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Author Topic: Are converts "protestantizing" the Church?  (Read 23038 times) Average Rating: 0
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Antonious Nikolas
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« Reply #135 on: March 01, 2005, 01:40:59 PM »


Don't get me wrong Pedro, I'm not sticking up for the fellas smoking in the vestibule either!  Or especially the lady in the pew in front of me who lets her kids talk LOUDLY about cartoons while scribbling in their coloring books!  She's totallly oblivious!  And these aren't little kids either.  One of them is like 10!  They drive me nuts!

All I'm trying to say is we should be very careful about getting up on our high-horses and judging the "cradles" too harshly, because we feel we made a "choice" for the Church and they didn't (At least to our eyes.  But do we really know their hearts?), or measuring their model of evangelization with Morris Cerullo's yardstick.  Ya feel me? Wink
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« Reply #136 on: March 01, 2005, 02:44:27 PM »

Antonius Nikolas,

Since you first addressed the issue immediately after my post concerning being late to liturgy, etc., and you didn't address anyone in the post, it appeared you were speaking directly to what I said.

Quote
Just because some people come late to Church, etc., it doesn't mean that Orthodoxy is lacking in missionary zeal, or that the Orthodox model of evangelization is somehow in need of a tune-up/infusion from Evangelical Protestant converts.

The reason I liked Suzannah's comment is because I . . .

I understood that you maintained that "terminology" when speaking to Pedro's position. You seemed to create a radical convert complaining about late-comers to the liturgy and impugned some motivaitons behind the complaints. Since I too complained about those who come excessively late to liturgy, among other things, your accusations (in the post specifically to me it was . . . "late to Church, etc.," as if the other things I listed weren't a little more revealing, and the post to Pedro it was "Or to criticize the little old lady dressed from head to toe in black because she walked in halfway through the anaphora") appeared to be aimed at me and those like me.

Concerning not arguing, I've seen several arguments put forward in the recent posts to this thread. I don't see a problem with rigorously testing these arguments.


Phos Zoe,

Quote
There's a line. When someone has adopted a particular tradtion and it makes them into something they are not that's a different story. I've met more than my fair share of converts who get so gung ho on the "cultural stuffs" that they lose themselves as people and forget about WHY they came in the first place. Converts can make all the pita, baklava and sarma they want to but it doesn't make them anymore Orthodox. It means they have a new recipe. Being Orthodox should not be license to give one a "cultural" extreme makeover.

The "cultural traditions" I mentioned were:

Quote
The slava, badnjace, and many other Serbian traditions

Then you discuss "cultural stuffs" as if all things from a culture are equal. Do you think that I am arguing that one should stop being what they are for a fabricated ethnic identity made up of dietary and linguistic changes? Do you think that the celebration of Slava is equivalent to making sarma? I talk about practicing the Orthodox Faith in the way it was handed down to you through your church, not changing your menu. Are those two things the same?

At the risk of sounding too Saussurian, I think there is a lot of agreement here that is not apparent simply because people are making arguments based on terminology that has radically different meaning from argument to argument.

Terms of Ambiguity:

Traditions:

When I'm talking about "Traditions," I'm referring to the way a particular church has "taught" its people to live the Orthodox Faith.

Evangelism:

I mean effictively communicationg the Orthodox Faith to the heterodox/non-Christian people in our communities in such a way that they are welcomed to Orthodoxy if they wish.

The Orthodox Model of Evangelism:

I mean the evangelism of the saints. See my post concerning Sts. Cyrill and Methodius, St. Sava, et. al. I really believe we have a disagreement on definition here.


I also see real disagreement when it comes to the right of the OCA, as an AMERICAN Orthodox church, to develop Orthodox traditions in an AMERICAN way, just as St. Sava did in Serbia.

I see disagreement on the role of spiritual Traditions that a particular church practices.  Some seem to deride them as ethnic diversions unimportant to living the faith, while others, including myself, see them as absolutely essential when living the faith as a person in a family in a parish in an eparchy in a patriarchate in the Church.
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« Reply #137 on: March 01, 2005, 03:35:27 PM »

Cizinec,

The first post, which you quoted in the little box, was a response to you.  The second post, which set you off, was a reply to Pedro.  If you didn't respond to the first one, I wouldn't keep harping at you with a second, and if I meant to impugn you, I would do so directly.  As to "arguing" I think you know that I meant quarreling, not merely engaging in discourse.
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« Reply #138 on: March 01, 2005, 04:06:06 PM »

Just to provide some balance for myself...

I've been told to stop taking antidoron to catechumens after communing in my current parish -- the parish I was in formerly used this as a custom to welcome inquirers and catechumens and it's how I myself was welcomed into the parish at first. It's not the tradition in my current parish, so I cut it out.

"Reading" in my current parish means chanting with a tone, not reading reading.

The spontaneous chanting "Most Holy Theotokos, save us" by the congregation when she is invoked by the priest is missing in my current parish; I had to learn to drop it.

The differences in when and how one crosses oneself are different and should be changed by the "new guy" accordingly.

These and other differences I've learned to accept without questioning. So there is an awareness that we need to respect these traditions of our respective parishes.

These traditions, however, are of a totally different nature from the cuisine and language which, though they may be great for making you a more cultured and well-rounded person, have little if anything to do with how Orthodox one is.
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« Reply #139 on: March 01, 2005, 07:22:01 PM »

Actually, I was responding to both.


Quote
. . . if I meant to impugn you, I would do so directly

I'm assuming you were doing that "directly" when you said, "I guess the old addage is true, 'Fling a stone in the hog pen, the one that is struck is the one that will squeal'."

So, even though you didn't *orignally* intend it to mean me (I'm still not sure who these granny haters are - have you confronted them directly? you must have or you wouldn't have mentioned them here), but now, using your "farmer" wisdom, you guess it's true.

Do I have that straight, or does your "pig" cliche have an entirely different meaning?
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« Reply #140 on: March 01, 2005, 10:18:42 PM »

I'm grateful to the Serbs and to the Serbian Church...they let ME in!!! They baptised me, and they undertook to teach me the true faith....I won't repay that debt it by being "American" (or Irish) Orthodox....


yes and no!

It was the wonderful Greek Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia who prophesied:

***************************************************
"When the Church in the British Isles begins to venerate
her own saints again, the Church will prosper there"

***************************************************

So a knowledge and veneration of the Saints of Ireland could be our contribution to the restoration of holy Orthodoxy to the lands of the West[/size].

Edited to fix quote ~ Pedro
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« Reply #141 on: March 02, 2005, 07:34:54 AM »

  I don't want to speak ill of some of the church leadership, so I'll just say that the growth of the western rite has something to do with the bishop that is over the diocese.  Most of the WR come under the leadership of Bishop Basil.  And we love Bishop Basil to pieces.
  Bishop Basil would tell you that the WR doesn't have to get larger than what it is, it is the simple fact that a congregation somewhere is using the WR, that is all that matters.

I agree; the WR has found a special "patron" of sorts in that wonderful man...the article I think you referenced above is found here.
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« Reply #142 on: March 02, 2005, 07:44:59 AM »

I don't understand why pro-American Orthodox Churchers are not piling into the Antiochian Western Rite parishes. 

Well, a couple of reasons.  One, it's mostly fueled by parishes (or parts thereof) of former Episcopalians who come over en masse.  While there are individuals who come into these parishes (St. Peter's in Ft. Worth has many of these conversions), the parish-size conversions (as well as the already-established bond between parishoners) is what holds the parishes together long enough to establish themselves.  A few WR parishes that have been attempted on an individual convert basis have gone under or become Eastern Rite.

Two, lots of converts don't feel they've "really" converted unless they change the way in which they worship.  Now, for me, the WR would have been a change (I was Southern Baptist).  But for an Episcopalian, I can see the problem...everything looks, sounds, smells almost exactly the same, but the only difference is this bishop coming in, blessing you and smearing oil on you, and afterwards, though everything proceeds almost entirely as before, you're somehow now "Orthodox."  I can see why they'd want "more."  My thought is that we've had so much of one particular flavor of Orthodoxy for so long that we can't stomach the fact that something else might be just as Orthodox but look SOOO different.

Quote
Perhaps this is the next step in the evolution of the American expression of Orthodoxy in this country?

Eh...could be.  I doubt the Episcopalians in Ft. Worth who are splitting from ECUSA will come over here via WR; they're content to reestablish communion as an independent diocese with the worldwide Anglican Communion who's also breaking it off w/ECUSA.  Personally, I see this as a sort of permanent subset of Orthodoxy that will never seriously rival the Eastern Rite as long as ER missions are being established as quickly as they are.  Much like the ER Catholics compared to the predominant Latin Rite.
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« Reply #143 on: March 02, 2005, 11:32:50 AM »


I'm assuming you were doing that "directly" when you said, "I guess the old addage is true, 'Fling a stone in the hog pen, the one that is struck is the one that will squeal'."

So, even though you didn't *orignally* intend it to mean me (I'm still not sure who these granny haters are - have you confronted them directly? you must have or you wouldn't have mentioned them here), but now, using your "farmer" wisdom, you guess it's true.

Do I have that straight, or does your "pig" cliche have an entirely different meaning?


Your interpretation of the passage you dismiss as a "pig cliche" and "farmer wisdom" is for the most part on point. Since you reacted so vehemently to words that were not at all meant for you, you obviously felt "struck" by them. Ergo, you "squealed".

In the interest of ending this pointless tit-for-tat, let me say that I do not consider you a "granny-hater". I don't know you, and you don't know me. As to the people I have encountered in my life off-line, you don't need to worry about them or my interraction with them in any capacity. After re-reading the relevant passages, I can see how you thought the words were meant for you, but they were not. I hope we can drop this. I for one am tired of flogging this dead horse. (Another corn-fed witticism) Wink I never had any interest in this topic as a purely intellectual exercise. To me, humility is the crux of the matter. My objection is to the attitude that "protestantization" holds the cure for what "ails" the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #144 on: March 02, 2005, 01:25:45 PM »



The "cultural traditions" I mentioned were:



Then you discuss "cultural stuffs" as if all things from a culture are equal.  Do you think that I am arguing that one should stop being what they are for a fabricated ethnic identity made up of dietary and linguistic changes?  Do you think that the celebration of Slava is equivalent to making sarma?  I talk about practicing the Orthodox Faith in the way it was handed down to you through your church, not changing your menu.  Are those two things the same? 

At the risk of sounding too Saussurian, I think there is a lot of agreement here that is not apparent simply because people are making arguments based on terminology that has radically different meaning from argument to argument. 

Terms of Ambiguity:

Traditions:

When I'm talking about "Traditions," I'm referring to the way a particular church has "taught" its people to live the Orthodox Faith.

Evangelism:

I mean effictively communicationg the Orthodox Faith to the heterodox/non-Christian people in our communities in such a way that they are welcomed to Orthodoxy if they wish.

The Orthodox Model of Evangelism:

I mean the evangelism of the saints.  See my post concerning Sts. Cyrill and Methodius, St. Sava, et. al.  I really believe we have a disagreement on definition here.


I also see real disagreement when it comes to the right of the OCA, as an AMERICAN Orthodox church, to develop Orthodox traditions in an AMERICAN way, just as St. Sava did in Serbia. 

I see disagreement on the role of spiritual Traditions that a particular church practices. Some seem to deride them as ethnic diversions unimportant to living the faith, while others, including myself, see them as absolutely essential when living the faith as a person in a family in a parish in an eparchy in a patriarchate in the Church.

No, making sarma is not the same as celebrating Slava. I see your point about practicing your faith as handed down by your church. Point being that the Serbian church has traditions that are unique to the Serbian Orthodox people and American converts shouldn't have to feel as if they should take on an ethnic identity in order to become Orthodox. When an American convert of Anglo descent  celebrates Slava and a Serbian family celebrates Slava it means the same thing. BUT, The Anglo American will always be anglo American despite celebrating a Serbian tradition. 
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« Reply #145 on: March 02, 2005, 01:32:45 PM »


... correct me if I'm wrong, your position seems to be advocating for being "American" more than being "American Orthodox".


Correcting.  I was being facetious.

I'm against this Former-Evangelical-Threatened-by-Host Minority sort of attitude that is present in Orthodox parishes in America.

I'm for Pan-Orthodoxy in America rather than an "American Orthodox" ethnicism that some people think is a solution to an alleged, yet overhyped "ethnic" problem.

I would not be an Orthodox Christian if not for the Slavs, Greeks, Arabs who have brought Holy Orthodoxy to America.   My family and I are in your debt.



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« Reply #146 on: March 02, 2005, 01:46:08 PM »

I would not be an Orthodox Christian if not for the Slavs, Greeks, Arabs who have brought Holy Orthodoxy to America.   My family and I are in your debt.

Certainly not indepted to me.  Wink

But certainly glad to have you and your family in the wonderful world of Orthodoxy.  In fact, I must admit, joining the OC.net has really opened my eyes to the amount of non-ethnic Orthodoxy that actually exist.

Before joining here, the whole non-ethnic group seemed more of an urban myth than reality.  Grin
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« Reply #147 on: March 05, 2005, 01:13:50 AM »

Orthodoxical,

Welcome.

I read your posts and you sound like a man after my own heart. You will make a good orthodox christian if you choose that path. Your suggestions on being humble, quiet, with a learning heart, volunteering your time to the parish, doing work around the community to show your serious about your faith and loving everyone no matter how grumpy they are to you is right on the money. Love truely conquers all. God will pour His grace upon you in humility.

God bless you in your walk towards the Orthodox faith. You will not regret the choice if you choose Orthodoxy.

In Christ,

Orthodoxy

Hi Orthodoxy,
Thank you for the kind words. I am late in replying because I don't often have a lot of time during the week for such a pleasant avocation as this message board, and I've had less than usual this week. Anyhow, I have a few observations on posts that have appeared on this thread since I last visited. I am still strongly inclined towards Orthodoxy, nothing I have read here or elsewhere since last time has changed that. I am at this time a little frustrated in my search for a specific church, because I am presently working a Sunday-Thursday schedule - I can't attend Divine Liturgy anywhere until that changes, which will take a few more weeks.
Some folks seem to be passionate one way or another on the "ethnicity" of a given Church. Some are put off by the "Serbness" of a Serbian Church or the "Greekness" of a Greek church, etc etc. Still others are put off by the people who are put off by that. I find a middle way kind of advantageous. On the one hand, I do not endeavor to become a Russian or an Arab or what have you. I couldn't even if I wanted to. I'm a mongrel, of Swede-Scot-Welsh-French lineage, and I enjoy various aspects of each flavor in the cassserole that is me. I have no wish to become a person who is culturally Romanian or Ukrainian or Lakota Sioux. But, I am likely converting to Orthodoxy as the culmination of a long search for Truth, a long hunger for an authentic Liturgy and potent, living Sacraments. One should not convert to a Church in order to adopt a nationality. There is nothing admirable or "Orthodox" about rebelling against one's English roots and pretending one is Syrian. But at the same time, one shouldn't stay in a church simply because its rites and its culture are familiar and comfortable. I think it is an advantage, to a convert, to be immersed in an environment that is not familiar, not altogether comfortable and tried and true. It would help keep you focused on what you ARE there for: the Liturgy, the worship of God, and the partaking of Sacraments. The American Baptist in me will always love "Blessed Assurance". It is a great song. Not just for the warm childhood memories of bland white folks, who have with no trace of an accent and who like ham and bean suppers, gathering together to share their faith in the blood of Jesus, but also because I think anyone who sings it, sings each word of it, sincerely, is in fact "saved". But there is more to the life of a soul than singing a nice song. In the Baptist Church, I could sing about the blood of Jesus. In the Orthodox Church, I will be able to eat it and swallow it, along with His Flesh. For some, the grape juice and cubes of white bread may be enough. The Lord saves whom He will. But I need the body and blood, and if I can get that in a congregation dominated by Lebanese folks or Romanian folks, well, I thank God for that. And I hope they do, too. The cradle Orthodox might not know how lucky they are, they may take it for granted. Whatever Church I end up joining, I certainly hope to make friends and learn some new customs as well as some old Traditions. But make no mistake about it, I am there for the Liturgy and the Sacraments, not for the baklava or borscht.
The other active idea on the latter pages of this thread seems to be concerned with the meaning and the virtue of "evangelizing". There are different ways to do that. Here is an issue I have not seen on this thread, probably because it would be more akin to "Catholicizing" the Orthodox Church, rather than Protestantizing it. I have said in previous posts that I am ALMOST certain Orthodoxy is the Faith to which I want to give myself. It is 98% decided. But, it is not 100%. Because, I could, conceivably, still end up in Rome, despite a number of doctrinal misgivings ranging from priestly celibacy (which has wrought havov on the modern RC Church because it is not happening) to the Bishop of Rome as Universal Emperor. Obviously, this is not the thread to get into nuts and bolts Catholic things. But as regards Evangelization, they SEEM to outdo both the Protestants and the Orthodox. This is why they still have the tip of their shoe in my door, and I would appreciate the insight of people who know more about what Orthodoxy is up to in this area. The Scriptures say "be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only" and "Faith without works is dead". The Protestants are good at preaching the Gospel and imploring their listeners to come in. The Orthodox are (apparently) good at inviting people to worship, to see the Liturgy and Sacraments being practiced. But the Catholics are really good at following the admonition of St Francis: Preach the Gospel always - if necessary, use words. They have so many missions, so many orders of nuns, monks, brothers, and lay people, running soup kitchens, homeless shelters, hospitals and schools, serving the poor in a thousand different ways, all over the world. And as a lapsing Protestant heading towards Orthodoxy, I have to admit it impresses me a whole lot. The Salvation Army is a great little organization, despite their odd inclination to dress up like theater ushers. They devote almost all their resources to serving the poor. Their "church" is usually a room in the back of the soup kitchen or off the dormitory. But they have no Sacraments to speak of. Rome has both, soup kitchens AND the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. And I do find it admirable, and I think it is probably the single best form of "evangelization" that there is. I'd love to know what other Orthodox folks think of this, especially converts.
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« Reply #148 on: March 05, 2005, 12:25:08 PM »

Just to provide some balance for myself...

I've been told to stop taking antidoron to catechumens after communing in my current parish -- the parish I was in formerly used this as a custom to welcome inquirers and catechumens and it's how I myself was welcomed into the parish at first.  It's not the tradition in my current parish, so I cut it out.

I ask myself, "Am I protestantizing in my own parish?"

For instance, re: Pedro's quote above...

In my current parish, after communing, parishoners hand out pieces of antidoron to pretty much anyone who did not commune: fellow parishoners, catechumens, inquirers, just-off-the-street visitors.  One could easily get the impression that it is the duty of parishoners to distribute antidoron.

After visiting  Russian and Greek parishes, I noticed a completely different practice.  The priests themselves distributed the antidoron at the end of the Divine Liturgy.

I did some research and found many statements similar to this:

"Antidoron should not be given to non-Orthodox. It represents the Holy Gifts. (Thus the custom—now sadly ignored in most Churches—of fasting from the midnight before Liturgy, even when not communing.) So as not to embarrass non-Orthodox visiting our services, we place portions of an unblessed loaf of bread at one side of the antidoron tray and give these to non-Orthodox with the customary blessing: 'May the blessing of the Lord....' "

I have a newfound appreciation (a respectful fear) for the antidoron and I do not distribute it as it seems to be something that I am unqualified to do.

Should we, chameleon-like , just adapt our practices to the parishes that we happen to be in at the time? Or is my parish too lax in the proper handling and consumption of the antidoron?

By adopting a practice that is counter to the practice of my home parish , am I  "protestantizing," picking and choosing based on my own conscience? 

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« Reply #149 on: March 06, 2005, 12:50:12 AM »

Quote
But as regards Evangelization, they SEEM to outdo both the Protestants and the Orthodox. This is why they still have the tip of their shoe in my door, and I would appreciate the insight of people who know more about what Orthodoxy is up to in this area. The Scriptures say "be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only" and "Faith without works is dead". The Protestants are good at preaching the Gospel and imploring their listeners to come in. The Orthodox are (apparently) good at inviting people to worship, to see the Liturgy and Sacraments being practiced. But the Catholics are really good at following the admonition of St Francis: Preach the Gospel always - if necessary, use words. They have so many missions, so many orders of nuns, monks, brothers, and lay people, running soup kitchens, homeless shelters, hospitals and schools, serving the poor in a thousand different ways, all over the world. And as a lapsing Protestant heading towards Orthodoxy, I have to admit it impresses me a whole lot. The Salvation Army is a great little organization, despite their odd inclination to dress up like theater ushers. They devote almost all their resources to serving the poor. Their "church" is usually a room in the back of the soup kitchen or off the dormitory. But they have no Sacraments to speak of. Rome has both, soup kitchens AND the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. And I do find it admirable, and I think it is probably the single best form of "evangelization" that there is. I'd love to know what other Orthodox folks think of this, especially converts.

Orthodoxical,

I also pondered the same things as you have, in regards to the idea of the Roman Catholic Church "out-doing" everyone else with missionary activity, and how the RC faith was spread all over by zealous missionaries who risked their lives to share it with others.

Although I can appreciate that, I believe the Orthodox faith to be the True Catholic Faith, in it's fullness - nothing added to It, or taken from It. It was because of that that I finally took the first steps to learning more about the Orthodox Catholic Faith and to eventually be received into the Church.

There have been many others who shared their faith and risked their lives to share it, Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and yes, Orthodox. You will find after doing some research about Orthodox missionary activity that many have sacrificed their lives for the Faith. I for one think that perhaps converts coming into the Church can use some of the evangelical zeal they were raised with in their previous church/denomination,and put it to good use in the Church to share the True Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic faith.

I am sure others will chime on this and provide some good insight for you, Orthodoxical.

Prayers for you, in this time of discernment. May God guide you where He would have you to be!

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #150 on: March 07, 2005, 03:12:14 PM »

The priest gives out the antidiron in our church...the bulletin clearly states every week that non orthodox may not partake of the communion, but anyone may come up after for antidiron, (as a gesture of fellowship, I presume) there is also a bit ont he church ettiquite page how not to throw it away as it has been blessed, at the very outside you may crumble it up for the birds.  I keep having to eat the rest of my daughters' antidiron because well, some families make a better bread than others,LOL! laugh
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« Reply #151 on: March 10, 2005, 02:53:08 PM »

I would just share two things with Orthodoxical and his post on Feb. 26th

I too looked closely to Rome before becoming Orthodox and for some of the very same institution-admiring reasons - ministries to the poor and educational institutions

One thing that I came to understand about Orthodoxy is that for the first 1400 years after Constantine they DID have all these things going on that the RC Church has today in Byzantium. BUT...since then MOST Orthodox in most Orthodox lands were struggling for their very survival under various forms of vehement persection whether Muslims, Turks, Communism. The RC's have built their institutions and outreaches in relative peace for 500 years!

It will be up to our and future generations of Orthodox to go about the business of institution building in terms of ministries, social outreach, schools, etc. That is if God allows and we ourselves don't have to endure persection - which I believe could be possible and in a relatively short period of time ,even in this country.

The other point is in regard to being saved. Our Orthodox understanding does not have the sense that someone is "saved" already; we are in the process of being saved through the Church and the sacraments by the grace of God and because of what He has done for us in becoming incarnate and suffering death and conquering sin and death. Salvation is a path we are on daily.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2005, 02:55:24 PM by BrotherAiden » Logged
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« Reply #152 on: March 13, 2005, 04:15:46 AM »

I would just share two things with Orthodoxical and his post on Feb. 26th

I too looked closely to Rome before becoming Orthodox and for some of the very same institution-admiring reasons - ministries to the poor and educational institutions

One thing that I came to understand about Orthodoxy is that for the first 1400 years after Constantine they DID have all these things going on that the RC Church has today in Byzantium. BUT...since then MOST Orthodox in most Orthodox lands were struggling for their very survival under various forms of vehement persection whether Muslims, Turks, Communism. The RC's have built their institutions and outreaches in relative peace for 500 years!

It will be up to our and future generations of Orthodox to go about the business of institution building in terms of ministries, social outreach, schools, etc. That is if God allows and we ourselves don't have to endure persection - which I believe could be possible and in a relatively short period of time ,even in this country.

The other point is in regard to being saved. Our Orthodox understanding does not have the sense that someone is "saved" already; we are in the process of being saved through the Church and the sacraments by the grace of God and because of what He has done for us in becoming incarnate and suffering death and conquering sin and death. Salvation is a path we are on daily.

Hi Brother Aiden,
Thank you for the observations, both of which seem very astute to me. Regarding being "saved", I quite agree with your point. When someone makes a decision to respond to God's call in his or her life, that is simply the start of an ongoing process. I think even a lot of Protestants realize that, but they seem to be fixated on the act of "accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior" or getting "born again". Once you do that., you are all set, or so they seem to imply. And indeed, someone who accepts Jesus as Lord at a prayer meeting might be all set, if he walks out the door and immediately gets run over by a UPS truck. But, assuming his life continues, so should the development of his relationship with God. This is why I find the Orthodox Church in particular, and sacramental, liturgical, apostolic churches in general, to be superior to Protestantism. They have the tools one needs to develop an ever-closer bond with Christ and with other Christians (and other people). With all due respect to those Protestant churches that encourage regular prayer and Bible study (and many do), they don't have a well developed liturgy, wherein worshippers do nothing but worship God, and thet don't have the Eucharist, wherein one takes into oneself the actual body and blood of Christ. My dad was a rock ribbed Baptist all his life, but he stopped going to church in the 1970s, because he lost a lot of his hearing. He'd say, "why should I sit there for an hour when I can't hear a word the minister is saying?". At the time it seemed like a fair question. Now I would say, you don't go to church to hear a man give a lecture, that is close to irrelevant. But in the Baptist service, the minister's sermon was the centerpiece. Once a month we'd have a communion service, which everyone admitted was just a symbolic recapitulation of the Last Supper and not a Divine Sacrament. In the Orthodox (or Catholic) service, you can be stone deaf and you still go to church. Hearing may help, but you are there to worship God and partake of the Eucharist. I'm not trying to totally dismiss the importance or worthiness of the Priest's homily, but it is not the main reason you are there. Anyhow, this is just my longwinded way of saying I agree that "conversion" is an ongoing process, and it only starts with "getting saved". For a "cradle" Orthodox, there is (hopefully) a time when you realize you are in Church not just because it is a place your parents are in the habit of dragging you every Sunday, but rather it is the place you need to go to feed and cultivate your relationship with God and His Body. It may not be a sudden flash of insight, it could be an understanding that naturally develops as you mature. No matter how you enter the state of being saved, whether by Baptism after birth or by conversion, it is an ongoing, lifelong process.
PS - love the name Aiden, that was the Patron's name I was going to take when I was seriously thinking of becoming Catholic, it is nice to know it remains an option in Orthodoxy. It's nice that the treasures of Celtic Christianity are being rediscovered.
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Strange were the tidings, strange was the vision at Pentecost: Fire came down, bestowing gifts of grace on each.
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