Joining the Orthodox Church

pitbullowner

Kingfisher
I've committed myself to actually going to a Greek Orthodox church this morning. I've said in the past that I've done it before but I never really did in order just to actually fit along with the general consensus of guys that are doing this. Yeah it's lame I know but today I'm actually going step foot into a place like this and I'm not going to lie I'm a bit nervous.

As someone that's coming from a Protestant religion stance what should I expect when I enter the building for Divine liturgy ?

I'm genuinely disgusted with the rock and roll shows and shallow feel good church sermons that most modern Christian churches are a part of in the Protestant religions and I'm committing today to going actually give it a shot. based off of all of the things that I've read I felt my heart was moved to be a part of the Eastern or Greek Orthodox Church. Are there differences in each Orthodox branch and does it matter if I am Greek or Russian ? Please pray for me as I aim to seek spiritual counsel from Christians that hold steadfast to their teachings and traditions that have seemingly been unshakable for centuries.

I grew up in my early teens as an ultra-conservative legalistic Church of Christ Christian that if you didn't believe the same thing we did you were going to hell. then on that note I became atheist for a couple of months out of my life right before I had a severe accident. I know God exists I know that he has a plan for me yet I also know that surround myself with lukewarm believers is not a good thing .

Do you guys think that I will find a rock in this Storm through an Orthodox Church ?

Any and all input in regards to the Orthodox Church especially from people who attend one is welcomed.
 

pitbullowner

Kingfisher
Update:

Well I just got out of Divine liturgy, the experience was amazing and a lot of information to take in. I think I found my home in regards to how I need to pursue things religiously with my relationship in Christ.

We listened to the pastor?/priest? about a saint that came from Syria for about 15 minutes and then there's a whole bunch of Greek prayers and Psalms mixed in with English....it was a bit difficult to keep up with but I still felt edified nonetheless.
 
I am in the process of converting from Protestantism as well. Went from Presbyterian to Episcopalian to doing the Roman Catholic initiation program, but couldn't follow through.

I go to a Greek Orthodox Church. Keep coming to the liturgy and it will make sense over time. Each priest and church may have different nuances regarding Chrismation, but all in all the tenents are pretty much the same. My priest's suggestion was to read Fr Ware's book on the the Eastern Orthodox Church for a historical understanding as well as Fr Anthony M. Coniaris Eastern Orthodoxy: A Way of Life for basics of the faith. Also Fr Josiah Trenham book Rock and Sand explains the Protestant Reformation/reformers from an Orthodox perspective and he is a convert as well so I highly suggest that book.
 
Glory to God and welcome home. I’d encourage everyone to buy and read “The Heavenly Banquet” by Father Hatzidakis. The book goes through the Divine Liturgy line-by-line with sidebars, footnotes, mini-lessons, and explanations for why every single thing that happens in the service is happening. The Liturgy will mean even more to you according to the degree to which you understand it, because nothing that’s there is by accident.
 
pitbullowner said:
Are there differences in each Orthodox branch
There will be differences from parish to parish, like
- what style of chant is used
- whether or not women wear headcoverings
- how often the priest expects communicants to confess
- whether or not there's pews
but for the most part everything's pretty similar from church to church.

pitbullowner said:
and does it matter if I am Greek or Russian ?
Some parishes can have a sort of culture club feel, where everyone wonders why your accent is different.

The one thing to really think long and hard about in terms of your ethnicity before you join, if you're a westerner, is this: the Orthodox Church now is almost entirely Byzantine Rite. Joining, for many Westerners, means leaving some of our culture behind. Certain uniquely Western things are missing like Ash Wednesday, St. Valentine's day, or the phrase "my cup runneth over" in Psalm 23. If your ancestors were from the West, you'll be following a quite different schedule of feasts and fasts than they did.

Essentially, the experience of Western Christianity in the second millennia is absent. King Charles the Martyr or St. Frances of Assisi won't be your saints anymore. Instead you'll be learning about someone else’s saintly ancestors. People will preface anything nice they say about St. Augustine with things like, "While he may have been wrong about certain things..." because the classic Western understanding of sin and grace that Augustine taught are different from the Eastern understanding.

This cultural heritage may or may not be important to you, but it's something to think about. There are a handful of Anglican parishes that have changed teams to Orthodoxy and kept the Western calendar and liturgies, but they're few and far between.

pitbullowner said:
Do you guys think that I will find a rock in this Storm through an Orthodox Church ?
Yes. You’ll hear the Gospel preached, encounter God in the sacraments, and struggle towards salvation with your fellow Orthodox Christians. If this is what you’re looking for, join.

On the other hand, if what you’re looking for is a safe haven from theological liberalism, you might find yourself disappointed. Orthodoxy in the US already has a colorful history involving schisms, heretics, and many trials and tribulations. No doubt we will soon be plagued by many new problems that other American churches currently suffer from.

I don't want to sound like I'm trying to scare you away from the Church; quite the opposite. I think everybody should join. But the Orthodox Church you encounter in real life is going to be fraught with difficulties and confusions just like any other church. And it's been this way for two thousand years.
 

pitbullowner

Kingfisher
don't want to sound like I'm trying to scare you away from the Church; quite the opposite. I think everybody should join. But the Orthodox Church you encounter in real life is going to be fraught with difficulties and confusions just like any other church. And it's been this way for two thousand years
Oh wow, I just saw this post. Thank you for the information.

Heh... That reminds me of something my grandad said to me.
He said "If you find the perfect Church don't go there because you'll ruin it"

I never really knew what he meant for the longest and then it made sense when I started think about it in a way of human fallacy and sinful nature.
 
Hey @pitbullowner, I too am coming from protestantism, and I have a family. I'm conscious of my opsec posture online, so I'll just say that the boys are young and the wife is NOT open to Orthodoxy as a born and raised Southern Baptist who spent about a decade in the pig pen. They were out of town this weekend and I desperately tried to find a church to attend divine liturgy at.. but sad to say all around me they were closed.. couldn't find an open church to attend.
There are lots of complications in my life around the protestant church my family and I were attending prior to the carunka for the past 4 years. I love the very small group of people who attend and the potluck style meal we share together after every service, but as I've been learning about Orthodox theology, I agree with what I'm learning from the likes of:
* The Orthodox Study Bible
* The Saying of the Desert Fathers
* St John Chrysostom - "On Marriage and Family Life"
* St John Damascene - "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith"
* Gregory of Nyssa - "The Life of Moses"
* St Maximus the Confessor - "On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ"
* St Ephrem the Syrian - "Hymns on Paradise"
* Kallistos (Timothy) Ware - "The Orthodox Church"
* PatristicNectarFilms - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz72pwrQRTXibU14NmHep8w
* Maxym Lysack - Christ the Saviour OC - https://www.youtube.com/user/ChristTheSaviourOC
* Hank Hanegraaf - https://www.youtube.com/user/CRInstitute (almost finished reading his "The Apocalypse CODE" book)
* Jay - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnt7Iy8GlmdPwy_Tzyx93bA

So, here I am. I'm sympathetic to the nervousness you confessed feeling prior to attending divine liturgy.. I felt the same thing as I was searching for a church to attend a couple days ago.
I seems like Russian is a good one to check out, but who knows.
I'm going to risk being frank and say that the ethnic nature of ostensibly, all the Orthodox Christian churches around me is a barrier.

I don't identify as a protestant and, in fact, actively disliked theology as a protestant. I identify with Orthodox theology and really love it, but I'm missing the key Eucharistic ingredient. My spiritual life as immensely improved reading the Orthodox Study Bible, practicing spiritual reading of the Fathers, but it seems this can't be practiced unto salvation without the Eucharist.

~ Thanks to @Roosh for the forum. I haven't been able to express my situation to anyone yet :)
 
The Antiochians haven't tried to preserve an old world ethnic identity in the US the way some of the other jurisdictions have. They've been allowing Roman and Anglican parishes to join Orthodoxy while keeping Western forms of liturgy since the 60s, I think. I've even seen a clean shaven Antiochian priest. I think something like half their clergy here are converts, much like the OCA.
 
Quick question for those of you from the right wing or manosphere who have converted into Orthodox churches.

I've never met an Orthodox person before, but the numbers I've seen suggest that the members are much less conservative politically than white Protestants and white Catholics. How does that square with all these people from the "right" joining this church? What do you find when you actually attend these churches? Are the views of the people on red pill issues any different than you would find at your local Catholic or Protestant churches? Or did all of you join because you were convinced that their theology was more correct than what you could find in Western churches, and your red pill beliefs were incidental to your religious conversion?
 
@Stonewall Jackson, it's tough to say where Orthodox people stand on political or redpill issues, since these things don't normally come up at Church. The extent of political discussion in the liturgy is the phrase "Put not your trust in princes, in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation." And I've never heard an Orthodox priest talk politics in a sermon. The focus is on what we do, rather than what the government does. (It might be different in historically Orthodox countries)

My fellow Orthodox who I know well, the ones I hang out with outside of church activities, are very conservative. But it would be the same way if I want to a Roman Catholic or a Protestant church. I chose the Orthodox Church for the doctrine and history, not in hopes of meeting fellow dissidents.

Actually, if you talk to Orthodox converts in the US, we usually have the same story: "I was Catholic/Protestant, and I started reading the Church Fathers, and... yada yada yada... now here I am."
 

Leonard D Neubache

Owl
Gold Member
...
I chose the Orthodox Church for the doctrine and history, not in hopes of meeting fellow dissidents.
...
Talking politics among Church folk would feel like discussing strip clubs at a funeral.

It's not until you submit to Christ that you realise how of the world the political obsessives are. To anyone who still rejects Christ this will sound horrible but I no longer find myself able to make much of a distinction between the Minneapolis looters and people like Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens or Paul Joseph Watson. They all worship at the same altar, even if they're so far on the other side of that altar they identify as being in separate camps.
 
@Stonewall Jackson, it's tough to say where Orthodox people stand on political or redpill issues, since these things don't normally come up at Church. The extent of political discussion in the liturgy is the phrase "Put not your trust in princes, in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation." And I've never heard an Orthodox priest talk politics in a sermon. The focus is on what we do, rather than what the government does. (It might be different in historically Orthodox countries)

My fellow Orthodox who I know well, the ones I hang out with outside of church activities, are very conservative. But it would be the same way if I want to a Roman Catholic or a Protestant church. I chose the Orthodox Church for the doctrine and history, not in hopes of meeting fellow dissidents.

Actually, if you talk to Orthodox converts in the US, we usually have the same story: "I was Catholic/Protestant, and I started reading the Church Fathers, and... yada yada yada... now here I am."
Hmmm. I suppose no politics means you avoid some of the Zionist or blue pilled attitude towards women that are so prevalent in the politics of evangelical churches.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting the reasons for the recent online trend of right wing guys joining the Orthodox church.

I'm not Orthodox but your politics should ALWAYS be a distant second at best to your religious convictions.

The so-called Right doesn't even know what it stands for anymore and red-pill ideology rolls over on itself constantly.
I agree. Outside of open promotion of homosexuality or a female preacher, I don't think I have 100% no go issues as long as the church buys into the Nicene creed.
 

pitbullowner

Kingfisher
I consider my faith to counter balance my hard line logical approach to life. God covers the gaps where I lack, and then some...

I've noticed the more I focus on politics, the more miserable I am (especially during fighting cancer too) so I've spent less time in it for the most part. The more in communion I've had with the Holy Father and reading my Bible, the more fulfilling my life seems to be. I become slower to wrath and anger too. Contemplating Politics makes me do the exact opposite i.e. : I want condemnation, justice and self sufficiency without God as the captain.

Just what I've gathered.
Talking politics among Church folk would feel like discussing strip clubs at a funeral.

It's not until you submit to Christ that you realise how of the world the political obsessives are. To anyone who still rejects Christ this will sound horrible but I no longer find myself able to make much of a distinction between the Minneapolis looters and people like Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens or Paul Joseph Watson. They all worship at the same altar, even if they're so far on the other side of that altar they identify as being in separate camps.
I struggle with this question: should we do nothing as Orthodox ? Or should we fight ?


I understand being in the world and not of the world all too well... But, how much room should we give the demonically possessed to advance Satan's goals through crooked and degenerate man. I know the "We do not fight a battle of the flesh, but of the powers and principalities" yet, how much should we concede ???
 
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Leonard D Neubache

Owl
Gold Member
...
I struggle with this question: should we do nothing as Orthodox ? Or should we fight ?
...
There have been times in history where devout men were nevertheless compelled to take up the sword but personally my only guiding principle these days is that God will let me know if and when he wants that of me.

What I've noticed these days about any kind of conflict I enter in to, there are times I do it with a still heart (God approves) and times I'm doing it from a place of spiritual dysfunction (satan approves). I understand now how crusaders could literally hack their way through saracen hordes while shouting something to the effect of "it's nothing personal, bro" and really mean it. Alternatively I also understand how someone can undertake conflict over even the most obviously scripturally correct standpoint and still be inviting evil into their heart.

When the time is right, and if you're right in the soul, then you might be called to do what must be done, and you wont do it with hatred or spite.

On the other hand if you find yourself supposedly "doing what must be done" and you derive any kind of schadenfreude from it then you have entered into extremely dangerous territory on a spiritual level.

Here is an extremely simple example that you can draw on from everyday life.

I am trying to build the habit of calling down God's blessings on those who do evil, to myself or others or both. That doesn't mean I support their actions. Quite the contrary through God's blessings those people doing evil can be corrected, typically through a particularly difficult purge of evil on their journey back to God's light.

But here's the kicker. Knowing the misery they will undertake during their early path back to God via such blessings I call down on them, how careful must I be not to call God's blessings down on someone in the smug, self satisfied knowledge of what suffering they're in for if God listens to my request and grants it.

Depending on what is in my heart at the time, the exact same act of calling God's blessings down on someone can be either utterly pure or blasphemously evil.

Until you're like the crusader who can put a sword through a saracen with nothing but love in his heart then it's best to avoid conflict or you will just as likely end up doing satan's work while trying to do God's.
 
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