Author Topic: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life  (Read 1741 times)

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Offline adecarion

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Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« on: May 15, 2018, 11:30:12 AM »
Hello Everyone,

I was wondering how you guys have dealt with the question of the meaning of life in your conversion to Orthodoxy.  What I mean by this is that in a lot of other Christianities, there is an emphasis on "making an impact" on the world, or on "living your best life now" that I haven't really heard much of in Orthodoxy. It seems like everything in life is put in light of eternity to the point that this life is only to repent and receive the kingdom not of this world. I find this to be really hard to accept. I felt encouraged to enjoy life when I was a Protestant, Orthodoxy seems to discourage this. Is this a misunderstanding on my part?

To try and sum up my question, I will post a poem by W.B. Yeats about the difference between the so called "happy pagan" and the "sorrowful Christian."

The Fiddler of Dooney


WHEN I play on my fiddle in Dooney,   
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;   
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,   
My brother in Moharabuiee.   
 
I passed my brother and cousin:            5
They read in their books of prayer;   
I read in my book of songs   
I bought at the Sligo fair.   
 
When we come at the end of time,   
To Peter sitting in state,     10
He will smile on the three old spirits,   
But call me first through the gate;   
 
For the good are always the merry,   
Save by an evil chance,   
And the merry love the fiddle     15
And the merry love to dance:   
 
And when the folk there spy me,   
They will all come up to me,   
With ‘Here is the fiddler of Dooney!’   
And dance like a wave of the sea.     20
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 11:31:08 AM by adecarion »

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 11:57:48 AM »
I'm guessing Blake's lines, "...And priests in black gowns were making their rounds, and binding with briars my joys and desires" were bouncing around somewhere in Yeats' head. To answer your question, I would say there is a continuum of Orthodox attitudes, from dour asceticism to earthy humanism. Maybe sometimes in the same person! Clearly many Orthodox Christians, clergy and monastics included, value poetry, music, dance, as all these things are in abundance in Orthodox cultures around the world. I guess the question would really be what the source of joy is- is it a carnal, earthbound, and ultimately fleeting joy, or is it the joy of the incarnation, the joining of the things of earth to the things of heaven, the light of Christ suffusing all creation? So of course we should enjoy life, just for the right reason and in the right direction.

On the other hand sometimes crossing one's arms, frowning, and despising the world seems appropriate.
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Offline GREGORIO

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2018, 12:10:33 PM »
Quote
in a lot of other Christianities, there is an emphasis on "making an impact" on the world, or on "living your best life now" that I haven't really heard much of in Orthodoxy. It seems like everything in life is put in light of eternity to the point that this life is only to repent and receive the kingdom not of this world.

This is pretty accurate.  Orthodox Christians much like the early Christians that faced martyrdom try to grow in faith and hope in the eternal life and let go of the hold on this passing fallen life.  The Church believes Christ when He emphasizes the suddenness in which we can pass from this life to the next, and the foolishness to enjoy pleasures at the cost of eternal life.  So knowing that the world will be transformed, it makes no sense to live it up and try to make life more pleasurable at the expense of not becoming like God.  Christ emphasized living like Him, which was very simply because it is easy to be caught up with distractions even if they are not sinful in of themselves. 

So we do enjoy life, like was mentioned in the previous post, but we try to do so only with a clear conscience and remember to not forsake prayer, fasting, reading, and other practices the Holy Fathers have taught as crucial to spiritual life.

When Orthodox Christians die unexpectedly, I am sure that it is easier for the family to not be so grieved because they have developed a heavenly hope and have not put as much emphasis on their earthly impact other than being a God-like person.

This is all in theory of course, I am sure that many Orthodox Christians struggle very hard trying to imitate our Saints.

Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2018, 12:14:40 PM »
I think an important aspect is that we enjoy life...but not as the end goal. 

The goal is not to enjoy life now, but to better prepare for the life ahead and the judgement.

I think that really differs from the current prevailing trend in Christianity of 'I am blessed...look at my house, car, family.....'   I mean when people are making 'Blessed' merchandise.....they are showing where their heart lies.....its the 'blessed'ness of the now.
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Offline PittbullMom

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 12:23:27 PM »
In the book The Orthodox Way by Kolistos Ware, Best thing i ever read as far as what mans task is on earth. We are cocreaters with God made in his image. Great book, you should read it.


Offline Iconodule

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 02:20:44 PM »
Met. Kallistos is a good example of a broad-minded theologian who is learned, cultured, and humanistic without being worldly or compromising the faith. Of course this does not prevent the resentment of reactionary loudmouths.
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Offline RobS

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2018, 03:30:27 PM »
I'm told there is a sober joy and complete freedom by embracing martyrdom, which is what all Christians are called to do. Of course therein lies the difficulty...
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2018, 04:10:35 PM »
Since you asked on a personal level: I'm a very anxious and hyperactive person, embracing Orthodoxy made me feel more conscious and leave or at least try to leave outlets like casual sex, partying (not necessarily wrong, but I try to skip them in fast days or if it will make me go sleep to late a day before liturgy), heavy drinking and [censored by the FDA]. This stuff were fun, but all of these secular outlets are and always will be temporary and tiring, while Christ and only Christ is able to warm up my heart at any time and mood. Crucifying passions for greater good is what Christian life is in a big part about. It gives life meaning and direction, which is not always the funniest thing since it also involves a lot of responsibility, but it is a complete experience things of this world can hardly offer in the long run.

The commonplace "happy Pagan" idea is idiotic and just a romantic reading of Rousseau's noble savage.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 04:11:17 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 04:52:06 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I was wondering how you guys have dealt with the question of the meaning of life in your conversion to Orthodoxy.  What I mean by this is that in a lot of other Christianities, there is an emphasis on "making an impact" on the world, or on "living your best life now" that I haven't really heard much of in Orthodoxy. It seems like everything in life is put in light of eternity to the point that this life is only to repent and receive the kingdom not of this world. I find this to be really hard to accept. I felt encouraged to enjoy life when I was a Protestant, Orthodoxy seems to discourage this. Is this a misunderstanding on my part?

To try and sum up my question, I will post a poem by W.B. Yeats about the difference between the so called "happy pagan" and the "sorrowful Christian."

The Fiddler of Dooney


WHEN I play on my fiddle in Dooney,   
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;   
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,   
My brother in Moharabuiee.   
 
I passed my brother and cousin:            5
They read in their books of prayer;   
I read in my book of songs   
I bought at the Sligo fair.   
 
When we come at the end of time,   
To Peter sitting in state,     10
He will smile on the three old spirits,   
But call me first through the gate;   
 
For the good are always the merry,   
Save by an evil chance,   
And the merry love the fiddle     15
And the merry love to dance:   
 
And when the folk there spy me,   
They will all come up to me,   
With ‘Here is the fiddler of Dooney!’   
And dance like a wave of the sea.     20

Is that talking about Pagans per se or just about people in general who don't have a stick up their rear? Orthodox countries certainly love their dance and drink, after all.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 04:53:31 PM »
Yeah, the figure in the Yeats poem is really just a happy Catholic who isn't a greyface. As Rapha suggests, pagans can be just as dour and joyless as anyone.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 05:06:47 PM »
I'm told there is a sober joy and complete freedom by embracing martyrdom, which is what all Christians are called to do. Of course therein lies the difficulty...

I've gone in and out of periods of despondency where I don't care whether I live or die and would kind of prefer the latter (not quite suicidal, but I've had plenty of those feelings too and the despondency easily leads into it).

It's not a holy state by any means, so I don't compare it with martyrdom, but there is a certain relief in just feeling completely empty and free of worldly cares.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 05:07:32 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2018, 05:14:06 PM »
1 Corinthians 7:31 talks about those who use the goods of this world being as though they did not use them (often glossed in modern translations as not being dependent upon them). I don't have the exact quote, but Met. Anthony Bloom also talks about the key to being poor in spirit as having an empty handed attitude towards life- being happy to use anything but not sad if you happen to lose it. Just kind of existing in the moment, but keeping your eyes on things above.

That's probably the freest existence possible. Aliens and strangers in the world, always ready to die but knowing that to be absent from the body is to be home with the Lord, morning but not as those who have no hope, etc.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 05:15:48 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline RobS

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2018, 05:22:56 PM »
1 Corinthians 7:31 talks about those who use the goods of this world being as though they did not use them (often glossed in modern translations as not being dependent upon them). I don't have the exact quote, but Met. Anthony Bloom also talks about the key to being poor in spirit as having an empty handed attitude towards life- being happy to use anything but not sad if you happen to lose it. Just kind of existing in the moment, but keeping your eyes on things above.

That's probably the freest existence possible. Aliens and strangers in the world, always ready to die but knowing that to be absent from the body is to be home with the Lord, morning but not as those who have no hope, etc.
I'd love to read the quote from the Metropolitan if you can find it.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2018, 05:28:01 PM »
1 Corinthians 7:31 talks about those who use the goods of this world being as though they did not use them (often glossed in modern translations as not being dependent upon them). I don't have the exact quote, but Met. Anthony Bloom also talks about the key to being poor in spirit as having an empty handed attitude towards life- being happy to use anything but not sad if you happen to lose it. Just kind of existing in the moment, but keeping your eyes on things above.

That's probably the freest existence possible. Aliens and strangers in the world, always ready to die but knowing that to be absent from the body is to be home with the Lord, morning but not as those who have no hope, etc.
I'd love to read the quote from the Metropolitan if you can find it.

It's from "Learning to Pray." I think my little copy fell under the bed frame and it'll be a production number to get it out. But I'll try.

He also tells a story about how he was going to visit somebody and he was so hungry, but all they had to offer him was half a cucumber. He talks about how in that moment he thanked God for it just like he would for a lavish feast. So, there's a lot of importance too in learning to be satisfied with what God gives and enjoy it to its fullest even if it's just a little.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline RobS

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2018, 05:44:57 PM »
It's from "Learning to Pray." I think my little copy fell under the bed frame and it'll be a production number to get it out. But I'll try.

He also tells a story about how he was going to visit somebody and he was so hungry, but all they had to offer him was half a cucumber. He talks about how in that moment he thanked God for it just like he would for a lavish feast. So, there's a lot of importance too in learning to be satisfied with what God gives and enjoy it to its fullest even if it's just a little.

I'm reading the book now, the "poor in spirit" beatitude he discusses is in the beginning of "Knocking at the Door". Too much to type, but it is a wonderful read.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2018, 05:50:48 PM »
It's from "Learning to Pray." I think my little copy fell under the bed frame and it'll be a production number to get it out. But I'll try.

He also tells a story about how he was going to visit somebody and he was so hungry, but all they had to offer him was half a cucumber. He talks about how in that moment he thanked God for it just like he would for a lavish feast. So, there's a lot of importance too in learning to be satisfied with what God gives and enjoy it to its fullest even if it's just a little.

I'm reading the book now, the "poor in spirit" beatitude he discusses is in the beginning of "Knocking at the Door". Too much to type, but it is a wonderful read.

It is, yeah.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline platypus

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2018, 07:25:17 PM »
I felt encouraged to enjoy life when I was a Protestant, Orthodoxy seems to discourage this. Is this a misunderstanding on my part?

I have yet to encounter this sentiment in Orthodoxy. No doubt people who hate fun can be found in the Church, I just don't know any.

There is an article on Pravmir called "The Theological Necessity for Humor" that might interest you, found here: http://www.pravmir.com/the-theological-necessity-for-humor/
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2018, 07:52:02 PM »
Nvm.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 07:52:37 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2018, 09:10:05 PM »
Lol, I swear Fr. Freeman lurks these boards. I can't count the number of times I've been notified of a new post of his that addresses a running thread. Basically, he argues that some suffering is an essential component of a meaningful life.

To quote part:

Quote
In the Genesis account, the man and woman exist in the Garden. It is an abiding image of an unfallen world prior to sin. There is neither punishment nor death in that place. But at the very heart of the Garden is a Tree that says, “No!” This Tree alone makes possible the self-denial that is synonymous with love. Everything else within the Garden brings enjoyment and satisfaction. As such, the Garden could be the breeding ground of pure self-interest – a colony of hell. Only the Tree whose fruit cannot be eaten makes the Garden into Paradise.

That Tree also represents every other person and thing in our lives. We are not placed into the world to consume one another. There are elements within every person and within every object that are forbidden to us. There are boundaries that must be regarded and respected. Without such boundaries, we would become all-consuming demons, devouring one another and everything around us. We would be transformed into narcissists of infinite proportions.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Justin Kolodziej

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2018, 10:24:10 PM »
I felt encouraged to enjoy life when I was a Protestant, Orthodoxy seems to discourage this. Is this a misunderstanding on my part?

I have yet to encounter this sentiment in Orthodoxy. No doubt people who hate fun can be found in the Church, I just don't know any.

There is an article on Pravmir called "The Theological Necessity for Humor" that might interest you, found here: http://www.pravmir.com/the-theological-necessity-for-humor/
Did he just make the wisdom of the Desert Fathers into stand-up comedy?
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Offline RobS

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2018, 11:03:10 PM »
Here Volnutt, made this my FB Status...

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh says we must remember that all we possess is a gift. "Blessed are the poor in spirit" - there is the very clear fact that we possess nothing which we can keep. It is this discovery - "I am nothing and that I have nothing", total hopeless poverty. We exist because we have been willed into existence...we have done nothing for it. We do not possess life in such a way that it is impossible for anyone to take it away from us and all that we possess is ephemeral in this way. That leads to the second aspect of the Beatitude that we ARE in possession of things that are ours in a way that cannot be taken away from us. We are rich and everything which we possess is a gift and a sign of the love of God and the love of men, it is a continuous gift of divine love. As long as we possess nothing, divine love is manifested continuously and fully. Everything we do take into our own hands to possess is taken out of the realm of love. Only those who give everything away become aware of true spiritual poverty and possess the love of God in all His gifts. As long as we have nothing in our hands, we can take, leave, do whatever we want.

This is the Kingdom, the sense that we are free from possession, and this freedom establishes us in a relationship where everything is love - human love and divine love.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2018, 11:23:56 PM »
Here Volnutt, made this my FB Status...

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh says we must remember that all we possess is a gift. "Blessed are the poor in spirit" - there is the very clear fact that we possess nothing which we can keep. It is this discovery - "I am nothing and that I have nothing", total hopeless poverty. We exist because we have been willed into existence...we have done nothing for it. We do not possess life in such a way that it is impossible for anyone to take it away from us and all that we possess is ephemeral in this way. That leads to the second aspect of the Beatitude that we ARE in possession of things that are ours in a way that cannot be taken away from us. We are rich and everything which we possess is a gift and a sign of the love of God and the love of men, it is a continuous gift of divine love. As long as we possess nothing, divine love is manifested continuously and fully. Everything we do take into our own hands to possess is taken out of the realm of love. Only those who give everything away become aware of true spiritual poverty and possess the love of God in all His gifts. As long as we have nothing in our hands, we can take, leave, do whatever we want.

This is the Kingdom, the sense that we are free from possession, and this freedom establishes us in a relationship where everything is love - human love and divine love.

Thanks!
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline adecarion

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2018, 09:00:34 AM »
Thank you to everyone for your responses. I found a very helpful article online about the connection between joy and sorrow over sin.

http://ww1.antiochian.org/node/25366

It looks like for Yeats's merry fiddler, joy must be mixed with sorrow. This is self evidently true of the Irish people. They are full of happy music and dancing, but yet look a little deeper and you find immense suffering and heart ache. Yeats's poetry as a whole is a great example of this, there is always an acknowledgment of sorrow mingled with joy. I can't believe really that I didn't see that two days ago.

I think, after having been on my journey to Orthodoxy for about a year now, I have been coming to terms with the strong language of repentance within it. The psalms are full of lament over sin. I can give you the impression that Orthodoxy is just a bunch of navel gazing. But, I think this article I posted above makes a great point when he talks about "joyful sorrow." 

"This word is found in the work of St. John of Sinai,4 the author of the Ladder of Divine Ascent, and was probably coined by him. It means “joyful sorrow” or “bitter joy,” and it is the normative spirit of the Christian. Young children model this charmolypi when, in the midst of a crying spasm, with tears running down their faces, they catch a glimpse of their mother staring lovingly at them, and then they break into laughter. Tears, laughter, tears, and laughter are meshed together, and soon all comes to calm. So it is with the repenting Christian, who perceives the gaze of His loving heavenly Father. Our tears become infused with joy."

I have a two year old son and I have definitely seen this. I can even remember experiencing this. The truth is that if we really are sick with our sin, and we carry about shame and guilt over it, then coming to terms with it is the healthiest thing for us to do. It shouldn't be navel gazing and self-aggrandizing, but just the earnest desire to come to terms with what is really happening to us.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2018, 12:01:41 PM »
Being Orthodox, is what gives my life meaning.

I cannot imagine living without the Faith.  It has "restrictions", but, nothing that is so awful.  Even as children we are taught to keep our hands out of the fire, for our own good.

Christ, through His Church, is what breathes life in to every aspect of our days.

Glory to God for loving His creation so much that He did all this for us.

I am not sure with which aspect you struggle.

We DO live in the "here and now".  We are to help others every minute of the day, we tend our gardens, enjoy the wildlife, bask in the sunshine....  What is lacking?
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 12:02:42 PM by LizaSymonenko »
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

Offline OrthoDisco

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2018, 06:19:45 AM »
I have a very casual answer (non theological) for part of this:

I think its because Orthodox are redpilled. This earthly life  is like a lie. (Society obscures God and nature at every turn, our histories and spiritual heritage has been hidden from us, literal demonic spirits want to kill us, and more.) Perhaps that sounds crazy, but once I discovered what Orthodoxy was , I was like: Woah, this life is serious, God is serious, Jesus is serious, being separated from Him is serious, repentance is serious, etc ...
Once you realize things are serious, and that Jesus is not our homeboy/dude/bro/ *insert other casual title I used to hear as a protestant*/  then you're never the same about what it is to 'struggle' to be Christian.
***
Ive been watching this adorable anime and because its japanese it has a lot to do with various dieties and spirits in shinto. In one episode there's a tiny mushroom spirit that  had a brief encounter with an important diety, and they became friends. One day the diety left to continue his ascetic journey. The little mushroom spirit was grief stricken at having lost his only friend, and desperately wanted to become worthy of becoming his follower so they could be reunited. And so the little mushroom desired to become closer to the deity by becoming more like him through struggle (working hard at it), hoping one day to be accepted as a worthy follower. Well I was floored at this level of understanding that could very well translate into Christianity, and quite frankly every christian should be thinking this way, yet I found it was not really the case in protestant churches I ever belonged to. Orthodoxy  is like that little mushroom spirit, and there's just a certain other-level of spiritual awareness we're given (via tradition) that probably makes it appear like  Orthodox are "less joyful".

« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 06:34:00 AM by OrthoDisco »

Offline Orthodox_Slav

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2018, 11:29:40 AM »
Orthodoxy is the truth always remember that!
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 11:30:04 AM by Orthodox_Slav »
"Two Romes fell, a third stands, and there will not be a fourth one."-Philotheus of Pskov

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life!- Paschal troparion

Offline Vanhyo

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2018, 01:32:52 PM »
Quote
I felt encouraged to enjoy life when I was a Protestant, Orthodoxy seems to discourage this. Is this a misunderstanding on my part?


Yes.

Offline Vanhyo

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2018, 02:34:28 PM »
Maybe st Seraphim of Sarov, have the answers you are looking for

Offline Alpo

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2018, 03:12:26 PM »
Orthodoxy is the truth always remember that!

I've been moving away from this kind of emphasis during recent years. I guess it's natural for recent converts like me to think this way but I've started to think it as a temptation which leads into arrogance one usually encounters on internets.
I just need to find out how to say it in Slavonic!

Offline jah777

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Re: Orthodoxy and a Meaningful Life
« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2018, 12:13:22 PM »
In much of Protestantism, there is the idea that salvation is something immediately granted upon believing in Christ or "asking the Lord into your heart".  After that, there is nothing else really necessary for salvation so you might as well go around the world convincing other people to become Christians or figure out how to live your life where you are as a happy, healthy, optimistic Christian by combining Christian faith with positive optimism of self-help teachings so popular in the secular world.  For many Protestant pastors, they seek to make a name for themselves by writing books that break into the world of secular self-help literature by offering an optimistic, happy, health, successful, image of what life and Christianity could be like.  Unfortunately, none of this is  necessarily from God and the message may not correspond at all with how we should live as Orthodox Christians. 

The purpose of life is theosis, becoming like God by participating in his energies.  This occurs through purifying the heart and receiving the Holy Spirit initially through Orthodox baptism.  Prayer, fasting/asceticism, and frequent participation in the Church's mysteries helps one to go "from glory to glory" turning from the lower passions to the virtues with the hope of becoming more and more like God.  Salvation is the healing of the soul from its sinful passions and becoming a true dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes, a great deal of suffering and struggle accompany the fight against the passions, sometimes a great deal of embarrassment and shame accompany the sincere confession of sins in the presence of a priest, yet the deeper the repentance and humility, the greater we experience the peace and joy that can only come from the Holy Spirit. 

Outside of Orthodoxy, there is not another Christianity or another path that leads a person to a deep enough repentance and humility, a deep enough purification, to lead a person to experience so deeply the peace and joy that comes only from the Holy Spirit.  Consequently, when various denominations read about the gifts of the Holy Spirit but without the means of acquiring these gifts, they may display an appearance of joy, enthusiasm, or optimism that is not necessarily from God.  So, reading Christian self-help books that are very optimistic may help someone feel better, more optimistic, more excited, etc., but this is not necessarily in any way related to the path of purification and theosis for which we were created.