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Author Topic: Them Missionaries  (Read 4281 times) Average Rating: 0
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Strelets
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« on: June 13, 2005, 12:05:41 PM »

Romans 15:19-24 -  So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation. Rather, as it is written: "Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand." This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you. But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain.

Being that several of board members are former missionaries who converted to Orthodoxy, I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about your former activities.  I came across this "professional" missionary's page (http://members.aol.com/kerbyrials/homepage.html), which has a link with the typical misinformed polemics against Orthodoxy (in addition to a mistaken self-identifying of his Pentecostal beliefs with all Protestantism).  I believe I remember him posting in the Orthodox list in Google groups some time ago, and generally cleaving to the talking points from mission central and being unresponsive to corrected misinformation.  He seemed to arbitrarily consider Russian Orthodox to not be Christians, therefore it wasn't proselytizing.

Anyway, after growing up in the Bible belt, I came to designate this form of Protestant fundamentalism as Android Christianity.  As much as it claims to preach freedom in interpreting the Bible as you please, it's really heavily programmed with canned questions and answers for their members, without any emphasis on independent inquiry into Christian history and Patristics, which is unlike the Orthodox experience.  It's rather sad, but also disturbing that these folks are bent on tearing down the Church and pulling members from the Sacraments through misinformation.

Thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2005, 12:58:55 PM »

it's really heavily programmed with canned questions and answers for their members, without any emphasis on independent inquiry into Christian history and Patristics, which is unlike the Orthodox experience.ÂÂ

ÂÂ  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

WTH?Huh HUH???!!! Orthodoxy is all ABOUT "Don't question! You are thinking too western! What we say is the TRUTH! What we say has not changed in over 2000 years! Nevermind what history shows you! "

Bullocks!
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SonofAslan
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2005, 01:04:24 PM »

People don't leave where they find Christ. If we are having such a problem with missionaries "tearing down the Church and pulling members away from the Sacraments", then maybe we need to take a look at ourselves. Just why are people leaving us if we truly preach Christ and manifest His love? When we learn to love as Christ loved, then our people won't leave. So in my opinion, we need to stop blaming these missionaries for our problems. All they are doing is pointing out our own failure.
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Salpy
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2005, 03:07:39 PM »

While I can't judge other Orthodox Churches, I will agree that the clergy of my own Church could do a better job of more actively communicating the faith to the laity.  In fact, it is because so many Armenian Orthodox don't know their Church's teachings that they are so easily duped by missionaries who tell them lies about the Church. 

These lies include such things as: "The Orthodox worship icons, the Virgin Mary and saints instead of God", "The Orthodox don't believe in the Bible or individual prayer.  You can get into trouble if your priest catches you reading the Bible or praying anything except the written prayers he gives you" etc.  Normally I would not believe that people were capable of making such ridiculous accusations. However, I have actually heard this and more with my own ears from Protestants who are actively tyring to convert Orthodox (including myself.)

My own parish is a big target for Protestant "missionary" activity.  I guess if you are too poor to pay the plane fare to go to Africa, the second best thing is to hit an Orthodox parish near where you live.  Afterall, the Orthodox are just as non-Christian as the animists.  I run my church's bookstore and so I get hit a lot by them, as I am more visible.  Fortunately, I am better equipped than most people at my church to deal with them, as I grew up in a Protestant Sunday School and therefore know the issues.  (My dad is not Armenian and I went to his church as a kid.)  However, it does get tiring.  I feel like if I have to explain how we don't worship saints one more time I'm going to vomit.   

As I discussed on another thread, my parish is currently dealing with a "wolf in sheep's clothing" situation, where some Protestants volunteered to help us with our Sunday School program.  We are desperately short of volunteers and our former Sunday School directors were a bit naive.  In short, it turns out these people have been using our Sunday School to teach Protestantism and turn our young people against some of our Church's teachings.

While the clergy may take some blame for not better educating the laity, it does not excuse the Protestants who are sheep stealing and telling lies as a means of getting converts.  Both activities are dishonorable.  It is satan who is the father of lies and the fact that telling lies about the Orthodox is one of their biggest conversion tactics says something about their movement.

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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2005, 03:47:25 PM »

In my opinion, the problem with our laity not knowing our teachings is only one small part of the problem. The greater problem is that we lack any real sense of Christian love. I can't tell you how many times I've seen Orthodox turn on someone who's hurting. Not intentionally perhaps, but nevertheless, we abandon and ignore those are hurting far too often, and far more than the Protestants.

Although I am personally an exception to this, people don't generally convert to a religion because they suddenly came to believe in the dogmas. Most people convert because they found people who loved them and acted like it. Talk to people who have left Orthodoxy, and 7 out of 10 times the reason is because someone told them Jesus loved them. It's about love more than dogma. That's why the vast majority of Christ's sermons weren't about dogma, but about how we should live. This is not to diminish the importance of dogma, but it is to emphasize something we Orthodox have forgotten and which is far more important. After all, when Christ separates the sheep from the goats, He doesn't say, "You believed in single procession of the Holy Spirit, enter My Kingdom." No, He says, "When I was hungry, you fed Me; when I was naked, you clothed Me." This is far more important, and it is our failure to fulfill this essential command of the Faith that causes our children to leave. And this is why we will never be more than a marginalized religion in America unless we change.
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2005, 04:43:45 PM »

As I discussed on another thread, my parish is currently dealing with a "wolf in sheep's clothing" situation, where some Protestants volunteered to help us with our Sunday School program.ÂÂ  We are desperately short of volunteers and our former Sunday School directors were a bit naive.ÂÂ  In short, it turns out these people have been using our Sunday School to teach Protestantism and turn our young people against some of our Church's teachings.

While the clergy may take some blame for not better educating the laity, it does not excuse the Protestants who are sheep stealing and telling lies as a means of getting converts.ÂÂ  Both activities are dishonorable.ÂÂ  It is satan who is the father of lies and the fact that telling lies about the Orthodox is one of their biggest conversion tactics says something about their movement.



This is absolutely unacceptable.  I can't believe your parish allowed non-Orthodox to TEACH SUNDAY SCHOOL!  If you have a situation where you it has to be non-Orthodox teaching or no teaching, then no teaching should be the choice.  I'm very sorry this happened.  You have my prayers.
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2005, 04:48:48 PM »

Salpy seems to have understood where I am going with this.  It's the blatant dishonesty and total lack of interest in getting the facts straight that's annoying.

Regarding Tom's comments, I don't agree.  Growing up around bucket loads of Pentecostals and Southern Baptists, I had friends and friends of friends who were given black lists of forbidden theologians and non-fundie writers that Brother Bill handed down.  Converts are never given any directions on a proper theological study, the history of whatever it is that's being sold to them, or the background of what their new church preaches against.  I've never encountered this in Orthodoxy.  During my Orthodox catechumenate, and to this day, I was up to my eyeballs in recommended reading material.  And it's much more likely that an Orthodox convert will know his former faith inside out much better than the fundamentalist will know his Protestantism.

Yeah, some missionaries are nice people.  Most Mormons and Moonies are nice too, I'm sure.  Nevertheless, they're wrong and for that they can be criticized for spreading deceptions.  And when they're purposely trying to lead the unwary from the Orthodox Church, when Paul wrote in Romans against doing such, it's double worthy of criticism.  It'd be nice to see a Sola Scriptura Christian actually follow Scripture.  Christ commanded us to feed and clothe the poor, but His Apostles also warned against heresies and false teachings.  Doctrines matter in one's salvation; it's not that they save you in themselves, but that they provide the straighter path to salvation.  Pulling someone off that path isn't excusable because you're leading them to the wayside with bread crumbs and balloons and toys for the kiddies.
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2005, 04:54:45 PM »

SonofAslan makes a good point.  More Orthodox parishes, including my own, could be more oriented toward community service and charity.  I will agree that one reason some people leave Orthodoxy is because another church across town has a food bank or some other service which addresses certain needs.  As far as individual people not being caring toward others in the parish, that may vary parish by parish.  My own has a lot of good, caring people in it, although there are exceptions, and of course I have been to parishes where most of the people could care less if someone was in desperate need. ÂÂ

I don't know, however, if I could say that most people who convert away from the Church do so for that reason.  I have known people to convert for all sorts of reasons, and then, to make their conversion sound deeper than it was, say they did it because they never heard about Christ until they went to a Protestant church, or some such thing.

A case in point was a friend I had in college.  She began going to an Armenian Protestant church because they had good singles groups where she could find a husband with a good education and job.  The whole time she was doing this, she complained to me about how they did not really have worship and how stupid she though predestination was. (It was a Calvisit church.)  I kept telling her that she should return to the Armenian Orthodox Church, but going to a church with "husbands on the hoof" was more important.  Eventually, she roped herself a good engineer, and now, happily married, she tells people about how she left the Orthodox Church because she never heard about Christ until she became Protestant.

In other words, I have no doubt some people leave the Orthodox Church, and other churches as well, because they found a lack of charity at their parish.  However, I think there are many other reasons that play into it, one of which would be the missionary activity which was the subject of this thread.
 ÃƒÆ’‚  
I agree with Elisha that having non-Orthodox teaching Sunday School is not acceptable.  However, as I said, there was a lot of naivete on the part of some people ("We're all Christians afterall.")  Also, the Protestants who volunteered were less than honest about what they were doing.  Additionally, one of them is the daughter of a prominent family in our church, making this a very sticky situation.  I think in the last few months some people have wisened up and hopefully things will get much better soon.  Thanks, Elisha, for your prayers.
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2005, 05:27:37 PM »

I think I will leave this discussion now. To further contribute would involve repeating what I've already said. I just want to add that my complaint about a lack of sincere Christian love isn't directly so much at individuals within a parish. There will always be good and bad everywhere. But what upsets me most is that I see it, i.e. a lack of love, in the Church as a whole. It trickles down from the top. When I saw it my parish 2 years ago, I attributed it to the failing of individuals, which is simply a fact of life. We are not perfect. Now I see it as a disease in the Church Herself. As I said, it trickles down from the top.

But I wish all of you the best. I apologize for any offense I may have caused. And I ask for everyone's prayers. Lord knows how badly I need them.

Thanks.

PS You are right. There are many reasons people leave the CHurch, and even under perfect condistions, there will always be apostates. But if we aren't loving, the fault is ours, not theirs. Again, just my opinion.
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2005, 06:39:23 PM »

SonofAslan

I don't think you have offended anyone.  You certainly have not offended me.  I think it's just that we all have had different experiences within our own churches and I think the issue raised by Strelets has been a bigger problem with his church and mine than the issue you are raising.  I do believe your point is valid, even though my personal experience has been different from yours.  As I said, I think the Orthodox could, as a whole, be more interested in community service and charity.  I think this issue was actually addressed sometime ago in another thread.  Do you mind telling us what jurisdiction you belong to?  Not that I want to imply that your church has problems which others don't.  I'm just curious.

Question to the administrators:  Is there a problem with the spell check, or did I do something wrong?  In the second to last sentence in my last post I misspelled the word "wizened" by spelling it "wisened."  When I did the spell check and corrected it, something happened to my post to mess up that sentence. The word "hopefully" was partially deleted during the spell check, among other things.  I didn't see this until after I posted the reply.  What happened?  Next time I see this happen, what do I do to correct it?
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2005, 05:25:17 AM »

Although I am personally an exception to this, people don't generally convert to a religion because they suddenly came to believe in the dogmas. Most people convert because they found people who loved them and acted like it. Talk to people who have left Orthodoxy, and 7 out of 10 times the reason is because someone told them Jesus loved them. It's about love more than dogma. That's why the vast majority of Christ's sermons weren't about dogma, but about how we should live. This is not to diminish the importance of dogma, but it is to emphasize something we Orthodox have forgotten and which is far more important. After all, when Christ separates the sheep from the goats, He doesn't say, "You believed in single procession of the Holy Spirit, enter My Kingdom." No, He says, "When I was hungry, you fed Me; when I was naked, you clothed Me." This is far more important, and it is our failure to fulfill this essential command of the Faith that causes our children to leave. And this is why we will never be more than a marginalized religion in America unless we change.

I agree with you to an extent and I am one of the former missionaries referred to in the opening post. The only thing I absolutely would not agree with is that the message of love is found more often in Protestantism than Orthodoxy. All too often I saw missionaries playing a game of one upmanship that had little or nothing to do with love and I myself was set on the road to Orthodoxy by the palpable love of an Orthodox monk which was apparent from the first moment I met him. My reaction was more of a 'Wow, that's what real Christianity is, I should find out more' than it was a sudden belief in the doctrines of Orthodoxy.

Protestant missionaries are often better at sugar coating the Gospel than we are, but then I must ask whether this is even truly love at all. Is it loving to say ' Christ loves you and all you have to do is ask Him into your life', or is real love saying 'Yes, Christ loves you, but He doesn't approve of what you say and do. You need to fix your attitude if you are to be right with God'? Give me the depth and sometimes seeming harshness of the latter over the shallow superficiality of the former any day. There is more to Christianity than the outward profession of love for God and man, particularly when it often, as in the case of some Protestant groups, does not manifest itself in anything tangible.

James
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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2005, 09:16:36 AM »

I'm GOA

I realize that Protestant theology is superficial, that is after all why I converted, but I would take issue with the original post when it claims that it is blatantly dishonest. I think they are not dishonest. Ignorant, definitely, but dishonest, I don't think so. But I don't know any long-term Protestant missionaries. The short-term ones I know have at least had good intentions. They think they are helping people where there is a need and preaching Christ.

I am very glad to hear that you have experienced true Christian love from an Orthodox monk. I have had a very bad experience for the past 2 years, where it became manifestly clear to me that our Church leadership has no real concept of Christian love and has basically forsaken the Church's mission of spreading the love of Christ to the world. In my opinion. As I said, I have had a very bad experience. I'm very happy to hear of contrary experiences by others. It gives me hope.

And to the original poster. It isn't that I don't see where you're coming from. I just think you're coming form the wrong place. I still think that if we take care of our business, Protestant missionaries won't be able to "steal our sheep". They're stolen because we aren't watching them. That's my basic point, as far as the original post goes.
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2005, 08:34:19 PM »

I think a quote by Hank Hanegraffe pretty much sums it all up.

Are you willing to do for the truth what the cults will do for a lie?

I have been asked what is the number one thing the Orthodox Churches can do to attract people. I said simply this.... Get over themselves.ÂÂ  

love the lost as God loves them and desires them to be saved. I think many Orthodox Churches are more interested in being Greek, Russian etc etc than they are being Christian.

Where I live there is no Orthodox Church, and the nearest one I despise going to. I work in an Emergency Room and many of the people there are of the protestant position and we have had many talks. people I have found love hearing about Orthodoxy, the problem is I have nowhere to send them. if I send them to the nearest Church all they will be greeted with is a cold shoulder.ÂÂ  It seems in my oh so humble opinion that many Orthodox would do well to highlight Hebrews 13:2 in their bibles.

"Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!"

Really? What if some angels walked into our Churches? How would they be treated? What would they say?ÂÂ  

I visited a friends Orthodox Church and this lady came up to me and started telling me all the problems with the Priest and Bishop and I stopped her right there and said that if what she said were true, then she needed to go and join a Calvary Chapel where I am sure they will be very happy to have her. I said that if she thought her Church had problems, she had no idea what the alternative had in store for her. Any Church filled with sinners will not be perfect, that is the nature of it. Hospitals are full of sick people, at times it can get really stinky. I asked her if she spent as much time praying for her Priest with God as she did complaining about him?

Robert
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2005, 09:20:00 PM »

Amen.
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2005, 10:39:19 PM »

And to the original poster. It isn't that I don't see where you're coming from. I just think you're coming form the wrong place. I still think that if we take care of our business, Protestant missionaries won't be able to "steal our sheep". They're stolen because we aren't watching them. That's my basic point, as far as the original post goes.

I don't believe you understood my post.  I'll leave it at that.
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« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2005, 08:26:23 AM »

Ok, well, I’m not sure I want to get into this much deeper, and I don’t want to offend anyone, but yes, as I said, I understood your post. Again, I think it’s simply wrong-headed, but I’ll comment a little more directly if you like. And apparently, even if you don’t like. Sorry. I did not intend this post to be so long.

Your quote of Romans to support a condemnation of proselytizing is poor exegesis. Paul never condemns anyone for preaching where the Gospel has already been preached, nor does he say it is wrong. He simply states that he didn’t do it. Why? Because in his time it would have been a waste of time. Not evil, simply a waste of effort. Your application of it to current situations is anachronistic because Paul wouldn’t have even been concerned with a situation like the one to which you’re trying to apply it. It was all one Church at the time with everyone believing the same thing. There would have been no question of  “tearing down the Church and pulling members from the Sacraments through misinformation”. Paul would have condemned and did condemn those who preached a false Gospel, but he did this regardless of whether they were preaching where the Gospel had already been preached. If this had been your point, your quote of Romans would be out of place, so it seems obvious to me you were directing your criticism, and this quote, at “sheep stealing”, not simply preaching lies. Your later post leads to the same conclusion, when you stated, “And when they're purposely trying to lead the unwary from the Orthodox Church, when Paul wrote in Romans against doing such…” Paul never stated any such thing, at least not in the passage you quoted. Again, he did criticize false teachers, but not in your quote from Romans.


“It's the blatant dishonesty and total lack of interest in getting the facts straight that's annoying.” And this is where I chose to deal with your point rather than your words. You have either forgotten your experience as a Protestant or you were mixed up with a really screwed up group of people. As a Bible-belter myself who grew up Southern Baptist and was deeply involved with a whole bunch of Protestants, I can testify to the overall falseness of your statement. The vast majority of Protestants are not being “blatantly dishonest” nor do they “lack interest in getting the facts straight”. I know there are some, and I have met them. I have a friend who is a professor and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and at his Seminary there was a Dissertation done on How to Convert the Orthodox, and it manifested much of the misinformation you spoke about. So I’ve seen what you’re talking about. But even in that document, the person who wrote it wasn’t being “blatantly dishonest”. He was just ignorant. His mindset was such that if you venerate an icon, it’s idolatry. It doesn’t matter whether you make a distinction between veneration and worship. It’s meaningless semantics. You can criticize them for being wrong, but I think it’s blatantly dishonest on your part to criticize them for being willfully deceitful. They are, for the most part, very sincere.


As for a lack of interest in getting the facts straight, where are they going to go to get the facts? I have lived in Dallas, which has one of the largest Greek Churches in the Diocese, for 32 years, and until about 5 years ago, I didn’t even know there was an Orthodox church in our city. I had no clue where to go to get information. You speak from the perspective of someone who is Orthodox and as such is aware of the resources, such as they are, that are available. But someone unfamiliar with Orthodoxy won’t know that. So where is he going to go? And therein lies my criticism. That’s our fault. Not his. If we have been the true Church for 2000+ years as we claim, why are we a marginalized Church in the largest country on the planet? Why do the vast majority of America not even know we exist? And we’ve been here for over 100 years and yet we’re invisible.

You complained, as I quoted above, that they’re “purposely trying to lead the unwary from the Orthodox Church.” Why should they not try to purposefully lead people to Christ? This is what they’re trying to do. You act as if they know Orthodoxy is the true Faith and simply don’t care. This is false. Why should they know Orthodoxy is the Truth? HOW should they know that? This is exactly the same “blatant dishonesty” and “lack of interest in getting the facts straight” for which you condemn them. At least be honest and recognize their sincerity. And again, I repeat what I have said over and over again. There would be no “unwary” for them to mislead if we were doing our job. That may not be your point, but it SHOULD be your point, which is why I stated, “I understand where you’re coming from. I just think it’s the wrong place.”

As I have repeatedly stated in this thread. The problem is ours, not theirs.


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« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2005, 05:16:59 PM »

Your quote of Romans to support a condemnation of proselytizing is poor exegesis. Paul never condemns anyone for preaching where the Gospel has already been preached, nor does he say it is wrong. He simply states that he didn’t do it. Why? Because in his time it would have been a waste of time. Not evil, simply a waste of effort.  Your application of it to current situations is anachronistic because Paul wouldn’t have even been concerned with a situation like the one to which you’re trying to apply it. It was all one Church at the time with everyone believing the same thing.

Now, now.  It's you who are mistaken in your exegesis.  It looks as though you either believe Paul was providing superfluous information, or he was boasting for not treading on evangelized land, and that there was nothing to be learned from this passage about how missionary work is to be properly carried out.  But that's not the case, as he returns to this point in 2 Corinthians 10:12-16, where he had already evangelized Corinth and others came in afterwards boasting that they had converted the locals to Christ, not Paul.  He doesn't designate these other missionaries as false prophets, but seems to indicate they were indeed evangelicizing for God, albeit to people who were already taught by Paul and they were putting down Paul's mission.  In the next chapter, Paul then warns the Corinthians about deceptions by false prophets who teach a different Jesus than the one the legitimate Apostolic Church taught.  Paul warns about the simple and innocent in the Church's flock being "deceived" by "persuasive words."  He calls these men "deceitful" and masquerading as apostles of Christ.  So let me guess... you would in turn rap Paul's knuckles for calling them dishonest, yes?  You'd prefer that Paul recognize their "sincerity" and "love" and overlook the lies being taught, right?  After all, Paul should have been grateful that these false apostles of Christ were bringing others to Christ (including the love-starved members of Paul's mission since you think the only reason people leave the Church is because we have no love), so what's the problem, right?  Perhaps you believe it's ok that an evangelical boasts for "converting" an Orthodox Christian to Jesus given that Christ isn't in our Church?

May I ask, how long have you been Orthodox?  The line you're pursuing doesn't sound Orthodox.  For example, you wrote things like "People don't leave where they find Christ.", and "Just why are people leaving us if we truly preach Christ and manifest His love?"  You seem to be implying Christ isn't in some Orthodox parishes, or perhaps all of them since you wrote that our Church leadership "has no real concept of Christian love and has basically forsaken the Church's mission of spreading the love of Christ to the world" and that you see "a lack of love, in the Church as a whole."  Sorry, but what you describe isn't what I see nor what I've experienced during the last decade of my involvement in Orthodoxy in the US and in the former Soviet Union.  What you're saying sounds like the usual claptrap I read from a few evangelicals who imagine much about high liturgical Christians.  No matter whether a jerk priest and or an impious laity fill a particular parish, Christ is in the OC parish.  He's certainly in the Sacraments, and it's really your problem if you believe otherwise.

...so it seems obvious to me you were directing your criticism, and this quote, at “sheep stealing”, not simply preaching lies.

My criticism was directed at the lies and proselytizing against Orthodox Christians.  If Paul isn't a model missionary for our evangelical friends, then they should just say as much.  But if he is, then they should explain why they are behaving in an un-Paulesque manner.  If they believe Orthodox are Christians, then those few who are targeting Orthodox are knowingly proselytizing, no matter their excuses for doing so.  If they are telling Orthodox that the OC is not Christian, then they are being dishonest.  I could care less about pedantic hair splitting over motives and intent.

Your later post leads to the same conclusion, when you stated, “And when they're purposely trying to lead the unwary from the Orthodox Church, when Paul wrote in Romans against doing such…” Paul never stated any such thing, at least not in the passage you quoted. Again, he did criticize false teachers, but not in your quote from Romans.

I think you simply don't understand the thread, or the entirety of Paul's Epistles on the matter.  Rather, you're perturbed by the word "dishonest", even though Paul used much harsher language.  You're confusing two rants I made for one single rant.  Read carefully the two rants -- 1) Self-proclaimed Christians trying to convert Orthodox Christians;  2)  Self-proclaimed Christians spreading lies about Orthodox Christians and Christian doctrine.

The vast majority of Protestants are not being “blatantly dishonest” nor do they “lack interest in getting the facts straight”.

I never said such about the majority of Protestants.  My critique was narrowly focused on a particular set of missionaries that are proselytizing Orthodox and/or trying to persuade Orthodox with lies.  But you seem intent on twisting my posts into something else.  Why?  Because of a problem you've encountered in your parish?

But even in that document, the person who wrote it wasn’t being “blatantly dishonest”. He was just ignorant.

Note that I didn't originally call these individuals "dishonest", but the endeavor itself.  I wrote, "It's the blantant dishonesty..." --- NOT --- "It's these dishonest individuals..."

You can criticize them for being wrong, but I think it’s blatantly dishonest on your part to criticize them for being willfully deceitful. They are, for the most part, very sincere.

Ok, help me understand this.  I designate a missionary activity as dishonest because -- a) a missionary says he's not proselytizing when in fact he is; b) he says Orthodox aren't Christian; and c) he portrays his beliefs (i.e. iconoclasm, anti-infant baptism) as the Protestant norm.  You would say he's simply ignorant, though I would expect him to know better, especially if he labels himself as a "professional" missionary knowledgable in Christianity.  You don't like me using the word dishonest to describe these behaviors, but interestingly you have no reservation in extending that epithet towards myself (rather than the word ignorant!).  Whether or not the individual spreading lies is internally ignorant is beyond anyone's ability to divine, and the verbal semantics of allowing that possibility is as irrelevant as entertaining the possibility that he has brussel sprouts for brains.

The person doing the items I listed above is indeed acting dishonestly, willful or not.  Whether it's dishonesty out of willful ignorance isn't my concern (though I consider it willful when he goes to another country and refuses to learn the local religion(s)), nor is it my concern if he's sincere or full of love.  If I wanted to start a thread about missionary love (ba da bing, ba da boom) I would have done so.  As I wrote earlier, I remember this individual being provided the accurate information in another list but instead he chose to return to the talking notes.

If we have been the true Church for 2000+ years as we claim, why are we a marginalized Church in the largest country on the planet? Why do the vast majority of America not even know we exist? And we’ve been here for over 100 years and yet we’re invisible.

Off-topic questions.

You complained, as I quoted above, that they’re “purposely trying to lead the unwary from the Orthodox Church.” Why should they not try to purposefully lead people to Christ? This is what they’re trying to do.

Leading people away from the OC is leading people away from Christ.  Do you really believe what you're writing here?  If you believe Christ is best found outside the OC, then for a bargain price I've got a luxury sedan to sell you called an AMC Pacer.

You act as if they know Orthodoxy is the true Faith and simply don’t care. This is false. Why should they know Orthodoxy is the Truth? HOW should they know that?

Again, straying off-topic.  I don't expect them to know the fine details of Orthodox Truth.  What I expect them to know is -- a) the missionary is proselytizing other Christians; b) Orthodox are Christians; and c) many of the missionary's beliefs are not the Protestant norm.  He should know these things from seminary school, or from the elders in his sect who sent him off with the prepared material.  If he's truly that ignorant, that proves my earlier point about Android Christians.

This is exactly the same “blatant dishonesty” and “lack of interest in getting the facts straight” for which you condemn them. At least be honest and recognize their sincerity. And again, I repeat what I have said over and over again.

And I repeat... I don't care about their sincerity, love, or fine oratory skills.  I raised the factual errors, which result from either being dishonest or being a human vegetable reciting Brother Bufford's talking points.  You're desperately trying to divert this thread off course because of apparent personal issues unrelated to the topic.

There would be no “unwary” for them to mislead if we were doing our job.

True, but nevertheless it happens today as it happened during Paul's missions, for which he warned repeatedly. 

That may not be your point, but it SHOULD be your point, which is why I stated, “I understand where you’re coming from. I just think it’s the wrong place.”

That's why I continue to state that you don't understand the thrust of the thread, and have oriented it off to a tangent about love.  That might be YOUR point, but it's not going to be MY point.

As I have repeatedly stated in this thread. The problem is ours, not theirs.

Yes, we've a problem and look at what happens when someone like myself points it out -- you call me dishonest.  You complain we don't have love and don't have Christ.  Surely we have to do our work, but it doesn't change the fact that the innocent in our flock can and will be led away from the Body of Christ.  Our duty is to warn them, as Paul commanded.  But you say otherwise.  Fine.  You're entitled to your opinion, however contrary it may be.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2005, 05:23:53 PM by Strelets » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2005, 06:41:52 PM »

OK, that’s enough. It has turned from a respectful discussion into rudeness and name-calling, and I won’t participate in that. If you saw my statement, “Then it’s blatantly dishonest of you…”, as such, I apologize. It was not my intent. I was simply trying to show how unhelpful it is to call people dishonest who are doing the best they know to do. It appears you didn’t like didn't appreciate it. Maybe reflecting on that next time you call someone else “blatantly dishonest” would be helpful.

Christianity is all about love. If you want to exclude it as a non-issue when you’re dealing with non-Orthodox, you will be a poor witness for Christ and accomplish nothing. You say they are “dishonest” for not recognizing our Christianity? What do we do to evidence our Christianity? Have sacraments? So do the Catholics and Anglicans. Ours are true sacraments? What do we do to evidence that? If the Eucharist is supposed to transform us into Christ-likeness, then why don’t we act like it? Or perhaps it’s apostolic succession that determines true Christianity? Again, the Catholics, Anglicans, Arians, Nestorians, etc. etc. have that as well. Christ never said, “You had a priest lay hands on you, ok you can enter the Kingdom.”No. He said, “When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was in prison you visited me.” Given the lack of love prevalent in our Church, is it any wonder they don’t think we’re Christian?


My suggestion would be that if you don’t like these Protestant missionaries (or perhaps just one in particular?) proselytizing, try witnessing the Gospel to them. And I don’t mean with words. Try showing him the love of Christ while you correct his misunderstandings. If your attitude speaking with him was the same as it has been with me, I don’t wonder he didn’t listen. People convert to Christ, not a set of rituals. If you want people to know you’re a Christian, then act like one. That’s what will reach people. Again, in my opinion.

Quote
Note that I didn't originally call these individuals "dishonest", but the endeavor itself.ÂÂ  I wrote, "It's the blantant dishonesty..." --- NOT --- "It's these dishonest indiviblatant"


Pure sophistry. Notice, by that standard, I didn’t call you dishonest either. I said it was your endeavor that was dishonest, i.e. the endeavor of criticizing these missionaries. I will quote myself:
Quote
but I think it’s blatantly dishonest on your part to criticize them for being willfully deceitful

Notice that, just as you did, I said “It’s blatantly dishonest” not “you’re blatantly dishonest”. But that’s just sophistry on both our parts.

Just for clarification’s sake, when I speak about a lack of love and concern for witnessing to Christ, I’m speaking about what I have experienced in my involvement with the upper levels of the Church in America, including the Archbishop and Ecumenical Patriarch. And no, I’m not claiming to know the EP personally or even to have met him, but I have lived extensively (multiple years) in an environment where his influence was directly felt through many means. So I’m not speaking of rogue priests or laypeople. I’m speaking about my experience with the hierarchy of our Church all the way down to the priests and lay people. But only in the GOA. I can’t speak about other jurisdictions.

Lastly, to correct some distortions. First, if you re-read my earlier posts, I wrote that there would always be apostates, even under perfect conditions. So no, I do not think the only reason people leave is because of lack of love. But when we lose people because we aren’t loving, that’s not your Protestant missionaries fault, and I think that is the reason more often than not. But again, my opinion.

Second, again, if you re-read my earlier posts, I stated that we must both educate and manifest Christ. I never said it was only manifest Christ. If we love our flock, we will educate them too and precisely for the reason you mentioned: to warn them. But again, if we are doing our job, they will have no desire for what the Protestants offer. What can they offer that we lack? Peace? Love? Joy? Christ? What? If we have these things, then why are our people being mislead by these missionaries? My point is that you’re mis-focused, as I stated. Even if you believe as you do, i.e. that we must warn our “sheep”, why are you spending so much time railing against the Protestants instead of educating our “sheep” in the Truth? I’m sorry, but simply criticizing Protestant missionaries is not warning people. Teach our people the Truth and satisfy their spiritual needs.


As for being on a tangent. Your post was about people being lead away from the Church. Everything I've said has related. Perhaps you would rather just talk about the ignorance/dishonesty of this one guy. How is that profitable? None of us know the guy. Your intention, from your original post, seemed to manifest a concern that the Church was being damaged and people were being lead astray. Was that not your main concern? If not, again, it should be, because this one guy's ignorance/dishonesty is only relevant insofar as he is damaging the Church and leading others astray. Otherwise, his ignorance/dishonesty is meaningless to us as Orthodox. And everything I've stated has related to this point. So I would dispute the claim that I'm leading the discussion off on a tangent.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2005, 07:03:41 PM by SonofAslan » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2005, 07:04:56 PM »

Ok, I realize I have been assuming something I shouldn’t have. I apologize for assuming this discussion related to the Greek Orthodox Church. As I stated in my previous post, I can’t speak to the level of love in other jurisdictions, only the GOA. So I apologize for that. I still believe most of what I wrote, except for the criticism of the poster’s Church, assuming now he’s not GOA, is relevant to the discussion. If we do our job, we don’t have to worry about the Protestants.

I’m sorry, this assumption on my part that everyone is Greek can be attributed to exactly what I’m talking about with my experience over the past 2 years. If you’re not Greek, well then darn it, you might be a Christian, but you CAN’T be Orthodox. Sorry. It seems to seep in even if we try to avoid it.
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« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2005, 07:21:08 PM »

SonofAslan dude,

I'll let you ramble on as much as you like about your personal issues in your parish, though I'd appreciate you starting your own thread rather than hijacking this one.  You've diverted the topic from the issues I'm discussing and clearly seek to find a contrarian angle.  It's apparent you have major problems with the Orthodox Faith because of your parish, at least judging by your comments above.  Fine.  I'll carry on with others.  Just don't come back with more eye-rolling comments like, "I don't want to offend anyone," and then proceed to say Christ isn't in the OC.  Otay?  Because then you hurt your own credentials in the honesty sphere.  I guess with you being new to the list, I'm having flashbacks to other boards where I've seen the "exorthodoxforchrist.com" shams in which Brother Bufford claims to be a former Orthodox Christian, left because he didn't know Christ, and boy now he wants to spread the Good News of Jeezus to the Orthodox losers he used to hang around.  Or, it's someone pretending they're Orthodox, but then ramble on with the same rote statements peddled by the aforementioned Brother Bufford.  You were pretty fast out of the gate in going down this path.  But if you're legit, my bad for hinting that you weren't.  I certainly "don't want to offend anyone."

Have a blessed day.
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« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2005, 07:45:46 PM »

Well, if you're an example of the manifestation of Christ and His love you supposedly see in the Church, my point is made.

It wasn't in my parish, dude. Pay attention.
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« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2005, 08:11:46 PM »

Even if your precious thread had been hijacked, which I dispute, it wouldn't be the first time a thread has gone off from its original intent. Get over it.

But as for being hijacked. So I guess your point wasn't that the Church is being damaged and people are being lead astray, and we need to do something to stop it? Sorry, if that's the case, I did miss your original intent. So you just want to rail against this one guy and his ignorance/dishonesty? Then I'll address that. Grow up! You aren't his master, and he doesn't answer to you, so worry about your own sins and leave his alone. Who made you his judge?


How's that for on topic? If you want to go the sarcasm and rudeness route, I can certainly keep up. Even if I do reveal my hypcrisy at claiming I wasn't going to go there earlier.


Ok, how's this for blatantly dishonest, accusing someone of saying that Christ isn't in the OC when they never said any such thing? You find where I said that. Come on, show me. You criticize this missionary for misrepresenting Orthodoxy, and yet you do the same thing yourself. The closest I ever came was saying people don't leave where they find Christ. The implication being NOT that Christ isn't there, but that we aren't manifesting Him. BIG HUGE GIGANTIC difference. Again, PAY ATTENTION!

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« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2005, 09:03:39 PM »

SonofAslan:

You obviously haven't been Orthodox for long.  That is, if you are Orthodox at all.  For Those of us who are Orthodox and have relatives who suffered and died for their love of Christ and Orthodoxy for over the past 70+ years your comments are an insult  to their memories.  This is an example what kind of love is found within Orthodoxy.  It is a true story -

============

In 1944, the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko's mother took him from Siberia to Moscow. They were among those who witnessed a procession of twenty-thousand German war prisoners marching through the streets of Moscow:

The pavements swarmed with onlookers, cordoned off by soldiers and police. The crowd was mostly women -- Russian women with hands roughened by hard work, lips untouched by lipstick, and with thin hunched shoulders which had borne half of the burden of the war. Every one of them must have had a father or a husband, a brother or a son killed by the Germans. They gazed with hatred in the direction from which the column was to appear.

At last we saw it. The generals marched at the head, massive chins stuck out, lips folded disdainfully, their whole demeanor meant to show superiority over their plebian victors.

"'They smell of perfume, the bastards," someone in the crowd said with hatred. The women were clenching their fists. The soldiers and policemen had all they could do to hold them back.

All at once something happened to them. They saw German soldiers, thin, unshaven, wearing dirty blood-stained bandages, hobbling on crutches or leaning on the shoulders of their comrades; the soldiers walked with their heads down. The street became dead silent -- the only sound was the shuffling of boots and the thumping of crutches.

Then I saw an elderly women in broken-down boots push herself forward and touch a policeman's shoulder, saying, "Let me through." There must have been something about her that made him step aside. She went up to the column, took from inside her coat something wrapped in a colored handkerchief and unfolded it. It was a crust of black bread. She pushed it awkwardly into the pocket of a soldier, so exhausted that he was tottering on his feet. And now from every side women were running toward the soldiers, pushing into their hands bread, cigarettes, whatever they had. The soldiers were no longer enemies. They were people.

-- A Precocious Autobiography, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Collins, London

===========

That my friend, is an example of the love that is taught and found within Holy Orthodoxy.

How dare you come in here and defend people who go to a Christian country that has been Christian for over a thousand years and has created so many saints during that time.  Especially with in the last century.  And claim they are going to teach them about Jesus.  I once saw on TBN an Evangelical preach standing in Red Square with St Basil's Cathedral in the background asking for donations so he could bring Jesus to the Russians and teach them to say 'Slava Boho' (Glory To God) which they had been saying for over 1000 years long before his heretical Church even existed.  How insulting!  From the KGB files -


MOSCOW [RNS} - Some 200,000 clergy, many crucified, scalped, and otherwise tortured, were killed during the communist era in the former Soviet Union, a Russian commission reported here on November 27, 1995.  Millions believers were martyred and/or exiled.  There were 40,000 churches destroyed between 1922 and1980, the report said.

"Clergymen were crucified on churches' Holy Gates, shot scalped, and strangled.," said Alexander Yakovlev, head of the Commission for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Political Repression which prepared the report for Russian president Boris Yeltsin.  "I was especially shocked by accounts of priests turned into columns of ice in winter, "Yakovlev continued, adding that the commission unearthed documents showing that as early as 1918, Vladimr Lenin had odered a campagn of "merciless terror against priests.


And these western Christians of all sorts are going to come in in droves wearing T-shirts with a picture of St Basil's Cathedral with "Help bring Jesus to Russia underneath." ÂÂ  And you defend this or see nothing wrong? ÂÂ

You have a long way to go before you acquire an Orthodox ethos.

You talk about the lack of love within Orthodoxy. Respect is something that is earned.  And you have to respect something before you can completely love and understand it.  Coming into a foreign land without the knowledge or respect of its people, language, culture, AND RELIGION TO CONVERT THEM TO YOUR WAY OF THINKING IS NOT SHOWING EITHER LOVE OR RESPECT  FOR THOSE PEOPLE OR THEIR CULTURE.

Orthodoc






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« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2005, 09:25:17 PM »

Dear Brothers, ÂÂ
 ÃƒÆ’‚  Please excuse the intrusion but I couldn't stand by and let this turn ugly.  It is obvious that Strelets is concerned with Protestant missionaries misrepresenting and leading others away from the One True Church.  This is a valid concern.  However, in my opinion, (and I am still a catachumen so you can take my meager words with a grain of salt) I see nothing wrong in SonofAslan's words about the importance of showing christian love.  The Lord's commandment to love one another is the greatest and most difficult thing of all.  Does this mean we must let others slander Christ's Church?...No.  But we must be careful to not judge or condemn others while justifying ourselves.  May God give us guidance to hold strong in our faith yet show others the way through love for our fellow man!   SonofAslan, I am sorry for your experience in the GOA.  I also attend the Greek Orthodox Church but have not experienced what you are feeling.  Of course, there will always be sinners in the church (I am a sinner myself), but that doesn't diminish our love for Jesus Christ or our faith in the Apostolic Church.  Maybe this is a trial you must go through to bring you closer to Our Lord on your spiritual path. ÂÂ
 ÃƒÆ’‚ May God bless you both Strelets and SonofAslan,   ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ Juliana
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« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2005, 09:36:37 PM »

You know what Orthodoc, it was never my intention to offend you or anyone else. But here's my question to you.

Obviously I haven’t been Orthodox very long? Why? To tell you the truth, when I was new to Orthodoxy and a young Orthodox Christian, I was so on fire for the Faith that I was arguing day and night with Catholics, my friends, Protestants, anyone who would listen. I wanted to grab everyone by the collar and say, “LOOK WHAT I FOUND IN ORTHODOXY!!!!” Now, I just keep my mouth shut, because if I opened it, I would tell them to stay away. This isn’t where they need to be. We don’t want them. What changed, Orthodoc? Tell me that, and you can judge me all you like.

Your story is beautiful, but pointless. It doesn’t somehow prove that the Church today doesn’t have a problem with love, just because this happened in 1944. All I have been saying is that I wish we’d manifest this love more. Actually, we have to manifest it more in order to be Christian.

Your statement reminds me of people who get all upset when people criticize America for being racist or whatever because they have friends and relatives who died defending it. I’m very sorry you know people who died for the Faith. ÂÂ Please though, tell me how it’s an insult to anyone who loves Christ and His Church to say that the Church needs to manifest Christ and His love, and that if we did so, these Protestants wouldn’t be a problem, that the sheep would not want to leave? How is that an insult, and that is all I have said.

Yes, I am criticizing the Church, for a very real fault. I wonder just how many people criticized St Maximos for not keeping his mouth shut when he spoke out against the evils in the Church? Did someone tell him that he was insulting all those martyrs who had died for the Faith?

And no, I’m not equating myself with Saint Maximos. I’m just making a point that criticizing the Church is not inherently insulting to martyrs. You might not see the problem, and if it’s because you’re in a place where the problem doesn’t exist, I thank God. But the problem is prevalent. At least in the GOA, and I still believe, regardless of jurisdiction, if we loved our brothers and manifested Christ the way we should, the subject of this thread would not be a problem. I repeat that over and over to keep this from degenerating into a thread about the GOA.

That has been my point from the beginning of this thread, and it is true regardless of jurisdiction.


Thank you, Juliana.
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« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2005, 09:51:02 PM »

Quote
You talk about the lack of love within Orthodoxy. Respect is something that is earned.

No it’s not. It’s something we owe every human being on the planet. But I’m the one who lacks an Orthodox ethos? If that’s an Orthodox ethos, I don’t want it.

Quote
Coming into a foreign land without the knowledge or respect of its people, language, culture, AND RELIGION TO CONVERT THEM TO YOUR WAY OF THINKING IS NOT SHOWING EITHER LOVE OR RESPECT  FOR THOSE PEOPLE OR THEIR CULTURE.


If respect is something that’s earned, then why should missionaries respect another culture before they have earned it? Be consistent here.

And is this not exactly what Paul and others did? Go into another land and convert people to their way of thinking and religion?

What is disrespectful is your claim that it’s insulting simply because someone says “Glory to God.” Not to be too sarcastic, but I can’t help it, “Yep, how dare I claim that they are preaching Jesus when they would have the gall to say ‘Glory to God’ in Russian.” Are you really so certain these missionaries aren’t preaching Christ? Not at all? They aren’t even preaching Christ a little bit? It is not an uncommon view among Orthodox to claim that Protestantism has subtracted from the Faith but not lost it altogether. So I repeat what I said to strelets, or intended to say, Who made you their judge?

And I never defended the missionaries. I criticized us. Two different things entirely. But you can’t criticize someone for doing what they sincerely believe is right. The only thing you can do is correct them. And to call them names and yell at them and accuse them of being “blatantly dishonest” or lacking an Orthodox ethos hardly teaches them that they are wrong.
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« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2005, 10:42:23 PM »

Brethren:

I can see your points, Orthodoc, Strelets, and SOA.  As a man who came from various protestant backgrounds and went on mission trips with them, I can tell you that I have seen the extremes.  And as a practicing Orthodox Christian, having encountered many people on my way to conversion from the nominal to the Uberdox, I've seen the extremes here as well.  I see that there is a need for mission in our church, a need for outreach in the USA, and even as the church steadily grows, we are still a minority, and even unknown in most communities, especially here in the South where I live.  Here, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic and Megachurches are the norm.  An Orthodox Church simply seems like some strange kind of Roman Church with different langauges and practices.  Even the service in English can be quite hard to understand by an outsider, who is unacoustomed to ritual, a standard liturgy, and so much communal prayer.  Also, the fact that many Orhtodox Parishoners here that are cradle seem so so fartaken from explanation because they grew up with it and simply practice the faith without knowing the scriptures, the tradition of the Apostles, or even the liturgy in depth can contribute to an enquirer's confusion.  And then there are some converts that are militant in their expressions of the faith.  Their zealousness can frighten even other converts, and certainly make a prosective beliver look elsewhere.  What needs be forstered is the Ferverant Love and everlasting truth of the Orthodox Faith along with the knowledge of the Fathers and the holy Scriptures.  But theres are not the main things.  Our actions, brothers and sisters, speak louder than our words.  Telling a perons that Jesus Christ loves them is good, but our faith has, from what I have read, been about showing.  We must through our deeds as well as our words bring forth the Gospel of christ, with our doings shouting where words are useless, as in the example given by Orthodoc. ÂÂ

But there must be a change also from culturalism to the Faith being the thing.  I think perhaps it was because of persecution and xenophobia that the Orthodox communities became as isolated as they are now.  And though it is understandable that many decided to stick to "their own kind" and make the faith a part of that, it does not really fly nowadays.  We are an ethic and racial blend.  The old prejudices of the past are becoming indeed (thank God) a thing of the past.  But there is also a threat in this because there is with the blend the curse of altruism.  In the truth we must remain firm.  Yet this does not mean closing ourselves off, but reaching out in the unique way which the church can.  We must needs show respect for the temple, but do so in love of the temple.  We must needs show respect and love for the saints and the scriptures, but by emulating them and asking for their prayers, not merely quoting them.  Our faith without love is nothing, and amongst eachother we must show the most love. ÂÂ

"Tough love" is something to be reserved for tough situation.  Name-calling, accusations, and slamming people is not the way to do it.  I must say, that If I were to read what this thread, and even half of what this board is becoming, and I was a distant observer and not in the heat of it, then I would probably never look into Orthodoxy again.  And please, let us not use the " But it was out of love" jargon, or "It was to correct or instruct" rhetoric.  We are called to be blunt at times, but not all the time.  We need to show restraint and patience, one with another.  Bacause if we dont, how can we show it to an outsider?  I think it is also a reason why some of our number are drawn away. ÂÂ

Brethren, we must love as Christ loves and forgive as he does.  Simples as that.

My two cents.  Take em or leam em.

Peace

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« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2005, 11:03:24 PM »

Yes, some use lie and deceit and twisting and so on.

Yes, some are praying on people who are robbed of their faith by communism.
Protestants do it all the time.
Latins are not much better.

But lets face it, we Orthodox are not doing much ourselves (talilking about Serbs forexample).
We are (in Australia) happy to collect money from the candles and slavas and Serbian weddings (which is good) but it is not what we are supposed to do.
We are slow and leazy.

And the sooner we wake up and start stirring the devil the sonner all this will come to pass.

We need to be go out and educate people.


In the old lands,
communism has failed in Russia 15 years ago so is in Rumania and Bulgaria and Ukraine... Those Churches have no excuse for not educating their population in faith. We can not just sit there and blame it on reds and protestantans and moslems and who ever else.

It is our job to do whatever possible.

Our priests need to be educated and know their stuff.

I have seen with my own eyes that Priest is reading from Acts and say that he was reading from Corinthians, this is just a small example. And no one ever picked up on it.

I am a serb, We got rid of the reds just 4 years ago. So we still can play that "blame it on them" game. But how much longer?




Anyway, I said what I said, please forgive.
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« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2005, 12:32:37 AM »

Well, if you're an example of the manifestation of Christ and His love you supposedly see in the Church, my point is made.

Ah yes, another oft used line dropped by trolls after kicking the hornet's nest.  Sweet.  You make a lot of noise about the lack of love and unattainable Christlike perfection in others while at the same time doing your darndest in ensuring they react to you in just the opposite manner.

It wasn't in my parish, dude. Pay attention.

I did.  You wrote in a previous post -- "But what upsets me most is that I see it, i.e. a lack of love, in the Church as a whole. It trickles down from the top. When I saw it my parish 2 years ago, I attributed it to the failing of individuals, which is simply a fact of life."

You've expressed problems with your parish, where you had "bad experiences", and are taking out your frustrations on me, not to mention transfer all manner of bad behavior to "the Church as a whole.  Ok, you win.  Let's talk about it.  What, exactly, happened to you?  Let's get it out, rather than be subjected to vagaries, innuendos, and obscure references to your bad experiences.  After all, I've been to plenty of Orthodox parishes and don't see what you're experiencing.  It was the loving embrace of Russian priests that brought me back from the abyss of atheism into the arms of Christ.  Don't preach to me about a supposed lack of love when it's far far from the truth I've witnessed.  Every parish I've attended sponsored soup kitchens, ran charity drives every month, helped the needy within their parish, sent thousands abroad to poor villages, etc.  I've personally busted my tail for the Church, but of course I shouldn't say that, right?  It shows a lack of humility on my part, and anyway it's much better for your polemic to beat up on the silence of humble Christians as evidence of no love.

Others in this thread have expressed a similar bafflement at your claims of a lack of love in "the Church as a whole."  Tell us exactly what happened to you and where it happened, and we'll see what we can do to rectify the sicheeashun.  That's what you want us to do, right?  I mean, it makes no sense for you to preach to us to be more loving in our parishes when we're already pulling our weight.  Or perhaps you've imagined bad behavior about the net strangers in this board?  I can tell you the problem you've hinted at isn't in my home parish, so the only way I can help is to find out where these Orthodox meanies are chasing folks away.  Help us take you seriously.  You've made a call for OTHERS to action.  Give us the details of your unloving parish, its unloving laity, its unloving priest.  If you won't give us more info on what we should do to spread more love to you and fix the injustices you've experienced, then what's point of the rant we've been subjected?

So prove you're serious about wanting to change your parish life, or what we should do to fix your unexplained, vague references to unloving behavior of "the Church as a whole."  Please provide more details.  But be aware that if you're going to accuse a jurisdiction as a whole of being uncharitable and selfish towards others that it's relatively easy to prove otherwise.  You're going to have to provide some names and details.

P.S.  Are you the same Southern Baptist convert to EO who goes by SonOfAslan in the Beliefnet boards?
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« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2005, 04:41:49 AM »

Yes, some use lie and deceit and twisting and so on.

Yes, some are praying on people who are robbed of their faith by communism.
Protestants do it all the time.
Latins are not much better.

But lets face it, we Orthodox are not doing much ourselves (talilking about Serbs forexample).
We are (in Australia) happy to collect money from the candles and slavas and Serbian weddings (which is good) but it is not what we are supposed to do.
We are slow and leazy.

And the sooner we wake up and start stirring the devil the sonner all this will come to pass.

We need to be go out and educate people.


In the old lands,
communism has failed in Russia 15 years ago so is in Rumania and Bulgaria and Ukraine... Those Churches have no excuse for not educating their population in faith. We can not just sit there and blame it on reds and protestantans and moslems and who ever else.

It is our job to do whatever possible.

Our priests need to be educated and know their stuff.

I have seen with my own eyes that Priest is reading from Acts and say that he was reading from Corinthians, this is just a small example. And no one ever picked up on it.

I am a serb, We got rid of the reds just 4 years ago. So we still can play that "blame it on them" game. But how much longer?




Anyway, I said what I said, please forgive.

I agree with you totally, but...

I can't agree with you that the old countries are as badly off as you think. True, sometimes the Protestant missionaries get there first but they had a head start. They were ready to pounce on Romania (I can't speak of anywhere else) as soon as the last shot had been fired in the Revolution and Ceausescu and his wife were dead. Do you think that was true of the Romanian Orthodox Church? No. It had been severely weakened by political repression and infiltration. First up they had to argue over whether to accept Patriarch Teoctist's resignation (he felt tainted by communism) and then they had to rebuild the Church.

The point is that all this was remarkably fast. Even less than a decade after the Revolution, I found it hard to get into a church for a liturgy, there was a great flowering of monasticism, a great increase in the number of priests and seminarians etc. In the years since, this has continued but I haven't really noted much of an increase in the Protestant population despite aggressive evangelisation. Some still convert but some also return to the faith and those who leave for Protestant groups were usually not really Orthodox in the first place. It's quite obvious for instance, that very few young people convert to Pentecostalism (whilst very many are found in the Orthodox churches) in Bucovina.

Finally, of course, there is my case of the Protestant missionary to an Orthodox country becoming Orthodox himself. I only know of one other case like mine (and I don't know them personally), but it seems to me that it is clear that Orthodoxy can take on Protestant missionaries and win. Could we do more? Absolutely. Are some churches unwelcoming ethnic ghettos? To our shame, yes they are. We can learn from the Protestants that it is not enough to turn ourselves in on only those who are already Orthodox, but let's not learn their tactics. I can think of nothing more likely to turn prospective catechumens away than the sort of tactics many missionaries use in the old countries. Remember, they only seem to be doing better in the east (the Orthodox are re-evangelising ex-communists much more quickly and effectively, which doesn't show up in census figures because they were already nominally Orthodox) and in the west we are growing because of a slow but steady influx of Protestant and Catholic converts. In Britain we are the fastest growing church and, indeed, one of the only churches that is growing at all. There is good reason to be optimistic.

Some people have had bad experiences in the Church (I have too) but we shouldn't exaggerate them to the point where we convince ourselves that this is representative of the whole Church. These are regrettable exceptions to the general feeling of love and warmth I find in Orthodoxy, they are not the norm. And God forbid that we should ever discourage someone from conversion (SOA). If we have sunk so low in our estimation of the Body of Christ as to do that, then I feel we are already close to apostasy in our hearts. Warn them, point them away from unloving parishes by all means, but never say 'stay where you are'.

James
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« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2005, 04:57:10 AM »

I do not find anything that I can disagree with you even it seems to me that I should. LOL

Too true brother, I am sorry if I pantied it that way.

It was not my intention to bring in loss of hope or to make some feel bad about the Church, I am just reacting to some things that I see that should be and could be changed for benefit of us all.

Please forgive.



PS... When I read you say I AGREE BUT... I said O.K. here we go.. LOL
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« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2005, 05:46:59 AM »

I do not find anything that I can disagree with you even it seems to me that I should. LOL

Too true brother, I am sorry if I pantied it that way.

It was not my intention to bring in loss of hope or to make some feel bad about the Church, I am just reacting to some things that I see that should be and could be changed for benefit of us all.

Please forgive.



PS... When I read you say I AGREE BUT... I said O.K. here we go.. LOL

There is nothing to forgive. Your post was not wrong it's just that if read together with SOA's posts I felt it might lead people to feeling overly negative towards the Church. I was absolutely not seeking to whitewash our problems. You and I both know they exist and that it is a shame on the whole Church for it to be so. I just felt that the general trend of this thread was to sink ever further into pessimism and I felt the balance needed to be redressed. I am glad that you have found nothing to object to in what I wrote because the truth is rarely as bad as it sometimes appears.

James
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« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2005, 07:06:32 AM »

There is nothing to forgive. Your post was not wrong it's just that if read together with SOA's posts I felt it might lead people to feeling overly negative towards the Church. I was absolutely not seeking to whitewash our problems. You and I both know they exist and that it is a shame on the whole Church for it to be so. I just felt that the general trend of this thread was to sink ever further into pessimism and I felt the balance needed to be redressed. I am glad that you have found nothing to object to in what I wrote because the truth is rarely as bad as it sometimes appears.

James


I am aware that some might consider situation to be worse that it is, at the same time there are some who see it better than it is. In all of this whether bad or good we can not but remember the promise made to us by the Lord that is "referenced" in Mt XVI, 18. Loosing hope is definitelly much worse that seing things better that their are. Hopelessness will kill, over-appreciation tends not to.

Brother James, I do not see our "argument" as destroy and build case (that most of arguments really are), but build on built.
So, unless you start talking about cheeze again, I can not but agree with you LOL.
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« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2005, 07:23:47 AM »


I am aware that some might consider situation to be worse that it is, at the same time there are some who see it better than it is. In all of this whether bad or good we can not but remember the promise made to us by the Lord that is "referenced" in Mt XVI, 18. Loosing hope is definitelly much worse that seing things better that their are. Hopelessness will kill, over-appreciation tends not to.

Brother James, I do not see our "argument" as destroy and build case (that most of arguments really are), but build on built.
So, unless you start talking about cheeze again, I can not but agree with you LOL.

No more cheese, I promise. Unless you're ready to own up to theft now...?  Wink

Seriously though, I didn't think we were arguing at all, just offering our own, slightly different perspectives on the issue. In any case, I agree with you, some are over-optimistic which can lead to blindness as to certain failings of the Church, but I guess I'd rather people were a little too optimistic than the opposite. How are you going to lead anyone else to the Church if you can't muster up the enthusiasm to go yourself?

James
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« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2005, 07:33:21 AM »

No more cheese, I promise. Unless you're ready to own up to theft now...?  Wink

Seriously though, I didn't think we were arguing at all, just offering our own, slightly different perspectives on the issue. In any case, I agree with you, some are over-optimistic which can lead to blindness as to certain failings of the Church, but I guess I'd rather people were a little too optimistic than the opposite. How are you going to lead anyone else to the Church if you can't muster up the enthusiasm to go yourself?

James

True.
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« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2005, 09:55:29 AM »

Strelets,

Yep, SonofAslan is the same both places. Go back about 2-3 years and read some of the posts I wrote on B-net then. (You can select “view by author”, unfortunately it only brings up the one’s I authored, not the ones I commented on, which would have been much more helpful.) Dude, you really need to stop judging people before you’ve gotten to know them. I understand how these boards work. Beliefnet is no different than this place, and except for the 2 year hiatus from B-net while I was away, I spent considerable time wasting away arguing with people on B-net. I’ve seen what you’re talking about. I’ve seen the people come in with hidden agendas and then dishonestly start wailing on the Church. I’ve seen exactly what you’re accusing me of. But you need to get to know someone before you judge them.

But rather than continue this discussion with you, I’ll simply leave you with that. You remind me of too many people I saw on B-net who just railed against everyone who said anything critical, never read what they said preferring instead to derive inferences and implications which were never stated and attack those. I’ve seen way too much bile and vitriol in the Church lately to put up with yours. So have a merry life.



I have a minor disagreement with one thing James said. I think being overly-optimistic can be just as dangerous as being overly pessimistic. Overly optimistic can lead to severe disappointment in the Church when one finds out that everything isn’t all peachy-keen. Which it never is, anywhere. And severe disappointment can lead to disillusionment. Considering my general Lloyd Dobler philosophy of “Expect the worst and everything is a pleasant surprise”, my own disillusionment is a bit shocking to me. But it is my experience which makes me think the way I do.
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« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2005, 11:23:12 AM »

Thank you for the sober responses, James (jmbejdl).

Even less than a decade after the Revolution, I found it hard to get into a church for a liturgy, there was a great flowering of monasticism, a great increase in the number of priests and seminarians etc. In the years since, this has continued but I haven't really noted much of an increase in the Protestant population despite aggressive evangelisation.

This mirrors my experiences as well.  I've noted that they've become even more ineffective over the years as the ROC has gained its footing and taken active, educational counter measures through the media and schools.  However, my philosophy is that even the weakest and smallest sheep that's led from the flock deserves attention.  Sitting back and saying, "Well, one out of nine hundred ain't too bad of a loss," doesn't sound like what Christ would do.

My wife had an acquaintance in college in Belarus who became wrapped up in a fundamentalist Baptist missionary group from the States.  Seems like they were called "the white sect", or some other color coded designation.   During my time living in Belarus, I became aware for the first time of these various colors/flavors of Baptists and Mormons that I didn't know about previously.  Anyway, under this group's influence, she ended up quitting college, reducing contacts with family, in general succumbing to a cultish environment.  To shorten the story, she committed suicide.  This isn't an isolated case.  It's the duty of Orthodox priests to be concerned about these dangers to their flock.  By no means am I directly blaming this particular organization for this girl's unfortunate choice, but they definitely excacerbated her emotional problems, perhaps taking advantage of someone in a mentally weak position with questionable and deceptive techniques.  We can ask, "Where was the ROC?"  But we can also ask where was the Christ in this sect that they were promising.

It's curious that the ROC has good relations with the Anglican and Lutheran churches, even though they're engaging in mission building, and the answer is in their attitude, purpose, and methods.  They're not explicitly targetting Orthodox for conversion nor disseminating material of an anti-Orthodox nature.  If the small number of hostile evangelical missionaries adopted the same mindset -- the humble, loving way of Christ that they say is lacking in the OC -- then they wouldn't be having problems with the Church.

Some people have had bad experiences in the Church (I have too) but we shouldn't exaggerate them to the point where we convince ourselves that this is representative of the whole Church. These are regrettable exceptions to the general feeling of love and warmth I find in Orthodoxy, they are not the norm.

Agreed.  Thanks again.

I’ve seen way too much bile and vitriol in the Church lately to put up with yours.

You're making more out of nothing than you realize.  If you're looking for bile, you're going to find it.  Anyway, I've already written "my bad" in the event that you were really Orthodox.  I reiterate my apologies.  It had just occurred to me that you were the same SonOfAslan in B-Net and it struck me as odd because, if my poor memory serves correctly, you were railing against non-Orthodox in those days -- all the while saying you didn't want to start a quarrel.

But it is my experience which makes me think the way I do.

What are these unspecified experiences?  You're trying to convince us of nothing in particular and everything in general.  You could be much more helpful in giving us reason to see things your way.  Awhile back in another list, a lady was telling how unloving and cold the OC was for not supporting her in a time of need, how hollow our rituals were, yada yada yada.  After much twisting and evading she finally explained what happened.  She was shacking up with a man but they wouldn't get married because of some issue with possibly losing her disability payments or state assistance of some sort.  Anyway, she wanted the priest to bless their relationship and he refused.  I'm not saying your "experience" was of the same nature, but you're not giving us anything to go on.  Truly, I extend my condolences if something really bad happened to you.
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« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2005, 01:17:42 PM »

Yes, you are right in your assessment of the change in my disposition, Strelets, although I try to never “rail”, even back then. But I admit, sometimes people would get me really angry, especially when they started just being morons. Like the people you accused me of being.

Things have changed for me, and I enjoy the heated passionate arguments less, which is why I kept reiterating that it was “my opinion” and “I don’t want to offend anyone”. I haven’t gone into my experiences because I didn’t want this thread to become a “What happened to Jim” thread. That wasn’t why you started it, and that was not my intention. I was simply trying to state what I believe to be generally true regardless of my experience, namely if we truly manifest Christ and His life, sheep stealing won’t be such a problem. Yes, there will always be apostates, but when they leave they shouldn’t be able to blame us for it. And I wasn’t trying, emphasis on “trying”, to condemn everyone in the Church. I may have let my bitterness get the better of me, and I apologize for that. But I still think the Church has a problem, and I KNOW the Greek Church does.

If you really want to know what happened you can send me a private message. I have also posted a few more details over on B-net, if you want to go look. I no longer trust people as much as I used to, so I don’t want to get into it here. And besides, that’s not the point of the thread.

And btw, I agree with you that every poor weak sheep needs to be guarded. I was never trying to say, “Ah just let them be led astray. Who cares? They’re just a few nobodies.” That was NEVER my intention.

And sorry, I don’t remember you from B-net. Do you have a different nick over there? Or is it just my poor lobotomized brain?
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« Reply #38 on: June 17, 2005, 01:21:27 PM »

Strelets,

PS No apologies necessary. We all fall short, as a priest recently told me.
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« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2005, 01:22:31 PM »

PPS I apologize too.
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« Reply #40 on: June 17, 2005, 01:29:05 PM »

Things have changed for me, and I enjoy the heated passionate arguments less, which is why I kept reiterating that it was “my opinion” and “I don’t want to offend anyone”.

You could just preface it by a Monty Pyton-like response (like the old Flying Circus epsode, went into the Argument room instead of Abuse or was it vice versa?).

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We all fall short, as a priest recently told me.

You needed a priest to tell you that?  Wink
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« Reply #41 on: June 17, 2005, 01:59:14 PM »

You needed a priest to tell you that? Wink

No, but when I say I don't trust people at the moment, I'm including myself. Smiley

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"Yes it is."
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« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2005, 03:56:43 PM »

SonofAslan,

I appreciate you opening up with what was driving your concerns.  You're absolutely correct.  There's an ethnic problem in the [Jurisdiction X].  It's not something I've experienced personally as I'm not in that jurisdiction, but the complaints I've read and heard convince me that it's real.  You're not the only one.  I'd recommend you earnestly get out and find another parish.  The OCA and Antiochians are typically ethnically neutral.  Perhaps try to find a smaller parish that's economically diverse.  I'm of the mind that the phyletism in the [Jurisdiction X] is politically charged in nature at the top, and only after the bottom forces autonomy for itself in the US and elsewhere will the problem resolve itself.  You've got a Patriarchate, located in a land with hardly any Orthodox Christians, taxing Orthodox in far away lands and appointing bishops in those same areas.  The inverted structuring of Patriarchates according to geographical areas with de-populated Church memberships makes no sense, but I don't see it changing until the laity speak with their feet in large numbers.

My nick in B-Net was cristesmael.  The last time I posted was probably over a year ago, though I wasn't a heavy poster.  The reason I left was a result of the Mama Fredesque discussions, with a few folks arguing that the Church is mistaken for its pro-life stance, and a couple of others arguing for the introduction of blessings for *celibate* gay relationships.  These were rather asinine conversations for which I saw no reason to continue.  A guy emailed me saying it was better for babies to be aborted than raised in abusive homes.  I code-named him "Bloody Solomon."  It's my opinion that the pop cultural apologist types who are at odds with the Church's social teachings are one of the bigger dangers for the Church down the road.

As far as morons are concerned, that's an inescapable feature of the net.  Anyone who posts too much is bound to sound moronic to others.  Hell, I think I sound moronic as well, especially when I've had only three hours of sleep for several days like last week when I went off on the drug legalization thread.  It's all a matter of perspective.  As George Carlin once said, those who drive slower than you are morons, while those who speed past you are lunatics.

All the best.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2005, 06:07:53 PM by Strelets » Logged

"The creed is very simple, and here is what it is: to believe that there is nothing more beautiful, more courageous, and more perfect than Christ; and there not only isn't, but I tell myself with a jealous love, there cannot be." ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
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« Reply #43 on: June 17, 2005, 04:51:12 PM »

That’s why I said my problem was not with my parish. As you stated, it comes from the top, and trickles down to the parish. Yes, it’s there in the parish, and yes I see it now, whereas before I just thought it was minor individual failings. It doesn’t manifest so much as ethnocentrism, because our Church is about 40% convert, but it does appear as a lack of love. The lack of love drives the phyletism at the top and then manifests as a general lack of concern for others in the parish. I call it a compassion of convenience. We’re compassionate as long as it doesn’t inconvenience us. But my problem is with the top, not the parish. You cure the disease, and the symptoms take care of themselves. Which is why I responded to you post the way I did. I see sheep stealing as a symptom of our greater disease. Cure that and, while it won’t disappear completely, it largely takes care of itself. But again, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong, either completely or partially.

Yeah, I remember some of those threads over there. Those didn’t make me mad so much. I got mad at people who would rather call me names than deal with my points. The one that made me leave, mostly for good, although I’ve been back a little bit, was a post by cuckoo which called me all kinds of names. I just said that’s it. Enough. And I left. After months of saying I would leave, that actually did it. J


I probably will leave the GOA when it’s all said and done, but I need to resolve my own issues first. I can’t leave from hatred or bitterness, and I have a lot of both right now. And whatever criticism I make of the Church applies to me as well. I fall under the same thing.

Thanks for your good wishes. I wish you all the best as well.
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« Reply #44 on: June 17, 2005, 05:07:15 PM »

You might be better off taking an extended hiatus from services for awhile.  I had a similar issue before going forward in becoming an official catechumen.  The RCC priest abuse scandals were all the rage at the time and there was a *problem* OC priest not far from my area.  The entire affair colored my attitude towards Orthodox and the Church.  Taking off about a year from the Church thing did wonders for regaining a balanced perspective.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2005, 05:08:59 PM by Strelets » Logged

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« Reply #45 on: June 17, 2005, 05:19:08 PM »

Man, can't believe I missed this one...what a ride this thread's taken!

OK, from the top:

Being that several of board members are former missionaries who converted to Orthodoxy, I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about your former activities.

Went three times with Teen Mania Ministries during the summers between years in high school--once to Ecuador in '95 for one month, and twice to Bolivia ('96 and '97, two months each time)--and primarily engaged in pantomime drama ministry, where we performed a mime presentation, set to music and Spanish narration, of an allegory of the basic gospel message.  One of us then stood up afterwards and explained how the drama told the story of the Fall, the Incarnation, the Passion and Resurrection, and gave an opportunity for folks to pray with us to ask Jesus to forgive their sins and come into their hearts.  They then filled out a card with their personal info, which we would then give to an Evangelical church there in town, who would then make contact with them after we'd left.

Other activities done by TMM were teaching English in universities (and witnessing through relationship evangelism, which made me drool to think about even then) and speaking in churches during evening services.

One example of arrogance I will never forget is when we went to do our drama in an old folks' home that was run by Roman Catholic nuns.  We had a custom of having one of the team members pray before we left the bus to do each drama, and the girl who prayed before this particular one actually prayed that God would help us "save the nuns."  Seriously.  Thankfully, some of us that were there (me included) jumped on her for that, as we were not so anti-Catholic as to even consider the idea that these weren't already very humble, holy people.

There were also the times where, after performing a drama, someone would talk about how "Mary can't save you; the saints can't save you; only Jesus can save you."  Sad.

When I came back to Bolivia in '97, I worked for the second time with the main pastor in Sucre, and he had said that our work, in terms of actual, long-term converts/disciples, was almost nil.  Most folks prayed with us and filled the card out basically because it was something to do on an otherwise boring, hot day, and they were already "Catholic," so whatever.  Definitely NOT the picture we teenage missionaries who were hyped up about "changing the world for Jesus" were given after returning to the States.  I learned later that, were the numbers which Evangelicals are often given by missionaries concerning supposed conversion rates correct, the entire world--every last person--would have been converted several times over.  For us Orthodox, this can serve as some comfort--but only a bittersweet one--for, while many supposed converts are only halfhearted in their intentions towards leaving Orthodoxy, this also means, in many cases, that they are often halfhearted in their committment to Orthodoxy, as well.  It's good to hear, then, that Orthodoxy has much more immediate familiarity, relevance, and appeal to the "up for grabs" groups in predominantly Orthodox countries.

  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

WTH?Huh HUH???!!! Orthodoxy is all ABOUT "Don't question! You are thinking too western! What we say is the TRUTH! What we say has not changed in over 2000 years! Nevermind what history shows you! "

Bullocks!

Bullocks, nothin'.  I'm sorry your situation was such that folks stifled inquiry into the fathers, but the two priests I've been under have let me go off on my little "catechuman rants" (as I call 'em) and gripe to my fellow catechumen about how the "fathers clearly say this, so why the Church does this is beyond me!!"  I calmed down, learned to see two sides of a story, accept the wisdom of the Church (and realize that they weren't going to change for just me or just anyone else...and I learned to be greatful for that), all the while "marinating" under the pastoral care of priests who, while firm in what the Church teaches, let me say what I wanted to and were never rude or condescending towards me.

The vast majority of Protestants are not being “blatantly dishonest” nor do they “lack interest in getting the facts straight”. I know there are some, and I have met them. I have a friend who is a professor and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and at his Seminary there was a Dissertation done on How to Convert the Orthodox, and it manifested much of the misinformation you spoke about. So I’ve seen what you’re talking about.

Hey, another formerly-Southern Baptist Texan!  I live in Ft. Worth and have read the dissertation of which you speak.  Ridiculous, you're right.

But even in that document, the person who wrote it wasn’t being “blatantly dishonest”. He was just ignorant. His mindset was such that if you venerate an icon, it’s idolatry. It doesn’t matter whether you make a distinction between veneration and worship. It’s meaningless semantics. You can criticize them for being wrong, but I think it’s blatantly dishonest on your part to criticize them for being willfully deceitful. They are, for the most part, very sincere.

I agree, but firstly, they are sincerely WRONG.  When I went to Bolivia, I thought all kinds of things about Catholicism--that they never read the Bible, that they worshipped Mary, that they held to a medieval view of communion, etc.  I was sincere in my desire to show them "true Christianity," but I was sincerely WRONG.

Secondly, a lot of these folks haven't let the churches they're going to encounter speak for themselves--or often, they've let them talk but to no avail.  When I let the Catholic Church speak for itself, I changed my thoughts.  A lot of these devout, missionary types within Protestantism believe what they believe about us groups in the catholic traditions, and no amount of our speaking for ourselves is gonna tell them any different, by gum!
 
As for a lack of interest in getting the facts straight, where are they going to go to get the facts? I have lived in Dallas, which has one of the largest Greek Churches in the Diocese, for 32 years, and until about 5 years ago, I didn’t even know there was an Orthodox church in our city.

To go back to this: are you still in Dallas?  You can PM me about this if you like.


There would be no “unwary” for them to mislead if we were doing our job.  As I have repeatedly stated in this thread. The problem is ours, not theirs.

Well, I know this was already talked through between you and Strelets, but I agree and disagree. 

Agree because, really, there's a problem with nominalism within the Orthodox Church at large.  Not everyone, everywhere; not even within a convert/cradle dichotomy--my cradle godfather is devoutly Orthodox and can explain what he believes very well--but many need to be educated about WHY they have this faith to adhere to in the first place.  It'd help a lot.

Disagree because, as has been pointed out, we can educate all we like; there'll still be some "ebb and flow" because of marriage ("But I loooooove him/her!  Doesn't that mean anything at ALL to God?!  Aren't we all the SAME, really?!") or other relationships ("All my friends go to that exciting A of G church on campus; I just don't "get fed" at St. So-and-so like I do there.").  Education and a good Christian example is NEEDED, but don't confuse it for a panacea that will cure all that ails us.  Evangelical proselytism isn't doing us any favors; those in the Church who decry this are doing a GOOD THING.

SonofAslan,

I appreciate you opening up with what was driving your concerns.  You're absolutely correct.  There's an ethnic problem in the GOA.  It's not something I've experienced personally as I'm not in that jurisdiction, but the complaints I've read and heard convince me that it's real.  You're not the only one.  I'd recommend you earnestly get out and find another parish.  The OCA and Antiochians are typically ethnically neutral.  Perhaps try to find a smaller parish that's economically diverse.

Oooooooookay.  I know it's a free-for-all, but this is, I think crossing the "no-jursidiction-plugging/bashing" line...

[mod hat]Please refrain from denouncing any one Orthodox jurisdiction as having any certain problem at large.  Furthermore, any suggestions that posters should find another parish--specifically within other jurisdictions--will not be tolerated.[/mod hat]

We all know that there are "frosty" parishes all over, regardless of ethnicity or anything else.  It's not unique to the Greeks or anything else.  And I happen to know of a Greek parish up in Euless (if you're still in Dallas, SOA, that will mean something to you) that has some very warm members who visit us in St. Barbara's (OCA) in Ft. Worth from time to time.

Welcome to the board.  Thanks for being so active, so quickly.  Look forward to hearing from you some more.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2005, 05:24:14 PM by Pedro » Logged

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From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
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« Reply #46 on: June 17, 2005, 06:12:48 PM »

Point taken.  I modified the post so it doesn't appear to be negative towards a particular jurisdiction.  I've no first hand experience in the particular problem and the people I know have been kind.  But there's gotta be fire where there's smoke, since this issue continues to be raised repeatedly online and in personal conversations.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2005, 06:13:27 PM by Strelets » Logged

"The creed is very simple, and here is what it is: to believe that there is nothing more beautiful, more courageous, and more perfect than Christ; and there not only isn't, but I tell myself with a jealous love, there cannot be." ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
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« Reply #47 on: June 17, 2005, 06:46:24 PM »

actually, I was kind of attacking my own jurisdiction. And I think it needs to be criticized and publicly. I think it needs to change. I think ...ok, I'm attacking it again. But it's mine, and I haven't left it yet. Does that still count? Seems to me it's kinda like criticizing your sister. I can do it, but no one else can. Or not?

And he wasn't telling me anything I haven't been advised to do by every Orthodox person I've spoken with. So I was certainly not offended.
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