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Psalti Boy
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« on: October 09, 2005, 12:01:11 PM »

Please pray for me as I continue my inner struggle about whether the parish I now attend is my church.  I am trying to put everything distracting aside and go to church just to go and worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I struggle with the fact that human nature, the posessiveness of some people (thinking and acting that the church belongs to their families), and the priest showing favoritism among parishioners.  I can't go to confession because he has told me things that others have told him in confidence.  Just let me go to church and leave me alone, that's the attitude I now have.  I don't even want to be involved in any activities.  But my heart tells me that no matter where I worship, be it at home or at another church, Orthodox or other, that God owants me to be close to him.  I was born GOA but because of the distance of the GOA church where I now live, my only choice is the parish of another jurtisdiction, or leave the Orthodox church altogether.  I'm not stupid all parishes have their problems, but we have way too many distractions, head trips and clicks, that are very noticeable during coffee hour.  Lord haver mercy on my soul while I try to sort all this out.
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TomS
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2005, 12:04:26 PM »

I can't go to confession because he has told me things that others have told him in confidence.

This is a no brainer. Find a new church.
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Psalti Boy
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2005, 12:11:04 PM »

That's what I'm considering, but due to the distance of other Orthodox churches, it may have to be another denomination or non-denominational.
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TomS
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2005, 12:52:26 PM »

That's what I'm considering, but due to the distance of other Orthodox churches, it may have to be another denomination or non-denominational.

If your only other choice is a non-Orthodox church, then you really have no choice. You have to stay. So what is there to pray about?
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Psalti Boy
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2005, 03:05:24 PM »

That's where I have to disagree with you Tom.  I appreciate your input, but when my heart says be close to God, what's the difference where or how I worship him?
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TomS
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2005, 03:23:44 PM »

..what's the difference where or how I worship him?

Don't you believe that the Orthodox Church is the True Church? If you do not, then you are right; it does not make a difference.
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FrChris
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2005, 03:27:11 PM »

Quote
That's where I have to disagree with you Tom. I appreciate your input, but when my heart says be close to God, what's the difference where or how I worship him?

Are you actually saying that all churches believe the same things?

We have been instructed through scripture to 'worship in Spirit and in truth'. Do you think this is important?

Can Christ, who is purely and absolutely Truth, contain falsehood?
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2005, 02:24:10 PM »

PsaltiBoy I do not envy you and I feel for you.  Here are my thoughts.

Pray for your church and its people.
Tell your priest, respectfully, that you do not want to hear anything else from him about what others have told you.
I have heard of this in the past where families are possessive, usually because they descend from founding members or give buuku dollars to the church.  I have no answer there
As for cliques, why not bhust through them. Say, Hi I am PsaltiBoy, what's happening.  Lips Sealed

I don't know what else to tell you.

Lastly, if you are not convinced that the Orthodox Church is the true church, then you have your answer about leaving.

Peace
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2005, 11:10:02 PM »

Lord, have mercy.
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Donna Rose
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2005, 03:01:08 AM »

you are in my prayers...Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2005, 01:55:24 AM »

O Lord, verily You, unto those who love You, are more loving than any who loves; You are ever at hand to fulfill atonce the desires of those who rely on You; You take notice of their wishes, You perceive their innermost thoughts, You know the depth of their intelligence. You are fully aware of their confidential concerns. There hearts long for (relief from) You. Whenever miserable and forsaken Your remembrance comfort them in distress. Whenever misfortunes assult them, they turn to You, knowing well that the reins of all affairs are in Your hand and every affair rise from and flow out as soon as Your decision is made. O my Lord, if I falter in speaking my request and wander astray in describing my needs and wants, show me the way that leads to that which promotes my interests and turn my heart to its course, because it is neither against (the principles of) Your guidance nor Your act of giving succour can be described as unlikely.
O my Lord, support me with Your pardon, do not burden me with Your justice.
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emmanuelmelo
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« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2005, 03:09:41 AM »

Psaltiboy,

I would like to encourage you on your quest of spiritual discernment.  I too was very much like you when I was younger.  I am currently a college student.  All I saw in my own home parish was an ethnic clique, out of touch with reality.  My priest was not particularly zealous for souls, and I saw in other churches around my area "on fire" for God.

Coming from a Greek Background, I can understand how difficult it must be to not have a GOA church around you.  You must bear this cross humbly, for mission parishes are beginning to pop up all around this country.

I must caution you against joining other denominations.  Catholicism has effectively killed itself due to scandal.  Protestantism is a mixed bag- when will the denomination allow homosexuals to openly become clergy?  It is only a matter of time.  As far as non-denominational, it seems to be the trend around the country.  The question is:  Why?

Non-denominational churches are attractive because they generally have a beautiful light show, interesting sermons, and an active "praise team."  Unfortunately, this was not the way that the Gospel was preached in the early Church.  Rather, it was in hushed voices in Christian Homes where a priest would offer the Divine Liturgy (often daily) and instruct the faithful. 

To not be nourished by the Body and Blood of the Lord is a great sacrifice to give up for a "worship team".  To me it is unfathomable that the Holy Eucharist would be so quickly dismissed.  It is only the Orthodox Faith which has kept this mystery inviolate- having a liturgy from the 4th century as its backbone.

Us in the GOA must be conscious that our families fought and died to preserve Orthodoxy in our Home Country.  We would not let the Ottoman yoke destroy our Holy Faith because it was the only thing we truly valued.  To give it up now would make you a traitor to the generations who went before you- who died for Orthodoxy because they knew it was the original faith of Christ and the Apostles.

Keep the faith young man, and May God Bless you

PM me if you have further questions

Emmanuelmelo
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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2005, 07:58:29 AM »

Emmanuel:

I read your post and was moved. I echo your sentiments which help me stay on track when I get disillusioned sometimes over the politics and bickering I see in my parish.

Thank you
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« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2005, 01:11:09 PM »

Running away isn't going to solve this. Running will merely create a nice long history of running away. People leave Protestant churches all the time looking for greener pastures. Its more culturally "acceptable" to move on from Protestant church to Protestant church. I recall reading that there are over 2500 Protestant Christian sects.


I suggest a thoughtful letter to your Bishop about this matter. I can't guarentee resolution, but it might help bring awareness. 


I will continue to pray for you,  I sincerely hope and pray that you will not fall away and join the merry band of heretics as I fervently believe in the Orthodox church and all of its teacings. I think deep down you do too. As a fellow ethnic, I understand where you are coming from and know how cruel and ugly church laity culture can be.
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