Author Topic: Going Full Circle  (Read 834 times)

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Offline Saxon

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Going Full Circle
« on: July 17, 2019, 03:16:10 PM »
For those of you familiar with my background, you know how things were "complicated". Anyway, I took a break from Orthodoxy to collect myself in the aftermath of things. I went back to my OCA parish for Liturgy a week before Pascha - and felt nothing. Absolutely nothing, save for an active desire to not be there. I tried a local Greek parish, and felt the same, and was greeted by a priest asking me if I’m “Greek Orthodox”. Upon explaining that I’m Orthodox but not Greek, I was told flatly that this church is for Greek Orthodox. Another parish more interested in being an ethnic social club than a church, which, around here, is the story of literally every Orthodox church save for the OCA parish (which itself uses an embarrassing amount of Russian jargon and symbolism).

Upon first becoming a disenchanted Protestant, I had seriously studied Catholicism for the better part of a year before looking to Orthodoxy. Looking back to Western Christianity, I went to a couple of Latin Rite Masses at a local traditionalist parish. Again, I found it dull and uninspiring. I was hit by the realization that rote prayers and repetitive ceremony are not for me. That’s been as much of a sticking point as rotten clergy and theological issues.

I also came around to the fact that I fundamentally don’t accept a number of key Orthodox dogmatic teachings. I’m not going to get into specifics, as I know there will be plenty of responses, likely citing scripture and church doctrine, to contradict me and assert the accuracy of the Orthodox Church’s position. I’m well aware of the cases for both sides and am not convinced or interested. I spent four years trying to convince myself of Orthodox beliefs and, in the end, found myself more convinced than ever that it’s not the true church.

In the meantime I found a copy of Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer at a used book store. I read through it and was fascinated. I then picked up his latest book, a biography of Martin Luther that extrapolates heavily on the rationale behind Luther’s theological framework. I contacted a local LCC (ie. LCMS) pastor and was given a recommended reading list that I’ve been working my way through. To bring a long story to an abrupt end, I found exactly what I’ve been looking for. It’s the first time I’ve encountered a specific Christian approach that is, in my view, firmly theologically-grounded and faithful to scripture. So, moving forward, I’m cautiously optimistic my long journey is at an end.

Offline Lepanto

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2019, 03:43:31 PM »
I will not comment on your decision to go towards the Lutherans. I just feel that you have gone through quite some pain, searching for truth and a welcoming parish. It is something I can understand.
May you find peace. Lord, have mercy on Saxon.
Sanctus Deus, Sanctus fortis, Sanctus immortalis, miserere nobis.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2019, 03:58:03 PM »

I cannot say that I am happy about this...although I am happy you have found some form of "peace" for the moment.

You stated:

It’s the first time I’ve encountered a specific Christian approach that is, in my view, firmly theologically-grounded and faithful to scripture. So, moving forward, I’m cautiously optimistic my long journey is at an end.

There is nothing in Orthodoxy that goes against Scripture. 

However, I am sorry that the Greek Church made you feel unwelcome.  That is something that priest will have to answer for one day.... and I would hate to be in his shoes when he does.

I am a diehard lifetime member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.... however, I have visited every flavor of Orthodoxy - Antiochian, Serbian, Romanian, Greek, Russian, OCA, Macedonian/Bulgarian, Albanian, etc... and NEVER was made to feel unwelcome. 

Granted, I didn't understand a word of the 100% Romanian Liturgy, however, I knew exactly what was going on, so, other than the Gospel reading.... I actually did understand.

I hope and pray that one day you will find your way back to Orthodoxy.

I wish you peace.
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 hecma925

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2019, 04:40:07 PM »
Lord, have mercy.  I hope you find joy, even when happiness comes and goes.
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

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Offline Ainnir

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2019, 04:58:31 PM »
Lord, have mercy.
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no idea, so there’s that.

Offline noahzarc1

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2019, 11:14:42 PM »
Saxon, thank you very much for your candor and honesty.
"While we fight about words, take advantage of ambiguities, criticize authors, fight on party questions, have difficulty in agreeing, and prepare to anathematize each other, there is scarce a man who belongs to Christ." - Hilary of Poitiers (367)

Offline platypus

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2019, 11:51:41 PM »
The Lutheran Satire guy is an LCMS pastor, so I assume they're pretty cool.

God bless you, Saxon! I wish you'd had a better experience in the Church. You'll be in my prayers.
"Eternal truth finds no favorable soil where one encounters at every turn the skeptical, sarcastic query 'what is truth,' where life insurance takes the place of eternal hope." -Hieromonk Antonius

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. -Ecclesiastes 12:8

Offline Story

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2019, 11:55:34 PM »
I'm sorry you had a negative experience. In my personal experience, the Orthodox churches I've been to have been kind and welcoming, but I know that sadly that is not always the case.

At any rate, I wish you peace. Yes, I hope you circle back to Orthodoxy, but obviously you still are a Christian and that's good. I hope Christ continues to shape your life.

Offline Zephyr7

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2019, 02:46:29 AM »
Dear Saxon,

As a person who was struggling in the past - I can tell you this: orthodoxy is not about feelings.. You can fully discover it and embrace it when you change yourself, step aside from your ego (from me, my feelings, my needs, my desires, etc.) and start noticing other people around and dooing good things for them.

1) find a priest, start praying
2) read st. Paisios (he worked with protestants and lutherans and converted them back into orthodoxy)
3) attend liturgies

do not expect to feel anything - nothing spectacular. Give yourself some time and see what happens. God does not leave anyone.

Offline isxodnik

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2019, 03:29:15 AM »
*shrug shoulders* And I 25 years in Orthodoxy, and tangibly am confident in his truth. So what?
всё равно его не брошу, потому что он хороший!

Offline Dominika

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2019, 03:12:49 PM »
In various countries, I've met in person Orthodox: Polish, Lemko, Ukrainian, Serbian, Macedonian, Russian, Bulgarian, Greek, Belgian, Romanian, Moldavian, America, Indian, Ugandian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian, Assyrian, Syriac, Turkish-Arabic, Cypriot, Hondurenian, Gutemalan, Brazilian, Georgian, Armenian, Scottish, Slovak, Czech, Ethiopian, Hungarian and probably others that I can't recall right now. Everybody felt at home.

I know you have a difficult experience, story. But it doesn't mean that every (or even the most of) Orthodox parishe(s) is (are) an ethnic club.
Orthodoxy is a jihad/podvig = struggle. And true Christianity is about this. Not to be in convenient situation, not to have a rest. There is no time neither space for a rest in Christian life. And Orthodox gives good weapons for this struggle. Please, think about this. Pray over this.
Pray for persecuted Christians, especially in Serbian Kosovo and Raška, Egypt and Syria

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Offline augustin717

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2019, 04:34:00 PM »
Orthodoxy is a jihad/podvig
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I love this!
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2019, 06:13:32 PM »
"Not all who wander are lost."  If Saxon seeks God, God will guide him.  :)
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no idea, so there’s that.

Offline 123abc

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2019, 06:12:51 AM »
Saxon-

Your story is so similar to my own, right down to the "Are you Greek?" Interogation. I have eventually landed at a liturgically high church Anglican parish that adheres to the 39 Articles. Although I find both Orthodoxy and Traditional Catholicism beautiful in the outer sphere, I agree neither is Scriptural.
Saved by the Grace of Christ apart from works.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them...

Offline Justinian of Narnia

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2019, 11:37:44 AM »
Lord have mercy.
"Stand at the brink of the abyss of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little and have a cup of tea" ~Elder Sophrony of Essex

Offline Agabus

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2019, 11:40:01 AM »
Go in peace. The doors are open should you want to return.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

Take a breath, read Ecclesiastes 1:9.

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Going Full Circle
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2019, 01:35:20 PM »
Go in peace. The doors are open should you want to return.

On that note, thread locked.

Mor Ephrem, section moderator