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Author Topic: Former converts, why did you leave?  (Read 3855 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #180 on: November 25, 2014, 03:17:35 PM »


Most Orthodox parishes are so small that it's all hands on deck just to keep the doors open. I think I was "elected" to the Parish Council before the ink was dry on my Chrismation certificate. (Mostly because everyone else was sick of it  Wink and not through any merit on my part!)

I take it that your putting "elected" in quotation marks is an oblique reference to the fact that you were "drafted" and/or were otherwise "volunteered" for the job?
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« Reply #181 on: November 25, 2014, 03:47:38 PM »

Most Orthodox parishes are so small that it's all hands on deck just to keep the doors open. I think I was "elected" to the Parish Council before the ink was dry on my Chrismation certificate. (Mostly because everyone else was sick of it  Wink and not through any merit on my part!)

This is pretty much how I became a Reader. 
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« Reply #182 on: November 25, 2014, 03:56:20 PM »

Most Orthodox parishes are so small that it's all hands on deck just to keep the doors open. I think I was "elected" to the Parish Council before the ink was dry on my Chrismation certificate. (Mostly because everyone else was sick of it  Wink and not through any merit on my part!)

This is pretty much how I became a Reader. 
Readers, subdeacons and parish counsel are all somewhat coveted positions in our parish. I think it is because we now have 5 former pastors in our parish that came from various Protestant denominations, so they want to get back into the running the church thing.  The audit committee, however... no one ever wants that job.
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« Reply #183 on: November 25, 2014, 04:05:27 PM »

Quote from: TheTrisagion link=topic=62132.msg1221947#msg1221947
Readers, subdeacons and parish counsel are all somewhat coveted positions in our parish. I think it is because we now have 5 former pastors in our parish that came from various Protestant denominations, so they want to get back into the running the church thing.  The audit committee, however... no one ever wants that job.

Now that practically demands a fuller explanation! You may reply as follows to the best of your ability:

a). The vitae of each of those former pastors.

b). Their age.

c). Their conversion story.

d). How they became attracted to Orthodoxy (especially if they were pastoring a protestant church at the time).

And e). What does it mean they want to get back into "running the church?" That must be pretty intimidating for your priest!
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« Reply #184 on: November 25, 2014, 04:22:53 PM »

We have three former Mennonite pastors, a former Lutheran pastor, and I don't know what the other one is. They are all in their 50-60s (I think, I'm not great with ages). The Mennonites all came in kind of a group. One started researching Orthodoxy and then a couple more followed him. The Mennonites in our area are going through some difficulties with divisions between the liberal and conservative sides. The Lutheran minister has a disabled son and from what I understand, his church was very unkind to his son. His son then decided to go to our church, so the minister would come with him for services that did not conflict with his own church. From what I understand, his church caught wind of it and pushed him out, so he is now Orthodox, and very enthusiastic one at that.  laugh

I didn't mean anything nefarious by that. I think some of them just miss the ministry aspect of being a minister, so they like to get involved in ways that they can. My priest is very highly respected in the parish and in the archdiocese. He started with a little tiny startup with him as a deacon doing typica services and now we have an average attendance of about 160 per Sunday which is the capacity of our building. We keep getting more catechumens, so I'm not sure what the long term plan is. Maybe one of those pastors will go for the priesthood. That is total conjecture on my part, I haven't heard any of them mention that. We really don't have too many disputes or tension in our parish, at least if there is, they stay behind the parish counsel doors.  laugh  I do foresee difficulty when he passes away or has to step down. He is not in the best of health and it will be hard to find a replacement that people respect as much as they do him.
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« Reply #185 on: November 25, 2014, 04:42:37 PM »

That sounds a lot like our church.....presently we have 8 catechumens with about 100 members attending every Sunday. Its fun belonging to a church that is growing like wildfire.

Yes that liberal versus conservative divide is tearing a lot of denominations apart. My wife and I are refugees from Episcopalianism. In fact, there is a whole Western Rite Antiochian church that split away as an entire congregation from our former Cathedral/Diocese about ten years ago. I have never experienced the Western Rite and am not particularly interested in doing so (I like the Byzantine Liturgy, and have no interest in repeating something like the Anglican Liturgy disguised as Orthodoxy). It is so sad when denominations are in such terminal decline and on the verge of total collapse like the Episcopalian Church is presently. In our last few years as Episcopalians, we attended more out of a sense of duty than anything else (kind of like taking cod liver oil), hoping that "something" would happen to turn things around, but it never did. We last attended the local drop-dead gorgeous cathedral that had seating for about 500. Most Sundays, it was lucky if there were 50 people there. I still have a lot of mixed loyalty/guilt/sadness feelings about leaving. But the Antiochian Orthodox is just so vibrant and ALIVE by comparison.  The difference is just electrifying.
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« Reply #186 on: November 25, 2014, 04:45:21 PM »

I still have a lot of mixed loyalty/guilt/sadness feelings about leaving.

That is not an uncommon feeling.  I have been Orthodox for 20 years and those feelings remain within me.
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« Reply #187 on: November 25, 2014, 05:13:49 PM »

I still have a lot of mixed loyalty/guilt/sadness feelings about leaving.

That is not an uncommon feeling.  I have been Orthodox for 20 years and those feelings remain within me.

Its kind of weird isn't it? I never placed any demands and never asked for a thing while I was Episcopalian. When I look at it logically, I really didn't owe it anything. In fact, I can honestly say I gave more back than I ever got. And yet I still feel like we were like panicked rats leaving a sinking ship, just when it needed us the most. Ultimately, I did nothing to cause its present crisis, and never knowingly participated in any controversy (that I know of). I "kept my nose clean" and minded my own business. At one point, I was training to be a Stephen Minister but lost interest for no particular reason that I can articulate. We then stopped going for about 7 years and both my wife and I quietly toyed with agnosticism, but were just unable to make that "final plunge."

We came back briefly in January 2013 and dutifully went regularly as anonymously as we could "hide" in the big Cathedral for a little over two months. Meanwhile I was deploying Orthodox history and doctrine as a lethal and offensive weapon in a series of online debates. Both my wife and I were "bit" good and hard when we finally gave the Divine Liturgy a try in March 2013.
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« Reply #188 on: November 25, 2014, 05:21:06 PM »

I don't really have any mixed feelings or guilt about leaving my previous church. For me, it is more along the lines of, I can't believe I stuck with the craziness as long as I did. It was just so shallow. It was non-denominational, so when you are your own little island all alone in the world, some weird ideas gets sucked in.  That is probably mean to say, and maybe it would be different if I had come from an actual denomination where I felt rooted to it, but I have never really looked back once I jumped ship.
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« Reply #189 on: November 25, 2014, 05:23:47 PM »


Most Orthodox parishes are so small that it's all hands on deck just to keep the doors open. I think I was "elected" to the Parish Council before the ink was dry on my Chrismation certificate. (Mostly because everyone else was sick of it  Wink and not through any merit on my part!)

I take it that your putting "elected" in quotation marks is an oblique reference to the fact that you were "drafted" and/or were otherwise "volunteered" for the job?

Yeah, there was a discussion of serving on the parish council during coffee hour. I was sitting there innocently drinking coffee when I noticed everyone looking at me.
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« Reply #190 on: November 25, 2014, 05:26:44 PM »

 laugh

Why hello Katherine! I see that Chrism oil is still on your forehead, here sign this paper to acknowledge your membership into the church.  Pay no mind to the carbon paper that is signing your name as parish council member...  Tongue
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« Reply #191 on: November 25, 2014, 05:33:37 PM »

Most Orthodox parishes are so small that it's all hands on deck just to keep the doors open. I think I was "elected" to the Parish Council before the ink was dry on my Chrismation certificate. (Mostly because everyone else was sick of it  Wink and not through any merit on my part!)

This is pretty much how I became a Reader. 
Readers, subdeacons and parish counsel are all somewhat coveted positions in our parish. I think it is because we now have 5 former pastors in our parish that came from various Protestant denominations, so they want to get back into the running the church thing.  The audit committee, however... no one ever wants that job.

They can have my parish council position.   Tongue  I just hate meetings that I'm not paid to attend (i.e. work).
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« Reply #192 on: November 25, 2014, 06:05:54 PM »

They can have my parish council position.   Tongue  I just hate meetings that I'm not paid to attend (i.e. work).

I got off of the Union Executive Board for this reason.  And, after I nearly croaked earlier this year, I don't attend any meeting where I may get all wound up.  That especially includes Parish quarterly meetings.
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« Reply #193 on: November 25, 2014, 06:29:24 PM »

I still have a lot of mixed loyalty/guilt/sadness feelings about leaving.

That is not an uncommon feeling.  I have been Orthodox for 20 years and those feelings remain within me.

Its kind of weird isn't it? I never placed any demands and never asked for a thing while I was Episcopalian. When I look at it logically, I really didn't owe it anything. In fact, I can honestly say I gave more back than I ever got. And yet I still feel like we were like panicked rats leaving a sinking ship, just when it needed us the most. Ultimately, I did nothing to cause its present crisis, and never knowingly participated in any controversy (that I know of). I "kept my nose clean" and minded my own business. At one point, I was training to be a Stephen Minister but lost interest for no particular reason that I can articulate. We then stopped going for about 7 years and both my wife and I quietly toyed with agnosticism, but were just unable to make that "final plunge."

We came back briefly in January 2013 and dutifully went regularly as anonymously as we could "hide" in the big Cathedral for a little over two months. Meanwhile I was deploying Orthodox history and doctrine as a lethal and offensive weapon in a series of online debates. Both my wife and I were "bit" good and hard when we finally gave the Divine Liturgy a try in March 2013.

I toyed with Taoism, Hinduism, Islam as well as various Christian denominations.  I have no problem giving up most of the useless bull associated with corporate Christianity, but I cannot give up Jesus Christ.  The writings of Sundar Singh gave me some peace in this regard, and I do consider him a Saint even if the segment of corporate Christianity that calls itself Orthodox does not. 

I came over to the Orthodox Church because there were a few points of Lutheran doctrine that I could not approve of.  I don’t disagree with as much of it as Patriarch Jeramiah and his men did, but enough of it that I could not go through with becoming a lay minister in the Lutheran Church and remaining the Chairman of our parish’s Elders.  I was responsible for teaching the adult Bible Study, and I am not going to teach what I do not believe.  That is one reason that I have not sought any such position in the Orthodox Church.  I often regret that I was allowed to be talked into my current position.  My health is failing and I cannot make it to Church as much as I once did.  God is merciful and has allowed me time at home to worship Him in the manner that I most love.  The rest of the time, when I feel good enough to make the 14 mile drive to and from the local Orthodox Church and spend all morning there, I pretend that I am a good little Reader and do my duty.  God, in His mercy, has allowed me to enjoy that, too.  God has blessed me with an oldest son that loves Him probably as much as I do, and I don’t want him to have to be behind the altar herding the altar boys every Sunday by himself.  Besides, I like the Priest, too.
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« Reply #194 on: November 25, 2014, 07:24:26 PM »

I stopped attending church for close to a year after I quit my parish council.  It was nothing but petty arguments, politics, and other ugliness.  So, I guess I left for a while but always considered myself Orthodox plus I came back.
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« Reply #195 on: November 25, 2014, 07:40:53 PM »

laugh

Why hello Katherine! I see that Chrism oil is still on your forehead, here sign this paper to acknowledge your membership into the church.  Pay no mind to the carbon paper that is signing your name as parish council member...  Tongue


LOL! Pretty much  Grin
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« Reply #196 on: November 25, 2014, 08:08:20 PM »

I don't see the benefit in forcing an eager new convert to sit and do nothing in the Church when there are needs that they could fill until they have been there for 10 years or so. Obviously, you don't make them the priest, but if they are good at carpentry, allow them to build things for the Church. If they are good at cooking, allow them to help in the kitchen. If they are good at writing, allow them to draft literature for the Church (under the guidance of the priest, to ensure proper information is being dispensed). We don't have to sit around for half our life waiting for God to use us if there are needs and we have the abilities to meet those needs right now.

Most Orthodox parishes are so small that it's all hands on deck just to keep the doors open. I think I was "elected" to the Parish Council before the ink was dry on my Chrismation certificate. (Mostly because everyone else was sick of it  Wink and not through any merit on my part!)

Out of curiosity, do some parishes consider one a member during one's cathachumenate? Ours, for example does not for purposes of parish council eligibility. I never thought of it, but I think.it's a good idea to count it  as Katherine points out.
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« Reply #197 on: November 25, 2014, 08:10:01 PM »

I stopped attending church for close to a year after I quit my parish council.  It was nothing but petty arguments, politics, and other ugliness.  So, I guess I left for a while but always considered myself Orthodox plus I came back.

Sad to say, we had two quit our board this year. The anti-priest  loudmouths rarely do. Sad.
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« Reply #198 on: November 25, 2014, 08:14:50 PM »

I stopped attending church for close to a year after I quit my parish council.  It was nothing but petty arguments, politics, and other ugliness.  So, I guess I left for a while but always considered myself Orthodox plus I came back.

Sad to say, we had two quit our board this year. The anti-priest  loudmouths rarely do. Sad.

This was exactly my experience.  I became good friends with our priest and some members looked for anything to criticize him for.  Loudly.  Even if the priest wasn't my friend, it's still rude and disrespectful.  Not to mention uncomfortable when it's done at a public meeting in front of the parish.  That was my tipping point.
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« Reply #199 on: November 25, 2014, 09:19:36 PM »

I stopped attending church for close to a year after I quit my parish council.  It was nothing but petty arguments, politics, and other ugliness.  So, I guess I left for a while but always considered myself Orthodox plus I came back.

I think some of us need some time away. Glad you came back.
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« Reply #200 on: November 25, 2014, 09:22:00 PM »

I stopped attending church for close to a year after I quit my parish council.  It was nothing but petty arguments, politics, and other ugliness.  So, I guess I left for a while but always considered myself Orthodox plus I came back.

Sad to say, we had two quit our board this year. The anti-priest  loudmouths rarely do. Sad.

This. Some of the things that were said to and in front of one of our local priests is one of the reasons that I don't attend that parish even though it is the closest one to me.
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« Reply #201 on: November 25, 2014, 09:57:23 PM »

I stopped attending church for close to a year after I quit my parish council.  It was nothing but petty arguments, politics, and other ugliness.  So, I guess I left for a while but always considered myself Orthodox plus I came back.

Sad to say, we had two quit our board this year. The anti-priest  loudmouths rarely do. Sad.

This. Some of the things that were said to and in front of one of our local priests is one of the reasons that I don't attend that parish even though it is the closest one to me.

Annual congregational meeting Sunday is the worst day of the year when you're a kid and your dad is the priest. It's tough.  That's one problem the families of married Eastern Catholic priests won't have to face.
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« Reply #202 on: November 25, 2014, 10:42:32 PM »

@Ordinary, I believe they are common, much to the consternation of some who reacted negatively to my reasons. It feels like for some here, your word isn't good enough, you have to provide a 50 page dissertation with proof texts and foot notes before they'll even consider if you have anything worthwhile to say.

This is just a discussion forum.

I'm sorry to hear you left, its tempting to leave, I totally get that. I guess what keeps me in is that Orthodoxy is something bigger than the sum of us all. I don't know if that's helpful to you.

I'd like to hear more about your experiences if you don't mind.



@DCBmoreOCF, sorry I didn't see your reply until today. I'll use your original bullets as guidelines.

-Lack of accountability, especially amongst the clergy (especially in incidences of abuse and heresy)

Apparently my priest routinely "borrowed" money from parishioners (hundreds of dollars at a time). He always gave bogus reasons for borrowing and never repaid these "loans". I foolishly gave him money several times. I felt that if the priest needed money then he should have gone to the church instead of individual parishioners who had no way of holding him accountable. I suspect that this priest was abusing the faith of his parishioners. Everybody in that parish knows about the problem. It is possible that the church doesn't pay him enough money and he is forced to go to parishioners. I don't know.

In addition my priest seemed to be a compulsive liar. The priest would routinely promise to visit people (without anybody requesting his visit), but then he would never show up. In one case my father was sick with cancer and received an unexpected call from the priest that he would be right over. My father made the effort to dress even though he was sick but the priest never showed. This behavior was so common that experienced parishioners were not particularly surprised by it.

The church's website listed extra services during Lent, but they only happened the first two weeks. I suspect listing the services on the website without actually having these services allowed the priest to satisfy some expectations of his superiors.

I suspected the priest was an atheist based on the advice he gave me. His beliefs seemed much closer to Episcopalian than Orthodox. I'm not sure though.

I could go on and on. Actually I like the priest as a person, but he was very confusing.

-Myopic focus on one's ethnicity to the exclusion of everything and everyone else

This was not such a big problem. Our liturgy was mostly in English. The big services were more ethnic and not in English, so I skipped them.

-If you are not a member of the clergy, or if you are a single male, you are not taken seriously

Our church had meetings and leaders, but all the real decisions and knowledge was hidden. One parishioner told my mother that he had been a member of the leadership for a year and didn't even realize it, because nobody told him or had any meetings.

This didn't bother me, because I had no desire to be in any of those meetings.

-complete unwillingness to expand ministry to lay people and to provide the appropriate structure and training for such endeavours (being told we don't do this because it is not the "Orthodox Way")

I didn't notice this problem, but our parish was very small. Usually we had about 100 people attending.

-lack of instruction in orthodoxy before baptism (this wasn't on your list, but somebody mentioned it)

I had ZERO instruction before baptism. I attended church for a couple of months and then called the priest to see if I could join. Our church was too small to have any instruction. Also, I was having hallucinations and delusions, and maybe the priest thought baptism would help. I don't know.

-why am I an atheist now?

Maybe the problems listed above were a factor, but mostly I wasn't meant to be a Christian. I have been an atheist to varying degrees most of my adult life. I had a mental breakdown, and that confused me. I became very religious and joined that Orthodox church. As my mental health recovered, I felt very uncomfortable and eventually quit. I am so happy to be an atheist after all that. Smiley

(Also, I don't want what I wrote to sound overly critical of my Orthodox parish or priest. I just wanted to give my experiences. The people were all very nice to me - even the priest.)
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« Reply #203 on: November 25, 2014, 10:56:28 PM »

Just curious, what made you want to join an Orthodox discussion forum?
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« Reply #204 on: November 25, 2014, 11:18:09 PM »

Just curious, what made you want to join an Orthodox discussion forum?

My guess is because Atheists think more about religion than religious people do.  

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« Reply #205 on: November 25, 2014, 11:25:31 PM »

I stopped attending church for close to a year after I quit my parish council.  It was nothing but petty arguments, politics, and other ugliness.  So, I guess I left for a while but always considered myself Orthodox plus I came back.

Sad to say, we had two quit our board this year. The anti-priest  loudmouths rarely do. Sad.

This. Some of the things that were said to and in front of one of our local priests is one of the reasons that I don't attend that parish even though it is the closest one to me.

Annual congregational meeting Sunday is the worst day of the year when you're a kid and your dad is the priest. It's tough.  That's one problem the families of married Eastern Catholic priests won't have to face.

Ouch.  Don't know if I could tolerate that.  It was eye opening to me as I was considering the seminary at that time.  I grew up Catholic and the RCC has no comparable system to the EO parish council.  Even at the Diocesan level, let alone the parish one.  

I think it's great that priests are to be held accountable by the people but all I saw was vindictive behavior that was not based in rational thought.  Even some faithful will dislike any priest that comes to their parish.  
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« Reply #206 on: November 25, 2014, 11:40:29 PM »

Just curious, what made you want to join an Orthodox discussion forum?

My guess is because Atheists think more about religion than religious people do.  

You should not put down religious people like that. They're probably doing their best.
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« Reply #207 on: Yesterday at 05:38:32 AM »

Just curious, what made you want to join an Orthodox discussion forum?

This was one of the forums I joined several years ago when I was beginning to question Orthodoxy. I was bored last week, so I happened to pass through again. When I noticed this topic and DCBmoreOCF's observations about deficiencies in some parishes, I wanted to voice my support for DCBmoreOCF.

I don't plan to stay here and promote atheism if that is your concern. Smiley

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« Reply #208 on: Yesterday at 09:38:22 AM »

Just curious, what made you want to join an Orthodox discussion forum?

This was one of the forums I joined several years ago when I was beginning to question Orthodoxy. I was bored last week, so I happened to pass through again. When I noticed this topic and DCBmoreOCF's observations about deficiencies in some parishes, I wanted to voice my support for DCBmoreOCF.

I don't plan to stay here and promote atheism if that is your concern. Smiley


I don't have any concerns, there are other atheists here and I get along fine with them.  I'm just always curious why people do what they do. I was somewhere on the agnostic/atheist spectrum for awhile and I hung out on forums that catered to my ideology at the time, but when I left that, I just kind of dropped off those forums just out of a lack of interest. A lot of people who have become atheist that were on here left, probably for the same reason I left atheist forums, just not much in common with a former ideology. Enjoy your stay here, for however long or short that might be.  Smiley
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« Reply #209 on: Yesterday at 10:54:47 AM »

Just curious, what made you want to join an Orthodox discussion forum?

This was one of the forums I joined several years ago when I was beginning to question Orthodoxy. I was bored last week, so I happened to pass through again. When I noticed this topic and DCBmoreOCF's observations about deficiencies in some parishes, I wanted to voice my support for DCBmoreOCF.

I don't plan to stay here and promote atheism if that is your concern. Smiley


I don't have any concerns, there are other atheists here and I get along fine with them.  I'm just always curious why people do what they do. I was somewhere on the agnostic/atheist spectrum for awhile and I hung out on forums that catered to my ideology at the time, but when I left that, I just kind of dropped off those forums just out of a lack of interest. A lot of people who have become atheist that were on here left, probably for the same reason I left atheist forums, just not much in common with a former ideology. Enjoy your stay here, for however long or short that might be.  Smiley

I've always wondered why non-Orthodox post on Orthodox forums or non-Catholics or non-anything else post on other forums. After all, I don't hang out on their forums.  Of course, I have zero interest in debating them, so maybe that's why. I hope this doesn't sound insulting, because I truly don't mean it that way, but I'm truly not interested in atheists' ideas on faith. Why would I be? 
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« Reply #210 on: Yesterday at 12:32:53 PM »

I don't have any concerns, there are other atheists here and I get along fine with them.  I'm just always curious why people do what they do. I was somewhere on the agnostic/atheist spectrum for awhile and I hung out on forums that catered to my ideology at the time, but when I left that, I just kind of dropped off those forums just out of a lack of interest. A lot of people who have become atheist that were on here left, probably for the same reason I left atheist forums, just not much in common with a former ideology. Enjoy your stay here, for however long or short that might be.  Smiley
[/quote]

Thanks. I might get to where I don't care about religion, but I'm not there yet. I stopped attending church in 2011, and I've been reading books and talking on all sorts of forums over the past 3 years to sort-out my thoughts. It's been very gradual for me. Smiley
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« Reply #211 on: Yesterday at 12:45:06 PM »

I don't have any concerns, there are other atheists here and I get along fine with them.  I'm just always curious why people do what they do. I was somewhere on the agnostic/atheist spectrum for awhile and I hung out on forums that catered to my ideology at the time, but when I left that, I just kind of dropped off those forums just out of a lack of interest. A lot of people who have become atheist that were on here left, probably for the same reason I left atheist forums, just not much in common with a former ideology. Enjoy your stay here, for however long or short that might be.  Smiley

Thanks. I might get to where I don't care about religion, but I'm not there yet. I stopped attending church in 2011, and I've been reading books and talking on all sorts of forums over the past 3 years to sort-out my thoughts. It's been very gradual for me. Smiley
Best wishes on your journey, may you find what your looking for.  Smiley
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« Reply #212 on: Today at 03:26:53 AM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I was baptized, chrismated, and Communicated in the Byzantine Catholic Church and came into Orthodox Church in America back in 2000 in Ketchikan, AK when Father Nicholas Bullock was alive: through life's confession, tonsure, and chrismation.  I loved the Orthodox Church but after he passed I started to question my reasons for becoming Orthodox and returned to the Byzantine Catholic Church.  I really believe now it was over my grief and anger over Father Nicholas' passing and finding out he died in a nursing home, a state one at that, and didn't understand why he was left to die there when he had such a great family--and why would Matushka leave him to die there?  It was hard for me.  I also missed the Carpatho-Rusyn tones and traditions which I didn't have in the Great Russian tradition--didn't have an ACROD parish near me.  I was a catechumen for a year under Father Nicholas' instruction, I was his only one since he only had a small makeshift chapel in his basement to serve the Native Orthodox who would rarely come even for Nativity and Pascha.  after moving from Ketchikan to Sitka I went to the St. Michael's Cathedral.  When Father passed away they didn't even put his memorial up on the OCA website and that really made me angry.  He was a former rector of St. John's Episcopal in Ketchikan, AK who converted to Orthodoxy after taking sabbaticals to St. Vlad's to study icons and eventually crossed over to the Church and left his Episcopal congregation.  He was a highly respected man and I truly felt he was my spiritual Father.  Now he is gone and it really was his care for me as a person that brought me into Orthodoxy since I had already believed in the teaching of the Orthodox Church as a Byzantine Catholic.  I needed pastoral care and help and he was the best priest I ever knew.  I guess we all have our reasons for leaving Orthodoxy, but mine has nothing to do with doctrine or praxis its personal, but maybe the Lord will bring me back one day, but I have alot to work through first.  Thank all of you for reading my story.  Many Years! Robert
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