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Author Topic: Has anyone felt driven away from conversion over what you have read?  (Read 1072 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ava
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« on: March 27, 2013, 11:40:40 PM »

(not in any way meant for politics)

I'm in a bit of a problem, and need some direction.  For Lent, I have been reading the daily readings on my app, and a couple of books recommended by my parish, and paying attention to everything said during the services.  I love what I'm reading, but sometimes I just get exhausted at some of the themes.  I know  they are there for a purpose, and I don't think they shouldn't be there, but I just feel something is not right (with me)....can't put my finger on it exactly.

After thinking about it for a while, I think I just can't get over over how much sex is such a major theme of everything.  It's starting to get exhausting.  It seems I can't turn the page without "loose women" here and prostitutes there, and how chaste this person is etc, or even more exhausting is prayers to avoid temptations.  I feel like I'm being tempted more by the constant references.  Before even turning to Orthodoxy sexual themes on TV were exhausting, boring, and not something I sought to watch.

Today I was reading the how Seth came along in Genesis, and here is how my wrongful thoughts are popping into my head now:

I get bothered by how passages go out of there way to make sure we all know that Adam "knew" Eve before Seth came along.  Yeah thanks.  I "knew" my husband before my daughter came along too, but out of decency I don't care to remind people of how the birds and bees work. Oh gee look how many others "knew" and had kids, thanks.  Oh look next bible reading talks about prostitutes. Angry   I'm embarrassed now how such simple phrasing in the Holy Bible bothers me when it never has before.

My question is not why it's written that way, but how do you overcome thinking stuff like this?  I know it's not a problem with marriage for me.  My husband is the best person ever.  I just feel like innocence is being taken away everytime I read.  I don't want to get annoyed by sexual themes in the Bible, but I just am at the moment unfortunately.  And I realize whatever is said in the bible helps others in their lives different from me.

The solution I've thought of is read less, but should I really be avoiding aspects of the faith just because it makes me uncomfortable?  I would talk to my priest but a discussion of this nature would still be uncomfortable for me.  I haven't had a real confession yet to feel comfortable with themes such as this.

Thanks for listening.  I guess I'm just scared that I'm falling off the path again, and the last time I fell off was during this same Lenten time frame last year.   Sad
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2013, 11:59:25 PM »

Do you have unresolved issues with your own "innocence" that is affecting your conversion?

The second obvious question is do you share these feelings with your husband?  If your daughter is old enough, can you talk about sex with her or did no one talk about sex with you?  I learned about sex from reading a book in a grocery store and from a medical book that my father purchased for me; It was never discussed at home.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 12:19:41 AM by SolEX01 » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2013, 12:08:26 AM »

Can you talk to another woman about this? Maybe someone with whom you're more comfortable broaching the subject? I'd hate to have you hold these concerns in out of discomfort (which is perfectly valid, by the way. I would not feel comfortable telling a woman, especially one I look up to for spiritual advice, about my sexual thoughts).

Don't take the advice of a catechumen to heart, but I would recommend that when you come to parts in Scripture that might insight these feelings, you close the book and pray instead. It's always good to pray. Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 12:22:58 AM »

Think of those things as facts and they are not the essence of the story, nor the absolute only facts. They are not meant to stir emotions or carnal imagery (those are in our heads, btw). Otherwise, it's not good to tabooise sexual relations. As someone has said, it can be useful to learn about them and The Bible will have to include references to them since they pertain to human nature and the possibility to sin, and then repent (as did the saints).
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 12:24:41 AM by IoanC » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2013, 12:34:10 AM »

Dear sister,

I had similar situations as I am sure as did many others. Sometimes you might feel overwhelmed with a certain theme, message, idea, gesture (call it whatever you like).  I believe it comes for two reasons: 1) forgetting the reason why something is said or done so many times - why should I cross every single time a priest says "in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit..." 2) appealing to ones' weakness and listening to the advice of the evil one without exploring whether that idea in our heads is true or not... - ie. Bible contradicts itself, something might have gotten lost in translation, this verse perhaps is not 100% true...and other seeds of bad thoughts that the evil one puts in our head to turn us away from the Bible...

To cut the long story short, what you might need is to find a proper explanation (interpretation of the Holy Fathers, etc) of why is the sex a major theme in the Bible.  Reading Bible is great, but in order to avoid interpreting the Bible incorrectly make sure to read the Orthodox commentaries to the Bible passages...and do not stop reading.  That does not solve the problem nor does it help you spiritually...Don't fear about falling of the path again...it is a struggle that each one of us faces throughout our lives sometimes to a greater and sometimes to a lesser degree.

Pray....May God help us in our daily struggles! AMEN!
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 12:39:38 AM by Putnik Namernik » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2013, 02:35:16 AM »

 I just feel like innocence is being taken away everytime I read.  
I don't know if that sort of innocence is part of the whole New Adam thing.

I think such particular innocence and naivete regarding sexuality is something to move out of.

« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 02:36:01 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2013, 02:53:49 AM »

(not in any way meant for politics)

I'm in a bit of a problem, and need some direction.  For Lent, I have been reading the daily readings on my app, and a couple of books recommended by my parish, and paying attention to everything said during the services.  I love what I'm reading, but sometimes I just get exhausted at some of the themes.  I know  they are there for a purpose, and I don't think they shouldn't be there, but I just feel something is not right (with me)....can't put my finger on it exactly.

After thinking about it for a while, I think I just can't get over over how much sex is such a major theme of everything.  It's starting to get exhausting.  It seems I can't turn the page without "loose women" here and prostitutes there, and how chaste this person is etc, or even more exhausting is prayers to avoid temptations.  I feel like I'm being tempted more by the constant references.  Before even turning to Orthodoxy sexual themes on TV were exhausting, boring, and not something I sought to watch.

Today I was reading the how Seth came along in Genesis, and here is how my wrongful thoughts are popping into my head now:

I get bothered by how passages go out of there way to make sure we all know that Adam "knew" Eve before Seth came along.  Yeah thanks.  I "knew" my husband before my daughter came along too, but out of decency I don't care to remind people of how the birds and bees work. Oh gee look how many others "knew" and had kids, thanks.  Oh look next bible reading talks about prostitutes. Angry   I'm embarrassed now how such simple phrasing in the Holy Bible bothers me when it never has before.

My question is not why it's written that way, but how do you overcome thinking stuff like this?  I know it's not a problem with marriage for me.  My husband is the best person ever.  I just feel like innocence is being taken away everytime I read.  I don't want to get annoyed by sexual themes in the Bible, but I just am at the moment unfortunately.  And I realize whatever is said in the bible helps others in their lives different from me.

The solution I've thought of is read less, but should I really be avoiding aspects of the faith just because it makes me uncomfortable?  I would talk to my priest but a discussion of this nature would still be uncomfortable for me.  I haven't had a real confession yet to feel comfortable with themes such as this.

Thanks for listening.  I guess I'm just scared that I'm falling off the path again, and the last time I fell off was during this same Lenten time frame last year.   Sad

Also remember that part of the Bible were written in different eras, in different cultures.  Talking about sex back then is probably not as much of a taboo as we do these days where we either not talk about it, or openly talk about it in a very vulgar way.

The thing is, you have to appreciate how people think and act back in the day, and not interpret it in the context of today.  They're not trying to write porno here, but that is just how they tell such stories back then.  It probably isn't a big deal to the people of the time.
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2013, 07:29:52 AM »

Please consider visiting a good Orthodox women's monastery and arrange to speak with the abbess or someone else there about this subject.  Developing a relationship with a sound monastery is very helpful to the spiritual life of the laity, and visits to monasteries can be particularly helpful during this time of Lent.  Like you, nuns are also women, and so it may be easier for you to discuss this issue with them.  In addition to being women, they have also committed themselves to a life of complete celibacy, and so they may have some particularly helpful advice about struggling with such thoughts in relation to these biblical references and otherwise.  They also should have an understanding of how the Evil One works to discourage us, and how "annoyances" are often temptations from the Evil One to divert us from our course.
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2013, 09:00:42 AM »

I too am a catechumen but have not found it to be the same as you. My good priest gave us a 6 inch thick binder of various Orthodox issues and I've found nothing about sex in them. Nor in my daily pray books.
A couple of "non-Orthodox" issues are that men think of sex about every seven seconds, as has been reported. Many women think of shoes, clothes, children, food preparation and the like more often than that. Could that be why your themes go in that direction? After all, a lot of what was written was by men, and many struggled mightily. St. Augustine was no saint prior to finding the faith.
Another way of thinking is, in a humorous manner and I have to wonder why so few come to Orthodoxy, is that we must abstain from sex almost four out of twelve months per year, no? I've not counted it day by day, but all Saturdays leaves us with almost 2 months after one throws in Christmas time then there is all of Great Lent. Zounds! 
It is good you are married, and much of what was said above by others of our faith I pray is helpful to you.
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2013, 09:09:59 AM »


Another way of thinking is, in a humorous manner and I have to wonder why so few come to Orthodoxy, is that we must abstain from sex almost four out of twelve months per year, no? I've not counted it day by day, but all Saturdays leaves us with almost 2 months after one throws in Christmas time then there is all of Great Lent. Zounds! 


You must be rather young, LenInSebastopol. When you get to my age, infrequency is normal, Lent or no Lent.  Wink laugh
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2013, 09:37:48 AM »

I appreciate the replies, thank you.  I think visiting the female monestary is a really good idea.

I think it's not about sex at it's core.  Sex is not a taboo for me.  A little on my background:  I was an athiest, then turned into one of those spiritual but not religious types.  One of hardest things for someone like myself to get over is taking the Bible seriously and with conviction.  It's just another book to someone with no spiritual background.  So the journey to break through that spiritual barrior is extremely difficult.  A big part of my profession deals with communication and rheotoric, so I am very sensitive to word usage, persuasion and manipulation. 
For me, I find the stories in the Bible very interesting.  I enjoy reading it a lot no matter what the subject is, and I understand why the letters of the Bible are written they way they are.  I feel that my Bible selections for Lent bother me, and the books that I read in relation to Lent are good but seem very off putting at times because of the subject matter. To be very honest, the constant guilt trip that comes with this season just doesn't seem healthy for someone as new to the faith like myself.  Guilt is a powerful manipulative tool.  The Lenten Spring by Father Hopko is overall a good book, but I have some serious problems with it, some of which seem to contradict other Orthodox teachings.  I don't think the book is meant to be manipulative, but the language used is not very convincing and perhaps meant for someone who is converting from a faith background.

I believe the female monestary is a great idea. I will do that when able. I think I need a perspective from female point of to set me straight.  It was the veneration of the Theotokos that drew me to the church. Her position in Orthodoxy is truely inspiring and uplifting.  I find it a somewhat disappointing in the lack of female leadership in the Orthodox church as a whole.  I by no means think we should have female priests, but other than the sweet yia yias that I love to talk to everyday, there is no one to really look up to.  I read that there might have been female deaconess back in the day.  That thought is so encouraging, but not seeing them around when they could be so spritually inspiring is a sadness that I probably will never get over.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 09:38:16 AM by Ava » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2013, 09:42:57 AM »

I've often noticed (YMMV of course) that when particular themes seem to stand out or cause me to dwell on them, there's usually some spiritual "work" to be done there.

Oh, and I don't see Lent as a continual guilt trip, rather a reality check. I need to face myself and my sin honestly.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 09:44:33 AM by katherineofdixie » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2013, 09:44:23 AM »


Another way of thinking is, in a humorous manner and I have to wonder why so few come to Orthodoxy, is that we must abstain from sex almost four out of twelve months per year, no? I've not counted it day by day, but all Saturdays leaves us with almost 2 months after one throws in Christmas time then there is all of Great Lent. Zounds! 


You must be rather young, LenInSebastopol. When you get to my age, infrequency is normal, Lent or no Lent.  Wink laugh

Forgive me for my pride, but I am only young in Spirit.
Will apply for Medicare next month with flow and relief and arthritis becoming a daily bear to cross.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2013, 10:20:52 AM »

I too am a catechumen but have not found it to be the same as you. My good priest gave us a 6 inch thick binder of various Orthodox issues and I've found nothing about sex in them. Nor in my daily pray books.
A couple of "non-Orthodox" issues are that men think of sex about every seven seconds, as has been reported. Many women think of shoes, clothes, children, food preparation and the like more often than that. Could that be why your themes go in that direction? After all, a lot of what was written was by men, and many struggled mightily. St. Augustine was no saint prior to finding the faith.
Another way of thinking is, in a humorous manner and I have to wonder why so few come to Orthodoxy, is that we must abstain from sex almost four out of twelve months per year, no? I've not counted it day by day, but all Saturdays leaves us with almost 2 months after one throws in Christmas time then there is all of Great Lent. Zounds! 
It is good you are married, and much of what was said above by others of our faith I pray is helpful to you.

I chuckled a bit while reading this.  I think rhetorical analysis is my downfall.  Kind of one of those things where you start to see #23 everywhere.  You said something that may be an underlying issue.  I think Orthodoxy does a great job with respecting women.   I was never a bra burning feminist, but without proper spiritual guidance from Orthodoxy, women seem to be painted as the ultimate scourge of evil.  Women like myself who come from a non-spritual background need additional guidance from a female perspective.
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2013, 10:30:51 AM »

 I just feel like innocence is being taken away everytime I read.  
I don't know if that sort of innocence is part of the whole New Adam thing.

I think such particular innocence and naivete regarding sexuality is something to move out of.



I disagree. I think more people should feel this way.

As for all the sex in the Bible...remember, it was written by men!  Wink

Try to focus more on the NT rather then the OT readings.  The OT is froth with confusing and hard to understand symbolism, actions and deeds.

Focus on the forgiving message of Christ.  You will find comfort there.

...and DON'T change!  We need more decent and "naive" people!

...for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2013, 11:06:08 AM »

I appreciate the replies, thank you.  I think visiting the female monestary is a really good idea.

I think it's not about sex at it's core.  Sex is not a taboo for me.  A little on my background:  I was an athiest, then turned into one of those spiritual but not religious types.  One of hardest things for someone like myself to get over is taking the Bible seriously and with conviction.  It's just another book to someone with no spiritual background.  So the journey to break through that spiritual barrior is extremely difficult.  A big part of my profession deals with communication and rheotoric, so I am very sensitive to word usage, persuasion and manipulation. 
For me, I find the stories in the Bible very interesting.  I enjoy reading it a lot no matter what the subject is, and I understand why the letters of the Bible are written they way they are.  I feel that my Bible selections for Lent bother me, and the books that I read in relation to Lent are good but seem very off putting at times because of the subject matter. To be very honest, the constant guilt trip that comes with this season just doesn't seem healthy for someone as new to the faith like myself.  Guilt is a powerful manipulative tool.  The Lenten Spring by Father Hopko is overall a good book, but I have some serious problems with it, some of which seem to contradict other Orthodox teachings.  I don't think the book is meant to be manipulative, but the language used is not very convincing and perhaps meant for someone who is converting from a faith background.

I believe the female monestary is a great idea. I will do that when able. I think I need a perspective from female point of to set me straight.  It was the veneration of the Theotokos that drew me to the church. Her position in Orthodoxy is truely inspiring and uplifting.  I find it a somewhat disappointing in the lack of female leadership in the Orthodox church as a whole.  I by no means think we should have female priests, but other than the sweet yia yias that I love to talk to everyday, there is no one to really look up to.  I read that there might have been female deaconess back in the day.  That thought is so encouraging, but not seeing them around when they could be so spritually inspiring is a sadness that I probably will never get over.

I hope God grants to every possible comfort in your struggle in going from atheism to Faith.  I was raised Christian so sometimes it is hard for me to empathize, but I know enough people who never had religion and I think I can understand their problems.  It would probably be like if I were to go from Orthodoxy to some other religion.  We find comfort in what we know.  Having everything turned on its head must be a system shock.

As for the wording, I think it's just a matter of understanding how they wrote back then.  You understand words and their power, so you must also understand that the words used are a window into the minds of those who wrote them down.  I think a lot of the Bible is written down by people who just wrote as they felt.  I don't think they were marketing majors who tried to get the absolute most bang for the buck.  Remember, some of these people were not educated, even by their standards.  They spoke as they spoke, and said what they were shown by God.  When Genesis says "and Adam knew Eve and she bore Seth" it's just the same as if you were to say "and I hopped in the Taurus and went to Wally World".   Well, no duh, most people just assumed that you drove there and they probably know what sort of car you drive, but that's just the way you talk.  It's how your mind is picturing the event.  Hope this helps.

As for female inspirations in the Church, how about your priest's wife?  I have always considered the Popadija (or whatever the Greeks call them) to be an important part of the Church.  If the Priest, by his station in life, is an Icon of Christ, I think that the Popadija in some ways should be the Icon of the Theotokos.  I cannot say that this is the Church's teaching (I don't know either way) but I find it inspires me.  As you correctly point out, the Theotokos is an important part of our Church.  Christ is the New Adam and she is literally the New Eve.  Just as Eve brought the apple to Adam which damned the world, the Theotokos bore the Conqueror of Death.  One thing with the Orthodox Church is, the saints aren't just old historical figures.  We have icons of the everywhere because they are everywhere!  Christ said that when two or more come together in His Name, there He is also.  In the same way, when we are praying to God in the liturgy we are surrounded by this could of witnesses, the saints cry out beside us in praise of the Lord.  When our choirs and the people sing the angelic choirs also are praying their ceaseless hymns to God.  And the Theotokos is very much there with us in every service.  Most Sundays I read the post-communion prayers while the priest consumes the remaining Gifts:

Quote
O most holy Lady Theotokos, the light of my darkened soul, my hope, my protection, my refuge, my rest, and my joy. I thank you, for you have permitted me, the unworthy, to be a partaker of the most pure Body and precious Blood of your Son. Give the light of understanding to the eyes of my heart, you that gave birth to the True Light. Enliven me who am deadened by sin, you that gave birth to the Fountain of Immortality. Have mercy on me, O loving Mother of the merciful God. Grant me compunction and contrition of heart, humility in my thoughts, and a release from the slavery of my own reasonings. And enable me, even to my last breath, to receive the sanctification of the most pure Mysteries, for the healing of soul and body. Grant me tears of repentance and confession, that I may glorify you all the days of my life, for you are blessed and greatly glorified forever. Amen.


I hope that this helps you some.  I have never had to go through the conversion process, but I can only assume that it is hard.  But it makes my heart glad to hear when people do go through this because I know the peace I have gotten from Christ and can only wish that more would be able to have this great comfort! 

 Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2013, 11:12:23 AM »

Why is it that I am not surprised that it would be a woman that thinks there is too much sex in the bible.  Smiley  I missed the sex because of all of the murder, genocide, intrigue and betrayal in the Bible.  Not to mention the persecution and torture.  I have to agree with whoever wrote above that there must be deeper issues.  And by this, I do not mean that you are nuts or something.  For some reason the Devil has decided to tempt you on this one issue.  You probably need to find out why he knew you were susceptible to this issue and not all of the others that you could have been tempted with. 
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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2013, 11:13:14 AM »

 I just feel like innocence is being taken away everytime I read.  
I don't know if that sort of innocence is part of the whole New Adam thing.

I think such particular innocence and naivete regarding sexuality is something to move out of.



I disagree. I think more people should feel this way.

As for all the sex in the Bible...remember, it was written by men!  Wink

Try to focus more on the NT rather then the OT readings.  The OT is froth with confusing and hard to understand symbolism, actions and deeds.

Focus on the forgiving message of Christ.  You will find comfort there.

...and DON'T change!  We need more decent and "naive" people!

...for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.



You are so right.  I really do need to focus on the message of Christ in the NT.  Pondering about these issues the last couple of weeks,  I don't think I have been.  It's so easy to get lost, and of course, I forget about The One who is there to set us straight. (DOH!)
Thank you!   Grin  Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2013, 11:19:26 AM »

I appreciate the replies, thank you.  I think visiting the female monestary is a really good idea.

I think it's not about sex at it's core.  Sex is not a taboo for me.  A little on my background:  I was an athiest, then turned into one of those spiritual but not religious types.  One of hardest things for someone like myself to get over is taking the Bible seriously and with conviction.  It's just another book to someone with no spiritual background.  So the journey to break through that spiritual barrior is extremely difficult.  A big part of my profession deals with communication and rheotoric, so I am very sensitive to word usage, persuasion and manipulation. 
For me, I find the stories in the Bible very interesting.  I enjoy reading it a lot no matter what the subject is, and I understand why the letters of the Bible are written they way they are.  I feel that my Bible selections for Lent bother me, and the books that I read in relation to Lent are good but seem very off putting at times because of the subject matter. To be very honest, the constant guilt trip that comes with this season just doesn't seem healthy for someone as new to the faith like myself.  Guilt is a powerful manipulative tool.  The Lenten Spring by Father Hopko is overall a good book, but I have some serious problems with it, some of which seem to contradict other Orthodox teachings.  I don't think the book is meant to be manipulative, but the language used is not very convincing and perhaps meant for someone who is converting from a faith background.

I believe the female monestary is a great idea. I will do that when able. I think I need a perspective from female point of to set me straight.  It was the veneration of the Theotokos that drew me to the church. Her position in Orthodoxy is truely inspiring and uplifting.  I find it a somewhat disappointing in the lack of female leadership in the Orthodox church as a whole.  I by no means think we should have female priests, but other than the sweet yia yias that I love to talk to everyday, there is no one to really look up to.  I read that there might have been female deaconess back in the day.  That thought is so encouraging, but not seeing them around when they could be so spritually inspiring is a sadness that I probably will never get over.

I hope God grants to every possible comfort in your struggle in going from atheism to Faith.  I was raised Christian so sometimes it is hard for me to empathize, but I know enough people who never had religion and I think I can understand their problems.  It would probably be like if I were to go from Orthodoxy to some other religion.  We find comfort in what we know.  Having everything turned on its head must be a system shock.

As for the wording, I think it's just a matter of understanding how they wrote back then.  You understand words and their power, so you must also understand that the words used are a window into the minds of those who wrote them down.  I think a lot of the Bible is written down by people who just wrote as they felt.  I don't think they were marketing majors who tried to get the absolute most bang for the buck.  Remember, some of these people were not educated, even by their standards.  They spoke as they spoke, and said what they were shown by God.  When Genesis says "and Adam knew Eve and she bore Seth" it's just the same as if you were to say "and I hopped in the Taurus and went to Wally World".   Well, no duh, most people just assumed that you drove there and they probably know what sort of car you drive, but that's just the way you talk.  It's how your mind is picturing the event.  Hope this helps.

As for female inspirations in the Church, how about your priest's wife?  I have always considered the Popadija (or whatever the Greeks call them) to be an important part of the Church.  If the Priest, by his station in life, is an Icon of Christ, I think that the Popadija in some ways should be the Icon of the Theotokos.  I cannot say that this is the Church's teaching (I don't know either way) but I find it inspires me.  As you correctly point out, the Theotokos is an important part of our Church.  Christ is the New Adam and she is literally the New Eve.  Just as Eve brought the apple to Adam which damned the world, the Theotokos bore the Conqueror of Death.  One thing with the Orthodox Church is, the saints aren't just old historical figures.  We have icons of the everywhere because they are everywhere!  Christ said that when two or more come together in His Name, there He is also.  In the same way, when we are praying to God in the liturgy we are surrounded by this could of witnesses, the saints cry out beside us in praise of the Lord.  When our choirs and the people sing the angelic choirs also are praying their ceaseless hymns to God.  And the Theotokos is very much there with us in every service.  Most Sundays I read the post-communion prayers while the priest consumes the remaining Gifts:

Quote
O most holy Lady Theotokos, the light of my darkened soul, my hope, my protection, my refuge, my rest, and my joy. I thank you, for you have permitted me, the unworthy, to be a partaker of the most pure Body and precious Blood of your Son. Give the light of understanding to the eyes of my heart, you that gave birth to the True Light. Enliven me who am deadened by sin, you that gave birth to the Fountain of Immortality. Have mercy on me, O loving Mother of the merciful God. Grant me compunction and contrition of heart, humility in my thoughts, and a release from the slavery of my own reasonings. And enable me, even to my last breath, to receive the sanctification of the most pure Mysteries, for the healing of soul and body. Grant me tears of repentance and confession, that I may glorify you all the days of my life, for you are blessed and greatly glorified forever. Amen.


I hope that this helps you some.  I have never had to go through the conversion process, but I can only assume that it is hard.  But it makes my heart glad to hear when people do go through this because I know the peace I have gotten from Christ and can only wish that more would be able to have this great comfort! 

 Smiley

Thank you for the kind reply.  Your words and prayer you quoted helps very much and sets a reminder of what I have at hand to help me.  Thank you!  Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2013, 03:32:31 PM »


I hope God grants to every possible comfort in your struggle in going from atheism to Faith.  I was raised Christian so sometimes it is hard for me to empathize, but I know enough people who never had religion and I think I can understand their problems.  It would probably be like if I were to go from Orthodoxy to some other religion.  We find comfort in what we know.  Having everything turned on its head must be a system shock.

I hope that this helps you some.  I have never had to go through the conversion process, but I can only assume that it is hard.  But it makes my heart glad to hear when people do go through this because I know the peace I have gotten from Christ and can only wish that more would be able to have this great comfort! 

I followed this thread because of Ava's question. Vamrat you are very right when you state that having everything you believed in before turned on its head is a system shock. Only I didnt come from atheism. I believe I came in through the now apostate branch of the once Holy, catholic, Apostolic church and was left wandering in the desolate wilderness of protestantism.

So I dont have Ava's difficulties. She is getting to know God, the Bible, etc.

I thought I knew God, the Bible, etc. I am questioning if I ever really did, if I was ever really baptized, if I really have been led by the Holy Spirit. I feel peace when I hear from other Christians like you vamrat, that can somehow associate with how I feel or other inquirers or catechumens of the orthodox faith. But I honestly feel that as a believer(?) from a wayward brother church(?) the system shock is just more intense...and I just want to give up and keep it the way its always been, just God, the Bible and me.
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« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2013, 04:19:45 PM »


I hope God grants to every possible comfort in your struggle in going from atheism to Faith.  I was raised Christian so sometimes it is hard for me to empathize, but I know enough people who never had religion and I think I can understand their problems.  It would probably be like if I were to go from Orthodoxy to some other religion.  We find comfort in what we know.  Having everything turned on its head must be a system shock.

I hope that this helps you some.  I have never had to go through the conversion process, but I can only assume that it is hard.  But it makes my heart glad to hear when people do go through this because I know the peace I have gotten from Christ and can only wish that more would be able to have this great comfort!  

I followed this thread because of Ava's question. Vamrat you are very right when you state that having everything you believed in before turned on its head is a system shock. Only I didnt come from atheism. I believe I came in through the now apostate branch of the once Holy, catholic, Apostolic church and was left wandering in the desolate wilderness of protestantism.

So I dont have Ava's difficulties. She is getting to know God, the Bible, etc.

I thought I knew God, the Bible, etc. I am questioning if I ever really did, if I was ever really baptized, if I really have been led by the Holy Spirit. I feel peace when I hear from other Christians like you vamrat, that can somehow associate with how I feel or other inquirers or catechumens of the orthodox faith. But I honestly feel that as a believer(?) from a wayward brother church(?) the system shock is just more intense...and I just want to give up and keep it the way its always been, just God, the Bible and me.

It is not easy, it will never be easy...Our life is full of struggle...Whenever I feel depressed or overwhelmed I think of the martyrs and the saints who have lived a holy life...Orthodoxy is a narrow path, a path which leads towards salvation...but that path is not easy and walking on it we will encounter many difficulties some great others not so...One of the reasons why I remained Orthodox (even so called craddle Orthodox Christians have to "convert" as adults - by that I mean when an individual becomes an adult and wishes to become even closer to God he-she examines if he-she believes correctly; it is not an official process but a question that one faces when the time comes...sorry for digression but I think it was neccessary in this case) is that Orthodoxy is the answer and has an answer to any questions we might have...either be it about the Bible, about customs, about personal issues...whatever it is the ANSWER (Jesus) is there for us.  The problem is that in order for us to get the answer for our questions, we need to seek the asnwer and embrace it.  The positive and the negative part is that TRUTH is out there (no the XFILES kind  Grin)...it is positive because with the TRUTH we can overcome the issue, but the negative side is that truth is difficult to comprehend sometimes so we try to modify the truth by appealing to our needs...the easy way is not the riht way.  Nobody forces us to become Orthodox Christians; we are free to stop following it if we wish, but (there is that big BUT) we can't become better human beings if we keep appealing to our weakness.  We can't get rid of the sins if we are afraid to confess them; However Orthodoxy is not there to judge you, but to relieve you from being judged.  All sins which we have put our soul in the chains...Orthodoxy wants to free us, but in order for us to be freed, we need to go through the process of the struggle...nobody said it will be easy, but it is worth the effort.

May God grant us the strength to win our battles. angel
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« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2013, 04:50:25 PM »

My problem is that so many of the eastern fathers had a monastic bias and thus were so strict and critical of sex, seeing it as an evil product of the fall, condemning it, acting like it's something to be ashamed of etc. The pre-schism western fathers seemed to take a less strict view on it.
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« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2013, 04:52:44 PM »

My problem is that so many of the eastern fathers had a monastic bias and thus were so strict and critical of sex, seeing it as an evil product of the fall, condemning it, acting like it's something to be ashamed of etc. The pre-schism western fathers seemed to take a less strict view on it.

People like Augustine and Tertullian, you mean?
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« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2013, 05:01:38 PM »

Nearly everytime I read any of the scriptures, especially the OT I'm immediately driven away from conversion to Christ with thoughts of doubt.  This might be a strange thing but I think it's better for my spiritual life no to read them.
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« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2013, 06:18:57 PM »


Wow!  Even the NT?

How so?

Don't you find Christ's parables comforting?  His healing, blessing and words are always so moving.
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« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2013, 06:23:28 PM »

When I was a kid, I used to get scared or confused sometimes, by certain Bible stories. Such as, the plagues in Egypt, the battles, things like that. I didn't have a lot of understanding. I think it takes time to develop faith and trust that there is some lesson for us in the Scriptures. After all, my mind is only my mind. Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2013, 06:39:41 PM »


Wow!  Even the NT?

How so?

Don't you find Christ's parables comforting?  His healing, blessing and words are always so moving.


I just get plagued with thoughts that He simply didnt say the things in the NT.  I hope it's just a temptation and it's not permanent because church life revolves around Scripture.  I know part of my problem is I want the bible to be absolutely 100% factual about every detail, but from what I understand it's not written to be that way. I envy the people who have much reverence for the scriptures, its been nearl a year since I struggle wih this.
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« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2013, 06:43:28 PM »


Wow!  Even the NT?

How so?

Don't you find Christ's parables comforting?  His healing, blessing and words are always so moving.


I just get plagued with thoughts that He simply didnt say the things in the NT.  I hope it's just a temptation and it's not permanent because church life revolves around Scripture.  I know part of my problem is I want the bible to be absolutely 100% factual about every detail, but from what I understand it's not written to be that way. I envy the people who have much reverence for the scriptures, its been nearl a year since I struggle wih this.

Was there a point where you believed that Jesus said the things in the NT and then some event caused you to reconsider your position?
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« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2013, 06:47:40 PM »

Another way of thinking is, in a humorous manner and I have to wonder why so few come to Orthodoxy, is that we must abstain from sex almost four out of twelve months per year, no? I've not counted it day by day, but all Saturdays leaves us with almost 2 months after one throws in Christmas time then there is all of Great Lent. Zounds!

What source says that one has to abstain from sex 4 months out of the year?   Huh Huh

Besides, what does the bedroom have to do with conversion?
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« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2013, 06:58:39 PM »

For me, I find the stories in the Bible very interesting.  I enjoy reading it a lot no matter what the subject is, and I understand why the letters of the Bible are written they way they are.  I feel that my Bible selections for Lent bother me,

The date of this post: March 28, 2013

Readings:
Isaiah 6:1-12 - Foreshadows Orthodox Christian worship
Genesis 5:1-24 - The descendents of Adam up to Enoch who was a righteous man, taken up into Heaven by God
Proverbs 6:3-20 - Warns against laziness and a careless tongue

What's wrong with those readings?   Huh
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« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2013, 07:18:07 PM »


Wow!  Even the NT?

How so?

Don't you find Christ's parables comforting?  His healing, blessing and words are always so moving.


Oh that whole most people likely going to hell thing is a bit of a mind bender. The OT is a breeze. As a kid this caused zero problems.

Jesus going on and on about how every thought or momentary disposition makes me as bad as a murderer or how I might have to give up everything to everyone else or experience torment forever that caused some problems.

Collecting foreskins to get a bride, sure. Knowing I and nearly everything living person will suffer eternal torment, little rough.
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« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2013, 07:19:43 PM »


Wow!  Even the NT?

How so?

Don't you find Christ's parables comforting?  His healing, blessing and words are always so moving.

I don't know, the undying worm thing bothers me a lot.
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« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2013, 07:30:03 PM »

You never fully overcome it according to St.Paul, you have to just finish the race towards righteousness without ever achieving it as he said .

Acts 20:24  ►

New International Version (©2011)
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace.

Romans 7

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.c For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful natured a slave to the law of sin.


My opinion is that we cannot go even one hour without sin , the struggle and the perseverance and the humble asking of forgiveness are what God rewards at the end.
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« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2013, 07:30:24 PM »


Wow!  Even the NT?

How so?

Don't you find Christ's parables comforting?  His healing, blessing and words are always so moving.


I just get plagued with thoughts that He simply didnt say the things in the NT.  I hope it's just a temptation and it's not permanent because church life revolves around Scripture.  I know part of my problem is I want the bible to be absolutely 100% factual about every detail, but from what I understand it's not written to be that way. I envy the people who have much reverence for the scriptures, its been nearl a year since I struggle wih this.

Was there a point where you believed that Jesus said the things in the NT and then some event caused you to reconsider your position?

No it was just more of a gradual gathering of information about biblical scholarship in general that brought it about, I mean the bible is just to messy for me why can't it just be crisp and clear and to the point without tiny little flaws here and there, I know that I sound childish but it just hard for me to accept
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« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2013, 07:44:30 PM »


Wow!  Even the NT?

How so?

Don't you find Christ's parables comforting?  His healing, blessing and words are always so moving.


I just get plagued with thoughts that He simply didnt say the things in the NT.  I hope it's just a temptation and it's not permanent because church life revolves around Scripture.  I know part of my problem is I want the bible to be absolutely 100% factual about every detail, but from what I understand it's not written to be that way. I envy the people who have much reverence for the scriptures, its been nearl a year since I struggle wih this.

Was there a point where you believed that Jesus said the things in the NT and then some event caused you to reconsider your position?

No it was just more of a gradual gathering of information about biblical scholarship in general that brought it about, I mean the bible is just to messy for me why can't it just be crisp and clear and to the point without tiny little flaws here and there, I know that I sound childish but it just hard for me to accept

Academics have their own biases and agendas to promote when they publish articles pertaining to biblical authenticity.  You don't have to believe in the bias nor the agenda.
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