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Author Topic: Best Way to Convert Family?  (Read 611 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: May 05, 2013, 10:05:26 PM »

Prior to Pascha last night, I never really considered it my mission to convert my family, but, seeing that they attended it with me and seem somewhat less estranged to Orthodoxy, I'd like to try making some effort to convert them, while the Pascha job seed is still fresh inside of them. That being said, I have no idea what I should do. And don't give me that whole "just be a good Orthodox Christian yourself" junk; St. Monica didn't convert St. Augustine by just being a passive Orthodox Christian, but by constantly badgering him and watching over him (combined with prayer) until he finally did. Soo, what should do? My mom especially made me feel good for once, telling me afterward that she's "proud of the man I've become" (whatever that means).
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2013, 10:29:19 PM »

First off, it's not your mission. It is that of the Holy Spirit.  What is your job or mission is to show the light of Christ by your actions towards them and others, not to engage in theological polemic or argument which will only probably cause friction and make them less willing towards any steps to unifying with the una sancta.
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2013, 10:33:27 PM »

Christ is Risen!

"Pascha job seed?"   Huh  What's that?  With Pascha, one deals with the unquenchable light of Christ which always acts upon the world.  As another poster mentioned, the light of Christ plus the light of the Holy Spirit has to act upon your family members.  It may happen overnight; it may take 20 years; it may never happen.  Lord have mercy.

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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2013, 10:34:29 PM »

You could try subliminal messaging, like whispering into their ears when asleep about Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013, 10:37:58 PM »

Offer to make some good Greek food ... and get expert help to succeed.

Greek baked potatoes and whole cloves garlic dribbled with lemon juice, olive oil and oregano ... delicious.

Green beans with tomatoes ... so delicious.

Roasted lamb ... ah.

Baklava ... to die for.

The way to a man's (woman's) heart is through his (her) stomach.



Ultimately, show some Paschal love.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 10:41:11 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2013, 12:06:33 AM »

James, this is a bit perplexing. Surely you have learned by now that conversion is not a matter of one's personal efforts? The Holy Spirit works through all people to bring all to God.

The "Best Way to Convert Family" is simply to walk the Christian life and pray unceasingly until the day you die.
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« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 12:44:15 AM »

After I was first chrismated I tried to convert my family to Orthodoxy and failed miserably. Sure, they were somewhat interested in Orthodoxy but never considered actually converting since they were content where they were at. I would bring up how the Orthodox Church was the historical Church and would try to guilt them into taking some sort of interest in it since I was their son and they should at least be aware of what it is. Looking back at it now I realize how, not only useless but also wrong, my attempts to convert them was. It wasn't until God permitted something terrible to happen in the family which really shook up their faith and had them searching for answers that eventually led them into becoming chrismated members of the Orthodox Church. When this happened I realized that it was truly the Holy Spirit that brings people to His Church. It also struck me how loving God is that he can make something great come out of such a terrible situation. After this happened I stopped my attempts of converting people and have stuck to prayer and trying to live out the Orthodox life which, although I do a terrible job at both and sin constantly, that's all I am able to do at the moment. While I don't know the story of St. Monica converting St. Augustine, she was obviously way closer to God than I am right now if the Church considers her a saint and she must have had the gift of discernment on how St. Augustine needed to be pushed to come into the Church. I do not have this gift due to my own sinfulness so the only thing I know how to do is to pray, recognize sin in my life and stomp it out, and attempt to unite my will to His will.
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« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 01:40:47 PM »

All efforts I have made as an attempt to convert my wife have been met in abject failure. At this point, I am just trying to get her to accept the fact that (1) this is not just some fad I'm passing through and (2) I do not belong to some crazy cult that makes us go to church at midnight for a made up holiday called Pascha.

So far, I have not been successful on either of those counts.  Cry
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 01:49:02 PM »

contrary to your delusions of grandeur, you are not St. Monica nor St. Augustine.  Your family situation is nothing like theirs.  Knock off the hubris.

continue to be the man that your mother currently sees.  stop acting like the child she used to see.  show the positive fruits of your conversion by helping around the house w/o complaining about it even if you want to.  just DO nice things w/o them asking and don't broadcast it when you do, but don't lie about it if asked.  be the cool, calm and collected christian you claim Orthodoxy makes you. 

that's how you convert someone.  from what you tell us about your home life, any and all "active" converting ala St. Monica is either going to backfire or get you tossed out on the street.
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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2013, 01:53:08 PM »

All efforts I have made as an attempt to convert my wife have been met in abject failure. At this point, I am just trying to get her to accept the fact that (1) this is not just some fad I'm passing through and (2) I do not belong to some crazy cult that makes us go to church at midnight for a made up holiday called Pascha.

So far, I have not been successful on either of those counts.  Cry

Did you try bringing her food? Surely her opinion would improve with some lamb.
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« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 01:55:40 PM »

All efforts I have made as an attempt to convert my wife have been met in abject failure. At this point, I am just trying to get her to accept the fact that (1) this is not just some fad I'm passing through and (2) I do not belong to some crazy cult that makes us go to church at midnight for a made up holiday called Pascha.

So far, I have not been successful on either of those counts.  Cry

I'm glad I don't have a wife  Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 01:58:17 PM »

contrary to your delusions of grandeur, you are not St. Monica nor St. Augustine.  Your family situation is nothing like theirs.  Knock off the hubris.

continue to be the man that your mother currently sees.  stop acting like the child she used to see.  show the positive fruits of your conversion by helping around the house w/o complaining about it even if you want to.  just DO nice things w/o them asking and don't broadcast it when you do, but don't lie about it if asked.  be the cool, calm and collected christian you claim Orthodoxy makes you. 

that's how you convert someone.  from what you tell us about your home life, any and all "active" converting ala St. Monica is either going to backfire or get you tossed out on the street.

+1

People need to be free to make up their own mind without any kind of pressure. Pray for her secretly, certainly, but simply that God's will be done in her and your life. People should convert for their own reasons, not to make someone else happy.
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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 02:00:52 PM »

All efforts I have made as an attempt to convert my wife have been met in abject failure. At this point, I am just trying to get her to accept the fact that (1) this is not just some fad I'm passing through and (2) I do not belong to some crazy cult that makes us go to church at midnight for a made up holiday called Pascha.

So far, I have not been successful on either of those counts.  Cry

Did you try bringing her food? Surely her opinion would improve with some lamb.
I should have tried that.  If theology doesn't work, bribe her with food.  laugh
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« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2013, 02:03:08 PM »

That being said, I have no idea what I should do. And don't give me that whole "just be a good Orthodox Christian yourself" junk; St. Monica didn't convert St. Augustine by just being a passive Orthodox Christian, but by constantly badgering him and watching over him (combined with prayer) until he finally did.

His conversion wasn't caused by his mother's "constant badgering*". Tolle, lege. Remember?





*I just learned a new English word.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 02:03:23 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2013, 02:22:11 PM »

contrary to your delusions of grandeur, you are not St. Monica nor St. Augustine.  Your family situation is nothing like theirs.  Knock off the hubris.

continue to be the man that your mother currently sees.  stop acting like the child she used to see.  show the positive fruits of your conversion by helping around the house w/o complaining about it even if you want to.  just DO nice things w/o them asking and don't broadcast it when you do, but don't lie about it if asked.  be the cool, calm and collected christian you claim Orthodoxy makes you. 

that's how you convert someone.  from what you tell us about your home life, any and all "active" converting ala St. Monica is either going to backfire or get you tossed out on the street.

+2
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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2013, 02:28:33 PM »

Prior to Pascha last night, I never really considered it my mission to convert my family, but, seeing that they attended it with me and seem somewhat less estranged to Orthodoxy, I'd like to try making some effort to convert them, while the Pascha job seed is still fresh inside of them. That being said, I have no idea what I should do. And don't give me that whole "just be a good Orthodox Christian yourself" junk; St. Monica didn't convert St. Augustine by just being a passive Orthodox Christian, but by constantly badgering him and watching over him (combined with prayer) until he finally did. Soo, what should do? My mom especially made me feel good for once, telling me afterward that she's "proud of the man I've become" (whatever that means).

JamesR, the thesaurus lists these words as synonyms for "junk":    clutter, collateral, debris, filth, hogwash, litter, miscellany, offal, refuse, rubbish, rubble, rummage, salvage, scrap, trash, waste
http://thesaurus.com/browse/junk


Fascinating choice of words for *just* being "a good Orthodox Christian"  Shocked.
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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2013, 03:38:54 PM »

If you make a great effort to "convert them", God may not allow them to see the beauty of Orthodoxy out of concern for the pride that may result in your own heart if you "see your efforts pay off".  By the grace of God, my wife only warmed up to Orthodoxy and agreed to convert after I gave up trying and relied on God and the prayers of St. John the Wonderworker.  Similarly, by the grace of God, my sister also converted a few years later, and I am pleased to say that I had very little to do with her conversion.  Certainly, with my sister, the fact that we were Orthodox (and the claims that we made) eventually led her to "look into" Orthodoxy more herself.  But, the process of her conversion, of actually coming to understand and embrace Orthodox for herself, had nothing to do with me.
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2013, 04:57:25 PM »

St. Monica didn't convert St. Augustine by just being a passive Orthodox Christian, but by constantly badgering him and watching over him (combined with prayer) until he finally did.

Badgering is a parent's prerogative.
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2013, 05:13:09 PM »

All efforts I have made as an attempt to convert my wife have been met in abject failure. At this point, I am just trying to get her to accept the fact that (1) this is not just some fad I'm passing through and (2) I do not belong to some crazy cult that makes us go to church at midnight for a made up holiday called Pascha.

So far, I have not been successful on either of those counts.  Cry

Did you try bringing her food? Surely her opinion would improve with some lamb.

I should have tried that.  If theology doesn't work, bribe her with food.  laugh

dear brother,
sometimes it can be hard. i still currently don't have any orthodox relatives.
when the way forward is not clear, then 'just' be a good orthodox Christian (!) and try food / love / peace.
even if it does not change her very much, it will change you as God makes you more beautiful through the struggle.
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« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2013, 12:40:48 AM »

Prior to Pascha last night, I never really considered it my mission to convert my family, but, seeing that they attended it with me and seem somewhat less estranged to Orthodoxy, I'd like to try making some effort to convert them, while the Pascha job seed is still fresh inside of them. That being said, I have no idea what I should do. And don't give me that whole "just be a good Orthodox Christian yourself" junk; St. Monica didn't convert St. Augustine by just being a passive Orthodox Christian, but by constantly badgering him and watching over him (combined with prayer) until he finally did. Soo, what should do? My mom especially made me feel good for once, telling me afterward that she's "proud of the man I've become" (whatever that means).

Try and be a better example.










This isn't just about you, I too should endeavour to be a better example
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« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2013, 12:41:41 AM »

St. Monica didn't convert St. Augustine by just being a passive Orthodox Christian, but by constantly badgering him and watching over him (combined with prayer) until he finally did.

Badgering is a parent's prerogative.

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« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2013, 12:43:42 PM »

Prior to Pascha last night, I never really considered it my mission to convert my family, but, seeing that they attended it with me and seem somewhat less estranged to Orthodoxy, I'd like to try making some effort to convert them, while the Pascha job seed is still fresh inside of them. That being said, I have no idea what I should do. And don't give me that whole "just be a good Orthodox Christian yourself" junk; St. Monica didn't convert St. Augustine by just being a passive Orthodox Christian, but by constantly badgering him and watching over him (combined with prayer) until he finally did. Soo, what should do? My mom especially made me feel good for once, telling me afterward that she's "proud of the man I've become" (whatever that means).

James,

If all these stories about "I tried to convert such-and-such and it failed blahblahblah" tell you anything, it's that most people's instincts are wrong when it comes to witnessing the Faith. This is why it is important to take a step back at the beginning. Your intuition is NOT reliable, because it is too distorted by your own point of view for reasons that are very complex.

Moreover, different people convert differently.

Ultimately, you will need to assess the situation for yourself to decide what to do or not do. And you are right that the "just be a good Christian and let the Holy Spirit work" thing is garbage. Your works ARE your greatest witness, but the Gospel is not about becoming a "good person."

To start with, calming down usually helps a lot. Having a clue is also a big factor. Badgering people is a fail method, because badgerers are unwilling to listen. Being a good listener is essential.

Since you are in high school and are therefore inclined to do dumb things, you may want to play it conservative for the time being. Since you are smart and willing to take intellectual risks, you will keep improving at whatever you put effort into.

Finally, please space your posts better so as to render them more readable.

Ruf
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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2013, 12:59:57 PM »

Quote
St. Monica didn't convert St. Augustine by just being a passive Orthodox Christian
She actually didn't convert him at all. Her contact with him throughout his life was extremely limited and their relationship when they were with each other was somewhat estranged until later on in her life, at which point he had already become a Christian.
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