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Author Topic: Breaking the ice...  (Read 2354 times) Average Rating: 0
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smalltowngl
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« on: December 01, 2004, 03:53:25 PM »

I feel like I'm harping on the same topic lately, but I feel like I'm stagnating, and I really want to progress.  As most of you have read from the thread a started a few posts down, I'm trying to convert to Orthodoxy, but I'm not getting much feedback.  It's still the case.

I'm wondering how to break the ice.  Any advice?  I've notice the last few times I've been to church, the priest sort of stairs at me during coffee hour.  I feel like he's wanting me to say something, but I don't know what to say.

I'm at the point of my reading and research about the faith that I know enough that I don't have any specific question.  I feel like I'm at a place where I don't know what questions to ask anymore because I can't ask about something that I'm not aware even existed.  

How am I ever going to get on the right track if I can't even get the priest aware of what I currently know?

I've also noticed that Orthodox priests like specific questions.  General questions get only general answers.  I'm not really sure why that is, but I haven't found many that want to go into great detail on anything unless absolutely pressed.  This isn't to sound negative in anyway, but only to state the fact of what I've seen.

So...any idea of some specific questions or statements to make to my priest to get him to open with me a little?  I'm really at a loss for words. :-)
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choirfiend
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2004, 06:06:18 PM »

I imagine the general-ness is because Orthodoxy is so huge, unless I am asked something specifically, I try to stay within a fairly large scope on things. Also, truly specific questions may require a little research (or at least cracking a book) so those are easier to answer.

How about, "I'm interested in becoming Orthodox. Can we sit down some time and talk about me, my past, my current study, and what the future might look like as a catechumen?" Making an appointment for this might help. Just trying to corner him after coffee hour might prove a little more difficult.
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2004, 06:41:56 PM »

I think coffee hour is a difficult time to discuss anything in depth or of much substance, in my experience anyway.  Generally I think the priests are trying to talk to as many people as they can and searching out any faces they might not recognize in order to welcome them.

I would contact your priest and tell him pretty much what you've said here.   After I started attending the mission we're at (I think after a few months or so), Father suggested we get together at some point one on one to discuss Orthodoxy and where I was at.  I think this was both because I had showed a sustained interest by coming regularly, and his not wanting to come on too strong to someone who may just be dipping their toe in the water.
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Elisha
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2004, 07:21:01 PM »

I imagine the general-ness is because Orthodoxy is so huge, unless I am asked something specifically, I try to stay within a fairly large scope on things. Also, truly specific questions may require a little research (or at least cracking a book) so those are easier to answer.

How about, "I'm interested in becoming Orthodox. Can we sit down some time and talk about me, my past, my current study, and what the future might look like as a catechumen?" Making an appointment for this might help. Just trying to corner him after coffee hour might prove a little more difficult.

What they said.

Some of these problems seem to be acording to your own volition.  Of course someone would answer a general question with a general answer and vice versa for specific!  Even though the people and priest should be welcoming, you can't just wait for it to happen if it doesn't.  You need to make it happen.
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johnnicholas
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2004, 11:51:25 PM »

What they said too, smalltown.
 Making an appointment with time reserved for you to discuss your questions and issues with the Priest is a genuine way to communicate your sincere interest.
  We get many visitors at our OCA  mission church and while all are welcomed warmly and acknowledged, coffee time/common meal is not good for in depth communication with the priest. Too many things going on, announcements being made etc. Its hard under those circumstances to sift the curiosity seekers and transient visitors from the pilgrims.
  I actually initiated contact with St. Athanasius via their web site and had a nice exchange of e-mail with the Priest who welcomed my questions. On my first visit we had a brief conversation, I asked a couple of my hot-button questions and got very direct simple answers. Satisfied that this wasnt a bunch of kooks, I shook the mans hand, asked for his blessing,
and left with a new sense of direction.
  Catechism has been orderly and logical in progression. Small mission church means Priest has more time to spend on the process, maybe. A year has gone by and I will be Chrismated on the Eve of the Feat of the Nativity, God willing!
  Hang in there!
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Sabbas
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2004, 12:50:55 AM »

Well Kim let me first tell you my current experience as a catechumen. I live a half-hour away from the very small AA mission I attend in Iowa City. I was made a catechumen on St.Gregory Palamas Sunday 2004 after having attended my first Divine Liturgy on Triumph of Orthodoxy Sunday the week before. Before that I had never been in an Orthodox church but had been doing a lot of individual study of Orthodoxy. I would meet one-on-one with the priest who brought me in every week for about an hour. We got into very good conversations about the theologoumena of toll-houses and the non-Chalcedonian churches. He left during July and I was sad to see him go. In September we got a new permanent priest and I have yet to meet with him. I am still not sure what I'm going to do. Theres a Old Calendar church in Cedar Rapids and I have been seriously considering going there as I am disturbed by the modernist trends at the mission in Iowa City. The problem is that my family became catechumens on St.Thomas Sunday after me and are still having trouble getting used to the AA mission in Iowa City. Ultimately I will probably help them to be brought into the Church through the AA but most likely I will go into the Old Calendar church. It will be very hard for me but that's life.
Good luck Kim!

Have you been to www.orthodoxinfo.com ?
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2004, 01:27:56 AM »

I would take what is on orthodoxinfo.com with a grain of salt, because some stuff is on the money, some is not. They do have a wealth of information though.

What kind of modernist trends have been going on at this mission?

In Christ,
Aaron
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Sabbas
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2004, 02:02:12 AM »

I got into a bit of hot water with this once so I won't say much. If you want to know more you can send me a private message.
Don't get me wrong I like the fact that the mission has no pews. Big plus as I find pews contemptable things that aid laziness more often then being there for those who really need them, which is why there are benches to the side at the mission I attend.

The modernist trends are disregarding preparation rules for receiving communion to the point of criticizing those who do not receive because they feel unprepared! the laity saying the amen in epiclesis, though this is to be done by the priest himself when a deacon is not present, as there is no deacon at the mission I attend. And I just wonder if I am in the right Archdiocese, New Calendar or no. I did not know about the Chambesy Agreement or the closeness of the AA with the non-Chalcedonians when I asked to be made a catechumen and I am uneasy about it. I would like the Copts and all non-Chalcedonians to become Orthodox but the way it is currently being done is wrong as I see it. If you want to know more I'll tell you privately. Don't get me wrong, I like the people there I just feel some things being done are wrong. As for www.orthodoxinfo.com I am curious what you think is wrong. I haven't found anything wrong so far. In fact it is so congenial that it gives links to SCOBA churches without even providing a parish locator link to the Greek Synod in Resistance website! In fact the 'hard-liner zealot' Old Calendarists hate the website and say that it is teaching falsely about St. Augustine. What I find most interesting about orthodoxinfo is the articles aimed at Calvinist objection to Orthodoxy. I've never seen an Orthodox website that treats the differences of Orthodoxy and Calvinism so thoroughly.
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2004, 02:25:18 AM »

Insofar as Orthodoxinfo is concerned, I say to take some of it's content with a grain of salt, because it may provide links to "world Orthodox" sites, and at the same time it has articles on there which are directed against them, or their practices.

Quote
Don't get me wrong I like the fact that the mission has no pews. Big plus as I find pews contemptable things that aid laziness more often then being there for those who really need them, which is why there are benches to the side at the mission I attend.

I would not pay so much attention to pews. Just because a church doesn't have pews doesn't mean it's the church you shoudl go to. Many old calendarist churches have pews too, and I bet that nobody would go in there and scold them for having pews and say that because they have them somehow they are "less" Orthodox.

Quote
And I just wonder if I am in the right Archdiocese, New Calendar or no.

I put a lot of thought into that as well before I converted, but do not think that if you decide to go to an old calendar church all of these quirks will disappear. Perfection is not something to seek out when looking for a church, because if there was a perfect church nobody would be able to go!

Find a church in which you are comfortable and not putting so much emphasis on externals like pews and such. I did the same thing when I Was looking Orthodoxy, found the local churches, then did some research and bumped into some old calendar sites and soon enough I had my own idea about what Orthodoxy should be and I wasn't even Orthodox!

Just because a church is on the old calendar and may not have pews doesn't mean it's more Orthodox than the new calendar pew lined church with the beardless priest.

Quote
In fact the 'hard-liner zealot' Old Calendarists hate the website

You will discover soon eough that some of these groups have the same feelings towards everyone that is not associated with them.

Christ be with you on your journey to Orthodoxy.

In Christ,
Aaron
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Jennifer
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2004, 02:31:13 AM »

Sabbas, it's just that those of us who have been around in the on-line Orthodox world for awhile always think "uh-oh" when we hear a catechumen or a recent convert wanting to leave their current jurisdiction because it is too "modernist."  We've all seen it before and we know how it ends up and it's not pretty. 

First, there are some 'perpetual' catechumens.  They go from one jurisdiction to another, always jumping ship before their baptism/chrismation because it's too "modernist." 

Second, there are the jurisdiction hoppers.  They're Orthodox for about a year then they read something on-line or talk to some monk through e-mail and next thing you know they're in a new jurisdiction and accusing everyone here of being "world Orthodox."  Some of these people ended up in groups that aren't in communion with anyone else that might not even be Orthodox. 

You don't want to follow their destructive path. 
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Sabbas
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2004, 01:45:09 PM »

I understand your objections. And I know that it's not best to just leave a church because you don't think pews are a good thing. And yes I know that even some Old Calendar churches, like St.Markellas in New York use pews or chairs. But as far as I know ROCOR and the Greek Synod in Resistance never have pews in their churches.
The reason why this is such a big deal to me is that it really hurts people spiritually. An example would be when I was at St.Georges AA church in Cedar Rapids, IA. During matins I stood as it is a worship service while other women sat in pews and chatted and would occasionally look back at me as if I was odd. Then during Liturgy I chose to stand, I was in the back pew, through the whole service as is tradtional. Well people looked back at me as if I was doing something wrong. I tried to bow but found it impossible. I asked myself, "What on earth do they do at Presanctified Liturgy and on Good Friday? crawl under the pews?" If these churches would just allow room for those who don't need pews to stand and worship in the proper manner, as it has been done everywhere until this century, I would have no problem. I know no church is perfect, but which ones are following the tradtional way as closely as they should? When I am being looked at as weird for standing during the Liturgy in an Orthodox church something is wrong.

But you are right about no pews not being the sole criteria for attending a church, as I have pointed out the mission I attend has no pews but has taken up modernist innovations.

It's just this whole idea that sets in when living in America. That idea that religion is just another part of life and has its place and we shouldn't make a big deal out of it. Orthodoxy is a way of life and living this tradtional way is what I seek. And I cannot imagine settling for something less than Orthodoxy in its fullness.
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2004, 01:51:01 PM »

Maybe they were looking at you for another reason?  How do you know?  Did you talk to them? 

Orthodoxy in its fullness is not about personal revelation.  It's not about someone deciding that a parish has "modernist innovations" based on book knowledge of Orthodoxy. 
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MsGuided
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2004, 05:23:22 PM »

Sabbas, if it were a priest or bishop looking at you like you were weird, then yes there is a problem.  But people being slightly judgemental and slightly ignorant about some traditions, that is to be expected everywhere you go, is it not?  I do see your point, however, that perhaps the laity is not being told/taught as much about traditional practices as happens in some other more "strict" churches.  (If that indeed was your point)
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