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Author Topic: LEAVE THE CHURCH???  (Read 10422 times) Average Rating: 0
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Psalti Boy
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« on: September 25, 2005, 02:41:38 AM »

HAS ANYONE OUT THERE FELT THAT MAYBE THE ORTHODOX CHURCH WASN'T FOR YOU??  I'M GOING THROUGH A DILEMMA.  I AM A CRADLE GREEK ORTHODOX OF A FAMILY THAT WENT TO CHURCH EASTER AND RAN OUT AFTER CHRISTOS ANESTI.  I NOW LIVE ABOUT AN HOUR, ONE WAY, FROM THE CLOSEST GREEK CHURCH.  THERE IS AN ANTIOCHIAN CHURCH A LITTLE CLOSER THAT I HAVE BEEN GOING TO WITH MY WIFE, BUT WE SEEM TO KEEP BEING DRAWN AWAY FROM IT.  THERE IS ALWAYS CONFLICT AND BICKERING AND POWER STRUGGLES.  IT'S A CONSTANT STRUGGLE TO WANT TO WAKE UP SUNDAY MORNING TO GO TO CHURCH.  WE DON'T LIKE THAT FEELING.  IF ANYONE HAS STRUGGLED WITH BEING IN A CHURCH YOU DIDN'T FEEL AT PEACE IN, PLEASE LET US KNOW HOW YOU RESOLVED THE DILEMMA.  WE NEED TO GO TO CHURCH EVERY WEEK, OTHERWISE THE REST OF THE WEEK DOESN'T GO TOO WELL.  WE DON'T WANT TO LEAVE THE ORTHODOX FAITH, BUT HAVE BEEN THINKING OF GOING TO A NON-DEMONINATIONAL CHURCH FOR A WHILE.  ANY ADVICE.

THANK YOU.
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2005, 05:56:43 AM »

Good question. I'm having similar issues, and invited a priest over for lunch at my apartment. I ended up rubbing hot pepper in my eye and having ice on it for half the conversation. Don't try that! Seriously though, I'm curious as to what others would say, beyond the "We are the truth faith, you just can't leave!" type of thing... . .
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2005, 05:57:55 AM »

PsaltiBoy:

I understand your dilemma. The power moves and bickering are distasteful to me and very unchristian. I went through a period similar to you; but, Two things, no three, kept men going. One, I slowly removed myself from church government. I couldn't take it anymore. Two, I thought of my Orthodox faith. What I mean is, my faith was important to me. More important than pettiness. It was something countless numbers of people have fought and died for (even in the last century) and I felt that I owed it to them and to my family that passed the pearl of great price to me. Three, I have a young daughter and I want her to grow up in the faith loving the faith. True, the non-demo church people will greet you with smiles and "Praise the Lord", but the same pettiness exists their as well. It's just better hidden. I've been there. I know. People are people. Pray. Pray for the Church and yourself. (I am preaching to myself as well here.)  I will pray for you and your family.
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2005, 07:05:59 AM »

aserb, you're so on point.

all the politics and disputes inside the church even among clergy is very sad and shameful. We have to keep praying so that people don't give up. The more i find out about these things inside the church the more I marvel at God's mercy and patience.

Lord have mercy on us, keep us strong in our faith and use us to build your kingdom.
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2005, 07:53:14 AM »

You've gotta know what the True Faith is before you can consider leaving it. The non-denom church does not have it. It is not the Body of Christ. It does not believe in the Body and Blood of Christ. It does not believe in salvation as we do. It is a poor, faded copy of what true joy in Christ is. 

When you are an Orthodox Christian, you are believing not in the people around you, who are as awful sinners as you (and me) are, but in the eternal Person of Christ and in His Church. If the Church atmosphere is not so pleasant, that doesn't entirely matter, because you are there not for the atmosphere, but for Christ. The beliefs and teachings of Orthodoxy are true, and they are what matter.
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2005, 08:03:13 AM »

HAS ANYONE OUT THERE FELT THAT MAYBE THE ORTHODOX CHURCH WASN'T FOR YOU??ÂÂ  I'M GOING THROUGH A DILEMMA.ÂÂ  I AM A CRADLE GREEK ORTHODOX OF A FAMILY THAT WENT TO CHURCH EASTER AND RAN OUT AFTER CHRISTOS ANESTI.ÂÂ  I NOW LIVE ABOUT AN HOUR, ONE WAY, FROM THE CLOSEST GREEK CHURCH.ÂÂ  THERE IS AN ANTIOCHIAN CHURCH A LITTLE CLOSER THAT I HAVE BEEN GOING TO WITH MY WIFE, BUT WE SEEM TO KEEP BEING DRAWN AWAY FROM IT.ÂÂ  THERE IS ALWAYS CONFLICT AND BICKERING AND POWER STRUGGLES.ÂÂ  IT'S A CONSTANT STRUGGLE TO WANT TO WAKE UP SUNDAY MORNING TO GO TO CHURCH.ÂÂ  WE DON'T LIKE THAT FEELING.ÂÂ  IF ANYONE HAS STRUGGLED WITH BEING IN A CHURCH YOU DIDN'T FEEL AT PEACE IN, PLEASE LET US KNOW HOW YOU RESOLVED THE DILEMMA.ÂÂ  WE NEED TO GO TO CHURCH EVERY WEEK, OTHERWISE THE REST OF THE WEEK DOESN'T GO TOO WELL.ÂÂ  WE DON'T WANT TO LEAVE THE ORTHODOX FAITH, BUT HAVE BEEN THINKING OF GOING TO A NON-DEMONINATIONAL CHURCH FOR A WHILE.ÂÂ  ANY ADVICE.ÂÂ  THANK YOU.ÂÂ  



Well, let me give you the perspective of someone who is very close to leaving the Roman Catholic Church inÂÂ  order to join the Orthodox Church.

I was really upset at some things in my Church: child-abusing priests and bishops who covered it up, my bishop closing my parish due to the shortage of priests (the right decision, but still painful), and so on.ÂÂ  I also experienced some of the pettiness which you described.ÂÂ  I was so mad that I wanted to storm out. (I'm not saying that you are that way.ÂÂ  That was how I was.)ÂÂ  Fortunately, I was advisedÂÂ  not to leave a Church out of anger because (1) that clouds the judgement and (2) it would poison my heart and (3) I would just encounter something else wherever I go because people are people and the devil is an equal-opportunity seducer of souls.ÂÂ  

So, I cooled my jets and took some time to think things over.ÂÂ  Here is what I figured out:

I won't become a Protestant because they don't have the Eucharist and so much of what flows from the Eucharist:ÂÂ  the sense of the presence of Christ in people and things (such as saints, people here, Tradition, etc.).

I will probably leave the Catholic Church because of the filioque (and the underlying claims of papal supremacy which made it an issue).ÂÂ  Not to rehash other debates and posts, but it makes a difference.ÂÂ  With the filioque, the Holy Spirit really does tend to get lost in the shuffle.ÂÂ  When that happens, the knowledge and practice of holiness (theosis) suffers.ÂÂ  Thank God, some Catholic saints have figured it out and practiced holiness anyway.ÂÂ  Nevertheless, Tradition and the life in Christ through the Holy Spirit have greatly and increasingly suffered in the Catholic Church since it diverted from orthodoxy, starting about 1000 years ago.ÂÂ  It can be seen in the liturgy, in piety, in over-valuing Mary (almost as a substitute for the Holy Spirit at times), and the messes which the Catholic Church seems to generate internally every 200 years or so.

I will probably join the Orthodox Church because it seems to be the Church I have been looking for my whole life.ÂÂ  The Tradition (the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, including in the lives of individuals) is preserved and lived.ÂÂ  The Divine Liturgy is celebrated with reverence and dignity.ÂÂ  Also, the Divine Liturgy has NOT needed to be "updated" (like in the Catholic Church or in the Protestant churches) inÂÂ  1700 years because it hasn't been messed with in the Orthodox Church.ÂÂ  Church architecture and liturgy are designed to lift the whole human being (body, heart, mind an soul) to focus on God.ÂÂ  The Trinity is remembered.ÂÂ  Mary is respected but in her proper role.ÂÂ  Discipline is real (fasting, etc.) and expected.ÂÂ  There is no "imperial" papacy to govern everything and which seems to be the ultimate focus of Church organization --either for or against it--ÂÂ  instead of the life in Christ.ÂÂ  Instead, the head of the Orthodox Church is Jesus Christ, and the highest authority is an ecumenical council and Tradition.ÂÂ  That translates into real benefits on the everyday level of life.ÂÂ  Icons.ÂÂ  Real candles in church.ÂÂ  Liturgy that feels like worship instead of fellowship.ÂÂ  Decent liturgical music (chant).ÂÂ  Married parish priests.ÂÂ  Monks who are focused on God.ÂÂ  Allowing contraception.ÂÂ  Recognizing the reality of divorce (instead of pretending that a failed marriage never was a marriage).ÂÂ  Theology that is theosis, instead of theology that is an intellectual exercise.ÂÂ  Etc.ÂÂ  Etc.ÂÂ  Etc.ÂÂ  The Orthodox Church didn't need to change because they never messed up or diverted from what they received from the Apostles.ÂÂ  It works.ÂÂ  It's alive and it's also growing in its mystical theology.ÂÂ  Finally, the Orthodox Church here in America is a tiny minority (maybe 2% of the population).ÂÂ  That means it is a *chosen* religion for both converts and cradle members.ÂÂ  And that means that many of the people are genuinely focused on why they are there and carrying it out.

I won't go on and on.ÂÂ  I don't want to make this into a manifesto.ÂÂ  I will simply say this.ÂÂ  If you feel so repelled by the Orthodox Church, try some of the others.ÂÂ  Here is what you will find.ÂÂ  

At the Protestant Churches (established or "nondenominational), you will find people who see Jesus in the Bible and in people -- and that's it.ÂÂ  No sacraments. No "sacramentals" (icons and other tools to help us sense the presence of God in us and in everything) . You will find smiles and warm greetings and maybe a good sermon.ÂÂ  You will be made welcome.ÂÂ  Then, after a while, you will notice that the Protestants (God bless them -- most of them don't know any better) just don't have much of the Tradition.ÂÂ  And, you will want more.

At the Roman Catholic Church, you will get a Protestant service with the Eucharist added in.ÂÂ  And the pope.ÂÂ  And, sometimes on special occasions, the Trinity.ÂÂ  Etc.ÂÂ  And, after a while, you will want more.

And then there is the Orthodox Church.

« Last Edit: September 25, 2005, 08:12:31 AM by arjuna3110 » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2005, 08:05:50 AM »

Quote
WE DON'T WANT TO LEAVE THE ORTHODOX FAITH, BUT HAVE BEEN THINKING OF GOING TO A NON-DEMONINATIONAL CHURCH FOR A WHILE.


I can see why someone in your situation would want to give up on Orthodox Christians, at least for a while, since Orthodox Christianity is arguably the right religion given to the wrong people... But giving up on Christ, and the Eucharist...giving up on the Truth? You want to leave the hypocricy of those at your church, to practise a hypocricy of your own? Forgive me if I am missing something here, but I just don't see the sense behind your proposed solution.

Peace.
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2005, 08:32:01 AM »

Psalti Boy,

    I think aserb said it really well, and I'd like to add a couple of things.  I think you have to look take a step back before you make any rash decision and ask yourself the most basic and fundamental questions;  Why do I go to Church and why am I a member of the Orthodox Church?

    If your answer to those questions has anything to do with "the Truth" or "salvation" or even personal enlightenment, the issues by the Church government should have no bearing on you.

     For example, as a part of *good* Church etiquitte, we are supposed to be still, quiet and contemplative during Liturgy.  Some people use this occasion to gawk around the Church to see what people are wearing, who is sitting with who, etc...  Suddenly, they go home and the issues are "did you see what ____________ was wearing", instead of the intended message of the Liturgy.

     So IMHO, if you leave on account of reasons, which at their root, have no relation to *the Faith*, you will be shorting yourself, and your entire family.  In any event, I wish you the best of luck in making your decision.  God Bless.
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2005, 09:14:10 PM »

Orthodox Christianity is arguably the right religion given to the wrong people...

I like that...so true. 
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2005, 11:50:50 PM »



Well, let me give you the perspective of someone who is very close to leaving the Roman Catholic Church inÂÂ  order to join the Orthodox Church.

I was really upset at some things in my Church: child-abusing priests and bishops who covered it up, my bishop closing my parish due to the shortage of priests (the right decision, but still painful), and so on.ÂÂ  I also experienced some of the pettiness which you described.ÂÂ  I was so mad that I wanted to storm out. (I'm not saying that you are that way.ÂÂ  That was how I was.)ÂÂ  Fortunately, I was advisedÂÂ  not to leave a Church out of anger because (1) that clouds the judgement and (2) it would poison my heart and (3) I would just encounter something else wherever I go because people are people and the devil is an equal-opportunity seducer of souls.ÂÂ  

So, I cooled my jets and took some time to think things over.ÂÂ  Here is what I figured out:

I won't become a Protestant because they don't have the Eucharist and so much of what flows from the Eucharist:ÂÂ  the sense of the presence of Christ in people and things (such as saints, people here, Tradition, etc.).

I will probably leave the Catholic Church because of the filioque (and the underlying claims of papal supremacy which made it an issue).ÂÂ  Not to rehash other debates and posts, but it makes a difference.ÂÂ  With the filioque, the Holy Spirit really does tend to get lost in the shuffle.ÂÂ  When that happens, the knowledge and practice of holiness (theosis) suffers.ÂÂ  Thank God, some Catholic saints have figured it out and practiced holiness anyway.ÂÂ  Nevertheless, Tradition and the life in Christ through the Holy Spirit have greatly and increasingly suffered in the Catholic Church since it diverted from orthodoxy, starting about 1000 years ago.ÂÂ  It can be seen in the liturgy, in piety, in over-valuing Mary (almost as a substitute for the Holy Spirit at times), and the messes which the Catholic Church seems to generate internally every 200 years or so.

I will probably join the Orthodox Church because it seems to be the Church I have been looking for my whole life.ÂÂ  The Tradition (the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, including in the lives of individuals) is preserved and lived.ÂÂ  The Divine Liturgy is celebrated with reverence and dignity.ÂÂ  Also, the Divine Liturgy has NOT needed to be "updated" (like in the Catholic Church or in the Protestant churches) inÂÂ  1700 years because it hasn't been messed with in the Orthodox Church.ÂÂ  Church architecture and liturgy are designed to lift the whole human being (body, heart, mind an soul) to focus on God.ÂÂ  The Trinity is remembered.ÂÂ  Mary is respected but in her proper role.ÂÂ  Discipline is real (fasting, etc.) and expected.ÂÂ  There is no "imperial" papacy to govern everything and which seems to be the ultimate focus of Church organization --either for or against it--ÂÂ  instead of the life in Christ.ÂÂ  Instead, the head of the Orthodox Church is Jesus Christ, and the highest authority is an ecumenical council and Tradition.ÂÂ  That translates into real benefits on the everyday level of life.ÂÂ  Icons.ÂÂ  Real candles in church.ÂÂ  Liturgy that feels like worship instead of fellowship.ÂÂ  Decent liturgical music (chant).ÂÂ  Married parish priests.ÂÂ  Monks who are focused on God.ÂÂ  Allowing contraception.ÂÂ  Recognizing the reality of divorce (instead of pretending that a failed marriage never was a marriage).ÂÂ  Theology that is theosis, instead of theology that is an intellectual exercise.ÂÂ  Etc.ÂÂ  Etc.ÂÂ  Etc.ÂÂ  The Orthodox Church didn't need to change because they never messed up or diverted from what they received from the Apostles.ÂÂ  It works.ÂÂ  It's alive and it's also growing in its mystical theology.ÂÂ  Finally, the Orthodox Church here in America is a tiny minority (maybe 2% of the population).ÂÂ  That means it is a *chosen* religion for both converts and cradle members.ÂÂ  And that means that many of the people are genuinely focused on why they are there and carrying it out.

I won't go on and on.ÂÂ  I don't want to make this into a manifesto.ÂÂ  I will simply say this.ÂÂ  If you feel so repelled by the Orthodox Church, try some of the others.ÂÂ  Here is what you will find.ÂÂ  

At the Protestant Churches (established or "nondenominational), you will find people who see Jesus in the Bible and in people -- and that's it.ÂÂ  No sacraments. No "sacramentals" (icons and other tools to help us sense the presence of God in us and in everything) . You will find smiles and warm greetings and maybe a good sermon.ÂÂ  You will be made welcome.ÂÂ  Then, after a while, you will notice that the Protestants (God bless them -- most of them don't know any better) just don't have much of the Tradition.ÂÂ  And, you will want more.

At the Roman Catholic Church, you will get a Protestant service with the Eucharist added in.ÂÂ  And the pope.ÂÂ  And, sometimes on special occasions, the Trinity.ÂÂ  Etc.ÂÂ  And, after a while, you will want more.

And then there is the Orthodox Church.



You remind me a lot of myself.   I am a former RC of some 50 so years and I have some very common issues that I see in you.  My biggest concern is the not the leaving of the RCC but why I accepted the Orthodox Catholic faith.  I looked upon the RC as a stepping stone to the true  faith.  I hold no animosity towards my former faith.  My first Liturgy was a profound experience.  I thought"Now this is the way to properly adore God" and I never looked back. I absolutely love this Orthodox faith.   It is the apex of life for me.   I cannot see myself in anyother situation but as an Orthodox Catholic Christian.  Oh, do I love it so much.  Some cradles look at me with puzzlement as to why I go bonkers over this faith.  It is the truth, beauty, and fullness of the faith that persuaded me that the Eastern faith is and was the ancient faith of our fathers.  God preserve the Orthodox faith and always keep her safe from revisionists.

JoeS

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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2005, 01:12:27 AM »

Thank you all for your comments and insights.  I have been giving this a lot of thought during some very sleepless nights and conversations with God.  I know that the Orthodox Church is my church.  The ethnic jurisdiction doesn't and shouldn't play a part in my feelings.  I just need to focus on why I want to be there, and stay away from the politics, the headtrips and all the negative things that are there, as I'm sure are in every parish.  To praise and worship our lord and savior Jesus Christ is why I go to church.  After staying away for 3 months my wife and I finally went back tonight after dinner to a fundraiser being held in the church hall.  We had a good time and enjoyed the fellowship with all our friends there.  But most of all we still felt that this is the church where we belong.  I continue to pray to God and seek His guidance to help me through this time of turmoil in my heart.  Thank you all again for your insight.

Psalti Boy


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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2005, 01:19:43 AM »

Thank you djrak & brother SouthSerb.

PsaltiBoy. I thought about this all day. For you to raise this issue here means that you are wrestling with it. Am I right?  This is good. I think that it means that you care and that you are not at the point of giving up. I have a saying that I repeat to my daughter (much to he r puzzlement at this age) when she gets jumpy in church. To calm her I whisper in her ears "800 years." Correct me if I ma wrong SouthSerb, but that is how long Serbs have been a Christian people. I passed this torch to her. Actually, it is because of her that I came back to Orthodoxy after sojourning in the desert of evangelical protestanism. I did not want my daughter growing up with no connection to her roots in faith and culture. But there is more. When I returned I did a thorough investigation of the Orthodox faith and believe in my heart that it is the one true faith handed down from the apostles. I think that you do too.
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2005, 01:21:06 AM »

Psalti

Good.

I wrote my reply the same time that you did  Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2005, 07:10:48 AM »

When a sick person goes to hospital, he goes there with a hope to get cured. He does not (or he should not) say:"So many people die here, I will die also". That attitude will get him very dead. The cure amounts to proper medicine and faith that medicine will work. He can not think that he will not get cured because some others did not get cured, or that some others have gotten worse since the came to the hospital.

Same is with the Church. We can not look into people around us and think that because they are bad examples of Orthodox, we can not commune with the Lord.

Church is a hospital. We are getting cured from our sickness, sickness of our nature, plague of our existence. In Church we have a proper medicine but (as in a normal hospital) we need our faith.

What I am trying to say is, "to hell with all those who set us back". Disregard. Go forward. Never let people be the cause of our idea that we can not be cured.

It is a tough road, but it is a road. And no others can be.

Full steam ahead, dear ship. The Captain knows the charts well.

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« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2005, 09:35:58 AM »

Dear SV

Love your analogy
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« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2005, 12:37:01 PM »

Hey Psalti,

I read this entire thread and I know how you feel. I think aserb said it best and it seems like you are back on track but can I offer my .02? Do with it what you will.

  • Stay away from the parish council. this is the heart of the drama and for whatever reason it attracts the parish drama mongers
  • Social hour-great for fellowship but where tongues wag. Tread lightly.   
  • About non denom protestants... How your feeling is exactly what these people want. They love nothing more than to "kick you when you're down". That's when they fill your head with all kinds of heretical nonsense. All in all, EVERY church whether they are RC, protestant, Orthodox big or small contains some sort of bickering, power struggles and ignernts (purposeful misspelling) who are there "just because they are supposed to be". I promise, if you choose at some point in the future to flee you will find yourself exhausted from all the running you will do.
  • Learn to separate "being Greek" from "being Orthodox" Not easy, but I challenge you to strip down Orthodoxy to it's basic beliefs. I'm willing to wager that you won't find a parish council, ladies guild, social hour,baklava and dance group.
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« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2005, 01:56:03 PM »

I'm willing to wager that you won't find a parish council, ladies guild, social hour,baklava and dance group.

Hey, I liked the dance group!  Wink
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« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2005, 02:03:26 PM »

Quote
Learn to separate "being Greek" from "being Orthodox" Not easy, but I challenge you to strip down Orthodoxy to it's basic beliefs.

Doesn't seem hard to me. Grin
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« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2005, 02:29:29 PM »

St. Shenouti, it might not seem hard to you either because you are a convert (I dont knw too much about you) or if you are Egyptian Coptic Orthodox, then just because coptic churches don't have dance groups, they still have food festivals and the culture is definitely there. Poepe stare at you if you're not Coptic in a Coptic church...its definitely there but in a different way. Every church has its own ethnic versus intregation problems. Greeks, Serbian, Russian, including the coptic.
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« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2005, 03:34:24 PM »

PhosZoe

Loved your reply I laughed  Cheesy for a long time after i read the line about the parish council. Drama mongers. I have to use this one.  you are so right and yet it is so sad. THis whole thread has helped me immensely. Thank you all for your replies. I thought I was the only one who noticed these problems.
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« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2005, 06:10:23 PM »

Poepe stare at you if you're not Coptic in a Coptic church...its definitely there but in a different way.

This was not my experience at the Coptic Church I visited. On the contrary, I never felt that people were staring at me or singling me out for being a visitor who obviously was not of an Egyptian background. I felt quite comfortable and have always enjoyed all of my visits there. I'm sorry to hear that you have had experiences which which made you feel unwelcome.

Sadly, I have not had the same welcoming experience at most of the Eastern Orthodox churches I have visited...  Undecided

In Christ,
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« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2005, 06:35:34 PM »

I think in some Churches there is just this comfort level, and any interruption of that causes (at best) some unwanted attention or (at worst) some downright unwelcome looks and comments. I remember something similar happened one time at a Protestant Church I was a part of. Now, this Church is in a town that is 99.9% white (and the county is maybe 95% white). Suffice to say, not only are all the people in the Chruch white, but most people see only white people in their day-to-day lives. But, I don't believe that one person in the Church was racist (and I knew people pretty well, and I knew which people in town were and weren't... since it was all white, most people who were racist didn't mind it being in the open when groups like the KKK came around). Anyway, so one time my friend's mom (from this Church) gave a ride to this African American guy when his car broke down, and she invited him to Church (even though he lived in a different town). Well, so he shows up on Sunday morning. And he got a lot more attention than he probably wanted; I know his wife was quite uncomfortable. No one did anything intentionally to make them uncomfortable, but it was just such a unique site, people couldn't help but look. I mean, they would have looked anyway (it was a very "seeker sensitive" church, and everyone was on board with making new people feel welcome), but this fellow got some extra attention. We had a recreation hall in which we played Basketball after church, and I remember afterwards asking the fellow if he wanted to play ball. Now it had nothing to do with his race (actually it had to do with him being like 6'4" lol, and also just trying to be nice, and also because we were taught that people are more likely to return to a Church if they feel like they have friends there or at least someone they'd like to get to know). Whether he took it as a racially suggestive comment, I don't know. Maybe he took the glances and looks and attention in a negative way. Who knows?

I guess what I'm saying is, people might not mean anything sinister by their actions or attention. Maybe after you visited a half dozen times no one would even look at you. I'd say, if you like the place, give them a chance to give you a chance. First impressions in that type of situatino are often based on emotion and apperance; people need a chance to get to know you.

I too have considered going to a non-denominational church. I just wanted to "take a break" from Orthodoxy for a bit. But I guess it all boils down to what you honestly affirm in your soul. If Orthodoxy is what it claims to be, then I don't see that there is any alternative but to stay. And maybe staying is the cross God is giving you. Maybe for some people, the cross isn't given to them in the form of financial problems or lust, but is in the form of just getting oneself to Church in the first place, and just staying true to what you believe.
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« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2005, 09:16:06 AM »

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Every church has its own ethnic versus intregation problems. Greeks, Serbian, Russian, including the coptic.

True.  As for myself, I am a Copt.
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« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2005, 09:18:51 PM »

Years ago, when our family was in the process of becoming Orthodox, my dear godmother told me, "The Church is perfect; the people in it are not."   All of us are sinners in process - in that hospital mentioned before - and only within that hospital can God fully cure us and our brother. But, do no expect perfection from anyone. Forgive. Do what you can to find peace. Learn even more about this rich and deep faith. When tempted to leave, attend services all the more! Pray for your family and for those who are causing you pain and grief.  May God bless you and yours always!  In Christ,  Mat. Elizabeth Perdomo
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« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2005, 02:57:14 AM »

Hi

I think I have a similar problem, not with Orthodox Christianity in general but with the Church. I stopped going to Church because I got dissapointed with the way the hierarchy is managing the the EP diocese in Mexico and Central America, and the activities of its prelates.

The Antiochian Church does not have corruption, but its leadership bases its strenght on political alliances and not with religious and missionary activities, and this is not praiseworthy.

I am seriously thinking about asking Bishop Chrysostomos of Ecuador, from the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox Church in America to start a mission here in Mexico and I know other people who will agree with this but I am not sure. We would not like to be labeled as schismatics.

What's your opinion?
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« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2005, 11:17:41 AM »

I think that deep down you know the answer to your own question. Even the fact that you mention schism indicates that at some level you are aware that this is precisely what you would be engaging in and you know this is wrong. I wish you well. Stand strong and work from within. Roll up your sleeves to help clean up the mess within the Church rather than leaving it. Regards.
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« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2005, 05:11:10 PM »

Years ago, when our family was in the process of becoming Orthodox, my dear godmother told me, "The Church is perfect; the people in it are not."  ÃƒÆ’‚ All of us are sinners in process - in that hospital mentioned before - and only within that hospital can God fully cure us and our brother. But, do no expect perfection from anyone. Forgive. Do what you can to find peace. Learn even more about this rich and deep faith. When tempted to leave, attend services all the more! Pray for your family and for those who are causing you pain and grief.  May God bless you and yours always!  In Christ,  Mat. Elizabeth Perdomo

You have hit the nail on the head.  The faith is still pure it is the caretakers that are having trouble with it.   Coming from the RCC I do know first hand what it is like living in a church with a lot of bad baggage.  This is why I converted to Holy Orthodoxy IN SPITE of its jurisdictional problems because I knew in my heart and head that this was the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic church inherited from the Apostles, Holy fathers and the many saints who have been witnesses to the true faith. 

My message is to try to look through or past these human frailties and see the faith for what it is and what it was intended for.  Remember the Holy Eucharist is the Apex of the Apex of the one true faith.  Never abandoned this wonderful beautiful faith.

JoeS   Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2006, 11:28:36 PM »

I have read some of the postings about leaving the Church.. I have thought about this many many times. When I first joined the AOCC (American Orthodox Catholic Church)ÂÂ  I was greeted with hatred from the Towns people from Orthodox to Roman Catholic to Protestant. I could not figure out why I was being hated,until I found out that it all started by a Roman Catholic Priest. This was do to the fact that the Bishops of that time were doing Orthodox Western Rite and some of the people from the RCC were coming to us for Church. But as time went by and computer were getting better, The first word I hear from an Orthodox person was you are not vaild and so on. Now in 2006 I still hear the same prgram and now, that I have left the AOCC and hopfuly to be in the Jurisdiction of the ROAC and here comes the crap. Is Orthodxy getting Strong or is it diappearing. So right now it is up in the air should I stop being OrthodoxÂÂ  and Leave the Orthodox Church or Should I stay. I am going to leave things in the hands of Our Lord Jesus Christ to lead me to the right path
 
Peace and Orthodox love be with you all
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« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2006, 11:44:54 PM »

If Orthodoxy is what it claims to be, then I don't see that there is any alternative but to stay. And maybe staying is the cross God is giving you. Maybe for some people, the cross isn't given to them in the form of financial problems or lust, but is in the form of just getting oneself to Church in the first place, and just staying true to what you believe.

That is a very interesting thought and i have never really thought of it that way. I never reallly think of leaving Orthodoxy but once in a while I think it feels burdensome to go to Vespers, Matins, Liturgy, Trapeza+ (during Lent) another Vespers, etc. when there is so much that has to be done besides and, hey, can I just relax for a day? when I remember my B.O. days (no jokes, please) as A Protestant or especially R.C. where it was in and out in an hour and then the weekend was yours..........
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« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2006, 11:47:02 PM »

Years ago, when our family was in the process of becoming Orthodox, my dear godmother told me, "The Church is perfect; the people in it are not."  ÃƒÆ’‚Â
Quote

   I always liked the old quip, "The Orthodox Church is not the perfect church, it's just the True Church."
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« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2006, 11:51:38 PM »

should I stop being Orthodox  and Leave the Orthodox Church or Should I stay.
Please don't think I'm being rude or putting you down, but as far as I can see, you have never been in the Orthodox Church. You were a Priest in one vagante group which you left a few days ago, and you now want to join another vagante group, and neither of these groups are in Communion with the Orthodox Church. So either these two groups are the only Orthodox Churches left on earth and every other Orthodox Christian is deluded, or maybe...just maybe...these groups are not part of the Church at all....
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« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2006, 01:23:46 AM »

Please don't think I'm being rude or putting you down, but as far as I can see, you have never been in the Orthodox Church. You were a Priest in one vagante group which you left a few days ago, and you now want to join another vagante group, and neither of these groups are in Communion with the Orthodox Church. So either these two groups are the only Orthodox Churches left on earth and every other Orthodox Christian is deluded, or maybe...just maybe...these groups are not part of the Church at all....

This is what I mean by crap. people like you who say that garbage to some one like me an to others who are trying their best to be Orthodox and trying to find a good Orthodox jurisdiction.ÂÂ  So when we hear this garbage, then we wonder if being in the orthodox Church is worth it. It is a wonder that people haven't left the Orthodox Church. As for me I concider by Baptism and Conformation vaild.
any way back to leaving the Orthodox Church. As I was saying. Just beause there are those who are in Schims does not mean that they are not Orthodox or that they are not Valid. Just like the ROCOR be for they decided to return to communion with the MP. they were Orthodox and they were valid. the same goes for the ROAC. if there were not people in the orthodox Church there would be no Church. it is not the priest of the bishops that make the church it is the people who come to the Church that make the church. So I leave it to Christ himself to guide me for he is the Church.
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« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2006, 01:29:23 AM »

Just beause there are those who are in Schims does not mean that they are not Orthodox or that they are not Valid.
By definition, a schism does render one of the groups in schism invalid, since it is no longer part of the Church.

Just like the ROCOR be for they decided to return to communion with the MP.
There was never any official break in Communion between ROCOR and the MP- so there was never a schism there.
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« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2006, 01:42:02 AM »

This is what I mean by crap.
And please mind your language.
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« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2006, 01:54:35 AM »

As for me I concider by Baptism and Conformation vaild.

That only makes them "valid" for you- not for the Orthodox Church. They were not "valid" to admit you to Communion with any historical Patriarchate recognised by any of the Oecumenical Canons of the Orthodox Church, and which are all in Communion with one another.
Or should "The Orthodox Church" be defined however anyone pleases?
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« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2006, 02:11:04 AM »

If I'm not Orthodox, I'm not a Christian. That's all I really have to say about that.

Peace.
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« Reply #36 on: June 24, 2006, 02:15:23 AM »

By definition, a schism does render one of the groups in schism invalid, since it is no longer part of the Church.
There was never any official break in Communion between ROCOR and the MP- so there was never a schism there.
I hate to differ with you. if Rocor is returning back to communion with the Mp then They were in Schism, see being in Schism is not being in schism with the Orthodox Church but being in Schism with the Hierarchy. it is the same way between the Hierarchies of the ROAC that are in schism with the hiearchies or both the Hiearchies or ROCOR and Hiearch of the MP.Now being in Schism with the Church you are not in the Church that was started my Christ himself. One thing I will tell you is this I disagree with some of the canon laws of the Seven Councils. (when it come to saying you are not or you never were) I disagree.

Question to you. lets say that a few APOSTLES decided to leave Saint Peter because they disagree with him and decided to go on their own to preach the word of Christ. does this still make them valid or not valid and are they still in the Church or have they left the Church.
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« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2006, 02:19:05 AM »

If I'm not Orthodox, I'm not a Christian. That's all I really have to say about that.

Peace.
Thank you. that maid my day . you also answered for me as well
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« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2006, 02:24:06 AM »

That only makes them "valid" for you- not for the Orthodox Church. They were not "valid" to admit you to Communion with any historical Patriarchate recognised by any of the Oecumenical Canons of the Orthodox Church, and which are all in Communion with one another.
Or should "The Orthodox Church" be defined however anyone pleases?

define the Canons that these come from.
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« Reply #39 on: June 24, 2006, 02:34:27 AM »

And please mind your language.

sorry if I used the the word cr??
 I don't see it as a dirty word but i'll not use that word again
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« Reply #40 on: June 24, 2006, 02:36:03 AM »


define the Canons that these come from.

I need only quote one of the many: Canon 36 of the Council of Trullo:
"Renewing the enactments by the 150 Fathers assembled at the God-protected and imperial city, and those of the 630 who met at Chalcedon; we decree that the see of Constantinople shall have equal privileges with the see of Old Rome, and shall be highly regarded in ecclesiastical matters as that is, and shall be second after it. After Constantinople shall be ranked the See of Alexandria, then that of Antioch, and afterwards the See of Jerusalem."
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« Reply #41 on: June 24, 2006, 02:52:45 AM »

I need only quote one of the many: Canon 36 of the Council of Trullo:
"Renewing the enactments by the 150 Fathers assembled at the God-protected and imperial city, and those of the 630 who met at Chalcedon; we decree that the see of Constantinople shall have equal privileges with the see of Old Rome, and shall be highly regarded in ecclesiastical matters as that is, and shall be second after it. After Constantinople shall be ranked the See of Alexandria, then that of Antioch, and afterwards the See of Jerusalem."
what does this canon have to do with who is valid and who is not and who is Orthdoox and who is not
 look for another Canon on what we were  about posting
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« Reply #42 on: June 24, 2006, 03:00:47 AM »

what does this canon have to do with who is valid and who is not and who is Orthdoox and who is not
 look for another Canon on what we were  about posting
It tells you which Sees were recognised as part of the Orthodox Church when they were written. In 1054, the See of Rome schismed from the other Patriarchates- so it was no longer part of the Church. The same fate befalls any group who schisms from the Church. No one can be "Orthodox" without being "in the Church."
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« Reply #43 on: June 24, 2006, 03:25:27 AM »

I hate to differ with you. if Rocor is returning back to communion with the Mp then They were in Schism,
If you look at the official decrees and documents, ROCOR and the MP are undertaking a "raproachment" not "returning back to Communion." There is no need for the latter since Communion was never officially broken. If you know otherwise, perhaps you could point to an Ukase from either side which says Communion was officially broken... ROCOR has always been in Communion with the Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Serbia, and therefore, de facto in Communion with the rest of Orthodoxy which is in Communion with these two Patriarchates.
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« Reply #44 on: June 24, 2006, 03:52:06 AM »

Question to you. lets say that a few APOSTLES decided to leave Saint Peter because they disagree with him and decided to go on their own to preach the word of Christ. does this still make them valid or not valid and are they still in the Church or have they left the Church.
The question is pointless. The Apostles may have disagreed, but no Apostle ever broke Communion.
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