Update on trevor72694

Cognomen

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Severian said:
I still offer the best of hopes to Trevor
Agreed, and I hope that he (you, Trevor  :) ) eventually return to God and the Church, but within the context of a more meaningful relationship.

but now we have diverged from the thread's inital purpose.
Phew... at least some things are normal around here.
 

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Alpo said:
augustin717 said:
 Same goes for you augustin.  
I know. I didn't call  quits. Just practice it with loads of economia on top of  a who cares attitude. just like they were trying to teach me in younger days back home.
This really should be written to catechisms and Orthodoxy 101s. Ignorant converts would be saved from a lot of fuss and disappointments.
What? That you should become apathetic?

There are plenty of good examples of people who have "mellowed out" without going the augustinian quasi-irreligious route.
 

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Hi Trevor,
You may not know me as I am kind of new to this forum but allow me to share my personal experience a little bit.
when I read your post it really felt like something I myself would have written a couple of years back. It is perfectly normal that you are going through this time. We all face different challenges at some point in our lives that put our faith and belief in God in a big question. In my case, it was losing someone very dear to my heart in a very tragic way. I felt very lonely and believed that if God was in my life He would have not let that happen. From then on, my spiritual life started to spiral down. Even standing in church during the Liturgy started to sound foreign to me. It all started to feel like we are calling onto a non existent god. It felt like the God I loved so much didn't exist anymore and that I didn't belong there. I too lost a lot of friends because of being super religious and even got several scoldings from friends. Some of my friends didn't want to hang out with me anymore and labeled me as a 'religious freak'. So when I went through a challenge in my life and started questioning God, all of these started to fit into the puzzle and I slowly started drawing away from church, stopped praying and and started living my life as an atheist. For the time being, life felt like soooooo much easier. I could do whatever I want without feeling guilty, don't have to struggle with trying to pray and trying to live life according to the bible, I started getting back my friends that once thought I was not fun to hang out with. Life started to feel so much easier because I could do whatever I want and whenever I want, eat whatever I want, and living life according to how i feel and not how God planned it for me. It felt so right (I wish I had someone to tell me that feelings can be deceiving). This didn't last too long before the world started to feel so empty back again and started to search God back. I realized that I didn't belong to the world that I thought was comfortable. But the great thing is, this time when I came back to God, I came back in a more balanced and mature way.

Trevor my whole point is, keep an open mind and this may not necessarily last too long. You will most likely find that the world isn't that comfortable either although it may look like that initially. I want to share one quote from HH Pope Shenouda's Diabolic War

"Just as there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over
one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:10), undoubtedly the devils
rejoice when one righteous person falls and delight over anyone
who submits to them."

I highly recommend that book. I wish I can tell you to hang in there and keep praying till you are able to conquer this feeling and test in your faith but I have been where you are and I know its almost impossible to do so. Like some of the members have said, just keep an open mind, go and see what the world has to offer but if and whenever you decide to come back, our beloved Orthodox will be waiting with open arms :)

Good luck brother and may the Lord protect and guide you!

Bytania
 

age234

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Lord have mercy.

Obvious implications aside, I'm a bit troubled that this all seems to be based on, of all things, a worthless high school standardized test masquerading as psychological insight.

Cognomen said:
Αριστοκλής said:
ialmisry said:
I was afraid of this.

Lord have mercy!
He's, what, 18?

I'll worry in about a decade. He's got years of university ahead to mess with his mind.
I think FatherHLL's point on this is that we aren't guaranteed decades, university, etc.
Indeed.
 

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trevor72694 said:
"religion" was my highest value, even over family and love.   :-[  
These are supposed to be a part of religion, not apart from it.

Anyway, I hope you grow and learn along the journey ahead of you.
 

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Melodist said:
trevor72694 said:
"religion" was my highest value, even over family and love.   :-[  
These are supposed to be a part of religion, not apart from it.
Yes! ^^^ This!

Who teaches us to honor our parents and family? Who teaches us to love our spouses and raise our children right?

Christ.

The Christian faith exists to help us live the way humans are meant to live. And if it comes down to a values judgment, it should stand above all the rest, because it teaches us how to do all the rest in the way we are meant to.

This whole thing really is a false dichotomy, I must say.
 

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Alpo said:
augustin717 said:
 Same goes for you augustin.  
I know. I didn't call  quits. Just practice it with loads of economia on top of  a who cares attitude. just like they were trying to teach me in younger days back home.
This really should be written to catechisms and Orthodoxy 101s. Ignorant converts would be saved from a lot of fuss and disappointments.
Semi-Augustinianism  :laugh:   :p
 

LizaSymonenko

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I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  

Modern society is geared to destroy what is most precious and necessary for our well-being....and turn us into something we were never meant to be.

We, as a society, have decided God doesn't exist, because He is an inconvenience to us....He forces us to look at ourselves in the mirror....and sometimes, if we look hard enough....we will not like what we see....but, what we see is the truth....and instead of running from it and hiding, like Adam did when God called, we need to face life, face what we are, what we have done, and actively work at making it better.

Sad.....so....soooooo, sad.

I would love to give an excellent seed of advice....to say it's all good....it's just a phase, or if it is not....you're still fine, Trevor.

But, you aren't.  You are not fine.  This is not fine....and it is not good.

I always thought you were stronger....even with what I know you are going through...I never thought you would completely disqualify God.  I must be blind, because I never saw this coming.

I hope and pray that one day soon, you will once again open your heart to the truth, and welcome God back in to your life.  Remember, He hasn't left you, you have left Him.

I still love you like the little brother you were, Tikhon, and will pray for you.....but, I'm still really, really sad.

 

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FatherHLL said:
Alpo said:
augustin717 said:
 Same goes for you augustin.  
I know. I didn't call  quits. Just practice it with loads of economia on top of  a who cares attitude. just like they were trying to teach me in younger days back home.
This really should be written to catechisms and Orthodoxy 101s. Ignorant converts would be saved from a lot of fuss and disappointments.
Semi-Augustinianism  :laugh:   :p
LOL. Thanks.

William said:
Alpo said:
augustin717 said:
 Same goes for you augustin.  
I know. I didn't call  quits. Just practice it with loads of economia on top of  a who cares attitude. just like they were trying to teach me in younger days back home.
This really should be written to catechisms and Orthodoxy 101s. Ignorant converts would be saved from a lot of fuss and disappointments.
What? That you should become apathetic?
That you shouldn't read too much books without interacting with actual people. I did that. Crushed I was.
 

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Thanks for posting about this, Trevor. A lot of other posters have given you advice. I would only say that in a year or two or more, whenever you feel a longing for beauty, stillness, liturgy, the sacred, you shouldn't hesitate to visit the Church for worship. The existential problem is not really that you don't *think* God exists. The fundamental problem is that you no longer *love* Him, and can't feel His love for you.

The English word "believe" comes from the Germanic word "love." We are commanded to *love* the Lord our God, not acknowledge he exists. But as soon as that love weakens or disappears, when we undergo trials and separate ourselves from the sacraments, we quickly lose even the sure knowledge of God's presence and existence. And, then, as TS Eliot said, "After such knowledge, what forgiveness?" No proof, no thought, no discourse will ever bring that love back. First, somehow, in someway, we have to learn to *love* again. For most people, that means the love of stranger, or beauty, or the sacredness of worship. You have to start small, with heart and tongue, or with neighbor.

Anyway, something to keep in mind. In the next few years, things will change even more for you. But, as Heraclitus said, you can never step in the same river twice. So, at some point in the future, the very same river of God's love in Christ, now seeming a crusty puddle, if that, may appear a life-giving stream once again but in a different way. Just don't expect anything other than love, longing, or sacrifice to make it seem so. And don't discount the power of words: When the time comes that your spirit longs for God, say it out loud; recite Scripture; bless the Lord; sing a hymn.

Finally, a general thought for the board, especially the clergy: I have known many cases like Trevor's, where a young teenager converts against the will of his or her parents. Often, the situation at home is less than ideal. When in high school myself, I played a critical role in five such conversions. Every one of them left the Church within four years or less and have not returned. Conversion at that age, under those circumstances, is too much for most young souls to bear. It is unnatural, I have come to believe. We are, whether we like it or not, a product of our home, and we cannot make a sure and healthy decision on the magnitude of religious conversion before developing autonomy and perspective on our own place in the world, not merely following but also not at adolescent war with whence we came.
 

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In a certain sense it is about us. Christ came to redeem us after all. We are unique in the fact that we are the only created things that have been created in the very image of God. So, we can't be so pious as to pretend that we don't matter. However, we can't be so narcissistic as to think that the universe revolves entirely around us. I can only speak for myself, but if I am honest then I must confess that I often think and act as if my feelings and opinions are of paramount importance. Hell, if I didn't think that, I wouldn't have presumed to write a book. lol!

Anyway, I will offer my humble thoughts on your OP:

First of all, feelings come and go. Sometimes God indeed allows us to feel very close to Him, and often it is when we least expect it or least deserve it. But we can't base our faith on feelings. After all, if our faith was based purely on feelings then it wouldn't really be faith.

I haven't been to Liturgy in a few weeks. It bothers me, and I really miss it. I have very bad insomnia, and I usually stay up all night and go to sleep at about 6 or 7 in the morning. I tried to stay up 24 hours so I could sleep Satrurday night and make it to Liturgy Sunday morning. But I still missed it. But you know what? My wife and I went out to lunch Sunday afternoon and had a wonderful time. I felt closer to her that I have felt in a long time. As we ate and talked, I felt the presence of God. It didn't make me think, "OK, Divine Liturgy isn't that important." Instead, it made me realize that God's mercy and grace are ever present. He knows my heart and my struggle, and where man judges and condemns God does not.

So, the key is to continue struggling. Keep striving to be a part of the life of the Church. Keep praying, reading the Bible when you can, attending Liturgy when you are able, and availing yourself of the Sacraments. But whenever and wherever you fail, do not despair. God truly is everywhere, and if we seek Him we will find Him in all circumstances, in all places, and in all people. And when we do experience His presence and His love, it will inspire us draw nearer to Him through the means of grace which the Church provides.

If you fast and feel far from God, the eat and rejoice in His love! Then struggle some more.


Peace to you my friend.


Selam
 

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pensateomnia said:
Thanks for posting about this, Trevor. A lot of other posters have given you advice. I would only say that in a year or two or more, whenever you feel a longing for beauty, stillness, liturgy, the sacred, you shouldn't hesitate to visit the Church for worship. The existential problem is not really that you don't *think* God exists. The fundamental problem is that you no longer *love* Him, and can't feel His love for you.

The English word "believe" comes from the Germanic word "love." We are commanded to *love* the Lord our God, not acknowledge he exists. But as soon as that love weakens or disappears, when we undergo trials and separate ourselves from the sacraments, we quickly lose even the sure knowledge of God's presence and existence. And, then, as TS Eliot said, "After such knowledge, what forgiveness?" No proof, no thought, no discourse will ever bring that love back. First, somehow, in someway, we have to learn to *love* again. For most people, that means the love of stranger, or beauty, or the sacredness of worship. You have to start small, with heart and tongue, or with neighbor.

Anyway, something to keep in mind. In the next few years, things will change even more for you. But, as Heraclitus said, you can never step in the same river twice. So, at some point in the future, the very same river of God's love in Christ, now seeming a crusty puddle, if that, may appear a life-giving stream once again but in a different way. Just don't expect anything other than love, longing, or sacrifice to make it seem so. And don't discount the power of words: When the time comes that your spirit longs for God, say it out loud; recite Scripture; bless the Lord; sing a hymn.

Finally, a general thought for the board, especially the clergy: I have known many cases like Trevor's, where a young teenager converts against the will of his or her parents. Often, the situation at home is less than ideal. When in high school myself, I played a critical role in five such conversions. Every one of them left the Church within four years or less and have not returned. Conversion at that age, under those circumstances, is too much for most young souls to bear. It is unnatural, I have come to believe. We are, whether we like it or not, a product of our home, and we cannot make a sure and healthy decision on the magnitude of religious conversion before developing autonomy and perspective on our own place in the world, not merely following but also not at adolescent war with whence we came.
A great comment, my dad was 'old school' and approached such cases carefully and with a dose of patience and understanding of family conflicts - even in cases of mixed marriages without initial conversion by the non-Orthodox spouse. You should not be surprised by the number of lasting relationships and ultimate conversions that arose from such an approach. A dose of compassion, understanding and a lot of 'economia' supported by one's Bishop goes a long way in the real world of pastoral administration. Some seminaries ought to deal more with pastoral prudence and less in didactic dogmatics - we actually might have a more embracing culture within our Orthodox world.

Now, in anticipation of a negative response to my comments - I am certainly NOT suggesting that dogma, tradition etc... are to be ignored - to the contrary - but for every excessively rigid Saint or excerpt from the Rudder you may cite in these matters, others of us can trade comments by Saints and commentaries of a more open, and equally Orthodox, approach.

I pray that Trevor may come to embrace Our Lord in his heart as he goes on in life's journey. If not on our terms, I hope that his experience with us has left him at least with some insight and room in his own heart to take the positive things within the Faith with him in dealing with experiences yet to come.
 

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pensateomnia said:
Finally, a general thought for the board, especially the clergy: I have known many cases like Trevor's, where a young teenager converts against the will of his or her parents. Often, the situation at home is less than ideal. When in high school myself, I played a critical role in five such conversions. Every one of them left the Church within four years or less and have not returned. Conversion at that age, under those circumstances, is too much for most young souls to bear. It is unnatural, I have come to believe. We are, whether we like it or not, a product of our home, and we cannot make a sure and healthy decision on the magnitude of religious conversion before developing autonomy and perspective on our own place in the world, not merely following but also not at adolescent war with whence we came.
This.  My own experience is that a tremendously low number of these high school age conversions end well.  In most of these cases (my own included) the pastoral advice given left a lot to be desired.  Why insist that a teenager who doesn't prepare his own food fast when all throughout the writings of the desert fathers it is constantly written that external fasting isn't particularly important.  That was always a huge conflict with my parents.  How does eating a PB and J sandwich contain the least bit of spiritual value (especially with Oreos for dessert!) when doing so creates a serious family conflict?  There are a million other little things that are similar, but they all boil down to bad pastoral advice causing young converts to burn out.

I wonder what motivates priests to receive converts that are still in high school.  I'm also surprised there aren't guidelines from the synodal level at dealing with these issues.  From what I can tell it seems that every priest does whatever he wants in this regard and there is no unified policy of sorts.  When you have anarchy and a patchwork of ad hoc solutions it shouldn't be a surprise that the results are less than stellar.  
 

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What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.




 

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LizaSymonenko said:
What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.
I am not suggesting that at all. What I am commenting upon is the approach used in dealing with all converts - not just the young ones.

An overly rigid approach to instruction, coupled with a mind eager to embrace external manifestations of extreme praxis can be a toxic stew.  For many young people, this is a means to express rebellion - whether it is being 'punk', 'Goth', following Kabbala or, sadly - turning to us. For many rightly turned off by innovationist liberals in main-stream Protestant churches, the conflation of the religious conservatism of our Orthodox faith with that of contemporary political conservatism can be equally toxic.

Frankly, we have far too many ill-prepared priests who, it seems to me,  are more interested in external presentations and less with a long-term plan for salvation.
 

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That may be true.

Therefore, the responsibility lies with the seminaries to ensure that the priests are prepared to handle these situations and are willing to dedicate the time to their flocks.

Personally, I am always surprised to read that people have gone to their priest and told them they just "aren't happy" and will start skipping Liturgy....and the response is "OK".

???

That just baffles me.  It's not okay.  Perhaps the person needs additional attention and care.  I can't believe the sheep is leaving the flock and it's okay.  This has occurred more than once, as multiple posters have posted pretty much the same response given them from their clergy when told they were leaving.

Even if they can't convince the person to stay....don't sugar coat it and say it's "OK".  Don't make them feel it is all good to leave the Church and become less than what they have been called to be.  Don't be mean, but, perhaps a follow up or a show of concern would be of benefit.

 

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LizaSymonenko said:
What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.
Your god sends people to eternal damnation based on factors beyond their control?  Somebody has some anger management issues.

A reasonable approach would be to give a high schooler something pastorally appropriate.  A long catechumenate followed by reception into the Church as an adult isn't unreasonable.  After all, three years is the traditional length of the catechumenate.   What's appropriate?  Try to live an ethical life, pray, read the scriptures and try to make an effort to attend liturgy when possible.  In all cases take the path of least resistance and eventually add the other bells and whistles (icons, prayerropes, "fasting" and other decorations) once one is an adult.  
 

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See?  Here you go again.

Am I not Orthodox enough for you, that I can't express an opinion on Orthodoxy?  Really?

I think you have some issues that perhaps you need to deal with, so you can tolerate other's right to expression.

What did I say that was so "angry"?  That I wish everyone to have salvation?  Really?  That's bad?  How so?

 

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I havent read the whole thread, but to the OP, I think we all appreciate your honesty.  Sometimes, if I am honest with myself, there are days where Im not sure I believe any of this stuff either. Maybe other people feel the same way. Maybe its good for Christians to admit that they dont believe in God every now and then as many of them, especially myself, probably feel that way at times. However, even when we struggle with believing, we can still have faith and hope that these things are true even though there isnt any logical "proof."  It seems to me that doubt and faith go hand in hand.  As many have pointed out, others have been where you are and we can certainly relate. Raising questions and figuring things out for yourself can certainly be a healthy thing.

Even though I dont really know you and havent spoken to you much here, my thoughts are with you.
 

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Νεκτάριος said:
LizaSymonenko said:
What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.
Your god sends people to eternal damnation based on factors beyond their control?  Somebody has some anger management issues.
 
God, not our god, doesn't send anyone to hell.  People do that all on their own.  It's called choices, which are not beyond our control.
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
What should the priest do?

Deny this young person eternal salvation, because he "might" drop out?

...in that case why baptize young babies?  They might grow up and decide to leave the Church.

I think it's great, that with proper preparation/catechumenate, that people  of whatever age, who think they are ready, and the priest agrees, get accepted in to the Church...with the hopes that they will remain in the Church and a part of the body of Christ.
A long catechumenate.

If the priest is personally responsible for those who approach the Holy Gifts, he is most certainly responsible for those he receives into the Church.

What about the salvation of all those people who waited years to get into the Church in the early days?  Some people waited YEARS before being baptized, even on their deathbeds.  Were the priests of the sub-Apostolic age lax in not accepting people?  Even after Nicea, people were given long catechumenates.  Some were not. 

Podkarpatska is correct, I believe, in saying that priests should be taught at seminary to discern the readiness of a convert. 

As for the OP, I am very sad to see Trevor leaving the Church, but I hope and pray that he will learn to see and feel God around him.  Take care of yourself, buddy, and I hope to see you back in church before long. :)
 

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Even if you don't quite believe all that Church stuff it doesn't necessarily follow you leave the Church or you have to. You might as well stay for a myriad reasons not that much connected to the dogmas etc, just like the majority of Orthodox do. I think it's a sign of maturity, actually.
 

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trevor72694 said:
Salpy said:
People need to be careful of what they say in threads like this.  We don't want to say things that will cause others to stumble.

Everyone goes through times of doubt.  Many recover from it and return to the faith.

Trevor,
Earlier you mentioned sexual orientation.  I'm not in a position to speak to you about this, but I know others on this forum have struggled with this and stayed in the faith.  I know this sounds cliche, but did you go to the new priest at your church and have a good long talk with him before deciding to leave?  If not, you may want to do so.  Just a suggestion.
Yes, I did.  He was so wonderful about it, too.  I don't struggle with it, but merely being in Church made me feel as though I did.  I mean, it's one thing to say "yes, celibacy for me, please!" in Church surrounded by faithful parishioners, icons and the body of Christ.  At my school and out in the "world", being other than heterosexual is becoming more and more acceptable.  I really needed time away from Church to deal with this, as I had to accept it in myself.  Not go out and do sinful acts, but just sit alone and think about what my feelings meant and all of that.
I have to say that I really admire what you say here. May I give you some advice? Please know that one thing leads to another and before you know it, you may end up in a place that you do not want to be. Therefore, remember always your experience "in Church surrounded by faithful parishioners, icons and the body of Christ." Let that memory be your anchor, lest you are torn from your moorings and perish in the storm.
 

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age234 said:
Lord have mercy.

Obvious implications aside, I'm a bit troubled that this all seems to be based on, of all things, a worthless high school standardized test masquerading as psychological insight.

Cognomen said:
Αριστοκλής said:
ialmisry said:
I was afraid of this.

Lord have mercy!
He's, what, 18?

I'll worry in about a decade. He's got years of university ahead to mess with his mind.
I think FatherHLL's point on this is that we aren't guaranteed decades, university, etc.
Indeed.
Are you sure it's based on that, or rather was it not instigated by that?
 

JamesRottnek

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LizaSymonenko said:
I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  
This is just patently false.
 

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JamesRottnek said:
age234 said:
Lord have mercy.

Obvious implications aside, I'm a bit troubled that this all seems to be based on, of all things, a worthless high school standardized test masquerading as psychological insight.

Cognomen said:
Αριστοκλής said:
ialmisry said:
I was afraid of this.

Lord have mercy!
He's, what, 18?

I'll worry in about a decade. He's got years of university ahead to mess with his mind.
I think FatherHLL's point on this is that we aren't guaranteed decades, university, etc.
Indeed.
Are you sure it's based on that, or rather was it not instigated by that?
It seems that way, based on what Trevor wrote. Now, it's possible that he was feeling this way for some time and that was just his "moment of clarity" or whatever. Regardless, a person should not place any value in a psychological assessment from anyone but a psychologist. Certainly not a multiple choice quiz.
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
See?  Here you go again.

Am I not Orthodox enough for you, that I can't express an opinion on Orthodoxy?  Really?

I think you have some issues that perhaps you need to deal with, so you can tolerate other's right to expression.

What did I say that was so "angry"?  That I wish everyone to have salvation?  Really?  That's bad?  How so?
I didn't say you were angry, rather your god was angry.  If your god sends people to eternal damnation due to the actions of a different person (i.e a priest not allowing someone to convert) that is an angry and spiteful entity.  Within Christianity I guess that would be closest to Calvinism but not so close to at least the traditional view of Orthodoxy.  

I don't understand your personal rant about "I think you have some issues that perhaps you need to deal with, so you can tolerate other's right to expression."  That is an ad hominem.  If I am not mistaken the point of a message board is discussion.  Posting that I agree with you constantly would be rather dull.  I'm not sure you really understand the meaning of the idea of right to expression.  How have I (or for that matter could I) in any way prevent you from expressing yourself here?  Not agreeing with your opinions doesn't mean that you are persecuted and prevented from expressing your ideas.  But it is nice to know that you believe I have issues.  Thanks.  

Going back to the substance of this thread, I agree with others that longer catechumantes, better application of economy and overall better discernment are in order.  As far as I can tell it is a fairly ad hoc process with each priest creating his own little system.  What ends up happening is that priests seem to be willing to accept anybody under that person's terms (make me Orthodox NOW!).  The results are clear...most converts burning out in a few years and moving onto the next thing.  
 

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JamesRottnek said:
LizaSymonenko said:
I am sooooooo sad.....

This just proves that modern "therapy", quizzes, tests, etc....are all designed to make you doubt your faith....and fit "in" with modern social norms.  
This is just patently false.
Indeed.  My wife's therapist often told her to go back to church more often. 

And he was a Jewish atheist.
 

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A couple of points to add:

1.  Should a child be baptized even if neither of the parents are Orthodox and have no intention to actively raise the child Orthodox? 

2.  For the parents on the forum, how would you feel if one of your high school age children developed an interest in a foreign religion, say Islam?  Would you be happy if the local imam tried to convert a 16-year-old, stir up tensions with the parents and otherwise exploit natural teenage rebellion and curiosity for his own ends? 
 

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While I admit I don't necessarily know what to say concerning these types of things, I will say this: while it may seem that you have your whole life ahead of you to work out your salvation (or lack of), no one really knows how long they have. Flirting with unbelief is literally playing with fire.
 

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Νεκτάριος said:
A couple of points to add:

1.  Should a child be baptized even if neither of the parents are Orthodox and have no intention to actively raise the child Orthodox? 

2.  For the parents on the forum, how would you feel if one of your high school age children developed an interest in a foreign religion, say Islam?  Would you be happy if the local imam tried to convert a 16-year-old, stir up tensions with the parents and otherwise exploit natural teenage rebellion and curiosity for his own ends? 
There's a huge difference of a kid converting to Orthodoxy or to Islam.  Like night and day.

Besides, his father followed him to the Church and converted, as well....therefore, it's not like he didn't have any Orthodox support at home.

 

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To a lot of parents it'd probably be the same: a foreign based religion that is deeply counter cultural to US-culture.  Some of the more extreme wings of Orthodoxy, like the Ephraimite monasteries, really aren't that far off.  But that is beside the point.  Were I a parent, I'd be a bit miffed to say the least at the idea of a cleric from another religion budding into my family life. 
 

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Νεκτάριος said:
To a lot of parents it'd probably be the same: a foreign based religion that is deeply counter cultural to US-culture.  Some of the more extreme wings of Orthodoxy, like the Ephraimite monasteries, really aren't that far off.  But that is beside the point.  Were I a parent, I'd be a bit miffed to say the least at the idea of a cleric from another religion budding into my family life. 
These are some really great points.
 

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Trevor, Asteriktos, James, and others I can understand what you're going through.  Just remember you're not the only one..  as far as Achronos' mention of atheism, I've heard that's never an easy process.  It takes many years before most people finally come to that point, after a lot of painful questioning and observations.  The hardest part is where your emotions have to come into alignment with your logic or reasoning, and that takes awhile.  Not saying everyone is destined for that road, but it is a path that some end up taking. 

Sincerely,
Andrew
 

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Andrew Crook said:
Trevor, Asteriktos, James, and others I can understand what you're going through.  Just remember you're not the only one..  as far as Achronos' mention of atheism, I've heard that's never an easy process.  It takes many years before most people finally come to that point, after a lot of painful questioning and observations.  The hardest part is where your emotions have to come into alignment with your logic or reasoning, and that takes awhile.   Not saying everyone is destined for that road, but it is a path that some end up taking. 

Sincerely,
Andrew
Good to see you posting again.
 

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neon_knights said:
Νεκτάριος said:
To a lot of parents it'd probably be the same: a foreign based religion that is deeply counter cultural to US-culture.  Some of the more extreme wings of Orthodoxy, like the Ephraimite monasteries, really aren't that far off.  But that is beside the point.  Were I a parent, I'd be a bit miffed to say the least at the idea of a cleric from another religion budding into my family life. 
These are some really great points.
I agree.  Some liberal interpretations of Islam would be far less of a shock to a family--praxis wise and aside from reactionary views--than Orthodoxy can be.

The teachings about leaving your family for faith are important, but I think it's dangerous to apply them to children.  Sorry young'ins if that sounds offensive, but it's a reality.  Some of you are extraordinarily mature and insightful, but you are still children.

 

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Νεκτάριος said:
2.  For the parents on the forum, how would you feel if one of your high school age children developed an interest in a foreign religion, say Islam?  Would you be happy if the local imam tried to convert a 16-year-old, stir up tensions with the parents and otherwise exploit natural teenage rebellion and curiosity for his own ends? 
I know high school-aged people who converted. They simply educated their parents and it was fine. That won't work in all cases, but comparing it to Islam? That's a bit much. I mean, Jesus is God, we believe in the Trinity, and we read the Bible. Those three tidbits should be enough for most.

Νεκτάριος said:
Were I a parent, I'd be a bit miffed to say the least at the idea of a cleric from another religion budding into my family life. 
It's not a different religion. And churchgoing teenagers hang out with pastors/youth pastors/youth group leaders all the time. What's the big deal?
 

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age234 said:
Νεκτάριος said:
2.  For the parents on the forum, how would you feel if one of your high school age children developed an interest in a foreign religion, say Islam?  Would you be happy if the local imam tried to convert a 16-year-old, stir up tensions with the parents and otherwise exploit natural teenage rebellion and curiosity for his own ends? 
I know high school-aged people who converted. They simply educated their parents and it was fine. That won't work in all cases, but comparing it to Islam? That's a bit much. I mean, Jesus is God, we believe in the Trinity, and we read the Bible. Those three tidbits should be enough for most.
Νεκτάριος was purposefully using a harsh and extreme example to make his point, but his point is a valid one.

On a more 'real world' basis, I know how upset many clergy and Orthodox parents become when they are dealing with high school kids being 'courted' by friends of pastors  from other Christian denominations - usually with trips, sleep-overs, encounters, films etc... This goes on all of the time and we all know of young people who were seduced by the siren call of friends and peer pressure to join another Church. A good priest will use discernment and be on the alert for signs of trouble - excessive zeal, excessive outward appearance changes, constant questions coming out of the blue on esoteric, theological issues, excessive knowledge about Patristics, Bishops, Church politics and so on.

Please - I am NOT suggesting that any of the items I suggested are bad per se - surely what one of us may view as 'excessive' may be viewed in a different light by another.

I view this as a cautionary tale for all of us and we ought to pray about it and learn from it. Whether we are convert, enquirer, sceptic or cradle - or anything in between - we all need to recognize that things are not always as they seem.

 
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