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Author Topic: New Catechumen  (Read 1753 times) Average Rating: 0
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althea
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« on: October 14, 2004, 12:13:17 PM »

Hi everyone, I have been an inquirer at a Serbian Orthodox church since June.  This came after a Catholic childhood, 20 years away from any church, in which I explored Buddhism, Neo Paganism, etc, and then just a couple years ago started going to Protestant churches.

Orthodoxy feels like the right thing, but I am kind of scared to be honest.  I was never confirmed as a Catholic, and Orthodoxy seems even harder, almost like being Amish!  I am concerned how my fiancee will take all the fasting.  My friends were all shocked and horrified when I started going to church at all, and now that I am interested in Orthodoxy, they are even more horrified.  The reaction is usually "why would you want to do THAT?" as if I am considering going into a nunnery.

I admit, most of the people I know are west coast, college educated intellectuals with no use for religion at all.

In the small town I now live in, alcoholism is rampant and everyone's out for a good time, period.

I love the church, but my own friends are treating me like a freak.

I am very nervous about what will happen around Christmas, ie celebrating at a different time than this overwhelmingly Catholic town, not being able to eat the food everyone will be offering.  I don't want to be felt to be a snob.  Maybe I should just freeze it until after the fast?

Has anyone else been through this? Embarrassed
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Anastasios
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2004, 01:46:12 PM »

Hi!

Wonderful that you are becoming Orthodox.

My suggestion: if you are offered food, eat it.  Now make sure to tell people that you choose not to eat certain foods, but if through ignorance or forgetfulness someone offeres you meat, cheese, etc, just eat it. It won't do anyone any good for you to reject it and maybe hurt feelings.  I am just saying this because the first year is very hard and it is very ackward to try to explain fasting and Julian Calendar Christmas.  But maybe your priest will say differently, in which case do what he says Smiley

Anastasios
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2004, 02:23:27 PM »

LOL  Been there.

I laugh, not at your expense, but through a funny memory that has to do with offered food...my wife and I, who were both converts from Protestant families, had our wedding shower thrown for us, by our Protestant friends and families, on the Orthodox Great and Holy Friday of that year.  They didn't know, of course, that it's a day where we don't eat AT ALL, and we didn't think about it until the day was already set, being so new to the faith.  So we toughed it out.  While everyone was watching the "guests of honor" starve, they ate.   Roll Eyes  What we SHOULD have done is just have eaten the food.  Anastasios is right.

If you're worried about looking snobbish (as my wife and I must have  Embarrassed), just let them talk, and let your life prove them wrong.  Everybody goes through the "raised eyebrow" phase, some more than others.  But sooner or later, if the faith is genuine, the good fruit starts to show and they eventually get won over.

Hang in there, althea!  And welcome!
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2004, 03:06:46 PM »

I grew up celebrating "secular christmas" and "serbian" Christmas as I am mixed heritage.  We opened gifts under the tree on December 25th and carried home a badnjak on January 6th. As for food, politely take a small portion. People notice that you took food not the amount you ate.  If it's possible try going to events that are just before or just after the main meal.  If people are sending you cookies and sweets, take them to a local retirement facility and ask that they are given to someone who doesn't get visitors.

I have learned that it's best to not over explain or apologize for who you are.
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Tallitot
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2004, 05:50:32 PM »

Funny, but people on any one of the various diets for weight loss that are popular now don't hesitate to pass up food at social events, and no one thinks it's rude..why should some one who is fasting haver to act any differently?
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2004, 08:09:01 PM »

I agree with Crucifer.  You can tell them you're fasting or that you're on a special diet.  

I can see that your close friends will be a problem.  I'm a convert to Serbian Orthodoxy and my mother always makes my favorite non-Lenten things during fasts.  Well, I just have to tough it out.  She's knows better and I sometimes think she's happy she hasn't gotten the best of me . . . . well, at least not very often.
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althea
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2004, 01:00:41 PM »

Thanks for the input everyone!  And you are right--many people are on diets, or have health issues that also don't allow them to eat everything at holidays.  I like the idea of giving sweets to shut ins too.

As for my husband, I may just mark a big red x on the calendar in the kitchen for him, like a big cheat sheet!
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