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Author Topic: No longer a catechumen  (Read 5818 times) Average Rating: 0
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Red A.
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« on: April 21, 2012, 11:40:11 PM »

I was upfront and honest. I am a member of alcoholics anonymous. I was firm when I said that I would continue helping drunks sober up and I would not leave my drunks behind.

Last Tuesday the priest said in the catechumen class that he doubted my dedication to the church. This hurt and infuriated me as I have thrown myself into the church, attending church three times a week, volunteering for menial jobs, setting aside AA commitments, helping others as I can. The truth came out in a phone call tonight when I expressed my hurt and bewilderment at being accused of not being committed to the church. The truth came out that I have been lied to for a year and a half and the obstacle to my becoming Orthodox in this church is my continued involvement in AA.

I was a homeless skid row drunk when AA reached out and helped me become human. Every thing I am and every thing I have, including my relationship with God I owe to alcoholics anonymous. I will not leave my drunks behind.

ps. Don't lie to an alcoholic. We're better at it that you are.


just to be clear, I don't hold this against the Orthodox church as this happened at a baptist church too.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 11:41:28 PM by Red A. » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2012, 11:45:29 PM »

Is there a another Orthodox Church in the area that you might be able to go to? I don't know what the deal is with aa but I'm not Orthodox to answer for them I just wanted to show you support for helping others with this problem
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Red A.
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2012, 11:52:38 PM »

There's one a bit further away I'm going to look at next week. Breaks my heart that I'll have to interrogate the next priest on this issue. I was so thrilled to find the Orthodox church in the first place that I failed to be as guarded about this issue as I should have. Too many clergy see AA as "the competition".
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2012, 11:56:27 PM »

This is ridiculous.  However, do not give up Orthodoxy over this.  Orthodoxy is more than a jealous priest.  And good luck on your recovery.  But then again, it is not really luck is it.  Just pure hard work.  And no, do not give up those that rely on you to help them.  God sees and will reward you.
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2012, 11:57:36 PM »

There's one a bit further away I'm going to look at next week. Breaks my heart that I'll have to interrogate the next priest on this issue. I was so thrilled to find the Orthodox church in the first place that I failed to be as guarded about this issue as I should have. Too many clergy see AA as "the competition".

I'm not sure you would have to interrogate any priest on the issue. A simple question should suffice: "Will my continued work with AA be an issue going forward?"
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2012, 11:59:56 PM »

This seems rather odd as I know at least 3 Orthodox Christians who are active members of AA--one of whom is an Orthodox priest and one of whom was definitely in the program (and known to be by his priest) before his reception, not sure when the 3rd started at AA. Then there is Fr. Meletios Webber, a priest and abbot--who I don't know that he was ever actually in AA but I was under the impression that his book on Orthodoxy and AA (Steps of Transformation)came from personal experience. And finally, I know an individual who is one of AA's 'daughter' 12-step programs' who is there specifically because during his catechumenate an Antiochian priest sent him there.

So I am forced to think that either this is something very specific to your priest or that there is more to the story than can be conveyed in message board post. Either way, it might be appropriate to contact your priest's bishop to discuss what is happening; or, if there is another Orthodox church in the area to contact the priest there.


P.S.: It also might be helpful to you to try contacting Fr. Meletios who is very familiar with AA and Orthodoxy. If you are interested, I think I may have his e-mail around somewhere so PM and I'll take a look.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2012, 12:01:10 AM by witega » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2012, 12:00:11 AM »

That's absolutely ridiculous. I'm sorry to hear this happened to you! The Orthodox Church is usually very supportive of 12-step programs. I'm not sure why your former priest said what he said, but from what you've told us here...I would be upset, as well.

I hope you find a good parish that will nurture you in spirit and truth.
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2012, 12:06:00 AM »

What jurisdiction was it? Try an OCA parish instead, I'm assuming it was an ethnic one.
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2012, 12:09:12 AM »

On the contrary, the priest seems to be some loony hyperdox.
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Red A.
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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2012, 12:16:36 AM »

So I am forced to think that either this is something very specific to your priest
Yep. This is it. I am in contact with two Orthodox priests that are in AA that have been helping me along my path so this is someone "going rogue" so to speak but it happens all over the place and too often in my opinion. That Baptist one offered me a spot as a deacon if I would drop AA. The dishonesty really bothers me and is the reason I need to be a bit more cagey in getting them to give their opinion of AA before I move forward working with them.

I hate that I have to be guarded about sending my AA sponsees off to go to church. AA recommends that we reestablish out membership at church but the fact is that these clergy are out there just waiting to kill one of my guys.

Sad thing is, if a religion were to make a concerted effort to reach out to AA and it's members here in the states they would easily gain huge numbers of AA members that simply don't feel they are welcome in anyones church.
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Red A.
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2012, 12:16:58 AM »

What jurisdiction was it? Try an OCA parish instead, I'm assuming it was an ethnic one.
That's the one I'm looking at next.
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2012, 12:34:20 AM »

Yeah, I've noticed that for some conservatives, the idea that mental health care is some sort of atheist fakery to draw people away from the Church can be found across organizational boundaries.
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« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2012, 02:23:44 AM »

Wow, I'm really sorry to hear that. I agree with all here that this certainly isn't standard but rather a lone wolf (from my experiences anyway). In fact, the guy that was my priest for about 10 years came out a few years ago about his alcohol problem, started going to AA, and now talks at AA stuff, lets AA use the church for meetings, uses his issue with alcohol to help get across certain spiritual lessons to his congregation, regularly invites people with similar problems to services (and gives them rides if necessary)... anyway, so I have to say that I'm completely taken aback by what you experienced.
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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2012, 02:33:29 AM »

I feel so bad for you. What if you were to recommend some of your AA friends to your parish and the congregation and Priest was mean to them? Most of these people already do not feel welcomed. They need a place that cares for them and will accept them with open arms. I hate to generalize since I've never been one and so I do not know what it is like for the AA kind, but judging from the people I have met, most ex-alcoholics and addicts who are involved in programs like the AA tend to be some of the most humble, good-hearted people in all of the Church. I know this one man who is a recovering drug addict with very little money and when I first started attending my parish he was one of the first people to actually make an effort to greet me and show me kindness; he even gave me his own personal Orthodox prayer book seeing that I did not have one and comes to Church on his bike all the time. Very nice man. He is actually my God-brother if that is even a term; his godparents are going to be my godparents also. Folks like him do well for the Church and I'm sure that the folks who are recovering from addictions and alcoholism could use the Church; I know my father did. Now if only it was an Orthodox Church...
« Last Edit: April 22, 2012, 02:34:57 AM by JamesR » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2012, 01:17:13 PM »

Thanks everybody for your support. After sleeping on it I find myself rather depressed. I thought I had found in Orthodoxy something that was "a cut above" "something just a bit better". Really questioning why I should drive 25 miles for a church what I have churches just a few doors down if I'm just going to get more of the same. The doctrine may be better but what does that matter if the results are the same.
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« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2012, 01:25:34 PM »

Thanks everybody for your support. After sleeping on it I find myself rather depressed. I thought I had found in Orthodoxy something that was "a cut above" "something just a bit better". Really questioning why I should drive 25 miles for a church what I have churches just a few doors down if I'm just going to get more of the same. The doctrine may be better but what does that matter if the results are the same.

I'm sorry this has happened to you.  Embarrassed Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2012, 03:18:55 PM »

I am sorry to hear of your unfortunate experience with this single priest. 12 step programs are encouraged by many Orthodox Christians in the US and abroad by different ethnic jurisdictions at least from what I found with Google searches.
I encourage you to continue as a catechumen at an Orthodox Church wherever that is possible.
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« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2012, 03:23:14 PM »

Thanks everybody for your support. After sleeping on it I find myself rather depressed. I thought I had found in Orthodoxy something that was "a cut above" "something just a bit better". Really questioning why I should drive 25 miles for a church what I have churches just a few doors down if I'm just going to get more of the same. The doctrine may be better but what does that matter if the results are the same.

It has not changed for me in the 16 years that I converted.  Your last sentence expresses the thought that I struggle with the most.  Events on this list and withing my parish in the last 24 to 48 hours have almost put a fork in my being Orthodox.
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« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2012, 06:22:07 PM »

sometimes I'm a bit slow Roll Eyes. so can you explain why he feels that way.
I mean does he think AA is taking time away you could be spending in church? im very curious.
also,  your heart is correct, follow it and don't be discuraged by one priest!
it IS worth it to travel to go to the correct church!!!!
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Red A.
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« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2012, 06:42:46 PM »

sometimes I'm a bit slow Roll Eyes. so can you explain why he feels that way.
I mean does he think AA is taking time away you could be spending in church? im very curious.
also,  your heart is correct, follow it and don't be discuraged by one priest!
it IS worth it to travel to go to the correct church!!!!
o be honest, I am just guessing about problems clergy have had with AA. I ask but I don't think I have ever gotten an honest answer. What I do get are a few vague "well i heard this bad thing or that" about AA that is always very off base. This last time he said he heard that we couldn't talk about God or Jesus in meetings (I and many others do often). I had one Baptist preacher that thought that when we pray in AA we pray to a deity called "Higher power". Some have expressed a problem with the concept of "God as I understand God".

I personally think it's an ego thing. They want to be the only source of the persons connection to God and AA is not under their control so it scares them a bit. But again I'm just speculating
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Red A.
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« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2012, 07:05:38 PM »


I mean does he think AA is taking time away you could be spending in church?
This was how he framed his problem with my AA membership. When I started in his church I was going to 2 and sometimes three meetings a week. In addition to that I had was speaking monthly at a drug and alcoholism treatment center plus the occasional speaking engagement at other places. I had cut that down to just one meeting a week and occasionally another I would get to on the way home from the Tuesday church classes. I was attending Church three days a week almost constantly for a year and a half.


I have 4 men that I sponsor with less than 2 years of sobriety and I need to connect with them on a regular basis.  I have even brought three of them to church with me, one just because I wasn't able to sit down with him any other time and I wanted to be at church the only day he was able to see me. He attended church with me and we did our AA stuff sitting in the church parking lot after church. (for the 12 step people he did his 5th step there in the church parking lot)
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« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2012, 07:15:57 PM »

sometimes I'm a bit slow Roll Eyes. so can you explain why he feels that way.
I mean does he think AA is taking time away you could be spending in church? im very curious.
also,  your heart is correct, follow it and don't be discuraged by one priest!
it IS worth it to travel to go to the correct church!!!!
o be honest, I am just guessing about problems clergy have had with AA. I ask but I don't think I have ever gotten an honest answer. What I do get are a few vague "well i heard this bad thing or that" about AA that is always very off base. This last time he said he heard that we couldn't talk about God or Jesus in meetings (I and many others do often). I had one Baptist preacher that thought that when we pray in AA we pray to a deity called "Higher power". Some have expressed a problem with the concept of "God as I understand God".

I personally think it's an ego thing. They want to be the only source of the persons connection to God and AA is not under their control so it scares them a bit. But again I'm just speculating

 The church should be your one connection to the Lord. Period. You cry ego and yet your the one who gets pissed off when the priest questions you and you storm off and basically say "I quit." Your defensive about AA. Plain and simple.  Almost like a cult member. Before you cry 'ego' show some humility and try obeying your priest.
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Red A.
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« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2012, 07:38:56 PM »

sometimes I'm a bit slow Roll Eyes. so can you explain why he feels that way.
I mean does he think AA is taking time away you could be spending in church? im very curious.
also,  your heart is correct, follow it and don't be discuraged by one priest!
it IS worth it to travel to go to the correct church!!!!
o be honest, I am just guessing about problems clergy have had with AA. I ask but I don't think I have ever gotten an honest answer. What I do get are a few vague "well i heard this bad thing or that" about AA that is always very off base. This last time he said he heard that we couldn't talk about God or Jesus in meetings (I and many others do often). I had one Baptist preacher that thought that when we pray in AA we pray to a deity called "Higher power". Some have expressed a problem with the concept of "God as I understand God".

I personally think it's an ego thing. They want to be the only source of the persons connection to God and AA is not under their control so it scares them a bit. But again I'm just speculating

 The church should be your one connection to the Lord. Period. You cry ego and yet your the one who gets pissed off when the priest questions you and you storm off and basically say "I quit." Your defensive about AA. Plain and simple.  Almost like a cult member. Before you cry 'ego' show some humility and try obeying your priest.
Fair enough. I was honest from the beginning. I used the words "I will not leave my drunks behind", exactly. The hammer was dropped on my after I had invested a year and a half of my time and money. Honesty is not too much to ask from clergy no matter what church they belong to.
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« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2012, 07:54:39 PM »

sometimes I'm a bit slow Roll Eyes. so can you explain why he feels that way.
I mean does he think AA is taking time away you could be spending in church? im very curious.
also,  your heart is correct, follow it and don't be discuraged by one priest!
it IS worth it to travel to go to the correct church!!!!
o be honest, I am just guessing about problems clergy have had with AA. I ask but I don't think I have ever gotten an honest answer. What I do get are a few vague "well i heard this bad thing or that" about AA that is always very off base. This last time he said he heard that we couldn't talk about God or Jesus in meetings (I and many others do often). I had one Baptist preacher that thought that when we pray in AA we pray to a deity called "Higher power". Some have expressed a problem with the concept of "God as I understand God".

I personally think it's an ego thing. They want to be the only source of the persons connection to God and AA is not under their control so it scares them a bit. But again I'm just speculating

 The church should be your one connection to the Lord. Period. You cry ego and yet your the one who gets pissed off when the priest questions you and you storm off and basically say "I quit." Your defensive about AA. Plain and simple.  Almost like a cult member. Before you cry 'ego' show some humility and try obeying your priest.

God wants us to be humble, not stupid.  The Church has not made any prohibition to AA.  Maybe this priest should get in line with the Church.  If we start the blind obedience to our clergy that is often suggested here, we will end up like the RC who's altar boys blindly bent over.
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« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2012, 07:56:37 PM »

we will end up like the RC who's altar boys blindly bent over.

Children can be scared into silence quite easily by an abuser. I was, anyway. I assume others can be as well.
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« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2012, 09:47:43 PM »

sometimes I'm a bit slow Roll Eyes. so can you explain why he feels that way.
I mean does he think AA is taking time away you could be spending in church? im very curious.
also,  your heart is correct, follow it and don't be discuraged by one priest!
it IS worth it to travel to go to the correct church!!!!
o be honest, I am just guessing about problems clergy have had with AA. I ask but I don't think I have ever gotten an honest answer. What I do get are a few vague "well i heard this bad thing or that" about AA that is always very off base. This last time he said he heard that we couldn't talk about God or Jesus in meetings (I and many others do often). I had one Baptist preacher that thought that when we pray in AA we pray to a deity called "Higher power". Some have expressed a problem with the concept of "God as I understand God".

I personally think it's an ego thing. They want to be the only source of the persons connection to God and AA is not under their control so it scares them a bit. But again I'm just speculating

 The church should be your one connection to the Lord. Period. You cry ego and yet your the one who gets pissed off when the priest questions you and you storm off and basically say "I quit." Your defensive about AA. Plain and simple.  Almost like a cult member. Before you cry 'ego' show some humility and try obeying your priest.
The type of obedience you suggest is also cultish. I do not know enough about AA but from the data we have it seems that priest is a control freak. If they do this catechumen stuff it probably wouldn't hurt if it were more standardized, and a more terrestrial affair too, so that it would cut on the spiritual pomposity of some of the clergy.
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« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2012, 11:20:16 PM »

sometimes I'm a bit slow Roll Eyes. so can you explain why he feels that way.
I mean does he think AA is taking time away you could be spending in church? im very curious.
also,  your heart is correct, follow it and don't be discuraged by one priest!
it IS worth it to travel to go to the correct church!!!!
o be honest, I am just guessing about problems clergy have had with AA. I ask but I don't think I have ever gotten an honest answer. What I do get are a few vague "well i heard this bad thing or that" about AA that is always very off base. This last time he said he heard that we couldn't talk about God or Jesus in meetings (I and many others do often). I had one Baptist preacher that thought that when we pray in AA we pray to a deity called "Higher power". Some have expressed a problem with the concept of "God as I understand God".

I personally think it's an ego thing. They want to be the only source of the persons connection to God and AA is not under their control so it scares them a bit. But again I'm just speculating

 The church should be your one connection to the Lord. Period. You cry ego and yet your the one who gets pissed off when the priest questions you and you storm off and basically say "I quit." Your defensive about AA. Plain and simple.  Almost like a cult member. Before you cry 'ego' show some humility and try obeying your priest.

I'm not willing to throw Red A.'s priest under the bus based on a stranger's account on the internet -- assuming I knew who Red A.'s priest was, which I don't as Red A. is wisely not giving any identifying information as the priest is not around to give his side of the story. I'm certainly open to the possibility that there is more going on than Red A. has told us--including that there is something relevant Red A. hasn't told us because he doesn't know it himself.

BUT...
Based on what he has told us, your criticism doesn't really seem called for. If anything is 'cultish', it would be a priest requiring a person to stop doing a good thing (helping others overcome a addictive sin is definitely a good thing) in order to dedicate even more time to the church when he's already attending 3 times a week.
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« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2012, 12:05:46 AM »

Here's one priest actively promoting 12-step.

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com/

He links to several programs including:

http://addictions.sthermanseminary.org/

http://www.ortodoxantidrog.ro/en/start.html

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« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2012, 12:15:12 AM »

On the contrary, the priest seems to be some loony hyperdox.

Agreed. Most ethnic priests are fine with the Mason rings in my experience, who who cares about some recovery program? Although good luck staying sober around the Serbs when the plum brandy is flowing...
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« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2012, 12:32:22 AM »

sometimes I'm a bit slow Roll Eyes. so can you explain why he feels that way.
I mean does he think AA is taking time away you could be spending in church? im very curious.
also,  your heart is correct, follow it and don't be discuraged by one priest!
it IS worth it to travel to go to the correct church!!!!
o be honest, I am just guessing about problems clergy have had with AA. I ask but I don't think I have ever gotten an honest answer. What I do get are a few vague "well i heard this bad thing or that" about AA that is always very off base. This last time he said he heard that we couldn't talk about God or Jesus in meetings (I and many others do often). I had one Baptist preacher that thought that when we pray in AA we pray to a deity called "Higher power". Some have expressed a problem with the concept of "God as I understand God".

I personally think it's an ego thing. They want to be the only source of the persons connection to God and AA is not under their control so it scares them a bit. But again I'm just speculating

 The church should be your one connection to the Lord. Period. You cry ego and yet your the one who gets pissed off when the priest questions you and you storm off and basically say "I quit." Your defensive about AA. Plain and simple.  Almost like a cult member. Before you cry 'ego' show some humility and try obeying your priest.

I've seen parents get defensive about their children. That doesn't make them cult members. Saying that being defensive about something makes you even remotely similar to a cult member is laughable and insulting.
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« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2012, 10:50:59 AM »

My Experience in dealing with this oacross jurisdictions is that the mainline orthodox jurisdictions encourage the use and adaptation of the 12 steps within your individual Orthodox spirtual journey. The 12 steps were based upon a religous based program that evolved into a "power greater than myself" basis. Orthodoxy of course wishes that as you grow in the orthodox Church you will understand "the power greater than myself becomes the God as the Orthodox Church understands him.

Thomas
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« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2012, 02:55:48 PM »

Well that was a fun little temper tantrum.

The fact is that I saw warning signs. A friend and mentor pointed out a few things that I should have paid more attention to. The situation is that I feel I should have seen this coming and avoided it.

Bottom line, I think I am smarter than I am. I think I can make things work just because i want them to work. I hate when I am reminded otherwise.

I wonder what I'll find at the OCA parish.
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« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2012, 03:04:20 PM »

Well that was a fun little temper tantrum.

The fact is that I saw warning signs. A friend and mentor pointed out a few things that I should have paid more attention to. The situation is that I feel I should have seen this coming and avoided it.

Bottom line, I think I am smarter than I am. I think I can make things work just because i want them to work. I hate when I am reminded otherwise.

I wonder what I'll find at the OCA parish.

might as well check it out, no way you'll find out otherwise Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2012, 03:16:16 PM »

I wonder what I'll find at the OCA parish.

I think you'll enjoy it. I've been going to a tiny OCA parish and my Priest even has Church programs to help recovering addicts and Church services just for them sometimes.
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« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2012, 03:54:23 PM »

Well that was a fun little temper tantrum.

The fact is that I saw warning signs. A friend and mentor pointed out a few things that I should have paid more attention to. The situation is that I feel I should have seen this coming and avoided it.

Bottom line, I think I am smarter than I am. I think I can make things work just because i want them to work. I hate when I am reminded otherwise.

I wonder what I'll find at the OCA parish.
I have to mimic what others have said. Definitely do not give up on the Church because of one priest. Something tells me that he has brought a personal opinion about AA over into his pastoral administration. I'm not a huge fan of AA personally, but there is no doubt that it has helped people.

Remember, priests are people too. They can have biases, and be wrong about things too.

PP
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« Reply #35 on: April 24, 2012, 10:04:39 AM »

Praise God for leading you out of the darkness of alcoholism.

God bless you for the work you do with AA and the lives you save!

Glory to God for the awesome encouragement and support, the Body of Christ, I have just read in reply to your post.

My knowledge of AA is limited to supporting others. I have a few family members that would claim AA has saved their lives. I know some that claim AA has led them to God. I have been to a couple of open meetings and be there no doubt that God was mentioned, referenced, and held as the foundation to recovery. One of these rooms ended each meeting with the Lords Prayer.  However, I also understand that each AA meeting room is independent and self governed. While some are centered on ‘God’ others strongly prefer the term ‘higher power’ and I’m told there are some that truly do not welcome our Lord God Jesus Christ into their program. (Interesting as the AA program is based on Christianity?)

My point being if one does not know from experience, or first hand knowledge, many inaccuracies or inconsistencies could become perception. Perception can become reality. Perhaps this Priest was not being ‘dishonest’  in his vague reply, but simply does not have a true understanding of AA and has formed a perception based on some isolated cases that would not be cohesive to the path of finding Christ? He may have been vague because he has nothing concrete to offer in reply to your question. To be fair AA can become almost a ‘brotherhood’ of sort and that seems to come across in your post. Not saying that is a bad thing necessarily. There are some teachings in the program that could easily be misunderstood such as ‘nothing can stand between you and your sobriety’. Now, you know that does not mean put God second but if you don’t know first hand it could be a concern. I think I remember the idea of ‘you must be selfish’ about your sobriety. That phrase could be very easily misunderstood as a conflict to the teachings of our Lord Christ. Is it possible that the Priest in question was not trying to deceive you per say, but out of ignorance based on misperception, as opposed to ego, jealousy, or anything like that, he was more so trying to lead and protect you? IDK of course, it came to mind, just thought I should throw the possibility out there.

Whatever the case glad to hear your trying that other OC. Why on earth would this make you go elsewhere when as you said the animosity toward AA can be found in Protestant Churches too! If you have chosen Orthodoxy for spiritual reasons, would you recommend someone turn away from that because of worldly circumstances? Just food for thought brother.  Keep in mind I’m not even Orthodox.  Wink

Peace & Grace!
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« Reply #36 on: April 24, 2012, 11:22:34 AM »

This seems rather odd as I know at least 3 Orthodox Christians who are active members of AA--one of whom is an Orthodox priest and one of whom was definitely in the program (and known to be by his priest) before his reception, not sure when the 3rd started at AA. Then there is Fr. Meletios Webber, a priest and abbot--who I don't know that he was ever actually in AA but I was under the impression that his book on Orthodoxy and AA (Steps of Transformation)came from personal experience. And finally, I know an individual who is one of AA's 'daughter' 12-step programs' who is there specifically because during his catechumenate an Antiochian priest sent him there.

So I am forced to think that either this is something very specific to your priest or that there is more to the story than can be conveyed in message board post. Either way, it might be appropriate to contact your priest's bishop to discuss what is happening; or, if there is another Orthodox church in the area to contact the priest there.


P.S.: It also might be helpful to you to try contacting Fr. Meletios who is very familiar with AA and Orthodoxy. If you are interested, I think I may have his e-mail around somewhere so PM and I'll take a look.

I agree.  I know of two people in my parish who are active in AA.  I've never remotely heard that this is a problem.  Sounds like your priest has issues, Red. 
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« Reply #37 on: May 05, 2012, 02:39:48 PM »

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I wonder what I'll find at the OCA parish.

People….mostly.

God willing more kind and Godly people than not.
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« Reply #38 on: July 01, 2012, 10:06:53 PM »

Update;


Well the OCA parish I tried at first turned out to be a Dying Serbian Orthodox parish. The OCA has been loaning them Priests to keep it going. Nice people and beautiful church but with no regular priest it is a no go. Next one I tried is another OCA parish that is much further. I was sent there by one of the "on loan" priests. He and I have much in common so we have become friends pretty easily. I sat back and checked it out for a while. I talked to the Parish Priest this last thursday and now I am a Catechumen at this new parish. It is a much better fit. Many of the issues I was worried about beyond what I posted above were put to rest.

I have to say that  was very disheartened. If there were another option I probably have taken it. I am Orthodox at heart so nothing else will do. I was bouyed by the guidance of my friend and mentor out in California. I am back on track and feel like a load has been lifted.

To properly introduce myself to the Parish I smoked up 30lbs of pork loin and served it during coffee hour today. 220 degrees for six hours does wonderful things to a pork loin!
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« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2012, 11:02:36 PM »

Update;


Well the OCA parish I tried at first turned out to be a Dying Serbian Orthodox parish. The OCA has been loaning them Priests to keep it going. Nice people and beautiful church but with no regular priest it is a no go. Next one I tried is another OCA parish that is much further. I was sent there by one of the "on loan" priests. He and I have much in common so we have become friends pretty easily. I sat back and checked it out for a while. I talked to the Parish Priest this last thursday and now I am a Catechumen at this new parish. It is a much better fit. Many of the issues I was worried about beyond what I posted above were put to rest.

I have to say that  was very disheartened. If there were another option I probably have taken it. I am Orthodox at heart so nothing else will do. I was bouyed by the guidance of my friend and mentor out in California. I am back on track and feel like a load has been lifted.

To properly introduce myself to the Parish I smoked up 30lbs of pork loin and served it during coffee hour today. 220 degrees for six hours does wonderful things to a pork loin!


Glad you stuck with it and the pork loin sounds great!
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« Reply #40 on: July 02, 2012, 11:56:08 AM »

Dear Red A.

I am glad to learn that you think nothing else will do and have been persistent, like the widow who pestered the unjust judge.

Love,
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« Reply #41 on: July 02, 2012, 03:58:14 PM »

thanks for keeping us updated, may God bless u and guide you.
 Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: July 03, 2012, 10:18:38 AM »

sometimes I'm a bit slow Roll Eyes. so can you explain why he feels that way.
I mean does he think AA is taking time away you could be spending in church? im very curious.
also,  your heart is correct, follow it and don't be discuraged by one priest!
it IS worth it to travel to go to the correct church!!!!
o be honest, I am just guessing about problems clergy have had with AA. I ask but I don't think I have ever gotten an honest answer. What I do get are a few vague "well i heard this bad thing or that" about AA that is always very off base. This last time he said he heard that we couldn't talk about God or Jesus in meetings (I and many others do often). I had one Baptist preacher that thought that when we pray in AA we pray to a deity called "Higher power". Some have expressed a problem with the concept of "God as I understand God".

I personally think it's an ego thing. They want to be the only source of the persons connection to God and AA is not under their control so it scares them a bit. But again I'm just speculating

 The church should be your one connection to the Lord. Period. You cry ego and yet your the one who gets pissed off when the priest questions you and you storm off and basically say "I quit." Your defensive about AA. Plain and simple.  Almost like a cult member. Before you cry 'ego' show some humility and try obeying your priest.
The type of obedience you suggest is also cultish. I do not know enough about AA but from the data we have it seems that priest is a control freak. If they do this catechumen stuff it probably wouldn't hurt if it were more standardized, and a more terrestrial affair too, so that it would cut on the spiritual pomposity of some of the clergy.

I agree. (Must have gotten colder in hell.)
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« Reply #43 on: July 13, 2012, 11:51:38 PM »

If I could chime in.

I believe once you fully grasp the depth and teaching of the Orthodox faith, AA will mean nothing.
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« Reply #44 on: July 13, 2012, 11:56:41 PM »

If I could chime in.

I believe once you fully grasp the depth and teaching of the Orthodox faith, AA will mean nothing.
Are you saying alcholism is a spiritual matter or AA is just unnecessary if you follow the faith of the Orthodox Church? Or both?
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« Reply #45 on: July 14, 2012, 02:25:00 PM »

If I could chime in.

I believe once you fully grasp the depth and teaching of the Orthodox faith, AA will mean nothing.
Are you saying alcoholism is a spiritual matter or AA is just unnecessary if you follow the faith of the Orthodox Church? Or both?
Alcoholism is a spiritual matter. After the initial physical matters are resolved, (the detox and the acceptance that the disease of alcoholism causes an allergic reaction and thus the alcoholic may never again drink safely) AA is little more than romper room Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #46 on: July 14, 2012, 06:54:50 PM »

If I could chime in.

I believe once you fully grasp the depth and teaching of the Orthodox faith, AA will mean nothing.
Are you saying alcoholism is a spiritual matter or AA is just unnecessary if you follow the faith of the Orthodox Church? Or both?
Alcoholism is a spiritual matter. After the initial physical matters are resolved, (the detox and the acceptance that the disease of alcoholism causes an allergic reaction and thus the alcoholic may never again drink safely) AA is little more than romper room Orthodoxy.

Would it be possible to set up a local AA chapter in your Orthodox parish?
I have heard of some Greek Orthodox parishioners doing this as alcoholism was rampant in one particular parish and the Greeks did not want to openly testify outside of their parish and scandalize everyone. From what I was told, it was successful, and the Greek ladies who were alcoholics felt much more comfortable.
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« Reply #47 on: July 14, 2012, 09:22:55 PM »

If I could chime in.

I believe once you fully grasp the depth and teaching of the Orthodox faith, AA will mean nothing.
Are you saying alcoholism is a spiritual matter or AA is just unnecessary if you follow the faith of the Orthodox Church? Or both?
Alcoholism is a spiritual matter. After the initial physical matters are resolved, (the detox and the acceptance that the disease of alcoholism causes an allergic reaction and thus the alcoholic may never again drink safely) AA is little more than romper room Orthodoxy.

Would it be possible to set up a local AA chapter in your Orthodox parish?
I have heard of some Greek Orthodox parishioners doing this as alcoholism was rampant in one particular parish and the Greeks did not want to openly testify outside of their parish and scandalize everyone. From what I was told, it was successful, and the Greek ladies who were alcoholics felt much more comfortable.
That would be a bit difficult with the distance I would need to travel. There's a bit more than just hanging out a shingle and opening business. But if/when the time comes I will step up and get it done.

Having AA at the parish usually goes the other way. Many people are deathly worried that someone will see them at the AA meeting so often they will go somewhere they won't likely see anyone they know.

It is helpful however for those members of AA that have drifted away from Church or the heartbreakingly large number of people I run into that have never even been in a church at all(beyond funerals/weddings). It lets them check it out on their own terms.
 
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« Reply #48 on: July 15, 2012, 04:14:57 AM »

Maybe the reason they are so vehemently against your association with the AA is the fact that it makes some of them feel guilty or uncomfortable because they are not doing anything about their own alcoholism--an issue which is becoming epidemic in ethnic Orthodox Churches. In this case, I would wipe the dust off my feet if I were you and switch jurisdictions, or, perhaps write a letter to your Bishop about this issue since there definitely could be something wrong going on here at your Church.
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« Reply #49 on: November 02, 2012, 07:11:22 PM »

Since the last update I have been going to an OCA parish.

The pork loin went over so well that when a couple at the parish got married they had me handle the food for their wedding. Roughly 80 pounds of pork (loin and pulled) was served along with 40 pounds of beef.

I have been attending Catechumen classes and meeting with the Priest every other week. Today he gave me December 15th for a Baptism date.
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« Reply #50 on: December 04, 2012, 09:47:21 PM »

I was upfront and honest. I am a member of alcoholics anonymous. I was firm when I said that I would continue helping drunks sober up and I would not leave my drunks behind.

Last Tuesday the priest said in the catechumen class that he doubted my dedication to the church. This hurt and infuriated me as I have thrown myself into the church, attending church three times a week, volunteering for menial jobs, setting aside AA commitments, helping others as I can. The truth came out in a phone call tonight when I expressed my hurt and bewilderment at being accused of not being committed to the church. The truth came out that I have been lied to for a year and a half and the obstacle to my becoming Orthodox in this church is my continued involvement in AA.

I was a homeless skid row drunk when AA reached out and helped me become human. Every thing I am and every thing I have, including my relationship with God I owe to alcoholics anonymous. I will not leave my drunks behind.

ps. Don't lie to an alcoholic. We're better at it that you are.


just to be clear, I don't hold this against the Orthodox church as this happened at a baptist church too.


Darn-it I cant remember the name of the priest out in Los Angeles who has a google blog on AA/Orthodoxy - but you should look for that if you dont already know about it.In one of his last blogs he said something that surprised me though Ive noticed it seems true.He said that most priests are not very spiritually advanced.Like theyre just simple sinners like you and me and its not a requirement to be real enlightened for them to do their job.My first priest/spiritual father seemed to fit this description and offended me too ( I have a huge pet-peeve for people - especially Orthodox Christians - who have the worldiness in their mentality of social stigmas.In other words people who misunderstand sinners who's sins manifest as drug addictions and value them by worldy stigmatized standards [or something like that].So many Orthodox though believe AA is a God-send....Im sorry that happened to you.Anyways here what I just so happened to have written today on http://www.deathtotheworld.com on this subject: "Yeah Fr. Meletios Weber who alot of people have recently realized is way too liberal wrote a good book but this doesnt back up my argument(for a loss of a better word) of course.He wrote this book "12 Steps of Transformation" - Its an AA book for Orthodox Christians basicly.He gives a translation of that step (26,section 111)(this is totally gonna confirm LeFeu's convictions) and explains how it relates to an AA meeting....Heres a mysterious thing.In AA everyone knows or learns that God speaks through people.And it seems to me that that is just a fact of life.Now of course you dont want to just listen to what anyone says and take it as if its God speaking but at the same time I believe God can tell you something you need to hear from a drunk in the gutter.But in AA and what Fr. Meletios Weber explains is more referring to in an AA or church group or from a sponsor or spiritual adviser....Its weird how AA tends to be Orthodox-approved amongst alot of Orthodoc Christians and believed to be God-given even though by legalistic standards it can seem utterly heretical(at best.) This is why I stopped going to AA though.A while back I seemed ( I use the words "seem" or "seemed" or "seemingly" alot because I know I should not trust my own thinking yet feel a need to communicate this kinda stuff)..Anyway a while back I seemed to have realized that the philosophys that go hand in hand with AA are like those expressed by Eckhart Tolle ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eckhart_Tolle ) and Emmet Fox with his "New Thought Christianity"( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmet_Fox ). It seems to me that these two guys might just be - much like Lao Tzu - people who have become as enlightened as a soul can get on a persons own without the Orthodox Church,etc.(these people pray and meditate of course - but if God heard and responds to them I wouldnt know) but whose teachings are incomplete or heretical.And Bill W. - the guy who started AA - I do believe he was enlightened by God (he was a Protestant Christian) and that people working the steps are often guided by the Holy Spirit. Anyway Ill write more on this later."
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« Reply #51 on: December 04, 2012, 09:50:00 PM »

Since the last update I have been going to an OCA parish.

The pork loin went over so well that when a couple at the parish got married they had me handle the food for their wedding. Roughly 80 pounds of pork (loin and pulled) was served along with 40 pounds of beef.

I have been attending Catechumen classes and meeting with the Priest every other week. Today he gave me December 15th for a Baptism date.

Congratulations Red!
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« Reply #52 on: December 04, 2012, 09:59:47 PM »

What jurisdiction was it? Try an OCA parish instead, I'm assuming it was an ethnic one.

You know what? I think that whole ethnic thing people suffer from is ANTI-CHRIST and anyone who is snobby and thinks they are an Orthodox Christian needs to be openly REBUKED.
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« Reply #53 on: December 05, 2012, 05:01:34 PM »

I was upfront and honest. I am a member of alcoholics anonymous. I was firm when I said that I would continue helping drunks sober up and I would not leave my drunks behind.

Last Tuesday the priest said in the catechumen class that he doubted my dedication to the church. This hurt and infuriated me as I have thrown myself into the church, attending church three times a week, volunteering for menial jobs, setting aside AA commitments, helping others as I can. The truth came out in a phone call tonight when I expressed my hurt and bewilderment at being accused of not being committed to the church. The truth came out that I have been lied to for a year and a half and the obstacle to my becoming Orthodox in this church is my continued involvement in AA.

I was a homeless skid row drunk when AA reached out and helped me become human. Every thing I am and every thing I have, including my relationship with God I owe to alcoholics anonymous. I will not leave my drunks behind.

ps. Don't lie to an alcoholic. We're better at it that you are.


just to be clear, I don't hold this against the Orthodox church as this happened at a baptist church too.


Darn-it I cant remember the name of the priest out in Los Angeles who has a google blog on AA/Orthodoxy - but you should look for that if you dont already know about it.In one of his last blogs he said something that surprised me though Ive noticed it seems true.He said that most priests are not very spiritually advanced.Like theyre just simple sinners like you and me and its not a requirement to be real enlightened for them to do their job.My first priest/spiritual father seemed to fit this description and offended me too ( I have a huge pet-peeve for people - especially Orthodox Christians - who have the worldiness in their mentality of social stigmas.In other words people who misunderstand sinners who's sins manifest as drug addictions and value them by worldy stigmatized standards [or something like that].So many Orthodox though believe AA is a God-send....Im sorry that happened to you.Anyways here what I just so happened to have written today on http://www.deathtotheworld.com on this subject: "Yeah Fr. Meletios Weber who alot of people have recently realized is way too liberal wrote a good book but this doesnt back up my argument(for a loss of a better word) of course.He wrote this book "12 Steps of Transformation" - Its an AA book for Orthodox Christians basicly.He gives a translation of that step (26,section 111)(this is totally gonna confirm LeFeu's convictions) and explains how it relates to an AA meeting....Heres a mysterious thing.In AA everyone knows or learns that God speaks through people.And it seems to me that that is just a fact of life.Now of course you dont want to just listen to what anyone says and take it as if its God speaking but at the same time I believe God can tell you something you need to hear from a drunk in the gutter.But in AA and what Fr. Meletios Weber explains is more referring to in an AA or church group or from a sponsor or spiritual adviser....Its weird how AA tends to be Orthodox-approved amongst alot of Orthodoc Christians and believed to be God-given even though by legalistic standards it can seem utterly heretical(at best.) This is why I stopped going to AA though.A while back I seemed ( I use the words "seem" or "seemed" or "seemingly" alot because I know I should not trust my own thinking yet feel a need to communicate this kinda stuff)..Anyway a while back I seemed to have realized that the philosophys that go hand in hand with AA are like those expressed by Eckhart Tolle ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eckhart_Tolle ) and Emmet Fox with his "New Thought Christianity"( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmet_Fox ). It seems to me that these two guys might just be - much like Lao Tzu - people who have become as enlightened as a soul can get on a persons own without the Orthodox Church,etc.(these people pray and meditate of course - but if God heard and responds to them I wouldnt know) but whose teachings are incomplete or heretical.And Bill W. - the guy who started AA - I do believe he was enlightened by God (he was a Protestant Christian) and that people working the steps are often guided by the Holy Spirit. Anyway Ill write more on this later."
I'm curious about what you feel is heretical about AA.


Here is what I have observed.

Synergy. This is a central concept in Orthodoxy but in western protestantism, depending on how much they are influenced by calvinism there is often only lip service paid to this concept. In AA it is central. The steps of AA make it central. God may do the heavy lifting but we must chop the wood and carry the water.


At the 4th step of AA, AA parts again with much of western christianity with it's focus on introspection. I have often heard AA referred to "humanistic" due to it's introspective aspect. I think it was Issac the Syrian that said "one who sees himself is greater than one who sees the angels". This, I have found is very important in Orthodoxy.  It has made my transition much easier when I can discuss issues with my priest from this aspect.

The lack of introspection is directly tied to protestants view of sin. In the west sin is seen as the individual act itself. The very moment the horse escapes the barn if you will. In AA this was passed by and there is discussion of "character defects". These are the discussion of what actions and attitudes that led up to the horse getting out of the barn.  In Orthodoxy I find these called passions.

Next is the issue that led my right to the doors of Orthodoxy, step 11, on prayer and meditation. Lets face it, western christianity has no discernable tradition on meditation what so ever. I was listening to an AA speaker talk on the 11th step and he talked about the Jesus prayer, the desert fathers and the Philokalia. Looking into those will only lead you to orthodoxy.

Principles like humility and forgiveness are not given much more than a passing thought in many churches while in AA and Orthodoxy they are indispensible.

Gotta take you to task. You sobered up, you got yours and you have moved on. Good for you. you did what it takes and made good.

What about those you left behind.

 The science of recovery from alcoholism is brand new. It is being written as we speak. I believe that the Orthodox church can bring a tremendous amount of healing to a tremendous amount of people. The history is made right now by those that show up and chop the wood and carry the water. People like us.

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« Reply #54 on: December 05, 2012, 08:54:12 PM »


Darn-it I cant remember the name of the priest out in Los Angeles who has a google blog on AA/Orthodoxy - but you should look for that if you dont already know about it.

I think http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com.au/may be the blog crux_84 is referring to.
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« Reply #55 on: December 09, 2012, 06:44:19 PM »

I was upfront and honest. I am a member of alcoholics anonymous. I was firm when I said that I would continue helping drunks sober up and I would not leave my drunks behind.

Last Tuesday the priest said in the catechumen class that he doubted my dedication to the church. This hurt and infuriated me as I have thrown myself into the church, attending church three times a week, volunteering for menial jobs, setting aside AA commitments, helping others as I can. The truth came out in a phone call tonight when I expressed my hurt and bewilderment at being accused of not being committed to the church. The truth came out that I have been lied to for a year and a half and the obstacle to my becoming Orthodox in this church is my continued involvement in AA.

I was a homeless skid row drunk when AA reached out and helped me become human. Every thing I am and every thing I have, including my relationship with God I owe to alcoholics anonymous. I will not leave my drunks behind.

ps. Don't lie to an alcoholic. We're better at it that you are.


just to be clear, I don't hold this against the Orthodox church as this happened at a baptist church too.


Darn-it I cant remember the name of the priest out in Los Angeles who has a google blog on AA/Orthodoxy - but you should look for that if you dont already know about it.In one of his last blogs he said something that surprised me though Ive noticed it seems true.He said that most priests are not very spiritually advanced.Like theyre just simple sinners like you and me and its not a requirement to be real enlightened for them to do their job.My first priest/spiritual father seemed to fit this description and offended me too ( I have a huge pet-peeve for people - especially Orthodox Christians - who have the worldiness in their mentality of social stigmas.In other words people who misunderstand sinners who's sins manifest as drug addictions and value them by worldy stigmatized standards [or something like that].So many Orthodox though believe AA is a God-send....Im sorry that happened to you.Anyways here what I just so happened to have written today on http://www.deathtotheworld.com on this subject: "Yeah Fr. Meletios Weber who alot of people have recently realized is way too liberal wrote a good book but this doesnt back up my argument(for a loss of a better word) of course.He wrote this book "12 Steps of Transformation" - Its an AA book for Orthodox Christians basicly.He gives a translation of that step (26,section 111)(this is totally gonna confirm LeFeu's convictions) and explains how it relates to an AA meeting....Heres a mysterious thing.In AA everyone knows or learns that God speaks through people.And it seems to me that that is just a fact of life.Now of course you dont want to just listen to what anyone says and take it as if its God speaking but at the same time I believe God can tell you something you need to hear from a drunk in the gutter.But in AA and what Fr. Meletios Weber explains is more referring to in an AA or church group or from a sponsor or spiritual adviser....Its weird how AA tends to be Orthodox-approved amongst alot of Orthodoc Christians and believed to be God-given even though by legalistic standards it can seem utterly heretical(at best.) This is why I stopped going to AA though.A while back I seemed ( I use the words "seem" or "seemed" or "seemingly" alot because I know I should not trust my own thinking yet feel a need to communicate this kinda stuff)..Anyway a while back I seemed to have realized that the philosophys that go hand in hand with AA are like those expressed by Eckhart Tolle ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eckhart_Tolle ) and Emmet Fox with his "New Thought Christianity"( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmet_Fox ). It seems to me that these two guys might just be - much like Lao Tzu - people who have become as enlightened as a soul can get on a persons own without the Orthodox Church,etc.(these people pray and meditate of course - but if God heard and responds to them I wouldnt know) but whose teachings are incomplete or heretical.And Bill W. - the guy who started AA - I do believe he was enlightened by God (he was a Protestant Christian) and that people working the steps are often guided by the Holy Spirit. Anyway Ill write more on this later."
I'm curious about what you feel is heretical about AA.


Here is what I have observed.

Synergy. This is a central concept in Orthodoxy but in western protestantism, depending on how much they are influenced by calvinism there is often only lip service paid to this concept. In AA it is central. The steps of AA make it central. God may do the heavy lifting but we must chop the wood and carry the water.


At the 4th step of AA, AA parts again with much of western christianity with it's focus on introspection. I have often heard AA referred to "humanistic" due to it's introspective aspect. I think it was Issac the Syrian that said "one who sees himself is greater than one who sees the angels". This, I have found is very important in Orthodoxy.  It has made my transition much easier when I can discuss issues with my priest from this aspect.

The lack of introspection is directly tied to protestants view of sin. In the west sin is seen as the individual act itself. The very moment the horse escapes the barn if you will. In AA this was passed by and there is discussion of "character defects". These are the discussion of what actions and attitudes that led up to the horse getting out of the barn.  In Orthodoxy I find these called passions.

Next is the issue that led my right to the doors of Orthodoxy, step 11, on prayer and meditation. Lets face it, western christianity has no discernable tradition on meditation what so ever. I was listening to an AA speaker talk on the 11th step and he talked about the Jesus prayer, the desert fathers and the Philokalia. Looking into those will only lead you to orthodoxy.

Principles like humility and forgiveness are not given much more than a passing thought in many churches while in AA and Orthodoxy they are indispensible.

Gotta take you to task. You sobered up, you got yours and you have moved on. Good for you. you did what it takes and made good.

What about those you left behind.

 The science of recovery from alcoholism is brand new. It is being written as we speak. I believe that the Orthodox church can bring a tremendous amount of healing to a tremendous amount of people. The history is made right now by those that show up and chop the wood and carry the water. People like us.




I agree with you and Ill probably start going to meetings again - probably NA (trying to kick a legal herbal methadone called Kratom) - I just have experienced alot of people discouraging any sort of religion and proclaiming to realize that anything goes in the realm of spirituality - "All paths lead to the same destination,etc." and in previous personal studies Ive realized that the type of philosophys that go along best with AA spirituality is like Echkart Tolle and Emmot Fox who the latter had a great influence on Bill W. ... And I was a big fan of all these guys and their spirituality and it makes sense but Ive found it here recently really frustrating to be trying to develop and Orthodox worldview and go along with AA at the same time...Of course Ive been trying to realize if old-school legalistic Orthodoxy is the true path as opposed to common American Orthodoxy (or just Orthodox Christianity in America)....
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« Reply #56 on: December 09, 2012, 09:14:52 PM »

I was upfront and honest. I am a member of alcoholics anonymous. I was firm when I said that I would continue helping drunks sober up and I would not leave my drunks behind.

Last Tuesday the priest said in the catechumen class that he doubted my dedication to the church. This hurt and infuriated me as I have thrown myself into the church, attending church three times a week, volunteering for menial jobs, setting aside AA commitments, helping others as I can. The truth came out in a phone call tonight when I expressed my hurt and bewilderment at being accused of not being committed to the church. The truth came out that I have been lied to for a year and a half and the obstacle to my becoming Orthodox in this church is my continued involvement in AA.

I was a homeless skid row drunk when AA reached out and helped me become human. Every thing I am and every thing I have, including my relationship with God I owe to alcoholics anonymous. I will not leave my drunks behind.

ps. Don't lie to an alcoholic. We're better at it that you are.


just to be clear, I don't hold this against the Orthodox church as this happened at a baptist church too.


Darn-it I cant remember the name of the priest out in Los Angeles who has a google blog on AA/Orthodoxy - but you should look for that if you dont already know about it.In one of his last blogs he said something that surprised me though Ive noticed it seems true.He said that most priests are not very spiritually advanced.Like theyre just simple sinners like you and me and its not a requirement to be real enlightened for them to do their job.My first priest/spiritual father seemed to fit this description and offended me too ( I have a huge pet-peeve for people - especially Orthodox Christians - who have the worldiness in their mentality of social stigmas.In other words people who misunderstand sinners who's sins manifest as drug addictions and value them by worldy stigmatized standards [or something like that].So many Orthodox though believe AA is a God-send....Im sorry that happened to you.Anyways here what I just so happened to have written today on http://www.deathtotheworld.com on this subject: "Yeah Fr. Meletios Weber who alot of people have recently realized is way too liberal wrote a good book but this doesnt back up my argument(for a loss of a better word) of course.He wrote this book "12 Steps of Transformation" - Its an AA book for Orthodox Christians basicly.He gives a translation of that step (26,section 111)(this is totally gonna confirm LeFeu's convictions) and explains how it relates to an AA meeting....Heres a mysterious thing.In AA everyone knows or learns that God speaks through people.And it seems to me that that is just a fact of life.Now of course you dont want to just listen to what anyone says and take it as if its God speaking but at the same time I believe God can tell you something you need to hear from a drunk in the gutter.But in AA and what Fr. Meletios Weber explains is more referring to in an AA or church group or from a sponsor or spiritual adviser....Its weird how AA tends to be Orthodox-approved amongst alot of Orthodoc Christians and believed to be God-given even though by legalistic standards it can seem utterly heretical(at best.) This is why I stopped going to AA though.A while back I seemed ( I use the words "seem" or "seemed" or "seemingly" alot because I know I should not trust my own thinking yet feel a need to communicate this kinda stuff)..Anyway a while back I seemed to have realized that the philosophys that go hand in hand with AA are like those expressed by Eckhart Tolle ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eckhart_Tolle ) and Emmet Fox with his "New Thought Christianity"( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmet_Fox ). It seems to me that these two guys might just be - much like Lao Tzu - people who have become as enlightened as a soul can get on a persons own without the Orthodox Church,etc.(these people pray and meditate of course - but if God heard and responds to them I wouldnt know) but whose teachings are incomplete or heretical.And Bill W. - the guy who started AA - I do believe he was enlightened by God (he was a Protestant Christian) and that people working the steps are often guided by the Holy Spirit. Anyway Ill write more on this later."
I'm curious about what you feel is heretical about AA.


Here is what I have observed.

Synergy. This is a central concept in Orthodoxy but in western protestantism, depending on how much they are influenced by calvinism there is often only lip service paid to this concept. In AA it is central. The steps of AA make it central. God may do the heavy lifting but we must chop the wood and carry the water.


At the 4th step of AA, AA parts again with much of western christianity with it's focus on introspection. I have often heard AA referred to "humanistic" due to it's introspective aspect. I think it was Issac the Syrian that said "one who sees himself is greater than one who sees the angels". This, I have found is very important in Orthodoxy.  It has made my transition much easier when I can discuss issues with my priest from this aspect.

The lack of introspection is directly tied to protestants view of sin. In the west sin is seen as the individual act itself. The very moment the horse escapes the barn if you will. In AA this was passed by and there is discussion of "character defects". These are the discussion of what actions and attitudes that led up to the horse getting out of the barn.  In Orthodoxy I find these called passions.

Next is the issue that led my right to the doors of Orthodoxy, step 11, on prayer and meditation. Lets face it, western christianity has no discernable tradition on meditation what so ever. I was listening to an AA speaker talk on the 11th step and he talked about the Jesus prayer, the desert fathers and the Philokalia. Looking into those will only lead you to orthodoxy.

Principles like humility and forgiveness are not given much more than a passing thought in many churches while in AA and Orthodoxy they are indispensible.

Gotta take you to task. You sobered up, you got yours and you have moved on. Good for you. you did what it takes and made good.

What about those you left behind.

 The science of recovery from alcoholism is brand new. It is being written as we speak. I believe that the Orthodox church can bring a tremendous amount of healing to a tremendous amount of people. The history is made right now by those that show up and chop the wood and carry the water. People like us.




I agree with you and Ill probably start going to meetings again - probably NA (trying to kick a legal herbal methadone called Kratom) - I just have experienced alot of people discouraging any sort of religion and proclaiming to realize that anything goes in the realm of spirituality - "All paths lead to the same destination,etc." and in previous personal studies Ive realized that the type of philosophys that go along best with AA spirituality is like Echkart Tolle and Emmot Fox who the latter had a great influence on Bill W. ... And I was a big fan of all these guys and their spirituality and it makes sense but Ive found it here recently really frustrating to be trying to develop and Orthodox worldview and go along with AA at the same time...Of course Ive been trying to realize if old-school legalistic Orthodoxy is the true path as opposed to common American Orthodoxy (or just Orthodox Christianity in America)....
Yep, once a month I speak at a drug/alcoholism treatment center and I often get the eye rolling and such when I speak of things spiritual. I figure if the martyrs of the church can take what they did i can suffer a little social awkwardness. Those with ears to hear will hear though.

On that vein though, A change that I have noticed in the recovery community over time has been the larger and larger number of people with no spiritual backround at all. None. They are not mad at God, they don't hate the Pope. Nothing, no one has ever even offered it to them. As you recall Most AA meetings will end with The Lords Prayer.  I am finding a larger and larger number of people that do not even know that. I keep a prayer book with me to share with them. I am also finding that many of these people are very embarrassed that they are so lacking in things spiritual. Out of shame they don't ask, but they do watch. So when you go back, watch to see who quietly declines to say the Lords Prayer, it may not be obstinacy you see. They could probably use a friend in the know.
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« Reply #57 on: December 15, 2012, 01:14:27 AM »

I was upfront and honest. I am a member of alcoholics anonymous. I was firm when I said that I would continue helping drunks sober up and I would not leave my drunks behind.

Last Tuesday the priest said in the catechumen class that he doubted my dedication to the church. This hurt and infuriated me as I have thrown myself into the church, attending church three times a week, volunteering for menial jobs, setting aside AA commitments, helping others as I can. The truth came out in a phone call tonight when I expressed my hurt and bewilderment at being accused of not being committed to the church. The truth came out that I have been lied to for a year and a half and the obstacle to my becoming Orthodox in this church is my continued involvement in AA.

I was a homeless skid row drunk when AA reached out and helped me become human. Every thing I am and every thing I have, including my relationship with God I owe to alcoholics anonymous. I will not leave my drunks behind.

ps. Don't lie to an alcoholic. We're better at it that you are.


just to be clear, I don't hold this against the Orthodox church as this happened at a baptist church too.


Darn-it I cant remember the name of the priest out in Los Angeles who has a google blog on AA/Orthodoxy - but you should look for that if you dont already know about it.In one of his last blogs he said something that surprised me though Ive noticed it seems true.He said that most priests are not very spiritually advanced.Like theyre just simple sinners like you and me and its not a requirement to be real enlightened for them to do their job.My first priest/spiritual father seemed to fit this description and offended me too ( I have a huge pet-peeve for people - especially Orthodox Christians - who have the worldiness in their mentality of social stigmas.In other words people who misunderstand sinners who's sins manifest as drug addictions and value them by worldy stigmatized standards [or something like that].So many Orthodox though believe AA is a God-send....Im sorry that happened to you.Anyways here what I just so happened to have written today on http://www.deathtotheworld.com on this subject: "Yeah Fr. Meletios Weber who alot of people have recently realized is way too liberal wrote a good book but this doesnt back up my argument(for a loss of a better word) of course.He wrote this book "12 Steps of Transformation" - Its an AA book for Orthodox Christians basicly.He gives a translation of that step (26,section 111)(this is totally gonna confirm LeFeu's convictions) and explains how it relates to an AA meeting....Heres a mysterious thing.In AA everyone knows or learns that God speaks through people.And it seems to me that that is just a fact of life.Now of course you dont want to just listen to what anyone says and take it as if its God speaking but at the same time I believe God can tell you something you need to hear from a drunk in the gutter.But in AA and what Fr. Meletios Weber explains is more referring to in an AA or church group or from a sponsor or spiritual adviser....Its weird how AA tends to be Orthodox-approved amongst alot of Orthodoc Christians and believed to be God-given even though by legalistic standards it can seem utterly heretical(at best.) This is why I stopped going to AA though.A while back I seemed ( I use the words "seem" or "seemed" or "seemingly" alot because I know I should not trust my own thinking yet feel a need to communicate this kinda stuff)..Anyway a while back I seemed to have realized that the philosophys that go hand in hand with AA are like those expressed by Eckhart Tolle ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eckhart_Tolle ) and Emmet Fox with his "New Thought Christianity"( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmet_Fox ). It seems to me that these two guys might just be - much like Lao Tzu - people who have become as enlightened as a soul can get on a persons own without the Orthodox Church,etc.(these people pray and meditate of course - but if God heard and responds to them I wouldnt know) but whose teachings are incomplete or heretical.And Bill W. - the guy who started AA - I do believe he was enlightened by God (he was a Protestant Christian) and that people working the steps are often guided by the Holy Spirit. Anyway Ill write more on this later."
I'm curious about what you feel is heretical about AA.


Here is what I have observed.

Synergy. This is a central concept in Orthodoxy but in western protestantism, depending on how much they are influenced by calvinism there is often only lip service paid to this concept. In AA it is central. The steps of AA make it central. God may do the heavy lifting but we must chop the wood and carry the water.


At the 4th step of AA, AA parts again with much of western christianity with it's focus on introspection. I have often heard AA referred to "humanistic" due to it's introspective aspect. I think it was Issac the Syrian that said "one who sees himself is greater than one who sees the angels". This, I have found is very important in Orthodoxy.  It has made my transition much easier when I can discuss issues with my priest from this aspect.

The lack of introspection is directly tied to protestants view of sin. In the west sin is seen as the individual act itself. The very moment the horse escapes the barn if you will. In AA this was passed by and there is discussion of "character defects". These are the discussion of what actions and attitudes that led up to the horse getting out of the barn.  In Orthodoxy I find these called passions.

Next is the issue that led my right to the doors of Orthodoxy, step 11, on prayer and meditation. Lets face it, western christianity has no discernable tradition on meditation what so ever. I was listening to an AA speaker talk on the 11th step and he talked about the Jesus prayer, the desert fathers and the Philokalia. Looking into those will only lead you to orthodoxy.

Principles like humility and forgiveness are not given much more than a passing thought in many churches while in AA and Orthodoxy they are indispensible.

Gotta take you to task. You sobered up, you got yours and you have moved on. Good for you. you did what it takes and made good.

What about those you left behind.

 The science of recovery from alcoholism is brand new. It is being written as we speak. I believe that the Orthodox church can bring a tremendous amount of healing to a tremendous amount of people. The history is made right now by those that show up and chop the wood and carry the water. People like us.




I agree with you and Ill probably start going to meetings again - probably NA (trying to kick a legal herbal methadone called Kratom) - I just have experienced alot of people discouraging any sort of religion and proclaiming to realize that anything goes in the realm of spirituality - "All paths lead to the same destination,etc." and in previous personal studies Ive realized that the type of philosophys that go along best with AA spirituality is like Echkart Tolle and Emmot Fox who the latter had a great influence on Bill W. ... And I was a big fan of all these guys and their spirituality and it makes sense but Ive found it here recently really frustrating to be trying to develop and Orthodox worldview and go along with AA at the same time...Of course Ive been trying to realize if old-school legalistic Orthodoxy is the true path as opposed to common American Orthodoxy (or just Orthodox Christianity in America)....
Yep, once a month I speak at a drug/alcoholism treatment center and I often get the eye rolling and such when I speak of things spiritual. I figure if the martyrs of the church can take what they did i can suffer a little social awkwardness. Those with ears to hear will hear though.

On that vein though, A change that I have noticed in the recovery community over time has been the larger and larger number of people with no spiritual backround at all. None. They are not mad at God, they don't hate the Pope. Nothing, no one has ever even offered it to them. As you recall Most AA meetings will end with The Lords Prayer.  I am finding a larger and larger number of people that do not even know that. I keep a prayer book with me to share with them. I am also finding that many of these people are very embarrassed that they are so lacking in things spiritual. Out of shame they don't ask, but they do watch. So when you go back, watch to see who quietly declines to say the Lords Prayer, it may not be obstinacy you see. They could probably use a friend in the know.


Yeah AA seems often to be all about "God can be anything you want him to be"... Fr. Meletios Weber explained in Steps of Transformation that God does in fact remain anonymous in AA and allows people to like grasp Him indirectly or something  - you know like a doorknob! lol Ive also experienced very Christian - like against the AA rules Christian - meetings where ppl were naming Jesus Christ and quoting the Bible directly and like 75% percent of the room were cheering Jesus while the other percent sat there looking alienated but of course these Christians were Protestant and possibly proclaiming prelestious (i made that word up) Gospel stuff...Anyway Im more of a fly than a honeybee andf I would very much like to truly realize by God's grace that AA,etc. is in fact what its members believe it to be.Its just confusing being new to Orthodoxy and being told Im supposed to learn from a group of people who voice notions suggesting confidence of their eternal well-being yet they might believe God to be..I dont know say - Impersonal Spirit or Thor or "the group" or whatever...But yeah we know where the Holy Spirit is - not where it isnt but again AA seems like a manifestation of utter heresy but then many Orthodox see it as being totally Orthodox-esque in its essence or something - or the spirituality and Ive seen what theyre talking about...Ill end with this : "You ask, will the heterodox be saved... Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins... I will tell you one thing, however: should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever."

- Blessed Theophan the Recluse
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« Reply #58 on: December 15, 2012, 08:44:13 PM »

I was Baptized at 3 pm today.
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« Reply #59 on: December 15, 2012, 09:29:05 PM »

I was Baptized at 3 pm today.
Congrats!
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« Reply #60 on: December 15, 2012, 09:56:55 PM »

I was Baptized at 3 pm today.

God grant you many years.
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« Reply #61 on: December 15, 2012, 11:34:26 PM »

Many years.
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« Reply #62 on: December 15, 2012, 11:42:03 PM »

Thank you all very much.
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« Reply #63 on: December 16, 2012, 05:54:59 AM »

Many years, Red A. Smiley
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« Reply #64 on: December 16, 2012, 10:32:16 AM »

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« Reply #65 on: December 16, 2012, 04:52:19 PM »

yay!
1,000 congratulations!
(as we say in our church to this news).
may God guide u and give u peace and joy.
 Smiley
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« Reply #66 on: December 16, 2012, 05:01:37 PM »

Thank you everyone!
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« Reply #67 on: December 17, 2012, 06:14:29 PM »

I was Baptized at 3 pm today.

Congratulations! Many Years!
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« Reply #68 on: December 17, 2012, 06:15:39 PM »

Many years!
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« Reply #69 on: December 17, 2012, 07:08:35 PM »

Now you really are no longer a catechumen. Smiley Many years!

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« Reply #70 on: December 17, 2012, 07:10:31 PM »

I was Baptized at 3 pm today.

Yaaaaaaaay!
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« Reply #71 on: January 27, 2013, 01:24:18 PM »

Congratulations! And it appears from the photo you weren't baptised in an inflatable pool lol!

On a side note, my experience of NA is that the Higher Power can be the group consciousness; an addition to make it non-secular and athiest/agnostic-friendly. I would've thought involvement in NA/AA would be a form of almsgiving? My Priest has always been supportive of my involvement in it at least.
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« Reply #72 on: January 27, 2013, 05:21:26 PM »

Many years!
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« Reply #73 on: January 27, 2013, 07:04:19 PM »

Welcome home!

May the Holy Trinity fill you, heal you, and save you, by God's grace.
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« Reply #74 on: January 28, 2013, 12:59:09 AM »

sometimes I'm a bit slow Roll Eyes. so can you explain why he feels that way.
I mean does he think AA is taking time away you could be spending in church? im very curious.
also,  your heart is correct, follow it and don't be discuraged by one priest!
it IS worth it to travel to go to the correct church!!!!
o be honest, I am just guessing about problems clergy have had with AA. I ask but I don't think I have ever gotten an honest answer. What I do get are a few vague "well i heard this bad thing or that" about AA that is always very off base. This last time he said he heard that we couldn't talk about God or Jesus in meetings (I and many others do often). I had one Baptist preacher that thought that when we pray in AA we pray to a deity called "Higher power". Some have expressed a problem with the concept of "God as I understand God".

I personally think it's an ego thing. They want to be the only source of the persons connection to God and AA is not under their control so it scares them a bit. But again I'm just speculating

 The church should be your one connection to the Lord. Period. You cry ego and yet your the one who gets pissed off when the priest questions you and you storm off and basically say "I quit." Your defensive about AA. Plain and simple.  Almost like a cult member. Before you cry 'ego' show some humility and try obeying your priest.

Hey Red A ---  Ignore this uninformed - well any adjective to describe his post and what it reflects of the poster's judgment and sensitivity, let alone good sense, would be uncharitable for me to post.

He has no right, authority, knowledge of you, or any relationship with you to judge you like this. You came to this board with sincerity and hurting and came away scarred by this individual's post (I was thirsty and you gave me a glass of sand; I was hurting and you blasted me for a blanket endorsement of a priest who might very well be a bad priest - they do exist you know! Lord when were you thirsty and I gave you a glass of sand? - when you made that idotic post on OC.net to my dear lamb who has been winning his battle with addition and was deeply wounded by a clergy member who is very out of touch and placing my lamb in a dangerous position by interferring with the one thing that has kept him sober. Not only that, he has been a help to others and this priest could cause the downfall of those others as well.

Listen, KShaft, (I am figuratively saying, look at me, look me directly in the eye, so you completely understand), unless you have a loved one who has struggled with addiction or had that struggle yourself, keep your uninformed, fundamentalist advice to topics you can safely speak to others about without potentially causing real damage.

I haven't posted on OC.net for a long time until recently. So I don't know, maybe you are a really good guy and you just took a stupid pill this morning. So maybe you deserve a mulligan for this post as far as the post itself.

But as far as what you said to Red A - unbelievabe, uncharitable, and if you knew anything about addiction , quite stupid.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 01:05:08 AM by BrotherAidan » Logged
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« Reply #75 on: January 28, 2013, 01:37:05 AM »

Red A
So glad you found the right parish and priest!
Congratulations. Many years to you.

Keep leaving the 99 behind (figuratively speaking when you are away from your parish attending to AA ministy; because you are not really leaving, you are just being an Orthodox Christian out in the world, albeit in a very specific place) to find more and more lost sheep.

One thing Orthodoxy DOES TEACH. We are all on our own path and God will judge us acordingly. Not all of the AA people you sponsor and help will become Othodox, but some might! Some may attend heterodox churches; others may go nowhere. But you are helping them get back on the path and re-start their journey, rather than being lost in the weeds of addiction.
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« Reply #76 on: January 28, 2013, 03:39:17 PM »

Thank you all for your support guidance and even the butt chewing.
My Baptism was on a saturday. There were 7 people from church there and nine from AA that traveled about 30 miles, including a presbyterian minister that is my AA sponsor.


Congratulations! And it appears from the photo you weren't baptised in an inflatable pool lol!

Nope it's a cattle trough.
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« Reply #77 on: January 29, 2013, 08:50:48 PM »

I was Baptized at 3 pm today.

Glory to God!  That's wonderful!  Thank God and thank you for posting the photo.  Hronia polla!
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« Reply #78 on: February 07, 2013, 02:14:53 PM »

For the record: Ive been attending AA again for the last month and a half and feel like Im realizing that it is pretty much Orthodox Christianity anonymous...In the words of Fr. George who writes the Orthodoxy and Recovery google-blog: "We Orthodox Christians in recovery have come to realize that the 12-Steps are indeed a simplified manifestation of the fullness of the Orthodox Faith. We believe that there are many people in recovery who are avoiding affiliation with religion because they are unknowingly seeking the True Church. We also believe there are many people in the Church suffering from their own denial of their disease, but don't know how to get help."
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« Reply #79 on: February 07, 2013, 08:19:12 PM »

For the record: Ive been attending AA again for the last month and a half and feel like Im realizing that it is pretty much Orthodox Christianity anonymous..
Outstanding!

AA needs what Orthodoxy has to offer. I already have several of the people at my home meeting using the word "brokenness" when talking about what AA calls the spiritual malady. I think in the Orthodox context "brokenness" fits much better.

Unseen warfare puts some meat on the third step.

http://www.stnicholasdc.org/files/Orthodoxy/Unseen-Warfare.pdf


and then Metropolitans talk "Do not resent, do not react, keep inner stillness" really breathes life into the eleventh step.

http://orthocath.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/do-not-react-do-not-resent-keep-inner-stillness/


Here are several talks by AA speaker Sandy Beach. Many of his talks translate well into Orthodoxy.

http://storiesofrecovery.org/SandyB.htm

Start with the 2008 set of talks.

Keep in touch and swap notes with me on how you are doing.
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« Reply #80 on: February 08, 2013, 12:33:15 PM »

Red A - I would quote you but you know how when you do that then when you write it bounces around all crazy and you cant see what your writing (or is that just on the computers I use) anyway : Thanks! You know what else is interesting? My sponsor who is an Orthodox priest kinda just so happened to give me "Father Arseny 1893-1973 Priest,Prisoner,Spiritual Father" wich Ive been nourishing myself on as it is especially good recovery literature! I kinda forget specificly why exactly at the moment but Ill try to include that later.(Its probably just part of the ongoing amazing realization that 12-step recovery really is Orthodox Christianity - wich is just really amazing to someone whos been trying to get this for years and years and years and exploring all these different "spiritual paths" and am now actually experiencing a gradual full-blown spiritual awakening.etc,etc.)
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« Reply #81 on: February 08, 2013, 05:08:24 PM »

Red A - I would quote you but you know how when you do that then when you write it bounces around all crazy and you cant see what your writing (or is that just on the computers I use) anyway : Thanks! You know what else is interesting? My sponsor who is an Orthodox priest kinda just so happened to give me "Father Arseny 1893-1973 Priest,Prisoner,Spiritual Father" wich Ive been nourishing myself on as it is especially good recovery literature! I kinda forget specificly why exactly at the moment but Ill try to include that later.(Its probably just part of the ongoing amazing realization that 12-step recovery really is Orthodox Christianity - wich is just really amazing to someone whos been trying to get this for years and years and years and exploring all these different "spiritual paths" and am now actually experiencing a gradual full-blown spiritual awakening.etc,etc.)
I love Father Arseny. I almost took that name at Baptism. I have only read half of that book. I feel so small after reading about him. I get disturbed over such trivial stuff and struggle to keep humble and silent, then I read of his trials and how he maintained such towering faith in the face of such adversity, well, I just wonder why they even let me in the doors of an Orthodox Church much less let me be a member. A good book to keep my gratitude where it should be.
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« Reply #82 on: February 09, 2013, 02:57:52 PM »

Red A - I would quote you but you know how when you do that then when you write it bounces around all crazy and you cant see what your writing (or is that just on the computers I use) anyway : Thanks! You know what else is interesting? My sponsor who is an Orthodox priest kinda just so happened to give me "Father Arseny 1893-1973 Priest,Prisoner,Spiritual Father" wich Ive been nourishing myself on as it is especially good recovery literature! I kinda forget specificly why exactly at the moment but Ill try to include that later.(Its probably just part of the ongoing amazing realization that 12-step recovery really is Orthodox Christianity - wich is just really amazing to someone whos been trying to get this for years and years and years and exploring all these different "spiritual paths" and am now actually experiencing a gradual full-blown spiritual awakening.etc,etc.)
I love Father Arseny. I almost took that name at Baptism. I have only read half of that book. I feel so small after reading about him. I get disturbed over such trivial stuff and struggle to keep humble and silent, then I read of his trials and how he maintained such towering faith in the face of such adversity, well, I just wonder why they even let me in the doors of an Orthodox Church much less let me be a member. A good book to keep my gratitude where it should be.


DID - O.
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