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Author Topic: Does Sola Scriptura actually exist?  (Read 5204 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #135 on: May 07, 2013, 12:55:26 PM »

. If this is what our evangelism is based on, we're doomed.

What do you suggest?
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« Reply #136 on: May 07, 2013, 03:44:54 PM »

No, we are doomed because we like to use early Church history as the basis for saying we are the True Church, yet provide little evidence by our actions that we are.  It is not so much that the Protestants have to cling to one or two proof texts to prove their point as it is that the Orthodox have to ignore large parts of the scripture and supplement it with "tradition" to prove their point.  Probably the only thing that keeps me Orthodox is that my firm belief in the primacy of Scripture over Tradition also causes me to take very seriously what those that gave us the Scripture have to say about the matter.  I cannot reconcile that those who without error gave us the Scriptures could contain a lot of error in interpreting them, so I rely very heavily on the early Fathers of the Church for interpreting the Scriptures.  I have my doubts that many religious organizations calling themselves "Orthodox" today have any connection with those men.  And yes, I confess these doubts to my priest.

I think after the 5th wave of sola nonsense, I just no longer care. You'll have those who will look at Christianity through the history of the Early Church and what the apostles taught, and those who will look at it through the much newer history of the buffet style contemporary church.....
Good luck getting more than a tiny fraction of people to care about early Church history. If this is what our evangelism is based on, we're doomed.

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Im gonna go see what my nutcase lefty pals Marc and Achronos are up to while I wait for the hyper-righteous protestant fire to diminish as it always does.

^^
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« Reply #137 on: May 07, 2013, 03:52:32 PM »

Anybody that has been baptized into Christ, following the ancient Trinitarian formula with following the intention that the Church has always had, is a member of the Church- this is the understanding of Cyprian and Augustine. 

Of St. Augustine and Optatus, but certainly not St. Cyprian.
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« Reply #138 on: May 08, 2013, 01:17:53 PM »

. If this is what our evangelism is based on, we're doomed.

What do you suggest?

Exactly. To me, history and what the apostles taught to their successors is what pointed me to Orthodoxy and precisely why I discovered how far off the beaten path the various protestant denominations fell from the original teachings.
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« Reply #139 on: May 08, 2013, 01:38:40 PM »

No, we are doomed because we like to use early Church history as the basis for saying we are the True Church, yet provide little evidence by our actions that we are.  It is not so much that the Protestants have to cling to one or two proof texts to prove their point as it is that the Orthodox have to ignore large parts of the scripture and supplement it with "tradition" to prove their point.  

  Alot of Protestants, and our western culture at large, actually like conversation and debate above authority.  It's part of the postmodern world, and frankly its not all bad.   Conversation has a way of drawing people together, whereas proclamation of authority can be divisive.

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I cannot reconcile that those who without error gave us the Scriptures could contain a lot of error in interpreting them, so I rely very heavily on the early Fathers of the Church for interpreting the Scriptures.  I have my doubts that many religious organizations calling themselves "Orthodox" today have any connection with those men.  And yes, I confess these doubts to my priest.  

  I don't doubt that Orthodox churches have connection with the apostles in some sense.  But, I don't see that in itself as good enough.  I see the Protestant narrative as equally persuasive: the western Protestant experience of "apostolic succesion" has shown that mechanical succession of bishops isn't unproblematic if it is the criteria we use to judge orthodoxy.  This is why some of the Lutheran divines had no problems parting from that particular concept of apostolic succession.
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« Reply #140 on: May 08, 2013, 10:31:52 PM »

No, we are doomed because we like to use early Church history as the basis for saying we are the True Church, yet provide little evidence by our actions that we are.  It is not so much that the Protestants have to cling to one or two proof texts to prove their point as it is that the Orthodox have to ignore large parts of the scripture and supplement it with "tradition" to prove their point.  Probably the only thing that keeps me Orthodox is that my firm belief in the primacy of Scripture over Tradition also causes me to take very seriously what those that gave us the Scripture have to say about the matter.  I cannot reconcile that those who without error gave us the Scriptures could contain a lot of error in interpreting them, so I rely very heavily on the early Fathers of the Church for interpreting the Scriptures.  I have my doubts that many religious organizations calling themselves "Orthodox" today have any connection with those men.  And yes, I confess these doubts to my priest.

I think after the 5th wave of sola nonsense, I just no longer care. You'll have those who will look at Christianity through the history of the Early Church and what the apostles taught, and those who will look at it through the much newer history of the buffet style contemporary church.....
Good luck getting more than a tiny fraction of people to care about early Church history. If this is what our evangelism is based on, we're doomed.

Quote
Im gonna go see what my nutcase lefty pals Marc and Achronos are up to while I wait for the hyper-righteous protestant fire to diminish as it always does.

^^

Oh I agree, Punch, I agree. You have put it much more nicely.

Just about all of the things we do to try and convert people (to what?) are complete garbage.

Become Orthodox! You can fast! say long prayers! Like a Real Christian! And look, we have the best Liturgy!

It is all nonsense. It is the obfuscation of the Gospel in the name of Christ. It's just heart-wrenching.

Don't know if this is what you were getting at, but it's the way I see it.

As for the part of your post about Scripture and the Fathers, maybe I will reply to that later. I don't think anyone else is thinking what I am thinking.
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« Reply #141 on: May 08, 2013, 10:40:41 PM »

. If this is what our evangelism is based on, we're doomed.

What do you suggest?


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But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. Lk 11:28 KJV

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And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. Jn 3:14,15 KJV

If this ain't the main message, you're a clanging cymbal.
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« Reply #142 on: May 08, 2013, 10:53:11 PM »

Oh I agree, Punch, I agree. You have put it much more nicely.

Just about all of the things we do to try and convert people (to what?) are complete garbage.

  I'd like to hear more of your thoughts.  Because I had some of those same issues as a catechumen.  Lots of talk about fasting (I can fast with the best of you), liturgy (the Orthodox liturgy is indeed beautiful), but very little about how it related to Jesus Christ's actual words in the Bible.  

  In fairness...  I do not think some Protestant groups are always doing a great job of presenting the Gospel either.  Take the cultural issues in the west- conservative Protestants are spending alot of energy to pretend they are still influential, but the impression the average non-devout person here gets is that Christianity is about rejecting gays, being a judgemental legalist, controlling peoples lives, or having a shallow theology or intellectual understanding of anything.  There's not much talk about unmerited grace, universal human depravity, or Christian liberty, things that early Protestant were known for, things that should make these culture war issues very much secondary matters.  
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« Reply #143 on: May 09, 2013, 09:20:12 AM »

Yes, that is exactly what I was getting at.  Make no mistake, I do believe that the Orthodox Church contains the fullness of the Faith.  However, I think that the political organization that currently manefests itself as the Orthodox Church (real as it may be) is wholly unsuited for evangelism in a land where people are for the most part literate and able to think for themselves without having a king tell them what to think.  It is one thing to be in some third world bung hole where fasting and aceticism are not that difficult since there is nothing to eat or buy anyway, and everyone around you is in the same boat that you are, and quite another to attempt to "evangelize" to people who can read the scriptures as well as anyone (and unlike most Orthodox that I have met, actually have done so) and consider much of what we have as blessings to be used in moderation, not to be shunned in some masochistic self abuse ritual.  No, I had my reasons for converting to Orthodoxy.  I don't even try anymore when it comes to some of my other Christian friends.  In many ways, they are probably better off where they are than me.


Oh I agree, Punch, I agree. You have put it much more nicely.

Just about all of the things we do to try and convert people (to what?) are complete garbage.

Become Orthodox! You can fast! say long prayers! Like a Real Christian! And look, we have the best Liturgy!

It is all nonsense. It is the obfuscation of the Gospel in the name of Christ. It's just heart-wrenching.

Don't know if this is what you were getting at, but it's the way I see it.As for the part of your post about Scripture and the Fathers, maybe I will reply to that later. I don't think anyone else is thinking what I am thinking.
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« Reply #144 on: May 09, 2013, 10:33:46 AM »

So if fasting, prayer, and Divine Liturgy don't appeal, then suffering for the Faith will never appeal to market-driven non third-world bung hole societies--not for a season, not for a generation, or several generations, and certainly not for centuries. Don't want any executed patriarchs, kidnapped bishops, countless persecuted, tortured, imprisoned clergy and common lay people--Saints among them.
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« Reply #145 on: May 09, 2013, 10:50:28 AM »

However, I think that the political organization that currently manefests itself as the Orthodox Church (real as it may be) is wholly unsuited for evangelism  

  A few nights ago I attended a discussion group at an OCA parish and the priest and some of the congregation discussed evangelism, though perhaps not in the depth that subject could have warranted (and it got side-tracked into talking about spiritual formation).  I like what I heard, especially there was some familiarity with the issues of postmodern culture - in this respect they are ahead of alot of Protestant conservatives who resist this truth.   Mission-oriented evangelism should be at the heart of the Christian faith and when churches neglect that they are effectively not being truly Christian- I think this means serving people where they are at, being "incarnational", rather than dogmatic or conversionistic (being a Christian should never be about agreeing to an ideology).  And yet, I have to wonder how the institutions in the Orthodox Church can be responsive to the changing world we live in, especially as Orthodoxy has been shaped so much by autocratic rules, as you yourself acknowledge.  People now days are radically skeptical of any coherent, totalizing narrative of the world.   You can tilt at that windmill but ultimately its pointless to do so.

So if fasting, prayer, and Divine Liturgy don't appeal, then suffering for the Faith will never appeal to market-driven non third-world bung hole societies--not for a season, not for a generation, or several generations, and certainly not for centuries. Don't want any executed patriarchs, kidnapped bishops, countless persecuted, tortured, imprisoned clergy and common lay people--Saints among them.

  We in North America no longer live in a world where people could get bothered enough to actively persecute believers in that manner.  Structure that made those sorts of issues relevant has collapsed.  More likely is that strident Christian voices will simply become irrelevant if they choose an adversarial stance to culture, including to peoples individualism.   But those people are still our neighbors and Christ commanded us to love them and gave us an example of service.

  There is a legend that when St. Patrick was travelling around Ireland he was shown a pagan moon symbol chalked onto a rock.  He drew a cross through it and that's how the Celtic cross came to be.  Rather than choosing an adversarial stance against the pagan culture he worked with what he had.  Maybe there is a lesson there.
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« Reply #146 on: May 09, 2013, 01:36:28 PM »

Oh I agree, Punch, I agree. You have put it much more nicely.

Just about all of the things we do to try and convert people (to what?) are complete garbage.

  I'd like to hear more of your thoughts.  Because I had some of those same issues as a catechumen.  Lots of talk about fasting (I can fast with the best of you), liturgy (the Orthodox liturgy is indeed beautiful), but very little about how it related to Jesus Christ's actual words in the Bible.  

  In fairness...  I do not think some Protestant groups are always doing a great job of presenting the Gospel either.  Take the cultural issues in the west- conservative Protestants are spending alot of energy to pretend they are still influential, but the impression the average non-devout person here gets is that Christianity is about rejecting gays, being a judgemental legalist, controlling peoples lives, or having a shallow theology or intellectual understanding of anything.  There's not much talk about unmerited grace, universal human depravity, or Christian liberty, things that early Protestant were known for, things that should make these culture war issues very much secondary matters.  

There's a lot of factors at play here. As orthonorm has pointed out a couple times, maximalism can become a problem by inadvertently shifting emphasis from essentials to peripherals. Perhaps also people realize that they're not willing to give up possessions, a lucrative career, etc. and so they substitute these things with trivial excercises like fasting and prayers in order to feel like they're doing something. Since the actual Gospel (the one that's explained in those books called Gospels) is rather frightening to confront, people try to circumvent it very creatively.

In the end, a lot of people just don't have faith, which is made apparent in their lack of all but the most superficial works.

As you've said, a lot of different Christian groups have this same problem, although it manifests itself in different ways.

The only people I've seen in America making any substantial sacrifices to do the work of the Gospel are some Catholic and Evangelical groups, especially when it comes to meeting the bodily and spiritual needs of my city's large poor and homeless population. Everyone else is irrelevant.

If anyone ever complains that churches are suffering because they're not "relevant," I can point them to some true Christian relevance. It does not involve guitars or "ancient Christian spirituality" or whatever.
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« Reply #147 on: May 09, 2013, 02:08:15 PM »

I think that if we are to do any good in this country, we need a new structure. The jurisdictional unity that most people clamour over is probably beside the point. The ultra-hierarchical diocesan system is impotent here. In fact, it is holding us back.

Historically, this problem was circumvented by supplementing the political church with the activities of the monastic establishment. Protestant churches overcame their analogous version of this problem with the so-called "para-church organizations." Something similar to such organizations (which already exist in the Orthodox Church) is probably the most practicable solution.

We may also want to consider figuring out what we believe, which, as far as I can tell, Orthodox have only an extremely vague notion of. One of the reasons Evangelical Protestant evangelism is so much more effective is that their doctrine is so easy to articulate. We would do well to first figure out what we believe, and then find some way of articulating it in a way that a non-specialist born after 800 can understand.

Of course, the whole hearing the word of God and doing it thing is what's most important, but I figured that's understood.

Yes, that is exactly what I was getting at.  Make no mistake, I do believe that the Orthodox Church contains the fullness of the Faith.  However, I think that the political organization that currently manefests itself as the Orthodox Church (real as it may be) is wholly unsuited for evangelism in a land where people are for the most part literate and able to think for themselves without having a king tell them what to think.  It is one thing to be in some third world bung hole where fasting and aceticism are not that difficult since there is nothing to eat or buy anyway, and everyone around you is in the same boat that you are, and quite another to attempt to "evangelize" to people who can read the scriptures as well as anyone (and unlike most Orthodox that I have met, actually have done so) and consider much of what we have as blessings to be used in moderation, not to be shunned in some masochistic self abuse ritual.  No, I had my reasons for converting to Orthodoxy.  I don't even try anymore when it comes to some of my other Christian friends.  In many ways, they are probably better off where they are than me.


Oh I agree, Punch, I agree. You have put it much more nicely.

Just about all of the things we do to try and convert people (to what?) are complete garbage.

Become Orthodox! You can fast! say long prayers! Like a Real Christian! And look, we have the best Liturgy!

It is all nonsense. It is the obfuscation of the Gospel in the name of Christ. It's just heart-wrenching.

Don't know if this is what you were getting at, but it's the way I see it.As for the part of your post about Scripture and the Fathers, maybe I will reply to that later. I don't think anyone else is thinking what I am thinking.
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« Reply #148 on: May 09, 2013, 04:52:10 PM »

So if fasting, prayer, and Divine Liturgy don't appeal, then suffering for the Faith will never appeal to market-driven non third-world bung hole societies--not for a season, not for a generation, or several generations, and certainly not for centuries. Don't want any executed patriarchs, kidnapped bishops, countless persecuted, tortured, imprisoned clergy and common lay people--Saints among them.

Satan never eats or sleeps, so he should be an excellent Orthodox Christian by your set of values.  And your comment also ignores large numbers of Protestant Christians who have gone to their death for what they believe with neither 180 day a year fasting or having ever attended a Divine Liturgy.  One is not prepared to "suffer" for the faith by useless rituals and vain shows of piety.  They are prepared by Love for God, and following the commandments of Christ clearly expressed in the Scriptures.  Faith activates works and makes them good.  Fasting and liturgies, and even the vain repetitions of prayer, mean nothing and gain nothing without first having Faith.  And how does the Scripture describe the fruits of the Spirit and the manifestation of Faith?  Surely not by fasting and Liturgies and reading of prayers from prayer books.
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« Reply #149 on: May 09, 2013, 06:30:21 PM »

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« Reply #150 on: May 09, 2013, 06:41:13 PM »

Most denominations teach that, but then there are a lot of other important theological issues, like "Is the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Christ or is it symbolic?" "Can women be priests?" "The Nature of Christ",  "The Fillioque" and lots and lots of other things.  

Do these things save you? Any church with women priests or leaders are going to hell? Opinion on Fillioque determines your salvation?

There is a book by Robert Farrar Capon "The Parables of the Kingdom, Grace and Judgment" There is a chapter he calls the parable of Theology and Faith. The basic point is the house is built on Faith, pure, blind, childlike faith. There is a porch you need to get into the house. This porch is theology. Some of the porches can be beautiful with easy ways to get in. While others are messy and are tougher but they still allow access. What you need in the end is to get into the house. You would have to read the book to get the whole idea but that is the basics.

Sure, Orthodoxy might be that perfect porch, it's just not the only one and there are many other ways into the house.
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« Reply #151 on: May 09, 2013, 06:47:57 PM »

Only God can work out the salvation of his people, and there is no decision for anyone to take within or without the true church of Christ.

But straight away, one thing is sure. When scripture and Jesus told us that the sign of Jonah would be the only sign for this generation. Why didn´t any clever believer in distance to the apostles claim that he still waited for a man to be puked out from a fish? And I mean that literally.

But as you said very well dear brother, you had to stick to the apostles and the faith once delievered. They were a authoritative and necessary source for the salvation of ones soul. Which only God ultimately could determine, but the way was clear to anyone through the apostles. That doest mean that the thief on the cross went to hell, no, Gods grace is a mystery. But we see its climts through the true church, which if we neglect, neglect a great source for Gods true grace. 
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« Reply #152 on: May 09, 2013, 07:06:30 PM »

Please take notice dear brother Happy Lutheran. The idea of pluralistic ways to the house or many ways on "grasping" the church is just not valid. That idea in itself is self-destructing. If one way, within all ways to the same house, claim that it is the only true way to the house. How can suddenly "the many way idea" exclude that one way which claims authority?

This idea is self-destructing. The church was always a single single single way of living before Christ. It was always one people and one structure in itself, which had so much holiness and power that the gates of hell would never prevail against it, and Christ really meant that part.


When "The church" becomes only an idea, which any person simply takes and makes a new movement of. Then the church would self destruct, but praise be to God that his one true orthodox church still exists.

Think of it like this comparison:

Today religion has become an arena of chaos where all ideas,ways and spirituality seems to lead to God.

Here comes a man claiming the idea of Bahai religion. (All monotheistic religions are ultimately true) ---> Compare to the idea of all churches are "true" ones.

Suddenly one founder of a faith says. I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me. In one second, the wide open loving idea of the Bahais will shut their doors before that man who claims that. The Bahai religion therefore doesn´t seem hold its own standard.

The church is exactly the same. It is today claiming that way, the apostles claimed that way, and it will always claim that only way. If a "many way thesis" rejects that church, then it breaks its own foundation in a matter of a second.

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« Reply #153 on: May 09, 2013, 07:17:14 PM »

Jude 1:3
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people.

The faith and salvation was entrusted and delivered, the verse is very clear. Therefore the faith was a living truth within the church, and a actual way of living that was delivered to show your faith. That was why the apostles never got tired of laying hands and ordaining people, praying at exact hours (Acts 3:1) or praying and annointing the sick with oil. (James 5:14). Their way of living was a faith once delivered by Christ.

What every "church" sadly does today is to scream out thousands of ways to live out your faith, without considering the way it was passed to and through the apostles.
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« Reply #154 on: May 09, 2013, 07:30:15 PM »

With a loving heart dear brother Happy Lutheran. What I mean in other words is that the "thesis" or idea Robert Farrar Capon on theology. Some ways are easier, some ways are harder, but all can lead to the ultimate and same goal, the idea is destroying itself. And if he basically writes a book about that without noticing his contradiction, then he didn´t succeed that well :S And don´t get me wrong please dear brother, i mean it in a loving manner.

The problem if we implement his thought to reality, is that we got him claiming authority to state that all theological struggles can lead to the same house. And in the same time there is one theological thought ( The orthodox church ) which claims a singular best theological and living way to get to that house. How can  Robert Farrar Capon with his own thesis exclude the orthodox church all of a sudden?

It´s impossible, the idea doesn´t work out today with all the churches, ways or theological paths. Call it whatever anyone wants, but Christ claimed to be a single way to God, and the church claimed a single way to the faith of Christ.  Robert Farrar Capon is not bigger than Christ Cheesy
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« Reply #155 on: May 09, 2013, 07:40:01 PM »

We believers always need a ultimate authoritative source here on earth to state anything theological conclusion. Therefore the one true church of Christ is a everlasting grace of God by which he works in day & night, a true blessing to humans.

Because without any authority, how can anyone affirm sola scriptura in the first place? What many in the west sadly does is giving themselves authority to say, sola scriptura, and then they go all in on the bible to prove their sola scriptura. Same with any other question. That´s sad, by what authority can they neglect anyone who rejects sola scriptura? By if they are not given authority as the apostles were...
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« Reply #156 on: May 09, 2013, 10:03:12 PM »

So if fasting, prayer, and Divine Liturgy don't appeal, then suffering for the Faith will never appeal to market-driven non third-world bung hole societies--not for a season, not for a generation, or several generations, and certainly not for centuries. Don't want any executed patriarchs, kidnapped bishops, countless persecuted, tortured, imprisoned clergy and common lay people--Saints among them.

Satan never eats or sleeps, so he should be an excellent Orthodox Christian by your set of values.  And your comment also ignores large numbers of Protestant Christians who have gone to their death for what they believe with neither 180 day a year fasting or having ever attended a Divine Liturgy.  One is not prepared to "suffer" for the faith by useless rituals and vain shows of piety.  They are prepared by Love for God, and following the commandments of Christ clearly expressed in the Scriptures.  Faith activates works and makes them good.  Fasting and liturgies, and even the vain repetitions of prayer, mean nothing and gain nothing without first having Faith.  And how does the Scripture describe the fruits of the Spirit and the manifestation of Faith?  Surely not by fasting and Liturgies and reading of prayers from prayer books.

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.
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« Reply #157 on: May 09, 2013, 10:15:08 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  
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« Reply #158 on: May 09, 2013, 10:46:42 PM »

So if fasting, prayer, and Divine Liturgy don't appeal, then suffering for the Faith will never appeal to market-driven non third-world bung hole societies--not for a season, not for a generation, or several generations, and certainly not for centuries. Don't want any executed patriarchs, kidnapped bishops, countless persecuted, tortured, imprisoned clergy and common lay people--Saints among them.

Satan never eats or sleeps, so he should be an excellent Orthodox Christian by your set of values.  And your comment also ignores large numbers of Protestant Christians who have gone to their death for what they believe with neither 180 day a year fasting or having ever attended a Divine Liturgy.  One is not prepared to "suffer" for the faith by useless rituals and vain shows of piety.  They are prepared by Love for God, and following the commandments of Christ clearly expressed in the Scriptures.  Faith activates works and makes them good.  Fasting and liturgies, and even the vain repetitions of prayer, mean nothing and gain nothing without first having Faith.  And how does the Scripture describe the fruits of the Spirit and the manifestation of Faith?  Surely not by fasting and Liturgies and reading of prayers from prayer books.

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

The Serbian Orthodox Church?

Incidentally, if you "love fasting," you definitely have an eating disorder, and one which I imagine could easily spiral out of control.
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« Reply #159 on: May 09, 2013, 10:57:28 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.


I think that we are close, but coming from a different angle.  I do not believe that prayer, fasting and vigils lead a person to God.  If that were so, the Hindu and others would become Christian since they pray, fast and hold vigils to an extent that probably make us look sad.  I believe that Love of God will manifest itself in the performance of good works (such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those who are sick and in prison, and the other things that Christ Himself tells us that He will judge us on). 

Worship comes from our love for God.  The more we love Him, the more that we will desire to worship Him.  As to prayer and fasting, they are means to an end, not the end that we seek to attain.  I firmly believe that if the only works that we have to present to Christ are our fasts and vigils, it will not go well for us.  He nowhere in His Word mentions that as a criteria of Salvation.  However, if we love one another, help those less fortunate than ourselves, and do these things because we Love God and these are His Commandments, I really believe that he will forgive us for thankfully making use of the gifts that He has given us, even if certain of His people get their panties in a wad over it.

No, I am not at all confused.  I have read the lives of these Saints, and even assisted in the publishing of some of them in English (in a small way).  It saddens me that the only thing that some supposedly "Orthodox" Christians seem to get out of reading the Lives of the Saints (if, indeed, they have ever read them) is the fasting and vigils.  Heck, if that was all that is what it takes to be a Christian, the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, demons and the like are super-Orthodox.  On the other hand, if one is really a Christian, why would they put so much emphasis on something that even Christ tells us should be done in secret?  I'm sorry, but if the only thing that marks one as a Christian is what they do or don't eat and how long they stand in Church, they probably really suck at being Christians.  It truly saddens me that when I talk to other Christians about Orthodoxy, the only thing that they have heard about the Church (if anything at all) is that we wear fancy vestments and fast a lot.  Yep, something that I am really proud to be known for - not!
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« Reply #160 on: May 09, 2013, 11:03:13 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.
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« Reply #161 on: May 09, 2013, 11:26:28 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.

I quite well know that.  I am not sure that you do.
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« Reply #162 on: May 09, 2013, 11:39:03 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.

I quite well know that.  I am not sure that you do.

It's ok. Anyway, thank you for the thoughtful reply above, of which I mostly agree.  Christ is Risen!
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« Reply #163 on: May 11, 2013, 10:40:52 AM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.

I quite well know that.  I am not sure that you do.

It's ok. Anyway, thank you for the thoughtful reply above, of which I mostly agree.  Christ is Risen!

Indeed He has.  The Saints and Martyrs did not "love" fasting and rituals.  They also did not suffer for them.  That is the thinking that I reject, and that unfortunately seems to have a large following among those that call themselves Orthodox.  The Saints and Martyrs loved God, and suffered because of that love for God, which caused the World to hate them.  Their love for God manifested itself in many ways, including fasting, long vigils, hours spent praying and the like.  They also invented rituals so that these things could be passed down in good order.  They certainly did not invent them for God because He does not need our works or our useless actions. 

Perhaps some of my thinking is tainted due to my long years as a Protestant.  Indeed, I was a Protestant for twice as long as I have been Orthodox.  In the areas where I lived, there were a large number of Pentecostals and other sorts of Holy Rollers.  If you got around these people, all they could talk about was speaking in tongues.  In fact, for some of them Salvation was not possible unless one spoke in tongues.  Yet, per the Scriptures, it is the least of the Spiritual gifts.  I see the Orthodox fasting fetish to be no different than the Pentecostal fixation on tongues.  It is all they talk about for 40 days before Easter.  The subject comes up at every gathering and on every forum.  For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast.  Heck, I can kill 5000 Croatians and sleep with my wife's best friend and be forgiven.  But don't even think about coming to confession unless you have fasted.  Yet our Church needs Bingo money and hall rental to even come close to making our budget, which BTW contains very little for doing the kinds of work that Christ commanded us, but is mostly used to maintain our ostentatious building.  We have elevated fasting to the same level as the Pentecostals have elevated speaking in tongues, and that goes against everything that I have read either in the Scriptures or in the writings of the Fathers.

Now do you understand where I am coming from?  It is not fasting, prayer, vigils and rituals that I dislike.  In fact, they were some of what brought me to Orthodoxy since I tired of the "cheep Grace" and bare bones fundamentalism of Protestantism.  What I dislike is the way I see these things used in many (but by no means all) Orthodox churches.
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« Reply #164 on: May 11, 2013, 08:31:52 PM »

...For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast....

Wow. I once heard a seminarian say in a sermon that fasting (during Lent) was one of the things we need to do to be justified before God.

There is simply no way someone can read the Gospels or even the entire Bible and come away with the impression that fasting is necessary for salvation.

Where on earth do people get these weird ideas from?
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« Reply #165 on: May 11, 2013, 09:39:43 PM »

...For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast....

Wow. I once heard a seminarian say in a sermon that fasting (during Lent) was one of the things we need to do to be justified before God.

There is simply no way someone can read the Gospels or even the entire Bible and come away with the impression that fasting is necessary for salvation.

Where on earth do people get these weird ideas from?

How?  Very simple.  First start with universal illiteracy.  Then create a special class of people with "special graces" and make sure that they are the only ones that can read.  Then tell the people that if they don't do everything that these people say, they will go to Hell.  Kill anyone that disagrees.  Then repeat for 1500 years and, walla, you have it.  By the time the people can read for themselves, everything has already been "interpreted" for them.  A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.  No, this is not Orthodoxy, it is HUMAN NATURE.  That is why it needs to be guarded against, and that is why study of the Scriptures by Laymen, under the guidance of Priests, is so important.  I have found that in the Orthodox parishes where the Priests encourage reading of the Scriptures and of the Fathers, and welcome discussion and questions, fetishism is minimal if found at all.  In those parishes where questions are answered with "who are you to argue with a Priest" and "don't read that book, it is dangerous for laymen", the parish tends to be filled with the intellectually lazy who simply do what they have always done, and anyone with half a brain has gone elsewhere. 
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« Reply #166 on: May 11, 2013, 10:00:49 PM »

Come on, I gave you two quotes and I could give you a dozen more if you want them.

To prove my bold assertion:

Quote from: St. Cyprian of Carthage
1. "Marcianus, who abides at Aries, has associated himself with Novatian, and has departed from the unity of the Catholic Church (St. Cyprian, Epistle 66)"

2. "When we were together in council, dearest brethren, we read your letter which you wrote to us concerning those who seem to be baptized by heretics and schismatics, (asking) whether, when they come to the catholic Church, which is one, they ought to be baptized. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 69)"

3. "Remission of sins is not granted except in the Church, and that among heretics, where there is no Church sins cannot be put away. (Idem)"

4. "Those who have been dipped abroad outside the Church, and have been stained among heretics and schismatics with the taint of profane water, when they come to us and to the Church which is one ought to be baptized. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 71)"

5."For it has been delivered to us, that there is one God, and one Christ, and one hope, and one faith, and one Church, and one baptism ordained only in the one Church, from which unity whosoever will depart must needs be found with heretics. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 73.11)"

6. "Therefore, dearest brother, having explored and seen the truth; it is observed and held by us, that all who are converted from any heresy whatever to the Church must be baptized by the only and lawful baptism of the Church (St. Cyprian, Epistle 73.12)"

7. For which reason Novatian neither ought to be nor can be expected, inasmuch as he also is without the Church and acting in opposition to the peace and love of Christ, from being counted among adversaries and antichrists. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.1)

8. In addition, moreover, the Lord establishes it in His Gospel, and says, "But if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto you as a heathen man and a publican." Now if they who despise the Church are counted heathens and publicans, much more certainly is it necessary that rebels and enemies, who forge false altars, and lawless priesthoods, and sacrilegious sacrifices, and corrupter names, should be counted among heathens and publicans; since they who sin less, and are only despisers of the Church, are by the Lord's sentence judged to be heathens and publicans. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.1)

9. Wherefore, since the Church alone has the living water, and the power of baptizing and cleansing man, he who says that any one can be baptized and sanctified by Novatian must first show and teach that Novatian is in the Church or presides over the Church. For the Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with Novatian, she was not with Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop Fabian by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honour of the priesthood, the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.3)

10. They strive to set before and prefer the sordid and profane washing of heretics to the true and only and legitimate baptism of the Catholic Church, not considering that it is written, "He who is baptized by one dead, what avails his washing? "  Now it is manifest that they who are not in the Church of Christ are reckoned among the dead. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 70.1)

11. And they say that in this matter they follow ancient custom; although among the ancients these were as yet the first beginnings of heresy and schisms, so that those were involved in them who departed from the Church, having first been baptized therein (St. Cyprian, Epistle 70.2)

12. For when they [the Novatians] say, "Do you believe the remission of sins and life eternal through the holy Church? "they lie in their interrogatory, since they have not the Church. (St. Cyprian, Epistle 75.7)

+12
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« Reply #167 on: May 11, 2013, 10:04:38 PM »

 There is a legend that when St. Patrick was travelling around Ireland he was shown a pagan moon symbol chalked onto a rock.  He drew a cross through it and that's how the Celtic cross came to be.  Rather than choosing an adversarial stance against the pagan culture he worked with what he had.  Maybe there is a lesson there.

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« Reply #168 on: May 11, 2013, 10:41:10 PM »

...For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast....

Wow. I once heard a seminarian say in a sermon that fasting (during Lent) was one of the things we need to do to be justified before God.

There is simply no way someone can read the Gospels or even the entire Bible and come away with the impression that fasting is necessary for salvation.

Where on earth do people get these weird ideas from?

How?  Very simple.  First start with universal illiteracy.  Then create a special class of people with "special graces" and make sure that they are the only ones that can read.  Then tell the people that if they don't do everything that these people say, they will go to Hell.  Kill anyone that disagrees.  Then repeat for 1500 years and, walla, you have it.  By the time the people can read for themselves, everything has already been "interpreted" for them.  A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.  No, this is not Orthodoxy, it is HUMAN NATURE.  That is why it needs to be guarded against, and that is why study of the Scriptures by Laymen, under the guidance of Priests, is so important.  I have found that in the Orthodox parishes where the Priests encourage reading of the Scriptures and of the Fathers, and welcome discussion and questions, fetishism is minimal if found at all.  In those parishes where questions are answered with "who are you to argue with a Priest" and "don't read that book, it is dangerous for laymen", the parish tends to be filled with the intellectually lazy who simply do what they have always done, and anyone with half a brain has gone elsewhere. 

This is part of it, but I'm sure your tongue-talking Pentecostals read their Bibles plenty. I don't agree that this is just a Biblical illiteracy problem.
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« Reply #169 on: May 12, 2013, 12:07:19 AM »

...For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast....

Wow. I once heard a seminarian say in a sermon that fasting (during Lent) was one of the things we need to do to be justified before God.

There is simply no way someone can read the Gospels or even the entire Bible and come away with the impression that fasting is necessary for salvation.

Where on earth do people get these weird ideas from?

How?  Very simple.  First start with universal illiteracy.  Then create a special class of people with "special graces" and make sure that they are the only ones that can read.  Then tell the people that if they don't do everything that these people say, they will go to Hell.  Kill anyone that disagrees.  Then repeat for 1500 years and, walla, you have it.  By the time the people can read for themselves, everything has already been "interpreted" for them.  A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.  No, this is not Orthodoxy, it is HUMAN NATURE.  That is why it needs to be guarded against, and that is why study of the Scriptures by Laymen, under the guidance of Priests, is so important.  I have found that in the Orthodox parishes where the Priests encourage reading of the Scriptures and of the Fathers, and welcome discussion and questions, fetishism is minimal if found at all.  In those parishes where questions are answered with "who are you to argue with a Priest" and "don't read that book, it is dangerous for laymen", the parish tends to be filled with the intellectually lazy who simply do what they have always done, and anyone with half a brain has gone elsewhere. 

This is part of it, but I'm sure your tongue-talking Pentecostals read their Bibles plenty. I don't agree that this is just a Biblical illiteracy problem.

Oh, believe me, they wore them out.  What I could never understand, however, was how such a group of people that were, for the most part, functionally illiterate could understand the KJV so well.  Then again, maybe that was their problem - they couldn't.
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« Reply #170 on: May 12, 2013, 04:48:43 AM »

Oh, believe me, they wore them out.  What I could never understand, however, was how such a group of people that were, for the most part, functionally illiterate could understand the KJV so well.  Then again, maybe that was their problem - they couldn't.

  It may not be well known but it was actually illegal in many parts of Protestant Europe to hold "Bible studies" or "prayer groups" without a licensed preacher or minister present.   Individuals like John Bunyan, the writer of Pilgrim's Progress, were persecuted under such laws.   While the early Protestant Reformers believed people should be able to read the Bible, they weren't individualists, and governments feared the social unrest that small religious groups might cause:  one of the earliest Anglican homilies disseminated by the establishment to be preached was against quarreling.


 
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« Reply #171 on: May 12, 2013, 09:25:58 AM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.

I quite well know that.  I am not sure that you do.

It's ok. Anyway, thank you for the thoughtful reply above, of which I mostly agree.  Christ is Risen!

Indeed He has.  The Saints and Martyrs did not "love" fasting and rituals.  They also did not suffer for them.  That is the thinking that I reject, and that unfortunately seems to have a large following among those that call themselves Orthodox.  The Saints and Martyrs loved God, and suffered because of that love for God, which caused the World to hate them.  Their love for God manifested itself in many ways, including fasting, long vigils, hours spent praying and the like.  They also invented rituals so that these things could be passed down in good order.  They certainly did not invent them for God because He does not need our works or our useless actions. 

Perhaps some of my thinking is tainted due to my long years as a Protestant.  Indeed, I was a Protestant for twice as long as I have been Orthodox.  In the areas where I lived, there were a large number of Pentecostals and other sorts of Holy Rollers.  If you got around these people, all they could talk about was speaking in tongues.  In fact, for some of them Salvation was not possible unless one spoke in tongues.  Yet, per the Scriptures, it is the least of the Spiritual gifts.  I see the Orthodox fasting fetish to be no different than the Pentecostal fixation on tongues.  It is all they talk about for 40 days before Easter.  The subject comes up at every gathering and on every forum.  For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast.  Heck, I can kill 5000 Croatians and sleep with my wife's best friend and be forgiven.  But don't even think about coming to confession unless you have fasted.  Yet our Church needs Bingo money and hall rental to even come close to making our budget, which BTW contains very little for doing the kinds of work that Christ commanded us, but is mostly used to maintain our ostentatious building.  We have elevated fasting to the same level as the Pentecostals have elevated speaking in tongues, and that goes against everything that I have read either in the Scriptures or in the writings of the Fathers.

Now do you understand where I am coming from?  It is not fasting, prayer, vigils and rituals that I dislike.  In fact, they were some of what brought me to Orthodoxy since I tired of the "cheep Grace" and bare bones fundamentalism of Protestantism.  What I dislike is the way I see these things used in many (but by no means all) Orthodox churches.

Yes, I understand. Misuse is not uncommon and can be discouraging and worrisome. But we always have the marvelous examples of the Saints and their prayers.
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« Reply #172 on: May 12, 2013, 01:54:12 PM »

You must have some strange, false sect confused with the holy saints and martyrs of the Holy Orthodox Church who loved prayer, fasting, and Liturgies.

 Punch's comments are part of the Orthodox tradition:  Amma Theodora, who lived in the desert of Egypt, said the same thing- demons love fasting and vigils, they never sleep and don't eat!

 The point is not to love prayer, fasting, and vigils but to love God.  Hopefully the prayer, fasting, and vigils leads a person to that, but if it doesn't something is amiss.



  

FYI: The holy saints and martyrs did not suffer for vain rituals.

I quite well know that.  I am not sure that you do.

It's ok. Anyway, thank you for the thoughtful reply above, of which I mostly agree.  Christ is Risen!

Indeed He has.  The Saints and Martyrs did not "love" fasting and rituals.  They also did not suffer for them.  That is the thinking that I reject, and that unfortunately seems to have a large following among those that call themselves Orthodox.  The Saints and Martyrs loved God, and suffered because of that love for God, which caused the World to hate them.  Their love for God manifested itself in many ways, including fasting, long vigils, hours spent praying and the like.  They also invented rituals so that these things could be passed down in good order.  They certainly did not invent them for God because He does not need our works or our useless actions. 

Perhaps some of my thinking is tainted due to my long years as a Protestant.  Indeed, I was a Protestant for twice as long as I have been Orthodox.  In the areas where I lived, there were a large number of Pentecostals and other sorts of Holy Rollers.  If you got around these people, all they could talk about was speaking in tongues.  In fact, for some of them Salvation was not possible unless one spoke in tongues.  Yet, per the Scriptures, it is the least of the Spiritual gifts.  I see the Orthodox fasting fetish to be no different than the Pentecostal fixation on tongues.  It is all they talk about for 40 days before Easter.  The subject comes up at every gathering and on every forum.  For some priest (as my own), Salvation is not even possible unless you fast.  Heck, I can kill 5000 Croatians and sleep with my wife's best friend and be forgiven.  But don't even think about coming to confession unless you have fasted.  Yet our Church needs Bingo money and hall rental to even come close to making our budget, which BTW contains very little for doing the kinds of work that Christ commanded us, but is mostly used to maintain our ostentatious building.  We have elevated fasting to the same level as the Pentecostals have elevated speaking in tongues, and that goes against everything that I have read either in the Scriptures or in the writings of the Fathers.

Now do you understand where I am coming from?  It is not fasting, prayer, vigils and rituals that I dislike.  In fact, they were some of what brought me to Orthodoxy since I tired of the "cheep Grace" and bare bones fundamentalism of Protestantism.  What I dislike is the way I see these things used in many (but by no means all) Orthodox churches.

Yes, I understand. Misuse is not uncommon and can be discouraging and worrisome. But we always have the marvelous examples of the Saints and their prayers.

In that we agree.
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