning Protestantism.  I was as hardcore in my beliefs as they come, and I have now come to the point of trying to completely wipe the slate clean and start over because I feel that I know so little truth that I can't even get to it for all of the confusion of my past.

A book that I found to be very helpful and that is well written and easy to read is Thirsting For God in a Land of Shallow Wells by Matthew Gallatin.  It's also the book that I intend to have my mother read once I break the news to her that I'm converting.  She's very much against any kind of structured religion and is about faith and the Bible alone.  We should need no outside help.  I used to think the same thing until I figured out that I just can't do all of this alone and neither can the rest of the world.

I'm sorry this got so long.  I hope it helps a little though.
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ExOrienteLux
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2004, 10:12:12 AM »

A book that I found to be very helpful and that is well written and easy to read is Thirsting For God in a Land of Shallow Wells by Matthew Gallatin.  It's also the book that I intend to have my mother read once I break the news to her that I'm converting.  She's very much against any kind of structured religion and is about faith and the Bible alone.  We should need no outside help.  I used to think the same thing until I figured out that I just can't do all of this alone and neither can the rest of the world.

YES!  That is an excellent book!  Even though I read it after I had about a year's worth of investigation into Orthodoxy, I still think it's a great introduction to the Faith for the average American non-denominational or congregational Protestant.  I intend to let some of my friends read it if they show an interest in Orthodoxy, this coming semeser especially (Russian lit can have that sort of effect on people, ya know?).

Josh.
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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2004, 03:12:14 PM »

First, I want to say hello to everyone as I am new to the forum. I have been studying Orthodoxy for about a year now, but until I found this site, I had alot of un-answered questions. My wife and I have been married for 7 years, and have never stepped foot in a church (we were married in a garden). We have two kids, and after the second one was born, we both began to feel the need, and the calling, to get back into church. We were both raised in Southern Babtist families, but that is where the similarities end.  I have alot of "issues with the Protestant belief system, and that is why I ultimately stopped going to Church. I have always felt there must be a "better" way or more specifically a "right" way to Christianity. When I told my wife that I would like to check out an Orthodox church, she flipped out and said "no way".  She thinks that is another Catholic Church with alot of smoke and mirrors. She cannot get past the Southern Babtist upbringing, and only wants to get back into it.  I guess my questions are: How hard is it for two people to live together (with children), and go to different churches? where do the kids go? Does anyone have any good advice to make my delima easier?

On the internet you should find an article entitled 12 things I wish I  knew before entering an Orthodox Church.....if you go to www.oca.org, the parish in Greenburg, SC has a link to it I think.

"Smoke and mirrors" Why does your wife use such language to describe the oldest form of Christian worship? I have never seen a mirror in an Orthodox Church. The incense is used as it has always been used to purify, to let you know you are entering a special place...a place of worship and prayer....we hope that our prayers rise before God as incense and the incense symbolizes this.

#1) I do not think this is a good site for someone wanting to explore Orthodox CHristianity. I am grateful I found it AFTER I converted.

#2) Call first and then visit your local Antichoan parish...by yourself if you must and then schedule an appointment to meet with a priest. Attend a DIvine Liturgy before you meet because you will have questions. STay for fellowship afterwards...you will no doubt meet others who have been where you are at. Try to identify one or two women your wife might identify and become friends with. If she ever does attend a DIvine Liturgy, point out all the children and teenagers and how people worship together as families ...even the teenagers and people in their early 20s.

#3) Ask the priest many questions over many meetings....attend vespars and Liturgy regularly.

#4) Do not "push" it onto your wife. Let a renewal of your spirit and love be a witness to the truth. Let her smell the incense on your clothes, see the change in you and wonder.

#5) You also might want to point out that Martin Luther was in correspondence with an Orthodox Patriarch for two years before posting his famous document and starting the protestant reform movement, Political realities would not have allowed for him to convert to Orthodox Christianity then. Orthodox theology is based not on the Bible but in Christ. The Bible is His Testament he left for us when he ascended into heaven. Within the Orthodox Church we have many teachings not found in the Bible...but are never-the-less in accordance with it....Afterall it was Orthodox Christians who wrote, edited, and compiled the Bible the Southern Baptists hold so highly. (You've read the book now experince the real thing)

Lastly be patient. At our Parish we have many spouses whose spouses are cradle or convert Orthodox Christians. Most eventually do come around....It usually takes a ludicrous experience with or in another Church to bring them around....or in some cases attending services in another Church....just does not seem like worship after experinceing DIvine Liturgy. Where modern services seem geared to "entertainment" where people go because "I get something out of it". Orthodox Worship is worship...whether or not we "get something out of it" is irrelevant....but we usually do.
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Doubting Thomas
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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2004, 03:24:58 PM »


A book that I found to be very helpful and that is well written and easy to read is Thirsting For God in a Land of Shallow Wells by Matthew Gallatin.  It's also the book that I intend to have my mother read once I break the news to her that I'm converting.  She's very much against any kind of structured religion and is about faith and the Bible alone.  We should need no outside help.  I used to think the same thing until I figured out that I just can't do all of this alone and neither can the rest of the world.



I agree--this is a great book for Protestants.   I've read it several times.  If only I can get my wife to read it.  :-";"xx
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2004, 11:39:11 PM »

Greetings, kmcdaniel!  I'm a former OKC native now living in the Kansas City metro area.  There is also a ROCOR parish in Del City (St. Benedict Orthodox Church) and I believe a very small OCA mission on North MacArthur.  Both conduct services in English.  You'll find St. Elijah's to be quite ethnically neutral as well, as I've attended services there once.

Good luck in your journey!
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kmcdaniel
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2004, 08:25:41 AM »

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the good advice. I bought the book yesterday, and I hope to get my wife to read it after I'm done.  I'm sure I will have alot more questions in the future
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« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2004, 04:40:12 PM »

I am still an inquirer into Orthodoxy, but know something about being in a "split" home.  About two years ago my wife and I discussed my renewed and serious interest in Orthodoxy.  I was presented with some strong ultimatums, ones that did not bode well for our future should I continue looking into Orthodoxy (let alone hope to be chrismated).

But with wise counsel from my priest, and fervent petitions to the Theotokos, my wife and I, and our one-year old daughter, are attending a local Antiochian parish exclusively.  It has been a long journey--though not as long as others.  I was ready to convert when I first encountered Orthodoxy about four years ago.  But I have all along been convicted that God wanted our whole family to convert.  So I hung tough, prayed, negotiated and re-negotiated with my wife.  A month and a half after our daughter was born my wife just up and announced that she thought we all should go to the local parish I'd been attending as often as I could.  She's found connections with the women, especially the other young mothers, and, if I am not mistaken, we may, by God's grace, be chrismated within the year.

But even so, I am not presuming anything.  I'm simply trying to be patient, to pray daily, and to lead as clearly and loving as I can.

Pray for me, a sinner.
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