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Author Topic: Imagination  (Read 2582 times) Average Rating: 0
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sunny
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« on: January 09, 2005, 03:51:42 AM »

 :-I'm a new poster (though I've been reading the forums for months), and a new convert (9 mths. old) from  an evangelical protestant church. I'm hoping some former evangelicals can help me. How does an Orthodox person commune with God?  I was taught in evangelical circles that you could sense the Lord's presence and be led by God through scripture, or that you could sense His leading from things that happen around you or conversations with other Christians. The Orthodox texts I've read seem to discourage this-that it can be a deception or perhaps dangerous. Since my entire adult life was lived as a devout Christian who heard the Lord in this way, I feel lost and very unsure of myself. When I pray i'm careful to just pray the words and not imagine or think anything about God because it might be error. Therefore I'm left with nothing and have no "sense" of God or His presence at all. Have any converts struggled with this? Has anyone learned anything that might help my confusion? Thank you for your wonderful website.
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2005, 06:47:52 PM »

Dear Sunny,

Welcome to the board.  I hope some of our posters will be able to address your question.  Meanwhile, you will be in our prayers as you grow in the faith. 
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icxn
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2005, 07:49:22 PM »

... How does an Orthodox person commune with God?

Like this: http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?p=34

icxn
« Last Edit: January 09, 2005, 07:51:43 PM by icxn » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2005, 05:37:56 PM »

I'm hoping some former evangelicals can help me. How does an Orthodox person commune with God? I was taught in evangelical circles that you could sense the Lord's presence and be led by God through scripture, or that you could sense His leading from things that happen around you or conversations with other Christians.

Well! I actually just responded to a similar post about five minutes ago in another thread! Rather than duplicate the whole thing here, I'll put a link to a post that has part of a journal entry in it where I talk about some of the struggles I faced.

Basically, the things you depended on in your former confession are going to change. It may hurt. It may feel aimless. Sounds like it already is both of those. Heck, it may even be boring! In my former life -- I sound like I'm in the Witness Protection Program! -- I looked forward to a "fresh word" from God every day through the Scriptures, since the idea was that God was doing a "new thing." I realized, though, that God doesn't need to do a new thing when we've still not "gotten" the original thing after 2000 years! So we have to stop, breathe, pray, fast, work, and be silent -- and let the stream of His constant presence slowly and gradually erode us into His likeness with the same rhythm and pace He's been using for ages of ages.

Hope this has helped.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2005, 05:39:53 PM by Pedro » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2005, 11:54:33 AM »

Sunny---

Thanks for sharing your concerns and questions! You are not alone! I grew up in a Protestant, evangelical church and have had a fervent, growing faith for years upon years. I have not converted to orthodoxy, but have been attending an orthdox Church for the past few months. I go to seek a greater way to worship, but often find myself challenged especially when I pray. Whether at Church or at home...I fear my words are too much or too little...I try to pray with a prayer book but yearn to cry out to God with my own words. In my prayer times, I often do both...but am scared that when I do pray with my own words that I am doing it all wrong. This feeling has caused me, at times, to not want to pray at all. This is never the answere.

If your situation is at all like mine, I want to encourage you to keep praying. I will not claim to know all the answeres...or even to be firm where I stand in my faith. I do know that our God is a relational God who gave us prayer as a way to communicate with him. As you seek truth, your honest intentions will be rewarded...seek and ye shall find.

Keep praying sunny!

Linden
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2005, 07:56:42 PM »

Sunny,

I came from a pentecostal background and know what you're talking about. 

It's not that hard.  Think you got a message?  Go talk to your priest.  Think you ran across something in the Bible that means something to you?  Go talk to your priest.  It's no biggie.  The danger is in not submitting what you think is a message or "leading" to the Church, specifically your priest.

So go ask your priest when you aren't sure.  That's what they're there for! 
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2005, 10:25:54 PM »

When I pray i'm careful to just pray the words and not imagine or think anything about God because it might be error.

From what I can gather, a monk in The Way of the Pilgrim encourages the pilgrim to imagine his own heart when he prays.

And regardless of what the Orthodox Church teaches on this, I reccomend Ignatious Layola's Spiritual Exercises.

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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2005, 10:31:06 PM »

And regardless of what the Orthodox Church teaches on this, I reccomend Ignatious Layola's Spiritual Exercises.

If you think it's good and beneficial, that's one thing (I can't say either way, I own it but haven't read it).  I hate to sound like I'm picking on you (because I don't mean to), but I think it's very dangerous to just recommend it "regardless of what the Orthodox Church teaches on this".  Wouldn't you want to know that our Church would approve of it if you were reading for spiritual benefit? 
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2005, 10:39:55 PM »

Wouldn't you want to know that our Church would approve of it if you were reading for spiritual benefit?

If the Orthodox Church condemned it, it would still be beneficial.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2005, 10:48:30 PM by Matthew777 » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2005, 10:42:13 PM »

"Beneficial", yes, perhaps, to a certain extent (e.g., academically).  "Spiritually beneficial"?  I don't think so.  The Church is not in the business of condemning things left and right; if it does do that, it usually has a good reason for it. 
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2005, 10:45:51 PM »

The Church is not in the business of condemning things left and right; if it does do that, it usually has a good reason for it.

I understand that but God alone is infallible.

Furthermore, from my own experience and that of many others, the Spiritual Exercises are spiritually beneficial.
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2005, 07:44:13 AM »

Quote
Quote
The Church is not in the business of condemning things left and right; if it does do that, it usually has a good reason for it.

I understand that but God alone is infallible.

I disagree, Matthew.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2005, 07:45:56 AM by Pedro » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2005, 01:17:03 PM »



I understand that but God alone is infallible.

I disagree, Matthew.
Quote

The claim to papal infallibility is one reason why I cannot accept Roman Catholicism. I understand that God alone is infallible and even His church on earth can sometimes make mistakes.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2005, 01:17:27 PM by Matthew777 » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2005, 01:33:21 PM »

Quote
I understand that God alone is infallible and even His church on earth can sometimes make mistakes.

This stuff is getting old really fast. Please stop the nonsense. There are people on this forum who are honestly seeking more knowledge of Orthodoxy.

Gregory
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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2005, 03:46:07 PM »



This stuff is getting old really fast. Please stop the nonsense. There are people on this forum who are honestly seeking more knowledge of Orthodoxy.

Gregory

How is this non-sense? I would say that the split between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches over the Council of Chalcedon was a mistake. We are only human.
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« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2005, 03:55:13 PM »

I understand that but God alone is infallible.

This statement betrays that you do not have an Orthodox understanding of the Church. You often say when you are starting a thread that you are "humbly awaiting our response." If this is truly so, then perhaps you should do the humble thing and ask yourself why so many Orthodox brothers and sisters are at odds with you over these issues. Pray about it, seek genuine spiritual guidance from reputable Orthodox clergy or monastics, and then come back once you have resolved these things in your heart.

Love in Christ,

Bob

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« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2005, 04:11:43 PM »


This statement betrays that you do not have an Orthodox understanding of the Church.


I believe that only within the Orthodox Church can mankind find right doctrine, right worship, the right interpretation of the Bible, and the fullness of the faith; however, that does not prevent its members from making mistakes or hurting one another, whether accidently or intentionally.


 Pray about it, seek genuine spiritual guidance from reputable Orthodox clergy or monastics, and then come back once you have resolved these things in your heart.


The advice that I receive from the clergy is that the Chalcedonian contraversy was due to semantical and linguistic differences and therefore should not be a stumbling block to fellowship between Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Christians.

You are right that I need to pray more about this.

Thank you for your sincere words of advice and may peace be upon you and your spirit.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2005, 04:13:03 PM by Matthew777 » Logged

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