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Author Topic: Raised in Evangelical family and now feeling 'out of the jungle' in the world  (Read 807 times) Average Rating: 0
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Myrophora
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« on: November 18, 2013, 10:25:14 AM »

Hello everyone! I'm new to the forums and don't know if the subject has been tackled before so please be patient with me Wink I'm Orthodox with Evangelical background. Now while it may be common situation in USA, here in Poland it's extremely rare. That's why I have no-one of the same experience to talk to. My problem is that I've been taught everything is 'worldly' or 'pagan'. Starting with the Smurfs (of New Age origins), Power Rangers (these are 'demons of power' = demonic), skirts that show knees (indecent and provoking), all kinds of parties (mingling with The World can do you no good), having non-Evangelical friends (same reason) or having interests and hobbies (desiring something beyond God). I remember when my parents found a can of beer in my brother's room and accused him of alcoholism Roll Eyes So I was growing up lonely and constantly stressing out that I'm worldly and not spiritual enough. When I got married and moved out I slowly started to see that Evangelical Christianity is not this only true faith and so by the God's grace I found Orthodoxy. Now I think I just don't know what is normal and what is sinful. And I don't know how does 'normal' people live. When someone invites me over it stresses the heck out of me because I don't know how to behave normally. Don't know the customs of civilised men when they get together, since I was always intimidated by fellow Christians ('anything could happen at the non-Evangelical get-togethers and it would be your fault because Guardian Angel doesn't go to a 'certain places'). Not to mention inviting others over. Has anybody here experienced this? If so how did you learn to become 'normal'? Did it come naturally or did you watch someone and learned from them? One more thing - I tried to talk about these things with my priest but although he's a wonderful and wise man he doesn't seem to understand what I'm talking about Sad

Now please forgive my English mistakes - as you can guess it's not my native language Grin
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2013, 11:10:41 AM »


Did your parents tell you, as a child, that if something bad happened to you while out amongst non-Evangelicals, that it would be *your* fault?   It sounds like you grew up in an overly-rigid environment and have more anxiety than what is healthy or necessary. 

The first thing to know is that there is no "normal".... Everyone has faults and quirks.  If you grew up not being able to socialize with people outside of your group, you may feel you are some extreme oddball.  But, in reality, you are just another one of God's children trying to make his or her way in the world.   You will feel more at ease with time, especially if you treat yourself with more compassion. God expects us to treat others with compassion, so why can't you treat yourself with compassion? You deserve it, just like the next person.

You might want to investigate cults and how they control people with making them overly anxious and afraid.  Some churches use the same guilt and fear indoctrination to keep their members under control, unfortunately.  You may find that you were not the problem, and that the tactics used on you were the real problem.  Parents do worry about their children, but if they use too much shame and blame, it can move into a very dangerous area where they risk handicapping the child for life. 

It would be good for you to find some wise friend in the Orthodox church who can act as your big brother or big sister so you can talk about these feelings.
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2013, 11:52:15 AM »

I'm not married but otherwise you sound like exactly like how I was few years ago. I grew up in a devout Pentecostal family. Unfortunately I don't think there is an easy solution for your problem. Things will get easier as time passes though. Get some non-Evangelical or even non-religious friends and spend time with them while figuring out which things are dogmatically/ethically wrong and which are just Evangelical family traditions. There's huge difference between these two. In time I was able to convince myself that if some things aren't dogmatically/ethically wrong there's nothing wrong with them despite how I feel about them.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 11:57:02 AM by Alpo » Logged

Myrophora
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2013, 12:12:23 PM »


Did your parents tell you, as a child, that if something bad happened to you while out amongst non-Evangelicals, that it would be *your* fault?   It sounds like you grew up in an overly-rigid environment and have more anxiety than what is healthy or necessary.

Adela, thank you. If I was out amongst non-Evengelical but it was something obligatory like school than it wouldn't be my fault. Unless I've provoked it somehow. But if it would be some non-obligatory circumstances, somewhere I go on purpose like hanging out with 'worldly friends', a concert, a disco or maybe somebody's house then I would be the one responsible if something bad happens.
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The first thing to know is that there is no "normal".... Everyone has faults and quirks.  If you grew up not being able to socialize with people outside of your group, you may feel you are some extreme oddball.  But, in reality, you are just another one of God's children trying to make his or her way in the world.   You will feel more at ease with time, especially if you treat yourself with more compassion. God expects us to treat others with compassion, so why can't you treat yourself with compassion? You deserve it, just like the next person.
Extreme oddball is exactly how I feel. But I can't treat myself with compassion. I was taught to be hard on myself because we have to crucify our old nature. My Dad always said that if someone feels hurt it means he or she hasn't crucify themselves enough yet. If you crucify your nature you are unable to feel hurt or to suffer because 'the dead don't bleed'. The exact quote.
Quote
You might want to investigate cults and how they control people with making them overly anxious and afraid.  Some churches use the same guilt and fear indoctrination to keep their members under control, unfortunately.  You may find that you were not the problem, and that the tactics used on you were the real problem.  Parents do worry about their children, but if they use too much shame and blame, it can move into a very dangerous area where they risk handicapping the child for life. 

Yes, I suspect this being a problem but it doesn't change the fact that I feel lost, confused and a plain weirdo. I'm sure everybody around would discover it if I would let them to know me closer and in social circumstances. That's why I'm quite afraid of the world. Though I don't show it - I avoid instead. I wonder if that means I'm handicapped for life Undecided
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It would be good for you to find some wise friend in the Orthodox church who can act as your big brother or big sister so you can talk about these feelings.
I know but, as I mentioned, nobody I know has this experience so they don't understand. They haven't even heard of Evangelical Christianity since Poland is utterly Catholic.
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2013, 12:46:41 PM »

to learn about "normal" and how to behave as such, you have to read the lives of the saints.  Most of what you will encounter in the world and in parish life is abnormal.  Imitating other Orthodox Christians may result in following blind guides on the way to eternal condemnation.  Imitating the saints may just lead you to Paradise. 
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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 01:05:32 PM »

Imitating the saints may just lead you to Paradise.  

Or turn you weird. AFAIK we are not encouraged to apply various writings of the Fathers on our own. Even more, some even discourage reading too much before getting mature enough. IMO there are various good reasons for that. Hyperdox Herman thread is filled with many of those.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 01:05:47 PM by Alpo » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2013, 01:15:03 PM »

Hi Myrophora.  Congratulations on your emancipation!  You're finally free!  Grin

Take it slow, try to be easy on yourself, lean on the Lord and your spouse for support, and pray (especially the Jesus prayer - it works wonders!).  You'll be fine.

In a way, you're like a person who is learning to swim after years of being told that water is bad and you will drown as soon as you enter the pool.  Learn to doggie paddle.

Take baby steps, and in time you'll be fine.  It just takes awhile to adjust.  You'll be in my prayers.  Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2013, 01:19:38 PM »

I don't think there's anything wrong with teaching your children how vain and empty the things of the world can be, but it can't be taken to the point of neurosis or outright fear of living.
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Myrophora
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2013, 03:10:11 PM »

I'm not married but otherwise you sound like exactly like how I was few years ago. I grew up in a devout Pentecostal family. Unfortunately I don't think there is an easy solution for your problem. Things will get easier as time passes though. Get some non-Evangelical or even non-religious friends and spend time with them while figuring out which things are dogmatically/ethically wrong and which are just Evangelical family traditions. There's huge difference between these two. In time I was able to convince myself that if some things aren't dogmatically/ethically wrong there's nothing wrong with them despite how I feel about them.
Alpo, thanks. It means so much to know that I'm not the only one. This convincing myself thing is the most difficult. I just feel fear of spending time with 'pagans' - God forbid being 'locked up' with them in some non-public place from where I can't escape. Because, yes, I tend to escape quickly after the party/meeting/event starts. Because they may come up with some ungodly idea and force me into it or make me making lengthy excuses as for why I don't want to do it. And then label me as weirdo.
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2013, 03:17:03 PM »

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extreme oddball is exactly how I feel. But I can't treat myself with compassion. I was taught to be hard on myself because we have to crucify our old nature. My Dad always said that if someone feels hurt it means he or she hasn't crucify themselves enough yet. If you crucify your nature you are unable to feel hurt or to suffer because 'the dead don't bleed'. The exact quote.

This sounds so extreme and cruel.   Perhaps your father had good intentions and had his own fear of the world, but this is not true Christianity.  Jesus comforted the sick and the destitute and the suffering.  What strikes me in the Gospel is how kind and compassionate Jesus was to women, especially fallen women.  He knew what was in their hearts and also knew how they were treated.  Let Jesus and Jesus's own words be your guide.  It's one thing to try to teach your child to face adversity in life, but another thing to load them down with something as extreme as this.  You mentioned that your priest is wise, do you go over some of these teachings you were instilled with as a child, and have him reinforce what the Church really teaches?

Are you able to go to any type of therapy where someone can work with you on your social anxieties?   It sounds like you have more than the normal "I feel out of it" that many teenagers have experienced, based on your upbringing.

Like the other poster said, take baby steps, and learn to doggie paddle first before swimming the English Channel.   Where do you feel most comfortable?  I always felt most comfortable in a library because that was my escape from my alcoholic father.  Look for ways you can volunteer or something so you can interact with people without having to feel you have to be the life of the party at some disco.

Can you find this book in Poland?
http://www.amazon.com/Combatting-Cult-Mind-Control-Best-selling/dp/0892813113
I read it when I had someone in my life in a cult (the Hollywood one........) and found out how destructive it was.   From what you described, you might have been exposed to some of the same tactics,  Something these cults/groups do is to make some feel so anxious and afraid that they are kept in the group.  The people have so much anxiety being outside the group that they are unable to leave the group, even if they are unhappy in the group. 

Keep talking to your priest, keep praying, perhaps seek out a therapist for help with your anxiety. And, remember that just because others may not understand your situation, it doesn't make you wrong or weird.   Different people have different talents and experiences and it often takes time to find someone with the wisdom and experience to help
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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2013, 03:29:35 PM »

wow, sounds difficult.

i also used to be protestant, but not that strict, what you describe (especially the not feeling hurt thing) is NOT protestant Christianity, it is something very extreme, a bit like (but more extreme) the 'plymouth brethren' in uk.
i know some romanian protestants are (esp. 30 years ago) quite extreme (no t.v. etc) and a few were nearly as bad as you  describe.

the ideas here in this thread are good.

i would suggest that you meet people in a coffee shop (really no-one takes their clothes off or starts contacting the dead through seances in a coffee shop in daylight), or if you don't have money for a coffee, you could invite people to your house for coffee and cakes and share different cake recipes (safe subject).
once you have spent a year having small social events in the daylight, then you will have learnt enough social skills to see if someone is going to do something bad to you or if he / she is safe to be with.

there is nothing in the Bible where Godly people get to some superior state where they don't feel pain.
when our Lord Jesus was in the garden of gethsemane, he sweated drops of blood onto the ground.
mark 14:34 says 'My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even until death'.
maybe he wasn't spiritual enough?!
(i don't think so!)

what is your husband's background?
if he finds socialising easier and if he has good morals (won't take you over to do bad things with the neighbours) then follow his advice.

in summary: if you are not sacrificing to idols and you have your clothes on when you talk to people, you are probably ok.
don't drink alcohol with people until you have a better and clearer idea about what is 'allowed' now that you are not stuck in this excessively controlling situation that your parents put you in.

i pray that God will guide you and give you peace.
please feel free to send me a personal message if you want to ask anything, i was a protestant Christian for more than 20 years before being orthodox (5 years ago), and i have a husband who has much better social skills than i do.
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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2013, 05:48:39 PM »

Hi Myrophora.  Congratulations on your emancipation!  You're finally free!  Grin

Take it slow, try to be easy on yourself, lean on the Lord and your spouse for support, and pray (especially the Jesus prayer - it works wonders!).  You'll be fine.

In a way, you're like a person who is learning to swim after years of being told that water is bad and you will drown as soon as you enter the pool.  Learn to doggie paddle.

Take baby steps, and in time you'll be fine.  It just takes awhile to adjust.  You'll be in my prayers.  Smiley
Thank you very much Smiley In my mind I'm not free, but I'm free in a sense that I'm no longer under their influence. In fact, until very recently I thought that I almost got rid of it. When I became Orthodox I thought I can be like everybody else and that I finally am free to do whatever I want. This, however, didn't last long for I bumped onto reality and hit myself hard. I got the job in big company full of university students who all had a perpetual hangover from constant partying. Drinking and doing stupid things while drunk was the sole topic of conversations from Monday to Friday. And I just couldn't do it. Then I got the idea that my parents were right and this is what normal ('worldly') people do and I don't fit in. Like really don't fit in.
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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2013, 08:41:34 PM »

As Christians, we're called to be in the world but not of the world, right?  We're not supposed to participate in things that are contradictory to our Faith, or that are destructive to ourselves or others, but that doesn't mean that we're all called to be monastics.  You're right not to fellowship with blackout drunks.  That would be heading down a destructive path.  But that doesn't mean that you have to be completely anti-social.  You have your husband.  I'm sure that he's your best friend.  And soon, you'll develop others, maybe in your Orthodox parish.  You'll find your balance and your harmony.  It's not like there are only two options in the world: controlling cult and debauched, drunken barbarians.  There are nice, normal people out there who love Christ and live for Him, but realize that not every human being is called to be a monk or nun and turn their back completely on the world.  You'll find your groove, sister.  Don't worry.  Just give it time.  Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2013, 12:19:26 PM »

wow, sounds difficult.

i also used to be protestant, but not that strict, what you describe (especially the not feeling hurt thing) is NOT protestant Christianity, it is something very extreme, a bit like (but more extreme) the 'plymouth brethren' in uk.
i know some romanian protestants are (esp. 30 years ago) quite extreme (no t.v. etc) and a few were nearly as bad as you  describe.

the ideas here in this thread are good.

i would suggest that you meet people in a coffee shop (really no-one takes their clothes off or starts contacting the dead through seances in a coffee shop in daylight), or if you don't have money for a coffee, you could invite people to your house for coffee and cakes and share different cake recipes (safe subject).
once you have spent a year having small social events in the daylight, then you will have learnt enough social skills to see if someone is going to do something bad to you or if he / she is safe to be with.

there is nothing in the Bible where Godly people get to some superior state where they don't feel pain.
when our Lord Jesus was in the garden of gethsemane, he sweated drops of blood onto the ground.
mark 14:34 says 'My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even until death'.
maybe he wasn't spiritual enough?!
(i don't think so!)

what is your husband's background?
if he finds socialising easier and if he has good morals (won't take you over to do bad things with the neighbours) then follow his advice.

in summary: if you are not sacrificing to idols and you have your clothes on when you talk to people, you are probably ok.
don't drink alcohol with people until you have a better and clearer idea about what is 'allowed' now that you are not stuck in this excessively controlling situation that your parents put you in.

i pray that God will guide you and give you peace.
please feel free to send me a personal message if you want to ask anything, i was a protestant Christian for more than 20 years before being orthodox (5 years ago), and i have a husband who has much better social skills than i do.
Thank you for understanding, advice and prayer, "joyful one" Wink My parents aren't typical Protestants, to say the least. My Dad managed to invent quite a few doctrines and rules by himself. Also, well, he's been the leader of the group from some time on. I wouldn't want to gossip about my parents, though. I love them very much and managed to forgive them only recently. You are right about feeling hurt or pain. We are allowed to it, but my Dad meant mainly the hurt caused by other people. But as Alpo wrote - this is the matter of convincing oneself against one's taught feelings.

The coffee idea is good, thank you. The only thing about it is that, well..., here in Poland social life revolves pretty much around drinking (and not coffee Wink). Whether in a club, at pub or at home. Even if you learn that there's going to be a barbecue you can be sure what will be grilled Undecided Oh, some meat can make it's way there, too. So you can invite someone for a coffee but there will be no real relationship until you'll drink together. And while a beer or two in some good place is ok, sooner or later you'll be probably invited to some heavy night drinking.

My husband also is Orthodox (we converted together), but himself is not very social person. It's not that he don't like people. He just doesn't show the initiative towards socialising. He was 'born Catholic' then converted to Evangelicalism under my ekhem influence, then to My-Dad's-Understanding-Of-Evangelicalism and only later to Orthodoxy.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 12:23:32 PM by Myrophora » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2013, 05:00:09 PM »

Has anybody here experienced this? If so how did you learn to become 'normal'? Did it come naturally or did you watch someone and learned from them?

I come from an Evangelical background.  One of the things I remember being told by the youth pastor is that rock music is satanic, but the church and my family were not as strict as yours sounds.

I don't know that I learned to become "normal."  My family left that church.  As I got older, I rejected almost everything that church had taught me.  I became worldly, indeed.

The problem is that there is some truth in what they teach, but it's not the whole truth.  There is a real and present danger that hanging out with the wrong crowd, listening to the wrong music, wearing the wrong clothes, etc., will lead one off the straight and narrow path.  You have to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses.  If you can be around certain people or in certain places without feeling like you have to be exactly like they are, if you're comfortable in your own skin, you don't have to worry too much about being influenced in a bad way.  In fact, you might be a "light unto the world" for someone because you're different.
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« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2013, 03:10:15 PM »

wow, myrophora, polish culture sounds a lot like british culture!
it is hard to 'go out' with friends without drinking alcohol.
i have sometimes found that it is very useful to offer to drive, then you are 'allowed' not to drink, so that may help if you have access to a car.
twice i have borrowed the car of my drinking partners!
once it was a very nice mercedes which i took over once i realised the driver who was going to take us home had a few beers already.
i didn't want to die on the way home  Roll Eyes
he was happy to take another beer from me in compensation for giving away his car key!
he was already drunk enough not to worry that he was giving his new car to someone he didn't know well...

now i am confident enough just to say 'no, i don't really drink alcohol' and am not bothered what people think, but before, it was a real problem. another thing that may help is alcohol free wine or cider or beer. it looks nearly like the real thing and tastes better.

what about lunchtimes at the weekend? do polish people drink alcohol even at lunch?
could you try a hobby or a sport where people get together for some purpose other than alcohol?
may God guide you
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« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2013, 04:21:34 PM »

I grew up sort of the same exact way, except, I always knew that it was a load of bull since day one, but I was compelled to follow it. And I don't think my parents were as radical as yours; they were more of the low-Church "just Christian" Evangelicals, although they still had a strong strand of anti-RCism (which they applied to Orthodoxy when I converted). My advice? Seek therapy and seek a strong relationship with a spiritual father. This is more than just a religious dilemma, but is a psychological and health dilemma as well because it appears that your bizarre upbringing has had a lasting affect on you that needs to be resolved and healed.
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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2013, 04:55:49 PM »

Hi Myrophora.  Congratulations on your emancipation!  You're finally free!  Grin

Take it slow, try to be easy on yourself, lean on the Lord and your spouse for support, and pray (especially the Jesus prayer - it works wonders!).  You'll be fine.

In a way, you're like a person who is learning to swim after years of being told that water is bad and you will drown as soon as you enter the pool.  Learn to doggie paddle.

Take baby steps, and in time you'll be fine.  It just takes awhile to adjust.  You'll be in my prayers.  Smiley
Thank you very much Smiley In my mind I'm not free, but I'm free in a sense that I'm no longer under their influence. In fact, until very recently I thought that I almost got rid of it. When I became Orthodox I thought I can be like everybody else and that I finally am free to do whatever I want. This, however, didn't last long for I bumped onto reality and hit myself hard. I got the job in big company full of university students who all had a perpetual hangover from constant partying. Drinking and doing stupid things while drunk was the sole topic of conversations from Monday to Friday. And I just couldn't do it. Then I got the idea that my parents were right and this is what normal ('worldly') people do and I don't fit in. Like really don't fit in.

I would certainly not fit into a company where the only topic of conversation is partying and being drunk. When I used to work with Bank of America, yes, the employees did party a lot, but those who did ultimately got fired.

There are other jobs available where people are conscientious and responsible. My son worked for a family-owned business where the people were good Christians. These Christians knew that he was an Orthodox Christian and they did not treat him badly. In fact, they respected him.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 04:58:03 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2013, 05:00:00 PM »


The problem is that there is some truth in what they teach, but it's not the whole truth.  There is a real and present danger that hanging out with the wrong crowd, listening to the wrong music, wearing the wrong clothes, etc., will lead one off the straight and narrow path.  You have to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses.  If you can be around certain people or in certain places without feeling like you have to be exactly like they are, if you're comfortable in your own skin, you don't have to worry too much about being influenced in a bad way.  In fact, you might be a "light unto the world" for someone because you're different.

+1

Very true.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 05:01:18 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2013, 05:01:47 PM »

Many of us have had to just accept we are not going to fit into the mainstream culture.   We just have to accept we need to find our friends in niche places.  Just remember that noone can force you to do something you don't want to do.  It's good to learn how to set boundaries and how to say no.  For example, the last time I was around marijuana was with the ushers after my brother's wedding (he married a Methodist and it was in a Baptist church).  I had to drive some home because they were drunk, so when the joint was being passed around and it came my way, I just passed it on.  Noone held me down and forced me to take a hit. I just didn't want to join in and I have never been in this situation again, ever, so that is pretty rare.   If someone wants to get you a drink and you don't want to drink alcohol, in America you could just say "No, I"m good" and that pretty much is the end of it.   The point is people really aren't going to force you to join in on something when you just say, causually, "no, not right now".   You don't owe anyone explanations, and people are really often to self-focused to care much either way. 

If coffee shops aren't an option right now, are there book discussion clubs around?   In America there are also knitting groups where women meet to knit. It sounds like something little old ladies would do, but here there are many 20-30 year olds who are into making their own clothes now.    One social thing I did with my former Catholic church was when a group met for "Rosary Dinners" at different homes.   First the group would pray a Rosary and then there would be a potluck dinner.  Perhaps you could speak to your priest to see if some other church members would like to socialize in this way, only substitute some Orthodox prayer for the Rosary.     What's nice about this is there isn't that much pressure to entertain, everyone is there to pray and connect and then the socializing is rather easy.

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« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2013, 05:05:44 PM »

Many of us have had to just accept we are not going to fit into the mainstream culture.   We just have to accept we need to find our friends in niche places.  Just remember that noone can force you to do something you don't want to do.  It's good to learn how to set boundaries and how to say no.  For example, the last time I was around marijuana was with the ushers after my brother's wedding (he married a Methodist and it was in a Baptist church).  I had to drive some home because they were drunk, so when the joint was being passed around and it came my way, I just passed it on.  Noone held me down and forced me to take a hit. I just didn't want to join in and I have never been in this situation again, ever, so that is pretty rare.   If someone wants to get you a drink and you don't want to drink alcohol, in America you could just say "No, I"m good" and that pretty much is the end of it.   The point is people really aren't going to force you to join in on something when you just say, causually, "no, not right now".   You don't owe anyone explanations, and people are really often to self-focused to care much either way. 

If coffee shops aren't an option right now, are there book discussion clubs around?   In America there are also knitting groups where women meet to knit. It sounds like something little old ladies would do, but here there are many 20-30 year olds who are into making their own clothes now.    One social thing I did with my former Catholic church was when a group met for "Rosary Dinners" at different homes.   First the group would pray a Rosary and then there would be a potluck dinner.  Perhaps you could speak to your priest to see if some other church members would like to socialize in this way, only substitute some Orthodox prayer for the Rosary.     What's nice about this is there isn't that much pressure to entertain, everyone is there to pray and connect and then the socializing is rather easy.



Many parishes have bible studies in the home during the week. In addition to having a small potluck dinner, they pray evening prayers before and after the bible study.
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« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2013, 05:09:10 PM »

When and why did Kraków parish switch to old calendar?
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« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2013, 11:53:44 AM »

Many of us have had to just accept we are not going to fit into the mainstream culture.   We just have to accept we need to find our friends in niche places.  Just remember that noone can force you to do something you don't want to do.  It's good to learn how to set boundaries and how to say no.  For example, the last time I was around marijuana was with the ushers after my brother's wedding (he married a Methodist and it was in a Baptist church).  I had to drive some home because they were drunk, so when the joint was being passed around and it came my way, I just passed it on.  Noone held me down and forced me to take a hit. I just didn't want to join in and I have never been in this situation again, ever, so that is pretty rare.   If someone wants to get you a drink and you don't want to drink alcohol, in America you could just say "No, I"m good" and that pretty much is the end of it.   The point is people really aren't going to force you to join in on something when you just say, causually, "no, not right now".   You don't owe anyone explanations, and people are really often to self-focused to care much either way.  

If coffee shops aren't an option right now, are there book discussion clubs around?   In America there are also knitting groups where women meet to knit. It sounds like something little old ladies would do, but here there are many 20-30 year olds who are into making their own clothes now.    One social thing I did with my former Catholic church was when a group met for "Rosary Dinners" at different homes.   First the group would pray a Rosary and then there would be a potluck dinner.  Perhaps you could speak to your priest to see if some other church members would like to socialize in this way, only substitute some Orthodox prayer for the Rosary.     What's nice about this is there isn't that much pressure to entertain, everyone is there to pray and connect and then the socializing is rather easy.


That's what I'm trying to figure out now - the balance between acceptance of not fitting in and still being and feeling 'normal' and at peace. I know that noone is going to force me intro something - this fear is quite irrational. Maybe it has something to do with confidence, as mabsoota put it. Also, even at book clubs or knitting groups... it's just that I still feel odd and uncomfortable. It's like I AM odd, no matter where I go. This is kind of well-taught fear that doesn't easily go away.

Also, I want to clarify something. The one thing is that I'm afraid of what bad might come out of being with people but the other thing is that even if I'm pretty sure nothing bad is going to happen I still don't know how to behave. What is expected from me. I still feel that I miss out something 'normal' I should do or say what people usually does on a given occasion. I just don't feel comfortable with being myself among a group of people.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2013, 11:57:27 AM by Myrophora » Logged
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« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2013, 11:56:49 AM »

Many of us have had to just accept we are not going to fit into the mainstream culture.   We just have to accept we need to find our friends in niche places.  Just remember that noone can force you to do something you don't want to do.  It's good to learn how to set boundaries and how to say no.  For example, the last time I was around marijuana was with the ushers after my brother's wedding (he married a Methodist and it was in a Baptist church).  I had to drive some home because they were drunk, so when the joint was being passed around and it came my way, I just passed it on.  Noone held me down and forced me to take a hit. I just didn't want to join in and I have never been in this situation again, ever, so that is pretty rare.   If someone wants to get you a drink and you don't want to drink alcohol, in America you could just say "No, I"m good" and that pretty much is the end of it.   The point is people really aren't going to force you to join in on something when you just say, causually, "no, not right now".   You don't owe anyone explanations, and people are really often to self-focused to care much either way. 

If coffee shops aren't an option right now, are there book discussion clubs around?   In America there are also knitting groups where women meet to knit. It sounds like something little old ladies would do, but here there are many 20-30 year olds who are into making their own clothes now.    One social thing I did with my former Catholic church was when a group met for "Rosary Dinners" at different homes.   First the group would pray a Rosary and then there would be a potluck dinner.  Perhaps you could speak to your priest to see if some other church members would like to socialize in this way, only substitute some Orthodox prayer for the Rosary.     What's nice about this is there isn't that much pressure to entertain, everyone is there to pray and connect and then the socializing is rather easy.


That's what I'm trying to figure out now - the balance between acceptance of not fitting in and still being and feeling 'normal'. I know that noone is going to force me intro something - this fear is quite irrational. Maybe it has something to do with confidence, as mabsoota put it. Also, even at book clubs or knitting groups... it's just that I still feel odd and uncomfortable. It's like I AM odd, no matter where I go. This is kind of well-taught fear that doesn't easily go away.

Also, I want to clarify something. The one thing is that I'm afraid of what bad might come out of being with people but the other thing is that even if I'm pretty sure nothing bad is going to happen I still don't know how to behave. What is expected from me. I still feel that I miss out something 'normal' I should do or say what people usually does on a given occasion. I just don't feel comfortable with being myself among a group of people.

The most important thing is love. You cannot love God if you cannot love others.
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« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2013, 11:59:25 AM »

The most important thing is love. You cannot love God if you cannot love others.
Can you please develop your thought? I know love fits somewhere in there but don't know how exactly Wink
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« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2013, 12:03:19 PM »

The most important thing is love. You cannot love God if you cannot love others.
Can you please develop your thought? I know love fits somewhere in there but don't know how exactly Wink

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (1 St. John 4:20)

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13)

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love (αγαπησει) the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other." (Matthew 6:24)

If one hates their neighbor, they are hating those whom God Himself loves.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2013, 12:24:00 PM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2013, 12:05:47 PM »

The most important thing is love. You cannot love God if you cannot love others.
Can you please develop your thought? I know love fits somewhere in there but don't know how exactly Wink

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (1 St. John 4:20)

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13)

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24)

By hating your neighbor, you are hating those whom God Himself loves.
But... where did I say I hate anyone? Huh
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« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2013, 12:07:13 PM »

The most important thing is love. You cannot love God if you cannot love others.
Can you please develop your thought? I know love fits somewhere in there but don't know how exactly Wink

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (1 St. John 4:20)

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13)

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24)

By hating your neighbor, you are hating those whom God Himself loves.
But... where did I say I hate anyone? Huh
'

You didn't. I was just pointing out that love is the first among the Commandments of Christ.
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« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2013, 12:15:34 PM »

The most important thing is love. You cannot love God if you cannot love others.
Can you please develop your thought? I know love fits somewhere in there but don't know how exactly Wink

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (1 St. John 4:20)

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13)

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24)

By hating your neighbor, you are hating those whom God Himself loves.
But... where did I say I hate anyone? Huh
'

You didn't. I was just pointing out that love is the first among the Commandments of Christ.
Of course, I can't disagree but I just don't see what practical advice comes from this statement in my situation. Also, you wrote 'by hating your naighbor, you are hating [...] that's why I thought that you mean it.
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« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2013, 12:22:11 PM »

The most important thing is love. You cannot love God if you cannot love others.
Can you please develop your thought? I know love fits somewhere in there but don't know how exactly Wink

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (1 St. John 4:20)

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13)

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24)

By hating your neighbor, you are hating those whom God Himself loves.
But... where did I say I hate anyone? Huh
'

You didn't. I was just pointing out that love is the first among the Commandments of Christ.
Of course, I can't disagree but I just don't see what practical advice comes from this statement in my situation. Also, you wrote 'by hating your naighbor, you are hating [...] that's why I thought that you mean it.

I'm sorry, I understand how that could have been misunderstood. I corrected it.
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« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2013, 12:23:58 PM »

The most important thing is love. You cannot love God if you cannot love others.
Can you please develop your thought? I know love fits somewhere in there but don't know how exactly Wink

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (1 St. John 4:20)

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13)

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24)

By hating your neighbor, you are hating those whom God Himself loves.
But... where did I say I hate anyone? Huh
'

You didn't. I was just pointing out that love is the first among the Commandments of Christ.
Of course, I can't disagree but I just don't see what practical advice comes from this statement in my situation. Also, you wrote 'by hating your naighbor, you are hating [...] that's why I thought that you mean it.

I'm sorry, I understand how that could have been misunderstood. I corrected it.
That's all right Wink
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« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2013, 02:19:12 PM »

Myrophora,

In my experience, there are a lot of people who end up going along with the drinking scene, who would prefer to have a normal social event at home like Mabsoota described instead. I understand that Polish culture is different, but it's still worth a try.
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« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2013, 03:18:42 PM »

socialising doesn't come naturally to lots of people.
this is nothing to be ashamed of.
look for books or on the internet about how to understand body language, or advice for hosts making dinner for guests.
something in your own language is most likely to fit in best with your culture.

this may be useful for starters:
http://www.ehow.com/how_2273271_socialize.html
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« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2013, 04:02:04 PM »

Myrophora,

In my experience, there are a lot of people who end up going along with the drinking scene, who would prefer to have a normal social event at home like Mabsoota described instead. I understand that Polish culture is different, but it's still worth a try.
I know there are people like that, though I don't know if many - I've met some. They ended up partying like crazy however, out of fear of being rejected. They were very bitter and were expressing disgust towards themselves from time to time. As for now I'm not confident enough to admit to not liking it. I even don't know what to say! That I don't like/drink alcohol? That's not true. That I don't like parties? But it all depends what kind, who'd be there etc. That I'd like to but am too afraid? Impossible. Oddly enough, as a teenager I was very strong - I've done what I knew I should and even though sometimes it was hard and felt really lonely I was adamant in my ways. I knew I was right and all those sinners will perish eventually so why bother Wink Oh, and the Rapture at hand. And stuff.

Now I'm old and tired of this world! Ok, no, but I do feel I've missed something and it's too late to get it back.
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« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2013, 04:13:33 PM »

socialising doesn't come naturally to lots of people.
this is nothing to be ashamed of.
look for books or on the internet about how to understand body language, or advice for hosts making dinner for guests.
something in your own language is most likely to fit in best with your culture.

this may be useful for starters:
http://www.ehow.com/how_2273271_socialize.html
mabsoota, thank you, I've checked out this page and a few related. I understand body language and I'm the Sad Master of Small Talk - sad for I mastered it only because virtually no other interactions were allowed to me Undecided Apart from evangelizing, that is.

It's worse when it comes to entertaining, as I understand that there are some specific expectations about that. I sometimes feel that having fun is some kind of social must nowadays and this pressure is killing the whole joy of it. There was some podcast on Ancient Faith Radio by Fr. Hopko about it - having fun and being... something, popular I guess? But I can't find it now Sad
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« Reply #35 on: November 23, 2013, 07:39:36 PM »

I know there are people like that, though I don't know if many - I've met some. They ended up partying like crazy however, out of fear of being rejected. They were very bitter and were expressing disgust towards themselves from time to time. As for now I'm not confident enough to admit to not liking it. I even don't know what to say! That I don't like/drink alcohol? That's not true. That I don't like parties? But it all depends what kind, who'd be there etc.

If you host the event, then you're in control. If someone asks you why you didn't do something differently at your get-together (which would be rude of them), then tell them you prefer to have get-togethers a certain way. If they press you past that, they're the one committing a social mistake, not you.

Invite the people you *want* to come. If any don't want to come, it's their loss.
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