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Author Topic: The joys of converting in this day and age  (Read 1219 times) Average Rating: 0
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izrima
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« on: November 07, 2012, 01:01:30 PM »

Does anyone else feel incredibly lucky to be converting now versus even a few decades ago, let alone a few centuries ago? I was thinking about all the resources we have to assist in conversion. There is great cause for joy.

Consider:

-the simple fact that more and more parishes are offering liturgies in the local vernacular. I listened to Met. Kallistos Ware's appearance on The Illumined Heart (fantastic, btw!), and he was saying that when he came to Orthodoxy in the 1950s, the first Orthodox priest he approached told him it was only for Greeks and that he should be Anglican. Even after he convinced them to accept him, there was not a single English-language congregation in all of Britain. Can you imagine that? I know that my difficulty in finding an English congregation was what kept me away from Orthodoxy these past few years.

-that Orthodoxy has grown beyond its ancient homelands. Again referring back to Met. Kallistos, I think he said there were only four Orthodox churches in Britain in the 1950s. Now we have four Orthodox churches within a radius of just a few miles here in Seattle.
that we have major figures in Orthodoxy making themselves available to us in all manner of media. It is a delightful shock to me that Ancient Faith Radio has Fr. Tom Hopko doing his own podcast and that clergymen like Met. Kallistos and many others show up on their podcasts from time to time. Coming from the RCC, this level of engagement strikes me. I used to listen to a number of RC podcasts as well, but the vast majority were lay-produced.

-that any Orthodox book we could ever need is available at the click of a mouse from Amazon.

-that there are online communities like this one to help fill in the gaps not covered in parish life.

-that, for many of us, we are able to convert without incurring too much anger or resentment from those around us, specifically family.

I feel incredibly lucky. Of course, maybe if we'd been forced to convert in the atmosphere in which Met. Kallistos did, we would value the faith more; God grant that it not be so, God grant that our faith not be diminished! But I think it would be much more likely that most of us just wouldn't be here.

I am curious to know what it was like for people who converted in the past. What are the greatest differences? What was better for you then than is for us now? What are we contemporary converts failing to appreciate enough?
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2012, 02:14:32 PM »


All of the above, is not only beneficial to converting, but, to strengthening those who already are Orthodox.

I think it's great!!!

In time before were laypeople availed of so much Orthodox theology, doctrine, etc, at the tips of their fingers.  Some information was contained in a few books, which were hard to come by.


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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 03:04:56 PM »

i never even knew there was such a thing as Orthodoxy until over a year ago when my priest posted a link to Ancient Faith Radio on his FB page.  I started listening to the soothing/holy music to get thru my hectic work days and realized there was something there I never knew about before.  Began listening a lot more, and thus started learning about Orthodoxy and researching it more & more.  And now? In 3 days (on Saturday) I'll be Chrismated.  Wow. God is good!
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2012, 03:14:27 PM »

I also feel that the moral liberalism of modern society is to thank, ironically. A century ago you probably would've been booted out of the country for trying to convert from Protestantism to Orthodoxy, or out of your local community at the very least. It just shows how God is capable of bringing good out of chaos, just like how the Russian Revolution helped spread Orthodoxy across the globe.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 03:16:45 PM by NightOwl » Logged
izrima
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 03:32:51 PM »

I also feel that the moral liberalism of modern society is to thank, ironically. A century ago you probably would've been booted out of the country for trying to convert from Protestantism to Orthodoxy, or out of your local community at the very least. It just shows how God is capable of bringing good out of chaos, just like how the Russian Revolution helped spread Orthodoxy across the globe.

Wow, I never even thought about that angle on the Russian Revolution, but you're exactly right! Same thing with liberalism/relativism. I could even say that this is a good thing to come out of Vatican II, haha--that my Catholic family will probably not bat an eye when I tell them about my conversion.

And congratulations to you, CatherineBrigid! That is great. I, too, have benefited immensely from Ancient Faith Radio. Nearly every podcast I've explored on there has been great.
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 03:35:34 PM »

I know what you mean, even though I still have to explain to my family why I am leaving the Catholic Church.
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 03:41:51 PM »

I also feel that the moral liberalism of modern society is to thank, ironically. A century ago you probably would've been booted out of the country for trying to convert from Protestantism to Orthodoxy, or out of your local community at the very least. It just shows how God is capable of bringing good out of chaos, just like how the Russian Revolution helped spread Orthodoxy across the globe.

Wow, I never even thought about that angle on the Russian Revolution, but you're exactly right! Same thing with liberalism/relativism. I could even say that this is a good thing to come out of Vatican II, haha--that my Catholic family will probably not bat an eye when I tell them about my conversion.

And congratulations to you, CatherineBrigid! That is great. I, too, have benefited immensely from Ancient Faith Radio. Nearly every podcast I've explored on there has been great.

Yeah, once you can understand that things happen the way they do only because God allows them to, evil doesn't seem so intimidating. The hard part (for me, at least) is reaching that understanding.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 03:45:27 PM by NightOwl » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 04:33:17 PM »

And congratulations to you, CatherineBrigid! That is great. I, too, have benefited immensely from Ancient Faith Radio. Nearly every podcast I've explored on there has been great.

Thanks! Like I said...were it not for AFR, I would never have known Orthodoxy even existed.  It is a blessing indeed!
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2012, 05:03:49 PM »


Consider:

-the simple fact that more and more parishes are offering liturgies in the local vernacular.

-that Orthodoxy has grown beyond its ancient homelands. Again referring back to Met. Kallistos, I think he said there were only four Orthodox churches in Britain in the 1950s. Now we have four Orthodox churches within a radius of just a few miles here in Seattle.

-that, for many of us, we are able to convert without incurring too much anger or resentment from those around us, specifically family.

I wish  Embarrassed
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 05:04:03 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 05:17:52 PM »

i never even knew there was such a thing as Orthodoxy until over a year ago when my priest posted a link to Ancient Faith Radio on his FB page.

Irony of fate.
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2012, 05:24:16 PM »


Consider:

-the simple fact that more and more parishes are offering liturgies in the local vernacular.

-that Orthodoxy has grown beyond its ancient homelands. Again referring back to Met. Kallistos, I think he said there were only four Orthodox churches in Britain in the 1950s. Now we have four Orthodox churches within a radius of just a few miles here in Seattle.

-that, for many of us, we are able to convert without incurring too much anger or resentment from those around us, specifically family.

I wish  Embarrassed

That sounds unfortunate, Cyrillic  Sad Care to elaborate?
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2012, 05:37:25 PM »

Quote
-the simple fact that more and more parishes are offering liturgies in the local vernacular. "

Not over here.

Quote
I think he said there were only four Orthodox churches in Britain in the 1950s. Now we have four Orthodox churches within a radius of just a few miles here in Seattle.

Closest one 55-60 minutes away on bike (I don't have a drivers license yet)

Quote
that, for many of us, we are able to convert without incurring too much anger or resentment from those around us, specifically family.

"Oh, how can you become Orthodox, you do x and y wrong." and "Oh, this is just one of your weird obsessions." and "Oh, but they're backwards (i.e. not progressive enough)" and "Oh, you shouldn't do this because you're western"

I'll just wait till I move out of my house.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 05:38:36 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2012, 06:22:00 PM »

Quote
-the simple fact that more and more parishes are offering liturgies in the local vernacular. "

Not over here.

Quote
I think he said there were only four Orthodox churches in Britain in the 1950s. Now we have four Orthodox churches within a radius of just a few miles here in Seattle.

Closest one 55-60 minutes away on bike (I don't have a drivers license yet)

Quote
that, for many of us, we are able to convert without incurring too much anger or resentment from those around us, specifically family.

"Oh, how can you become Orthodox, you do x and y wrong." and "Oh, this is just one of your weird obsessions." and "Oh, but they're backwards (i.e. not progressive enough)" and "Oh, you shouldn't do this because you're western"

I'll just wait till I move out of my house.

Tough situation, but it sounds like you are handling it right. One hopes that given time, your family will see that this form of "rebellion" is infinitely healthier than most of the other common varieties on offer.

In the meantime, we will do our best to be your community  Grin
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« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2012, 11:20:46 PM »

And with all this vast information abt Orthodoxy, available at our fingertips today.......

Are we stronger Orthodox or weaker because of it??? Does it cheepen our Orthodoxy or strengthen it???

It seams to me sometimes that a VERY important aspect is forgoten or pushed aside because of all this information abt Orthodoxy....I'm referring to FAITH!

We jump into the sea of Orthodox information, history, speculations, comparisons. and we get carried away by the various currents, keeping us always on the surface.

When in fact we should be deep sea divers, diving into the very deep depths of our heart, looking for the undeniable faith that is available to all of us.

Because that is where TRUE Orthodoxy is, in the depths of our heart, not in the shallow currents (info) of the world that are constantly changing, according to whats in today.

and when finding it, growing it, and making it stronger and stronger.

I wonder, back hundreds of years, if not a thousand or more, when in a dark room, in the light if a single candle...if someone were to whisper to us abt Orthodoxy and Christ would that not be enough?

Back then it was...........If it was not then Orthodoxy would have been non existant today.

but what about today, would it be enough today???

Besides all that information just gives me a headache!

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« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2012, 11:27:44 PM »

Quote
-the simple fact that more and more parishes are offering liturgies in the local vernacular. "

Not over here.

Quote
I think he said there were only four Orthodox churches in Britain in the 1950s. Now we have four Orthodox churches within a radius of just a few miles here in Seattle.

Closest one 55-60 minutes away on bike (I don't have a drivers license yet)

Quote
that, for many of us, we are able to convert without incurring too much anger or resentment from those around us, specifically family.

"Oh, how can you become Orthodox, you do x and y wrong." and "Oh, this is just one of your weird obsessions." and "Oh, but they're backwards (i.e. not progressive enough)" and "Oh, you shouldn't do this because you're western"

I'll just wait till I move out of my house.

Hey Cyrillic, is it possible to hold Orthodox moral positions where you live without being considered some sort of neo-Nazi or advocate of the return of the slave trade or something?
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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2012, 01:45:41 AM »

I wonder, back hundreds of years, if not a thousand or more, when in a dark room, in the light if a single candle...if someone were to whisper to us abt Orthodoxy and Christ would that not be enough?

Back then it was...........If it was not then Orthodoxy would have been non existant today.

but what about today, would it be enough today???

Amen, Nikolaos. I have always wanted to have this kind of faith, but I'm not there yet. Orthodox mysticism and prayer are the things that have gotten me closest so far, though. I am doing what I can to work on listening instead of asking.
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« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2012, 02:08:55 AM »

And with all this vast information abt Orthodoxy, available at our fingertips today.......

Are we stronger Orthodox or weaker because of it??? Does it cheepen our Orthodoxy or strengthen it???

It seams to me sometimes that a VERY important aspect is forgoten or pushed aside because of all this information abt Orthodoxy....I'm referring to FAITH!

We jump into the sea of Orthodox information, history, speculations, comparisons. and we get carried away by the various currents, keeping us always on the surface.

When in fact we should be deep sea divers, diving into the very deep depths of our heart, looking for the undeniable faith that is available to all of us.

Because that is where TRUE Orthodoxy is, in the depths of our heart, not in the shallow currents (info) of the world that are constantly changing, according to whats in today.

and when finding it, growing it, and making it stronger and stronger.

I wonder, back hundreds of years, if not a thousand or more, when in a dark room, in the light if a single candle...if someone were to whisper to us abt Orthodoxy and Christ would that not be enough?

Back then it was...........If it was not then Orthodoxy would have been non existant today.

but what about today, would it be enough today???

Besides all that information just gives me a headache!



Hard to compare today and the past.  We are overloaded with information today, including every heretic idea from the past.  It is no surprise every heresy that the Church has defeated is back again today.  Today they have an avenue to be heard, they can be proclaimed as loudly as the truth through the internet.  We need what we have.  I am appreciative of all the Orthodox resources we have today.  It is a need of the times.
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« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2012, 02:53:35 AM »

And with all this vast information abt Orthodoxy, available at our fingertips today.......

Are we stronger Orthodox or weaker because of it??? Does it cheepen our Orthodoxy or strengthen it???

It seams to me sometimes that a VERY important aspect is forgoten or pushed aside because of all this information abt Orthodoxy....I'm referring to FAITH!

We jump into the sea of Orthodox information, history, speculations, comparisons. and we get carried away by the various currents, keeping us always on the surface.

When in fact we should be deep sea divers, diving into the very deep depths of our heart, looking for the undeniable faith that is available to all of us.

Because that is where TRUE Orthodoxy is, in the depths of our heart, not in the shallow currents (info) of the world that are constantly changing, according to whats in today.

and when finding it, growing it, and making it stronger and stronger.

I wonder, back hundreds of years, if not a thousand or more, when in a dark room, in the light if a single candle...if someone were to whisper to us abt Orthodoxy and Christ would that not be enough?

Back then it was...........If it was not then Orthodoxy would have been non existant today.

but what about today, would it be enough today???

Besides all that information just gives me a headache!



Yes, this!  I keep trying to decide whether or not to read...I haven't quite stumbled upon the right book yet, I guess.  I stopped reading about the whys and hows of Orthodoxy about a year ago because I didn't need anymore convincing.  I wonder how much good reading will do me, unless it's the Fathers or the Saints.  But I also cannot deny that it was because of the resources available that I found the Church.

"Only read as much as you pray."  Who was it that said that?  Good advice, I think.
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« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2012, 05:09:23 AM »

The work of the church fathers are important. Fasting and praying also is important and be educated through reading so we can be the flabearers of our time and keep the true faith alive.

I know this sounds massive, but think about it. It is hard, yes, but so neccecary too when you look at the effects on the secular society.
Read recently on a orthodox (official website) that a priest compared it to a disease it was hard finding a cure for.

Well, i stick to what Christ said to his disciples when they could not cast out the demons: only praying and fasting is the remedy for this.
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« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2012, 05:30:41 AM »

Quote
-the simple fact that more and more parishes are offering liturgies in the local vernacular. "

Not over here.

Quote
I think he said there were only four Orthodox churches in Britain in the 1950s. Now we have four Orthodox churches within a radius of just a few miles here in Seattle.

Closest one 55-60 minutes away on bike (I don't have a drivers license yet)

Quote
that, for many of us, we are able to convert without incurring too much anger or resentment from those around us, specifically family.

"Oh, how can you become Orthodox, you do x and y wrong." and "Oh, this is just one of your weird obsessions." and "Oh, but they're backwards (i.e. not progressive enough)" and "Oh, you shouldn't do this because you're western"

I'll just wait till I move out of my house.

That sounds just like here in Britain, albeit for me conversion was 11 years ago. I got most of that from my mother as well as various 'friends' (some of whom I've lost along the way). I don't think it would be much different here now either. Most parishes don't do services in English - I'm just lucky that my Romanian is pretty good. I still have to drive 40 minutes each way to our parish (when I converted it was hour or so by train and foot). And I've genuinely been called a fanatic (I don't hide my faith at work) because I 'fast and go to Church'. I think that the current period in the US seems to be a great opportunity for Orthodoxy because you still have a religious, if predominantly evangelical, culture but here in rampantly secular Britain I feel like every conversion is a minor miracle. Our priest recently said something similar to me which would seem to confirm my feelings on this. I wonder if any other Britons (not that there are many of us) here feel different?

James
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« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2012, 09:03:04 AM »

Although there is danger in the excess of information, and a lot of talk about the need of spiritual fathers... at least in my experience, the closest I have been to spiritual fathers is through some texts either in the internet or in books. No Athonite monk here, no great spiritual figures. Just their books and the guidance of the Holy Spirit when we are not too lazy to pray.

Most of the converts I know converted because and through what they found in the internet, not because of any outreach from local chuches. Brazil is a "far away" exotic land for most Orthodox countries, and one that was not given much attention. For much of the 20th century they would just "throw" some priest there and leave him unnattended at the mercy of being an accidental immigrant, usually responsible for a colony not much interested in religion at all. I know of at least one story of a priest who was literally left to starve in his hut and was helped by the local Lutherans. Besides the good ones, authorities sometimes sent some "troublemaker" to exile him from wider Orthodox audience. Clergy with alcohol or sexual issues, with quasi-heretical or outright heretical ideas. On top of that, the ordaining of  bankrupt lay people - good hearted but not really with a vocation - just to help them in financial trouble, or Roman clergy who were expelled for one reason or the other (mostly for having married without permission, or for radical "inculturation" ideas - to "brazilianize the Church"), plus with typical Brazilian lack of interest for studying core dense works and that's the bleak picture of 20th century Orthodoxy here. Thank God the Internet could break that for us.
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« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2012, 09:13:29 AM »

And you know, it's because we were at the other tip of the "exile" solution for some priests that I am really not that fond of it. You just transfer the problem and compromise the spiritual growth of people who you can't see or hear from. If clergy has some issue that is not serious enough to guarantee excommunication, they should be isolated in monasteries prepared to help them with their issues - abbots trained to deal with alcohol and sexual problems. Just sending them to a distant place is not mercy to them, for they will have even more opportunities to engage their passions in a non-supervised environment.
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« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2012, 12:24:33 PM »

That sounds just like here in Britain, albeit for me conversion was 11 years ago. I got most of that from my mother as well as various 'friends' (some of whom I've lost along the way). I don't think it would be much different here now either. Most parishes don't do services in English - I'm just lucky that my Romanian is pretty good. I still have to drive 40 minutes each way to our parish (when I converted it was hour or so by train and foot). And I've genuinely been called a fanatic (I don't hide my faith at work) because I 'fast and go to Church'. I think that the current period in the US seems to be a great opportunity for Orthodoxy because you still have a religious, if predominantly evangelical, culture but here in rampantly secular Britain I feel like every conversion is a minor miracle. Our priest recently said something similar to me which would seem to confirm my feelings on this. I wonder if any other Britons (not that there are many of us) here feel different?

James

You're spot on, James. It is tough to be countercultural. I don't envy the struggles you all must face in Western Europe--I think Cyrillic is probably Dutch. The thing about society is that a lot of people don't really care to think and just want to swim along in the current of the masses. Once a society reaches that critical mass point of atheism or secularism, suddenly the non-thinkers begin to mock the religious outliers simply as a means of establishing their own "in crowd" bona fides. If it were just Richard Dawkins mocking Christians, that's one thing. But when it's Richard Dawkins and every man in the street who is too nihilistic and beaten down by life to live with the thought that someone else might have found the truth, it must be incredibly tough.
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« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2012, 12:29:03 PM »

And you know, it's because we were at the other tip of the "exile" solution for some priests that I am really not that fond of it. You just transfer the problem and compromise the spiritual growth of people who you can't see or hear from. If clergy has some issue that is not serious enough to guarantee excommunication, they should be isolated in monasteries prepared to help them with their issues - abbots trained to deal with alcohol and sexual problems. Just sending them to a distant place is not mercy to them, for they will have even more opportunities to engage their passions in a non-supervised environment.

Right, I think this has to be one of the main lessons of the clerical abuse scandals. I imagine that some of the people who covered it up were really evil people, but many probably thought it was their duty to give abusers a second chance. Second chances are great. Second chances, though, that involve putting known child abusers back in the company of unsupervised children are morally wrong and indefensible.
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« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2012, 12:41:17 PM »

That sounds just like here in Britain, albeit for me conversion was 11 years ago. I got most of that from my mother as well as various 'friends' (some of whom I've lost along the way). I don't think it would be much different here now either. Most parishes don't do services in English - I'm just lucky that my Romanian is pretty good. I still have to drive 40 minutes each way to our parish (when I converted it was hour or so by train and foot). And I've genuinely been called a fanatic (I don't hide my faith at work) because I 'fast and go to Church'. I think that the current period in the US seems to be a great opportunity for Orthodoxy because you still have a religious, if predominantly evangelical, culture but here in rampantly secular Britain I feel like every conversion is a minor miracle. Our priest recently said something similar to me which would seem to confirm my feelings on this. I wonder if any other Britons (not that there are many of us) here feel different?

James

You're spot on, James. It is tough to be countercultural. I don't envy the struggles you all must face in Western Europe--I think Cyrillic is probably Dutch. The thing about society is that a lot of people don't really care to think and just want to swim along in the current of the masses. Once a society reaches that critical mass point of atheism or secularism, suddenly the non-thinkers begin to mock the religious outliers simply as a means of establishing their own "in crowd" bona fides. If it were just Richard Dawkins mocking Christians, that's one thing. But when it's Richard Dawkins and every man in the street who is too nihilistic and beaten down by life to live with the thought that someone else might have found the truth, it must be incredibly tough.

It's not so bad for me. I'm pretty thick skinned and, frankly, I came into the Church expecting it to be tough. Orthodoxy requires much more of a commitment than the Protestantism of my youth. One of the things that amuses me about the usual reaction I get here when asked about my faith is that they say it sounds too hard. That they couldn't do it. If your faith doesn't require you to change, doesn't result in a change in you and in your putting God first, what use is it really? For all the things that we might disagree with in Protestantism, I think that's its biggest failing - certainly here, no idea about the US - if all you need to do is believe then your faith has no effect on you or those around you. No matter how much you believe, if it brings forth no fruits, your faith seems dead to me.

It is tough on the kids, though, and I can see that it would be easy for us to lose the next generations to the rot of our secular culture. I try to teach my children to be proud of their faith (as in not hide it) and to try to be a good example and in the main it seems to work, but I can see them being tempted by their peers all the time, and even my eldest isn't yet a teenager, so the peer pressure hasn't really kicked in yet. I guess all we can do is pray, fast and try to educate the kids as best we can.

James
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« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2012, 01:49:09 PM »



Hey Cyrillic, is it possible to hold Orthodox moral positions where you live without being considered some sort of neo-Nazi or advocate of the return of the slave trade or something?

You can't hold much of a moral position without being considered all those things.
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« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2012, 02:05:42 PM »

Quote
-the simple fact that more and more parishes are offering liturgies in the local vernacular. "

Not over here.

Quote
I think he said there were only four Orthodox churches in Britain in the 1950s. Now we have four Orthodox churches within a radius of just a few miles here in Seattle.

Closest one 55-60 minutes away on bike (I don't have a drivers license yet)

Quote
that, for many of us, we are able to convert without incurring too much anger or resentment from those around us, specifically family.

"Oh, how can you become Orthodox, you do x and y wrong." and "Oh, this is just one of your weird obsessions." and "Oh, but they're backwards (i.e. not progressive enough)" and "Oh, you shouldn't do this because you're western"

I'll just wait till I move out of my house.

That sounds just like here in Britain, albeit for me conversion was 11 years ago. I got most of that from my mother as well as various 'friends' (some of whom I've lost along the way). I don't think it would be much different here now either. Most parishes don't do services in English - I'm just lucky that my Romanian is pretty good. I still have to drive 40 minutes each way to our parish (when I converted it was hour or so by train and foot). And I've genuinely been called a fanatic (I don't hide my faith at work) because I 'fast and go to Church'. I think that the current period in the US seems to be a great opportunity for Orthodoxy because you still have a religious, if predominantly evangelical, culture but here in rampantly secular Britain I feel like every conversion is a minor miracle. Our priest recently said something similar to me which would seem to confirm my feelings on this. I wonder if any other Britons (not that there are many of us) here feel different?

James


More or less the same thing here in France  Grin
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« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2012, 02:10:35 PM »

It's not so bad for me. I'm pretty thick skinned and, frankly, I came into the Church expecting it to be tough. Orthodoxy requires much more of a commitment than the Protestantism of my youth. One of the things that amuses me about the usual reaction I get here when asked about my faith is that they say it sounds too hard. That they couldn't do it. If your faith doesn't require you to change, doesn't result in a change in you and in your putting God first, what use is it really? For all the things that we might disagree with in Protestantism, I think that's its biggest failing - certainly here, no idea about the US - if all you need to do is believe then your faith has no effect on you or those around you. No matter how much you believe, if it brings forth no fruits, your faith seems dead to me.

It is tough on the kids, though, and I can see that it would be easy for us to lose the next generations to the rot of our secular culture. I try to teach my children to be proud of their faith (as in not hide it) and to try to be a good example and in the main it seems to work, but I can see them being tempted by their peers all the time, and even my eldest isn't yet a teenager, so the peer pressure hasn't really kicked in yet. I guess all we can do is pray, fast and try to educate the kids as best we can.

James

That is a particularly odd thing about Protestantism, I agree. But one of the problems, I think, is that what Protestants know of works is often this sort of strawman of grace VS. works. Catholics and Orthodox haven't done the best job of explaining that we aren't talking about an either/or proposition, and that we aren't talking about "working" your way to salvation.

I don't have kids yet, but I'm sure you're right about how difficult that aspect is going to be. Heck, I went to rather good Catholic schools all the way through and there was still plenty of pollution.
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« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2012, 02:27:00 PM »

My hippie/rasta cousin thought it was neat because he'd heard of the Coptic Church via reggae albums and Bob Marley. Of course, in that context, he's thinking of Ethiopian Orthodox, so there was a bit of explaining to do, but he still seemed pretty interested. Other than that, I can't say my family's reaction has been very positive. My grandmother (an atheist) said it's "stupid" and I'd grow out of it (nevermind that I'm twice the age my mother was when she converted to Protestantism, which she never grew out of), my father said I don't know what I'm doing and yelled at me for praying the Agpeya privately in his guest room last time I was visiting home, etc. But he also thought I was converting to Islam because he heard some unaccompanied chant (in Coptic) coming out of my laptop one day, and assumed it was the Qur'an for some reason (he doesn't speak Arabic; I don't know what he was basing that on). So I don't really care about the uninformed opinions of these people. I try to correct them, so far as is possible without seeming confrontational. Other than that, they'll just have to deal with it. You'll learn throughout the conversion process that you'll just have to deal with it, too, in that most reactions are borne of ignorance and fear that you're becoming some kind of dangerous religious fanatic. That's the non-religious/secular mind that you're having to battle against, in a loving way we hope. So, for instance, when a friend of mine used the recent re-election of Barrack Obama to rant at me about "fundies" and "religious kooks" (as in "I'm so glad the fundies lost" and "why don't these religious kooks understand X, Y, Z"), I let her say her piece, and then contrasted her picture of what religion is with the religion that I practice, which is virtually unrecognizable in comparison to what she was talking about. To my pleasant surprise, she was not angry about that, but actually rather apologetic, and said "Why did you just let me rant on and on if it's so obvious that I'm not very educated about what is upsetting me?" I just told her I didn't want interrupt. Smiley I think that while we still have these opportunities with non-religious friends/family/acquaintances who will actually talk to us about their struggles with religion and listen to how we also deal with struggles and live in our faiths, this is the most important thing we can do to change the tide of anti-religious sentiment in the West. It's a slow process, one person at a time, but evangelization (whether to the Christian religion or to just a broader way of thinking that will hopefully change the aggressive anti-religious posture that is found in many of our societies) is always most effective in the context of a pre-existing relationship of love and respect.
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