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Author Topic: Questioning...  (Read 1011 times) Average Rating: 0
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a_seeker
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« on: August 03, 2006, 04:32:54 PM »

I know this has been rehashed several times on this forum, though I am going to be putting a slightly different spin on it.

I am not sure what I am going to do yet, but a part of me feels slightly drawn to what I have read of the Orthodox church.  There are two that I can access easily (I have no car and depend on the subways so distance to a subway stop is an issue) a Greek Orthodox and a Antiochian Western-Rite Mission and that I am planning on looking into when I get the chance, but that isn't the issue current issue.

I am thinking about this and thinking about what will occur if I end up choosing to switch churches.  However, I am terrified of the concept of telling my parents I am going Orthodox because, well, my father is an is the pastor of an evangelical protestant church and I know he has no great respect for the RCC because of the prayers to saints, veneration of statues, etc (thus pretty sure he would not take to the similar practices within Orthodoxy).

I guess my question is: has anyone had to try to tell their parents, when a parent is a pastor in an evangelical church who basically believes much of what makes up the orthodox (RCC, EO, et al.) groups' theology is akin to heresy?
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2006, 10:30:37 PM »

Can you tell us just a wee bit more about your situation? Things such as your age, etc. This may help  in getting some helpful responses.
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a_seeker
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2006, 05:32:44 AM »

Sorry for not being more detailed previously.  The truth is that the questions in my head are not very well developed so to speak and thus I avoided many details because I was not sure of the details myself.  I shall attempt to explain further.

I am currently 22 and live completely independantly of my parents, so any monetary support is not an issue.  I guess the issue that I have is firstly one that I have seen previously addressed here, parents who are not neccessarily open to Catholicism (an likely Orthodoxy as a result of the worship commonalities).  Secondly, and to an extent more importantly, since my father is  pastor and being a pastor makes up a great deal of his life, I am partially concerned that he could take it as a rejection of a part of him (if that makes sense).  I guess the second question still ties in to the first in that if my father rejects Orthodoxy as valid, then it becomes an even greater rejection because then I might as well be changing over to a completely different religion entirely.

Thats about the best I can do at going into greater detail (I am not the best at expressing myself in words, in inpersonal text it becomes even harder).  As I said these emotions are not exactly fully developed thoughts on my part and I am not even sure why this is bothering me as greatly as it does, yet it does.

Thanks for the advice and sorry about being so vague.
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DownfallRecords
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2006, 10:13:50 AM »

A_Seeker,

Hello!  I am also twenty-two and have recently joined the Orthodox Church.  My father is a former evangelical Baptist minister, and he and my mother are still deeply commited to their church and their faith; they are godly people.  It was not easy to begin to explore Orthodoxy, because in many ways I had to separate myself from their beliefs, beliefs that we had shared up until that point (not that this is a bad thing, some tension in our Christianity can be just what we need for growth). 

Now, my parents were never expressively opposed to other forms of Christianity, so I can't share that degree of tension, but they certainly were not and are not comfortable with some practices (such as prayers to/for the dead, the veneration of the Theotokos and the like). 

That being said, they respect and trust me - which is a blessing - and I think that they know that this is where I should be, however confounding it may be to them.

Any advice?  Well, just this: don't go looking for arguments.  Try to promote what you have in common with them, which is Christ as Lord and God, however different they may understand this.  Let them ask questions and do some reading so that you have answers, but share them gently.  And don't get too down on yourself when you don't have an answer.  In fact, tell them that you don't and that you'll look into it and then go do so and get back to them.  Teach them!  Share with them the really interesting things in Church history that many evangelicals don't have any idea about - let them know about the struggles of the Church against Arianism and the like, these are important and might peak their interest into a more catholic Christianity.

And ultimately, be willing to endure tension and awkwardness for the sake of the faith.  That is what we are called to.  When your parents see that you are truly devoted to your discovery of Orthodoxy, they may begin to take you and it seriously, though it probably will take a lot of time.

And pray.  God has led you to Orthodoxy for a reason and thus He will work out things for good for those that work with Him.

That's all.  Peace and welcome!
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2006, 10:36:10 AM »

a_seeker,

Have you read Becoming Orthodox by Fr. Peter Gillquist? It might be a good starting point should your parents become at all interested in what could lead 2000 evangelicals (including pastors and bishops from the Campus Crusade for Christ) to convert en mass to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2006, 08:00:47 PM »

A_Seeker,

I'm 16 years old (was 15 when I converted). I have to say it was easy for me. My dads a Christian, but of no real denomination, and was glad to see I joined a solid Conservative church and not the Unitarian Universalists. My mom was raised Catholic, but after some coaxing, she now finally realizes the RCC broke away from the EO church. I had nothing but warm respense from my family.

However, I have a friend in your situation.

He's a Jehovah Witness, and will be cut off from his entire family and his church if he converts to Orthodoxy, which he has contemplated, however quickly it may have been.

My advice is this:

Try to explain to your dad that you arent doing this to rebel or to shun his religion. Brining up its history as the oldest church and thus the most deeply rotted may help if he's a history buff. DownFall records is right, dont go looking for arguments. Just calmly explain your case if they barrage you with questions, and remain calm that there is absolutely nothing wrong in the Orthodox Way.
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"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, nor mourning nor crying nor suffering, for the old order of things has passed away."
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