Author Topic: Hit a Spiritual Wall  (Read 2785 times)

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Offline Saxon

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Hit a Spiritual Wall
« on: March 18, 2017, 11:43:59 PM »
I'll just preface by saying I don't take Orthodoxy lightly and I didn't rush into it. I've been interested in the faith for well over a decade, worked to educate myself about it, and have spoken extensively with my priest before and after baptism. I thought I seriously believed in the tenets of the Church, but there was also an element of negative reinforcement (I came as a disenchanted Protestant, fed up with the creeping social liberalism and secularism that permeates most Protestant churches, at least here in Canada - Orthodoxy appealed to me owing to its strong adherence to tradition and resistance to casual change). I've been attending church conferences and retreats, obtained a position on my church's council, and was very enthusiastic about this latest chapter in my life. However, in the past couple of days I have had an (very depressing) epiphany - I simply don't accept many of the Church's teachings. I've read every word written by Fr. Seraphim Rose, Bishop Kallistos Ware, as well as other literature and networked extensively with both clergy and laypeople.

I was just struck by the realisation that this was all part of me trying to convince myself of things that I don't accept; to force myself, in essence. I'm not looking to discuss these particular points of contention, but will just say that it involves things such as intercessory prayers, transubstantiation, confession and absolution, and fasting. Additionally, there are mechanistic issues. I attend a ROCOR parish where most parishioners are Soviet-era Russian immigrants who speak little English (our priest is a second generation Russian-Australian and the other priest is a Dutch-Canadian convert from the Reformed Church). Everybody has been friendly and welcoming for the most part. One quite rudely objected to my fiance and I being elected to council positions because we aren't fluent in Russian (I speak enough to have understood what he said, and our priest told him that we live in Canada, that we must expand the English presence in the church, and that people could translate any necessary business for us). Due to the Russian/Slavonic nature of the liturgy, I feel that I cannot fully participate. And I extract nothing of spiritual value from Orthodox service - to me, it's just theater, with lots of incense, chanting, lights, and so on with no substance. I just stand there emptily crossing myself and waiting for the veneration of the cross so I can leave.

Just as I didn't rush into Orthodoxy, I won't rush into leaving it. The problem is that my fiance was baptised at the same time I was and we're to be married in our church this October. I spoke to her about my problems and she made it clear that getting married there is important to her. The further complication is that the priest has two children our age who we've become very good friends with, and we visit for dinner about once a week. If I turn away from Orthodoxy, it's not just a repudiation of the Church, but will also threaten or end those friendships. But at this point, those things are the only barriers to me returning to Protestantism.

I'm not even sure what I'm asking for here, perhaps I just needed to vent.

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 12:32:25 AM »
Quote
but will just say that it involves things such as intercessory prayers, transubstantiation, confession and absolution, and fasting.

If those are the reasons, I think you lack proper catechesis. The spiritual/liturgical reasons are entirely justified however, so I won't touch on that.
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Offline Vanhyo

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 10:10:01 AM »
Quote
I was just struck by the realisation that this was all part of me trying to convince myself of things that I don't accept; to force myself, in essence. I'm not looking to discuss these particular points of contention, but will just say that it involves things such as intercessory prayers, transubstantiation, confession and absolution, and fasting.
Lets see if we can locate the problem, can i ask why are these bothering you ?

Offline WPM

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2017, 01:16:16 PM »
Learn as you go.

Offline Saxon

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2017, 03:52:21 PM »
Quote
I was just struck by the realisation that this was all part of me trying to convince myself of things that I don't accept; to force myself, in essence. I'm not looking to discuss these particular points of contention, but will just say that it involves things such as intercessory prayers, transubstantiation, confession and absolution, and fasting.
Lets see if we can locate the problem, can i ask why are these bothering you ?

I spent 26 of my 27 years as a Protestant. I have always had an aversion to these things. Attempting to educate myself and come around to the Orthodox position on these and other issues just doesn't happen; there's always a critical, nagging voice in the back of my head pulling a Bible verse about why this or that is an error.

Offline benjohn146

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 04:16:53 PM »
Sometime i do doubt and question myself like you. I just cant believe that everything that is claimed by the Gospel, the Church and the very concept of God is true since that it is too wonderful to be true.

But what if i deny all of this? Fall back to nihilism?

There is only one thing that is certain in this life: we will die and bring nothing with us.

If nothing of that is true, then... anarchy. Life is meaningless.

I rather hope in the Lord, believe in Him, live like He taught us and perhaps that when I'll breath me last breath, there will be something.

St Makarios, pray for us.

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2017, 04:21:48 PM »
Quote
I was just struck by the realisation that this was all part of me trying to convince myself of things that I don't accept; to force myself, in essence. I'm not looking to discuss these particular points of contention, but will just say that it involves things such as intercessory prayers, transubstantiation, confession and absolution, and fasting.
Lets see if we can locate the problem, can i ask why are these bothering you ?

I spent 26 of my 27 years as a Protestant. I have always had an aversion to these things. Attempting to educate myself and come around to the Orthodox position on these and other issues just doesn't happen; there's always a critical, nagging voice in the back of my head pulling a Bible verse about why this or that is an error.

I don't understand it. Things mentioned in the Bible, and which existed before the Bible are errors somehow?
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”- St. Ambrose of Milan

"Now one cannot be a half-hearted Christian, but only entirely or not at all." -Fr. Seraphim Rose

"He who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." (1 John 4:20)

Online rakovsky

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2017, 06:27:19 PM »
I'm not looking to discuss these particular points of contention, but will just say that it involves things such as intercessory prayers, transubstantiation, confession and absolution, and fasting.
1. Orthodoxy doesn't demand Transubstantiation. There are Orthodox who believe in Luther's version of a direct objective presence of Christ's body in Spirit form, just like Christ was in the wall or locked door  in John 20. Pope Gelasius for instance taught the Lutheran version. The issue was not settled for us at an ecumenical council like it was for the Roman church (Council of Trent).

2. Fasting is normal. Christ said some spirits can't be driven out except by prayer and fasting. My Mom as a liberal Protestant did fasting once. I see no problem. Judaism has fasting and that's what Jesus and the apostles came out of.

3. For confession and absolution: Do you believe that Jesus gave the apostles the power to forgive sins, as the gospels claim? Confession is a rite in the Anglican and Lutheran churches too. I don't necessarily see a problem there either.

Quote
One quite rudely objected to my fiance and I being elected to council positions because we aren't fluent in Russian
Sorry about that.

4.
Quote
I extract nothing of spiritual value from Orthodox service - to me, it's just theater, with lots of incense, chanting, lights, and so on with no substance.
Do you believe in praising God in a full, heartfelt sincere way?

Did you go through a serious catechesis of more than a month?

Let's pick something simple. Pick one of the four things I listed above in bold and you and I can talk. Each one of them is compatible with traditional Protestantism.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 06:32:07 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Luka

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2017, 07:01:40 PM »
Glory to God. It's so important to acknowledge one's doubts openly to oneself. In part, they are quite understandable. It's difficult to "exorcise" Protestant mindset, but it's essential to be aware that it is just that - a mindset that dictates to you a priori what is intuitively logical or legitimate etc. A mindset can change, although it takes time. Effort too, but mostly time if we are willing. But another thing is that you seem to have stumbled upon Orthodoxy in its, ekhem, "finest". What can I say... God is not a Russian immigrant and it's vital to perceive the truth of the Gospel through and under all that stuff that got accumulated in the Orthodox traditions of one national sort or the other. The Church started as a bunch of bewildered heathens mixed up among weird but staunchly Jewish Jews, so there's nothing new - Jesus Christ was their, and is now our, King of all. It's good you don't want to rush - trust in God, He will get you through your doubts and help you to discern truth among Protestant atavisms and Orthodox folklore. May His Spirit of truth guide you in His mercy.

Offline nikolaj

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2017, 04:48:29 AM »
I'll just preface by saying I don't take Orthodoxy lightly and I didn't rush into it. I've been interested in the faith for well over a decade, worked to educate myself about it, and have spoken extensively with my priest before and after baptism. I thought I seriously believed in the tenets of the Church, but there was also an element of negative reinforcement (I came as a disenchanted Protestant, fed up with the creeping social liberalism and secularism that permeates most Protestant churches, at least here in Canada - Orthodoxy appealed to me owing to its strong adherence to tradition and resistance to casual change). I've been attending church conferences and retreats, obtained a position on my church's council, and was very enthusiastic about this latest chapter in my life. However, in the past couple of days I have had an (very depressing) epiphany - I simply don't accept many of the Church's teachings. I've read every word written by Fr. Seraphim Rose, Bishop Kallistos Ware, as well as other literature and networked extensively with both clergy and laypeople.

I was just struck by the realisation that this was all part of me trying to convince myself of things that I don't accept; to force myself, in essence. I'm not looking to discuss these particular points of contention, but will just say that it involves things such as intercessory prayers, transubstantiation, confession and absolution, and fasting. Additionally, there are mechanistic issues. I attend a ROCOR parish where most parishioners are Soviet-era Russian immigrants who speak little English (our priest is a second generation Russian-Australian and the other priest is a Dutch-Canadian convert from the Reformed Church). Everybody has been friendly and welcoming for the most part. One quite rudely objected to my fiance and I being elected to council positions because we aren't fluent in Russian (I speak enough to have understood what he said, and our priest told him that we live in Canada, that we must expand the English presence in the church, and that people could translate any necessary business for us). Due to the Russian/Slavonic nature of the liturgy, I feel that I cannot fully participate. And I extract nothing of spiritual value from Orthodox service - to me, it's just theater, with lots of incense, chanting, lights, and so on with no substance. I just stand there emptily crossing myself and waiting for the veneration of the cross so I can leave.

Just as I didn't rush into Orthodoxy, I won't rush into leaving it. The problem is that my fiance was baptised at the same time I was and we're to be married in our church this October. I spoke to her about my problems and she made it clear that getting married there is important to her. The further complication is that the priest has two children our age who we've become very good friends with, and we visit for dinner about once a week. If I turn away from Orthodoxy, it's not just a repudiation of the Church, but will also threaten or end those friendships. But at this point, those things are the only barriers to me returning to Protestantism.

I'm not even sure what I'm asking for here, perhaps I just needed to vent.

Can I ask you, how long has it been since you got baptised?

Online rakovsky

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2017, 08:45:29 AM »


Can I ask you, how long has it been since you got baptised?
In reply #2 he says: "I spent 26 of my 27 years as a Protestant. " So it's probably been that long.
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2017, 09:56:56 AM »
I came as a disenchanted Protestant, fed up with the creeping social liberalism and secularism that permeates most Protestant churches, at least here in Canada - Orthodoxy appealed to me owing to its strong adherence to tradition and resistance to casual change

Coming into a faith tradition because it seems like a better vehicle for one's political views is definitely rocky soil. As I recall, you came in here praising Putin, poring over Fr Seraphim Rose, and considering Tsar Nicholas II for your patron saint. That's pretty much the stereotype of Anglo-American convert burnout.

But before you conclude that this was really all that propelled you into Orthodoxy, I just want to point out something else I noticed:

Quote
I've been attending church conferences and retreats, obtained a position on my church's council, and was very enthusiastic about this latest chapter in my life. However, in the past couple of days I have had an (very depressing) epiphany

In my life, religious and otherwise, I have had many "couple of days" epiphanies that seemed really powerful and substantial, which I convinced myself were the culmination of some lengthy, unconscious process. When I gave these epiphanies another couple of days/ weeks, they almost always turned out to be illusory.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 09:57:09 AM by Iconodule »
Quote
But it had not been in Tess's power - nor is it in anybody's power - to feel the whole truth of golden opinions while it is possible to profit by them. She - and how many more - might have ironically said to God with Saint Augustine, "Thou hast counselled a better course than thou hast permitted."
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2017, 10:17:36 AM »
I've been attending church conferences and retreats, obtained a position on my church's council, and was very enthusiastic about this latest chapter in my life. However, in the past couple of days I have had an (very depressing) epiphany

In my life, religious and otherwise, I have had many "couple of days" epiphanies that seemed really powerful and substantial, which I convinced myself were the culmination of some lengthy, unconscious process. When I gave these epiphanies another couple of days/ weeks, they almost always turned out to be illusory.

Amen, amen, amen.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2017, 10:48:54 AM »
Sorry you're having a rough time right now. I hope you get the answers you're looking for. Let us know if we can help you work through any of these issues with rational argumentation or with prayer. But I also hope that your spiritual life doesn't always get blocked out by intellectual acrobatics. Your comment about theater, for example...just want you not to forget to let God be present in art, taste, color, and sound. There's an intuition to spirituality, not that I'm saying it should be divorced from intellect. Anyway, good luck to you.

Offline seekeroftruth777

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2017, 11:52:50 AM »
Sorry your having a hard time, sounds like spiritual burnout. I think as Converts, we all exipirence those moments of Epiphany, there were times, not too long after my baptism, I was having moments feeling nostalgic for the old Lutheranism of my Great Grandparents, but they go away after a few days. Also remember this is Lent, we under spiritual attack by the Devil. Talk to your priest about your hard times in Orthodoxy, he can help you, sounds like a Good priest. As far as the language issue, It can be rough, I feel left out when everyone knows Greek except me, this is especially rough during heirarchial liturgies.Maybe you need a Orthodox Parish that incorporats more English, this is happening more in North America. also you need to stick with your future wife, you worship where she worships, or else there a big chance the marriage fails.

Offline biro

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2017, 07:38:12 PM »
Lord have mercy.
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Offline Saxon

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2017, 06:19:30 PM »
I'm not looking to discuss these particular points of contention, but will just say that it involves things such as intercessory prayers, transubstantiation, confession and absolution, and fasting.
1. Orthodoxy doesn't demand Transubstantiation. There are Orthodox who believe in Luther's version of a direct objective presence of Christ's body in Spirit form, just like Christ was in the wall or locked door  in John 20. Pope Gelasius for instance taught the Lutheran version. The issue was not settled for us at an ecumenical council like it was for the Roman church (Council of Trent).

My church does; and indeed Luther and some High Church Protestants believed in the real presence. At the moment, the latter aren't of any real consequence to me.

Quote
2. Fasting is normal. Christ said some spirits can't be driven out except by prayer and fasting. My Mom as a liberal Protestant did fasting once. I see no problem. Judaism has fasting and that's what Jesus and the apostles came out of.

Fasting is not commanded by scripture, and the exorcism that you refer to was one of the few instances where it is invoked as having any actual spiritual value. My fiance has taken it to heart and omitted non-Lenten items from the grocery list; I've continued to eat meat and dairy products and don't feel in the least guilty about it. I'm actually unclear as to how consequential for salvation the Orthodox Church claims these Lenten periods to be, and in all honesty, it isn't something that I would participate in regardless.

Quote
3. For confession and absolution: Do you believe that Jesus gave the apostles the power to forgive sins, as the gospels claim? Confession is a rite in the Anglican and Lutheran churches too. I don't necessarily see a problem there either.

No, I don't, as the scriptures don't say that an intermediary priest has the ability to speak on God's behalf and pronounce a confessant absolved of one or more sins.

Quote
4.
Quote
I extract nothing of spiritual value from Orthodox service - to me, it's just theater, with lots of incense, chanting, lights, and so on with no substance.
Do you believe in praising God in a full, heartfelt sincere way?

Yes, hence my concern. I fail to see how standing through 90 minutes of the same increasingly-less inspiring swinging of censers, lighting of candles, Slavonic chants, babushki kissing icons, and short sermons almost always focused on some saint are demonstrating that praise.

Quote
Did you go through a serious catechesis of more than a month?

Almost a year, and being close friends with out priest's children, are at a clergyman's house for dinner almost every week, giving us exceptional access to that trove of spiritual wealth. It evidently still hasn't convinced me.

Quote
Let's pick something simple. Pick one of the four things I listed above in bold and you and I can talk. Each one of them is compatible with traditional Protestantism.

Compatibility with Protestantism isn't what I'm looking for, and if it was, I'd just go back to Protestantism.

I'll just preface by saying I don't take Orthodoxy lightly and I didn't rush into it. I've been interested in the faith for well over a decade, worked to educate myself about it, and have spoken extensively with my priest before and after baptism. I thought I seriously believed in the tenets of the Church, but there was also an element of negative reinforcement (I came as a disenchanted Protestant, fed up with the creeping social liberalism and secularism that permeates most Protestant churches, at least here in Canada - Orthodoxy appealed to me owing to its strong adherence to tradition and resistance to casual change). I've been attending church conferences and retreats, obtained a position on my church's council, and was very enthusiastic about this latest chapter in my life. However, in the past couple of days I have had an (very depressing) epiphany - I simply don't accept many of the Church's teachings. I've read every word written by Fr. Seraphim Rose, Bishop Kallistos Ware, as well as other literature and networked extensively with both clergy and laypeople.

I was just struck by the realisation that this was all part of me trying to convince myself of things that I don't accept; to force myself, in essence. I'm not looking to discuss these particular points of contention, but will just say that it involves things such as intercessory prayers, transubstantiation, confession and absolution, and fasting. Additionally, there are mechanistic issues. I attend a ROCOR parish where most parishioners are Soviet-era Russian immigrants who speak little English (our priest is a second generation Russian-Australian and the other priest is a Dutch-Canadian convert from the Reformed Church). Everybody has been friendly and welcoming for the most part. One quite rudely objected to my fiance and I being elected to council positions because we aren't fluent in Russian (I speak enough to have understood what he said, and our priest told him that we live in Canada, that we must expand the English presence in the church, and that people could translate any necessary business for us). Due to the Russian/Slavonic nature of the liturgy, I feel that I cannot fully participate. And I extract nothing of spiritual value from Orthodox service - to me, it's just theater, with lots of incense, chanting, lights, and so on with no substance. I just stand there emptily crossing myself and waiting for the veneration of the cross so I can leave.

Just as I didn't rush into Orthodoxy, I won't rush into leaving it. The problem is that my fiance was baptised at the same time I was and we're to be married in our church this October. I spoke to her about my problems and she made it clear that getting married there is important to her. The further complication is that the priest has two children our age who we've become very good friends with, and we visit for dinner about once a week. If I turn away from Orthodoxy, it's not just a repudiation of the Church, but will also threaten or end those friendships. But at this point, those things are the only barriers to me returning to Protestantism.

I'm not even sure what I'm asking for here, perhaps I just needed to vent.

Can I ask you, how long has it been since you got baptised?

I was baptised December 3rd of last year, and haven't missed a liturgy since.

I came as a disenchanted Protestant, fed up with the creeping social liberalism and secularism that permeates most Protestant churches, at least here in Canada - Orthodoxy appealed to me owing to its strong adherence to tradition and resistance to casual change

Coming into a faith tradition because it seems like a better vehicle for one's political views is definitely rocky soil. As I recall, you came in here praising Putin, poring over Fr Seraphim Rose, and considering Tsar Nicholas II for your patron saint. That's pretty much the stereotype of Anglo-American convert burnout.

Well I can certainly keep perspective of the spiritual and temporal; my conversion to Orthodoxy wasn't "Tsaridolatry", as someone on here once termed it. I'm a scholar of Russian politics and certainly sympathetic to Putin both as an internal actor and as a mitigating force internationally, and it was a childhood interest in the Tsar and Old Russia that introduced me to the Orthodox Church. The choice of the Tsar as my patron owes to the fact that I considered (and still do consider) him to be an ideal example of family life - nothing to do with politics. As for Seraphim Rose, there's still a dearth of accessible English-language literature on the more fundamental points of Orthodoxy, particularly from a convert perspective, and so naturally I've turned towards him, Kallistos Ware, etc.

Quote
But before you conclude that this was really all that propelled you into Orthodoxy, I just want to point out something else I noticed:

Quote
I've been attending church conferences and retreats, obtained a position on my church's council, and was very enthusiastic about this latest chapter in my life. However, in the past couple of days I have had an (very depressing) epiphany

In my life, religious and otherwise, I have had many "couple of days" epiphanies that seemed really powerful and substantial, which I convinced myself were the culmination of some lengthy, unconscious process. When I gave these epiphanies another couple of days/ weeks, they almost always turned out to be illusory.

It was actually a falling-out with one of my priests children for doing something that she should not have been doing, and his subsequent defence of her actions, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. These sentiments had been stirring in me for a while. But out-and-out hypocrisy from a clerical family was just a final culmination, and it reminded me of the same type of thing that led to me leaving Protestantism.

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2017, 07:10:57 PM »
I'm not looking to discuss these particular points of contention, but will just say that it involves things such as intercessory prayers, transubstantiation, confession and absolution, and fasting.
1. Orthodoxy doesn't demand Transubstantiation. There are Orthodox who believe in Luther's version of a direct objective presence of Christ's body in Spirit form, just like Christ was in the wall or locked door  in John 20. Pope Gelasius for instance taught the Lutheran version. The issue was not settled for us at an ecumenical council like it was for the Roman church (Council of Trent).

My church does; and indeed Luther and some High Church Protestants believed in the real presence. At the moment, the latter aren't of any real consequence to me.
When you say "My church does", this demands clarification.

The Bible teaches the Real Presence in numerous places. There are two forms of Real Presence.
1) Luther, the pre-schism 5th century famous Pope Gelasius, and very many High Church Anglicans in fact do teach a form of Real Presence, whereby the Lord's Body in real Spirit Form is directly in the physical bread itself on the table, like it actually passed through the physical door in John 20 in a Spiritlike form. This is not Transubstantiation.
2) RCs, the famous 5th century Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria, and the 17th c. local EO Synod of Jerusalem teach Transubstantiation whereby the physical bread's substance is changed into physical body substance.

To the best of my knowledge either 1 or 2 is acceptable for Orthodox to hold as a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, to which you belong. I have read writings by EOs holding to either 1 or 2 above. We have no Ecumenical Council picking either 1 or 2 as infallible dogma.


Quote
Quote
2. Fasting is normal. Christ said some spirits can't be driven out except by prayer and fasting. My Mom as a liberal Protestant did fasting once. I see no problem. Judaism has fasting and that's what Jesus and the apostles came out of.

Fasting is not commanded by scripture
,
Fasting is promoted many times in scripture as an important way to have a positive prayer status, as in Daniel 10:2-3, in talking about Esther's three day fast, John the Baptist's diet, and other places where it is " invoked as having any actual spiritual value". 

Just because something is NOT COMMANDED, does not make it WRONG, which is what your objection is. You are drastically mistakenly objecting that it is WRONG because it was not something God forced or demanded people to do.

Quote
Quote
3. For confession and absolution: Do you believe that Jesus gave the apostles the power to forgive sins, as the gospels claim? Confession is a rite in the Anglican and Lutheran churches too. I don't necessarily see a problem there either.

No, I don't, as the scriptures don't say that an intermediary priest has the ability to speak on God's behalf and pronounce a confessant absolved of one or more sins.
It says that Jesus gave the apostles the power to bind and loose the guilt of sins, effective in heaven.
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19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.[6] – Matthew 16: 13-20

John 20 says:
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22When He had said this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.” 24

Do you believe these verses are true?
Understanding the issue beings with this verse.

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4.
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I extract nothing of spiritual value from Orthodox service - to me, it's just theater, with lots of incense, chanting, lights, and so on with no substance.
Do you believe in praising God in a full, heartfelt sincere way?

Yes, hence my concern. I fail to see how standing through 90 minutes of the same increasingly-less inspiring swinging of censers, lighting of candles, Slavonic chants, babushki kissing icons, and short sermons almost always focused on some saint are demonstrating that praise.
OK, this is a problem on your part. You are saying that the people praying and praising God in Orthodox churches are not sincere in their prayers and praise. You obviously fail to understand anything of how they feel and just look at them like robots in church, as if they brainlessly do physical actions and have no heart feelings of worship.

This is a basic problem of understanding other humans. It's kind of like being an atheist, except it's on the level of relating directly to other Christians instead of relating directly to God. It must be pretty tough on your wife if you feel she doesn't feel anything for God inside when she prays, which you only see as fake "prayer" and fake prays.

I can explain why the bells and songs are not fake, but it should be obvious at an intuitive level of connecting with and relating to other humans too at a very fundamental level.


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Did you go through a serious catechesis of more than a month?

Almost a year, and being close friends with out priest's children, are at a clergyman's house for dinner almost every week, giving us exceptional access to that trove of spiritual wealth. It evidently still hasn't convinced me.

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Let's pick something simple. Pick one of the four things I listed above in bold and you and I can talk. Each one of them is compatible with traditional Protestantism.

Compatibility with Protestantism isn't what I'm looking for, and if it was, I'd just go back to Protestantism.
Problem there is you started out by saying that your big problem with Orthodoxy was that you kept seeing Protestant objections to Orthodox experiences as correct.
Now you are saying Protestant doctrines' incompatibility with Orthodox aspects is not even a concern for you.

Makes it kind of hard to address your issues, sorry.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 07:14:33 PM by rakovsky »
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2017, 07:19:29 PM »
It is my experience that if you have doubts, no one is going to argue you out of them. They are spiritual challenges, not intellectual questions. As a former protestant, I struggled for years with the flowery language that we use to describe the Theotokos. It just all seemed too over the top for me. Some days, it still does. It is hard, as you say, to purge 25 years of one belief system for something totally different. My only advice is don't make any rash decisions. Continue to pray about it, work at studying the sides with as open of a mind as you can. Talk with your priest about your struggles. I'm sure he has heard similar before. There are many, many converts who come full of zeal, only to burn out after a few years. He probably has sufficient experience with it to provide you some words of counsel.
The term planet earth is an innovation which has arisen in recent centuries with the error of heliocentrism.

If one wants to confess a pure doctrine of Orthodoxy, they should be careful not to refer to the earth as a planet, unlike the current Pope as well as Patriarch Kirill and Patriarch Bartholomew, who regularly speak in error when they refer to our planet earth.

Offline Lepanto

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2017, 02:22:50 AM »
I am certainly not in a position to give any advice. Just a thought:
Do you really think that most of the doubts would completely go away if you chose another community -
such as going back to Protestantism or whatever?
And even if they did, would not new and potentially more serious doubts begin to grow?
Show me a person who claims that they did not go through a period of spiritual dryness at some point
and I will show you a liar.
After all, you found the courage to convert to Orthodoxy.

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2017, 03:15:20 AM »
In my case, what Lepanto says is the case. I have spiritual problems within Orthodoxy, but I'd have more and or different ones with a different faith. So, whatever the problem is, surely there will be more whatever you do. One of the problems with Roman Catholicism is it's liturgical and spiritual life, which is central to personal spirituality, is the main reason why I am Orthodox. You can point to differences in doctrine, and I surely have, as important, but what's central to any spirituality is ultimately rooted in the spiritual, not in the fine print of certain doctrines and viewpoints.
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Offline vorgos

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2017, 03:17:19 AM »
Fasting is expected.

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Matthew 6:16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


As for absolution of sins, are you saying that after the apostles passed away the authority ended with them? That makes no sense.  ???

Offline benjohn146

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2017, 07:14:44 AM »
Is Lutheranism the Truth? Or just convenient for you at the moment?
St Makarios, pray for us.

Offline WPM

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2017, 07:18:30 AM »
I'm making a firm decision to stay with the Orthodox Church.

Offline WPM

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2017, 07:22:39 AM »
In my case, what Lepanto says is the case. I have spiritual problems within Orthodoxy, but I'd have more and or different ones with a different faith. So, whatever the problem is, surely there will be more whatever you do. One of the problems with Roman Catholicism is it's liturgical and spiritual life, which is central to personal spirituality, is the main reason why I am Orthodox. You can point to differences in doctrine, and I surely have, as important, but what's central to any spirituality is ultimately rooted in the spiritual, not in the fine print of certain doctrines and viewpoints.

Yes, I understand the common dialogue of Catholicism and Orthodox.

Offline beebert

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2017, 07:32:56 AM »
The greatest fault of protestantism as it seems to me is that they are often obsessed with the question "Am I saved?". That seems more important to many of them than truth and Love of God. Those who want God for heaven rather than for truth itself do not deserve heaven. Because they still love themselves more than God.

Offline Indocern

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2017, 08:08:26 AM »
The greatest fault of protestantism as it seems to me is that they are often obsessed with the question "Am I saved?". That seems more important to many of them than truth and Love of God. Those who want God for heaven rather than for truth itself do not deserve heaven. Because they still love themselves more than God.

I agree.

Offline beebert

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2017, 08:47:37 AM »
And I might add that salvation isnt a mathematical formula but a mystery. And salvation isn't a gift FROM God as much as the gift OF God. It also seems to me that Christ talked about how we should live THIS life in order to actually LIVE it. Because there is actually only THIS life. In Christ life doesn't end. That is; eternal life in Christ. He didn't come only to give us a free ticket away from life but  he gave us a presentation of life itself. Eternal life isn't something we just have in the future. It is in the here and  now. Eternal means not infinite duration of time but timelsessness. It is not in time but outside of time: Ergo, in the here and now.

Offline Indocern

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2017, 08:51:54 AM »
And I might add that salvation isnt a mathematical formula but a mystery. And salvation isn't a gift FROM God as much as the gift OF God. It also seems to me that Christ talked about how we should live THIS life in order to actually LIVE it. Because there is actually only THIS life. In Christ life doesn't end. That is; eternal life in Christ. He didn't come only to give us a free ticket away from life but  he gave us a presentation of life itself. Eternal life isn't something we just have in the future. It is in the here and  now. Eternal means not infinite duration of time but timelsessness. It is not in time but outside of time: Ergo, in the here and now.

Amen.

Offline beebert

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2017, 09:05:43 AM »
Most of Protestant theology have even interpreted grace legalistically , which in itself is the opposite of grace. A blasphemy against freedom and the life in and of God. God isn't just some allmighty dude who created the world in the past, then watches over life like some angry policeman who then in the end turns in to a judge. This is to put limited human categories on God and to limit him. This is the view pf God that atheists laughs at. And they are right in doing so. God is ONE. Understand the meaning of unchanging and eternal.Even atheists are closer to truth than those who believe in a God limited by doctrines and formulas like Calvin's TULIP. Calvin's sovereign God is actually limited by Nature and necessity. If so, then as I Said it seems to me even atheists are closer to truth. I mentioned Berdyaev in another Thread and I think he put it in the best way: "Deification of the letter itself is idolatry"

Also, orthodox correctly interpret the old testament through the lens of the new testament. Protestants have often gone the other way around, starting with the old testament to understand who God is and then interpreting who Christ is through that. Which is completely wrong, because it should be the other way around. Without the the person of Christ we get the wrong picture of who God is in the old testament. That is probably why the protestant God has often been mocked by others as schizophrenic and inconsistent. On the one hand, he is an angry, wrathful, sovereign and almighty person who judges people constantly. On the other hand he is meek and mild and compassionate and filled with love. On the one hand his person is pretty much wrath. On the other hand his person is sacrificial love. I am not saying that God doesn't become filled with wrath, I am not saying that God doesn't get angry at sin. But he isn't TWO personalities. Now... The protestants have often not understood what it mean that Christ IS God it seems to me. They are of the same spirit. Different persons but same personality. So. God didn't just through Christ put on some role where he let himself be crucified in order to become a scapegoat for his elect people. God didn't ONLY punish himself by taking up our deserved punishment upon himself. No. God SHOWED us WHO HE IS in Christ, and that includes the cross and the resurrection. By the cross he showed us that he is sacrificial love. And by that he showed us what we were meant to be as well. And by his resurrection he showed us that he IS life itself.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 09:33:42 AM by beebert »

Offline WPM

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2017, 09:29:31 AM »
Most of Protestant theology have even interpreted grace legalistically , which in itself is the opposite of grace. A blasphemy against freedom and the life in and of God. God isn't just some allmighty dude who created the world in the past, then watches over life like some angry policeman who then in the end turns in to a judge. This is to put limited human categories on God and to limit him. This is the view pf God that atheists laughs at. And they are right in doing so. God is ONE. Understand the meaning of unchanging and eternal.Even atheists are closer to truth than those who believe in a God limited by doctrines and formulas like Calvin's TULIP. Calvin's sovereign God is actually limited by Nature and necessity. If so, then as I Said it seems to me even atheists are closer to truth. I mentioned Berdyaev in another Thread and I think he put it in the best way: "Deification of the letter itself is idolatry"

Also, orthodox correctly interpret the old testament through the lens of the new testament. Protestants have often gone the other way around, starting with the old testament to understand who God is and then interpreting who Christ is through that. Which is completely wrong, because it should be the other way around. Without the the person of Christ we get the wrong picture of who God is in the old testament. That is why the protestant God has often and rightly been mocked by others as schizophrenic and inconsistent. On the one hand, he is an angry, wrathful, sovereign and almighty person who judges people constantly. On the other hand he is meek and mild and compassionate and filled with love. On the one hand his person is pretty much wrath. On the other hand his person is sacrificial love. Now... The protestants have often not understood what it mean that Christ IS God it seems to me. They are of the same spirit. Different persons but same personality. So. God didn't just through Christ put on some role where he let himself be crucified in order to become a scapegoat for his elect people. God didn't ONLY punish himself by taking up our deserved punishment upon himself. No. God SHOWED us WHO HE IS in Christ, and that includes the cross and the resurrection. By the cross he showed us that he is sacrificial love. And by that he showed us what we were meant to be as well. And by his resurrection he showed us that he IS life itself.

Sounds like your theology is interchangeable and never solves itself.

Offline beebert

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2017, 10:25:21 AM »
Most of Protestant theology have even interpreted grace legalistically , which in itself is the opposite of grace. A blasphemy against freedom and the life in and of God. God isn't just some allmighty dude who created the world in the past, then watches over life like some angry policeman who then in the end turns in to a judge. This is to put limited human categories on God and to limit him. This is the view pf God that atheists laughs at. And they are right in doing so. God is ONE. Understand the meaning of unchanging and eternal.Even atheists are closer to truth than those who believe in a God limited by doctrines and formulas like Calvin's TULIP. Calvin's sovereign God is actually limited by Nature and necessity. If so, then as I Said it seems to me even atheists are closer to truth. I mentioned Berdyaev in another Thread and I think he put it in the best way: "Deification of the letter itself is idolatry"

Also, orthodox correctly interpret the old testament through the lens of the new testament. Protestants have often gone the other way around, starting with the old testament to understand who God is and then interpreting who Christ is through that. Which is completely wrong, because it should be the other way around. Without the the person of Christ we get the wrong picture of who God is in the old testament. That is why the protestant God has often and rightly been mocked by others as schizophrenic and inconsistent. On the one hand, he is an angry, wrathful, sovereign and almighty person who judges people constantly. On the other hand he is meek and mild and compassionate and filled with love. On the one hand his person is pretty much wrath. On the other hand his person is sacrificial love. Now... The protestants have often not understood what it mean that Christ IS God it seems to me. They are of the same spirit. Different persons but same personality. So. God didn't just through Christ put on some role where he let himself be crucified in order to become a scapegoat for his elect people. God didn't ONLY punish himself by taking up our deserved punishment upon himself. No. God SHOWED us WHO HE IS in Christ, and that includes the cross and the resurrection. By the cross he showed us that he is sacrificial love. And by that he showed us what we were meant to be as well. And by his resurrection he showed us that he IS life itself.

Sounds like your theology is interchangeable and never solves itself.
Why? I just realized Jesus said he came to save people's life and not to destroy them

Offline Indocern

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #32 on: March 29, 2017, 10:27:13 AM »
Most of Protestant theology have even interpreted grace legalistically , which in itself is the opposite of grace. A blasphemy against freedom and the life in and of God. God isn't just some allmighty dude who created the world in the past, then watches over life like some angry policeman who then in the end turns in to a judge. This is to put limited human categories on God and to limit him. This is the view pf God that atheists laughs at. And they are right in doing so. God is ONE. Understand the meaning of unchanging and eternal.Even atheists are closer to truth than those who believe in a God limited by doctrines and formulas like Calvin's TULIP. Calvin's sovereign God is actually limited by Nature and necessity. If so, then as I Said it seems to me even atheists are closer to truth. I mentioned Berdyaev in another Thread and I think he put it in the best way: "Deification of the letter itself is idolatry"

Also, orthodox correctly interpret the old testament through the lens of the new testament. Protestants have often gone the other way around, starting with the old testament to understand who God is and then interpreting who Christ is through that. Which is completely wrong, because it should be the other way around. Without the the person of Christ we get the wrong picture of who God is in the old testament. That is why the protestant God has often and rightly been mocked by others as schizophrenic and inconsistent. On the one hand, he is an angry, wrathful, sovereign and almighty person who judges people constantly. On the other hand he is meek and mild and compassionate and filled with love. On the one hand his person is pretty much wrath. On the other hand his person is sacrificial love. Now... The protestants have often not understood what it mean that Christ IS God it seems to me. They are of the same spirit. Different persons but same personality. So. God didn't just through Christ put on some role where he let himself be crucified in order to become a scapegoat for his elect people. God didn't ONLY punish himself by taking up our deserved punishment upon himself. No. God SHOWED us WHO HE IS in Christ, and that includes the cross and the resurrection. By the cross he showed us that he is sacrificial love. And by that he showed us what we were meant to be as well. And by his resurrection he showed us that he IS life itself.

Sounds like your theology is interchangeable and never solves itself.
Why? I just realized Jesus said he came to save people's life and not to destroy them

Yes. It is so, I realized it too.

Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #33 on: March 29, 2017, 11:00:46 AM »
Everyone here is arguing how various forms of Protestantism are wrong.....

I would entreat you to think, and to speak with the Priest, about these concerns, one by one.  Confide in him about your doubts (not in a confession setting) and ask him to -help- you work things out.


on a more practical note:

You keep talking about how you get -nothing- out of the Liturgy.  I would recommend something like https://frsergei.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/master-d0b1d0bed0b6d0b5d181d182d0b2d0b5d0bdd0bdd0b0d18f-d0bbd0b8d182d183d180d0b3d0b8d18f-slav-eng.pdf

print it out....and it might help you follow along better, even if you never learn more Slavonic. 

our parish conducts services in english, and yet we have many speakers of other languages who bring their books, or borrow the english booklet and follow along in print. it really helps.


in terms of understanding -why- Orthodox worship is the way it is....https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjj0vDO_fvSAhVM22MKHTpjDjAQFggaMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FLet-Us-Attend-Journey-Orthodox%2Fdp%2F188821287X&usg=AFQjCNG8CAhKaAAxe0uat4bQ1_b6hNSPYA&sig2=51uOPFNnqyWA7_zG_F-HBg&bvm=bv.151325232,d.cGc
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 11:02:26 AM by DeniseDenise »
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Offline Vanhyo

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2017, 01:15:37 PM »
Quote
No, I don't, as the scriptures don't say that an intermediary priest has the ability to speak on God's behalf and pronounce a confessant absolved of one or more sins.
There is, and you can find this in the Church fathers too, but somehow i feel that this is not the problem...

Is it possible that you feel uncomfortable confessing yours sins to a priest, so at subconscious level you rather not do so, at which point your minds starts to justify this state and reason against the sacrament of confession ?

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Yes, hence my concern. I fail to see how standing through 90 minutes of the same increasingly-less inspiring swinging of censers, lighting of candles, Slavonic chants, babushki kissing icons, and short sermons almost always focused on some saint are demonstrating that praise.
Let me tell you something from experience, i usually go to a parish where they mix old slovonik with modern bulgarian, because of this i often happen to participate in various ways, hear the words, understand them and they enter the heart and illumine it.

Sometimes i also happen to go to other places where everything is 100% old slovonik, i don't participate there, or maybe a very little, i don't know what they are talking about, they sing the creed and say "our Father" in old slovonik. My mind starts to wander around....needless to say there is a noticeable difference between the 2.

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Fasting is not commanded by scripture, and the exorcism that you refer to was one of the few instances where it is invoked as having any actual spiritual value. My fiance has taken it to heart and omitted non-Lenten items from the grocery list; I've continued to eat meat and dairy products and don't feel in the least guilty about it. I'm actually unclear as to how consequential for salvation the Orthodox Church claims these Lenten periods to be, and in all honesty,
I think any good struggle for Christ and the Kingdom can be considered fast.

Quote
and in all honesty, it isn't something that I would participate in regardless.
Well, there are still little over 2 weeks, and you seem to be in crisis, maybe this is the right moment to try it out ?

Offline beebert

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2017, 02:13:10 PM »
Another thing with protestant theology... The result of it seems to be that christianity turns in to a religion for the selfish instead of for the unselfish. Who doesn't want eternal bliss! "Well give it to me! ME! Give ME salvation! I am SAVED!". In the worst of cases it even turns in to "Well give it to me! ME! GIVE ME SALVATION! I AM SAVED! NOT YOU! I AM!". I wonder how many people are ready to give up their salvation in order to save someone else? I am not saying one should pursue that, since the  saving of one soul rather leads to the saving of others. What I mean is... Well... Basically: Protestantism is sectarian.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #36 on: March 30, 2017, 10:15:26 AM »
It was actually a falling-out with one of my priests children for doing something that she should not have been doing, and his subsequent defence of her actions, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. These sentiments had been stirring in me for a while. But out-and-out hypocrisy from a clerical family was just a final culmination, and it reminded me of the same type of thing that led to me leaving Protestantism.

I'd like to offer the following from St. John Chrysostom:

http://www.eospirituality.com/2014/07/honoring-dishonorable-priests-by-saint.html

In case you didn't know - St. John was particularly tough on the priests and bishops who were under his spiritual care.  So tough, in fact, that they conspired to have him deposed (Synod of the Oak).  He didn't have much of a tolerance for their real or perceived improprieties, and saw them as beneath the lofty priesthood.  But he still "penned" the above (as part of his commentary on 2nd Timothy).  It would be a worthwhile read in light of what you've shared.

(TL:DR - The fact that we're sinners and hypocrites doesn't make Christ less effective or the faith less true.)
« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 10:15:59 AM by Fr. George »
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Offline Sinful Hypocrite

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2017, 01:28:18 PM »
I'll just preface by saying I don't take Orthodoxy lightly and I didn't rush into it. I've been interested in the faith for well over a decade, worked to educate myself about it, and have spoken extensively with my priest before and after baptism. I thought I seriously believed in the tenets of the Church, but there was also an element of negative reinforcement (I came as a disenchanted Protestant, fed up with the creeping social liberalism and secularism that permeates most Protestant churches, at least here in Canada - Orthodoxy appealed to me owing to its strong adherence to tradition and resistance to casual change). I've been attending church conferences and retreats, obtained a position on my church's council, and was very enthusiastic about this latest chapter in my life. However, in the past couple of days I have had an (very depressing) epiphany - I simply don't accept many of the Church's teachings. I've read every word written by Fr. Seraphim Rose, Bishop Kallistos Ware, as well as other literature and networked extensively with both clergy and laypeople.

I was just struck by the realisation that this was all part of me trying to convince myself of things that I don't accept; to force myself, in essence. I'm not looking to discuss these particular points of contention, but will just say that it involves things such as intercessory prayers, transubstantiation, confession and absolution, and fasting. Additionally, there are mechanistic issues. I attend a ROCOR parish where most parishioners are Soviet-era Russian immigrants who speak little English (our priest is a second generation Russian-Australian and the other priest is a Dutch-Canadian convert from the Reformed Church). Everybody has been friendly and welcoming for the most part. One quite rudely objected to my fiance and I being elected to council positions because we aren't fluent in Russian (I speak enough to have understood what he said, and our priest told him that we live in Canada, that we must expand the English presence in the church, and that people could translate any necessary business for us). Due to the Russian/Slavonic nature of the liturgy, I feel that I cannot fully participate. And I extract nothing of spiritual value from Orthodox service - to me, it's just theater, with lots of incense, chanting, lights, and so on with no substance. I just stand there emptily crossing myself and waiting for the veneration of the cross so I can leave.

Just as I didn't rush into Orthodoxy, I won't rush into leaving it. The problem is that my fiance was baptised at the same time I was and we're to be married in our church this October. I spoke to her about my problems and she made it clear that getting married there is important to her. The further complication is that the priest has two children our age who we've become very good friends with, and we visit for dinner about once a week. If I turn away from Orthodoxy, it's not just a repudiation of the Church, but will also threaten or end those friendships. But at this point, those things are the only barriers to me returning to Protestantism.

I'm not even sure what I'm asking for here, perhaps I just needed to vent.

I am the opposite of the spectrum, I was born and raised Greek Orthodox. I too have felt left down by my church, which is the same one I was raised in near Chicago. I am now attending a Protestant Church in my home town.

However, I am going to suggest that you stay and work through your problems. The Eastern Orthodox Church is a great place, and I commend you for being baptized there. I also read Fr. George link above and agree wholeheartedly with St. John Chrysostom.

From what I read of your situation in your original post you are having language and Ritual problems.

 I have seen other people struggle as outsiders in my past at the Greek O. Church, so I can sympathize. It seems you have an advocate in the Dutch Canadian Priest. Stick with this and God will work in and through you for good.

As far as your criticism of the Ritual and service, I have to wonder what you saw before you were Baptized.
It seems you obviously knew about the Liturgy of the Church before coming to join.

edit:
One must also understand that Priests are sinners, and forgive them so that we may be forgiven our sins.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 01:31:19 PM by Sinful Hypocrite »
The Lord gathers his sheep, I fear I am a goat. Lord have mercy.

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Offline Saxon

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2017, 07:55:11 PM »
Attempting to extract myself from this faith has caused a great deal of trouble domestically, with my future with my fiance now uncertain. The priest in question has also further behaved inappropriately and stoked these tensions.

Things have become so bad for myself and her that I only wish I could go back a year and never gotten involved with these people.

I used to credit God for putting me in touch with a community of Orthodox in a very unlikely scenario decades after I had first expressed interest in the faith. "God really will show you a path if you are willing..." I said to my fiance in a conversation on our newfound church community.

However, Satan is a deceiver and appears as an angel of light, leading people astray on what seems like the right path before destroying them. And I now know that is what brought me here.

Offline FinnJames

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2017, 01:24:57 AM »
In matters of religious belief, I've often found it more useful to focus on the notion that we're dealing with a mystery than to try to force everything taught into a tight logical system. If your personality allows you to do this as well, you might find it beneficial. My impression, coming to Orthodoxy from a Protestant background, is that Eastern and Western Christianity stand near opposite ends of the  mystery-logic continuum, though most believers from whatever tradition probably stand somewhere nearer the middle.

It was actually a falling-out with one of my priests children for doing something that she should not have been doing, and his subsequent defence of her actions, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. These sentiments had been stirring in me for a while. But out-and-out hypocrisy from a clerical family was just a final culmination, and it reminded me of the same type of thing that led to me leaving Protestantism.

As you've already seen for yourself, it's unlikely that you will ever find a church where everyone's behaviour is perfect. This may be something we all just have to learn to live with. I suppose we're helped in doing this by teachings on forgiveness and not judging.

To shift gears while you're working out your beliefs, if there are any mixed marriages in your congregation (Orthodox-Protestant), you and your fiancée might find it beneficial to chat with some of these couples. There are quite many Orthodox-Lutheran couples in my congregation, and they have all managed to work out ways to keep the family happy and religiously nourished.

Offline Velsigne

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2017, 09:31:05 AM »
It was actually a falling-out with one of my priests children for doing something that she should not have been doing, and his subsequent defence of her actions, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. These sentiments had been stirring in me for a while. But out-and-out hypocrisy from a clerical family was just a final culmination, and it reminded me of the same type of thing that led to me leaving Protestantism.

I'd like to offer the following from St. John Chrysostom:

http://www.eospirituality.com/2014/07/honoring-dishonorable-priests-by-saint.html

In case you didn't know - St. John was particularly tough on the priests and bishops who were under his spiritual care.  So tough, in fact, that they conspired to have him deposed (Synod of the Oak).  He didn't have much of a tolerance for their real or perceived improprieties, and saw them as beneath the lofty priesthood.  But he still "penned" the above (as part of his commentary on 2nd Timothy).  It would be a worthwhile read in light of what you've shared.

(TL:DR - The fact that we're sinners and hypocrites doesn't make Christ less effective or the faith less true.)

Thank you!

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2017, 09:33:42 AM »
Fasting is not commanded by scripture, and the exorcism that you refer to was one of the few instances where it is invoked as having any actual spiritual value. My fiance has taken it to heart and omitted non-Lenten items from the grocery list; I've continued to eat meat and dairy products and don't feel in the least guilty about it. I'm actually unclear as to how consequential for salvation the Orthodox Church claims these Lenten periods to be, and in all honesty, it isn't something that I would participate in regardless.

You say you are not interested in returning to Protestantism, but the above suggests that you never left it.
Quote
But it had not been in Tess's power - nor is it in anybody's power - to feel the whole truth of golden opinions while it is possible to profit by them. She - and how many more - might have ironically said to God with Saint Augustine, "Thou hast counselled a better course than thou hast permitted."
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Offline Velsigne

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2017, 09:50:11 AM »
Attempting to extract myself from this faith has caused a great deal of trouble domestically, with my future with my fiance now uncertain. The priest in question has also further behaved inappropriately and stoked these tensions.

Things have become so bad for myself and her that I only wish I could go back a year and never gotten involved with these people.

I used to credit God for putting me in touch with a community of Orthodox in a very unlikely scenario decades after I had first expressed interest in the faith. "God really will show you a path if you are willing..." I said to my fiance in a conversation on our newfound church community.

However, Satan is a deceiver and appears as an angel of light, leading people astray on what seems like the right path before destroying them. And I now know that is what brought me here.


Just friendly feedback...that seems a bit over the top.

You aren't the first North American / Canadian / European to get completely sick and tired of Russians (name your Old Country culture here) and their culture.   You are part of the solution to that problem, your very presence and also letting people know that everyone doesn't have to speak Russian, everyone doesn't want to speak Russian.   Even the Russians had someone show up and alphabetize their language and put the Liturgy and so forth into their native tongue so they could become Christianized.

Having had, and continue to have, my own struggles and disappointments in a primarily English speaking parish, it seems part of the process is learning to bear with others as we pray for God to bear with us.  We asked to follow Christ after all. 

It's pretty easy to be disappointed then build up a host of other points of contention to justify our anger and disenchantment.

Here is one remedy one person found for the Russian overload syndrome, which may or may not help:  Rather than completely quit, church hop until you find a parish you like and where you are spiritually fed because you can understand what is being chanted and said.   

There are probably other solutions that don't require walking away from everything. 

I'm glad you shared and hope you are able to work this out within yourself so you can find peace and continue with your fiance.  Kali Anastasi

Offline Sinful Hypocrite

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2017, 10:50:16 PM »
Fasting is not commanded by scripture, and the exorcism that you refer to was one of the few instances where it is invoked as having any actual spiritual value. My fiance has taken it to heart and omitted non-Lenten items from the grocery list; I've continued to eat meat and dairy products and don't feel in the least guilty about it. I'm actually unclear as to how consequential for salvation the Orthodox Church claims these Lenten periods to be, and in all honesty, it isn't something that I would participate in regardless.

You say you are not interested in returning to Protestantism, but the above suggests that you never left it.

Fasting is not about Meat.
What we need to do is give up something that is keeping us from having a pure heart full of the Holy Spirit.
You alone need to decide what that needs to be.
This was taught to me by Fr. John Artemis in the 1970s.

I will say that the guidelines of abstaining from meat and dairy, are good teaching tools for those who cannot decide for themselves.

I should also admit I am very poor in this tradition.
The Lord gathers his sheep, I fear I am a goat. Lord have mercy.

"A Christian is someone who follows and worships a perfectly good God who revealed his true face through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.“

Offline Laurentius

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Re: Hit a Spiritual Wall
« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2017, 05:49:21 AM »
Threads like this makes me so happy that I belong to a community made up 80 % by converts.
Holy Mother of God, save us!