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Author Topic: challenging to you/Orthodoxy  (Read 3582 times) Average Rating: 0
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irene
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« on: August 14, 2005, 08:01:32 PM »


   Hi everyone,

   This is to anyone who wants to comment out there....

    As an Orthodox, what have you found to be most challenging to you?

    Sometimes, I read that the road isn't easy, etc....and I was curious as to what people experienced.

    I love Orthodoxy, and embrace it with my  whole heart.  Just thought this might be a topic where we can learn from each other.

    Irene
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2005, 08:10:34 PM »

  ÃƒÆ’‚  As an Orthodox, what have you found to be most challenging to you?

Everything!
Loving my neighbour, fasting, prayer, confession.......nothing comes easy for me in Orthodox Christianity because of my sins.
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2005, 11:52:08 PM »

Quote
As an Orthodox, what have you found to be most challenging to you?

For me, almost all aspects of Orthodox spiritual life are challenging and difficult. In particular, though, I struggle with fasting. The intake of food is one area in my life over which I've always exercised little self-discipline. Often times even when I force myself to eat fast-appropriate food, I will eat far too much of it, which invalidates the whole purpose of the practice.
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2005, 12:31:31 AM »

Finding and staying on the royal path. Finding that elusive place between zeal without knowledge on one side, and apathetic spiritual laziness on the other. So far, I've bounced around like a Tennis ball. Wink
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2005, 03:42:21 AM »

Finding and staying on the royal path. Finding that elusive place between zeal without knowledge on one side, and apathetic spiritual laziness on the other. So far, I've bounced around like a Tennis ball. Wink

I've had the same stuggles that Justin describes above and I am still struggling with them now.ÂÂ  Undecided Up until my conversion and through the next couple of months following my chrismation it seemed like nothing would be able to douse the blazing fire in my spiritual life. Right now I am at a period where my faith is so weak that I would now describe it as smoldering embers. So, this has been quite a challenge for me, I would describe it as the biggest obstacle I've had since my conversion.

Some other things that I've found challenging are:

  • The multi-jurisdictionalism of Orthodoxy in America.
  • Politics in the Church, especially as practiced in the local parish

I'm sure I could think of more, but it's probably best that I cut it short...ÂÂ  Lips Sealed

In Christ,
Aaron

« Last Edit: August 15, 2005, 03:45:48 AM by Arystarcus » Logged
aserb
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2005, 09:00:03 AM »

The struggle is difficult enough as I am weighed down by many sins, but on top of that local politics has been most disconcerting.
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2005, 09:43:25 AM »

Fasting's easy; it's the local politics that's the issue.  That and loving everyone when I'd much rather punch them for annoying me.  That's the really hard part.
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2005, 10:33:31 AM »

Meatfare week!  Whoever came up with that was just being mean.

More seriously though, as I told my Spirtual Father, I'm running into the hard part of Orthodoxy now.  Not getting over past theology from the west is not a problem, now the real trial begins in saying my prayers when I wake up, not putting creame in my coffee, working on my pride, etc. 
I've also found it difficult as I'm in University thus end up spending eight months in one parish and four months in another.  I don't mind as I enjoy and love both parishs very deepy, but it is difficult to make close ties with anyone consistantly for as soon as you do, it's time to jump on a plane and head somewhere else.
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2005, 12:08:39 PM »

     Politics has been mentioned a few times, how so?   

     The skipping of cream in coffee is going to be a tough one for me, too.   But it would be very cool to be free of the addiction.
     
 
    Does the priest continue to follow up with you once chrismated?  I think that is a crucial time because  the enemy comes on full force if he didn't get his way to stop a chrismation.   So, some might feel what is a weakening in their faith, when extra attention and prayer from others could help them rekindkle that fire.

     Any comments?
     Irene
             
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2005, 08:34:32 PM »

I've got to say that "loving thy neighbor" gets me every time!  Also, feeling that I'm not "good" enough: too secular, find too many things funny, enjoy tv, all those failings that eat me alive. 

You all know Deacon Nikolai's "Modest Female Apparel" site?  It's listed on a Nazi site, as someplace for "white fathers" to buy their daughter's clothes.  Stuff like that makes me wish I could walk away from everything and just be...secular.  But I can't.  (I'm sure that Deacon Nikolai had no idea about this, it's just how people use and defame Orthodoxy for their own purposes.  Not that his site is specifically Orthodox.)
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2005, 01:44:28 AM »

I would have to say everything about being an Orthodox Christian is challangeing to me, especially judging others, praying and fasting.
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2005, 08:21:06 AM »

    In comparison to the denomination you were prior to Orthodox,  where is the difficulty now?

    A friend of mine is a very devout Mormon, and another is a very devout Roman Catholic.   They pray each day, try not to judge others, and fast.   The same issues the Orthodox are bringing up.   Is it that Orthodoxy asks you to do more, and with more intensity?   And that you are more aware of sinfulness?   I have found that I am more aware of my sinfulness and more aware of God's love, leading to humility hopefullly.    What do you think?

    Irene

           
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« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2005, 08:43:14 AM »

It is challenging to be an Orthodox Christian studying Christianity in a secular academic environment, where the professors and the far majority of students are atheist, agnostic or very liberal Protestants.

This challenge is only made worse by the fact that Orthodoxy is not as apologetic as it was in the Patristic era — it is simply not facing the heresies of today to a sufficient enough extent. The only Orthodox author thus far that I have seen capable of doing this is Richard Swinburne. I posted an article on him in the Christian News section, and I have borrowed his book The Christian God and have been reading it for the last two hours; it’s absolutely superb. I wish there were more Orthodox authors willing to take an evidence based and rationalistic approach to Orthodoxy - not to the detriment of the mystical aspect which distinguishes Orthodoxy from other Christian traditions, but to simply face the skepticism of today which demands a new approach to fundamental issues of the Orthodox Christian faith.

Peace.
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« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2005, 09:06:10 AM »

   Amazon has his book, thanks for the suggestion.   

   Peace to you, too!
   Irene
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2005, 12:10:18 AM »

The hardest part is not having friends that share my love of the faith and talk to on levels we talk about other things at. 
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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2005, 11:06:48 PM »

The hardest part...hmm...

...two things, I guess.

I guess the first'd have to be dealing with the (natural?) tendency of people to see the chant, the icons, the incense, the vestments, the protocol, the rubrics, and all the other "trappings" of organized religion as ends in themselves.  There was a phrase I used all the time as an Evangelical Protestant: "It's just all about Jesus."  Meaning, of course, that anything that got in the way of an encounter with God was to be pushed aside so that we could focus on meeting Christ.  It's easy to slip into "going through the motions" (another fav saying of mine when I was Protestant) and forget that all these things are passageways to that higher reality in which my Savior waits for me.

This, of course, was a Christ who is very different from--and much less demanding than--the Christ I see now in the Orthodox Church.  The Christ from my Protestant days, yes, demanded that we change, but was still going to "get us off the hook" if we weren't totally sanctified at the end, 'cause after all, nobody's perfect.  This, to me, is much more attractive than the God who is a consuming fire and will save some "only as through fire"--hardly a pleasant experience to think about, and not really something that goes over well in drive-thru America.  So, this is the second thing: Christ the healer, made present through the holy icons, is focused intently on our sin and won't let stuff slide; He desires our full healing now, so that we can pass through the fire purified and clean.  Gone is the benign Jesus who blesses us with His "warm fuzzies" and guaranteed heavenly bliss; now we are faced with our Brother and our Judge, and it is easy to become discouraged or even resentful against this much more businesslike, sometimes colder-seeming Christ of the Orthodox.  The fact that I need to see amazing love in that face is one of the hardest things for me as an Orthodox Christian, but I do know it's absolutely there...more than that, it's there more than it is in the smiling Jesus of Evangelicalism.

This, I know, is my problem; still that old dichotomy I had drilled into me for twenty years.  But it's a cross I'm learning, more and more, to carry, as it's only through the cross that we'll see the resurrection...

Good topic!
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« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2005, 03:34:43 PM »

Great post, Pedro!  Smiley

I'm (foolishly?) engaging in some debates on the Baptistboard again regarding OSAS, and that warm-n-fuzzy, drive-thru mentalilty of contemporary neo-evangelical Christianity is alive and well over there.  I mean, there's one fellow over there claiming that we are justified by a "passive faith" and that anyone who believes that faith must be active (ie obedient and accompanied by works) to be efficacious is a heretic(!).  Unbelievable.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2005, 09:34:27 PM »

Pedro:

Muy bueno reply. I learn so much from all you guys. I have far to go. I guess that is my challenge.

Quote
I'm (foolishly?) engaging in some debates on the Baptistboard again regarding OSAS, and that warm-n-fuzzy, drive-thru mentality of contemporary neo-evangelical Christianity is alive and well over there.

Drive thru - neo evangelical

I love this phrase.

But unfortunately, American is saturated with this kind of Christianity. In fact it is accepted as the norm. It is disenheartening sometimes to see this. This too is a challenge for me.

Dan  Undecided
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« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2005, 12:34:57 AM »

Paradosis: "So far, I've bounced around like a Tennis ball."

I would suggest that "bouncing around" is not a weakness but a strength. We are challenged by adversity, challenged by boredom even. We are a restless species, and I recall a poem
by the English poet George Herbert called The Pulley:

When God at first made man, having a glass of blessings standing by; Let us (said he) pour on him all we can: Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie, Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way; Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure: When almost all was out, God made a stay, Perceiving that alone of all his treasure Rest at the bottom lay.

For if I should (said he) Bestow this jewel also on my creature, He would adore my gifts instead of me, And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature: So both should losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest, But keep them with repining restlessness: Let him be rich and weary, that at least, If goodness lead him not, yet weariness May toss him to my breast.

Not to labor the point, but anyone who has been around this list as long as you have must have something going...ÂÂ  God bless your bumpy journey and mine.

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Michael
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« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2005, 07:14:26 AM »

Loving my neighbour and issues of celibacy.

I don't understand the thing about no cream in coffee though. Huh

(Then, I don't understand why anybody would want to drink coffe Grin)
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« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2005, 07:46:45 AM »

(no cream in coffee=fasting from dairy)
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« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2005, 08:50:51 AM »

Noooooo!

All that lovely cheese. :'(
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« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2005, 09:58:07 AM »

What is the meaning of the word Challenge?
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« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2005, 10:09:05 AM »

Kosmas, you will see that recent posts on this thread have been lighthearted.  Mine was in that spirit.
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« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2005, 11:18:20 AM »

Kosmas:

The original post was asking what do you find challenging about your Orthodox faith. It was aimed mainly at converts many of whom came from the Evangelical church where the concept of struggle is practically unknown. So some people replied that say fasting has been difficult or just loving your neighbour.

Dan
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« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2010, 04:48:45 PM »

What I've found to be most challenging?  Pretty much everything my brother-in-Christ George wrote here;
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,6878.msg90405.html#msg90405

To that I would also add letting go of being frustrated/anger. 

 Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Sad
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« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2010, 10:34:16 AM »

    In comparison to the denomination you were prior to Orthodox,  where is the difficulty now?

    A friend of mine is a very devout Mormon, and another is a very devout Roman Catholic.   They pray each day, try not to judge others, and fast.   The same issues the Orthodox are bringing up.   Is it that Orthodoxy asks you to do more, and with more intensity?   And that you are more aware of sinfulness?   I have found that I am more aware of my sinfulness and more aware of God's love, leading to humility hopefullly.    What do you think?

    Irene

           

Confession forces me to face myself and my own sins and failings much more honestly. Without confession, I could (and did in my former church) convince myself that I'm actually a pretty good sort, not perfect, but pretty good, and much smarter than all those other folks.

Orthodoxy, through the Sacrament of Confession, has disabused me of those erroneous, though comfortable and comforting, beliefs.

After all, I find it really extremely difficult to keep the fast, or bear with my annoying co-workers...and that's the easy part.
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