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Offline pengupk

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A possible sinning convert asking for help
« on: November 05, 2012, 05:56:42 AM »
Hi all,

I am a lutheran thinking of becoming Orthodox and I have some questions maybe someone of you could help with.

I started thinking becoming Orthodox for about half a year ago. I have not been a prominent church-goer (quite typical lutheran at least here in Finland) and I come from not-really-religious family. Not atheist, but we never went to church. The problem is now that for the time when getting to know Orthodoxy (and maybe in my point, Christianity), I've started to have some really big questions about my life. I live together with my girlfriend (with whom I have been speaking of becoming Orthodox and she might also convert) for year and a half and we're thinking of marrying. The problem is just that the more I've got to know about Orthodox Church, the more I feel guilty for the sin that we live together without being married. As you probably understand, getting married doesn't happen just like that, it is more of a question of money etc. than not wanting to get married that we're not married. I know that this is still my own fault and nobody elses and I really know that it is a sin and this, how we're living at the moment, is not right. I've prayed for God what to do and I'm hoping to see our Orthodox parish priest as soon as possible to talk about this, but since I'm not a member of the Church, I don't know if he can / will help.

If there's anyone there who can help, I would be most grateful. I feel terrible for being in a such situation and I know that there are two options a)getting married asap or b)breaking up with my girlfriend and I just would want to do what is right and I am not always sure, if option b) would be right. But if it would be God's will, then it is. I know that whatever happens, it is His will and He is love. Maybe this is something I really should discuss with our parish priest if he could help me even though I am not yet member of the Church.

Thank You all and sorry for such stupid and silly question, I just feel that I need help.

PS. And I just wanted to add that even though because of my stupidity, I sound like I was 18 years old or so, I'm actually 29 years old. I thank anyone of you if you can help.This situation is tormenting me. Pray for me if you will. I am almost too scared to even pray.

 

Offline soderquj

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2012, 07:11:20 AM »
First welcome. Second it is best to get advice from the Pteist your are working with on your conversion. Third we are all sinners and come to Christ where we are at, with all the blemishes. It is in the body of Christ (the church) we are made well. And last the Orthodox wedding ceremony is very moving and worth the effort!  :laugh:
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Offline Alpo

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2012, 07:24:22 AM »
As a fellow Finn and Orthodox Christian let me assure you that Finnish Orthodox clergy is well aware of the fact that cohabitation is a common situation in Finland and I'm sure they will be most understanding about your situation and feelings. There's no need to hurry to any kind of decision. Our God is good and loving God who understands our lives and imperfect practice of Christian virtues.

Feel free to contact your nearest Orthodox parish and their clergy. I'm sure they'd love to talk with you despite the fact that you're not an Orthodox Christian. Conversion processes are pretty common nowadays so they have probably faced your kind of situations even before.

I don't know how you feel about praying to Saints but in that kind of agony I have always found asking help from the Mother of God helpful. She hears even though you didn't know any fancy Orthodox prayers. Feel free just talk to her.
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2012, 10:10:06 AM »
Hi all,

I am a lutheran thinking of becoming Orthodox and I have some questions maybe someone of you could help with.

I started thinking becoming Orthodox for about half a year ago. I have not been a prominent church-goer (quite typical lutheran at least here in Finland) and I come from not-really-religious family. Not atheist, but we never went to church. The problem is now that for the time when getting to know Orthodoxy (and maybe in my point, Christianity), I've started to have some really big questions about my life. I live together with my girlfriend (with whom I have been speaking of becoming Orthodox and she might also convert) for year and a half and we're thinking of marrying. The problem is just that the more I've got to know about Orthodox Church, the more I feel guilty for the sin that we live together without being married. As you probably understand, getting married doesn't happen just like that, it is more of a question of money etc. than not wanting to get married that we're not married. I know that this is still my own fault and nobody elses and I really know that it is a sin and this, how we're living at the moment, is not right. I've prayed for God what to do and I'm hoping to see our Orthodox parish priest as soon as possible to talk about this, but since I'm not a member of the Church, I don't know if he can / will help.

If there's anyone there who can help, I would be most grateful. I feel terrible for being in a such situation and I know that there are two options a)getting married asap or b)breaking up with my girlfriend and I just would want to do what is right and I am not always sure, if option b) would be right. But if it would be God's will, then it is. I know that whatever happens, it is His will and He is love. Maybe this is something I really should discuss with our parish priest if he could help me even though I am not yet member of the Church.

Thank You all and sorry for such stupid and silly question, I just feel that I need help.

PS. And I just wanted to add that even though because of my stupidity, I sound like I was 18 years old or so, I'm actually 29 years old. I thank anyone of you if you can help.This situation is tormenting me. Pray for me if you will. I am almost too scared to even pray.

 

Perhaps I don't understand something, but how is it that you can afford to live together, but not to get married?  Are marriage licenses inordinately expensive in Finland?
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Offline pengupk

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2012, 10:22:54 AM »
you are right for correcting me James. It is a sinful reason that it is a question of money. It means that it is a question of having real wedding with all the family and friends and that costs money. Nothing like Hollywood, just to invite family and friends to celebrate our wedding. But I must admit that you are right, that is not a good reason for living together not married. And Alpo, kiitos hurjasti! Tapaan paikallisseurakuntani pappia vielä tänään. Ehkä hän auttaa. Thank you all!

Offline Tommelomsky

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 10:30:17 AM »
Welcome and i just encourage you to find a parish and have a talk with the priest. Just close your eyes and God will listen to you.
You may find that the He speaks to you through you.

Blessings. I think it is wonderful that you wish to find out about orthodoxy, the church and want to get closer to God.

Greetings from Norway/Oslo.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2012, 10:31:04 AM by Tommelomsky »
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Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012, 10:33:02 AM »
I hope you will start going to church, find a helpful priest to lead you to Baptism, and enjoy a real life in Christ.  That your conscience bothers you is a 'gift,' so take it where it leads you.

If you really love the woman you are with, and likewise she in return, then you are already 90% along the way of marriage and now just need to recognize it.  When you invite God into your relationship, it will be completed and you will experience a greater depth of love.  Same is true when you start enjoying children together as divine gifts.

There are many sorrows in this life, but the gifts we receive outweigh them all.  Receive what God has for you through humility, and you will find exultation in His glory!  Your repentance is all that it takes to find eternal joys in Him.


Hi all,

I am a lutheran thinking of becoming Orthodox and I have some questions maybe someone of you could help with.

I started thinking becoming Orthodox for about half a year ago. I have not been a prominent church-goer (quite typical lutheran at least here in Finland) and I come from not-really-religious family. Not atheist, but we never went to church. The problem is now that for the time when getting to know Orthodoxy (and maybe in my point, Christianity), I've started to have some really big questions about my life. I live together with my girlfriend (with whom I have been speaking of becoming Orthodox and she might also convert) for year and a half and we're thinking of marrying. The problem is just that the more I've got to know about Orthodox Church, the more I feel guilty for the sin that we live together without being married. As you probably understand, getting married doesn't happen just like that, it is more of a question of money etc. than not wanting to get married that we're not married. I know that this is still my own fault and nobody elses and I really know that it is a sin and this, how we're living at the moment, is not right. I've prayed for God what to do and I'm hoping to see our Orthodox parish priest as soon as possible to talk about this, but since I'm not a member of the Church, I don't know if he can / will help.

If there's anyone there who can help, I would be most grateful. I feel terrible for being in a such situation and I know that there are two options a)getting married asap or b)breaking up with my girlfriend and I just would want to do what is right and I am not always sure, if option b) would be right. But if it would be God's will, then it is. I know that whatever happens, it is His will and He is love. Maybe this is something I really should discuss with our parish priest if he could help me even though I am not yet member of the Church.

Thank You all and sorry for such stupid and silly question, I just feel that I need help.

PS. And I just wanted to add that even though because of my stupidity, I sound like I was 18 years old or so, I'm actually 29 years old. I thank anyone of you if you can help.This situation is tormenting me. Pray for me if you will. I am almost too scared to even pray.

 
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Offline Marc1152

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2012, 11:11:26 AM »
Repentance about something is exactly the same thing as feeling guilty. It took some time to get into your current situation and it will require some time to change it. Just push forward as best as you are able.

The nice thing about Orthodox weddings is that they are so magnificent. It's enough to make the event memorable for your family and guests without the grande reception afterwards. You can most likely receive your guests in the Parish Hall and serve  some  lite refreshments.. 

Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm

Offline lovesupreme

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2012, 01:29:12 PM »
In my experience, Orthodox clergy (and Catholic clergy, for that matter) are more than happy to meet with non-members of their church to discuss spiritual issues. I wouldn't be afraid about approaching a priest to discuss these matters.

You definitely don't want to take spiritual matters into your own hands. Explain your situation to the priest; chances are that he will be understanding and help you work out a resolution that protects the health of your relationship with your girlfriend. He's probably not going to require you to break up with her and join a monastery! ;)

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2012, 06:00:50 PM »
If you and your girlfriend come to love God, then you will be building a solid foundation for marriage. If she has interest in the Orthodox Church, go with her to church.

Each person, of course, has to make his or her own decisions. No one should feel forced to convert or marry.

Your situation is by no means unique, but in that involves conversion and possible marriage for not one but two persons, it is bound to be complicated and there will probably be unexpected bumps in the road. Finding support and comfort in this journey may not be easy. Others in your life may not understand. But God knows your situation and will take care of you.

The best advice I ever received as an Orthodox convert was, "Pray to the Mother of God." If you get to know and love her, she will lead you in the right way.

God be with you.
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Offline Alpo

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2012, 05:19:14 PM »
And Alpo, kiitos hurjasti! Tapaan paikallisseurakuntani pappia vielä tänään. Ehkä hän auttaa.

Pardon my curiosity but did you meet the priest? Did you got the advice you were looking for?
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Offline pengupk

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2012, 05:30:22 PM »
Yes Alpo I did and he helped me. I felt really relieved after speaking to him. But maybe I'm sometimes not sure how to trust the priest if Bible says something and the priest says that it's true but that in terms of philantropy something can be allowed to save more people. Maybe it is just my Lutheran roots. :)
But I still want to marry my girlfriend as soon as possible and perhaps after our talk even more soon!

Offline Alpo

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2012, 05:54:46 PM »
Yes Alpo I did and he helped me. I felt really relieved after speaking to him. But maybe I'm sometimes not sure how to trust the priest if Bible says something and the priest says that it's true but that in terms of philantropy something can be allowed to save more people. Maybe it is just my Lutheran roots. :)

Well I completely understand that and I struggle with the same problem even to the extent that I've stopped going to confession because of that. I think part of the problem are our Protestant roots (Pentecostal in my case) but IMO other part of the problem is that due to Orthodoxy being a minority religion in here the Finnish Orthodox are yet to acquire so strong self-esteem that we had the guts to stand against mainstream with our old-fashioned ethics. Also, secularization affects us too.

I'm not a priest so I don't want to give you any pastoral advice about how you should act in this situation. However I'd like to offer you a little different perspective on sin. The Orthodox tend to look at things how they work out in the long run. The end doesn't exactly justify the means but since you weren't an Orthodox when you started your relationship I think even St. Paul would agree that different set of rules apply to you than to those who were already Orthodox when they start to break the Church's teaching on sexual ethics. See 1. Cor. 7 for biblical reference.
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Offline Anastasia1

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2012, 04:32:50 AM »
you are right for correcting me James. It is a sinful reason that it is a question of money. It means that it is a question of having real wedding with all the family and friends and that costs money. Nothing like Hollywood, just to invite family and friends to celebrate our wedding. But I must admit that you are right, that is not a good reason for living together not married. And Alpo, kiitos hurjasti! Tapaan paikallisseurakuntani pappia vielä tänään. Ehkä hän auttaa. Thank you all!
I met someone recently who got married quickly to her husband, then planned the big wedding one year later.  Perhaps you could do the same, elope and then have a big ceremony next year.
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Offline Shiny

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2012, 07:22:37 AM »

There are many sorrows in this life, but the gifts we receive outweigh them all.  Receive what God has for you through humility, and you will find exultation in His glory!  Your repentance is all that it takes to find eternal joys in Him.


Thanks, Father. I needed this. Even if it wasn't directed at me.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 07:23:09 AM by Achronos »
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Offline pengupk

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Re: A possible sinning convert asking for help
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2012, 08:03:46 AM »
Thank you all for your kind answers. You're all being too kind for me with answering with such love. I really appreciate that. Ja kiitos sinulle Alpo myös! I admire how your Church sees human beings as individuals in need of mercy and not as guilty to be condemned. Maybe more than ever we need mercy and love and at the same time we need to keep up for our beliefs. These are dark times.