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Author Topic: Why can't I make a decision and stick to it?  (Read 4948 times) Average Rating: 0
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JimCBrooklyn
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« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2011, 11:37:16 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?


I don't mean to dismiss the historical evidence wholesale; I also find it fascinating, and my inquiry into Orthodoxy opened of a floodgate of interesting history to which I had never been exposed. I also believe that it can be useful to some extent on one's spiritual journey, but, in my experience, at least in the case of East v. West, it is not the source from which I am able to draw a complete spiritual answer. There have been too many intelligent people arguing both sides for 1000 years for there to be a truly open and shut case.

In terms of things that "feel right", I don't want to be misunderstood here. I think I am probably wary of the same things you are. I would tend to echo the poster above who mentioned a "gentle tug" of the Holy Spirit, rather than appeal to some sort of emotional impulse. I suppose what I meant is that it goes back to seeking God out, and what it is that He wants for us, rather than reading a pile of evidence and coming to the conclusion that side A has won the debate over side B. I think there is the intellectual world, the emotional world, the psychological world, and then that part of us that God speaks to, which is often the most difficult to be aware of, but is most important.

As to the last point, I think it is probably easier for those of us who, like you, are blessed to have found a firm answer, to say that that point has been made irrelevant. For those of us still searching and unsure, it's hard to think of it that way.
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« Reply #46 on: February 09, 2011, 11:52:10 AM »

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I think I am probably wary of the same things you are. I would tend to echo the poster above who mentioned a "gentle tug" of the Holy Spirit, rather than appeal to some sort of emotional impulse. I suppose what I meant is that it goes back to seeking God out, and what it is that He wants for us, rather than reading a pile of evidence and coming to the conclusion that side A has won the debate over side B. I think there is the intellectual world, the emotional world, the psychological world, and then that part of us that God speaks to, which is often the most difficult to be aware of, but is most important.

I think where we (or at least I) get into trouble is letting those worlds get out of balance. I do tend to live in my head - but my journey to Orthodoxy was motivated at least as much by several inexplicable events, feelings, and coincidence, as much as intellectual study.
The point I'm trying to make is, that for me, Orthodoxy was the perfect center of history, intellectual inquiry, and feelings. It all fell into place, and that place was Orthodoxy, the Truth, "the seamless garment."

What blew me away in the beginning was Fr. Thomas Hopko saying, (I'm paraphrasing, of course) that there is Truth. And we can know it.
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« Reply #47 on: February 09, 2011, 11:54:55 AM »

I don't mean to dismiss the historical evidence wholesale; I also find it fascinating, and my inquiry into Orthodoxy opened of a floodgate of interesting history to which I had never been exposed. I also believe that it can be useful to some extent on one's spiritual journey, but, in my experience, at least in the case of East v. West, it is not the source from which I am able to draw a complete spiritual answer. There have been too many intelligent people arguing both sides for 1000 years for there to be a truly open and shut case.

In terms of things that "feel right", I don't want to be misunderstood here. I think I am probably wary of the same things you are. I would tend to echo the poster above who mentioned a "gentle tug" of the Holy Spirit, rather than appeal to some sort of emotional impulse. I suppose what I meant is that it goes back to seeking God out, and what it is that He wants for us, rather than reading a pile of evidence and coming to the conclusion that side A has won the debate over side B. I think there is the intellectual world, the emotional world, the psychological world, and then that part of us that God speaks to, which is often the most difficult to be aware of, but is most important.

As to the last point, I think it is probably easier for those of us who, like you, are blessed to have found a firm answer, to say that that point has been made irrelevant. For those of us still searching and unsure, it's hard to think of it that way.

Very, very, well stated!
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« Reply #48 on: February 09, 2011, 12:05:52 PM »


In terms of things that "feel right", I don't want to be misunderstood here. I think I am probably wary of the same things you are. I would tend to echo the poster above who mentioned a "gentle tug" of the Holy Spirit, rather than appeal to some sort of emotional impulse. I suppose what I meant is that it goes back to seeking God out, and what it is that He wants for us, rather than reading a pile of evidence and coming to the conclusion that side A has won the debate over side B. I think there is the intellectual world, the emotional world, the psychological world, and then that part of us that God speaks to, which is often the most difficult to be aware of, but is most important.

As to the last point, I think it is probably easier for those of us who, like you, are blessed to have found a firm answer, to say that that point has been made irrelevant. For those of us still searching and unsure, it's hard to think of it that way.

I think it is clear from the Scriptures that we are to worship with our hearts and minds. I would think that if you find yourself (a)truly praying to God, both in private and in Church, in an Orthodox setting, and (b) you have come to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church has the fullness of faith--the decision should be quite easy. Another consideration must be, at least for me, the believer's responsibility to discern, make a decision and move on (and up). It is true that there are a myriad of things that impede our decisions and journey, but that would be the case in any setting, in any Church. Come to think of it, the Evil One does tend to attack us the closer that we get to the Lord. If I were in your shoes, I would consider whether that may be the case--that is, your inability to stick to a decision may be influenced by the machinations of Satan.
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« Reply #49 on: February 09, 2011, 12:07:55 PM »

Come to think of it, the Evil One does tend to attack us the closer that we get to the Lord. If I were in your shoes, I would consider whether that may be the case--that is, your inability to stick to a decision may be influenced by the machinations of Satan.

Wow. That is a scary thought, but a good one. I know for me, the closer I feel to Orthodoxy, the more my world feels shaken up.
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« Reply #50 on: February 09, 2011, 12:25:37 PM »


In terms of things that "feel right", I don't want to be misunderstood here. I think I am probably wary of the same things you are. I would tend to echo the poster above who mentioned a "gentle tug" of the Holy Spirit, rather than appeal to some sort of emotional impulse. I suppose what I meant is that it goes back to seeking God out, and what it is that He wants for us, rather than reading a pile of evidence and coming to the conclusion that side A has won the debate over side B. I think there is the intellectual world, the emotional world, the psychological world, and then that part of us that God speaks to, which is often the most difficult to be aware of, but is most important.

As to the last point, I think it is probably easier for those of us who, like you, are blessed to have found a firm answer, to say that that point has been made irrelevant. For those of us still searching and unsure, it's hard to think of it that way.

I think it is clear from the Scriptures that we are to worship with our hearts and minds. I would think that if you find yourself (a)truly praying to God, both in private and in Church, in an Orthodox setting, and (b) you have come to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church has the fullness of faith--the decision should be quite easy. Another consideration must be, at least for me, the believer's responsibility to discern, make a decision and move on (and up). It is true that there are a myriad of things that impede our decisions and journey, but that would be the case in any setting, in any Church. Come to think of it, the Evil One does tend to attack us the closer that we get to the Lord. If I were in your shoes, I would consider whether that may be the case--that is, your inability to stick to a decision may be influenced by the machinations of Satan.

Hearts, minds, soul, I suppose the full harmony of our selves is that "other" state I'm getting at. Of course we can't disregard our hearts and minds.

I definitely agree that the closer we come to the Lord, the harder the attacks are, and this is part of what terrifies me about the whole process of searching and discerning. I am certain that my inability to decide is influenced by Satan; it keeps me from the Lord in a full way, and it allows me to dilly-dally about my spiritual life and let in all sorts of negative influences and behaviors. The trouble is finding where to go next!
Thank you for the insight, however, it is always important to keep such thoughts at the forefront.
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« Reply #51 on: February 09, 2011, 12:54:25 PM »

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?

Thats my hold up with Orthodoxy. The prayer life is amazing, but I'm not so sure on all the intellectual bits, and this gives me pause.
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« Reply #52 on: February 09, 2011, 02:06:59 PM »

Let's all not forget that a thorough historical examination of joining the ancient Church requires some investigation into the Oriental Non-Chalcedonian communion (Coptic, Armenian, Western Syriac and Ethiopian Tewahedo), as well as the Assyrian Church of the East (East Syriac/Nestorian Church).

Never mind that it is further complicated by the possibility that perhaps some small and walled-off breakaway group from any of these communions could potentially represent some last remnant of the faithful in the period right before the second coming. So this could include maybe for the Roman Catholics the SSPX, for the Eastern Orthodox one of the various Old Calendarist/True/Genuine Orthodox groups or one of the Russian Old Believer groups, or from the Assyrian Church of the East the breakaway group over the calendar switch which is called the Ancient Church of the East. I'm personally not aware of Non-Chalcedonian break-away groups, but I'm sure they must exist.

My question is, could God really expect everyone to sort through all of this information and then expect them to make the correct choice? Such an idea seems totally ridiculous to me, especially when the gospel is for all and should be immediately available upon hearing it. It is meant for the poor and the illiterate; the sick and the suffering. So the notion that everyone has to be a scholar or have access to all of the right information in order to come to Christ and worship him seems totally incorrect. However, this is complicated because there indeed has to be an absolute standard of Truth incarnated in one of these churches, or the existence of heresy becomes impossible, and all divine "truths" them become subjective.

It's at times like this that I'm really glad that I'm not God and am not expected to sort out this whole mess. I'll have faith in Christ and continue to believe that He is merciful and that His hand is at work in our whole world.
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« Reply #53 on: February 09, 2011, 02:31:58 PM »

Let's all not forget that a thorough historical examination of joining the ancient Church requires some investigation into the Oriental Non-Chalcedonian communion (Coptic, Armenian, Western Syriac and Ethiopian Tewahedo), as well as the Assyrian Church of the East (East Syriac/Nestorian Church).

Never mind that it is further complicated by the possibility that perhaps some small and walled-off breakaway group from any of these communions could potentially represent some last remnant of the faithful in the period right before the second coming. So this could include maybe for the Roman Catholics the SSPX, for the Eastern Orthodox one of the various Old Calendarist/True/Genuine Orthodox groups or one of the Russian Old Believer groups, or from the Assyrian Church of the East the breakaway group over the calendar switch which is called the Ancient Church of the East. I'm personally not aware of Non-Chalcedonian break-away groups, but I'm sure they must exist.

My question is, could God really expect everyone to sort through all of this information and then expect them to make the correct choice? Such an idea seems totally ridiculous to me, especially when the gospel is for all and should be immediately available upon hearing it. It is meant for the poor and the illiterate; the sick and the suffering. So the notion that everyone has to be a scholar or have access to all of the right information in order to come to Christ and worship him seems totally incorrect. However, this is complicated because there indeed has to be an absolute standard of Truth incarnated in one of these churches, or the existence of heresy becomes impossible, and all divine "truths" them become subjective.

It's at times like this that I'm really glad that I'm not God and am not expected to sort out this whole mess. I'll have faith in Christ and continue to believe that He is merciful and that His hand is at work in our whole world.

I agree, in essence, with what you're saying, and I definitely recognize the confusing nature of it all, but does that mean that we can take such an approach that borders on agnostic?
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« Reply #54 on: February 09, 2011, 02:38:32 PM »

I think that we are in some measure held accountable based on where God has put us and what he has given us. So we have to be careful to be responsible with the amount of knowledge that we have been given, but a bit of agnosticism is good as well, because none of us knows everything. To admit as much is humble and only the right thing to do. Only God sees all angles. That being said, some use this as a means to excuse themselves from any real considerations of anything, which is just lazy and sinful. So I think It's a balance between knowing what we can and knowing our limits.
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« Reply #55 on: February 09, 2011, 02:41:26 PM »

Let's all not forget that a thorough historical examination of joining the ancient Church requires some investigation into the Oriental Non-Chalcedonian communion (Coptic, Armenian, Western Syriac and Ethiopian Tewahedo), as well as the Assyrian Church of the East (East Syriac/Nestorian Church).

Yes. Good point. I would like to learn more about them, but I find it more difficult to find resources on these Churches than the OO or RC Churches.
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« Reply #56 on: February 09, 2011, 03:09:50 PM »

Yes. Good point. I would like to learn more about them, but I find it more difficult to find resources on these Churches than the EO or RC Churches.

The Assyrian Church of the East is the most difficult to find information on in English because of its size and general isolation from the rest of Christianity for so long. The Oriental Non-Chalcedonians almost always tend to get either forgotten or confused with the Eastern Orthodox, and are usually misunderstood even among many Eastern Orthodox. I have yet to come across any single volume which offers a good introduction to those churches which reflects their own theological positions and nuances. And honestly it seems that most Oriental Non-Chalcedonians don't have too much interest in distinguishing themselves from the Eastern Orthodox. Most of them consider us basically the same, which I think is probably a bit lazy.

But if it's not important for most of them and if they think that our churches are the same, then because of that I really didn't feel any pressing need to examine those churches before settling with the Eastern Orthodox. If they were really the True Church, then they would speak of themselves that way, and in my experience they really didn't. Add to that more practical things like the lack of presence internationally and an even further culturally removed situation than we find with Eastern Orthodoxy, and I just didn't have too many reasons to look into their claims or anything. Maybe I will at some point. I did attend a Coptic liturgy in my city once during my period of inquiry, but that was it. They were all really nice, wonderful people and were very warm and welcoming. But it was just too foreign compared to the all English Eastern Orthodox parish I had been inquiring at.

The Assyrian Church of the East doesn't even have a presence in my city or state, and again there were no real resources, but also the practical fact that Eastern Orthodoxy and the Oriental Non-Chalcedonian churches do not have warm theological relations with the Nestorians led me to never give them too much consideration. These days I really get the impression that they probably are heretics, despite their cries to the contrary.

So in the end the choice for me remained between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, but I was just pointing out that there are actually many other possibilities at least hypothetically, and it will be up to you to come to your own conclusions about those possibilities. In the end, I chose "Eastern" Orthodox Catholicism rather than reverting back to my cradle Roman Catholicism. (I was a Protestant during my adolescence and into young adulthood.)
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« Reply #57 on: February 09, 2011, 04:44:50 PM »

... it keeps me from the Lord in a full way, and it allows me to dilly-dally about my spiritual life and let in all sorts of negative influences and behaviors. The trouble is finding where to go next!

It's the fullness of the faith that's important, IMHO. I think most churches and/or denoms have a piece or pieces of the Truth or the Faith (although some are way out there, and don't have any piece of the Truth that's obvious -to me, at any rate). But where can the fullness of the Faith given to the Apostles be found?

Hint, hint...
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« Reply #58 on: February 09, 2011, 06:59:18 PM »

Hint, hint. Haha.

In all seriousness, though, katherine, I like your approach to things. Can you give me any sort of link to the bit about knowing truth that you cited?
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« Reply #59 on: February 09, 2011, 07:01:52 PM »

Yes. Good point. I would like to learn more about them, but I find it more difficult to find resources on these Churches than the EO or RC Churches.


So in the end the choice for me remained between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, but I was just pointing out that there are actually many other possibilities at least hypothetically, and it will be up to you to come to your own conclusions about those possibilities. In the end, I chose "Eastern" Orthodox Catholicism rather than reverting back to my cradle Roman Catholicism. (I was a Protestant during my adolescence and into young adulthood.)

What brought you to that choice, if you don't mind my asking?
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« Reply #60 on: February 09, 2011, 11:46:06 PM »

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?

Same thing here.  As my inquiry started into Orthodoxy I have had to make sure that I am not following one of those "feelings" and that what I believe is pulling me towards the OC is not "myself" but God.  I tend to think that after working through many topics of both churches and things about myself I believe that the HS is at least gently pulling me towards a journey to  Orthodoxy.  I'm still probably on the long path of discernment but hopefully getting closer.

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« Reply #61 on: February 10, 2011, 12:45:53 AM »

What brought you to that choice, if you don't mind my asking?

Some of it was historical details and points made in debates, but as you said in many ways a case can be made on both sides.

I would say despite all of the reading and thinking and whatnot it boiled down to my gut instincts. But this was helped first and foremost by a message I received from God in a very personal way. I know most Orthodox don't talk that way because of the sin of pride or some spiritual delusion, but I know that it was Him.

Basically, I had been away from God for a very long time and was dying inside; totally full of hatred and I was intellectually and spiritually exhausted. The gist of the message, if I were to put it into human language, was this:

"Here is the way for you to love again."

And with that message, I got the strong impression that this was absolutely my last chance. If I turned again now, then God wasn't going to give me any more windows. And that terrified me.

I have no regrets. The Eucharist has completely changed my life; it is the greatest gift from God and the greatest miracle on earth that we can partake of His divinity itself through that chalice.
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« Reply #62 on: February 10, 2011, 08:52:16 AM »

The problem I have with the Catholic Church is this juridical approach to sin (mortal and venial) and God is this high ruling Judge. Look at the way the RC church is institutionalized, or should I say it's infrastructure, reflects that of a courtroom. It adopts this Romanesque Law system and applying this to the sins of Christianity, especially deriving theology from Augustinianism. From Brothers Karamazov:"It is not the Church that turns into the state, you see. That is Rome and its dream. That is the third temptation of the devil!" And that's exactly what happened with Roman Catholicism.
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« Reply #63 on: February 10, 2011, 09:02:19 AM »

I find it interesting that the very things that people say kept them/keep them away from Catholicism are what I like about it.

On a different note, thank you for sharing that Alveus. Smiley
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« Reply #64 on: February 10, 2011, 10:36:00 AM »

Hint, hint. Haha.

In all seriousness, though, katherine, I like your approach to things. Can you give me any sort of link to the bit about knowing truth that you cited?

http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/2011/02/fr-hopko-10-essential-conditions-for-coming-to-know-god%e2%80%99s-truth-and-finding-life/

(This literally took my breath away when I read it...)
“The belief that the truth of things can be known, and the desire to know the truth and to do it, wherever it leads, is most essential. Indeed it is everything. When people have this desire and seek truth in order to do it, and are ready to do it whatever it takes to find it, know it and do it, God promises that they will find, and understand and live. In a sense, this desire and seeking is all that is necessary.”

(FWIW, I was not that uncomfortable or unsatisfied with my former denom (in which I had been raised). As a matter of fact, I had been accepted to seminary, with the intention of entering the ordained ministry. Unfortunately I had to follow the Truth wherever it led - which resulted in my conversion to Orthodoxy and a complete change in plans!)

(Like alveus, in addition to the historical/theological evidence, I too had one of those moments when God spoke to me. I assure you that I am not a person who seeks out "woo-woo spirituality" - I tend to be practical and downright suspicious of religious emotionalism. But as sure as I'm sitting here at this computer, God spoke to me and told me "This is the way things are supposed to be." This doesn't leave you a lot of wiggle room, believe me.)
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« Reply #65 on: February 10, 2011, 12:42:39 PM »

For me, one of the biggest things that would keep me from becoming Catholic is the fact that they only serve communion under one species. It just seems to me entirely arrogant to ignore the institution by Christ to take from the cup. I know that they claim his "soul, body, divinity" is completely contained under both species, but how do they know that? In order to believe this, they must ignore the command by Christ to drink of the cup, or at least consider it completely irrelevant. I don't know why Christ commanded us to partake of his body and his blood, and what spiritual gifts or benefits each confer, but I assume he had a good reason for instituting that we do both.
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« Reply #66 on: February 10, 2011, 03:30:57 PM »

OЙ!

So, inspired by some of this discussion, my overall state of mind/feeling, plus a chance encounter on the street, I approached a priest here today about Orthodoxy. I actually started a thread about this, wondering if anyone knows of a different one, because he basically told me that being Catholic was the same as being Orthodox, except for some unimportant stuff, and I mention it here as it relates to this discussion; it's awfully discouraging to actually go towards something, and have it go like that...
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« Reply #67 on: February 10, 2011, 03:34:59 PM »

You should have asked him if it's the same, then why isn't he a Roman Catholic. Of course his answer probably would have been "because I am RUSSIAN!"
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« Reply #68 on: February 10, 2011, 05:05:38 PM »

OЙ!

So, inspired by some of this discussion, my overall state of mind/feeling, plus a chance encounter on the street, I approached a priest here today about Orthodoxy. I actually started a thread about this, wondering if anyone knows of a different one, because he basically told me that being Catholic was the same as being Orthodox, except for some unimportant stuff, and I mention it here as it relates to this discussion; it's awfully discouraging to actually go towards something, and have it go like that...


I'm really sorry to hear that Jim, I really wish there was something I could say besides just keep trying and searching, surely there is a good priest around town who knows the important distinctions between catholicism and orthodoxy and who realizes that they are indeed very different in many ways.
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« Reply #69 on: February 10, 2011, 11:21:52 PM »

I find it interesting that the very things that people say kept them/keep them away from Catholicism are what I like about it.

I actually find the distinction between mortal and venial sins to be very helpful in the confession process, and it has been utilized by a number of great Orthodox saints, so I see no real issue.

Also, I don't understand why people are so loud about the "juridical" orientation of Roman Catholicism, as law and the language of law are all over Christianity. For goodness' sake, we are part of a New Covenant/Contract.
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« Reply #70 on: February 10, 2011, 11:31:22 PM »

Also, I don't understand why people are so loud about the "juridical" orientation of Roman Catholicism, as law and the language of law are all over Christianity. For goodness' sake, we are part of a New Covenant/Contract.

Except for the fact of absolution. I'll try to disclose why the "juridical" view is wrong, I think Fr. Michael Halford (for Greek Orthodox TV) nailed it...I'll have to get the video out.

I think the main point is the EO theology has more of a spritiual development aspect rather than purification.
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« Reply #71 on: February 10, 2011, 11:35:13 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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.

Now you've got the right idea.  Go where your heart and soul are touched in prayer, not where your logical mind interprets the soundest doctrine, because if you only look at in an analytical way, you will always find fault in all churches anywhere and everywhere.  Go where the Spirit leads you, where you feel God the most, and stay there and until God brings you somewhere else.  Remember you go to church and to Liturgy to find God directly, not to think about him intellectually.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #72 on: February 11, 2011, 06:05:54 AM »

Also, I don't understand why people are so loud about the "juridical" orientation of Roman Catholicism, as law and the language of law are all over Christianity. For goodness' sake, we are part of a New Covenant/Contract.

Except for the fact of absolution. I'll try to disclose why the "juridical" view is wrong, I think Fr. Michael Halford (for Greek Orthodox TV) nailed it...I'll have to get the video out.

I think the main point is the EO theology has more of a spritiual development aspect rather than purification.

I agree with both points. One of the things that draws me East is just this aspect of spiritual development, of Theosis, rather than racking up the bill and paying it off in confession, repeatedly. Obviously, the RC approach is not quite this simple, but in practice, it often turns out this way.

That said, I do find the definitions of venial and mortal sins to be useful, and the concept of being in a "state of grace" rather than in one of sin, to be useful and noticeable.
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« Reply #73 on: February 11, 2011, 10:28:52 AM »

That said, I do find the definitions of venial and mortal sins to be useful, and the concept of being in a "state of grace" rather than in one of sin, to be useful and noticeable.

Bearing in mind I have only the sketchiest understanding of the "mortal/venial sin" concept, how does that work in the context of sin as sickness, rather than a series of bad actions? Is a state of grace analogous to a state of health?
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« Reply #74 on: February 11, 2011, 01:02:11 PM »

That said, I do find the definitions of venial and mortal sins to be useful, and the concept of being in a "state of grace" rather than in one of sin, to be useful and noticeable.

Bearing in mind I have only the sketchiest understanding of the "mortal/venial sin" concept, how does that work in the context of sin as sickness, rather than a series of bad actions? Is a state of grace analogous to a state of health?

Perhaps sins could be considered as diseases of different intensity and affliction, some of which require more immediate attention?
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« Reply #75 on: February 11, 2011, 01:18:15 PM »

Also, I don't understand why people are so loud about the "juridical" orientation of Roman Catholicism, as law and the language of law are all over Christianity. For goodness' sake, we are part of a New Covenant/Contract.

Except for the fact of absolution. I'll try to disclose why the "juridical" view is wrong, I think Fr. Michael Halford (for Greek Orthodox TV) nailed it...I'll have to get the video out.

I think the main point is the EO theology has more of a spritiual development aspect rather than purification.

I agree with both points. One of the things that draws me East is just this aspect of spiritual development, of Theosis, rather than racking up the bill and paying it off in confession, repeatedly. Obviously, the RC approach is not quite this simple, but in practice, it often turns out this way.


In reality though, and at the end of the day, things are not so different, I can tell it from my own experience. Catholic confession is really not just enumerating a list of sins and getting absolution. Especially if you do it with a good priest, it is also about spiritual growth. Orthodox confession is also focused on sin, and in particular your own sins, not just general sinfulness, there is an idea that some sins are grave, some are not so grave (as in mortal vs. venial), sin is still viewed as a break of God's law, and an illness, if you wish, and you might or might not receive good advice for spiritual growth. Honestly, it's a mix and they're not so different, no matter how much some would like emphasize differences. I'd say don't base you're potential conversion on this.
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