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Author Topic: Distractions During Liturgy  (Read 6901 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: October 05, 2012, 12:12:15 AM »

Any advice on how to refrain from being distracted during the Divine Liturgy? Trying to keep it as appropriate as possible, there is this Greek woman at my Church who is VERY attractive, and sometimes dresses provacatively. I find myself often paying more attention to her than the Liturgy, and even worse, she is an Epistle Reader, so sometimes I am forced to look at her. I've tried standing in a different part of the Church so that she is not visible, but unfortunately my Church is rather small and it is almost impossible to refrain from looking at her. Advice?
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 12:24:22 AM »

Any advice on how to refrain from being distracted during the Divine Liturgy? Trying to keep it as appropriate as possible, there is this Greek woman at my Church who is VERY attractive, and sometimes dresses provacatively. I find myself often paying more attention to her than the Liturgy, and even worse, she is an Epistle Reader, so sometimes I am forced to look at her. I've tried standing in a different part of the Church so that she is not visible, but unfortunately my Church is rather small and it is almost impossible to refrain from looking at her. Advice?

Talk to your priest about it.
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012, 12:35:50 AM »

Look toward the altar and priest?  Would that get her out of view?
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2012, 12:40:30 AM »

Yes, such concerns are best dealt with by the priest, as they concern your immediate surroundings in the church which he is the shepherd of. And what about looking at the icons that surround you, and not the reader? At my church we have a lovely icon of St. Moses the Ethiopian that is generally closest to me, so if i find myself distracted at some point during the liturgy, I will often look to it briefly and say a silent prayer for strength like that of the great and powerful St. Moses, so as to be attentive as befits a servant of God.

Also there are prayers to the Theotokos found in the Agpeya that help with the kinds of temptations you're having, I find:

"O pure Virgin, overshadow your servant with your instant help, and keep the waves of evil thoughts away from me, and raise up my ailing soul for prayer and vigil, for it has gone into a deep sleep. For you are a capable, compassionate and helpful mother, the bearer of the Fountain of Life, my King and my God, Jesus Christ, my hope."

I particularly like these prayers to the holy Virgin to fight lust (though the above is unspecified "evil thoughts", which is good because it is applicable to all kinds), because she is the ultimate model of purity for us all. Her intercessions are quite powerful for those who need help with that. Smiley

God be with you, James. I pray that He give you the strength needed to overcome your troubles.
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« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2012, 01:11:18 AM »

It's really a shame that this is even an issue in some of our Churches. I would talk to your Priest respectfully but firmly. If nothing changes, then I would find another Church. If your Priest doesn't haven't sense enough to notice this problem himself, that's a concern right away. But if he ignores your concern and continues to allow this woman to dress in such a manner, then I would shake the dust from my feet and move forward. This stuff is shameful. Sorry you are having to deal with it.



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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2012, 03:04:39 AM »

sometimes dresses provacatively.
What would you call "provocatively"?
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2012, 03:22:03 AM »

It's really a shame that this is even an issue in some of our Churches. I would talk to your Priest respectfully but firmly. If nothing changes, then I would find another Church. If your Priest doesn't haven't sense enough to notice this problem himself, that's a concern right away. But if he ignores your concern and continues to allow this woman to dress in such a manner, then I would shake the dust from my feet and move forward. This stuff is shameful. Sorry you are having to deal with it.



Selam

I appreciate your concern, but I would prefer if you would go easier on my Priest than instantly jumping the gun and getting so 'fired up'. My Priest is a very good man with a busy life; he has a family, a Church and all these constant OCA meetings in different states that he always has to attend. And on top of it all, he still goes out of his way to help me and guide me--even when I do not want it. He is always the first one to email me concerned whenever I miss a Liturgy and responding to my constant questions. Likewise, I would not blame the woman in question either. She should not have to dress in a particular way just because I cannot control myself. In fact, she doesn't even dress THAT provacatively but provacatively enough to turn me on. Also, I'm not going to leave the one Church where everyone truly treats me like a part of their family.

What would you call "provocatively"?

Not much by today's standards, but enough to catch my attention--which is why I blame myself more than her. Sometimes she'll wear slightly-shorter-than-appropriate length skirts and spike heels.

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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2012, 03:36:36 AM »

It's really a shame that this is even an issue in some of our Churches. I would talk to your Priest respectfully but firmly. If nothing changes, then I would find another Church. If your Priest doesn't haven't sense enough to notice this problem himself, that's a concern right away. But if he ignores your concern and continues to allow this woman to dress in such a manner, then I would shake the dust from my feet and move forward. This stuff is shameful. Sorry you are having to deal with it.

Agreed.  I'm no prude, but this can be a real problem.   The priest needs to be informed though, as he could be unaware of this, or at least the effect it causes.  

I'm sure some will think or reply that James (or Gebre, or me, or anyone else) should just mind their own business.  It's not that simple, and there's a reason why men and women have traditionally been separated and/or encouraged to dress modestly during religious services.  It can be very distracting (and frequently having nothing to do with lust).
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2012, 06:11:47 AM »

It's really a shame that this is even an issue in some of our Churches. I would talk to your Priest respectfully but firmly. If nothing changes, then I would find another Church. If your Priest doesn't haven't sense enough to notice this problem himself, that's a concern right away. But if he ignores your concern and continues to allow this woman to dress in such a manner, then I would shake the dust from my feet and move forward. This stuff is shameful. Sorry you are having to deal with it.

Why to bother the priest? Let's stone her!
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2012, 06:22:20 AM »

Why to bother the priest? Let's stone her!

You still have to check with the priest to make sure the size of the stones are sharia compliant and what size Bible you should have under your arm while you throw to make sure you don't kill her too quickly.


I think Gebre got a bit carried away on this one. As James said, she wasn't even that inappropriately dressed. I agree we should be encouraged to wear clothes that are modest, but when people are constantly encouraged to wear posh clothes to church what do we expect? While men can go with suits, women can't win it seems. Either clothes are too casual, too old fashioned, too attention grabbing, too revealing. I like the Ethiopian custom: everyone wrap themselves in a white shroud, problem solved.

James should be thankful he doesn't go to a normal Russian parish, where you're unlikely to see anyone in a skirt that reaches all the way down to the knee.



What you should trouble the priest about is why he allows a woman to read the Epistle!  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 06:27:00 AM »

Why to bother the priest? Let's stone her!

You still have to check with the priest to make sure the size of the stones are sharia compliant and what size Bible you should have under your arm while you throw to make sure you don't kill her too quickly.


I think Gebre got a bit carried away on this one. As James said, she wasn't even that inappropriately dressed. I agree we should be encouraged to wear clothes that are modest, but when people are constantly encouraged to wear posh clothes to church what do we expect? While men can go with suits, women can't win it seems. Either clothes are too casual, too old fashioned, too attention grabbing, too revealing. I like the Ethiopian custom: everyone wrap themselves in a white shroud, problem solved.

James should be thankful he doesn't go to a normal Russian parish, where you're unlikely to see anyone in a skirt that reaches all the way down to the knee.



What you should trouble the priest about is why he allows a woman to read the Epistle!  Wink

Don't know about Russian parishes but we get that with a fair few young women in the Romanian parishes. Luckily I'm now too old to be distracted much by that sort of thing, but it does make me chuckle at the incongruity when I see above the knee skirts, high heels, cleevage... and a head scarf. Talk about shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2012, 06:31:26 AM »

It's really a shame that this is even an issue in some of our Churches. I would talk to your Priest respectfully but firmly. If nothing changes, then I would find another Church. If your Priest doesn't haven't sense enough to notice this problem himself, that's a concern right away. But if he ignores your concern and continues to allow this woman to dress in such a manner, then I would shake the dust from my feet and move forward. This stuff is shameful. Sorry you are having to deal with it.

Why to bother the priest? Let's stone her!

Yeah, that's exactly what I what I was calling for.  Roll Eyes

Look, the dude was bothered enough to ask us for opinions, and I offered mine. If it's not a big deal, he shouldn't have brought it up.



Selam
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« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2012, 06:36:58 AM »

Look, the dude was bothered enough to ask us for opinions, and I offered mine. If it's not a big deal, he shouldn't have brought it up.

Many of "that dude's" posts are about how he likes to masturbate or whom would he like to have sex with. You have not spare a second to think about that. Instead you've called for a crusade, calling the priest, leaving the church. The only two things you forgot to suggest were informing the bishop or committing an honor killing.
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« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2012, 06:48:34 AM »

Look, the dude was bothered enough to ask us for opinions, and I offered mine. If it's not a big deal, he shouldn't have brought it up.

Many of "that dude's" posts are about how he likes to masturbate or whom would he like to have sex with. You have not spare a second to think about that. Instead you've called for a crusade, calling the priest, leaving the church. The only two things you forgot to suggest were informing the bishop or committing an honor killing.

Wrong again. Anytime anybody on this forum has confessed their struggles with temptation and sin, I have only offered prayers, grace, and encouragement. In fact, I have sent our brother PM's encouraging him and offering him my support and my unworthy prayers regarding his struggles. Go back and read my initial response to his post here. I encouraged our brother to talk to his Priest about the situation. I hope his Priest will be sympathetic and do something about it. But if his Priest turns a blind eye to the situation, then yes, I encourage our brother to move to another parish. Call me judgmental.


Selam
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2012, 06:56:39 AM »

Oh to be 50, er, um .....16 again...
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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2012, 07:39:36 AM »

Why to bother the priest? Let's stone her!

You still have to check with the priest to make sure the size of the stones are sharia compliant and what size Bible you should have under your arm while you throw to make sure you don't kill her too quickly.


I think Gebre got a bit carried away on this one. As James said, she wasn't even that inappropriately dressed. I agree we should be encouraged to wear clothes that are modest, but when people are constantly encouraged to wear posh clothes to church what do we expect? While men can go with suits, women can't win it seems. Either clothes are too casual, too old fashioned, too attention grabbing, too revealing. I like the Ethiopian custom: everyone wrap themselves in a white shroud, problem solved.

James should be thankful he doesn't go to a normal Russian parish, where you're unlikely to see anyone in a skirt that reaches all the way down to the knee.



What you should trouble the priest about is why he allows a woman to read the Epistle!  Wink

+1 to each of those paragraphs.
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« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2012, 09:41:16 AM »

Any advice on how to refrain from being distracted during the Divine Liturgy? Trying to keep it as appropriate as possible, there is this Greek woman at my Church who is VERY attractive, and sometimes dresses provacatively. I find myself often paying more attention to her than the Liturgy, and even worse, she is an Epistle Reader, so sometimes I am forced to look at her. I've tried standing in a different part of the Church so that she is not visible, but unfortunately my Church is rather small and it is almost impossible to refrain from looking at her. Advice?

Dont sweat it too much..Is natural.

Volunteer for alter service maybe.

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« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2012, 10:02:50 AM »

Any advice on how to refrain from being distracted during the Divine Liturgy? Trying to keep it as appropriate as possible, there is this Greek woman at my Church who is VERY attractive, and sometimes dresses provacatively. I find myself often paying more attention to her than the Liturgy, and even worse, she is an Epistle Reader, so sometimes I am forced to look at her. I've tried standing in a different part of the Church so that she is not visible, but unfortunately my Church is rather small and it is almost impossible to refrain from looking at her. Advice?

Dont sweat it too much..Is natural.

Volunteer for alter service maybe.



Excellent advice. Also, sometimes singing in the choir also helps.
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« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2012, 10:08:53 AM »

Any advice on how to refrain from being distracted during the Divine Liturgy? Trying to keep it as appropriate as possible, there is this Greek woman at my Church who is VERY attractive, and sometimes dresses provacatively. I find myself often paying more attention to her than the Liturgy, and even worse, she is an Epistle Reader, so sometimes I am forced to look at her. I've tried standing in a different part of the Church so that she is not visible, but unfortunately my Church is rather small and it is almost impossible to refrain from looking at her. Advice?

Dont sweat it too much..Is natural.

Volunteer for alter service maybe.



Excellent advice. Also, sometimes singing in the choir also helps.

I'd second that. Singing, even if only chanting the ison (which is definitely the way to start, assuming you use Byzantine chant in your parish - I've no idea about the Slavic music), requires you to pay attention. The chances of you being distracted, therefore, should be much lower.

James
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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2012, 10:17:44 AM »

Excellent advice. Also, sometimes singing in the choir also helps.

Hottests chicks always sing in the choir...
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« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2012, 10:24:36 AM »

Look, the dude was bothered enough to ask us for opinions, and I offered mine. If it's not a big deal, he shouldn't have brought it up.

Many of "that dude's" posts are about how he likes to masturbate or whom would he like to have sex with. You have not spare a second to think about that. Instead you've called for a crusade, calling the priest, leaving the church. The only two things you forgot to suggest were informing the bishop or committing an honor killing.

Wrong again. Anytime anybody on this forum has confessed their struggles with temptation and sin, I have only offered prayers, grace, and encouragement. In fact, I have sent our brother PM's encouraging him and offering him my support and my unworthy prayers regarding his struggles. Go back and read my initial response to his post here. I encouraged our brother to talk to his Priest about the situation. I hope his Priest will be sympathetic and do something about it. But if his Priest turns a blind eye to the situation, then yes, I encourage our brother to move to another parish. Call me judgmental.
Yes, you've already rendered your judgment firmly against the woman James told us about. I wouldn't call that an offering of prayers, grace, and encouragement. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2012, 10:41:44 AM »

Excellent advice. Also, sometimes singing in the choir also helps.

Hottests chicks always sing in the choir...

Ours is all male...
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« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2012, 02:52:50 PM »

Quote
Sometimes she'll wear slightly-shorter-than-appropriate length skirts and spike heels
Sounds Greek to me  laugh

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« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2012, 03:10:01 PM »

Why to bother the priest? Let's stone her!

You still have to check with the priest to make sure the size of the stones are sharia compliant and what size Bible you should have under your arm while you throw to make sure you don't kill her too quickly.


I think Gebre got a bit carried away on this one. As James said, she wasn't even that inappropriately dressed. I agree we should be encouraged to wear clothes that are modest, but when people are constantly encouraged to wear posh clothes to church what do we expect? While men can go with suits, women can't win it seems. Either clothes are too casual, too old fashioned, too attention grabbing, too revealing. I like the Ethiopian custom: everyone wrap themselves in a white shroud, problem solved.

James should be thankful he doesn't go to a normal Russian parish, where you're unlikely to see anyone in a skirt that reaches all the way down to the knee.



What you should trouble the priest about is why he allows a woman to read the Epistle!  Wink

This is the first thing that popped up for me too.  I mean, sluts abound and you just learn to get over them.  But a woman reading the Epistle?  Next they'll be reading the Gospel too.
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« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2012, 04:00:10 PM »

Quote
But a woman reading the Epistle?  Next they'll be reading the Gospel too.

I hear you. Three years ago when I was visiting parents in VA I attended DL at my home parish. I could not believe they had a woman reading the Epistle. This with an archimandrite priest too.
The Greeks often deserve the reputation they have.
Since then on visits I go to the OCA parish instead where that sort of thing just doesn't happen.

As to the OP's problem, he's likely to have it for a long time. Not being critical - I just understand it.
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« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2012, 04:24:17 PM »

Quote
But a woman reading the Epistle?  Next they'll be reading the Gospel too.

I hear you. Three years ago when I was visiting parents in VA I attended DL at my home parish. I could not believe they had a woman reading the Epistle. This with an archimandrite priest too.
The Greeks often deserve the reputation they have.
Since then on visits I go to the OCA parish instead where that sort of thing just doesn't happen.

Is it really not the norm to allow females to read the Epistle?
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« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2012, 04:27:24 PM »

Where an Achronos-style toga/robe! You'll be so ashamed of your own appearance and you won't think twice about what others look like!  Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2012, 04:32:21 PM »

Is it really not the norm to allow females to read the Epistle?

Absolutely not. In Greek churches outside of the US it's extremely rare to even allow women to sing in church. Having a female epistle reader would absolutely unthinkable to most.
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« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2012, 04:34:49 PM »


This is the first thing that popped up for me too.  I mean, sluts abound and you just learn to get over them.  But a woman reading the Epistle?  Next they'll be reading the Gospel too.

They have to be ordained a Deaconess first.
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« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2012, 04:42:00 PM »

Is it really not the norm to allow females to read the Epistle?

Absolutely not. In Greek churches outside of the US it's extremely rare to even allow women to sing in church. Having a female epistle reader would absolutely unthinkable to most.

So is this a Greek issue? I've known of Antiochian and Russian churches having females reading the Epistle, albeit in the US, and I suppose non-US norms may be different.
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« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2012, 04:48:50 PM »

So is this a Greek issue? I've known of Antiochian and Russian churches having females reading the Epistle, albeit in the US, and I suppose non-US norms may be different.

I mentioned Greeks specifically because Αριστοκλής said that "The Greeks often deserve the reputation they have" and contrasted it with an OCA where this doesn't happen.

I do think the only place this kind of thing happens on a regular basis is the US, which is the home of many a liturgical anomaly. The only time I have ever witnessed a woman reading the epistle here has been at weekday liturgies in Russian churches where there were only a couple of women in the choir, the priest was alone in the altar, and the congregation consisted almost entirely of old ladies. In other words, when there was no other option.

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« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2012, 05:04:43 PM »

Note: Being Hellenic-American myself I feel I can take a swipe at my baptismal jurisdiction. This is not to discredit the women of my old parish - they quite literally built the church with their labors which equal or exceed the contributions of the men.
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« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2012, 05:19:42 PM »

James, it helps me to pray the Jesus Prayer when I'm in Liturgy.  It also helps me to pray to the Holy Theotokos and ask for Her aid to keep my attention centered on Her Son. 
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« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2012, 06:00:27 PM »

Where an Achronos-style toga/robe! You'll be so ashamed of your own appearance and you won't think twice about what others look like!  Smiley

Brilliant psychologicalz.

For real.
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« Reply #34 on: October 05, 2012, 06:12:38 PM »

sometimes dresses provacatively.
What would you call "provocatively"?


You mean like the guy in my parish who was going up to Communion at Pascha and was wearing a half-open shirt with no undershirt? The kind that provokes, indeed - to vomiting?
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« Reply #35 on: October 05, 2012, 06:21:44 PM »

Also, it may interest you guys to know that my Church actually is OCA and they allow women to be readers. So whoever was criticizing the Greeks for allowing a female Epistle reader, their criticism is misplaced. The Church jurisdiction is OCA, just the extremely hot woman in question happens to be Greek.
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« Reply #36 on: October 05, 2012, 07:00:44 PM »

James, it helps me to pray the Jesus Prayer when I'm in Liturgy.  It also helps me to pray to the Holy Theotokos and ask for Her aid to keep my attention centered on Her Son. 

+1
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« Reply #37 on: October 05, 2012, 07:08:56 PM »

extremely hot woman

To give better advice, I would need to know exactly what you are going through.  Do you have a photo by any chance?












Okay, sorry, I'm just kidding  Grin I couldn't resist :p
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« Reply #38 on: October 05, 2012, 09:33:39 PM »

I think that some of the other posters have the wrong idea about who is "at fault".  We are human beings and this is natural, but I don't think it's Jame's place to tattle on this woman to the priest.

In quoting my Muslim friend: "lower your gaze, homie!"   Wink

Do something to distract you.  Look at the icon of Christ on the iconostasis.  Look into his eyes.  Get "in the zone".  I also have found holding a rosary or prayer rope to help direct my attention to higher things.
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« Reply #39 on: October 05, 2012, 10:10:27 PM »

sometimes dresses provacatively.
What would you call "provocatively"?


You mean like the guy in my parish who was going up to Communion at Pascha and was wearing a half-open shirt with no undershirt? The kind that provokes, indeed - to vomiting?

If there were no gold chains, he could have been a fool for Christ.
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« Reply #40 on: October 06, 2012, 01:47:51 PM »

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

Any advice on how to refrain from being distracted during the Divine Liturgy? Trying to keep it as appropriate as possible, there is this Greek woman at my Church who is VERY attractive, and sometimes dresses provacatively. I find myself often paying more attention to her than the Liturgy, and even worse, she is an Epistle Reader, so sometimes I am forced to look at her. I've tried standing in a different part of the Church so that she is not visible, but unfortunately my Church is rather small and it is almost impossible to refrain from looking at her. Advice?

Duh, look at the icons Wink


There are attractive women at Church, this is nothing new, in fact, news flash, sometimes the women are distracted by the men too!  However and again, when our minds wander we need to casually bring them back to center reminding ourselves of the context and setting.  Its Church yo!!  Try your best at the least to save the gawking and peacocking for coffee hour  police

Some sagely advice from Father Meletios Webber

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When we are standing in Church, thoughts and feelings about the people who are standing or sitting nearby are almost unavoidable. If, when you are standing in Church, a thought or feeling about someone else arises, gently push it aside.  There is absolutely no point in getting angry with yourself, or even disappointed, since that simply sets up a struggle inside yourself that reinforces the effect of taking you away from where you want to be.  Having pushed the thought aside, you can resume your place in the Body of Christ, and like the angels, stand around the throne in silent adoration."
Bread and Water, Oil and Wine


It's really a shame that this is even an issue in some of our Churches. I would talk to your Priest respectfully but firmly. If nothing changes, then I would find another Church. If your Priest doesn't haven't sense enough to notice this problem himself, that's a concern right away. But if he ignores your concern and continues to allow this woman to dress in such a manner, then I would shake the dust from my feet and move forward. This stuff is shameful. Sorry you are having to deal with it.



Selam

Whoa.  Slow it down brotha, women even in prayer shawls are still attractive women, lets not blame biology on the Bishop now!


stay blessed,
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« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 01:51:15 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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« Reply #41 on: October 06, 2012, 02:08:57 PM »

sometimes dresses provacatively.
What would you call "provocatively"?


You mean like the guy in my parish who was going up to Communion at Pascha and was wearing a half-open shirt with no undershirt? The kind that provokes, indeed - to vomiting?

If there were no gold chains, he could have been a fool for Christ.

Okay. Point taken.  Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: October 06, 2012, 02:45:54 PM »

It's really a shame that this is even an issue in some of our Churches. I would talk to your Priest respectfully but firmly. If nothing changes, then I would find another Church. If your Priest doesn't haven't sense enough to notice this problem himself, that's a concern right away. But if he ignores your concern and continues to allow this woman to dress in such a manner, then I would shake the dust from my feet and move forward. This stuff is shameful. Sorry you are having to deal with it.



Selam

Whoa.  Slow it down brotha, women even in prayer shawls are still attractive women, lets not blame biology on the Bishop now!
Yup. A woman could even be wearing a burqa, yet men will still find ways to undress her.
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« Reply #43 on: October 06, 2012, 03:00:56 PM »

Yup. A woman could even be wearing a burqa, yet men will still find ways to undress her.

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« Reply #44 on: October 06, 2012, 03:47:04 PM »

So is this a Greek issue? I've known of Antiochian and Russian churches having females reading the Epistle, albeit in the US, and I suppose non-US norms may be different.

Happens quite often here.

We also have one nice looking woman to read sometimes. Unfortunately, she's already married.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 03:48:01 PM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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