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Author Topic: RusOrthodox Perplexed By Local Lutheran Congregation  (Read 756 times) Average Rating: 0
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Krasnogorsk71
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« on: December 15, 2013, 11:41:21 AM »

I have been going to Lutheran congregation for about 2.5 months, out of curiosity to try and figure out what they're all about. I am Russian Orthodox, born in Russia, and grew up and educated here as a naturalized citizen. Both my parents raised me in the tradition. For many years now, I really haven't attended church. For a few months now, some life events have brought me back into the church. I was curious about Lutherans and got tired of hearing about it. I decided to start going to see what they're really about. Here's my situation: I find that I don't think I want to be Lutheran at all. My own tradition is a better fit for me. Here's what I have observed about the Lutherans and the things that make me uncomfortable:

1-They ordain gays.They marry gays.They're very overly involved in LGBT politics.
 (the head of this local church in my nabe seems to be "enamored" with a young gay man.It appears as if this young man either lives in the rectory with this priests or spends wayy to much time there. Postings on Facebook are testimony of that.)
2-They ordain women as priests. Why do women need to be priests? Why can't you be happy as a Matushka (priest's wife),an Abbess/Head of women's monastery? what is the obsession with being a "women priest" and what is so special about that?
3-There is no confession to priests. All is about grace.So one doesn't have to be morally upright, or do good works? All that counts for nothing?  Just keep messing up, sinning, committing crimes of all sorts because "grace" absolves you?
4-No recognition of saints at all.So basically all the martyrs, their wisdom and their achievements mean nothing?
5-Priest of this local church spends a lot of time on Facebook. Spends a lot of time in local restaurants.

Am I being overly judgmental here? I just don't feel at all comfortable with any of the 5 issues going on.
As far as the LGBT thing, I have nothing against people doing what they want to do in private, or being able to find employment, or have basic human rights as humans. I just don't feel comfortable with a congregation where that group gets preferential treatment, and where the "gayness" permeates everything either subliminally or in discussions.Is this priest using Christianity as platform to push his political agenda? Feels like there's a clique there; yes, of course, many worshippers are gay there - I'm not.


 
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2013, 11:46:00 AM »

I'm not capable of addressing your points, some of which I imagine a few folk here might be bothered by.

I'm just glad that you've reconsidered.
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2013, 11:56:49 AM »

You're going to the wrong church ... Find a ROCOR service
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Krasnogorsk71
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2013, 12:01:49 PM »

I am starting to feel the same way. It's wrong for ME. Outside of church service, these same congregants post on Facebook their admiration for Obamapolitics..and clearly their approval of what is going on. I'm just not a flaming, chafing liberal. Seems politics is wayyy to important there.
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2013, 12:04:42 PM »

I was baptized Lutheran, and I know what you're talking about. You should realize that Lutherans disagree everywhere, there are lots of different Lutheran Churches. LCMS and Lutheran Brethren don't do any of the practices above. (Or at least, not officially supposed to.)

There's no reason why I would stay (or in this case 'become') Lutheran unless they prove 1) Why Apostolic succession is suddenly not a factor of apostolicity. 2)The idea that the true Church no longer exists, or has been corrupted. ('the Great Apostasy') and 3) Why, if the former two points have been proven, should I except Lutheranism over the other Protestant groups? Or, why LCMS over Lutheran Brethren or ECLA?

Those are the questions I would ask; as they relate to me.

You're right about #3. Protestantism teaches 'grace alone'.

#4 is spot on. I quote the Fathers to my Lutheran friend all of the time, but of course, the Fathers usually contradict his fundamentalist view, so he throws out the Fathers, and it's clear he doesn't know much about the Fathers' views on Apostolic Succession and tradition.

#5 is too judgmental, but otherwise you are right. In the West (but America specifically), religion is political before it is religious.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 12:15:54 PM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2013, 12:56:02 PM »

5-Priest of this local church spends a lot of time on Facebook. Spends a lot of time in local restaurants.

So basically this priest lives like a normal human being. Is outrage?
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 12:56:17 PM by Alpo » Logged
Krasnogorsk71
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2013, 01:04:44 PM »

5-Priest of this local church spends a lot of time on Facebook. Spends a lot of time in local restaurants.

So basically this priest lives like a normal human being. Is outrage?

I don't know where you picked up that I was outraged. I believe I stated several times I was uncomfortable. I never said it ticks me off or it's bad. Nobody is preaching bias here. But there is no need to incite or accuse. Spending time and spending "a lot of time" is quite different. You're not reading what I wrote. No need to bait people. I'm not used to seeing clergy spend a lot of time on FB or eating out. In my Russian Orthodox tradition, I have never seen this. And what exactly is a "normal human being"? as it relates to being a priest? your response is to my posting is kind of...strange.



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« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 12:53:02 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2013, 01:13:50 PM »

In soviet Russia priests do not go to restaurants?
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2013, 02:46:38 PM »

I have been going to Lutheran congregation for about 2.5 months, out of curiosity to try and figure out what they're all about. I am Russian Orthodox, born in Russia, and grew up and educated here as a naturalized citizen. Both my parents raised me in the tradition. For many years now, I really haven't attended church. For a few months now, some life events have brought me back into the church. I was curious about Lutherans and got tired of hearing about it. I decided to start going to see what they're really about. Here's my situation: I find that I don't think I want to be Lutheran at all. My own tradition is a better fit for me. Here's what I have observed about the Lutherans and the things that make me uncomfortable:

1-They ordain gays.They marry gays.They're very overly involved in LGBT politics.
 (the head of this local church in my nabe seems to be "enamored" with a young gay man.It appears as if this young man either lives in the rectory with this priests or spends wayy to much time there. Postings on Facebook are testimony of that.)
2-They ordain women as priests. Why do women need to be priests? Why can't you be happy as a Matushka (priest's wife),an Abbess/Head of women's monastery? what is the obsession with being a "women priest" and what is so special about that?
3-There is no confession to priests. All is about grace.So one doesn't have to be morally upright, or do good works? All that counts for nothing?  Just keep messing up, sinning, committing crimes of all sorts because "grace" absolves you?
4-No recognition of saints at all.So basically all the martyrs, their wisdom and their achievements mean nothing?
5-Priest of this local church spends a lot of time on Facebook. Spends a lot of time in local restaurants.

Am I being overly judgmental here? I just don't feel at all comfortable with any of the 5 issues going on.
As far as the LGBT thing, I have nothing against people doing what they want to do in private, or being able to find employment, or have basic human rights as humans. I just don't feel comfortable with a congregation where that group gets preferential treatment, and where the "gayness" permeates everything either subliminally or in discussions.Is this priest using Christianity as platform to push his political agenda? Feels like there's a clique there; yes, of course, many worshippers are gay there - I'm not.
Simple solution: don't become Lutheran. That way, all its heresies and the things that flow from them won't be your problem.

I didn't have a problem with Lutheranism when I was Lutheran, but Orthodoxy solved it anyways.
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2013, 03:17:13 PM »

In soviet Russia priests do not go to restaurants?
Restaurants come to priests in Holy Rus.
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Krasnogorsk71
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2013, 03:19:13 PM »

In soviet Russia priests do not go to restaurants?

To respond to what I perceived as (funny) sarcasm: Russia became independent on Dec. 25, 1991. So, I, a U.S. citizen have no clue what priests did in Soviet Russia prior to that. I grew up here, not there. I imagine they probably DID go to restaurants back then. Further, I am sure they frequent eating establishments in the current political climate. I don't see any Facebook posts by Russian Orthodox priests about restaurants. That's kind of irrelevant to the discussion. Again, there is a difference in "going to restaurants"and "going to restaurants a lot" and then posting it all over Facebook each and every time you eat out! Really?? When anyone, and especially a priest, puts his life all over FB, then expect for people to make certain assumptions about you.
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Krasnogorsk71
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2013, 03:23:47 PM »

In soviet Russia priests do not go to restaurants?
Restaurants come to priests in Holy Rus.

LOL. I like that. Smiley Why not? Then the priest really has something to post on FB.
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2013, 06:28:29 PM »

2-They ordain women as priests. Why do women need to be priests? Why can't you be happy as a Matushka (priest's wife),an Abbess/Head of women's monastery? what is the obsession with being a "women priest" and what is so special about that?

I am opposed to the ordination of women, the following is just an explanation of their views.

Feminists view the priesthood as a position of power and dominance in which the priest has sacramental power and authority that he uses to dominate the congregation, those who do not have this power. As the priesthood is only available to males, this power and dominance becomes patriarchal and misogynous, something which is used to oppress women. Women are excluded from wielding this power, so feminists want to gain that power for themselves. The whole issue is about correcting a perceived power imbalance and putting women into this position of dominance. It's all about power.

Here is a recent article supporting ordination of women in Roman Catholicism which shows this clearly:

http://ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/lack-vocations-francis-diagnosis-comes-short

Quote
Much as Francis would like to erase the dynamic of domination from the priesthood, his teaching will remain unrealistic if he continues to reinforce an unjust power structure in which only celibate males are permitted to consecrate the Eucharist.

Try as he may to reframe the issue, an imbalance of power will persist as long as the vast majority of Catholics are excluded from sacramental power strictly on the basis of their anatomy, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 06:46:45 PM by FormerCalvinist » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2013, 11:51:40 PM »

I have been going to Lutheran congregation for about 2.5 months, out of curiosity to try and figure out what they're all about. I am Russian Orthodox, born in Russia, and grew up and educated here as a naturalized citizen. Both my parents raised me in the tradition. For many years now, I really haven't attended church. For a few months now, some life events have brought me back into the church. I was curious about Lutherans and got tired of hearing about it. I decided to start going to see what they're really about. Here's my situation: I find that I don't think I want to be Lutheran at all. My own tradition is a better fit for me. Here's what I have observed about the Lutherans and the things that make me uncomfortable:

1-They ordain gays.They marry gays.They're very overly involved in LGBT politics.
 (the head of this local church in my nabe seems to be "enamored" with a young gay man.It appears as if this young man either lives in the rectory with this priests or spends wayy to much time there. Postings on Facebook are testimony of that.)

To clarify, the ELCA can ordain homosexuals regardless of whether they are celibate or not.  The LCMS, NALC and WELS will only ordain homosexuals if they are celibate.  With regards to this one man spending time at the "rectory" (Lutherans really don't have rectories, but often congregations do have a home attached to the parish), I don't want to get into possibilities of "what if."  However, if there is evidence that there is some illicit affair going on there , then this should be reported to the district/synod president/bishop.  It would help if you had corroboration before going that far.

2-They ordain women as priests. Why do women need to be priests? Why can't you be happy as a Matushka (priest's wife),an Abbess/Head of women's monastery? what is the obsession with being a "women priest" and what is so special about that?

Again, to clarify, only the ELCA and some of the NALC (many of which are former ELCA churches) ordain women.  As someone has already stated, the priesthood for Protestants is seen as a centralization of power, not as an office of service.  And, to them, one can only realize his calling through power, not through obedience.

3-There is no confession to priests. All is about grace.So one doesn't have to be morally upright, or do good works? All that counts for nothing?  Just keep messing up, sinning, committing crimes of all sorts because "grace" absolves you?

Again, this differs from congregation to congregation, but , for the most part, private confession went out years ago because of the influence of pietism, which stressed individual accountability before God without the need for a priest or even a church.  Despite many attempts to purge it, pietism is still in strong force in modern Lutheranism today.  THe passivity you mention is one of many reasons I left the Lutheran Church.  It flatly contradicts what St. Paul writes in Romans, "Should we sin more that grace may abound more?  God forbid!"  FOr Lutherans, sin happens and there's nothing you can do about it. It's all about God working in you (monergism), not about you working with God (synergism).  For Lutherans, it's one-directional; for Orthodox, it's reciprocal, a relationship.


4-No recognition of saints at all.So basically all the martyrs, their wisdom and their achievements mean nothing?

THe saints are role models, nothing more.  They may have done some things right, but they are still men and we should be wary about giving them any kind of veneration (Of course, Lutherans are horrible at confusing veneration with worship. THey fail to see the difference).  One of the mottos of the Reformation was "Soli Deo Gloria" (To God alone be glory).  To speak about the saints rather than God is a blasphemy to them.  We know better. 

5-Priest of this local church spends a lot of time on Facebook. Spends a lot of time in local restaurants.

Now on this one I say "so what?"  If facebook is how he reaches his congregation so be it.  And so what if he is eating out?  maybe he's meeting people there. 

Am I being overly judgmental here? I just don't feel at all comfortable with any of the 5 issues going on.
As far as the LGBT thing, I have nothing against people doing what they want to do in private, or being able to find employment, or have basic human rights as humans. I just don't feel comfortable with a congregation where that group gets preferential treatment, and where the "gayness" permeates everything either subliminally or in discussions.Is this priest using Christianity as platform to push his political agenda? Feels like there's a clique there; yes, of course, many worshippers are gay there - I'm not.

As you are Russian Orthodox to begin with, why are you even attending a church that is NOT Orthodox?  If you don't feel comfortable, leave.  Get out sooner, rather than later.
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« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2013, 06:42:08 AM »

In soviet Russia priests do not go to restaurants?

To respond to what I perceived as (funny) sarcasm: Russia became independent on Dec. 25, 1991. So, I, a U.S. citizen have no clue what priests did in Soviet Russia prior to that. I grew up here, not there. I imagine they probably DID go to restaurants back then. Further, I am sure they frequent eating establishments in the current political climate. I don't see any Facebook posts by Russian Orthodox priests about restaurants. That's kind of irrelevant to the discussion. Again, there is a difference in "going to restaurants"and "going to restaurants a lot" and then posting it all over Facebook each and every time you eat out! Really?? When anyone, and especially a priest, puts his life all over FB, then expect for people to make certain assumptions about you.

They probably use vk.
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« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2013, 08:45:25 AM »

First thing, welcome!  I think that it's good that you wanted to see what Lutheranism was all about with your own eyes.  Regarding your points, I'm sure there are several threads on each one.  All I can say is, you've seen what awaits you if you continue attending Lutheran services.  The Church is a better fit, as you have stated.  Go back.

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« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2013, 09:30:48 AM »

First thing, welcome!  I think that it's good that you wanted to see what Lutheranism was all about with your own eyes.  Regarding your points, I'm sure there are several threads on each one.  All I can say is, you've seen what awaits you if you continue attending Lutheran services.  The Church is a better fit, as you have stated.  Go back.

Most of the responses to my post have been positive and are valid. I knew I was going in there as an observer from the start. I'm very influenced by my own personal background.I was raised in a Russian Orthodox home with strong family values.By no means was my upbringing fundamentalist, but it definitely was not atheist or "liberal Christian." OK so maybe if I was a gay American male or gay feminist I would be drawn to a religion where I "would be accepted." But well, I'm not.And that's that.Nothing wrong with that. I don't need to be made to feel unimportant or as a minority in a congregation. I don't know, isn't that soft discrimination in a way? I go to Church not only to connect with the Supreme Being but also to connect to other people there, hopefully; to have fellowship with others there. Do I really want to be caught up in someone else's "political (gay) agenda"? No because that's not MY agenda. Being that I am a straight, single woman - that particular agenda is counterproductive for me to even be near....LOL.Conflict of interest. Counterproductive. LOL.

I have a ROCOR church 10 minutes from my house. I can walk.
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« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2013, 09:37:52 AM »

* Michał Kalina going to a restaurant
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« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2013, 09:43:02 AM »

* Michał Kalina going to a restaurant

LOL.LOL> don't forget to post it on FB or VK. And be sure to give the food a rating and put it up on Yelp. laugh
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« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2013, 10:59:21 AM »

* Michał Kalina going to a restaurant

Which one, and how was it?
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« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2013, 11:13:09 AM »

* Michał Kalina going to a restaurant

Which one, and how was it?
The suspense is killing me!  Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2014, 04:16:35 PM »

“FOr Lutherans, sin happens and there's nothing you can do about it. It's all about God working in you (monergism), not about you working with God (synergism).  For Lutherans, it's one-directional; for Orthodox, it's reciprocal, a relationship.”

One of the major differences between Eastern Orthodoxy and Lutheranism is that we believe in free will and Lutherans do not. Luther was an extreme follower of Augustine. In his book The Bondage of the Will, Luther taught that we are so tainted by original sin that we are born in total depravity. That means that by ourselves, we can do nothing good. Instead without God's grace all that we can do is sin. Without God's grace we cannot accept the Gospel and repent of our sins. This is very close to Calvinism. However, Luther did not go as far as Calvin and teach that God decides to send people to Hell. He only taught that God decides to save some people. Orthodoxy teaches that we inherit the consequences of Adam's sin, which is mortality. Because we are corrupted by mortality, we sin and become guilty of our own sins. However, we believe that despite our sins, we retain our free will and can respond to the Gospel and cooperate with God's grace. (synergy)  Luther rejected the doctrine that we can cooperate with God's grace and taught that only those chosen by God to receive the gift of faith are saved. Later in the Formula of Concord, 1577, the Lutherans condemned the teaching that we can cooperate with the grace of God to be saved. (synergy) Thus those who are saved are only those chosen by God to receive the gift of salvation.
 
Luther even went so far as to change the text of the Bible to fit his theology. For example Romans 3:28 reads, “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.”  However in Luther's German translation he added the word alone (allein) to the text so that reads, “For we hold that a man is justified by faith alone apart from works of law.”  The word alone is not in the original Greek text. Luther added it to make it fit into his theological system.   According to Luther justification,  is the declaration that the believer is righteous, which Lutheran theologians call a legal fiction, a change in status, not of condition. Thus although we are saved, we are also still sinners. Luther used the phrase “simul justus et peccator” which means at the same time justified or saved and a sinner.   He was so dedicated to his doctrine that he rejected the Epistle of James calling it “an Epistle of straw” because it teaches that faith without works is dead. James 2:17. Orthodoxy not only teaches that God declares the believer righteous, but that He also makes the believer righteous by His grace. Thus a person who is saved is changed and will do works of righteousness not to earn salvation, but to cooperate with God's grace, and the reception of God's grace makes us good so that we do good.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2014, 05:12:56 PM »

The response by Fr. Morris was very enlightening. Thank you for that.

Some time has gone by - and well...I stopped going there completely. I stopped going around Dec. 1st. The responses on this board really helped to confirm what I was feeling. I must thank everyone who took the time to ponder and respond to my concerns.
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