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To Edward H (Irish_Ruenthian),

Thank you for your openness and authenticity. I too am struggling within my conscience regarding conversion to Orthodoxy. There are several reasons for this, which if you wish to email or PM me I would be willing share with you. I would share them here, but have found a lack of love on the boards of this website and do not wish to open issues close to me for the religious testosteroned among us. It has been over six months since I posted anything because of this. Your post motivated me to seek some help and input in my dillema. This is not about winning a polemical argument to me or for theological showboating. Sorry, but that has been my experience here and I cannot be authentic and feel any other way

s.o.d.

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Originally Posted by son of the desert
To Edward H (Irish_Ruenthian),

Thank you for your openness and authenticity. I too am struggling within my conscience regarding conversion to Orthodoxy. There are several reasons for this, which if you wish to email or PM me I would be willing share with you. I would share them here, but have found a lack of love on the boards of this website and do not wish to open issues close to me for the religious testosteroned among us. It has been over six months since I posted anything because of this. Your post motivated me to seek some help and input in my dillema. This is not about winning a polemical argument to me or for theological showboating. Sorry, but that has been my experience here and I cannot be authentic and feel any other way

s.o.d.

Please PM me if you wish to discuss. When I went to PM you, a banner came up that says you are "over your limit," whatever that means, and I could not leave a message.

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Hi Edward H.,

I went to PM you and that option is not available for my level of membership. I do not know what that means either. After all I have been a member for almost 2 years. Perhaps I will reach out to the Administrator

s.o.d.

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I used to post here long ago and haven't checked in in quite a long time. I happened to see this conversation and just wanted to note that I was received into Orthodoxy (ROCOR) couple of years ago and thank God every day for leading me to the fullness of truth. This forum also played a role in that process and for that I am also grateful.

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Thank you Desertman,

You kind encouragement is so appreciated. Since, for some reason I cannot PM though I have been a member for almost 2 years (dear administrator or moderator please look into this), let me lay out some of my thinking with one caveat. I am not looking for answers that imperialistically theologize and belittle one's quest for the Lord in the process. I am not interested in the "smart people's" reply. After all, it is he who prays that is a theologian, not necessarily one who studies. This desire of mine is far too personal to reduce to religious polemics. My desire is not for the Western idea of "pay back" soteriology. That has never helped anyone. We already know what we are doing wrong. What we need is healing that can come from repentance, the sacraments and the life of the Church. I have not found that emphasis in the western Church, hence my turn east. What I did find in the west was an emphasis on the structure and institution of the west, not necessarily Christ. Every page of the "Orthodox Christian Prayers" book that I use daily calls on the Lord for mercy. I love the emphasis on the Jesus Prayer. I feel called by the Lord to this because of my own personal need for mercy. This has nothing to do with Canon Law, The Catechism or anything else that may be used in squeezing the life out of people in the name of "discernment". It has everything to do with a personal encounter with Jesus that can heal me. I have not sensed this in my foray of many years in the west. I do sense it every Sunday at the Divine Liturgy at the Greek Orthodox Church that I am attending. This is about Jesus seeking a sinner like me out for the purpose of healing. Nothing more and nothing spectacular in terms of theological discovery. Had I found this in the West, I might still be interested in staying there, but I have not. I have found closeness to Jesus in Orthodoxy and in calling on His help for mercy.

Thank you my friend, please pray for me
s.o.d.

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Originally Posted by desertman
... just wanted to note that I was received into Orthodoxy (ROCOR) couple of years ago and thank God every day for leading me to the fullness of truth. This forum also played a role in that process and for that I am also grateful.
How were you received?

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Chrismation

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Originally Posted by son of the desert
Thank you Desertman,

You kind encouragement is so appreciated. Since, for some reason I cannot PM though I have been a member for almost 2 years (dear administrator or moderator please look into this), let me lay out some of my thinking with one caveat. I am not looking for answers that imperialistically theologize and belittle one's quest for the Lord in the process. I am not interested in the "smart people's" reply. After all, it is he who prays that is a theologian, not necessarily one who studies. This desire of mine is far too personal to reduce to religious polemics. My desire is not for the Western idea of "pay back" soteriology. That has never helped anyone. We already know what we are doing wrong. What we need is healing that can come from repentance, the sacraments and the life of the Church. I have not found that emphasis in the western Church, hence my turn east. What I did find in the west was an emphasis on the structure and institution of the west, not necessarily Christ. Every page of the "Orthodox Christian Prayers" book that I use daily calls on the Lord for mercy. I love the emphasis on the Jesus Prayer. I feel called by the Lord to this because of my own personal need for mercy. This has nothing to do with Canon Law, The Catechism or anything else that may be used in squeezing the life out of people in the name of "discernment". It has everything to do with a personal encounter with Jesus that can heal me. I have not sensed this in my foray of many years in the west. I do sense it every Sunday at the Divine Liturgy at the Greek Orthodox Church that I am attending. This is about Jesus seeking a sinner like me out for the purpose of healing. Nothing more and nothing spectacular in terms of theological discovery. Had I found this in the West, I might still be interested in staying there, but I have not. I have found closeness to Jesus in Orthodoxy and in calling on His help for mercy.

Thank you my friend, please pray for me
s.o.d.
Sorry for the delayed response. It sounds like you're on the right path. The realization that both doctrine and praxis reflect one another and are inseparable is an important realization to make. The way you pray reflects the way you believe, and vice versa. In Roman Catholicism there is often a tendency to try and separate doctrine from praxis. There is often a notion that an authentic liturgical and ascetic tradition may disappear, but as long as doctrine is maintained on paper, orthodoxy is still preserved, which is false. I would say just keep immersing yourself in Orthodox prayer and spirituality and the truth of Orthodox doctrine will be revealed to you as well.

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Desertman,

Once again thank you my friend. You are so right about the separation of doctrine from praxis. This separation is just what helps us in the West to "check the boxes" in our pursuit of the Kingdom. I cannot judge anyone, sinner as I am, and I also know that there are people truly seeking the Lord who are surrounded by "box checkers", but I can attest to the fact that being in such a situation left me empty and bereft of grace in a real way. It did not leave me without the objective and approved definition of grace, but as for the "uncreated energies of God", I would sadly say no. I am not seeking correct definitions to take "by faith". It is my heart's desire to really experience that grace (or "uncreated energies of God") for the healing needed in my life. Your advice is well taken and treasured. I am already head over heels in love with the "truth of Orthodoxy" as every bit of it is related to personal relationship to the Trinity. I continue to pray out of "Orthodox Christian Prayers", the Jesus Prayer, read and study scripture and seek to live the life of the Church as best I can. I will continue down this path. I am reading "My Elder Joseph the Hesychast". His devotion to the Jesus Prayer is a lesson in and of itself. After this book I am headed toward "St. Paisios of Mount Athos" and have other similar boos in the que. Do you have any suggestions for reading material?

As I stated, I attend a Greek Orthodox parish less than a mile from my home. The pastor is a holy, loving and gentle man who is wisely counseling me, at my request, on this path. He is ever aware of the need for an authentic, time-tested, well informed conversion, not one based on emotion or impetuous in nature. The church is filled with Icons on the wall. The first time I entered it I literally exclaimed to Father "I'm in heaven!". The Presence of the Lord is palpable in that space as the Icons mirror heaven to any who enter. It is an inspiring space and worthy of the Presence. The Divine Liturgy in and of itself transports one to heaven even if only for the span of time in which it is said. I pray it in my heart and cry out to Jesus for mercy. Both of these elements taken together, along with the prayers and practices described above and living the life of the Church (ie: fasting days) really do allow for a visit of the "uncreated energies" of God in my soul. In short, I need what Orthodoxy offers.

Pray for me my friend,
s.o.d.

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Originally Posted by son of the desert
You are so right about the separation of doctrine from praxis. This separation is just what helps us in the West to "check the boxes" in our pursuit of the Kingdom.
Can you (anyone) give an example for this kind of "separation" in the "West"? Was there ever such a "separation" in Orthodoxy, in the East?

Originally Posted by desertman
The realization that both doctrine and praxis reflect one another and are inseparable is an important realization to make. The way you pray reflects the way you believe, and vice versa. In Roman Catholicism there is often a tendency to try and separate doctrine from praxis. There is often a notion that an authentic liturgical and ascetic tradition may disappear, but as long as doctrine is maintained on paper, orthodoxy is still preserved, which is false.
Can you (anyone) give an example for such a "tendency"? Can you (anyone) give an example for such a "notion"?

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Originally Posted by JosephS
Are there any apparitions in particular that you find theologically concerning? To be honest, I'm not really into that sort of thing, but I'm curious about what it is that you find problematic.

The children of Fatima describe Mary giving them a vision of souls falling into hell like snow in a snowstorm. Our Lady of Akita communicated that (if men don't repent) that the Father will inflict a terrible punishment worse than the deluge. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The salvation, of course, is always to pray the rosary. So, overall my issue is this: post-schism Mary (in apparition) always begs that the faithful pray a post-schism devotional, the rosary. It just seems oddly self-referential.

Originally Posted by JosephS
I'm struggling hard. Really hard. I honestly have no idea what I'm doing, or what I'm going to do. I feel like a lost child trying to find my parents. I feel a strong pull towards the east and find that the eastern fathers I am reading really speak to me, but I don't know where I'd go or what to do. Ruthenian? Melkite? Ukrainian? The parishes near me are very ethnic, and I feel like a fish out of water there. Mainly though I'm terrified of being led by my own ego, or that my desire for a reverent liturgy ends up being a worship of worship, rather than a worship of God. I still have yet to actually visit an eastern Catholic church. At the moment, I'm mainly trying to find a Roman Catholic parish with a reverent liturgy where I am spiritually nourished, and then if I still feel a call eastward, I would be less inclined to think that this is a running away and more of a running to.

It's a terrible place to be in. I have gone to some Eastern Rite Catholic churches in my area, and they are more ethnic and exclusive than my experience of Orthodox churches (although these are also generally fairly ethnic and exclusive in my experience). I relate to your situation, of trying to be patient and find home in the RC church, but not feeling like I am where I need to be. God bless you in your journey, brother.

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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by son of the desert
You are so right about the separation of doctrine from praxis. This separation is just what helps us in the West to "check the boxes" in our pursuit of the Kingdom.
Can you (anyone) give an example for this kind of "separation" in the "West"? Was there ever such a "separation" in Orthodoxy, in the East?

Originally Posted by desertman
The realization that both doctrine and praxis reflect one another and are inseparable is an important realization to make. The way you pray reflects the way you believe, and vice versa. In Roman Catholicism there is often a tendency to try and separate doctrine from praxis. There is often a notion that an authentic liturgical and ascetic tradition may disappear, but as long as doctrine is maintained on paper, orthodoxy is still preserved, which is false.
Can you (anyone) give an example for such a "tendency"? Can you (anyone) give an example for such a "notion"?
By tendency I meant that upon questioning later latin practices that seem to depart from tradition, an answer will often be given that it's "just discipline", not doctrine and therefore of lesser importance. Discipline and doctrine are not separable in Orthodoxy, because it is "catholic" (according to the whole).

An example might be raising the objection that the bishop of Rome now holds a position as head of state (Vatican), and his state has its own banks and currency displaying the Pope's image, which is clear violation of the canons. On a smaller scale you see the reduction of fasting requirements to practically zero or the introduction of females distributing the Eucharist. The answer Catholic apologists will give is "that's not doctrine". But once again, in Orthodoxy these things aren't able to be compartmentalized. Distortions of praxis reflect distortions in belief.

There is also a book by a Traditionalist Roman Catholic scholar titled: Banished Heart: A History of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church if you would like more in depth analysis

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Originally Posted by desertman
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by son of the desert
You are so right about the separation of doctrine from praxis. This separation is just what helps us in the West to "check the boxes" in our pursuit of the Kingdom.
Can you (anyone) give an example for this kind of "separation" in the "West"? Was there ever such a "separation" in Orthodoxy, in the East?

Originally Posted by desertman
The realization that both doctrine and praxis reflect one another and are inseparable is an important realization to make. The way you pray reflects the way you believe, and vice versa. In Roman Catholicism there is often a tendency to try and separate doctrine from praxis. There is often a notion that an authentic liturgical and ascetic tradition may disappear, but as long as doctrine is maintained on paper, orthodoxy is still preserved, which is false.
Can you (anyone) give an example for such a "tendency"? Can you (anyone) give an example for such a "notion"?
By tendency I meant that upon questioning later latin practices that seem to depart from tradition, an answer will often be given that it's "just discipline", not doctrine and therefore of lesser importance. Discipline and doctrine are not separable in Orthodoxy, because it is "catholic" (according to the whole).

An example might be raising the objection that the bishop of Rome now holds a position as head of state (Vatican), and his state has its own banks and currency displaying the Pope's image, which is clear violation of the canons. On a smaller scale you see the reduction of fasting requirements to practically zero or the introduction of females distributing the Eucharist. The answer Catholic apologists will give is "that's not doctrine". But once again, in Orthodoxy these things aren't able to be compartmentalized. Distortions of praxis reflect distortions in belief.

There is also a book by a Traditionalist Roman Catholic scholar titled: Banished Heart: A History of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church if you would like more in depth analysis

In Orthodoxy, is something like the "reduction of fasting requirements" doctrine? Is something like" the introduction of females distributing the Eucharist", doctrine?

You have chosen (probably extreme) opinions to justify your criticism. I observe all too often what I'd call the Orthodox Myth of having a pure and perfect understanding and application of the true theology, presented as though that was always the case when it actually arises from hindsight. In fact, extreme divergences -- "[d]istortions of praxis" -- are accepted within the Orthodox communion for something as fundamental and theologically significant as baptism.


Post #307356 12/16/08
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by AMM
My own opinion, which is nothing more than my own opinion, is that Catholic baptism is valid and grace filled. My understanding is Chrismation is normal for reception now.
In the United States, yes.

Throughout the Orthodox world there is a variety of practices...
This gives new meaning to "God bless America." For a grace filled Catholic baptism by Orthodox standards, come to America; as for the rest of the world: take your chances?


As for "Discipline and doctrine are not separable in Orthodoxy, because it is "catholic" (according to the whole)" -- just sayin' it don't make it so, and besides it's an incommensurate -- I'd say even inappropriate -- use of the term catholic. Orthodoxy is hardly the example of exemplary let alone perfect communion.

For an integrated, Catholic teaching, and a pre-VCII example:
Quote
[47] ... In the sacred liturgy we profess the Catholic faith explicitly and openly, not only by the celebration of the mysteries, and by offering the holy sacrifice and administering the sacraments, but also by saying or singing the credo or Symbol of the faith - it is indeed the sign and badge, as it were, of the Christian - along with other texts, and likewise by the reading of holy scripture, written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The entire liturgy, therefore, has the Catholic faith for its content, inasmuch as it bears public witness to the faith of the Church.
MEDIATOR DEI ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII ON THE SACRED LITURGY [vatican.va]

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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by desertman
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by son of the desert
You are so right about the separation of doctrine from praxis. This separation is just what helps us in the West to "check the boxes" in our pursuit of the Kingdom.
Can you (anyone) give an example for this kind of "separation" in the "West"? Was there ever such a "separation" in Orthodoxy, in the East?

Originally Posted by desertman
The realization that both doctrine and praxis reflect one another and are inseparable is an important realization to make. The way you pray reflects the way you believe, and vice versa. In Roman Catholicism there is often a tendency to try and separate doctrine from praxis. There is often a notion that an authentic liturgical and ascetic tradition may disappear, but as long as doctrine is maintained on paper, orthodoxy is still preserved, which is false.
Can you (anyone) give an example for such a "tendency"? Can you (anyone) give an example for such a "notion"?
By tendency I meant that upon questioning later latin practices that seem to depart from tradition, an answer will often be given that it's "just discipline", not doctrine and therefore of lesser importance. Discipline and doctrine are not separable in Orthodoxy, because it is "catholic" (according to the whole).

An example might be raising the objection that the bishop of Rome now holds a position as head of state (Vatican), and his state has its own banks and currency displaying the Pope's image, which is clear violation of the canons. On a smaller scale you see the reduction of fasting requirements to practically zero or the introduction of females distributing the Eucharist. The answer Catholic apologists will give is "that's not doctrine". But once again, in Orthodoxy these things aren't able to be compartmentalized. Distortions of praxis reflect distortions in belief.

There is also a book by a Traditionalist Roman Catholic scholar titled: Banished Heart: A History of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church if you would like more in depth analysis

In Orthodoxy, is something like the "reduction of fasting requirements" doctrine? Is something like" the introduction of females distributing the Eucharist", doctrine?

You have chosen (probably extreme) opinions to justify your criticism. I observe all too often what I'd call the Orthodox Myth of having a pure and perfect understanding and application of the true theology, presented as though that was always the case when it actually arises from hindsight. In fact, extreme divergences -- "[d]istortions of praxis" -- are accepted within the Orthodox communion for something as fundamental and theologically significant as baptism.


Post #307356 12/16/08
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by AMM
My own opinion, which is nothing more than my own opinion, is that Catholic baptism is valid and grace filled. My understanding is Chrismation is normal for reception now.
In the United States, yes.

Throughout the Orthodox world there is a variety of practices...
This gives new meaning to "God bless America." For a grace filled Catholic baptism by Orthodox standards, come to America; as for the rest of the world: take your chances?


As for "Discipline and doctrine are not separable in Orthodoxy, because it is "catholic" (according to the whole)" -- just sayin' it don't make it so, and besides it's an incommensurate -- I'd say even inappropriate -- use of the term catholic. Orthodoxy is hardly the example of exemplary let alone perfect communion.

For an integrated, Catholic teaching, and a pre-VCII example:
Quote
[47] ... In the sacred liturgy we profess the Catholic faith explicitly and openly, not only by the celebration of the mysteries, and by offering the holy sacrifice and administering the sacraments, but also by saying or singing the credo or Symbol of the faith - it is indeed the sign and badge, as it were, of the Christian - along with other texts, and likewise by the reading of holy scripture, written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The entire liturgy, therefore, has the Catholic faith for its content, inasmuch as it bears public witness to the faith of the Church.
MEDIATOR DEI ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII ON THE SACRED LITURGY [vatican.va]
Forgive me if I offended you, that was not my intention. My original response was to Irish Melkite, who I remembered from years ago, and then I replied to the other poster who isn't able to send private messages and tried to answer his question. I should've left it there, but I don't want to leave your objections unanswered.

I will only respond that the criticisms I put forth are not my own extreme opinions but that of a number of Orthodox saints like Justin Popovich and respected theologians like Dumitru Staniloae, Met. Heirotheos, etc. Yes, the specific examples used we're my own, but the above have written about the inseparability of doctrine and praxis and the departures of Rome's later innovations.

I would also have to say that the issue of receiving converts by Baptism or Chrismation is not at all comparable to the issues I presented, since both ways are traditional means of receiving converts. Neither is an innovation or departure from traditional practice.

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Hi Desertman,

I think that they have now fixed my pm issue. I will send you a test pm pronto...thank you for your grace my friend

pray for me

s.o.d.

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