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Big Chris
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« on: May 30, 2012, 07:35:59 PM »

I'm just going to throw this out there because it's been floating around in my mind for some time now, and suppressing it doesn't last for long.

Considering that all I've really known is high church Catholicism and Orthodoxy, considering that I've never really taken the time to learn about all the nuances that shape Protestantism, considering that I've never really given any form of Protestantism a fair shot but repeatedly accepted some apologist's claim in order to maintain social stasis, I am now at this point where I wonder why I shouldn't become a Protestant.  It's a highly conflicting thought for me now.  Having attended more than a few low church Protestant services in my life now but so long ago, I can only vaguely remember what it's like to experience life as a Protestant.  If I knew then what I knew now, there might be an opportunity for a fair assessment. 

There's a large non-denominational church right down the road from me.  I've visited their website before and have really felt inspired by their mission.  I get the feeling that belonging to that particular body of Christ could help me in so many different ways - like being able to get involved more with the community, helping with outreach, learning more about the Bible through Bible Study, meeting people my own age, making great friends, experiencing the presence of Christ through the love of others, etc..  I honestly think my fiance - who was born Catholic - would really like it, as well.

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?

I don't write any of this to sound like a troll - but it's honestly something I'm wrestling with.  At times, I really have to think hard about why I am pursuing Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 08:09:18 PM »

I'll try to make it simple, and my personal reason for not being Protestant - It didn't exist until the reformation and is based on a rejection that the Holy Sprit has continuously and consistently guided the Church to the point where a brand new one (which gave birth to countless others based on the same premise) had to be started.

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?

Yeah, but we have St Basil the Great, St John Chrysostom, St Mary of Egypt, St Moses the Black, St Seraphim of Sarov, St Nectarios of Aegina, and many others. As for the bolded name, his son is now Orthodox.

Just a couple of thoughts.
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 09:20:20 PM »

Chris,
I applaud the openness and intellectual honesty in your query. I can't lay claim to the intellectual heights of the people you list but I can tell you why after 20 year in an Evangelical Church and 20 years in a Charismatic Church I am coming to Orthodoxy now. I can also tell you that in changing from Evangelical to Charismatic I didn't do it on a whim and that I put a fair amount of study into it. I can additionally tell you that when I decided to convert to Orthodoxy I put a year of near continuous study into it. I can further tell you I found it compelling enough to give up my ministerial license and to take my family out of the church we'd been in for 20 years and away from the people of that church. People that were not just friends to us but family.
The bottom line reason I'm switching is that Sola Scriptura Protestantism lies to itself without knowing it. They claim to follow scripture alone but each Protestant church also follows it's own Tradition, which they don't admit even to themselves. So when you get down to it your pitting Tradition against Tradition. When I did this, I had to ask myself,” which tradition should I trust?” On one hand a tradition that is ever changing, self-denying, and borrows piecemeal  from other traditions some of which it condemns, all while saying it's Bible only. On the other hand the Orthodox tradition that wrote the Bible and selected which books should be in the canon and which has remained almost unchanged for 2000 years.
Hope this help.  Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 10:53:55 PM »

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

There is a different ontology in the Orthodox Church than Protestantism.  Our ontological approach is spiritual, not intellectual.  We are not smart, we are blessed, there is a difference.  So when we come to Orthodox, it is to have an experience, not necessarily an understanding.  In you getting closer with Orthodox, perhaps you should shift your exploration towards the Spirit and not just the letter? After all, the Fathers of the Church have been quite intelligent and intellectual as well, but that is not exactly why we venerate or study them, but rather from the religious experience we have with our relationship with them as Saints.  Try to be a bit more spiritual about it, live in the moment rather than the mind.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 11:29:39 PM »

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?

Melodist has pointed out that you could likewise draw up an impressive list of Orthodox saints to compare (very favorably for Orthodoxy) to these men. Likewise, I could draw up a list of impressive pagans and even one of atheists with amazing intelligence to overshadow anything you are likely to find here or in your local parish.

In the end, you can't worry about what was 'good enough' for Bonhoeffer or Gandhi or Francis of Assisi or even St. John Chrysostom. What you have to worry about is what is the *truth* insofar as you are able to discern (or experience, to Habte's excellent point). If you 'go Protestant', it should be because you are convinced that that is the Church Christ founded. If you are concerned that they 'might' be because you haven't heard their side of the story, then by all means look into their side. But don't settle for 'good enough'.
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 11:41:42 PM »

Good thing you're going through a long catechumenate.
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 11:41:59 PM »


Of all the thing I could site to you, one stands out, and the person who says it makes it perfectly clear as to where he got it from and the Orthodox Church makes it very clear where she got it from. Christ is Really Present within his Church, and I have no where else to go away from him !  

1 Corinthians 11: 23-32
23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.


Yeah none of that it is a symbol nonsense! No Christianity with out the Eucharist and the Eucharist is the Real Presence ! the Paschal Lamb that came to take away the sin of the world is slain and he has given us his very body and blood so we may eat and live, for we have no life by ourselves, for this very reason he has come unto the world! To establish the New Covenant by His precious blood! To reject that is to reject everything!  If One must abandon Christ for being unable to handle this truth then so be it, but the Truth can not abandon itself nor deny itself!
The Lord did not appologise for those who were scandalized by the literality of what he said about his body and blood,  he did not say, oh wait I did not mean it, I meant in symbolism please don’t go away !’ rather said  to the apostles do you want to leave too?


John 6 :22-71 22On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
25When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”41So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59Jesusd said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
66After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
________________________________________


Yes Christ keeps me in his Church none other! everything else is beautiful and loveable in Him , and through Him. All the glorious saints men and women of Orthodox Faith I love and I revere through Christ, in Christ.  Without Him away from Him there is only  falsehood  and Death.


In Christ,
Hiwot.
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2012, 01:37:58 AM »

I second what Hiwot said. The Eucharist. Don't be swayed by the glossy advertising when you can have the Body and Blood of Christ!
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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2012, 02:00:41 AM »

I'll try to make it simple, and my personal reason for not being Protestant - It didn't exist until the reformation and is based on a rejection that the Holy Sprit has continuously and consistently guided the Church to the point where a brand new one (which gave birth to countless others based on the same premise) had to be started.

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?

Yeah, but we have St Basil the Great, St John Chrysostom, St Mary of Egypt, St Moses the Black, St Seraphim of Sarov, St Nectarios of Aegina, and many others. As for the bolded name, his son is now Orthodox.

Just a couple of thoughts.

To expound on this, if you are Protestant you dont believe in the Words of Christ. To paraphrase, 'the gates of hell will not prevail over it(the Church)." To believe in the ludicrous invisible church theory you have to believe the Church did fall and it was revived magically by Luther and his ilk like the bastard fiend Calvin to a banal, sick, rationalistic, mental belief and totally foreign to ancient worship all over the world, religion. Sola Scriptura? The scriptures themselves counter that argument.  I dont see how one can read John and not be Catholic (Orthodox or Roman). For people who claim to believe what the scriptures say, they sure dont believe in what the scriptures say.... I mean Ive seen the prelest arguments and it would be almost comical if it wasnt born of the father of lies. They construe some crazy stuff trying to justify thier beliefs in contrast to the plain sayings of the Scriptures (in the occasions they are plain).  Then stuff that should be taken as hyperbole they take seriously. Weird. Im almost certain its prelest.

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Church history started before 1500 AD. If you take the time to research this hard to believe fact....., I honestly dont see how one can remain protestant.
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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2012, 02:43:18 AM »

I can't think of a single thing to say that I could say any better than has already been posted, especially what Melodist, Maximum Bob, and KShaft said.  I do know that after being raised Catholic, I had a very broad exposure to various Protestant sects, one most recently.  They all left a very bitter taste in my mouth, yeah--especially that last one.  

One other thing--you don't go to church for 'splendor.'  And then last Sunday, I sat for the very first time in an Orthodox Matins and Liturgy completely surrounded by splendor--not the splendor of avarice.  I was completely swept away, back in time.  There's just no potluck or fellowship meeting in the world to rival that, and I've only now experienced it once.  Perhaps it's my 'noobiness' but I can't imagine walking away from that.  Check it out, but I think coming from the Orthodox church will only make you see quicker and clearer why you need to come back.  

I see many people every day who wear their faith like clothes--they wear it on the outside.  The lapels are starched and the creases are perfectly aligned in the pants, and the tie is straight.  They put their doctrine over God's Word, God's laws, and God Himself.  You're supposed to wear your faith on the inside.  Like your mind and your heart.  You'll see the difference.  When the flash and banter wears off, you'll see the difference.


Check it out because if you're asking questions and you don't check it out, you'll always be wondering.  Wish it didn't work that way but it does in most cases. 

This is going to sound flaky, I'm sure, but sometimes we don't find what we're looking for until we go looking for it in all the wrong places. 
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 02:50:26 AM by gonefishing » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2012, 04:02:38 AM »

There have certainly been a great many men who are extremely knowledgeable in Church history who lived and died as Protestants, but I can't help but seize upon the fact that none of the men and women who are central figures in Church history were. There is no substitute for being in the apostolic Church, which is by definition not any Protestant church, as no Protestant church dates back to the time of the Apostles. But this is not a kind of bragging as though we can rest on our laurels because we "have" St. Peter, St. Mark, St. Athanasius the Apostolic, St. Cyril, or whoever. It is more a matter of knowing where your faith comes from, why you believe and practice as you do, and living the Christian faith in the context of all that has nourished the Church and all of its people throughout the ages. If you are Protestant, you are essentially saying that 16th century European theologies, ecclesiologies, and modes of worship are Christianity in its most faithful form, which is clearly not true. If you have done even a cursory study of Orthodoxy (even if you don't ultimately join it), you know that this is not true, from a historical perspective.

If you not historically-minded, there are still other problems. I can remember that as a young Presbyterian, we got a new pastor after our old pastor retired. This caused major problems within the church, as some didn't like his style (he was real slick, like a car salesman or something). My mother was one of the people who didn't care for him, so we began attending a Methodist church the next town over. Now, I'm the last one to disparage anyone for such a choice (my dear mother being one who made it, after all!), but I do know that it wasn't made because a significant portion of the congregation had shifted from being Calvinists to being Arminians. So there is also the sense that, while they may have certain proof-texts that they'll turn to in order to wax poetic about their deep commitment to Christ and the scriptures, much of modern (and indeed earlier) Protestantism isn't really about anything substantial, to say nothing of its lack of consistency. It really is a short step from the bland, vapid pietism of much of modern Protestantism (even the mainline denominations, as they race to the bottom, doctrinally and in terms of praxis, in their struggle to even get people in the door) to generic deism, to...well, I don't want to know what.

This one-two punch of a lack of Apostolic tradition and the attendant lack (for the most part) of any sort of care or even form to their praxis, theology, or doctrinal stances pretty much K.O.'s Protestantism for me, but your mileage may vary. I hope if you do start attending Protestant churches it will awaken you to what you are missing that can only be found in Orthodoxy (see: everyone else's posts). I agree with gonefishing in that regard. I know I wouldn't be Orthodox myself if I hadn't first been Protestant and then Catholic. Sometimes you have to take the long way home so that you'll know where all the wrong turns are.

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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2012, 06:50:34 AM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2012, 07:57:47 AM »

I'll try to make it simple, and my personal reason for not being Protestant - It didn't exist until the reformation and is based on a rejection that the Holy Spirit has continuously and consistently guided the Church to the point where a brand new one (which gave birth to countless others based on the same premise) had to be started.

All Baptised Christians receive the Holy Spirit, plus if there was a Schism then how do you explain that? How did the Holy Spirit guide the split? Men, who run churches are fallible. Holy Spirit can guide us but in no means make us (for sure) or our churches (at least in my feeble opinion) infallible. However, saying that, the Orthodox can claim to be the closest to the original faith and there really isn't many good arguments against it like there is with Roman Catholics and Protestants. Hearing a Roman Catholic and a Protestant (especially Baptist or nondenominational types) debate you almost always think they both lost the argument.

Being a Lutheran I'd agree that the Eucharist is of the highest importance and it wouldn't make sense to me to leave a church that believes in it for a church that does not.
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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2012, 08:50:26 AM »

Being a Lutheran I'd agree that the Eucharist is of the highest importance and it wouldn't make sense to me to leave a church that believes in it for a church that does not.
I must +1 for the Eucharist!  If the Eucharist is absent, all converse with the intention of conversion are over.  Finished, done...khalas Wink
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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2012, 10:00:43 AM »

Everybody thus far has raised some good points.  Since there is a great deal of overlap, I'll respond to the below post alone:

There have certainly been a great many men who are extremely knowledgeable in Church history who lived and died as Protestants, but I can't help but seize upon the fact that none of the men and women who are central figures in Church history were. There is no substitute for being in the apostolic Church, which is by definition not any Protestant church, as no Protestant church dates back to the time of the Apostles.

(snip)

If you have done even a cursory study of Orthodoxy (even if you don't ultimately join it), you know that this is not true, from a historical perspective.

I question this.  Philip Scaff, for instance, was quite the patrologist and historian of early Church history and yet he was not compelled to grant Orthodoxy any special honorific position.  In our own day, Peter Lampe is thoroughly versed in the history of the early Church and yet he remains a Lutheran.  Furthermore, Andreas Köstenberger (Baptist) and Michael Kruger (Presbyterian), authors of the The Heresy of Orthodoxy - a book which indeed argues for one, holy, catholic and apostolic church - are convinced to see their own churches as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  And the previously mentioned Henry Chadwick was a devout Anglican.  Granted, one's motivations for choosing a church are often complicated, I think that if we're going to appeal to a "cursory study of Orthodoxy" then we need to be consistent in surveying the historiography.  It would seem that Orthodoxy is the church of preference for history majors - and I especially include myself in that category - because that is the constant appeal:  Orthodoxy is the historic church of the apostles, unchanged, etc, etc, etc..  And yet we seem to gloss over the great many Protestant scholars, both high church and low church, who understand this history better than many (if not all) of us here.  In short, an appeal to Orthodoxy as "the historical church" fails.  Likewise, an appeal to Protestant churches as being outside a definition of "one, holy, catholic and apostolic" fails.

Quote
If you not historically-minded, there are still other problems.

(snip)

So there is also the sense that, while they may have certain proof-texts that they'll turn to in order to wax poetic about their deep commitment to Christ and the scriptures, much of modern (and indeed earlier) Protestantism isn't really about anything substantial, to say nothing of its lack of consistency. It really is a short step from the bland, vapid pietism of much of modern Protestantism (even the mainline denominations, as they race to the bottom, doctrinally and in terms of praxis, in their struggle to even get people in the door) to generic deism, to...well, I don't want to know what.

I think this is a very broad and, therefore, unfair stroke.  For an evangelist such as Billy Graham, there is a great deal of substance and consistency in modern Protestantism, for instance.  I have known Reformed Christians, Prebysterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Anglicans who all would be deeply insulted and would object strongly that their faith and that their church was "bland, vapid pietism" or prine to "generic deism."  Indeed, I have known Methodists who prostrate themselves before the real presence in the Eucharist.

Now, perhaps that large church down the road from me fits such a broad characterization, but I still think that if a person can have a lifelong commitment to Christ through the experience of such a church, then such a characterization is still unfair.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Concerning the Eucharist: I agree with everyone here that it, not the Bible or the Sermon, should be central to worship.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When I last met with my Catholic priest - this is the Catholic priest who suggested that I continue attending my Orthodox parish - we were talking about some of my favorite spiritual authors, men like Thomas Merton and David Steindl-Rast, and he said that what made those people great spiritual writers is that they were rooted.  And it's true: they found religion, they planted their roots, and through all seasons they kept their roots firmly entrenched in the soil.  I've never really planted my roots anywhere.  Though I was Catholic for five years, I never really planted my roots in its soil.  During those five years, there are several gaps where I stopped attending Mass, I ceased believing in certain doctrines or ceased believing altogether.  The fear which permeates me is that no matter which church I go through the process to belong to - whether Presbyterian or Methodist or Orthodox or Anglican - given the right amount of time, my fickleness will show through and I'll stop attending services, I'll stop believing, and once again I'll be on the prowl for a new church.  This is especially painful for me considering that I'll be turning 31 this year and I'm engaged - so my decisions affect not only me but my fiance, and I'm feeling more and more guilty dragging her around from church to church, religion to religion like I've done.
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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2012, 11:16:34 AM »

For me, briefly (since others have done a much better job of answering), the major "failing" of Protestantism is the underlying principle of "every man his own pope." So that sincere, devout, well-meaning and intelligent Christians look at Scripture and come to not only different but often diametrically opposed beliefs and understanding. True, we all interpret Scripture according to our own knowledge, experience, biases etc. but if everyone gets to decide for themselves that the bread and wine is just a memorial, then what happens to truth? What happens to the Faith preached and taught by the Apostles?


Also your post has kind of touched on one of my pet peeves: people who say, "The nondenom megachurch has (insert particular ministry or activity) - why doesn't my parish (or the Orthodox Church) have a (insert particular ministry or activity)?" Folks, if it's important to you, start one. I will climb down off my soapbox now.
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« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2012, 11:41:36 AM »

For me, briefly (since others have done a much better job of answering), the major "failing" of Protestantism is the underlying principle of "every man his own pope." So that sincere, devout, well-meaning and intelligent Christians look at Scripture and come to not only different but often diametrically opposed beliefs and understanding. True, we all interpret Scripture according to our own knowledge, experience, biases etc. but if everyone gets to decide for themselves that the bread and wine is just a memorial, then what happens to truth? What happens to the Faith preached and taught by the Apostles?


Also your post has kind of touched on one of my pet peeves: people who say, "The nondenom megachurch has (insert particular ministry or activity) - why doesn't my parish (or the Orthodox Church) have a (insert particular ministry or activity)?" Folks, if it's important to you, start one. I will climb down off my soapbox now.

Agreed on that last point.  We have fellowship all over the place in every other social arena.  I don't need potlucks or fellowship in a church where they're heavy on that and light on everything else. 

On your first point, I just recently went to a church that did just that.  Apparently, they only have Eucharist/Communion once a year.  At that start of it, the pastor chuckled and then proceeded to explain that it means absolutely nothing, they're just crackers (um, yeah) and that the only reason they do it at all is because Christ said 'do this in remembrance of me.'  Then he swaggers off to the side smirking and shaking his head.  Where I live, these churches take shots at catholicism because this area is overwhelmingly Catholic.  Point being, before beginning Eucharist, he goes to great lengths to show it means absolutely nothing.  "We do this because Christ said to, not because it means anything."  Hmmm.  Okay, get me outta there.  Then they pass a plate up and down the pews (as they do during collection) and the plates are full of busted up saltines. 

Gotta wonder to whose interest it would be to go through the motions of Eucharist after stripping it of all its meaning, separating the congregation from the body of Christ?  Hmm, I wonder.

Isn't there a Bible verse regarding doing things and reciting things without meaning or aptness?   
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2012, 12:23:59 PM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.

 You mean back when when the Lutheran church was essentially more Catholic than Catholics are now...? You mean places that were built by the Catholic church and held together because of it and had been the product of such culture for at least 1300 years before it?  And what led up to this development in music? Who invented modern musical notation in the first place? They are working off capital of the church and what folks had built up before them. Ive never been impressed with anything after the Romantic period, and only because of the Johnny come lately Russians who sounded more Classical than Romantic did I like those composers. I dont listen to em because they arent inspired. They just use the structure that somebody better than them developed. Theres no soul in their compositions. Imagine that. Perhaps you cant pick this up because youre just naming off a list, but those of us who have been classically trained for longer than you've been alive certainly can.  Ive played Bach and Vivaldi probably before you were born. Ive sung Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's 9th in performances.  Don't lecture me about them. History is deeper than a list, its cause and effect and the effects arent instantaneous.  Its not an instant magical thing that just disappears.  How many composers did the soviets produce after the Bolsheviks came to town? How bout china? Thier musicians for the most part are mechanical copy cats. Its like an intellectual exercise without emotion.  Look at the Lutheran church now. Look at Anglicans now. Both a joke because they little resemble what they branched off from. Now a high Church Anglican or Lutheran, I might expect stuff from (Rutter for instance) because they are closer to the
the orthodox worship and reverence that produces such wonderful things. Now look to mainline protestantism which is what is being referred to here. Have you ever been to the US? Seen southern culture? Let me guess no... Youve got polite people, they try which might be better than a halfed assed Orthodox, but it is some weird perversion. And if you are so inclined you can see the fruits of a perversion.
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« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2012, 01:00:51 PM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.

 You mean back when when the Lutheran church was essentially more Catholic than Catholics are now...? You mean places that were built by the Catholic church and held together because of it and had been the product of such culture for at least 1300 years before it?  And what led up to this development in music? Who invented modern musical notation in the first place? They are working off capital of the church and what folks had built up before them. Ive never been impressed with anything after the Romantic period, and only because of the Johnny come lately Russians who sounded more Classical than Romantic did I like those composers. I dont listen to em because they arent inspired. They just use the structure that somebody better than them developed. Theres no soul in their compositions. Imagine that. Perhaps you cant pick this up because youre just naming off a list, but those of us who have been classically trained for longer than you've been alive certainly can.  Ive played Bach and Vivaldi probably before you were born. Ive sung Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's 9th in performances.  Don't lecture me about them. History is deeper than a list, its cause and effect and the effects arent instantaneous.  Its not an instant magical thing that just disappears.  How many composers did the soviets produce after the Bolsheviks came to town? How bout china? Thier musicians for the most part are mechanical copy cats. Its like an intellectual exercise without emotion.  Look at the Lutheran church now. Look at Anglicans now. Both a joke because they little resemble what they branched off from. Now a high Church Anglican or Lutheran, I might expect stuff from (Rutter for instance) because they are closer to the
the orthodox worship and reverence that produces such wonderful things. Now look to mainline protestantism which is what is being referred to here. Have you ever been to the US? Seen southern culture? Let me guess no... Youve got polite people, they try which might be better than a halfed assed Orthodox, but it is some weird perversion. And if you are so inclined you can see the fruits of a perversion.

Those of us who are classically trained?  You mean like me? I've sung comprimario roles in operas, sung in Verdi's requiem twice, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth, and complete performances of Handel's Messiah. Does performance experience have anything to do with my argument, or are you just trying to bolster a weak argument with your musical experience? I'm not naming off of a list, as you so presumptuously claim, but I am giving examples of composers and poets who have significance to me. Brahms because I have sung his lieder and played several of his short piano works, Bach because I have studied his fugues and counterpoint, and Goethe because I have sung his poetry. Perhaps if I had felt pretentious, I would have used some obscure scandinavian composers and poets as counterexamples (like Hugo Alfvén or Wilhelm Stenhammar, whose setting of five poems by Bo Bergman I once sang), but not knowing of your apparently illustrious career as a musician, I decided for the sake of intelligibility to use well-known composers. You instead just had to jump on me as if my desire to be easily understood were an indicator that I am not well-versed in music.

As for your second ridiculous assertion, I am from the South. Houston, Texas, born and raised.  Now what was that saying about making assumptions?
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2012, 02:12:46 PM »

It is strange that you mention the intelligent men in Protestantism. Part of the reason I converted to Orthodoxy was because of the inspirational stories of intelligent Saints like St. Augustine of Hippo; my patron. I figured that if these people were inspired by God, which they obviously were, then God must be working through the Orthodox Church and I should join it.
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« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2012, 02:32:36 PM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.

 You mean back when when the Lutheran church was essentially more Catholic than Catholics are now...? You mean places that were built by the Catholic church and held together because of it and had been the product of such culture for at least 1300 years before it?  And what led up to this development in music? Who invented modern musical notation in the first place? They are working off capital of the church and what folks had built up before them. Ive never been impressed with anything after the Romantic period, and only because of the Johnny come lately Russians who sounded more Classical than Romantic did I like those composers. I dont listen to em because they arent inspired. They just use the structure that somebody better than them developed. Theres no soul in their compositions. Imagine that. Perhaps you cant pick this up because youre just naming off a list, but those of us who have been classically trained for longer than you've been alive certainly can.  Ive played Bach and Vivaldi probably before you were born. Ive sung Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's 9th in performances.  Don't lecture me about them. History is deeper than a list, its cause and effect and the effects arent instantaneous.  Its not an instant magical thing that just disappears.  How many composers did the soviets produce after the Bolsheviks came to town? How bout china? Thier musicians for the most part are mechanical copy cats. Its like an intellectual exercise without emotion.  Look at the Lutheran church now. Look at Anglicans now. Both a joke because they little resemble what they branched off from. Now a high Church Anglican or Lutheran, I might expect stuff from (Rutter for instance) because they are closer to the
the orthodox worship and reverence that produces such wonderful things. Now look to mainline protestantism which is what is being referred to here. Have you ever been to the US? Seen southern culture? Let me guess no... Youve got polite people, they try which might be better than a halfed assed Orthodox, but it is some weird perversion. And if you are so inclined you can see the fruits of a perversion.

Those of us who are classically trained?  You mean like me? I've sung comprimario roles in operas, sung in Verdi's requiem twice, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth, and complete performances of Handel's Messiah. Does performance experience have anything to do with my argument, or are you just trying to bolster a weak argument with your musical experience? I'm not naming off of a list, as you so presumptuously claim, but I am giving examples of composers and poets who have significance to me. Brahms because I have sung his lieder and played several of his short piano works, Bach because I have studied his fugues and counterpoint, and Goethe because I have sung his poetry. Perhaps if I had felt pretentious, I would have used some obscure scandinavian composers and poets as counterexamples (like Hugo Alfvén or Wilhelm Stenhammar, whose setting of five poems by Bo Bergman I once sang), but not knowing of your apparently illustrious career as a musician, I decided for the sake of intelligibility to use well-known composers. You instead just had to jump on me as if my desire to be easily understood were an indicator that I am not well-versed in music.

As for your second ridiculous assertion, I am from the South. Houston, Texas, born and raised.  Now what was that saying about making assumptions?

 Now, you are puffing yourself up and not counter arguing it except by saying Ridiculous! Its like Im watching the third Harry Potter installment.

Everything about protestantism is banal when it becomes so far removed from Catholicism it is unrecognizable. Are you making a marxist argument about the development of music and literature post Christ? Its just all coincidence... of course...

You know I knew a lot of guys from Texas in my time in the Marine Corps and Army. Cant say you are anything like those good men I knew. What do I expect? Men who served vs civilian on the internet. Ingrates like you make me question why I served in the first place. Id sooner deal with you than the insurgents. At least they have the conviction to put their life on the line. Save your indignation for someone else child. I dont indulge in such things. I end them.
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« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2012, 02:58:32 PM »

I'm not sure if Cavaradossi is Protestant or not, but regardless he is right: you cannot make a claim that the entirety of Protestant history and culture is banal. If you're going to make an argument for Orthodoxy, try not using Roman Catholicism or Protestantism as a whipping boy. It would be nice to see people here stop appealing to sentimental generalizations and just argue hard doctrine. I know it's controversial, but I think what the modern world needs is a resurgence of people who are passionate enough to disregard controversy and take note of the elephant in the room.
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« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2012, 03:03:04 PM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.

 You mean back when when the Lutheran church was essentially more Catholic than Catholics are now...? You mean places that were built by the Catholic church and held together because of it and had been the product of such culture for at least 1300 years before it?  And what led up to this development in music? Who invented modern musical notation in the first place? They are working off capital of the church and what folks had built up before them. Ive never been impressed with anything after the Romantic period, and only because of the Johnny come lately Russians who sounded more Classical than Romantic did I like those composers. I dont listen to em because they arent inspired. They just use the structure that somebody better than them developed. Theres no soul in their compositions. Imagine that. Perhaps you cant pick this up because youre just naming off a list, but those of us who have been classically trained for longer than you've been alive certainly can.  Ive played Bach and Vivaldi probably before you were born. Ive sung Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's 9th in performances.  Don't lecture me about them. History is deeper than a list, its cause and effect and the effects arent instantaneous.  Its not an instant magical thing that just disappears.  How many composers did the soviets produce after the Bolsheviks came to town? How bout china? Thier musicians for the most part are mechanical copy cats. Its like an intellectual exercise without emotion.  Look at the Lutheran church now. Look at Anglicans now. Both a joke because they little resemble what they branched off from. Now a high Church Anglican or Lutheran, I might expect stuff from (Rutter for instance) because they are closer to the
the orthodox worship and reverence that produces such wonderful things. Now look to mainline protestantism which is what is being referred to here. Have you ever been to the US? Seen southern culture? Let me guess no... Youve got polite people, they try which might be better than a halfed assed Orthodox, but it is some weird perversion. And if you are so inclined you can see the fruits of a perversion.

Those of us who are classically trained?  You mean like me? I've sung comprimario roles in operas, sung in Verdi's requiem twice, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth, and complete performances of Handel's Messiah. Does performance experience have anything to do with my argument, or are you just trying to bolster a weak argument with your musical experience? I'm not naming off of a list, as you so presumptuously claim, but I am giving examples of composers and poets who have significance to me. Brahms because I have sung his lieder and played several of his short piano works, Bach because I have studied his fugues and counterpoint, and Goethe because I have sung his poetry. Perhaps if I had felt pretentious, I would have used some obscure scandinavian composers and poets as counterexamples (like Hugo Alfvén or Wilhelm Stenhammar, whose setting of five poems by Bo Bergman I once sang), but not knowing of your apparently illustrious career as a musician, I decided for the sake of intelligibility to use well-known composers. You instead just had to jump on me as if my desire to be easily understood were an indicator that I am not well-versed in music.

As for your second ridiculous assertion, I am from the South. Houston, Texas, born and raised.  Now what was that saying about making assumptions?

 Now, you are puffing yourself up and not counter arguing it except by saying Ridiculous! Its like Im watching the third Harry Potter installment.

Nonsense, you were the first to puff yourself up, talking about "us classically trained musicians," as if you knew anything about me. In fact, you're still doing it, by mentioning your military service. I thank you for your service, but that still doesn't make your opinion on music any more respectable. So far, the only counterarguments you have provided to my counterexample are that a) I am not a musician, b) you are a musician, c) music after the Romantic era is not worth listening to, and d) that cause and effect are not instantaneous. Argument a) aside from being false, is fallacious because it is an argument ad hominem. My credentials as a musician have nothing to do with my counterexample. Argument b) is also fallacious, because your credentials as a musician have nothing to do with whether my counterexample invalidates your observation. Argument c) is getting closer to a real argument (although it is unsubstantiated), but even if argument c) is true, it doesn't affect the validity of my counterexample, because Brahms, Bach and Handel all came before the post-Romantic era. Argument d) is too vague. How long of a delay should we expect to see between cause and effect? Furthermore, how do we know that your reasoning is not post hoc propter ergo hoc? How do we know that you are not confusing coincidence with cause, or perhaps not taking multiple causes into account (such as cultural or historical factors separate of the reformation)?

Everything about protestantism is banal when it becomes so far removed from Catholicism it is unrecognizable. Are you making a marxist argument about the development of music and literature post Christ? Its just all coincidence... of course...

You know I knew a lot of guys from Texas in my time in the Marine Corps and Army. Cant say you are anything like those good men I knew. What do I expect? Men who served vs civilian on the internet. Ingrates like you make me question why I served in the first place. Id sooner deal with you than the insurgents. At least they have the conviction to put their life on the line. Save your indignation for someone else child. I dont indulge in such things. I end them.

You are being the child right now. First you make incorrect assumptions about me, then you insult me when they turn out to be false and try to play internet tough guy. You want to have a real discussion? Fine. But first you have to cut the personal arguments. Whether I am a trained musician or a philistine, a soldier or a civilian, a Texan or God forbid a Yankee, that does invalidate any of my counterexamples. So, being generous and granting you that your argument d) (although as written above, I have objections to it) provides sufficient explanation for how Bach and Handel were still inspired composers, let's start with discussing the artistic merits of Brahms. Why does Brahms, who by all anecdotes was, far worse than being a Protestant, agnostic (a fact which seemed to upset Dvorak) not count as a counterexample to your assertion? Surely you cannot continue to use argument d) here as well, for a composer who lived over a century after Bach died, and over three centuries after the Reformation, lest d) should become a form of special pleading.
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« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2012, 03:06:30 PM »

Just wanted to pop in and say that Brahms' music is incredibly beautiful. My personal favorite is his second piano concerto.
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« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2012, 03:17:04 PM »

It would be nice to see people here stop appealing to sentimental generalizations and just argue hard doctrine.

The thing is though our history plays a part in doctrinal debates because anybody could develop a doctrine and make a case for it, but we have no way of understanding which one is correct unless we accept some type of authority or guidance. In our case, we see history of the Church as being our higher authority.
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« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2012, 03:25:54 PM »

Just wanted to pop in and say that Brahms' music is incredibly beautiful. My personal favorite is his second piano concerto.

Mine is his Op. 118. The last piece of that set, with its paraphrase of the Dies Irae plainchant and the surprisingly heroic middle section is something special. Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2012, 03:31:19 PM »

It is strange that you mention the intelligent men in Protestantism. Part of the reason I converted to Orthodoxy was because of the inspirational stories of intelligent Saints like St. Augustine of Hippo; my patron. I figured that if these people were inspired by God, which they obviously were, then God must be working through the Orthodox Church and I should join it.

Granted that Augustine could have remained a Manichee - however unlikely - and granted that he could have become a Donatist given that the Donatists were a majority in Augustine's day (and he was favorable of Tychonius's work), I still don't see the parallel between Augustine and "the intelligent men in Protestantism."  Like you, "the intelligent men in Protestantism" also know Augustine's story, some have written dissertations and monographs about him, others have written books, and none of them have felt equally compelled to spring towards Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2012, 03:55:42 PM »

It would be nice to see people here stop appealing to sentimental generalizations and just argue hard doctrine.

Indeed.

An appeal to Orthodoxy on the basis of history just doesn't work.  Neither do the broad strokes attempting to characterize the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as being the same as the non-denominational contemporary worship mega-church.
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« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2012, 03:56:33 PM »

I'm just going to throw this out there because it's been floating around in my mind for some time now, and suppressing it doesn't last for long.

Considering that all I've really known is high church Catholicism and Orthodoxy, considering that I've never really taken the time to learn about all the nuances that shape Protestantism, considering that I've never really given any form of Protestantism a fair shot but repeatedly accepted some apologist's claim in order to maintain social stasis, I am now at this point where I wonder why I shouldn't become a Protestant.  It's a highly conflicting thought for me now.  Having attended more than a few low church Protestant services in my life now but so long ago, I can only vaguely remember what it's like to experience life as a Protestant.  If I knew then what I knew now, there might be an opportunity for a fair assessment. 

There's a large non-denominational church right down the road from me.  I've visited their website before and have really felt inspired by their mission.  I get the feeling that belonging to that particular body of Christ could help me in so many different ways - like being able to get involved more with the community, helping with outreach, learning more about the Bible through Bible Study, meeting people my own age, making great friends, experiencing the presence of Christ through the love of others, etc..  I honestly think my fiance - who was born Catholic - would really like it, as well.

I can't help but think of all the intelligent men, more experienced in Church history than any of us here, who lived and died as Protestants - men like Bruce Metzger, Henry Chadwick, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Schaeffer, etc..  If it was good enough for them, why not me?

I don't write any of this to sound like a troll - but it's honestly something I'm wrestling with.  At times, I really have to think hard about why I am pursuing Orthodoxy.


Hello Chris, First of all, it may very well be that this church you refer to is very good. Perhaps it has good programs, stimulating teaching, solid community life. I have also experienced excellent protestant churches that are totally outreach oriented, feed the poor, clothe the needy and visit those in prison. These are all great characteristics! And you mentioned the many great protestants, I agree that these are men worthy of respect.

However, there are numerous reasons to become (or stay) Orthodox. The historical, theological, and sacramental reasons have already been brought up. But for me beyond the historical and theological is spiritual practice. The Orthodox Church gives me concrete steps to take in progressing in the spiritual life. For example: a typical evangelical response to spiritual growth would be read the Bible and Pray. Fine that's great...how should I do that? How do I pray? how long should I pray for? What should I read? How do I read? These are questions that were almost never addressed in my protestant life. The spiritual life is always individualistic, for example: there is no particular expectation that you should have a spiritual guide.

Let's also bring up fasting. Something that is entirely Biblical but yet almost never talked about in a typical evangelical church. In the Orthodox Church, we fast together. Maybe we fail, maybe some people don't keep the fast at all....but the point is that we try together, fail together, get back up and try again. So for me, I need the structure, and spiritual disciplines of the Orthodox Church and I believe, humbly, that there is a fullness found in Orthodoxy that I cannot duplicate or find elsewhere.
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« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2012, 04:02:48 PM »

Throughout my life I have come across the work of intelligent men, well-versed in history and philosophy, by which advocacy is granted to just about every creed that is worthy of the name. While I am not beholden to the same doctrines as these men, their perspectives have provided depth and clarity to my own, and thus have become part of the foundation of my argument for Orthodox Christianity. I have been influenced by the words of men from the likes of Plotinus, to Shankara, to Nietzsche, and yet am not a neoplatonist, an adherent of Advaita Vedanta, or a nihilist. I think the only answer to your question, as ambiguous as this answer may be, is to be able to find what you feel is the continuity between the ideas you have encountered.
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« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2012, 04:19:56 PM »

Everybody thus far has raised some good points.  Since there is a great deal of overlap, I'll respond to the below post alone:

There have certainly been a great many men who are extremely knowledgeable in Church history who lived and died as Protestants, but I can't help but seize upon the fact that none of the men and women who are central figures in Church history were. There is no substitute for being in the apostolic Church, which is by definition not any Protestant church, as no Protestant church dates back to the time of the Apostles.

(snip)

If you have done even a cursory study of Orthodoxy (even if you don't ultimately join it), you know that this is not true, from a historical perspective.

I question this.  Philip Scaff, for instance, was quite the patrologist and historian of early Church history and yet he was not compelled to grant Orthodoxy any special honorific position.  In our own day, Peter Lampe is thoroughly versed in the history of the early Church and yet he remains a Lutheran.  Furthermore, Andreas Köstenberger (Baptist) and Michael Kruger (Presbyterian), authors of the The Heresy of Orthodoxy - a book which indeed argues for one, holy, catholic and apostolic church - are convinced to see their own churches as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  And the previously mentioned Henry Chadwick was a devout Anglican.


With all due respect, Chris, I don't think you've quite grasped my point. It is probably my fault, so let me try to come at it a slightly different way: The point is not that you should be convinced that Orthodoxy is the historical church and join accordingly (as I have written "even if you don't ultimately join it"), but that what you find in studying it is a historically-rooted faith that is not Protestant. While Protestants may see themselves as resurrecting the ancient church in some way, the actual extent to which they appeal to sources of a historical vintage similar to that of Orthodoxy is rather limited and involves a great deal of fanciful retroactive imagining (e.g., Landmarkism/Carroll's "Trail of Blood" theory), as the entire point of their enterprise was originally to rebel against the medieval excesses of Roman Catholicism in Western Europe, which had similarly unmoored itself from its own historical roots by the time of Luther, et al. (hence what little historical contact between Protestants and Orthodox that we have record of didn't really amount to much; the Protestants had expected to find in the Orthodox Church something approximating their own faith, and when they did not there was little that they could do beyond repeating their Rome-centric stances to Eastern bishops who eventually realized that they were a lost cause, as the Protestants were unwilling to recognize their own excesses inherent in their "reformation" and come back to an even older version of Christianity than that which they had rebelled against.)

Do you see what I mean now? You find in a historical study of Orthodoxy and a historical study of Protestantism fundamentally different faiths, as they have entirely different roots. It is not necessarily about being convinced by the historical claims of Orthodoxy, but about being limited by the historical facts of Protestantism. In order to project Protestantism back into history beyond its true 16th century beginnings (maybe even 14th century, if you count the likes of Wycliffe as its true origin; doesn't really matter, the point is that it's only so old), the Protestant historian must do the best that he can by reinterpreting whatever scraps he can find that look like they could be possibly referring to this or that Protestant doctrine or practice (hence my earlier example of Carroll's theory, in which he connected the Baptists with many heretical groups of the past in order to invent for them a lineage that goes back to the early centuries of Christianity, even when such lineage would make absolutely no sense when you compare what was believed by the supposed proto-Baptists like the Novatians, who had their own Pope, to what is believed by actual Baptists). It's a losing battle, whether you ultimately find Orthodoxy convincing or not.

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I think that if we're going to appeal to a "cursory study of Orthodoxy" then we need to be consistent in surveying the historiography.  It would seem that Orthodoxy is the church of preference for history majors - and I especially include myself in that category - because that is the constant appeal:  Orthodoxy is the historic church of the apostles, unchanged, etc, etc, etc..  And yet we seem to gloss over the great many Protestant scholars, both high church and low church, who understand this history better than many (if not all) of us here.  In short, an appeal to Orthodoxy as "the historical church" fails.  Likewise, an appeal to Protestant churches as being outside a definition of "one, holy, catholic and apostolic" fails.

I submit to you that the difference is that Orthodox Christians need not rely on later scholars interpreting the words of the ancients, because the liturgies, horologions, etc. used in the Orthodox Church are all of ancient vintage themselves. If you still make use of such primary sources yourself in your everyday worship, what does it matter what some intellectual from over a thousand years later has to say about them? At best, all it can do is provide another voice echoing what you already know; at worst, it can pervert the understanding maintained by the Church for centuries. When Protestants tackle early Church history, even for noble and right reasons (e.g., The Heresy of Orthodoxy -- I did quite enjoy this one, and found myself in substantial agreement with it, insofar as concerns the central thesis that the Bauer method is wrong), there is always a danger that they will use good sources or good scholarship and yet reach faulty conclusions because they do not live in the faith of the ancient Fathers, only maybe occasionally visit them academically to make a particular point in a book or a lecture. It's better than nothing, I suppose, but I'm pretty sure Orthodoxy does not exist to tear down any post-modernist theory of the Bible or Church origins or anything like that, as all of those things came around many centuries after the founding of the churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Cyprus, Antioch, etc.

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I think this is a very broad and, therefore, unfair stroke.  For an evangelist such as Billy Graham, there is a great deal of substance and consistency in modern Protestantism, for instance.
 

Yes, and for the Mormon it is the LDS "church" that teaches the true faith. What is your point? No heretic or otherwise misinformed person who persisted in their false teaching has ever thought of himself as a false teacher. I am at a loss to figure out what this means or proves.

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I have known Reformed Christians, Prebysterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Anglicans who all would be deeply insulted and would object strongly that their faith and that their church was "bland, vapid pietism" or prine to "generic deism."  Indeed, I have known Methodists who prostrate themselves before the real presence in the Eucharist.

And I have known Muslims who consider themselves better Christians than actual Christians, and likewise prostrate themselves a lot before their god. Again, so what? This is exactly the pietistic spirit that I am referring to: The content of a church's doctrine doesn't ultimately matter, only the personal piety of its members. That's wrong.

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Now, perhaps that large church down the road from me fits such a broad characterization, but I still think that if a person can have a lifelong commitment to Christ through the experience of such a church, then such a characterization is still unfair.

Nobody is talking about a "lifelong commitment to Christ" (whatever that means; I guarantee you that if you ask an Orthodox person and a Pentecostal person about that, they'll give you different answers). We are talking about Protestantism as a belief system and a historical reality, and why it is not a suitable alternative to Orthodox Christianity.

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The fear which permeates me is that no matter which church I go through the process to belong to - whether Presbyterian or Methodist or Orthodox or Anglican - given the right amount of time, my fickleness will show through and I'll stop attending services, I'll stop believing, and once again I'll be on the prowl for a new church.
 

If you know this about yourself, you probably know that there is no magical church (whether Orthodox or Protestant or whatever) that can keep you from experiencing these trials. For me this would be all the more reason to not be Protestant (my experience in Protestantism suggests that they don't offer all that much to keep the believer around after his or her initial bout of enthusiasm is gone, and it always leaves eventually), but this is ultimately something you have to figure out for yourself. I just hope that you take council from people who have the rootedness you seek. When I first began having doubts in RCism, a long-Orthodox acquaintance of mine advised me to bloom where I was planted (i.e., not go to the Orthodox Church), and so I did. I am glad that I did, because when I later actually did make the leap it was not with the fear and indecisiveness you describe, but with an appropriate calmness that came with knowing that I was not running away from anything or being impulsive, and so would be less likely to be a victim of "church-hopping", having been already Protestant and Catholic...or at least that's the hope. Only time will tell, I suppose.

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This is especially painful for me considering that I'll be turning 31 this year and I'm engaged - so my decisions affect not only me but my fiance, and I'm feeling more and more guilty dragging her around from church to church, religion to religion like I've done.

Maybe now is not the time to be making monumental decisions in your spiritual life?
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« Reply #31 on: May 31, 2012, 04:31:06 PM »

So for me, I need the structure, and spiritual disciplines of the Orthodox Church and I believe, humbly, that there is a fullness found in Orthodoxy that I cannot duplicate or find elsewhere.

Thanks johann.

Provided that the pedantic hi-jackers in this thread don't return, allow me to offer a heartfelt response to what you say:

I don't feel at home in Orthodoxy.  At least, not at my Orthodox parish.  I thought that I felt at home there, I tried diligently to get to know people, begin the process of cultivating a relationship, but I have been leaving services and coffee hour feeling cold and alone.  I know names, faces, but there's no relationship, there's no "sharing" as a body.  And the ostentatious piety of some people is really beginning to get under my skin - some people who bow during the whole of communion while others remain standing, others who cross themselves every 10 seconds, and other stuff.  And I'm not going to the Greek parish in town - that experience was even colder and lonelier.
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« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2012, 05:17:51 PM »

 I know names, faces, but there's no relationship, there's no "sharing" as a body.  And the ostentatious piety of some people is really beginning to get under my skin - some people who bow during the whole of communion while others remain standing, others who cross themselves every 10 seconds, and other stuff.  

Ouch! I ask you to forgive me in advance, but could it be that people are sensing that kind of attitude from you?
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« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2012, 05:48:35 PM »


I don't feel at home in Orthodoxy.  At least, not at my Orthodox parish.  I thought that I felt at home there, I tried diligently to get to know people, begin the process of cultivating a relationship, but I have been leaving services and coffee hour feeling cold and alone.  I know names, faces, but there's no relationship, there's no "sharing" as a body.  
You haven't been at it that long, dude.

Relax.

And the ostentatious piety of some people is really beginning to get under my skin - some people who bow during the whole of communion while others remain standing, others who cross themselves every 10 seconds, and other stuff. 
if this bothers you, then you won't make it ten seconds among the non-denoms if you take an honest look around there.

Their ostentatious piety is bro hugs, hand raising, hard squinting, heel-rocking, constipated whispering, hip-uniform wearing, faux-smiling, bad-poetry writing funtimes.
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« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2012, 06:25:53 PM »

Especially the feel good crap they preach. Or how everyone is just fake in general in those non-denom churches.

I'm not trying to broad brush, but how many of them honestly take their Church behavior outside with them. Standing in a garage doesn't make me a car much less standing in Church makes me a Christian.
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« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2012, 06:37:11 PM »

Especially the feel good crap they preach. Or how everyone is just fake in general in those non-denom churches.

I'm not trying to broad brush, but how many of them honestly take their Church behavior outside with them. Standing in a garage doesn't make me a car much less standing in Church makes me a Christian.
I agree with your "feel good" statement. I've even heard preachers say, "Does everyone feel good, or do we need to stay a little bit longer?"

However, as for your second sentence, the same could be said of the Orthodox. 'Nuff said.
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« Reply #36 on: May 31, 2012, 06:57:24 PM »

I've honestly yet to meet a fake person in an Orthodox Church even the nominal ones. People are pretty honest from the parishes I've been to. But YMMV
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« Reply #37 on: May 31, 2012, 07:28:43 PM »

Especially the feel good crap they preach. Or how everyone is just fake in general in those non-denom churches.

I'm not trying to broad brush, but how many of them honestly take their Church behavior outside with them. Standing in a garage doesn't make me a car much less standing in Church makes me a Christian.

Well you just did paint with a broad brush. There is a huge diversity in protestantism it's not all the happy-clappy type. Do you honestly think that Chris is going to be convinced to stay trying it in Orthodoxy by telling him how much worse the Protestant churches are? That's a pretty weak argument.


To my knowledge the position of the Orthodox is that we acknowledge truth wherever we see it. (see Fr. Hopko's talk about how do Orthodox relate to other Christians on AFR). So to say that protestants have got it all wrong is nonsense. And to equate them with Muslims or Buddhists as others have done is even worse.

Chris:
There is a variance in practice, actually that's one of the things I like...ie: during the liturgy in my local parish there are times when it's acceptable to sit, about 90% of people do sit while others continue standing. I don't think that anyone looks at the standers as trying to show-off, we should be simply worrying about our own participation in the liturgy and worshipping God.

I suggest that you try to make a connection with your priest or a monk (if you have a monastery nearby), he can probably give you better advice and guidance than any of us here. I think there is a fullness in Orthodoxy, but it is up to each person to take advantage of that! I recently watched "Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer" and one of the things that struck me in the interviews with the monks is the theme of constant struggle. So I'm not surprised that you're having doubts and troubles; in my opinion the answer is not to withdraw but to immerse yourself more deeply into Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #38 on: May 31, 2012, 07:46:19 PM »

Especially the feel good crap they preach. Or how everyone is just fake in general in those non-denom churches.

I'm not trying to broad brush, but how many of them honestly take their Church behavior outside with them. Standing in a garage doesn't make me a car much less standing in Church makes me a Christian.

You are right about this sense of "fakeness" or "putting on a good face". It's not something I used to notice much, but I do much more now. It strikes me as patronizing and insincere.
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« Reply #39 on: May 31, 2012, 07:47:56 PM »

I've honestly yet to meet a fake person in an Orthodox Church even the nominal ones. People are pretty honest from the parishes I've been to. But YMMV

i agree with this too. The Orthodox people i've met are sincere and real, whether that be kind, brash, or something in between.
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« Reply #40 on: May 31, 2012, 09:03:47 PM »

Also look at the fruits of the churches. Protestantism is sick in its fruits. Its a joke. Look at the Sistine Chapel or Hagia Sophia. Listen to Vivaldi or Rachmaninoff.  Read Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, Chesterton, Tolkien... Any elder from Mt. Athos or St. Theophan, St Ignatius. Ill put St. Seraphim of Sarov  against those protestants you listed any day of the week. Hell most of em were probably much more intelligent than St. Seraphim; but he in his humility had more knowledge of the Lord than all of em put together.  Know a tree by its fruits.

Poppycock. What about the Bach family and Handel? What about the magnificent works of music produced by German agnostics like Brahms? Are they a good argument for agnosticism? How about Goethe, who disdained Christianity altogether? Your argument is ridiculous.

 You mean back when when the Lutheran church was essentially more Catholic than Catholics are now...? You mean places that were built by the Catholic church and held together because of it and had been the product of such culture for at least 1300 years before it?  And what led up to this development in music? Who invented modern musical notation in the first place? They are working off capital of the church and what folks had built up before them. Ive never been impressed with anything after the Romantic period, and only because of the Johnny come lately Russians who sounded more Classical than Romantic did I like those composers. I dont listen to em because they arent inspired. They just use the structure that somebody better than them developed. Theres no soul in their compositions. Imagine that. Perhaps you cant pick this up because youre just naming off a list, but those of us who have been classically trained for longer than you've been alive certainly can.  Ive played Bach and Vivaldi probably before you were born. Ive sung Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's 9th in performances.  Don't lecture me about them. History is deeper than a list, its cause and effect and the effects arent instantaneous.  Its not an instant magical thing that just disappears.  How many composers did the soviets produce after the Bolsheviks came to town? How bout china? Thier musicians for the most part are mechanical copy cats. Its like an intellectual exercise without emotion.  Look at the Lutheran church now. Look at Anglicans now. Both a joke because they little resemble what they branched off from. Now a high Church Anglican or Lutheran, I might expect stuff from (Rutter for instance) because they are closer to the
the orthodox worship and reverence that produces such wonderful things. Now look to mainline protestantism which is what is being referred to here. Have you ever been to the US? Seen southern culture? Let me guess no... Youve got polite people, they try which might be better than a halfed assed Orthodox, but it is some weird perversion. And if you are so inclined you can see the fruits of a perversion.

Those of us who are classically trained?  You mean like me? I've sung comprimario roles in operas, sung in Verdi's requiem twice, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth, and complete performances of Handel's Messiah. Does performance experience have anything to do with my argument, or are you just trying to bolster a weak argument with your musical experience? I'm not naming off of a list, as you so presumptuously claim, but I am giving examples of composers and poets who have significance to me. Brahms because I have sung his lieder and played several of his short piano works, Bach because I have studied his fugues and counterpoint, and Goethe because I have sung his poetry. Perhaps if I had felt pretentious, I would have used some obscure scandinavian composers and poets as counterexamples (like Hugo Alfvén or Wilhelm Stenhammar, whose setting of five poems by Bo Bergman I once sang), but not knowing of your apparently illustrious career as a musician, I decided for the sake of intelligibility to use well-known composers. You instead just had to jump on me as if my desire to be easily understood were an indicator that I am not well-versed in music.

As for your second ridiculous assertion, I am from the South. Houston, Texas, born and raised.  Now what was that saying about making assumptions?

 Now, you are puffing yourself up and not counter arguing it except by saying Ridiculous! Its like Im watching the third Harry Potter installment.

Nonsense, you were the first to puff yourself up, talking about "us classically trained musicians," as if you knew anything about me. In fact, you're still doing it, by mentioning your military service. I thank you for your service, but that still doesn't make your opinion on music any more respectable. So far, the only counterarguments you have provided to my counterexample are that a) I am not a musician, b) you are a musician, c) music after the Romantic era is not worth listening to, and d) that cause and effect are not instantaneous. Argument a) aside from being false, is fallacious because it is an argument ad hominem. My credentials as a musician have nothing to do with my counterexample. Argument b) is also fallacious, because your credentials as a musician have nothing to do with whether my counterexample invalidates your observation. Argument c) is getting closer to a real argument (although it is unsubstantiated), but even if argument c) is true, it doesn't affect the validity of my counterexample, because Brahms, Bach and Handel all came before the post-Romantic era. Argument d) is too vague. How long of a delay should we expect to see between cause and effect? Furthermore, how do we know that your reasoning is not post hoc propter ergo hoc? How do we know that you are not confusing coincidence with cause, or perhaps not taking multiple causes into account (such as cultural or historical factors separate of the reformation)?

Everything about protestantism is banal when it becomes so far removed from Catholicism it is unrecognizable. Are you making a marxist argument about the development of music and literature post Christ? Its just all coincidence... of course...

You know I knew a lot of guys from Texas in my time in the Marine Corps and Army. Cant say you are anything like those good men I knew. What do I expect? Men who served vs civilian on the internet. Ingrates like you make me question why I served in the first place. Id sooner deal with you than the insurgents. At least they have the conviction to put their life on the line. Save your indignation for someone else child. I dont indulge in such things. I end them.

You are being the child right now. First you make incorrect assumptions about me, then you insult me when they turn out to be false and try to play internet tough guy. You want to have a real discussion? Fine. But first you have to cut the personal arguments. Whether I am a trained musician or a philistine, a soldier or a civilian, a Texan or God forbid a Yankee, that does invalidate any of my counterexamples. So, being generous and granting you that your argument d) (although as written above, I have objections to it) provides sufficient explanation for how Bach and Handel were still inspired composers, let's start with discussing the artistic merits of Brahms. Why does Brahms, who by all anecdotes was, far worse than being a Protestant, agnostic (a fact which seemed to upset Dvorak) not count as a counterexample to your assertion? Surely you cannot continue to use argument d) here as well, for a composer who lived over a century after Bach died, and over three centuries after the Reformation, lest d) should become a form of special pleading.


 Brahms stood on the shoulders of guys who wrote stuff entirely for the church since Gregorian Chant, hell since Byzantine Chant. Todays societys are failing. What holds them up is the Christian capitol they are living off of.  As we go more and more away from the foundation they stood on they fall further and further on their face as Protestantism has failed and is in its death pangs. Perhaps you can even say the same about Catholicism if it keeps trying to be more protestant. If you believe in a Creator, you have two options. One I am right, and all the beauty in the world comes from the one True Church and if something isnt the true church the beauty or goodness it produces is proportional to the truth it does contain. Also one can imitate or use the capitol which something was built on such as Brahms or whoever. As I stated before, its not magic. Oh hey Im agnostic, poof. All this stuff that the Benedictine monks, throughout Shepard, Tallis, Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, etc... magically disappeared and I can no longer use it.... The other option is, that its strictly material by nature. Chance, luck, etc is the only reason we have anything from the first Cause and it all fell like this.  I dont believe that. You might, but I dont. Anglicans besides Henry VIII's sick decision to disband all the monasteries in Great Britain, were Catholic, Liturgical, and Eucharistic. So were the Lutherans. They dwindled in glory, and thanks to Calvin you have the rationalistic perverted versions of "Christianity." And from those churches were hardly any fruits of merit and more often than not quite perverse and contrary to Orthodoxy and patristic understandings of everything.

Protestantism is nothing but a protest. How can you affirm anything when you're doctrine is based on complaints? When your cure is 100s times worse than the disease.

Oh BTW Im not a internet tough guy. I defend the faith and if Im willing to die or kill for this dying country, what do you think Ill do for the Orthodox faith?  Tough guys are morons on Jersey Shore or perhaps criminals in the mafia who can only shoot unarmed people from from 2 feet away.  My fellows conquer nations, easily, when the rules of engagement dont tie our hands. I dont like attitude, in light of where Ive been and who I rolled up. Perhaps I should learn more humility(I definately should), but sometimes it builds up and bubbles over. I put my life on the line for an entitlement minded, whinny, arrogant, godless society. Defend yourselves... Stop putting the burden on .005 of the population and then giving them shit. If I had to do it over again, it wouldnt be for the people. No. It be because it was the right thing to do, despite the worthless denizens.
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« Reply #41 on: May 31, 2012, 09:23:58 PM »

KShaft can you please respond to my post please?
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,41863.msg753826.html#msg753826
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« Reply #42 on: May 31, 2012, 11:33:24 PM »

Forgive me, as I know this will ruffle feathers, but no Australian ex-serviceman would get away with the "I served this country and am now owed unquestioned and instantaneous deference!" stuff that I seem to hear out of the mouths of Americans. All. The. Time.
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The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.
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« Reply #43 on: May 31, 2012, 11:36:14 PM »

Forgive me, as I know this will ruffle feathers, but no Australian ex-serviceman would get away with the "I served this country and am now owed unquestioned and instantaneous deference!" stuff that I seem to hear out of the mouths of Americans. All. The. Time.

I'm sorry, we respect our troops. Why does that bother you?
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« Reply #44 on: May 31, 2012, 11:39:28 PM »

Forgive me, as I know this will ruffle feathers, but no Australian ex-serviceman would get away with the "I served this country and am now owed unquestioned and instantaneous deference!" stuff that I seem to hear out of the mouths of Americans. All. The. Time.

I'm sorry, we respect our troops. Why does that bother you?

It is the demand of respect that bothers me, not the free giving of it.
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The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.
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