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#1 of 63 Old 11-28-2007, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was raised Catholic. It is pretty much the only religion that I know a lot about. Those of you that are Orthodox, please tell me more, or give me some good sites to read. Thanks!
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#2 of 63 Old 11-28-2007, 09:33 PM
 
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I was actually planning on posting the same thing tonight, so I'm glad you asked!
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#3 of 63 Old 11-28-2007, 10:17 PM
 
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there was a really good thread a few months back. let me see what i can find.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#4 of 63 Old 11-28-2007, 10:21 PM
 
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http://www.mothering.com/discussions...rthodox&page=2

ok skip the first page. its all misinformation. there were no Orthodox around when the thread started but then it came back up a nd some real information got posted. there are about a million links. I highly recommend taking some time to read them if you are truely interested in the Orthodox church.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#5 of 63 Old 11-28-2007, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! And thank you for the link and for bumping the previous thread. Very good information. Lots of reading that I need to do! I think maybe I just need to take a course/class on the history of christianity or something. I feel so uneducated!
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#6 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 12:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...rthodox&page=2

ok skip the first page. its all misinformation. there were no Orthodox around when the thread started but then it came back up a nd some real information got posted. there are about a million links. I highly recommend taking some time to read them if you are truely interested in the Orthodox church.
Wow. Thank you so much for bumping that thread! It's answered quite a few question already and I haven't even read through all the links yet! I'm off to go do so.....

Also, if you'd like to share, I'd love to hear about your conversion to the Orthodox church.
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#7 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 12:21 AM
 
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I would love to share. But i have to get to work but I will come back to it sometime this week. The short version is one day you are very average kinda of charasmatic non-denominational, protestant, evangelical girl from the south and then all of a sudden 15 years later you are eating baklava in a church basement after a long morning of crossing your self and kissing things. The only thing the two churches have in common is that they are the weird churches on the block.

anyway . . . I will come back to this I promise.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#8 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 12:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
I would love to share. But i have to get to work but I will come back to it sometime this week. The short version is one day you are very average kinda of charasmatic non-denominational, protestant, evangelical girl from the south and then all of a sudden 15 years later you are eating baklava in a church basement after a long morning of crossing your self and kissing things. The only thing the two churches have in common is that they are the weird churches on the block.

anyway . . . I will come back to this I promise.
Hah! I'm an Antiochian convert, so I eat tabbouleh, hummus, baba ganoush, and all sorts of other Middle Eastern food I've taught myself to cook. Will say one thing, ME food is definitely VERY tasty fasting food!

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#9 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 12:36 AM
 
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I would love to share. But i have to get to work but I will come back to it sometime this week. The short version is one day you are very average kinda of charasmatic non-denominational, protestant, evangelical girl from the south and then all of a sudden 15 years later you are eating baklava in a church basement after a long morning of crossing your self and kissing things. The only thing the two churches have in common is that they are the weird churches on the block.

anyway . . . I will come back to this I promise.
Awesome! I'm very much looking forward to it!
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#10 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 06:55 PM
 
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Oh man . . I had a god portion of this typed out and my computer shut down. grrrrr.

but n the up side that gives me a chance to condense

grew up in a methodist church that lacked at any solid doctrine. So upon leaving around the age of 12 I didn't really believe in God and though if there was a heaven all roads lead to it blah blah blah. Nothing like relativity and moral ambiguity to completely strip you of any faith you may have been clinging to.

So then I met my friend L.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#11 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 07:06 PM
 
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Ok my computer is being weird so I am just going to hot the post button every now and then so i don't lose everything. forgive the fragmented nature of all this and if I leave it hanging I am sorry about that too. . . . .

Ok so in 6th grade I met L and started going to her church. It was very sweet and where i first really believed. It was the first place on earth i felt loved. it was a sweet little hippy congregation of misfits and oddballs who were all so sweet and gentle and truly loved each other and the Lord. there was a slight charismatic flavor but since I was coming in a blank slate and loved these people i trusted every word they spoke as if it came directly from God. and they could usually find at least one scripture to back them up. if they erred they did so from a place of honesty and innocence.

but as happens with charismatic, non-denomination, evangelical protestant churches who have no history, no doctrine, no back ground, no oversight and are making things up as they go - things began to snowball down the mountain. little quirky things became major weird things. one day we are all a bunch of normal joes the next day we have Chuck the Prophet and every kind of weird in between. (I can PM you a link if you want to get a fuller picture of the place. but despite thinking these people are completely off their rocker and have some serious sin issues - pride and arrogance is a funny thing- i still love them and don't want to post it publicly. Also it is a pretty big church and there may be some mamas on here from there, it is where I learned all my crunchy goodness )

Ok so anyway as it picked up momentum in the weird category life just sort of pulled me out the door as i went off to college and got married. We didn't really find a church we could agree on in the 2 years we were here then we moved back to TX and started going back to church there but walking in cold really accentuated the weirdness. but it was still home so we went there for a few months before we moved back here (SD).

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#12 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 07:18 PM
 
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So then we did start going to church here. . . .oh wait . . . before we went back to TX my finance/husband and I were in school in pre-seminary programs. we dropped out when we went back to TX. He picked up when we got back here but i was already pregnant so I didn't.

we finally settled on a little church that a friend of ours started. It was a seeker friendly congregation ala willow creek. and i hated it but my husband loved it so we stayed there. for 10 years. dh played in the praise band, was a youth pastor. everyone around us . . there lives and especially their marriage and families were falling apart. then we got fired from the youth ministry thing. Dh stopped going but I stayed a while longer thinking eventually he would come back or give us some direction where to move on to. plus dd needed to be dedicated,. there was a Christmas program and eventually we just stopped going all together. The thing about that church is tat they were so casual about church and God and everything that they really convinced people there was really no need to show up. ironic since they were trying to reach the unchurched. i have a whole issue with the unchurched thing but in a nutshell if getting people into church is your only goal or main goal how do you keep them there once they are actually in church(you have met your goal) and they are no longer your focus. the big joke about this place is that unless they are paying you to stay it i a 3 year church. and there was absolutely no one there (except staff) who had been there more than three years. and when staff left it was under hostile circumstances.

So after about a year of sleeping in on sunday mornings I decided it was time to be a parent and see to my children's spiritual up bringing. We visited one church just for fun, knowing my husband would never go but thought, since he is not with us we should at least go enjoy a sunday there. It was so great. I sat in the back in a corner and just rested in their love and acceptance. I walked in with a crazy list of demands (as specific as "someone has start a conversation with me where they introduce themselves and ask something personal about me" and they did. I wanted to hear the words "open your Bible" and i did.) Everything they did was so great and so welcoming and by the third week my children were no longer visitors but automatically enrolled in sunday school., the nursery directors would make sure they had seen the baby before they left. because they absolutely loved her (she had that effect on people.).

and another thing I noticed was that the church we had been going to was dead and dark and dead. did I mention dead? walking into this church was like waking up after a very long sleep. for goodness sakes the lights were on. people welcomed you and no one was ashamed to have come to church. and the leadership was expected to be living examples of Christianity. Anyone in front of the church was expected to be dressed modestly, could not be in ungodly relationships, You had to be doing a decent job of parenting (this was not a punishment but if you didn't have time to tend to your family you did not have time to commit to ministry because your family was your first ministry.)

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#13 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 07:41 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing that, lilyka. I am also a convert to Orthodoxy from Evangelical Protestantism. I'll try to return to this thread later...
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#14 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 07:53 PM
 
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Oh and there was dignity. it still had a slightly charismatic flavor but it as orderly, dignified and retained a little formality. it was a nice beautiful balance.

however there was a down side.

Chuck the prophet.

I kid you not.

1000 miles away from the little independent church i grew up in and there on the book shelf were every book that chuck the prophet had ever written. SO I email the pastor and say "what gives". very very good friends. seriously. within a few weeks they had broken from their denomination with all its oversight and sanity. and the snowball of change began. I couldn't believe how fast things spun out of control. I am not making this up. I think we went there for a year and half to two years and by the time we left it was just psycho.

and chuck the prophet was showing up in more and more. (i am not joking about this guy)

SOooooooooooooooo

In the mean time i was trying to get a handle on my children's behavior. And while I hadn't lost my belief all together I was beginning to feel like any attempt man man made to worship god was a joke and had to be completely unacceptable to God. I met a woman on another message board. She would go on and on and on about her church. more information that you could ever want to know. and this lady was so arrogant as to believe that her church was right and everyone elses was wrong. it was the one true church she said. blah blah blah. and she post long doctrinal statements. over and over. its like she had one for every question. I have to admit. after a while even though i thought she was dead wrong (not that i ever really read what she had to say because I was right and she was wrong so why bother ) I was beginning to be impressed that she knew what she believed and why. I began to realize that I had no idea why I believed what I did. except that I could pull misc. scripture bits up to justify just about anything.

and despite this person being a constant annoyance to any spirituality/doctrine discussion we tried to have on this board, I still subscribed to her blog. I have no idea why. I usually scrolled past it. but she had some beautiful kids and a swell camera. and she posted absolutely wonderful pictures.

in the mean time I am having an all out life crisis. my dh never did come back to church with us (I did offer to change churches at the drop of a hat if he wanted to go anywhere in the world. without a word of anything beside absolute support. submit submit submit blah blah blah) but after i found out he was having an affair i just gave up. all of that crisis plus my church starting to take a walk on the weird side really made me a cynic.

i also started really thinking about doctrine. how come we didn't have a history? how come we didn't want to pin down doctrine and theological issues? If such and such a principal was good why do they completely redefine everything every 5 years or so. whatever fad happens to be sweeping the nation. and things at my church just kept getting cheesier and cheesier. If you really feel like reading you can dig around on my blog a bit. but essentially i started questioning our thinking on salvation. i couldn't respect a God who participated in the "repeat the magic words and then go live like a pig because once you say the words there are no take backs." how did we get there? I started searching and back tracking the whole gooey grace mentality and how things got so easy. I came to the conclusion that there had to be more to "gettin' saved" than repeating the magic words. I also needed to figure out what the law had to do with us. This was Gods heart revealed to his people. we may not have to obey but there is a feeling in some evangelical circles that if we dare obey we are sinning. if we don't hate the law we are legalistic. I loved the law. I saw it as Gods gift to me.

and then I read a book. its funny. I picked it up almost against my will.

Jesus of Suburbia.

I highly recommend it to everyone. It has nothing to do with the Orthodox church (yes I do remember that this is what this post is about ). the main jist is that we have recreated Jesus in our own image and the Christ wanted followers. Not just believers or just lovers but he wanted followers and if you wouldn't follow and obey him he would unceremoniously tel you good by. he also in one sentence brought everything about the law and grace into line. he made two points in that chapter. One that the children of Isreal were not creating and worshiping a new god. The were making the God into an image they were comfortable with. I thought that was an interest8ing take on it. I could never figure out why after He had done so much for them and had so revealed himself to them that they would just pick up and find a new God. It makes much more sense that the whole golden cow was an outpouring of devotion to him even if misguided and confused. then he pointed out that God did not give the law for salvation. it wasn't about earning your salvation. the law was a gift to the already redeemed. First he saved them, freely, without condition. all they had to do was ask for it. and then showed them what it meant to be one of his followers. Old testament but it sounds familiar doesn't it.

This changed everything i thought I knew about salvation and grace and the law and the bible.

I had a panic attack for a few days, wrestled with some stuff. wondered how i would get this information to the entire evangelical church (as if they had just missed this one little key all along )

then I remembered that lady and her stinking Orthodox church rambling.

I read a little. hear and there. not much.

then she posted pictures of a baptism and Chrismation. I couldn't believe how serious and long the ceremony as or how many little components it had. and my friend took the time to explain every little part of it and answer at least 30 questions on the specifics. every movement the priest made had significance that went back hundreds and thousands of years.

It blew me away.

So I read some more.

within a week or two I had spent hours and hours and hours reading everything I could get my hands on . all the links in the other thread, plus an orthodox message board (I can PM that to you also). Then i got books. lots of books.

First I realized that anything we had been making up along the way they had been doing all along and better. anointing with oil? yep. spiritual warfare? yep. signs and wonders? yep. prayer and fasting? yep people devoting their whole life to prayer? yep. (My friend and I joke that if evangelical charismatics are just trying to reinventing the orthodox church without even knowing it exists)

they also had a lot of stuff we didn't have. accountability. authority. history. purpose and vision. dignity for crying out loud. and a reason. and they didn't change. 10 years before. 10 years from now. all the same. because God ordained it and they are not making things up as they go.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#15 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 08:14 PM
 
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Some giants fell easily. the first was infant baptism. and further that baptism was a super natural link to the divine. not a worthless optional symbol of some vague faith. I also became firmly convinced not only that infants should be able to receive baptism but that it is cruel to deny them. and that by denying them we are turning salvation into a mental rational thing and not a miraculous gift of gods infinite mercy. I accepted confession and closed communion. I accepted that this was the early church with an unbroken link to the apostles. I even accepted that this was the one true church.

other things did not go so easy. Icon, saints and all the kissing. and Theosis. Fortunate my ever patient,. not easily deterred friend who I was liking more and more every day went over and over and over things with me answering all my questions. Saints and icons i just had to strike a deal with God over. i told him he had to give me a saint I could pray t by the end of the day if he wanted me to move forward with this. He gave me Queen Ketevan. When we are officially received into the church she will be my youngest dds patron saint. As for icons and kissing stuff . ..it made sense on a logical and sweet level and if I am wrong well . . God grace is sufficient to cover such a thing, he will see that my hearts intention was to honor him all along the way.

So . . .here I was decidedly landing on the orthodox side of things doctrinally and in belief.

this presented a problem.
despite my husbands complete disinterest in our families spiritual journey, his lack of leadership etc etc he was not going to be cool with this. and I was right.

it has been a mess. plus all the other marriage problems stirred in the soup. he did start going to church again.

oh well back to my journey. . . .

there was only one church. and the priest was this guy I used to work for. and he was kinda mean to me then. But what could I do. this was the true church. this was where I had to be.

So i approached Fr. P. and he was so sweet. The church at the time was going through some major upheaval that i gather now had been going on for years. Fr. P had been retired for years (he has to be close to 70) but serving the church for free and working full time on the side. And I had never noticed how little English he spoke. ow had I never noticed that.

he told me to wait. to not come to church till they had a new priest who could speak English (not that there was one on the way) then he shrugged his shoulders and said come anyway and apologized that so few people spoke English. Then he asked me if my dh would be coming. I said no. he put his hand on my shoulder and said "eh, its OK" and asked about my dd. again "eh its ok. you just come then."

and i didn't.

not for another 3 or 4 months.

some of my hang ups were the English thing. Not only was my dh not thrilled about the Orthodox church he really didn't like anyone in the priests family. and I had heard bad things about the Greeks being unwelcoming and really would have preferred a Russian or Serbian parish. and i knew we had to have them somewhere as we have a huge Russian and Serbian population here.

But I did finally go. By then they had rotating guest priests every now and then. I loved the liturgy. it was about 50/50 English Greek. but i didn't feel at all welcome. i felt ridiculous in my attempt at "church clothes". and I just felt painfully obvious as there was never more than about 10 people there. after 3 times I went to a Russian parish in TX and absolutely fell in love. The parish was vibrant and welcoming. Almost everyone spoke English. It was good.

and then back to South Dakota I came.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#16 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 08:20 PM
 
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sorry to interrupt, I just wanted to say thank you for posting this, it gave me a new understanding, and I appreciate that.

Quote:
further that baptism was a super natural link to the divine. not a worthless optional symbol of some vague faith. I also became firmly convinced not only that infants should be able to receive baptism but that it is cruel to deny them. and that by denying them we are turning salvation into a mental rational thing and not a miraculous gift of gods infinite mercy.
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#17 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 08:33 PM
 
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Then Fr G visited.

I noticed his wife instantly. Her dd was behaved and participated in the liturgy. That week there was a lot of people there. and Fr. G was serious about some stuff that our parish was sorta letting slide.

While we were waiting for a new priest I prayed for someone like Fr. G. It was long before word came that we had a new priest (and I was so touched that someone had sent a message to me about it. Looking back I am sure Fr. P sent it.) I was told he was young, had a family, a PhD and SPOKE ENGLISH!! And would be here in a couple months.

AS if it was a final sign from God the next week in church it was announced that not get a priest like Fr. G but we actually got Fr. G. And even though he wasn't scheduled to start for a month he would start with weekly liturgy right away. by the time he officially started there was a full list of services all week long that he was serving in. yay! A real church.

and Fr P was so cute. We were at Orthos (a prayer service before liturgy) and he comes down right in the middle of it and tells us we must speak to Fr. G after the service and he will tell Fr. G to not do anything until he has talked to us. not that Fr. G had anything to tell me but Fr. P just knew he couldn't answer my questions and stuff and wanted to make sure that I had first chance out of everyone to ask any questions about the church and have them answered. That also got me down to coffee hour (the third part of the service and if you ever attend an Orthodox church I encourage you to stick around for coffee hour. even if you feel like a dork crashing a party. it really is an important. ) and then, once I had wandered to the basement everyone woke up and talked to me and welcomed me and it officially became my church and my church family.

the next week I brought my youngest dd and she met the priests wife's little girl and all of us have been god friends ever since. which has been helpful in making me feel encouraged and learning all the things there is to know.

I haven't officially been received into the church because we feel it is important to consider my dh in every step we take. I am preparing unofficially for my Chrismation and my children's baptism so that when the time comes we can move quickly. My dh isn't warming up but he is letting me take the children and even said I could have them baptized. but we are still waiting because there isn't such a rush that we want to move out of turn.

I know this is Gods church, I know it is his will I be there. The Holy Spirit has moved mountains to get me this far. he laid the ground work so that when I snapped and realized what a mess my ideas and ways were the church would be waiting right there like a great big glaring light of truth. A church I had never even heard of until two years earlier. (well I knew that the church on the corner was Orthodox and that Fr. P was the priest and it was some sort of ethnic catholic mess . . or so I thought).

the other day we went to a house blessing. it was a habitat house and open to the public. so there was a large group of people there. for the first time ever I felt orthodox. I cried as I watched my children cross themselves. we were a part of the good stuff going on in that house right then. They were going up Orthodox. the people praying and reading around us, coming together in love for each other . . they were my family and accepted me into their close knit community regardless of how clumsily or stupidly I did it. I love them dearly. I have forgiven old hurts. I am learning for the first time what it means to be a part of a church where "moving on" is not an option. instead you just have to work it out.

Our little church is growing. there were 100 people there the other day. when a few weeks ago there were 4 or 5. As i watch Gods blessing fall on this place and feel it fall on me I know this is real. I know this is of God. the doctrines are scripturally sound, the traditions are beautiful and make sense, the church is unshakable, not even communism could stand against it. I love everything about it.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#18 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 08:48 PM
 
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my big turning point/breakdown

http://www.xanga.com/teenybopperwith...2406/item.html
http://www.xanga.com/teenybopperwith...2825/item.html

and I wasn't going to put this here but i introduce you to Prophet Chuck this is not a link to his church. Here is another (please be ware of this guy. I believe in miracles and prophesy and men of God. I know this guy personally and he is an snake oil salesman . . .errr. . .anointing oil salesman I guess . .and other prophet gift items. )

and that has been my whole sordid journey. and since this church is not likely to change in the next several thousand years, and I don't even have another parish to run away to it looks like I won't be going anywhere else. and I couldn't be happier about it.


and as a funny little side note.

this whole story covers about 18 years. All the big changes happened in about the time span of a year.

but I met Fr. P and his wife about 15 years ago. I worked for them about a year. Pres. M gave me a new name and refused to hear differently. the first thing Fr. P said to me was "when will you be coming to confession". he was tormenting us and having fun with the fact that we really didn't know what to make of working for a priest. Little did any of us know then that in a few short months from now I will be making my first confession and will be Chrismated with name that Pres. M gave me so many years ago. :

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#19 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 09:02 PM
 
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Wow. I opened this thread b/c my DH is Greek Orthodox (actually Greek period ) and my dd was baptized GO, in Greece. I'm fascinated by the Orthodox church.

But, what a really interesting journey, Lilyka. My "charismatic evangelical" relatives in the South don't even think of the Orthodox church as really Christian, which I find so ironic since it is the church that has an unbroken link through the centuries to some of the earliest Christians. I am amazed that someone from that tradition has become Orthodox, to be honest! I think it's very cool that you finally found a church that suits you.

I'm not sure what we'll do in the future as far as me converting or us really becoming part of a congregation, since we aren't really into formal religion - but being Orthodox is VERY important to Greeks. It's a whole different world in Greece, no separation of church and state. DD loves kissing the icons but is a bit scared of the priests with their long beards.

Anyway, carry on, just wanted to say that this is extremely interesting.
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#20 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 09:53 PM
 
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Wow. I opened this thread b/c my DH is Greek Orthodox (actually Greek period ) and my dd was baptized GO, in Greece. I'm fascinated by the Orthodox church.

But, what a really interesting journey, Lilyka. My "charismatic evangelical" relatives in the South don't even think of the Orthodox church as really Christian, which I find so ironic since it is the church that has an unbroken link through the centuries to some of the earliest Christians. I am amazed that someone from that tradition has become Orthodox, to be honest! I think it's very cool that you finally found a church that suits you.

I'm not sure what we'll do in the future as far as me converting or us really becoming part of a congregation, since we aren't really into formal religion - but being Orthodox is VERY important to Greeks. It's a whole different world in Greece, no separation of church and state. DD loves kissing the icons but is a bit scared of the priests with their long beards.

Anyway, carry on, just wanted to say that this is extremely interesting.
Nora's Mom, you might find these two blogs interesting...both by Southerners who converted to Orthodoxy and are priests. One is from TN (and lives in TN), the other is from NC and now lives in Houston. Both were Episcopalians, but Fr. Joseph was brought up a Baptist. Fr. Joseph's Antiochian and wrote a very funny (although quite serious, too) book called One Flew Over the Onion Dome: American Orthodox Converts, Retreads and Reverts. There's actually a section on Orthodoxy in the South. Fr. Stephen is OCA.

Fr. Joseph Huneycutt's Orthodixie blog:
http://southern-orthodoxy.blogspot.com/

Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog:
http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/

2,000 former Evangelicals - the leaders used to be with Campus Crusade for Christ - became Orthodox through the Antiochians in 1987. Fr. Peter Gillquist, the leader of these former Evangelicals, wrote a book called Becoming Orthodox, chronicling their journey.

I was raised RC, lapsed for 10 years after HS graduation, then spent 5 years as an high church/Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian - so I don't get most of the issues Protestants have with Orthodoxy (saints, Mary, icons, confession). They were simply non-issues for me.

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#21 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 09:54 PM
 
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Oh my gosh . . believe it or not I left something out

One of the things that led to my general spirityual crisis is that all the change and all the smoke and mirors (literal and figurative) that they were using to sell Christ just kept minimizing and minimizing God to me. I looked out one day and realized that everyone was worshiping a God who bowed down to them. the worship area had to be just so or they wouldn't feel comfortable, the service had to be mid day because they couldn't be bothered to wake up after a night of partying, the dress had to be casual because if they bothered to dress at all after crawling out of bed they certainly wanted to be comfortable. there were cofffee shops and book stores and lounges in case yuo just weren't cofortable enough in the sanctuary. there were private gyms and cafes and family centers becoming the norm. the music had t be top notch to our ears and in a style that was relevent to us. we only wanted to worship with other eople just like us who shared our tastes and goals.

Quite honestly I wanted a God who just wasn't that concerned about me and my whims. I wanted a God who cammanded worship and adoration on his terms. not ours.

Then someone pointed out how all the praise songs and gospels song were all about us. I didn't believe it at first but when I listened to the words (rather than getting caught up in the emotion - which is very carefully orchastrated because getting caught up emotionally is the halmark od some holy spirit experiance even though the same response can be seen at any rock concert - Christian or secular) but when I listened to the words i realized the were right - I need more, I want more, you come to me, touch me, come to me, heal me, clear my path, make it easy for me to have yuor blessings, me me me i want I want i want. very little just out right praising God.

and some of the things they said were pretty brazen and arrogant. I still go to a protastant church with my husband and sing along because hey . . I am a team player and will have a good attitude . . . .but the song said "I want to touch you, I want to see your face". Think for a moment about any one who had a chance to see Gods face. Most knew better than to look. Was it moses who hid in the cleft of a rock. "Please no God! I would be destrpoyed if I looked on your glory." When Christ was transfigured even though the disciples has seen him before I believe they passed out cold when they just had a glimpse of his real glory.

Anyway . . I wanted a God who didn't bow down to me. and if it wasn't the God of the evangelical church I could live with that. if there was no god like that I could live with that too. but I believed the real God, the God I had known all along, was a God who bows to no one. So step two was to find a church who didn't give a crap about my whims and desires but was there to worship God alone. In the orthodox church the worship goes on even if no one but the priest shows up. I have walked in on the middle of the service and was the first one there. I love that it is so not about me. I am invited to join in for prayer and worship. but I am not the reason for it. no one is going to come to me with a sale pitch and offers to find a view of a god suitable for me. they have their God, he has instituted worship his way. and I can take it or leave it thankyouverymuch. (don't get me wrong. if I missed more than week people would be on the phone to see what was wrong. but that is because they love me, not because they are pandering for me or overly concerned with getting the unchurched in the pews at any cost for no good reason).

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#22 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 09:59 PM
 
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, In the orthodox church the worship goes on even if no one but the priest shows up. I have walked in on the middle of the service and was the first one there.
Just a wee point - that's technically correct for Vespers and Matins (evening and morning prayer to the non-Orthodox folks, when Lilyka says Orthros, that's the Greek word for Matins) - but unlike Catholic priests who can say Mass solo, Orthodox priests MUST have at least one person in the congregation to be able to serve the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist service).

To do so otherwise is a HUGE no-no!

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#23 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 10:24 PM
 
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Ha I guess it has never been *that* empty

Do chanters or acolytes count as people in the congregation?

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#24 of 63 Old 11-29-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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Ha I guess it has never been *that* empty

Do chanters or acolytes count as people in the congregation?
The priest cannot be alone in the church for the Liturgy, so I guess chanters/acolytes would count.

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#25 of 63 Old 11-30-2007, 01:33 AM
 
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I'm literally in tears over here. Thank you so much for sharing lilyka! I greatly appreciate the time and energy it took to post that.

I have quite a few thoughts running through my mind right now that need some reflection, and also some time to sort through them all before I can formulate any kind of coherent response. I just wanted you to know that your journey deeply resonates with me and I'll probably have loads of questions for you in the near future. (I'll try my hardest not to bombard you!)

Once again, my deepest thanks for sharing your story.
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#26 of 63 Old 11-30-2007, 07:51 PM
 
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ask away

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#27 of 63 Old 11-30-2007, 09:57 PM
 
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Okay, here are a few off the top of my head:

-What does confession look like? What is the purpose of it? Does it differ from the RCC's perception of confession or is it basically the same thing?

-Tell me more about the icons. What is their role in worship and prayer?

-What does a typical service look like?

-Is there a greater emphasis on grace or works?

I'm coming at these question with very little knowledge of the Orthodox church, so if they don't make sense, let me know and I'll try to clarify.
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#28 of 63 Old 11-30-2007, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for sharing your story lilyka!!
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#29 of 63 Old 12-01-2007, 12:50 AM
 
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-What does confession look like? What is the purpose of it? Does it differ from the RCC's perception of confession or is it basically the same thing?

I have never actually confessed (I am still in the process of converting) but I do know that unlike the catholic church you are face to face with your spiritual father (usually your preist but occaisionally another clergy) . You confess to Christ but in the pressence of the priest.



-Tell me more about the icons. What is their role in worship and prayer?

This article is a really good explination of icons. Personally they help me connect to people I have never met. They give me a tangible way to express my respect and affection. A way to visually bring my min into focus and keep it from wandering during prayer.

-What does a typical service look like?
Depends on the service. All services are liturgical. they follow a set script from start to finish. Some are more the prist leading. Liturgy is a fully interactive service. There are times where the priest if off doing his thing behind closed doors and we are doing out thing. and there are times when we are interacting with each other. But we stand and participate through the whole things and few Orthodox churches have nursery as children are memebers and can't learn to worship if they are off somewhere else. however at least at our parish children are not only welcomed and tolerate (so long as you are trying, they obviously are not allowe to run a muck disrespectfully) but doted on and encouraged.

here is a link with some misc. cultural and functional things that may look different from the typical american church . . .

Ancient faith radio has a lot of clips of liturgical music and information on the Orthodx church. I am sure there has t be a full iturgy there somewhere . .. I will be sure I find you one tomorrow if I can d o it before I have to leave for work . . .

here is one link I found. I didn't listen (but will after i get back from work) but it looks amusing . . .

-Is there a greater emphasis on grace or works?

this is too big to answer in the 1 minute I have left before I absolutely have to leave for work but i will get back to it. to be brief we emphasize both

I am sorry. I know I haven't answered your questions well but I will come back tomorrow after work and try to be more specific

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#30 of 63 Old 12-01-2007, 02:30 AM
 
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-What does confession look like? What is the purpose of it? Does it differ from the RCC's perception of confession or is it basically the same thing?

I have never actually confessed (I am still in the process of converting) but I do know that unlike the catholic church you are face to face with your spiritual father (usually your preist but occaisionally another clergy) . You confess to Christ but in the pressence of the priest.
Lilyka, hope you don't mind me answering this question. I've been Orthodox just shy of four years AND was raised RC.

MsQ -

The last confession I had in the RCC was my senior year in high school (1987). Basically, it was just a laundry list of sins. No one ever told me to do it differently. I always did it with the screen between the priest and I. That was the only option at the parish where I went to school. The different parish my family belonged to also had the face-to-face option, but that scared the heck out of me!

You know the accountability groups or individuals that seem to be popular in some Protestant circles? That's really just a variant of confession, although I'm sure the Protestants don't see it as that way, lol!

In the very early church, people would confess their sins in front of everyone. However, as the church grew, that got awkward. Eventually it changed into private confession, one on one with a priest, with the priest standing witness for the entire church.

Actually in the Orthodox Church, you are not face to face with your father confessor, you're side by side. You often stand in front of a little table or stand that has the Gospel book (or a Bible) on it, there's a cross there, as well as an icon of Christ. You simply stand side by side while you do your confession. Sometimes you might turn to face the priest, but if you can't do that, no problemo! There is a formal "rite of confession" but it's not used in my parish, aside from the absolution prayer. My priest always begins by asking how long it's been since my last confession. With the Antiochians and the OCA, the general rule of thumb is to go once a month. At the very least, you should go during the four fasting seasons (Nativity Fast/Advent, Great Lent, Apostles Fast, Dormition Fast).

Before you convert, you do your "whole life confession." Talk about SCARY! Since I had been raised Catholic, my priest let me go from the time of my last Catholic confession. Of course, all the bad stuff was after that! He walked me through the Ten Commandments. But I had 1-2 specific things I wanted to get out of the way (I was sooo nervous I was afraid I would forget), so we talked about those things first. I didn't get absolution after my confession. It was done the next morning during the chrismation service.

After you've done your confession, the priest will ask any questions (for clarification if needed) and provide some spiritual advice. It could be something as simple as hints to better manage your schedule to allow time for morning prayer or more Bible reading. Of course, you would also be counseled on how to avoid certain sins you've confessed from occuring again. My priest has said several times that if I didn't drive, I'd have a lot less to confess! Can we say "almost road rage"?: Then the priest will put his stole on your head and say the prayer of absolution.

I don't know if Catholic confession has changed any. I know in some parishes you have the choice of face to face or through the screen.

Here's a short article on confession.
http://www.oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=54

As for how services look like, here are the texts for Matins (Othros) - morning prayer; Vespers - evening prayer; and Divine Liturgy (Eucharist).

Sunday Matins: http://www.anastasis.org.uk/mat-sun.htm

Great Vespers on Saturday evening (considered part of Sunday since our liturgical time is sundown to sundown like in Judaism): http://www.anastasis.org.uk/vespers.htm

Here's the Divine Liturgy:
http://www.saintjonah.org/services/s...sluzhebnik.doc

Clergy guidelines for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) that might be helpful:
http://www.dosoca.org/files/clergyguidelines-1.pdf

The OCA Diocese of the South Priest's Service Book (yes, even though it's on the site of a Romanian parish):
http://biserica.org/Publicatii/ServiceBook/

You might also find this answers a lot of your questions, as well:
http://www.stots.edu/these_truths_we_hold.html

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