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Author Topic: Converts from Orthodox Church to Catholic or Protestant Churches, Please Share  (Read 11360 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: January 03, 2013, 04:05:44 PM »

I'm in a commited non-marital relationship to a woman, and she is not Orthodox and not even a churchgoer anymore (she used to be Pentecostal).. Maybe an Orthodox clergy would want to dissuade me from my relationship to her, but I do not know this for certain.   I don't want to listen to peoples judgementalism on my life, as far as I'm concerned my relationship is a prayer answered, not sin.  So, I am not sure what to think.  I miss the Orthodox Church, but I doubt the Orthodox Church misses me.  I do not miss the scared ex-Protestants who were using Orthodoxy as an excuse to hide from moral complexity, though.
Just going to ask, but before you dismiss the criticism of others - have you read 1 Corinthians 5? Not trying to equate the behavior to the example in the text, but the Church is actually supposed to judge - and punish/expel - those within herself.
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« Reply #46 on: January 03, 2013, 08:24:40 PM »

  I have adult autism and I felt my priest judged me harshly because I didn't show "enthusiasm", despite frequent attendance at Divine Liturgy and feeling the pain of not being included fully into the life of the Church, which was my desire.  This happened before my views of homosexuality even came up.  I am just not an emotionally expressive person, that doesn't mean I don't have commitment or faith.
So because one man made a mistake (perhaps because he didn't fully understand your particular condition), you leave the Church, even though
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Deep down I believed that the Orthodox Church was the Church Christ founded

I find it a tad strange you say "leave the Church" given that "the Church" that Daedelus1138 left wasn't Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #47 on: January 05, 2013, 09:07:50 AM »

So you're convinced that the EO is the Church Christ founded but you prefer a compromise?

  Yes, I believe the faith Orthodox Christians have is the same faith of the apostles.  Does this mean I believe other Christians are automaticly not part of that faith ("heretics")?  No. 

  The institutional aspects of Eastern Orthodoxy are ugly (as are many Christian religious bodies), and I can point to things I see as weaknesses.  But I don't see anything wrong, in essence, with the faith of Orthodox Christians, and I'd rather affirm that, than alot of what passes as Protestantism.  I believe it speaks a number of truths that are either absent or downplayed in other Christian communions.
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« Reply #48 on: January 05, 2013, 09:16:42 AM »

So you are willing to forgive and overlook some sins but not others?  

  I pray to God to be able to forgive him.  The issue is not with me, it is with him.  I don't think he will reflect on his behavior and judge it lacking.
  
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Possibly he would. But perhaps it would be because he knows how this kind of relationship can be detrimental to both of you, and he would want you to experience Orthodox marriage.  

      Does this mean I should approach my relationship as something bad?  No, I don't think so.  In fact I reject that.  This kind of relationship could only be detrimental to me in some kind of idealized world.  Of course I'm sure you know we live in an imperfect, un-ideal world.   The priest "knows" these kinds of relationships are bad in some kind of generalized sense, one that would fail to account for my individual needs as a human being.  Or maybe I need to give him the benefit of the doubt, I don't know.  EIther way, I just know the guilt-motivating moralism won't work on me.  Yes, my life doesn't measure up to some Christian ideals, but it is a good life full of good things and the imperfections in my life don't detract from that.   I for one intend to celebrate what I have, not mourn.

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« Reply #49 on: January 05, 2013, 11:48:12 AM »

I pray to God to be able to forgive him.  The issue is not with me, it is with him.  I don't think he will reflect on his behavior and judge it lacking.

''God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this Orthodox priest. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get....''
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 11:48:47 AM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: January 06, 2013, 09:55:18 PM »

''God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this Orthodox priest. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get....''

   I don't think you understand.    His behavior being wrong does not discount me being a sinner in need of grace (after all, that was the reason I wanted to be in the Church).  He represents Christ, deciding who can or cannot receive the sacrament of Chrismation, yet Christ tells the world that if you are weary he provides rest, and that children should be honored because they are closer to God.  Frankly, his behavior doesn't seem Christ-like really, because those things do describe what it is like to be living with autistic conditions.  There is a struggle with loneliness and weariness, and our minds are often naive in their own ways and we are used to being last, much like a child.   

« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 09:59:16 PM by Daedelus1138 » Logged
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« Reply #51 on: January 06, 2013, 11:30:55 PM »

I don't think you understand.    His behavior being wrong does not discount me being a sinner in need of grace (after all, that was the reason I wanted to be in the Church).  He represents Christ, deciding who can or cannot receive the sacrament of Chrismation, yet Christ tells the world that if you are weary he provides rest, and that children should be honored because they are closer to God.  Frankly, his behavior doesn't seem Christ-like really, because those things do describe what it is like to be living with autistic conditions.  There is a struggle with loneliness and weariness, and our minds are often naive in their own ways and we are used to being last, much like a child.  
I think the more pertinent question is this: why did you give up on Orthodoxy after a mishap with a single priest? I don't mean this offensively, either.
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« Reply #52 on: January 07, 2013, 12:05:35 AM »

I pray to God to be able to forgive him.  The issue is not with me, it is with him.  I don't think he will reflect on his behavior and judge it lacking.

''God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this Orthodox priest. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get....''

Not that anyone asked me, but I don't like this post either.
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« Reply #53 on: January 07, 2013, 11:13:57 AM »

 I pray to God to be able to forgive him.  The issue is not with me, it is with him.  I don't think he will reflect on his behavior and judge it lacking.
Of course the issue is with you. Just think about it for a moment. You give his behavior as one of the reasons for rejecting Orthodoxy, even though you admit that it is the faith of the Apostles.
It seems fairly obvious that you have not forgiven him, when you don't know his heart and whether or not he is even aware of what he has done. He made a mistake, possibly because he did not fully understand your condition or because he felt unable to effectively deal with it. Have you never made a mistake and hurt someone unintentionally by your actions? Didn't you hope and pray that they would forgive you?

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     Does this mean I should approach my relationship as something bad?  No, I don't think so.  In fact I reject that.  
It means that you should attempt to look at it from another pov.

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This kind of relationship could only be detrimental to me in some kind of idealized world.  Of course I'm sure you know we live in an imperfect, un-ideal world.
Where relationships are often detrimental to the spiritual health of the people involved. And we, experiencing the heady chemicals of love, are not always paying attention!

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  The priest "knows" these kinds of relationships are bad in some kind of generalized sense, one that would fail to account for my individual needs as a human being. 
Or because he has seen the destruction in other peoples' lives.

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Or maybe I need to give him the benefit of the doubt, I don't know.
You do need to give him the benefit of the doubt.

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  EIther way, I just know the guilt-motivating moralism won't work on me.  Yes, my life doesn't measure up to some Christian ideals, but it is a good life full of good things and the imperfections in my life don't detract from that.   I for one intend to celebrate what I have, not mourn.
False dichotomy. First of all, pointing out to someone that their choices or behavior may not be healthy or may not be the best course of action, based on one's own experience and observation is not guilt-inducing moralism. If your priest noticed that you were about to step off the curb in front of a semi, would you want him to assume that you knew best, or would you want him to yell at you to watch out or grab you and haul you back? Anyway, I think guilt often gets a bad rap. If we do something wrong that hurts ourselves or others, what's wrong with feeling bad about it?
Also, the whole point of the Christian life is to become better. We are called to become saints.


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« Reply #54 on: January 07, 2013, 11:32:09 AM »

Also, the whole point of the Christian life is to become better.

(This might eventually lead to a new thread.)

Your statement appears to conflict with one of Fr. Stephen Freeman's mantras: "Jesus did not come to make bad men good; He came to make dead men live." It may not, though, so I'll just ask, "Better at what?"
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« Reply #55 on: January 07, 2013, 12:56:40 PM »

Also, the whole point of the Christian life is to become better.

(This might eventually lead to a new thread.)

Your statement appears to conflict with one of Fr. Stephen Freeman's mantras: "Jesus did not come to make bad men good; He came to make dead men live." It may not, though, so I'll just ask, "Better at what?"

Better at being who (or what) God created us to be. Read the next sentence. We are called to be saints.
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« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2013, 01:28:22 PM »

I do not agree with the average Orthodox Christian's views of gay and transgender people though

Neither do I. I subscribe to the (Orthodox) Church's teaching though. I hope you realize there is some difference between those two.
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« Reply #57 on: January 07, 2013, 04:59:46 PM »

I do not agree with the average Orthodox Christian's views of gay and transgender people though

Neither do I. I subscribe to the (Orthodox) Church's teaching though. I hope you realize there is some difference between those two.

That's sounds about right to me too. (Then again, I don't know well enough what "the average Orthodox Christian's views of gay and transgender people" is, to say with absolute certainty that I disagree with it.)
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« Reply #58 on: January 07, 2013, 05:32:08 PM »

Then again, I don't know well enough what "the average Orthodox Christian's views of gay and transgender people" is, to say with absolute certainty that I disagree with it.

Exactly. Good point.
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« Reply #59 on: January 07, 2013, 05:49:16 PM »

Also, the whole point of the Christian life is to become better.

(This might eventually lead to a new thread.)

Your statement appears to conflict with one of Fr. Stephen Freeman's mantras: "Jesus did not come to make bad men good; He came to make dead men live." It may not, though, so I'll just ask, "Better at what?"

Better at being who (or what) God created us to be. Read the next sentence. We are called to be saints.

Okay. How?
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« Reply #60 on: January 08, 2013, 01:00:53 AM »

It seems fairly obvious that you have not forgiven him, when you don't know his heart and whether or not he is even aware of what he has done. He made a mistake, possibly because he did not fully understand your condition or because he felt unable to effectively deal with it. Have you never made a mistake and hurt someone unintentionally by your actions? Didn't you hope and pray that they would forgive you?  

 I contacted the priest today and talked about my issues, and how much the things he said had hurt me (which I did not do before in a clear manner, i was trying to be respectful before, but I ended up not respecting myself), and he said he would be interested in receiving me into Orthodoxy.  I replied in E-Mail that I would like to discuss these issues more, but that I am interested in talking  to him.  It has been a year since I said anything to him.

  To your first point, what is the faith of the Apostles?  Agreement with specific moral commandments?  I don't think Jesus Christ came into the world to give an exhaustive list of moral absolutes for every single human being about how they should live their lives.  Life is messy and I think he assumed we would have alot to work out, but that is part of being an authentic human being.

Quote
   
Where relationships are often detrimental to the spiritual health of the people involved. And we, experiencing the heady chemicals of love, are not always paying attention!  

  "Heady chemicals of love"... that could easily dismiss religious knowledge too, since both are experiences in the human psyche.  Be careful what terms you throw around here.  I think ordinary human love can reflect something very spiritual and it can require real discipline to forgive people in a relationship.  I know my current relationship has challenged me to be less selfish but it has been very rewarding.

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Or because he has seen the destruction in other peoples' lives.  

  Yes, I heard a similar remark from him and other conservative Christians (though the Orthodox articulation I generally heard was alot less extreme), that losing ones virginity was often horrible and made people feel cheap.  Well, I have news... it wasn't bad for me and doesn't seem to destroy my soul- certainly the regrets I may have wil pale in comparison to the regrets of being a moral coward hiding behind religious prohibitions.  Maybe because there's a huge difference between losing ones virginity at 16 and losing it at age 36, the advice is just not the same.    I will never be spotless like the Theotokos or the Lord Jesus Christ, at least this side of heaven.  But then, I am not the Lord Jesus Christ- I'm really just an ordinary sinner with alot of challenges that are extraordinary.  That doesn't mean that God doesn't love me.


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False dichotomy. First of all, pointing out to someone that their choices or behavior may not be healthy or may not be the best course of action, based on one's own experience and observation is not guilt-inducing moralism.  

... We are called to become saints.


  I agree, but too often religion presents people with moral advice clothed in a false certainty.    You can't make certain predictions based on generalizations.  Just because a scientist sees only white swans, doesn't mean a black swan cannot exist.   And when filtered through religious biases, its easy to self-confirm what evidence the devout will accept.

  If this all sounds paradoxical, that I am deeply critical of "religion" and yet believe in Jesus Christ all the more, consider what sort of people conspired in his death.  It is a mistake to think that this error somehow is exempt from Christians.  Religion cannot exist for its own sake as a bunch of rules that merely serve to help us to be more religious, if God is indeed the Philanthropos, then religion must be the same.  And the current world we live in is weary of "Thou Shalt Not", as William Blake put it in one poem, because it often kills the beauty and goodness in this world, and replaces it with an ethic based on fear and joylessness.
 
   We may all be called to be saints but every one of us will struggle with living in a broken world till we die, a world broken yet also redeemed (I can even see good things happening from me not being taken into the Orthodox church years ago).  How is this reconciled with your unrealistic expectations of perfection?    The Beatitudes are not a list of "Shoulds" delivered from a demanding God. Jesus shows us a way beyond merely being a victim, and I believe it is summed up in forgiveness, not in moral perfection.



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« Reply #61 on: January 08, 2013, 01:11:26 AM »

Daedelus1138,

God guide you and bless you Smiley
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« Reply #62 on: January 08, 2013, 01:13:46 AM »



  Maybe God becoming a man is a condescension to the social realities of the day and not some kind of generalized statement about the role of men and women?

  "No one is worthy of the priesthood" sounds nonsensical.  If no one were worthy, why make anybody at all a priest?  Obviously some people are found worthy by other people, the question is why men and not women?  I submit it is just prejudice masked as truth.


So were the apostles wrong not to ordain female Bishops and priests?
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« Reply #63 on: January 08, 2013, 01:19:02 AM »

Your statement appears to conflict with one of Fr. Stephen Freeman's mantras: "Jesus did not come to make bad men good; He came to make dead men live." It may not, though, so I'll just ask, "Better at what?"

  I like this quote, it fits my experiences better than this idea I got in my head a long time ago that somehow, through theosis, I would become a better person as measured against some "objective" standard.  That was not the case.  It allowed me to focus on the wrong thing- my own petty need to be in control and to never be vulnerable, to live life afraid of breaking rules.    I'm glad this didn't last very long for me before i "deconverted", realizing how life-denying this ethic was, and how it was unlike the fearlessness of Jesus Christ in his life.    Some people are never cured of this.   And I cannot imagine spending eternity with somebody like that.  Probably why Jesus said tax collectors and prostitutes will enter before many of his critics.

  I am not aiming to become socially acceptable, let alone a "better person", but my attitude is rather like what Peter said, "Teacher, where will we go?  You have the words of eternal life".  
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« Reply #64 on: January 08, 2013, 12:14:10 PM »

Also, the whole point of the Christian life is to become better.

(This might eventually lead to a new thread.)

Your statement appears to conflict with one of Fr. Stephen Freeman's mantras: "Jesus did not come to make bad men good; He came to make dead men live." It may not, though, so I'll just ask, "Better at what?"

Better at being who (or what) God created us to be. Read the next sentence. We are called to be saints.

Okay. How?

Prayer, confession, repentance, the sacramental life, fasting, studying Scripture, acts of charity etc. etc.
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« Reply #65 on: January 08, 2013, 12:33:22 PM »

 I am not aiming to become socially acceptable, let alone a "better person", but my attitude is rather like what Peter said, "Teacher, where will we go?  You have the words of eternal life".  

You seem to be attributing to me all sorts of things that I didn't say, and opinions or attitudes that I don't have. These mistaken assumptions are almost too numerous to mention. (To take one small example, I didn't say that our goal as Christians is to become more socially acceptable.) That, and the inevitable limitations of this kind of communication, makes conversation between us difficult and unprofitable. I earnestly hope and pray that you will find peace of mind and heart, and understand that He does have the words of eternal life, but not necessarily according to your own religion that you have developed.
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« Reply #66 on: January 08, 2013, 02:12:01 PM »

First of all, I am a wretched sinner and have neither the authority, nor the high moral ground to presume to preach or teach anybody anything. Yet this is how I see these things:   

  "Heady chemicals of love"... that could easily dismiss religious knowledge too, since both are experiences in the human psyche.  Be careful what terms you throw around here.   

If there is only subjective religious experience, and no objective religious truth (Creation, Incarnation, Resurrection) - Christianity is all a huge fraud, we have believed in vain and are the most miserable of all people.

I think ordinary human love can reflect something very spiritual and it can require real discipline to forgive people in a relationship.

Same goes for any relationship - spiritual ones included. You seem to agree that love needs some kind of discipline.

I'm really just an ordinary sinner with alot of challenges that are extraordinary.  That doesn't mean that God doesn't love me.

If God loves me anyway, why bother with virtue at all? If he loves sinners best, "shan't we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"

  I agree, but too often religion presents people with moral advice clothed in a false certainty.    You can't make certain predictions based on generalizations.  Just because a scientist sees only white swans, doesn't mean a black swan cannot exist.   And when filtered through religious biases, its easy to self-confirm what evidence the devout will accept.

The black swans have been observed and dealt with in Christianity's long ascetic and canonical tradition. An individual outside this tradition may be spiritually short-sighted, so as not to see his own "sin" and foresee its ultimate consequences.

 
If this all sounds paradoxical, that I am deeply critical of "religion" and yet believe in Jesus Christ all the more, consider what sort of people conspired in his death.  It is a mistake to think that this error somehow is exempt from Christians.  Religion cannot exist for its own sake as a bunch of rules that merely serve to help us to be more religious, if God is indeed the Philanthropos, then religion must be the same.  And the current world we live in is weary of "Thou Shalt Not", as William Blake put it in one poem, because it often kills the beauty and goodness in this world, and replaces it with an ethic based on fear and joylessness.

"There are three things I cannot take in: nondogmatic faith, nonecclesiological Christianity and nonascetic Christianity. These three - the church, dogma, and asceticism - constitute one single life for me." (Elder Sophrony Saharov of Essex)

This is the Orthodox deal - you either take it all in, or reject it.

Love is demanding. If you care at all about somebody, you cannot be indifferent about the bad choices he/she makes for his/her life and stand by watching how they make a mess of it. If you try to help them discern right from wrong (St. Augustine speaks of ordinata caritas - ordered and disordered love), it doesn't necessarily mean that you are imposing your will on them, dictating what they should do, 'micro-managing their lives', being a tyrant. If that were the case, if all laws, rules and prescriptions were by their very nature dictatorial, then the Sermon of the Mount, which transcends and maximizes them all, would be the summit of tyrannical propaganda.

There is a "yoke of Christ", and it is far more light than the "freedom" of "I live how I choose & I decide what's best for me". The paradox is: "All things are lawful (permitted) unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" (1 Cor. 6, 12). The Christian is not supposed to be bound by narrow-minded legalism, but his freedom in Christ should make him free from sin, not give him license to persevere in it.

The aim of Christian asceticism is killing evil passions, not people or their bodies. 

Christ forgave the adulteress, but commanded her to sin no more.   
 
Rules and regulations are always just the beginning, never an end in themselves:

"We are, therefore, about to found a school of the Lord's service, in which we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome. But even if, to correct vices or to preserve charity, sound reason dictateth anything that turneth out somewhat stringent, do not at once fly in dismay from the way of salvation, the beginning of which cannot but be narrow. But as we advance in the religious life and faith, we shall run the way of God's commandments with expanded hearts and unspeakable sweetness of love; so that never departing from His guidance and persevering in His doctrine till death, we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ, and be found worthy to be coheirs with Him of His kingdom." (Prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict)
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« Reply #67 on: January 08, 2013, 02:44:59 PM »


If God loves me anyway, why bother with virtue at all? If he loves sinners best, "shan't we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"  

   Virtue should be sought for its own sake, but  I simply don't see moralism and legalism as a virtue.   They are spiritual defects.  St. Paul also writes a good deal about the liberty of a Christian.     I really do tend to agree with the Protestant perspective that our good works "pleasing to God" have to come from our freedom, not religious compulsion.   Great saints like Martin of Tours or Francis of Assisi were motivated to their works of love because they saw Christ in their fellow human beings, not because they were afraid for their own spiritual health.  Indeed, many of them became "fools for Christ".    

Quote
The black swans have been observed and dealt with in Christianity's long ascetic and canonical tradition. An individual outside this tradition may be spiritually short-sighted, so as not to see his own "sin" and foresee its ultimate consequences.  

  You're still dealing in sweeping statements about human nature that erase the individual uniqueness of persons.   I doubt very much you, or anybody in the Orthodox Church, understands all there is to the richness and variety of what it means to be human.  I am 36 years old and still learning and I meet people all the time that are still learning (and no, it is not merely due to my autism, there is such a diversity of human beings under the surface of the fragile personas people wear in their social lives).

Quote
 Love is demanding. If you care at all about somebody, you cannot be indifferent about the good/bad choices he/she makes for his life. If you try to help them discern right from wrong (St. Augustine speaks of ordinata caritas - ordered and disordered love), it doesn't necessarily mean that you are imposing your will on them, dictating what they should do  

  God is omniscient, its one thing for him to love me and guide me, its another thing for a human being who doesn't really know the depths of my soul to pretend to be able to do that.  And it's potentially very heavy-handed to just go in and start trying to judge somebody's spiritual health- the only time I give such advice is when I feel my own integrity would be compromised in a relationship.  Otherwise I try to respect other people more than just giving advice, which is often profoundly disrespectful to do.

    Frankly, I think the history of the West teaches us that we've had a fair amount of authoritarians telling us to do things for our own good, and  armed with ulterior motives or worse, ignorance.   On the other hand, many Orthodox Christians come from countries where the state controlled too much and people had no freedom, and sometimes religion was used to oppress people (serfdom).  I respect the Orthodox spirituality a great deal, but not everything Western is garbage.

Quote
 If that were the case, if all laws, rules and prescriptions were by their very nature dictatorial, then the Sermon of the Mount, which transcends and maximizes them all, would be the the summit of tyrannical propaganda. There is a "yoke of Christ", and it is far more light than the "freedom" of "I live how I choose & I decide what's best for me".  

  Whether you want to admit it or not, we all do this.  We all choose what is best for us.   Maybe you are just naive to modernity and post-modernity, or sadly perhaps you live in a country without personal freedom and autonomy.   This autonomy doesn't mean I don't listen to my friends and people that I trust ,it does mean though I don't bend the knee to every authority that comes along.  To do so is unjust and shows a lack of respect for Truth.

 

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« Reply #68 on: January 08, 2013, 02:56:58 PM »

Hi Daedelus. Earlier, I had hoped that this conversation might provide you the opportunity to revise some of your views; but now I feel like it is more likely that, if anything, you will be pushed even further away by encountering some (if you will) "high horse" attitudes. Hopefully that won't happen, but even so I feel like this conversation has become fairly pointless (I should probably just stop reading it).
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« Reply #69 on: January 08, 2013, 03:59:41 PM »

I really do tend to agree with the Protestant perspective that our good works "pleasing to God" have to come from our freedom, not religious compulsion.  

That is the Orthodox understanding as well. Things that you do under compulsion/obligation have no moral value whatsoever. In fact, all our good deeds are like filthy rags unto God - that's Holy Writ for us also.

Great saints like Martin of Tours or Francis of Assisi were motivated to their works of love because they saw Christ in their fellow human beings, not because they were afraid for their own spiritual health.  Indeed, many of them became "fools for Christ".

Love casts out fear. But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If we pretend to begin with the end, we're just deceiving ourselves.    

You're still dealing in sweeping statements about human nature that erase the individual uniqueness of persons.   I doubt very much you, or anybody in the Orthodox Church, understands all there is to the richness and variety of what it means to be human.  I am 36 years old and still learning and I meet people all the time that are still learning (and no, it is not merely due to my autism, there is such a diversity of human beings under the surface of the fragile personas people wear in their social lives).

I never said black swans were not natural or that they should turn white. I merely suggested that one cannot presume that in 2000 years the whole Church didn't manage to "understand anything about the richness and variety of what it means to be human."
  
 God is omniscient, its one thing for him to love me and guide me, its another thing for a human being who doesn't really know the depths of my soul to pretend to be able to do that.  And it's potentially very heavy-handed to just go in and start trying to judge somebody's spiritual health- the only time I give such advice is when I feel my own integrity would be compromised in a relationship.  Otherwise I try to respect other people more than just giving advice, which is often profoundly disrespectful to do.

There is such a thing as an authority that God gave certain people in the Church to bind and loose people's sins. He surely didn't intend them to become fearful moralistic judges or to sell forgiveness (indulgences), but in fact - as Chrysostom puts it - he arranged for humans and not angels to receive our confessions, precisely because they share our nature and have more understanding for human weakness and frailty. The ideal priest is more like a doctor and less like a judge.

When one goes to a priest for conversion/confession, one generally asks for advice or is at least open for it.

(I hope you don't think that I am giving you any personal advice - I'm not and, as I said, that is not my intention.)

 Frankly, I think the history of the West teaches us that we've had a fair amount of authoritarians telling us to do things for our own good, and  armed with ulterior motives or worse, ignorance.   On the other hand, many Orthodox Christians come from countries where the state controlled too much and people had no freedom, and sometimes religion was used to oppress people (serfdom).

This is also why Westerners are over-sensitive in this respect and tend to reject all authority. It's not all about oppression and political supremacy, you see. Spiritual authority is an altogether different matter - one is always free to reject it. You don't see Our Lord running after those who found his requirements too harsh to "impose" his yoke on them. The rich young man, the Pharisees, even the disciples were always free to walk away. He only gave personal advice when asked for it.  

I respect the Orthodox spirituality a great deal, but not everything Western is garbage.

I agree. So would most Orthodox who are somewhat familiar with Western theology and spirituality.
 

  Whether you want to admit it or not, we all do this.  We all choose what is best for us.  

We do. Some of us, however, turn to the Church for guidance and validation. When you're an organ in a larger body, you can't be self-sufficient and rely solely on your own lights and better judgement.
 
Maybe you are just naive to modernity and post-modernity, or sadly perhaps you live in a country without personal freedom and autonomy.

Now that sounds a bit condescending. I don't have any higher authority dictating to me what to write here, if that's any comfort.  Cheesy    

This autonomy doesn't mean I don't listen to my friends and people that I trust ,it does mean though I don't bend the knee to every authority that comes along.  To do so is unjust and shows a lack of respect for Truth.

In the OC, we actually get to choose our spiritual father/confessor. No one is expected to bow the knee to any 'authority that comes along'. We're commanded not to "believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God", you see.

Forgive me.
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« Reply #70 on: January 08, 2013, 04:03:34 PM »

-

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« Reply #71 on: January 09, 2013, 12:13:48 AM »

lsion/obligation have no moral value whatsoever. In fact, all our good deeds are like filthy rags unto God - that's Holy Writ for us also.    

  Sometimes the impression I got in my catechumen classes was alot of the senior people there felt that Orthodoxy was about religious obligations to the community of believers, and the priest did little to correct them.  This was confusing because I had read enough elsewhere that seemed to contradict this. In time, it just seemed to gradually erode my feeling of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, a dialogue between myself and God, and replaced it with a feeling of going through religious motions.  The lives of saints that used to spur me to a deeper commitment, just became shallow religious images.

I had a deep need to please other people and be "accepted", and I still do.    This feeling can become a crushing sense of inadequacy.  Due to alot of therapy and just learning to trust in myself and my own values, I am letting go of that.  It's easy being very introverted, which is mostly how my condition shows up, to internalize negative perceptions.  To his credit, my priest did pray for me two years ago when I broke down in tears after a service and told him about my disappoint in life and my faltering faith.   But I never had the courage to really be open to him about how much his initial perception of me hurt my feelings, because I felt it wasn't acecptable in the Orthodox church to complain.

Quote from: Daedelus1138 link=topic=48304.msg861571#msg861571
Love casts out fear. But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If we pretend to begin with the end, we're just deceiving ourselves.    

  I'm still not sure I understand what exactly people mean by the "fear of the Lord", it can seem to mean so many different things.  Certainly, a respect for the truth above mere pragmatism is a good thing, and that's my take on it.  But dread?  No, I don't believe in an "angry God" anymore.  I believe this is an idol created by a broken, wounded psyche that finds unconditional love terrifying.

  Incidentally, most people with Asperger's, such as myself, have a strong sense of justice, fairness, and unconventional compassion.  Often to a fault.  On the positive side, they are the least likely to share popular prejudices and bigotries.

Quote
This is also why Westerners are over-sensitive in this respect and tend to reject all authority. It's not all about oppression and political supremacy, you see. Spiritual authority is an altogether different matter - one is always free to reject it.  

  Spiritual authority should be self-evident, it doesn't require a hierarchy affirming it.    Maybe it sounds like I am overreacting, but the western world is really, in my estimation, recovering from a thousand years of spiritual abuse at the hands of medieval popes and a top-heavy church hierarchy, monarchs, protestant "reformers", and so on.

Quote
We do. Some of us, however, turn to the Church for guidance and validation. When you're an organ in a larger body, you can't be self-sufficient and rely solely on your own lights and better judgement.  

  I agree we all need guidance in our life, and its impoverishing to decide moral issues all on your own.  What I resist is the idea that a religious institution absolves a person of moral responsibility.   I know in my own case, a drift towards Orthodoxy was partially fuelled by a desire to avoid moral ambiguity that is happening in the Anglican world - it was only later I began to appreciate many aspects of Orthodox theology and worship on their own merits.  However, I think the damage had been done and that's why I'm approaching my priests offer to accept me into the Orthodox Church with prayer and discernment.

Quote
 
Now that sounds a bit condescending. I don't have any higher authority dictating to me what to write here, if that's any comfort.  Cheesy    

  I know a few people that are Orthodox from "the old country", some are rather bizarre combinations, like a lesbian woman that no longer goes to church but still likes Russian authoritarian leaders.  That is the sort of thing I am talking about, and frankly in those countries the church is doing a disservice to people.  Perhaps you aren't like that, if so I apologize.  I believe its a real problem in Orthodox countries, they confuse centuries of political oppression with "God's will".

Quote
In the OC, we actually get to choose our spiritual father/confessor. No one is expected to bow the knee to any 'authority that comes along'. We're commanded not to "believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God", you see.  

  That's good.  In the US in many jurisdictions you are expected to use your priest as your confessor and spiritual advisor, which sounds like a poor compromise, to be honest.   Being able to work with somebody you can trust seems crucial, and those sorts of relationships are deeply personal and individual, and a particular priest may be gitfted in some areas and not in others.   I know working with secular psychotherapists, trust is very important and it is very much a relationship without alot of hard rules.
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« Reply #72 on: January 09, 2013, 12:41:44 AM »

If there are any people on these boards who used to attend an Orthodox church and consciously changed to another, but still keeps in touch with their Orthodox roots in one method or another, I would like to hear how and why you left.
Peace

I was.  I do keep in some touch with my Orthodox roots.

I left first hand because I felt betrayed by ecumenism.

Later, I feel that the church pulled a blanket over my head, hiding the true history of the church, which was written mostly by "them" the victors.  Shunning off old tradition and formulating new stuff.  Some preservation exists, and new bizarre practices that do not even come close to the early church exists (of course with full ""apologetics"").

The true original church 33 A.D - 133 A.D) (A full 100 YEARS) did not have:
1) Icons (prove it if you think so, show me! - I want to SEE IT)
2) An iconostasis
3) A discos
4) A spear for the prosfora
5) Table of Oblation
6) A chalice
7) Byzantine king garb
Cool Fanatical repetition of prayer (Jesus prayer) - held with prostrations
9) Confession only to priests
10) Processions

The original church:
Honored the Sabbath and kept it Holy, and held much worship on the Sabbath.

Lies about other Christian groups:
Groups such as the Ebionites are just considered (chaff), when they are as old as EO.
Nazarite Christians, just as old.


Those are a small list of reasons I don't go anymore.  Sorry if these things bug people, but they are true.  Not here to debate on this thread, just stating my reasons.

Today I normally attend both home church with my children & wife, and we visit my wife's family church which is moderately conservative Mennonite.  I have a lot of respect for Messianic Jews and the history of the Jewish culture, which works awesomely with the scripture.
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« Reply #73 on: January 09, 2013, 02:22:35 AM »

In fact, all our good deeds are like filthy rags unto God - that's Holy Writ for us also.
I don't agree because Matthew 25 indicates that our good deeds are appreciated and rewarded?
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« Reply #74 on: January 09, 2013, 03:11:06 AM »

lsion/obligation have no moral value whatsoever. In fact, all our good deeds are like filthy rags unto God - that's Holy Writ for us also.    

  Sometimes the impression I got in my catechumen classes was alot of the senior people there felt that Orthodoxy was about religious obligations to the community of believers, and the priest did little to correct them.

Did you bring up your concerns to your Priest?  An appropriate comeback would have been, "how am I responsible for someone else's salvation?"
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« Reply #75 on: January 09, 2013, 05:02:44 AM »


1) Icons (prove it if you think so, show me! - I want to SEE IT)



2) An iconostasis

So what?

3) A discos

So where did they put the Eucharist if not in a diskos?

Quote
4) A spear for the prosfora

 Huh

Quote
5) Table of Oblation

They often used the graves of the martyrs for that, and I'm pretty sure they had altars as well.

Quote
6) A chalice

LOL. Where do you think they put the sacramental wine?

Quote
7) Byzantine king garb

Why would that be even remotely important?

Quote
Cool Fanatical repetition of prayer (Jesus prayer) - held with prostrations

"Pray without ceasing"

Confession only to priests

Nobody stops you from confessing to everyone, you just need to confess in the presence of the priest to be absolved. "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."

10) Processions

Hard to do when you're being persecuted.

Honored the Sabbath and kept it Holy, and held much worship on the Sabbath.
We've been through this already. Sunday, the day of the Resurrection, has always been the liturgical day.

Lies about other Christian groups:

Really?

Groups such as the Ebionites are just considered (chaff), when they are as old as EO.

Actually, the NT isn't that nice to the Ebionite heretics either.
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« Reply #76 on: January 09, 2013, 05:08:35 AM »

In fact, all our good deeds are like filthy rags unto God - that's Holy Writ for us also.
I don't agree because Matthew 25 indicates that our good deeds are appreciated and rewarded?

Good deeds do matter for us, humans, and our salvation - they are the natural consequences ('fruits') of our faith and God's grace. But to imagine that they are intrinsically important to God or that he cannot do without us/them is complete nonsense. That's what Isaiah and St. Paul are saying - and there really is no contradiction between them and Matthew 25 or the Epistle of St. James.
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« Reply #77 on: January 09, 2013, 06:07:13 AM »

Later, I feel that the church pulled a blanket over my head, hiding the true history of the church, which was written mostly by "them" the victors.  Shunning off old tradition and formulating new stuff.  Some preservation exists, and new bizarre practices that do not even come close to the early church exists (of course with full ""apologetics"").

Theology and liturgy naturally develop and change in time. They always have. They did so in ancient Israel as well (from the stone altars of the Patriarchs to the Temple worship of Jerusalem and then the synagogues in Babylon and Palestine). Do you think God intended to 'freeze' things as they were in the in the community of Jerusalem, 1st century AD, and that is the only right way to worship until the end of time? What of St. Paul's churches then? The Trinity? The Councils?

Historically, there is no community, Orthodox or otherwise, no faithful remnant (shearit Israel/ 'The true original Church' ®), that preserved things exactly the way they were back then. Some Protestants later developed a fetish for the Biblical past and the Early Church, but their reconstructions were bound to be artificial, arbitrary and inconsistent, reflecting more their own fantasies and prejudices and less the spirit of Early Christianity. Recent 'Messianic' Christianity is a curious hybrid of Judaism (rabbinical/pharisaic or karaite) and evangelical Protestantism.   

Sure the Eucharist shrank from probably basketfuls of bread and large ampullae of wine to what we receive nowadays. St. Paul was already asking people not to confuse the table of the Lord with an ordinary meal. Hence the variation in size and shape of liturgical vessels, vestments and so on. Then, if you look at Acts, you see that Christian worship took place Saturday evening (maybe after a Temple/synagogue service) and lasted until early Sunday morning to begin with.     

To feel that natural and organic developments in the Church are all about corruption and betrayals of the Early Christian ideal is ... well, just naive and ridiculous. There is no evil genius who duped Christians into changing Biblical 'truth'. Otherwise God must have stood by and watched as he prevailed.   
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« Reply #78 on: January 09, 2013, 08:15:28 AM »

Some preservation exists, and new bizarre practices that do not even come close to the early church exists (of course with full ""apologetics"").

1) Icons
2) An iconostasis

I once heard somebody explain why those who reject icons don't really understand what Christianity is all about like this: God who's had his back turned on us in the Old Testament (see the revelation to Moses on Sinai), turns around 180o and shows us his face in Christ. All the exuberant Orthodox iconography is the natural and logical consequence of this shift from invisible to visible (the Incarnation of God's Word).

The living Church changes organically and adapts (to a certain extent) to accomodate different cultures and eras. Your fascination is with amber fossil communities who idealize some particular past: Ebionites, Amish, Old Believers, Mennonites. That would rather be the sectarian than the catholic approach.
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« Reply #79 on: January 10, 2013, 09:36:38 AM »



Lies about other Christian groups:
Groups such as the Ebionites are just considered (chaff), when they are as old as EO.
Nazarite Christians, just as old.


How do you know they are lies about the Ebionites?  The only fragments of writings we have from the Ebionites originate in the 3rd century, which according to you, everything was poisoned by then.  The early Church Fathers that wrote against them could be 100% accurate or 0% accurate for all we know.  I would lean towards them being fairly accurate because it doesn't make too much sense to argue against positions that don't actually exist.

My biggest issue with Protestantism is that I don't understand how they can get past the Church being the Pillar of Truth.  How can an ambiguous group of individuals who have a general agreement that Christ was a good guy, some believing he was God but denying Trinitarian doctrine, some believing he was a god, others believing in traditional Trinitarian doctrine, be considered the Pillar of Truth?  Of course, they will each argue that their specific denomination is the only one that is holding the truth, but when your denomination starts in the 1500's or later, it is hard to take that claim seriously.
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« Reply #80 on: January 10, 2013, 04:14:24 PM »

How can an ambiguous group of individuals who have a general agreement that Christ was a good guy, some believing he was God but denying Trinitarian doctrine, some believing he was a god, others believing in traditional Trinitarian doctrine, be considered the Pillar of Truth?  ...

  "Protestantism" is no a monolithic entity, rather it is an historical movement spanning centuries, often at odds with itself.  Some forms of Protestantisms have given thought to ecclessiology and matters of authority and accountability to other Christians outside ones congregation.    Do not equivocate "Protestant" with "Baptist".

  If you think Orthodoxy is potentially immune from criticism of its ecclessiology, I have only one word for you: "Caesaropapism".  As I delved into Orthodoxy I realized the apologetics for it based on the ecclessiology were often triumphalistic and uncritical.   This type of thinking, in fact, is not spiritually edifying.  There are good reasons to join the Orthodox church, "Not being Protestant" is not one of them.   One must be careful with any  apologetics, while it may win arguements and converts, it can also disfigure ones soul.
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« Reply #81 on: January 10, 2013, 05:37:58 PM »

If there are any people on these boards who used to attend an Orthodox church and consciously changed to another, but still keeps in touch with their Orthodox roots in one method or another, I would like to hear how and why you left.
Peace

I was.  I do keep in some touch with my Orthodox roots.

I left first hand because I felt betrayed by ecumenism.

Later, I feel that the church pulled a blanket over my head, hiding the true history of the church, which was written mostly by "them" the victors.  Shunning off old tradition and formulating new stuff.  Some preservation exists, and new bizarre practices that do not even come close to the early church exists (of course with full ""apologetics"").

The true original church 33 A.D - 133 A.D) (A full 100 YEARS) did not have:
1) Icons (prove it if you think so, show me! - I want to SEE IT)
2) An iconostasis
3) A discos
4) A spear for the prosfora
5) Table of Oblation
6) A chalice
7) Byzantine king garb
Cool Fanatical repetition of prayer (Jesus prayer) - held with prostrations
9) Confession only to priests
10) Processions

Interesting. Sounds a lot like arguments made by Orthodox against us Catholics, but taken a step further.
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« Reply #82 on: January 10, 2013, 11:17:28 PM »

Theology and liturgy naturally develop and change in time. They always have.
I thought that this was more the Catholic view than the Orthodox view?
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« Reply #83 on: January 10, 2013, 11:45:21 PM »

Theology and liturgy naturally develop and change in time. They always have.
I thought that this was more the Catholic view than the Orthodox view?

Surely no one could seriously claim that liturgy is static.
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« Reply #84 on: January 10, 2013, 11:48:34 PM »

Surely no one could seriously claim that liturgy is static.

Otherwise travelers by air would be pretty unfortunate.
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« Reply #85 on: January 11, 2013, 12:21:47 AM »

Surely no one could seriously claim that liturgy is static.

Otherwise travelers by air would be pretty unfortunate.

Nice one.
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« Reply #86 on: January 11, 2013, 08:17:23 AM »

Theology and liturgy naturally develop and change in time. They always have.
I thought that this was more the Catholic view than the Orthodox view?
It's really the Orthodox view too, although Orthodox polemicists may speak as though it isn't.
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« Reply #87 on: January 11, 2013, 08:28:27 AM »

Theology and liturgy naturally develop and change in time. They always have.
I thought that this was more the Catholic view than the Orthodox view?

It's common sense.
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« Reply #88 on: January 11, 2013, 09:38:01 AM »

How can an ambiguous group of individuals who have a general agreement that Christ was a good guy, some believing he was God but denying Trinitarian doctrine, some believing he was a god, others believing in traditional Trinitarian doctrine, be considered the Pillar of Truth?  ...

  "Protestantism" is no a monolithic entity, rather it is an historical movement spanning centuries, often at odds with itself.  Some forms of Protestantisms have given thought to ecclessiology and matters of authority and accountability to other Christians outside ones congregation.    Do not equivocate "Protestant" with "Baptist".

  If you think Orthodoxy is potentially immune from criticism of its ecclessiology, I have only one word for you: "Caesaropapism".  As I delved into Orthodoxy I realized the apologetics for it based on the ecclessiology were often triumphalistic and uncritical.   This type of thinking, in fact, is not spiritually edifying.  There are good reasons to join the Orthodox church, "Not being Protestant" is not one of them.   One must be careful with any  apologetics, while it may win arguements and converts, it can also disfigure ones soul.

I never said anything about Baptist, although the person I was responding to did state he now has moved to an Anabaptist faith community.  The Protestant viewpoint is anyone who believes in Jesus is a Christian and the collective of those people is the church.  They see it as an invisible entity, not a corporal body.  This is one of the view opinions that Protestants do agree on whether they be Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist or other.  Obviously, some Protestants have a more restrictive view on what “believe in Jesus” means and some have a more expansive view, but that is not the point.  The point is, you cannot take an invisible entity comprised of people with innumerable personal spiritual opinions and call it the Pillar of Truth.

I am not quite clear what your reference to Caesaropapism has to do with anything as that has never been taught or advocated by the Orthodox Church.  Have some members of the Church advocated it?  Unfortunately, yes, but that does not mean it is a teaching of the Church.   I also am not quite sure why you think I argued that “not being Protestant” was a reason for joining the Orthodox Church.  I was attracted to the Orthodox Church because my studies convinced me it was the True Church, not because I have any axe to grind with any other faith community.  That doesn’t prevent me from pointing out weaknesses that I see in an argument.
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Have you considered the possibility that your face is an ad hominem?
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« Reply #89 on: January 11, 2013, 10:37:10 AM »

@ yeshuaisiam

"Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.
To sum up all in one word - what the soul is in the body, that are Christians in the world."

From the Letter to Diognetus (around 200 AD), chapter 5. Chapters 3 and 4 (on the observances and 'superstitions' of the Jews) might be interesting to read: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/diognetus-roberts.html
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