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Sam G
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« on: August 22, 2014, 05:52:51 PM »

As the semester approaches, one of the things I've been looking forward to is seeing and interacting with many of the friends I've not seen over the summer. However, nearly all of my friends are committed Roman Catholics who are heavily involved with campus ministry, which makes things kinda awkward. Before I converted to Orthodoxy from Catholicism, I too was involved with campus ministry and met many of these friends during that time when we shared the same faith. Because of this, and the fact that I'll be trying to start my own Orthodox group on campus, I've been a bit unsure about how I should interact with them this year. I want to be friendly and work together on common goals (such as helping the poor), but am afraid of coming off as "I'm ok, you're ok" or "we're really all the same".

What guidelines do you think I should set in terms of interacting with them? I understand that we cannot worship together, but would participating in a bible study be ok? What about social functions?

Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2014, 06:14:28 PM »

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What guidelines do you think I should set in terms of interacting with them? I understand that we cannot worship together, but would participating in a bible study be ok? What about social functions?

I don't think so. Their theology is different from Orthodox theology after all. It's okay to talk to them though.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2014, 06:20:21 PM »

What guidelines do you think I should set in terms of interacting with them? I understand that we cannot worship together, but would participating in a bible study be ok? What about social functions?

I think social functions and service projects are fine.  Bible studies are probably OK too, you just need to be a little careful about those (I found "non-denominational" Bible studies to be pretty bad compared to Catholic Bible studies in terms of "Orthodox-friendliness").  

Even with "joint prayer", I'd ask a priest.  Personally, I don't do it, but no priest has ever prohibited me from praying with RC's, I've just never asked.  Certainly sacraments are a no-no.  But if it's something like a "reader's service" and the texts/prayers are acceptable, I'm not sure how strict it is necessary to be on this point.  
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Sam G
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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2014, 07:22:38 PM »

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What guidelines do you think I should set in terms of interacting with them? I understand that we cannot worship together, but would participating in a bible study be ok? What about social functions?

I don't think so. Their theology is different from Orthodox theology after all. It's okay to talk to them though.  Roll Eyes

I understand. If it really came down to a confrontational debate I'm confident enough in my beliefs that I feel I could reasonably defend Orthodoxy, but group settings where the majority of people aren't even aware of their own church's teaching on a number of subjects isn't the best place to engage in serious theological discussion.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 07:23:29 PM by Sam G » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2014, 07:30:48 PM »

What guidelines do you think I should set in terms of interacting with them? I understand that we cannot worship together, but would participating in a bible study be ok? What about social functions?

I think social functions and service projects are fine.  Bible studies are probably OK too, you just need to be a little careful about those (I found "non-denominational" Bible studies to be pretty bad compared to Catholic Bible studies in terms of "Orthodox-friendliness").  

"And this week we'll be discussing Matthew 16:18... Sam, would you like to contribute?"

I get what you're talking about, but honestly the protestants I know on campus are more open to admitting they're wrong on certain points than the RC's I know. We'll see though.

Even with "joint prayer", I'd ask a priest.  Personally, I don't do it, but no priest has ever prohibited me from praying with RC's, I've just never asked.  Certainly sacraments are a no-no.  But if it's something like a "reader's service" and the texts/prayers are acceptable, I'm not sure how strict it is necessary to be on this point.  

I don't engage in prayers with non-Orthodox and have been advised by my priest and bishop not to do so. However, I was told that if, for instance, someone wanted to pray the Hours with me I could let them.
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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2014, 08:27:39 PM »

As the semester approaches, one of the things I've been looking forward to is seeing and interacting with many of the friends I've not seen over the summer. However, nearly all of my friends are committed Roman Catholics who are heavily involved with campus ministry, which makes things kinda awkward. Before I converted to Orthodoxy from Catholicism, I too was involved with campus ministry and met many of these friends during that time when we shared the same faith. Because of this, and the fact that I'll be trying to start my own Orthodox group on campus, I've been a bit unsure about how I should interact with them this year. I want to be friendly and work together on common goals (such as helping the poor), but am afraid of coming off as "I'm ok, you're ok" or "we're really all the same".

What guidelines do you think I should set in terms of interacting with them? I understand that we cannot worship together, but would participating in a bible study be ok? What about social functions?

Thank you.

From Life and Works of Fr. Seraphim Rose: "The most apparent outward sign of an Orthodox community, Fr. Seraphim wrote, 'seems to be the Divine services (even if only a minimum of them), whether with a priest or without--but daily, this being the point around which everything else revolves.'" From chapter 61, which covers the development of a lay community, Etna, which began with one family that would pray in their backyard shed, eventually attracting a few other local families. "He gave them a specific model to follow: out of the eight services in the daily cycle, he said, they should at least do the Ninth Hour (pre-evening) service every day without fail." This doesn't help you interact with your old Catholic buddies but it might give you an idea for a fruitful activity.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 08:28:12 PM by liefern » Logged
Sam G
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2014, 08:59:40 PM »

As the semester approaches, one of the things I've been looking forward to is seeing and interacting with many of the friends I've not seen over the summer. However, nearly all of my friends are committed Roman Catholics who are heavily involved with campus ministry, which makes things kinda awkward. Before I converted to Orthodoxy from Catholicism, I too was involved with campus ministry and met many of these friends during that time when we shared the same faith. Because of this, and the fact that I'll be trying to start my own Orthodox group on campus, I've been a bit unsure about how I should interact with them this year. I want to be friendly and work together on common goals (such as helping the poor), but am afraid of coming off as "I'm ok, you're ok" or "we're really all the same".

What guidelines do you think I should set in terms of interacting with them? I understand that we cannot worship together, but would participating in a bible study be ok? What about social functions?

Thank you.

From Life and Works of Fr. Seraphim Rose: "The most apparent outward sign of an Orthodox community, Fr. Seraphim wrote, 'seems to be the Divine services (even if only a minimum of them), whether with a priest or without--but daily, this being the point around which everything else revolves.'" From chapter 61, which covers the development of a lay community, Etna, which began with one family that would pray in their backyard shed, eventually attracting a few other local families. "He gave them a specific model to follow: out of the eight services in the daily cycle, he said, they should at least do the Ninth Hour (pre-evening) service every day without fail." This doesn't help you interact with your old Catholic buddies but it might give you an idea for a fruitful activity.

Thank you for the advice liefern. There is a small prayer room inside the chapel on campus that doesn't require you to be a member of an official group on campus to use. I was considering reading some of the daily services in there already, but this helps confirm that idea.
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2014, 12:00:11 PM »

Sam I just had a thought about this thread. In this book I'm reading, mentioned above, in chapter 66 (and elsewhere) the point is brought out that Eugene and Gleb (Frs. Seraphim and Herman respectively) "had made no attempt to attract anyone to share their life [in the desert (i.e. remote mountaintop)]". And I remember reading, about Etna, that after the first family, in their own backyard, had been praying for awhile, it was a neighbor who noticed and said something like, 'What are you doing in there for a half-hour? You come out looking so relaxed!' It seems to be a theme: daily prayer with no outreach. Maybe that's something you can consider. FWIW!  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2014, 03:06:49 PM »

I get what you're talking about, but honestly the protestants I know on campus are more open to admitting they're wrong on certain points than the RC's I know. We'll see though.

Interesting.  My experience in college was different.  I regularly attended a "Men's Bible Study" for at least a couple of years which was sponsored by a purportedly "non-denominational" Christian group.  Although there was a good mix of Protestant, RC, and even Orthodox, just about every perspective was welcome except the latter two (which, given the topics being studied, were basically one and the same).  I loved the opportunity to get together with other Christian guys, read Scripture, etc., but eventually I found it frustrating to deal with a group that was basically Evangelical Protestant without the guts to come out and say so. 

Eventually, I found the Copts while walking out of a bar after Happy Hour, but that's another story.  Wink

I don't engage in prayers with non-Orthodox and have been advised by my priest and bishop not to do so. However, I was told that if, for instance, someone wanted to pray the Hours with me I could let them.

Yeah, that's more of what I had in mind, although I will admit that I can imagine situations where it's not so clear, to me anyway. 
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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2014, 10:25:24 PM »

I get what you're talking about, but honestly the protestants I know on campus are more open to admitting they're wrong on certain points than the RC's I know. We'll see though.

Interesting.  My experience in college was different.  I regularly attended a "Men's Bible Study" for at least a couple of years which was sponsored by a purportedly "non-denominational" Christian group.  Although there was a good mix of Protestant, RC, and even Orthodox, just about every perspective was welcome except the latter two (which, given the topics being studied, were basically one and the same).  I loved the opportunity to get together with other Christian guys, read Scripture, etc., but eventually I found it frustrating to deal with a group that was basically Evangelical Protestant without the guts to come out and say so. 

Eventually, I found the Copts while walking out of a bar after Happy Hour, but that's another story.  Wink

Better than finding the cops!

I don't engage in prayers with non-Orthodox and have been advised by my priest and bishop not to do so. However, I was told that if, for instance, someone wanted to pray the Hours with me I could let them.

Yeah, that's more of what I had in mind, although I will admit that I can imagine situations where it's not so clear, to me anyway. 

What do you mean? Most (if not all) RCs I know don't know what the Hours are to begin with.
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2014, 10:29:48 PM »

Sam I just had a thought about this thread. In this book I'm reading, mentioned above, in chapter 66 (and elsewhere) the point is brought out that Eugene and Gleb (Frs. Seraphim and Herman respectively) "had made no attempt to attract anyone to share their life [in the desert (i.e. remote mountaintop)]". And I remember reading, about Etna, that after the first family, in their own backyard, had been praying for awhile, it was a neighbor who noticed and said something like, 'What are you doing in there for a half-hour? You come out looking so relaxed!' It seems to be a theme: daily prayer with no outreach. Maybe that's something you can consider. FWIW!  Grin

Thank you again liefern. The parts I've read of Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works have been inspirational to this process. Honestly, what you've described above is really all I'll be able to do for now. I plan to put a couple of flyers up as well, but until those show any return prayer is all I got going for me (which isn't necessarily a bad thing  Smiley)
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2014, 10:40:47 PM »

So, new question for anyone out there:

There's a nondenominational chapel on campus that hosts Catholic Masses and Protestant Services every week, but across the hall from the "worship space" is a prayer room that can be used at any time by anyone. Would it be wrong to read Hours and Compline in there? The reason I ask is that the space is obviously not an Orthodox, or even distinctly Christian one (you can find a Bible, Quran, and Torah in there... although not right next to one another).

A friend of mine from church actually recommending reading them outdoors as opposed to in there. Thoughts?
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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2014, 10:41:25 PM »

Sam I just had a thought about this thread. In this book I'm reading, mentioned above, in chapter 66 (and elsewhere) the point is brought out that Eugene and Gleb (Frs. Seraphim and Herman respectively) "had made no attempt to attract anyone to share their life [in the desert (i.e. remote mountaintop)]". And I remember reading, about Etna, that after the first family, in their own backyard, had been praying for awhile, it was a neighbor who noticed and said something like, 'What are you doing in there for a half-hour? You come out looking so relaxed!' It seems to be a theme: daily prayer with no outreach. Maybe that's something you can consider. FWIW!  Grin

Thank you again liefern. The parts I've read of Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works have been inspirational to this process. Honestly, what you've described above is really all I'll be able to do for now. I plan to put a couple of flyers up as well, but until those show any return prayer is all I got going for me (which isn't necessarily a bad thing  Smiley)


Okay! And I sincerely, prayerfully, hope that I didn't seem at all pushy or nosy. I just thought of you when I came across that, and thought, hey I'll post it. Pax.
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« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2014, 10:44:19 PM »

Sam I just had a thought about this thread. In this book I'm reading, mentioned above, in chapter 66 (and elsewhere) the point is brought out that Eugene and Gleb (Frs. Seraphim and Herman respectively) "had made no attempt to attract anyone to share their life [in the desert (i.e. remote mountaintop)]". And I remember reading, about Etna, that after the first family, in their own backyard, had been praying for awhile, it was a neighbor who noticed and said something like, 'What are you doing in there for a half-hour? You come out looking so relaxed!' It seems to be a theme: daily prayer with no outreach. Maybe that's something you can consider. FWIW!  Grin

Thank you again liefern. The parts I've read of Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works have been inspirational to this process. Honestly, what you've described above is really all I'll be able to do for now. I plan to put a couple of flyers up as well, but until those show any return prayer is all I got going for me (which isn't necessarily a bad thing  Smiley)


Okay! And I sincerely, prayerfully, hope that I didn't seem at all pushy or nosy. I just thought of you when I came across that, and thought, hey I'll post it. Pax.

No worries.  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2014, 11:04:06 PM »

I get what you're talking about, but honestly the protestants I know on campus are more open to admitting they're wrong on certain points than the RC's I know. We'll see though.

Interesting.  My experience in college was different.  I regularly attended a "Men's Bible Study" for at least a couple of years which was sponsored by a purportedly "non-denominational" Christian group.  Although there was a good mix of Protestant, RC, and even Orthodox, just about every perspective was welcome except the latter two (which, given the topics being studied, were basically one and the same).  I loved the opportunity to get together with other Christian guys, read Scripture, etc., but eventually I found it frustrating to deal with a group that was basically Evangelical Protestant without the guts to come out and say so. 

Eventually, I found the Copts while walking out of a bar after Happy Hour, but that's another story.  Wink

Better than finding the cops!

I don't engage in prayers with non-Orthodox and have been advised by my priest and bishop not to do so. However, I was told that if, for instance, someone wanted to pray the Hours with me I could let them.

Yeah, that's more of what I had in mind, although I will admit that I can imagine situations where it's not so clear, to me anyway. 

What do you mean? Most (if not all) RCs I know don't know what the Hours are to begin with.

Well, if you are reading the Hours and they want to join, that's OK.  If they are praying a novena for the Pope, that's not OK. 

But what if they just want to read some of the Psalms?  What if it's a Scripture reading and maybe a patristic homily about the passage just read, with some silent time to meditate?  I don't know that I would stay away just because a RC student was in charge if the activity was otherwise acceptable.  I mean, it's a university group, not a parish or anything like that.

You've asked for and received guidance from your priest, so I'm not going to argue against that or advise you to go against it.  It's clear advice and it's not bad advice.  I don't even know what RC groups are doing on college campuses these days, I was just saying that there might be activities that are not so bad. 
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« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2014, 11:45:12 PM »

Well, if you are reading the Hours and they want to join, that's OK.  If they are praying a novena for the Pope, that's not OK. 

Point well taken.

But what if they just want to read some of the Psalms?  What if it's a Scripture reading and maybe a patristic homily about the passage just read, with some silent time to meditate?  I don't know that I would stay away just because a RC student was in charge if the activity was otherwise acceptable.  I mean, it's a university group, not a parish or anything like that.

The activities you describe would be something to consider, but I can't see them offering anything like that anytime soon. If the Psalms are sung, it's usually in the context of a "Praise and Worship Night". Also, most of their Bible studies involve asking the question "How does this passage make you feel?" or are based of off Catholic Answers level apologetics training books.

You've asked for and received guidance from your priest, so I'm not going to argue against that or advise you to go against it.  It's clear advice and it's not bad advice.  I don't even know what RC groups are doing on college campuses these days, I was just saying that there might be activities that are not so bad. 

I understand where you're coming from. If they showed a legitimate interest in the fathers or traditional (pre-schism) piety, that would be one thing, but I just don't see it happening soon.
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2014, 07:49:38 AM »

As the semester approaches, one of the things I've been looking forward to is seeing and interacting with many of the friends I've not seen over the summer. However, nearly all of my friends are committed Roman Catholics who are heavily involved with campus ministry, which makes things kinda awkward. Before I converted to Orthodoxy from Catholicism, I too was involved with campus ministry and met many of these friends during that time when we shared the same faith. Because of this, and the fact that I'll be trying to start my own Orthodox group on campus, I've been a bit unsure about how I should interact with them this year. I want to be friendly and work together on common goals (such as helping the poor), but am afraid of coming off as "I'm ok, you're ok" or "we're really all the same".

What guidelines do you think I should set in terms of interacting with them? I understand that we cannot worship together, but would participating in a bible study be ok? What about social functions?

Thank you.

Check out http://www.ocf.net/, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship.
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2014, 08:51:17 AM »

What school are you going to? Do they have an OCF chapter? If not, please let me know.

Depending on where you are, I could put you in touch with people from OCF who may be able to help you.


I personally would not pray with the heterodox. I feel that it can potentially send a wrong message, or reinforce the wrong message. This is especially true for Roman Catholics, as many of them erroneously believe that they and us are essentially the same, and that our differences are just cultural or political. Praying with them could reinforce this idea. Social events and service projects? Absolutely, do go to those if time permits. I always encourage OCF'ers to do that on their campuses.
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« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2014, 11:40:36 PM »

What school are you going to? Do they have an OCF chapter? If not, please let me know.

Depending on where you are, I could put you in touch with people from OCF who may be able to help you.


I personally would not pray with the heterodox. I feel that it can potentially send a wrong message, or reinforce the wrong message. This is especially true for Roman Catholics, as many of them erroneously believe that they and us are essentially the same, and that our differences are just cultural or political. Praying with them could reinforce this idea. Social events and service projects? Absolutely, do go to those if time permits. I always encourage OCF'ers to do that on their campuses.

I'll PM you the school, and no, we do not have an OCF chapter. Really, we're not even close. I could count the number of Orthodox Christians I know on campus with my hands tied behind my back (i.e. none). In fact, I just started posting flyers around campus with my contact information on Friday. Hopefully I'll get at least one response, but I'm not holding my breath.

I don't agree with praying with the heterodox either. Service projects are a bit complex on my campus. The last one was co-sponsored by Catholics and Protestants and featured group worship/prayer... not something I'd want to participate in.
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