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Author Topic: an ex-catechumen comparing the Episcopalian Lent  (Read 3355 times) Average Rating: 0
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Daedelus1138
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« on: April 07, 2013, 10:17:29 PM »

 I spent Advent through Easter attending a conservative Episcopalian diocese (Central Florida), mostly at the same cathedral.  With a few exceptions- I occasionally attended an OCA parish to visit (St. Stephen the Protomartyr).  Then the sunday after Easter, I decided to try returning to the OCA church to try to give it a fair shake.  It just left me feeling cold.

    Episcopalianism has a more Protestant feel down here in the South (actually the influence seems more charismatic/pentecostal in this particular diocese), but there are enough concessions to catholic sensibilities- the clergy at the cathedral here in Orlando had no problems hearing my confession on Good Friday, and I've gotten to know a few of them and they seemed respectful of some of my own personal piety influenced by Orthodoxy (Dean Tony Clark said that while he doesn't use icons, he has no problems with my use of them... he's also greeted me by calling me "brother" a few times, something a priest hasn't done before).   And the preaching there is often about God's love and mercy, something I rarely hear about at the Orthodox parish (which seems to stress holiness alot).  The people at the Episcopal parishes are just warmer and friendlier, too, and more diverse, several black and hispanic families and individuals.  I've also seen some obviously poor people there, contrary to the stereotype of episcopalians- I've even seen the cathedral let homeless people sit in the back on the rare cold mornings).  The Orthodox service on the other hand is mostly upper middle class and white and even after years of visiting the church for dozens of services, only been approached twice by anybody (once by a friendly ex-baptist).

  Today halfway through the Orthodox service, at the dismissal of the catechumens I left feeling sad to wait on my ride.  I walked past a series of fliers, one of which was talking about how the Orthodox Church is the correct church... on the Bible, on "values" (no sex outside of marriage, no to gay sex, etc., etc.)  I read this and my heart sank.  I knew I was a broken, beaten person, why would I want to be in a church that only valued the "righteous" and not sinners, or reduced the difficult, complex mess of life to simplistic, legalistic rules.   At least people in the Episcopal Church here are not afraid to admit being a Christian in the modern world is not easy.   Yes, Episcopalians are in a mess but then Jesus didn't have a problem dealing with messy people, did he?   So much of the Orthodox Church seems the "Frozen Chosen"... orthodox to a fault, but nothing to really engage the spirit, especially somebody who has been crushed by the brokenness of the world.  Where is the "Good News"?  Christ died so that maybe, just maybe if you are poor and disabled, you can ride the Access bus for an hour or so to your exurban church and do some physical and spiritual calesthenics, perhaps to earn some points so that one day your priest thinks you are ready to be a member of the community...  or the Episcopal church, where the priest welcomes everyone who is baptized to the Eucharist, people all prayed the prayer that "we do not presume to come... trusting in our own righteousness, but in Thy great mercy.. we are not worthy to gather the crumbs under thy table... but Thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy".

    I know which one speaks deeper to my heart at the moment- that I am a sinner and loved despite being unable to be anything else other than what I am.  This doesn't mean I'm not a work in progress, but it is clearly God's work, not my own.  And it's not my job to fix the world either, or even find the right church anymore.  It's just my job to become more and more aware of the presence of God's grace in my life.  I'm not totally sold on being Episcopalian yet, but I don't see how people can accuse Episcopalians of being spiritually lightweight 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 10:26:29 PM by Daedelus1138 » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2013, 10:23:32 PM »

In my church, they have no problem accepting people who are not middle-class and who may be disabled. I don't know what parishes you've been to, but I've never seen the Orthodox turn away the disabled. And I don't see them check bank balances at the door. If you had a worse experience, I'm sorry. I think if someone did a thorough survey, they would realize that people of all sorts of backgrounds to go various churches.
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2013, 10:41:56 PM »

   I don't get turned away but the church I've been to has not really been welcoming.  So many Orthodox converts, which the OCA is full of down here, seem more obsessed with their own personal spiritual quest, finding some safe church where they never had to be challenged intellectually in faith, or surrounded by more cultural yes-men (who rejected modernism), rather than a desire to developed more "heart faith".  My catechumen class in particular had some arrogant attitudes the priest did not rebuke, and his characterization of Orthodoxy was needlessly polemical and misrepresented other Christian traditions (I had extensive experience of Continuing Anglicanism and some in the Episcopal Church- I really was converted as an adult to the Christian faith in a Continuing church, because it was local to me, only a few miles away, even though the preaching and worship was more conservative and insular than I now care for.).   The polemicism and negativity bothered me but I put up with it a while out of a desire to be obedient.

  My point is not to bash Orthodoxy per se but to defend a church (Episcopalians) that regularly get bashed by Orthodox Christians for being relativists, shallow, or not taking God seriously.  
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2013, 11:36:49 PM »

You seem to have had a bad experience with this parish, and for that I am sorry.

That said, given your bad experience, you seem to have a very wrong perspective on what Orthodoxy actually is. You speak about the "frozen chosen" (a Calvinistic concept that has been defined as heresy by local councils in the Church), that Orthodoxy doesn't "engage the spirit", and that we speak about holiness too much, and don't address mercy and love. All of these are gross misrepresentations of our Faith, which is often lauded as a bastion of deep theological spirituality, repentance, mercy and love. Indeed, I wandered around Protestantism for nearly 20 years of my life and never have I grown so much in spirit than the only two years I've been a baptized member of Christ's Holy Church. And I've only just begun! Lord, have mercy!

If you've met Orthodox who seem to think they're intellectually superior and "Orthodox to fault" and aren't engaging in their spirit, aren't growing in humility and repentance, then you've met people who haven't really "caught on" to the spiritual depth of Orthodoxy, for whatever reason. It is a very cerebral Faith, and as a Presbyterian, that's what drew me in. But, it's not why I'm still here, not primarily. It's because I've found Christ, the Church He established, and for the first time in my life I've gotten to see just how dirty, rotten and broken I really am, because of Orthodoxy. That "one hour Access bus ride" and those "physical and spiritual calesthenics" aren't there to earn me points. They're there because, as you yourself said, it's spiritual. Humanity is integrated, body and soul, and Orthodox asceticism knows that very well. We prostrate, cross ourselves, kiss holy items, smell incense, look at icons, fast, read prayers, etc. so our feeble, broken and sinful minds finally, hopefully, maybe a little bit one day understand who we are, and Who God is, and how great He is, that He loved us unto death on a Cross, that we might partake of Him without end ("...unto the ages of ages..."). If that is legalism, I've greatly misunderstood many, many things.

Quote
I know which one speaks deeper to my heart at the moment- that I am a sinner and loved despite being unable to be anything else other than what I am.  This doesn't mean I'm not a work in progress, but it is clearly God's work, not my own.  And it's not my job to fix the world either. It's just my job to become more and more aware of the presence of God's grace in my life.

This sounds like me, This sounds exactly like me. It's why I'm Orthodox today.

Like I said, it seems you've had a bad experience and I am truly very sorry about that, but I hope that you realize that Orthodoxy is a lot more than what you've laid out here, and that a lot of what you hunger for is exactly why so many people are coming to the Church today, all over the world.
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2013, 02:06:50 AM »

Daedelus, just out of curiosity, have you attended any Episcopalian parishes outside of Central FL (Episcopalian in particular, not Continuing, as that seems to be what you perceive as being "bashed")?

I ask because were I the type of person who was more "rooted" and had lived exclusively in Central FL, I might still be attending the Episcopal church today (and you are dead on about the worship style- when I first started attending, the local parish had an 8 am traditional service and 10:30 am "contemporary" service that would have put the local Baptist contemporary worship to shame). It took living in a city that was not only the poster child for Episcopalian criticisms, but also had no Continuing parishes to finally make me knuckle down and delve into what my belief about ecclesiology truly was.

If the following paragraph of personal anecdote seems too polemical, skip to the next.

It is funny that you mention "So many Orthodox converts, which the OCA is full of down here, seem more obsessed with their own personal spiritual quest, finding some safe church where they never had to be challenged intellectually in faith, or surrounded by more cultural yes-men (who rejected modernism), rather than a desire to developed more 'heart faith'." I found more cultural "yes-men" (who embraced modernism whole-heartedly) in tEC outside of Central FL than I found the exact opposite "yes-men" growing up as a Southern Baptist (where the speed of propagation for newsletters about the dangers of Dungeons and Dragons and the CEO of Proctor & Gamble outing as a Satanist on the Donahue show would have put modern e-mail chains to shame). As for intellectual challenge- if the local "traditional" parish constantly saying things in homilies such as "It is not important that the Resurrection be an historic event," then I'm fine without receiving that at liturgy. If you want intellectual challenge, try out the Three Hierarchs or St Gregory of Palamas or Lossky. I say this not to knock the Anglican tradition- where I found much of value and without which I would not be Orthodox today- but to point out that the criticisms of tEC as a whole are not that far off base.

While I have yet to attend any Orthodox parish, period, that could be considered "welcoming" by Protestant Evangelical standards, I am perfectly okay with that- I like and value relationships that develop organically, without the feeling that people are saying "hi" just to get me to come back next week. That said, convert parishes can be especially iffy. While I am against extensive parish s/hopping once one is actually Orthodox, during inquiry there is a lot of value in attending various parishes of various jurisdictions during inquiry. Every parish is different- if the local convert parish is too triumphalistic for your tastes, then visit an ethnic parish. The first parish I ever attended had those little pamphlets you are speaking about- the next three didn't. I have seen the same with Orthodox parishes regarding the poor that I have seen with every parish (or local church) I have ever attended- a wide variety of attitudes, with those parishes who have the least most often being the ones to give the most (though, on that note- really, St Stephen? Expecting a parish in hoity-toity LW to have a strong poor ministry is like expecting a cat door on a dog house).

I will say this, though. While it is quite true that Orthodoxy is very traditional in its professed "values," Orthodoxy is, hands down, the most balanced faith I have seen when it comes to helping people to reach those "values". Values are not some social cure-all but rather the simple categories "sin" and "good". We should strive to do good and we should strive not to sin. But Orthodoxy emphasizes the relation of the person to Christ in the Church- "sin" is missing the mark, something we all do. Ask any saint and he would proclaim himself to be the very worst of sinners- and mean it. That we are sinners does not let us off the hook to attempt to defeat sin. As our Lord said to every Publican, Prostitute, and Paralytic- "Go and sin no more".

I will end this with an Orthodox communion prayer: "I believe, O Lord, and I confess that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. And I believe that this is indeed Your immaculate Body, and this is indeed Your precious Blood. Wherefore I pray to You: Have mercy on me and forgive me my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and in deed, known and unknown. And vouchsafe that uncondemned I may partake of your immaculate Mysteries unto remission of sins and life everlasting." All the prayers of the precommunion rule follow this pattern- approaching the chalice is not a matter of trusting in your own personal holiness, but of acknowledging one's own sinfulness, and the need for the Body and Blood to take away these sins.
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2013, 05:51:51 AM »

. As for intellectual challenge- if the local "traditional" parish constantly saying things in homilies such as "It is not important that the Resurrection be an historic event," then I'm fine without receiving that at liturgy. If you want intellectual challenge, try out the Three Hierarchs or St Gregory of Palamas or Lossky. I say this not to knock the Anglican tradition- where I found much of value and without which I would not be Orthodox today- but to point out that the criticisms of tEC as a whole are not that far off base.  

  I wouldn't tolerate a sermon about how the resurrection wasn't history, I'd just walk out of that church. but my views about human sexuality are more nuanced than what seems to pass for out of the pens of people like Father Thomas Hopko, whose book, "the Christian Faith and Same-Sex Attraction" (recommended years ago by my priest), has some intellectually dishonest or naive things to say about the lives of gay men and women.   That's what really offends me about some traditionalists - the rhetoric is often dishonest and openly bigoted (Fr. - MK was here Hopko even goes so far as to slip in the slur of pedophilia, very slyly and perhaps not even consciously).   It's possible to be orthodox about your beliefs about Jesus divinity and so on, and also have grave reservations about traditionalist attitudes to sexual minorities, or minorities in general (at one time after all people justified slavery using similar reasoning to justifying brutal treatment of sexual minorities... this is thoroughly lost on people steeped in a naive biblicism that doesn't subject our readings of Scriptures to a Christian heart).

  I have talked about all of this with various clergy in the CF Episcopalian diocese and nobody puts my desire to love and serve God on trial.  I think we might have our honest disagreements if we pressed the matter but we acknowledge we are trying to be faithful to God in a very complicated world, in fact that pretty much is what Bishop Brewer said about the subject when it was an issue a year ago or so after his enthronement, there was an implicit acknowledgement of diversity possible on that issue, something that is often denied in the Orthodox church.  In short I've found Episcopalians and Anglicans (since I know a few of those two in the UK) to be gracious, and in itself this is a good thing spiritually.

Quote
While I have yet to attend any Orthodox parish, period, that could be considered "welcoming" by Protestant Evangelical standards, I am perfectly okay with that- I like and value relationships that develop organically, without the feeling that people are saying "hi" just to get me to come back next week.  

  I'm very introverted- sort of hard not to be when you are on the autism spectrum.  And yet I really do value the people that come up and greet me at the Episcopal church, even if its sometimes ackward.  I used to cynically think it was all about getting you to come back, very much used to St. Stephen's aloofness, but I realize in interacting with some of the Episcopalian people, it is more about an excitement and energy at seeing a new face, than some kind of cynical agenda.  They aren't doing it to win converts but because they love God and their community and want to share that with other people.   And that energy is frankly a good thing, even if I cannot really convey it myself- I'm more contemplative.    So I'm getting used to it.  It isn't at all phoney like some "evangelical" circles who are interested in winning convert points, I've seen several people show genuine interest in our disability issues.  Even if it's a conservative diocese, they are still Episcopalians and have a bit of a social conscience (my own preference is the anglo-catholic side of things and the "preferential option for the poor").

  
Quote
 But Orthodoxy emphasizes the relation of the person to Christ in the Church- "sin" is missing the mark, something we all do. Ask any saint and he would proclaim himself to be the very worst of sinners- and mean it. That we are sinners does not let us off the hook to attempt to defeat sin. As our Lord said to every Publican, Prostitute, and Paralytic- "Go and sin no more".  

   Andrew Sullivan  wrote this http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2012/04/04/what-did-jesus-think-about-lust/ .  Really internalizing that message during Lent, that God has high ideals but always accepts our inadequacies, has made me realize things in a different light, and it fits very well with Anglican spirituality.  On the other hand, the focus on struggle against sin can miss the mark itself if it becomes a source of despair or pride and takes our eyes off God and focuses it on ourself.   I'd agree more with Martin Luther's "Sin boldly, but believe more boldly still... Pray boldly, for you are also a mighty sinner".  Repentance is what God does in us, not what we do to be right with God.  None of us can be right with God, no matter how holy we feel we are, or how religious we are, or how many laws we obey, that's the whole point of Jesus sacrifice- it's God's initiative not our own.  That message is often obscured in the Orthodox church, at least in my experience.  

   I have honestly considered if I lived elsewhere in the country I might not be attending an Episcopalian church.  Maybe I would be Orthodox if I couldn't stomach the idea of being a Continuing Anglican (many of them are even worse in being the Frozen Chosen) or Lutheran.  However I don't think its a given for me anymore that the Orthodox church is the only faithful option.
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2013, 06:56:41 AM »



  
Quote
 But Orthodoxy emphasizes the relation of the person to Christ in the Church- "sin" is missing the mark, something we all do. Ask any saint and he would proclaim himself to be the very worst of sinners- and mean it. That we are sinners does not let us off the hook to attempt to defeat sin. As our Lord said to every Publican, Prostitute, and Paralytic- "Go and sin no more".  

   Andrew Sullivan  wrote this http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2012/04/04/what-did-jesus-think-about-lust/ .  Really internalizing that message during Lent, that God has high ideals but always accepts our inadequacies, has made me realize things in a different light, and it fits very well with Anglican spirituality.  On the other hand, the focus on struggle against sin can miss the mark itself if it becomes a source of despair or pride and takes our eyes off God and focuses it on ourself.   I'd agree more with Martin Luther's "Sin boldly, but believe more boldly still... Pray boldly, for you are also a mighty sinner".  Repentance is what God does in us, not what we do to be right with God.  None of us can be right with God, no matter how holy we feel we are, or how religious we are, or how many laws we obey, that's the whole point of Jesus sacrifice- it's God's initiative not our own.  That message is often obscured in the Orthodox church, at least in my experience.  


You seem not to have heard of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete, which is perhaps the single most potent expression of the Church's teachings on fallen mankind, sin, repentance, and the place of God and man in all this.
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2013, 07:37:38 AM »

I've also seen some obviously poor people there, contrary to the stereotype of episcopalians- I've even seen the cathedral let homeless people sit in the back on the rare cold mornings).  The Orthodox service on the other hand is mostly upper middle class and white (once by a friendly ex-baptist).



















I am not going to respond to your "nobody wants to be my friend" part.
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2013, 07:48:06 AM »

Again, I can't speak for what Daedalus saw at other churches, but in my parish, we often have elderly or handicapped individuals come to church, and if they need assistance, the ushers immediately come and ask what they need. Many times each week, I see the ushers help someone to walk up for Holy Communion.

Early in my time at this church, I did not meet so many people, but that has changed lately. I have started to talk to more people, and it helps. I guess everyone's experience is going to be different.
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« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2013, 07:51:34 AM »

  I don't get turned away but the church I've been to has not really been welcoming.  So many Orthodox converts, which the OCA is full of down here, seem more obsessed with their own personal spiritual quest, finding some safe church where they never had to be challenged intellectually in faith, or surrounded by more cultural yes-men (who rejected modernism), rather than a desire to developed more "heart faith".  My catechumen class in particular had some arrogant attitudes the priest did not rebuke, and his characterization of Orthodoxy was needlessly polemical and misrepresented other Christian traditions (I had extensive experience of Continuing Anglicanism and some in the Episcopal Church- I really was converted as an adult to the Christian faith in a Continuing church, because it was local to me, only a few miles away, even though the preaching and worship was more conservative and insular than I now care for.).   The polemicism and negativity bothered me but I put up with it a while out of a desire to be obedient.

  My point is not to bash Orthodoxy per se but to defend a church (Episcopalians) that regularly get bashed by Orthodox Christians for being relativists, shallow, or not taking God seriously.  
Perhaps you should chalk it up to experience-both the present and previous Metropolitans of the Orthodox Church in America fled the Episcopalians.
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2013, 07:53:00 AM »

I spent Advent through Easter attending a conservative Episcopalian diocese (Central Florida), mostly at the same cathedral.  With a few exceptions- I occasionally attended an OCA parish to visit (St. Stephen the Protomartyr).  Then the sunday after Easter, I decided to try returning to the OCA church to try to give it a fair shake.  It just left me feeling cold.

    Episcopalianism has a more Protestant feel down here in the South (actually the influence seems more charismatic/pentecostal in this particular diocese), but there are enough concessions to catholic sensibilities- the clergy at the cathedral here in Orlando had no problems hearing my confession on Good Friday, and I've gotten to know a few of them and they seemed respectful of some of my own personal piety influenced by Orthodoxy (Dean Tony Clark said that while he doesn't use icons, he has no problems with my use of them... he's also greeted me by calling me "brother" a few times, something a priest hasn't done before).   And the preaching there is often about God's love and mercy, something I rarely hear about at the Orthodox parish (which seems to stress holiness alot).  The people at the Episcopal parishes are just warmer and friendlier, too, and more diverse, several black and hispanic families and individuals.  I've also seen some obviously poor people there, contrary to the stereotype of episcopalians- I've even seen the cathedral let homeless people sit in the back on the rare cold mornings).  The Orthodox service on the other hand is mostly upper middle class and white and even after years of visiting the church for dozens of services, only been approached twice by anybody (once by a friendly ex-baptist).

  Today halfway through the Orthodox service, at the dismissal of the catechumens I left feeling sad to wait on my ride.  I walked past a series of fliers, one of which was talking about how the Orthodox Church is the correct church... on the Bible, on "values" (no sex outside of marriage, no to gay sex, etc., etc.)  I read this and my heart sank.  I knew I was a broken, beaten person, why would I want to be in a church that only valued the "righteous" and not sinners, or reduced the difficult, complex mess of life to simplistic, legalistic rules.   At least people in the Episcopal Church here are not afraid to admit being a Christian in the modern world is not easy.   Yes, Episcopalians are in a mess but then Jesus didn't have a problem dealing with messy people, did he?   So much of the Orthodox Church seems the "Frozen Chosen"... orthodox to a fault, but nothing to really engage the spirit, especially somebody who has been crushed by the brokenness of the world.  Where is the "Good News"?  Christ died so that maybe, just maybe if you are poor and disabled, you can ride the Access bus for an hour or so to your exurban church and do some physical and spiritual calesthenics, perhaps to earn some points so that one day your priest thinks you are ready to be a member of the community...  or the Episcopal church, where the priest welcomes everyone who is baptized to the Eucharist, people all prayed the prayer that "we do not presume to come... trusting in our own righteousness, but in Thy great mercy.. we are not worthy to gather the crumbs under thy table... but Thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy".

    I know which one speaks deeper to my heart at the moment- that I am a sinner and loved despite being unable to be anything else other than what I am.  This doesn't mean I'm not a work in progress, but it is clearly God's work, not my own.  And it's not my job to fix the world either, or even find the right church anymore.  It's just my job to become more and more aware of the presence of God's grace in my life.  I'm not totally sold on being Episcopalian yet, but I don't see how people can accuse Episcopalians of being spiritually lightweight 
It seems that they do presume.

If finding the right church isn't a priority, the Episcopalians will certainly fit the bill.

Ever since Cranmer, the Episcopalians have exerted themselves to empty expressions of belief of any meaning or content, so that such "inclusive" language would include everyone.

As I do know the parish you speak of, I cannot speak of the description, except that I get the nagging feeling that there's more to it-since God's love and mercy leads to holiness, I don't know how that can be overstressed, and "that one day your priest thinks you are ready to be a member of the community"-does that mask impartiance or perhaps intransigence?  God loves us as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us as we are.

As I do not know of a single Orthodox who doesn't not only admit that being a Christian in the modern world is not easy, but insists on that fact-does this Episcopal church admit the difficulty or accept the deviancy?
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2013, 10:20:42 AM »

I spent Advent through Easter attending a conservative Episcopalian diocese (Central Florida), mostly at the same cathedral.  With a few exceptions- I occasionally attended an OCA parish to visit (St. Stephen the Protomartyr).  Then the sunday after Easter, I decided to try returning to the OCA church to try to give it a fair shake.  It just left me feeling cold.


Is this the one in Longville, with Father Daniel Hickman as rector? The one that is sorting clothes at the First Baptist Church and feeding the poor at St George Antiochian Orthodox church?

BTW, the Sunday after the Western Easter was the Orthodox 3rd Sunday of Great Lent, which is the great penitential season for the Orthodox. Comparing the two as you have been doing may be apples to oranges simply on the basis of the disconnect this year between the Great Lent and Easter seasons. However, I see that that there substantive reasons that bother you. For example, you said approvingly that the Episcopal clergy had no problem hearing your confession on Good Friday. Since the sacrament of Penance (confession) is essentially the sacrament of reconciliation of the penitent to the Church, this would not have happened in an Orthodox Church and appropriately so. The question is then why you would be content with, what it looks to me, the dilution of the apostolic faith and practice? Frankly, it seems to me that you are looking for a church home that fits you.
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« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2013, 10:21:02 AM »

I was also treated poorly because of a handicap at 2 different Orthodox parishes (once by a deacon and once by a priest). It's just something you have to accept will happen, regardless of religious group/denomination.
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« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2013, 10:23:33 AM »

Perhaps what your experiencing is due to the region or specific parishes that you attend?  In my area, the Orthodox Church I attend is very warm and inviting with an extremely knowledgable priest.  I do know an Episcopalian minister in the area and while he is a nice person who I enjoy speaking with, his doubt on even the most basic Christian doctrines would certainly give me pause to ever want to attend his parish.
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« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2013, 10:52:45 AM »

we have TONS of homeless at my parish. we feed them twice a day every day. we also have at least 3 blind people, as well as a couple people in wheelchairs who attend regularly.

im sorry you had a negative experience. i too have been to an Orthodox parish where people werent as welcoming. (it was in florida too, wont say where but it wasnt central florida.) That being said, i have been to practically every type of major denomination you can imagine (Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican/Episcopalian, all the major protestant denoms, and few hip non-denoms, etc.) and have experienced some unwelcoming people all along the way. Many Christians, regardless of denomination, often arent as welcoming as we should be. It sounds like you found an unwelcoming Orthodox parish, and a welcoming Episcopalian church. I dont think its fair to let any one parish reflect the entire Church as a whole, especially given the rich history of the Orthodox Church. Not to mention all the chaos going on in the Episcopal (and even the Anglican church) in recent times.
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« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2013, 03:06:09 PM »

Perhaps what your experiencing is due to the region or specific parishes that you attend?  In my area, the Orthodox Church I attend is very warm and inviting with an extremely knowledgable priest.  I do know an Episcopalian minister in the area and while he is a nice person who I enjoy speaking with, his doubt on even the most basic Christian doctrines would certainly give me pause to ever want to attend his parish.

  That's very sad, and I don't doubt its true.   I've met Episcopalians from many parts of the country who do believe, though.

  I don't know what the future of the Episcopal Church looks like, perhaps not pretty, and I'm beginning to understand why, for some here, it simply was not a choice as far as apostolic Christianity.  However, I've not really felt a strong call by God to the Orthodox anymore, but I have felt a strong desire to live a Christian life, perhaps even live under a religious rule at some point.  And there are so many great men and women of God in the west, I don't understand the anti-Western sentiment.  
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« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2013, 03:15:38 PM »

Is this the one in Longville, with Father Daniel Hickman as rector? The one that is sorting clothes at the First Baptist Church and feeding the poor at St George Antiochian Orthodox church?  

  I did not wish to name names.  Fr. Daniel is very zealous.  I'm not sure that makes up for the flaws in my Orthodox experience, however.  On the other hand, Father Gary L'Hommedieu has a coolness to him that on the surface suggests a weariness, maybe a bit of cynicism, but he had some wise words that really made me think during Lent.

Quote
. However, I see that that there substantive reasons that bother you. For example, you said approvingly that the Episcopal clergy had no problem hearing your confession on Good Friday. Since the sacrament of Penance (confession) is essentially the sacrament of reconciliation of the penitent to the Church, this would not have happened in an Orthodox Church and appropriately so. The question is then why you would be content with, what it looks to me, the dilution of the apostolic faith and practice? Frankly, it seems to me that you are looking for a church home that fits you.

  I am a baptized Christian, baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity at age 2 in the methodist church.  My baptism is valid in the Anglican Communion, so I'm entitled to receive the rite of reconciliation.  I wanted the sacrament precisely to be reconciled to the Anglican Communion and more specificly, to this diocese. I happen to regard all those who have been baptized into Christ as in the Church, and I'm really not willing to compromise that belief anymore in the name of religious purity.   Episcopalians and Anglicans have similar sentiments on the whole - baptism equals membership in the Church, which is why Anglicans practice "open communion".
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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2013, 03:17:45 PM »

I don't understand the anti-Western sentiment.  

I do think we have to be careful here. I mean us Orthodox. As St. John the Wonderworker said, "Let no one tell you that, to be Orthodox, you must be Eastern." He very readily claimed that the West's beautiful liturgies, piety and Orthodox Faith are far older than any of her heresies.

I believe that, and don't think we should be "anti-Western" just for the sake being so. However, the differences between East and West have become rather entrenched after a thousand years of schism. It would take a lot of ideological surgery to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" in the West to establish a truly Orthodox and fully Western Church.

I believe the Western Rite is certainly trying, but there's a long way to go before the Western Rite is fully equal and viable in its own right. Likewise, it would take a lot of very hard, sincere work to unite any of the Western churches (Catholic, Anglican, etc.) with the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2013, 03:22:22 PM »

Father Thomas Hopko, whose book, "the Christian Faith and Same-Sex Attraction" (recommended years ago by my priest), has some intellectually dishonest or naive things to say about the lives of gay men and women.
I think Fr. Thom no longer endorses that book.
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2013, 03:24:03 PM »

I believe the Western Rite is certainly trying, but there's a long way to go before the Western Rite is fully equal and viable in its own right. Likewise, it would take a lot of very hard, sincere work to unite any of the Western churches (Catholic, Anglican, etc.) with the Orthodox Church.

  I believe many Christians, East and West, simply do not understand each other or recognize what is right and true in each other... and this is directly the result of the Schism and the polemics that have happened over the centuries, whether it was in the 11th century anathemas or in the Reformation.  Fr. Gary L'Hommedieu really confronted me with this, many of the issues that divide Christians, especially theologically, are rooted simply in stubborn pride.  Perhaps it is a unique gift of Anglicanism to the Christian world.
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2013, 03:25:01 PM »

I am a baptized Christian, baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity at age 2 in the methodist church.  My baptism is valid in the Anglican Communion, so I'm entitled to receive the rite of reconciliation.  I wanted the sacrament precisely to be reconciled to the Anglican Communion and more specificly, to this diocese. I happen to regard all those who have been baptized into Christ as in the Church, and I'm really not willing to compromise that belief anymore in the name of religious purity.   Episcopalians and Anglicans have similar sentiments on the whole - baptism equals membership in the Church, which is why Anglicans practice "open communion".

The Orthodox also believe that baptism is membership in the Church, we simply understand "Church" differently. I encourage you to explore this question in historical Christianity and to find out how Christians have understood these definitions for 2,000 years.

For me, obviously, I believe the Orthodox understanding to be the historical perspective, whereas Protestant ecclesiology today departs from the historic, Apostolic understanding. I think this is further evidenced within Protestantism itself, which practiced closed communion  long after the Reformation, even denying Communion to Christians from other Protestant groups, until fairly recently. Often, conservative Baptists (the Baptists, anti-sacramental!) will baptize a new member who was baptized elsewhere before they're considered members of the Church. Sometimes, this even includes other Baptists!
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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2013, 03:30:30 PM »

I believe the Western Rite is certainly trying, but there's a long way to go before the Western Rite is fully equal and viable in its own right. Likewise, it would take a lot of very hard, sincere work to unite any of the Western churches (Catholic, Anglican, etc.) with the Orthodox Church.

  I believe many Christians, East and West, simply do not understand each other or recognize what is right and true in each other... and this is directly the result of the Schism and the polemics that have happened over the centuries, whether it was in the 11th century anathemas or in the Reformation.  Fr. Gary L'Hommedieu really confronted me with this, many of the issues that divide Christians, especially theologically, are rooted simply in stubborn pride.  Perhaps it is a unique gift of Anglicanism to the Christian world.

I certainly think there certainly is some talking past each other on "dividing issues" that can be talked out with open minds. There are many things we could end up agreeing upon, such as azymes, clerical celibacy, even the filioque (at least, the theological meaning behind it. I don't think the West really believes double procession. Though, I don't believe it should remain in the Creed for a few different reasons). I think many compromises could be made concerning other issues as well, such as the primacy (though no supremacy) of the Pope of Rome as well as certain liturgical practices (e.g., the epiclesis).

However, other issues are genuinely dividing, and until those are seriously addressed and handled, union will remain impossible between East and West.
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« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2013, 04:26:41 PM »

. As for intellectual challenge- if the local "traditional" parish constantly saying things in homilies such as "It is not important that the Resurrection be an historic event," then I'm fine without receiving that at liturgy. If you want intellectual challenge, try out the Three Hierarchs or St Gregory of Palamas or Lossky. I say this not to knock the Anglican tradition- where I found much of value and without which I would not be Orthodox today- but to point out that the criticisms of tEC as a whole are not that far off base.  

  I wouldn't tolerate a sermon about how the resurrection wasn't history, I'd just walk out of that church. but my views about human sexuality are more nuanced than what seems to pass for out of the pens of people like Father Thomas Hopko, whose book, "the Christian Faith and Same-Sex Attraction" (recommended years ago by my priest), has some intellectually dishonest or naive things to say about the lives of gay men and women.   That's what really offends me about some traditionalists - the rhetoric is often dishonest and openly bigoted (Fr. - MK was here Hopko even goes so far as to slip in the slur of pedophilia, very slyly and perhaps not even consciously).


A quick aside before I get to the meat-I can't speak to Fr Thomas' book, having not read it (more on that in a second), but if he perhaps references the idea that homosexuality might stem from child abuse, this was actually the leading theory until the genetic theory finally won out. It could be less of Fr Thomas being intellectually dishonest or naive and more Fr Thomas not being as up to date on the psychological and scientific literature as you would like.  

It's possible to be orthodox about your beliefs about Jesus divinity and so on, and also have grave reservations about traditionalist attitudes to sexual minorities, or minorities in general (at one time after all people justified slavery using similar reasoning to justifying brutal treatment of sexual minorities... this is thoroughly lost on people steeped in a naive biblicism that doesn't subject our readings of Scriptures to a Christian heart).

  I have talked about all of this with various clergy in the CF Episcopalian diocese and nobody puts my desire to love and serve God on trial.  I think we might have our honest disagreements if we pressed the matter but we acknowledge we are trying to be faithful to God in a very complicated world, in fact that pretty much is what Bishop Brewer said about the subject when it was an issue a year ago or so after his enthronement, there was an implicit acknowledgement of diversity possible on that issue, something that is often denied in the Orthodox church.  In short I've found Episcopalians and Anglicans (since I know a few of those two in the UK) to be gracious, and in itself this is a good thing spiritually.

And here we come to the main point- I can honestly say that I have not read any Orthodox writings on the subject, aside from a few quick references in the Church Fathers themselves. Homosexuality is, quite simply, something I do not seek out the polemic for, either pro or con- I know my own sins and I know the reasons that these are sins, and I know that these sins are between me, God, and my confessor- I find no reason to seek out and condemn others in a sort of witch hunt (whether the rich man at the parish who walks by twenty beggars with nary an alm or the local gay couple). I do know from my online browsing that the issue is not nearly so cut and dry as your pamphlet makers would like- while the Orthodox Church is in no danger of "blessing" homosexual unions any time soon, there is indeed vigorous debate as to how such unions should be approached. In a way, those who present the Orthodox Church as if there were no debate are about as honest as those high-church Episcopalians who represented to St. Raphael that the whole of the 19th/early 20th century tEC was an Anglo-Catholic paradise of Orthodoxy.

Part of my problem is that, once again, I might indeed have stayed Episcopalian had I continued living in Central FL. Like you (I was much more concerned with everyone else in my younger days) I liked the more seemingly nuanced approach to the issue of same-sex attraction- it was indeed far more nuanced than my own Southern Baptist background. Herein lies the rub- outside of Central FL, I found the stance on same-sex attraction to be far less "nuanced" and far more approving, and triumphantly so. There is a vocal majority within tEC where there is no room for debate or intellectual engagement, the mission of tEC is clear- to champion with utmost approval the homosexual lifestyle and drown out any suggestion that there might be sin involved anywhere.

If the diocese of Central FL appeals to you, at least in this regard, more power to you. But I would caution you- there is a witch-hunt in tEC right now, and there is increasingly less tolerance of those dioceses and bishops that refuse to toe the party line. PB Jefferts-Schori has shown not only an unconstitutional and non-canonical use of the "abandonment of faith" clause but a willingness (again, unconstitutionally and uncanonally) to over-ride the local diocese's decision-making process and install bishops faithful to tEC's "new revelation from the Holy Spirit".

While I have yet to attend any Orthodox parish, period, that could be considered "welcoming" by Protestant Evangelical standards, I am perfectly okay with that- I like and value relationships that develop organically, without the feeling that people are saying "hi" just to get me to come back next week.  

  I'm very introverted- sort of hard not to be when you are on the autism spectrum.  And yet I really do value the people that come up and greet me at the Episcopal church, even if its sometimes ackward.  I used to cynically think it was all about getting you to come back, very much used to St. Stephen's aloofness, but I realize in interacting with some of the Episcopalian people, it is more about an excitement and energy at seeing a new face, than some kind of cynical agenda.  They aren't doing it to win converts but because they love God and their community and want to share that with other people.   And that energy is frankly a good thing, even if I cannot really convey it myself- I'm more contemplative.    So I'm getting used to it.  It isn't at all phoney like some "evangelical" circles who are interested in winning convert points, I've seen several people show genuine interest in our disability issues.  Even if it's a conservative diocese, they are still Episcopalians and have a bit of a social conscience (my own preference is the anglo-catholic side of things and the "preferential option for the poor").

This has been fairly well-addressed by the rest of the board in this discussion thread. I would only go so far as to say that I have found the Orthodox parishes I have attended to be, for the most part (again, setting aside those richer parishes, but getting the rich to be proactive in this area is a problem that predates Our Lord's incarnation, and has been complained of in any era of Christian history. St John Chrysostom has some rather choice words on the subject), more proactive in reaching out to the poor than the whole gamut of other denominations I have attended (and I have attended quite a few). And again, something strange- the other Episcopal dioceses I have seen have, despite all their talk of loving the poor, had rather paltry outreach efforts with maybe a day a year at a soup kitchen and the occasional canned food drive. More money went to supporting "gay-is-okay" charities and Planned Parenthood than went into the pockets of the homeless.

 But Orthodoxy emphasizes the relation of the person to Christ in the Church- "sin" is missing the mark, something we all do. Ask any saint and he would proclaim himself to be the very worst of sinners- and mean it. That we are sinners does not let us off the hook to attempt to defeat sin. As our Lord said to every Publican, Prostitute, and Paralytic- "Go and sin no more".  

   Andrew Sullivan  wrote this http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2012/04/04/what-did-jesus-think-about-lust/ .  Really internalizing that message during Lent, that God has high ideals but always accepts our inadequacies, has made me realize things in a different light, and it fits very well with Anglican spirituality.  On the other hand, the focus on struggle against sin can miss the mark itself if it becomes a source of despair or pride and takes our eyes off God and focuses it on ourself.   I'd agree more with Martin Luther's "Sin boldly, but believe more boldly still... Pray boldly, for you are also a mighty sinner".  Repentance is what God does in us, not what we do to be right with God.  None of us can be right with God, no matter how holy we feel we are, or how religious we are, or how many laws we obey, that's the whole point of Jesus sacrifice- it's God's initiative not our own.  That message is often obscured in the Orthodox church, at least in my experience.  

See, your experience is far from typical. You are much more likely to find the balanced approach in the Orthodox Church than anywhere else. I have yet to come across a parish where pride has anything to do with personal struggle or taking one's eyes off of God- indeed, the whole point of Orthodox spirituality is on the emphasis that falls happen more often due to pride in one's struggle than anything else, when one thinks they are avoiding sin due to personal effort and not the strength that comes from God.

The main source of pride I have seen in "convert" parishes is intellectual pride. Orthodox converts tend to be highly informed about theological matters, they have delved into the depths of Calvin, Luther, Hooker, and St Thomas Aquinas, Southern Baptists look like children to them, and tEC is a theological quagmire. I have yet to see anyone allow this intellectual pride to deceive them about their own personal struggles, however.

As for despair- while I am sure it happens to certain overly scrupulous individuals, this is not a problem I've seen with Orthodoxy itself, but usually with certain mind-sets we bring into Orthodoxy from our previous experiences. If you had gone past the catechumen stage perhaps you might have had a better glimpse at what goes on inside the confessional. I have been cautioned against despair and relying on myself on numerous occasions and the single most given piece of advice to combat any sin is "Give thanks to God more often." The struggle against sin is important, as this is the way we grow closer to God. We grow closer still when we forgive our brother's sins and give alms and visit the imprisoned, etc.

I have honestly considered if I lived elsewhere in the country I might not be attending an Episcopalian church.  Maybe I would be Orthodox if I couldn't stomach the idea of being a Continuing Anglican (many of them are even worse in being the Frozen Chosen) or Lutheran.  However I don't think its a given for me anymore that the Orthodox church is the only faithful option.

Fair enough. If you aren't convinced that the Orthodox Church is THE Church, you are better off tabling the discussion for the moment and finding a denomination that suits your needs for now. I went back and forth for years examining the evidence and exploring all the different options before I was convinced enough by Orthodoxy that I could honestly pursue membership in the Church.

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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2013, 04:39:23 PM »

Father Thomas Hopko, whose book, "the Christian Faith and Same-Sex Attraction" (recommended years ago by my priest), has some intellectually dishonest or naive things to say about the lives of gay men and women.
I think Fr. Thom no longer endorses that book.

I have little time and was going to say more about this, but Fr. Thom has said he would write that text differently today.

I don't think the over all judgment would change in the end, but the apologetics and pastorals would differ.
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« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2013, 04:48:48 PM »

Is this the one in Longville, with Father Daniel Hickman as rector? The one that is sorting clothes at the First Baptist Church and feeding the poor at St George Antiochian Orthodox church?  

  I did not wish to name names.  Fr. Daniel is very zealous.  I'm not sure that makes up for the flaws in my Orthodox experience, however.  On the other hand, Father Gary L'Hommedieu has a coolness to him that on the surface suggests a weariness, maybe a bit of cynicism, but he had some wise words that really made me think during Lent.

Quote
. However, I see that that there substantive reasons that bother you. For example, you said approvingly that the Episcopal clergy had no problem hearing your confession on Good Friday. Since the sacrament of Penance (confession) is essentially the sacrament of reconciliation of the penitent to the Church, this would not have happened in an Orthodox Church and appropriately so. The question is then why you would be content with, what it looks to me, the dilution of the apostolic faith and practice? Frankly, it seems to me that you are looking for a church home that fits you.

  I am a baptized Christian, baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity at age 2 in the methodist church.  My baptism is valid in the Anglican Communion, so I'm entitled to receive the rite of reconciliation.  I wanted the sacrament precisely to be reconciled to the Anglican Communion and more specificly, to this diocese. I happen to regard all those who have been baptized into Christ as in the Church, and I'm really not willing to compromise that belief anymore in the name of religious purity.   Episcopalians and Anglicans have similar sentiments on the whole - baptism equals membership in the Church, which is why Anglicans practice "open communion".

Yes, there are indeed many folks who would agree with you. I was talking to a colleague during lunch about this and she said that in her Independent Baptist church, anyone who had been baptized in any Christian church could receive communion. My problem is the object of reconciliation; you were baptized as a Methodist, as I understood you, and yet you claimed that you were reconciled to another church all together. I could understand if you wanted to join the "Anglican Communion and more specifically, to this diocese." I just could not see how you can reconcile, seeing as you had never been part of that denomination n the first place. Semantics aside, I see that you have justified your action because you think that "all those who have been baptized into Christ (belong to) the Church." Furthermore, you are "not willing to compromise that belief anymore in the name of religious purity."

Let's cut to the chase here: I think that that all those pretty words of yours hide something much deeper, more serious and very personal. Many of us have tried to tell you that the Orthodox Church that you have experienced is not representative of our Church. I think that approach misses the elephant in the room: the issue is not the Orthodox Church vs any other church, or "religious purity" vs. "love and understanding." The elephant in the room is your desire to find a church home that fits you; you are the center of your universe and not Christ. Forgive me but you sound like the rich man who shied away from following Jesus.
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« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2013, 05:13:12 PM »

I would like to invite you to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox, about 8 miles west of St. Stephen's. I am a convert and think it is a wonderful parish. Please feel free to send me a PM if you are interested. We have dinner after Presanctified Liturgy on Wednesday evenings, so it can be a great time to meet people. I have been attending for two years and people still walk up to greet me.
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« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2013, 07:10:03 PM »

tEC
I'm just curious, why do you type it like that?
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« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2013, 07:19:02 PM »

tEC
I'm just curious, why do you type it like that?
"T" stands for "the", which is not capitalized except at the beginning of a sentence. Including the "t" instead of just shortening it to "EC" (for Episcopal Church) prevents misunderstanding the abbreviation for "Eastern Catholic" and/or "Eastern Christian".
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« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2013, 08:19:15 PM »

I believe the Western Rite is certainly trying, but there's a long way to go before the Western Rite is fully equal and viable in its own right. Likewise, it would take a lot of very hard, sincere work to unite any of the Western churches (Catholic, Anglican, etc.) with the Orthodox Church.

  I believe many Christians, East and West, simply do not understand each other or recognize what is right and true in each other... and this is directly the result of the Schism and the polemics that have happened over the centuries, whether it was in the 11th century anathemas or in the Reformation.  Fr. Gary L'Hommedieu really confronted me with this, many of the issues that divide Christians, especially theologically, are rooted simply in stubborn pride.  Perhaps it is a unique gift of Anglicanism to the Christian world.

If you're still wondering why some consider Episcopalians to be "spiritually lightweight," reread this post of yours. More 'traditional' Christians generally do not appreciate being told their sincere convictions for various aspects of the Christian tradition are rooted in "stubborn pride."
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« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2013, 11:24:52 PM »

A quick aside before I get to the meat-I can't speak to Fr Thomas' book, having not read it (more on that in a second), but if he perhaps references the idea that homosexuality might stem from child abuse, this was actually the leading theory until the genetic theory finally won out. It could be less of Fr Thomas being intellectually dishonest or naive and more Fr Thomas not being as up to date on the psychological and scientific literature as you would like.  

  It is good to know Fr. Thomas Hopko has revised his position.  I feel he is genuinely trying to follow Christ, which is why his book was rather shocking to read.    For somebody that values the insights of psychology and science, his book at the time ignored much of that.  I'm glad to hear his understanding seems to be evolving.

 
Quote
Herein lies the rub- outside of Central FL, I found the stance on same-sex attraction to be far less "nuanced" and far more approving, and triumphantly so. There is a vocal majority within tEC where there is no room for debate or intellectual engagement, the mission of tEC is clear- to champion with utmost approval the homosexual lifestyle and drown out any suggestion that there might be sin involved anywhere.  

  Yes, there's a difference in my mind between showing compassion and sensitivity and uncritically embracing the assumptions and politics of a community, many of whom are spiritually wounded to start out with.  

Quote
 If the diocese of Central FL appeals to you, at least in this regard, more power to you. But I would caution you- there is a witch-hunt in tEC right now, and there is increasingly less tolerance of those dioceses and bishops that refuse to toe the party line. PB Jefferts-Schori has shown not only an unconstitutional and non-canonical use of the "abandonment of faith" clause but a willingness (again, unconstitutionally and uncanonally) to over-ride the local diocese's decision-making process and install bishops faithful to tEC's "new revelation from the Holy Spirit".  

     I am aware of this and I've thought about talking about this with the pastors in this diocese some time about what provisions are in place to protect the diocese from uncanonical acts.


 
Quote
 And again, something strange- the other Episcopal dioceses I have seen have, despite all their talk of loving the poor, had rather paltry outreach efforts with maybe a day a year at a soup kitchen and the occasional canned food drive. More money went to supporting "gay-is-okay" charities and Planned Parenthood than went into the pockets of the homeless.  

  That is my impression too, alot of liberal Episcopalians seem to equate political activism with corporal acts of mercy.  The fruit of repentance becomes white guilt and political consciousness.  Having been the victim of a government beaurocrat a few times, I'm not sure "big government" is the answer.  Nevertheless, I really do have a social conscience and to some extent I agree with some of what might be perjoratively called "liberation theology" by conservative Protestants (such as what the slain Archbishop Romero of El Salvador spoke out for)- it has a long tradition in the Anglo-Catholic wing of Anglicanism.

Quote
 Fair enough. If you aren't convinced that the Orthodox Church is THE Church, you are better off tabling the discussion for the moment and finding a denomination that suits your needs for now. I went back and forth for years examining the evidence and exploring all the different options before I was convinced enough by Orthodoxy that I could honestly pursue membership in the Church.  

  The "evidence" in terms of objective facts is so grey to me it's no longer persuasive.   I do, however, think I should look for other experiences of being Orthodox before I give up altogether.  Nevertheless, I feel that the Church is bigger than merely a sect.  Anybody who thinks Methodists and Episcopalians are a seperate "Church" is confused- Episcopalians do not claim to be the One True Church and others are excluded- this idea is foreign to classical Anglicanism.  Apostolic succession may be a good thing, but few Anglican divines were willing to condem Christians as "non-Christian" who had different forms of church government.  However, neither did most Anglicans consider the church "invisible": the Church is always visible by the Lord's Word and Sacraments (Baptism and the Holy Eucharist), and the sacraments validity are not dependent on the worthiness of the minister but God's promises in His Word and the faithfulness of the ones who receive the sacraments (this is as St. Augustine and St. Cyprian articulated, at least).

For me, it is not important at all that I be in the right church and others be in the "wrong" church- it was a grave spiritual error that I once entertained this ungenerous spirit, I do not believe God works this way anymore and even the aformentioned Father Daniel Hickman has told me he doesn't view things this way either.  Nor does this mean I think the distinctions between denominations or churches are irrelevent.  I just view this as a generous orthodoxy, not an indifference to doctrine altogether.   It really is at this moment more about me trying to listen to God and where He wants me to be- this is not an intellectual task where some scholastic tools can guide us, not as far as I'm concerned.
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« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2013, 12:20:26 AM »

 Fair enough. If you aren't convinced that the Orthodox Church is THE Church, you are better off tabling the discussion for the moment and finding a denomination that suits your needs for now. I went back and forth for years examining the evidence and exploring all the different options before I was convinced enough by Orthodoxy that I could honestly pursue membership in the Church.  

  The "evidence" in terms of objective facts is so grey to me it's no longer persuasive.   I do, however, think I should look for other experiences of being Orthodox before I give up altogether.  Nevertheless, I feel that the Church is bigger than merely a sect.  Anybody who thinks Methodists and Episcopalians are a seperate "Church" is confused- Episcopalians do not claim to be the One True Church and others are excluded- this idea is foreign to classical Anglicanism.  Apostolic succession may be a good thing, but few Anglican divines were willing to condem Christians as "non-Christian" who had different forms of church government.  However, neither did most Anglicans consider the church "invisible": the Church is always visible by the Lord's Word and Sacraments (Baptism and the Holy Eucharist), and the sacraments validity are not dependent on the worthiness of the minister but God's promises in His Word and the faithfulness of the ones who receive the sacraments (this is as St. Augustine and St. Cyprian articulated, at least).

For me, it is not important at all that I be in the right church and others be in the "wrong" church- it was a grave spiritual error that I once entertained this ungenerous spirit, I do not believe God works this way anymore and even the aformentioned Father Daniel Hickman has told me he doesn't view things this way either.  Nor does this mean I think the distinctions between denominations or churches are irrelevent.  I just view this as a generous orthodoxy, not an indifference to doctrine altogether.   It really is at this moment more about me trying to listen to God and where He wants me to be- this is not an intellectual task where some scholastic tools can guide us, not as far as I'm concerned.


I think- outside of a few super-polemical "traditionalists" (where here the "tradition" spans to the 20th century debate over calendars)- you will find very few Orthodox who would deny the Christianity of those outside of the Church, most would proclaim agnosticism on the subject. That said, ecclesiology is important (as is right belief in all other aspects), and I think one can trace most of the current problems of the denominations to errors in their ecclesiology over errors in their doctrine (save Calvinism, that's just wrong on so many levels it's ridiculous  laugh  ), and even post-schism errors in doctrine to errors of ecclesiology.

But, it is indeed ecclesiology that makes these sects other "churches". I don't think one could consider the Continuing or conservative dioceses of the Anglican Church to truly be "one Church" in any sense of the word with the actual body of the Episcopal Church as it is now. Likewise, to view the sacraments- regardless of common administration through Canterbury or the Presiding Bishop, I could hardly consider the Low Church view of the sacraments as symbols (regardless of what the Articles might say contrary to this) to be of one Church, or even one sacrament, as the High Church view of the sacraments as reality (regardless of what the Articles might say contrary to this).

There are differing degrees of error- while I feel that a High Church Anglo-Catholic or High Church Lutheran might be close to Orthodoxy for the most part, the same cannot be said of a Sola Scriptura Southern Baptist who is often in very grave error, starting with the rejection of the sacraments and outright heresy of iconoclasm. Orthodoxy is the true Church because it is the only Church that has kept the whole of the faith (proper doctrine and ecclesiology). There is nothing wrong with recognizing the good and Christian in the sects, and even taking their successes in certain areas (say, the average Southern Baptist's biblical knowledge) as a chastisement.

But the Eucharist is the sacrament wherein we must most jealously guard the cup- to invite all who have been baptized to join is to invite the Low Church Anglican, the Zwinglian, or the Southern Baptist to partake without apprehending the Body and Blood- this is not to say that we are better than them, but that we cannot allow them to unknowingly eat and drink to their own condemnation. We do not approach assured in our own holiness, but with the assurance that our partaking is for the remission of sins and life everlasting, something many others reject. We know we partake of fire, to some the only fire perceived might be the alcohol content and surprise that this is not grape juice. Surely the safest way to guard the chalice is to invite only those "baptized and Chrismated members of the Orthodox Church" to approach- the priest cannot give every person a quiz as they approach, if only in the interests of time.
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« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2013, 01:31:01 AM »


Has anyone actually clicked on this link and visited the site? 

We are getting reports of possible malware and are wondering if it might stem from this link. 

I'm on my work machine (even though it's 1:30 a.m.)...and hesitate to click on anything involving "lust" in the title. 

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« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2013, 01:33:38 AM »

Liza,

I clicked on it earlier and no problems. Just clicked on it again and no malware warnings.
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« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2013, 04:54:33 AM »

I'm pretty sure that if I visited an Anglican chapel in Warsaw only (the only one in Poland) I'd see no poor people and almost no converts. Only some rich foreign yuppies and some hipster converts. From the impression of their website (English only) and services (English only) I'd have an impression is an ethnic church-club for rich businessman that has no interest in missionising or helping the poor.
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« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2013, 05:39:19 AM »

I was also treated poorly because of a handicap at 2 different Orthodox parishes (once by a deacon and once by a priest). It's just something you have to accept will happen, regardless of religious group/denomination.
Conversely, there are those Orthodox parishes (and others) that embrace people with handicaps.  Happily I'm at one.
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« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2013, 05:39:19 AM »

Perhaps what your experiencing is due to the region or specific parishes that you attend?  In my area, the Orthodox Church I attend is very warm and inviting with an extremely knowledgable priest.  I do know an Episcopalian minister in the area and while he is a nice person who I enjoy speaking with, his doubt on even the most basic Christian doctrines would certainly give me pause to ever want to attend his parish.

  That's very sad, and I don't doubt its true.   I've met Episcopalians from many parts of the country who do believe, though.

  I don't know what the future of the Episcopal Church looks like, perhaps not pretty, and I'm beginning to understand why, for some here, it simply was not a choice as far as apostolic Christianity.  However, I've not really felt a strong call by God to the Orthodox anymore, but I have felt a strong desire to live a Christian life, perhaps even live under a religious rule at some point.  And there are so many great men and women of God in the west, I don't understand the anti-Western sentiment.  
Not all Orthodox have it, even in Central Florida, e.g. St. Andrew's WRO
http://www.standreworthodox.com/
Or St. Andrew's in OK
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeBeEAeUcdk
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« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2013, 05:39:19 AM »

Is this the one in Longville, with Father Daniel Hickman as rector? The one that is sorting clothes at the First Baptist Church and feeding the poor at St George Antiochian Orthodox church?  

  I did not wish to name names.  Fr. Daniel is very zealous.  I'm not sure that makes up for the flaws in my Orthodox experience, however.  On the other hand, Father Gary L'Hommedieu has a coolness to him that on the surface suggests a weariness, maybe a bit of cynicism, but he had some wise words that really made me think during Lent.

Quote
. However, I see that that there substantive reasons that bother you. For example, you said approvingly that the Episcopal clergy had no problem hearing your confession on Good Friday. Since the sacrament of Penance (confession) is essentially the sacrament of reconciliation of the penitent to the Church, this would not have happened in an Orthodox Church and appropriately so. The question is then why you would be content with, what it looks to me, the dilution of the apostolic faith and practice? Frankly, it seems to me that you are looking for a church home that fits you.

  I am a baptized Christian, baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity at age 2 in the methodist church.  My baptism is valid in the Anglican Communion, so I'm entitled to receive the rite of reconciliation.  I wanted the sacrament precisely to be reconciled to the Anglican Communion and more specificly, to this diocese. I happen to regard all those who have been baptized into Christ as in the Church, and I'm really not willing to compromise that belief anymore in the name of religious purity.   Episcopalians and Anglicans have similar sentiments on the whole - baptism equals membership in the Church, which is why Anglicans practice "open communion".
Then you think you are home.  Why are you looking back?
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« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2013, 05:39:19 AM »

I believe the Western Rite is certainly trying, but there's a long way to go before the Western Rite is fully equal and viable in its own right. Likewise, it would take a lot of very hard, sincere work to unite any of the Western churches (Catholic, Anglican, etc.) with the Orthodox Church.

  I believe many Christians, East and West, simply do not understand each other or recognize what is right and true in each other... and this is directly the result of the Schism and the polemics that have happened over the centuries, whether it was in the 11th century anathemas or in the Reformation.  Fr. Gary L'Hommedieu really confronted me with this, many of the issues that divide Christians, especially theologically, are rooted simply in stubborn pride.  Perhaps it is a unique gift of Anglicanism to the Christian world.
Stubborn pride?  Those Anglicans can keep that "gift," and their patronizing sense of moral superiority-indignant at our failure to live up to their lack of standards-as well.
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« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2013, 05:58:12 AM »

I'm pretty sure that if I visited an Anglican chapel in Warsaw only (the only one in Poland) I'd see no poor people and almost no converts. Only some rich foreign yuppies and some hipster converts. From the impression of their website (English only) and services (English only) I'd have an impression is an ethnic church-club for rich businessman that has no interest in missionising or helping the poor.

Sure they're not helping the poor? I am familiar with the ECUSA parish here in Frankfurt, Germany. And while they do not seem to have any missionary activities and they are English-speaking, they do help the poor, even criminals, and they aren't really ethnic. They have people from Ghana, India, Scotland, USA etc.
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« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2013, 06:22:49 AM »

Sure they're not helping the poor?

Nothing on their website. Nothing on a blog about the parish.

Quote
they aren't really ethnic. They have people from Ghana, India, Scotland, USA etc.

"Orthodox parishes in America aren't very ethnic. They have people from Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Serbia, Romania etc."
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« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2013, 08:18:51 AM »

I think- outside of a few super-polemical "traditionalists" (where here the "tradition" spans to the 20th century debate over calendars)- you will find very few Orthodox who would deny the Christianity of those outside of the Church, most would proclaim agnosticism on the subject. That said, ecclesiology is important (as is right belief in all other aspects), and I think one can trace most of the current problems of the denominations to errors in their ecclesiology over errors in their doctrine (save Calvinism, that's just wrong on so many levels it's ridiculous  laugh  ), and even post-schism errors in doctrine to errors of ecclesiology.  

  My impression of Orthodox ecclessiology is that there is no one single Orthodox ecclessiology.  Some have a Russian view that the church is an organic entity, others that the Eucharistic community is an instantiation of the Church (which would seem to potentially fit Anglicans and some Protestants as well).  If you think ecclessiology is a settled matter in the Orthodox world, perhaps you just need to do more reading.

  
Quote
I could hardly consider the Low Church view of the sacraments as symbols (regardless of what the Articles might say contrary to this) to be of one Church, or even one sacrament, as the High Church view of the sacraments as reality (regardless of what the Articles might say contrary to this).  

   I've never encountered a baptist-style "Memorialist" Episcopalian in their view of the sacraments, it would be out of the mainstream to view that as such (and I know Anglicans from various traditions).  As for receptionism- I personally don't want to talk about what happens during the Eucharist in such a manner but I don't see it as the same as Memorialism.

Quote
 There are differing degrees of error- while I feel that a High Church Anglo-Catholic or High Church Lutheran might be close to Orthodoxy for the most part, the same cannot be said of a Sola Scriptura Southern Baptist who is often in very grave error, starting with the rejection of the sacraments and outright heresy of iconoclasm.

  Werner Sallman's Head of Christ sold half a million prints and yet it was bought initially mostly through Baptist sources.

   I wouldn't condemn other Christians just because their views of religious art and it's use in worship differ from mine.  I'm not convinced that belief in the Incarnation requires Byzantine style prostration and kissing images.   The West never had an iconclasm controversy until the Reformation, and even afterwards the debate was less about the incarnation and more about the propriety of worship.  I know Protestants who like eastern-style icons, but I think for some the idea that they are sources of metaphysical activity is quite foreign to them and their piety.

Quote
 But the Eucharist is the sacrament wherein we must most jealously guard the cup- to invite all who have been baptized to join is to invite the Low Church Anglican, the Zwinglian, or the Southern Baptist to partake without apprehending the Body and Blood- this is not to say that we are better than them, but that we cannot allow them to unknowingly eat and drink to their own condemnation.  

  Recognizing the sacrament of the Eucharist hardly requires that we agree on the metaphysical description of how that happens, and I've never found this Orthodox idea credible that the Lord's Supper could condemn someone who approaches it with faith (St. Paul is condemning something very different, the treatment of the Eucharist as an ordinary meal where the needs of the poor are neglected).  Faith doesn't equal understanding... I thought the East embraced mystery?  I don't see the problem with a Receptionist and a Transubstantiationist sitting down together to receive the Lord's Supper.

Quote
 We do not approach assured in our own holiness, but with the assurance that our partaking is for the remission of sins and life everlasting, something many others reject. We know we partake of fire, to some the only fire perceived might be the alcohol content and surprise that this is not grape juice. Surely the safest way to guard the chalice is to invite only those "baptized and Chrismated members of the Orthodox Church" to approach- the priest cannot give every person a quiz as they approach, if only in the interests of time.

    This "safe" attitude risks making presumptions about other peoples spiritual state and making people dread something that should be approached with thanksgiving.  It also could imply something about God's nature that is untrue- that God doesn't desire to save sinners.  Jesus touched alot of sinners without destroying them, I don't see why he cannot freely do the same today, or doesn't desire to do so.   At the downtown Episcopal cathedral, the priest always spends a few sentences describing their Communion policies.  I don't see why an Orthodox church couldn't do something similar, perhaps even suggesting if a person has commited a grave sin they should not receive.  At one time out of obedience I was going to an Orthodox church of course and I didn't really speak out against this sort of thing.  But I was never comfortable with this view of the Eucharist ,that it was dangerous.  My experience of the Eucharist in the Anglican world has always been quite different.
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« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2013, 08:38:40 AM »

I'm pretty sure that if I visited an Anglican chapel in Warsaw only (the only one in Poland) I'd see no poor people and almost no converts. Only some rich foreign yuppies and some hipster converts. From the impression of their website (English only) and services (English only) I'd have an impression is an ethnic church-club for rich businessman that has no interest in missionising or helping the poor.

  I'd imagine Anglican churches in Eastern Europe exist principally to be pastoral, to serve the Christians who cannot commune in the Eastern Orthodox Church.   But (some) Orthodox are not making this claim here, that they exist pastorally in the West to serve ethnic minorities.  They are making the claim that they are the One Holy Catholic Church and Protestant and Catholic churches are apostate.  See the difference?   Anglicans in Warsaw are not there to convert you or tell you how your ancient church is wrong.

  I am not speaking about visible ministries to the poor, of course many churches can justify themselves easily by pointing to social works.  I'm talking about the subtle assumptions about the culture of the church.  Not everybody is privileged with a middle-class lifestyle or mobility (BTW, I am not in a wheelchair, that is not the nature of my disabilities), and if the hearts of the people are not genuinely open to diversity, then the people never will feel part of the congregation.  The early Fathers, even the apostles, condemned this sort of thing, where the poor and the outcasts did not have their dignity recognized and they had the poorest standing a congregation.   At least in the Episcopal church people reached out to me and tried to learn about my situation, people really tried to learn my name and my girlfriend's name and so on and to understand the nature of our disabilities and why we do not have "careers" like they do (and I know alot of people like this who would never bother darkening a church door because it scares them too much, they fear rejection).  And the ministers and priests were extraordinarily gracious and never told me that I lacked "enthusiasm", they treated me like the wounded soul I am, they were the good samaritans who helped me after I had been beaten and robbed.  

  I really have to wonder if people like Fr. Peter Gillquist and other evangelicals haven't misrepresented Orthodoxy to the West.  Just because a church has an unshakable conviction they are the Church, and a more Eastern mindset doesn't necessarily justify the triumphalism or exclusivism that many evangelicals seem to gravitate towards (being "true believers" has always been appealing to pietists).  This is not a condemnation of Eastern churches or eastern cultures, rather it points to a need for cultural and religious dialogue, and on the part of would-be converts, philosophical sophistication.

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« Reply #42 on: April 09, 2013, 11:58:17 AM »

I am not speaking about visible ministries to the poor, of course many churches can justify themselves easily by pointing to social works.  I'm talking about the subtle assumptions about the culture of the church.  Not everybody is privileged with a middle-class lifestyle or mobility (BTW, I am not in a wheelchair, that is not the nature of my disabilities), and if the hearts of the people are not genuinely open to diversity, then the people never will feel part of the congregation.

The Anglican Church is not open to poor people since the services are in English, not in the local language. And English is not understood by older or poorer part of the population.
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« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2013, 02:12:55 PM »

The Anglican Church is not open to poor people since the services are in English, not in the local language. And English is not understood by older or poorer part of the population.

  Yes, but Anglicans for the most part have no desire to convert Eastern Orthodox.   There is a long tradition in Anglicanism (and to a lesser extent, Lutheranism) of giving the East alot of respect for their patronage.  The recently retired Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is an excellent example of this, but this is just one that goes back hundreds of years.   Most Anglicans regard the Orthodox as national churches like themselves and find the fact there is no intercomunion with them regrettable.  Are you aware many Orthodox saints are commemorated on Anglican liturgical calendars?

  On a side note, I've read a blog criticizing Fr. Thomas Hopko's work "The Christian and Same-Sex Attraction" as and I must apologize- apparrently there are people that think he was "too" soft on this issue, shockingly.  There are apparrently alot of Orthodox Christians that aren't that different from protestant fundamentalists on this issue.  It has been years since I read his book and at the time I only focused on the reiteration of the "traditional" teaching (which I think was mostly done as a nod to those who wouldn't be willing to listen to the rest of his book), and I ignored his calls for justice and dignity for gays and lesbians- including dignity and rights for their relationships.  I can better understand where he was coming from, he doesn't want the Orthodox Church identified as a church merely interested in capitulating to humanism (which sadly it seems in many minds that is what has happened to the Episcopal Church).
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« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2013, 02:31:29 PM »

I think- outside of a few super-polemical "traditionalists" (where here the "tradition" spans to the 20th century debate over calendars)- you will find very few Orthodox who would deny the Christianity of those outside of the Church, most would proclaim agnosticism on the subject. That said, ecclesiology is important (as is right belief in all other aspects), and I think one can trace most of the current problems of the denominations to errors in their ecclesiology over errors in their doctrine (save Calvinism, that's just wrong on so many levels it's ridiculous  laugh  ), and even post-schism errors in doctrine to errors of ecclesiology.  

  My impression of Orthodox ecclessiology is that there is no one single Orthodox ecclessiology.  Some have a Russian view that the church is an organic entity, others that the Eucharistic community is an instantiation of the Church (which would seem to potentially fit Anglicans and some Protestants as well).  If you think ecclessiology is a settled matter in the Orthodox world, perhaps you just need to do more reading.
I think you are confusing a robust ecclesiology with a multitude of ecclesiologies. Both the "Russian" and "Eucharistic" views are correct- one grows out of the other.

I could hardly consider the Low Church view of the sacraments as symbols (regardless of what the Articles might say contrary to this) to be of one Church, or even one sacrament, as the High Church view of the sacraments as reality (regardless of what the Articles might say contrary to this).  

   I've never encountered a baptist-style "Memorialist" Episcopalian in their view of the sacraments, it would be out of the mainstream to view that as such (and I know Anglicans from various traditions).
And I've encountered more than a few. It can be really difficult to speak of "out of the mainstream" when discussing Anglicanism.

Quote
 As for receptionism- I personally don't want to talk about what happens during the Eucharist in such a manner but I don't see it as the same as Memorialism.

I won't touch on receptionism here, either.

 There are differing degrees of error- while I feel that a High Church Anglo-Catholic or High Church Lutheran might be close to Orthodoxy for the most part, the same cannot be said of a Sola Scriptura Southern Baptist who is often in very grave error, starting with the rejection of the sacraments and outright heresy of iconoclasm.

  Werner Sallman's Head of Christ sold half a million prints and yet it was bought initially mostly through Baptist sources.
Yes. It comes in handy when I'm debating a Southern Baptist on the use of icons  laugh

Don't get me wrong- when I speak of the "outright heresy of iconoclasm" I am speaking of the teaching (or anti-teaching) itself only. I grew up a Southern Baptist, so I know how often practice can conflict with rhetoric in this regard.
Quote
  I wouldn't condemn other Christians just because their views of religious art and it's use in worship differ from mine.  I'm not convinced that belief in the Incarnation requires Byzantine style prostration and kissing images.   The West never had an iconclasm controversy until the Reformation, and even afterwards the debate was less about the incarnation and more about the propriety of worship.  I know Protestants who like eastern-style icons, but I think for some the idea that they are sources of metaphysical activity is quite foreign to them and their piety.
I don't think every Christian is required to do Byzantine style prostration and the kissing of icons- I do think that every Christian is supposed to understand that icons are indeed very proper in the Church, even if they don't use them themselves. This is one of those cases, I think, where the main error comes from teaching against orthodox (note the small "o") beliefs.

For example, I don't think every church is required to have an icon screen- this certainly would be contrary to the Western tradition. I do think that someone who hands out little comic book tracts denouncing the presence of an icon of Mary with Child as being Ashtoreth-worshiping idolatry has taken themselves outside the bounds of the Church and committed grave blasphemy.
 But the Eucharist is the sacrament wherein we must most jealously guard the cup- to invite all who have been baptized to join is to invite the Low Church Anglican, the Zwinglian, or the Southern Baptist to partake without apprehending the Body and Blood- this is not to say that we are better than them, but that we cannot allow them to unknowingly eat and drink to their own condemnation.  

  Recognizing the sacrament of the Eucharist hardly requires that we agree on the metaphysical description of how that happens, and I've never found this Orthodox idea credible that the Lord's Supper could condemn someone who approaches it with faith (St. Paul is condemning something very different, the treatment of the Eucharist as an ordinary meal where the needs of the poor are neglected).  Faith doesn't equal understanding... I thought the East embraced mystery?  I don't see the problem with a Receptionist and a Transubstantiationist sitting down together to receive the Lord's Supper.
You mean aside from the fact that a Receptionist does not see himself as approaching "One Cup" but rather a multitude of cups, each depending on the individual faith of the person approaching the chalice as to whether or not the contents are the actual Body and Blood of Our Lord?

Regarding St Paul and his condemnation, while the passage starts off using the treatment of the poor as one example, the overall reason for the passage is the divisions of the local parish into factions (of which rich and poor was probably only one example- I'm sure there was also the Apollos/Paul factions, Jew/Greek factions, Pew/No Pew factions, and the parish council parties, and the Society of Blue Haired Old Ladies Who Would Have Never Witnessed Such a Thing in My Day) and ends with impressing upon his readers/listeners that the Body and Blood are indeed present. Despite what the Millennium Development Goals might have one believe, there is more to Christian love than just taking care of the poor and gay. Sometimes, exclusion is indeed the height of Christian love- as we find in the same Epistle.

 We do not approach assured in our own holiness, but with the assurance that our partaking is for the remission of sins and life everlasting, something many others reject. We know we partake of fire, to some the only fire perceived might be the alcohol content and surprise that this is not grape juice. Surely the safest way to guard the chalice is to invite only those "baptized and Chrismated members of the Orthodox Church" to approach- the priest cannot give every person a quiz as they approach, if only in the interests of time.

    This "safe" attitude risks making presumptions about other peoples spiritual state and making people dread something that should be approached with thanksgiving.  It also could imply something about God's nature that is untrue- that God doesn't desire to save sinners.  Jesus touched alot of sinners without destroying them, I don't see why he cannot freely do the same today, or doesn't desire to do so.   At the downtown Episcopal cathedral, the priest always spends a few sentences describing their Communion policies.  I don't see why an Orthodox church couldn't do something similar, perhaps even suggesting if a person has commited a grave sin they should not receive.  At one time out of obedience I was going to an Orthodox church of course and I didn't really speak out against this sort of thing.  But I was never comfortable with this view of the Eucharist ,that it was dangerous.  My experience of the Eucharist in the Anglican world has always been quite different.

See, here's a very uncomfortable fact for you, then. God IS dangerous. God is Loving, Forgiving, Merciful, Wise, and Compassionate; but God is also a consuming fire. Where God is concerned, dread and thanksgiving go hand in hand- David danced and sang before the Ark even after Uzzah had been struck dead. The question of closed communion is not a question of sin/not sin- it is assumed in every step of preparation that we are indeed sinners! Even the priest, the first person whose lips touch the chalice, asks forgiveness of the people. It is assumed in distribution that we are indeed sinners- "for the REMISSION of SINS."

But the Eucharist IS dangerous- it is dangerous to those who would treat it with triviality or contempt, the Southern Baptist who sees only leavened bread instead of crackers and wine instead of grape juice, or the ELCApalian who would gladly distribute it to every Hindu/Buddhist/Muslim/Atheist/dog/cat who comes along. To those who would treat it as a mere snack or a treat to make visitors feel welcome it is extremely dangerous. It is dangerous because it is the very Body and Blood of God. Our Lord's touch did not wound the sinners- it inspired them to go and sin no more. But for those who touched our Lord not apprehending, say Judas Iscariot, the consequences are dire indeed.
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