My take on ROAC

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JoeZollars

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All of which is utterly irrelevant.
actually it matters a great deal. It is very relevant to salvation that one be in a NON-HERETICAL Church, not a joy club.

He's not "your" Vladyka, Joe. You are no more Orthodox than I am.
I am on the path towards Orthodoxy and fully intend to be Babtized, God willing, as soon as possible.

And my wife has watched you flit from group to group over the past months. You've already (perhaps) rebelled against your parents in becoming Catholic, and I see no sign that you ever actually learned what being a Catholic entails. And what it entails-- what any church membership entails, and especially any apostolic church-- is buckling down under the direction of that church and working out your salvation from day to day. It's not about obsessing about organizational purity. Every other apostolic church will tell that, and I'll bet if you were in Staunton and attending the ROAC church there, that's what the priest would expect of you.
who is your wife and what does she have to do with this. How has she had such a deep spiritual insight into my soul pray tell.

Instead, you've settled on a jurisdiction where the nearest priest is 13 hours away, so there's absolutely no chance of him seriously calling you to account, and no chance that you will have to deal with living in the parish community. That's not apostolic, and no real Orthodox bishop, nor any Catholic bishop, nor any Anglican bishop would approve of such an arrangement. IF ROAC is approving of such an arrangement, that's a much bigger error than ecumenism, and it's an error which is going to impede your spiritual life every minute of every hour of every day that you persist in it.
actually I am intending to move to a location near a roac parish at the earliest possible time. A stated earlier, in regards to the great distance betwen me and the nearest parish, I would happily wallk such a distance if I could but once drink of the Waters of Truth.

Joe Zollars
 

Jennifer

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I'm late to this soap opera so let me see if I've followed the plot. Joe was Protestant (evangelical?) then he was Catholic then he was traditionalist Catholic then he was just regular Catholic then he was traditionalist again then he was ROCOR because the Catholics were big heretics then he was traditionalist Catholic again because the just regular Catholics were big heretics now he's ROAC because anyone's big heretics. And you're only 20? Phew...

Did I get all of the plot twists and turns correctly?

 

Keble

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JoeZollars said:
All of which is utterly irrelevant.
actually it matters a great deal. It is very relevant to salvation that one be in a NON-HERETICAL Church, not a joy club.
And what makes you think that ROAC isn't a "joy club"? What makes you think that it isn't simply about refusing to submit to canonical discipline, and church shopping, and feeling superior to the rest of Orthodoxy?

He's not "your" Vladyka, Joe. You are no more Orthodox than I am.
I am on the path towards Orthodoxy and fully intend to be Babtized, God willing, as soon as possible.
But you aren't there yet, and therefore your claim to authority is premature. (And that goes double for you, Seraphim Reeves.)

And my wife has watched you flit from group to group over the past months. You've already (perhaps) rebelled against your parents in becoming Catholic, and I see no sign that you ever actually learned what being a Catholic entails. And what it entails-- what any church membership entails, and especially any apostolic church-- is buckling down under the direction of that church and working out your salvation from day to day. It's not about obsessing about organizational purity. Every other apostolic church will tell that, and I'll bet if you were in Staunton and attending the ROAC church there, that's what the priest would expect of you.
who is your wife and what does she have to do with this. How has she had such a deep spiritual insight into my soul pray tell.
The only authority I need from her is as an observer of your behavior. You've been here, you've been in Nick's forum, and if I remember correctly you've been over in some of the Catholic forums. Every few months it seems as though you're going to give yourself over to another jurisdiction. What does that say about your real commitment to this one? It suggests to me that you are no more likely to submit yourself to the direction of a ROAC priest than you are to any other so far, and that distance on your part and loopiness on theirs is just going to make the problem worse.

You get baptized, and then you come back to the same room as before. And what you get to do then is do matins on Sunday, by yourself, and read spiritual books and believe yourself to be becoming deeply spiritual because of it. But you have no real Orthodox community, and pretty soon you're back on the forums again, listening to every crank and wise person who comes along (but more of the former than the latter, because the wise tend to throw in the towel after a while). You sign up for the Indiana list, or maybe you start reading the newsgroup and develop an obsession with Balkan politics. Maybe someone splits off from ROCOR because of the upcoming union and you decide that they are the True Orthodox, and you start the process again.

Nobody in this forum (except Edwin and Ebor) thinks that I am part of a legitimate church. So if I am threatened by ROAC, I am every bit as threatened by their churches. But you don't see me warning them all of spiritual dangers, and I haven't said anything to Linus in a while (for reasons which I do not think it is polite to say here-- not that they're nasty, but rather things that I don't want to say in public). I don't even complain (all that much) about the various ROCOR guys (though every time the Orthodox Saxon nonsense pops up, I'll have my shotgun at the ready). It's just you and Seraphim, and it's because both of you are preparing to do something that is spiritually extremely foolish. The fact that ROAC clergy are not only willing but encouraging you to go through with it shows that there is something deeply and fundamentally wrong there.

Instead, you've settled on a jurisdiction where the nearest priest is 13 hours away, so there's absolutely no chance of him seriously calling you to account, and no chance that you will have to deal with living in the parish community. That's not apostolic, and no real Orthodox bishop, nor any Catholic bishop, nor any Anglican bishop would approve of such an arrangement. IF ROAC is approving of such an arrangement, that's a much bigger error than ecumenism, and it's an error which is going to impede your spiritual life every minute of every hour of every day that you persist in it.
actually I am intending to move to a location near a roac parish at the earliest possible time. A stated earlier, in regards to the great distance betwen me and the nearest parish, I would happily wallk such a distance if I could but once drink of the Waters of Truth.
Joe, I just don't believe it. Let's say you get baptized, and you get an apartment in or near Staunton (and never mind whether you can get a decent job there), and now you're far away from home and there's nothing to do on a Saturday night except sin or wander the internet or go to vespers, and after a year of this you find that the excitement is gone, and you wonder where it went, and you decide that gee, maybe this isn't the True Church (tm) after all. So then you go on another fishing expedition looking for another group. Except it isn't in Staunton, so you engage on another correspondence course. And each time you pick up more "knowledge", and each time your spirituality gets weirder because you have to reject everything you rejected before AND the place where you are now. And if you still aren't married, who knows? you might end up at some crackpot monastery in the desert. But the one thing that you won't ever do is just go to some ordinary church and dedicate yourself to the ordinary business of being a Christian.

Catechumens should be worrying about really important stuff, like "how do I pray?" and "what am I doing in Church?" and "how do I see Christ in my neighbor?", instead of fretting over obscure jurisdictional matters. I'm betting, Joe, that what they do of a Sunday morning in Staunton isn't all that different from what they do in Johnstown, or DC, or Linthicum, or for that matter, a mile from my house. They may do it a bit better because the priest is a convert, but then again the production values are better at any of the local cathedrals. Possibly the spiritual advice is much the same too, though Fr. Gregory at Holy Cross or Fr. Constantine at St. Nick's aren't likely to fall into the legalism that I see sometimes in "conservative" advice.

You are still young. If anyone is in a position to walk to Buena Vista, it is you. Or you could take a bus. The thing is, you talk about doing it, but you don't do it. That suggests to me that this walk is nothing but a romantic fantasy, and that your ties to ROAC are but an infatuation.
 

Anastasios

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carpo-rusyn said:
Sorry my Orthodox brothers. Just trying to help someone in what looks like some spiritual pain and confusion.

CR
I know you meant well. It's just that we have to be consistent in that we have had heavy proselytism here before and we had to crack down.

anastasios
 

TomS

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Keble said:
Catechumens should be worrying about really important stuff, like "how do I pray?" and "what am I doing in Church?" and "how do I see Christ in my neighbor?", instead of fretting over obscure jurisdictional matters. I'm betting, Joe, that what they do of a Sunday morning in Staunton isn't all that different from what they do in Johnstown, or DC, or Linthicum, or for that matter, a mile from my house. They may do it a bit better because the priest is a convert, but then again the production values are better at any of the local cathedrals. Possibly the spiritual advice is much the same too, though Fr. Gregory at Holy Cross or Fr. Constantine at St. Nick's aren't likely to fall into the legalism that I see sometimes in "conservative" advice.
You know what Joe? I have to admit, that that is some pretty good advice. There is some wisdom there.
 

JoeZollars

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You know Keble, the more I reread your posts, the more I realize, you don't know the first thing about me. While your advice has some merit, you presume to judge my motives without ever having met me or having ANY first hand knowledge of me. All I have to say in regards to the difficulties of becoming ROAC "Narow the way and steep the path that leadeth unto salvation."

While I have at times read the BCP (prior to my actual conversion ot Catholicism) and various other anglican resources, the fact that the Anglican Communion aproves women ministers means it has no claim to apostolicity, let alone the Christian faith in general.

While I have read many a good book by Billy Grahmm and they have got me through the tough times when my grandmammy died unexpectedly or when I was struggling my way back from buddhism and the occult, I do not consider his works to be leading unto salvation. There is some truth there (heck even Satan believes in the Power of the Cross).

And yes I have read a few books by Novus Ordo's and even a few books by "pope" (quotations from my background in sedevacantism) John Paul II, and there may be some few kernals of truth there, there is nothing compared to what is in Orthodoxy, in the Catechism composed by Vladyka Gregory, etc.

And yes, most of my religious life I have been a Traditionalist Roman Catholic (partly Indultee, partly SSPXer, partly Sedevacantist) and while the ritual may be ascetically pleasing (as were the few Anglican Missal and 28 BCP Liturgies I have witnessed) there was nothing behind them.

However all of this has done nothing save bring me to where I am today, a repentent sinner knocking at the door of the True Church.

Whether or not hte liturgy at Staunton (not where I had in mind to move to btw) is the same ASCETICALLY as what you find at any local world "orthodox" church doesn't matter. the Ascetics of hte Liturgy don't mean anything, it is the faith and Glory expressed through that Liturgy which matters most.

Joe Zollars
 

JoeZollars

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Jennifer, for your information here is a more descriptive view of my religious journey until now:

Born-1983

"babtised" in a non-denom quasi SBC Church at 7

remained in said church environment until I was 14 at which time upon reading the scriptures I determined (the only form being this fundamentalist stuff) that Christianity was a false religion.

For two years I wandered through Buddhism (American fakery more accuratly), professed athiesm, agnosticism, general newageness, wicca, and finally ended up in a quasi-cult which worshiped the late princess diana as a "reincarnation of Christ" with mother Theresa being a "Reincarnation of Mary." obviously I dispelled these blasphemies. I was amble to be all these different things in that period of time because they are not mutually exclusive. Oh I forgot to mention tauism.

At about the age of 16 (late summer '99) I happened to pick up a book by Billy Grahmm one night when I was staying with my devout Free-Will Babtist Grandmother. Having always been an avid reader (I still try and read three books containing at least 200 pages a week) I finished the book that evening and began reading other bookes. I must also admit that I stole a bunch of "Chick Tracks" from my grandma, which I did return to her in the days immediatly preceeding her death. After having read a few of these I said the prayer in the back to "get saved."

I started going back to Babtist Churches, but found them empty for much the same reasons as before. Started going ot a pentecostal Church but ran when I saw the freak show goin on there (sorry I can't think of politer terms to describe the scene of spiritual desolation before me). Finally went to the local ECUSA parish for a few weeks, but left when the female priestess said "all religions lead to the same God." Tried the Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Menonites (still frequent the bakery of hte latter), eventually despaired until a friend of mine convinced me to try the NO parish in town. Went there for a Mass, found it nice but still seemed empty. Eventually did become NO though.

Was recieved into the NO church November 20, 1999 (vigil of Christ the King on the New Calander).

Moved up here to Kansas a year later, fell in with some medjugorhite folks.

Got exposed to the Tradlat and uniate Churches about the same time. Started frequenting Tridentine Masses-went occasionally to the Ukranian Church but it was late in the day and almost impossible to maintain the midnight on fast.

was a closeted trad lat for about 1 1/2 years when in late 2001 I applied to the novus ordo seminary and was turned down when I told the bishop the best way to improve the NO Missal (his question he brough up was how to best improve the Liturgy of hte Diocese) was match.

Decided to get an assosciates before applying to a tradlat seminary (probably FSSP was was harboring thoughts about the SSPX and SSPV).

decided to go ROCOR, but decided against it because I cared more for maintaining familial relationships than the Cross-Bearing Love of Christ.

went back to tradlats, but still harbored Sedevacantist tendencies. Studied a lot and read just about everything available online(in an attempt to be extremely frugal) about the subject, and came to the conclusion after much study and prayer that I could not in good conscience consider JPII to be a valid Pope (nor any others from the time starting with John XXIII) and the NO to be invalid. However with the help of Anastasios etc. I realized that it is impossible to believe in the papal infallibility and sedevacatist positions at the same time.

waited and studied around again asking the advice of many an individual, and finally came to the conclusion to become Orthodox, but more specifically ROAC because of concerns over ecumenism and the possible reunion between the MP and ROCOR.

whew, that even made me tired. Or perhaps it is the late hour. ;)

Joe Zollars
 

Keble

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This is heading to the point where some moderator is bound to cut the conversation off. But what the heck, we were up late, so I have a window of opportunity here.

Joe, by my count you've been through something like 16-20 religions/sects in six years. You went through 15 of them in two years. I've been an Episcopalian since before you were born.

It's inconceivable that you know much about most of these sects; you simply haven't spent enough time in any of them. I spent as much time becoming an Episcopalian as you have spent rejecting apostolic churches. I've been singing Orthodox services (or going to them for other reasons) ever since you were 9 years old. I've been arguing religion on the internet almost since you were born-- long enough ago to know why it's called the internet.

What I'm seeing, Joe, is that you won't put yourself under anyone's discipline. You, the most junior of novices, have fallen into the habit of talking back to every religious authority you come to. But at the same time you crave this authority. You crave to bathe in it, and you crave to acquire it.

The most revealing comment is the one about not expecting to end up in Staunton. I picked Staunton and not Buena Vista for a reason, Joe. It seems to me that you see the skete as a sanctity factory, but it is really a very human community populated by very human sinners. And if you bind yourself to this community, what happens when you are sent to Staunton-- or worse, Beltsville? My office in Calverton is on the edge of the tackiest, junkiest piece of mixed commercial and industrial sprawl that could be imagined-- except that there isn't enough room to sprawl, so it's all wedged in together instead. And in the middle of it, in a row of miscellaneous offices, there is a tiny Orthodox church. Not a pretty building, indeed, not something that one could recognize as a church at all from the outside. Do you think you could devote yourself to years of worship there? Joe, I have to say that I don't think you could-- at least not in your present state.

What is also revealing is the romantic language you use. Even in the best church there's going to be a lot of time when what you see in the liturgy is not "faith and glory", but a long uphill slog to get through to the end of the service. You expect angels singing and the light of heaven, but you know, you may never be shown that. Or you may get the briefest glimpse and then never see it again. And in your present mindset it seems to me that you would more likely than not flit off to the next crank who promised you heaven for free.

One of the advantages of going to the local Novus Ordo mass for you, in your present state, is that the sheer dreadfulness of it might beat into your head just how difficult this religion thing really is. Forcing yourself to pray a totally nonconducive envornment for a while will teach you much-- for one thing, it may teach you that it is your prayer to God that is going to get you through, and not some secret apostolic ingredient.
 

Keble

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Oh-- I should add, Joe, that I've heard bits and pieces of your story over the months. Little of it was a surprise to me.
 

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Joe,

Your path to Orthodoxy looks to have had a number of learning experiences both personal and spiritual. Thank you for sharing this.

I pray that you will continue to grow spiritually and that the Holy Spirit will guide you in pursuit of the Truth. I pray that you are blessed on your journey and that the Truth of the Lord continue to be revealed to you. Continue in prayer. Prayer, prayer, always prayer.

I will not pass any judgement on the ROAC, because I now very little about it other than what is scattered about here. Also passing judgement is a sin I have been guilty of that sin and have been praying hard that the Lord take it from me. I will not offer any advice for or against ROAC, but I will pray for you and pray that the Holy Spirit guides you down the road of Salvation. I also pray that you have the ability to discuss the faith with other Orthodox Christians both clerical and laity. The Lord can reveal Himself to us through others. I also pray that you will be able to worship with other Orthodox in the Divine Liturgy.

May the Lord bless you on your journey.
 

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Slava Isusu Christu!

Joe,

Like our friend Justinianus, I will pass no judgement on ROAC nor offer any advice. I do, however, have to ask you about something you wrote which may echo a little of what Keble has said.

...there is nothing compared to what is in Orthodoxy, in the Catechism composed by Vladyka Gregory, etc.
While I agree that there is nothing compared to what is in Orthodoxy, there is much, much more in Orthodoxy than learning a Catechism. Indeed, that is a very Latin approach to the Faith. Orthodox learn and practice their faith in communion with one another and with Christ in the Liturgical Cycle, most especially at Vespers and the Divine Liturgy. While you have rejected all things Latin, you still retain a very Latin mindset when approaching faith.

May the Holy Spirit guide you where you need to go, and may you submit to His authority.

I would also counsel staying far, far away from the internet, but that would make me a hypocrite ;).

In Christ,
mikey.
 

AmatorDeus

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I would also counsel staying far, far away from the internet,
Probably the best advice offered thusfar. Of course, I am a hypocrit as well. :)

Here is a portion of a letter my spiritual father wrote to me five years ago when I was a catechuman and concerned over the campaign in the GOA to outst Met. Spyridon.

It would have been nice if you could have begun your instruction in Orthodox Christianity with a period of time free of church politics, but as an internet user that's probably impossible. The speaker in your note is a secularized Greek-American who is not speaking (or thinking) from within an Orthodox Christian perspective. His accusations against his bishop assume American radical individualism as the norm. There is a fundamental conflict
between secular humanistic individualism and Orthodox Christianity.

....(more details on this particular event)....

I'm willing to help you try to understand the ongoing political crises that will inevitibly accompany the struggle to establish Orthodoxy in America, but please try to understand that there is a difference between, on the one hand, 1) the permanent and unchanging truth of the Orthodox Christian faith and the Sacramental reality which is the Church (fully present in each local parish), and on the other hand, 2) the all-too-human politics that go on within human organizations that are intended to serve God and the Church but all too often become distorted and disoriented so they serve the selfish needs of human beings. Both can (and generally do) exist side by side. Whenever and where ever they do they will be in conflict. Priests (on behalf of the Diocesan bishop), are responsible for the spiritual orientation of organized efforts within the parish. Archbishop Spyridon is responsible for the spiritual orientation of the
Greek Archdiocese.

The Orthodox Church is not, itself, an organization. The Church HAS
organizations though -- organizations that exist for particular purposes. Sometimes such organizations are captured for purposes that conflict with those of the Church itself. When that happens, bishops are responsible to exercise their liturgical and sacramental authority to reorient the spiritual purposes of those organizations. I believe Archbishop Spyridon and Patriarch Bartholomew are trying to do this with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. If this happens it will be nothing short of miraculous -- certainly a cause for rejoicing among the members of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). If they were to succeed, I personally would be perfectly happy to see the OCA disorganize and join THEIR organization! Gradually, you'll get a feel for what I'm saying here. Read Fr. Schmemann's article too, in the new Christian Activist: "The Evil Plague: Jurisdictionalism."

Finally. The internet is the best place I know of for a small number of discontents in rebellion against their bishop to make themselves sound more significant than they are. As an internet user, beware of this. Any nut in America can sound like a force to be reckoned with so long as he has a computer and can express himself.
 

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Joe,

More to the community concept - you say you're only 20? Good grief man! I thought I was a youngin' on this forum and I'm 28! Go to college! Move to some larger city, go to college and find a nice Orthodox parish to attend. 'nuff said.
 

JoeZollars

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Elisha that is my plan, but right now I'm gettin free college (dad works for local juco) so will probably go to University of Colorado in Colorado Springs or University of Virginia in Richmond. I hope for the latter actually because it is 7 grand cheaper for out of staters and I'm planning on majoring in political science.

Joe Zollars
 

Jennifer

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Joe, why don't you meet some nice girl in your town and ask her out on a date? Get away from the fake internet world and interact with real people.
 

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Who needs a date when you you got sisters and cousins and live in the south?
Warned. Please utilize an element of seriousness when you post.
 

Elisha

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ania said:
Shultz & Elisha have given the best advice so far!!!
Elisha, don't feel so young... I'm only 22. :)
So...how ya doin'? ;)
 

Anastasios

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+¥+¦+¦-ä+¼-ü+¦++-é said:
Who needs a date when you you got sisters and cousins and live in the south?
Nektarios,

That really wasn't appropriate. Please be charitable.

anastasios
 

JoeZollars

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Nektarios I am personally insulted by that remark. I am a RedNeck and damm proud of it! In fact having done some yard work yesterday resettin' Iris bulbs for my momma, I am truly a Red Neck.

Oh and for your information it is easier to marry your cousin in Kansas than it is in Arkansas.

Joe Zollars
Warned. Please use an element of seriousness when writing your posts.
 
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