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Author Topic: Curious lack of interest or curiosity: Why?  (Read 956 times) Average Rating: 0
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myrrhbear
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« on: January 06, 2012, 08:47:02 AM »

After coming into the fullness of Orthodoxy, I've read threads here about people's perceptions of us, how "weird" we must seem to some. What also has been mentioned is a curious lack of interest and even curiosity from friends and family, from those who are Christian, and those who are more secular. Why is that?

Is it because we are so excited about our own "enlightening" that we are expecting too much from others? Is it from lack of knowledge about Orthodoxy and they assume we are "just catholics"?  I'm beginning to think they are "blinded". It almost seems unnatural. Now THAT is weird!
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2012, 09:28:38 AM »

Thinking of my own family/friends and how they reacted, it was mostly because they were happy, and are happy, with where they're at--either happy with their Church (Uncle, friends), happy sort of floating (Mother and Stepfather), happy being a non-church-goer (Grandmother, Sister and her family), or happy not being affiliated with any "organized religion" (Father, Brother). The only one of my family to show interest in Orthodoxy was my Father, who perhaps thought of Orthodoxy as a more exotic and cooler version of Catholicism, without all that pope and celibacy business. He also commented positively on Orthodox iconography, and especially that of Jesus, and how it seemed more "right" than the blonde-haired, blue-eyed style portrayals of Jesus. My Mother has had limited time experiencing Orthodoxy, attending two services (my Christmation and Wedding), and also having some other exposure outside a worship context (wake, prayers at my home with a priest). Some of what she experienced--kissing crosses and the hands of priests, ornate churches, ritualized worship, closed communion, etc.--may have led her to believe that Orthodoxy is not for her. I may be moving back closer to home soon, and if I do I will have a chance to invite more of my family to Church (once I get a car up and running!)
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2012, 09:38:15 AM »

Sometimes also for people to express curiousity about what has been going on in anyone else's religious life, the other person realizes that this should cause them to re-evaluate their own life. This is something many people are loathe to do, so they adopt the comfortable path of least resistance: they don't ask or do anything.
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 09:48:33 AM »

Most of my friends and family do not live where I live.  I live in the Bible Belt in the MidSouth - most of my human contact here in the South is with my family at church.  My husband's family tolerates my being Orthodox, but every once in a while makes a remark that suggests that I am not a 'real' Christian.   Anything I may offer to them in prayer or otherwise is quickly and uncomfortably refused.  I've experienced some off handed abuse from people I do not know, here in the South - but expected as much.  They seem to be allergic to the word "Catholic".  

My friends - we're all so different and respect our differences.  I don't think any of us ever judge each other.  My friends are all over the United States, though.  I don't think any of them, other than my church family live in the South.

It's funny. . .I just watched a documentary on the South with my husband called "You Don't Know Dixie" there was a segment with a Rabbi talking about the tolerance of other faiths in the South - that it's a big melting pot of all sorts of different expressions of faith. . .and that it is, honestly.  But the tolerance, from what I've experienced toward Catholics (since I was a child) ranges from downright ugly to patronizing. . . definitely excluded as the out-group.  

I think there will be different experiences depending on which country, what part of the country and so on.  People are different every where you go.
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2012, 10:49:00 AM »

After coming into the fullness of Orthodoxy, I've read threads here about people's perceptions of us, how "weird" we must seem to some. What also has been mentioned is a curious lack of interest and even curiosity from friends and family, from those who are Christian, and those who are more secular. Why is that?

Is it because we are so excited about our own "enlightening" that we are expecting too much from others? Is it from lack of knowledge about Orthodoxy and they assume we are "just catholics"?  I'm beginning to think they are "blinded". It almost seems unnatural. Now THAT is weird!

I apologise because thought that too, eastern-style Catholics.

It's the same switch off that happens when someone comes across a JW, Mormon or Scientologist.

For me it was the statementsabout Orthodoxy being the first and only true church that caused further interest for me, getting back to the early church and the roots of my faith.
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2012, 11:42:42 AM »

After coming into the fullness of Orthodoxy, I've read threads here about people's perceptions of us, how "weird" we must seem to some. What also has been mentioned is a curious lack of interest and even curiosity from friends and family, from those who are Christian, and those who are more secular. Why is that?

Is it because we are so excited about our own "enlightening" that we are expecting too much from others? Is it from lack of knowledge about Orthodoxy and they assume we are "just catholics"?  I'm beginning to think they are "blinded". It almost seems unnatural. Now THAT is weird!

I think for the most part, Orthodoxy is an enigma to those in the west. If they know of it at all think it is more or less a variation of the Roman Catholic church (which is what my parents think). I have also been asked "Orthodox?? Like in My Big Fat Greek Wedding??" by others  laugh

Christ did say that "if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." So it seems the best thing we can do is simply be Orthodox Christians and as St. Peter wrote, "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear"
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2012, 12:12:00 PM »

I know for me here, we are immidately grouped in with the Roman Catholics.....also here no sinner's prayer = no christian. Period. Makes things interesting Smiley

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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2012, 03:51:51 PM »

I think it's more a product of us seeing the entire world through the prism of our own experience and prejudices than anything else. We love the Church, the theology, the prayers; we are moved immeasurably by the richness of the liturgy and iconography. Consequently because it affects us so deeply we are absolutely dumbfounded that everyone else doesn't share our reaction. It's really not any different from say politics where we can't believe how people on the other side of the aisle can be so dumb as to not see things our way (which of course is the only true and logical way to see the world).

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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2012, 09:50:10 PM »

Thinking of my own family/friends and how they reacted, it was mostly because they were happy, and are happy, with where they're at--either happy with their Church (Uncle, friends), happy sort of floating (Mother and Stepfather), happy being a non-church-goer (Grandmother, Sister and her family), or happy not being affiliated with any "organized religion" (Father, Brother). The only one of my family to show interest in Orthodoxy was my Father, who perhaps thought of Orthodoxy as a more exotic and cooler version of Catholicism, without all that pope and celibacy business. He also commented positively on Orthodox iconography, and especially that of Jesus, and how it seemed more "right" than the blonde-haired, blue-eyed style portrayals of Jesus. My Mother has had limited time experiencing Orthodoxy, attending two services (my Christmation and Wedding), and also having some other exposure outside a worship context (wake, prayers at my home with a priest). Some of what she experienced--kissing crosses and the hands of priests, ornate churches, ritualized worship, closed communion, etc.--may have led her to believe that Orthodoxy is not for her. I may be moving back closer to home soon, and if I do I will have a chance to invite more of my family to Church (once I get a car up and running!)

That is one reason why I'm so puzzled. In my case, my Christian friends have been fussing for ages about their church, pastor, etc. When they do, I try to tell them we don't have those issues at our church. They don't follow up with any questions about it, so perhaps they are really happy and don't want to rock the boat. Maybe they just like to complain! We'll be inviting them all to a special service/ceremony this spring and those issues that turned your mother off may indeed do the same for them. (sigh)
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2012, 09:52:42 PM »

Sometimes also for people to express curiousity about what has been going on in anyone else's religious life, the other person realizes that this should cause them to re-evaluate their own life. This is something many people are loathe to do, so they adopt the comfortable path of least resistance: they don't ask or do anything.

Fr. Chris, I think you may have hit the mark there. It may be very troubling for them to follow through with what we've put before them.
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2012, 09:56:11 PM »

Quiet Morning, Fountain Pen, There is also that: the reaction to the word "catholic". It is as if a wall is suddenly put up. If I were to meet a Mormon friend of my daughter's I would not be asking him to tell me about his religion! Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2012, 10:04:46 PM »

Stepan, That's the trouble! I AM ready with to give an answer but nobody is asking!!!

Primuspilus: But the Jesus Prayer is the "sinner's prayer"!

Paisius: You've nailed my emotional response about the whole thing; it IS similar to my political attitude. LOL!

(Sorry for my multiple posts. I'm not sure how to put more than one quote on a reply, or how to work the smilies, either!)
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2012, 11:32:37 AM »

Quote
But the Jesus Prayer is the "sinner's prayer
That is not what Im refering to. I know that. What Im referring to is the asking-Jesus-into-my-heart- one-shot-deal-and-Im-saved-forever-no-matter-what-else-I-ever-do-even-if-I-apostasize-fire-insurance-prayer".

PP
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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2012, 12:01:32 PM »

I think my friends just don't know what to say or what to ask. Most of the years they knew me as a militant atheist anarchist/ Marxist. Honestly, I don't know what to say either. My conversion was unannounced and it just kind of came out bit by bit in casual conversation.
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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2012, 07:10:19 PM »

Often with me it's because they have a distaste for and/or a lack of interest in religion. Most of the people in my life, regardless of being Christian, agnostic, atheist, or something else, are just not interested in religion at all. When the topic comes up (regardless if it's about Orthodoxy or not) they have one of, or a mix of, a few reactions:

1) General response: Their eyes glaze over, their mind immediately starts to wander, and they shut down.

2) Christian response: "Oh, that's nice." They're completely content in what they've chosen from the Christian cafeteria, and as long as you stay in the Christian buffet they're fine with whatever decision you make even if they don't like some of the food (beliefs) you choose. When I got baptized into the LDS church such statements were made as, "Well at least he's going to church/still Christian."

3) Non-Christian response: They rarely learn anything more than me being Christian in general; they presume that I'm a fundamentalist Protestant/Catholic and Orthodoxy never comes up. They're often either #1, or condescending and thus uninterested. If they DO find out I'm Orthodox, they just assume it's no different based on their limited exposure.

4) General response: "I see. Now I'll list my rudimentary beliefs and end the conversation quickly."
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