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Author Topic: How to avoid converting as a teenager and burning out in a year  (Read 6071 times) Average Rating: 0
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William
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« on: September 21, 2012, 10:52:07 PM »

This thread isn't meant to mock anyone. I legitimately feel as though I need to know how to avoid this.

As a reminder I'm an "inquirer" (have been for about 3 years) but I'm being pushed by my parents to make the leap (my Catholic mom is concerned I have gone so long without sacraments). I'm 17. I don't know if I should convert now or wait a long time to be sure. Of course I'll mention all of my concerns to my priest but I'd like the forum's feedback as well.
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 11:12:04 PM »

This thread isn't meant to mock anyone. I legitimately feel as though I need to know how to avoid this.

As a reminder I'm an "inquirer" (have been for about 3 years) but I'm being pushed by my parents to make the leap (my Catholic mom is concerned I have gone so long without sacraments). I'm 17. I don't know if I should convert now or wait a long time to be sure. Of course I'll mention all of my concerns to my priest but I'd like the forum's feedback as well.

If your parents are supportive of it, then you may want to go ahead and convert. I think the only thing is to just make sure you don't get in over your head. Generally, people who burn out get obsessed with things like fasting, the Jesus Prayer, etc.

Of course, correlation does not indicate causation, and I suspect that when people are afraid their faith is weak, they try to save it by burying themselves in their religion. Either that, or it's naivete. A neophyte's faith is usually not that strong (even if they think it is), so I would advise taking things slow, and not being afraid to just relax and see the big picture when you have to.

Avoiding family conflicts at home is very important. But you said your parents are pushing you to convert. Of course, you have to make the decision, not your parents. When your parents push you into making major decisions for yourself, things don't always turn out well.
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 11:17:22 PM »

From my experience, religious conversion is an intense, highly-emotional process. If you undergo it at a younger age (I did from 19-21), you will also be working out issues of identity, and religious identity correlates to this.

Some people, myself included, go through several phases in the conversion process when they're trying to absorb and assimilate Orthodoxy into their experience, their mind, and their heart, to find out where they and their loved ones fit, etc. This can be an emotional roller coster for the convert and really annoying for the convert's friends and family.

The best advice I can give to avoid potential burnout is to take things slowly, calmly, and soberly. Don't get carried away with anything. Concentrate on what is important--loving God and your neighbors. Be judicious about asking questions. Ask yourself if knowing the answer is really important to you moving forward.

If you want a book to read, read the Gospels. If you want to pray prayers, pray the Psalms. Go to church, and let yourself be gradually transformed. It's not something that can be forced by you. This is God's work, all you have to do is show up and be open. He has begun a good work in you and He will complete it. It doesn't end with baptism, but continues forever.

There will be ups and downs. You will have temptations from the right and the left. Those from the left are easier to identify--that which is obviously bad. Those from the right can be more dangerous since you may not see them. They appear good, but in the end are destructive. So, with God's help and the help of the priest and those parishioners to whom you're close, maintain an even keel. Direct your zeal toward moderation and toward love of God and your neighbor.

If you are baptized tomorrow, wait a few months before you do any work in the church like altar service, for example. Take time to absorb the faith. Let the water dry, so to speak. And get to know yourself. This is invaluable.

Become Orthodox because you love Christ. Many become Orthodox for many other reasons and face serious problems and even leave the Church. Do everything for the love of Christ.

God be with you!
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 11:18:54 PM »

By being honest with yourself, by logging off from OC.net/other Netodoxy and by praying regularly.
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2012, 11:22:26 PM »

by logging off from OC.net/other Netodoxy

Oh yeah, forgot that part. Probably the most important thing.
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2012, 02:41:57 AM »

Teens aren't the only ones who burn out after a short period.  I wouldn't even call it burnt out.  It's more like sidetracked, by everything else.  It's tough.  My answer is develop a powerful prayer life.  Everything else seems not to work.
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2012, 03:26:54 AM »

Avoid extremism.
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2012, 03:36:50 AM »

Remember that God knows who you are, even when you're less sure. Rely on Him and give thanks to Him in all things and you'll do well at any age.
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2012, 04:53:33 AM »

Don't ask questions, just accept whatever you're told...
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2012, 04:56:24 AM »

This thread isn't meant to mock anyone. I legitimately feel as though I need to know how to avoid this.

As a reminder I'm an "inquirer" (have been for about 3 years) but I'm being pushed by my parents to make the leap (my Catholic mom is concerned I have gone so long without sacraments). I'm 17. I don't know if I should convert now or wait a long time to be sure. Of course I'll mention all of my concerns to my priest but I'd like the forum's feedback as well.

Same situation here (although I've been an inquirer for 1,5 years and don't have very religious parents). We should help eachother. Feel free to PM.
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2012, 08:04:56 AM »

Don't parents know that their kids do the opposite of what the parents say to do? Shocked
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« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2012, 08:26:21 AM »

This thread isn't meant to mock anyone. I legitimately feel as though I need to know how to avoid this.
As a reminder I'm an "inquirer" (have been for about 3 years) but I'm being pushed by my parents to make the leap (my Catholic mom is concerned I have gone so long without sacraments). I'm 17. I don't know if I should convert now or wait a long time to be sure. Of course I'll mention all of my concerns to my priest but I'd like the forum's feedback as well.

People burnout because of a big emotional buildup to conversion and once they convert do not know what to do with themselves. They wander through forums asking questions like.. ¨Was Mary a virgin before, during and after her pregnancy and how exactly did God do this.¨  Huh and so on. A small time spent donating food to those less fortunate is one quick simple thing that will take you further spiritually than asking dumb questions on a forum. There are a thousand ways to put yourself in action.

Defend the faith. Help the weak, poor and, the sick. Repent often.

If you want this, convert. If you do not want this, do not.

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« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2012, 09:28:22 AM »

I used to be inquire more or less 5 years (when I started thinking about conversion into Orthodox Church, I was 14-15) and I converted at the age of 20, so I understand your situation (well, mine was a bit different because my father is Orthodox, so he wanted my conversion and my pious RC mother not).  I was waiting such long time period to be sure that my potential conversion is God’s Will and to start slowly live in Orthodox way. I was getting used to prayer and fasting rules, services, theology and so on very slowly, step by step. I knew that if I converted, I couldn’t come back to Catholic Church.

I was also considering when I should convert, when I realized that Orthodox is the best way to salvation. Firstly, I had been waiting until m 18 birthdays. After it, I thought that if I do not convert in the next 2 years, I’ll wait for it many years. During my inquiring period (maybe that’s not proper name for my situation) I was trying to live in Orthodox way, but I didn’t get involved into some Orthodox activities/groups because I felt it wouldn’t be OK as I wasn’t officially Orthodox. I started to do it during my short catechumenate and still do it now.

I know living without sacraments it’s very bad thing, but I think you should wait until you finish 18, because it’s a symbolical time of being adult so you would have less problems with your parents and maybe you would think it’s a mature decision. And now you should introduce Orthodoxy  into your life by prayer rule (morning and evening prayers, before meals), daily reading of Bible and other spiritual readings, observe fasts and feasts. Maybe it would also help your parents to understand that Orthodoxy is the best way to salvation and you treat it seriously.
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2012, 09:54:42 AM »

Don't ask questions, just accept whatever you're told...

Have you tried this?
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2012, 10:02:01 AM »

Don't ask questions, just accept whatever you're told...

Normally, I would say that this is a boring way to approach Orthodoxy, but considering the source of the statement, I think I am too shocked even to know how to respond.  Shocked
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« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2012, 10:29:22 AM »

By being honest with yourself, by logging off from OC.net/other Netodoxy and by praying regularly.

I could not agree with this more.  Spend your time reading Orthodox literature.  There is a wealth of it out there that has been translated into English.  Read the lives of the Saints.  The absolute best investment that you could make is to purchase a copy of the Prologue of Ohrid. Read it every day.  The second (or maybe even the first) book would also be The Bible and Holy Fathers for Orthodox.  This contains the daily readings of the scriptures along with a short commentary taken from some of the writings of the Fathers.  One of the things that endeared me most to the ROCOR priest that helped me through my first couple of years after conversion is that would seldom give me his opinion when I asked he a question.  He would have me read from the Fathers and the Saints, and he would send me the books if I could not find them.  That is what keeps the tradition alive; not just hearing one person's opinion of Orthodoxy, but hearing it from the ones that also went before us.  After all, they are still alive and stand in the presence of God Himself and pray for us, and their words are as real today as they were hundreds (if not thousands) of years ago.  You will develop a true Orthodox mindset and will be guided by those same Saints.  You will (unfortunately) have to interface with other people at some time.  You do need to attend services and receive the Sacraments.  But you will find that standing in a Church no more makes you Orthodox than standing in a garage makes you a car.  You will learn to recognize those that are Orthodox and those that are LARPing.  But most of all, you will realize that, in the end, there is only one person who is accountable for your Salvation, and only one person who has to stand before God on that last day and account for his life, and that is you.  That is why I am not one that is big on "go ask your priest" or "what does your spiritual father have to say".  One that truly cares for your soul will send you to the same place that they found their answers, and to the same place where all Orthodox Christians find their answers.  When you realize that Salvation is a long, hard journey and not a sprint, you will be given the peace that you need to make the journey.  People get burned out by running, not by walking.  And sometimes even walking is too fast.  God never rejects those that come to Him crawling with their face in the dirt begging Him for forgives and begging Him to help them be the Christian that He wants them to be.
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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2012, 10:52:51 AM »

I think one of Fr. Thomas Hopko's maxims for Christian living is probably a solid piece of advice both for sane living and also, as a consequent, not burning out (it is also the one that I personally found most memorable if not most personally disconcerting). "Be a normal person," he says. Normal people do not concern themselves over whether going to grandma's Episcopalian Christmas concert breaks the canons, whether they should call the religious of other Christian denominations or even other religions by their proper titles (the sane answer is that common decency says that we do), whether the Holy Spirit turns Catholic hosts into the flesh of Christ, etc. (none of these examples, by the way, are supposed to be specific examples, just general examples of questions that get asked a lot, so I'm not singling anybody out here). Oh, and also, normal people do not calumniate members of the clergy they have never even met.

Now, I am not saying that one should have no zeal for Christ our God (God forbid), only that there are abnormal and normal ways of using it. Whatever zeal you have for God, turn it towards prayer, fasting (to your ability), almsgiving (this one may not be too feasible for a teenager), reading the Gospels, living according to the Gospels, serving your parish and community, and repentance. Speculative theology, canons, theological debates (this goes beyond the exhortation that we should know our faith well enough to defend it; once a defense has been presented, if it becomes clear that the other person is interested only in being disputatious, then refusing to participate any further is not a bad idea), or the plight (or the just and deserved forced resignation, if one is so inclined to think this way) of Metropolitan Jonah, on the other hand, are probably all unhealthy things for us to direct our zeal for God into (and they likely do not please God very much, if at all). Live a life in Christ (rather than a life directed towards only thinking about Him in an academic fashion), and the rest should fall into place.
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2012, 10:56:44 AM »

Foremost, Reading the Bible and contemplating comments on the lectionary passages by the Church fathers. Praying morning and evening, standing in front of Icons if possible. Observing Fast days with prayers for repentance. So for me, it is mostly about prayer and reading the Bible, and of course participating in the Liturgy. As I slowly progress, these tend to keep me on an even keel without obsessing on any particular aspect.
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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2012, 11:31:05 AM »

Take it slow, attend liturgy, pray often and dont get caught up in debates, and deep theology/ doctrine conversations. For now just join the orthodox experience, you can do these other things as you run your race.
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« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2012, 01:18:23 PM »

Avoid extremism.

Amen.
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« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2012, 01:28:15 PM »

Don't try to convert others.
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« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2012, 01:57:33 PM »

Don't try to convert others.
This.
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« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2012, 04:00:16 PM »

I have some advice from my own experience...

I went into Orthodoxy way too quickly.  I think I had been going to Church for about three weeks when I started talking to Father about changing my name!  Cheesy

I was very immature.  I'm still immature, but I've grown up a bit.  I went through a bit of an identity crisis about a year ago, when I began to try and figure out who I really am and what I really believe. 

Orthodoxy most definitely isn't for me.  I've found a place that is, thank God.

I would say, don't read too much.  Don't go visit monasteries.  Don't serve in the altar for a good long while.  Don't go to confession as often as your priest tells you, go when you have something to confess, or you will feel like crap all the time, with a list of every bad thought or action in your mind.

Religious zeal and immaturity don't go well together.  I know that you're probably really excited, which is great.  Just take it slow.  No matter what your friends, family, or new Church community say, make sure that Orthodoxy is truly what you believe.  As you change with age in the next few years (and the rest of your life), embrace the changes.  Only do what you feel is right for you, no one else matters in the grand scheme of things.


Not the most Orthodox of answers, but an honest one.

Good luck!
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« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2012, 04:27:31 PM »

I have some advice from my own experience...

I went into Orthodoxy way too quickly.  I think I had been going to Church for about three weeks when I started talking to Father about changing my name!  Cheesy

I was very immature.  I'm still immature, but I've grown up a bit.  I went through a bit of an identity crisis about a year ago, when I began to try and figure out who I really am and what I really believe. 

Orthodoxy most definitely isn't for me.  I've found a place that is, thank God.

I would say, don't read too much.  Don't go visit monasteries.  Don't serve in the altar for a good long while.  Don't go to confession as often as your priest tells you, go when you have something to confess, or you will feel like crap all the time, with a list of every bad thought or action in your mind.

Religious zeal and immaturity don't go well together.  I know that you're probably really excited, which is great.  Just take it slow.  No matter what your friends, family, or new Church community say, make sure that Orthodoxy is truly what you believe.  As you change with age in the next few years (and the rest of your life), embrace the changes.  Only do what you feel is right for you, no one else matters in the grand scheme of things.


Not the most Orthodox of answers, but an honest one.

Good luck!

Actually Trevor, my late father was an Orthodox priest for 66 years and my brother has been one for 40 and they would find your answer to be quite 'Orthodox' - with a caveat that what feels good, especially for teenagers, ain't always good for you - but that usually refers to things outside of the spiritual realm. Good luck!
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« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2012, 04:46:33 PM »

Orthodoxy most definitely isn't for me.

Hope you don't mind me asking but why it isn't? Care to elaborate? I'm not trying to re-convert you or anything like that. You just made me curious. Feel free to PM if you don't want to answer publically.
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« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2012, 04:47:34 PM »

Orthodoxy most definitely isn't for me.

Hope you don't mind me asking but why it isn't? Care to elaborate? I'm not trying to re-convert you or anything like that. You just made me curious. Feel free to PM if you don't want to answer publically.

Here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,46468.0.html
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« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2012, 04:54:39 PM »

Orthodoxy most definitely isn't for me.

Hope you don't mind me asking but why it isn't? Care to elaborate? I'm not trying to re-convert you or anything like that. You just made me curious. Feel free to PM if you don't want to answer publically.

Here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,46468.0.html

I thought something more than this. Since I am fairly theoretically-oriented person I thought that he might find some aspects of Orthodox doctrine and praxis problematic.
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« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2012, 04:56:45 PM »

Orthodoxy most definitely isn't for me.

Hope you don't mind me asking but why it isn't? Care to elaborate? I'm not trying to re-convert you or anything like that. You just made me curious. Feel free to PM if you don't want to answer publically.

Here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,46468.0.html

I thought something more than this. Since I am fairly theoretically-oriented person I thought that he might find some aspects of Orthodox doctrine and praxis problematic.

That where the 'It's a mystery' answer comes in handy.....otherwise one can get tied up in knots like the scholastic school.
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« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2012, 05:01:53 PM »

That where the 'It's a mystery' answer comes in handy.....otherwise one can get tied up in knots like the scholastic school.

I guess I'm a bit of a scholastic. I like my Western Captivity. Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2012, 05:12:44 PM »

That where the 'It's a mystery' answer comes in handy.....otherwise one can get tied up in knots like the scholastic school.

I guess I'm a bit of a scholastic. I like my Western Captivity. Smiley

Don't worry, so am I.  I believe that there is a reason for everything.  Where the mystery comes in is our inability to understand that reason.  A fact is a fact whether or not we understand it or even believe it.  So, yes there comes a time that we have to throw up our hands and say "it is a mystery".  But that does not mean that we have to stop seeking to understand, and even ask God to help us understand.  Ignorance is not bliss, it is simply ignorance.
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« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2012, 05:49:43 PM »

That where the 'It's a mystery' answer comes in handy.....otherwise one can get tied up in knots like the scholastic school.

I guess I'm a bit of a scholastic. I like my Western Captivity. Smiley

Don't worry, so am I.  I believe that there is a reason for everything.  Where the mystery comes in is our inability to understand that reason.  A fact is a fact whether or not we understand it or even believe it.  So, yes there comes a time that we have to throw up our hands and say "it is a mystery".  But that does not mean that we have to stop seeking to understand, and even ask God to help us understand.  Ignorance is not bliss, it is simply ignorance.

I agree, but like all of us I too am a product of western intellectual schooling. Ignorance is indeed ignorance, but sometimes people try too hard to establish proof through logic and that is the conundrum which leads the abyss for many.
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« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2012, 07:45:41 PM »

Actually Trevor, my late father was an Orthodox priest for 66 years and my brother has been one for 40 and they would find your answer to be quite 'Orthodox' - with a caveat that what feels good, especially for teenagers, ain't always good for you - but that usually refers to things outside of the spiritual realm. Good luck!

I'm happy to hear this.  Grin  When I first converted, I thought that I was a big grown-up at 15.  I was extremely awkward, and I thought that I was this model of a conservative teenager whom adults loved and other teenagers hated, because of my maturity.  Even looking at some of my older posts here on OC.net, I don't even recognize the person I used to be.

Not saying that I'm a grown-up right now, but that I've matured. 

I see things differently now.  I believe that I have to rely on myself to decide what I believe (if that makes sense).  I want a faith that corresponds with my view of the world, people, and my place in everything.  Orthodoxy just isn't that for me right now, but it may be in the future.
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« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2012, 09:37:13 PM »

One of the reasons that we have a convert Issues Forum is that many people are asking the same questions and because they are new we want to give them simple and consistent answers from Holy Orthodox. Many converts forget that we need to first be like children and  take our milk first and the meat later. Most who "burn out do so by trying to know it all before they learn and practice the simple Orthodoxy of the child. My spiritual father reminded me that although I was was 38 years old when I was converted, in Orthodoxy I was the baby and I needed to learn as a child. My recommendation is enjoy your childhood in Christ and learn the practice of daily orthodoxy before you start looking for the deeper controversies of theologians.

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« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2012, 09:49:05 PM »

One of the reasons that we have a convert Issues Forum is that many people areasking the same questions and because they are new we want to give them simple and consistent answers from Holy Orthodox. Many converts forget that we need to first be like children and  take our milk forst and the meat later. Most who "burn out do so by tryingto know it all before they learn and practice the simple Orthodoxy of the child. My spiritual father reminded me that althou I was was 38 years old when I was converted, in Orthodoxy I was the baby and I needed to learn as a child. My recommendation is enjoy your childhood in Christ and learn the practice of daily orthodoxy before you start looking for the deeper controversies of theologians.

THOMAS

It is very difficult for those raised in the "point in time" idea of Salvation of Protestantism to understand this.  What you have written is true.  But believe me, it is not unique to Orthodoxy.  I saw the same thing over and over again before I was Orthodox.
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« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2012, 10:37:32 PM »

Love God, and see the simplicity in it.  Find the beauty of Orthodoxy and let it touch your soul.
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« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2012, 12:54:27 AM »

This thread isn't meant to mock anyone. I legitimately feel as though I need to know how to avoid this.

As a reminder I'm an "inquirer" (have been for about 3 years) but I'm being pushed by my parents to make the leap (my Catholic mom is concerned I have gone so long without sacraments). I'm 17. I don't know if I should convert now or wait a long time to be sure. Of course I'll mention all of my concerns to my priest but I'd like the forum's feedback as well.

I'm returning to the forum one time only to reply to this thread. I officially distanced myself from "internet Orthodoxy" months ago.

I understand where you are coming from. I converted to Orthodoxy at ten years old with my mother but didn't really get into it until I was about 15 or 16 years old. When I did get into it, I was very zealous. I read Fr. Seraphim Rose, read books on monasticism and asceticism, defended the Old Calendar, condemned ecumenism, and prayed like an Old Believer. I visited monasteries and considered being a monk for a while also. However, shortly before I officially left this forum, my faith fell apart and I almost "jumped ship". I was extremely close to leaving the Orthodox Church. I was so hardcore about Orthodoxy before that I missed the most important thing a person needs in their spiritual life. Faith. Faith is the only reason you should convert to Orthodoxy. Its easy at first to run off and "play monk" but when the doubt and the spiritual dry spells hit, you end up having nothing if you don't have real faith in God. My faith wasn't in God. It was in some strange caricature of Orthodoxy where the beards were long and the prostrations, many. I cannot tell you how angry I would get about the pews at my parish, kneeling on Sundays, or whatever else the "super correct" crowd like to complain about. I was only angry because I had some delusion of what Orthodoxy should look like. What was unfortunate is that I put my faith and attention in that, rather than in Christ.

Don't over intellectualize your faith, because you will only turn it into an idol that is hollow on the inside and crumbles easily. Ask yourself why you want to be Orthodox. If you only want to be Orthodox because you like the smell of the incense or how cool monks look or whatever, then you probably shouldn't convert. However, if you want to convert because you truly believe that the Orthodox Church is the best place where you can work out your own salvation, then do it if you feel that God is calling you to it. Salvation is the whole point of the Church; that is its purpose.

The main goals of our lives should be loving God and loving others. If anything prevents us from doing these two things, then we should run away from it because they aren't from God. Don't just convert your mind, but convert your heart. In everything you do, strive to love Christ and to love others. Make sure you focus on trying to remove the beam in your own eye, rather then trying to get the speck out of your brother's eye.

I pray that God will bless you.
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« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2012, 01:02:16 AM »

Quote
I would say, don't read too much.  Don't go visit monasteries.  Don't serve in the altar for a good long while.  Don't go to confession as often as your priest tells you, go when you have something to confess, or you will feel like crap all the time, with a list of every bad thought or action in your mind.
It must depend on the person. After I converted, I quickly began serving on the altar. I find that the more I go to confession, the better things are spiritually (there is always something to confess). I visit St. Anthony's monastery about once a month or more and am on a name-basis with several of the monks there, though that isn't much to be said, considering my patron is the patron of their monastery.  Cheesy
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« Reply #37 on: September 23, 2012, 01:06:55 AM »

This thread isn't meant to mock anyone. I legitimately feel as though I need to know how to avoid this.

As a reminder I'm an "inquirer" (have been for about 3 years) but I'm being pushed by my parents to make the leap (my Catholic mom is concerned I have gone so long without sacraments). I'm 17. I don't know if I should convert now or wait a long time to be sure. Of course I'll mention all of my concerns to my priest but I'd like the forum's feedback as well.

I'm returning to the forum one time only to reply to this thread. I officially distanced myself from "internet Orthodoxy" months ago.

I understand where you are coming from. I converted to Orthodoxy at ten years old with my mother but didn't really get into it until I was about 15 or 16 years old. When I did get into it, I was very zealous. I read Fr. Seraphim Rose, read books on monasticism and asceticism, defended the Old Calendar, condemned ecumenism, and prayed like an Old Believer. I visited monasteries and considered being a monk for a while also. However, shortly before I officially left this forum, my faith fell apart and I almost "jumped ship". I was extremely close to leaving the Orthodox Church. I was so hardcore about Orthodoxy before that I missed the most important thing a person needs in their spiritual life. Faith. Faith is the only reason you should convert to Orthodoxy. Its easy at first to run off and "play monk" but when the doubt and the spiritual dry spells hit, you end up having nothing if you don't have real faith in God. My faith wasn't in God. It was in some strange caricature of Orthodoxy where the beards were long and the prostrations, many. I cannot tell you how angry I would get about the pews at my parish, kneeling on Sundays, or whatever else the "super correct" crowd like to complain about. I was only angry because I had some delusion of what Orthodoxy should look like. What was unfortunate is that I put my faith and attention in that, rather than in Christ.

Don't over intellectualize your faith, because you will only turn it into an idol that is hollow on the inside and crumbles easily. Ask yourself why you want to be Orthodox. If you only want to be Orthodox because you like the smell of the incense or how cool monks look or whatever, then you probably shouldn't convert. However, if you want to convert because you truly believe that the Orthodox Church is the best place where you can work out your own salvation, then do it if you feel that God is calling you to it. Salvation is the whole point of the Church; that is its purpose.

The main goals of our lives should be loving God and loving others. If anything prevents us from doing these two things, then we should run away from it because they aren't from God. Don't just convert your mind, but convert your heart. In everything you do, strive to love Christ and to love others. Make sure you focus on trying to remove the beam in your own eye, rather then trying to get the speck out of your brother's eye.

I pray that God will bless you.
Much better than what I said!
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« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2012, 08:10:51 AM »

Love God, and see the simplicity in it.  Find the beauty of Orthodoxy and let it touch your soul.

Well put, not all are called to or need to find a level of 'knowledge' which our society seems to demand of anything. Many of us who are 'cradles' are blessed, particularly those of us in America who are first, second or even third generation, to have known our grandparents or or others of their generation who brought only their clothes and their faith to the New World. They kept the faith as did their fathers and mothers before them without the need to immerse themselves in book knowledge - Yeshuasisiam summed up how they did it. Their love of God, their simple piety and the recognition of the beauty of our Faith and how it touches the soul. When they had nothing here in America, they put their all into ensuring that they had a proper and beautiful place to worship.
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« Reply #39 on: September 23, 2012, 08:31:17 AM »

This thread isn't meant to mock anyone. I legitimately feel as though I need to know how to avoid this.

As a reminder I'm an "inquirer" (have been for about 3 years) but I'm being pushed by my parents to make the leap (my Catholic mom is concerned I have gone so long without sacraments). I'm 17. I don't know if I should convert now or wait a long time to be sure. Of course I'll mention all of my concerns to my priest but I'd like the forum's feedback as well.

I'm returning to the forum one time only to reply to this thread. I officially distanced myself from "internet Orthodoxy" months ago.

I understand where you are coming from. I converted to Orthodoxy at ten years old with my mother but didn't really get into it until I was about 15 or 16 years old. When I did get into it, I was very zealous. I read Fr. Seraphim Rose, read books on monasticism and asceticism, defended the Old Calendar, condemned ecumenism, and prayed like an Old Believer. I visited monasteries and considered being a monk for a while also. However, shortly before I officially left this forum, my faith fell apart and I almost "jumped ship". I was extremely close to leaving the Orthodox Church. I was so hardcore about Orthodoxy before that I missed the most important thing a person needs in their spiritual life. Faith. Faith is the only reason you should convert to Orthodoxy. Its easy at first to run off and "play monk" but when the doubt and the spiritual dry spells hit, you end up having nothing if you don't have real faith in God. My faith wasn't in God. It was in some strange caricature of Orthodoxy where the beards were long and the prostrations, many. I cannot tell you how angry I would get about the pews at my parish, kneeling on Sundays, or whatever else the "super correct" crowd like to complain about. I was only angry because I had some delusion of what Orthodoxy should look like. What was unfortunate is that I put my faith and attention in that, rather than in Christ.

Don't over intellectualize your faith, because you will only turn it into an idol that is hollow on the inside and crumbles easily. Ask yourself why you want to be Orthodox. If you only want to be Orthodox because you like the smell of the incense or how cool monks look or whatever, then you probably shouldn't convert. However, if you want to convert because you truly believe that the Orthodox Church is the best place where you can work out your own salvation, then do it if you feel that God is calling you to it. Salvation is the whole point of the Church; that is its purpose.

The main goals of our lives should be loving God and loving others. If anything prevents us from doing these two things, then we should run away from it because they aren't from God. Don't just convert your mind, but convert your heart. In everything you do, strive to love Christ and to love others. Make sure you focus on trying to remove the beam in your own eye, rather then trying to get the speck out of your brother's eye.

I pray that God will bless you.

Post of the Month nomination.
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« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2012, 09:01:11 AM »

This thread isn't meant to mock anyone. I legitimately feel as though I need to know how to avoid this.

As a reminder I'm an "inquirer" (have been for about 3 years) but I'm being pushed by my parents to make the leap (my Catholic mom is concerned I have gone so long without sacraments). I'm 17. I don't know if I should convert now or wait a long time to be sure. Of course I'll mention all of my concerns to my priest but I'd like the forum's feedback as well.

I'm returning to the forum one time only to reply to this thread. I officially distanced myself from "internet Orthodoxy" months ago.

I understand where you are coming from. I converted to Orthodoxy at ten years old with my mother but didn't really get into it until I was about 15 or 16 years old. When I did get into it, I was very zealous. I read Fr. Seraphim Rose, read books on monasticism and asceticism, defended the Old Calendar, condemned ecumenism, and prayed like an Old Believer. I visited monasteries and considered being a monk for a while also. However, shortly before I officially left this forum, my faith fell apart and I almost "jumped ship". I was extremely close to leaving the Orthodox Church. I was so hardcore about Orthodoxy before that I missed the most important thing a person needs in their spiritual life. Faith. Faith is the only reason you should convert to Orthodoxy. Its easy at first to run off and "play monk" but when the doubt and the spiritual dry spells hit, you end up having nothing if you don't have real faith in God. My faith wasn't in God. It was in some strange caricature of Orthodoxy where the beards were long and the prostrations, many. I cannot tell you how angry I would get about the pews at my parish, kneeling on Sundays, or whatever else the "super correct" crowd like to complain about. I was only angry because I had some delusion of what Orthodoxy should look like. What was unfortunate is that I put my faith and attention in that, rather than in Christ.

Don't over intellectualize your faith, because you will only turn it into an idol that is hollow on the inside and crumbles easily. Ask yourself why you want to be Orthodox. If you only want to be Orthodox because you like the smell of the incense or how cool monks look or whatever, then you probably shouldn't convert. However, if you want to convert because you truly believe that the Orthodox Church is the best place where you can work out your own salvation, then do it if you feel that God is calling you to it. Salvation is the whole point of the Church; that is its purpose.

The main goals of our lives should be loving God and loving others. If anything prevents us from doing these two things, then we should run away from it because they aren't from God. Don't just convert your mind, but convert your heart. In everything you do, strive to love Christ and to love others. Make sure you focus on trying to remove the beam in your own eye, rather then trying to get the speck out of your brother's eye.

I pray that God will bless you.

Post of the Month nomination.

second.
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« Reply #41 on: September 23, 2012, 09:20:22 AM »

I'm returning to the forum one time only to reply to this thread. I officially distanced myself from "internet Orthodoxy" months ago.

I understand where you are coming from. I converted to Orthodoxy at ten years old with my mother but didn't really get into it until I was about 15 or 16 years old. When I did get into it, I was very zealous. I read Fr. Seraphim Rose, read books on monasticism and asceticism, defended the Old Calendar, condemned ecumenism, and prayed like an Old Believer. I visited monasteries and considered being a monk for a while also. However, shortly before I officially left this forum, my faith fell apart and I almost "jumped ship". I was extremely close to leaving the Orthodox Church. I was so hardcore about Orthodoxy before that I missed the most important thing a person needs in their spiritual life. Faith. Faith is the only reason you should convert to Orthodoxy. Its easy at first to run off and "play monk" but when the doubt and the spiritual dry spells hit, you end up having nothing if you don't have real faith in God. My faith wasn't in God. It was in some strange caricature of Orthodoxy where the beards were long and the prostrations, many. I cannot tell you how angry I would get about the pews at my parish, kneeling on Sundays, or whatever else the "super correct" crowd like to complain about. I was only angry because I had some delusion of what Orthodoxy should look like. What was unfortunate is that I put my faith and attention in that, rather than in Christ.

Don't over intellectualize your faith, because you will only turn it into an idol that is hollow on the inside and crumbles easily. Ask yourself why you want to be Orthodox. If you only want to be Orthodox because you like the smell of the incense or how cool monks look or whatever, then you probably shouldn't convert. However, if you want to convert because you truly believe that the Orthodox Church is the best place where you can work out your own salvation, then do it if you feel that God is calling you to it. Salvation is the whole point of the Church; that is its purpose.

The main goals of our lives should be loving God and loving others. If anything prevents us from doing these two things, then we should run away from it because they aren't from God. Don't just convert your mind, but convert your heart. In everything you do, strive to love Christ and to love others. Make sure you focus on trying to remove the beam in your own eye, rather then trying to get the speck out of your brother's eye.

I pray that God will bless you.

Perfectly put.
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« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2012, 02:32:39 PM »

This thread isn't meant to mock anyone. I legitimately feel as though I need to know how to avoid this.

As a reminder I'm an "inquirer" (have been for about 3 years) but I'm being pushed by my parents to make the leap (my Catholic mom is concerned I have gone so long without sacraments). I'm 17. I don't know if I should convert now or wait a long time to be sure. Of course I'll mention all of my concerns to my priest but I'd like the forum's feedback as well.

If you are asking questions like this you have a good deal of maturity about it.  I think that's half your battle won as it is.

I don't have a whole lot to add right now but I took one look at the title and thought that this is probably one of the most useful threads ever posted on this forum.  Thanks.
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« Reply #43 on: September 23, 2012, 06:08:21 PM »

I also feel like I should suggest that you check out my post history.  I was 15 when I converted, and when I started posting.  Try to avoid being like I was, as expressed in my posts, and you should be okay.
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« Reply #44 on: September 23, 2012, 06:20:26 PM »

Nicely said, Andrew21091. Great icon too.
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