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Author Topic: Update on trevor72694  (Read 9148 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: August 18, 2012, 10:46:18 PM »

Hello, all.  It's been a while since I posted about something, so I wanted to update you on where I am on my religious journey.

I haven't been to Church in a couple of months, because I was starting to become a bit disenchanted when my spiritual father left.  He had really become a father figure, and I loved his family as though they were my family.  It was sad to see a new priest at the altar, but the community has gotten used to him and he's proven to be a fantastic priest.

I took hiatus from Church several times over the last year.  Each time they got longer and longer, until I finally just told the priest that it no longer felt like my home.  He was very understanding, and assured me that I'm always welcome.

I was having some personal issues, and my therapist and I decided that I either had to keep Church or quit.  I chose to call it quits for now, and to be honest I feel fine.

 **Here is where I'm going to be honest about my feelings, please don't be offended**

People talk about how missing one liturgy leaves them feeling sick and tired.  I feel so much better since not going to Church.  I was always known as the stick in the mud, nieve, religious guy.  Now, thanks to my therapist and a class at school, I've re-evaluated my beliefs and interests, and I'm quite a different person.

I think that I did a bit of growing up.  I no longer have anxiety problems (I'm finally able to drive without having a panic attack!).

I'm going through a period of disbelief.  It started about a month ago, though I think it's been coming for a while.  I used to be so zealous!  I was praying before I went to sleep, just talking to God.  Then I had a thought - what if I'm just talking to myself?  I didn't believe it, but as days went by, I started to feel more alone.

I don't want to say that "I don't believe that God exists".  I just don't think that God existed to begin with. 

I've tried praying and reading the Bible, but it's just not coming back.  At first I thought that God had left me, but I think that "God" and saints and all of it was all in my head.  It was real, because I made it real.  If I don't believe in it, it's no longer real. 

I went to liturgy to see if it changed my feelings, but nothing happened.  I mean, let's keep it real - bread and wine/water doesn't actually turn into flesh and blood unless you believe that it does.

I spoke to a religious friend about this, and she said that my "choice" not to believe in God was "suicide".  I must say, this is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard.  I'm not going to hell.  I don't see apparitions of the Theotokos or demons or saints.  Nothing is there, and now that I've realized that I no longer feel bad about things that I used to feel bad about. 

I don't condemn religion, I still love it very much.  I love Orthodoxy, I just don't believe in it any longer.

So that's that...I hope I haven't shocked you all beyond repair Smiley

If you wouldn't mind, please let me know in replies how you're doing!  It's been so long since I've spoken with most of you, and I love you all very much!  (of course, you're also welcome to comment on what I've written).   Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2012, 11:01:22 PM »

trevor,

Good to hear from you, even if what you said wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear! Smiley  As someone who has gone through years of struggles of this kind I can totally understand where you're coming from. Or mostly anyway, as I guess we all have our own thoughts and ideas and emphases. I first started becoming disenchanted with Orthodoxy in 2005, and in January of 2006 I "officially" left it. Since then I've been bouncing back and forth between it and agnosticism (with brief bouts of atheism and flirtations with other religions). Often I felt much better being without religion or Orthodoxy, but I always kept my love for it, and it always pulled me back. Since early 2010 (especially since my wife passed and I had to examine my life more closely) I have been making good progress towards being a consistent Christian again. I'm even scheduled to start communing again in about a month (I'm currently going through the process of showing that I can be consistent in prayer/liturgy attendance before I am readmitted). Am I saying you will follow a similar path? Not at all. Maybe you will, but probably your path will be very different. So what am I saying?

I guess I'm saying that there are fellow strugglers out here. Even people Christians consider saints sometimes had doubts. Sometimes they left and came back, sometimes they didn't. You have always seemed like a sincere and intelligent person to me. And for me, sincerity is the highest virtue, so when I say that I'm really giving you as good a compliment as I can give. And I also feel like I've got to know you somewhat, as much as possible given the medium and circumstances, and I really do wish you the best. Please stay genuine, and stay who you are (who you've been for years here). The only other thing I would say is, keep seeking the truth. Don't settle, don't be self-assured, always be open to the possibility that you were wrong, that you are wrong, and that you will be wrong in the future. Which is not to say that you should worry yourself silly; enjoy this beautiful world. I think you already are making progress on that, based on your post. Good on you. Keep up the fight. You're still on my side, as far as I'm concerned, even if you're wearing the uniform of another country now.
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2012, 11:07:38 PM »

I first started becoming disenchanted with Orthodoxy in 2005, and in January of 2006 I "officially" left it. Since then I've been bouncing back and forth between it and agnosticism (with brief bouts of atheism and flirtations with other religions). Often I felt much better being without religion or Orthodoxy, but I always kept my love for it, and it always pulled me back. Since early 2010 (especially since my wife passed and I had to examine my life more closely)

Thank you, Asterikos!  You're one of my favorite people on OC.net.  I especially can relate to what I've quoted above.  My icons have come on and off of my wall at least ten times in the last few months.  Since leaving Church I've studied Islam and read the Qur'an.  I've also gone back to Church but quit again, and finally I'm just done with all of it (though, you're right, this most definitely isn't my final destination as far as my beliefs are concerned, it's just what I feel right now.)  I'm 18, and I have my whole life to figure out what I believe as I search for what really is the truth.
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2012, 11:12:14 PM »

I first started becoming disenchanted with Orthodoxy in 2005, and in January of 2006 I "officially" left it. Since then I've been bouncing back and forth between it and agnosticism (with brief bouts of atheism and flirtations with other religions). Often I felt much better being without religion or Orthodoxy, but I always kept my love for it, and it always pulled me back. Since early 2010 (especially since my wife passed and I had to examine my life more closely)

Thank you, Asterikos!  You're one of my favorite people on OC.net.  I especially can relate to what I've quoted above.  My icons have come on and off of my wall at least ten times in the last few months.  Since leaving Church I've studied Islam and read the Qur'an.  I've also gone back to Church but quit again, and finally I'm just done with all of it (though, you're right, this most definitely isn't my final destination as far as my beliefs are concerned, it's just what I feel right now.)  I'm 18, and I have my whole life to figure out what I believe as I search for what really is the truth.

Have you recently baked a prosphora?  I never did.
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2012, 11:13:58 PM »

I first started becoming disenchanted with Orthodoxy in 2005, and in January of 2006 I "officially" left it. Since then I've been bouncing back and forth between it and agnosticism (with brief bouts of atheism and flirtations with other religions). Often I felt much better being without religion or Orthodoxy, but I always kept my love for it, and it always pulled me back. Since early 2010 (especially since my wife passed and I had to examine my life more closely)

Thank you, Asterikos!  You're one of my favorite people on OC.net.  I especially can relate to what I've quoted above.  My icons have come on and off of my wall at least ten times in the last few months.  Since leaving Church I've studied Islam and read the Qur'an.  I've also gone back to Church but quit again, and finally I'm just done with all of it (though, you're right, this most definitely isn't my final destination as far as my beliefs are concerned, it's just what I feel right now.)  I'm 18, and I have my whole life to figure out what I believe as I search for what really is the truth.

Have you recently baked a prosphora?  I never did.
No, I haven't baked prosphora in a good long while (my prosphora come out more like prosphora crackers). 
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2012, 11:14:32 PM »

I first started becoming disenchanted with Orthodoxy in 2005, and in January of 2006 I "officially" left it. Since then I've been bouncing back and forth between it and agnosticism (with brief bouts of atheism and flirtations with other religions). Often I felt much better being without religion or Orthodoxy, but I always kept my love for it, and it always pulled me back. Since early 2010 (especially since my wife passed and I had to examine my life more closely)

Thank you, Asterikos!  You're one of my favorite people on OC.net.  I especially can relate to what I've quoted above.  My icons have come on and off of my wall at least ten times in the last few months.  Since leaving Church I've studied Islam and read the Qur'an.  I've also gone back to Church but quit again, and finally I'm just done with all of it (though, you're right, this most definitely isn't my final destination as far as my beliefs are concerned, it's just what I feel right now.)  I'm 18, and I have my whole life to figure out what I believe as I search for what really is the truth.

Have you recently baked a prosphora?  I never did.
That's only for old widows police But I like Trevor more now. Way more mature.
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« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2012, 11:16:32 PM »

I first started becoming disenchanted with Orthodoxy in 2005, and in January of 2006 I "officially" left it. Since then I've been bouncing back and forth between it and agnosticism (with brief bouts of atheism and flirtations with other religions). Often I felt much better being without religion or Orthodoxy, but I always kept my love for it, and it always pulled me back. Since early 2010 (especially since my wife passed and I had to examine my life more closely)

Thank you, Asterikos!  You're one of my favorite people on OC.net.  I especially can relate to what I've quoted above.  My icons have come on and off of my wall at least ten times in the last few months.  Since leaving Church I've studied Islam and read the Qur'an.  I've also gone back to Church but quit again, and finally I'm just done with all of it (though, you're right, this most definitely isn't my final destination as far as my beliefs are concerned, it's just what I feel right now.)  I'm 18, and I have my whole life to figure out what I believe as I search for what really is the truth.

Have you recently baked a prosphora?  I never did.
That's only for old widows police But I like Trevor more now. Way more mature.

Old widows and overly zealous teenagers without girlfriends  Wink

Thank you very much, Augustin.  That means alot.  I feel like I've matured quite a bit over the last few months.
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« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2012, 11:20:07 PM »

I first started becoming disenchanted with Orthodoxy in 2005, and in January of 2006 I "officially" left it. Since then I've been bouncing back and forth between it and agnosticism (with brief bouts of atheism and flirtations with other religions). Often I felt much better being without religion or Orthodoxy, but I always kept my love for it, and it always pulled me back. Since early 2010 (especially since my wife passed and I had to examine my life more closely)

Thank you, Asterikos!  You're one of my favorite people on OC.net.  I especially can relate to what I've quoted above.  My icons have come on and off of my wall at least ten times in the last few months.  Since leaving Church I've studied Islam and read the Qur'an.  I've also gone back to Church but quit again, and finally I'm just done with all of it (though, you're right, this most definitely isn't my final destination as far as my beliefs are concerned, it's just what I feel right now.)  I'm 18, and I have my whole life to figure out what I believe as I search for what really is the truth.

Have you recently baked a prosphora?  I never did.
That's only for old widows police But I like Trevor more now. Way more mature.

Old widows and overly zealous teenagers without girlfriends  Wink

Women like a man who can cook.

Thank you very much, Augustin.  That means alot.  I feel like I've matured quite a bit over the last few months.

Convert burnout.  When cradles burnout, they go to the nearest church in the neighborhood.  The Orthodox Church will be there for you if you desire to "return home."  Same goes for you augustin.   Wink
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« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2012, 11:22:43 PM »

I first started becoming disenchanted with Orthodoxy in 2005, and in January of 2006 I "officially" left it. Since then I've been bouncing back and forth between it and agnosticism (with brief bouts of atheism and flirtations with other religions). Often I felt much better being without religion or Orthodoxy, but I always kept my love for it, and it always pulled me back. Since early 2010 (especially since my wife passed and I had to examine my life more closely)

Thank you, Asterikos!  You're one of my favorite people on OC.net.  I especially can relate to what I've quoted above.  My icons have come on and off of my wall at least ten times in the last few months.  Since leaving Church I've studied Islam and read the Qur'an.  I've also gone back to Church but quit again, and finally I'm just done with all of it (though, you're right, this most definitely isn't my final destination as far as my beliefs are concerned, it's just what I feel right now.)  I'm 18, and I have my whole life to figure out what I believe as I search for what really is the truth.

Have you recently baked a prosphora?  I never did.
That's only for old widows police But I like Trevor more now. Way more mature.

Old widows and overly zealous teenagers without girlfriends  Wink

Women like a man who can cook.

Thank you very much, Augustin.  That means alot.  I feel like I've matured quite a bit over the last few months.

Convert burnout.  When cradles burnout, they go to the nearest church in the neighborhood.  The Orthodox Church will be there for you if you desire to "return home."  Same goes for you augustin.   Wink

Yes, I've heard that first we're "Hyperdox Hermans" and then we turn into "Cradle Christopher"!   Cheesy
« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 11:23:39 PM by trevor72694 » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2012, 11:28:53 PM »

Quote
  Same goes for you augustin.   
I know. I didn't call  quits. Just practice it with loads of economia on top of  a who cares attitude. just like they were trying to teach me in younger days back home.
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« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2012, 11:31:51 PM »

Quote
  Same goes for you augustin.   
I know. I didn't call  quits. Just practice it with loads of economia on top of  a who cares attitude. just like they were trying to teach me in younger days back home.

As long as you know the difference between augustindoxy and Orthodox Christianity.   Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2012, 11:35:23 PM »

Hello, all.  It's been a while since I posted about something, so I wanted to update you on where I am on my religious journey.

I haven't been to Church in a couple of months, because I was starting to become a bit disenchanted when my spiritual father left.  He had really become a father figure, and I loved his family as though they were my family.  It was sad to see a new priest at the altar, but the community has gotten used to him and he's proven to be a fantastic priest.

I took hiatus from Church several times over the last year.  Each time they got longer and longer, until I finally just told the priest that it no longer felt like my home.  He was very understanding, and assured me that I'm always welcome.

I was having some personal issues, and my therapist and I decided that I either had to keep Church or quit.  I chose to call it quits for now, and to be honest I feel fine.

 **Here is where I'm going to be honest about my feelings, please don't be offended**

People talk about how missing one liturgy leaves them feeling sick and tired.  I feel so much better since not going to Church.  I was always known as the stick in the mud, nieve, religious guy.  Now, thanks to my therapist and a class at school, I've re-evaluated my beliefs and interests, and I'm quite a different person.

I think that I did a bit of growing up.  I no longer have anxiety problems (I'm finally able to drive without having a panic attack!).

I'm going through a period of disbelief.  It started about a month ago, though I think it's been coming for a while.  I used to be so zealous!  I was praying before I went to sleep, just talking to God.  Then I had a thought - what if I'm just talking to myself?  I didn't believe it, but as days went by, I started to feel more alone.

I don't want to say that "I don't believe that God exists".  I just don't think that God existed to begin with.  

I've tried praying and reading the Bible, but it's just not coming back.  At first I thought that God had left me, but I think that "God" and saints and all of it was all in my head.  It was real, because I made it real.  If I don't believe in it, it's no longer real.  

I went to liturgy to see if it changed my feelings, but nothing happened.  I mean, let's keep it real - bread and wine/water doesn't actually turn into flesh and blood unless you believe that it does.

I spoke to a religious friend about this, and she said that my "choice" not to believe in God was "suicide".  I must say, this is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard.  I'm not going to hell.  I don't see apparitions of the Theotokos or demons or saints.  Nothing is there, and now that I've realized that I no longer feel bad about things that I used to feel bad about.  

I don't condemn religion, I still love it very much.  I love Orthodoxy, I just don't believe in it any longer.

So that's that...I hope I haven't shocked you all beyond repair Smiley

If you wouldn't mind, please let me know in replies how you're doing!  It's been so long since I've spoken with most of you, and I love you all very much!  (of course, you're also welcome to comment on what I've written).   Smiley

Read Psalm 42 ("As a hart longs for flowing streams...")

I'm not sure why I am recommending that.  I just think it's a good one to read.  You're not the first person to go through this.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 11:37:29 PM by Salpy » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2012, 11:58:33 PM »

I was afraid of this.

Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2012, 12:37:10 AM »

My dear Trevor, it is always great to hear from you.

your best quality , along with your winning charm and gentle loving soul is your genuineness and sincerity. I can not say enough how refreshing those are. to me they are the mark of a true seeker of the Truth. those who genuinely struggle are worthy of honor and admiration as far as I am concerned. to say one is not Orthodox anymore is waaaaay better than to say one is when one knows one is Not and use all sorts of pomp and hot air to hide what one is. such existence of pretense is the worst possible way to be my beloved. so even if my heart ached in pain hearing what you had to say, but I was also comforted by your continued sincerity and honesty that remains unchanged.May the Lord preserve such sincerity in you as I know it is just that very thing that will make all of us embrace the Truth when we find it even if that Truth demands what might look like unbearable suffering from us.

 when David says the fool says there is no God in his heart, its because the fool is not after the Truth , rather after his personal pleasure and comfort, so every time he has to restrain himself or extend himself beyond what is comfortable to him for the sake of the Truth, he opts for what seems like an easy solution of denial of this God/Truth that demands all those things and make his life uncomfortable, so in his foolishness  he says there is no God, if there is no God there is no need to worry about what one does or does not do.the foolishness then is for him to think that just because he says God does not exist to expect God to cease existing. you are not such man, you are a genuine seeker who hungers for the Truth and is struggling genuinely with it, and that genuine struggle is a refiner of saints. do not surrender your freedom to seek the Truth even to the  comfort you might feel as you abandon it. that is not freedom that is a bond of fear and pain , this weapon has been used by the enemy to kick warriors men out of the battle field. typically what is offered by the enemy is ' your life will be much easier if only you stop being a christian' Let Love and Truth guide you in your journey not pleasure and comfort seeking instinct. so long as you Love the Truth, the Truth will guide you home I have no doubt about this, and in this life or the next that's worth everything that comes with the territory.

so  remain your beautiful honest self and the world will be a better place for having you lived in it my dear terevor. May the Lord guide you, protect and strengthen you. May the Prayers of all the Saints be with you. love you! hug!

with love in Christ,
Hiwot.
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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2012, 12:42:38 AM »

Hey Trevor,

Thank you for the update and for the honesty.  You were honest with us and so I'll be honest with you. I find this news to be absolutely devastating.  You are a sensitive guy and you were a breath of fresh air on a forum where coldness and cannibalism often reigns. You will be missed. I don't mean this to sound patronizing but you will be in my prayers.
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2012, 12:46:42 AM »

Hey Trevor,

Thank you for the update and for the honesty.  You were honest with us and so I'll be honest with you. I find this news to be absolutely devastating.  You are a sensitive guy and you were a breath of fresh air on a forum where coldness and cannibalism often reigns. You will be missed. I don't mean this to sound patronizing but you will be in my prayers.
Thank you, but you needn't be devastated.  If God is real, perhapse in his infinite wisdom and power I'll find my way to Him again. Smiley  (Also, I'm still sticking around OC.net, so you won't be missing me.  I may not be the annoying zealot that I was a few years ago, but I'll be here).

As always, I appreciate your prayers.  Whether there is someone who hears them or not, good thoughts are worth something no matter what one believes or disbelieves.  Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2012, 01:02:16 AM »

and a class at school
What class?
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« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2012, 01:03:42 AM »

It's a fantastic class where we analyze our personalities and our traits.  We also learn life skills such as paying bills and balancing checkbooks.  I took a test at the beginning of the year about my values, and "religion" was my highest value, even over family and love.   Embarrassed 
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 01:04:09 AM by trevor72694 » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2012, 01:04:51 AM »

It's a fantastic class where we analyze our personalities and our traits.  We also learn life skills such as paying bills and balancing checkbooks.  I took a test at the beginning of the year about my values, and "religion" was my highest value, even over family and love.   Embarrassed 
So that made you revalue your beliefs?
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« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2012, 01:05:50 AM »

The doors are always open for the repentant to return, my friend. I can't really add anything to the great posts by Hiwot and Asteriktos, but I can post this advice that helps me when I am filled with doubt or worry. They say that there is more rejoicing in heaven over one soul that has repented and returned to the Lord than over a hundred who did not have such dramatic struggles (or something like that), and I know there are many saints who lived without God for some of their lives and yet are today remembered among our greatest and strongest intercessors before the Lord our God. I will pray that you become one of them.
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« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2012, 01:06:11 AM »

It's a fantastic class where we analyze our personalities and our traits.  We also learn life skills such as paying bills and balancing checkbooks.  I took a test at the beginning of the year about my values, and "religion" was my highest value, even over family and love.   Embarrassed 
So that made you revalue your beliefs?
No, it wasn't that.  But this little test that I took did make me want to put Church on the back burner.  
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« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2012, 01:09:06 AM »

Not to pry into your personal life, but I'd like to know what your father thinks about this because wasn't he against you being Orthodox in the first place?
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« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2012, 01:09:35 AM »

So you were naive when you were religious, but now that you're not all your problems have magically gone away as a result. And you're not naive anymore. Interesting how that works out.
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« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2012, 01:11:56 AM »

Not to pry into your personal life, but I'd like to know what your father thinks about this because wasn't he against you being Orthodox in the first place?
No, you're not prying at all.   Smiley

My father wasn't against me being Orthodox.  In fact, he converted a couple of years after me!  My mother was rather against it, but she saw that just because I was religious didn't mean that I would turn into a judgmental bigot.  She lets me do what I want, as long as I am happy.  I really have amazing parents, I just didn't see it when I was a couple of years younger. Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2012, 01:14:30 AM »

So you were naive when you were religious, but now that you're not all your problems have magically gone away as a result. And you're not naive anymore. Interesting how that works out.

No, no, no!  My friend, that is not what I meant!   Wink

When I first joined this forum, I was a different person.  I was barely 15, and I didn't think for myself much (this is why I say that I was naive).  I'm not suggesting that naivety and religiousness go hand in hand, I'm merely using it to describe myself when I was more active in the Church.
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« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2012, 01:16:52 AM »

It's a fantastic class where we analyze our personalities and our traits.  We also learn life skills such as paying bills and balancing checkbooks.  I took a test at the beginning of the year about my values, and "religion" was my highest value, even over family and love.   Embarrassed 
So that made you revalue your beliefs?
No, it wasn't that.  But this little test that I took did make me want to put Church on the back burner.  

1.  Therapists are supposed to be supportive.
2.  Quit the church because of a test?  Huh?   Huh
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« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2012, 01:20:20 AM »

It's a fantastic class where we analyze our personalities and our traits.  We also learn life skills such as paying bills and balancing checkbooks.  I took a test at the beginning of the year about my values, and "religion" was my highest value, even over family and love.   Embarrassed 
So that made you revalue your beliefs?
No, it wasn't that.  But this little test that I took did make me want to put Church on the back burner.  

1.  Therapists are supposed to be supportive.
2.  Quit the church because of a test?  Huh?   Huh

1.  And she was.  She was extremely helpful and supportive!  Smiley

2. No, I didn't quit Church because of this.  This test made me want to not have Church as such a high priority in my life, but not quit it.

Since I started this conversation, I suppose I owe you all this much for the sake of context.

I originally left Church because of my sexual orientation.  This was something that I didn't feel comfortable even thinking about while I was in Church.  This is no fault of the Church's, but my own.  I stopped Church, and I was able to accept myself for who I am.  I needed to stop going for me.  The disbelief in God came later.
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« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2012, 01:23:19 AM »

I'm just a bit incredulous that all of your problems went away when you stopped going to church. You stopped having panic attacks? What about church gave you panic attacks?

Your story inspired me a lot. I'm a year younger than you. I remember coming to the forum as just an internet lurker sorrowful that he wouldn't be able to really experience Orthodoxy for years. Then I saw your story, and found out that there's no age requirements on beginning to look into the Church. So I have you to thank for the fact that I've been in contact with my priest and attending an Orthodox church for a little over a year, so I'm especially sorry that you have of all people have turned away from God. I can only hope and pray that you'll come to your senses and that I won't follow you in this as I followed you before.
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« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2012, 01:25:21 AM »

It's a fantastic class where we analyze our personalities and our traits.  We also learn life skills such as paying bills and balancing checkbooks.  I took a test at the beginning of the year about my values, and "religion" was my highest value, even over family and love.   Embarrassed 

Isn't this an example of a flaw in the test, or maybe your idea of what the results say about you, not a flaw in your values? My religion is most important to me because the Lord is my creator and my salvation, but I don't think that is to the exclusion of my biological family and love. Rather, I give thanks to God for the family He has blessed me with quite frequently, and the love we show for one another is in some small way a reflection of God's love for all creation. So I don't understand why there is a problem with saying that religion is most important. After all, we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

So I think the test has created a false dichotomy.
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« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2012, 01:27:29 AM »

I'm just a bit incredulous that all of your problems went away when you stopped going to church. You stopped having panic attacks? What about church gave you panic attacks?

Your story inspired me a lot. I'm a year younger than you. I remember coming to the forum as just an internet lurker sorrowful that he wouldn't be able to really experience Orthodoxy for years. Then I saw your story, and found out that there's no age requirements on beginning to look into the Church. So I have you to thank for the fact that I've been in contact with my priest and attending an Orthodox church for a little over a year, so I'm especially sorry that you have of all people have turned away from God. I can only hope and pray that you'll come to your senses and that I won't follow you in this as I followed you before.
Well, gee, thanks.   Wink

Nothing about the Church gave me panic attacks.  I LOVED the Church.  I remember posting before about my anxiety problems, and I said that they went away because I was trying to explain that I'm not the same person I used to be (I stopped posting on this forum for quite a while.)

I am glad that I helped you, William.  Orthodoxy truly is for everyone.  I hope that you find happiness and peace in the Church.
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« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2012, 01:28:42 AM »

I am glad that I helped you, William.  Orthodoxy truly is for everyone.  I hope that you find happiness and peace in the Church.

Thank you.
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« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2012, 01:33:02 AM »

It's a fantastic class where we analyze our personalities and our traits.  We also learn life skills such as paying bills and balancing checkbooks.  I took a test at the beginning of the year about my values, and "religion" was my highest value, even over family and love.   Embarrassed 

Isn't this an example of a flaw in the test, or maybe your idea of what the results say about you, not a flaw in your values? My religion is most important to me because the Lord is my creator and my salvation, but I don't think that is to the exclusion of my biological family and love. Rather, I give thanks to God for the family He has blessed me with quite frequently, and the love we show for one another is in some small way a reflection of God's love for all creation. So I don't understand why there is a problem with saying that religion is most important. After all, we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

So I think the test has created a false dichotomy.

It very well could be, but you didn't know me back then.  Church was the most important thing, period.  I would always drag my mom out of bed to drive me (I would go three times a week).  It was all I talked and read about.  I'm afraid that in stead of "witnessing" to people, I put them off by how religious I was.  I had bad opinions about several things as a result of my religiousness, which caused me to shelter myself from the most interesting people.  I have become so much more accepting and friendly (in my opinion!).

Whether it's a flaw in the test the way you see it or not, it was a good thing for me. 
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« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2012, 01:46:45 AM »

Hmm. I guess you have a point. I didn't know any of that about you. But what you describe also doesn't sound anything like the Orthodoxy I'm learning to live by. I guess everyone is different in that way, but I'm still trying to understand how you go from "I was bad at balancing my commitment to my religion" (or "I was anxious", or whatever you feel the problem was) to "God doesn't exist". I mean, I'm bad at staying away from sweets, but sweets still exist (I just try to avoid being alone with them Grin). I don't know you at all, so please forgive me if this is out of line, but it seems like you could benefit from looking to transform your experience and understanding of your religion, rather than giving up religion.

Granted, when I did that I became Orthodox... Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: August 19, 2012, 01:52:34 AM »

Hmm. I guess you have a point. I didn't know any of that about you. But what you describe also doesn't sound anything like the Orthodoxy I'm learning to live by. I guess everyone is different in that way, but I'm still trying to understand how you go from "I was bad at balancing my commitment to my religion" (or "I was anxious", or whatever you feel the problem was) to "God doesn't exist". I mean, I'm bad at staying away from sweets, but sweets still exist (I just try to avoid being alone with them Grin). I don't know you at all, so please forgive me if this is out of line, but it seems like you could benefit from looking to transform your experience and understanding of your religion, rather than giving up religion.

Granted, when I did that I became Orthodox... Smiley
This isn't out of line at all, my friend.  Smiley

That is why I left Church in the first place, but my belief in God was still strong.  It was learning that I am just fine without God in my life that pushed me to question his existence, and then realizing the answer to that question.

I mean, I can't say for 100% certainty that God doesn't exist (and I truly believe that not even the most religious of the religious can say that they know 100% that God exists).  You know, because you have faith in him.  You learn about him and attend Church and commune with him while building a strong relationship with him.

I've realized that "faith" is all in your head.  It's real if you believe that it's real.  I just don't believe that it's real, so for me, it's not real.

I hope that makes sense.  I'm currently half asleep and still on the computer (that's what OC.net will do to you), so I'm going to bed.  Smiley
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« Reply #34 on: August 19, 2012, 01:56:04 AM »

Hello, all.  It's been a while since I posted about something, so I wanted to update you on where I am on my religious journey.

I haven't been to Church in a couple of months, because I was starting to become a bit disenchanted when my spiritual father left.  He had really become a father figure, and I loved his family as though they were my family.  It was sad to see a new priest at the altar, but the community has gotten used to him and he's proven to be a fantastic priest.

I took hiatus from Church several times over the last year.  Each time they got longer and longer, until I finally just told the priest that it no longer felt like my home.  He was very understanding, and assured me that I'm always welcome.

I was having some personal issues, and my therapist and I decided that I either had to keep Church or quit.  I chose to call it quits for now, and to be honest I feel fine.

 **Here is where I'm going to be honest about my feelings, please don't be offended**

People talk about how missing one liturgy leaves them feeling sick and tired.  I feel so much better since not going to Church.  I was always known as the stick in the mud, nieve, religious guy.  Now, thanks to my therapist and a class at school, I've re-evaluated my beliefs and interests, and I'm quite a different person.

I think that I did a bit of growing up.  I no longer have anxiety problems (I'm finally able to drive without having a panic attack!).

I'm going through a period of disbelief.  It started about a month ago, though I think it's been coming for a while.  I used to be so zealous!  I was praying before I went to sleep, just talking to God.  Then I had a thought - what if I'm just talking to myself?  I didn't believe it, but as days went by, I started to feel more alone.

I don't want to say that "I don't believe that God exists".  I just don't think that God existed to begin with. 

I've tried praying and reading the Bible, but it's just not coming back.  At first I thought that God had left me, but I think that "God" and saints and all of it was all in my head.  It was real, because I made it real.  If I don't believe in it, it's no longer real. 

I went to liturgy to see if it changed my feelings, but nothing happened.  I mean, let's keep it real - bread and wine/water doesn't actually turn into flesh and blood unless you believe that it does.

I spoke to a religious friend about this, and she said that my "choice" not to believe in God was "suicide".  I must say, this is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard.  I'm not going to hell.  I don't see apparitions of the Theotokos or demons or saints.  Nothing is there, and now that I've realized that I no longer feel bad about things that I used to feel bad about. 

I don't condemn religion, I still love it very much.  I love Orthodoxy, I just don't believe in it any longer.

So that's that...I hope I haven't shocked you all beyond repair Smiley

If you wouldn't mind, please let me know in replies how you're doing!  It's been so long since I've spoken with most of you, and I love you all very much!  (of course, you're also welcome to comment on what I've written).   Smiley

Yea, feelings are deceptive.  

I don't think anyone is offended, and a few of us are not surprised, but saw this coming from early on.    

In ancient days, many liked Ba'al as a symbol because as a deity it represented the self to atheists (much like Satanism today).  It represented "do what you will, there is no God."  One could shape Ba'al in any form they wanted to as a person--baal took the form of whatever person or town wanted it to take, Baal was the image of them in their perception of what reality is.  That is why Ba'al was such a popular idol.  As Elijah said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”  I suppose you have made your choice.  I would not assume that "your whole life" lasts a long time.  We have plans maybe to give ourselves a million chances, but unforeseen things happen, and when our breath departs, we return to our earth, and on that very day our plans perish.    

Lord have mercy.  
 
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« Reply #35 on: August 19, 2012, 01:57:47 AM »

Hello, all.  It's been a while since I posted about something, so I wanted to update you on where I am on my religious journey.

I haven't been to Church in a couple of months, because I was starting to become a bit disenchanted when my spiritual father left.  He had really become a father figure, and I loved his family as though they were my family.  It was sad to see a new priest at the altar, but the community has gotten used to him and he's proven to be a fantastic priest.

I took hiatus from Church several times over the last year.  Each time they got longer and longer, until I finally just told the priest that it no longer felt like my home.  He was very understanding, and assured me that I'm always welcome.

I was having some personal issues, and my therapist and I decided that I either had to keep Church or quit.  I chose to call it quits for now, and to be honest I feel fine.

 **Here is where I'm going to be honest about my feelings, please don't be offended**

People talk about how missing one liturgy leaves them feeling sick and tired.  I feel so much better since not going to Church.  I was always known as the stick in the mud, nieve, religious guy.  Now, thanks to my therapist and a class at school, I've re-evaluated my beliefs and interests, and I'm quite a different person.

I think that I did a bit of growing up.  I no longer have anxiety problems (I'm finally able to drive without having a panic attack!).

I'm going through a period of disbelief.  It started about a month ago, though I think it's been coming for a while.  I used to be so zealous!  I was praying before I went to sleep, just talking to God.  Then I had a thought - what if I'm just talking to myself?  I didn't believe it, but as days went by, I started to feel more alone.

I don't want to say that "I don't believe that God exists".  I just don't think that God existed to begin with. 

I've tried praying and reading the Bible, but it's just not coming back.  At first I thought that God had left me, but I think that "God" and saints and all of it was all in my head.  It was real, because I made it real.  If I don't believe in it, it's no longer real. 

I went to liturgy to see if it changed my feelings, but nothing happened.  I mean, let's keep it real - bread and wine/water doesn't actually turn into flesh and blood unless you believe that it does.

I spoke to a religious friend about this, and she said that my "choice" not to believe in God was "suicide".  I must say, this is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard.  I'm not going to hell.  I don't see apparitions of the Theotokos or demons or saints.  Nothing is there, and now that I've realized that I no longer feel bad about things that I used to feel bad about. 

I don't condemn religion, I still love it very much.  I love Orthodoxy, I just don't believe in it any longer.

So that's that...I hope I haven't shocked you all beyond repair Smiley

If you wouldn't mind, please let me know in replies how you're doing!  It's been so long since I've spoken with most of you, and I love you all very much!  (of course, you're also welcome to comment on what I've written).   Smiley

Yea, feelings are deceptive.  

I don't think anyone is offended, and a few of us are not surprised, but saw this coming from early on.    

In ancient days, many liked Ba'al as a symbol because as a deity it represented the self to atheists (much like Satanism today).  It represented "do what you will, there is no God."  One could shape Ba'al in any form they wanted to as a person--baal took the form of whatever person or town wanted it to take, Baal was the image of them in their perception of what reality is.  That is why Ba'al was such a popular idol.  As Elijah said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”  I suppose you have made your choice.  I would not assume that "your whole life" lasts a long time.  We have plans maybe to give ourselves a million chances, but unforeseen things happen, and when our breath departs, we return to our earth, and on that very day our plans perish.    

Lord have mercy.  
 


Father, that is very interesting.

I am very interested, how could you tell from so early on?
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« Reply #36 on: August 19, 2012, 02:00:23 AM »

Hello, all.  It's been a while since I posted about something, so I wanted to update you on where I am on my religious journey.

I haven't been to Church in a couple of months, because I was starting to become a bit disenchanted when my spiritual father left.  He had really become a father figure, and I loved his family as though they were my family.  It was sad to see a new priest at the altar, but the community has gotten used to him and he's proven to be a fantastic priest.

I took hiatus from Church several times over the last year.  Each time they got longer and longer, until I finally just told the priest that it no longer felt like my home.  He was very understanding, and assured me that I'm always welcome.

I was having some personal issues, and my therapist and I decided that I either had to keep Church or quit.  I chose to call it quits for now, and to be honest I feel fine.

 **Here is where I'm going to be honest about my feelings, please don't be offended**

People talk about how missing one liturgy leaves them feeling sick and tired.  I feel so much better since not going to Church.  I was always known as the stick in the mud, nieve, religious guy.  Now, thanks to my therapist and a class at school, I've re-evaluated my beliefs and interests, and I'm quite a different person.

I think that I did a bit of growing up.  I no longer have anxiety problems (I'm finally able to drive without having a panic attack!).

I'm going through a period of disbelief.  It started about a month ago, though I think it's been coming for a while.  I used to be so zealous!  I was praying before I went to sleep, just talking to God.  Then I had a thought - what if I'm just talking to myself?  I didn't believe it, but as days went by, I started to feel more alone.

I don't want to say that "I don't believe that God exists".  I just don't think that God existed to begin with. 

I've tried praying and reading the Bible, but it's just not coming back.  At first I thought that God had left me, but I think that "God" and saints and all of it was all in my head.  It was real, because I made it real.  If I don't believe in it, it's no longer real. 

I went to liturgy to see if it changed my feelings, but nothing happened.  I mean, let's keep it real - bread and wine/water doesn't actually turn into flesh and blood unless you believe that it does.

I spoke to a religious friend about this, and she said that my "choice" not to believe in God was "suicide".  I must say, this is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard.  I'm not going to hell.  I don't see apparitions of the Theotokos or demons or saints.  Nothing is there, and now that I've realized that I no longer feel bad about things that I used to feel bad about. 

I don't condemn religion, I still love it very much.  I love Orthodoxy, I just don't believe in it any longer.

So that's that...I hope I haven't shocked you all beyond repair Smiley

If you wouldn't mind, please let me know in replies how you're doing!  It's been so long since I've spoken with most of you, and I love you all very much!  (of course, you're also welcome to comment on what I've written).   Smiley

Yea, feelings are deceptive.  

I don't think anyone is offended, and a few of us are not surprised, but saw this coming from early on.    
 
JamesR is next.
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« Reply #37 on: August 19, 2012, 02:01:04 AM »

Hello, all.  It's been a while since I posted about something, so I wanted to update you on where I am on my religious journey.

I haven't been to Church in a couple of months, because I was starting to become a bit disenchanted when my spiritual father left.  He had really become a father figure, and I loved his family as though they were my family.  It was sad to see a new priest at the altar, but the community has gotten used to him and he's proven to be a fantastic priest.

I took hiatus from Church several times over the last year.  Each time they got longer and longer, until I finally just told the priest that it no longer felt like my home.  He was very understanding, and assured me that I'm always welcome.

I was having some personal issues, and my therapist and I decided that I either had to keep Church or quit.  I chose to call it quits for now, and to be honest I feel fine.

 **Here is where I'm going to be honest about my feelings, please don't be offended**

People talk about how missing one liturgy leaves them feeling sick and tired.  I feel so much better since not going to Church.  I was always known as the stick in the mud, nieve, religious guy.  Now, thanks to my therapist and a class at school, I've re-evaluated my beliefs and interests, and I'm quite a different person.

I think that I did a bit of growing up.  I no longer have anxiety problems (I'm finally able to drive without having a panic attack!).

I'm going through a period of disbelief.  It started about a month ago, though I think it's been coming for a while.  I used to be so zealous!  I was praying before I went to sleep, just talking to God.  Then I had a thought - what if I'm just talking to myself?  I didn't believe it, but as days went by, I started to feel more alone.

I don't want to say that "I don't believe that God exists".  I just don't think that God existed to begin with. 

I've tried praying and reading the Bible, but it's just not coming back.  At first I thought that God had left me, but I think that "God" and saints and all of it was all in my head.  It was real, because I made it real.  If I don't believe in it, it's no longer real. 

I went to liturgy to see if it changed my feelings, but nothing happened.  I mean, let's keep it real - bread and wine/water doesn't actually turn into flesh and blood unless you believe that it does.

I spoke to a religious friend about this, and she said that my "choice" not to believe in God was "suicide".  I must say, this is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard.  I'm not going to hell.  I don't see apparitions of the Theotokos or demons or saints.  Nothing is there, and now that I've realized that I no longer feel bad about things that I used to feel bad about. 

I don't condemn religion, I still love it very much.  I love Orthodoxy, I just don't believe in it any longer.

So that's that...I hope I haven't shocked you all beyond repair Smiley

If you wouldn't mind, please let me know in replies how you're doing!  It's been so long since I've spoken with most of you, and I love you all very much!  (of course, you're also welcome to comment on what I've written).   Smiley

Yea, feelings are deceptive.  

I don't think anyone is offended, and a few of us are not surprised, but saw this coming from early on.    
 
JamesR is next.
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« Reply #38 on: August 19, 2012, 02:14:13 AM »

That's not funny. I don't know why you all think that about James. But he would never do that.
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« Reply #39 on: August 19, 2012, 02:15:21 AM »

That's not funny. I don't know why you all think that about James. But he would never do that.
I'm willing to bet good money he will be an atheist in a few years. Just wait bud.
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« Reply #40 on: August 19, 2012, 02:21:50 AM »

That's not funny. I don't know why you all think that about James. But he would never do that.
I think that our friend Achronos is only joking!  James is a faithful Orthodox Christian.  He seems like an honest chap, he'll do what he believes is right. 
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« Reply #41 on: August 19, 2012, 02:21:59 AM »

That's not funny. I don't know why you all think that about James. But he would never do that.
I'm willing to bet good money he will be an atheist in a few years. Just wait bud.

How much good money?
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« Reply #42 on: August 19, 2012, 02:22:51 AM »

Hello, all.  It's been a while since I posted about something, so I wanted to update you on where I am on my religious journey.

I haven't been to Church in a couple of months, because I was starting to become a bit disenchanted when my spiritual father left.  He had really become a father figure, and I loved his family as though they were my family.  It was sad to see a new priest at the altar, but the community has gotten used to him and he's proven to be a fantastic priest.

I took hiatus from Church several times over the last year.  Each time they got longer and longer, until I finally just told the priest that it no longer felt like my home.  He was very understanding, and assured me that I'm always welcome.

I was having some personal issues, and my therapist and I decided that I either had to keep Church or quit.  I chose to call it quits for now, and to be honest I feel fine.

 **Here is where I'm going to be honest about my feelings, please don't be offended**

People talk about how missing one liturgy leaves them feeling sick and tired.  I feel so much better since not going to Church.  I was always known as the stick in the mud, nieve, religious guy.  Now, thanks to my therapist and a class at school, I've re-evaluated my beliefs and interests, and I'm quite a different person.

I think that I did a bit of growing up.  I no longer have anxiety problems (I'm finally able to drive without having a panic attack!).

I'm going through a period of disbelief.  It started about a month ago, though I think it's been coming for a while.  I used to be so zealous!  I was praying before I went to sleep, just talking to God.  Then I had a thought - what if I'm just talking to myself?  I didn't believe it, but as days went by, I started to feel more alone.

I don't want to say that "I don't believe that God exists".  I just don't think that God existed to begin with. 

I've tried praying and reading the Bible, but it's just not coming back.  At first I thought that God had left me, but I think that "God" and saints and all of it was all in my head.  It was real, because I made it real.  If I don't believe in it, it's no longer real. 

I went to liturgy to see if it changed my feelings, but nothing happened.  I mean, let's keep it real - bread and wine/water doesn't actually turn into flesh and blood unless you believe that it does.

I spoke to a religious friend about this, and she said that my "choice" not to believe in God was "suicide".  I must say, this is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard.  I'm not going to hell.  I don't see apparitions of the Theotokos or demons or saints.  Nothing is there, and now that I've realized that I no longer feel bad about things that I used to feel bad about. 

I don't condemn religion, I still love it very much.  I love Orthodoxy, I just don't believe in it any longer.

So that's that...I hope I haven't shocked you all beyond repair Smiley

If you wouldn't mind, please let me know in replies how you're doing!  It's been so long since I've spoken with most of you, and I love you all very much!  (of course, you're also welcome to comment on what I've written).   Smiley

Yea, feelings are deceptive.  

I don't think anyone is offended, and a few of us are not surprised, but saw this coming from early on.    

In ancient days, many liked Ba'al as a symbol because as a deity it represented the self to atheists (much like Satanism today).  It represented "do what you will, there is no God."  One could shape Ba'al in any form they wanted to as a person--baal took the form of whatever person or town wanted it to take, Baal was the image of them in their perception of what reality is.  That is why Ba'al was such a popular idol.  As Elijah said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”  I suppose you have made your choice.  I would not assume that "your whole life" lasts a long time.  We have plans maybe to give ourselves a million chances, but unforeseen things happen, and when our breath departs, we return to our earth, and on that very day our plans perish.    

Lord have mercy.  
 


Father, that is very interesting.

I am very interested, how could you tell from so early on?

Well, several things, but I will only mention one.  Many of your posts rotated around you and your perceptions and practical matters.  It was only a matter of time before you figured out that life is ok without God because the focus has always been you.  Even when you were focusing on God the central focus was still you focusing on God.  But keep this in mind.  If there is no God then there are no absolutes, and there is no instrinsic value.  If there are no absolutes and instrinsic value, then we have no value as persons, and all of our thoughts, feelings, writings, speaking, and actions in general have no value.  Now that does not prove that there is a God, it just proves that if there is not one, that your entire thread on an update of Trevor is meaningless and of no value.    
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« Reply #43 on: August 19, 2012, 02:25:46 AM »

Achronos, please stop. I don't know if you remember being James' age, but doubts find their roots because of careless words from people like you. I'd rather leave the boy in peace and let him mature and grow in the Lord without other people doubting him.

Do you pray for him? If you really think he'll be an atheist than you should feel a strong urge to pray for his walk with Christ. If you already are doing this, I thank you.
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« Reply #44 on: August 19, 2012, 02:26:14 AM »

Hello, all.  It's been a while since I posted about something, so I wanted to update you on where I am on my religious journey.

I haven't been to Church in a couple of months, because I was starting to become a bit disenchanted when my spiritual father left.  He had really become a father figure, and I loved his family as though they were my family.  It was sad to see a new priest at the altar, but the community has gotten used to him and he's proven to be a fantastic priest.

I took hiatus from Church several times over the last year.  Each time they got longer and longer, until I finally just told the priest that it no longer felt like my home.  He was very understanding, and assured me that I'm always welcome.

I was having some personal issues, and my therapist and I decided that I either had to keep Church or quit.  I chose to call it quits for now, and to be honest I feel fine.

 **Here is where I'm going to be honest about my feelings, please don't be offended**

People talk about how missing one liturgy leaves them feeling sick and tired.  I feel so much better since not going to Church.  I was always known as the stick in the mud, nieve, religious guy.  Now, thanks to my therapist and a class at school, I've re-evaluated my beliefs and interests, and I'm quite a different person.

I think that I did a bit of growing up.  I no longer have anxiety problems (I'm finally able to drive without having a panic attack!).

I'm going through a period of disbelief.  It started about a month ago, though I think it's been coming for a while.  I used to be so zealous!  I was praying before I went to sleep, just talking to God.  Then I had a thought - what if I'm just talking to myself?  I didn't believe it, but as days went by, I started to feel more alone.

I don't want to say that "I don't believe that God exists".  I just don't think that God existed to begin with. 

I've tried praying and reading the Bible, but it's just not coming back.  At first I thought that God had left me, but I think that "God" and saints and all of it was all in my head.  It was real, because I made it real.  If I don't believe in it, it's no longer real. 

I went to liturgy to see if it changed my feelings, but nothing happened.  I mean, let's keep it real - bread and wine/water doesn't actually turn into flesh and blood unless you believe that it does.

I spoke to a religious friend about this, and she said that my "choice" not to believe in God was "suicide".  I must say, this is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard.  I'm not going to hell.  I don't see apparitions of the Theotokos or demons or saints.  Nothing is there, and now that I've realized that I no longer feel bad about things that I used to feel bad about. 

I don't condemn religion, I still love it very much.  I love Orthodoxy, I just don't believe in it any longer.

So that's that...I hope I haven't shocked you all beyond repair Smiley

If you wouldn't mind, please let me know in replies how you're doing!  It's been so long since I've spoken with most of you, and I love you all very much!  (of course, you're also welcome to comment on what I've written).   Smiley

Yea, feelings are deceptive.  

I don't think anyone is offended, and a few of us are not surprised, but saw this coming from early on.    

In ancient days, many liked Ba'al as a symbol because as a deity it represented the self to atheists (much like Satanism today).  It represented "do what you will, there is no God."  One could shape Ba'al in any form they wanted to as a person--baal took the form of whatever person or town wanted it to take, Baal was the image of them in their perception of what reality is.  That is why Ba'al was such a popular idol.  As Elijah said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”  I suppose you have made your choice.  I would not assume that "your whole life" lasts a long time.  We have plans maybe to give ourselves a million chances, but unforeseen things happen, and when our breath departs, we return to our earth, and on that very day our plans perish.    

Lord have mercy.  
 


Father, that is very interesting.

I am very interested, how could you tell from so early on?

Well, several things, but I will only mention one.  Many of your posts rotated around you and your perceptions and practical matters.  It was only a matter of time before you figured out that life is ok without God because the focus has always been you.  Even when you were focusing on God the central focus was still you focusing on God.  But keep this in mind.  If there is no God then there are no absolutes, and there is no instrinsic value.  If there are no absolutes and instrinsic value, then we have no value as persons, and all of our thoughts, feelings, writings, speaking, and actions in general have no value.  Now that does not prove that there is a God, it just proves that if there is not one, that your entire thread on an update of Trevor is meaningless and of no value.    
I appreciate you sharing this, that is a very fascinating observation.
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« Reply #45 on: August 19, 2012, 02:32:57 AM »

That's not funny. I don't know why you all think that about James. But he would never do that.
I agree. [sarcasm]By the same standard I guess I must be next, right?[/sarcasm]

Anyway, I wish you the best Trevor even though this is not the news I wanted to hear. I pray that you return to the Lord. You do seem like a sincere and honest person.
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« Reply #46 on: August 19, 2012, 02:35:10 AM »


Anyway, I wish you the best Trevor even though this is not the news I wanted to hear. I pray that you return to the Lord. You do seem like a sincere and honest person.
Thank you very much.  I wish I could believe like I used to, but I just can't muster up the faith I used to have.  Who knows?  Maybe St. Tikhon (my patron saint) will appear in my dreams and punch me in the nose, and then set me on the straight and narrow!  Smiley
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« Reply #47 on: August 19, 2012, 02:35:40 AM »

Quote
That is why I left Church in the first place, but my belief in God was still strong.  It was learning that I am just fine without God in my life that pushed me to question his existence, and then realizing the answer to that question.

One can adjust to many different situations, sure. Believe me...I lived essentially as an atheist (or I guess it would be better to say agnostic) for a period of about a decade after my mother passed away. I know all about feeling free from/to whatever. But we have a higher calling than feeling "fine" with wherever it is we are. As Fr. HLL rightly points out, feelings are deceptive. The passions drag us every which way.  This is why Christianity, properly lived, can be so exhausting. As St. John the Dwarf tells us, we are to expect temptation and struggle until our very last breath. And, again, to paraphrase Fr. HLL, that last breath might not be too far away (well, it never is, if you look at the big picture). I don't mean to be dour, just realistic, and I suppose at least a little empathetic toward someone who feels like they're better off without religion. I understand why you feel that way. But that doesn't mean that your feelings (or my feelings, or anybody's feelings) are to rule the day, given how fickle they are.  

Quote
I mean, I can't say for 100% certainty that God doesn't exist (and I truly believe that not even the most religious of the religious can say that they know 100% that God exists).  You know, because you have faith in him.  You learn about him and attend Church and commune with him while building a strong relationship with him.

I am always puzzled by this kind of thinking. Mere existence is such a very low threshold for believing in something, isn't it? I exist, but if I were to start garnering believers to myself, I'd be on the lookout for the four horsemen of the apocalypse!

Quote
I've realized that "faith" is all in your head.  It's real if you believe that it's real.  I just don't believe that it's real, so for me, it's not real.

Hmm. I think faith is all in your head, too...if it is, in fact, all in your head. But if it is at the center of your whole life in such a way that you can face down doubts knowing that they also exist in your head, then you might see why there's no reason to privilege the doubt over the faith. To revisit my objection to the false dichotomy of the test you took, I must ask: Why do you follow one to the exclusion of the other? Why is one a sign of the unreality of God or the complete subjectivity of faith, but the other the operating principle by which you'll now live your life? Again, I ask your forgiveness if this is out of line, but it seems to me that from what little I've read about you in this thread, you have vacillated from one extreme to the other. Before you were religious (or what you thought being religious was) to a fault, and now you are disbelieving. You are not living in the middle whereby you may believe and doubt. As I wrote, I believe that they are both in your head; it's just a matter of recognizing who put them there. As a Christian, I believe that faith comes from God -- it is not willed or believed into existence by the individual. No person, lacking in faith, can consciously decide or will themselves to believe. Is this not what are experiencing right now?
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« Reply #48 on: August 19, 2012, 02:36:25 AM »

Achronos, please stop. I don't know if you remember being James' age, but doubts find their roots because of careless words from people like you. I'd rather leave the boy in peace and let him mature and grow in the Lord without other people doubting him.

Do you pray for him? If you really think he'll be an atheist than you should feel a strong urge to pray for his walk with Christ. If you already are doing this, I thank you.
If his faith can be so easily shaken by my words on this forum, then the faith was never strong to begin with.

I like JamesR alot. He's very intelligent for his age and is going to go through many changes, which is why I stand by my prediction (and various of his posts have slight indications of his future).

And btw I am very glad I'm not in his shoes when I was his age.

EDIT: If you are so worried about what I said, then you should be even worried by how this thread and the one Trevor made before showed how liberated, happy and free he was without Orthodoxy. Since they are pretty similar in age, I would seriously have second thoughts IMO.
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« Reply #49 on: August 19, 2012, 02:40:10 AM »

Achronos, please stop. I don't know if you remember being James' age, but doubts find their roots because of careless words from people like you. I'd rather leave the boy in peace and let him mature and grow in the Lord without other people doubting him.

Do you pray for him? If you really think he'll be an atheist than you should feel a strong urge to pray for his walk with Christ. If you already are doing this, I thank you.
If his faith can be so easily shaken by my words on this forum, then the faith was never strong to begin with.

I like JamesR alot. He's very intelligent for his age and is going to go through many changes, which is why I stand by my prediction (and various of his posts have slight indications of his future).

And btw I am very glad I'm not in his shoes when I was his age.
You all and your predictions!  Why don't you just write horoscopes for us younger members, hm?!   Wink
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« Reply #50 on: August 19, 2012, 02:42:01 AM »

At 16, our faith is more often than not fairly weak at many moments just because of the fickleness of the age. All I'm saying is not to plant doubts in his head and just support him Smiley
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« Reply #51 on: August 19, 2012, 02:43:38 AM »

You all and your predictions!  Why don't you just write horoscopes for us younger members, hm?!   Wink


I don't know how accurate that is since it's not from dattaswami, but yeah.
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« Reply #52 on: August 19, 2012, 02:44:35 AM »

Achronos, please stop. I don't know if you remember being James' age, but doubts find their roots because of careless words from people like you. I'd rather leave the boy in peace and let him mature and grow in the Lord without other people doubting him.

Do you pray for him? If you really think he'll be an atheist than you should feel a strong urge to pray for his walk with Christ. If you already are doing this, I thank you.
If his faith can be so easily shaken by my words on this forum, then the faith was never strong to begin with.

I like JamesR alot. He's very intelligent for his age and is going to go through many changes, which is why I stand by my prediction (and various of his posts have slight indications of his future).

And btw I am very glad I'm not in his shoes when I was his age.

EDIT: If you are so worried about what I said, then you should be even worried by how this thread and the one Trevor made before showed how liberated, happy and free he was without Orthodoxy. Since they are pretty similar in age, I would seriously have second thoughts IMO.

Trevor is being honest and sincere with us about himself. You are being honest and sincere about another member potentially to their detriment.
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« Reply #53 on: August 19, 2012, 02:45:20 AM »

At 16, our faith is more often than not fairly weak at many moments just because of the fickleness of the age. All I'm saying is not to plant doubts in his head and just support him Smiley
Give him some credit, though.  Many times the faith of the young is very strong and steadfast.  
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« Reply #54 on: August 19, 2012, 02:46:13 AM »

You all and your predictions!  Why don't you just write horoscopes for us younger members, hm?!   Wink



There ya go. The swami says you've got a good chance, and she seems pretty on the ball...

(Hahahaha. I kill me.)
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« Reply #55 on: August 19, 2012, 02:46:46 AM »

At 16, our faith is more often than not fairly weak at many moments just because of the fickleness of the age. All I'm saying is not to plant doubts in his head and just support him Smiley
I support JamesR in whatever he chooses to be and wish him nothing but the best in his life. I'm not going around condemning him if he decides to leave the Orthodox faith. Some people need to take a break and walk away for awhile, and I respect that.

I don't know what doubts I planted, all I made was a prediction on par with what the weatherman said about the weather tomorrow. Who cares? Relax.

And I'm ready for the monk quotes about how they will be forever condemned to hell for blaspheming the Holy Spirit in 3..2..1...
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« Reply #56 on: August 19, 2012, 02:48:04 AM »

At 16, our faith is more often than not fairly weak at many moments just because of the fickleness of the age. All I'm saying is not to plant doubts in his head and just support him Smiley
Give him some credit, though.  Many times the faith of the young is very strong and steadfast.  

I completely agree.
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« Reply #57 on: August 19, 2012, 02:48:40 AM »

Achronos, please stop. I don't know if you remember being James' age, but doubts find their roots because of careless words from people like you. I'd rather leave the boy in peace and let him mature and grow in the Lord without other people doubting him.

Do you pray for him? If you really think he'll be an atheist than you should feel a strong urge to pray for his walk with Christ. If you already are doing this, I thank you.
If his faith can be so easily shaken by my words on this forum, then the faith was never strong to begin with.

I like JamesR alot. He's very intelligent for his age and is going to go through many changes, which is why I stand by my prediction (and various of his posts have slight indications of his future).

And btw I am very glad I'm not in his shoes when I was his age.

EDIT: If you are so worried about what I said, then you should be even worried by how this thread and the one Trevor made before showed how liberated, happy and free he was without Orthodoxy. Since they are pretty similar in age, I would seriously have second thoughts IMO.

Trevor is being honest and sincere with us about himself. You are being honest and sincere about another member potentially to their detriment.
Well Trevor is genuine and so is JamesR. It's why I enjoy reading their posts because of their honesty. But as I said above who cares what I predict, who am I?
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« Reply #58 on: August 19, 2012, 02:49:50 AM »

You all and your predictions!  Why don't you just write horoscopes for us younger members, hm?!   Wink



There ya go. The swami says you've got a good chance, and she seems pretty on the ball...

(Hahahaha. I kill me.)
lol!  You're too much!  XD
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« Reply #59 on: August 19, 2012, 02:53:02 AM »

At 16, our faith is more often than not fairly weak at many moments just because of the fickleness of the age. All I'm saying is not to plant doubts in his head and just support him Smiley
I support JamesR in whatever he chooses to be and wish him nothing but the best in his life. I'm not going around condemning him if he decides to leave the Orthodox faith. Some people need to take a break and walk away for awhile, and I respect that.

I don't know what doubts I planted, all I made was a prediction on par with what the weatherman said about the weather tomorrow. Who cares? Relax.

And I'm ready for the monk quotes about how they will be forever condemned to hell for blaspheming the Holy Spirit in 3..2..1...

Sorry for coming on strong, I just remember being his age and I would have wanted people to have confidence in me.
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« Reply #60 on: August 19, 2012, 03:08:06 AM »

At 16, our faith is more often than not fairly weak at many moments just because of the fickleness of the age. All I'm saying is not to plant doubts in his head and just support him Smiley
I support JamesR in whatever he chooses to be and wish him nothing but the best in his life. I'm not going around condemning him if he decides to leave the Orthodox faith. Some people need to take a break and walk away for awhile, and I respect that.

I don't know what doubts I planted, all I made was a prediction on par with what the weatherman said about the weather tomorrow. Who cares? Relax.

And I'm ready for the monk quotes about how they will be forever condemned to hell for blaspheming the Holy Spirit in 3..2..1...

Sorry for coming on strong, I just remember being his age and I would have wanted people to have confidence in me.
Heh I'm waiting for the PeterTheAleut post about age, get ready.
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« Reply #61 on: August 19, 2012, 03:08:20 AM »

What are you doing with your time these days, Trevor?
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« Reply #62 on: August 19, 2012, 03:12:04 AM »

What are you doing with your time these days, Trevor?
Right now?  Sitting in bed with my laptop at 1am watching two fellows wager over how long it will take a teenager to turn to atheism.  Wink

I do loads of volunteer work with clubs at school.  I'm also the go-to guy when teachers need things done (which isn't as much a good thing as it sounds).  I also organize our blood drives, so I'm preparing for that.  I am starting senior year, and my current project is designing a booth for the freshman to come to and learn about my club.  I get to go to school super early on the first day and everything (yay...).

And yourself?  It's good to see you.  Smiley
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« Reply #63 on: August 19, 2012, 03:18:34 AM »

People need to be careful of what they say in threads like this.  We don't want to say things that will cause others to stumble.

Everyone goes through times of doubt.  Many recover from it and return to the faith.

Trevor,
Earlier you mentioned sexual orientation.  I'm not in a position to speak to you about this, but I know others on this forum have struggled with this and stayed in the faith.  I know this sounds cliche, but did you go to the new priest at your church and have a good long talk with him before deciding to leave?  If not, you may want to do so.  Just a suggestion.
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« Reply #64 on: August 19, 2012, 03:18:55 AM »

Thanks, Trevor.

Good to see you too. It's good that you're getting involved. You'll have a lot of fun during senior year, just don't get too sentimental!

I take God's existence as a given these days, as most Christians do. It seems like the change in you is more in how you are experiencing the world, versus something involving classical proofs for God or for atheism or any of that detached boring crap.

Met. Anthony Bloom wrote in his book "Beginning to Pray" that sometimes, to be honest, one must say to God (paraphrase): "I'm not ready or too weak to bear with you right now, I can't be with you all the time."

I think that's what you're doing experientially in your own way. Also growing up. Don't get a girl pregnant or do anything stupid, don't use anybody, bear what you can. You're a good dude.
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« Reply #65 on: August 19, 2012, 03:24:16 AM »

People need to be careful of what they say in threads like this.  We don't want to say things that will cause others to stumble.

Everyone goes through times of doubt.  Many recover from it and return to the faith.

Trevor,
Earlier you mentioned sexual orientation.  I'm not in a position to speak to you about this, but I know others on this forum have struggled with this and stayed in the faith.  I know this sounds cliche, but did you go to the new priest at your church and have a good long talk with him before deciding to leave?  If not, you may want to do so.  Just a suggestion.
Yes, I did.  He was so wonderful about it, too.  I don't struggle with it, but merely being in Church made me feel as though I did.  I mean, it's one thing to say "yes, celibacy for me, please!" in Church surrounded by faithful parishioners, icons and the body of Christ.  At my school and out in the "world", being other than heterosexual is becoming more and more acceptable.  I really needed time away from Church to deal with this, as I had to accept it in myself.  Not go out and do sinful acts, but just sit alone and think about what my feelings meant and all of that.
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« Reply #66 on: August 19, 2012, 03:26:43 AM »

JamesR take everything I said with a grain of salt.

Thanks.
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« Reply #67 on: August 19, 2012, 03:27:26 AM »

Thanks, Trevor.

Good to see you too. It's good that you're getting involved. You'll have a lot of fun during senior year, just don't get too sentimental!

I take God's existence as a given these days, as most Christians do. It seems like the change in you is more in how you are experiencing the world, versus something involving classical proofs for God or for atheism or any of that detached boring crap.

Met. Anthony Bloom wrote in his book "Beginning to Pray" that sometimes, to be honest, one must say to God (paraphrase): "I'm not ready or too weak to bear with you right now, I can't be with you all the time."

I think that's what you're doing experientially in your own way. Also growing up. Don't get a girl pregnant or do anything stupid, don't use anybody, bear what you can. You're a good dude.
Thank you.

I think that I might feel better if I could just feel God like I used to.  I used to walk around with my prayer rope like some sort of Fr Abbot Trevor jr. and pray all the time.  I just don't feel it anymore, I feel like I'm alone, and I feel uncomfortable praying to a God who I am not sure is even there.  
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« Reply #68 on: August 19, 2012, 03:34:49 AM »

I think that I might feel better if I could just feel God like I used to.  
Part of that is finally letting go of childhood. Everything will seem less vibrant and communicable for a while, until you discover new ways of relating to the world.
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« Reply #69 on: August 19, 2012, 03:41:01 AM »

Thanks, Trevor.

Good to see you too. It's good that you're getting involved. You'll have a lot of fun during senior year, just don't get too sentimental!

I take God's existence as a given these days, as most Christians do. It seems like the change in you is more in how you are experiencing the world, versus something involving classical proofs for God or for atheism or any of that detached boring crap.

Met. Anthony Bloom wrote in his book "Beginning to Pray" that sometimes, to be honest, one must say to God (paraphrase): "I'm not ready or too weak to bear with you right now, I can't be with you all the time."

I think that's what you're doing experientially in your own way. Also growing up. Don't get a girl pregnant or do anything stupid, don't use anybody, bear what you can. You're a good dude.
Thank you.

I think that I might feel better if I could just feel God like I used to.  I used to walk around with my prayer rope like some sort of Fr Abbot Trevor jr. and pray all the time.  I just don't feel it anymore, I feel like I'm alone, and I feel uncomfortable praying to a God who I am not sure is even there.  


Hi there !

If you felt him, you know that He exists... why this change ?
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« Reply #70 on: August 19, 2012, 05:44:58 AM »

Quote
 Same goes for you augustin.  
I know. I didn't call  quits. Just practice it with loads of economia on top of  a who cares attitude. just like they were trying to teach me in younger days back home.

This really should be written to catechisms and Orthodoxy 101s. Ignorant converts would be saved from a lot of fuss and disappointments.
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« Reply #71 on: August 19, 2012, 12:54:59 PM »

Since I started this conversation, I suppose I owe you all this much for the sake of context.

I originally left Church because of my sexual orientation.  This was something that I didn't feel comfortable even thinking about while I was in Church.  This is no fault of the Church's, but my own.  I stopped Church, and I was able to accept myself for who I am.  I needed to stop going for me.  The disbelief in God came later.

Your honesty is appreciated.  I hope I didn't offend you.   angel
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« Reply #72 on: August 19, 2012, 01:22:29 PM »

I was afraid of this.

Lord have mercy!

He's, what, 18?

I'll worry in about a decade. He's got years of university ahead to mess with his mind.
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« Reply #73 on: August 19, 2012, 02:17:10 PM »

Though you left prior to my arrival, I am glad you are doing better, but I am sad you took an earthly path to get there.  Maybe in time you will find how much the world lacks and return home.  Perhaps, this is part of your journey to remove the impurities in "steel" and return strengthened by the experience.
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« Reply #74 on: August 19, 2012, 02:29:29 PM »

What a weird thread.
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« Reply #75 on: August 19, 2012, 02:55:13 PM »

Quote
Now that does not prove that there is a God, it just proves that if there is not one, that your entire thread on an update of Trevor is meaningless and of no value.   
That's an easy to refute canard. Whatever apologetics they teach at seminaries, they seem to be stuck in the XVII-th century.
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« Reply #76 on: August 19, 2012, 03:12:00 PM »

What a weird thread.

I was just thinking that.
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« Reply #77 on: August 19, 2012, 04:26:35 PM »

I was afraid of this.

Lord have mercy!

He's, what, 18?

I'll worry in about a decade. He's got years of university ahead to mess with his mind.

I think FatherHLL's point on this is that we aren't guaranteed decades, university, etc.
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« Reply #78 on: August 19, 2012, 04:26:59 PM »

What a weird thread.

I was just thinking that.

That makes at least three of us then.
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« Reply #79 on: August 19, 2012, 04:28:51 PM »

What a weird thread.

I was just thinking that.

That makes at least three of us then.
Four, actually. I still offer the best of hopes to Trevor, but now we have diverged from the thread's inital purpose.
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« Reply #80 on: August 19, 2012, 04:38:44 PM »

I still offer the best of hopes to Trevor

Agreed, and I hope that he (you, Trevor  Smiley ) eventually return to God and the Church, but within the context of a more meaningful relationship.

Quote
but now we have diverged from the thread's inital purpose.

Phew... at least some things are normal around here.
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« Reply #81 on: August 19, 2012, 04:45:28 PM »

Trevor, you remain in my prayers.
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« Reply #82 on: August 19, 2012, 05:19:33 PM »

Quote
 Same goes for you augustin.  
I know. I didn't call  quits. Just practice it with loads of economia on top of  a who cares attitude. just like they were trying to teach me in younger days back home.

This really should be written to catechisms and Orthodoxy 101s. Ignorant converts would be saved from a lot of fuss and disappointments.

What? That you should become apathetic?

There are plenty of good examples of people who have "mellowed out" without going the augustinian quasi-irreligious route.
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« Reply #83 on: August 19, 2012, 08:38:33 PM »

Hi Trevor,
You may not know me as I am kind of new to this forum but allow me to share my personal experience a little bit.
when I read your post it really felt like something I myself would have written a couple of years back. It is perfectly normal that you are going through this time. We all face different challenges at some point in our lives that put our faith and belief in God in a big question. In my case, it was losing someone very dear to my heart in a very tragic way. I felt very lonely and believed that if God was in my life He would have not let that happen. From then on, my spiritual life started to spiral down. Even standing in church during the Liturgy started to sound foreign to me. It all started to feel like we are calling onto a non existent god. It felt like the God I loved so much didn't exist anymore and that I didn't belong there. I too lost a lot of friends because of being super religious and even got several scoldings from friends. Some of my friends didn't want to hang out with me anymore and labeled me as a 'religious freak'. So when I went through a challenge in my life and started questioning God, all of these started to fit into the puzzle and I slowly started drawing away from church, stopped praying and and started living my life as an atheist. For the time being, life felt like soooooo much easier. I could do whatever I want without feeling guilty, don't have to struggle with trying to pray and trying to live life according to the bible, I started getting back my friends that once thought I was not fun to hang out with. Life started to feel so much easier because I could do whatever I want and whenever I want, eat whatever I want, and living life according to how i feel and not how God planned it for me. It felt so right (I wish I had someone to tell me that feelings can be deceiving). This didn't last too long before the world started to feel so empty back again and started to search God back. I realized that I didn't belong to the world that I thought was comfortable. But the great thing is, this time when I came back to God, I came back in a more balanced and mature way.

Trevor my whole point is, keep an open mind and this may not necessarily last too long. You will most likely find that the world isn't that comfortable either although it may look like that initially. I want to share one quote from HH Pope Shenouda's Diabolic War

"Just as there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over
one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:10), undoubtedly the devils
rejoice when one righteous person falls and delight over anyone
who submits to them."

I highly recommend that book. I wish I can tell you to hang in there and keep praying till you are able to conquer this feeling and test in your faith but I have been where you are and I know its almost impossible to do so. Like some of the members have said, just keep an open mind, go and see what the world has to offer but if and whenever you decide to come back, our beloved Orthodox will be waiting with open arms Smiley

Good luck brother and may the Lord protect and guide you!

Bytania
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« Reply #84 on: August 19, 2012, 09:06:35 PM »

Lord have mercy.

Obvious implications aside, I'm a bit troubled that this all seems to be based on, of all things, a worthless high school standardized test masquerading as psychological insight.

I was afraid of this.

Lord have mercy!

He's, what, 18?

I'll worry in about a decade. He's got years of university ahead to mess with his mind.

I think FatherHLL's point on this is that we aren't guaranteed decades, university, etc.

Indeed.
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« Reply #85 on: August 19, 2012, 09:38:59 PM »

"religion" was my highest value, even over family and love.   Embarrassed  

These are supposed to be a part of religion, not apart from it.

Anyway, I hope you grow and learn along the journey ahead of you.
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« Reply #86 on: August 19, 2012, 10:05:02 PM »

"religion" was my highest value, even over family and love.   Embarrassed  

These are supposed to be a part of religion, not apart from it.

Yes! ^^^ This!

Who teaches us to honor our parents and family? Who teaches us to love our spouses and raise our children right?

Christ.

The Christian faith exists to help us live the way humans are meant to live. And if it comes down to a values judgment, it should stand above all the rest, because it teaches us how to do all the rest in the way we are meant to.

This whole thing really is a false dichotomy, I must say.
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« Reply #87 on: August 19, 2012, 11:12:50 PM »

Quote
 Same goes for you augustin.  
I know. I didn't call  quits. Just practice it with loads of economia on top of  a who cares attitude. just like they were trying to teach me in younger days back home.

This really should be written to catechisms and Orthodoxy 101s. Ignorant converts would be saved from a lot of fuss and disappointments.

Semi-Augustinianism  laugh   Tongue
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 11:18:25 PM by FatherHLL » Logged
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« Reply #88 on: August 19, 2012, 11:14:40 PM »

I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  

Modern society is geared to destroy what is most precious and necessary for our well-being....and turn us into something we were never meant to be.

We, as a society, have decided God doesn't exist, because He is an inconvenience to us....He forces us to look at ourselves in the mirror....and sometimes, if we look hard enough....we will not like what we see....but, what we see is the truth....and instead of running from it and hiding, like Adam did when God called, we need to face life, face what we are, what we have done, and actively work at making it better.

Sad.....so....soooooo, sad.

I would love to give an excellent seed of advice....to say it's all good....it's just a phase, or if it is not....you're still fine, Trevor.

But, you aren't.  You are not fine.  This is not fine....and it is not good.

I always thought you were stronger....even with what I know you are going through...I never thought you would completely disqualify God.  I must be blind, because I never saw this coming.

I hope and pray that one day soon, you will once again open your heart to the truth, and welcome God back in to your life.  Remember, He hasn't left you, you have left Him.

I still love you like the little brother you were, Tikhon, and will pray for you.....but, I'm still really, really sad.

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« Reply #89 on: August 20, 2012, 05:57:55 AM »

Quote
 Same goes for you augustin.  
I know. I didn't call  quits. Just practice it with loads of economia on top of  a who cares attitude. just like they were trying to teach me in younger days back home.

This really should be written to catechisms and Orthodoxy 101s. Ignorant converts would be saved from a lot of fuss and disappointments.

Semi-Augustinianism  laugh   Tongue

LOL. Thanks.

Quote
 Same goes for you augustin.  
I know. I didn't call  quits. Just practice it with loads of economia on top of  a who cares attitude. just like they were trying to teach me in younger days back home.

This really should be written to catechisms and Orthodoxy 101s. Ignorant converts would be saved from a lot of fuss and disappointments.

What? That you should become apathetic?

That you shouldn't read too much books without interacting with actual people. I did that. Crushed I was.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 06:00:47 AM by Alpo » Logged

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« Reply #90 on: August 20, 2012, 07:38:45 AM »

Thanks for posting about this, Trevor. A lot of other posters have given you advice. I would only say that in a year or two or more, whenever you feel a longing for beauty, stillness, liturgy, the sacred, you shouldn't hesitate to visit the Church for worship. The existential problem is not really that you don't *think* God exists. The fundamental problem is that you no longer *love* Him, and can't feel His love for you.

The English word "believe" comes from the Germanic word "love." We are commanded to *love* the Lord our God, not acknowledge he exists. But as soon as that love weakens or disappears, when we undergo trials and separate ourselves from the sacraments, we quickly lose even the sure knowledge of God's presence and existence. And, then, as TS Eliot said, "After such knowledge, what forgiveness?" No proof, no thought, no discourse will ever bring that love back. First, somehow, in someway, we have to learn to *love* again. For most people, that means the love of stranger, or beauty, or the sacredness of worship. You have to start small, with heart and tongue, or with neighbor.

Anyway, something to keep in mind. In the next few years, things will change even more for you. But, as Heraclitus said, you can never step in the same river twice. So, at some point in the future, the very same river of God's love in Christ, now seeming a crusty puddle, if that, may appear a life-giving stream once again but in a different way. Just don't expect anything other than love, longing, or sacrifice to make it seem so. And don't discount the power of words: When the time comes that your spirit longs for God, say it out loud; recite Scripture; bless the Lord; sing a hymn.

Finally, a general thought for the board, especially the clergy: I have known many cases like Trevor's, where a young teenager converts against the will of his or her parents. Often, the situation at home is less than ideal. When in high school myself, I played a critical role in five such conversions. Every one of them left the Church within four years or less and have not returned. Conversion at that age, under those circumstances, is too much for most young souls to bear. It is unnatural, I have come to believe. We are, whether we like it or not, a product of our home, and we cannot make a sure and healthy decision on the magnitude of religious conversion before developing autonomy and perspective on our own place in the world, not merely following but also not at adolescent war with whence we came.
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« Reply #91 on: August 20, 2012, 07:56:39 AM »

In a certain sense it is about us. Christ came to redeem us after all. We are unique in the fact that we are the only created things that have been created in the very image of God. So, we can't be so pious as to pretend that we don't matter. However, we can't be so narcissistic as to think that the universe revolves entirely around us. I can only speak for myself, but if I am honest then I must confess that I often think and act as if my feelings and opinions are of paramount importance. Hell, if I didn't think that, I wouldn't have presumed to write a book. lol!

Anyway, I will offer my humble thoughts on your OP:

First of all, feelings come and go. Sometimes God indeed allows us to feel very close to Him, and often it is when we least expect it or least deserve it. But we can't base our faith on feelings. After all, if our faith was based purely on feelings then it wouldn't really be faith.

I haven't been to Liturgy in a few weeks. It bothers me, and I really miss it. I have very bad insomnia, and I usually stay up all night and go to sleep at about 6 or 7 in the morning. I tried to stay up 24 hours so I could sleep Satrurday night and make it to Liturgy Sunday morning. But I still missed it. But you know what? My wife and I went out to lunch Sunday afternoon and had a wonderful time. I felt closer to her that I have felt in a long time. As we ate and talked, I felt the presence of God. It didn't make me think, "OK, Divine Liturgy isn't that important." Instead, it made me realize that God's mercy and grace are ever present. He knows my heart and my struggle, and where man judges and condemns God does not.

So, the key is to continue struggling. Keep striving to be a part of the life of the Church. Keep praying, reading the Bible when you can, attending Liturgy when you are able, and availing yourself of the Sacraments. But whenever and wherever you fail, do not despair. God truly is everywhere, and if we seek Him we will find Him in all circumstances, in all places, and in all people. And when we do experience His presence and His love, it will inspire us draw nearer to Him through the means of grace which the Church provides.

If you fast and feel far from God, the eat and rejoice in His love! Then struggle some more.


Peace to you my friend.


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« Reply #92 on: August 20, 2012, 09:11:22 AM »

Thanks for posting about this, Trevor. A lot of other posters have given you advice. I would only say that in a year or two or more, whenever you feel a longing for beauty, stillness, liturgy, the sacred, you shouldn't hesitate to visit the Church for worship. The existential problem is not really that you don't *think* God exists. The fundamental problem is that you no longer *love* Him, and can't feel His love for you.

The English word "believe" comes from the Germanic word "love." We are commanded to *love* the Lord our God, not acknowledge he exists. But as soon as that love weakens or disappears, when we undergo trials and separate ourselves from the sacraments, we quickly lose even the sure knowledge of God's presence and existence. And, then, as TS Eliot said, "After such knowledge, what forgiveness?" No proof, no thought, no discourse will ever bring that love back. First, somehow, in someway, we have to learn to *love* again. For most people, that means the love of stranger, or beauty, or the sacredness of worship. You have to start small, with heart and tongue, or with neighbor.

Anyway, something to keep in mind. In the next few years, things will change even more for you. But, as Heraclitus said, you can never step in the same river twice. So, at some point in the future, the very same river of God's love in Christ, now seeming a crusty puddle, if that, may appear a life-giving stream once again but in a different way. Just don't expect anything other than love, longing, or sacrifice to make it seem so. And don't discount the power of words: When the time comes that your spirit longs for God, say it out loud; recite Scripture; bless the Lord; sing a hymn.

Finally, a general thought for the board, especially the clergy: I have known many cases like Trevor's, where a young teenager converts against the will of his or her parents. Often, the situation at home is less than ideal. When in high school myself, I played a critical role in five such conversions. Every one of them left the Church within four years or less and have not returned. Conversion at that age, under those circumstances, is too much for most young souls to bear. It is unnatural, I have come to believe. We are, whether we like it or not, a product of our home, and we cannot make a sure and healthy decision on the magnitude of religious conversion before developing autonomy and perspective on our own place in the world, not merely following but also not at adolescent war with whence we came.

A great comment, my dad was 'old school' and approached such cases carefully and with a dose of patience and understanding of family conflicts - even in cases of mixed marriages without initial conversion by the non-Orthodox spouse. You should not be surprised by the number of lasting relationships and ultimate conversions that arose from such an approach. A dose of compassion, understanding and a lot of 'economia' supported by one's Bishop goes a long way in the real world of pastoral administration. Some seminaries ought to deal more with pastoral prudence and less in didactic dogmatics - we actually might have a more embracing culture within our Orthodox world.

Now, in anticipation of a negative response to my comments - I am certainly NOT suggesting that dogma, tradition etc... are to be ignored - to the contrary - but for every excessively rigid Saint or excerpt from the Rudder you may cite in these matters, others of us can trade comments by Saints and commentaries of a more open, and equally Orthodox, approach.

I pray that Trevor may come to embrace Our Lord in his heart as he goes on in life's journey. If not on our terms, I hope that his experience with us has left him at least with some insight and room in his own heart to take the positive things within the Faith with him in dealing with experiences yet to come.
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« Reply #93 on: August 20, 2012, 09:22:03 AM »

Finally, a general thought for the board, especially the clergy: I have known many cases like Trevor's, where a young teenager converts against the will of his or her parents. Often, the situation at home is less than ideal. When in high school myself, I played a critical role in five such conversions. Every one of them left the Church within four years or less and have not returned. Conversion at that age, under those circumstances, is too much for most young souls to bear. It is unnatural, I have come to believe. We are, whether we like it or not, a product of our home, and we cannot make a sure and healthy decision on the magnitude of religious conversion before developing autonomy and perspective on our own place in the world, not merely following but also not at adolescent war with whence we came.

This.  My own experience is that a tremendously low number of these high school age conversions end well.  In most of these cases (my own included) the pastoral advice given left a lot to be desired.  Why insist that a teenager who doesn't prepare his own food fast when all throughout the writings of the desert fathers it is constantly written that external fasting isn't particularly important.  That was always a huge conflict with my parents.  How does eating a PB and J sandwich contain the least bit of spiritual value (especially with Oreos for dessert!) when doing so creates a serious family conflict?  There are a million other little things that are similar, but they all boil down to bad pastoral advice causing young converts to burn out.

I wonder what motivates priests to receive converts that are still in high school.  I'm also surprised there aren't guidelines from the synodal level at dealing with these issues.  From what I can tell it seems that every priest does whatever he wants in this regard and there is no unified policy of sorts.  When you have anarchy and a patchwork of ad hoc solutions it shouldn't be a surprise that the results are less than stellar.  
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« Reply #94 on: August 20, 2012, 09:32:04 AM »


What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.




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« Reply #95 on: August 20, 2012, 09:45:44 AM »


What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.






I am not suggesting that at all. What I am commenting upon is the approach used in dealing with all converts - not just the young ones.

An overly rigid approach to instruction, coupled with a mind eager to embrace external manifestations of extreme praxis can be a toxic stew.  For many young people, this is a means to express rebellion - whether it is being 'punk', 'Goth', following Kabbala or, sadly - turning to us. For many rightly turned off by innovationist liberals in main-stream Protestant churches, the conflation of the religious conservatism of our Orthodox faith with that of contemporary political conservatism can be equally toxic.

Frankly, we have far too many ill-prepared priests who, it seems to me,  are more interested in external presentations and less with a long-term plan for salvation.
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« Reply #96 on: August 20, 2012, 09:48:57 AM »

That may be true.

Therefore, the responsibility lies with the seminaries to ensure that the priests are prepared to handle these situations and are willing to dedicate the time to their flocks.

Personally, I am always surprised to read that people have gone to their priest and told them they just "aren't happy" and will start skipping Liturgy....and the response is "OK".

Huh

That just baffles me.  It's not okay.  Perhaps the person needs additional attention and care.  I can't believe the sheep is leaving the flock and it's okay.  This has occurred more than once, as multiple posters have posted pretty much the same response given them from their clergy when told they were leaving.

Even if they can't convince the person to stay....don't sugar coat it and say it's "OK".  Don't make them feel it is all good to leave the Church and become less than what they have been called to be.  Don't be mean, but, perhaps a follow up or a show of concern would be of benefit.

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« Reply #97 on: August 20, 2012, 09:49:49 AM »


What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.

Your god sends people to eternal damnation based on factors beyond their control?  Somebody has some anger management issues.

A reasonable approach would be to give a high schooler something pastorally appropriate.  A long catechumenate followed by reception into the Church as an adult isn't unreasonable.  After all, three years is the traditional length of the catechumenate.   What's appropriate?  Try to live an ethical life, pray, read the scriptures and try to make an effort to attend liturgy when possible.  In all cases take the path of least resistance and eventually add the other bells and whistles (icons, prayerropes, "fasting" and other decorations) once one is an adult.  
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« Reply #98 on: August 20, 2012, 09:55:18 AM »


See?  Here you go again.

Am I not Orthodox enough for you, that I can't express an opinion on Orthodoxy?  Really?

I think you have some issues that perhaps you need to deal with, so you can tolerate other's right to expression.

What did I say that was so "angry"?  That I wish everyone to have salvation?  Really?  That's bad?  How so?

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« Reply #99 on: August 20, 2012, 10:03:43 AM »

I havent read the whole thread, but to the OP, I think we all appreciate your honesty.  Sometimes, if I am honest with myself, there are days where Im not sure I believe any of this stuff either. Maybe other people feel the same way. Maybe its good for Christians to admit that they dont believe in God every now and then as many of them, especially myself, probably feel that way at times. However, even when we struggle with believing, we can still have faith and hope that these things are true even though there isnt any logical "proof."  It seems to me that doubt and faith go hand in hand.  As many have pointed out, others have been where you are and we can certainly relate. Raising questions and figuring things out for yourself can certainly be a healthy thing.

Even though I dont really know you and havent spoken to you much here, my thoughts are with you.
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« Reply #100 on: August 20, 2012, 10:08:16 AM »


What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.

Your god sends people to eternal damnation based on factors beyond their control?  Somebody has some anger management issues.
  
God, not our god, doesn't send anyone to hell.  People do that all on their own.  It's called choices, which are not beyond our control.
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« Reply #101 on: August 20, 2012, 10:26:06 AM »


What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.

A long catechumenate.

If the priest is personally responsible for those who approach the Holy Gifts, he is most certainly responsible for those he receives into the Church.

What about the salvation of all those people who waited years to get into the Church in the early days?  Some people waited YEARS before being baptized, even on their deathbeds.  Were the priests of the sub-Apostolic age lax in not accepting people?  Even after Nicea, people were given long catechumenates.  Some were not. 

Podkarpatska is correct, I believe, in saying that priests should be taught at seminary to discern the readiness of a convert. 

As for the OP, I am very sad to see Trevor leaving the Church, but I hope and pray that he will learn to see and feel God around him.  Take care of yourself, buddy, and I hope to see you back in church before long. Smiley
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« Reply #102 on: August 20, 2012, 10:33:00 AM »

Even if you don't quite believe all that Church stuff it doesn't necessarily follow you leave the Church or you have to. You might as well stay for a myriad reasons not that much connected to the dogmas etc, just like the majority of Orthodox do. I think it's a sign of maturity, actually.
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« Reply #103 on: August 20, 2012, 11:04:29 AM »

People need to be careful of what they say in threads like this.  We don't want to say things that will cause others to stumble.

Everyone goes through times of doubt.  Many recover from it and return to the faith.

Trevor,
Earlier you mentioned sexual orientation.  I'm not in a position to speak to you about this, but I know others on this forum have struggled with this and stayed in the faith.  I know this sounds cliche, but did you go to the new priest at your church and have a good long talk with him before deciding to leave?  If not, you may want to do so.  Just a suggestion.
Yes, I did.  He was so wonderful about it, too.  I don't struggle with it, but merely being in Church made me feel as though I did.  I mean, it's one thing to say "yes, celibacy for me, please!" in Church surrounded by faithful parishioners, icons and the body of Christ.  At my school and out in the "world", being other than heterosexual is becoming more and more acceptable.  I really needed time away from Church to deal with this, as I had to accept it in myself.  Not go out and do sinful acts, but just sit alone and think about what my feelings meant and all of that.

I have to say that I really admire what you say here. May I give you some advice? Please know that one thing leads to another and before you know it, you may end up in a place that you do not want to be. Therefore, remember always your experience "in Church surrounded by faithful parishioners, icons and the body of Christ." Let that memory be your anchor, lest you are torn from your moorings and perish in the storm.
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« Reply #104 on: August 20, 2012, 11:07:39 AM »


Great advice!
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« Reply #105 on: August 20, 2012, 11:15:47 AM »

Lord have mercy.

Obvious implications aside, I'm a bit troubled that this all seems to be based on, of all things, a worthless high school standardized test masquerading as psychological insight.

I was afraid of this.

Lord have mercy!

He's, what, 18?

I'll worry in about a decade. He's got years of university ahead to mess with his mind.

I think FatherHLL's point on this is that we aren't guaranteed decades, university, etc.

Indeed.

Are you sure it's based on that, or rather was it not instigated by that?
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« Reply #106 on: August 20, 2012, 11:15:47 AM »

I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  



This is just patently false.
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« Reply #107 on: August 20, 2012, 12:28:23 PM »

Lord have mercy.

Obvious implications aside, I'm a bit troubled that this all seems to be based on, of all things, a worthless high school standardized test masquerading as psychological insight.

I was afraid of this.

Lord have mercy!

He's, what, 18?

I'll worry in about a decade. He's got years of university ahead to mess with his mind.

I think FatherHLL's point on this is that we aren't guaranteed decades, university, etc.

Indeed.

Are you sure it's based on that, or rather was it not instigated by that?

It seems that way, based on what Trevor wrote. Now, it's possible that he was feeling this way for some time and that was just his "moment of clarity" or whatever. Regardless, a person should not place any value in a psychological assessment from anyone but a psychologist. Certainly not a multiple choice quiz.
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« Reply #108 on: August 20, 2012, 12:29:48 PM »


See?  Here you go again.

Am I not Orthodox enough for you, that I can't express an opinion on Orthodoxy?  Really?

I think you have some issues that perhaps you need to deal with, so you can tolerate other's right to expression.

What did I say that was so "angry"?  That I wish everyone to have salvation?  Really?  That's bad?  How so?

I didn't say you were angry, rather your god was angry.  If your god sends people to eternal damnation due to the actions of a different person (i.e a priest not allowing someone to convert) that is an angry and spiteful entity.  Within Christianity I guess that would be closest to Calvinism but not so close to at least the traditional view of Orthodoxy.  

I don't understand your personal rant about "I think you have some issues that perhaps you need to deal with, so you can tolerate other's right to expression."  That is an ad hominem.  If I am not mistaken the point of a message board is discussion.  Posting that I agree with you constantly would be rather dull.  I'm not sure you really understand the meaning of the idea of right to expression.  How have I (or for that matter could I) in any way prevent you from expressing yourself here?  Not agreeing with your opinions doesn't mean that you are persecuted and prevented from expressing your ideas.  But it is nice to know that you believe I have issues.  Thanks.  

Going back to the substance of this thread, I agree with others that longer catechumantes, better application of economy and overall better discernment are in order.  As far as I can tell it is a fairly ad hoc process with each priest creating his own little system.  What ends up happening is that priests seem to be willing to accept anybody under that person's terms (make me Orthodox NOW!).  The results are clear...most converts burning out in a few years and moving onto the next thing.  
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« Reply #109 on: August 20, 2012, 12:35:08 PM »

I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  



This is just patently false.

Indeed.  My wife's therapist often told her to go back to church more often. 

And he was a Jewish atheist.
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« Reply #110 on: August 20, 2012, 01:29:04 PM »

A couple of points to add:

1.  Should a child be baptized even if neither of the parents are Orthodox and have no intention to actively raise the child Orthodox? 

2.  For the parents on the forum, how would you feel if one of your high school age children developed an interest in a foreign religion, say Islam?  Would you be happy if the local imam tried to convert a 16-year-old, stir up tensions with the parents and otherwise exploit natural teenage rebellion and curiosity for his own ends? 
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« Reply #111 on: August 20, 2012, 01:48:30 PM »

While I admit I don't necessarily know what to say concerning these types of things, I will say this: while it may seem that you have your whole life ahead of you to work out your salvation (or lack of), no one really knows how long they have. Flirting with unbelief is literally playing with fire.
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« Reply #112 on: August 20, 2012, 02:18:27 PM »

A couple of points to add:

1.  Should a child be baptized even if neither of the parents are Orthodox and have no intention to actively raise the child Orthodox? 

2.  For the parents on the forum, how would you feel if one of your high school age children developed an interest in a foreign religion, say Islam?  Would you be happy if the local imam tried to convert a 16-year-old, stir up tensions with the parents and otherwise exploit natural teenage rebellion and curiosity for his own ends? 

There's a huge difference of a kid converting to Orthodoxy or to Islam.  Like night and day.

Besides, his father followed him to the Church and converted, as well....therefore, it's not like he didn't have any Orthodox support at home.

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« Reply #113 on: August 20, 2012, 02:34:24 PM »

To a lot of parents it'd probably be the same: a foreign based religion that is deeply counter cultural to US-culture.  Some of the more extreme wings of Orthodoxy, like the Ephraimite monasteries, really aren't that far off.  But that is beside the point.  Were I a parent, I'd be a bit miffed to say the least at the idea of a cleric from another religion budding into my family life. 
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« Reply #114 on: August 20, 2012, 03:12:58 PM »

To a lot of parents it'd probably be the same: a foreign based religion that is deeply counter cultural to US-culture.  Some of the more extreme wings of Orthodoxy, like the Ephraimite monasteries, really aren't that far off.  But that is beside the point.  Were I a parent, I'd be a bit miffed to say the least at the idea of a cleric from another religion budding into my family life. 

These are some really great points.
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« Reply #115 on: August 20, 2012, 03:15:24 PM »

Trevor, Asteriktos, James, and others I can understand what you're going through.  Just remember you're not the only one..  as far as Achronos' mention of atheism, I've heard that's never an easy process.  It takes many years before most people finally come to that point, after a lot of painful questioning and observations.  The hardest part is where your emotions have to come into alignment with your logic or reasoning, and that takes awhile.   Not saying everyone is destined for that road, but it is a path that some end up taking. 

Sincerely,
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« Reply #116 on: August 20, 2012, 03:23:50 PM »

Trevor, Asteriktos, James, and others I can understand what you're going through.  Just remember you're not the only one..  as far as Achronos' mention of atheism, I've heard that's never an easy process.  It takes many years before most people finally come to that point, after a lot of painful questioning and observations.  The hardest part is where your emotions have to come into alignment with your logic or reasoning, and that takes awhile.   Not saying everyone is destined for that road, but it is a path that some end up taking. 

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« Reply #117 on: August 20, 2012, 03:29:05 PM »

To a lot of parents it'd probably be the same: a foreign based religion that is deeply counter cultural to US-culture.  Some of the more extreme wings of Orthodoxy, like the Ephraimite monasteries, really aren't that far off.  But that is beside the point.  Were I a parent, I'd be a bit miffed to say the least at the idea of a cleric from another religion budding into my family life. 

These are some really great points.

I agree.  Some liberal interpretations of Islam would be far less of a shock to a family--praxis wise and aside from reactionary views--than Orthodoxy can be.

The teachings about leaving your family for faith are important, but I think it's dangerous to apply them to children.  Sorry young'ins if that sounds offensive, but it's a reality.  Some of you are extraordinarily mature and insightful, but you are still children.

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« Reply #118 on: August 20, 2012, 04:01:44 PM »

2.  For the parents on the forum, how would you feel if one of your high school age children developed an interest in a foreign religion, say Islam?  Would you be happy if the local imam tried to convert a 16-year-old, stir up tensions with the parents and otherwise exploit natural teenage rebellion and curiosity for his own ends? 

I know high school-aged people who converted. They simply educated their parents and it was fine. That won't work in all cases, but comparing it to Islam? That's a bit much. I mean, Jesus is God, we believe in the Trinity, and we read the Bible. Those three tidbits should be enough for most.

Were I a parent, I'd be a bit miffed to say the least at the idea of a cleric from another religion budding into my family life. 

It's not a different religion. And churchgoing teenagers hang out with pastors/youth pastors/youth group leaders all the time. What's the big deal?
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« Reply #119 on: August 20, 2012, 04:14:53 PM »

2.  For the parents on the forum, how would you feel if one of your high school age children developed an interest in a foreign religion, say Islam?  Would you be happy if the local imam tried to convert a 16-year-old, stir up tensions with the parents and otherwise exploit natural teenage rebellion and curiosity for his own ends? 

I know high school-aged people who converted. They simply educated their parents and it was fine. That won't work in all cases, but comparing it to Islam? That's a bit much. I mean, Jesus is God, we believe in the Trinity, and we read the Bible. Those three tidbits should be enough for most.

Νεκτάριος was purposefully using a harsh and extreme example to make his point, but his point is a valid one.

On a more 'real world' basis, I know how upset many clergy and Orthodox parents become when they are dealing with high school kids being 'courted' by friends of pastors  from other Christian denominations - usually with trips, sleep-overs, encounters, films etc... This goes on all of the time and we all know of young people who were seduced by the siren call of friends and peer pressure to join another Church. A good priest will use discernment and be on the alert for signs of trouble - excessive zeal, excessive outward appearance changes, constant questions coming out of the blue on esoteric, theological issues, excessive knowledge about Patristics, Bishops, Church politics and so on.

Please - I am NOT suggesting that any of the items I suggested are bad per se - surely what one of us may view as 'excessive' may be viewed in a different light by another.

I view this as a cautionary tale for all of us and we ought to pray about it and learn from it. Whether we are convert, enquirer, sceptic or cradle - or anything in between - we all need to recognize that things are not always as they seem.

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« Reply #120 on: August 20, 2012, 04:22:03 PM »

A reasonable approach would be to give a high schooler something pastorally appropriate.  A long catechumenate followed by reception into the Church as an adult isn't unreasonable.  After all, three years is the traditional length of the catechumenate.   What's appropriate?  Try to live an ethical life, pray, read the scriptures and try to make an effort to attend liturgy when possible.  In all cases take the path of least resistance and eventually add the other bells and whistles (icons, prayerropes, "fasting" and other decorations) once one is an adult.  

Amazingly, I more or less agree with Nektarios here. This is what my priest has me do.
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« Reply #121 on: August 20, 2012, 05:04:43 PM »

hi, most things i would have said have been said, but i think bytania's post was special, thanks for sharing.
i know some people who have had the same experience.

also i want to repost the video linked by dzheremi as it is so good:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8Vx1uZxXd0

and it's only 10 mins long, so not difficult to listen to.

i am also praying for u, trevor72694, may God give u light and peace.
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« Reply #122 on: August 20, 2012, 09:02:58 PM »

At the risk of being judgemental, which I probably am, what FatherHLL mentioned is the first thing I thought when I read "Update on trevor72694." Not that you had become an atheist/agnostic, but merely surprise that someone would make a thread "updating" everyone on their own personal life. I suppose I can see why you've gone the direction you've gone, because that direction was being traveled even when you were still a believer, it's merely manifested itself in a different way now that your interests have changed. It seems that trap that the fathers warn about the most - self - has proven again its power to guile.

Please forgive me if I am assuming too much, but my conclusions are drawn only from what you've said outright. As others have noted, it was nice having your kindly presence amid all of the pessimism and negativity.

I remember a conversation we once had about St. Parascheva, wherein I told you about the shroud that covered her relics being placed over me. When it entered the church, the fragrance immediately filled the building. I know you felt a connection to her, and I hope through her and your patron's prayers you may see the Light of Holy Orthodoxy.

For some of the others in the thread, I myself am 16, and it is ignorant to say that intelligence leads one to atheism. If I were honest with myself and used my intelligence, I would be insane to doubt my faith, given the many miracles I have been blessed to see and experience. It instead shows a lack of intelligence on my part, as despite these many obvious signs from God that even I must be forced to notice, I still occasionally doubt.

Again, for those others in this thread that have fallen away from Orthodoxy, you may have lost faith or gone a wayward path, but I encourage you to do as Trevor does, and not seek to drag those struggling faithful down with you by insensitive and cruel comments.
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« Reply #123 on: August 20, 2012, 09:08:41 PM »

A good priest will use discernment and be on the alert for signs of trouble - excessive zeal, excessive outward appearance changes, constant questions coming out of the blue on esoteric, theological issues, excessive knowledge about Patristics, Bishops, Church politics and so on.

Please - I am NOT suggesting that any of the items I suggested are bad per se - surely what one of us may view as 'excessive' may be viewed in a different light by another.

I agree. And a good pastor will discern whether these outward displays are outgrowths of real faith, or if they are just facades. I also agree that care must be taken with converts who are a little too eager and a little too unstable to undertake the actual spiritual work that it's all about—as some say, it's more important to remain Orthodox than to become Orthodox.

I guess I just dislike the comparison with Islam, as I've never met anyone who had such a bizarre impression of Orthodoxy as to conflate the two. Point taken though.
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« Reply #124 on: August 21, 2012, 12:47:12 AM »

Orthodox parents, maybe think of this. How would you like it if your teenager wanted to convert to Baptist Fundamentalism, and afterwards they viewed your version of Christianity as somehow "less" than theirs?
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« Reply #125 on: August 21, 2012, 02:35:26 AM »

Dear Trevor,

There are some very good bits of counsel in the tread above. If I may leave with you a few points to consider based upon what you have shared so far, and let me add my own hope that you will keep the memory of Church in your heart and at least an ember of faith…or a hope for faith burning and that you will from time to time return to the Divine Liturgy and to the fellowship of Orthodox Christians at your parish.

1. Growing up more, being more comfortable in your own skin.: On the whole a good thing. However being able to be honest with yourself about who you are is not the same thing as being willing to take up the burden and responsibility of becoming who you should be.

2. Faith being in the head.  I must disagree here. Belief in God is not an activity of intellection. There is a question perhaps you are ready to explore in more depth…and hopefully your exploration will include what the Fathers and Saints have to say on the matter.  The question is this…how do we know what we know? What are the "organs" of knowledge.  The modern materialist world view acknowledges nothing as being real that is not rooted in sense knowledge and intellection about sense knowledge. Our thoughts and emotions are only so much biochemistry.  We only know via our senses and through the neural activity of our brains. As Fr. Tom Hopko might put it…in this view we are essentially no more than copulators and calculators. Orthodoxy though teaches we know some things via our heart…not the blood pump, but a part of us which might share the same geography, but lie much deeper in our non fleshly bodies. Just as our bodily senses correspond to the world they are designed to interact with and are a part of (light, sound, taste, touch, scent) so the heart corresponds to and perceives spiritual things, particularly it perceives God. In the estimation of the fathers this perception is superior to the rational mind which is naturally it's servant not it's master. Unlike the natural mind and our natural sense organs, it doesn't "figure things out". It experiences and in that experience…knows. It is directly perceptive.

If our heart is hardened, closed, asleep, scattered, deluded…our perception is muted or even nonexistent…like being blind or deaf. Consider this by way of analogy.  

If you had to describe the taste of honey to someone who has never seen or tasted honey before how would you communicate that knowledge.  How many books on sugars and nectar and micronutrients and viscosity would communicate the taste of honey? How many lectures? How many slide shows? How many testimonials? How many spoonfuls? The taste of honey is only communicated though tasting. Only the organ dedicated to tasting conveys that knowledge. Now, having tasted honey, all the books, lectures, notes, videos, slideshows, and testimonials have meaning…have a context in your experience that permits you to understand and be part of that circle of knowledge a part of that conversation. Now it is possible to trust the reports you've read about the existence of and sweetness of honey without having tasted it yourself.  It is possible to parrot a great deal about the taste and sensation of honey without having sampled it at all…and just as easily you can come to doubt, because on both sides of the issue only your mind has been engaged…like flipping a switch +A or -A but still |A| still just a bit of intellection…still just sifting and evaluation one bit of abstraction against another.  

This whole realm of "how do we know" is called gnosiology. The problem with limiting gnosis to our material senses and rational mind is that there is no honest way to account for the honey tasters.  If you feel up to it read the lives of people like St. Seraphim of Sarov, Fr. Arseny, Elder Porphyrios, St. Silouan, St. Paisos…just to name a very few. You have to deal with accounts (many of the witnesses of which are still living) of the uncreated light, miraculous healings, knowing a person's heart in great detail…their whole life even,unfailing prophecies, seeing hidden things in the earth, bending space and time (Elder Porphyrios). How do you explain these people? What lengths do you have to go to interpret their narrative in such a way as to dismiss these things as varieties of mass hallucination, psychosomatic healings, trickery, and pure fables. How many accounts have to be dismissed as lies or delusions in order to deny that these people were in touch with and communicative of depth/kind of reality that most were routinely oblivious to?

Do these people, their lives, and what they meant cease to be real and have meaning because we have changed our opinions on theology…on the reports of sugar science and honey tasting that we only know in books and articles and not in experience. What do we do with the honey tasters…for they no longer fit our preferred model of the universe?  Here…make sense of this life…explain it if there is no God…or at best as distant uninvolved one. Consider who you will have to call a liar, what you cannot "believe" because it is not "rational" even though the witness to these things present you with their testimonies.  There is more to us than intellection and sense knowledge.  There is the heart and what it can see and know if opened in the light of God's grace. http://www.oodegr.com/english/biblia/Porfyrios_Martyries_Empeiries/perieh.htm

3. I don't feel it anymore so it must not have been real.  So…is rain not real because you find yourself walking in the desert and no longer in the rain forest?  Many saints and father's speak of seasons dryness and doubt.  It is an ancient affliction. We are all keen and swoony over the breads and fishes bits and the sermon on the mount. The walking on water parts are pretty cool too. However Jesus instruction did not center on our undertaking the creation of bread and fish, walking on water, or making cool insightful speeches. He said His followers were expected to take up their cross to follow Him.  Crosses have only one purpose…to kill us. Moreover no man can crucify himself, another must do it for us.  That's not pretty talk that makes therapists all misty eyed.  To the modern world such notions are barbaric and masochistic (and not in the current cool it's ok if its consensual kind of way). Are we to love God only if He give us candy and makes everything easy for us and supplies us with a constant barrage of novelty and self actualization?  What about when He gives us dryness, suffering, hardship? What if for His sake we become as the very offscouring of the earth? Though we are crushed and demoralized, do we not still find our knees and stretch our our hands and say "The Lord giveth, the Lord, taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." What kind of love is it that only loves when its easy breezy? How do we come to the place of revelation where we can lift up our eyes to God and say, "I know that my redeemer liveth, and I shall see him in my flesh," unless we are cut off from all but God in the desert of our lives? What can the world offer you that will enable you to pray with St. Nicholas, "Bless my enemies O Lord and multiply them." I do not say this to "guilt" but to have you consider that after 2 years or so of "feeling good" maybe the Lord thought some time in the desert would be helpful sorting things out…maybe the problem is not that "it was all in your head" but in the story…the confabulation you have created to "explain" why your feelings changed and now see faith as a head trip and no longer a heart journey.

4. I think there is grace in your journey…even in this. It is good to be able to soberly evaluate your life and your choices. It is good to be purposeful in what you follow as your guiding light. One thing I think you've seen is that perhaps a significant portion of your earlier religious life was rooted in a sort of novelty. At 15, part of the natural course of adolescence is to separate from one's parents to search out and forge your own identity by such lights as you have. One modern expression of that is changing religions to something that suits you better (I did it).  "You find the truth" and it its great truth until the new novelty "truth" comes along. I think part or your current mode is as much a novelty to you as your faith was a few months back. It will get likely get old and your feelings towards it will change too. Will you go back to Orthodoxy, to something else, a non Christian faith…to spiritual but not religious (whatever that is besides narcissism with a yoga mat and a bouquet), or a new found enthusiasm for atheism (either sweet tempered or ill tempered…whichever is the best fit)? God knows?

At least now, God willing, that you return to the faith, it will be a sober decision rooted in a deeper experience of life and a deeper knowledge of yourself…not just of who you are, but who you hope to be.

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« Reply #126 on: August 21, 2012, 08:02:42 AM »

^ Thank you Seraphim. Post of Month, maybe the Year!
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« Reply #127 on: August 21, 2012, 08:24:02 AM »

^ Thank you Seraphim. Post of Month, maybe the Year!

I agree !

Great post Seraphim !
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« Reply #128 on: August 21, 2012, 08:56:07 AM »

^ Thank you Seraphim. Post of Month, maybe the Year!

I agree !

Great post Seraphim !

Agreed!
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« Reply #129 on: August 21, 2012, 09:29:58 AM »


Excellent post!!!

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« Reply #130 on: August 21, 2012, 12:37:51 PM »

Well ther might as ll be a "spiritual organ" or there might be none but even if there is one the way it perceives the "spiritual reality" is in no way analogous in to the way taste buds percueve honey. Tibetan monks as well as athonite mOnksalong with some Pentecostal preacher on TBN they all would assume their spiritual sense and organs are sharp, yet the things thei percueve arent quite the same.
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« Reply #131 on: August 21, 2012, 01:49:01 PM »

Shoot. I sent this message from my phone, without actually being able to see what I was typing. It's not that bad at all considering the circumstances of its birth.
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« Reply #132 on: August 21, 2012, 01:49:58 PM »

The limits of analogy. I agree the honey analogy is limited…but it's essential point is correct, I think, that the taste of honey is communicated experientially not discursively or through intellection. That point is analogous to the heart being the part/aspect of us as human beings that perceives and experiences spiritual things. Having experienced them they can be thought about, talked about, and otherwise handled by our rational mind…but the mind is not able to initiate or perceive such things until introduced to them by that part of us which can communicate/participate in such things.  This, I think, at least in part, is why the fathers teach us to reunite the mind and the heart. One could probably draw the same analogy using the perception of the color red.

With respect to Tibetan monks and the like Fr. Seraphim Rose spoke on this point of what we may call psychic phenomena. He said that there is an experience which the holy ascetics call "the opening of the senses" this is generally tied to ascetic practice, and as such it is a capacity 'wakeable" by any sufficiently ascetical tradition. This is the shamanistic state, the state of deep awareness of the world and many of it's normally invisible interconnections is often confused with the spiritual. It is not spiritual though. Rather Fr. Seraphim said it is simply an awakening to/perception of the higher more rarified aspects of physical creation. It is essentially material not spiritual.  It is also extraordinarily dangerous for the uninitiated and unguided for this is the playground of demons, the "place" where they do their more subtle works of delusion, appearing as angels of light, etc.  In this state of awareness a man might perceive a certain luminosity of his own heart and created being and mistake that for spiritual light having not beheld spiritual light by way of comparison. He thinks he has arrived at something and which point the snares of vainglory await the slightest twitch of egotism to insinuate and overwhelm him. Fr. Seraphim said the man who experiences such things should pray earnestly for God to deliver him from it, especially if he is without an experienced spiritual father.


An ascetical man will often pass through this "realm" on the way to that which is spiritual. The Athonite monks are well aware of this state and it's dangers. However they have truly spiritual, truly holy spiritual fathers to guide and protect monastics who begin to experience the world with this heightened perception…to get them past it, above it, and beyond it to genuine spiritual depth and perception which is the gift of God Who opens the eye of the heart, and not the fruit of discipline and technique.
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« Reply #133 on: August 21, 2012, 01:54:28 PM »

^ Thank you Seraphim. Post of Month, maybe the Year!
Ditto.
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« Reply #134 on: August 21, 2012, 07:51:30 PM »

Even if you don't quite believe all that Church stuff it doesn't necessarily follow you leave the Church or you have to. You might as well stay for a myriad reasons not that much connected to the dogmas etc, just like the majority of Orthodox do. I think it's a sign of maturity, actually.

I agree with this. Certainly frantically hopping from one religion or parish to another is a sign of immaturity. On the other hand, there's a lot of really beautiful stuff in the Orthodox Church (and in other traditions), and it takes maturity to appreciate it. I've come to grips with the fact that even if I didn't believe, I would still come to church because I love it. A lot of people are like that.

Unfortunately, I'm witnessing the rapid massacre of everything beautiful in the Orthodox Church in the name of misguided evangelistic zeal and ethnic-phobia. Perfectly spititual people are being alienated from the Church by this.

I will pray for Trevor. His recent posting makes my intuition think that he's still got a long ways to go, even if he's come a long way. With God's grace, he will get his faith back.
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« Reply #135 on: August 21, 2012, 08:41:35 PM »


[/quote]

Unfortunately, I'm witnessing the rapid massacre of everything beautiful in the Orthodox Church in the name of misguided evangelistic zeal and ethnic-phobia. Perfectly spititual people are being alienated from the Church by this.


[/quote]

I wanted to respond to this comment as I fully understand and appreciate the depth of feelings within one which can produce such a sad reflection. Indeed - a casual perusal of the internets might very lead you to such a conclusion - but where the soul of the Church resides - at the parish level within most of our myriad of jurisdictions, I really don't see things that way.

Sure - if you read and take to heart the frenzied postings on Monomakos (and elsewhere) , and the ethnic self-loathing of the prime blogger there - you could feel alienated. Such blogs and forums portray a view of the Church and a mindset which is distant from that which many of were immersed in over the years. Some might even argue that they portray a Church which is more rigid, more fundamentalist in its approach, more judgmental, less forgiving and full of less joy than many of us are familiar with. At times, they often reek of a triumphalist - almost pharisaic point of view. However, giving the benefit of the doubt to most who post on such sites, I suspect that an overabundance of zeal and joy in having found the fullness of Christianity in Orthodoxy has led them to such extremes. Sure - some of the postings here and on other more moderate sites go off the edge from time to time - but on the whole, parish to parish, faithful to faithful - I truly believe things are not that bad. Could they be better? Surely - but the definition of 'better' is the tricky part.

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« Reply #136 on: August 21, 2012, 09:58:52 PM »

Quote
Unfortunately, I'm witnessing the rapid massacre of everything beautiful in the Orthodox Church in the name of misguided evangelistic zeal and ethnic-phobia. Perfectly spititual people are being alienated from the Church by this.

I wanted to respond to this comment as I fully understand and appreciate the depth of feelings within one which can produce such a sad reflection. Indeed - a casual perusal of the internets might very lead you to such a conclusion - but where the soul of the Church resides - at the parish level within most of our myriad of jurisdictions, I really don't see things that way.

Sure - if you read and take to heart the frenzied postings on Monomakos (and elsewhere) , and the ethnic self-loathing of the prime blogger there - you could feel alienated. Such blogs and forums portray a view of the Church and a mindset which is distant from that which many of were immersed in over the years. Some might even argue that they portray a Church which is more rigid, more fundamentalist in its approach, more judgmental, less forgiving and full of less joy than many of us are familiar with. At times, they often reek of a triumphalist - almost pharisaic point of view. However, giving the benefit of the doubt to most who post on such sites, I suspect that an overabundance of zeal and joy in having found the fullness of Christianity in Orthodoxy has led them to such extremes. Sure - some of the postings here and on other more moderate sites go off the edge from time to time - but on the whole, parish to parish, faithful to faithful - I truly believe things are not that bad. Could they be better? Surely - but the definition of 'better' is the tricky part.

Well, unfortunately, I'm watching it happen in several parishes I know in real life, including my own. I know the vast majority of people don't agree with it, and I also agree that the situation we're in is very complex, not at all one-sided. Creativity and compromises between Church members are the solution to our problems. The biggest enemies of the Orthodox Church in North America are the talent drain and internal divisions. The latter problem, in my experience, is being exascerbated by the many of the people who are trying the hardest to solve the problem, because their approach is forced hegemony with American culture in ways that get people justifiably upset.

EDIT: I also agree that things are really not as bad as we like to think, parish to parish, parishioner to parishioner. At the same time, there are some things we must fix.
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« Reply #137 on: August 21, 2012, 10:39:12 PM »

Nearly every problem that we have is ego-driven.  It may be dressed up nice as either liberal or centrist or conservative;  or "american," "other-ethnic."  But my observation as a priest, as a dean, and in other capacities on the diocesan level and jurisdiction cooperative level, is that most of the parish problems are ego driven, and most of the problems on jurisdictional level are ideologically driven but still may have ego-cult dimensions.  No one is going to solve this on the internet.  Until you are face to face staring someone in the eyes with personal accountability, solutions are far from reach locked in the closet of the real world down the hall from anonymous cyber-world. 
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« Reply #138 on: August 21, 2012, 11:18:46 PM »


What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.

A long catechumenate.



I completely agree.  Especially for catechumens in their teens and twenties (and possibly their thirties). 
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« Reply #139 on: August 21, 2012, 11:27:14 PM »


Anyway, I wish you the best Trevor even though this is not the news I wanted to hear. I pray that you return to the Lord. You do seem like a sincere and honest person.
Thank you very much.  I wish I could believe like I used to, but I just can't muster up the faith I used to have.  Who knows?  Maybe St. Tikhon (my patron saint) will appear in my dreams and punch me in the nose, and then set me on the straight and narrow!  Smiley

you should read the case for God by Karen Armstrong. It was a great help to me when I lost my faith.
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« Reply #140 on: August 21, 2012, 11:41:57 PM »


What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.

A long catechumenate.



I completely agree.  Especially for catechumens in their teens and twenties (and possibly their thirties). 

Maybe.  I think Liza is right.  I take this person by person.  Usually people married to a "cradle" (or marrying a cradle) are more solid with a shorter catechumenate than those just entering "on their own."  But clearly the reason that they are converting, to the trained priest, is crucial in determining length of catechumenate.  If there are any signs of wavering, it is immediately a long catechumenate that they are given from my part.  I find that heathens need less of a cat. period than those who come from Christian confessions that they are "running from."  They don't have the baggage.     
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« Reply #141 on: August 21, 2012, 11:48:10 PM »

I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  



This is just patently false.
Not really.
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« Reply #142 on: August 21, 2012, 11:49:31 PM »

I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  



This is just patently false.

Indeed.  My wife's therapist often told her to go back to church more often. 

And he was a Jewish atheist.
A rarity (one seeing value in church-going, that is.  There are a few, but they are outnumbered).
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« Reply #143 on: August 22, 2012, 12:31:47 AM »

I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  



This is just patently false.
Not really.
Uh huh and in what way?
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« Reply #144 on: August 23, 2012, 12:19:15 AM »

Hmm. I guess you have a point. I didn't know any of that about you. But what you describe also doesn't sound anything like the Orthodoxy I'm learning to live by. I guess everyone is different in that way, but I'm still trying to understand how you go from "I was bad at balancing my commitment to my religion" (or "I was anxious", or whatever you feel the problem was) to "God doesn't exist". I mean, I'm bad at staying away from sweets, but sweets still exist (I just try to avoid being alone with them Grin). I don't know you at all, so please forgive me if this is out of line, but it seems like you could benefit from looking to transform your experience and understanding of your religion, rather than giving up religion.

Granted, when I did that I became Orthodox... Smiley
This isn't out of line at all, my friend.  Smiley

That is why I left Church in the first place, but my belief in God was still strong.  It was learning that I am just fine without God in my life that pushed me to question his existence, and then realizing the answer to that question.

I mean, I can't say for 100% certainty that God doesn't exist (and I truly believe that not even the most religious of the religious can say that they know 100% that God exists).  You know, because you have faith in him.  You learn about him and attend Church and commune with him while building a strong relationship with him.

I've realized that "faith" is all in your head.  It's real if you believe that it's real.  I just don't believe that it's real, so for me, it's not real.

I hope that makes sense.  I'm currently half asleep and still on the computer (that's what OC.net will do to you), so I'm going to bed.  Smiley
I remember experiencing a strong sense of doubt at your age as well. I stopped "feeling" the presence of God, and that was awful for me. However, I knew that something that had so radically changed my life could not be "something in my head." So I stuck with it. As I got older the doubts started to lessen, and now, thanks be to God, I don't struggle with them much. Perhaps my study of philosophy has strengthened my faith (I've come to believe that atheism really is incoherent), or maybe God's loving presence has just helped me grow in faith (definitely the latter more than the former). Whatever the case, I will be praying for you.
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« Reply #145 on: September 24, 2012, 10:54:42 PM »

It appears as though I can not see your profile on the facebook site anymore. I hope you are doing well.
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« Reply #146 on: September 24, 2012, 11:00:45 PM »

In all honesty I struggle with unbelief on a monthly basis. This is down from an hourly basis Wink

I don't think that having consistency in faith is the hallmark of a strong belief. I choose to believe when I don't "feel" like believing.

Mark 9:24
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« Reply #147 on: September 24, 2012, 11:01:31 PM »

It appears as though I can not see your profile on the facebook site anymore. I hope you are doing well.
Hopefully it wasn't because of my Dark Ages comment. lol.
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« Reply #148 on: September 25, 2012, 12:07:00 AM »

It appears as though I can not see your profile on the facebook site anymore. I hope you are doing well.

Yes, I had noticed the same thing.

He has actually specifically "blocked" us. I had a friend look for him and they found him alive and well and posting.

Makes me kind of sad.

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« Reply #149 on: September 25, 2012, 12:15:17 AM »

Ah well. I figured he blocked me for whatever reason. In any case there is no ill will or intentions on my part. He won't be able to find me again if he doesn't have any friends in common. I have a super secret stealth account that is unsearchable to people that don't already know someone I know. Smiley

Sia is my friend on FB and she left Christianity altogether.
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« Reply #150 on: September 25, 2012, 01:02:10 AM »

It appears as though I can not see your profile on the facebook site anymore. I hope you are doing well.

Yes, I had noticed the same thing.

He has actually specifically "blocked" us. I had a friend look for him and they found him alive and well and posting.

Makes me kind of sad.



And hey, it is his loss. You are full of awesome! Wink
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« Reply #151 on: September 25, 2012, 01:59:07 AM »

I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  



This is just patently false.

Indeed.  My wife's therapist often told her to go back to church more often. 

And he was a Jewish atheist.
A rarity (one seeing value in church-going, that is.  There are a few, but they are outnumbered).

I have seen a master's level therapist, two psychiatrists, two psychiatric nurse practitioners, two licensed clinical social workers involved in group therapy, and something like five behavioral health techs at a psych hospital, in the last year.  Of those twelve mental health professionals, a grand total of zero ever expressed any idea that religion - of any sort - was a bad thing; and I can recall nine of them bringing it up, all in a positive way with regard to those who had an interest in their faith.  You are quite frankly just spewing more random feces as you so often do, with no basis in facts of any kind.  I strongly encourage you to set aside your prejudices for a few minutes every day and actually think about whether or not you have any reason at all to believe the insane things that you do.
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« Reply #152 on: September 25, 2012, 08:03:52 AM »

^ Now THAT was uncalled for. And I'm not sure it is germane to the thread or even a proper reaction to the intent of Isa's post.
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« Reply #153 on: September 25, 2012, 10:29:26 AM »

It appears as though I can not see your profile on the facebook site anymore. I hope you are doing well.

Yes, I had noticed the same thing.

He has actually specifically "blocked" us. I had a friend look for him and they found him alive and well and posting.

Makes me kind of sad.



And hey, it is his loss. You are full of awesome! Wink

His loss is quadrupled for having blocked YOU!  

The truly sad part was, that he and I had been texting just the night before....and he seemed to have perked up and been hopeful, and the next day I got blocked....and when I asked him via PM on this site about it, he lied and told me he's having trouble with Facebook deleting his friends.

There's no need to lie.  We are adults.  If you block us, it's your right...but, don't lie about it....we're not fools.






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« Reply #154 on: September 25, 2012, 10:40:03 AM »

^ Now THAT was uncalled for. And I'm not sure it is germane to the thread or even a proper reaction to the intent of Isa's post.

It is not only called for, but begged. It is certainly germane. Isa is out to lunch, unless every psych professional I have known and they knew and what they taught in their courses are all outliers.
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« Reply #155 on: September 25, 2012, 10:49:42 AM »

^ Now THAT was uncalled for. And I'm not sure it is germane to the thread or even a proper reaction to the intent of Isa's post.

It is not only called for, but begged. It is certainly germane. Isa is out to lunch, unless every psych professional I have known and they knew and what they taught in their courses are all outliers.

Proof ...or invective?
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« Reply #156 on: September 25, 2012, 07:36:13 PM »

^ Now THAT was uncalled for. And I'm not sure it is germane to the thread or even a proper reaction to the intent of Isa's post.

But defaming psychologists is fine?
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« Reply #157 on: September 25, 2012, 10:23:13 PM »

**Waves hello to Trevor**

I've been out of touch for a while too - I'm sorry I missed this.  I hope you are doing well, and wish you the very very best life has to offer.  Smiley 

(Though I must say, I'm floored that you're 18 ALREADY!!!  OH MY WORD. . .TIME GOES BY TOO FAST!!)

Lots of love your way,

BethAnna

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« Reply #158 on: September 26, 2012, 10:28:44 AM »

^ Now THAT was uncalled for. And I'm not sure it is germane to the thread or even a proper reaction to the intent of Isa's post.

People like Isa cause others to stop seeing, or fail to start seeing, mental health professionals when they definitely need to.  What exactly is the point of Isa's post other than to cast aspersions on the field of mental health?
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« Reply #159 on: September 27, 2012, 12:26:18 AM »

Yearning for days when people go to priests for help.
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« Reply #160 on: September 27, 2012, 12:30:38 AM »

Yearning for days when people go to priests for help.

That certainly helped me!

Oh wait...

 police
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« Reply #161 on: September 27, 2012, 12:31:52 AM »

^ Now THAT was uncalled for. And I'm not sure it is germane to the thread or even a proper reaction to the intent of Isa's post.

People like Isa cause others to stop seeing, or fail to start seeing, mental health professionals when they definitely need to.  What exactly is the point of Isa's post other than to cast aspersions on the field of mental health?

To be fair, the methods of clinical psychology and psychiatry do present some important questions for Orthodox Christians.

Isa is just wrong about most clinicians not seeing (at least) therapeutic value in religion.
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« Reply #162 on: September 27, 2012, 02:18:49 AM »

Yearning for days when people go to priests for help.

Right...
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« Reply #163 on: September 27, 2012, 02:27:18 PM »

a good priest will send you to your psychiatrist if you have psychiatric problems.
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« Reply #164 on: September 27, 2012, 02:49:06 PM »

Yearning for days when people go to priests for help.
I know a priest that took my grandma's cousin and her daughter, in his own car, to see a wizard, recognizing his profession's inherent limitations, I guess. He's a decent guy.
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« Reply #165 on: September 27, 2012, 03:16:32 PM »

Yearning for days when people go to priests for help.
I know a priest that took my grandma's cousin and her daughter, in his own car, to see a wizard, recognizing his profession's inherent limitations, I guess. He's a decent guy.
ROFL
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« Reply #166 on: September 27, 2012, 03:21:36 PM »

Yearning for days when people go to priests for help.
I know a priest that took my grandma's cousin and her daughter, in his own car, to see a wizard, recognizing his profession's inherent limitations, I guess. He's a decent guy.
ROFL

Someone else put this in the quotable thread. This is augustin at his best.
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« Reply #167 on: September 27, 2012, 07:09:19 PM »

Yearning for days when people go to priests for help.
I know a priest that took my grandma's cousin and her daughter, in his own car, to see a wizard, recognizing his profession's inherent limitations, I guess. He's a decent guy.

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« Reply #168 on: September 28, 2012, 07:57:11 PM »

a good priest will send you to your psychiatrist if you have psychiatric problems.

Correct. Priests are not psychiatrists, and even the few that are should not be practicing psychotherapy on their spiritual children, for the same reason why a psychiatrist would not do psychotherapy on their children.  Some people have a physical illness of chemical imbalance in the brain, while others have psychological illnesses.  A Psychiatrist handles the former.  Their Priest can give Unction and prayers, but should not be practicing psychotherapy nor giving them drugs, even if he is a psychiatrist. 
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« Reply #169 on: September 29, 2012, 06:23:06 PM »

a good priest will send you to your psychiatrist if you have psychiatric problems.

Correct. Priests are not psychiatrists, and even the few that are should not be practicing psychotherapy on their spiritual children, for the same reason why a psychiatrist would not do psychotherapy on their children.  Some people have a physical illness of chemical imbalance in the brain, while others have psychological illnesses.  A Psychiatrist handles the former.  Their Priest can give Unction and prayers, but should not be practicing psychotherapy nor giving them drugs, even if he is a psychiatrist. 

Amen. If we can put, "if a priest practices psychotherapy on his parishioners, let him be deposed" we could make this a canon for an upcoming local American council.
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« Reply #170 on: September 29, 2012, 07:37:04 PM »

a good priest will send you to your psychiatrist if you have psychiatric problems.

Correct. Priests are not psychiatrists, and even the few that are should not be practicing psychotherapy on their spiritual children, for the same reason why a psychiatrist would not do psychotherapy on their children.  Some people have a physical illness of chemical imbalance in the brain, while others have psychological illnesses.  A Psychiatrist handles the former.  Their Priest can give Unction and prayers, but should not be practicing psychotherapy nor giving them drugs, even if he is a psychiatrist. 

Amen. If we can put, "if a priest practices psychotherapy on his parishioners, let him be deposed" we could make this a canon for an upcoming local American council.

And 200 years from now when the word is no longer in our vocabulary someone will look at said canon and ask "what is psychotherapy"?  Then some other genius will say, "I think is when priest gives communion to person with mental problems."  Then the parish council can say "good, we finally have reason to get rid of that no good priest"   laugh   Cry
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« Reply #171 on: September 30, 2012, 10:11:39 PM »

a good priest will send you to your psychiatrist if you have psychiatric problems.

Correct. Priests are not psychiatrists, and even the few that are should not be practicing psychotherapy on their spiritual children, for the same reason why a psychiatrist would not do psychotherapy on their children.  Some people have a physical illness of chemical imbalance in the brain, while others have psychological illnesses.  A Psychiatrist handles the former.  Their Priest can give Unction and prayers, but should not be practicing psychotherapy nor giving them drugs, even if he is a psychiatrist. 

Amen. If we can put, "if a priest practices psychotherapy on his parishioners, let him be deposed" we could make this a canon for an upcoming local American council.

And 200 years from now when the word is no longer in our vocabulary someone will look at said canon and ask "what is psychotherapy"?  Then some other genius will say, "I think is when priest gives communion to person with mental problems."  Then the parish council can say "good, we finally have reason to get rid of that no good priest"   laugh   Cry

That's only if parishes 200 years from now become dominated by wacky congregationalists that think they can dismiss priests at their leisure...oh, wait.
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« Reply #172 on: December 08, 2012, 10:41:54 PM »

That may be true.

Therefore, the responsibility lies with the seminaries to ensure that the priests are prepared to handle these situations and are willing to dedicate the time to their flocks.

Personally, I am always surprised to read that people have gone to their priest and told them they just "aren't happy" and will start skipping Liturgy....and the response is "OK".

Huh

That just baffles me.  It's not okay.  Perhaps the person needs additional attention and care.  I can't believe the sheep is leaving the flock and it's okay.  This has occurred more than once, as multiple posters have posted pretty much the same response given them from their clergy when told they were leaving.

Even if they can't convince the person to stay....don't sugar coat it and say it's "OK".  Don't make them feel it is all good to leave the Church and become less than what they have been called to be.  Don't be mean, but, perhaps a follow up or a show of concern would be of benefit.




Funny how people judge atheists, when they can't scienctifically prove God's existence. Wake up people. I believe in God. But I can;t offer any proof of his existence. Therefore judging and condemning atheists, doesn't sound sane.
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« Reply #173 on: December 09, 2012, 03:38:17 AM »

I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  



This is just patently false.

Indeed.  My wife's therapist often told her to go back to church more often. 

And he was a Jewish atheist.
A rarity (one seeing value in church-going, that is.  There are a few, but they are outnumbered).

I have seen a master's level therapist, two psychiatrists, two psychiatric nurse practitioners, two licensed clinical social workers involved in group therapy, and something like five behavioral health techs at a psych hospital, in the last year.  Of those twelve mental health professionals, a grand total of zero ever expressed any idea that religion - of any sort - was a bad thing; and I can recall nine of them bringing it up, all in a positive way with regard to those who had an interest in their faith.  You are quite frankly just spewing more random feces as you so often do, with no basis in facts of any kind.  I strongly encourage you to set aside your prejudices for a few minutes every day and actually think about whether or not you have any reason at all to believe the insane things that you do.
Didn't see this before: I worked in the locked unit of a free standing psych hospital for 5 years, and have known a lot of psych professionals and teachers, before and since. I have literally read thousands of case files.  And yes, those who see value in religion, especially beyond just a crutch, are outnumbered.

As for the alleged prejudices-which seem to amount to nothing more than I do not agree with you-I have no problem with anyone availing themselves of psych services, nor using the findings of psychology.
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« Reply #174 on: December 11, 2012, 12:15:25 PM »

That may be true.

Therefore, the responsibility lies with the seminaries to ensure that the priests are prepared to handle these situations and are willing to dedicate the time to their flocks.

Personally, I am always surprised to read that people have gone to their priest and told them they just "aren't happy" and will start skipping Liturgy....and the response is "OK".

Huh

That just baffles me.  It's not okay.  Perhaps the person needs additional attention and care.  I can't believe the sheep is leaving the flock and it's okay.  This has occurred more than once, as multiple posters have posted pretty much the same response given them from their clergy when told they were leaving.

Even if they can't convince the person to stay....don't sugar coat it and say it's "OK".  Don't make them feel it is all good to leave the Church and become less than what they have been called to be.  Don't be mean, but, perhaps a follow up or a show of concern would be of benefit.




Funny how people judge atheists, when they can't scienctifically prove God's existence. Wake up people. I believe in God. But I can;t offer any proof of his existence. Therefore judging and condemning atheists, doesn't sound sane.

Tweety, from your earlier comments, I gather you are a "cradle" Orthodox, baptized at age 2 you said.  I am glad to hear you "believe" in God, and I hope you take a real interest in getting to know Orthodoxy.  It's the True Church of Christ, and sometimes, we as faithful, simply are asked to believe, without proof.

It is an exercise in humility to admit we don't know how or why things are the way they are, but, we believe them to be true, nonetheless.

I wonder if your parents took you to church as a child, if you were exposed to the Traditions, as well as the traditions (small t).

I think you will find that Orthodoxy is a fascinating and wondrous experience....and stands unrivaled in it's respect for God, and adherence to His laws.

I hope and pray that you take a real interest and begin to examine what Orthodoxy really is....not just the surface, but, the roots.

This forum is a great place to start...however, not everything written here is correct.  I know for certain, that many things I once wrote, I now wish I hadn't because I've matured and realized that I was wrong.  I am still learning.

I wish you all the best and that your journey to discovering your Faith is a joyous and filled with wonderful experiences.

Let us know if we can be of any help.
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« Reply #175 on: December 11, 2012, 03:56:40 PM »

I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  



This is just patently false.

Indeed.  My wife's therapist often told her to go back to church more often. 

And he was a Jewish atheist.
A rarity (one seeing value in church-going, that is.  There are a few, but they are outnumbered).

I have seen a master's level therapist, two psychiatrists, two psychiatric nurse practitioners, two licensed clinical social workers involved in group therapy, and something like five behavioral health techs at a psych hospital, in the last year.  Of those twelve mental health professionals, a grand total of zero ever expressed any idea that religion - of any sort - was a bad thing; and I can recall nine of them bringing it up, all in a positive way with regard to those who had an interest in their faith.  You are quite frankly just spewing more random feces as you so often do, with no basis in facts of any kind.  I strongly encourage you to set aside your prejudices for a few minutes every day and actually think about whether or not you have any reason at all to believe the insane things that you do.
Didn't see this before: I worked in the locked unit of a free standing psych hospital for 5 years, and have known a lot of psych professionals and teachers, before and since. I have literally read thousands of case files.  And yes, those who see value in religion, especially beyond just a crutch, are outnumbered.

As for the alleged prejudices-which seem to amount to nothing more than I do not agree with you-I have no problem with anyone availing themselves of psych services, nor using the findings of psychology.

And how long ago did you do this?  And where?
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« Reply #176 on: December 11, 2012, 03:57:59 PM »

A therapist I saw for a few months earlier this year had her Masters degree from Liberty University.  Grin Cool
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« Reply #177 on: December 11, 2012, 03:58:33 PM »

A therapist I saw for a few months earlier this year had her Masters degree from Liberty University.  Grin Cool

That would be...interesting.
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« Reply #178 on: December 11, 2012, 04:03:31 PM »

A therapist I saw for a few months earlier this year had her Masters degree from Liberty University.  Grin Cool

That would be...interesting.

It wasn't at a "Christian Counseling" type place either, just a regular therapist/doctor set up. When she told me about the degree at the first session that's exactly what I thought... oh boy, this is gonna get good. As it turned out she was quite insightful and intelligent.

My current therapist is an atheist, but even she has made positive comments about religion. For example, I was telling her about how the Orthodox remember the dead at certain intervals after their passing, and she really liked that way of helping with the grief process.
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« Reply #179 on: December 11, 2012, 04:10:19 PM »

A therapist I saw for a few months earlier this year had her Masters degree from Liberty University.  Grin Cool

That would be...interesting.

It wasn't at a "Christian Counseling" type place either, just a regular therapist/doctor set up. When she told me about the degree at the first session that's exactly what I thought... oh boy, this is gonna get good. As it turned out she was quite insightful and intelligent.

My current therapist is an atheist, but even she has made positive comments about religion. For example, I was telling her about how the Orthodox remember the dead at certain intervals after their passing, and she really liked that way of helping with the grief process.

Interestingly, my Judaism instructor told us a couple of weeks ago about a now-deceased member of the ASU faculty; Rabbi Lee (my instructor) and he were friends, and the man (IIRC) was an atheist Jew more or less.  Anyway, when the man's father died at a relatively young age, Rabbi Lee and the faculty member had a discussion (I believe that day) about the traditional Jewish mourning rites, and the man chose to sit shiva (the seven day mourning ritual-thing for first degree relatives, in Judaism) and afterward extolled its virtues vis-a-vis the grief process.
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« Reply #180 on: December 11, 2012, 04:19:03 PM »


I know a young teenage boy who has some major issues and has been to therapists, counselors, psychologists, etc.  You name it, he's seen them....and nothing.  Lots of money gone, and neither one has helped the situation.

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« Reply #181 on: December 11, 2012, 04:20:29 PM »


I know a young teenage boy who has some major issues and has been to therapists, counselors, psychologists, etc.  You name it, he's seen them....and nothing.  Lots of money gone, and neither one has helped the situation.



I saw therapists on and off for 14 years before I found one that helped much...
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« Reply #182 on: December 11, 2012, 04:24:45 PM »


I know a young teenage boy who has some major issues and has been to therapists, counselors, psychologists, etc.  You name it, he's seen them....and nothing.  Lots of money gone, and neither one has helped the situation.



And how long has he stuck with any one of them?  And how long has he been seeing a professional at all?  And how committed is he (not his parent(s) nor his therapist/counselor/psychologist) to the process and to changing?
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« Reply #183 on: December 11, 2012, 05:06:06 PM »

I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  



This is just patently false.

Indeed.  My wife's therapist often told her to go back to church more often. 

And he was a Jewish atheist.
A rarity (one seeing value in church-going, that is.  There are a few, but they are outnumbered).

I have seen a master's level therapist, two psychiatrists, two psychiatric nurse practitioners, two licensed clinical social workers involved in group therapy, and something like five behavioral health techs at a psych hospital, in the last year.  Of those twelve mental health professionals, a grand total of zero ever expressed any idea that religion - of any sort - was a bad thing; and I can recall nine of them bringing it up, all in a positive way with regard to those who had an interest in their faith.  You are quite frankly just spewing more random feces as you so often do, with no basis in facts of any kind.  I strongly encourage you to set aside your prejudices for a few minutes every day and actually think about whether or not you have any reason at all to believe the insane things that you do.
Didn't see this before: I worked in the locked unit of a free standing psych hospital for 5 years, and have known a lot of psych professionals and teachers, before and since. I have literally read thousands of case files.  And yes, those who see value in religion, especially beyond just a crutch, are outnumbered.

As for the alleged prejudices-which seem to amount to nothing more than I do not agree with you-I have no problem with anyone availing themselves of psych services, nor using the findings of psychology.

And how long ago did you do this?  And where?
Work at the hospital?  Over a decade ago.  Deal with Psychologists/Psychiatrists/Social Workers, personally and professionally, use psychological studies etc...I still do that.  Mostly in Chicago.
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« Reply #184 on: January 08, 2013, 07:12:13 AM »

Proverbs 25

11 A word fitly spoken
    is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
12 Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold
    is a wise rebuke to a listening ear.

16 If you have found honey, eat only enough for you,
    or else, having too much, you will vomit it.


19 Like a bad tooth or a lame foot
    is trust in a faithless person in time of trouble.
20 Like vinegar on a wound
    is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
21 Like a moth in clothing or a worm in wood,
    sorrow gnaws at the human heart.

26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain
    are the righteous who give way before the wicked.
27 It is not good to eat much honey,
    or to seek honour on top of honour.
28 Like a city breached, without walls,
    is one who lacks self-control.
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« Reply #185 on: January 08, 2013, 07:27:30 AM »

Do we really need to start that soap opera again?
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« Reply #186 on: January 08, 2013, 07:33:08 AM »

Do we really need to start that soap opera again?

No, we really don't need to.
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« Reply #187 on: January 08, 2013, 07:36:53 AM »

Do we really need to start that soap opera again?

Which soap opera would 'that' be exactly?

Moderators, I believe, have the power of the keys - should they have enough of a thread, they can lock it, can't they?

Otherwise, Solomon's advice holds good for soap, as well as honey.  Grin
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« Reply #188 on: January 08, 2013, 07:41:09 AM »

Moderators, I believe, have the power of the keys - should they have enough of a tread, they can lock it, can't they?

We can't lock threads because we do not like them.
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« Reply #189 on: January 08, 2013, 07:41:59 AM »

Moderators, I believe, have the power of the keys - should they have enough of a tread, they can lock it, can't they?

We can't lock threads because we do not like them.

That's just too bad!  Cheesy
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« Reply #190 on: January 08, 2013, 07:55:19 AM »

How about we put thread closures to a vote then?
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« Reply #191 on: January 08, 2013, 07:58:27 AM »

How about we put thread closures to a vote then?

Start a thread in the Board News. But I doubt it will go through.
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« Reply #192 on: January 08, 2013, 08:05:57 AM »

They already do thread closures. Mods will lock a thread and say "Locked pending review" or something, and then never reopen it  Wink
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« Reply #193 on: January 08, 2013, 08:10:35 AM »

Look, I'm sorry!  Cry

I only posted because somewhere there was talk of honey as an analogy for objective truth, independent of our brain processes. This reminded me of Proverbs 25, which is one of my favourite 'Scripture-remedies' - it seemed to fit the context. As it turns out, it wasn't "a word fitly spoken"...

In all honesty, it didn't occur to me that I was resurrecting a 'soap opera'...    
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« Reply #194 on: January 08, 2013, 08:44:13 AM »

Are we all still posting in this, as well?!  Oy!
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« Reply #195 on: January 08, 2013, 09:13:06 AM »

Are we all still posting in this, as well?!  Oy!

Vavoy!

We all had better not. The business of exposing one's wounds on a forum might attract Job's comforters (like myself) and is bound to degenerate into soap-opera.

"If the cause of the sin is secret, let him disclose it to the Abbot alone, or to his spiritual Superiors, who know how to heal their own wounds and those of others, and not expose and make them public." (Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 46) 
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« Reply #196 on: January 08, 2013, 09:27:46 AM »

Hi, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Since you all are so keen on discussing the subject matter in this thread, I'll just say that my relationship with God is changing.  I am believing differently than I used to.  My level of zeal went up really high, down really low, and now it seems to be balancing out.

I'm not obligated to update you all on my spiritual journey.  That is between God, my priest and I.  You can consider the original post in this thread to be no longer accurate. 

Christ's love to you all,

Trevor
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« Reply #197 on: January 08, 2013, 12:28:51 PM »

Hi, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Since you all are so keen on discussing the subject matter in this thread, I'll just say that my relationship with God is changing.  I am believing differently than I used to.  My level of zeal went up really high, down really low, and now it seems to be balancing out.

I'm not obligated to update you all on my spiritual journey.  That is between God, my priest and I.  You can consider the original post in this thread to be no longer accurate. 

Christ's love to you all,

Trevor

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« Reply #198 on: January 08, 2013, 02:38:25 PM »

Good for you, trevor! :-)
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« Reply #199 on: January 08, 2013, 03:15:29 PM »

Certainly way more mature than when you were worrying how to bake prosphora. Keep up Wink
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« Reply #200 on: January 08, 2013, 03:16:26 PM »

Certainly way more mature than when you were worrying how to bake prosphora. Keep up Wink

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« Reply #201 on: January 08, 2013, 04:20:23 PM »