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Author Topic: Why some find Orthodoxy unpalitable  (Read 2379 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ian Lazarus
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« on: May 31, 2005, 06:54:58 PM »

I am a convert

I came form a strict presbyterian background to the light of Orthodoxy.

I did so because of the love and preserverance of the truth that the Church has maintained form its inception. 

But as I speak to my protestant and Roman Catholic friends, and deign to tell them about the faith and to seek it out as I did, they come back much of the time in a defiant, reluctant attitude.  Alot of it has to do with what is posted on our web pages, as they are usually what people seeks out first.  They see rampant what is percieved to be condemnation, especially from our hard core "The protesants and Catholics are herertics that are hellbound" representatives.  I know there are those who have tried to show the light of orthodoxy in love, but much of the time, what is found is the warrior attitude amongs our bretheren.  I understand this, because no matter where we go or bloom, it seems we are under persecution.  Mayhaps this has made our mission a stronger drink that most can handle, and we cannot say "if its too strong, to heck with them".  That, it seems is our biggest failure as Orthodox Christians.  Our sights seem to focus more on the negative than the positive.  Mayhaps this is a reaction to the persecution we face from protestants, catholics, evangelicals, muslims, and the rest of the religious world.  We need to find a way to get the message across without what seems to be beating them over the head with a stick and saying "heretic" at every turn.

An example of this is a family that I am very close too.  They are Epicopal, but very disturbed at the events in England, the US and Canada with Bishops who do not belive in the faith they attest to shepherd.  They looked into Orthodoxy, but found that the first impression made them cringe.  Alot of talk about "you are wrong" and not enough about "here is what you have and  here is what you lack and why."  They are no longer looking eastwrd as a result.  Another is a family that is half Orthodox, half Roman Catholic.  The priest whom they spoke to said of the Roman half, "You are a vile pagan and must be converted before I spek to you again."  The family went elsewhere, to another Orthodox Church that would marry them, and now their children are irreligious.  I hear these stories and it saddens my hear that our blessed chirh is seen in such lights.  I know that these things happen in any religion and situation.  But for the one Holy Church with Jesus Christ as its Lord in the fullest sense possible, it is a disgrace. 

Brethren, we need to show Orthodoxy in its full light true, but it must needs be done in a processional way: one step at a time.  For new converts and those curious about the faith, few convert when they are told, as they are told by the rest of the protestant world "you are wrong."  We must love and direct them to the source from which that love flows. If they accept, God Bless them.  If not, the same.  We need not be Anti anything as much as pro Orthodox.  And what drive person away is a beating with the faith.  Many web pages and persons present the faith thus.  It saddens me beyond measure that so many are taken away because of this. 

One of the aforementioned family said "you have got to learn to change your image withour compromaising your faith, of course."  They see me as a good example of what the Full Faith brings, poor example and wretch that I am.  But it will still take them time to reconsider.  All one can do is be the best one can be for God.  The rest comes with that. 

Just my thoughts.

Peace.

Ian Lazarus :grommit:       
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2005, 07:27:04 PM »

Hear hear!

See if you can be the one saying "Here is what you have" to the Episopal family. Send them by way of the Orthodixie blog (linked from Pedro's blog if you want to find it). He's a previously Episcopalian and his conversion story is not about why the Episcopals will burn in hell! Let them read something NOT on the internet.  A lot of the ppl who post on the internet are fanatics and zealots who are there to make their hateful statements. More regular people need to get on the ball and temper what the crazies say when they say it. There's a whole parish in KY that converted en masse from Episcopal to Orthodox. There are plenty of loving people out there, help them find them. The internet is full of dangers when it comes to this. You have to seek out living people first.
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2005, 08:27:40 PM »

The Baptists tell just about everyone that they're going to hell and they aren't losing converts over it.  Fear of hell fire was the way my old church got converts in the first place. 

I also think it's a bit shallow of people to go running to the web for an in-depth understanding of Orthodoxy. 

Different people require different approaches.  Some will respond better to a "you are wrong" approach while others will not.  Evangelization is not a "one size fits all" proposition.  Ev. Protestants know that very well, as do Jehovah's Witnesses. 

If someone wants to find the Truth they won't stop looking until they find it, regardless of the noise.  If a couple of people are put off by something they didn't like and you can correct it for them, do it!  Complaining about the approach some folks beyond your control who won't listen to anything you have to say won't help.  If you don't like the way some are evangelizing, then do it yourself in a way you find better.
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2005, 08:28:46 PM »

Ian,

I'm not trying to be preachy.  I know you are evengelzing to the best of your ability and that you are frustrated by others actions who have slowed you down a bit.  Take heart!  Know your efforts are not in vain.
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2005, 10:50:43 PM »

Ian, some good observations...  I have seen similar.  A few barriers that come up are ethnocentric ones (if you're not Greek it's really tough in some parishes to feel 'one' with the church); and the attitude you mention... which is in more places than on the chat rooms.   Some priests are wonderful at evangelism, some not...some are absolutely horrid.   The GOA dept. of missions and evangelism is working on how to help this.  It does need to start at the top because the priest is the leader of the local parish and can put a whole negative attitude into the grave or make it the ethos of the congregation.   I will say that the technique you mention on 'constructive criticism' is something many people can't do in any of their discussions... in work, in the home... Lots of parents ruin their children's confidence  with 'You only got a B? why not an A?"  Rather than "This is where you did well, and this is where we can get help to do better."   In any case,  the EO church has spent most of it's history in America looking inward  to get itself established among it's immigrant founders, and recognized as a legitimate church in America.  It has been in transition for the last 20 years or so and we are beginning to see some signs of evangelism outside of it's walls and  a recognition that it needs to reach out for several important reasons: The likelihood of interfaith marriage is very high, just based on population statistics, there are dwindling EO  immigrant populations and more 4th generations in the church. It they don't reach out to attract new members, the church will be extinct in America within the next 25- 50 years (that's a statistical projection, not a prophesy).   Ethnocentricity, while it may be a factor in some of the EO groups, will be less of the focus.    The truth is, with all the different immigrant groups we now have in America- many Asian and Latino- if we can spread the faith here beyond the tradition ethnic Orthodox, we can do it anywhere.  This is a real frontier for the faith... hopefully we will all be up to it as good witnesses for the faith and lead by example...

In XC, Kizzy





   
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2005, 11:43:05 PM »

Hear hear!

See if you can be the one saying "Here is what you have" to the Episopal family. Send them by way of the Orthodixie blog (linked from Pedro's blog if you want to find it). He's a previously Episcopalian and his conversion story is not about why the Episcopals will burn in hell! Let them read something NOT on the internet. A lot of the ppl who post on the internet are fanatics and zealots who are there to make their hateful statements. More regular people need to get on the ball and temper what the crazies say when they say it. There's a whole parish in KY that converted en masse from Episcopal to Orthodox. There are plenty of loving people out there, help them find them. The internet is full of dangers when it comes to this. You have to seek out living people first.

I agree. I have handed them the card to my priest, whom they intend to speak to. Fr. James is a good example, being a former episcopalian himself. I think that it might help.  If one has the site to that parish in KY, it might help as well.   Smiley

Peace

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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2005, 12:10:50 AM »

Cizinec:

Quote
The Baptists tell just about everyone that they're going to hell and they aren't losing converts over it. Fear of hell fire was the way my old church got converts in the first place.


Thats because most of them are too scared out of their wits to complain. And the reason they seem so hateful is because, like the old timey hellfire and brimstone Presbys, they want to spead the fear. But not fear in the awe sense, but the peein' your pant sense (not a stab at EA Grin). I agree that "the fear of God is the BEGINNING of wisdom, but not the end. If one does not love God in the end, then the faith is immature, especially if it stays on fear. Its one of the reasons why I'm no longer presby.

Quote
Different people require different approaches. Some will respond better to a "you are wrong" approach while others will not. Evangelization is not a "one size fits all" proposition. Ev. Protestants know that very well, as do Jehovah's Witnesses.


And some people like the hardcore, fast till you get sick of lentils, death to the world, pray to you become fire approach. But for the average person, and even for the slightly charged up (that means enthusiastic, not drunk. Wink) can be turned away by such things. I have looked around here on the WWW, and Orthodox do lean to the hardcore lentil eating. My point is that there must be a more balanced approach that is more abundantly presented to enquirers. So far, it takes some searching, though it is changing.

Quote
If someone wants to find the Truth they won't stop looking until they find it, regardless of the noise. If a couple of people are put off by something they didn't like and you can correct it for them, do it! Complaining about the approach some folks beyond your control who won't listen to anything you have to say won't help. If you don't like the way some are evangelizing, then do it yourself in a way you find better.

Trust me, I'm trying. But again, it does not good if I tell them its a grassy field and they end up in what they percieve to be Spanish Harlem. At midnight. Wearing Gucci.

Quote
I also think it's a bit shallow of people to go running to the web for an in-depth understanding of Orthodoxy.


I agree. But you gotta admit, it's where most of the people get their first looks at things, even books (which I agree, is pitiful, but true Roll Eyes). And what is shown, from what I've seen out there, can get pretty ugly.

Quote
I'm not trying to be preachy.  I know you are evengelzing to the best of your ability and that you are frustrated by others actions who have slowed you down a bit.  Take heart!  Know your efforts are not in vain.

No problem.  I getcha.  God bless us all.

Peace

Ian Lazarus :grommit:

   
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2005, 02:54:51 AM »

Again, from the book, I offer these two sections:

Don't call people Heretics.
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_app2.pdf
 and

Don't judge others.
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_app3.pdf
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2005, 10:31:33 AM »

While you're going to find mean spirited and/or imprudent people everywhere, it's been my experience that even the "fanatics" of the Orthodox world are very adverse to talk of "you're going to hell if you don't".  In fact, such a way of speaking seems to be outside of their thought paradigm; not because they don't believe people do damn themselves, but simply because Orthodoxy has never been big on the fire and brimestone approach.  I keep hearing people characterizing the integral, "strict" Orthodox dogma on the unity of the Church as being "hellfire and brimstone" types, yet it's never been born out in my experience.  Maybe I'm just lucky, but I suspect not.

However, you will find Orthodox who are not prudent, not careful about what they say (even if what they're saying is 100% true) and when they say it, etc.  But like I said before, those are human failings whose cure will come when people stop being ignorant and stop sinning. IOW, don't hold your breath.

I think one big problem is that western civilization (specificially Anglo-Western civilization) is very big on being "polite", even when it means being fake.  We don't like to admit it, but we'd prefer a "nice" insincere person to a "not-nice" sincere one.  This is just how we're formed, and it'll take more than a generation of faith to get over it (and we haven't even arrived at this yet!).  While there is no justifying this common failing (and we shouldn't even try) in our civilization, the fact of the matter is that those who'd like to work in their own way to help others into the Church, ought to be mindful of this.  This is a difficult balance, because you don't want to betray the truth either - but I think it is possible.  It's ultimatly a matter of one's approach, and timing, not the content; when and how things are said, not ultimatly (at the end) what has been said.  Yes, it's juvenile of people to need this - but those are the breaks, that's what those interested in a mission to westerners have to deal with, so you can either gripe about it, or deal with it and thus actually help someone.

However, what I think needs to be avoided like a plague is the temptation to permanently water things down - to leave people with a deficient understanding of the basics of Orthodox Christianity, and what it's relationship is to heterodoxy.  One need not be a "lay theologian" in this matter, or get into all of the subtleties possible; however the basic understanding that the only good reason to become and (perhaps most importantly) stay an Orthodox Christian is for the salvation of your soul.

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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2005, 02:52:59 PM »

But as I speak to my protestant and Roman Catholic friends, and deign to tell them about the faith and to seek it out as I did, they come back much of the time in a defiant, reluctant attitude.

ummm.  If you really mean that you deign to tell them, that might be one reason for their attitude. 

deign [ dayn ] .....do something in haughty manner: to do something in a way that shows that you consider it a great favor and almost beneath your dignity to do it
 
from http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861603441/deign.html

People don't like to be patronized and talked down to, I would say.  Perhaps "deign" isn't quite the word you meant, Ian.

Ebor

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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2005, 03:05:26 PM »


I think one big problem is that western civilization (specificially Anglo-Western civilization) is very big on being "polite", even when it means being fake. We don't like to admit it, but we'd prefer a "nice" insincere person to a "not-nice" sincere one..

I would submit that polite and fake are not synonymous.  Nor are "not nice" (blunt, rude, brusque) and sincere.  People can be both polite and sincere, but it requires both practice and remembering that other people are Human Beings just like the speaker.

"Truth" delivered by the equivalent of a smack in the face with a dead halibut is not likely to be recieved well.

I've seen a number of people on the 'Net equate being rude with Truth and any consideration of others' feellings as watering things down.  Does such an attitude do much besides make the "deliverer" feel righteous for his/her "zeal"?

Ebor
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2005, 04:23:03 PM »

One other thought: When telling other people about one's Church, care might be taken that the impression is not given that you regard them as some sort of "prey" to be caught or another "notch on the gun belt" if they come to your "side".

Ebor
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2005, 04:30:22 PM »

Indeed. Some ppl I know have that attitude, "We got you. You know you're going to be Orthodox. Just wait." It really turns people off-can't imagine why. One person to whom this was presented has backed off a LOT because of it. Why aren't people content to let God work on His own and in His own time?
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2005, 04:37:37 PM »

Why aren't people content to let God work on His own and in His own time?

I can think of a number of possible reasons. Sheer impatience. People want things to happen "NOW". Or "Once this one is in, I can move on to score another". or "The more people I get on my side/church/belief the more it shows I'm Right." or impatience with the other person "Why aren't you agreeing with me?!? You're taking too long to see I'm Right" Or there are others...

Sigh.

Ebor
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2005, 05:18:06 PM »

If one has the site to that parish in KY, it might help as well.   Smiley

Well, maybe I missed the first time "that parish" was mentioned, but having a wife who comes from KY means trips out to see in-laws for a spell every once in a while, which means this TX boy has needed to find Orthodox churches out there before we would leave.

If you go to www.receive.org, they have a parish directory finder which includes most every Orthodox jurisdiction in the States (ROCOR included, fortunately!).  For KY they list:

Archangels Orthodox Christian Mission   Fr. Dcn. Germogen   Florence   KY
Panagia Pantovasilissa Greek Orthodox Church   Rev. Fr. George Wilson   Lexington   KY
St. Andrew Antiochian Orthodox Church   V. Rev. Fr. Thomas Gallaway   Lexington   KY
Assumption Greek Orthodox Church   Rev. Fr. Nicholas Nichols   Louisville   KY
St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church   V. Rev. Fr. Alexander Atty   Louisville   KY

I also found this mission in Nicholasville.

Hope this helps.

Ebor -- FAAAAANTASTIC points all 'round.  Excellent points "from the outside" that we Orthodox would do well to heed (though obviously they apply to all debaters of any subject whatsoever).  Good stuff.
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« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2005, 05:24:14 PM »

Thank you, Pedro. I try.

Long ago on this Forum, some asked Keble and me "Why we were here?" (since we are neither EO nor RC nor OO.)  Maybe it is for such a time and thread as this...  Smiley

(and some of what I write is from simple personal experience.)

Ebor
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« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2005, 06:23:22 PM »

Ebor -- FAAAAANTASTIC points all 'round. Excellent points "from the outside" that we Orthodox would do well to heed (though obviously they apply to all debaters of any subject whatsoever). Good stuff.

Ditto, but could you please provide an example of where a dead halibut was used? Cheesy (as in TV, Literature, etc.)
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« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2005, 06:30:47 PM »



Ditto, but could you please provide an example of where a dead halibut was used? Cheesy (as in TV, Literature, etc.)

"Dead Halibut" was a flourish of speech, I will say. Some people will go after a percieved "opponent" with a metaphorical dead halibut (or might a dead squid be more evocative and unpleasent?  Wink )

  However, I have recalled "The Fish Slapping Dance" from Monty Python:

"Cut to a quayside. John and Michael, dressed in tropical gear. John stands still while Michael dances up and down before him to the jolly music of Edward German. Michael holds two tiny fish and from time to time in the course of the dance he slaps John lightly across the cheeks with them. The music ends; Michael stops dancing. John produces a huge great fish and swipes Michael with it. Michael falls off the quay into the water."

http://www.geocities.com/fang_club/fish_slapping_dance.html

Will that do?

Ebor
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« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2005, 06:32:30 PM »



"Dead Halibut" was a flourish of speech, I will say. Some people will go after a percieved "opponent" with a metaphorical dead halibut (or might a dead squid be more evocative and unpleasent? Wink )

 However, I have recalled "The Fish Slapping Dance" from Monty Python:

"Cut to a quayside. John and Michael, dressed in tropical gear. John stands still while Michael dances up and down before him to the jolly music of Edward German. Michael holds two tiny fish and from time to time in the course of the dance he slaps John lightly across the cheeks with them. The music ends; Michael stops dancing. John produces a huge great fish and swipes Michael with it. Michael falls off the quay into the water."

http://www.geocities.com/fang_club/fish_slapping_dance.html

Will that do?

Ebor

Hmmmm...I wonder if Monty Python is the original "fish slapping" reference or if they borrowed it from something else.
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« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2005, 06:51:09 PM »

That's a gardner with some moxie ...

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« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2005, 02:05:23 AM »



ummm. If you really mean that you deign to tell them, that might be one reason for their attitude.

deign [ dayn ] .....do something in haughty manner: to do something in a way that shows that you consider it a great favor and almost beneath your dignity to do it
 
from http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861603441/deign.html

People don't like to be patronized and talked down to, I would say. Perhaps "deign" isn't quite the word you meant, Ian.

Ebor



My bad.  It weren't what I ment.
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