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Author Topic: Is it bad that I do not want my parents to attend my Baptism?  (Read 670 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: May 18, 2012, 12:12:15 AM »

A little issue that came up. I'm being Baptised this Pentecost finally and as you all know I come from an extremely Protestant family that has been taking my conversion negatively. For some strange reason, my mother (including herself) wants the entire family to be there when I am Baptised and to be honest, I do not really want this. Firstly because I do not know what to expect at my Baptism so I'm really nervous and worried, adding my family to the mix only makes the pressure even worse. Secondly, this is the most important day of my religious life, I do not want to be thinking the entire time of what my Protestant parents must be thinking or what they are going to ask me later on or what questions they're going to ask that I'm going to have to answer. I understand that asking my family not to come would be one of the most horrible, offensive things I could possibly do to them and may even permanently turn them off to Orthodoxy, while on the other hand taking them along is going to make things a lot more tense and awkward for me. What should I do?
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2012, 12:20:24 AM »

If it were me, I wouldn't want to risk alienating family for quite a while (perhaps years, perhaps their entire lives? I don't know them, so I don't know) just to be a little less anxious. Turn the situation around, don't let the situation control you. Instead of letting it be a moment of nervousness and anxiety, let it be one of joy, let them see how happy you are when you have completed things. Also, consider the worst case scenario: you get baptized, but your family is indeed permanently turned off to Orthodoxy. What have you gained in that case? You would have been baptized either way, but now you have created an obstacle for someone else.
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2012, 12:22:18 AM »

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Instead of letting it be a moment of nervousness and anxiety, let it be one of joy, let them see how happy you are when you have completed things.

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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 12:23:34 AM »

I think, firstly, my advice has to be calm down. Just, all of it. Calm down. Being nervous is normal. I know I was. That said, don't let it get to you. If you're about "doing it right", don't worry, the priest will definitely guide and direct you. If it's about facing the sacraments...yeah, be nervous, that's perfectly understandable, the same way cold feet is before a wedding. It's that serious. Actually, more serious, I'd say.

As for your family...this might actually be a good experience for them. Have they been to an Orthodox service before? They may be surprised at what they see, and will surely have questions. However, that doesn't mean you have to be able to answer them about every little detail. You're still new to this whole thing! If they ask you a question, answer them honestly. If you know, tell them. If you don't, say so. Also, make sure they meet your priest and know that they can speak with him as well. I'm sure he'd be delighted to meet your family.
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 12:47:59 AM »

I think, firstly, my advice has to be calm down. Just, all of it. Calm down. Being nervous is normal. I know I was. That said, don't let it get to you. If you're about "doing it right", don't worry, the priest will definitely guide and direct you. If it's about facing the sacraments...yeah, be nervous, that's perfectly understandable, the same way cold feet is before a wedding. It's that serious. Actually, more serious, I'd say.

As for your family...this might actually be a good experience for them. Have they been to an Orthodox service before? They may be surprised at what they see, and will surely have questions. However, that doesn't mean you have to be able to answer them about every little detail. You're still new to this whole thing! If they ask you a question, answer them honestly. If you know, tell them. If you don't, say so. Also, make sure they meet your priest and know that they can speak with him as well. I'm sure he'd be delighted to meet your family.

Thank you Ben, I found this really helpful. To answer your questions, they've only been to two Orthodox services in their lifetime. The first one being half of a Vespers which was also my very first time attending an Orthodox service, and the second being my father who attended a Divine Liturgy with me and stayed for only the first half of it. My mother absolutely despised it and my father did not like it really either and felt really awkward, but is at least more open minded to it than my mother. Second, my Priest has met my family a couple of times.
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James, you have problemz.
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 03:04:22 AM »

I would say let them come. Usually there is food afterwards so that would give your family more time to ask other people questions, or just to see Orthodoxy in motion. Be warned that it could go really well, or really bad. I guess it just depends on your parents and the rest of your family.

I wish that I had more of my family around when I was chrismated, but none of them could come, except for my wife and brother (but of course my brother was being chrismated with me). I wanted them to be able to share my joy with me, and even if they did not agree 100% with my joining the Church they still would have been happy for my brother and I.

In fact, since joining the Church, my mother has told me that she is proud of the man that I am and that I am becoming. She apparently sees that the Church is doing good work in me. I just see that I need to do more work.
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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 08:08:29 AM »

They should come if they are willing.  Focus on the joy of the day and the confidence that drew you to this decision, and seriously struggle against any thought about them, their possible concerns, potential questions, etc.  Don't worry about needing to have all of the answers.  New converts often believe that they need to demonstrate to their family that they know everything about the faith that they are joining; while their families likely know very little about their own faith.  If they have the concern that you are jumping in to something you don't understand, you can simply say that you have studied and prayed a great deal about this and you are confident that joining the Orthodox Church is the will of God, and you can humbly explain what led you to this decision.  Regarding specific questions, however, answer if you feel able to do so humbly and clearly; but if you are not able just be willing to say to them that you would be happy to look into their questions and get back to them with an explanation.  Resist the temptation to engage in debates, and turn down provocations towards this end.  If there is humble inquiry, certainly respond as you can, but a person who just wants to prove you wrong is futile to engage.  Most of all, pray for them and deal lovingly with them, realizing that they too may in time join the Church if you are able to be a good example of humble, Christ-like love.

When my wife and I were married in the Orthodox Church, her Protestant parents came even though they are quite hostile to our Faith.  Since years ago we were married in the church that they still attend, it is understandable that they would be offended somewhat by our being married in the Orthodox Church, which signified perhaps an even greater rejection of their faith than when we were baptized in the Orthodox Church years ago (they didn’t attend the baptism, though we were living very far from them at the time).  After the service, my father-in-law said, “that was awesome”, whereas my mother-in-law looked like a walking corpse.   You can’t help how people respond to things, but it is good to invite and pray for such people, maintaining hope that perhaps their hearts will soften and God will enlighten them in time.  Remember, it is God who can enlighten people from within, and it is not really up to us to convince people of anything, though we should do our best to explain our faith, and to live it first of all.   
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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2012, 09:27:52 AM »

If they want to come I think that's great and it can be the bonding experiance that may help any differances they have on your choice.
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2012, 10:20:06 AM »

Hi James. I quite agree with everybody who has said that you shouldn't stop them from coming. At the same time, I do sympathize with your feelings. (Don't get me started talking about my own family.  Shocked) But you might take comfort in the fact that, even though some in your family are extremely negative toward what you're doing, there could also be some who are more opened-minded, and coming might "plant a seed" in them.
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2012, 12:58:00 PM »

i understand totally.

i think u should open up to 2 or 3 of yr orthodox friends and ask them to take care of yr folks during and after the service.
this will be nice for yr folks if they are geniunely respectful and caring, and also it will keep them under control if they make a scene
or start loud 'prayers' or protests.
this will also give u a little personal space, as u won't have to explain what's happening.
('right now i am confessing my sins, well u know most of them as u live with me, now i am weeping as God loves me so much, now i have the peace of of God and u don't upset me so much as u used too as i've just been chrismated...')
 Wink
remember God is in control, and He also knows how much u can cope with. He cares for yr parents and for u too, and will help u keep things in perspective and not panic.

jah777 and dcommini, thanks for sharing.
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dcommini
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2012, 01:05:03 PM »

i understand totally.

i think u should open up to 2 or 3 of yr orthodox friends and ask them to take care of yr folks during and after the service.
this will be nice for yr folks if they are geniunely respectful and caring, and also it will keep them under control if they make a scene
or start loud 'prayers' or protests.
this will also give u a little personal space, as u won't have to explain what's happening.
('right now i am confessing my sins, well u know most of them as u live with me, now i am weeping as God loves me so much, now i have the peace of of God and u don't upset me so much as u used too as i've just been chrismated...')
 Wink
remember God is in control, and He also knows how much u can cope with. He cares for yr parents and for u too, and will help u keep things in perspective and not panic.

jah777 and dcommini, thanks for sharing.

its what i do  Wink
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JamesR
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2012, 01:58:42 PM »

Thanks guys, all this advice helped. I figure that if they are at least making an effort to come on their own, maybe there are more open-minded then I assumed. I also decided that maybe I could ask my godparents to hang around my parents and sort of guide them through everything going on etc.
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 08:53:04 PM »

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I also decided that maybe I could ask my godparents to hang around my parents and sort of guide them through everything going on

Umm, maybe not. Your Godparents are going to be a little busy.  Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2012, 12:54:30 AM »

Seeing a full immersion Orthodox Baptism will probably help them to accept your decision.  They will like the "spit on the devil" before the baptism. In short they will probably get it more than they do their own church's baptismal ceremonies---my non-orthodx relatives have been drawn to admire and even enter the church by these kittke traditions and traditional services.

Thomas
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2012, 10:06:16 AM »

u can ask yr God parents advice about who can look after yr parents.
 Smiley
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