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Author Topic: Nominal Protestant seriously considering converting.  (Read 766 times) Average Rating: 0
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Demian
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« on: June 17, 2013, 08:39:32 PM »

I was raised a nominal protestant in a family that wasn't very religious. We didn't go to church very often which was a little unusual as I grew up in the deep south where there is a church on every corner. Early on I got a bad taste in my mouth regarding Christianity and because I had never actually read what Jesus preached I assumed that the christians that I grew up around represented what christianity was about. You know mega churches, Prosperity gospel, racisim, Hell fire, brimstone and intolerance. Maybe it was just me projecting but at one point I thought that christianity was against the poor and downtrodden. That was years ago.

Recently I became interested in the early church just out of intellectual curiosity and actually started reading the gospels. It was quite eye opening. I would have never guessed that Jesus was all about love and mercy by the way the christians around me talked and behaved. I started looking into it to find out what church was the closest thing to what the early christians believed and it led me to the orthodox church. I've been to one Divine liturgy at a greek orthodox church and I loved it! It seemed sincere and so far removed from the mega churches I grew up around. Anyway I'd love to get some advice on how to proceed and would love to talk to some of you  about your expierinces on conversion.

Thank you and God Bless
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Dpaula
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2013, 09:32:10 PM »

Welcome to the forum and to Orthodoxy.

My soon-to-be husband is in the process of converting. Such a wonderful experience and journey. It is truly amazing to see the transformation in both our lives. It is, without a doubt, true....Orthodoxy is not a religion, but a way of life!

May God watch over your steps and bring you home!
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Demian
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2013, 09:41:34 PM »

Thank you. Could you explain to me what the catchumen process entails? What about icons in the home? I've been praying every night by facing east. Is there any specific way you are supposed to pray as an orthodox christian?
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Maximum Bob
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2013, 10:59:06 PM »

Keep going to church. Make an appointment to talk to the priest, what you will do in the process will vary from church to church but don't expect it to be quick. A year and a half or two is not out of the ordinary. There are wonderful free or cheap prayer apps if you have a smart phone. Also a good idea to read daily lives of Saints and Bible readings.  "The Orthodox Christian Network" has a link for Daily Readings and Remembrances which is free and will read the Bible verses and tell you a Saints story. You can get icons for home Jesus and Mary are good for starters. Even paper icons printed from your printer will work if you can't afford to buy some. But take it easy take it slow this forum is also a wonderful place to learn and grow though no substitute for a priest and a church.

Welcome.
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Demian
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2013, 11:06:03 PM »

Thank you for your advice about the icons. I'm in no hurry to go through the catchumen process I don't want to rush into anything until I'm absolutley sure. I have already downloaded the OCN app on my phone and a eastern orthodox new testement bible app too.
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Knee V
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2013, 11:11:32 PM »

Hey there, Demian.

Firstly, the best way to proceed is to get in touch with a priest and get his guidance. While we can give you some general advice, we all need the guidance of someone who has been ordained, and thus has the special measure of grace, to guide us spiritually.

While there is value in things like facing an icon or facing east, the best prayer is the prayer that you do. No prayer requires any particular physical posture. What we need is a willing heart. "A heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise." I'm not saying not to face east or not to face an icon. What I'm saying is. To to ever let that stop you from praying.

The catechumen process is much like a wedding engagement. You've already met and gotten to know each other and have decided that marriage is the right thing, and now you're preparing for marriage. Similarly, we meet Christ and His church, we get to know Him, and we decide if being united to Christ through baptism is what we really want, and if we can bear the cost (not financial, but laying down our lives). Once we have gotten to the point where we can make that decision, we are then catechized and we begin preparations for baptism. As each person is unique, one person's catechumenate may be different from another's. But in general it involves one-on-one sessions with the priest, group instruction, and some reading. It also involves participation with the chirch's services as much as is possible.

As for myself, I was a Reformed Evangelical with a largely non-denominational influence in my earlier upbringing. I began studying Catholicism in my teens, which introduced me to the early church. For a long time I thought I would join the Catholic Church, but when I gave the Orthodox a chance to tell their side of the story, I started to find some holes in Catholicism, and I began to see that the Orthodox faith is that which has been handed down from the Apostles. I attended my first liturgy in March 2005, and I was hooked from the moment the choir first responded with "amen" at the start of the liturgy. Since then I have learned a lot of things, but what stands out is that the Liturgy can be as deep or shallow as I want to make it, and no matter how much times goes on, there is no exhausting its depth, and there is no exhausting the depths of her prayers and services. The more I prepare myself, the more depth I discover in her life that she offers.
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Demian
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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2013, 11:30:54 PM »

Thanks for your advice. I don't think I'm at the wedding engagment stage yet but I sure do have a pretty big crush. Last sunday was my first time going and my strategy was to just keep going and mabye introduce myself to the priest in 3 or 4 months. I was a little intimidated at first about going to a greek church as I am not greek and its pretty easy to tell by looking at me. But upon going I could see that I wasnt the only non greek there although non greeks were a minority. Anyway no one gave me any funny looks or anything and I did'nt feel out of place or unwelcome.
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lovesupreme
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2013, 05:47:41 PM »

Talk to a priest when you're ready, and don't worry about being "correct" about anything.

For prayers, I would suggest you use the tried and tested formulations and not just go off on your own, but there's no need to be concerned about what direction your facing, what you're wearing, what position you're in, etc. Try to be consistent with when you pray each day; the priest can help you develop a manageable prayer rule.

Don't worry about following any of the "obligations" we have, such as fasting rules, etc., unless you and the priest come up with a reasonable agreement. As an inquirer, you're not bound to the disciplines of the Church (and in truth, no one is, at least not in the legalistic sense).

Keep reading and meditating on Scriptures. Ask for God's guidance. If you're comfortable asking for the prayers of Saints, turn to the Holy Mother or anyone else who you feel an affinity too.

Everyone's journey is unique, so there's no set plan or time frame. The priest will help you through this. There might be catechism classes offered at the parish (usually they start in September), or you might just conduct private studies.
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2013, 06:23:15 PM »

Lots of good advice here.

That's excellent that you've got a good parish nearby. Keep going on Sundays, read the Gospels, pray for a while every day, and try to make some friends at church. When you're ready to enter the formal conversion process (which, in Greek churches, is usually very simple), talk to the priest about it.

But I have to ask, what does a prayer app do?
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2013, 06:44:12 PM »

You have arrived at the forum and I am here to welcome you!
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« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2013, 07:04:12 PM »

Lots of good advice here.

That's excellent that you've got a good parish nearby. Keep going on Sundays, read the Gospels, pray for a while every day, and try to make some friends at church. When you're ready to enter the formal conversion process (which, in Greek churches, is usually very simple), talk to the priest about it.

But I have to ask, what does a prayer app do?
It gives you prayers. It's like having a  prayer book in your phone, which you can do too, but in a prayer book you still have to turn pages and go through things sequentially. In the app. you follow links from a menu to straight to the prayer.

Now I gotta ask:
Thank you for your advice about the icons. I'm in no hurry to go through the catchumen process I don't want to rush into anything until I'm absolutley sure. I have already downloaded the OCN app on my phone and a eastern orthodox new testement bible app too.
which Eastern Orthodox new testement bible app? I though I had all the good Eastern Orthodox apps (except of course the OC.net app hint, hint)but I don't have that one.
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Demian
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2013, 02:42:28 AM »

The app looks like a golden book with an icon of Jesus in the center. Under the book the letters EOB then when you open it there's a picture of Jesus with a cherub on one shoulder and what looks like a hawk on the other. The app is called the Eastern/Greek Orthodox Bible and I think I remember getting an update that they would be adding the Septuagint soon. Does anybody have any other suggestions as far as apps go?

Why does the Orthodox bible use the Septuagint instead of the Masoretic text? I know I've read that the Septuagint is supposed to be an older version but does anybody know why the rest of Christianity went with the Masoretic text? Which version do Jews use?
« Last Edit: June 19, 2013, 02:47:58 AM by Demian » Logged
mike
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2013, 05:47:09 AM »

Why does the Orthodox bible use the Septuagint instead of the Masoretic text?

Because most OT quotes in the NT come from it. Because it's about 1k years older than Masoretic text (300-200 BC to 700 AD). Because it contains whole Old Testament. These are three reasons.

Quote
I know I've read that the Septuagint is supposed to be an older version but does anybody know why the rest of Christianity went with the Masoretic text?

Vulgate is based on Jewish Bible older than MT. And why Protestants use MT? I have no idea.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2013, 05:51:15 AM »

Because most OT quotes in the NT come from it. Because it's about 1k years older than Masoretic text (300-200 BC to 700 AD). Because it contains whole Old Testament. These are three reasons.

Three reasons repeated often by Orthodox apologists. As for their accuracy...
« Last Edit: June 19, 2013, 05:53:01 AM by Asteriktos » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2013, 07:34:02 AM »

Dear Demian,
 
Welcome!  Orthodoxy is blessedness!

You might want to take a look at this site which offers the Orthros (Matins) services side by side Greek&English.  www.ematins.org/ I think there is an app if you have a mobile device.
This is the service that occurs just before Divine Liturgy.  The hymns for Orthros encompass a very full teaching of the Church over the year. A minority of people attend Orthros, but if you can make it you will learn a lot.

I am a non-Greek in a Greek Orthodox parish and can truly say it is my favorite place in the world. 

Love, elephant


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Maximum Bob
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2013, 07:36:17 AM »

The app looks like a golden book with an icon of Jesus in the center. Under the book the letters EOB then when you open it there's a picture of Jesus with a cherub on one shoulder and what looks like a hawk on the other. The app is called the Eastern/Greek Orthodox Bible and I think I remember getting an update that they would be adding the Septuagint soon. Does anybody have any other suggestions as far as apps go?

Why does the Orthodox bible use the Septuagint instead of the Masoretic text? I know I've read that the Septuagint is supposed to be an older version but does anybody know why the rest of Christianity went with the Masoretic text? Which version do Jews use?
Thanks is this on an I-phone by chance?
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Demian
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« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2013, 11:36:48 AM »

Yes its Iphone.


Thanks for letting me know about the what the Matins is Elephant. They have those services at the church that's close to my place. I'll try and start making it to them.
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Shanghaiski
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« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2013, 08:12:58 PM »

Because most OT quotes in the NT come from it. Because it's about 1k years older than Masoretic text (300-200 BC to 700 AD). Because it contains whole Old Testament. These are three reasons.

Three reasons repeated often by Orthodox apologists. As for their accuracy...

I haven't read anything contesting the accuracy of these statements. I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls. The exhibit mentioned many times how they agreed with the pre-Masoretic non-Hebrew texts, specifically the Septuagint and the Samaritan.
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Demian
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« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2013, 09:41:02 PM »

Check out what I found.

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/02/septuagint-vs-masoretic-which-is-more.html?m=1


This guy seems pretty convinced.
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Knee V
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« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2013, 07:56:22 AM »

There were a handful of Old Testament textual families. The LXX is based on one, the MT on another, and the Vulgate on another, etc. The Orthodox use the LXX because it is in Greek. But the main point is that regardless of which textual family our Old Testament is based on, it needs to be understood in the proper context, and it is through our liturgies and services that light is shed on the Old Testament so that we can see what it is truly saying.
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