Author Topic: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?  (Read 2265 times)

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Offline LivenotoneviL

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What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« on: April 23, 2018, 08:59:01 PM »
It sometimes feel like the Body of Christ really doesn't want me to become a member - via interactions with Priests and Laypeople - and I find it difficult to push forward when I have all this opposition against me. What do I do to push forward?
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2018, 09:00:35 PM »
What would make you feel wanted?
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Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2018, 09:05:32 PM »
What would make you feel wanted?

If there was a significant group of people in the Orthodox communities I'm a part of that wouldn't talk about me behind my back, judge me internally, show passive-aggression towards me, and legitimately have a keen interest in being friends with me - rather than wishing I didn't exist. The majority of people I interact with showcase these characteristics.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 09:08:21 PM by LivenotoneviL »
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2018, 09:10:30 PM »
What would make you feel wanted?

If there was a significant group of people in the Orthodox communities I'm a part of that wouldn't talk about me behind my back, judge me internally, show passive-aggression towards me, and legitimately have a keen interest in being friends with me - rather than wishing I didn't exist. The majority of people I interact with showcase these characteristics.

How can you tell (especially that they're judging you internally)? Sure you're not just being paranoid?
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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2018, 09:25:04 PM »
What would make you feel wanted?

If there was a significant group of people in the Orthodox communities I'm a part of that wouldn't talk about me behind my back, judge me internally, show passive-aggression towards me, and legitimately have a keen interest in being friends with me - rather than wishing I didn't exist. The majority of people I interact with showcase these characteristics.

They probably accept you as equal to any cradle Orthodox.   ;)

Seriously, Volnutt may be on to something.
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Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2018, 10:12:13 PM »
What would make you feel wanted?

If there was a significant group of people in the Orthodox communities I'm a part of that wouldn't talk about me behind my back, judge me internally, show passive-aggression towards me, and legitimately have a keen interest in being friends with me - rather than wishing I didn't exist. The majority of people I interact with showcase these characteristics.

How can you tell (especially that they're judging you internally)? Sure you're not just being paranoid?

The "judging you internally" is but a predecessor for all the other characteristics. And although I'm sure to a certain extent I'm overthinking things and I'm being paranoid, I've had situations where my Priest showed very passionate passive-aggressiveness towards me, and sometimes was outright angry with me. Last entrant's group (And I hope that he doesn't see this online, because if he does, he'll know who I am online), we were packing up to go to Vespers, and I reminded them - as it is our habit - to say a prayer to the Theotokos, because he seemed to have forgotten. I didn't say it with condescension, nor did I say it with any kind of elitism or "trying to show off", etc., to which I've never seen so much anger on his face and felt so much negative energy, he responded with "I was going to... wow, you must be really holy, wanting to get to Vespers early." Okay, I'll give it a benefit of a doubt; I was immature and said something stupid... okay. Weeks before, I was "reading" a book a couple of tables away (really kind of being nosy into hearing the conversation between the two priests), and both Priests were discussing about who they expect to show up to the Entrant's Group - which I try to go to every week. When they brought up my name, they began laughing at each other, thinking I wasn't hearing; almost like I'm some kind of inside joke.

The priest overall has also been very passive aggressive towards me in terms of his actions, his attitude, and his discussions with me, no matter the topic in a way that's extremely difficult to describe... like in one instance, I was discussing what classes I was taking at the beginning of the Semester; and I was joking around about a class I was taking, which was a comparative Slavic Science Fiction course, and he said something along the lines of "Well, I'm glad that I'm paying tax money for your useless education."

The other Priest I've seldom talked to on a personal level.

But those are just the Priests. In my parish there are students my age! Oh boy!

There are generally three students who are my age who attend Church on a regular basis. Two are dating each other (I knew them before they were dating), the other really doesn't like me.

The two that are dating I've encountered situations where they have also been really passive aggressive towards me; I've encountered situations where I've run into them outside Church and they refuse to make eye-contact with me or say hi to me even though they've obviously looked at me. There was one situation where I wanted to go to dinner one night with both of them; they were both friends with me before they started "dating." During Lent, I wanted to take them to a Chinese Restaurant during Lent, and they said "No, it's Lent, we don't want to be gluttonous and want access to meat options." A week later, they literally went to this same exact restaurant and casually brought it up! Like, seriously? I've also talked with them via text and they most of the time just ignore my texts, no matter what it is. They also have at points gotten really aggressive for no reason or have gotten mad at me for no reason, showing a similar passive aggressiveness to me that the Priest shows.

Like one time, I asked him about life at his home parish, and the girl got really mad that I didn't refer to "this parish" as his home parish (that is, his parish when he is literally at home), and one time I brought up the fact jokingly that "English should be less confusing!", and he got extraordinarily mad at me for saying such a thing (he's an English major).

The third person I just don't think it's possible to get along with. I think me and him are like antitheses of each other; he is also glaringly politically and socially Liberal to the point that it's kind of uncomfortable for everyone in Church. He's only Orthodox because his parents were Russian; if Orthodoxy wasn't in his life, he probably wouldn't be the least bit religious.

The only person who I have interacted that legitimately does love me is the Subdeacon there, who is leaving for Seminary in the Autumn (I think) and always jokes with me, sends me passages from the Church Fathers, and always tries to bring me into his conversations with his friends (he is about 5-10 years older than me), and the Matushka of the Priest (the Priest that is really passive aggressive), always hugging me, patting me on the head, etc., giving me blessed bread in Church, etc.

OCF is a nightmare as well, because aside from those in my Church, those in one of the other Churches (a Greek Church) have their own social clique, and it isn't because of Orthodoxy - it's because they are Greek. Two people really don't like me; they actually both pretend I don't exist when I try talking to them, and the others are too involved in their own social clique to acknowledge my own existence. Only one of them has actually maintained a conversation with me, but it's because she's a sweet girl but she only small talks with me, nothing more. Doesn't want anything to do with me.

And then here online, oh boy - it's pretty obvious that A LOT of people here don't like me; one just has to look at the responses to my "Kenya" post. Although at points - like that Kenyan post - it's probably justified, but sometimes it really isn't.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 10:17:47 PM by LivenotoneviL »
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Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2018, 10:20:16 PM »
I seriously wonder what I do to piss people off, hence the other thread I started. Maybe I'm acting in a way that's causing this antagonism that I can't obviously see; maybe it's something that I'm missing.

Or maybe people can just be unnecessarily cruel at points.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2018, 10:39:25 PM »
I seriously wonder what I do to piss people off, hence the other thread I started. Maybe I'm acting in a way that's causing this antagonism that I can't obviously see; maybe it's something that I'm missing.

Or maybe people can just be unnecessarily cruel at points.

Well, I can only speak for myself, but I don't hate you. I just find you kind of exhausting to interact with when everything is always the sky falling. The morbid histrionics and the temper (like how you jumped down Ainnir's throat for a post that was, at worst, ambiguous) are also kind of tough to deal with.

I've had similar issues on this forum in the past, though, so I can understand where you're coming from on a lot of these things. Maybe just try to relax and take a moment before you react to something? Try not to take the world on your shoulders and change things yourself? Worry can't change the color of a single hair.
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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2018, 10:49:38 PM »
What would make you feel wanted?

If there was a significant group of people in the Orthodox communities I'm a part of that wouldn't talk about me behind my back, judge me internally, show passive-aggression towards me, and legitimately have a keen interest in being friends with me - rather than wishing I didn't exist. The majority of people I interact with showcase these characteristics.

How can you tell (especially that they're judging you internally)? Sure you're not just being paranoid?

The "judging you internally" is but a predecessor for all the other characteristics. And although I'm sure to a certain extent I'm overthinking things and I'm being paranoid, I've had situations where my Priest showed very passionate passive-aggressiveness towards me, and sometimes was outright angry with me. Last entrant's group (And I hope that he doesn't see this online, because if he does, he'll know who I am online), we were packing up to go to Vespers, and I reminded them - as it is our habit - to say a prayer to the Theotokos, because he seemed to have forgotten. I didn't say it with condescension, nor did I say it with any kind of elitism or "trying to show off", etc., to which I've never seen so much anger on his face and felt so much negative energy, he responded with "I was going to... wow, you must be really holy, wanting to get to Vespers early." Okay, I'll give it a benefit of a doubt; I was immature and said something stupid... okay. Weeks before, I was "reading" a book a couple of tables away (really kind of being nosy into hearing the conversation between the two priests), and both Priests were discussing about who they expect to show up to the Entrant's Group - which I try to go to every week. When they brought up my name, they began laughing at each other, thinking I wasn't hearing; almost like I'm some kind of inside joke.

The priest overall has also been very passive aggressive towards me in terms of his actions, his attitude, and his discussions with me, no matter the topic in a way that's extremely difficult to describe... like in one instance, I was discussing what classes I was taking at the beginning of the Semester; and I was joking around about a class I was taking, which was a comparative Slavic Science Fiction course, and he said something along the lines of "Well, I'm glad that I'm paying tax money for your useless education."

The other Priest I've seldom talked to on a personal level.

But those are just the Priests. In my parish there are students my age! Oh boy!

There are generally three students who are my age who attend Church on a regular basis. Two are dating each other (I knew them before they were dating), the other really doesn't like me.

The two that are dating I've encountered situations where they have also been really passive aggressive towards me; I've encountered situations where I've run into them outside Church and they refuse to make eye-contact with me or say hi to me even though they've obviously looked at me. There was one situation where I wanted to go to dinner one night with both of them; they were both friends with me before they started "dating." During Lent, I wanted to take them to a Chinese Restaurant during Lent, and they said "No, it's Lent, we don't want to be gluttonous and want access to meat options." A week later, they literally went to this same exact restaurant and casually brought it up! Like, seriously? I've also talked with them via text and they most of the time just ignore my texts, no matter what it is. They also have at points gotten really aggressive for no reason or have gotten mad at me for no reason, showing a similar passive aggressiveness to me that the Priest shows.

Like one time, I asked him about life at his home parish, and the girl got really mad that I didn't refer to "this parish" as his home parish (that is, his parish when he is literally at home), and one time I brought up the fact jokingly that "English should be less confusing!", and he got extraordinarily mad at me for saying such a thing (he's an English major).

The third person I just don't think it's possible to get along with. I think me and him are like antitheses of each other; he is also glaringly politically and socially Liberal to the point that it's kind of uncomfortable for everyone in Church. He's only Orthodox because his parents were Russian; if Orthodoxy wasn't in his life, he probably wouldn't be the least bit religious.

The only person who I have interacted that legitimately does love me is the Subdeacon there, who is leaving for Seminary in the Autumn (I think) and always jokes with me, sends me passages from the Church Fathers, and always tries to bring me into his conversations with his friends (he is about 5-10 years older than me), and the Matushka of the Priest (the Priest that is really passive aggressive), always hugging me, patting me on the head, etc., giving me blessed bread in Church, etc.

OCF is a nightmare as well, because aside from those in my Church, those in one of the other Churches (a Greek Church) have their own social clique, and it isn't because of Orthodoxy - it's because they are Greek. Two people really don't like me; they actually both pretend I don't exist when I try talking to them, and the others are too involved in their own social clique to acknowledge my own existence. Only one of them has actually maintained a conversation with me, but it's because she's a sweet girl but she only small talks with me, nothing more. Doesn't want anything to do with me.

And then here online, oh boy - it's pretty obvious that A LOT of people here don't like me; one just has to look at the responses to my "Kenya" post. Although at points - like that Kenyan post - it's probably justified, but sometimes it really isn't.

It's hard for me to judge without hearing their sides of the story, much of this sounds very ambiguous. But given what you've said, yes that does sound pretty jerkish on their parts. I'm sorry you have to deal with that :(

All I can think of is, are a lot of them introverts? I'm pretty shy and introverted irl and I'm sure that comes off as standoffish to a lot of people that I bear absolutely no ill will towards in reality. I also sometimes make stupid comments trying to be funny and it comes off as rude. This is especially so since the main way that I come alive to people is when we're talking about something I know about or feel strongly about. So, it's pretty common for me to try and replicate that outside of those contexts and it just falling flat, if that makes any sense.


Off-topic, but Comparative Slavic Science Fiction sounds fascinating! I actually just bought a copy of Solaris and still need to read it. I love Capek, too. What are the books they've got you reading for the course?
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Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2018, 11:10:02 PM »
Solaris, The Futurological Congress, Zamyatin's We, Bloodchild, and All You Zombies were the books / short stories. The class was both film and literature (hence the comment from the Priest), which included Metropolis (which was a weird choice, considering it's German, but I guess due to the weird connection to Eisenstein the film has, I guess it's okay), Ex Machina, the Amphibian Man, Blade Runner, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (both the original and the 70s remake)
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 11:10:56 PM by LivenotoneviL »
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2018, 12:09:13 AM »
Solaris, The Futurological Congress, Zamyatin's We, Bloodchild, and All You Zombies were the books / short stories. The class was both film and literature (hence the comment from the Priest), which included Metropolis (which was a weird choice, considering it's German, but I guess due to the weird connection to Eisenstein the film has, I guess it's okay), Ex Machina, the Amphibian Man, Blade Runner, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (both the original and the 70s remake)

We is a really good book (that's an awkward sentence). So, have you enjoyed the class?
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Offline Rubricnigel

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2018, 11:22:17 PM »
About some members, I understand how ya feel, i get vibes from some people in my local church also.
Im not baptised yet, so some i think just dont want to talk because of that fact, or they think ill leave, etc.
Also im not greek, so i clearly see cliques, but i brush it off as i dont speak greek, and generally think its good for them to share a commonality.

The passive aggressive behavior by your priest is odd, i mean have you brought up to him how you feel? Its hard to bring up that type of conversation, but it sounds like it'd be beneficial to you.

I wish the best, my main advice would be to speak to your priest. Even mine is standoffish and hard to meet with, but hes busy so dont take it personal.

Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2018, 11:32:37 PM »
Yeah I will.
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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2018, 04:08:57 PM »
You sound like a pain in the butt.  Stop being one and the relationships will improve.  Be the guy who volunteers to mop the Church hall, not the guy who reminds the priest he forgot a prayer. 

Dear Deacon Lance, posting in such manner should not be present in any Christian forum. And it should not come from mouth (or, more precisely, fingers) of a clergyman.
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Offline IreneOlinyk

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2018, 06:40:10 PM »
You sound like a pain in the butt.  Stop being one and the relationships will improve.  Be the guy who volunteers to mop the Church hall, not the guy who reminds the priest he forgot a prayer.

Good advice.  Mop the floor or other chores at church will show people that you are not self-centred.

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2018, 08:57:22 PM »

Do what you can to serve the parish and the people.

If they talk about you...let them.  It is on them, not you.

I  used to cry on my way home from church for months.  It was terrible.  ...but, eventually, I have grown a thick skin, and just let it roll off my back.

I'm not there for the people, but, to worship and serve the Lord.
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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2018, 05:39:18 PM »
I know you can't do this with every single person in your life, but have you approached the priest and asked what if anything you can do to realign? Explain your thoughts and concerns instead of incubating them to the point of internal turmoil.

Maybe it's because I'm dealing with teaching someone on the spectrum how to read social cues, but these days I'm very keen to notice that sometimes our perceptions of someone's intentions (or even overt actions) are often quite wrong.

On that same note, the other thing to consider is that, if you seem to have a problem with so many people, maybe the problem isn't with everyone else. I'm not saying you're a jerk, or deficient or a screwup. But — but — maybe how you communicate to these people could be done with one foot on the brake. As Volnutt pointed out, you have a tendency to go into histrionics pretty quickly, and maybe — MAYBE — you're projecting that onto others when you see them being agitated or otherwise wronging you.

So, to bring it all the way back around: If you think you have a problem with someone, approach them gently and ask if there is something wrong or if there is something you can do better, and accept their answer in good faith.
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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2018, 10:15:02 AM »
And honestly, the advice to be the guy who mops the church hall is a pretty good one. The bulk of the saints were formed in scrubbing away grime in humility. Let the reader understand.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2018, 10:15:37 AM by Agabus »
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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2018, 11:31:22 AM »
I like you. That is their problem. You should go to church because you believe it will most help you for salvation because you believe what we believe and to share what you learn with others who are willing to hear whether they join the church or remain in their denomination.
They may be complete while not joining the church but it is easier in the church and only God knows if they deserve to be complete. Maybe they all are or maybe not but they can still be saved.  They also may better than us in some points but not our church but they need to be full but the Lord may give them fullness.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2018, 11:44:21 AM by mikeforjesus »

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2018, 11:50:26 AM »
I like you. That is their problem. You should go to church because you believe it will most help you for salvation because you believe what we believe and to share what you learn with others who are willing to hear whether they join the church or remain in their denomination.
They may be complete while not joining the church but it is easier in the church and only God knows if they deserve to be complete. Maybe they all are or maybe not but they can still be saved.  They also may better than us in some points but not our church but they need to be full but the Lord may give them fullness.

They may not all need to be full. But we want fullness. But we all got alot to work on I think before church unity.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2018, 11:55:06 AM by mikeforjesus »

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2018, 05:15:26 PM »
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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2018, 08:50:11 PM »
The Jesus Prayer .. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy.

Amen!
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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2018, 10:50:15 PM »
Lusek ( listen ) Your remind me of a story : This fellow ~ goes out one night and steals a farmers honey ~ the next day at church ~ as every one is saying good by at the door ~ he hears the word " honey"  ~ Honey this ~ honey that ~ so he confronts them ~  "why is everyone talking about honey " he shouts ``` Yes you are being paranoid ( if that's how you spell it )

Now let me go to the other side of the table ~ what if they were ~ talking about you ~ and think you have no faith ~ and ~ wouldn't be good for the Church ~ They are not the Church ~ even if they be holy men ~ they are men ~ The Church is a living thing ~ if you are truly of Our God ~ surely you are wanted ~ it ~ The Church ~ Will be good for you ~ and ~ you will be good for the Church ```



Be comfortable in The Lord ~ God bless you and yours ```
« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 11:20:17 PM by Sethrak »

Offline MariaJLM

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2018, 01:37:23 AM »
Lately I've had trouble fitting in at my parish. Fortunately, there's another one I can go that has people, including one of the priests, that I'm super close to. That is the easiest and obvious solution, but perhaps not feasible for people in smaller towns.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2018, 08:30:40 AM »
It sometimes feel like the Body of Christ really doesn't want me to become a member - via interactions with Priests and Laypeople - and I find it difficult to push forward when I have all this opposition against me. What do I do to push forward?

Decide you want the Church whether She wants you or not, then be patient and do what you can do with what you've got.  :)  You can still pray, practice charity and all the other virtues, attend services, and repent.
And realize that the Body of Christ is comprised of at least 2000 years'-worth of people you've never met,  most of whom have nothing but good and godly desires for you and for all of us.  :D

I will add that at one point I felt as you do, and did not get past it all that easily.  I felt stuck "between worlds" for a while there, the old one telling me don't go, and the local expression of the new not seeming all that concerned what I did.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 08:34:57 AM by Ainnir »
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no clue, so there's that.

Offline pasadi97

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2018, 12:47:24 PM »
No problem. God wants you and this is all that matter.
God the Father is great. God the Father is good.

Offline adecarion

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2018, 10:09:55 AM »
No problem. God wants you and this is all that matter.

Offline Tzimis

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2018, 10:17:13 AM »
If they didn't want my donation than I would just leave. You will see how fast they come a runnin!

Offline Iconodule

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2018, 10:18:30 AM »
Remember blind Bartimaeus entreating the Lord, over and over, "Have mercy on me!" The disciples respond by telling him to shut up. And those guys were the saints! But the Lord brought him in and healed him anyway.
Quote
When a time revolts against eternity, the only thing to set against it is genuine eternity itself, and not some other time which has already roused, and not without reason, a violent reaction against itself.
- Berdyaev

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Offline OrthoDisco

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2018, 05:25:48 AM »
Im an introvert anyway. But I find its best not to get too close to most people. Even church people.
Im always reminded of this AFTER I get to know people and realize that they are just on another path in life (to put it nicely)..
Some of us just dont have the energy to wade through all the issues, especially when we have our own to deal with.
If someone asks you to borrow money you should essentially give it, and never expect to see it again. That's kind of what interactions with people are like. lol.
I hope you figure things out. It sounds like you have to learn to just be OK with not being friends with everyone.
For your own peace.

Offline Sethrak

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Re: What to do when you feel like the Church doesn't want you?
« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2018, 11:21:41 PM »
If someone feels out of place ~ at coffee time after the Church Service ~ well so be it ~but of course the Church wants you, me, him, her the Church wants all of us ```You can't feel the God doesn't want you ~ that makes no sense ~ the Lord wants everyone ```