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Author Topic: Seeking Understanding  (Read 2313 times) Average Rating: 0
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rosborn
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« on: September 25, 2005, 10:30:01 AM »

Hello,

I am Roman Catholic.  I have been interested in Orthodoxy for years and came close to converting once - had gone through catechesis with a parish priest and was nearing entry into Orthodoxy, via the OCA, when the parish council decided they did not want a permanent/full-time priest anymore (it turns out they did not to pay for a full-time priest).  Hindsight being 20/20, it was probably a good thing that I was not received at that time because, while I am well aware of the differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism and understand why the Orthodox Church believes as she does, I do not possess an Eastern or Orthodox mind.  In other words, I realize that I look at Christianity through an admittedly Western frame of mind.  Therefore, I am looking for a resource or resources to help me with the following:

Why the Eastern understanding is the proper understanding

Did the entire Church, prior to the chism, view everything with the same mind/understanding

How to adopt/embrace/assume an Eastern mindset

I do not plan on discussing this matter here until I have a fuller understanding of what all of this means and why the Eastern mindset is better, more full, or closer to the truth than the Western mindset.  Please forgive my base terms.  I am trying to get to the core of what separates Orthodoxy from Roman Catholicism.

Thank you for your help!

Rob
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djrak
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2005, 03:01:35 PM »


Why the Eastern understanding is the proper understanding


hi Rob,
What precisely are you having trouble understanding?
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rosborn
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2005, 04:14:41 PM »

hi Rob,
What precisely are you having trouble understanding?

What I need to know is why the Eastern view is that of the Early Church.  Was *that* view/notion/mindset shared by the entire Church or were there varying understandings.  Why the Western understanding of "Church" is wrong.

I am trying to understand, in a nutshell, why the Eastern understanding of the Church is correct and the Western understanding is not correct.  The inherent/organic basics that make Eastern Orthodoxy right and Roman Catholicism wrong - besides the obvious differences that are so often discussed.  Why is this so important to me?  Because it has been asserted that Orthodoxy requires a completely different mindset and understanding from that of Roman Catholicism.  So, in my effort to understand Orthodoxy better, I am looking for study materials to learn how to approach the Orthodox way of understanding what the Church is supposed to be.

I don't know if that makes any sense because it is difficult to put into words.

Peace,

Rob
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icxn
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2005, 04:26:13 PM »

Western-man: I want to understand the taste of apples before I taste one.  Huh
Eastern-man: Can I have an apple please.  Tongue

Hope that helps,

icxn

- edit -

Scripture says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good" it doesn't say "Prove and understand that etc"

As the apple among the trees of the wood, so is my kinsman among the sons. I desired his shadow, and sat down, and his fruit was sweet in my throat. (Sos 2:3)
« Last Edit: September 25, 2005, 04:32:58 PM by icxn » Logged
FrChris
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Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2005, 04:39:10 PM »

Quote
What I need to know is why the Eastern view is that of the Early Church. Was *that* view/notion/mindset shared by the entire Church or were there varying understandings. Why the Western understanding of "Church" is wrong.

I am trying to understand, in a nutshell, why the Eastern understanding of the Church is correct and the Western understanding is not correct. The inherent/organic basics that make Eastern Orthodoxy right and Roman Catholicism wrong - besides the obvious differences that are so often discussed. Why is this so important to me? Because it has been asserted that Orthodoxy requires a completely different mindset and understanding from that of Roman Catholicism. So, in my effort to understand Orthodoxy better, I am looking for study materials to learn how to approach the Orthodox way of understanding what the Church is supposed to be.

I don't know if that makes any sense because it is difficult to put into words.

Rob,

I hope you don'tthink I'm being presumptuous here, but I feel I know exactly what you are speaking of, as I was the same way before I converted.

How is the understanding different? I could never pin it down. I could sense it, and could understand there was a difference, but I could not intellectually figure it out.

I think part of that is because, like most Westerners, I had been taught  to study God first and then seek to experience Him. Instead, the Orthodox way is to experience God first and seek to understand what you can of Him through the experience(s) He gives you.

Now, you ask for reading materials to check your suppositions and test your theory, with the goal of making a decision after completing adequate research. I did the same thing, and constantly searched because even though I could come to a conclusion it was not a satisfying one.

My best advice is to actually become Orthodox, and live in the community. Then you will understand the difference, because the Spirit will lead you to Truth.

And I mean that in all charity, even though it comes across as a paradox. But, when thinking of this, our faith itself is a paradox, and within these paradoxical mysteries lies Truth.
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djrak
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2005, 03:51:39 AM »

What I need to know is why the Eastern view is that of the Early Church.ÂÂ
because the Early Church was Eastern
Quote
Was *that* view/notion/mindset shared by the entire Church
originally yes
Quote
or were there varying understandings.
there always are varying understandings among people, but there wasnt any concerning doctrine
Quote
Why the Western understanding of "Church" is wrong.
i wouldnt say "wrong" but rather "limited"

Quote
I am trying to understand, in a nutshell, why the Eastern understanding of the Church is correct and the Western understanding is not correct.ÂÂ  The inherent/organic basics that make Eastern Orthodoxy right and Roman Catholicism wrong - besides the obvious differences that are so often discussed.
like others suggested you have to experience the faith, but if you are not drawn to it you will not experience it, but if you are and if you re seeking and finding sparks of light then don't hesitate you will find an endless and priceless treasure in the faith.

Quote
Why is this so important to me?ÂÂ  Because it has been asserted that Orthodoxy requires a completely different mindset and understanding from that of Roman Catholicism.ÂÂ  So, in my effort to understand Orthodoxy better, I am looking for study materials to learn how to approach the Orthodox way of understanding what the Church is supposed to be.

go to mass, follow it try to take part in it, follow the ritual sing the hymns and most importantly leave it all in God's hands so He can reveal it to you. Don't give up

Quote
I don't know if that makes any sense because it is difficult to put into words.
you make a lot of sense , I know exactly where you're coming from.
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rosborn
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2005, 06:34:07 AM »

djrak,

I understand what you and other are saying.  Truly, I do.  However, there are two things I *need* to do with this information:

1. Assure myself that the Orthodox Church is the True Church.  I am a reader, an avid reader, and, while I am not foolish enough to believe that I will be converted by a book or learn everything I need to know from a book, reading the information would help me to understand why the Roman Catholic Church has deviated from original Church.  I am not looking for a waork discussing the filioque or papal infallibiliity or any of the "hot button" issues.  Rather, I am looking for something that discusses the differences in the essential understanding between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church  concerning God, our relationship with God, Church and so forth.  Why do I need to understand this from an Eastern perspective?  Because, at one point, I thought that the Roman Catholic Church was the True Church.  Of course, that was comparing it solely to Protestantism but it was one of the reasons why I became Roman Catholic in the first place.  At that time, I had no idea that Orthodoxy even existed.  Quite frankly, I want to be better informed if I am going to leave Roman Catholicism.

2. I am married and any potential conversion would affect my family, all of whom are Roman Catholic.  I need to convince my wife that Rome has deviated by showing her just what the early Church believed and professed - in a clear and unambiguous manner.  In other words, I need to be able to show her that the Early Church was Orthodox and that the Orthodox Church is still that Church.  Again, she is well aware of the current differences between the two but what I need to show her is that the current differences are only "symptoms" of a deeper/underlying departure from tradition and orthodoxy.

Finally, this also may have to do with the fact that I work in the realm of science/engineering and am more comfortable when I get my mind firmly wrapped around something.  I prefer going into something with my "eyes wide open" and well informed.  I don't want to act solely on emotions but want to know that what I am doing is based on truth.  That way, I can eliminate doubt and be sure of my decision.  I know this sounds terribly analytical.  I know this.  However, if I am going to become Orthodox is has to be because it is the True Church.  You see, we have a great priest and a great parish and I am not unhappy at all.  Yet, there is a nagging "feeling" that the Orthodox Church is the True Church.  Therefore; for me at least, there needs to be something beyond the normal disagreements that "proves" that Rome has strayed from the original understanding of what it means to be Christian, a follower of Christ, believer in God, and so forth.

I simply cannot just go to Divine Liturgy and expect to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit because I am quite happily doing that each and every Sunday right now.  Like I said, I belong to a fantastic parish and have a great priest who is solidly orthodox.  If I did what you have suggested, and I am in no way criticizing your suggestion, I would remain right where I am because it is simply the best Roman Catholic parish I have ever been to.

Peace,

Rob
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sin_vladimirov
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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2005, 06:58:42 AM »

Rosborn, just take it easy.. one step at the time... You can not love what you do not know.

Slowly.... We have all eternity to get somewhere... and that place will be not much closer to knowing anything than we do right now....

Pray alot.
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djrak
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2005, 08:09:52 AM »

I work in the realm of science/engineering and am more comfortable when I get my mind firmly wrapped around something.ÂÂ  I prefer going into something with my "eyes wide open" and well informed.ÂÂ

hey i'm an engineer too, and i have my mind pretty firmy wrapped around orthodoxy although i don't yet understand it all or capable of living this life. But i found my rest in it because i found the way so don't give up and like sin vladimirov said be patient with yourself ask around, ask about more specific things so that through the discussion the "Eastern way of thinking" can become clearer for you. You don't necessarily need to ask or engage in a discussion about the differences between western and eastern to understand the difference.
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2005, 08:50:10 AM »

...Finally, this also may have to do with the fact that I work in the realm of science/engineering and am more comfortable when I get my mind firmly wrapped around something.  I prefer going into something with my "eyes wide open" and well informed.  I don't want to act solely on emotions but want to know that what I am doing is based on truth.  That way, I can eliminate doubt and be sure of my decision.  I know this sounds terribly analytical.  I know this. 

Another engineer here Smiley . Have you read this book Rob? I think it might be a good first choice in your journey to learn more about Orthodoxy.

icxn



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rosborn
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2005, 09:17:20 AM »

hey i'm an engineer too, and i have my mind pretty firmy wrapped around orthodoxy although i don't yet understand it all or capable of living this life. But i found my rest in it because i found the way so don't give up and like sin vladimirov said be patient with yourself ask around, ask about more specific things so that through the discussion the "Eastern way of thinking" can become clearer for you. You don't necessarily need to ask or engage in a discussion about the differences between western and eastern to understand the difference.

Perhaps this will help to understand where I am coming from.  A few years back, the Ecumenical Patriarch gave an address at Georgetown University.  In his address he discounted any immediate re-union with Rome because of "Ontological" differences between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.  I would like to know what the ontological (being or existence) differences are between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

Rob
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rosborn
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2005, 09:20:50 AM »

Another engineer here Smiley . Have you read this book Rob? I think it might be a good first choice in your journey to learn more about Orthodoxy.

icxn

You know, I have this book but have yet to read it.  I was worried that the author, who seemed pretty worldly and secular, would, in the end, find Orthodoxy wanting.  If you say it's a good book then I'll dive in.

Rob
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rosborn
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2005, 09:23:25 AM »

Rosborn, just take it easy.. one step at the time... You can not love what you do not know.

Slowly.... We have all eternity to get somewhere... and that place will be not much closer to knowing anything than we do right now....

Pray alot.

I am but thanks for the advice anyway. :-)

I have been on this journey, in one way or another, since 1996.  I just want to resume the journey with the correct road map.
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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2005, 11:04:32 AM »

Perhaps this will help to understand where I am coming from.  A few years back, the Ecumenical Patriarch gave an address at Georgetown University.  In his address he discounted any immediate re-union with Rome because of "Ontological" differences between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.  I would like to know what the ontological (being or existence) differences are between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

Rob
Some more reading recommendations Smiley

- http://www.pelagia.org/htm/b05.en.the_illness_and_cure_of_the_soul.01.htm
- http://www.pelagia.org/htm/b15.en.orthodox_spirituality.01.htm

icxn
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« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2005, 11:57:07 AM »

Perhaps this will help to understand where I am coming from.  A few years back, the Ecumenical Patriarch gave an address at Georgetown University.  In his address he discounted any immediate re-union with Rome because of "Ontological" differences between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.  I would like to know what the ontological (being or existence) differences are between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

Rob

Rob, try here:

http://www.orlapubs.com/AR/R9.html
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rosborn
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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2005, 12:57:55 PM »

Another engineer here Smiley . Have you read this book Rob? I think it might be a good first choice in your journey to learn more about Orthodoxy.

icxn

I'm about halfway through this book.  It is a very good book.  However, I am concerned that the author seems to be hanging on to his preconceived notions about spirituality and his constant comparison of Orthodoxy to Buddhism.  Everything he writes seems to be tinged with skepticism with regard to the monastic experience.  Otherwise, it's a good read and very informative.

Rob
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« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2005, 09:07:59 AM »

When I was on the road to my conversion, I tried to understand everything.  We attended a Divine Liturgy--  no longer had any questions-He was there.
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« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2005, 09:44:04 AM »

I'm about halfway through this book.  It is a very good book.  However, I am concerned that the author seems to be hanging on to his preconceived notions about spirituality and his constant comparison of Orthodoxy to Buddhism.  Everything he writes seems to be tinged with skepticism with regard to the monastic experience.  Otherwise, it's a good read and very informative.

Rob

Oh absolutely! But the book is worth for what Fr. Maximus relates. Wink

icxn
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« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2005, 10:39:04 AM »

Hi Rob

Not much to add except for a couple of observations. First off... the Catholic Church is NOT completely wrong and the Orthodox Church does NOT teach such. But sadly, we believe there has been a continual sliding away from the truth down through the centuries. There's no point in delineating these areas of disagreement other than to say they exist and prevent us from becoming one.

Secondly, while you remain a loyal and committed Catholic, guiding your family in its spiritual development, at some level you must recognize that something is missing or you would not be here asking these questions. What you need to do is to sit down and go inward as it were... asking yourself just what it is that is lacking... what it is that is bothering you at this subconscious level to cause you to be here. Once you can openly admit to whatever it is, then you'll be ready for the next step (if indeed there is to be a next step).

Regards,
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« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2005, 10:42:42 PM »

Hi Rob,

Christ is between us!

I'm an engenier I was a catholic roman and I'm roman Married Sad I was an agnostic too but I want to be an orthodox christian.

I feel that there is not diferences betwen the mind of an orthodox and an roman catholic.

I think anyway the diference is that roman church as orthodox church recognizes that the human mind has limits and that the human is unable to get a plain understanding about God but in practice we can see roman catholics do other thing pretending explore the theology and God's misterys using only the logic and making conclusions that in some cases ar not suported neither by Revelation neither Tradition, only logical conclusions, in other words the theological mind of roman church tends to be more rationalist, I think that is not mind diferrence, I think that is actitud diference, both churches has a great helenistic thinking inheritance in commun.

I want to add in another way that you may know the diferences betwen both churches but I think that diferences are only diferences and they don't tell us nothing about Truth until we explore and study the historical origin of that diferences, only in that way we can discover wich church has the true apostolic tradition.

Any way that's in the plane of mind an in the plane of evidences.

I was also agnostic and I can tell you that I don´t know any rational proof about God's existence, I think one discovers God by Grace by the gift of Faith, and not by proofs (this is in reference about you are more comfortable when you wrap your belief in something ¿proofs?) (may be some body difeers to me in this point but I don't want to discuss this) I converted not by mind.

I was catholic roman before to be agnostic, Why do I want to be an orthodox? I conclude after some historical studing about some diferences (not much study) between but churches that roman church is not rigth, I discarded protestant churches, I believe in Tradition and apostolic sucesion,the protestant churches do not have apostolic sucesion, I can't response why I'm not interested in each other religions, I don't know all, I only become from a discard proces but I can't response exactly "why orthodox?", but between the christian religions history told me orthodox church is the Church One, Holy, and Apostolic, but when I know more about orthodox Church I Love it more.

In order to your family, if you are orthodox it's not necesary your family must to be orthodox too, I understand the things are easier if all convert to orthodox faith but that is not necesary, any way if your family wants to know the truth I think they must to study history in some item that can be decisive for you.

Finally I want to add that my response is agree with mi experience, and I'm sure that are other experiences betters than mine.

Regards and I hope that can help you

Luis Garza

P.D. I'm Mexican then my english is not good.
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