Parish Priest Behavior and Church Disenchantment

Nathanael

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Tzimis said:
Nathanael said:
Tzimis said:
Arachne said:
Sethrak said:
Are we to forgive where ~ forgiveness is not wanted ```
Yes.

No one said it would be easy.
I disagree.  Forgiveness is a virtue when instituted correctly. Otherwise it loses its power.
What sort of power do you mean?
There are two sides to forgiveness. The one forgiving and the one asking to be forgiven. Forgiveness can never happen unless both parties are involved in the reconciliation. Regardless of how willing to forgive one might be.
It's not only about the two parties, it's more about God. We can & should forgive even if are not asked for forgiveness. Then our brother is then again in our heart. And then we're automatically fully reconciled with God and we are again perceptive for His forgiveness in our life.
 

Tzimis

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Nathanael said:
Tzimis said:
Nathanael said:
Tzimis said:
Arachne said:
Sethrak said:
Are we to forgive where ~ forgiveness is not wanted ```
Yes.

No one said it would be easy.
I disagree.  Forgiveness is a virtue when instituted correctly. Otherwise it loses its power.
What sort of power do you mean?
There are two sides to forgiveness. The one forgiving and the one asking to be forgiven. Forgiveness can never happen unless both parties are involved in the reconciliation. Regardless of how willing to forgive one might be.
It's not only about the two parties, it's more about God. We can & should forgive even if are not asked for forgiveness. Then our brother is then again in our heart. And then we're automatically fully reconciled with God and we are again perceptive for His forgiveness in our life.
I like what you say here, but. Lets take god out of the equation for a minute. The dispute isn't with god. Its with our brother.  For communion to be restored.  Two things need to happen. First,  the offended needs to be open to his brother who did wrong and confront them. Because,  that person may not even know he did something. Secondly the brother needs to understand that he did wrong and come forth with his humbleness and ask forgiveness to the offended party.
In this situation.  God isn't even needed because the two parties reconciled and they are both in the spirit of god.
Plus, its highly unlikely that one is completely innocent. Usually both did something wrong.
Now if the two parties cant come together.  The offended should seek a mutual friend to intervene.

 

Ainnir

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Tzimis said:
I like what you say here, but. Lets take god out of the equation for a minute.
Anything after this is worthless.  There is no offense and thus no need for forgiveness if there is no God.  Or even if we leave Him out of the equation, as you say.  Same difference in the end.
 

isxodnik

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This method - hard, without snot, straighten the brain - is very powerful, but not always effective. I remember, the forum was a guy about 15 years, the Baltic States, which left his girlfriend. And he's all upset... I told him: "yes, you're right. You were born into this world to be with her, and now your life has no meaning. You must lie down and die." He understood, threw this fool out of his head, took up sports, studies...
Therefore, jewish voice, I understand you perfectly. But in this situation, this method does not work. It's time to ask yourself: what do you want to achieve? Help Saxon? It is already clear that it did not work. Just make fun of him and rise above him? But is it Christian?
 

Sethrak

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Sir Brilko ~ You are right ~ siting there eating our knees with resentment ~ hurt us ~ not the one who caused injury ~ however this blanket forgiveness that some talk about in not ~ I think ~ what our Lord has told us ~ we would be damn fools to forgive one who enjoyed your pain and would do the same again with pleasure to you or anyone should it be to his drunken fancy ```

Our brother should try to ease his mind so no physical damage to himself will result ~ that's true ~ but easier said than done isn't it ~ some even fault this brother for not brushing this off ~ chin up and walk away ~ fault him even for speaking of it with his brothers and sisters ~ if that isn't one reason why we gather ~ to hear a brother out and offer comfort ~ that's a bit of a shame ```

Our brother won't have to beat those who mock and insult ~ life will beat them ```

Now Sir Brilko ~ as to the building of your castle by that river you spoke of ~ I think it an great idea ~ and offer my help and labor ```






 

Ainnir

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Sethrak said:
Sir Brilko ~ You are right ~ siting there eating our knees with resentment ~ hurt us ~ not the one who caused injury ~ however this blanket forgiveness that some talk about in not ~ I think ~ what our Lord has told us ~ we would be damn fools to forgive one who enjoyed your pain and would do the same again with pleasure to you or anyone should it be to his drunken fancy ```
Forgiving is releasing someone from retribution and leaving the matter in God's hands (remember "vengeance is Mine, I will repay"?).  Forgiveness is letting go of that resentment you mentioned.  Forgiveness is not saying the offense is ok, re-establishing trust or respect, or permitting repeat offenses.
 

Sethrak

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I know what forgiveness is ~" Forgive us our traspasses  as we forgive those who traspass against us" ~ We ask for forgiveness and forgive those who do the same ~ or does Our Lord forgive us even if we don't ask ```
 

Ainnir

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Sethrak said:
I know what forgiveness is ~" Forgive us our traspasses  as we forgive those who traspass against us" ~ We ask for forgiveness and forgive those who do the same ~ or does Our Lord forgive us even if we don't ask ```
What that prayer is asking is for God to forgive us our trespasses to the extent and in the same manner that we forgive those who trespass against us.  There absolutely no stipulation that "those who trespass against us" must request forgiveness in order to be forgiven.  The understanding being our sins against God are much greater than anyone's sins against us.  Which is really, really hard to swallow in certain situations.  Incredibly hard.  It seems unfair.  But it's still a bit different when the fallen sins against the Holy vs. when the fallen sins against the fallen.
 

Sethrak

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That is what you have in you heart as you say the Lords prayer ~that is good ~ I make it clear to the Lord I regret my sins / or Our sins and want forgiveness and I forgive in like manner ~ if a person does not regret their sin there is no reason to forgive ~ it is offering food they will not eat ~ the same with confession in the Church, the priest does not forgive those who don't attend ~ only they who ask to be forgiven ~ but continue to do as you say ~ it's good for you, if you do that in truth ```
 

Ainnir

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Sethrak said:
That is what you have in you heart as you say the Lords prayer ~that is good ~ I make it clear to the Lord I regret my sins / or Our sins and want forgiveness and I forgive in like manner ~ if a person does not regret their sin there is no reason to forgive ~ it is offering food they will not eat ~ the same with confession in the Church, the priest does not forgive those who don't attend ~ only they who ask to be forgiven ~ but continue to do as you say ~ it's good for you, if you do that in truth ```
Oh, I'm not saying go to the person and say you forgive them when they haven't sought it.  This is within our heart and between us and God.  I do think it's wise to wait until one seeks forgiveness to let them know they are forgiven, especially if they've badly mistreated you.  Offering forgiveness to an obstinate person would be an example of casting your pearls before swine.  But if you don't forgive them within yourself and before God, you don't have any pearls to begin with.  That is how I see it, anyway.
 

Sethrak

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I don't think the Lord asks that of us or wants that from us ~ I study scripture a group of Catholics and a priest ~ they're told to forgive unconditionally by the priest ~ I posed the question: A muslim intentionally kills your family ~ is happy to have done this an plans to kill more Christians, should we forgive him or them ~ Yes was the answer ~ we are must forgive everything ```

That doesn't make any sense to me and I don't think Our Lord has instructed us to do that ~ it may be the wish of some one or ones that we do this or be told this ~ but I can't believe that to be the will of God ```

 

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Sethrak said:
I don't think the Lord asks that of us or wants that from us ~ I study scripture a group of Catholics and a priest ~ they're told to forgive unconditionally by the priest ~ I posed the question: A muslim intentionally kills your family ~ is happy to have done this an plans to kill more Christians, should we forgive him or them ~ Yes was the answer ~ we are must forgive everything ```

That doesn't make any sense to me and I don't think Our Lord has instructed us to do that ~ it may be the wish of some one or ones that we do this or be told this ~ but I can't believe that to be the will of God ```
The fact that you don't understand it means just that you don't understand it. Our Lord has instructed us to do that, regardless. His murderers didn't repent; He wanted them forgiven anyway.

'Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.' If we don't forgive, we won't be forgiven. It's about us, not the other party.
 

Nathanael

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Arachne said:
Sethrak said:
I don't think the Lord asks that of us or wants that from us ~ I study scripture a group of Catholics and a priest ~ they're told to forgive unconditionally by the priest ~ I posed the question: A muslim intentionally kills your family ~ is happy to have done this an plans to kill more Christians, should we forgive him or them ~ Yes was the answer ~ we are must forgive everything ```

That doesn't make any sense to me and I don't think Our Lord has instructed us to do that ~ it may be the wish of some one or ones that we do this or be told this ~ but I can't believe that to be the will of God ```
The fact that you don't understand it means just that you don't understand it. Our Lord has instructed us to do that, regardless. His murderers didn't repent; He wanted them forgiven anyway.

'Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.' If we don't forgive, we won't be forgiven. It's about us, not the other party.
+1
 

Nathanael

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Sethrak said:
I don't think the Lord asks that of us or wants that from us ~ I study scripture a group of Catholics and a priest ~ they're told to forgive unconditionally by the priest ~ I posed the question: A muslim intentionally kills your family ~ is happy to have done this an plans to kill more Christians, should we forgive him or them ~ Yes was the answer ~ we are must forgive everything ```

That doesn't make any sense to me and I don't think Our Lord has instructed us to do that ~ it may be the wish of some one or ones that we do this or be told this ~ but I can't believe that to be the will of God ```
Sethrak, it's not like that. Unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness, love for our enemies - that's something that our mind cannot grasp. We can only experience it within our heart. But that's the very core of christianity and that's what often differs it from other religions: the virtue of loving our enemies unconditionally. Where in the NT can you find that we shouldn't love our enemies or we shouldn't forgive someone? Actually, in the NT and live of the saints we see the contrary: the principle of unconditional love and forgiveness. Just to list some of them up:

1. Our Father: It's already explained above, but just to point out that if we follow your logic we should therefore pray Our Father always in the following way: "don't forgive our trespasses, as we don't  forgive those who trespass against us." Refusing to forgive people and pushing them away means that we’re pushing God away as well. We are essentially making it impossible for God to forgive us if we haven’t yet forgiven others. That’s tough medicine to swallow.
God is always forgiving us - even now, even if we don't repent. Within his unconditional love is always unconditional forgiveness included. But if we don't repent, if we don't forgive others, God's love and forgiveness cannot enter our heart, because there's no room for it. In that way we don't accept the gift of God's forgiveness.


2. Jesus on the cross: Praying for his enemies and for their forgiveness.

3. Protomartyr Stephan: He took Jesus as example. While he was stoned to death he still prayed for his killers: "lay not this sin to their charge”.

4. NT: Love for the enemies. Not only shown by example of Jesus and the early christians but it was also preached by Jesus and the Apostles. If you want I can list all them up. And yes, you will find some verses in the Bible which tell us that we shouldn't love our enemies, but that's in the OT...and are often - like that Psalms of St. David - interpreted symbolically or spiritually. 

5. The life of the saints: I mentioned above the story of St. Dionysios. There are so many other stories in the life of the saints.

6. Our everyday experience with forgiveness: Even the science of psychology achnowledges that by forgiving other persons - even if they don't deserve it - we enter in the process of healing. Everybody who can forgive someone - even the most terrible transgressions - feels afterwards much lighter & transformed, something that can radically change your life. It's considered the master key for healing of our spiritual and psychological wounds. But the orthodox church knows & practice that since centuries. I even saw on youtube a muslim man who hugged the man who killed his son and said to him: "I blame the devil, who misguided you & misleaded you to do such a horrible crime" . That's orthodox teaching. Why shouldn't we as orthodox christians don't be able to do that as well?

You gave us an example what if a muslim kills our Family...here see what we should do in this case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOOdOrE9Z6E
ISIS killed her sons, but the mother would even invite the killers to a cup of tea. She forgave them everything and is even happy that their sons are now among the martyrs.

7. The reasons why we don't want to forgive, is often pride. But that doesn't mean that I'm more humble than somebody who cannot forgive another person. Pride has several facettes and is quite sublime. And if we don't repent sincerely all our sins and confess them regularly  in confession we cannot or stop experience the ocean of God's mercy in our heart and therefore we cannot use this experience anymore in our relations towards other people. Our heart then becomes more and more stony - and we start to see people and God more and more through our mind instead by our heart. We have left the spiritual realm even without noticing it. A tragedy.
 

Tzimis

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Ainnir said:
Tzimis said:
I like what you say here, but. Lets take god out of the equation for a minute.
Anything after this is worthless.  There is no offense and thus no need for forgiveness if there is no God.  Or even if we leave Him out of the equation, as you say.  Same difference in the end.
Not true. All forgiveness is, is a restoration of communion between two parties. Both have to do there part. If not than there is no communion. God only comes into the picture when there is unwillingness to resolve the matter.
 

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There has recently been an interesting turn of events. A friend from another ROCOR church got in touch and told me he heard that the priest is leaving both the parish and the country. Sure enough, a fawning farewell message was posted on their social media accounts shortly after, and his house listed for sale. I've heard conflicting information about the circumstances - whether it was voluntary or involuntary, whether he's taking over another parish or "retiring", etc. My friend suggested it was a decision from the top. Whatever the circumstances, and however late, he's gone.

It sounds strange, but this has done more than perhaps more than anything else to bring a sense of closure to this story. I think the knowledge that he was still local, still serving, that I could encounter him at some service or event, was creating a serious sense of anxiety or dread that subconsciously hung over me. A lot of my ambivalence and resentment towards Orthodoxy, which many of you have read here, stemmed from that predicament. Just re-reading this thread, especially from the final couple of months of my time at that church, gave me an anxiety attack. Not that I handled it well, or that ranting against the faith was an appropriate response, but it was coming from a place of hopelessness exacerbated by what was a lack of justice. Anyway, I feel revitalized, am part of a healthy Orthodox community that we're building from the ground up, and have some plans in the works for theological graduate studies which I am very excited about. It took a while and a lot of pain, but things are on the right track.
 

Tzimis

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Glad things are working out. This priest sounded like a bully when he was intoxicated.
I personally wouldn't have the patience that you withstood.
I probably would have knocked him out.
 

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Glad things are working out. This priest sounded like a bully when he was intoxicated.
I personally wouldn't have the patience that you withstood.
I probably would have knocked him out.
In retrospect I absolutely would have pressed charges, and maybe would have hit him back in the moment as would have been a legal right under self-defence. Doing either of those things at the time would have resulted in my wife leaving me. That this was the case says everything about the marriage and why it wasn't worth trying to save anyway, but it wasn't so easy to see that at the time with life falling apart. Well, live and learn.
 

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There has recently been an interesting turn of events. A friend from another ROCOR church got in touch and told me he heard that the priest is leaving both the parish and the country. Sure enough, a fawning farewell message was posted on their social media accounts shortly after, and his house listed for sale. I've heard conflicting information about the circumstances - whether it was voluntary or involuntary, whether he's taking over another parish or "retiring", etc. My friend suggested it was a decision from the top. Whatever the circumstances, and however late, he's gone.

It sounds strange, but this has done more than perhaps more than anything else to bring a sense of closure to this story. I think the knowledge that he was still local, still serving, that I could encounter him at some service or event, was creating a serious sense of anxiety or dread that subconsciously hung over me. A lot of my ambivalence and resentment towards Orthodoxy, which many of you have read here, stemmed from that predicament. Just re-reading this thread, especially from the final couple of months of my time at that church, gave me an anxiety attack. Not that I handled it well, or that ranting against the faith was an appropriate response, but it was coming from a place of hopelessness exacerbated by what was a lack of justice. Anyway, I feel revitalized, am part of a healthy Orthodox community that we're building from the ground up, and have some plans in the works for theological graduate studies which I am very excited about. It took a while and a lot of pain, but things are on the right track.
This is great news brother, thanks for the update. (y)
 

Fr. George

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I don't think the Lord asks that of us or wants that from us ~ I study scripture a group of Catholics and a priest ~ they're told to forgive unconditionally by the priest ~ I posed the question: A muslim intentionally kills your family ~ is happy to have done this an plans to kill more Christians, should we forgive him or them ~ Yes was the answer ~ we are must forgive everything ```

That doesn't make any sense to me and I don't think Our Lord has instructed us to do that ~ it may be the wish of some one or ones that we do this or be told this ~ but I can't believe that to be the will of God ```
Uh, it does make perfect sense. Our God is the One who on the Cross said, "Father, forgive them" as He was dying an unjust death at the hands of His creatures. If they could have killed Him twice, they would have. The high calling of the scripture is to forgive even the unrepentant, knowing that God has forgiven each one of us more than all the sins done against us by our fellow human beings.

In fact, we are encouraged to take it a step further, and not take offense in the first place when one attempts to hurt us. Then there's nothing to forgive. Consider David the King, fleeing Jerusalem to avoid dying by the hands of Absalom his son - was tormented by one of Saul's kinsmen. When asked if they should put the man to death (for cursing and insulting the Anointed King), David responded with "Leave him alone and let him curse, because the Lord told him to curse David. Who then shall say, 'Why have you done so?'" and then said "See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. Still more now may the son of Benjamin! Let him curse, because the Lord told him. May the Lord somehow look on my humiliation, and me He turn his cursing of me this day into good." (This is from 2 Kingdoms / 2 Samuel chapter 16.)

He affirms that his sin (adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah) was the cause of his misery - and that while he didn't "deserve" to be chastened by this individual person, he deserved to be chastened to help his repentance.

(This is essentially one of the tl;dr points of the book of Job, too - that Job didn't deserve the suffering, but he should have used it as a means to humble himself before God.)

St. Dionysios of Zakynthos famously helped the man who murdered his brother hide from his pursuers, and instead guided him in the way of repentance.

So yes - unconditional forgiveness is what we're all called to offer to others - and even better, to not ascribe an offense to them to begin with (personally). Not forgetfulness necessarily, but nonetheless the bar is high.
 

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The Anabaptists have Marytrology titled The Martyrs Mirror which they hold in esteem only second to the Scriptures.

One of the most compelling stories is of an Amishman being pursued across a frozen lake by a bounty hunter who would receive great reward for capturing the man who would almost certainly be put to a painful death.

The Amishman had nearly finished his escape across the lake when he heard the ice break beneath the bounty hunter. Without hesitation he turned around and pulled the mercenary to safety.

And, of course, was then captured, tortured and killed.
 

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When our Lord was on the cross ~ he asking forgiveness for who ~ the Jews,? the Romans? Maybe for the drunken soldiers who had just nailed him to the cross under orders ~ I think it may have been these men standing below him, who mocked him ~ if what our brothers and sisters passed on to us as what he said on while on the cross is so ```

Our Lord, when speaking of: The Father was making reference to Himself, He, our Lord, The Christ is The Father, "I and the Father are One" There is only one God ```

When we ask in the Hyer Mer {Our Father) The Lords Prayer ~ "Forgive us as we forgive others" ~ If we forgive others without their asking or repentance ~ will the Lord forgive us if we do not Confess, repent or ask Forgiveness ~ is there no need for Confession and asking to be forgiven ????

Austvats Shad Lav E, Pitz ~ God is extreamly Good, But
 

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When our Lord was on the cross ~ he asking forgiveness for who ~ the Jews,? the Romans? Maybe for the drunken soldiers who had just nailed him to the cross under orders ~ I think it may have been these men standing below him, who mocked him ~ if what our brothers and sisters passed on to us as what he said on while on the cross is so ```
He's asking forgiveness for everyone. Everyone had a part to play - Jews & Romans, leaders & peasants, believes and unbelievers, present and absent, alive and dead. (This is, afaik, the consistent reading of the Fathers.)

Our Lord, when speaking of: The Father was making reference to Himself, He, our Lord, The Christ is The Father, "I and the Father are One" There is only one God ```
There is only one God - but each person of the Trinity has a role within the Godhead. We know that He has the power to forgive sins - he showed many signs to back that principle up - but in the case of the Crucifixion He remarked directly to the Father. (His comments was more for our benefit than His own - because He and the Father are one, words didn't need to be used, but He chose to use words so we could see, learn, understand, and imitate.)

When we ask in the Hyer Mer {Our Father) The Lords Prayer ~ "Forgive us as we forgive others" ~ If we forgive others without their asking or repentance ~ will the Lord forgive us if we do not Confess, repent or ask Forgiveness ~ is there no need for Confession and asking to be forgiven ????
We are called to forgive, even if not asked for it. You cannot control another person; you can only control yourself. Whether they ask for forgiveness or not, you should grant it, just as whether or not they'll accept your repentance, you should repent when you harm your brother/sister.
 
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