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Author Topic: Why can't I make a decision and stick to it?  (Read 5427 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 29, 2006, 06:44:59 PM »

For over a year now, I've been looking at both the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, trying to make my decision. Many Sundays I go to church at both, wanting to make sure and experience both before making my decision. I've read so much information, both in books and online (I know, be cautious online) and still can't make a decision. Sometimes I do. Sometimes that decision lasts for a while, once up to two months. Then the questions come again and the cycle resumes. What I am sure about is I don't want to join either church if it is only to be a stopping point on the way to another church. I want to find a spiritual home, somewhere I can learn and grow, and it needs to the place with truth. I've been back and forth on all the major topics, and sometimes find myself taking into consideration dumb stuff (such as driving distance). I just can't seem to make a decision and stay with it. What am I doing wrong? Am I the only one who does this, or who did this?
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2006, 07:24:30 PM »

I have the same problem with buying vegetables. I don't mind the grocery shopping until it comes to buying veggies. I stand for about 30 minutes in front of the vegetable stand comparing squash with artichoke, carrots with parsnip, and I usually break out in a cold sweat of panic until I force myself to grab something, and it usually ends up being something repulsive, but I know I have to buy some vegetables, even though there isn't one that I like. I hate all veggies, but I know I have to have some. And being vegetables, there is no returns or refunds if I later change my mind and decide that bok choy isn't for me.
Fortunately, God does have a good returns and refund policy if you change your mind. Just take it back to the Repentance Department located in the lobby. I can't tell you which Church to join, but I can tell you that if you later decide that you have made a mistake in your choice, it's not the end of the world (like it is with veggies). Wink
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2006, 07:33:35 PM »

bok choy

MMMMM....Bok Choy Cooookies!
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2006, 01:01:21 AM »

Quote
What am I doing wrong?
Nothing. Sometimes people who are truly seeking our Lord out could take them several years tp be introduced into their home. So stay the course and simply pray.

Blessings,
Panagiotis
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2006, 05:22:28 PM »

For over a year now, I've been looking at both the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, trying to make my decision. Many Sundays I go to church at both, wanting to make sure and experience both before making my decision. I've read so much information, both in books and online (I know, be cautious online) and still can't make a decision. Sometimes I do. Sometimes that decision lasts for a while, once up to two months. Then the questions come again and the cycle resumes. What I am sure about is I don't want to join either church if it is only to be a stopping point on the way to another church. I want to find a spiritual home, somewhere I can learn and grow, and it needs to the place with truth. I've been back and forth on all the major topics, and sometimes find myself taking into consideration dumb stuff (such as driving distance). I just can't seem to make a decision and stay with it. What am I doing wrong? Am I the only one who does this, or who did this?


You are being wise in not jumping into a decision, but you must make a decision.  Decide a date (maybe Christmas?) by which time you will have made your choice.

HOWEVER:  This is not the same a choosing fruit: it's about life in Christ.  This decision must not be made on the basis of "if I make a mistake I can always change it."

Ax
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2006, 09:46:53 PM »

Don't worry, Marat, I went through the exact same thing for several months after I was introduced to Orthodoxy. For me, the deciding factor was a certain issue that I prayed to be resolved, and it was through the Orthodox faith. I also read multitudes of theology with no result. If you want to choose between the two, simply follow your heart. I don't know if this helps, but I hope it'll aid you in your decision. Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2006, 06:55:38 AM »

Thanks for the replies everyone. I am doing what axios suggested with setting a date. I chose Thanksgiving since it is one year from when I first approached the priest at the Orthodox Church about joining. I think I already know my decision, but am reluctant to commit right now since I'm afraid I'll go back and forth again like I have so many times before.

Lately I've been thinking I might be more firm with the Orthodox Church if I stopped reading apologetics and doctrinal debates and spend more time living the faith. Knowledge is good,  but no substitute for practicing one's faith.
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2006, 08:49:09 AM »

Wisdom! Let us attend!



Lately I've been thinking I might be more firm with the Orthodox Church if I stopped reading apologetics and doctrinal debates and spend more time living the faith. Knowledge is good,  but no substitute for practicing one's faith.


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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2006, 03:19:39 PM »

Ugh! I'm in this same windmill too! Help us Lord Jesus!  :'(
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2006, 02:05:17 AM »

I've made my decision now. http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,9991.0.html I wish I knew just exactly how I've arrived at it. I have absolutely no doubts about it now. If anyone else is in the same position I was, keep trying. It took me nine years but I finally know. I'm a stubborn, proud man, working on improving that.
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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2011, 11:17:55 PM »

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Faith: I don't know anymore

Me either, fwiw. There's a line in the writings of St. Gregory the Theologian that reminds us that well-reasoned hesitation is better than inconsiderate haste (Oration 2, 72). Of course, there's a difference between well-reasoned hesitation and perpetual indecision. Where the line is I suppose is different for everyone; but God knows if we're sincere. I know this thread is old, but after I saw your last post I then saw your status, and saw that according to your profile you still come here, so I just wanted to say that some are in the same boat.
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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2011, 11:46:18 PM »

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Me either, fwiw. There's a line in the writings of St. Gregory the Theologian that reminds us that well-reasoned hesitation is better than inconsiderate haste (Oration 2, 72). Of course, there's a difference between well-reasoned hesitation and perpetual indecision. Where the line is I suppose is different for everyone; but God knows if we're sincere. I know this thread is old, but after I saw your last post I then saw your status, and saw that according to your profile you still come here, so I just wanted to say that some are in the same boat.
wow, a responce after 5 years.   Wink
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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2011, 11:49:20 PM »

I didn't see the thead until tonight angel But interestingly enough, 2006 was when I first started bouncing in and out of Christianity. And I know what it's like to have the frustration of being in that position...
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2011, 12:07:52 AM »

I've seen the OP sign on this board recently, so he lurks around here.

I think it's the work of Satan that the Church has schismed into all these different sects/denominations...it's there to confuse us of the actual truth.

May the Lord be with you.
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2011, 12:08:05 AM »

I didn't see the thead until tonight angel But interestingly enough, 2006 was when I first started bouncing in and out of Christianity. And I know what it's like to have the frustration of being in that position...

how interesting.  I didn't start officially "bouncing" until '08. I understand the OP, as I was feeling pulled between Orthodoxy and Catholicism at the time of my conversion.  it sounds like this is a common occrance with many converts to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2011, 12:09:29 AM »

I've seen the OP sign on this board recently, so he lurks around here.

I think it's the work of Satan that the Church has schismed into all these different sects/denominations...it's there to confuse us of the actual truth.

May the Lord be with you.

exactly.  that is what I was telling my priest and godfather just the other day.  people are so blinded by all of these new, hip "Jesus is my buddy" denominations, that no one can even see the truth of Orthodoxy!
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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2011, 12:10:40 AM »

Yeah I've battled with becoming a Catholic and Orthodox. I'm an artist, and I do like Catholic art more. Although there is a special place in my heart for iconography.

The problem I had with Catholic theology is that it wants to explain away everything, and I always thought some mystery should still be placed. I'm a big fan of Pope Benedict, I think he's a good witness to Christianity, but I can't join what I consider to be heterodox.
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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2011, 12:11:58 AM »

So why not become Orthodox Catholic, right? (WR-Latin Rite-Gregorian)  Grin
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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2011, 12:27:01 AM »

The problem I had with Catholic theology is that it wants to explain away everything, and I always thought some mystery should still be placed.
This is something that really drew me into the Orthodox Church. The first time I sat down with the priest he let me know that he didn't have all the answers and that was just a part of the churches doctrine, (or would that be dogma) I found something in a church leader that I didn't even know that I was looking for; true humility.
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« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2011, 08:45:10 PM »

I've been in the same battle for over a year now. I wish there was an easy answer.
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« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2011, 06:09:45 PM »

I've been in the same battle for over a year now. I wish there was an easy answer.
In a word, word.
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« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2011, 06:56:46 PM »

I've been in the same battle for over a year now. I wish there was an easy answer.
My thoughts exactly.
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« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2011, 08:37:27 PM »

May I ask those that are struggling, why is it difficult? I was never raised a Catholic so my decision was pretty swift.
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« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2011, 08:41:59 PM »

Fwiw, I wasn't raised Catholic either (actually I wasn't raised as anything in particular). I've worked through many difficulties that I've had over the past 5-6 years, which had to do with Scriptures, Tradition, hell, and all sorts of other things. Right now it's just about learning to have faith in God. That and trying to be in the Church Christ founded, which is I guess the best (if not necessarily the only) place to be saved.
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« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2011, 08:48:07 PM »

Fwiw, I wasn't raised Catholic either (actually I wasn't raised as anything in particular). I've worked through many difficulties that I've had over the past 5-6 years, which had to do with Scriptures, Tradition, hell, and all sorts of other things. Right now it's just about learning to have faith in God. That and trying to be in the Church Christ founded, which is I guess the best (if not necessarily the only) place to be saved.

For me it was swift because I just looked in history and was convinced. But what truly convinced me even more was EO theology, it was the nail in the coffin for Protestantism and Catholicism.
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« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2011, 08:53:26 PM »

May I ask those that are struggling, why is it difficult? I was never raised a Catholic so my decision was pretty swift.

History isn't as definitive as either side would have it, and there is theology on both sides that I like better.
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« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2011, 08:59:37 PM »

May I ask those that are struggling, why is it difficult? I was never raised a Catholic so my decision was pretty swift.

History isn't as definitive as either side would have it, and there is theology on both sides that I like better.
Sure it is, one patriarchate schisms off while the other 4 are in communion representing the true Church.
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« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2011, 09:23:40 PM »

^ Either that, or Jesus Christ made Peter (and therefore now Rome) the source of unity, and the East and West slowly went down different paths, till finally they were going in opposite directions.  Grin
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« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2011, 09:52:21 PM »

^ Either that, or Jesus Christ made Peter (and therefore now Rome) the source of unity, and the East and West slowly went down different paths, till finally they were going in opposite directions.  Grin

If God does not change why would His church change then? Another reason why Orthodoxy is the truth, because the truth never changes.
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« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2011, 09:56:13 PM »

Oh, I agree that the Church doesn't change in dogmas or concerning truth... Cool
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« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2011, 10:15:23 PM »

May I ask those that are struggling, why is it difficult? I was never raised a Catholic so my decision was pretty swift.
Part of it is the fact that I may have rushed into Catholicism too quickly without taking more time to look at what sets the two Churches apart. I was baptized Lutheran myself, and raised in a non-practicing Christian household(I don't even know if my older brother even really believes, frankly) and felt drawn to Catholicism. I've come to agree with Azurestone, that history can be used in favor of both sides; even certain events in the Church and specific lines of the Fathers can be taken by both sides to support their position. I've seen it numerous times with St. Irenaeus's writings, the "Photian Schism," the Canon in Chalcedon or one of the first Seven Councils that gave Constantinople equal rights and honor after Rome, the infamous events of 1054...

Both Churches have rich traditions, good Saints, and good, God-loving people. The trick for me isn't deciding between communities, or deciding which side has more historical substance. The trick is deciding and discerning where God wants me to go, and looking at the spirituality of both Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and not so much worrying about the history. The Faith of the Fathers, and where I can be a more fulfilled Christian, is what is important to me. I just need to take it slow and learn some more about the faith of both sides before making a decision. No rush right now.
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« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2011, 10:38:00 PM »

May I ask those that are struggling, why is it difficult? I was never raised a Catholic so my decision was pretty swift.

History isn't as definitive as either side would have it, and there is theology on both sides that I like better.
Sure it is, one patriarchate schisms off while the other 4 are in communion representing the true Church.

Needless to say, this position can be argued against, hence my statement. If it was that simple, it wouldn't otherwise be.
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« Reply #32 on: February 08, 2011, 10:40:23 PM »

Both Churches have rich traditions, good Saints, and good, God-loving people. The trick for me isn't deciding between communities, or deciding which side has more historical substance. The trick is deciding and discerning where God wants me to go, and looking at the spirituality of both Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and not so much worrying about the history. The Faith of the Fathers, and where I can be a more fulfilled Christian, is what is important to me. I just need to take it slow and learn some more about the faith of both sides before making a decision. No rush right now.

I'm in about the same spot.
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« Reply #33 on: February 08, 2011, 11:19:42 PM »

May I ask those that are struggling, why is it difficult? I was never raised a Catholic so my decision was pretty swift.

Both churches were, for 1000 years, in union with eachother. Both can make claim to being apostolic. Both have been blessed with many saintly members. Both claim to be the true Church that the other broke away from. The primacy of Rome is evident in the writings of some church fathers, but what does that mean? Both Peter and Paul are referred to as the princes of apostles.

Those are a few reasons. I could give many more.
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« Reply #34 on: February 09, 2011, 12:03:25 AM »

Both Churches have rich traditions, good Saints, and good, God-loving people. The trick for me isn't deciding between communities, or deciding which side has more historical substance. The trick is deciding and discerning where God wants me to go, and looking at the spirituality of both Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and not so much worrying about the history. The Faith of the Fathers, and where I can be a more fulfilled Christian, is what is important to me. I just need to take it slow and learn some more about the faith of both sides before making a decision. No rush right now.

Couldn't have said better myself!!!!
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« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2011, 02:12:45 AM »

I also echo the whole dead-endedness of the historical angle.

I see fine arguments for both sides, though I tend to feel like the Orthodox side has a bit more history on their side, based on the overall lack of any consensus on Roman Primacy. It;s confusing, anyhow. That said, I am no firmly convinced that no amount of reading ECF quotes, Orthodoxwiki articles, independent articles, or any other research can give you God's will. It's got to be about prayer, and what feels right, in that way, that truly matters. Not what feels intellectually right, not what seems neater, not which one has cooler art, or better novelists, none of that. The question is really, where is God? The problem, or perhaps blessing, is that I'm quite certain that though one side must be the true church, He must have been in both at some point, and surely didn't just pack up and abandon wholesale the entire body of believers who fell on the wrong side of the schism.
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« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2011, 06:33:33 AM »

May I ask those that are struggling, why is it difficult? I was never raised a Catholic so my decision was pretty swift.

Both churches were, for 1000 years, in union with eachother. Both can make claim to being apostolic. Both have been blessed with many saintly members. Both claim to be the true Church that the other broke away from. The primacy of Rome is evident in the writings of some church fathers, but what does that mean? Both Peter and Paul are referred to as the princes of apostles.

Those are a few reasons. I could give many more.
There may be many truths but there can only be one Truth.
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« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2011, 07:55:07 AM »

Ultimately, that is the only question that really matters. Where is God calling me? How do we discern that answer?

I've heard that the Holy Spirit, when moving us in a particular direction, feels like a gentle tug. Well I've felt a tug towards Orthodoxy for well over a year. Is it the Holy Spirit pulling me that way? How cam I tell?
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« Reply #38 on: February 09, 2011, 08:15:46 AM »

Ultimately, that is the only question that really matters. Where is God calling me? How do we discern that answer?

I've heard that the Holy Spirit, when moving us in a particular direction, feels like a gentle tug. Well I've felt a tug towards Orthodoxy for well over a year. Is it the Holy Spirit pulling me that way? How cam I tell?

Think of it this way. There are what 300 million Orthodox in the world right? Whether they are Arab, Russian, Greek, Serbian, Antiochian, etc they all profess the same faith. That's the presence of the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #39 on: February 09, 2011, 08:31:28 AM »

Ultimately, that is the only question that really matters. Where is God calling me? How do we discern that answer?

I've heard that the Holy Spirit, when moving us in a particular direction, feels like a gentle tug. Well I've felt a tug towards Orthodoxy for well over a year. Is it the Holy Spirit pulling me that way? How cam I tell?

Think of it this way. There are what 300 million Orthodox in the world right? Whether they are Arab, Russian, Greek, Serbian, Antiochian, etc they all profess the same faith. That's the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Do they?
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« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2011, 08:34:48 AM »

Ultimately, that is the only question that really matters. Where is God calling me? How do we discern that answer?

I've heard that the Holy Spirit, when moving us in a particular direction, feels like a gentle tug. Well I've felt a tug towards Orthodoxy for well over a year. Is it the Holy Spirit pulling me that way? How cam I tell?

Think of it this way. There are what 300 million Orthodox in the world right? Whether they are Arab, Russian, Greek, Serbian, Antiochian, etc they all profess the same faith. That's the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Do they?
Yes.
The Orthodox and the RCs agree that the True Church has four marks: it's One (which means it can be only one group although having sub-groups; also it means it is undivided), Holy, Apostolic and Catholic.

Each group will define these words in more or less different manners. Protestants, on the other hand, have a wider more blurred concept of "True Church" where acceptance of Jesus Christ through an interpretation of His life in the Bible is the great unifier.

For the RC, One means primarily being one institution, which would guarantee that it would keep one faith. When something cannot be clearly defined philosophically or theologically, the highest institution in the church, that of the Pope, through its current pontifice can, ex cathedra, by inspiration of God, point, define and proclaim which of the diverging opinions is the true one, that none is, or what is right in each and form a new more perfect one. Ex Cathedra is a generic concept that means literally "from the throne" and in practice "based on the spiritual experience of the Church in this and all times". He can't say anything preposterous, but if it can be justified, even with the concept that it had been implicitily believed from the very beginning, it will do.

For the Orthodox, One means primarily the same faith, synthesized in the Symbol of Faith and expressed in a plethora of ways, since liturgical traditions,hymns, ascetic practices etc. The Orthodox not only allows but in fact leads to the existance of multiple eclesiastical institutions, which should be attached and more or less equivalent to social divisions: the local parish, the regional diocese (until here the RC agrees with us) the inter-regional or national archdiocese or metropolia, among which the most proeminent ecclesiastically and politically can become autocephalous (self-governing) and, if *very* proeminent and usually with a couple of centuries being Orthodox, receive the title of Patriarchate. For the RC, this lack of a global institutional unity is a sign that the Orthodox would lack this mark of being "One". For the Orthodox, as I said, unity resides in having one faith, not one institution. For the Orthodox the plethora of philosophies, of forms of the expression of faith in the RC is a sign that there is not "one faith", but that the RC would have changed the faith along the years, keeping the words and changing the meanings.

So, if you think that unity is primarily institutional and that the institution is what is necessary to preserve the faith, even if changing its outter forms, than you should become a RC. Papal supremacy is just a logical consequence, the Pope being the highest institution inside the institution.

But if you think that the content of the Faith is what constitutes unity, than you allow for much less change in its outter forms, and accept more different institutions with different forms of governing themselves, than you should become an Orthodox.

Institutional unity with multiplicity in form of faith = RC

Unity in form of faith with institutional multiplicity = Orthodox
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« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2011, 08:42:10 AM »

Ultimately, that is the only question that really matters. Where is God calling me? How do we discern that answer?

I've heard that the Holy Spirit, when moving us in a particular direction, feels like a gentle tug. Well I've felt a tug towards Orthodoxy for well over a year. Is it the Holy Spirit pulling me that way? How cam I tell?

Think of it this way. There are what 300 million Orthodox in the world right? Whether they are Arab, Russian, Greek, Serbian, Antiochian, etc they all profess the same faith. That's the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Do they?
Yes.
The Orthodox and the RCs agree that the True Church has four marks: it's One (which means it can be only one group although having sub-groups; also it means it is undivided), Holy, Apostolic and Catholic.

Each group will define these words in more or less different manners. Protestants, on the other hand, have a wider more blurred concept of "True Church" where acceptance of Jesus Christ through an interpretation of His life in the Bible is the great unifier.

For the RC, One means primarily being one institution, which would guarantee that it would keep one faith. When something cannot be clearly defined philosophically or theologically, the highest institution in the church, that of the Pope, through its current pontifice can, ex cathedra, by inspiration of God, point, define and proclaim which of the diverging opinions is the true one, that none is, or what is right in each and form a new more perfect one. Ex Cathedra is a generic concept that means literally "from the throne" and in practice "based on the spiritual experience of the Church in this and all times". He can't say anything preposterous, but if it can be justified, even with the concept that it had been implicitily believed from the very beginning, it will do.

For the Orthodox, One means primarily the same faith, synthesized in the Symbol of Faith and expressed in a plethora of ways, since liturgical traditions,hymns, ascetic practices etc. The Orthodox not only allows but in fact leads to the existance of multiple eclesiastical institutions, which should be attached and more or less equivalent to social divisions: the local parish, the regional diocese (until here the RC agrees with us) the inter-regional or national archdiocese or metropolia, among which the most proeminent ecclesiastically and politically can become autocephalous (self-governing) and, if *very* proeminent and usually with a couple of centuries being Orthodox, receive the title of Patriarchate. For the RC, this lack of a global institutional unity is a sign that the Orthodox would lack this mark of being "One". For the Orthodox, as I said, unity resides in having one faith, not one institution. For the Orthodox the plethora of philosophies, of forms of the expression of faith in the RC is a sign that there is not "one faith", but that the RC would have changed the faith along the years, keeping the words and changing the meanings.

So, if you think that unity is primarily institutional and that the institution is what is necessary to preserve the faith, even if changing its outter forms, than you should become a RC. Papal supremacy is just a logical consequence, the Pope being the highest institution inside the institution.

But if you think that the content of the Faith is what constitutes unity, than you allow for much less change in its outter forms, and accept more different institutions with different forms of governing themselves, than you should become an Orthodox.

Institutional unity with multiplicity in form of faith = RC

Unity in form of faith with institutional multiplicity = Orthodox

With all respect to FL, I don't think that answers the one faith. True, the Pope is the symbol that one is "within the Catholic Church", but beyond this, the problems are almost identical. All the Churches within RCC are "supposed" to follow the same faith. There may be sporadic cults or badly catechized laity, but that's not different from the Orthodox. The RCC may have an issue with Melchites and their relation on accepting all the Roman dogmas, but then again Rome has the agenda of unity on the brain and wants to fix that (which in turn will fix the Melchites).

So I have a hard time seeing this argument.
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« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2011, 09:04:38 AM »

I have the same problem with buying vegetables.

I rofl'd when i read this line...  laugh
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« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2011, 09:06:53 AM »

Keep investigating, don't rush into anything, especially this.
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« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2011, 10:35:52 AM »

I also echo the whole dead-endedness of the historical angle.

I see fine arguments for both sides, though I tend to feel like the Orthodox side has a bit more history on their side, based on the overall lack of any consensus on Roman Primacy.
This dismissal, so to speak, of the historical evidence confuses and puzzles me a little. Although I am admittedly a history geek, the history of the Church, especially in this context, seems pretty important to me.
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That said, I am no firmly convinced that no amount of reading ECF quotes, Orthodoxwiki articles, independent articles, or any other research can give you God's will.
True dat.
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It's got to be about prayer, and what feels right, in that way, that truly matters. Not what feels intellectually right, not what seems neater, not which one has cooler art, or better novelists, none of that.
Well, while I agree with the general premise, I am always personally wary of things that "feel right" but don't seem to be "intellectually right." Or vice versa. YMMV, of course.
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The question is really, where is God?
And I'm not so sure that is the question, or at least not the only one. Maybe the question is, where does God want me to be?
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The problem, or perhaps blessing, is that I'm quite certain that though one side must be the true church, He must have been in both at some point, and surely didn't just pack up and abandon wholesale the entire body of believers who fell on the wrong side of the schism.
The old saying seems appropos here: we know where the Church, the Body of Christ, is, but we don't know where it isn't.  So doesn't that make this point sort of irrelevant?
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