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Author Topic: Can our practice discredit our faith?  (Read 2009 times) Average Rating: 0
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Mother Anastasia
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« on: May 19, 2006, 03:44:40 AM »

I  have been thinking about what can go wrong when we believe we have the truth and are eager to share it with others. 

It seems to me that we can overstep the boundaries of charity and actually discredit our faith by giving a bad example.  I know I have done as much.

If people are searching for the true Christian faith, the authentic faith of the Apostles, trained by Jesus Himself, what are they expecting to experience when they find it?

I would appreciate your thoughts on this.  Thank you.
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I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, so that they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2006, 06:37:20 AM »

This.
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Mother Anastasia
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2006, 08:10:09 PM »

This.

I wasn't being sarcastic, I would really like some feedback on how to present the faith without scandalizing people.  For instance, on the Sacred Heart thread, four different  subjects were presented that I would be embarrassed to share with anyone.  For this reason I have not repeated them.  They are extremely grievous to me, and demeaning to the Orthodox faith.  I wish I had never heard them, they grieve my heart.

If it had that kind of an affect on me, a believer of almost 30 years and believing that Orthodoxy does hold to many of the ancient truths in a way that RC doesn't,  what affect would it have on a visitor from the Catholic or Protestant faith's?

I presented a thread meant to bring up the objections to the Sacred Heart and the general practice of reparation.   

Why?  Because I wanted to pick a fight?   No. 

Because I want to understand if there truly is a doctrinal issue at the heart of this that separates Catholics and Orthodox.

It seems that Young Fogey, Thomas and a few others had something valuable to say, I learned a great deal from them.

If we have to do dirty laundry, wouldn't it be better to do it on a thread not available to visitors, new comers or those seeking conversion?  Maybe I'm just naive about forums...
but I was hoping for a better example.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2006, 08:11:26 PM by Mother Anastasia » Logged

I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, so that they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
icxn
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2006, 08:58:03 PM »

This was my apophatic way to express the apophatic answer to your question. I wasn't being sarcastic either... only obscure.  Grin

Quote
...If people are searching for the true Christian faith, the authentic faith of the Apostles, trained by Jesus Himself, what are they expecting to experience when they find it?

This is also a good answer.
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MicahJohn
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2006, 05:47:08 PM »

Mother Anastasia,

I don't post very often in this forum anymore, and sometimes I stop reading it because of the foolishness I see at times.  When you first started posting I was reading what you wrote and thought that you tended to be a bit arrogant from time to time, thinking that in your openmindedness you had a leg up on everyone else here.  But I noticed that you were also quick to apologize for that attitude.  What I see  now is arrogance in certain posters on the other side.  I think you really have justification in being upset with some of the things you read here.

It is so important to understand that you will not obtain an accurate picture of what pure Orthodoxy is and should be from this forum.  Sometimes I've quit reading because I found the posts to be spiritually harmful! By far the best thing you or anyone else can do to find real answers from the heart on Orthodox topics is to consult clergy who are committed to pure Orthodoxy and can transmit to you what the Church Fathers have always taught.  The writings of the Fathers embody Orthodoxy, and we receive it from them when we approach them with a humble attitude, not trusting our own judgment, as Father Seraphim Rose has written.

We see that it is pride that keeps us from the true faith, be it pride on the part of "liberals" or of "conservatives" or anyone else.  I believe from your posts that in spite of attitudes and opinions the more traditional of us disagree with, you also are seeking the truth.  This forum is NOT the best place to find it, I'm afraid.  Honest-to-goodness parishes and clergy, and the Holy Fathers, most definitely are.

At first I didn't respect you for sounding self-righteous, but now that is reversed!  We don't need to be liberal, you don't need to become  conservative.  We ALL need to listen to the heart of Orthodoxy and swallow our pride; I myself am in dire need of this.

Christ is Risen.
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Mother Anastasia
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2006, 08:02:21 PM »

We don't need to be liberal, you don't need to become  conservative.  We ALL need to listen to the heart of Orthodoxy and swallow our pride; I myself am in dire need of this.

I am so sorry for scandalizing you and the others on the forum,  I'm sure I provoked a few people. The Lord and Our Lady, helped me to see that my heart and attitude were not pure in every response and I needed to make amends.

I appreciate what you have shared, and I agree that I too need to swallow my pride until God sees fit to deliver me from myself.  It certainly is a most painful thing to realize how we offend God and our brother.

I don't feel that all is lost, I have learned a great deal from some people on this forum, and I know that some things are not accurate, but I have a new understanding of the climate and issues that stand in the way of unity without compromise.

I am trying to embrace all that is good and ignore the rest.  We still have much to give oneanother, if only we can do it peacefully.  I have not found an orthodox priest I could really talk to, but I do have a devotion to St. Seraphim and am learning a great deal from him through his writings and his prayers.

Thank you again for taking the time to answer this thread.
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I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, so that they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2006, 10:26:40 PM »

Mother Anastasia,

I agree with your initial post and understand where you're coming from, but, I guess from another perspective.  Last week, I was walking down the main street towards the shopping centre and a typical looking, middle-aged protestant church lady stepped up to me (I could tell by her modest, but not daggy clothing, straw hat with flowers etc., Christian brochure in her hand), and in a sweet voice and a smile said, "Good News!  Jesus Christ is coming back again soon."  Upon hearing this, my heart sank and my stomach churned ... not so much from the message ...  (I mean, the message itself makes my heart leap for joy - may Jesus Christ not tarry too much longer!) but from the messenger.  Sadly, I thought to myself, "that could have been me some years ago!"  No wonder it turns people away from Christ ... it's the sacharine stuff ... it's not how Jesus Christ and His disciples preached their message ... how has it got to be how it is today??? 

On the other side of the coin, I know of a very zealous and devout Orthodox person who means well in everything they do ... and yet this person's zealousness makes me feel nervous sometimes and actually can be off-putting to other young Orthodox people ... even though they're genuine in their faith ...

So yes, a person's practice can discredit their faith ... regardless of what church they go to.

You asked, "If people are searching for the true Christian faith, the authentic faith of the Apostles, trained by Jesus Himself, what are they expecting to experience when they find it?"

I don't know how those searching for the true Christian faith think, as I have only ever searched for the true Church, not so much faith, and I've only ever come from a Christian background.  But I would imagine, that they would hope to experience Christians who are genuine in their love and life - people who at least slightly reflect Jesus Christ, as we all should and aim to do in our lives here on earth.
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"Without sorrows there is no salvation. On the other hand, the Kingdom of God awaits those who have patiently endured. And all the glory of the world is nothing in comparison." - St Seraphim of Sarov
Mother Anastasia
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2006, 12:44:15 AM »

  But I would imagine, that they would hope to experience Christians who are genuine in their love and life - people who at least slightly reflect Jesus Christ, as we all should and aim to do in our lives here on earth.

I agree with you.  I remember when I was searching for God, before He revealed Himself to me.  People were really good at presenting logical arguments for their particular faith, New Agers included.  There was always a oneupmanship and competition going on.  But when I encountered someone like Mother Theresa, and saw faith and dedication in action, with a sweet spirit, I realized that talking about our faith,  carries very little weight, people are watching what we do, our heart, our attitude.   They are much more convinced that we know God by our example.

« Last Edit: May 22, 2006, 12:45:31 AM by Mother Anastasia » Logged

I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, so that they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2006, 12:50:36 AM »

To be honest with you, Mother Anastasia, I expect to find the Truth. I believe and know with all my heart that I have found it, from tradition to worship. I also believe I have found Sophia, which will take a lifetime to comprehend.

I am a zealot, though a weak one for I am also a convert who is on milk in the Orthodox faith. I have come from a harsh past filled with much unlearning to do. I may have some off harsh and for this I apologize. I have a tendency to criticize where I have come from, sadly, intentionally. I sometimes feel that if I am able to be directed o the Truth then others from where I was at should be able to see it as well. My mother once told me that her greatest curse is expecting to se others on the same level and she experiences disappointment when they are not. I must be the same way.

So, I expect to see the Truth. This does not mean I will be able to comprehend it fully, nor possibly barely. And I also desire to quench my angst towards those who either refuse to see it or those ignorant to it. I pray for peace. I am not an ecumenist but I see ntohing wrong with communication as long as it stays as just communication.

Blessings,
Panagiotis
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Mother Anastasia
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2006, 01:07:32 AM »

Thank you, perhaps we can pardon one another.

I appreciate all the wisdom you have shared with me. 

I understand the zealousness,  I am always having to temper mine with charity.(as you have observed)   It is very, very hard when you truly believe in something, to let it go when it is not received, and take it to prayer,  in my flesh  I am much more apt to want to prove my point. 

I can't remember which saint said this, it was something to the effect that if he was asked a question,  he only made one reply,  if that was not accepted, he let it go.  This is something I am still trying to learn. 

Of course there are times to discuss different perspectives and learn from one another.  That is what I enjoy on this forum.  I am learning a great deal.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2006, 01:08:03 AM by Mother Anastasia » Logged

I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, so that they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
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