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Author Topic: Curious Lutheran  (Read 2283 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: December 17, 2013, 12:19:59 AM »

Glad Luckster spoke up. Although, as I said his church is good too, I'm not a good person to speak for how things are done over there. Centwisit, if you get to the point of checking out churches, now you've get a contact in both. You'll be good in either.
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Psalm 37:23 The Lord guides a man safely in the way he should go.

Prov. 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.
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« Reply #46 on: December 17, 2013, 01:13:28 PM »

Hey, another Wisconsite! (Rodgers better be careful or Flynn might be taking his job.) Anywho, I attended Concordia, so I'm well familiar with the Lutheran world here in Wisconsin, despite being a cradle Orthodox. I also attend Assumption in Madison.

To clarify something, our services are mostly in English and the parts that are in Greek are very easy to follow using the hymnal. As a general rule, I wouldn't plan on meeting with either priest before or after a service. I would plan a separate meeting for one-on-one inquiries. Having said that, I am perfectly comfortable meeting for beers and answering whatever questions you may have to my best of my abilities.

Wisconsin is also home to two monasteries as well, St. Isaac of Syria Skete in Boscobel and St. John Chrysostomos in Pleasant Prairie (up the round from the Jelly Belly factory).

Glad Luckster spoke up. Although, as I said his church is good too, I'm not a good person to speak for how things are done over there. Centwisit, if you get to the point of checking out churches, now you've get a contact in both. You'll be good in either.

Thank you both, I will definitely reach out if/when I get to that point.

I didn't get any of my research/studying/reading done this weekend, was sick as a dog Saturday and had to work Sunday afternoon. Will most more when I have more questions and things to share.
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« Reply #47 on: December 30, 2013, 01:42:12 PM »

I'm still here, Christmas/New Years is a busy time for me. Cheesy
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« Reply #48 on: December 30, 2013, 01:59:07 PM »

As it is for us all. Good to see you again,  so to speak.
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Psalm 37:23 The Lord guides a man safely in the way he should go.

Prov. 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.
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« Reply #49 on: December 30, 2013, 02:15:33 PM »

Nice to hear from you again my friend, hope you all had a nice Christmas celebration!
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« Reply #50 on: December 30, 2013, 04:51:46 PM »

welcome (i'm a bit late reading this thread!)
one extra bit of advice (i have been orthodox for 5 years, before that was protestant like my husband):
let your wife know you are reading up on other churches (and, if you have kids, them too).
you don't have to say u are seriously interested, but share a bit of the reading with them and explore together,
then it won't be a big shock when you get more involved in the orthodox church.
i think all the married newly orthodox people here would agree (from what they have said publicly on the subject), so give your wife a hint of what's going on in your brain.
don't be surprised if the response is negative, just deal with it gently if it is; don't wait until you are planning chrismation and it's a massive shock, coz could will feel like a betrayal.
whereas if you explore together (even if at much different speeds), it will be easier in the long term.

by all means pop in to a church without any thought of getting more seriously involved, it's absolutely fine to pop in and then stay in your old church, having shared brotherly love.


(although you will actually want to come back... there is something too beautiful about the orthodox Christian faith!)
 Wink
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« Reply #51 on: December 30, 2013, 05:03:21 PM »

As it is for us all. Good to see you again,  so to speak.

Nice to hear from you again my friend, hope you all had a nice Christmas celebration!

Thank you both and Merry Christmas, we had a wonderful time!

welcome (i'm a bit late reading this thread!)
one extra bit of advice (i have been orthodox for 5 years, before that was protestant like my husband):
let your wife know you are reading up on other churches (and, if you have kids, them too).
you don't have to say u are seriously interested, but share a bit of the reading with them and explore together,
then it won't be a big shock when you get more involved in the orthodox church.
i think all the married newly orthodox people here would agree (from what they have said publicly on the subject), so give your wife a hint of what's going on in your brain.
don't be surprised if the response is negative, just deal with it gently if it is; don't wait until you are planning chrismation and it's a massive shock, coz could will feel like a betrayal.
whereas if you explore together (even if at much different speeds), it will be easier in the long term.

by all means pop in to a church without any thought of getting more seriously involved, it's absolutely fine to pop in and then stay in your old church, having shared brotherly love.


(although you will actually want to come back... there is something too beautiful about the orthodox Christian faith!)
 Wink

Thank you for your thoughts and input, it's much appreciated.
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Nektarios_In_E.S.
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« Reply #52 on: December 30, 2013, 07:20:32 PM »

Quote
definition of sanctification is "becoming holy". I would agree that works help me become a better person and help those around me but would find it hard to swallow that they would assist into entry of heaven.
One thing you will learn about Orthodoxy, the more you investigate it, learn about it, assimilate it and incorporate it into your life (because it truly does change your life -for the better!) is that even the way you speak about Christian vocabulary will change.  For example, in Orthodoxy, "assist into entry of heaven" is a more of a protestant phrase and if you really look at it, it is very much a narrow and superficial way of describing salvation.  It sounds like you're buying a ticket to go on a ride, just to "make it."  The more you read about Orthodoxy and history of Theology between the east and the west you will also discover that that is a "judicial" way of looking at salvation as well.  Orthodoxy concerns itself with transformation of the human person into a more Christ-like being: what we Orthodox call: "a life in Christ", "Theosis"; Deification.  Look up the term salvation in its latin and greek meanings and you will see that it means "to be made whole and healed" -obviously, for us to be "healed"; it means that we're "sick."  We have an illness; the illness is our propensity to sin and commit it.  This has to be "cured." In a previous post, I wrote the following (with some additions):
" The issue here is "Salvation", is it not? I think it is very important to begin by looking at what "Salvation" means.  "Salvation" means to be made whole, to be healed.  Now, for us to be healed, it is obvious that we must be suffering from a sickness and that sickness is sin. In order to be healed -as I stated initially- the Holy Orthodox Church; the Body of Christ, has given us many medicines to help us be healed from the illness of sin.  This includes, being in the Life of the Church and not exclusively faith, nor exclusively by works."  In the Orthodox Church -unlike how many protestant denominations are based- we do not isolate one aspect nor emphasize more than others- like faith vs. works, for us, faith and works are one, and one is the entire life that the human being intends to live in Christ.  We never say things like: "merit." It does not form part of Orthodox vocabulary.  Instead we talk about striving to live a life where we, through the help of the Grace of God and our cooperation; a harmony towards a transformation of the human being which is both creation and spirit; flesh and spiritual towards that end where we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, where we will then only be saved by His mercy.  That is why we say: "Lord have mercy" so much; because -ultimately- God's mercy will save us and the Lord God will grant us this mercy if we have also been merciful towards our fellow man.  In other words, if we have lived a life, just like Christ lived it: in LOVE and MERCY all the way to death -and beyond!!

If you're concerned about the role of works for salvation.   Read this:
Holy Gospel according to St.John
Chapter 6

[28] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
[29] And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

St.Paul 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 3
[13] Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

Also, ask yourself: "do you think there is anyone in heaven who hasn't done a good work?"

Finally, a book which could help you greatly in your understanding of salvation in the Orthodox concept:

http://books.google.com.sv/books/about/The_Life_in_Christ.html?id=iE45LzrfZuwC&redir_esc=y

Continue on your walk towards the Truth, listen to the words of the Gospel and heed them: "Seek and you will find!" -Keep seeking, feed your hunger for The Truth; continue investigating and discovering.  We Orthodox are not afraid of what you will find: we know the wholeness of the Revelation of God in our midst is with our Faith.
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« Reply #53 on: December 31, 2013, 11:36:18 AM »

Welcome centwisit!  I am formerly Wisconsin Synod and my father is a retired LCMS pastor living in Manitowoc.  I converted around 20 years ago, and for some of the reasons that you are dealing with. 
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I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.
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« Reply #54 on: December 31, 2013, 12:20:53 PM »

...

Thank you for sharing some of the Orthodox worldview.

Welcome centwisit!  I am formerly Wisconsin Synod and my father is a retired LCMS pastor living in Manitowoc.  I converted around 20 years ago, and for some of the reasons that you are dealing with.  

Thank you! At least I know I'm not completely nuts! Wink
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« Reply #55 on: December 31, 2013, 02:55:57 PM »


Welcome centwisit!  I am formerly Wisconsin Synod and my father is a retired LCMS pastor living in Manitowoc.  I converted around 20 years ago, and for some of the reasons that you are dealing with.  

Thank you! At least I know I'm not completely nuts! Wink

Yes, and you can see the completeness of my conversion by noting that my avitar is my favorite theologian  Wink  As a Lutheran, I am sure that you will recognize who he is.
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« Reply #56 on: December 31, 2013, 03:34:46 PM »


Welcome centwisit!  I am formerly Wisconsin Synod and my father is a retired LCMS pastor living in Manitowoc.  I converted around 20 years ago, and for some of the reasons that you are dealing with.  

Thank you! At least I know I'm not completely nuts! Wink

Yes, and you can see the completeness of my conversion by noting that my avitar is my favorite theologian  Wink  As a Lutheran, I am sure that you will recognize who he is.
oooh! oooh! I know! I know!
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« Reply #57 on: December 31, 2013, 04:47:50 PM »

Isn't that avatar a perfect representation of Bruce Willys? xD
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« Reply #58 on: December 31, 2013, 04:56:21 PM »

oooh! oooh! I know! I know!

Yes, not only do I believe that you do, I would also willing to bet that you have read a lot of his stuff.  Particularly since he set down much of the theory of education that has been used in Europe for more than 400 years.

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« Reply #59 on: February 06, 2014, 05:21:20 PM »

I'm in a bit of a lull as far as my investigation of Orthodoxy and where I really stand, have not given it much thought recently, possibly this brutal winter is finally starting to get to me, but for those in the Madison WI area a bit of news.

Was in town the other day and happened to stop in to a Christian store there called "By The Cross". It appeared to cater mostly to Catholics but right up by the door there was a table with a bunch of Orthodox icons in various sizes. Prices ranged from $10-$55 and all were created by a local artist in Madison although I don't remember his name or the details. Out of curiosity I asked the store clerk if the artist would create Icons on request, she took my name and number and said she would get back to me. I will update with what I found out and hopefully some contact info. Just thought I would share.
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« Reply #60 on: February 06, 2014, 06:37:30 PM »

I'm in a bit of a lull as far as my investigation of Orthodoxy and where I really stand, have not given it much thought recently, possibly this brutal winter is finally starting to get to me, but for those in the Madison WI area a bit of news.


Understand completely. Winters have a way of getting one down.

I thought I would bring you up on something that we've just started, the journey toward Great Lent and then Holy Week and the Resurrection of our Lord. At least for me, this period is most spiritually rewarding. (BTW, the best book on Great Lent is "Great Lent: Journey to Pascha" by Fr. Alexander Schmemann).

I am going to give you some references, just in case...

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (Timothy Ware): The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way.

Father Alexander Schmemann: For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy, Of Water and the Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism and for a collection of articles at http://schmemann.org/.

Khouriye (Mrs. or wife of an Antiochian priest) Frederica Matthewes-Green: Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy, and this gateway to her most popular articles at  http://www.antiochian.org/author/mathewes-green.

And, a belated welcome to the forum.
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« Reply #61 on: February 06, 2014, 07:43:36 PM »

Dear centwisit,

Thank you for coming on here and joining us and expressing your questions and concerns, welcome! I hope you will make this a place you often come and visit and we will all do our best to help your inquiries.

Now, onto some of your questions...

Quote
I'm honestly not sure about "Why Orthodoxy?". I know it wouldn't work for me to be in one of those fluffy contemporary churches, one its not my style and two I don't find it very fulfilling or honoring of God. For some reason protestant hopping seems silly, although there are differences it's just one form of protestant to another. Being a Lutheran I'm a bit of a Romeophobe in general and specifically I don't buy Rome setting itself above the other patriarchates (correct term?), it just seems...egotistical. Maybe I need to sit down and list things out "Like/Don't Like Lutheran" and "Like/Don't Like Orthodox". Please don't get the impression I am church shopping just to find something I "Like" I want to find the church of Truth, I just might not use the correct words to describe things sometimes.
so ... "Why Orthodoxy"? It looks like you've pretty much answered it yourself.  Your curiosity is not trivial but comes from The Lord God Himself and His Holy Spirit working in your heart to lead you this direction.  As Christians, we know that there are no coincidences.  Thus, this is no coincidence that you're here. 

Quote
I was reading up on infant communion this morning and I almost brought it up to her. I really just need to man up and speak with her about it. No good excuse on this one.
Have you read up on Infant Baptism? Maybe that may help you understand infant communion a bit more. If you could get your hands on this little booklet, it may help you in that respect: http://store.ancientfaith.com/5-pack-infant-baptism-what-the-church-believes/ 

 Plus, if you read such works as "Apostolic Tradition" by St.Hyppolitus of Rome (Early Christian writing from 235 A.D.), he talks about how Baptism was followed by Chrismation and finally communion.  So ... this was done in the early Church.  If you're skeptical about the year, 235 A.D., it doesn't mean that the "Tradition" started at 235 A.D.  St.Hippolitus of Rome is writing about what was taught to him by Saint Irenaios of Lyons who was a disciple of St.Polycarp of Smyrna, who was himself a disciple of St.John, the beloved, the Apostle and Evangelist!!!!! So, you're "safe" when you read this Early Church practice.

Quote
Pertaining to Sola fide and Sola gratia which although different essentially boil down to that works and merit don't get you into heaven. To myself as a Lutheran, works reflect my (very poor) attempts to be a Christian and show Christian character to the world, essentially an outward display of the faith inside me. Maybe I just don't understand the Orthodox position, and if I don't please correct me with kindness, but I am under the impression that works and merit don't get one into heaven if your Orthodox either.

One thing you will learn about Orthodoxy, the more you investigate it, learn about it, assimilate it and incorporate it into your life (because it truly does change your life -for the better!) is that even the way you speak about Christian vocabulary will change.  For example, in Orthodoxy, "assist into entry of heaven", "merit heaven" and such terms, are more of a protestant phrase and if you really look at it, it is very much a narrow and superficial way of describing salvation.  It sounds like you're buying a ticket to go on a ride, just to "make it."  The more you read about Orthodoxy and history of Theology between the east and the west you will also discover that that is a "judicial" (juridical) way of looking at salvation as well.  Orthodoxy concerns itself with transformation of the human person into a more Christ-like being: what we Orthodox call: "a life in Christ", "Theosis"; Deification.  Look up the term salvation in its latin and greek meanings and you will see that it means "to be made whole and healed" -obviously, for us to be "healed"; it means that we're "sick."  We have an illness; the illness is our propensity to sin and commit it.  This has to be "cured." In a previous post, I wrote the following (with some additions):
" The issue here is "Salvation", is it not? I think it is very important to begin by looking at what "Salvation" means.  "Salvation" means to be made whole, to be healed.  Now, for us to be healed, it is obvious that we must be suffering from a sickness and that sickness is sin. In order to be healed -as I stated initially- the Holy Orthodox Church; the Body of Christ, has given us many medicines to help us be healed from the illness of sin.  This includes, being in the Life of the Church and not exclusively faith, nor exclusively by works."  In the Orthodox Church -unlike how many protestant denominations are based- we do not isolate one aspect nor emphasize more than others- like faith vs. works, for us, faith and works are one, and one is the entire life that the human being intends to live in Christ.  We never say things like: "merit." It does not form part of Orthodox vocabulary.  Instead we talk about striving to live a life where we, through the help of the Grace of God and our cooperation; a harmony towards a transformation of the human being which is both creation and spirit; flesh and spiritual towards that end where we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, where we will then only be saved by His mercy.  That is why we say: "Lord have mercy" so much; because -ultimately- God's mercy will save us and the Lord God will grant us this mercy if we have also been merciful towards our fellow man.  In other words, if we have lived a life, just like Christ lived it: in LOVE and MERCY all the way to death -and beyond!!

If you're concerned about the role of works for salvation.   Read this:
Holy Gospel according to St.John
Chapter 6

[28] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
[29] And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

St.Paul 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 3
[13] Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

Also, ask yourself: "do you think there is anyone in heaven who hasn't done a good work?"

Finally, a book which could help you greatly in your understanding of salvation in the Orthodox concept:

http://books.google.com.sv/books/about/The_Life_in_Christ.html?id=iE45LzrfZuwC&redir_esc=y

With sincere good-faith, I would highly encourage you to listen to the following podcasts from Ancient Faith Radio, explaining Salvation, Redemption, Justification, etc. and the "role" of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ in all the former.

This will be a wonderful way for you to understand and to sort-of, save you a bit of reading -of course, that could follow, if you're further interested.  These talks were done by a former, Baptist/Evangelical, Dr. Clark Carlton.  This is not just your average "convert" from protestantism to the Holy Orthodox Church but someone who went to Baptist Seminary and is actually a professor at Tennessee Tech teaching philosophy and logic.

I think it will be extremely beneficial for you to not only understand the Orthodox perspective on such topics but most important, that it is explained by someone who's "been there"; who comes from a similar Christian background as yours.

http://www.ancientfaith.com/search/results/eeb9575d6ff55537f5e525194394fad4/

The recommended podcasts to download:

1. What Christ Accomplished For Us
* Announcements
09/22/13

2. What Christ Accomplished For Us
Ancient Faith Today
09/22/13

3. Clark Carlton on the Essence and Energies of God
* Specials Programs
09/12/13   

4. The Essence and Energies of God
* Specials
09/12/13

Also, some very wonderful talks that Father (Monk) Damascene did where he also touches on all of these topics with the starting point of the creation of Man, the original intention of God for mankind and the creation: to be united to Himself (which is "salvation").

http://www.ancientfaith.com/search/results/a5798b5a8240ad47f7ce1829e024c875/

podcasts to download:

1. Christ the Eternal Tao - Part 2
* Specials Programs
11/13/09

2. Christ the Eternal Tao - Part 3
* Specials Programs
11/13/09

-I know it says: "Christ the Eternal Tao" but that is only because of part 1.  Part 2 deals more with God, man, salvation, etc. Plus it has question/answer session at the end.

If you like these -or if you're not able to download them and want to read- and feel more hunger, some great books to read are the following:

1. Nikolas Kabasilas - Life In Christ
http://books.google.com.sv/books/about/The_Life_in_Christ.html?id=iE45LzrfZuwC&redir_esc=y

2. Kallistos Ware - The Orthodox Way
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-orthodox-way-kallistos-t-ware/1000524417

here you may find a pdf version of the book (check if it is safe to download):
http://kickass.to/kallistos-ware-the-orthodox-way-pdf-t7529215.html

3. St.Innocent of Alaska - The Way Into the Kingdom of Heaven -- I found it FREE!!! on here:
http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/kingdomofheaven.aspx

Wish you much success and proper understanding in your search!!
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« Reply #62 on: February 06, 2014, 10:27:24 PM »

Centwisit, welcome back.  Thanks for the info. The iconographer your referencing may be a Serbian gentleman who attends our church at least some of the time.  Don't know he may go to the Greek church too. Can't remember his name either and even if I could I don't know if I could spell it.
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« Reply #63 on: March 08, 2014, 09:55:20 PM »

First of all, welcome to the list.  I converted from the WELS (though we originally were LCMS).  You can read our reasons for converting here:

http://forheisgoodandlovesmankind.blogspot.com/2010/12/entering-holy-catholic-church.html

Mine were different from yours, and honestly, my wife pushed me to leave our WELS parish due to the issues we had there.  We love those folks, and did not convert negatively (meaning, I didn't leave Lutheranism and settle for Orthodoxy, but rather, we investigated Orthodoxy, and became convinced of her truth).  I am now a Reader in the Orthodox Church.  I hope I can provide helpful responses.

My Questions:

After doing some reading on Orthodoxy, and listening to some Ancient Faith Radio I do find some sort of pull to Orthodoxy. I've got a few concerns and questions, I'm going to list them out and if someone (or multiple people) could address them I would appreciate it.

The two Orthodox churches closest are a Greek (40 minutes) and an Antiochian (50 minutes) from what I understand the base faith of both is Orthodox so what if any reason(s) would there be to choose one over the other besides driving time? (driving 40 minutes to church is a personal problem I would need to get over but that's just because my current church is just a few miles away)

We're Antiochian simply because that was the closest parish.  I agree with those who suggest the Antiochian parish is likely to have more of the liturgy in English.  Having said that, I love Greek Churches.  I'd recommend visiting both.  Now that it's Lent, you should have plenty of opportunity to do that.

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I'm having trouble with the veneration of Mary/The Saints and the use of icons. It's big for me that I just used the word veneration and not worship. I don't really have a concern or specific question, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around it/accepting it.

The best way to get over this is simply to look at the history. The Church has always done this.  There is archeological evidence from the catacombs indicating veneration of the departed saints.  All of the Church fathers cited in the Book of Concord venerated the saints.  They revered the Theotokos.  They prayed to her and the other saints and asked for their intercession.  You have been taught this is wrong and improper.  The question you will have to answer as you study the history is, if that is so, why has the Church always done it?  And how did such a practice survive the Great Schism?

In practical terms, remember the saints are not dead.  They are alive.  They are the great cloud of witnesses.  And the Lutheran Confessions concede they pray for us, which is why a friend of mine once said something to the effect that "as best I can tell, the Lutheran position is the saints pray for us, but we dare not ask them to."  Put in that light, the objection to requesting their intercession seems nonsensical.  Keep in mind, however, that the Lutheran objection revolved around the treasury of merits and a lot of medieval abuses of the practice, so it makes more sense in that light.  We do not have anything like the treasury of merits, so we see the Lutheran position as an overcorrection of a legitimate abuse.

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What is the role of women in the church? Lots of churches these days are starting to ordain women priests and the like. In the Orthodox church which roles can women preform?

There are no women in Holy Orders, or as best I can tell in the minor orders.  There is a history of a female diaconate, but most agree this was not the same as the current diaconate (meaning, the female deacons were not in Holy Orders, they simply assisted with baptism of female adults to maintain modesty and similar functions).  There was some talk on the internet a while back of a Greek bishop tonsuring a female reader, but that was rather isolated and in any event is so uncommon as to be virtually nonexistent.  This really isn't an issue in the Orthodox Church.  Part of the reason is also the answer to your first question.  Women have very important roles to play in the Church.  They serve in the choir and sometimes at the chanter stand (the best chanter in our parish is the priest's granddaughter).  They perform works of mercy in the Church.  The wives of priests in the Antiochian Church are called "Khouria," which is similar to the Greek "Presbytera," both of which are the female version of "priest."  The Russians use the word "Matushka," which means "mother," and is probably a more proper understanding of her role in the Church.  Similarly, a Deacon's wife in the Antiochian Church is called "Shamassy," which again is a feminized word for "Deacon," and in the Greek Churches she is called "Diakonissa."  I think the Russians call a Deacon's wife "Matushka" as well, but don't quote me on that.  The priest or deacon's wife is generally treated with a very high degree of respect and honor in the Church, and with good reason.  I also think our reverence for the Mother of God translates into a higher view of women in general among us.  The greatest saint in the entire Church is a woman.  Beside Christ on the iconostasis, on the other side of the royal doors, is a constant reminder that it was through her, the Panagia, that salvation came to the world.  It is she who we look to as the model of what a Christian is to be.  So a lot of the baggage that comes with Protestant defenses of a female only pastorate simply doesn't apply to us.  No one can say we hold women as second class citizens.  If anything, women show us Christ, since the Theotokos shows us Christ.

There is also the matter that for us, as with you Lutherans, the priest is a servant, not a Lord.  We are in obedience to the priest, but he is in obedience to the bishop, the bishop to his brother bishops, etc.  Everyone in the Orthodox Church is in obedience to someone, so we do not see obedience as some sort of patriarchal abuse, but rather as a discipline that teaches us humility and allows us to be corrected when we are off the path of salvation.  We welcome obedience and see it as a blessing.  In a sense, the priest is also in obedience to us, since we demand of his time to serve liturgies and prayer offices, hear confessions, visit and bless our homes, etc.  The priest is the first servant in the parish, the bishop the first servant in the local Church, etc.  And the reasons for the priest being male are iconic, not patriarchal.  The priest is an icon of Christ, not the boss of the Church.

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What is the Orthodox position on homosexuality and homosexual "marriage"? Also on abortion and where life starts?

I'm not sure there is a single Orthodox position on same sex marriage in civil society, but the Church will not marry same sex couples.  We see it as an ontological absurdity.  Doctrinally, we are pro life and believe live begins at conception, though again, some individual Orthodox Christians may hold differing political opinions on whether and to what extent the state should intervene in the issue.  We're probably most like Roman Catholics on both issues, in that the Church has very clear doctrines on each, but individual Orthodox Christians may have differing opinions on what the role of government in each should be.

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Creation, 7 literal days? I imagine Darwinian evolution is not a teaching of the church?

This is something of a pet peeve of mine.  We don't really hold to an historical-literal view of the Scriptures, nor do we consider the same to be forbidden.  We read Genesis first and foremost iconically, and so we see the Creation in light of the Incarnation, the flood in light of Holy Baptism, etc.  That is not to say one cannot believe in a literal 7 day creation, nor that one cannot oppose Darwinian evolution.  It is rather to say that to us, it simply doesn't make a difference to the extent it does to sola scripturists.  There are Orthodox Christians who are evolutionists and Orthodox Christians who are young earth Creationists.  The Fathers take differing roles on the length of the days of creation, etc.  This simply isn't a litmus test issue for us.  To be fair to your question, it took me a LONG time to be comfortable with this.  But once I saw the difference between reading the Scriptures iconically and reading them literally, it ceased to be an issue.  I have serious issues with Darwinian evolution, but I accept common descent, adaptation, etc.  Even at that, however, I do not believe that an Orthodox Christian who believes in full blown Darwinian evolution is any less an Orthodox Christian on account of that.  It simply doesn't make that much of a difference to us, doctrinally speaking.

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Fasting, really? I love bacon. Ok, that's kind of a joke but seriously, is fasting as difficult as it sounds to me?

Fasting is wonderful.  Really, I mean that.  It is difficult, but it is not THAT difficult.  Keep in mind fasting is a discipline, not a law.  And each person fasts differently.  Some more strictly than others.  It is between you and your priest how you fast.  Same with your prayer rule -- some are stricter than others.  Each tries to fast and pray as he is able.  You might try starting slow.  It's Lent, so now's a good time.  Perhaps cut out a food you love (bacon?).  Perhaps cut the amount of food you eat -- I eat one meal on Wednesdays, after the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.  Before that, I don't eat all day.  Perhaps simply eat a little less at each meal, trying to walk away from the table while you are still a little hungry.  Perhaps just drink water and cut out soft drinks, etc.  If you can't do any of those, simply eat cheaper and use some of the money you save on food to give to the poor, or perhaps give some of your meal to the poor (for example, if you get a hamburger and fries for lunch, cut the burger in half and give it and some of your fries to a homeless person near you, etc.). 

A truly strict fast is difficult, especially for non-monastics.  We all stumble, some of us more than others.  We also keep our eyes on our own plates and do not judge our brother's fasting rule. 
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centwisit
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« Reply #64 on: April 14, 2014, 01:53:06 PM »

Thank you David for all your comments and information, very helpful.

I've started reading The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture by John Anthony McGuckin. So far it's quite to read with a ton of information and am only about a quarter of the way through.

After that I'll prolly read The Orthodox Church or The Orthodox Way by Timothy Ware, is one of those better to read first than the other?

I was also able to drive by and locate the Greek Orthodox Church in Madison a couple weeks ago.

Still not sure where I am going with this, just thought I would share as all of you have been so helpful and understanding so far. Smiley
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #65 on: April 14, 2014, 02:34:38 PM »

Thank you David for all your comments and information, very helpful.

I've started reading The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture by John Anthony McGuckin. So far it's quite to read with a ton of information and am only about a quarter of the way through.

After that I'll prolly read The Orthodox Church or The Orthodox Way by Timothy Ware, is one of those better to read first than the other?


Think of it this way: Metropolitan Kallistos Ware's books are undergraduate level surveys, while Fr. John Anthony McGuckin's serves the same purpose at the graduate level. However, if you read Ware after McGuckin, I would go with The Orthodox Way next.
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centwisit
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« Reply #66 on: April 14, 2014, 02:48:11 PM »

Thank you David for all your comments and information, very helpful.

I've started reading The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture by John Anthony McGuckin. So far it's quite to read with a ton of information and am only about a quarter of the way through.

After that I'll prolly read The Orthodox Church or The Orthodox Way by Timothy Ware, is one of those better to read first than the other?


Think of it this way: Metropolitan Kallistos Ware's books are undergraduate level surveys, while Fr. John Anthony McGuckin's serves the same purpose at the graduate level. However, if you read Ware after McGuckin, I would go with The Orthodox Way next.

Ahh, I wonder why this book has been such a slog, maybe it's to put it on the shelf for a bit. If I shelve it should I read Way or Church first?
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #67 on: April 14, 2014, 03:13:48 PM »

Thank you David for all your comments and information, very helpful.

I've started reading The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture by John Anthony McGuckin. So far it's quite to read with a ton of information and am only about a quarter of the way through.

After that I'll prolly read The Orthodox Church or The Orthodox Way by Timothy Ware, is one of those better to read first than the other?


Think of it this way: Metropolitan Kallistos Ware's books are undergraduate level surveys, while Fr. John Anthony McGuckin's serves the same purpose at the graduate level. However, if you read Ware after McGuckin, I would go with The Orthodox Way next.

Ahh, I wonder why this book has been such a slog, maybe it's to put it on the shelf for a bit. If I shelve it should I read Way or Church first?

The Orthodox Church would be my choice. i would complement it with a book by Father Alexander Schmemann just because he is very good in conveying the Orthodox experience of our Holy Mysteries. And, since Orthodoxy means both right belief and right practice, I recommend his For the Life of the World.
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