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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Question on Church Attendance

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  • Kimberly Sparling
    Thank you. I had a feeling that would be the answer. :-) Kim ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Message 1 of 15 , Aug 7, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Thank you. I had a feeling that would be the answer. :-)
      Kim

      On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:18 AM, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > Each jurisdiction and priest is slightly different. Some of it is a
      > difference of local tradition, some of it is a difference of economia
      > and/or
      > pastoral care. Talk with your priest regarding what he requires, and
      > perhaps what may be required when visiting other parishes, jurisdictions or
      > countries.
      >
      > Christopher
      >
      > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:11 AM, Kimberly Sparling <belleartmom@...<belleartmom%40gmail.com>
      > >wrote:
      >
      >
      > >
      > >
      > > Is there a place where these requirements for receiving communion are
      > > written down? I knew about fasting before Liturgy, but the other one
      > about
      > > intimate relations with my dh, I did not know about. :-)
      > > Kim S.
      > >
      > >
      > > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:05 AM, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...<xcjorr%40gmail.com>
      > <xcjorr%40gmail.com>>
      >
      > > wrote:
      > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > If you've been going regularly for 10 months and have only missed
      > > > periodically, I would say that is your standard and you are meeting
      > > > anything
      > > > required. One is only to miss Liturgy due to cause. Determining what
      > > > 'cause' is, is between you and your spiritual father.
      > > >
      > > > For instance, we flew to the Midwest two weekends ago and the flight my
      > > > wife
      > > > booked meant I missed Liturgy. I could have gone to a 7am Liturgy, but
      > > that
      > > > would have left my wife packing and dealing with our infant alone - not
      > > > really something I could do. So, I missed. I have also missed when we
      > > have
      > > > been on vacation and there is no Orthodox church, e.g., on most
      > Caribbean
      > > > islands and most non-major cities globally, or when the nearest
      > Orthodox
      > > > church is hours away. In such cases I defer to love, admit my
      > sinfulness,
      > > > and stay with the non-Orthodox wife and family (the baby is also not
      > yet
      > > up
      > > > to constant changes in schedule).
      > > >
      > > > *"...missing 3 consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've
      > > > excommunicated myself."*
      > > >
      > > > This needs to be put into context. Excommunication in Orthodoxy is not
      > > the
      > > > same as being kicked out of the Church. It means that one is barred
      > from
      > > > receiving communion. A simple 'excommunication' is if one eats in the
      > > > morning before Liturgy (without a medical reason to do so, inclusive of
      > > > pregnancy), having had sexual relations that morning or the evening
      > > before,
      > > > or not being 'prepared' as required by your priest. As part of the
      > > > spiritual treatment of one's passions, a priest may (may!) tell you to
      > > > refrain from communion for a set period of time. I have never
      > experienced
      > > > this myself, but it is usually tied to especially heinous sins or to
      > > > ongoing
      > > > sins of a particular nature that are ongoing (e.g., those living
      > together
      > > > should likely not be communing).
      > > >
      > > > Personally, I have found I have a difficult time only going to church
      > on
      > > > Sunday mornings. I especially love Vigil on Saturday evenings in the
      > > > Russian tradition, and weekday Vespers are wonderful. When I was
      > > inquiring,
      > > > there were times I was in church everyday (we have a lot of services,
      > > then
      > > > there is also a monastery that has daily services).
      > > >
      > > > As you noted, though, you are an inquirer. Take it easy on yourself. It
      > > > seems as if you have been going to church a lot. Salvation is a
      > process;
      > > we
      > > > are being conformed to Christ, the likeness of His image in us is
      > > > sharpening, developing. We are growing in wisdom and stature, as did
      > > Christ
      > > > Himself in His human nature. There is growth in the spiritual life. One
      > > > need not finish the race so as to start it; we build up to running
      > > > marathons.
      > > >
      > > > I think the tempter is simply whispering in your ear. Ignore him. Keep
      > > > going to church as you have been, and try to go just a tiny little bit
      > > more
      > > > often than you would have otherwise or perhaps feel comfortable with.
      > > Such
      > > > ascetic effort is like fasting, and Christ said WHEN we fast, not IF we
      > > > fast. Whatever little else you can do - it is an offering to God. The
      > > fact
      > > > we are ashamed we can't do more is humbling and God loves a humble and
      > > > contrite spirit, he will not despise it (cf. Psalm 50/51).
      > > >
      > > > Blessed Fast to you!
      > > >
      > > > Christopher
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:45 AM, Dave W. <dkwiech@...<dkwiech%40yahoo.com>
      > <dkwiech%40yahoo.com>
      > > <dkwiech%40yahoo.com>>
      >
      > >
      > > > wrote:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding expected/required
      > > > church
      > > > > attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and am
      > about
      > > > > 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands
      > > > attendance
      > > > > every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track record and that
      > I
      > > > > don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and rigorous
      > > standard.
      > > > I
      > > > > have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10 months with
      > only
      > > a
      > > > > couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty attender.
      > However,
      > > > > frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from work that I
      > > can
      > > > > barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done that I
      > > > couldn't
      > > > > do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it sounds
      > like
      > > > I'm
      > > > > making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.
      > > > >
      > > > > I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments on
      > > this
      > > > > topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle
      > > > Orthodox
      > > > > are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:
      > > > >
      > > > > "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
      > > > > similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
      > > > > because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
      > > > > otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they are
      > > > > good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are
      > simply
      > > > > at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
      > > > > differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100%
      > only
      > > > > at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries."
      > > > >
      > > > > The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that missing
      > 3
      > > > > consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've excommunicated
      > > > myself.
      > > > > If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to go
      > to
      > > > > confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the
      > > > theological
      > > > > underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means. However,
      > > > > perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it"
      > has
      > > > > stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there is
      > > > really
      > > > > no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too
      > > much
      > > > > going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very sad,
      > > > since
      > > > > I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel
      > part
      > > > of
      > > > > the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at this
      > > > point).
      > > > >
      > > > > Any tips/thoughts/recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish that
      > > > > enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very sad
      > > for
      > > > > me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this spiritual
      > > > > wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't
      > > > exactly
      > > > > live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm
      > > just
      > > > a
      > > > > young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with
      > all
      > > > sorts
      > > > > of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by
      > not
      > > > the
      > > > > ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.
      > > > >
      > > > > Forgive me.....
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Christopher Orr
      I ve always preferred knowing how much I am not living up to a strict reading of the canons. It doesn t make me despair. It keeps me in my place and reminds
      Message 2 of 15 , Aug 7, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        I've always preferred knowing how much I am not living up to a strict
        reading of the canons. It doesn't make me despair. It keeps me in my place
        and reminds me how weak I am, about how condescending our God is, about how
        unworthy I am given that I can't do even some of the basic things required.
        I also begin to experience the fact that those rules may be helpful. For
        instance, after getting lax about eating before Liturgy and getting used to
        not preparing for communion every Sunday, I began to see and feel how I
        truly had become 'the prey of the spiritual wolf' - which is a line from one
        of the prayers before communion asking that we not become such by staying
        away from communion. So, I have been attempting to prepare for communion
        weekly and not to let myself off with a bowl of cereal saying I will just
        commune next week.

        Knowing there are strict rules we are pastorally allowed to break is also
        helpful when visiting monasteries or jurisdictions that are more strict. A
        Serbian monastery I visited once would not allow me to commune, but no one
        apart from the priest and a child did so - not even the Abbess. It is a
        different sense of what preparation means. Similarly, ROCOR churches will
        often (though not always) refuse communion to those that did not confess,
        either at Vigil the evening before or that morning. Other traditions
        require a couple days of fasting and a long prayer rule - but this is also
        more for those that do not commune or prepare regularly, had been aloof from
        the church, etc.

        Christopher



        On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:22 AM, Kimberly Sparling <belleartmom@...>wrote:

        >
        >
        > Thank you. I had a feeling that would be the answer. :-)
        > Kim
        >
        >
        > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:18 AM, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...<xcjorr%40gmail.com>>
        > wrote:
        >
        > >
        > >
        > > Each jurisdiction and priest is slightly different. Some of it is a
        > > difference of local tradition, some of it is a difference of economia
        > > and/or
        > > pastoral care. Talk with your priest regarding what he requires, and
        > > perhaps what may be required when visiting other parishes, jurisdictions
        > or
        > > countries.
        > >
        > > Christopher
        > >
        > > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:11 AM, Kimberly Sparling <
        > belleartmom@... <belleartmom%40gmail.com><belleartmom%40gmail.com>
        > > >wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > Is there a place where these requirements for receiving communion are
        > > > written down? I knew about fasting before Liturgy, but the other one
        > > about
        > > > intimate relations with my dh, I did not know about. :-)
        > > > Kim S.
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:05 AM, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...<xcjorr%40gmail.com>
        > <xcjorr%40gmail.com>
        > > <xcjorr%40gmail.com>>
        >
        > >
        > > > wrote:
        > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > If you've been going regularly for 10 months and have only missed
        > > > > periodically, I would say that is your standard and you are meeting
        > > > > anything
        > > > > required. One is only to miss Liturgy due to cause. Determining what
        > > > > 'cause' is, is between you and your spiritual father.
        > > > >
        > > > > For instance, we flew to the Midwest two weekends ago and the flight
        > my
        > > > > wife
        > > > > booked meant I missed Liturgy. I could have gone to a 7am Liturgy,
        > but
        > > > that
        > > > > would have left my wife packing and dealing with our infant alone -
        > not
        > > > > really something I could do. So, I missed. I have also missed when we
        > > > have
        > > > > been on vacation and there is no Orthodox church, e.g., on most
        > > Caribbean
        > > > > islands and most non-major cities globally, or when the nearest
        > > Orthodox
        > > > > church is hours away. In such cases I defer to love, admit my
        > > sinfulness,
        > > > > and stay with the non-Orthodox wife and family (the baby is also not
        > > yet
        > > > up
        > > > > to constant changes in schedule).
        > > > >
        > > > > *"...missing 3 consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've
        > > > > excommunicated myself."*
        > > > >
        > > > > This needs to be put into context. Excommunication in Orthodoxy is
        > not
        > > > the
        > > > > same as being kicked out of the Church. It means that one is barred
        > > from
        > > > > receiving communion. A simple 'excommunication' is if one eats in the
        > > > > morning before Liturgy (without a medical reason to do so, inclusive
        > of
        > > > > pregnancy), having had sexual relations that morning or the evening
        > > > before,
        > > > > or not being 'prepared' as required by your priest. As part of the
        > > > > spiritual treatment of one's passions, a priest may (may!) tell you
        > to
        > > > > refrain from communion for a set period of time. I have never
        > > experienced
        > > > > this myself, but it is usually tied to especially heinous sins or to
        > > > > ongoing
        > > > > sins of a particular nature that are ongoing (e.g., those living
        > > together
        > > > > should likely not be communing).
        > > > >
        > > > > Personally, I have found I have a difficult time only going to church
        > > on
        > > > > Sunday mornings. I especially love Vigil on Saturday evenings in the
        > > > > Russian tradition, and weekday Vespers are wonderful. When I was
        > > > inquiring,
        > > > > there were times I was in church everyday (we have a lot of services,
        > > > then
        > > > > there is also a monastery that has daily services).
        > > > >
        > > > > As you noted, though, you are an inquirer. Take it easy on yourself.
        > It
        > > > > seems as if you have been going to church a lot. Salvation is a
        > > process;
        > > > we
        > > > > are being conformed to Christ, the likeness of His image in us is
        > > > > sharpening, developing. We are growing in wisdom and stature, as did
        > > > Christ
        > > > > Himself in His human nature. There is growth in the spiritual life.
        > One
        > > > > need not finish the race so as to start it; we build up to running
        > > > > marathons.
        > > > >
        > > > > I think the tempter is simply whispering in your ear. Ignore him.
        > Keep
        > > > > going to church as you have been, and try to go just a tiny little
        > bit
        > > > more
        > > > > often than you would have otherwise or perhaps feel comfortable with.
        > > > Such
        > > > > ascetic effort is like fasting, and Christ said WHEN we fast, not IF
        > we
        > > > > fast. Whatever little else you can do - it is an offering to God. The
        > > > fact
        > > > > we are ashamed we can't do more is humbling and God loves a humble
        > and
        > > > > contrite spirit, he will not despise it (cf. Psalm 50/51).
        > > > >
        > > > > Blessed Fast to you!
        > > > >
        > > > > Christopher
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:45 AM, Dave W. <dkwiech@...<dkwiech%40yahoo.com>
        > <dkwiech%40yahoo.com>
        > > <dkwiech%40yahoo.com>
        >
        > > > <dkwiech%40yahoo.com>>
        > >
        > > >
        > > > > wrote:
        > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > > I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding
        > expected/required
        > > > > church
        > > > > > attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and am
        > > about
        > > > > > 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands
        > > > > attendance
        > > > > > every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track record and
        > that
        > > I
        > > > > > don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and rigorous
        > > > standard.
        > > > > I
        > > > > > have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10 months with
        > > only
        > > > a
        > > > > > couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty attender.
        > > However,
        > > > > > frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from work that
        > I
        > > > can
        > > > > > barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done that I
        > > > > couldn't
        > > > > > do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it sounds
        > > like
        > > > > I'm
        > > > > > making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments
        > on
        > > > this
        > > > > > topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle
        > > > > Orthodox
        > > > > > are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:
        > > > > >
        > > > > > "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
        > > > > > similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
        > > > > > because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
        > > > > > otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they
        > are
        > > > > > good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are
        > > simply
        > > > > > at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
        > > > > > differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100%
        > > only
        > > > > > at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries."
        > > > > >
        > > > > > The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that
        > missing
        > > 3
        > > > > > consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've
        > excommunicated
        > > > > myself.
        > > > > > If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to
        > go
        > > to
        > > > > > confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the
        > > > > theological
        > > > > > underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means.
        > However,
        > > > > > perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it"
        > > has
        > > > > > stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there
        > is
        > > > > really
        > > > > > no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too
        > > > much
        > > > > > going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very
        > sad,
        > > > > since
        > > > > > I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel
        > > part
        > > > > of
        > > > > > the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at
        > this
        > > > > point).
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Any tips/thoughts/recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish
        > that
        > > > > > enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very
        > sad
        > > > for
        > > > > > me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this
        > spiritual
        > > > > > wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't
        > > > > exactly
        > > > > > live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm
        > > > just
        > > > > a
        > > > > > young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with
        > > all
        > > > > sorts
        > > > > > of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by
        > > not
        > > > > the
        > > > > > ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Forgive me.....
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • krolechka
        Dear friend, Christopher already wrote very good response... I d just like to add that it s a matter of finding the right/healthy balance between being present
        Message 3 of 15 , Aug 7, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          Dear friend, Christopher already wrote very good response... I'd just like to add that it's a matter of finding the right/healthy balance between being present (I'm only talking about physical presence, since spiritually you can *always* be with the church - praying at all times, thus in communion with Christ and all Christians) at the services. Everyone's life is different, and it should be re-adjusted as much as possible to become Christ-centric (and neighbor-centric, which includes family), as opposed to self-centric; but there are cases when you have to do something that on the external side may seem contradictory to the faith - such as physically missing the service. What matters is the *reason* behind all your actions; and it should - love for Christ and love for your neighbors. That's what defines the right action. One can "miss the church service" because he needed to help someone (or to do something to be able to help someone) *in need* at that particular time - and that'd be the proper choice; one can also go into the church while not to be part of the service but simply because he likes that young woman who looks so good and he wants to look at her again - and you can make the conclusion yourself. ;) In fact, at times you simply need rest/relaxation indeed - and that would also be proper action, because you do need to stay healthy to serve your neighbors. Just be honest with yourself, don't let yourself be persuaded by your thoughts, mistaking simple "laziness" for "real need to rest".

          In that context, when you miss the service for a not so good reason - you'll know and feel that was not right, you did something wrong, in other words - that's a sin, and that's where a need for Confession comes from. Listen to your conscience - and you'll know what's right.

          I hope I make sense... Please forgive me if I upset or confuse you by my writings, and pray about me.
          Alexander

          --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "Dave W." <dkwiech@...> wrote:
          >
          > I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding expected/required church attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and am about 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands attendance every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track record and that I don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and rigorous standard. I have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10 months with only a couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty attender. However, frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from work that I can barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done that I couldn't do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it sounds like I'm making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.
          >
          > I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments on this topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle Orthodox are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:
          >
          > "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
          > similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
          > because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
          > otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they are
          > good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are simply
          > at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
          > differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100% only
          > at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries."
          >
          > The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that missing 3 consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've excommunicated myself. If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to go to confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the theological underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means. However, perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it" has stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there is really no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too much going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very sad, since I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel part of the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at this point).
          >
          > Any tips/thoughts/recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish that enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very sad for me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this spiritual wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't exactly live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm just a young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with all sorts of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by not the ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.
          >
          > Forgive me.....
          >
        • Christopher Orr
          What he said. Ditto. That twinge of conscience is a good sign you need to talk to your priest for guidance. Sometimes we are tormented by bad thoughts
          Message 4 of 15 , Aug 7, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            What he said. Ditto.

            That twinge of conscience is a good sign you need to talk to your priest for
            guidance. Sometimes we are tormented by 'bad thoughts' (logismoi),
            sometimes our conscience is prodding us to turn around (metanoia,
            repentance) - it is difficult for us to determine which is which sometimes,
            which is why it is good to have an experienced guide.

            Rules are like maps. They are good as far as they go, but for some terrain
            an experienced, local guide who knows it like the back of his hand is
            required to flesh out the map, to point out things on the map easily
            overlooked and to share things not on the map but integral. Napoleon knew
            his way to Moscow and knew how to take it, no one had told him about the
            winter, though - that wasn't on the map.

            Same with the spiritual life. Little questions, big questions, practical
            and abstruse questions.

            Christopher



            On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:36 AM, krolechka <solovyevs@...> wrote:

            >
            >
            > Dear friend, Christopher already wrote very good response... I'd just like
            > to add that it's a matter of finding the right/healthy balance between being
            > present (I'm only talking about physical presence, since spiritually you can
            > *always* be with the church - praying at all times, thus in communion with
            > Christ and all Christians) at the services. Everyone's life is different,
            > and it should be re-adjusted as much as possible to become Christ-centric
            > (and neighbor-centric, which includes family), as opposed to self-centric;
            > but there are cases when you have to do something that on the external side
            > may seem contradictory to the faith - such as physically missing the
            > service. What matters is the *reason* behind all your actions; and it should
            > - love for Christ and love for your neighbors. That's what defines the right
            > action. One can "miss the church service" because he needed to help someone
            > (or to do something to be able to help someone) *in need* at that particular
            > time - and that'd be the proper choice; one can also go into the church
            > while not to be part of the service but simply because he likes that young
            > woman who looks so good and he wants to look at her again - and you can make
            > the conclusion yourself. ;) In fact, at times you simply need
            > rest/relaxation indeed - and that would also be proper action, because you
            > do need to stay healthy to serve your neighbors. Just be honest with
            > yourself, don't let yourself be persuaded by your thoughts, mistaking simple
            > "laziness" for "real need to rest".
            >
            > In that context, when you miss the service for a not so good reason -
            > you'll know and feel that was not right, you did something wrong, in other
            > words - that's a sin, and that's where a need for Confession comes from.
            > Listen to your conscience - and you'll know what's right.
            >
            > I hope I make sense... Please forgive me if I upset or confuse you by my
            > writings, and pray about me.
            > Alexander
            >
            >
            > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
            > "Dave W." <dkwiech@...> wrote:
            > >
            > > I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding expected/required
            > church attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and am
            > about 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands
            > attendance every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track record and
            > that I don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and rigorous
            > standard. I have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10 months
            > with only a couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty attender.
            > However, frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from work that
            > I can barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done that I
            > couldn't do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it sounds
            > like I'm making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.
            > >
            > > I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments on this
            > topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle Orthodox
            > are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:
            > >
            > > "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
            > > similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
            > > because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
            > > otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they are
            > > good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are simply
            > > at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
            > > differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100% only
            > > at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries."
            > >
            > > The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that missing 3
            > consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've excommunicated myself.
            > If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to go to
            > confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the theological
            > underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means. However,
            > perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it" has
            > stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there is really
            > no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too much
            > going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very sad, since
            > I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel part of
            > the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at this point).
            > >
            > > Any tips/thoughts/recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish that
            > enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very sad for
            > me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this spiritual
            > wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't exactly
            > live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm just a
            > young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with all sorts
            > of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by not the
            > ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.
            > >
            > > Forgive me.....
            > >
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Dave W.
            Thank you all for the kind replies. I have to be frank, not every time I would potentially be absent from liturgy would be for such an honorable purpose as
            Message 5 of 15 , Aug 7, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              Thank you all for the kind replies. I have to be frank, not every time I would potentially be absent from liturgy would be for such an honorable purpose as recovering from exhaustion or helping a neighbor. There are sometimes things that pop up that I'd like to be part of, such as a weekend camping or fishing trip out of town. Or would that fall under "vacation", which my priest said was an understandable excuse?

              See, going into this with the knowledge that sometimes I would willfully be missing church on occasion for non-altruistic reasons makes me feel like I'd be a hypocrite. To go to confession, because I wanted to go on an occasional weekend camping/fishing trip doesn't sound like I'd be confessing the following week with a contrite spirit. It becomes more of an issue of "punching my ticket" to get back to communion, and that's just wrong.

              Additionally, my fear would be that if the rules and expectations are too strict, that it would cause resentment and bitterness. I should be going to liturgy willingly and with joy. To not do so would also be hypocritical, no?

              Dave


              --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:
              >
              > What he said. Ditto.
              >
              > That twinge of conscience is a good sign you need to talk to your priest for
              > guidance. Sometimes we are tormented by 'bad thoughts' (logismoi),
              > sometimes our conscience is prodding us to turn around (metanoia,
              > repentance) - it is difficult for us to determine which is which sometimes,
              > which is why it is good to have an experienced guide.
              >
              > Rules are like maps. They are good as far as they go, but for some terrain
              > an experienced, local guide who knows it like the back of his hand is
              > required to flesh out the map, to point out things on the map easily
              > overlooked and to share things not on the map but integral. Napoleon knew
              > his way to Moscow and knew how to take it, no one had told him about the
              > winter, though - that wasn't on the map.
              >
              > Same with the spiritual life. Little questions, big questions, practical
              > and abstruse questions.
              >
              > Christopher
              >
              >
              >
              > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:36 AM, krolechka <solovyevs@...> wrote:
              >
              > >
              > >
              > > Dear friend, Christopher already wrote very good response... I'd just like
              > > to add that it's a matter of finding the right/healthy balance between being
              > > present (I'm only talking about physical presence, since spiritually you can
              > > *always* be with the church - praying at all times, thus in communion with
              > > Christ and all Christians) at the services. Everyone's life is different,
              > > and it should be re-adjusted as much as possible to become Christ-centric
              > > (and neighbor-centric, which includes family), as opposed to self-centric;
              > > but there are cases when you have to do something that on the external side
              > > may seem contradictory to the faith - such as physically missing the
              > > service. What matters is the *reason* behind all your actions; and it should
              > > - love for Christ and love for your neighbors. That's what defines the right
              > > action. One can "miss the church service" because he needed to help someone
              > > (or to do something to be able to help someone) *in need* at that particular
              > > time - and that'd be the proper choice; one can also go into the church
              > > while not to be part of the service but simply because he likes that young
              > > woman who looks so good and he wants to look at her again - and you can make
              > > the conclusion yourself. ;) In fact, at times you simply need
              > > rest/relaxation indeed - and that would also be proper action, because you
              > > do need to stay healthy to serve your neighbors. Just be honest with
              > > yourself, don't let yourself be persuaded by your thoughts, mistaking simple
              > > "laziness" for "real need to rest".
              > >
              > > In that context, when you miss the service for a not so good reason -
              > > you'll know and feel that was not right, you did something wrong, in other
              > > words - that's a sin, and that's where a need for Confession comes from.
              > > Listen to your conscience - and you'll know what's right.
              > >
              > > I hope I make sense... Please forgive me if I upset or confuse you by my
              > > writings, and pray about me.
              > > Alexander
              > >
              > >
              > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
              > > "Dave W." <dkwiech@> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding expected/required
              > > church attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and am
              > > about 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands
              > > attendance every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track record and
              > > that I don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and rigorous
              > > standard. I have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10 months
              > > with only a couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty attender.
              > > However, frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from work that
              > > I can barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done that I
              > > couldn't do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it sounds
              > > like I'm making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.
              > > >
              > > > I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments on this
              > > topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle Orthodox
              > > are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:
              > > >
              > > > "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
              > > > similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
              > > > because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
              > > > otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they are
              > > > good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are simply
              > > > at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
              > > > differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100% only
              > > > at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries."
              > > >
              > > > The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that missing 3
              > > consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've excommunicated myself.
              > > If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to go to
              > > confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the theological
              > > underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means. However,
              > > perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it" has
              > > stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there is really
              > > no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too much
              > > going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very sad, since
              > > I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel part of
              > > the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at this point).
              > > >
              > > > Any tips/thoughts/recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish that
              > > enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very sad for
              > > me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this spiritual
              > > wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't exactly
              > > live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm just a
              > > young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with all sorts
              > > of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by not the
              > > ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.
              > > >
              > > > Forgive me.....
              > > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • Fr John W Fenton
              Hi Dave, As Chris has pointed out, many of your questions ultimately are addressed by your spiritual father. That doesn t mean you should not ask them here; it
              Message 6 of 15 , Aug 7, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                Hi Dave,



                As Chris has pointed out, many of your questions ultimately are addressed by
                your spiritual father. That doesn't mean you should not ask them here; it
                simply means that he is your spiritual guide, and so will guide you in these
                and other matters pertaining to your spiritual welfare.



                At the same time, you might want to keep in mind that feelings of hypocrisy
                ought not be uncommon. Whenever we do something we ought not-give into our
                ungodly passions, neglect our prayers, etc-we should feel the hypocrite, and
                that should drive us in turn to confession. Is this just "punching the
                ticket"? Well, hopefully not. However, even if it is-even if it's like the
                routine of a casual "I love you" to your spouse-that doesn't make it
                meaningless and doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit can't work through this
                sacrament. Recall, unlike for most Lutherans, the Sacrament of Penance
                (private confession) is a sacrament when the grace of God is given in a
                wondrously mystical fashion.



                Finally, permit me to touch on your question of going to the liturgy
                willingly and with joy. These are subjective attitudes which wax and wane,
                and so are often affected by our passions (both godly and ungodly). The
                routine of attending Mass/Divine Liturgy-and the routines within the
                Mass/Divine Liturgy-exist (among other reasons) to aid us in controlling our
                ungodly passions. Said another way, the liturgical routine is a routine
                precisely so that it becomes part of our way of life-something we can't live
                without like eating or breathing, even if we don't feel the same joy or
                willingness or gratitude with every breath or bite we take.



                I pray these few words are helpful.



                Asking your prayers, the unworthy priest,





                Fr. John W. Fenton

                <http://holyincarnation.org/> Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church

                Location: 1385 Goddard Rd, Lincoln Park MI 48146

                Mail: 8941 Quandt Ave, Allen Park MI 48101

                313.282.6153

                http://holyincarnation.org

                frfenton@...





                From: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
                [mailto:LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Dave W.
                Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009 2:09 PM
                To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Question on Church Attendance





                Thank you all for the kind replies. I have to be frank, not every time I
                would potentially be absent from liturgy would be for such an honorable
                purpose as recovering from exhaustion or helping a neighbor. There are
                sometimes things that pop up that I'd like to be part of, such as a weekend
                camping or fishing trip out of town. Or would that fall under "vacation",
                which my priest said was an understandable excuse?

                See, going into this with the knowledge that sometimes I would willfully be
                missing church on occasion for non-altruistic reasons makes me feel like I'd
                be a hypocrite. To go to confession, because I wanted to go on an occasional
                weekend camping/fishing trip doesn't sound like I'd be confessing the
                following week with a contrite spirit. It becomes more of an issue of
                "punching my ticket" to get back to communion, and that's just wrong.

                Additionally, my fear would be that if the rules and expectations are too
                strict, that it would cause resentment and bitterness. I should be going to
                liturgy willingly and with joy. To not do so would also be hypocritical, no?

                Dave

                --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
                <mailto:LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com> , Christopher Orr
                <xcjorr@...> wrote:
                >
                > What he said. Ditto.
                >
                > That twinge of conscience is a good sign you need to talk to your priest
                for
                > guidance. Sometimes we are tormented by 'bad thoughts' (logismoi),
                > sometimes our conscience is prodding us to turn around (metanoia,
                > repentance) - it is difficult for us to determine which is which
                sometimes,
                > which is why it is good to have an experienced guide.
                >
                > Rules are like maps. They are good as far as they go, but for some terrain
                > an experienced, local guide who knows it like the back of his hand is
                > required to flesh out the map, to point out things on the map easily
                > overlooked and to share things not on the map but integral. Napoleon knew
                > his way to Moscow and knew how to take it, no one had told him about the
                > winter, though - that wasn't on the map.
                >
                > Same with the spiritual life. Little questions, big questions, practical
                > and abstruse questions.
                >
                > Christopher
                >
                >
                >
                > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:36 AM, krolechka <solovyevs@...> wrote:
                >
                > >
                > >
                > > Dear friend, Christopher already wrote very good response... I'd just
                like
                > > to add that it's a matter of finding the right/healthy balance between
                being
                > > present (I'm only talking about physical presence, since spiritually you
                can
                > > *always* be with the church - praying at all times, thus in communion
                with
                > > Christ and all Christians) at the services. Everyone's life is
                different,
                > > and it should be re-adjusted as much as possible to become
                Christ-centric
                > > (and neighbor-centric, which includes family), as opposed to
                self-centric;
                > > but there are cases when you have to do something that on the external
                side
                > > may seem contradictory to the faith - such as physically missing the
                > > service. What matters is the *reason* behind all your actions; and it
                should
                > > - love for Christ and love for your neighbors. That's what defines the
                right
                > > action. One can "miss the church service" because he needed to help
                someone
                > > (or to do something to be able to help someone) *in need* at that
                particular
                > > time - and that'd be the proper choice; one can also go into the church
                > > while not to be part of the service but simply because he likes that
                young
                > > woman who looks so good and he wants to look at her again - and you can
                make
                > > the conclusion yourself. ;) In fact, at times you simply need
                > > rest/relaxation indeed - and that would also be proper action, because
                you
                > > do need to stay healthy to serve your neighbors. Just be honest with
                > > yourself, don't let yourself be persuaded by your thoughts, mistaking
                simple
                > > "laziness" for "real need to rest".
                > >
                > > In that context, when you miss the service for a not so good reason -
                > > you'll know and feel that was not right, you did something wrong, in
                other
                > > words - that's a sin, and that's where a need for Confession comes from.
                > > Listen to your conscience - and you'll know what's right.
                > >
                > > I hope I make sense... Please forgive me if I upset or confuse you by my
                > > writings, and pray about me.
                > > Alexander
                > >
                > >
                > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
                <mailto:LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
                <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
                > > "Dave W." <dkwiech@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > > I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding expected/required
                > > church attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and am
                > > about 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands
                > > attendance every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track record
                and
                > > that I don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and rigorous
                > > standard. I have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10
                months
                > > with only a couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty
                attender.
                > > However, frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from work
                that
                > > I can barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done that I
                > > couldn't do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it
                sounds
                > > like I'm making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.
                > > >
                > > > I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments on
                this
                > > topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle
                Orthodox
                > > are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:
                > > >
                > > > "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
                > > > similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
                > > > because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
                > > > otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they are
                > > > good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are simply
                > > > at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
                > > > differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100% only
                > > > at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries."
                > > >
                > > > The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that missing
                3
                > > consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've excommunicated
                myself.
                > > If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to go to
                > > confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the
                theological
                > > underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means. However,
                > > perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it" has
                > > stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there is
                really
                > > no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too much
                > > going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very sad,
                since
                > > I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel part
                of
                > > the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at this
                point).
                > > >
                > > > Any tips/thoughts/recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish that
                > > enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very sad
                for
                > > me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this spiritual
                > > wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't
                exactly
                > > live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm just
                a
                > > young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with all
                sorts
                > > of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by not
                the
                > > ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.
                > > >
                > > > Forgive me.....
                > > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Christopher Orr
                Personally, I think that what fall under vacation. Also, confession is not what we Protestants assume. It isn t legalistic, it s like talking about problems
                Message 7 of 15 , Aug 7, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  Personally, I think that what fall under vacation.

                  Also, confession is not what we Protestants assume. It isn't legalistic,
                  it's like talking about problems with a friend you respect, within a
                  religious context. It's a conversation, it's guidance, it's mentorship, its
                  checking in and being open about things that confuse you, worry you, etc.
                  To me, it's been no more "punching the ticket" than making sure to remember
                  to put on my pants and brush my teeth before Liturgy; or, in secular terms,
                  of checking in with my boss periodically to make sure I'm doing everything
                  to his expectations.

                  All the rules in Orthodoxy have also always seemed to me to be purposefully
                  impossible to follow. They remain the rules though because they help us to
                  remember our place, our strength, our ability. And God always receives us.
                  I am excited when my son stumbles around walking while holding my hands
                  because he is not even a year old; I am excited by the little things, the
                  advance, the growth. God is the same with us. He doesn't expect us to be
                  sprinters when we're still spiritual toddlers in diapers.

                  Christopher



                  On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 2:08 PM, Dave W. <dkwiech@...> wrote:

                  >
                  >
                  > Thank you all for the kind replies. I have to be frank, not every time I
                  > would potentially be absent from liturgy would be for such an honorable
                  > purpose as recovering from exhaustion or helping a neighbor. There are
                  > sometimes things that pop up that I'd like to be part of, such as a weekend
                  > camping or fishing trip out of town. Or would that fall under "vacation",
                  > which my priest said was an understandable excuse?
                  >
                  > See, going into this with the knowledge that sometimes I would willfully be
                  > missing church on occasion for non-altruistic reasons makes me feel like I'd
                  > be a hypocrite. To go to confession, because I wanted to go on an occasional
                  > weekend camping/fishing trip doesn't sound like I'd be confessing the
                  > following week with a contrite spirit. It becomes more of an issue of
                  > "punching my ticket" to get back to communion, and that's just wrong.
                  >
                  > Additionally, my fear would be that if the rules and expectations are too
                  > strict, that it would cause resentment and bitterness. I should be going to
                  > liturgy willingly and with joy. To not do so would also be hypocritical, no?
                  >
                  > Dave
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
                  > Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > What he said. Ditto.
                  > >
                  > > That twinge of conscience is a good sign you need to talk to your priest
                  > for
                  > > guidance. Sometimes we are tormented by 'bad thoughts' (logismoi),
                  > > sometimes our conscience is prodding us to turn around (metanoia,
                  > > repentance) - it is difficult for us to determine which is which
                  > sometimes,
                  > > which is why it is good to have an experienced guide.
                  > >
                  > > Rules are like maps. They are good as far as they go, but for some
                  > terrain
                  > > an experienced, local guide who knows it like the back of his hand is
                  > > required to flesh out the map, to point out things on the map easily
                  > > overlooked and to share things not on the map but integral. Napoleon knew
                  > > his way to Moscow and knew how to take it, no one had told him about the
                  > > winter, though - that wasn't on the map.
                  > >
                  > > Same with the spiritual life. Little questions, big questions, practical
                  > > and abstruse questions.
                  > >
                  > > Christopher
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:36 AM, krolechka <solovyevs@...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > Dear friend, Christopher already wrote very good response... I'd just
                  > like
                  > > > to add that it's a matter of finding the right/healthy balance between
                  > being
                  > > > present (I'm only talking about physical presence, since spiritually
                  > you can
                  > > > *always* be with the church - praying at all times, thus in communion
                  > with
                  > > > Christ and all Christians) at the services. Everyone's life is
                  > different,
                  > > > and it should be re-adjusted as much as possible to become
                  > Christ-centric
                  > > > (and neighbor-centric, which includes family), as opposed to
                  > self-centric;
                  > > > but there are cases when you have to do something that on the external
                  > side
                  > > > may seem contradictory to the faith - such as physically missing the
                  > > > service. What matters is the *reason* behind all your actions; and it
                  > should
                  > > > - love for Christ and love for your neighbors. That's what defines the
                  > right
                  > > > action. One can "miss the church service" because he needed to help
                  > someone
                  > > > (or to do something to be able to help someone) *in need* at that
                  > particular
                  > > > time - and that'd be the proper choice; one can also go into the church
                  > > > while not to be part of the service but simply because he likes that
                  > young
                  > > > woman who looks so good and he wants to look at her again - and you can
                  > make
                  > > > the conclusion yourself. ;) In fact, at times you simply need
                  > > > rest/relaxation indeed - and that would also be proper action, because
                  > you
                  > > > do need to stay healthy to serve your neighbors. Just be honest with
                  > > > yourself, don't let yourself be persuaded by your thoughts, mistaking
                  > simple
                  > > > "laziness" for "real need to rest".
                  > > >
                  > > > In that context, when you miss the service for a not so good reason -
                  > > > you'll know and feel that was not right, you did something wrong, in
                  > other
                  > > > words - that's a sin, and that's where a need for Confession comes
                  > from.
                  > > > Listen to your conscience - and you'll know what's right.
                  > > >
                  > > > I hope I make sense... Please forgive me if I upset or confuse you by
                  > my
                  > > > writings, and pray about me.
                  > > > Alexander
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
                  > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
                  >
                  > > > "Dave W." <dkwiech@> wrote:
                  > > > >
                  > > > > I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding expected/required
                  > > > church attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and am
                  > > > about 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands
                  > > > attendance every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track record
                  > and
                  > > > that I don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and rigorous
                  > > > standard. I have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10
                  > months
                  > > > with only a couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty
                  > attender.
                  > > > However, frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from work
                  > that
                  > > > I can barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done that
                  > I
                  > > > couldn't do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it
                  > sounds
                  > > > like I'm making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments on
                  > this
                  > > > topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle
                  > Orthodox
                  > > > are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:
                  > > > >
                  > > > > "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
                  > > > > similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
                  > > > > because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
                  > > > > otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they are
                  > > > > good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are
                  > simply
                  > > > > at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
                  > > > > differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100%
                  > only
                  > > > > at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries."
                  > > > >
                  > > > > The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that missing
                  > 3
                  > > > consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've excommunicated
                  > myself.
                  > > > If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to go to
                  > > > confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the
                  > theological
                  > > > underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means. However,
                  > > > perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it" has
                  > > > stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there is
                  > really
                  > > > no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too
                  > much
                  > > > going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very sad,
                  > since
                  > > > I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel part
                  > of
                  > > > the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at this
                  > point).
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Any tips/thoughts/recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish that
                  > > > enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very sad
                  > for
                  > > > me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this spiritual
                  > > > wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't
                  > exactly
                  > > > live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm
                  > just a
                  > > > young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with all
                  > sorts
                  > > > of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by not
                  > the
                  > > > ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Forgive me.....
                  > > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • krolechka
                  ... I also would like to add something to what Fr. John said. That willfulness and joy are products of Grace working in us/being with us. The Grace withdrawn
                  Message 8 of 15 , Aug 7, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment
                    > I should be going to liturgy willingly and with joy. To not do so would also be hypocritical, no?

                    I also would like to add something to what Fr. John said.
                    That willfulness and joy are products of Grace working in us/being with us. The Grace withdrawn at times, many times during most peoples' lives - either because of a sin, or for a test (such as, now let's see what you've learned and whether you'll keep trying when I'm not doing everything for you/instead of you). And without the Grace - well, what are we without His Grace, Spirit? just mud and nothing else. That's why there *will* be times when there is no desire to pray, to go to the service, to do pretty much anything good. But we still should keep going nevertheless, through faith if not because of love and joy. And that would *not* hypocritical, for each millimeter walked in *that* mode is like a precious gem that we bring to Him.

                    --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "Dave W." <dkwiech@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Thank you all for the kind replies. I have to be frank, not every time I would potentially be absent from liturgy would be for such an honorable purpose as recovering from exhaustion or helping a neighbor. There are sometimes things that pop up that I'd like to be part of, such as a weekend camping or fishing trip out of town. Or would that fall under "vacation", which my priest said was an understandable excuse?
                    >
                    > See, going into this with the knowledge that sometimes I would willfully be missing church on occasion for non-altruistic reasons makes me feel like I'd be a hypocrite. To go to confession, because I wanted to go on an occasional weekend camping/fishing trip doesn't sound like I'd be confessing the following week with a contrite spirit. It becomes more of an issue of "punching my ticket" to get back to communion, and that's just wrong.
                    >
                    > Additionally, my fear would be that if the rules and expectations are too strict, that it would cause resentment and bitterness. I should be going to liturgy willingly and with joy. To not do so would also be hypocritical, no?
                    >
                    > Dave
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > What he said. Ditto.
                    > >
                    > > That twinge of conscience is a good sign you need to talk to your priest for
                    > > guidance. Sometimes we are tormented by 'bad thoughts' (logismoi),
                    > > sometimes our conscience is prodding us to turn around (metanoia,
                    > > repentance) - it is difficult for us to determine which is which sometimes,
                    > > which is why it is good to have an experienced guide.
                    > >
                    > > Rules are like maps. They are good as far as they go, but for some terrain
                    > > an experienced, local guide who knows it like the back of his hand is
                    > > required to flesh out the map, to point out things on the map easily
                    > > overlooked and to share things not on the map but integral. Napoleon knew
                    > > his way to Moscow and knew how to take it, no one had told him about the
                    > > winter, though - that wasn't on the map.
                    > >
                    > > Same with the spiritual life. Little questions, big questions, practical
                    > > and abstruse questions.
                    > >
                    > > Christopher
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:36 AM, krolechka <solovyevs@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > Dear friend, Christopher already wrote very good response... I'd just like
                    > > > to add that it's a matter of finding the right/healthy balance between being
                    > > > present (I'm only talking about physical presence, since spiritually you can
                    > > > *always* be with the church - praying at all times, thus in communion with
                    > > > Christ and all Christians) at the services. Everyone's life is different,
                    > > > and it should be re-adjusted as much as possible to become Christ-centric
                    > > > (and neighbor-centric, which includes family), as opposed to self-centric;
                    > > > but there are cases when you have to do something that on the external side
                    > > > may seem contradictory to the faith - such as physically missing the
                    > > > service. What matters is the *reason* behind all your actions; and it should
                    > > > - love for Christ and love for your neighbors. That's what defines the right
                    > > > action. One can "miss the church service" because he needed to help someone
                    > > > (or to do something to be able to help someone) *in need* at that particular
                    > > > time - and that'd be the proper choice; one can also go into the church
                    > > > while not to be part of the service but simply because he likes that young
                    > > > woman who looks so good and he wants to look at her again - and you can make
                    > > > the conclusion yourself. ;) In fact, at times you simply need
                    > > > rest/relaxation indeed - and that would also be proper action, because you
                    > > > do need to stay healthy to serve your neighbors. Just be honest with
                    > > > yourself, don't let yourself be persuaded by your thoughts, mistaking simple
                    > > > "laziness" for "real need to rest".
                    > > >
                    > > > In that context, when you miss the service for a not so good reason -
                    > > > you'll know and feel that was not right, you did something wrong, in other
                    > > > words - that's a sin, and that's where a need for Confession comes from.
                    > > > Listen to your conscience - and you'll know what's right.
                    > > >
                    > > > I hope I make sense... Please forgive me if I upset or confuse you by my
                    > > > writings, and pray about me.
                    > > > Alexander
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
                    > > > "Dave W." <dkwiech@> wrote:
                    > > > >
                    > > > > I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding expected/required
                    > > > church attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and am
                    > > > about 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands
                    > > > attendance every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track record and
                    > > > that I don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and rigorous
                    > > > standard. I have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10 months
                    > > > with only a couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty attender.
                    > > > However, frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from work that
                    > > > I can barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done that I
                    > > > couldn't do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it sounds
                    > > > like I'm making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments on this
                    > > > topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle Orthodox
                    > > > are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:
                    > > > >
                    > > > > "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
                    > > > > similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
                    > > > > because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
                    > > > > otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they are
                    > > > > good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are simply
                    > > > > at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
                    > > > > differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100% only
                    > > > > at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries."
                    > > > >
                    > > > > The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that missing 3
                    > > > consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've excommunicated myself.
                    > > > If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to go to
                    > > > confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the theological
                    > > > underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means. However,
                    > > > perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it" has
                    > > > stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there is really
                    > > > no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too much
                    > > > going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very sad, since
                    > > > I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel part of
                    > > > the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at this point).
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Any tips/thoughts/recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish that
                    > > > enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very sad for
                    > > > me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this spiritual
                    > > > wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't exactly
                    > > > live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm just a
                    > > > young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with all sorts
                    > > > of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by not the
                    > > > ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Forgive me.....
                    > > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    > >
                    >
                  • Christopher Orr
                    Regarding grace, I thought this quote by St. John Chrysostom from the Fourth Finding Society blog pertinent: For if by one man s offence death reigned by one;
                    Message 9 of 15 , Aug 7, 2009
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Regarding grace, I thought this quote by St. John Chrysostom from the Fourth
                      Finding Society blog pertinent:

                      "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which
                      > receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in
                      > life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)
                      >
                      > *�he does not say �grace�, but �abundance of grace.� For it was not as
                      > much as we must have to do away the sin only, that we received of His
                      > grace, but even far more. For we were at once freed from punishment, and
                      > put off all iniquity, and we also born again from above and rose again with
                      > the old man buried, and were redeemed, justified, let up to adoption,
                      > sanctified, made brothers of the Only-Begotten, and joint heirs and of one
                      > Body with Him, and counted for His Flesh, and even as a Body with the Head,
                      > so were we united unto Him! All these things then, Paul calls an �
                      > abundance� of grace, showing that what we received was not a medicine only
                      > to countervail the wound, but even health, and comeliness, and honor, and
                      > glory and dignities far transcending our natural state. And of these each
                      > in itself was enough to do away with death, but when all manifestly run
                      > together in one, there is not the least vestige of it left, nor can a
                      > shadow of it be seen, so entirely is it done away�For Christ hath paid
                      > down far more than we owe, yea as much more as the illimitable ocean is than
                      > a little drop**.*
                      >
                      > - From St. John Chrysostom's homilies on the Epistle to the Romans
                      >

                      There is the regular grace we all receive, saint and sinner, person and
                      pebble; then there is the abundance of grace in Jesus Christ.

                      Christopher



                      On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 3:00 PM, krolechka <solovyevs@...> wrote:

                      >
                      >
                      > > I should be going to liturgy willingly and with joy. To not do so would
                      > also be hypocritical, no?
                      >
                      > I also would like to add something to what Fr. John said.
                      > That willfulness and joy are products of Grace working in us/being with us.
                      > The Grace withdrawn at times, many times during most peoples' lives - either
                      > because of a sin, or for a test (such as, now let's see what you've learned
                      > and whether you'll keep trying when I'm not doing everything for you/instead
                      > of you). And without the Grace - well, what are we without His Grace,
                      > Spirit? just mud and nothing else. That's why there *will* be times when
                      > there is no desire to pray, to go to the service, to do pretty much anything
                      > good. But we still should keep going nevertheless, through faith if not
                      > because of love and joy. And that would *not* hypocritical, for each
                      > millimeter walked in *that* mode is like a precious gem that we bring to
                      > Him.
                      >
                      >
                      > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
                      > "Dave W." <dkwiech@...> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Thank you all for the kind replies. I have to be frank, not every time I
                      > would potentially be absent from liturgy would be for such an honorable
                      > purpose as recovering from exhaustion or helping a neighbor. There are
                      > sometimes things that pop up that I'd like to be part of, such as a weekend
                      > camping or fishing trip out of town. Or would that fall under "vacation",
                      > which my priest said was an understandable excuse?
                      > >
                      > > See, going into this with the knowledge that sometimes I would willfully
                      > be missing church on occasion for non-altruistic reasons makes me feel like
                      > I'd be a hypocrite. To go to confession, because I wanted to go on an
                      > occasional weekend camping/fishing trip doesn't sound like I'd be confessing
                      > the following week with a contrite spirit. It becomes more of an issue of
                      > "punching my ticket" to get back to communion, and that's just wrong.
                      > >
                      > > Additionally, my fear would be that if the rules and expectations are too
                      > strict, that it would cause resentment and bitterness. I should be going to
                      > liturgy willingly and with joy. To not do so would also be hypocritical, no?
                      > >
                      > > Dave
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
                      > Christopher Orr <xcjorr@> wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > What he said. Ditto.
                      > > >
                      > > > That twinge of conscience is a good sign you need to talk to your
                      > priest for
                      > > > guidance. Sometimes we are tormented by 'bad thoughts' (logismoi),
                      > > > sometimes our conscience is prodding us to turn around (metanoia,
                      > > > repentance) - it is difficult for us to determine which is which
                      > sometimes,
                      > > > which is why it is good to have an experienced guide.
                      > > >
                      > > > Rules are like maps. They are good as far as they go, but for some
                      > terrain
                      > > > an experienced, local guide who knows it like the back of his hand is
                      > > > required to flesh out the map, to point out things on the map easily
                      > > > overlooked and to share things not on the map but integral. Napoleon
                      > knew
                      > > > his way to Moscow and knew how to take it, no one had told him about
                      > the
                      > > > winter, though - that wasn't on the map.
                      > > >
                      > > > Same with the spiritual life. Little questions, big questions,
                      > practical
                      > > > and abstruse questions.
                      > > >
                      > > > Christopher
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:36 AM, krolechka <solovyevs@> wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > > > Dear friend, Christopher already wrote very good response... I'd just
                      > like
                      > > > > to add that it's a matter of finding the right/healthy balance
                      > between being
                      > > > > present (I'm only talking about physical presence, since spiritually
                      > you can
                      > > > > *always* be with the church - praying at all times, thus in communion
                      > with
                      > > > > Christ and all Christians) at the services. Everyone's life is
                      > different,
                      > > > > and it should be re-adjusted as much as possible to become
                      > Christ-centric
                      > > > > (and neighbor-centric, which includes family), as opposed to
                      > self-centric;
                      > > > > but there are cases when you have to do something that on the
                      > external side
                      > > > > may seem contradictory to the faith - such as physically missing the
                      > > > > service. What matters is the *reason* behind all your actions; and it
                      > should
                      > > > > - love for Christ and love for your neighbors. That's what defines
                      > the right
                      > > > > action. One can "miss the church service" because he needed to help
                      > someone
                      > > > > (or to do something to be able to help someone) *in need* at that
                      > particular
                      > > > > time - and that'd be the proper choice; one can also go into the
                      > church
                      > > > > while not to be part of the service but simply because he likes that
                      > young
                      > > > > woman who looks so good and he wants to look at her again - and you
                      > can make
                      > > > > the conclusion yourself. ;) In fact, at times you simply need
                      > > > > rest/relaxation indeed - and that would also be proper action,
                      > because you
                      > > > > do need to stay healthy to serve your neighbors. Just be honest with
                      > > > > yourself, don't let yourself be persuaded by your thoughts, mistaking
                      > simple
                      > > > > "laziness" for "real need to rest".
                      > > > >
                      > > > > In that context, when you miss the service for a not so good reason -
                      > > > > you'll know and feel that was not right, you did something wrong, in
                      > other
                      > > > > words - that's a sin, and that's where a need for Confession comes
                      > from.
                      > > > > Listen to your conscience - and you'll know what's right.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > I hope I make sense... Please forgive me if I upset or confuse you by
                      > my
                      > > > > writings, and pray about me.
                      > > > > Alexander
                      > > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > > > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
                      > <LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
                      > > > > "Dave W." <dkwiech@> wrote:
                      > > > > >
                      > > > > > I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding
                      > expected/required
                      > > > > church attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and
                      > am
                      > > > > about 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands
                      > > > > attendance every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track
                      > record and
                      > > > > that I don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and
                      > rigorous
                      > > > > standard. I have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10
                      > months
                      > > > > with only a couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty
                      > attender.
                      > > > > However, frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from
                      > work that
                      > > > > I can barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done
                      > that I
                      > > > > couldn't do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it
                      > sounds
                      > > > > like I'm making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.
                      > > > > >
                      > > > > > I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments
                      > on this
                      > > > > topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle
                      > Orthodox
                      > > > > are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:
                      > > > > >
                      > > > > > "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
                      > > > > > similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
                      > > > > > because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
                      > > > > > otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they
                      > are
                      > > > > > good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are
                      > simply
                      > > > > > at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
                      > > > > > differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100%
                      > only
                      > > > > > at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries."
                      > > > > >
                      > > > > > The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that
                      > missing 3
                      > > > > consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've excommunicated
                      > myself.
                      > > > > If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to go
                      > to
                      > > > > confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the
                      > theological
                      > > > > underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means. However,
                      > > > > perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it"
                      > has
                      > > > > stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there is
                      > really
                      > > > > no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too
                      > much
                      > > > > going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very sad,
                      > since
                      > > > > I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel
                      > part of
                      > > > > the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at this
                      > point).
                      > > > > >
                      > > > > > Any tips/thoughts/recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish
                      > that
                      > > > > enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very sad
                      > for
                      > > > > me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this spiritual
                      > > > > wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't
                      > exactly
                      > > > > live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm
                      > just a
                      > > > > young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with
                      > all sorts
                      > > > > of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by
                      > not the
                      > > > > ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.
                      > > > > >
                      > > > > > Forgive me.....
                      > > > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      > > >
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      >


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • randall hay
                      I must say, that s a very rigorous requirement for attendance. ... Of course we have some very faithful Slavs....but there are always people who come spottily.
                      Message 10 of 15 , Aug 8, 2009
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                        I must say, that's a very rigorous requirement for attendance.

                        ---Our parish is mostly convert, but on Pascha droves of Russians show up. One year our priest overheard one Russian lady ask another, "Do you come to church every Pascha?"

                        Of course we have some very faithful Slavs....but there are always people who come spottily. The odd thing about it, esp from an ex-Lutheran perspective, is the twice-a-year crowd feel perfectly free to correct clergy who they feel have made errors in services.

                        On one hand it's sad they don't come more...but on the other hand, you know Orthodoxy will never change because laity--even the Pascha-only ones--won't allow it.

                        Excommunication is, as somebody pointed out, for healing rather than punishment....like being on a liquid diet when you get the flu. Self-excommunication is lifted by confession.

                        Your priest's rigor stems from the sanctity of the Eucharist. Christ really is present in His actual body and blood; the priest, who has vowed to protect it, sees it as crucial to the salvation of his parishioners.

                        When parents skip church, they have excommunicated their own children. Priests hate that, and they like people to be very faithful and in a good attendance-habit before they have children.

                        Of course, the same goes for those who never marry; that strength from Communion is so necessary in this day and age with so many temptations and possibilities for despair. I think it's harder and harder for single people.

                        At any rate, I'm sure you will richly blessed as you continue your pilgrimage at this parish---

                        Subdeacon Randy













                        ________________________________
                        From: Dave W. <dkwiech@...>
                        To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Friday, August 7, 2009 10:45:06 AM
                        Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Question on Church Attendance


                        I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding expected/required church attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and am about 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands attendance every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track record and that I don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and rigorous standard. I have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10 months with only a couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty attender. However, frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from work that I can barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done that I couldn't do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it sounds like I'm making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.

                        I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments on this topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle Orthodox are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:

                        "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
                        similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
                        because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
                        otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they are
                        good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are simply
                        at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
                        differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100% only
                        at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries. "

                        The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that missing 3 consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've excommunicated myself. If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to go to confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the theological underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means. However, perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it" has stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there is really no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too much going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very sad, since I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel part of the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at this point).

                        Any tips/thoughts/ recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish that enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very sad for me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this spiritual wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't exactly live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm just a young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with all sorts of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by not the ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.

                        Forgive me.....




                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • randall hay
                        At the parishes I ve belonged to, fasting before Eucharist (food, water, smoking and marital relations) begins at midnight the night before. There are more
                        Message 11 of 15 , Aug 8, 2009
                        • 0 Attachment
                          At the parishes I've belonged to, fasting before Eucharist (food, water, smoking and marital relations) begins at midnight the night before.

                          There are more rigorous practices, but I think it's a good idea not to get too rigorous too quickly. My family and I took two or three years to get into giving up all meat and dairy on fast days. I think that was fairly typical.

                          ---After all, as the Fathers point out, it takes many years to develop skill at a particular type of job, or music or hobby whatever; why should the spiritual life come instantaneously with no discipline or training? We humans aren't built that way. Getting used to standing in services, fasting, individual prayer rules and all that stuff takes time. In the early church you had three years of being a catechumen, for that very reason; conversion is a holistic thing. We are born and saved as "whole men" (John 7:23, Greek), body and soul, and we need to work on giving all of ourselves to God....throughout the whole of our lives.

                          I think a lot of us have this Evangelical ethos floating around in our heads that if we have an emotional enough conversion experience all things spiritual will suddenly be easy. That's not realistic, biblical or patristic.

                          In Christ,

                          R.




                          ________________________________
                          From: Kimberly Sparling <belleartmom@...>
                          To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Friday, August 7, 2009 11:11:11 AM
                          Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Question on Church Attendance


                          Is there a place where these requirements for receiving communion are
                          written down? I knew about fasting before Liturgy, but the other one about
                          intimate relations with my dh, I did not know about. :-)
                          Kim S.

                          On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:05 AM, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@gmail. com> wrote:

                          >
                          >
                          > If you've been going regularly for 10 months and have only missed
                          > periodically, I would say that is your standard and you are meeting
                          > anything
                          > required. One is only to miss Liturgy due to cause. Determining what
                          > 'cause' is, is between you and your spiritual father.
                          >
                          > For instance, we flew to the Midwest two weekends ago and the flight my
                          > wife
                          > booked meant I missed Liturgy. I could have gone to a 7am Liturgy, but that
                          > would have left my wife packing and dealing with our infant alone - not
                          > really something I could do. So, I missed. I have also missed when we have
                          > been on vacation and there is no Orthodox church, e.g., on most Caribbean
                          > islands and most non-major cities globally, or when the nearest Orthodox
                          > church is hours away. In such cases I defer to love, admit my sinfulness,
                          > and stay with the non-Orthodox wife and family (the baby is also not yet up
                          > to constant changes in schedule).
                          >
                          > *"...missing 3 consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've
                          > excommunicated myself."*
                          >
                          > This needs to be put into context. Excommunication in Orthodoxy is not the
                          > same as being kicked out of the Church. It means that one is barred from
                          > receiving communion. A simple 'excommunication' is if one eats in the
                          > morning before Liturgy (without a medical reason to do so, inclusive of
                          > pregnancy), having had sexual relations that morning or the evening before,
                          > or not being 'prepared' as required by your priest. As part of the
                          > spiritual treatment of one's passions, a priest may (may!) tell you to
                          > refrain from communion for a set period of time. I have never experienced
                          > this myself, but it is usually tied to especially heinous sins or to
                          > ongoing
                          > sins of a particular nature that are ongoing (e.g., those living together
                          > should likely not be communing).
                          >
                          > Personally, I have found I have a difficult time only going to church on
                          > Sunday mornings. I especially love Vigil on Saturday evenings in the
                          > Russian tradition, and weekday Vespers are wonderful. When I was inquiring,
                          > there were times I was in church everyday (we have a lot of services, then
                          > there is also a monastery that has daily services).
                          >
                          > As you noted, though, you are an inquirer. Take it easy on yourself. It
                          > seems as if you have been going to church a lot. Salvation is a process; we
                          > are being conformed to Christ, the likeness of His image in us is
                          > sharpening, developing. We are growing in wisdom and stature, as did Christ
                          > Himself in His human nature. There is growth in the spiritual life. One
                          > need not finish the race so as to start it; we build up to running
                          > marathons.
                          >
                          > I think the tempter is simply whispering in your ear. Ignore him. Keep
                          > going to church as you have been, and try to go just a tiny little bit more
                          > often than you would have otherwise or perhaps feel comfortable with. Such
                          > ascetic effort is like fasting, and Christ said WHEN we fast, not IF we
                          > fast. Whatever little else you can do - it is an offering to God. The fact
                          > we are ashamed we can't do more is humbling and God loves a humble and
                          > contrite spirit, he will not despise it (cf. Psalm 50/51).
                          >
                          > Blessed Fast to you!
                          >
                          > Christopher
                          >
                          >
                          > On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:45 AM, Dave W. <dkwiech@yahoo. com<dkwiech%40yahoo. com>>
                          > wrote:
                          >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > I have a bit of an embarrassing question regarding expected/required
                          > church
                          > > attendance in the OC. I've been taking catechumen classes and am about
                          > > 1/2-way through, but it has been told to me that the OC demands
                          > attendance
                          > > every Sunday at a minimum. I know myself and my track record and that I
                          > > don't know if I can commit myself to such a strict and rigorous standard.
                          > I
                          > > have been attending the OC as an inquirer for about 10 months with only a
                          > > couple Sundays missed, so it's not like I'm a spotty attender. However,
                          > > frankly there are some Sundays that I'm so exhausted from work that I can
                          > > barely get out of bed, or there is so much work to get done that I
                          > couldn't
                          > > do on Saturday, etc, etc. that it's impractical. I know it sounds like
                          > I'm
                          > > making excuses, but I'm trying to be honest.
                          > >
                          > > I've searched the LLE archive and found some interesting comments on this
                          > > topic, such as the following, which seem to imply that even cradle
                          > Orthodox
                          > > are not always the most committed attenders, e.g.:
                          > >
                          > > "Coming back to the topic of "80%", I think you'll find that (or
                          > > similar to that) in ANY big parish. Small parishes are different
                          > > because they are formed of zealots (in a good meaning of the word),
                          > > otherwise they'd just vanish, fade away. But big parishes - they are
                          > > good examples of statistics inside the Church: people in It are simply
                          > > at different points of their spiritual life/journey, thus acting
                          > > differently. You'd probably find service attendance close to 100% only
                          > > at Mount Athos and some other strict rules monasteries. "
                          > >
                          > > The priest at the church I am attending basically stated that missing 3
                          > > consecutive Sundays without a valid reason means I've excommunicated
                          > myself.
                          > > If I miss just one Sunday for a non-valid reason, I would have to go to
                          > > confessions. This strikes me as rather harsh. I understand the
                          > theological
                          > > underpinnings that drive this, and appreciate what it means. However,
                          > > perhaps growing up in the LCMS and going whenever "I felt like it" has
                          > > stained me, since in the protestant (and even RC) churches, there is
                          > really
                          > > no mechanism for holding people to such a standard. I just have too much
                          > > going on in my life to think I could live up to this. It is very sad,
                          > since
                          > > I love what I'm hearing and learning in the OC, and no longer feel part
                          > of
                          > > the Lutheran church anyhow (I'm way beyond the Lutheran pale at this
                          > point).
                          > >
                          > > Any tips/thoughts/ recommendations? Am I just in a gung-ho parish that
                          > > enforces this? Again, I reference the comment above. This is very sad for
                          > > me, since I thought I'd "found my home" and had ended this spiritual
                          > > wandering that I've been in, for so many years. As a note, I don't
                          > exactly
                          > > live close to an Orthodox parish (about 35 miles each way), and I'm just
                          > a
                          > > young guy with a busy life. I'm not 75 years old and retired, with all
                          > sorts
                          > > of extra time to spare. I want God to be the center of my life, by not
                          > the
                          > > ONLY THING in my life, if you get my point.
                          > >
                          > > Forgive me.....
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                          >
                          >

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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