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Author Topic: Instant Conversions?  (Read 5119 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 28, 2006, 04:19:22 PM »

I will in no way pretend to be a philosopher, but it appears that if Orthodoxy is to spread across the USA at a fair pace, then it seems that we need to be able to make disciples for Christ in ways like those recorded in Acts; that is, right then.

I am all for study and respecting the traditions, but, say, if a whole family inquires at an OC and they are sincere and want to accept Christ, then why not allow it in short order and teach them as they grow?  Let's face it, even after a year of study by a Catechumen, an infinite amount of knowledge remains to be gained concerning God.

It concerns me that "we" (sorry, I'm still pre-catechumen Wink) could turn away earnest families that are seeking Christ and a new life and the path to salvation by not having some way to "process" them, in a relatively quick manner, into the life of the Church.  And, no, my thoughts are not invoked by being raised in America's "instant gratification" society; certainly those souls added to the Church in Acts knew nothing of the sort.

Do not take what I say wrongly; I simply wish for all that are drawn to the truth of Christ to be able to be fully accepted and begin living with Him in worship and in the sacraments, while growing in knowledge and faith.  

Someone out there tell me what I am missing here.
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2006, 04:30:03 PM »

I understand the sentiment that animates your post -- a strong personal desire for the sacraments and a strong desire to help others -- but, in general, I would say that the modern (canonical) Church in America does things fairly quickly by post-Acts standards. I know a good number of people who spent no more than 6 months in their catechumenate.

Anyway, to balance the sentiments mentioned above, we must also consider (a) the benefits of some catechetical and spiritual preparation for such a major sacrament (not to mention life-change), (b) the benefits of practicing patience and humility, and (c) the possibility that even today, as of yore, the catechumenate acts as a positive buffer, keeping people from entering the Church for the wrong reasons.

While initiation into the mystical life of the Church is glorious, it is also perilous.
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2006, 04:31:56 PM »

You make a good point about Orthodox practices differing from the Scriptural norm. I suppose that someone might say something about it being a process, and taking time to fully adapt and get used to the profundity of the direction you are headed... but then that might be applied in the opposite case as well (ie. leaving Orthodox is not an instant deconversion, but a process). In both cases, when one doesn't know what to do or think, it is normal to fall back on a "safe zone" of what was previously held to or done (and this probably many times is done without a person even realising it). Part of the turmoil (going either way  Grin ) is learning to balance things so that you are zealous to change and willing to learn, but not to the point where you lose perspective or go overboard.
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2006, 01:34:36 AM »

I understand the sentiment that animates your post -- a strong personal desire for the sacraments and a strong desire to help others -- but, in general, I would say that the modern (canonical) Church in America does things fairly quickly by post-Acts standards. I know a good number of people who spent no more than 6 months in their catechumenate.


This is great, but may be that time can be reduced even more, at least in some cases. I admire of extent and depth of knowledge about Orthodoxy, that many converts possess. Unfortunately, we have to admit that the problem of nominal cradle Orthodox exists. I am a cradle Orthodox myself and I am not generalizing. But just compare dedication and knowledge of catechumens and status of those "nominally Orthodox".
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2006, 02:26:44 AM »

Quote
Unfortunately, we have to admit that the problem of nominal cradle Orthodox exists. I am a cradle Orthodox myself and I am not generalizing. But just compare dedication and knowledge of catechumens and status of those "nominally Orthodox".
And yet, our "nominally Orthodox" ancestors stubbornly stuck to their faith, during hundreds of years of persecution, discrimination and pressions to enter the Roman fold. I say this since you are a Ukrainian; I don't know however, whether you come from Western Ukraine, where these things happened, as they happened in Transylvania, too.
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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2006, 06:59:13 AM »

Here here Augustin17!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2006, 07:04:42 AM »

Furthermore, I am tired of hearing about nominal Orthodox. Who are you to judge your brother or sister as nominal. Can you see into their heart?

Willie. Sorry that a controversy erupted on your thread. Patience brother. No one can assure that you or I or anyone will fall away in the future. But the long process, as noted, is to assure that you know fully what you are entering into. The instant conversion that we see today is an evangelical phenomenon brought about in the last 200 years. Though not a theologian, I am assume that quick conversion were necessary in the early church for immediate growth; however, the Bible is silent abouth what happened to some of these people most notably the Ethiopian eunuch and the Roman official and his family at Ceasaria. Given the culture of the day they were probably taken in an taught the faith by the apostles. I am strethcing here. maybe one of our theologian bloggers could elaborate.

Welcom and patience.
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2006, 02:03:07 PM »

Yes, Augustin717, I am from Western Ukraine and there was a lot of persecution going on there. Thank you for bringing it up. I appreciate that you are aware about it.
Aserb, trust me, I am not judging people here. Because I am just comparing with extreme conditions. Some people in our days may be baptized in Orthodox church and never ever attend an Orthodox service at all in their lives. I mean, at all, and I am comparing with this extreme condition only. Instead, some catechumens already learned a lot about the faith during a hard and dedicated work in months of preparation to their conversion. Still, they are not baptized / chrismated yet. Their dedication can be seen, and by this it can be said that their hearts can be seen. Our ancestors in Romania, Serbia, Greece, modern territory of Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, etc. were not nominal. As you said, Augustin717, they were stubborn in their faith, loved it and stayed in it even being exposed to life threatening dangers. So God could see their hearts as well. Of course, I am not considering all cradle Orthodox nominal. No way!
I apologize to those, who may consider that my previous post sounded controversial. I think I was not clear enough, but it was absolutely not my intent. The idea of my message was that at least some people, who are in process of preparation for conversion, can be ready even after 2-3 months. I agree that some other persons may want a longer process themselves. Some other conditions may apply.
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2006, 03:55:27 PM »

Quote
will in no way pretend to be a philosopher, but it appears that if Orthodoxy is to spread across the USA at a fair pace, then it seems that we need to be able to make disciples for Christ in ways like those recorded in Acts; that is, right then.

Well, we definitly need to be like the Disciples at the beggining.  One thing I'll say though, is the structure of the Church does differ to a degree from then.  Then, the converts were pagans and although a polytheism jump to a montheistic jump is large, in someways it's easier, especially in what direction pagan philosophy was heading to that time.  People were also largely pluralistic then and one god did not differ to much from another.  Whereas now there is a larger difference in finer detail.  With many people converting from Church's that practically preach damnation in other faiths, it is a little harder to make that jump.

Now, I've seen long and short cathecumin times and I've seen advantages on both.  Personally, mine was short and under six months.  Yes, there were many unanswered questions after my baptisim, but I truly think having the grace of the Holy Spirit helped me become a better Christian.  However, there are other people who may have larger hang-ups and have to deal with those.  Personally, I think that the priest needs to shape it by person to person instead of having a uniform conversion policy.

As to nominal cradles, yes they exist, but so do nominal converts.  I don't really see it as an either or.  In addition, there are many cradles who definitly surpass converts in knowledge and often they can have a stronger faith, where some converts are more apt to be questioning.  However, that also works in reverese.  To be truthful, I am a little wary of the seperation we try to make between convert and cradle.  I do believe that there is an underlying  psycology, and I find this fascinating.  However, you cannot take this too far.  You have intellectual genius that converted  and intellectual genius that were cradle.  
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2006, 04:40:36 PM »

To be truthful, I am a little wary of the seperation we try to make between convert and cradle.  I do believe that there is an underlying  psycology, and I find this fascinating.  However, you cannot take this too far.  You have intellectual genius that converted  and intellectual genius that were cradle.  

I very strongly agree!
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« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2006, 05:17:24 PM »

I believe alot of it has to do with the differences in practice from a predominantly Protestant country, with many heretical views on who is Jesus and how we pray and practice our faith. At times, it seems like we deal with a concept of "Buddy Christ" in the Protestant world versus the Orthodox view of our Saviour as Comapssionate Teacher. Also there are some doctrinal issues which set us apart greatly from the Protestant denomination especially when we look at the difference of authority.

The Protestant denominations in the United States show a great concern on biblolatry, where the final authority is simply the Scriptures, their Scriptures and their interpretation of them. Entire books, like Paul's letter to the Romans are being interpreted in maniacal measures, promoting "faith alone" doctrines and salvation through altar calls. "Say a prayer(once!) and you are saved, entering Heaven upon death" theology is what encompasses the folds. Tongues, even without the Acts of the Apostles and St. Paul's second letter to the Corinthians teaching us to have an interpretor, let alone the gibberings of nonsense and blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Pentecostal movements replaying the old Heresy which Tertullian himself fell victim to, Montanism.

Sorry for the rant, but when these things have influenced the psyche of the modern American citizen, and have had a strong influence on the thinking of what Christianity is, please take time to filter these things out during your Catechumen time. I speak from experience on this. Again, take the time to know what yu are coming into. Orthodoxy will have you take up your cross daily to truly follow Christ.

Christos Anesti,
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« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2006, 07:51:05 PM »

Sorry for the rant, but when these things have influenced the psyche of the modern American citizen, and have had a strong influence on the thinking of what Christianity is, please take time to filter these things out during your Catechumen time. I speak from experience on this. Again, take the time to know what yu are coming into. Orthodoxy will have you take up your cross daily to truly follow Christ.

Christos Anesti,
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I entirely agree. I work a lot with these groups apologetically, so I hear you. As heresies increase, so must the length of the catechumanate Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2006, 08:06:22 PM »

Well, we definitly need to be like the Disciples at the beggining.  One thing I'll say though, is the structure of the Church does differ to a degree from then.  Then, the converts were pagans and although a polytheism jump to a montheistic jump is large, in someways it's easier, especially in what direction pagan philosophy was heading to that time.  People were also largely pluralistic then and one god did not differ to much from another.  Whereas now there is a larger difference in finer detail.  With many people converting from Church's that practically preach damnation in other faiths, it is a little harder to make that jump.

Now, I've seen long and short cathecumin times and I've seen advantages on both.  Personally, mine was short and under six months.  Yes, there were many unanswered questions after my baptisim, but I truly think having the grace of the Holy Spirit helped me become a better Christian.  However, there are other people who may have larger hang-ups and have to deal with those.  Personally, I think that the priest needs to shape it by person to person instead of having a uniform conversion policy.

As to nominal cradles, yes they exist, but so do nominal converts.  I don't really see it as an either or.  In addition, there are many cradles who definitly surpass converts in knowledge and often they can have a stronger faith, where some converts are more apt to be questioning.  However, that also works in reverese.  To be truthful, I am a little wary of the seperation we try to make between convert and cradle.  I do believe that there is an underlying  psycology, and I find this fascinating.  However, you cannot take this too far.  You have intellectual genius that converted  and intellectual genius that were cradle. ÂÂ

A wise and balanced post.   Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2006, 09:15:32 AM »

Panagiotis:

Excellent Reply. Compassionate and thoghtful. I do not feel as if you are ranting.

Dan
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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2006, 08:54:32 PM »

Thank you, Dan and Bizzlebin.

It felt like a rant because of my experiences of being a part of the heresy at one time.

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« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2006, 11:55:01 AM »

Yes and No.  Depends on the person and circumstances. I know people who had to wait 2 yrs and another who was received within a week! I would hate to see a policy statement or rule in regards to this.  No McOrthodoxy please!
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2006, 04:12:46 PM »

I entirely agree. I work a lot with these groups apologetically, so I hear you. As heresies increase, so must the length of the catechumanate Smiley

In general, the modern catechumenate is much shorter than the catechumenate in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries. St. Basil mandated at least 2 years (although he himself, and many of his contemporaries, were catechumens for much longer), and, from what I remember of his Canons, stipulates that one should memorize the Psalter before Baptism.

So, count your blessings (if you consider speed of entry as one)!
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2006, 04:57:11 PM »

In general, the modern catechumenate is much shorter than the catechumenate in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries. St. Basil mandated at least 2 years (although he himself, and many of his contemporaries, were catechumens for much longer), and, from what I remember of his Canons, stipulates that one should memorize the Psalter before Baptism.

So, count your blessings (if you consider speed of entry as one)!

That is true, but later on the length decreased again, once a lot of the ancient heresies were settled.
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« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2006, 12:38:06 PM »

That is true, but later on the length decreased again, once a lot of the ancient heresies were settled.
Sounds like post hoc ergo propter hoc or conjecture to me. I have never read any primary source that attributes the decrease in length to ancient heresies being settled. Did St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory the Theologian need a long catechumenate because they were at risk of falling into one of the ancient heresies?

The length and nature of the catechumenate seems to be a good example of how the Church adapts its liturgical, catechetical and pastoral practice to the reality of the present situation for a variety of reasons (despite the clear stipulations of the canons). This is what St. Basil calls the principle of "individualization."
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« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2006, 04:38:19 PM »

Thanks to all for the replies. 

I would like to tell you all a beautiful story about my 1st grade daughter.  I pray with her every night and we use blessed water together when we cross ourselves.  She says the "Prayer of a Child" on p.20 of the Pocket Prayer Book for OC's (note: she was baptized as an infant in the Lutheran Church).  She attended Lazareth Saturday with me this year (the 1st time she was in an OC).  I was surprised and proud of her when she told me that she crosses herself before lunch (at the public school).  When asked what she was doing, she told the others that she was an Orthodox Christian!  Oh, the wonderful faith of a child!!  I just need to get my wife to understand now, but I guess that's a different "Convert Issue".  I would appreciate all of your prayer for my family.  I pray every night that the Lord will bring us all the truth, together. 

I may still be pre-catechumen, but in my heart, like my dear little one, I feel Orthodox.
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« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2006, 05:08:10 PM »

I have been studying Orthodoxy primarily on my own for over 6-9 months and more recently through participation at Vespers, Divine Liturgy and dialogues with the Parish Priest and congregation at my nearest Orthodox Church and I think such a big decision shouldn't and can't be instant. Just my 2 cents anyway.

Salve!ÂÂ  Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2006, 06:51:06 PM »

I also wanted to offer myself and my rationale for pressing for a faster conversion.

My catechism was shorter than 6 months, and many questions are still in my mind and are being answered daily.  I have been Orthodox for a year.  It is true that Western theological influences are very challenging, as I go to a Jesuit University.

But I am a big fan for the shorter catechumenate if the basic differences of East/West differences are properly understood early on.  Uncreated Grace, Salvation, the Dual Natures, the Trinity, etc.  These dogmas were not difficult to begin to explore except that it took me a long time to warm up to the word dogma.

So....I'm giving a glossy response as a gesture of good will to myself, as I'll get confused unless I write a paper and post it on here.  But I would say that stigmas and connotations are the biggest challenge - in catechism, we take on American cultural bankruptcy, not individual heresy.

And that's my two cents.
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« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2006, 07:50:24 PM »

I also wanted to offer myself and my rationale for pressing for a faster conversion.

My catechism was shorter than 6 months, and many questions are still in my mind and are being answered daily.  I have been Orthodox for a year.  It is true that Western theological influences are very challenging, as I go to a Jesuit University.

But I am a big fan for the shorter catechumenate if the basic differences of East/West differences are properly understood early on.  Uncreated Grace, Salvation, the Dual Natures, the Trinity, etc.  These dogmas were not difficult to begin to explore except that it took me a long time to warm up to the word dogma.

So....I'm giving a glossy response as a gesture of good will to myself, as I'll get confused unless I write a paper and post it on here.  But I would say that stigmas and connotations are the biggest challenge - in catechism, we take on American cultural bankruptcy, not individual heresy.

And that's my two cents.
From my experience, I don't think one's understanding of and assent to Orthodox dogma is enough.  One also needs to show a sincere commitment to living the Orthodox way of life (e.g., the liturgical cycle, seasons of feasting and fasting, asceticism, Orthodox spiritual practices, life in a parish community, etc.), since this is often much more difficult than just accepting the dogmas of the Church.  One can certainly adapt to the Orthodox Way after becoming Orthodox, but one must be committed to growing in this life from the start.
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« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2006, 08:21:15 PM »

I personally would have prefered a long catachumenate, looking back at things.  Three years might be towards the extreme, but I think there is a lot of wisdom in that time period.  I think it is best for someone to get past the initial phase of discovering Orthodoxy (the textbook version thereof) and into the reality of Orthodoxy - mediocrity, ethno-centricism, incompetence etc.  If after all that someone still wants to become Orthodox - let them be dunked!  My guess is that a higher percentage of catachumens would never make it to Orthodoxy, but the retention rate of converts would be much higher. 
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« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2006, 09:25:35 PM »

Christ is Risen!

I serve as the Dierctor of the Catechumenate under my priest's directions. In our parish there is a specific program with expectations and obligations.  Here are the tasks assigned to me and included are the programs for the three levels of people that I work with:

Inquirer Level
1.   Meets with each new inquirer to discuss education opportunities and suggest classes, spiritual readings, and programs that will help the inquirer learn about the Orthodox Church.
2.   Monitors monthly classes attended by the inquirer, pamphlets and books read. Discusses informally with the Inquirer questions that may be posed and reports progress to the Pastor monthly.
3.   Assures that Inquirer has members of the parish who have common grounds with the inquirer to provide the inquirer with fellowship and support as needed.
4.   Works with the inquirer when they are ready to take the step towards becoming a catechumen to help them to select a sponsor or godparent, of the same sex, who will act as a spiritual friend, someone to confide in; and someone to go  to for advice.

Catechumen Level
The catechumen step is a time of formal preparation and study. The exact amount of time varies from person to person. The Director of Catechumens helps the catechumen to establish a personalized plan for accomplishing each of the five catechumen tasks:
1.   to attend at least 20 sessions of Orthodox Instruction on Saturday afternoons.
2.   to attend the services for 8 out of the 12 great feasts during the liturgical year.
3.   to read four books about the Orthodox Church or the Orthodox Christian life.
4.   to participate in the services of the Church on a regular basis.
5.   to contribute to the life of the parish through gifts of time, talents, and money.
(Note: These tasks can be modified to fit a person’s particular situation: for example, due to work or a family commitment, some people cannot attend very many classes on Saturday afternoons; if so the Director may assign additional books to cover information missed by not attending classes.)
The Director will also monitors monthly classes attended by the Catechumen, assigned readings read. In regularly scheduled discussions  in person or by e-mail discuss the material learned and the Catechumen’s understanding of and acceptance of Orthodox Christian beliefs. Answer questions or provide resources that will answer questions that the Catechumen may have. In addition, the Director will  provide monthly progress reports to the Pastor.

The Director will also meet with the sponsor or god-parent to assure that support for the catechumen continues in a productive manner throughout the Catechumenate.

Newly Illumined Level
The newly illumined (either by Baptism or Chrismation)   will continue to be provided  with formal guidance and support for a full twelve months  to assist them in deepening their knowledge of the faith and to provide support as they  begin their sacramental journey within the Church.

The director  will check with the new member  once a month to see if the new member has any questions about the liturgical calendar or fasting or the Holy Mysteries or life in the community. The director ill will especially monitor the following tasks of the newly illumined in their first year of church membership:
1.   Newly illumined members are expected to do all the things that other members of the parish do—things like attending services and volunteering and contributing time and energy and money.
2.   to attend the monthly Orthopraxis Seminars.
3.   to participate in at least one book study during the course of that year

[Note: The learning tasks for people in their first year of parish membership is to assure that we reinforce that once we are received into the Church, we don’t stop learning and growing; once we are received into the Church we continue to learn and grow until we “have put off the old nature…and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God,” until we have “the power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge”, until we are “filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 4.22,18-19).]

The Director will continue to provide support for the  convert member through the monitoring of classes attended by the newly illumined.  Answer questions or provide resources that will answer questions that the newly illumined may have. In addition, the Director will  provide monthly progress reports to the Pastor. If adjustment issues arise  Director will notify the Pastor immediately.

The Director is also a resource and point of support for the sponsor or god-parent to assure that needs of both the sponsor/god=parent and the newly illumined are met in a positive manner.


We haver just begun this but it seems to be well recieved. [Each program is individualized  absed upon the need for the convert---an athiest  or non-christian will likely need a longer program to learn the basics.  Someone from a group like the Mormons will need corrections of incorrect beliefs, etc]

In Christ,
Thomas
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« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2006, 10:19:38 PM »

From my experience, I don't think one's understanding of and assent to Orthodox dogma is enough.  One also needs to show a sincere commitment to living the Orthodox way of life (e.g., the liturgical cycle, seasons of feasting and fasting, asceticism, Orthodox spiritual practices, life in a parish community, etc.), since this is often much more difficult than just accepting the dogmas of the Church.  One can certainly adapt to the Orthodox Way after becoming Orthodox, but one must be committed to growing in this life from the start.

Becoming part of the Orthodox way and integration into parish life are part of catechism.  At least, they were at my parish.  There is such a great variety in catechism experiences that I think an Orthodox makes many assumptions into the nature of everyone's catechesis.  Each one is personal, and that is why we do not have a formal cathecism.  (cf. Alexander Schemman, Of Water and of Spirit.)
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« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2006, 10:21:40 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8903.msg120123#msg120123 date=1147220475]
I personally would have prefered a long catachumenate, looking back at things.  Three years might be towards the extreme, but I think there is a lot of wisdom in that time period.  I think it is best for someone to get past the initial phase of discovering Orthodoxy (the textbook version thereof) and into the reality of Orthodoxy - mediocrity, ethno-centricism, incompetence etc.  If after all that someone still wants to become Orthodox - let them be dunked!  My guess is that a higher percentage of catachumens would never make it to Orthodoxy, but the retention rate of converts would be much higher. 
[/quote]
Well said.  I've seen many newbies come to the Church with the fascination with Orthodoxy that many a young man and woman have with each other while they're courting.  But just as a wise young "couple-to-be" will take their time and get to really know each other and really know what life as a married couple will be like before they marry, so too should an inquirer into Orthodoxy get to really know the Church before making the commitment of joining it.

What will it be like to wake up on a Tuesday morning to find out that your husband (assuming you're a woman) has left the toilet seat up for the umpteenth time?  If you're a man, what will it be like to sleep with a wife who snores?  Similarly, an inquirer needs to ask the same of his attitude toward the Church.  What will life in the Church be like when you recognize that the human side of the Church has always been far from perfect?  How will you respond to the ethnicism, the jurisdictional squabbles, the bishop (or any clergyman) who doesn't seem to know his a** from a hole in the ground, the infighting that strikes many parishes, etc., etc.?  Will your Orthodoxy survive?
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« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2006, 02:06:27 AM »

Quote
to attend the monthly Orthopraxis Seminars.
3. 
What on earth is that?
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« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2006, 04:52:25 PM »

Peter:

Good points but in the catechumen classes they don't talk about the priest that cannot lead or lacks wisdom or is rude and the parish council that are a bunch of yes men and women or about the one or two familes that give bookoo dollars and are treated like royalty, the priest hanging on their every word.
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« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2006, 05:12:35 PM »

Peter:

Good points but in the catechumen classes they don't talk about the priest that cannot lead or lacks wisdom or is rude and the parish council that are a bunch of yes men and women or about the one or two familes that give bookoo dollars and are treated like royalty, the priest hanging on their every word.
IMHO, this is why the catechumenate should include more than just classes.  A catechumen should also be required to be an active participant in the life of his/her parish to the extent possible while not yet receiving the Sacraments.
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« Reply #30 on: May 10, 2006, 09:58:39 PM »

3.ÂÂ  
What on earth is that?

My parish is about 90% convert and was originally established to serve converts in English.ÂÂ  Those of us who had a background in Orthodoxy prior to coming to the parish noted that without the cradleÂÂ  orthodox that many traditional orthodox practices were not being passed on. While I was taking Antiochian House of Studies I was asked by the Priest toÂÂ  use as my project the development of Orthopraxis workshops to teach daily Orthodox life and practices.ÂÂ  Our classes include teach converts how to make altar breads, artoclasia loaves, cooking healthy fasting foods, special festal foods and meals according to the church season and year, how to make Kolliva, etc.

Example Class One:ÂÂ  The Memorial Service, Discuss Orthodox beliefs on the value of Prayer for the dead, incorporating it into your daily prayer life, Planning an Orthodox funeral, the giving of alms and works of mercy for the dead, How to make Kolliva,ÂÂ  Sampling various types of Kolliva, learning the hymns of the Memorial Service ( Slavonic, Greek, Antiochian)... This is usually followed by the serving of the Memorial Service by the priest for the Orthodox Reposed from the Parish.

Example:ÂÂ  Orthodox Prayer, Discussion of the types of prayer:Corporate, Private, family, the Hours, the Psalter, Prayerbooks, demonstration of setting up an Icon Corner, Teaching how to do a metania, how to do a bow, how to venerate an Icon, even how to light and hold a candle safely (Easter/Pascha Hair Fires were down 95% this year). We alsoÂÂ  often have a guest speaker come in to discuss Prayer of the HeartÂÂ  (The Jesus Prayer) with an opportunity to practive the Jesus prayer with a Chotki and introduce the importance of a spiritual father.

As you can see from these two sample classes of the 12 that were developed, they are heavy on the parctical how to and we try to introduce the multi-traditions of the jruisdictions of the US so one can be comfortable when visiting other parushes or moving to another parish in another city.

It has been well recieved and several priests have asked for copies and I did get a great mark on it for my class.ÂÂ  This is the second year that I am teaching it and it seems to be well recieved.

In Christ,
Thomas
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« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2006, 11:07:14 PM »

Thank you.
Many of these things would be very helpful not to converts alone, but also  to people with an Orthodox backround, especially here in USA.
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