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Author Topic: Why did you convert?  (Read 3470 times) Average Rating: 0
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teresita
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« on: August 17, 2004, 11:10:20 PM »

Hi Everyone,

I am new here with questions and very confused. I don't know where to start.

I have been going to a GOC for about 10 months. I started going to the orthodox church after my fiance asked me to go with him.

I am Roman Catholic and I have always live my faith growing up with nuns and priests, and going to church every Sunday.

I am getting marry next year and I am considering convertion for the entity of the family. I just want to go together to church every Sunday as a family; I don't know if we would be able to have children, but us as a family.

So far, I am happy with the church... I have read three books that I have enjoyed very much... but there is nothing in terms of the religion for which I would consider convertion. Like I told the priest, as long as I have the Holy Trinity and the Holy Mother, I am happy. After that the most important thing for me is to love and to be good to my brothers and sisters in God.

I would like to hear about the story of others that have converted or are considering convertion.

Teresita  Smiley
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Teresita
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2004, 12:03:40 AM »

Buenas Noches, teresita, y bienvenida...   Smiley

I was never Roman Catholic, so I'll keep my post short, I guess.  I grew up Baptist, and, though study of the earliest Christians, saw that what I was believing and practicing didn't match what the first Christians believed and practiced.  So I went back and forth between the Catholic and Orthodox confessions for a while.  To make a long story very short, I chose Orthodoxy over Catholicism because, even though it seems as though the Churches may be saying the same things in different ways, the differences are crucial, with Rome now saying things the first Christians never did.

So for me, Orthodoxy was the most faithful to the original Christian witness.  That's my reason.

Glad to have you with us! Smiley

Que paz sea contigo,

Pedro
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2004, 12:09:53 AM »

Teresa,

Welcome to the forums!  I have a similar story to Pedro, so similar in fact that it's not really worth mentioning.  I don't have the link handy, but there is a very nice webpage that has several conversion stories that is maintained by one of the members of this forum.  Can anyone help me out with a link?  

Also, you may want to read through that last few pages of threads in the Convert Issues forum.  You will find lots of conversion stories there as well.

Looking forward to hearing new conversion stories,

David
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teresita
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2004, 09:36:19 AM »

Thank you for the replies and the welcome.  Smiley This is such an important decision. At the beginning, I didn't think it would be this complicated, but the more I read, the more confused I feel.

Maybe I just trying to find out, on what did people focused to make the decision and how did they overcome an issue that put in question their decision.

Teresita  Roll Eyes
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Teresita
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2004, 12:27:07 PM »

Hi Everyone,

I am new here with questions and very confused. I don't know where to start.

I have been going to a GOC for about 10 months. I started going to the orthodox church after my fiance asked me to go with him.

I am Roman Catholic and I have always live my faith growing up with nuns and priests, and going to church every Sunday.

I am getting marry next year and I am considering convertion for the entity of the family. I just want to go together to church every Sunday as a family; I don't know if we would be able to have children, but us as a family.

So far, I am happy with the church... I have read three books that I have enjoyed very much... but there is nothing in terms of the religion for which I would consider convertion. Like I told the priest, as long as I have the Holy Trinity and the Holy Mother, I am happy. After that the most important thing for me is to love and to be good to my brothers and sisters in God.

I would like to hear about the story of others that have converted or are considering convertion.

Teresita  Smiley

My Dearest Teresita,

My entire family and I -- all five of us -- converted from Roman Catholicsim to the Orthodox Christian Church this past Pascha.

Why did we convert?...Well I had many theological disagreements with RC Dogma I will not get into. Suffice it say we were active in our RC Parish. I was not happy, but remained practicing (as I was my entire life) for the sake of my family.

We really left the RCC at my wife's decision. We had a priest in our parish who is now incarcerated for child molestation. SHe could just no longer bring herself or our children into that parish again -- and the Diocese would not allow us to register at another parish. She was also disgusted at the idea of our donations going to pay for court settlements.

My wife wanted to look into a Methodoist and a Lutheran church in our neighborhood but deferred to my theological knowlege when I mentioned to her they ignore the Virgin Mary. SO we contacted the local OCA Parish and have never been happier.

Orthodoxy is Catholicism that does not require you to check your common sense at the door. The parish priests are better able to interact and counsel you and any future children better than most RC priests....after all what does an RC priest know about marriage or raising children?

I would suggest you continue attending DIvine Liturgy with your fiance. You will know it is time to convert when you develop a hunger for Holy Communion. When you want to receive Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church -- that is a good indicator you are ready to convert.

And don't worry.....You are not burning any bridges. Once you are received in the Orthodox Church...if you ever want to go back to the Roman Catholic Church (although I could not undersatnd why) all you need do is make a confession and they will take you back.....Heck you could also just start going again and get into the communion line the way things are these days.....

My parish is about 25% former RCs. I will share with you the same advice they sahred with us....Don't Hesitate! SOme of these RCs attended DIvine Liturgy for years before converteing and once they converted wondered what their hang up was....for most it was the fear of what their RC family members might do or say.....

Is this the case with you? Are you more worried about how your RC family will accept not only Orthodoxy but your Orthodox Christian fiance? Do some expect him to be the one to convert to Catholicism?
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2004, 12:34:57 PM »

Hi,
One of the problems I am having is people trying to intervene in my decision, from both sides. It is like if my decision would be a winning point! How could I say on a very polite way, Back off! ?
I wish I wouldn't be so sensitive, or I could say "I don't care what people say."
Amaizinly, the most supportive person has been my mom not giving me an opinion only that she would respect my decision.

Teresita  :-";"xx
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Teresita
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« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2004, 01:04:26 PM »

Hi Spartacus,
Thank you so much for your message! I should say that I find your posts the more enlightings.

You actually brought a very important point, I am so hungry for the Holy Communion! I do really enjoy the Divine Liturgy, but when the time of the Holy Communion comes I get very sad.  Embarrassed It is the most important part of the Liturgy and here I am, every Sunday, praying so hard for the Holy Spirit to come to me.

Yes, I have had some emotionally issues with opinionated people. I am preparing for my wedding, the most important moment of my life and some people appear to be trouble with the idea of me having an Orthodox ceremony. I went to an Orthodox wedding years ago before meeting my fiance, and I was so moved that I thought I would love to have an Orthodox ceremony. Years later, I met my fiance, a miracle of Love in my life, and so happy preparing for a beautiful and meaningful ceremony. However, some opinionated people -people that I love and care for- are making me sad at what I should or I shouldn't do!Shouldn't they just be happy with the idea that I am happy?

Teresita  :-




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Teresita
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« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2004, 02:27:07 PM »

Teresita,

As someone who is in the process of planning a wedding, I know what you're going through.  You have to stand your ground in the things that are most important to you.  My fiancee and I decided that the most important thing for us was to get married at my church, a Ruthenian Catholic one, and not at her parents' RC church because she doesn't feel a connection to that parish at all.  Her folks, while churchgoing Roman Catholics, are not the most open-minded people regarding non-RC services, but we put our foot down and said in no uncertain terms that this is what we wanted and it was non-negotiable.  Surprisingly it worked.

It's your wedding, especially the sacred aspect of it.  Don't let anyone take that which is most important away from you.
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« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2004, 03:02:34 PM »

Yes, I have had some emotionally issues with opinionated people. I am preparing for my wedding, the most important moment of my life and some people appear to be trouble with the idea of me having an Orthodox ceremony..... However, some opinionated people -people that I love and care for- are making me sad at what I should or I shouldn't do!Shouldn't they just be happy with the idea that I am happy?

Teresita  :-

Fear not dearest Terisita, your conversion will serve in helping you determine better who loves you for you...and who respects you as an adult  woman.

If the anxiety of your loved ones is based in ethnic prejudice -- there is not much you can do. Except try to forgive them.

I would be very surprised if any Roman Catholics in your family who are not only devout but well-versed in scripture, Church history and Dogma are giving you any problems. My wife has two RC priests as cousins...one of them married us. When he learned of our conversion he asked why -- we told him and he said he understood. He did not agree but he understood. In fact he thought it was "really cool" and showed some real thought and faithfulness that we went to the Orthodox Church rather than a Protestant or non-denominational Church. Most RC priests are familiar with Orthodox teachings and practices. Some RC parish priests even incorporate some Orthodox ideas and practices into their parish.

If someone loves you and you are making a decision that won't harm you, yet they still have anxiety it is usaully because they do not understand or donot respect you as an adult woman. Most people will accept the decision of someone they truly love if they understand why and respect them. They might not agree with it...but if they know why and respect you, they usually understand.

However if your RC family is anything like mine the ones giving you the most trouble are the same ones who, if they own a Bible, only use it to record births, weddings, and deaths and also might store the announcements, invitations and funeral prayer cards in it as well. The Pages have never been read. Indeed most Roman Catholics -- even the very devout -- are totally ignorant when it comes to Church History.

I have a grandmother like that -- very ignorant even though she is a eucharistic minister and a member of the Franciscans. We got her to a Divine Liturgy and she really loved it....She still gives us problems but nowhere near as many. She has seen our Holy Community and realizes we are in a good place compared to what the RCC in our area is. She sees how our kids love our preists....and does not believe us when we told her that in our local RC diocese (she is in a separate one) our priests are under orders to never do more than touch a child's head and then only their parent is present. Our youngest one when she sees our Orthodox priest runs as fast as she can and greets him with a giant hug! And then usually wants a kiss......

Some of these ignorant people actually fear for your immortal soul. Might I suggest you try this as a response the next time this issue comes up with them:

"Look (insert name here) the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church were all one Church for the first thousand years of Christianity. If I am going to hell because I become Orthodox -- then I will be there with all the Catholics sinners and Saints whoever lived before the 12th century because the Roman Catholic Church was Orthodox before then."

This will probably be followed by stunned silence and perhaps quickly followed up with..."well the Pope must have realized it was wrong..." or something like that.

At this point it is best to ask them to direct their questions to their own parish priest. These ignorant ones will probably not believe you.......

If the confrontation persist beyond this, might I suggest:

"Look (insert name here) I am marrying (insert name here). I love him. He is a good man. If you can not be happy for me or if you do not love and respect me enough to be quiet on this issue....then I really will not want to be spending much time with you. I love you. I had hoped you might love and respect me enough as an adult woman to just be hapy for me...or at least have enough respect for me to hold your tongue. But if you can not, then so be it. I will not subject myself, my future husband and our future children to this kind of hostility. Please let's tak about this no more."

Tears might very well follow this.....give them time.....again suggest they talk to thier RC priest....hopefully the priest might be able to educate them about Orthodoxy so they can better understand.

I predict that any family objections will be overcome by the time the wedding has concluded and the alcohol is flowing at the reception.
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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2004, 03:10:13 PM »

Teresita,

As someone who is in the process of planning a wedding, I know what you're going through.  You have to stand your ground in the things that are most important to you.  My fiancee and I decided that the most important thing for us was to get married at my church, a Ruthenian Catholic one, and not at her parents' RC church because she doesn't feel a connection to that parish at all.  Her folks, while churchgoing Roman Catholics, are not the most open-minded people regarding non-RC services, but we put our foot down and said in no uncertain terms that this is what we wanted and it was non-negotiable.  Surprisingly it worked.

It's your wedding, especially the sacred aspect of it.  Don't let anyone take that which is most important away from you.


OHHHH HAHAHAH....

I read this and was reminded of a friend's wedding. He was RC she was Jewish. After mcuh negotiation the bride's father consented that it would be a Jewish service with a RC priestthere to bless the wedding as the couple had decided to raise the children Catholic.

six hours before the wedding, the Jewish father called the RC priest and told they had decided he did not need to be there......Absolutely Furious, the soon to be newly weds threatened to not go to the wedding -- which cost about $40,000 and for which dozens of Jewish family members had flown infrom all over the country and Israel.

"You might have a wedding but we won't be there unless the priest is. Either the priest is there or we just fly off on our honeymonn and get married in Cancun -- by a Catholic priest!"

The father relented.

It was a beautiful wedding. The couple flew off to Cancunn shortly after 4 AM the next morning....and arrived just 12 hours before a major hurrican the Peninsula...but that's another story.
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« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2004, 05:29:43 PM »

My conversion began long before I realized it had, but I became aware of it shortly after I abandoned my studies and practice of Buddhism. I had fallen into a kind of spiritual despair, forsaking all spiritual endeavor as illusory, and began referring to myself as an agnostic. I never fully renounced or lost belief in God, but I did come to assume that it was something that was instilled in me as a child and was something I would never be rid of.

Even though I had officially abandoned Buddhism, I was still practicing daily meditation. One evening as I was preparing for my meditation, it suddenly occurred to me to pray instead. It had been at least two years since I had prayed, but I decided I would follow this feeling. I cannot remember what I prayed, but it was short and afterward I began reading Scripture. Over the course of the next several months my prayers developed and became more frequent, and I began a study of the history of Scripture. And it was in this endeavor that I was introduced to the idea of the apostolic church, the one that decided what would actually be in the Scriptural canon.

Long story short: like many converts before me, I had a brief stint with Roman Catholicism before I was introduced to the Orthodox Church. This came quite by accident while I was surfing on-line, and then I picked up the obligatory The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware. I began attending a local Greek parish and was catechized and baptized in short order.

The reasons I decided to convert are myriad, but the most important reason is simple. During those months when I first began to pray again, I built up within myself a log of the experiences I had with God during prayer. I came to know God's presence, if you will, and I never felt that presence in any church until I attended my first Divine Liturgy. Of course I was persuaded by the historic and intellectual arguments that support Orthodoxy's claim to be the true Christian Church, but it was the inner experience that convinced me.

One word of caution: attend the church for longer than I did. I have now been in the Church for six months, and I am thoroughly convinced that my catechesis was far too short and did not prepare me fully for all that I would experience after baptism.
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« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2004, 05:39:22 PM »

One word of caution: attend the church for longer than I did. I have now been in the Church for six months, and I am thoroughly convinced that my catechesis was far too short and did not prepare me fully for all that I would experience after baptism.

What will prepare you? Is one ever entirely prepared?

Teresita sounds like a lifelong Roman Catholic.....who now feels compelled to commune with the Orthodox Church....as it was for Roman Catholics for the first 1200 yrs of that Church's history.

What has happened that you did not think you were prepared for?
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« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2004, 02:15:16 PM »

Teresita  

I'm unsure how to answer your questions. I certainly want to avoid launching into all sorts of harsh justifications and arguments! Smiley  Yet, I worry that what you are hearing from many people is "Orthodox lite". You get the minimum, and in some cases stuff that is not even true, because people worry about offending you as a Catholic, or scaring you away from conversion. So, I'll leave what I say to this: when I left Protestantism, after a short period of flirting with liberal (or post-liberal) theology, I became very torn between whether to become Catholic or Orthdoox. I normally don't discuss that in my conversion story type of posts, but I was much more unsure than I normally let on. Maybe I just had to let a few years pass before I could admit to myself exactly how unsure I was, I dunno. Anyway, in the end, it came down to matters of faith to me. Wherever the true faith was, that's where the Truth in all His fulness was. And wherever that Truth was, that's where I wanted to be.
 
The Truth, I came to realise (or at least faithfully believe), continued with the Orthodox Church, and started to get corrupted in the Catholic Church. There are a lot of issues that are important, but don't get discussed much. There are also a lot of issues that get discussed, but get discussed in a way where everyone's afraid to offend everyone else, and so a meaningless compromise or agreement of words which is reached. Or, sometimes, the people discussing things do agree, but know that their flock does not, so they sign agreements, but then go back to their faithful and tell them not to worry since the agreements aren't official. Follow the Truth; He will set you free from such gymnastics. If we went back to a time (not too many generations ago) when the Catholics called us "Greek schismatics" and we called the Catholics "Latin heretics," I think, in many ways, things would be a lot better. It'd be more difficult to begin a conversion process, but at least you'd be getting the full picture of what you are getting yourself into.

I hope I have not offended; I've genuinely tried to be honest and blunt, but not harsh.
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« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2004, 03:30:25 PM »

Pedro asked me to post this here so... this is probably a bit too long, but I wrote it up a number of months ago for a pagan friend who is considering Christianity when she asked me why I converted. She wasn't so interested in Orthodoxy per se, but for me it is the same thing so I gave her the story of my movement from Judaism to atheism to Wicca to New Age-spirituality to neo-gnosticism to pseudo-Catholicism to Orthodoxy. I am not really Orthodox yet, but will most likely be baptized this Holy Week, if God wills it. I have wanted to be Orthodox for over a year now. Cheesy Please pray that I will be brought into the Church soon, because I want to be received into it before I leave for college... wherever I go I want to start my new life as an Orthodox Christian.

Anyway:

I was born Jewish, and was actually quite the Super-Jew for a long time... by 6th grade I was an atheist, and in 8th grade I was a Wiccan. I believed in spirituality. I saw something in nature, something I couldn't touch, but knew was there... I knew I believed in love and a Power beyond comprehension, and I needed it, I knew that I needed to feel it tangibly. By 9th grade I had become disillusioned with Wicca, after studying its history, but still considered myself a pagan.

Towards the end of 9th grade, I began to feel drawn to the story of Christ. There was something deeply poignant about it, something I couldn't explain-- but the idea of the suffering god crucified and resurrected... something in me just said "yes," to it.

But I hated Christianity. I always had. My mother is an ex-Catholic and I grew up hating Christianity for all the usual reasons-- i.e. sexism, homophobia, conservatism, self-righteousness, superiority complex, illogical, etc. etc. etc. Christianity, I thought, was a religion for the mentally deficient.

I had considered myself a communist for a while at that point, and I still firmly believed that Christianity was the opiate of the people, even if religion wasn't.

Yet I couldn't help it. The more I read the stories, the more I thought about the story of Christ, the more it touched me. Something about it just seemed... perfect. Not something I could ever guess, but something that spoke to me on some level. Later, when I read C.S. Lewis, I understood why: "The story is strangely like many myths which have haunted religion from the first, and yet is not like them. It is not transparent to the reason: we could not have invented it ourselves. It has not the suspicious a priori lucidity of Pantheism or Newtonian physics. It has the seemingly arbitrary and idiosyncratic character which modern science is slowly teaching us to put up with in this wilful universe, where energy is made up in little parcels of a quantity no one could predict, where speed is not unlimited, where irreversible entropy gives time a real direction and the cosmos, no longer static or cyclic, moves like a drama from a real beginning to a real end. If any message from the core of reality ever were to reach us, we should expect to find in it just that unexpectedness, that wilful, dramatic anfractuousity which we find in the Christian faith. It has the master touch-- the rough, male taste of reality, not made by us, or, indeed, for us, but hitting us in the face."

I couldn't have guessed that then. All I knew was that I couldn't ignore this. I had been waiting for some pantheon to draw me to them. I hated that I *was* being drawn to a "pantheon," but it was Christian-- Jesus and Mary, the Magdalene and the saints... Mary especially. I will never stop being thankful to our Holy Lady Theotokos for all she has done for me. I felt drawn to her long before I felt REALLY drawn to Christ... she brought me to her Son.

Anyway, I looked into Gnosticism. I read the gospel of Mary, the gospel of Thomas, the gospel of Philip... there was something about gnosis that I was attracted to. Later I would realize what exactly I was looking for there.

I *HATED* Christianity. I fought against Christians and called them literalists and hypocrites and told them that Jesus's real message had been about something completely different.

I hated Paul. I hadn't actually *read* much of Paul, but that didn't matter. You don't have to read Paul to hate him in today's world. I used to inform people (it says it on religioustolerance.org-- the name of that site is a misnomer if I ever saw one) about the three forms of early Christianity... Jewish, Gnostic, and Pauline. I would say things like "I like both but Pauline! Booooo Paul!"

I think my first step to orthodox Christianity was a visit to my best friend's church... the priest mentioned St. Paul, and was going to read something from one of his epistles-- which I'd only read excerpts from, of course-- and I was whispering to Kirsten how Paul was stupid, and terrible, and sexist/homophobic/etc. and how I hated him. Then of course, the priest reads some of Paul's words on love.

That shut me up pretty quickly.

One day, sitting in front of the TV, I realized that if I had to take the good aspects of Judaism and what I considered the good aspects of Gnosticism, and put them together... it could not have possibly have been as perfectly put together as Paul's vision... I mean to say his vision which is beyond the wisdom of the Greeks and the knowledge of the Jews. After realizing this, I wanted to throw up.

During all this I began to read some of the Catholic mystics-- St. Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton, St. John of the Cross, etc. I began to believe in a sort of Gnostic-Catholic mixture of beliefs. I realized later that what I was searching for in Gnosticism was a fuller spirituality-- along with a goal for union with God as the center of Christian life-- separated from legalism, and what I was searching for in Catholicism was the sacramental life of the Church, the communion of saints, the Ark of Salvation that is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ.

One day while I was in a Catholic chat, I was arguing with someone about something. I didn't actually *believe* a lot of the things that I debated at that point, but I knew the Catholic defenses and I would argue for them. In any case, I said something about how no one (except Jesus/Mary, from the Catholic viewpoint) was born without sin, and we won't stop sinning until the next life. Someone said something to the effect of "don't forget those that have attained a state of theosis..."

Being the arrogant jerk that I am, I was like "oh yeah... except for them." Then I opened google and searched for the word "theosis." To my great interest, a number of sites came up, almost all of them by Orthodox writers. Theosis, I found, was what I had been looking for in gnosis. Theosis is the goal of Christian life. We are saved from our sins, but whatever God empties He also fills. We are purified, and then we are filled with God's grace, His Uncreated Energies, and are made one with Him.

Catholics believe this too, and it can be found in the Catechism (CCC 460, 1129, 1265, 1812 and 1988.) However, it is mostly thought of by monks and nuns, and the occasional mystics. In Orthodoxy, I found, it was the center of Christian life.

I was intrigued, but annoyed. It had taken me a long time to decide on Catholicism (I was thinking of contacting someone from RCIA at the time), and I didn't want that to change now. I searched out Catholic apologetics, something to prove the Orthodox wrong. I read all their arguments, and they would satisfy me, until I would lay on my bed at night and questions would come up, about the nature of the Church, about its unity-- was not the nature of the Church conciliar? Is that not how the Bible and the Church Fathers described it? How could one see have supremacy over another when the center of the Church is the *Eucharist*? How could the scholastic idea of "temporal sin," i.e. sin that needs to be expiated after it is forgiven in Purgatory, fit in with the early Christians' understanding of God as the all-merciful? How could I accept the Filioque, when it was an addition to the Creed and drastically changed the Western Church's view of the Trinity? Why was the modern view of the need for Christ's sacrifice so different from the explanation of the early Fathers?-- and I couldn't answer them. And I couldn't find sufficient apologetics either.

One day I ordered two books from Amazon-- Fr. Aidan Nichols's A Theological Introduction to Catholicism and Fr. Michael Pomazansky's Orthodox Dogmatic Theology. I asked God to show me which one was true... I needed to know. I got a letter back from Amazon that the first one was no longer available. I later read Nichols's book online, but that was long after I had read Pomazansky's book. I read Pomazansky and I knew that it was Truth.

I kept reading. The more I read the more I understood... I understood what it meant to be Christian. Fr. Alexander Schmemann taught me what the Eucharist meant. The writer of The Way of a Pilgrim taught me what prayer was. The Desert Fathers taught me what it meant to live as a Christian.

And the Liturgy, oh my! One thing about Orthodoxy that everyone comments on, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, is the beauty of the Orthodox liturgical life. The hymns are unparalleled, the art breathtaking, somehow silent and haloed with sanctity... but what really got me is that the more I read about Orthodoxy, the more I heard the music, saw the art, saw the people, talked to them... the more I realized that this is a Church which has a sort of childlike joy in the Resurrection of Christ. I swear, Orthodox people never get tired of repetition of that. "Christ is risen!" "Indeed he is risen!"... ALL THE TIME. And every time, it's like new... it's like Chesterton (a Catholic) wrote, the closer we get to God the more childlike we get... and a child LOVES repetition. For all we know, he argues, God could say "do it again!!!!" to the sun every day, and to the moon at night... some of this joy in the freshness of Creation I found in Orthodoxy.

So I finally gave up and decided I wanted to become Orthodox.

Then came the doubts. I found that in Orthodoxy there were downsides-- there are people who argue about jurisdictions/canonicity/rituals/etc. 24/7, as if man were made for the Sabbath. There are people who treat the fasting seasons as if they were the heart of our faith and if you don't follow them 100% you will see the wrath of God. There are people who lack love, just like in every other religion.

For a while this bothered me, because I couldn't understand how people who had "seen the True Light, received the heavenly Spirit, found the true faith," in the words of the Liturgy, could still be *******s sometimes.

But as I went on, this became less of a problem for me. We are all sinners-- that is what the Church is for. If everyone were perfect, we wouldn't need repentance. And the Church is all about repentance. Even in the earliest Church, there were hypocrites and sinners-- reading the epistles of Paul shows that clearly.

As I've continued in my decision to join the Orthodox Church, I've gradually cooled down.The greatest darkness and sinfulness I will ever see is inside myself, so I don't rant as much about other peoples' errors. I love the Orthodox Church as much as ever. I believe that it is true-- I believe that it is the Church of Christ. I believe that the Church is primarily a group of people coming together to receive the Eucharist and love one another in the self-emptying reciprocity of the love of the Trinity. I believe that the Incarnation of Christ has sanctified Creation, and that God works through water, wine, bread, oil, and other fruits of the earth to touch us. I believe that Christ is present today, present for each one of us. I believe that we are called to be a holy people, filled with the Spirit, growing in truth from "glory to glory," forever, always, unto ages of ages.

As I've become more and more Orthodox, everything has confirmed my decision. I see the entire world in the light of Orthodoxy. Everything connects, every doctrine connects to every other doctrine in the simple love and joy of following the Risen Christ. What looks like intellectualism and complicated mysticism in the creeds and praxis of the Church to outsiders are only natural extensions from the experience of God at the Holy Table.

I didn't find Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy found me. Thanks be to God!

Marjorie
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"The land of God is wide and large enough to provide room for everyone if we are humans. If we act like brutes, then there will not be enough room even if there are only four of us."

- His Holiness Patriarch +PAVLE of Serbia
Donna Rose
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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2004, 04:05:47 PM »

Marjorie,

Wow. That is an amazing personal statement, which has really affected me. Thank you for posting it...it has given me a lot to think about. God bless you as your Baptism approaches. Smiley

Donna Rose
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hmmmm...
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« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2004, 04:29:24 PM »

Even crusty old Aristokles has wet eyes, Marjorie.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2004, 04:30:36 PM by +æ-ü+¦-â-ä+++¦+++«-é » Logged

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St. John of Damascus, pray for us.


« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2004, 04:33:19 PM »

I didn't find Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy found me. Thanks be to God!

Marjorie,

Thank you for sharing your wonderful, astonishing story. Although most of my story reads quite differently from yours (Shoot, I'm twice your age, for one thing!), much of it feels the same, if you know what I mean. And your last three sentences -- Yes!  That was it!

Many years!

BJohnD
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« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2004, 05:50:25 PM »

Wow, Marjorie.  Thanks.
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Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
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