Questions from a homeless Christian

Wyotana

Chicken
By way of introduction; I'm a lifelong Christian of protestant heritage. My family attended a very "spirit-led" Charismatic church when I was young. I did learn to read the scriptures there and was rightly taught to avoid fornication, and by God's grace I have, and I strongly encourage anyone who is unsure to follow the good, old and straight way and find the blessing of God. I was taught a lot of error as well. I've seen first hand the time-bomb result of prosperity preaching and name-it-claim-it lies. Don't ask me about all that if you want to hear anything "nice". There are Godly and moral people in some of those churches even today, but suffice to say that I won't be going back to the Pentecostal circus for a multitude of reasons.

In my later teen years, I attended mostly Baptist churches, partly because there were no others in the place we then lived. There are a number of Godly men that helped me very much as a young man.

In my twenties and thirties, I attended a modern evangelical church I will not now name. I met and married my wife there. Ten years ago, we left very hurt and angry, and I miss nothing about it. Honestly, I'm still a little livid over some of the nonsense I experienced there. It does not help my frame of mind that it all appears to be so successful. As a family, we read the scriptures most evenings. We read and sing hymns Sunday mornings. From time to time, other people have joined us, but it's usually just my wife and and I and our children.

I do not regret the time I have been able to spend with my family. I trust that you would find our kids reasonably conversant in the scriptures, specifically taught sexual morality which most of the Church, Protestant and Catholic alike has practically discarded as inconvenient and outdated. They've also been well drilled on the lies of modernism and Gnosticism, which I find to be functionally interchangeable and equally repugnant.

I have come to see that we really do need functional Christian fellowship and authority. The issue of authority is of great concern to me. There is, without a doubt, godly influence in some Protestant circles. But there is and can be no functional authority. For as soon as any two or twenty or two hundred protestants disagree, a new church or new denomination is started. Of course, I can appreciate the irony in my criticism. I am apparently so disagreeable that I can't meet with almost anyone. But there is a difference between perceiving a problem and knowing what to do about it.

Since I am of Protestant background, and since a European Protestant is a just disaffected Roman Catholic (though it sure can get some folks worked up if you say it out loud), I have considered Catholicism. But since the present Pope ,or pretender, as some claim, is a wretched heretic and an anti-Christ, that way seems fraught. Not to speak of the horrific scandals of barely-concealed Sodomy and pederasty which seem to have been largely unconfronted. Modernism appears to be poised to devour every sound thing left in Catholicism. I hope I am wrong.

I am a bad protestant, since I've come no longer believe sola scriptura (and not only because it's not scriptural) nor sola fide (which honestly, I do not think any Godly person truly believes, even the ones who confess it.) Modernism already has devoured nearly all of the protestant church. Whether it was right or wrong, the evangelical church of my youth was at least proudly counter-cultural. Now it's all mostly cool, hip, nonjudgmental and nonconfrontational with lots of groovy music on Sundays. The only worthy exceptions that I am aware of are hard line reformed and some Baptist circles.

I do not know if I can be a good Orthodox. What little I understand about Orthodox doctrine and teaching, I can generally affirm. The practice is honestly very strange to me. I don't intend any insult by that. It's only strange from my perspective and experience. No doubt it's as normal as white bread to other believers.

So finally, my questions;

How can I be certain that if I jump into the Orthodox boat, that worthless hirelings won't sell it into the same modern, progressive juggernaut that has overtaken so much of the Catholic and Protestant world? I know little about the politics of Orthodoxy, but I know enough to be aware that there are some of this sort. Some are quite prominent. Anyone who says otherwise is either willfully blind or dishonest.

If you have not guessed by now, I can not and will not make nice with progressivism. It is functionally a combination of the bad points of both Gnosticism and Phariseeism, against which two things most of the New Testament was written. It wrecks people. It wrecks families. It wrecks marriages. It wrecks whole societies. I thoroughly well hate it part and parcel. Those who perceive redeeming features in leftism are mistaken. The only seemingly good features are withering, dying vestiges of the godliness it strives to imitate and then supplants. Am I too disagreeable to be faithful Orthodox? Would they even take me?

I will not wear the covid hijab. I deeply distrust the spiritual discernment and moral judgement of any who submit to the growing Satanic malignancy of the Covid Death Cult. I find the spectacle of Christians who fear death to be jarring proof that faith has been lost to far too many who still think they have it. I do not know how I could follow spiritual leaders who are more fearful and timid than I. I don't intend this as boast. Far too many times I've personally lacked courage to stand rightly. But would I find leaders in fear or in faith in Orthodoxy? I was disappointed to observe that the local Antiochian church suspended services entirely for the Covid scam and did not take them up again for some time. I know only a little of Orthodox teaching, but this seems entirely at odds with the Orthodox doctrine of the sacraments. Have I misunderstood?

I want to clarify to all that I'm not here to argue with anyone over the merits of Orthodoxy versus Protestantism or Catholicism. I'm only trying to weigh and understand whether Orthodoxy is even an option for myself and my family.

Can we meet others of like mind there? Can we find trustworthy leadership there?

Thanks for any help from any believers of good will.
 

OrthoSerb

Pigeon
Orthodox
I'm nominally a cradle Orthodox but I was born and raised in the West. The reason I mention this is that I have a pretty broad experience of the Church across jurisdictions, whether in more broadly Orthodox countries or in countries where the Orthodox are a small minority. In terms of parishes, priests, laypeople you will find everything under the sun. The Church is a cross-section of the wider society, not some elitist sect.

I have come across parishes where everyone is on their knees when the Holy Chalice is brought out of the altar and I've seen parishes where its not uncommon for people to purposefully arrive late enough that they don't have to stand too long but just in time to take Communion. I have come across priests whose families were an example to everyone and I've come across priests whose families never attended Liturgy and eventually lapsed from the Church. Likewise on Covid, I've seen parishes entirely closed, I've seen parishes which took no measures apart from putting up some symbolic noticeboards to cover themselves from being shut down. There are priests that actively take an interest in their flocks spiritual life and there are those that just serve the Liturgy as if its a theatrical performance for a couple of hours a week and they have no further obligations beyond that. There are great Saints and there are great hypocrites. You will find opposition to worldliness and conformity to it.

Long story short, you can find everything you are hoping for and everything you are distrustful of. You have the freedom to discern which confessor, parish, jurisdiction even is most suitable for you in accordance with your specific circumstances and needs. Just try not to absolutise specific things and to insist that every last political opinion of yours has to be given an Amen by the entire hierarchy or even your local priest. If you enter the Church it has to be in order to change yourself, not because you are entering a club where everyone is in agreement with you on everything. If you approach in this spirit then any good priest or parish would be happy to welcome you.

St Paisios, has a relevant quote:

I know from experience that in this life people are divided in two categories. A third category does not exist; people either belong to one or the other. The first one resembles the fly. The main characteristic of the fly is that it is attracted by dirt. For example, when a fly is found in a garden full of flowers with beautiful fragrances, it will ignore them and will go sit on top of some dirt found on the ground. If the fly could talk, and you asked it to show you a rose in the garden, it would answer: “I don’t even know what a rose looks like. I only know where to find garbage, toilets and dirt.” There are some people who resemble the fly.

The other category is like the bee whose main characteristic is to always look for something sweet and nice to sit on. When a bee is found in a room full of dirt and there is a small piece of sweet in a corner, it will ignore the dirt and will go to sit on top of the sweet. Now, if we ask the bee to show us where the garbage is, it will answer: It only knows the good things in life and is ignorant of all evil. This is the second category of people who have a positive thinking and see only the good side of things. They always try to cover up the evil in order to protect their fellow men; on the contrary, people in the first category try to expose the evil and bring it to the surface.

When someone comes to me and starts accusing other people and puts me in a difficult situation, I tell him the above example. Then, I ask him to decide to which category he wishes to belong, so he may find people of the same kind to socialize with.

 
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Wyotana

Chicken

Thanks for the reply and quotes, OrthoSerb. I appreciate your thoughts.

I don't think that I'm looking for political reinforcement, particularly. I would, however, like to find men who are serious and deliberate in regard to their faith. I probably stated my case poorly. I don't think the problems of modernism are chiefly political, though modernism surely causes a host of political problems. The problems really are spiritual. Period. The trouble with politics is that there are seldom political solutions to political problems. Problems political have at their root problems spiritual.

Progressivism doesn't cause heresy. It is heresy.

A few years back, a close friend of mine had a conversion experience, sparked by some very substantial, mostly self-imposed problems in his life. We met regularly for a season. The whole thing ended disastrously, I'm sad and ashamed to say. While I had one message, there were swarms of "godly", "spiritual" women who had a superficially similar message . Their message came with benefits I could not offer. Whose message, do you suppose, prevailed? "God's little tarts", I call them. They are legion. I'm not especially a fan, if you can't tell.

No doubt we all are capable of finding that we seek. For better or worse.
 

OrthoSerb

Pigeon
Orthodox
Thanks for the reply and quotes, OrthoSerb. I appreciate your thoughts.

I don't think that I'm looking for political reinforcement, particularly. I would, however, like to find men who are serious and deliberate in regard to their faith. I probably stated my case poorly. I don't think the problems of modernism are chiefly political, though modernism surely causes a host of political problems. The problems really are spiritual. Period. The trouble with politics is that there are seldom political solutions to political problems. Problems political have at their root problems spiritual.

Progressivism doesn't cause heresy. It is heresy.

A few years back, a close friend of mine had a conversion experience, sparked by some very substantial, mostly self-imposed problems in his life. We met regularly for a season. The whole thing ended disastrously, I'm sad and ashamed to say. While I had one message, there were swarms of "godly", "spiritual" women who had a superficially similar message . Their message came with benefits I could not offer. Whose message, do you suppose, prevailed? "God's little tarts", I call them. They are legion. I'm not especially a fan, if you can't tell.

No doubt we all are capable of finding that we seek. For better or worse.

No worries brother. I think you misunderstood my use of the term political, I used the term more broadly. I wasn't suggesting your priority was political reinforcement. The specific topic I had in mind was Covid - I've seen people on both extremes. We all know people that have delegated all critical thinking to the media. But I've also seen many cases of people falling into the temptation to judge those who they regard as ignorant of what they know. To the point of either creating unnecessary divisions in the parish or even boycotting attendance of Liturgy. One can go to the extreme on either side and its not any more palatable when one falls into the pride of super correctness (Father Seraphim Rose talked about this, although not obviously in connection with Covid).

I totally agree that political problems have spiritual roots. That's why I have no time for people who want to focus on politics but are spiritually ignorant, or that put their hopes in politicians who are spiritually lost. I once did the same but once you start looking more deeply at yourself you realise it all comes from delusion, pride and a lack of discernment. Things are quite far gone and only repentance can help, not any technical brilliance, organisational capacity or worldly charisma.

In terms of men who are serious and deliberate in their faith, you will without a shadow of a doubt find them in Orthodoxy.
 
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