Author Topic: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?  (Read 1427 times)

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Offline OrthoDisco

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was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« on: January 30, 2017, 05:38:01 PM »
Realizing first that not all the information is available, Im still going to ask the question.

My priest did something unusual & which actually ended up causing one of our parishioners (a true lover of Orthodoxy) to leave during the post communion prayers and commemoration of the saints. -

Priest asked for prayers for some of his "friends" who I guess are having to deal with (or might be having to deal with) the new government travel restrictions (USA). I didn't hear his speech, but I understand that he rambled and tried to tie the situation in with one of the saints, and it was a bit of an incoherent stretch. (He's usually not very focused in his speeches.)

While Im not speaking for the parishioner, these were some of the issues that came to my mind when I heard what happened:

*Our church already has a sort of prayer-chain on facebook which many, including priest, participate in. Why not deal with his personal request there, instead of forcing everyone to hear him subtly address a political stance before the final blessing? And then try to use the story of a Saint to justify your underlying message? Thats what a PROTESTANT WOULD DO!This isn't like an abortion issue that honest Christians can agree is against the law of God.

**It has been MY personal anguish that we NEVER prayed for those which our country was BOMBING into oblivion, and NOW??? we're supposed to be paying attention to the refugees? Because why? He has one of them who is a friend who MIGHT want to come to the US? That to me smacks of hypocrisy or willful ignorance (either because of Obama fetish, or simple Trump hatred), I can see no other explanation.

***Im personally so confused by my priest's actions - or rather NON action. I'll be honest, I miss how at least in my protestant life there were people who cared about prayer to the depth that it was more than just typing in a LORD HAVE MERCY into a Facebook chat.  It feels like no one at church wants to talk about real issues, and would rather quote sayings of the saints in order to justify not getting involved, or perhaps even to just get involved whenever they feel like it. I've seen conversations start, and get shut down pretty quick at trapeza. And Im actually glad I wasn't there because I think I would have lost it feeling the whole thing was just so... hypocritical.

Input, chastise me, correct me, agree, disagree -
What are your thoughts?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2017, 05:41:47 PM by OrthoDisco »

Offline WPM

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2017, 05:39:41 PM »
I don't know if Churchianity is mixed up with Politics
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Offline mcarmichael

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2017, 02:10:33 AM »
Take it all with one grain of salt.
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2017, 11:04:51 AM »
I don't like how it sounds, but this doesn't make him less of a priest.
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Offline Olivia

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2017, 11:30:53 AM »
I'm not Orthodox, so maybe I shouldn't be talking here, but from my view, your priest would have been better off taking his request to the Facebook prayer-chain. That said, maybe you and others in your church could have a small prayer gathering or service where you pray for the new President, the refugees who are being affected by the new travel restrictions and the government. Maybe you would be able to talk to some of the participants about your concern.
This is something cute and innocent.

Offline Antonious Nikolas

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2017, 01:23:26 PM »
Just going by the facts as you describe them, I would tend to side with Abouna.  Here is why:

Priest asked for prayers for some of his "friends" who I guess are having to deal with (or might be having to deal with) the new government travel restrictions (USA). I didn't hear his speech, but I understand that he rambled and tried to tie the situation in with one of the saints, and it was a bit of an incoherent stretch.

In whose subjective opinion did the priest "ramble" and in whose subjective opinion was the priest's tying the situation into one of the saint's lives a stretch?  I would need to either hear the speech or have it described to me very accurately by a trustworthy neutral party before agreeing that this was the case.  Who is to say that the connections drawn by Abouna were not perfectly applicable and valid?

(He's usually not very focused in his speeches.)

Says who?

While Im not speaking for the parishioner, these were some of the issues that came to my mind when I heard what happened:

*Our church already has a sort of prayer-chain on facebook which many, including priest, participate in. Why not deal with his personal request there, instead of forcing everyone to hear him subtly address a political stance before the final blessing? And then try to use the story of a Saint to justify your underlying message?

What is wrong with asking the community to pray for people (who might very well be Orthodox Christians themselves) who find themselves in difficult times?  Further, why are you making the assumption that Abouna is "subtly addressing a political stance" and "using the story of a saint to justify a political message"?  Asking people to pray for those afflicted by a policy is not necessarily a critique of the policy itself.  It is simply asking for prayers.  You're reading a lot into Abouna's message that might not be there, and this might be more attributable to your own political hang-ups than to his.

Thats what a PROTESTANT WOULD DO!

I doubt a Protestant would use hagiography to justify any position they would be inclined to take.

This isn't like an abortion issue that honest Christians can agree is against the law of God.

It might be.  If Abouna is simply asking you to pray for a family he loves who is going through difficult times, I think that is certainly something that all Christians can agree upon.  You and the "outraged" parishoner might be the ones who are politicizing this, not Abouna.

**It has been MY personal anguish that we NEVER prayed for those which our country was BOMBING into oblivion, and NOW??? we're supposed to be paying attention to the refugees? Because why? He has one of them who is a friend who MIGHT want to come to the US? That to me smacks of hypocrisy or willful ignorance (either because of Obama fetish, or simple Trump hatred), I can see no other explanation.

I can.  I think it's patently unfair of you to ascribe an "Obama fetish" or "Trump hatred" to your priest without any evidence whatsoever.  Further, I think it is odd that you don't see the difference between Abouna's asking you to pray for a family he knows and loves and between "the refugee crisis" as a political issue and taken as a whole.  These are individual lives we are talking about.  You and your friend seem to be projecting a lot onto this priest that might not even be there, and again, I think that might have to do with your own political hang-ups.

I know an OCA priest who mentions the name of the President in the Liturgy here in the Northeast.  When he started at the parish he now serves, that was George W. Bush.  Some of the liberals didn't like it.  Tough.  When Barack Obama came in, he continued the practice.  Some of the conservatives didn't like it and hypocritically tried to get him to stop.  Tough.  Wasn't gonna happen.  Now he says Trump and again, some of the liberals aren't happy.  Tough.  The Orthodox Church isn't in the can for one party or the other, no matter what some of the faithful think.

***Im personally so confused by my priest's actions - or rather NON action.

In the absence of further evidence, I can't see where he did anything wrong.  Maybe this family really needs prayer.  Please pray for them.

I'll be honest, I miss how at least in my protestant life there were people who cared about prayer to the depth that it was more than just typing in a LORD HAVE MERCY into a Facebook chat. 

This sounds like an unrelated issue.  Maybe you don't understand the power of a simple "Lord, have mercy" or what a complete prayer it truly is.

It feels like no one at church wants to talk about real issues, and would rather quote sayings of the saints in order to justify not getting involved, or perhaps even to just get involved whenever they feel like it. I've seen conversations start, and get shut down pretty quick at trapeza. And Im actually glad I wasn't there because I think I would have lost it feeling the whole thing was just so... hypocritical.

What do you think "the real issues" are?  Considering the context of the rest of the post, it sounds like you might be saying people don't think the way you do politically, or don't want to engage with you on political subjects that you think might have a religious dimension.  I'm not sure what Protestant church you came from, and whether or not that church was in the can for one American political philosophy or the other, but the Orthodox Church is not that Church and is not solidly aligned with either party.  For that, I glorify God.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 01:36:25 PM by Antonious Nikolas »
I'm with the camp of 13 million Americans that believe politicians are, or are controlled by, Reptilians. I think only monks can solve this problem. It doesn't seem right that they prefer to ignore it.

Offline hecma925

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2017, 01:53:33 PM »
I'm confused as to when he was making this request.


It seems like a non-issue.  AN wrote a lot of what I was thinking.
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Offline William T

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2017, 03:36:38 PM »
I'm confused as to when he was making this request.


It seems like a non-issue.  AN wrote a lot of what I was thinking.

He said much of what was on my mind as well.

I don't think you would think it was that big of a political issue if there was a special comment or donation about soldiers who died in a major battle, victims of a terrorist attack, or other such things that may have a necessary political dimension.  The politics isn't the major thing on people's concerns, the fact that real people were affected is.

It may seem foreign to an American that Serbians, Syrians, Palestinians, Russians, etc living in.a community may be affected by what's going on in.Russia..but often tragedies that happen there can be as real as a tragedy like 9/11.  If American policy happens to be affecting one of those regions, that's just the nature of things and a consequence of belonging to a world wide religion.  More often than not though, the prayers and concerns are not first and foremost political, much less in terms of American politics.

Offline sestir

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2017, 04:24:22 PM »
It sounds like there is more to this story than praying for the sake of refugees. I left a prayer once when I was a JW. The ministerial servant who led the prayer requested God's help for us to tackle the challenge of higher education which, according to him, made men unfit to bring up children. I was the only person present who had studied beyond lyceum so I knew whom he was talking about, and so did the "sisters". Still I hesitated before making my (necessarily) theatrical exit.

So, the threshold for leaving the room is high. Most of the crowd will explain it away with bad character, mental imbalance or immature reasoning in order to avoid recognizing that they might have to deal with something in order to preserve a spiritually sound congregation. If you (OrthoDisco) will present the feedback from this thread to the true lover of Orthodoxy who left, we would need to know more of his reasons or else our comments will be amiss.

Iirc there are prayers for the sake of travelers in Chrysostom's Divine Liturgy, but you Orthodox probably knows more about that than I do.

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2017, 04:31:41 PM »
Realizing first that not all the information is available...

Thanks.

Quote
*Our church already has a sort of prayer-chain on facebook which many, including priest, participate in. Why not deal with his personal request there...

Priests have been making announcements in church for over a thousand years.  Facebook is just entering its teens. 

Quote
...instead of forcing everyone to hear him subtly address a political stance before the final blessing?

Lots of assumptions being made here when you don't have all the information and did not hear the offending message. 

Quote
And then try to use the story of a Saint to justify your underlying message? Thats what a PROTESTANT WOULD DO!This isn't like an abortion issue that honest Christians can agree is against the law of God.

Abortion is every bit as wrapped up in politics in a US context as whatever your priest was discussing.  But if you can separate abortion as a Christian issue from abortion as an American political issue, you can probably do the same for whatever your priest was discussing. 

Quote
**It has been MY personal anguish that we NEVER prayed for those which our country was BOMBING into oblivion, and NOW??? we're supposed to be paying attention to the refugees? Because why? He has one of them who is a friend who MIGHT want to come to the US? That to me smacks of hypocrisy or willful ignorance (either because of Obama fetish, or simple Trump hatred), I can see no other explanation.

Well, the first thing I'd suggest is that priests are human, and like all humans, some things hit closer to home than others and consequently will be more of a concern for them EVEN if they agree that other things are problems as well.  While it's not unreasonable to hold priests to a higher standard, holding them to an impossible standard is unwise. 

Second, did you ever share your personal anguish about not praying for victims of US bombings with your priest? 

Third, there is no more universal prayer than the Divine Liturgy.  Whether something or someone is named or not (or named in the way we prefer or not), the Church consciously includes everything and everyone in its prayer offered "on behalf of all and for all", "for all mankind", etc.  That's not to say that prayer for specific needs is unnecessary, but only that a lack of specific mention does not mean it was not included. 

Quote
***Im personally so confused by my priest's actions - or rather NON action. I'll be honest, I miss how at least in my protestant life there were people who cared about prayer to the depth that it was more than just typing in a LORD HAVE MERCY into a Facebook chat. 

I don't know what your Protestant life was like, but in my limited experience with Protestant prayer, it seems the word "just" itself comprises forty percent of the total prayer and people call on "Father God" the way Baal's priests called on him at Mount Carmel in I (III) Kings...and we know how useful that was.

But if we are to assume that your Protestant friends were sincere in their prayer, why not afford the same courtesy to the Orthodox?

Quote
It feels like no one at church wants to talk about real issues, and would rather quote sayings of the saints in order to justify not getting involved, or perhaps even to just get involved whenever they feel like it. I've seen conversations start, and get shut down pretty quick at trapeza. And Im actually glad I wasn't there because I think I would have lost it feeling the whole thing was just so... hypocritical.

Without more information, it's hard to know what to say to this.  It could be a real problem, or it could be much ado about nothing. 
OC.NET is full of temptations, but in temptations we are enforced, remember about the thread "Temptation in the Desert: Rachel Weisz and the Undoing of Mor Ephrem". OC.NET helps in becoming unpassionate.

Quote
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Offline Antonious Nikolas

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2017, 04:44:47 PM »
And Im actually glad I wasn't there because I think I would have lost it feeling the whole thing was just so... hypocritical.

Rereading this, it seems to me that this last bit wasn't about what you were describing at trapeza, but rather you are saying you are glad you weren't there when Abouna made his plea for the congregation to pray for this family he loves because you would have "lost it".  If that's the case, then God had a reason for your not being there.  I'm glad you weren't too.  You would have done more damage to your own soul and the souls of those around you than anything you and your friend imagine Abouna did.
I'm with the camp of 13 million Americans that believe politicians are, or are controlled by, Reptilians. I think only monks can solve this problem. It doesn't seem right that they prefer to ignore it.

Offline OrthoDisco

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2017, 04:48:57 PM »
ok i thank you all for your comments. Im still reading through them.

I think a personal issue I might also be having is that  I come from a protestant background, and so I am noticing the priest as having a more "protestant" approach to things,  And So in my mind, I am seeing patterns that really disturb me. Whether or not those "patterns" are real is an issue I need to think about. However, please understand that I'm actually not the only person to have noticed this as well.  But something is going on where I feel like whatever Im needing from being Orthodox (from my Church) is really lacking, and it just feels like Im still  attending one of those protestant churches I attended for half my life. Thats the best way I can describe it.
Perhaps I need to take a break from my church to attend some liturgies at the monasteries. I know I always feel blessed and spiritually encouraged when I go there. Its a long drive, but might be worth it.
Anyway, I will pray on this.

Offline Antonious Nikolas

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2017, 04:55:53 PM »
ok i thank you all for your comments. Im still reading through them.

I think a personal issue I might also be having is that  I come from a protestant background, and so I am noticing the priest as having a more "protestant" approach to things,  And So in my mind, I am seeing patterns that really disturb me. Whether or not those "patterns" are real is an issue I need to think about. However, please understand that I'm actually not the only person to have noticed this as well.  But something is going on where I feel like whatever Im needing from being Orthodox (from my Church) is really lacking, and it just feels like Im still  attending one of those protestant churches I attended for half my life. Thats the best way I can describe it.
Perhaps I need to take a break from my church to attend some liturgies at the monasteries. I know I always feel blessed and spiritually encouraged when I go there. Its a long drive, but might be worth it.
Anyway, I will pray on this.

God be with you.

What you're describing in this post is a totally different issue than the issue you described in the OP.  If you want to talk specifics, here or in another thread, I'm happy to do so.  :)
I'm with the camp of 13 million Americans that believe politicians are, or are controlled by, Reptilians. I think only monks can solve this problem. It doesn't seem right that they prefer to ignore it.

Offline WPM

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2017, 05:06:21 PM »
I don't know where your church congregation is.
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Offline Antonious Nikolas

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2017, 06:14:18 PM »
I don't know where your church congregation is.

This is all I am permitted to say.  Don't try to solve everything at once.  A path is laid one stone at a time.
I'm with the camp of 13 million Americans that believe politicians are, or are controlled by, Reptilians. I think only monks can solve this problem. It doesn't seem right that they prefer to ignore it.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: was an inappropriate thing the priest did?
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2017, 10:42:06 PM »
Realizing first that not all the information is available, Im still going to ask the question.

My priest did something unusual & which actually ended up causing one of our parishioners (a true lover of Orthodoxy) to leave during the post communion prayers and commemoration of the saints. -

Priest asked for prayers for some of his "friends" who I guess are having to deal with (or might be having to deal with) the new government travel restrictions (USA). I didn't hear his speech, but I understand that he rambled and tried to tie the situation in with one of the saints, and it was a bit of an incoherent stretch. (He's usually not very focused in his speeches.)

While Im not speaking for the parishioner, these were some of the issues that came to my mind when I heard what happened:

*Our church already has a sort of prayer-chain on facebook which many, including priest, participate in. Why not deal with his personal request there, instead of forcing everyone to hear him subtly address a political stance before the final blessing? And then try to use the story of a Saint to justify your underlying message? Thats what a PROTESTANT WOULD DO!This isn't like an abortion issue that honest Christians can agree is against the law of God.

**It has been MY personal anguish that we NEVER prayed for those which our country was BOMBING into oblivion, and NOW??? we're supposed to be paying attention to the refugees? Because why? He has one of them who is a friend who MIGHT want to come to the US? That to me smacks of hypocrisy or willful ignorance (either because of Obama fetish, or simple Trump hatred), I can see no other explanation.

***Im personally so confused by my priest's actions - or rather NON action. I'll be honest, I miss how at least in my protestant life there were people who cared about prayer to the depth that it was more than just typing in a LORD HAVE MERCY into a Facebook chat.  It feels like no one at church wants to talk about real issues, and would rather quote sayings of the saints in order to justify not getting involved, or perhaps even to just get involved whenever they feel like it. I've seen conversations start, and get shut down pretty quick at trapeza. And Im actually glad I wasn't there because I think I would have lost it feeling the whole thing was just so... hypocritical.

Input, chastise me, correct me, agree, disagree -
What are your thoughts?
If it was just an issue of fundamentalists coming to America as refugees as sometimes depicted in the media, I would agree.
But the Orthodox priest has in mind his actual Orthodox Christian friends who are actual Christian refugees fleeing real anti-Christian persecution. Jesus said to pray for people who are sick or in prison. He didn't carve out an exception for Middle East Christians fleeing persecution.

I hope you will be able to do a 180 on this one, OrthoDisco.

Peace.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 10:42:49 PM by rakovsky »
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