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Author Topic: Super Smash Bros. Orthodoxy  (Read 2298 times) Average Rating: 0
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Volnutt
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« on: January 03, 2012, 12:27:27 AM »

So, let's recap. We've got a recurring knockdown drag out donnybrook at the holiest site in Christendom, an Athonite elder in the pokey, fighting in India, open defiance of the rule of law by Church authorities in France... seems like its a new damn thing every couple of months. More and more shame on the name of Christ. Keep heaping it on, worldwide clergy, monastics, congregations. Good job!

I'm just not seeing the holiness. Yeshuaisiam seems to have a point, the Anabaptists and Quakers are a whole lot better in terms of behavioral track record AFAICT. I don't want a perfect Church, just the best one. Just a good one. Is that so much to ask?

I'm tired of just looking at abstract theology. I want a Church I can feel proud to be in. Orthodoxy doesn't seem to fit the bill. For every Saint Maria Skobstova there seems to be 40 bishops with their hands in the till.

Maybe that's Christianity itself for you though, maybe its all a lie.

I don't expect an answer. I don't think there is one. I'm mostly just venting. Don't mind me...
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 12:31:47 AM »

So, you are without sin?  Huh

What happened to praying for people who have problems? How on Earth can you judge 250 million Orthodox by the actions of some?
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2012, 12:37:50 AM »

I am so glad you don't hear my confessions.
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2012, 12:39:03 AM »

Volnutt,

I know where you're coming from. Really that is the history of Christianity you are describing, things have almost always been bad. Human beings involved, most likely. Wink  As for the anabaptists and quakers, I can't speak about them because I don't know enough. I'm tempted to come to the defense of Orthodoxy or traditional Christianity as compared to those other groups, but I won't, because I just would be speculating/guessing. All I can say is, you have always struck me as sincere. And that's enough. Just be sincere, and you'll find what you're looking for. I hope. I think. Maybe. I change my mind on that... but anyway, what choice is there? Leaving the world prematurely isn't an answer, IMO, so we need to just keep going.
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012, 12:44:56 AM »

I think I'd be more afraid of a "perfect" religion. If I walk into a room where everyone is all smiles all the time, no one ever disagrees about important matters, and everyone is on their best behavior I start looking for the opium pipe and the container of purple kool-aid. I don't know if you've ever been to Disney World, but there's a Disney-owned (in fact, if not legality) suburb of Orlando called Celebration- scariest place on Earth. Perfectly maintained, manicured, Pleasantville-type atmosphere- it was creepy, knowing that there had to be something sinister propping it all up (there is- I have seen the devil and he is a mouse. On a serious note, you should see homeowner association contracts there- they make "draconian" appear like something desirable). We used to avoid the place like the plague when I was growing up, which given that at the time they had the best cinema in a fifteen minute drive should tell you something.

The point is- I'd rather have a Church with 40 bishops with their hands in the til that can produce one Saint Maria Skobstova than a religion of well-mannered people who produce nothing spectacular.
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2012, 01:05:04 AM »

So many different ways this could be approached, but I'll go with the one Melodist broached.

It is commendable to want the human aspect of the Church to live up to the Treasure it holds 'in earthen vessels'. But for the Church to be as perfect as it should be, it would need to kick out all the non-saints. Since I'd be included on the list of those to be ejected, I'm happy that's not how it works.

cf. Matt 18: 21-35
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2012, 01:07:29 AM »

I actually kind of like the fact that our priests and monks get in fights when thinking about how piously saccharine and sweet; prim and proper most of Christianity is these days, or at least pretends to be.
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 01:30:34 AM »

I actually kind of like the fact that our priests and monks get in fights when thinking about how piously saccharine and sweet; prim and proper most of Christianity is these days, or at least pretends to be.

As horrible as it is to agree, I do, because I feel at least it shows that our monks and the Armenians care enough to come to blows over it. God bless them all.
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 02:16:05 AM »

Volnutt, I get it.  It's frustrating.  The Orthodox Church is in a sorry state.  It is difficult to even believe that it is the body of Christ because it has been ailing for so long.  Instead of being what it is, the Catholic Church, it acts as a fundamentalist sectarian body.  A religion obsessed with rubrics, the letter of the Law, completely consumed with "theology", and completely neglectful of the path that leads to perfection.  The "Orthodoxy" that is often preached is often not Orthodoxy at all, but a dead religion.  But we're all guilty of preaching and living the dead religion.  How often do we consume ourselves with questions and study of theological issues that have no direct impact on us with little attention to acquiring the virtues.  How careful we can be with reading labels on food to ensure that they are "fast friendly" and how little time we spend in prayer and committing good deeds in the name of Christ.  We spend so much time online, discussing Orthodoxy and yet we only reserve a fraction of time to actually living it out.  And even when we do try to live it out, we fail the majority of the time because our hearts are impure and our tongues betray us and alienate those to whom we are called to minister to.  But there are those who are purifying their hearts, who have the Light,  but we do not see them because they take the commandments of God seriously and hide their good deeds from the world.  I have met a few Orthodox Christians who have acquired the peace of God and their very being testifies to the power of the Almighty.  You meet them, you look them in the eye, you converse with them, and you know without a shadow of a doubt that Orthodoxy is true and that it provides the means of salvation.  It is not an emotional experience, but a revelation.  I don't mean to get apocalyptic, but we are living in an age of apostasy, of unbelief.  Wickedness prevails throughout the world and the return of Our Lord is near.  The Church is ailing, this was spoken of by Our Lord and by His Holy Apostles.  It is throughout the New Testament.  The evil one seeks souls to devour and he consumes them daily, both within the Church and outside of it.  Within a few decades of Our Lord's ascension, the Church was already in a sorry state as is evidenced by the letters to the Churches as recorded in the Book of Revelation.  You might find that people are "better" or more "moral" than the average Orthodox Christian, but you will not be satisfied.  Christ is calling you to Himself and you can only "see Him as He is" in the Orthodox Church.  That grace that lead Moses up the mountain and allowed him to see the Divine Trinity is found within the Orthodox Church and don't be fooled into believing it exists outside of it.  Focus on yourself, as hard as it is.  I wish I could say "Trust me on this one!", but I know that doesn't cut it.  Stick it out.  Pray more, attend Liturgy as often as you can, read the Scriptures and the writings of our Fathers and Mothers.  If you are sincerely seeking after Christ He will not fail you and will provide you with some realization and consolation.  

In Christ,

John

P.S. I'm glad you feel comfortable enough to be honest about how you feel.  While venting might not always be a good thing, I think it can be healthy to let our brothers and sisters know that we are struggling and need support.  I'm not comparing you to King David, but King David did cry out to God and made sure his complaints and lack of understanding was made known to God.  And please forgive me if my words are insufficient or cause more doubts/confusion. 
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 08:25:49 AM »

So, you are without sin?  Huh

What happened to praying for people who have problems? How on Earth can you judge 250 million Orthodox by the actions of some?
That was not my intention. I'm sorry it came off that way. This is a problem I have with all of Christianity and perhaps religion in general, I guess it just really gets my goat to see it in Orthodoxy because I was hoping it would be a safe haven, my "last chance."
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 08:27:01 AM »

So, let's recap. We've got a recurring knockdown drag out donnybrook at the holiest site in Christendom, an Athonite elder in the pokey, fighting in India, open defiance of the rule of law by Church authorities in France... seems like its a new damn thing every couple of months. More and more shame on the name of Christ. Keep heaping it on, worldwide clergy, monastics, congregations. Good job!
How about criticsm towards the likes of the Osteens and T.D. Jakes of the world who have so much money that could feed and shelter millions. Or how rampant consumerism and materialism is present in our post-Protestant America?

Orthodoxy is the toughest faith in the world. It is not surprising that there are those cannot conform to it completely. Even I struggle with this daily. Lord have mercy.

Quote
I'm just not seeing the holiness. Yeshuaisiam seems to have a point, the Anabaptists and Quakers are a whole lot better in terms of behavioral track record AFAICT. I don't want a perfect Church, just the best one. Just a good one. Is that so much to ask?
What exactly have Anabaptists and Quakers really contributed to Christian spirituality versus that of the monastics and the clergy of the Orthodox Church? So this practice of living "simple" lives somehow translates into better behavior. Too bad that's not Christianity, sounds alot like the Pharisees.

Quote
I'm tired of just looking at abstract theology. I want a Church I can feel proud to be in. Orthodoxy doesn't seem to fit the bill. For every Saint Maria Skobstova there seems to be 40 bishops with their hands in the till.
What exactly is abstract about it? Orthodox theology is both ever present and distant. Not everyone is up to the task of becoming a saint.

Quote
Maybe that's Christianity itself for you though, maybe its all a lie.
Yes because a few individuals somehow discredits the authenticity of Christianity.
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2012, 08:27:14 AM »

You guys all make some good points. I'll have to think about this more. Again, I'm sorry I caused offense.

Thank you.
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2012, 08:48:26 AM »

I'm not looking for a religion with perfect people in it; I want a religion that will tell me how to become perfect.

That's Orthodoxy.

Obviously the monks fighting in Jerusalem haven't quite completed the journey to theosis yet. Then again, neither have I. Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2012, 09:35:48 AM »

Volnutt,

You shouldn't feel sorry for asking such a question. I have also been where you are, but I discovered that such sad events happens everywhere, in all religions, cultures and ideologies. Even the anabaptist have not avoided this. We live in a world where there is both good and evil. Good is humble good is patient and quiet. Evil on the other hand will do anything to draw attention to itself and make it look as if there is no good in the world.

My humble advice to you would be to try to seek out the good things. Christ told us to be the salt of the Earth. We must try to do as saint Seraphim of Sarov told us. To acquire inner peace so that we might be able to help other people towards salvation.

I hope that this might help. I would also suggest that you read this parable by Elder Paisios.
http://orthodoxwayoflife.blogspot.com/2010/10/are-you-fly-or-bee.html
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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2012, 09:58:34 AM »

I think the most important thing is a loving & vibrant parish life within the church. When you find this, your faith environment & commitment is on a sound level on a local & personal basis and the "big picture" easier to bear.
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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2012, 11:02:17 AM »

I think the most important thing is a loving & vibrant parish life within the church. When you find this, your faith environment & commitment is on a sound level on a local & personal basis and the "big picture" easier to bear.

Like the old activist saying says, 'Think Globally  - and Act Locally!'
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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2012, 02:47:49 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus CHrist!

I want a Church I can feel proud to be in. Orthodoxy doesn't seem to fit the bill. For every Saint Maria Skobstova there seems to be 40 bishops with their hands in the till.


Pride is the penultimate Sin in Orthodox Christianity so we shouldn't have any Church we are proud in. If you think the Quakers have found paradise live with them for a few years and find out they are flawed and fractured individuals just like the rest of us.  We don't go to Church because it looks good from the outside, we go to Church because there the Grace of God heals the wounds of Sin on our insides. There is no perfection on earth, in fact, the Orthodox Church is purposely not perfected, because it is a model of God's synergy with humanity, and if God allows the world to continue to exist as it is, the Church is the same. If you haven't found God in the Orthodox Church, I pray you keep looking, trust me He is in there somewhere.



stay blessed,
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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2012, 03:00:11 PM »

My advice? Spend more time in church and in personal prayer than in the forums, and stay out of church politics.
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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2012, 04:20:26 PM »

Unfortunately, thats what happens when people let temptation in.

I would also say that the Quakers and Anabaptists have their problems too, its just that nobody pays much attention to those folks.

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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2012, 04:42:27 PM »

You guys all make some good points. I'll have to think about this more. Again, I'm sorry I caused offense.

Thank you.

It's easy to get frustrated at situations like these. It's part of living in a world full of sinners inside of fallen human history. It doesn't makes these things good or change the need for repentence, but either Christ was crucified and raised from the dead or not, and He founded a Church or not, and this all happened inside of human history or not. I believe it did happen, and that we are saved because of it, and that annual boxing tournaments among monks at our holiest place during the holiest times of year or bishops who steal from their churches or any other misconduct that may occur doesn't change this reality. It's like King David who stole someone's wife and then murdered the guy to hide it, who spent his entire life on the run and in combat with everyone trying to either kill him or steal his throne, and despite all of his troubles, God brought him through everything and granted that his adulterous marriage would produce an heir that would bring peace to the kingdom and build a house for God to dwell in among His people.
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« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2012, 06:11:24 PM »

You guys all make some good points. I'll have to think about this more. Again, I'm sorry I caused offense.

Thank you.

It's easy to get frustrated at situations like these. It's part of living in a world full of sinners inside of fallen human history. It doesn't makes these things good or change the need for repentence, but either Christ was crucified and raised from the dead or not, and He founded a Church or not, and this all happened inside of human history or not. I believe it did happen, and that we are saved because of it, and that annual boxing tournaments among monks at our holiest place during the holiest times of year or bishops who steal from their churches or any other misconduct that may occur doesn't change this reality. It's like King David who stole someone's wife and then murdered the guy to hide it, who spent his entire life on the run and in combat with everyone trying to either kill him or steal his throne, and despite all of his troubles, God brought him through everything and granted that his adulterous marriage would produce an heir that would bring peace to the kingdom and build a house for God to dwell in among His people.
You're right. I do need to remember the foibles of the Biblical saints more often. Thanks.
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« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2012, 07:29:38 PM »

All great answers, which were received graciously by Volnutt. I would add the following points.

On New Year's day, my priest something that still sticks out in my mind. He asked why are we commemorating the Circumcision of our Lord? One of the reasons that he gave had never occurred to me and is found in Deuteronomy 30:6--"The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live" (my emphasis). I think that a change of heart, particularly a change based on our love for the Lord, is required for us to be more than "rubric worshiping" Orthodox Christians, as was alluded to by Ionnis above.  But, you can substitute :"rubric worshiping" with the particular shortcomings of any religious body. A most extreme example may be found amongst the Amish and Mennonites, those deeply religious folks that are almost universally admired. In the desire to forgive a repentant sinner and not to pursue internal matters in the greater community, many cases of child abuse, domestic violence, and rape have been swept under the rug.

Regarding problems in the Church, perhaps the following reflection by Father Schmemann of thrice blessed memory may be germane.

What is important and what is not

When controversies are ignited and flare up in the Church, which happens and has happened often, alas, we inevitably hear appeals from Church circles to cease these controversies in the name of peace and love. Now, this would be cause for great joy, if only in these appeals there were no unmistakably different overtones: "Your controversy is not important. It is of interest to no one: only ‘specialists’ and ‘scholars’ can understand it, so all this argument leads only to seduction and harm."

And here we must point out to these accusers something very important which they have apparently forgotten. They have forgotten that peace and concord in the Church are inseparable from the Truth. An outsider who does not believe and is not part of the Church would smile and shrug his shoulders, "What is truth?" That is precisely Pilate’s question to the Savior who stood before him. And the Savior did not respond, because and "outsider" does not believe in the possibility of Truth. For him the truth is always relative and measured according to advantage, improvement or expedience. But for us who know and believe that the Church is founded on the Truth made flesh, that all her life is in Him who said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," for us there is nothing in the Church which is unimportant, because everything is measured by this Truth and is subordinate to it.

Yes, there have been many controversies in the Church, and its earthly history is replete with them. They occurred not only in times of trouble, like ours, but also when Church life flowered, in the golden ages of the Ecumenical Councils and the Fathers of the Church. Only then no one would have dared to acknowledge anything in the Church as unimportant. So for this cause they debated and for this cause they were persecuted and exiled for one word, for one "iota" (an accurate assessment of the Aryan controversy at the time of St. Athanasius the Great), that above all on earth they placed the Truth and fidelity to the Truth. And in these controversies there was more true love for the Church and her people, whom the Lord Himself through His incarnation deemed worthy of the knowledge of the Truth — more ardor, more faith than in the lukewarm "latitude" and "tolerance" of our time, when so much in the Church has become the portion of the clergy alone and the "specialists". We should not be seduced by controversies about how to plan our Church life in accordance with the Truth, because in these controversies there burns a living anguish for the Church and its destiny, but rather by the sea of indifference among the Church populace itself which surrounds these controversies and by the skepticism with which even religious people treat these "unimportant" matters.

Of course in our controversies there is so much human passionateness, sinfulness and narrowness. They should and must be enlightened by prayer, love and patience. No one person embodies the Truth in its fullness, but each one is required to aspire to it, to call upon his spiritual intellect, his will and his heart to come to "the knowledge of the Truth." "Put everything to the test; hold fast what is good," says Paul the Apostle. And if in humility we attempt always to obey the Truth, if we try unceasingly to overcome all which is sinful and narrow for the sake of the Truth, then our controversies born of human weakness may lead to the glory of the Church, "for the strength of Christ is made perfect in weakness."

The Word of the Church, Paris, December, 1949

Translated from Russian by Robert Parent and first published in English in the Holy Trinity Cathedral LIFE, Vol.1. No. 6, February 1994

From http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/important.html
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« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2012, 06:25:34 AM »

Thanks.

And thanks for the words of Elder Paisios, Ansgar. That helped a bit.
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« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2012, 06:59:31 AM »

Thanks.

And thanks for the words of Elder Paisios, Ansgar. That helped a bit.

You're welcome  Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2012, 09:24:24 AM »

So, you are without sin?  Huh

What happened to praying for people who have problems? How on Earth can you judge 250 million Orthodox by the actions of some?
That was not my intention. I'm sorry it came off that way. This is a problem I have with all of Christianity and perhaps religion in general, I guess it just really gets my goat to see it in Orthodoxy because I was hoping it would be a safe haven, my "last chance."

Volnutt, maybe perhaps the small corner of the world you reside in is enough?  I am here.  I am responsible to my community where I live.  There is enough trouble in each day and on each street to keep me praying every moment of my existence. . .but I have to start with me. (. . . heh. . . ) and if I can get further than that, maybe, then my neighbor.  My church isn't perfect, thank heavens. . .and not perfect enough to know that they aren't perfect. . . .THANKS BE TO GOD. . .because I've been in those 'perfect' churches. . .and have been violated in ways that I don't want to even begin to list.  Here, every one knows they're messed up. . .and have a real issue of pointing their finger at anyone else.  Those other churches?  If it were a few centuries earlier, I would have been hung, quartered, gutted and burned. 
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« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2012, 08:38:46 PM »

Hey Volnutt. I think another thing to consider is your own personality. If I'm not mistaken, you are an INTP aren't you? The guy who will be my godfather is an INTP and he told me that it took him 3 years of studying many details of the Orthodox Church before he even stepped foot inside of one. What he told me is much the same as he learned: at some point you have to realize that this IS the Church that Christ himself established, no matter how many ridiculous people there are in it. I understand it's a great struggle for you because of your attention to many details, but don't let that hold you down in the long run.

Also, I'll be praying for you bro.
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« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2012, 05:35:49 AM »

Hey Volnutt. I think another thing to consider is your own personality. If I'm not mistaken, you are an INTP aren't you? The guy who will be my godfather is an INTP and he told me that it took him 3 years of studying many details of the Orthodox Church before he even stepped foot inside of one. What he told me is much the same as he learned: at some point you have to realize that this IS the Church that Christ himself established, no matter how many ridiculous people there are in it. I understand it's a great struggle for you because of your attention to many details, but don't let that hold you down in the long run.

Also, I'll be praying for you bro.
ISTJ, but I see what you mean. There have been times of clarity when I've been able to do what your godfather suggests. I just struggle to stay in them.

And thanks Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2012, 05:37:46 AM »

So, you are without sin?  Huh

What happened to praying for people who have problems? How on Earth can you judge 250 million Orthodox by the actions of some?
That was not my intention. I'm sorry it came off that way. This is a problem I have with all of Christianity and perhaps religion in general, I guess it just really gets my goat to see it in Orthodoxy because I was hoping it would be a safe haven, my "last chance."

Volnutt, maybe perhaps the small corner of the world you reside in is enough?  I am here.  I am responsible to my community where I live.  There is enough trouble in each day and on each street to keep me praying every moment of my existence. . .but I have to start with me. (. . . heh. . . ) and if I can get further than that, maybe, then my neighbor.  My church isn't perfect, thank heavens. . .and not perfect enough to know that they aren't perfect. . . .THANKS BE TO GOD. . .because I've been in those 'perfect' churches. . .and have been violated in ways that I don't want to even begin to list.  Here, every one knows they're messed up. . .and have a real issue of pointing their finger at anyone else.  Those other churches?  If it were a few centuries earlier, I would have been hung, quartered, gutted and burned. 
That's good advice. As NA said, I'm one of those people who just has to fix the world I guess  laugh. It's a problem...
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« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2012, 05:44:25 AM »

Volnutt,

What led me down the path that I am on was some of the issues you described in your original post.   While never expecting perfection in the church, I could not longer ignore the ironic nature of issues going on.   The key catalyst was ecumenism, which even ROCOR was extremely against at first and later accepting.  There are so many Eastern Orthodox churches that are NO LONGER in communion with one another.   On the Eastern Orthodox argument, I would find only small branches that try to hold on to the originality (The Holy Metropolis of the Genuine Greek Orthodox Church - Hotca).  

(Other examples of horrendous EO behavior is the persecution of Esphigmenou monastery on Mt. Athos, where their own patriarch has persecuted little old monks who just want to pray and stay away from Ecumenism.)

However, I could not accept that God would allow his church to be so decimated.  If the tradition of Orthodoxy is shattered, and only the small group of Hotca (and a few small others) hold true to the absolutes of Eastern Orthodoxy, it made me question the church in the entirety.   It made me actually question the "liberalness" and "additives" added to Early Christianity.

So I started reading the writings of Early Christians (pre Nicean) and found many elements that were additives in the EO church.   When I asked questions about them here, I was attacked, and was told the church "evolved", but of course, people don't understand that one cause of the Great Schism was the Roman Patriarch's evolution of the Nicean creed.   So when "evolving" fits the argument it works, otherwise its some kind of mysterious irony that can't be applied.

I tossed it all up in the air.  I didn't know where to turn.  I started to pray and was heavily reading the scripture and came across the passage "...you will know them by their fruits".

I found a people that were very family oriented (less than .2% divorce rate), had very well behaved children, were community driven, and followed the teachings of the early Christians.  These were the Anabaptists.  (Old order into more "modern" anabaptists).  They allow bishops to be married as the scripture allows.  They actually washed each others feet, humbling themselves to one another.  They actually draw lots for their clergy.  The women actually cover their heads always because they are always supposed to be in prayer.  They celebrated communion like a passover meal, as many pre nicean Christians did.  They don't consider themselves Catholics or Protestants.  

Many are mistaken and take the Anabaptists as some type of shallow protestant faith.   I can speak from experience as having much experience in the depth of Orthodoxy, that is NOT the case.  The Anabaptist faith is deep in the right places.... One example is why the women don't wear make up, (read early Christian writings) - but its because the whores of Rome wore it.  Second example: Anabaptists dress similar because they believe in never making one appear more wealthy or inciting competition amongst brethren.  There is no gold, wedding rings, or jewelry for this reason.

The thing where people misunderstand my issues here is that Orthodoxy SHOULD live (lifestyle) like the Anabaptists.   PM me for examples.
However I don't cut myself off completely from Orthodoxy, there is richness and a deep history there. There is so much wealth that streams from the EO church.  

But I admire more of the Orthodox that are "little monks in monasteries" and "poor churches' who do things in simplicity and are devout Christians (usually in poorer countries) much more than the mega churches.

But I'll never come out and call Eastern Orthodoxy flat wrong.  I don't agree with many of the "evolved" traditions and some of its declaration of authority.  The congregations & clergy of most Eastern Orthodox Christians I believe are in a "modern" spiritual danger.  (Again PM me for examples if wanted).

It is sick to see what has happened to the Eastern Orthodox church.   Basically these days I just throw my hands up in the air and say "look I didn't start this stuff, I wasn't here when it happened, I've been given 2000 years of history from several churches, so what do I do"?

I went for the church that I most often saw produce "good fruit".   It was in the Anabaptist faith. (sorry guys its just true).   Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites.

I do love the Eastern Orthodox church though.  The small monasteries monks & nuns I believe should be how all EO Christian laymen should be in their lifestyles.  This is much like the Anabaptist laymen.

I grew up in a VERY heavy Eastern Orthodox home (OCA).  By 12 years old (being "in the world") I was exposed to every cuss word in the book, talk about sex acts, gay sex acts,  magic in video games, countless violent movies (mad max, terminator, etc), divorces, pornography (VHS).....   Much of this was not from my parents (except vid games & movies), but being "of the world", which Orthodoxy is, I was exposed to so much.

I look over at my 12 year old daughter RIGHT NOW as I type this, she's wearing modest clothing, a head covering, and happily spinning angora rabbit fur on her spinning wheel.   The other day just to check I asked her "...honey do you know any bad words?" - she said "yes, I know 1".   I said "okay tell me what it is and we can talk about it".  She hesitated.... I said "It's okay, you can say it to quote it"... She said.... hesitating again... in a low voice looking down.... "Fart".   

The only explanation I have to this is because she has been around other children NOT exposing her to this stuff.   As they age, of course they'll be exposed, but it won't be ingrained in them as children and they'll have an adult's rationale to "see the sin".   They greatly understand "the eye is the lamp of the body", unlike what I found in Eastern Orthodoxy where TV, Movies, Video Games, are all "OK".  (Yes let's not deny that MOST TV, Video Games, and Movies contain things forbidden by God).

Anyway, I just saw the fruits and sort of "jumped on board".    I don't encourage you Volnutt to leave Orthodoxy, but merely try to live "more Christian".   Engrain the lifestyles of the early Christians to your every day life.  (not forbidden in Orthodoxy).  It just happens that I do live near Anabaptists (Mennonites) so I can cling to it and their fruit is very good.
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« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2012, 12:51:20 PM »

ISTJ or INTJ, depends on which day I take the test.

I had the same questions years ago.  In fact, I reconsidered my decision to convert to Orthodoxy several times due to the general laxity and other scandals, such as the OP points out, that I have seen compared to the Church that I left.  However, what cleared me of all of this was when a Priest told me that all the "warts" of Orthodoxy were to be expected.  We are at war with the World and with Satan and his legions.  Wars are not pretty events, and there is much damage done.  The devil does not war as heavily against those that are already his.  That caused me to look back at things and realize that, indeed, I have always seen this behavior in Churches where people are fighting to learn the Truth, and who are truly trying to serve God.  It was not the actions that had changed, only my expectations.  If there is one thing that I have learned during my time on this Earth, it is that the fewer expectations that you have, the fewer disappointments result.
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« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2012, 01:47:02 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Volnutt,

 

However, I could not accept that God would allow his church to be so decimated.  If the tradition of Orthodoxy is shattered, and only the small group of Hotca (and a few small others) hold true to the absolutes of Eastern Orthodoxy, it made me question the church in the entirety.   It made me actually question the "liberalness" and "additives" added to Early Christianity.

  

Many are mistaken and take the Anabaptists as some type of shallow protestant faith.   I can speak from experience as having much experience in the depth of Orthodoxy, that is NOT the case.  The Anabaptist faith is deep in the right places.... One example is why the women don't wear make up, (read early Christian writings) - but its because the whores of Rome wore it.  Second example: Anabaptists dress similar because they believe in never making one appear more wealthy or inciting competition amongst brethren.  There is no gold, wedding rings, or jewelry for this reason.

The thing where people misunderstand my issues here is that Orthodoxy SHOULD live (lifestyle) like the Anabaptists.   PM me for examples.
However I don't cut myself off completely from Orthodoxy, there is richness and a deep history there. There is so much wealth that streams from the EO church.  


My brother, much thanks and love to you for contributing this heart-filled testimony Smiley

Let me just clear the air here..

In Orthodox, the Church is not perfect because it is an assembly of the Body of Christ, who we are, and if we are not yet perfected, then neither should we expect the Church to be supernaturally perfected.  The Church is in synergy with God, and just as God's synergy allows His sun to rise on the just and wicked alike, and causes His rain to fall on the grateful and spiteful alike, so to the Church exists "as it is."  We are becoming perfected in Synergy, but we have not obtained it, nor should in the spirit of meekness and humility should we expect or aspire to.  We are Repentant, and that is all we can ask.  

God has not let His Church be decimated, the Seven Divine Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation, Confession, Holy Communion, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, and the Unction of the Sick remain forever perfect.  This is the only perfection humanity can seek, we are not perfect but our Baptisms and Christmation are.  Our lives are not perfect, but we Repent and Confess in a momentary perfection.  Holy Communion is the Real Presence of the Perfect God.  Our priests and couples are not perfect people, but their Ordination and Vocation of Matrimony are perfected relationships by God's Grace.  Our health is not always perfect, but the Unction of the Sick commends us to the perfect Grace of God.  So the Church is not perfected yet, but it does celebrate the perfection of God.

You are right and it is perfectly natural to be skeptical and ask fundamental questions, however you need to take these to God, not the Church.  We have problems in our world, in our realities, in our relationships, in our Churches, and even internally in ourselves precisely to push us closer to God in prayer to make sense, find meaning, and give understanding.  So keep asking the questions, but don't expect any finalized answers until that Day when you meet our Maker. Ask the questions in prayer, not mathematical study.

In regards to the Anabaptists, I have two comments: A) Surely you can understand that you idealize this community, but that members of that community know they are not perfect human beings, and their lives are as flawed as any other, internally and inter-personally.  Further, the observations of the Fathers regarding the fractured and flawed effects of Ancestral Sin on the human condition stand universally.  So not only are the Anabaptists as fractured as the rest of us, but according to Church theology they negate the healing inherent in the Mysteries.  In the Church, our own efforts or works do not achieve the spiritual healing of the wounds of sin, only the Grace of God objectively present in the Divine Mysteries can achieve that.  

B) The Church acknowledges that the world is flawed, and the Church is in the world, and so it seems sometimes flawed because in His mercy God allows us to continue to exist even if temporarily flawed.  However the Church reflects its human composition.  Again, just as God allows sinners to live each new day that they may come to repentance, the Church is purposefully not yet perfected, because we humans are not yet perfected, and if the Church was already perfected, where would be the room for us non-perfected Christians? The Church must be like her members, in a process of perfection, not yet perfected, perhaps never to be perfected, but gradually growing in God's Grace through synergy.  So we understand the Church to exist as it is, "flaws and all" just as God allows the entire world to exist flaws and all, that as Peter says in 2 Peter 3 that "all might have room for repentance."

Lastly, why should we all live like the Anabaptists in a monastic ideal? We all can't be monks, God lets room for all people to be who they are, gradually growing and healing in the Holy Spirit, but continually our same selves.  Anabaptists have a good life, and a good community, and good ideals, but they are just that, and it is a bit strenuous to hold all of Christianity by the definition of these strict rules of living.  Just as in the Church, God makes room for all to come to repentance.

You said the Church has no fruits, but that is silly.  The Church's best fruits are internal, in the psychological and spiritual healing of all the Orthodox Christians who have Graceful relationships with their Confessors and work out their sins day by day in God's synergy, finding Repentance, finding the Healing of the Mysteries, receiving His Flesh and Blood quite literally for the same kinds of miraculous healing we read in the Gospels.  If you can't find the fruit, it is because you are looking for different fruit.  You are saying you don't see any fruit because you are looking only for grapes, but there is plenty of oranges and apples in God's Orthodox orchard. Change your lens, you will see as Christ said, that the field is ripe for Harvest.  The Church has produced this fruit in myself, and I see her producing this healing in my fellow Christians, in the kids in my Sunday Class, and even in the world as a whole.  It takes time because God has given us an eternity, and so there is truly no rush, a fact which only the Orthodox seems to be keenly and intuitively aware of, every other religion is in a rush, but Orthodox is slowing it down in Faith.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2012, 04:47:19 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Volnutt,

 

However, I could not accept that God would allow his church to be so decimated.  If the tradition of Orthodoxy is shattered, and only the small group of Hotca (and a few small others) hold true to the absolutes of Eastern Orthodoxy, it made me question the church in the entirety.   It made me actually question the "liberalness" and "additives" added to Early Christianity.

  

Many are mistaken and take the Anabaptists as some type of shallow protestant faith.   I can speak from experience as having much experience in the depth of Orthodoxy, that is NOT the case.  The Anabaptist faith is deep in the right places.... One example is why the women don't wear make up, (read early Christian writings) - but its because the whores of Rome wore it.  Second example: Anabaptists dress similar because they believe in never making one appear more wealthy or inciting competition amongst brethren.  There is no gold, wedding rings, or jewelry for this reason.

The thing where people misunderstand my issues here is that Orthodoxy SHOULD live (lifestyle) like the Anabaptists.   PM me for examples.
However I don't cut myself off completely from Orthodoxy, there is richness and a deep history there. There is so much wealth that streams from the EO church.  



In regards to the Anabaptists, I have two comments: A) Surely you can understand that you idealize this community, but that members of that community know they are not perfect human beings, and their lives are as flawed as any other, internally and inter-personally.  Further, the observations of the Fathers regarding the fractured and flawed effects of Ancestral Sin on the human condition stand universally.  So not only are the Anabaptists as fractured as the rest of us, but according to Church theology they negate the healing inherent in the Mysteries.  In the Church, our own efforts or works do not achieve the spiritual healing of the wounds of sin, only the Grace of God objectively present in the Divine Mysteries can achieve that.  

B) The Church acknowledges that the world is flawed, and the Church is in the world, and so it seems sometimes flawed because in His mercy God allows us to continue to exist even if temporarily flawed.  However the Church reflects its human composition.  Again, just as God allows sinners to live each new day that they may come to repentance, the Church is purposefully not yet perfected, because we humans are not yet perfected, and if the Church was already perfected, where would be the room for us non-perfected Christians? The Church must be like her members, in a process of perfection, not yet perfected, perhaps never to be perfected, but gradually growing in God's Grace through synergy.  So we understand the Church to exist as it is, "flaws and all" just as God allows the entire world to exist flaws and all, that as Peter says in 2 Peter 3 that "all might have room for repentance."

Lastly, why should we all live like the Anabaptists in a monastic ideal? We all can't be monks, God lets room for all people to be who they are, gradually growing and healing in the Holy Spirit, but continually our same selves.  Anabaptists have a good life, and a good community, and good ideals, but they are just that, and it is a bit strenuous to hold all of Christianity by the definition of these strict rules of living.  Just as in the Church, God makes room for all to come to repentance.

You said the Church has no fruits, but that is silly.  The Church's best fruits are internal, in the psychological and spiritual healing of all the Orthodox Christians who have Graceful relationships with their Confessors and work out their sins day by day in God's synergy, finding Repentance, finding the Healing of the Mysteries, receiving His Flesh and Blood quite literally for the same kinds of miraculous healing we read in the Gospels.  If you can't find the fruit, it is because you are looking for different fruit.  You are saying you don't see any fruit because you are looking only for grapes, but there is plenty of oranges and apples in God's Orthodox orchard. Change your lens, you will see as Christ said, that the field is ripe for Harvest.  The Church has produced this fruit in myself, and I see her producing this healing in my fellow Christians, in the kids in my Sunday Class, and even in the world as a whole.  It takes time because God has given us an eternity, and so there is truly no rush, a fact which only the Orthodox seems to be keenly and intuitively aware of, every other religion is in a rush, but Orthodox is slowing it down in Faith.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Sorry, I did not mean to indicate that the EO church has NO fruits.   The EO church DOES have excellent fruits.     Ideally I love the Eastern Orthodox faith, but not what it has evolved into.  There are a tremendous amount of "schisms" which exist, even amongst many on this board belong to different understandings of exactly what EO / OO / etc. is.   I've witnessed through 2 decades such an amount of infighting on the top, that it makes a mockery of the faith.  (A great example is Esphigmenou).   However, the richness of many of the traditions and prayers all are excellent fruits.  The people within the body of the church also produce many good fruits.

But we live in a modern day habte selassie.  (I will not speak of the theological issues right now)  We are pillaged with constant moral issues that the people even 40-50 years ago did not face.   Internet Pornography, sexually laden music, violence on television, music, and video games.  The church has as a body been to slow to respond, and many people do not want to face up to the fact that they are entertained by sins.  What they are not teaching is that allowing these things into your home where you are not supposed to be "worldly", is like bringing the "winds of the world" into your living room. 

Though the church generally makes it obvious that pornography and such obvious issues works against scripture, which is an easy black and white issue to discern it has not reacted in general to many areas of gray.    Is it right to let your children play "world of warcraft" for example.  Magic, sorcery, potions, violence... Or do you let your daughter listen to Christina Aguilera songs & videos laden with SICK lesbian, gay, fornicating, masonic and illuminatic messages where they are also desecrating a church (stained glass). WARNING THIS IS SICK BUT VERY MAINSTREAM! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt-tHcQR67Y&ob=av3e

Many Orthodox Christians DO allow their children to watch MTV (yes I know many do not) - and yes this video is pretty bottom of the barrel & SICK, but they'll see stuff like this.   Television is filled with these things.  As time goes on the church body will continue to consume these things through the lamps of their body, and listen to the messages contained.  It will kill the moral fabric and destroy the family.   The messages contained will fill the youth primarily in the church with moral decay, that which the church itself may not be able to fight.

On the other hand, the Anabaptists DO forbid television, most music, and video games.  They are not needed in life, waste time, and often fill us with evil messages. 

As we see time go on, we do see the divorce rate move up in the church and wonder why.  (Giving credit to the EO church, it is actually VERY low in comparison to most).

I LOVE the Orthodox church though.   I DON'T understand why it doesn't come out STRONGLY against these things.

I DO believe we should live our lives as quasi monks/nuns, filled in prayer, not worrying about wealth, no competing, and always seeing God as our target.   The Anabaptists for me was a perfect blend of common descent family function with the adaptation of monastic living.  (yes I've been to numerous monasteries).   If I can describe its like a family lives in prayer, works in prayer, and meets for prayers 2-3 times a day (besides meals).  Raising children with God first always.   I do believe Eastern Orthodox Christians SHOULD take the LIFESTYLES of many of these Anabaptist families and promote that in their churches.  They are role models of something lost, which is why I cling to them so much.

You'll have to PM me for response to the sacraments, I don't want to get in trouble.  I'm kind of neck deep in it right now ;o)

Trust me when I say, I could return to the EO faith one day.... I'd love to find a church/bishop who promotes and next to enforces the lifestyles (more or less on moral ground) of the flock.   The other issues I have are MAJOR and scarring no doubt and very well could keep me from returning....  But I'll always have love in my heart for the Orthodox faith.   So no promises....

If you move into the Orthodox schisms - mini schisms - in/out of communion with arguments, it is a great SMACK in the face to a church claiming to be "the ONE true church".  I'm actually sad for the church.   It is a mess, and something I faced the same way as Volnutt.

The fruit I've seen from the Anabaptists is amazing though.  The kids are amazingly good & well behaved (yes, even in comparison with EO kids) (and yes EO kids are WAY better behaved most often in comparison with most kids).  The Anabaptist children - "yes sir, no sir, yes maam, no maam", helpful, respectful, quiet, unspoiled, content.... I've seen 30 (of all ages) of the children all play together and absolutely included the wheel chair kid.  I guess I just don't know how to explain it in words---- the children were joined as a body & community.  There were no black sheeps.  Don't get me wrong, the EO kids were very good, but it was just different.

But we all have fallen short of the glory of God.  The Anabaptists have faults too.  They have scandals.  They have arguments and fights.  They have shunning (excommunication where they LITERALLY X-communicate).  It's just less of it.

Nothing is perfect and I don't expect that.  But they truly live what they preach (as monks and nuns do).   Many EO Christians would be happy to say they live as they preach, and then run to watch a violent & sexual laden movie for entertainment.

Anyway, I appreciate your reply brother

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« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2012, 12:59:00 PM »

Volnutt,

What led me down the path that I am on was some of the issues you described in your original post.   While never expecting perfection in the church, I could not longer ignore the ironic nature of issues going on.   The key catalyst was ecumenism, which even ROCOR was extremely against at first and later accepting.  There are so many Eastern Orthodox churches that are NO LONGER in communion with one another.   On the Eastern Orthodox argument, I would find only small branches that try to hold on to the originality (The Holy Metropolis of the Genuine Greek Orthodox Church - Hotca).  

(Other examples of horrendous EO behavior is the persecution of Esphigmenou monastery on Mt. Athos, where their own patriarch has persecuted little old monks who just want to pray and stay away from Ecumenism.)

However, I could not accept that God would allow his church to be so decimated.  If the tradition of Orthodoxy is shattered, and only the small group of Hotca (and a few small others) hold true to the absolutes of Eastern Orthodoxy, it made me question the church in the entirety.   It made me actually question the "liberalness" and "additives" added to Early Christianity.

So I started reading the writings of Early Christians (pre Nicean) and found many elements that were additives in the EO church.   When I asked questions about them here, I was attacked, and was told the church "evolved", but of course, people don't understand that one cause of the Great Schism was the Roman Patriarch's evolution of the Nicean creed.   So when "evolving" fits the argument it works, otherwise its some kind of mysterious irony that can't be applied.

I tossed it all up in the air.  I didn't know where to turn.  I started to pray and was heavily reading the scripture and came across the passage "...you will know them by their fruits".

I found a people that were very family oriented (less than .2% divorce rate), had very well behaved children, were community driven, and followed the teachings of the early Christians.  These were the Anabaptists.  (Old order into more "modern" anabaptists).  They allow bishops to be married as the scripture allows.  They actually washed each others feet, humbling themselves to one another.  They actually draw lots for their clergy.  The women actually cover their heads always because they are always supposed to be in prayer.  They celebrated communion like a passover meal, as many pre nicean Christians did.  They don't consider themselves Catholics or Protestants.  

Many are mistaken and take the Anabaptists as some type of shallow protestant faith.   I can speak from experience as having much experience in the depth of Orthodoxy, that is NOT the case.  The Anabaptist faith is deep in the right places.... One example is why the women don't wear make up, (read early Christian writings) - but its because the whores of Rome wore it.  Second example: Anabaptists dress similar because they believe in never making one appear more wealthy or inciting competition amongst brethren.  There is no gold, wedding rings, or jewelry for this reason.

The thing where people misunderstand my issues here is that Orthodoxy SHOULD live (lifestyle) like the Anabaptists.   PM me for examples.
However I don't cut myself off completely from Orthodoxy, there is richness and a deep history there. There is so much wealth that streams from the EO church.  

But I admire more of the Orthodox that are "little monks in monasteries" and "poor churches' who do things in simplicity and are devout Christians (usually in poorer countries) much more than the mega churches.

But I'll never come out and call Eastern Orthodoxy flat wrong.  I don't agree with many of the "evolved" traditions and some of its declaration of authority.  The congregations & clergy of most Eastern Orthodox Christians I believe are in a "modern" spiritual danger.  (Again PM me for examples if wanted).

It is sick to see what has happened to the Eastern Orthodox church.   Basically these days I just throw my hands up in the air and say "look I didn't start this stuff, I wasn't here when it happened, I've been given 2000 years of history from several churches, so what do I do"?

I went for the church that I most often saw produce "good fruit".   It was in the Anabaptist faith. (sorry guys its just true).   Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites.

I do love the Eastern Orthodox church though.  The small monasteries monks & nuns I believe should be how all EO Christian laymen should be in their lifestyles.  This is much like the Anabaptist laymen.

I grew up in a VERY heavy Eastern Orthodox home (OCA).  By 12 years old (being "in the world") I was exposed to every cuss word in the book, talk about sex acts, gay sex acts,  magic in video games, countless violent movies (mad max, terminator, etc), divorces, pornography (VHS).....   Much of this was not from my parents (except vid games & movies), but being "of the world", which Orthodoxy is, I was exposed to so much.

I look over at my 12 year old daughter RIGHT NOW as I type this, she's wearing modest clothing, a head covering, and happily spinning angora rabbit fur on her spinning wheel.   The other day just to check I asked her "...honey do you know any bad words?" - she said "yes, I know 1".   I said "okay tell me what it is and we can talk about it".  She hesitated.... I said "It's okay, you can say it to quote it"... She said.... hesitating again... in a low voice looking down.... "Fart".   

The only explanation I have to this is because she has been around other children NOT exposing her to this stuff.   As they age, of course they'll be exposed, but it won't be ingrained in them as children and they'll have an adult's rationale to "see the sin".   They greatly understand "the eye is the lamp of the body", unlike what I found in Eastern Orthodoxy where TV, Movies, Video Games, are all "OK".  (Yes let's not deny that MOST TV, Video Games, and Movies contain things forbidden by God).

Anyway, I just saw the fruits and sort of "jumped on board".    I don't encourage you Volnutt to leave Orthodoxy, but merely try to live "more Christian".   Engrain the lifestyles of the early Christians to your every day life.  (not forbidden in Orthodoxy).  It just happens that I do live near Anabaptists (Mennonites) so I can cling to it and their fruit is very good.
Anabaptists are only a small slice of all Christian groups though. To say they are some of the only good Protestants is about the same as saying that HOTCA and a handful of monasteries or something are the only good Orthodox. Your logic kind of defeats itself.

As for video games, head coverings, etc. I can see that we disagree on a lot of that and it's not very relevant to my concerns here anyway.
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« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2012, 01:28:27 PM »

I know plenty of EO who dont have tv's in their homes. I know some who don't have cellphones, pc's, etc.
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« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2012, 07:48:55 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Brother Yeshuaism, perhaps you misunderstand the ontological and existential difference between Orthodox and Protestants.  We in Orthodox live our morality in secret, through Confession.  The Church does confront all of the moral and sociocultural issues you mentioned, but in God's Grace our priests deal with this on a case-by-case basis acting through the Holy Spirit to cater the spiritual healing to the needs and circumstances of the individual.  You simply don't know exactly what the Church does to proactively work against moral decline and temptation and sin, because we don't blow trumpets about our penance and we are not holier-than-thou self-righteous in our morality.  We keep our relationship with God regards to God in its rightful place, between an individual and His God and with a priest to witness and therapeutically mediate in God's Grace.

We don't rush to publicly condemn certain social issues with blanket criticisms and black-and-white edicts of zero-tolerance because we leave this to the Confessor and   Repentant relationship.  Further, we understand healing from the wounds of sins is a gradual process, not an instant becoming, and so we need to leave some wiggle room to respect, love, and forgive the guilty.  We are not perfect, no Christians anywhere, but the Orthodox makes a point not to drive home the guilt, such as the Baptists or even the Catholics, rather we work on the forgiveness and repentance part, again, on a individual and case-by-case basis.  God knows the progress of an individual's heart, it may not always conform exactly to the depth of the ideals, which is precisely why in Orthodox we think of our ideals as spiritual goals, not necessarily adamant laws, because we know we will all inherently and naturally break any and (like Murphy's Law suggests) every law, so why make ourselves the hypocrites from the gate with impossible rules nobody can perfectly follow? It takes God's Grace to find healing from sin, and this takes time, and so this is why the Church sometimes seems to crawl in spiritually slow motion. 

To put it in another way, to have a movement, you have to first move the people, its not a top down thing but a bottom up, grass-roots, hearts and minds kind of thing.

Keep the faith, maximum RASpect you my brother.

stay blessed,
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« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2012, 06:44:21 PM »

Anabaptists are only a small slice of all Christian groups though. To say they are some of the only good Protestants is about the same as saying that HOTCA and a handful of monasteries or something are the only good Orthodox. Your logic kind of defeats itself.

As for video games, head coverings, etc. I can see that we disagree on a lot of that and it's not very relevant to my concerns here anyway.

Anabaptists are not protestants.

Head coverings = 1 Corinthians 11 and many EO Christian women wear them, including depictions of the Theotokos in icons.

I'm not against all video games, nor are all Anabaptists.   Ones that bring violence, sex, and witchcraft through the eyes (the eye is the lamp of the body) are the ones I'm against.  There is no need to fill ones heart with such things and find joy in "self created" fictional evil.
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« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2012, 06:44:21 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Brother Yeshuaism, perhaps you misunderstand the ontological and existential difference between Orthodox and Protestants.  We in Orthodox live our morality in secret, through Confession.  The Church does confront all of the moral and sociocultural issues you mentioned, but in God's Grace our priests deal with this on a case-by-case basis acting through the Holy Spirit to cater the spiritual healing to the needs and circumstances of the individual.  You simply don't know exactly what the Church does to proactively work against moral decline and temptation and sin, because we don't blow trumpets about our penance and we are not holier-than-thou self-righteous in our morality.  We keep our relationship with God regards to God in its rightful place, between an individual and His God and with a priest to witness and therapeutically mediate in God's Grace.

We don't rush to publicly condemn certain social issues with blanket criticisms and black-and-white edicts of zero-tolerance because we leave this to the Confessor and   Repentant relationship.  Further, we understand healing from the wounds of sins is a gradual process, not an instant becoming, and so we need to leave some wiggle room to respect, love, and forgive the guilty.  We are not perfect, no Christians anywhere, but the Orthodox makes a point not to drive home the guilt, such as the Baptists or even the Catholics, rather we work on the forgiveness and repentance part, again, on a individual and case-by-case basis.  God knows the progress of an individual's heart, it may not always conform exactly to the depth of the ideals, which is precisely why in Orthodox we think of our ideals as spiritual goals, not necessarily adamant laws, because we know we will all inherently and naturally break any and (like Murphy's Law suggests) every law, so why make ourselves the hypocrites from the gate with impossible rules nobody can perfectly follow? It takes God's Grace to find healing from sin, and this takes time, and so this is why the Church sometimes seems to crawl in spiritually slow motion. 

To put it in another way, to have a movement, you have to first move the people, its not a top down thing but a bottom up, grass-roots, hearts and minds kind of thing.

Keep the faith, maximum RASpect you my brother.

stay blessed,

Thanks for your reply, and believe me when I say I hold very much respect to you, and my other brothers and sisters here on the forum.   Though on some religious fundamentals we may disagree, I know most of us would love each other as Christians and in our lives.

Though you did not exactly say it, just to clarify, Anabaptists do not consider themselves Catholics or Protestants.   In fact the RC church and Protestants butchered the Anabaptists, burned them at the stake, and put them through horrible tortures.   But with that said:

HabteSelassie, the church at one time DID confront numerous issues within its body even citing weird personal issues.  There was (a rather odd) canon cited the other day about a man who impregnates his sister in law... This is one example of many of the church getting involved in the lives of the people of the body of the church.

The bishops of the church were commanded:
John 21:16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[c] do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

Peter warned people of evils:
2 Peter 17  These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

I do not expect any Christian to be perfect nor possess a "holier than thou" mentality.

The questions I would have is: 
1) Do you believe that hypocrisy exists in individuals who partake in the Eucharist and then go home and be entertained by movies, television, and video games which almost always depict, promote, or sensationalize the sins and lifestyles which have been fully condemned by God?   
2) Do our young Orthodox sisters & brothers not deserve warnings against the evils that the world is literally "promoting" and "glorifying" to them?  (video link above).
3) Do you believe that exposure as entertainment to things viewed through "the lamp of the body", could influence people (even minutely), their behavior, their attitudes, and their faith?

Examples on question 3 may include:
1) People who watch pornography - are they more heavily influenced by lust in their lives? 
2) People who watch movies always depicting divorce, unfaithfulness, and adultery - does it influence them in these behaviors?  Would young adults and teens watching movies of other teens committing adultery desensitize them and give them feelings of commonality and "it's natural" when engaged or dealing in the temptations of these sins?
3) People who watch documentaries which constantly explain evolution and "Darwinism" - does it influence them toward atheism?
4) People who play video games fully depicting violence - does it desensitize them toward violence or lean them towards it?  Could it incite a more angry and rage filled person? 

As our savior said: Matt 6:22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Us Christians should not be "of this world", but yet we allow "the winds of the world" to blow right into our homes through these devices.    I do believe the Orthodox church if it wanted to help its body further, would do itself well by issuing warnings.

With that said, this ties DIRECTLY into the point of the Volnutt's thread because of the very reason that you pointed out (which I do understand).  The church today is more ore less "hush hush" on these dangers to our souls.  The church stands on the confession of sins and repentance, which is noble and works... But the church itself is not warning of theses inherent dangers which I believe damage the souls of its body.

Whereas with the Anabaptists, there is repentance & confession (to one another) for sins.  There is accountability and forgiveness.  The church also warns against acceptance of worldly things to protect its body.  It feels more complete in this fashion.  It's easier when the body of the church understands that "Watching CSI is not helping us in our goal of reaching salvation and is a waste of the time which God has given us".

The EO church chooses to fight over many technicalities & power struggles rather than directly warning the body of people of the poison they are consuming.   Members see these fights, arguments between bishops, schisms, parting of communions, then attacks within and outside of the church and are lead away.   They blankly then stare at the boxes in their homes entertained by the sins that Christ died to forgive.   If the bishops would come together in warning to "tend to the sheep" we would see a solid stand, that finding joy and entertainment in evil is not befitting for Christians who should fill their temples through the lamps with light rather than darkness.  Rather than the infighting, there would be more of a togetherness or "communion".

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« Reply #37 on: January 09, 2012, 11:23:15 AM »

Quote
The questions I would have is: 
1) Do you believe that hypocrisy exists in individuals who partake in the Eucharist and then go home and be entertained by movies, television, and video games which almost always depict, promote, or sensationalize the sins and lifestyles which have been fully condemned by God?
Nope. They're sinners. It doesn't matter what they look at, or play, or do. Sin is sin. We make the distinctions.
Quote
2) Do our young Orthodox sisters & brothers not deserve warnings against the evils that the world is literally "promoting" and "glorifying" to them?
Sure they do.
Quote
3) Do you believe that exposure as entertainment to things viewed through "the lamp of the body", could influence people (even minutely), their behavior, their attitudes, and their faith?
No differently that exposure to any other sin. I would say exposure to the hubris of a higher spirituality, by abstaining of "worldly" things is the same as playing Grand Theft Auto. Exposure to sin is exposure to sin. Having your kids exposed to the sin of lying to your spouse, haughty thoughts, or gossip is no differeent. its just "worldly" things like movies and games, etc. provide enough ammo, and for those who abstain from such things, give them a soapbox without having to delve too deep into their own lives so they can cast their fireballs from on high without self examination.

PP
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« Reply #38 on: January 09, 2012, 12:15:55 PM »

The world is full of sin and sinners, all of us not the least among them! We should stop pointing fingers here and there and worry about our souls and those of our loved ones. We struggle, we fail, we realize it, we repent, seek and obtain forgiveness of our sins and we go on to the next challenge. The world has ALWAYS presented believers with a facade which the Evil One encourages to tempt us and lead us astray. It was no different in the olden days of the decadent Roman Empire or any other time in history.That is why we were given the great gift of the Incarnation, our Faith and the Orthodox way.
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« Reply #39 on: January 09, 2012, 01:10:57 PM »

Volnutt,

I'd refer to you a passage from Boccaccio's Decameron (1, II) where a Christian man implores his Jewish neighbor to convert to Catholicism for the sake of his soul.  The Jew says that he will travel to Rome and upon seeing the actions of the clergy will make his decision and that there will be no more discussion after that. His neighbor is shocked, knowing that if he should go to Rome, the Jew will most certainly see the follies of the clergy, their escapades, their sexual licentiousness, etc.  But his neighbor agrees and the Jew goes off to Rome.

While in Rome the neighbor sees exactly what his neighbor feared he would see: the debauchery of the clergy, its sinfulness, gluttony and so many other great sins committed even in public.  When the Jew returns, his neighbor fears his answer will be negative, but the neighbor is surprised when the Jew asks for baptism.  Astonished, the neighbor asks why he would want to convert to Catholicism after seeing all that he had seen in Rome. The Jew answered that he knew that this must be the true faith because how else could a faith continue to spread unless it was truly supported by God and not dependent upon the moral character of the clergy, whether good or bad. 

Our faith has great sinners and great saints.  And yet Christ calls all to Him.  If you are worried about the fruits of people of the Orthodox faith, remember that Christ says "By their fruits, you will know them!"  He does not say you will know Me by their actions.   The faith is good and pure, but people cannot live by it. Some do, but most don't and this goes for layperson and clergy alike.

Do not be discouraged by the actions of the few.  You are not judged by their actions.  You should do everything you can for your own perfection in the faith.

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« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2012, 01:54:21 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


HabteSelassie, the church at one time DID confront numerous issues within its body even citing weird personal issues.  There was (a rather odd) canon cited the other day about a man who impregnates his sister in law... This is one example of many of the church getting involved in the lives of the people of the body of the church.

The bishops of the church were commanded:
John 21:16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[c] do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

Peter warned people of evils:
2 Peter 17  These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

I do not expect any Christian to be perfect nor possess a "holier than thou" mentality.


Sorry to have to do it, but you know you can't Bible thump against the Orthodox because we interpret the Scriptures according to their reality and not misconstructions.  You are twisting the Scriptures to say what they do not.  Jesus Christ ordered His Apostles to "Tend the Sheep" but YOU are arguing YOUR opinion of HOW the Sheep NEED to be tended, but that is not up to you, me or, anyone else, that is up to God.  So how can you argue YOUR opinion as fact against the Church which functions as the Scripture commanded, and through Confession and Holy Communion the Apostles obey Jesus Christ's commandment and "Tend the Sheep."  Through Confession and Holy Communion, in their sermons and admonishments, our Apostolic priests "Tend the Sheep" and communicate Peter's warnings to the people, but again, they communicate the totality of Peter's words, not individual interpretation, as it is Peter himself who advised us to follow the Canon commentaries rather then our own opinions regarding the Scriptures.

Quote
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.  He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.
  How have the fathers interpreted this Scripture? The error of the lawless is just that, to disregard the laws of the New Covenant which manifest the Seven Divine Mysteries of the One, Holy, Apostolic, Universal Church of Jesus Christ.  The ignorance and instability of the people who distort the Scriptures to their own interpretations, not following the Church which is continuous.  The Church is the LIVING Bible in continuity, we understand each mutually through the other.  If we try to read the Scriptures outside of the guidance of the Church, we misunderstand out of ignorance of the Church, and if we try to understand the Church without the Scriptures, we misunderstand without the living memory of the Apostle's witness.  So we read them together, the question is do y'all? Its like Peter also said in 2 Peter 1:20,
Quote
0 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.

So now that we've got this Bible thumping business out of the way, perhaps we can get back to that delightful, productive, and edifying discussion we were having? We did much better when we were not trying to trump or one up each other or criticize the other, rather when we simply were testifying our mutual agreements and elaborating our differences for perspective so we can better understand and empathize with each other as brothers and sisters?

I was telling you about Orthodox, you were telling us about Anabaptists, we were all enjoying learning about each other without this competition or argument nonsense so lets get back to it Smiley

Quote
The questions I would have is: 
1) Do you believe that hypocrisy exists in individuals who partake in the Eucharist and then go home and be entertained by movies, television, and video games which almost always depict, promote, or sensationalize the sins and lifestyles which have been fully condemned by God?   
2) Do our young Orthodox sisters & brothers not deserve warnings against the evils that the world is literally "promoting" and "glorifying" to them?  (video link above).
3) Do you believe that exposure as entertainment to things viewed through "the lamp of the body", could influence people (even minutely), their behavior, their attitudes, and their faith?

Examples on question 3 may include:
1) People who watch pornography - are they more heavily influenced by lust in their lives? 
2) People who watch movies always depicting divorce, unfaithfulness, and adultery - does it influence them in these behaviors?  Would young adults and teens watching movies of other teens committing adultery desensitize them and give them feelings of commonality and "it's natural" when engaged or dealing in the temptations of these sins?
3) People who watch documentaries which constantly explain evolution and "Darwinism" - does it influence them toward atheism?
4) People who play video games fully depicting violence - does it desensitize them toward violence or lean them towards it?  Could it incite a more angry and rage filled person? 


Firstly, I will reiterate that is never my place to judge any of my brothers and sisters who may be temporarily caught up in sin, because I am also a weak human being, and I also will inevitably sin, there is an equality in that.  I can only pray for them, and pray for myself and hope sincerely in God's Grace.  This is why the Scriptures tell us to make room from wrath and judgement because God is in control.  Jesus tells us that with what measure we judge others, we shall be judged ourselves, and if we judge their sins, then He will judge our own, so I prefer not to cast any judgment other than to agree that sin is wrong and agree about what sin is, but its not my place to point fingers or name names.

I already told you, of course we agree completely, the Church feels the wounds of these sins daily as we are living and breathing like the rest of humanity. The fundamental mission of the Orthodox Church is to heal the wounds of sin which pain humanity, to bring the world to repentance in Grace, but again, our ontology and approach is different then say then the Anabaptists or Protestants (for the sake of the discussion I will respect your assertion that Anabaptists are not Protestants).  We know only the Divine Mysteries themselves, the Baptism, the continual rejuvenation and reconciliation of Confession, the GLORY of Holy Communion, the spiritual therapy of the Divine Liturgy, a prayerful life, the cleansing of Fasting, who could possibly suggest the Orthodox Church of all places is lax when it comes to sin! If anything, we're prudes Wink

Again, we just don't blow trumpets because we take sin very seriously.  When you send out a constant message of personally judging or condemning individuals sin at a public level, it scars the family of believers.  We are healing slowly together, none of us are fooled to believe one is better than another.  We all sin, everyone sins don't they? We are in a process of healing from sin, by GOD'S GRACE ALONE.  So our priests continually encourage, admonish, and edify us from the pulpit, and in our INDIVIDUAL LIVES our Confessors are our spiritual therapists who guide us through our lives to help us evolve beyond sin while appropriately making amends.  You can't just say, "I'm not going to sin anymore" and its done, that is not repentance.  Sin will come back, trust us Wink  Our priests then are CONTINUALLY there at an individual level to teach us, so as I said, we are not lax neither tolerant of sin, we just don't have to blast it from the pulpit or put up scary posters telling everybody they are going to go to hell


Rest assured brother, my testimony of Orthodox is that we are not negligent in correcting Sin, we are not unrepentant sinners, our community is very conscious of these moral and social and ethical matters.  Let me again reiterate the existential difference between our religious community and perhaps the Anabaptist who you point to as an ideal model.  In Christian communities which no longer are Sacramental and no longer have a priesthood as Confessors, these no longer have the individual relationship that the Orthodox continue to maintain with our religious leadership.  We do not call them "Father" out of mere symbolism, these are are life and death fathers in our lives, we turn to them at our every need and in God's Grace the oblige.  However, in other traditions such as Anabaptists, of course the preachers and community have to be extra vocal about sin and repentance because that is the only communication of the religious ideals.  By eliminating the Father-Confessor relationship, these Christians have essentially made themselves all priests and all have to be concerned with each others sins because no one else is on the job.  We don't like this, this is precisely why we have Priests in the first place.  Spiritual professionalization by the Holy Spirit.

So I understand how you might not be as intimately familiar with the Orthodox experience of correction, of repentance, of admonishment, of judging sin, but I assure you its there loud and clear on a daily basis.  We just have a different approach then y'all.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2012, 05:49:28 PM »

Quote
The questions I would have is: 
1) Do you believe that hypocrisy exists in individuals who partake in the Eucharist and then go home and be entertained by movies, television, and video games which almost always depict, promote, or sensationalize the sins and lifestyles which have been fully condemned by God?
Nope. They're sinners. It doesn't matter what they look at, or play, or do. Sin is sin. We make the distinctions.
Quote
2) Do our young Orthodox sisters & brothers not deserve warnings against the evils that the world is literally "promoting" and "glorifying" to them?
Sure they do.
Quote
3) Do you believe that exposure as entertainment to things viewed through "the lamp of the body", could influence people (even minutely), their behavior, their attitudes, and their faith?
No differently that exposure to any other sin. I would say exposure to the hubris of a higher spirituality, by abstaining of "worldly" things is the same as playing Grand Theft Auto. Exposure to sin is exposure to sin. Having your kids exposed to the sin of lying to your spouse, haughty thoughts, or gossip is no differeent. its just "worldly" things like movies and games, etc. provide enough ammo, and for those who abstain from such things, give them a soapbox without having to delve too deep into their own lives so they can cast their fireballs from on high without self examination.

PP

Amen. Post of the year.
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« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2012, 08:48:00 AM »

Quote
The questions I would have is: 
1) Do you believe that hypocrisy exists in individuals who partake in the Eucharist and then go home and be entertained by movies, television, and video games which almost always depict, promote, or sensationalize the sins and lifestyles which have been fully condemned by God?
Nope. They're sinners. It doesn't matter what they look at, or play, or do. Sin is sin. We make the distinctions.
Quote
2) Do our young Orthodox sisters & brothers not deserve warnings against the evils that the world is literally "promoting" and "glorifying" to them?
Sure they do.
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3) Do you believe that exposure as entertainment to things viewed through "the lamp of the body", could influence people (even minutely), their behavior, their attitudes, and their faith?
No differently that exposure to any other sin. I would say exposure to the hubris of a higher spirituality, by abstaining of "worldly" things is the same as playing Grand Theft Auto. Exposure to sin is exposure to sin. Having your kids exposed to the sin of lying to your spouse, haughty thoughts, or gossip is no differeent. its just "worldly" things like movies and games, etc. provide enough ammo, and for those who abstain from such things, give them a soapbox without having to delve too deep into their own lives so they can cast their fireballs from on high without self examination.

PP
This is fantastic.
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« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2012, 08:48:00 AM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


HabteSelassie, the church at one time DID confront numerous issues within its body even citing weird personal issues.  There was (a rather odd) canon cited the other day about a man who impregnates his sister in law... This is one example of many of the church getting involved in the lives of the people of the body of the church.

The bishops of the church were commanded:
John 21:16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[c] do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

Peter warned people of evils:
2 Peter 17  These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

I do not expect any Christian to be perfect nor possess a "holier than thou" mentality.


Sorry to have to do it, but you know you can't Bible thump against the Orthodox because we interpret the Scriptures according to their reality and not misconstructions.  You are twisting the Scriptures to say what they do not.  Jesus Christ ordered His Apostles to "Tend the Sheep" but YOU are arguing YOUR opinion of HOW the Sheep NEED to be tended, but that is not up to you, me or, anyone else, that is up to God.  So how can you argue YOUR opinion as fact against the Church which functions as the Scripture commanded, and through Confession and Holy Communion the Apostles obey Jesus Christ's commandment and "Tend the Sheep."  Through Confession and Holy Communion, in their sermons and admonishments, our Apostolic priests "Tend the Sheep" and communicate Peter's warnings to the people, but again, they communicate the totality of Peter's words, not individual interpretation, as it is Peter himself who advised us to follow the Canon commentaries rather then our own opinions regarding the Scriptures.

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So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.  He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.
  How have the fathers interpreted this Scripture? The error of the lawless is just that, to disregard the laws of the New Covenant which manifest the Seven Divine Mysteries of the One, Holy, Apostolic, Universal Church of Jesus Christ.  The ignorance and instability of the people who distort the Scriptures to their own interpretations, not following the Church which is continuous.  The Church is the LIVING Bible in continuity, we understand each mutually through the other.  If we try to read the Scriptures outside of the guidance of the Church, we misunderstand out of ignorance of the Church, and if we try to understand the Church without the Scriptures, we misunderstand without the living memory of the Apostle's witness.  So we read them together, the question is do y'all? Its like Peter also said in 2 Peter 1:20,
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0 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.

So now that we've got this Bible thumping business out of the way, perhaps we can get back to that delightful, productive, and edifying discussion we were having? We did much better when we were not trying to trump or one up each other or criticize the other, rather when we simply were testifying our mutual agreements and elaborating our differences for perspective so we can better understand and empathize with each other as brothers and sisters?

I was telling you about Orthodox, you were telling us about Anabaptists, we were all enjoying learning about each other without this competition or argument nonsense so lets get back to it Smiley

There have been a lot of things twisted, and a lot of things mingled, crumbled and "schsimed" upon.
If I was "tending to a sheep", I would take care of it, keep it from harm, keep it protected, and keep it healthy.   I don't see a twist at all.   In fact often early Christians warned others of harm and preached against the sins of others.   Such as the book of Jude against the Gnostics.   Warnings existed, and the sheep were tended.   

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The questions I would have is: 
1) Do you believe that hypocrisy exists in individuals who partake in the Eucharist and then go home and be entertained by movies, television, and video games which almost always depict, promote, or sensationalize the sins and lifestyles which have been fully condemned by God?   
2) Do our young Orthodox sisters & brothers not deserve warnings against the evils that the world is literally "promoting" and "glorifying" to them?  (video link above).
3) Do you believe that exposure as entertainment to things viewed through "the lamp of the body", could influence people (even minutely), their behavior, their attitudes, and their faith?

Examples on question 3 may include:
1) People who watch pornography - are they more heavily influenced by lust in their lives? 
2) People who watch movies always depicting divorce, unfaithfulness, and adultery - does it influence them in these behaviors?  Would young adults and teens watching movies of other teens committing adultery desensitize them and give them feelings of commonality and "it's natural" when engaged or dealing in the temptations of these sins?
3) People who watch documentaries which constantly explain evolution and "Darwinism" - does it influence them toward atheism?
4) People who play video games fully depicting violence - does it desensitize them toward violence or lean them towards it?  Could it incite a more angry and rage filled person? 

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Firstly, I will reiterate that is never my place to judge any of my brothers and sisters who may be temporarily caught up in sin, because I am also a weak human being, and I also will inevitably sin, there is an equality in that.  I can only pray for them, and pray for myself and hope sincerely in God's Grace.  This is why the Scriptures tell us to make room from wrath and judgement because God is in control.  Jesus tells us that with what measure we judge others, we shall be judged ourselves, and if we judge their sins, then He will judge our own, so I prefer not to cast any judgment other than to agree that sin is wrong and agree about what sin is, but its not my place to point fingers or name names.
Judging sins has already been judged.  I was not entirely speaking of judging others, but rather judging the sins themselves.   Homosexual acts for instance have been judged "abominations".   The rules already exist.  As Christians, believing in the scripture, we can safely call homosexual acts "abominations".   In context, if killing, adultery, and other sins are manifested on TV, we should be able to call these things what they are.   I think you misunderstand me as I am not speaking of directly judging others, but rather warnings being issued.

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I already told you, of course we agree completely, the Church feels the wounds of these sins daily as we are living and breathing like the rest of humanity. The fundamental mission of the Orthodox Church is to heal the wounds of sin which pain humanity, to bring the world to repentance in Grace, but again, our ontology and approach is different then say then the Anabaptists or Protestants (for the sake of the discussion I will respect your assertion that Anabaptists are not Protestants).  We know only the Divine Mysteries themselves, the Baptism, the continual rejuvenation and reconciliation of Confession, the GLORY of Holy Communion, the spiritual therapy of the Divine Liturgy, a prayerful life, the cleansing of Fasting, who could possibly suggest the Orthodox Church of all places is lax when it comes to sin! If anything, we're prudes Wink
It is not lax at all, and I agree with you.
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Again, we just don't blow trumpets because we take sin very seriously.  When you send out a constant message of personally judging or condemning individuals sin at a public level, it scars the family of believers.  We are healing slowly together, none of us are fooled to believe one is better than another.  We all sin, everyone sins don't they? We are in a process of healing from sin, by GOD'S GRACE ALONE.  So our priests continually encourage, admonish, and edify us from the pulpit, and in our INDIVIDUAL LIVES our Confessors are our spiritual therapists who guide us through our lives to help us evolve beyond sin while appropriately making amends.  You can't just say, "I'm not going to sin anymore" and its done, that is not repentance.  Sin will come back, trust us Wink  Our priests then are CONTINUALLY there at an individual level to teach us, so as I said, we are not lax neither tolerant of sin, we just don't have to blast it from the pulpit or put up scary posters telling everybody they are going to go to hell


Again my friend, I KNOW the Orthodox faith DOES take sin INCREDIBLY seriously.   But please understand, I am not speaking of judging individuals or condemning individuals.  I'm speaking of the failure to blow trumpets in "calling the sins out into the light", not the individuals.   To boldly point out that "hey guys this stuff is really pretty sick".
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Rest assured brother, my testimony of Orthodox is that we are not negligent in correcting Sin, we are not unrepentant sinners, our community is very conscious of these moral and social and ethical matters.  Let me again reiterate the existential difference between our religious community and perhaps the Anabaptist who you point to as an ideal model.  In Christian communities which no longer are Sacramental and no longer have a priesthood as Confessors, these no longer have the individual relationship that the Orthodox continue to maintain with our religious leadership.  We do not call them "Father" out of mere symbolism, these are are life and death fathers in our lives, we turn to them at our every need and in God's Grace the oblige.  However, in other traditions such as Anabaptists, of course the preachers and community have to be extra vocal about sin and repentance because that is the only communication of the religious ideals.  By eliminating the Father-Confessor relationship, these Christians have essentially made themselves all priests and all have to be concerned with each others sins because no one else is on the job.  We don't like this, this is precisely why we have Priests in the first place.  Spiritual professionalization by the Holy Spirit.
I'm not sure if you know this, but I have been Eastern Orthodox most of my life, I have served many years as an altar boy, and have attended St. Vladimir's seminary in New York.   Most of my family are EO Christians.  I absolutely know that the church is NOT negligent in correcting sin, and that the church body is incredibly repentant towards their sins.   You'll have to PM me on the sacramental life.  There is an element of protection that lacks in warnings from the church itself to its people.   While the repentance exists no doubt, the church does not take a stand & warn its people (officially) about the entertainment from sin itself.
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So I understand how you might not be as intimately familiar with the Orthodox experience of correction, of repentance, of admonishment, of judging sin, but I assure you its there loud and clear on a daily basis.  We just have a different approach then y'all.
stay blessed,
habte selassie
I really did not find any confrontation in what you say, as I understand how repentant the Orthodox Church is, which believe it or not the Anabaptists are extremely similar, except they confess "to one another" rather than their church leaders.   The Anabaptists not only confess, but like the Orthodox pray and focus on true repentance.

The main focus on the thread topic is that the Bishops in EO will fight, schism, and clergy get into slug fests - all the while their sheep are drinking the poisons from the world.   The main point is that I'd love to see the EO church bishops join together against the entertainment of evil.

Trust me I have all the love in the world for the EO faith, but like Volnutt the fighting is why I left.   From my opinion, the last stand was me wanting to go to a "Holy Metropolis of the Genuine Greek Orthodox Church", except my commute was going to be VERY FAR to the nearest church.  The reason why is because as far as Eastern Orthodoxy goes, it was the only group who seemed to me to absolutely hold on TIGHTLY & conservatively to Eastern Orthodox tradition.  However, the nearest church ended up being an 9 hour drive from my home, and that was only a teeny tiny church.   So I started looking around at closer churches, and let the fights, controversies, and ecumenism go crazy.  Just as Volnutt was talking about.   OCA says "no beards ok", ROCOR says "beards", OCA says "gregoran", ROCOR says "julian"........  One says ecumenism is good, other says heretical ecumenism is evil....

Anabaptists say "you know, lady Gaga is not an idealist moral role model for your daughters.  Your daughters should dress modestly, and not contribute to the fall of man into lust."

Now I know my past statement was kind of loaded, so please forgive me....   But in many ways it is true.  While I was watching the church fight over so many things, the sins of the world (mainly brought in by entertainment) is poisoning the people of the church.   I saw so many well behaved & respectful Anabaptist children (the EO kids were playing "world of warcraft" and talking about it after church) who were talking about how wonderful the pie was and pitching in to help the elders of the church.....

I was like "who is producing the good fruit".

It's horrible, because my heart belongs to Orthodoxy in many ways, but the Anabaptists absolutely have points in what they are doing.  They are not perfect at all.  I never claim that.

But the understanding of the Anabaptists is incorrect by most people because here (sorry guys) its because the Orthodox church "IS RIGHT", "THERE IS NO OTHER", "EVERYBODY ELSE IS WRONG"...   They are a people who love Jesus Christ, live through his word, and live their lives in testimony to his teachings.   They have Communion, Ordination, Chrismation, Unction, Confession, Matrimony, and Baptism.

(but of course they are not "Orthodox" so they are just wrong - unofficial sacraments - period.... ya know? Matt 18:20 "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am also".... Just doesn't apply....  I guess.)

Just look at the EO and OO... Bam - Schism, all those millions not in communion, power grab, horrible fights through the years.  Even slugfests between clergy & deaths.   THIS is why I felt important to comment on the thread from Volnutt.   

Orthodoxy is wonderful, and I don't call it wrong.  I call some of the practices wrong, the fights wrong, and the "evolution of the Orthodox church" wrong.   Calling parts of something wrong is not entirely condemning it, but they are important enough parts that it keeps me from returning right now. (you never know...)
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yeshuaisiam
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Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,511


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2012, 08:48:37 AM »

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The questions I would have is: 
1) Do you believe that hypocrisy exists in individuals who partake in the Eucharist and then go home and be entertained by movies, television, and video games which almost always depict, promote, or sensationalize the sins and lifestyles which have been fully condemned by God?
Nope. They're sinners. It doesn't matter what they look at, or play, or do. Sin is sin. We make the distinctions.
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2) Do our young Orthodox sisters & brothers not deserve warnings against the evils that the world is literally "promoting" and "glorifying" to them?
Sure they do.
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3) Do you believe that exposure as entertainment to things viewed through "the lamp of the body", could influence people (even minutely), their behavior, their attitudes, and their faith?
No differently that exposure to any other sin. I would say exposure to the hubris of a higher spirituality, by abstaining of "worldly" things is the same as playing Grand Theft Auto. Exposure to sin is exposure to sin. Having your kids exposed to the sin of lying to your spouse, haughty thoughts, or gossip is no differeent. its just "worldly" things like movies and games, etc. provide enough ammo, and for those who abstain from such things, give them a soapbox without having to delve too deep into their own lives so they can cast their fireballs from on high without self examination.

PP

Amen. Post of the year.

Is the eye not the lamp of the body?  Is your argument here seems to be "go ahead and watch & play anything", because sin exists and sin will always be there and its the same.   Because somebody gets angry in their home justifies the excuse to allow sinful entertainment into the home?

That those who do not partake in the entertainment of Grand Theft Auto (the fictionalized enjoyment of drugs, murder, assault, deceit, prostitution, homosexuality, theft, bribery, lust, fornication, and pride) lack self examination because they choose to abstain from sin rather than fornicating with it?  Because Crack harms the body one can't make that claim because the church tells them it is wrong?

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