Author Topic: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?  (Read 56814 times)

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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #135 on: September 09, 2007, 11:27:30 PM »
I wish I had seen this advice about 100 years ago!  Sigh.   ;)


Um, just how old are you?  ;)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2007, 11:27:56 PM by Jibrail Almuhajir »
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Offline Elisha

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #136 on: September 09, 2007, 11:27:54 PM »
Thank you, Trudy.  Great practical advice for pretty much anyone.

Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #137 on: September 09, 2007, 11:57:21 PM »
Quote
don't stop going to Liturgy.  It is the place where you will be healed.  Just ignore the people around you, concentrate on God and praying to Him.  Let Him take care of the wing-nuts.

While everybody seems to be giving this advice it seems sort of artificial.  Should a person in such a case still receive communion at this parish - after all such a person has isolated himself and judged himself better than the rest of the parish.  If you do this, you end up really cutting yourself off from the Orthodox world - i.e over time almost none of one's friends are Orthodox and one only really knows a handful of Orthodox people anymore and them only in passing.  To say that one actually part of any Christian community is a fallacy.  So I am not so sure this is the best advice to give people.  Really, it is only a short step away from no longer attending liturgy and praying typica at home instead.  Which in turn is only a short step from simply not doing anything at all.     

Offline Ian Lazarus

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #138 on: September 10, 2007, 12:56:12 AM »
Quote
I am about to leave for vacation and have been pondering my lifr in Orthodoxy since my return five years ago. Prior to that I was involved in Evangelical churches. At this point I am burned out on Orthodoxy. It's not the fasting or following a liturgical calendar. It's not the liturgy or having to go to confession. It's not the theology or belief system or almsgiving, I have no qulams nor questions and implicitly accept it all.  ITS THE PEOPLE!

I have sojourned in three Orthodox parishes so far and have never encountered such back biting, petty arguements, lax attitudes, sniping, put-downs of others, internal politics, money griping, bad mouthing priests and other clergy, etc., etc. I never encountered this in Evangelical circles. Maybe it existed there but if so they did a good cover up. I struggled with Evangelical belief systems (there are several varieties) but never in all honesty with the people.

Maybe this is why converts leave after five years. They're fried.

I've actually been taking a break from all churches and have come to enjoy peaceful, B/S free Sunday mornings reading the paper and lingering over breakfast.

I have not gone for good, and will be Orthodox till the day I die, but I neede a break.

Thoughts?

Friend,

I have struggled with this question many times in my own life.  I know that it is hard to worship in such environments.  But above everything else, remember you come to the church to encounter Christ directly, and to be transformes.  Concentrate on your own path, and others will follow by the light Christ gives you by example, if He so wills it.  Live your life as a Christian as best you can.  Talk to your priest, confess, partake of the sacraments, and when you encounter such malicious things, turn away.  Remember that we must not become overly occupied by others opinions and problems with whatever is happening.  God will handle it in His time.  Concentrate on Him, and all will be well with you.  And if it still is too much, then find another Orthodox Parish that will help you on your path.  In the end it's all about Jesus.

Peace
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #139 on: September 10, 2007, 01:01:47 AM »
While everybody seems to be giving this advice it seems sort of artificial.  Should a person in such a case still receive communion at this parish - after all such a person has isolated himself and judged himself better than the rest of the parish.  If you do this, you end up really cutting yourself off from the Orthodox world - i.e over time almost none of one's friends are Orthodox and one only really knows a handful of Orthodox people anymore and them only in passing.  To say that one actually part of any Christian community is a fallacy.  So I am not so sure this is the best advice to give people.  Really, it is only a short step away from no longer attending liturgy and praying typica at home instead.  Which in turn is only a short step from simply not doing anything at all.     
In a sense, you're quite correct. But I took his meaning differently; I interpreted it as him being depressed and despondent and, above all, hurt to the point of him questioning much. And who would want to hang around people that talk about you behind your back? If someone's gonna talk about me behind my back, they're gonna do it long distance 'cause I ain't hanging around to subject myself to it.
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Offline Trudy

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #140 on: September 10, 2007, 07:52:13 AM »
While everybody seems to be giving this advice it seems sort of artificial.  Should a person in such a case still receive communion at this parish - after all such a person has isolated himself and judged himself better than the rest of the parish.  If you do this, you end up really cutting yourself off from the Orthodox world

Please note, I indicated that I promised "my spiritual father" which indicates (though I will admit, not clearly) that I had (and continue to) speak with him about my sin of judging others and pride.  Therefore, if my spiritual father determines that I ought not to receive communion because of my sin, then I will of course obey that.

One does not undertake this type of practice, even if temporarily, without one's spiritual father's guidance. 

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify what I said.

Athanasia
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Offline Thomas

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #141 on: September 10, 2007, 08:35:44 AM »
While everybody seems to be giving this advice it seems sort of artificial.  Should a person in such a case still receive communion at this parish - after all such a person has isolated himself and judged himself better than the rest of the parish.  If you do this, you end up really cutting yourself off from the Orthodox world - i.e over time almost none of one's friends are Orthodox and one only really knows a handful of Orthodox people anymore and them only in passing.  To say that one actually part of any Christian community is a fallacy.  So I am not so sure this is the best advice to give people.  Really, it is only a short step away from no longer attending liturgy and praying typica at home instead.  Which in turn is only a short step from simply not doing anything at all.     

Actually Νεκτάριος , everyone giving this advice seems to have had to face this issue in their own life and are sharing how they survived this situation. It is very appropriate to share one's own experience with their own struggles at the  5 year "lifespan" and how they survived---this is one of the purposes of the Convert Issues Forum---the sharing of information and experiences to help the convert continue their growth.

Thomas
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« Last Edit: September 10, 2007, 08:37:51 AM by Thomas »
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #142 on: September 10, 2007, 11:41:27 AM »
Quote
It is very appropriate to share one's own experience with their own struggles at the  5 year "lifespan" and how they survived---this is one of the purposes of the Convert Issues Forum---the sharing of information and experiences to help the convert continue their growth.

Thank you for confirming that sharing my own personal experience was within the scope of this forum's purpose. 

Offline Fr. David

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #143 on: September 10, 2007, 04:39:36 PM »
I have sojourned in three Orthodox parishes so far and have never encountered such back biting, petty arguements, lax attitudes, sniping, put-downs of others, internal politics, money griping, bad mouthing priests and other clergy, etc., etc. I never encountered this in Evangelical circles.

Pshhh...  ::)

(...not at your feelings, aserb, but at remembering my own experiences, this was my immediate response...)

I feel blessed to have been raised in three very sane, very biblically sound (as far as that goes in Evangelicalism -- Trinity, Incarnation, Virgin Birth, Physical Death & Resurrection of Christ, etc) churches growing up, but I swear...any "back biting, petty arguments, lax attitudes, sniping, put-downs of others, internal politics, money griping, bad mouthing priests and other clergy" that I have found in Orthodoxy (and I have found it here) has been 1) expected, due to the Church's being populated by humans, and 2) liveable, since my experiences in those (mostly) nurturing churches were also, sadly, fraught with all those same things.  One church I attended was quite a bit worse in that area than any Orthodox parish I've ever been to, but even there I found genuine, caring community and folks wanting to serve the Lord.

I guess the key is not simply to "press on, do your own thing, forget everybody else, just do the sacraments," and the like, but also to find the good in every parish.  So you don't get along with the Matushka and her clique?  Find folks in coffee hour you can relate to, if at all possible.  Painfully shy socially?  Offer to clean up quietly in the kitchen or hall -- or maybe the nave -- after service/coffee hour.  Unsure of your place?  Talk to Father, see if there's some niche that needs a volunteer.

While this won't solve the problems of all the -- pardon me -- CRAP that exists in every parish (crap that, unfortunately, hinders many parishes' sense of mission), it will provide an opportunity for you to engage in community (do I sound PoMo yet?) in spite of those who would otherwise make it miserable for you.

Oh...and, pray for those who make it miserable for you.  You know, while you're praying for yourself...  ;)
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Offline Nyssa The Hobbit

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #144 on: September 10, 2007, 07:56:58 PM »
Friend,

I have struggled with this question many times in my own life.  I know that it is hard to worship in such environments.  But above everything else, remember you come to the church to encounter Christ directly, and to be transformes.  Concentrate on your own path, and others will follow by the light Christ gives you by example, if He so wills it.  Live your life as a Christian as best you can.  Talk to your priest, confess, partake of the sacraments, and when you encounter such malicious things, turn away.  Remember that we must not become overly occupied by others opinions and problems with whatever is happening.  God will handle it in His time.  Concentrate on Him, and all will be well with you.  And if it still is too much, then find another Orthodox Parish that will help you on your path.  In the end it's all about Jesus.

Peace

I'll second that.  Several weeks ago, I asked an elderly gent at my parish why more people don't show up every Liturgy.  He said that they get too concerned about what so-and-so is saying and doing, and then decide they won't show up.  He wonders, aren't they concerned about their salvation?  That should be what matters, not what so-and-so has said about them.

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Offline beewolf

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #145 on: September 11, 2007, 04:10:34 AM »
Well, all discussion on this topic makes me think. I have been circling around reception into the Orthodox Church for about 3 years. I have so much to sort through; baggage from my Evangelical church past, Orthodox who warn me against other Orthodox, clergy who warn me off other clergy, the nationalist focus of some churches, etc. Even another forum where the church I sometimes attend is classed as a non-church.
It has been a very long road for me with many obstacles in the way.

I hope to still get there.

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Offline Thomas

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #146 on: September 11, 2007, 08:27:42 AM »
I  have had a Spiritual Father once who  told me to remember the Church is like a hospital for sinners. Everyone there is ill with sin.  It is there that the medicine of  the body and blood of our Savior is  given, there that restorative therapy and teaching is done.  Like a hospital there are various levels of illness  and one must remember that whether one is in isolation or active public wards it is the medicine of Holy Communion that heals, the restorative therapy offered by the Holy Spirit manifested thru the  reception of the  daily hours, services, Readings, and Godly Sermons, and the Nursing by our fellow Christians that will eventually leads us to the Health and Theosis. This allegorical advice was helpful when I ran into the gossip spreaders.

Thomas
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Offline aserb

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #147 on: September 12, 2007, 09:18:41 AM »
THank you all for your responses. I feel your prayers. I'll be in touch

Dan
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Offline authio

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #148 on: September 14, 2007, 07:12:28 PM »
I realize you just signed off - let me have a word!

All these feelings amount to one thing I always recommend to people: more frequent confession.  Lay all your thoughts out, sinful or not, and let the priest sort them out.  Kind of like dividing lots (as in gambling sticks) - except the priest will mystically pick out the sins and give you back the good thoughts.
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Offline beewolf

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #149 on: December 21, 2007, 07:38:22 PM »
Wow -well today is the day!!!

Today (Sat 22nd Dec) at 3:30pm Adelaide time I am to be baptised into the Russian Orthodox Church. I am taking the name Grigori, or Gregory, after St. Gregory Palamas.

It's just so wonderful after such a long time to be finally taking the step. I have had much support of recent months, from my Godparents and Fr. Peter. This is the end of a long search and the beginning of a new yet not new journey.

Thank you all for the feedback over the months, both direct and indirect, to all my questions.

Please pray for me.

Gospodi pomiluy

Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #150 on: December 21, 2007, 07:42:25 PM »
Many years!
As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
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Offline JoeS

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #151 on: December 21, 2007, 08:19:21 PM »
My view of this is a bit different.  My parents converted to Roman Catholicism when I was a baby.  My father always says that he became a Christian after becoming a Catholic.  They joined the RCC before RCIA was standard.  They met with the priest a few times and were confirmed.  They had no real understanding of Roman Catholicism when they converted.  However, they've been Catholic now for almost 35 years.  My father is a very strong Catholic. 



Its a process of growth and understanding. It really never stops. The more you know the more you want to know more. The process of becoming Orthodox is a life long process of developing a closer relationship with God, being more Christlike in all you do. A form of Theosis.

I converted in 2000 and I had doubts at the beginning of my journey but I am now well fixed on the right path and really havent looked back.  This is what is meant by a firm conviction of belief.  One cannot have one foot in one faith and the other in another and still find peace in both.  It cant be done.  You have to cling to one and let go of the other.  I had some baggage from my former faith which I had to discard along the way.  I think I have been able to do that.


Offline beewolf

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #152 on: December 21, 2007, 11:01:42 PM »
Gospodi pomiluy

Offline AMM

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #153 on: December 22, 2007, 12:48:47 AM »
I don't know if the phenomen is true or has merit, but I would guess there are a few reasons why it might be.

- One is the phenomenon of serial seekers.  Here today, gone tomorrow.

- Secondly the possibility of conceptualization of the church in idealistic terms ("it's the church of the New Testament!"), and realization that the on the ground reality doesn't match the ideal (or even come close).

- Another is Evangelicals who don't stop being Evangelicals and think they know how to be the church better than the people already in it.

- The path to holiness/path to perdition effect, i.e. talking about growing in Orthodoxy, the journey of theosis, etc., etc.; but really only becoming more prejudiced, cranky and argumentative.  This one seems especially to manifest in an antagonistic attitude towards Catholics and Catholicism, but can really just be all around nastiness.

Lastly, nothing makes me want to pluck my eyeballs out more than reading a convert polemics (Catholic ones too).  The worst are convert Catholics vs. convert Orthodox ones, though like car crash its hard not to look sometimes.

Many converts are nice and well adjusted, but a good many are the worst possible representatives of the faith the chose.  I guess there is irony in that.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2007, 12:49:42 AM by AMM »

Offline trifecta

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #154 on: December 22, 2007, 01:43:34 AM »
aserb,

I always like honest thoughts like you have expressed.  And I commend you for it.

But allow me a little criticism even though I am not yet Orthodox (but have been evangelical and Catholic).

I am about to leave for vacation and have been pondering my lifr in Orthodoxy since my return five years ago. Prior to that I was involved in Evangelical churches. At this point I am burned out on Orthodoxy. It's not the fasting or following a liturgical calendar. It's not the liturgy or having to go to confession. It's not the theology or belief system or almsgiving, I have no qulams nor questions and implicitly accept it all.  ITS THE PEOPLE!

I can relate to this, as can most of us.   But, really, if we withdrew everytime our feelings got hurt, there would be no community at all.   Human beings, even Orthodox, are imperfect.   

Quote
I have sojourned in three Orthodox parishes so far and have never encountered such back biting, petty arguements, lax attitudes, sniping, put-downs of others, internal politics, money griping, bad mouthing priests and other clergy, etc., etc. I never encountered this in Evangelical circles. Maybe it existed there but if so they did a good cover up. I struggled with Evangelical belief systems (there are several varieties) but never in all honesty with the people.

Maybe this is why converts leave after five years. They're fried.

Or as AMM says, maybe they are serial seekers. Like David Bryan, my experience with evangelicals has been, at times, just as bad if not worse as you are describing.   To me, one of the appeals of Orthodox is its acceptance of reality, while Protestantism especially evangelicals have this ideal (spiritual community) that people never reach.   They become discouraged and . . .

Quote
I've actually been taking a break from all churches and have come to enjoy peaceful, B/S free Sunday mornings reading the paper and lingering over breakfast.

. . . like you they become withdrawn.  I know Protestants who for years have been telling me, maybe next week
I'll put my paper away and return.    and like you they say . . .

Quote
I have not gone for good, and will be Orthodox [or in my case, Christian] till the day I die, but I neede a break.


What does Revelation say about lukewarm?

I love that Divine Liturgy (Orthodox) is not mandatory as is mass (Catholic) or optional as are services (Protestants).
Please listen to a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio called The Illumined Heart about Mystery and Sacrament (by Dr. Eve Tibbs).   The gist is that Divine Liturgy mystically feeds us, we need it for spiritual good health.  Praying at home alone or, as you do, read the paper, are no substitutes.  If you can't deal with the social issues, at least attend Divine Liturgy and run out of the doors afterwards.

Finally, instead of withdrawing, why don't you confront those who are doing all these bad things?  Oftentimes,
they don't even realize it.  They may even appreciate it.  I've said to gossipers (and I have been guilty myself)
"I don't think this is appropriate."  The conversation stopped and we moved on. 

Don't be a spiritual girlie man.  If you see problems, work for change.  The road to salvation is a bumpy one. I love the Sunday papers, football, and Meet the Press.  But, am I really going to say to Peter at the Pearly Gates that I couldn't go to church because of them (especially in an age of videorecording)?  Is some backbiting and gossiping any real suffering compared with what the saints went through? 

Submitted with love and concern.
 
born Catholic, became a Protestant, now and hereafter an Orthodox Christian

Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #155 on: December 22, 2007, 03:00:43 AM »
If you can't deal with the social issues, at least attend Divine Liturgy and run out of the doors afterwards.

What for?  It would simply be a charade to receive communion in such a state. 

Quote
Don't be a spiritual girlie man.  If you see problems, work for change.  The road to salvation is a bumpy one. I love the Sunday papers, football, and Meet the Press.  But, am I really going to say to Peter at the Pearly Gates that I couldn't go to church because of them (especially in an age of videorecording)?  Is some backbiting and gossiping any real suffering compared with what the saints went through?

People in such a situation don't stay home because they prefer the Sunday paper.  For me at least, it becomes a question of ethics.  What is normative and acceptable ethically in many Orthodox communities is always surprising to me.  Of the truly Christ-like people that I know and interact with on a daily basis, none of whom are Orthodox.  So after awhile there is a certain lack of authenticity to the whole spiel.   

Offline Elisha

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #156 on: December 22, 2007, 03:31:11 AM »
What for?  It would simply be a charade to receive communion in such a state. 
   

Don't be quite so sure.  There are a few in my parish who are rather pious, but not social types and thus don't stick around much to have lunch/coffee afterwards.  I wouldn't dare say what they are doing is a charade.  For many others though, I would have to agree.

Offline trifecta

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #157 on: December 22, 2007, 03:45:22 AM »
People in such a situation don't stay home because they prefer the Sunday paper.  For me at least, it becomes a question of ethics.  What is normative and acceptable ethically in many Orthodox communities is always surprising to me.
Read my entry, or even the part you quoted above, again.  I didn't say that they prefer the Sunday paper. What you seem to be saying is you are ethically superior to others in your church and therefore, can't associate with them.  Imagine if Jesus had this attitude.  The church is a place for sinners.

Secondly, I repeat, if you see a problem in your church, work to fix it.  Withdrawing doesn't help anyone.

What aserb seems to be asking is is it okay to continue as I am now--staying at home and reading the paper.  What I am saying is I have seen this happen to people of other faiths more than once.  They withdraw and never go back.

Quote
  Of the truly Christ-like people that I know and interact with on a daily basis, none of whom are Orthodox.  So after awhile there is a certain lack of authenticity to the whole spiel.   

I am sorry to hear this.  In my short experience in Orthodoxy, I have seen much authenticity in Orthodox, much more than in my life as an evangelical.


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Offline John of the North

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #158 on: December 22, 2007, 04:28:40 AM »
Don't be a spiritual girlie man.

I don't think that comment is appropriate. aserb's spiritual state is a matter that is not in the realm of public concern, but rather that of a spiritual father. Notwithstanding the fact that you are a catechumen, I don't think anywhere here is qualified to pass judgment on where another stands in the Faith.
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Offline texasgypsy

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #159 on: December 22, 2007, 05:24:12 AM »
I've found this thread interesting... As a visitor to two EO parishes, who keeps coming back for the past two years,  I've had to tell myself:  Just because the people are so lovely and friendly, you can't just make this huge leap... Got to keep investigating, reading, studying... 

From the older bearded guy who slipped a piece of the bread into my hands, when I was too confused to go up after the service and receive it, because I thought it was the eucharistic bread (be patient with me, I don't know what it's called), to the ones who quietly handed me books open to the liturgy when I stood there at Vespers wondering what was going on...  there are some pretty welcoming and kind people in Orthodoxy, from my experience as a seeker, anyway.  This is from both Greek Orthodox and also Antiochian perspective.

I know there are troublemakers in any church, but there also exist a small core of people who love God and are there every time the doors open, because they figure that's where He is.  I seem to have run into them.  You've just got to, I don't know, find them. 

Offline texasgypsy

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #160 on: December 22, 2007, 05:42:35 AM »
Maybe my post was kind of off topic or tangential. What I meant to express was that if I were to join this Church, I wouldn't be leaving in 5 years or whatever, because the people were cold and standoffish, quite the opposite. 

Actually, I think becoming an Orthodox Christian is like getting married. It's for life, right? Which is why I'm still checking it out.

Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #161 on: December 22, 2007, 08:52:17 AM »
A perfect analogy. The Church is often referred to as the Bride of Christ, and many of St. Paul's guidelines for marriage are based on the relationship between Christ and His Church.

Take your time; there's no rush. The Church will be there if/when you're ready.
"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens

Offline trifecta

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #162 on: December 22, 2007, 10:45:46 AM »
I don't think that comment is appropriate.

Sorry, ukiemiester (and aserb) that was a provocative comment.  Please also note my post also noted
that is was submitted with love and concern.

Quote
aserb's spiritual state is a matter that is not in the realm of public concern, but rather that of a spiritual father.

Am I not supposed to be concerned, only his spiritual father?

Quote
Notwithstanding the fact that you are a catechumen, I don't think anywhere here is qualified to pass judgment on where another stands in the Faith.

Oh please, aserb asked for our thoughts. Are we supposed to give comments only when we agree?  As I said in my second comment,  I have seen multiple times people who said they are taking a break from church that never go back.  Giving an opinion is not "passing judgment." 
       
born Catholic, became a Protestant, now and hereafter an Orthodox Christian

Offline AMM

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #163 on: December 22, 2007, 10:50:29 AM »
Sometimes you need a break to sort things out, which has nothing to do with being a convert.

Offline trifecta

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #164 on: December 22, 2007, 10:58:27 AM »
texasgypsy,

Isn't this a refreshing change:

A perfect analogy. The Church is often referred to as the Bride of Christ, and many of St. Paul's guidelines for marriage are based on the relationship between Christ and His Church.

Take your time; there's no rush. The Church will be there if/when you're ready.

I was at an evangelical service once when the guest preacher made "an altar call"  then a minute or so
later actually said, "Come on, I don't have all day."    One minute that would change an entire life, and this pastor
is so impatient that he doesn't want wait for longer than that.   You won't see such nonsense in the Orthodox Church.  Keep reading, keep talking, keep praying--that's what I'm doing.

Your fellow Orthodox seeker,
trifecta

  
born Catholic, became a Protestant, now and hereafter an Orthodox Christian

Offline trifecta

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #165 on: December 22, 2007, 11:25:05 AM »
Sometimes you need a break to sort things out. . . .

Yes, this can be true.  But withdrawal is a risky strategy.  I have seen in friends' lives people go from taking a break, to getting to love their Sunday mornings, to feeling less comfortable with Christians, to feeling that "I just don't feel comfortable in church anymore," to worse.

I might add that "sorting things out" takes action, not passivity.

Okay, I've said enough.  Thanks for reading.   
 

born Catholic, became a Protestant, now and hereafter an Orthodox Christian

Offline Joseph-James

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #166 on: December 22, 2007, 01:16:33 PM »
"Put not your trust in princes and sons of men, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth, and all his plans perish." (from an antiphon of the Divine Liturgy)

Over the years I have sadly had to learn and relearn this message. Orthodoxy is a struggle to the death for everyone in the community of the faithful, but it is also each individual's relationship with God alone that is at stake. There are all sorts if human foibles that cause disillusionment with leaders and followers, so I must learn to keep focused on God, and let the things of the world go. That can even mean letting go of my own preconceived ideas of what I should be doing for the church and others. Does that make sense? I could tell a story about my own conversion, parish conflict, etc. but in the end I would have to come back to how are things between me and God, and all conflicts aside, that's where the focus needs to remain- working on salvation, one prayer at a time. In trying to talk statistics of apostasy etc., there is not likely to be help for my own salvation, or anybody else's.  Just my two cents.

Reader Joseph-James
Jim

Offline aserb

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #167 on: December 22, 2007, 02:32:04 PM »
^^^^   Good post!. Also, FYI - update to y'all. The break is over and I'm back. So save a spaec on the floor or move over in the pew.
Save us o' Son of God, who art risen from the dead, as we sing to thee Alleluia!

Offline Ian Lazarus

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #168 on: December 22, 2007, 03:59:59 PM »
Weclom bak.
"For I am With thee, withersoever thou goest"

Joshua 1:9

Offline Ebor

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #169 on: December 24, 2007, 01:51:56 AM »
Secondly, I repeat, if you see a problem in your church, work to fix it.  Withdrawing doesn't help anyone.

Just an observation:  I've seen plenty of postings telling Anglicans/Episcopalians "Get out.  Leave. Don't stay.  Don't try to fix it."  Interesting how things can be applied.

(Not referring to you personally, Trifecta, I assure you)

Ebor
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Offline Fr. David

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #170 on: January 02, 2008, 12:23:45 AM »
The break is over and I'm back. So save a spaec on the floor or move over in the pew.

Glory to God.
Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

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From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)

Offline cizinec

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #171 on: January 02, 2008, 01:22:14 AM »
aserb,

I think us former EvProts like to be uber involved.  I was getting tired and stretched out.  I was seeing everybody else's faults and I decided to take a break.  I sing in the choir, but that's about it. 

My priest thought it was great and doesn't ask me to "volunteer" extra time.  A lot of the problems went away as soon as I stopped worrying about them.  If someone says something bad about the priest, I just leave.  If someone says something bad about the bishop, I change the subject.  If someone says something bad about me, I agree.  If someone says something bad about my wife, I run for the hills, cuz momma probly heard it too.

I also think saying the Jesus Prayer helps. 

That's my two cents.  Pass the slivo!
« Last Edit: January 02, 2008, 01:22:35 AM by cizinec »
"Brother, your best friend ain't your Momma, it's the Field Artillery."

Offline Thomas

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #172 on: January 02, 2008, 09:17:51 AM »
Wow -well today is the day!!!

Today (Sat 22nd Dec) at 3:30pm Adelaide time I am to be baptised into the Russian Orthodox Church. I am taking the name Grigori, or Gregory, after St. Gregory Palamas.

It's just so wonderful after such a long time to be finally taking the step. I have had much support of recent months, from my Godparents and Fr. Peter. This is the end of a long search and the beginning of a new yet not new journey.

Thank you all for the feedback over the months, both direct and indirect, to all my questions.

Please pray for me.



May God Grant You MANY YEARS!!!!!

Congratulations! Welcome Home!

Thomas
Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas

Offline aserb

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #173 on: January 02, 2008, 09:33:44 AM »
Cizinec:

Thank you brother. Good and timely advice.

The slivo is good.
Save us o' Son of God, who art risen from the dead, as we sing to thee Alleluia!

Offline trifecta

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #174 on: January 07, 2008, 08:27:25 AM »
Just an observation:  I've seen plenty of postings telling Anglicans/Episcopalians "Get out.  Leave. Don't stay.  Don't try to fix it."  Interesting how things can be applied.

(Not referring to you personally, Trifecta, I assure you)

Ebor

No offense taken, Ebor.   I like a provocative question.

There are two ways to answer it.  Firstly, the one that can be true of any church (or organization or marriage, for that manner).  There comes a time when enough is enough.  The 491st time.  After trying everything else, there
comes a time when you just split.   Of course, that should be after trying everything else.

Second is unique to Orthodoxy and Catholicism.  We believe our church is the only church established by Jesus Christ.  I think the reason that Protestants split so much is their allegence is not to the church but to their own beliefs.  It seems to me that the unifying factor of the Anglicans is connection to the British Empire.  To sever from the  British Empire is no big deal, but to sever from the church of Christ takes more certainty in judgment.

Finally, okay, we want you in our church, so we point out the problems in yours.  :)
   
born Catholic, became a Protestant, now and hereafter an Orthodox Christian

Offline Peter J

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #175 on: January 07, 2008, 12:13:37 PM »
Ebor and trifecta,

Secondly, I repeat, if you see a problem in your church, work to fix it.  Withdrawing doesn't help anyone.
Just an observation:  I've seen plenty of postings telling Anglicans/Episcopalians "Get out.  Leave. Don't stay.  Don't try to fix it."  Interesting how things can be applied.

Well said, both of you.

I think that if I were Anglican, I would leave. As a Catholic, however, I've never felt that the problems in Catholicism were bad enough to necessitate my 'doxing.

Maybe "bad enough" isn't the right phrase. The situation with the filioque, for example, is definitely pretty bad. But it just isn't the type of problem that would make me leave the Catholic Church: it isn't a heresy (from my point of view, that is -- I realize that many of you disagree with me), etc.

What's more, I wouldn't discourage, per se, anyone who was considering joining the Catholic Church, but I would advise them to be aware of just how bad the situation is that they're getting themselves into. Sticking with the same example, I would say that potential Catholic-converts should be aware not only of the prevalence of the filioque, but also of the hard-hearted attitudes that Catholics typically have of it. (I really cringe, for example, every time I hear one of my fellow Catholics say "Why do the Orthodox make such a big deal over the way we say the creed? It's just one word different!" ::))

Hope I'm making sense. 8)

God bless,
Peter.
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Offline Peter J

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #176 on: January 07, 2008, 12:31:14 PM »
P.S. Perhaps a good sum-up of what I'm saying is that there's a middle-ground between "If you see a problem in your church, work to fix it." and "Get out.  Leave. Don't stay.  Don't try to fix it." Specifically,  the position I take toward the Catholic Church is "Think twice about joining, but don't leave if you're already in."
- Peter Jericho

Offline trifecta

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #177 on: January 08, 2008, 06:26:38 AM »
Specifically,  the position I take toward the Catholic Church is "Think twice about joining, but don't leave if you're already in."

Wow, PJ, that is not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it kind of makes sense to me  :)
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Offline Peter J

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #178 on: January 08, 2008, 08:58:08 AM »
Wow, PJ, that is not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it kind of makes sense to me  :)


No, I suppose not. :o

(Still, if you compare it to an Anglican priest telling his fellow Anglicans to "get the hell out" ... )
:angel:

If you want to view it in a more positive way, you could replace "Think twice about joining" with something like "Be aware of what you're getting into before you join". (Although, in a way, I actually think the negative connotation of "Think twice" is rather appropriate.)

God bless,
Peter.
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Offline AMM

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Re: 5 Year 'Lifespan' of a Convert?
« Reply #179 on: January 08, 2008, 02:54:59 PM »
What's more, I wouldn't discourage, per se, anyone who was considering joining the Catholic Church, but I would advise them to be aware of just how bad the situation is that they're getting themselves into.

Anyone who is going to convert to anything should be aware, to the extent possible, of the negatives present in the prospective church they are considering.  I think hopefully that would cut down on any 5 year expiration dates.

Ultimately though, one should leave or convert for a very simple reason, and that is you accept what the church in question teaches and not what you perceive its problems to be.  Catholicism has lots of problems, Orthodoxy has lots of problems and both have many good aspects to them.  They do have different dogmatic positions though, and that is where ones decision should be made.