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  • Christopher Orr
    An example of worship explaining doctrine and practice: As a Lutheran looking at Orthodoxy, I wanted to be disabused of the idea that prayer to the saints was
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 22, 2008
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      An example of worship explaining doctrine and practice:

      As a Lutheran looking at Orthodoxy, I wanted to be disabused of the idea
      that prayer to the saints was little more than paganism with a patina of
      Christianity.

      During a Saturday evening Vigil service (2.5-3 hours) it hit me that they
      were constantly, constantly invoking and praying the the Holy Trinity (the
      giant icon of Rubev's Trinity also helped underline this) and to Christ.
      Far and away prayers were most often made to God. I had simply been
      noticing prayers to the saints because it was out of the ordinary to me, but
      they were relatively few and far between - apart from prayers to the Mother
      of God. But, even prayers to the Mother of God were paired with invocations
      of her Son and her/our God, as well as the Holy Trinity. Even more
      important in my understanding of the fact that they did not make her some
      sort of autonomous demigod or goddess was the fact that when prayers to her
      were offered and when prostrations were made to honor her the sign of the
      Cross of her Son and God ALWAYS accompanied them. In the context of
      Orthodox worship I discovered that the Orthodox truly did not separate the
      Mother of God from her Son; it is only her connection, relation to her Son
      and God that makes her something special, someone worthy of hyperdoulia
      ('lots', 'the most' honor). The same can be seen in the icons of the Mother
      of God, which in Orthodoxy almost always include her Son.

      But, these are all things that are understood primarily in the context of
      worship, repetition, etc. The fact also that Feasts of the Lord (Sundays
      because of the Resurrection, Holy Week, etc.) always, always 'trump' Feasts
      of the Saints, including the Theotokos, well, this was yet further
      underlining of the importance of the Lord and the distinction between Him
      and the saints.

      Christopher


      On Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 10:40 AM, Rosemarie Lieffring <
      rose.lieffring@...> wrote:

      > It is interesting to read the various accounts of how God brings His
      > people
      > to Holy Orthodoxy. I started praying the daily prayers from the Jordonville
      > prayer book, thinking that this would be as close to Orthodoxy as I could
      > get...with my husband being a die-hard Lutheran and all...but the
      > prayers created in me such a hunger that remaining where I was would have
      > meant starving to death. I think initially the Orthodox view of the fall,
      > theois, the perfect communion of Love as expressed within the Holy Trinity
      > were all academically facinating but the prayers were (are) so powerful.
      >
      > Christopher, you gave some excellent suggestions regarding reading. I found
      > Father Arseny to exemplify what Orthodoxy "looks" like. Anyone interested
      > in audio files of this book...they are available online for free (although
      > I
      > did find that some of the chapters were cut off mid stream...maybe they
      > fixed that by now). http://www.philokalia.org/arseny.htm There are two
      > readers who alternate reading and one has a wonderful Russian accent that
      > adds to the listening.-----R
      >
      >
      > On Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 8:54 AM, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...<xcjorr%40gmail.com>>
      > wrote:
      >
      > > Christ is obviously calling you and the Holy Spirit is working - he is,
      > > after all, "everywhere present and fills all things", as a common
      > Orthodox
      > > prayer puts it. Where you have been is not in the Orthodox Church, which
      > > means you have not ever learned to see things in an Orthodox manner. You
      > > may not agree with the Orthodox manner at the end of the day, but what
      > > everyone is attempting to share with you are the basics needed to be able
      > > to
      > > understand. We are explaining the ABCs of a language while you are
      > looking
      > > to jump right into an advanced novel.
      > >
      > > There is plenty of time to get at the giant corpus of material about and
      > in
      > > Orthodoxy. The books I recommended to you are far from 'simplistic' -
      > well,
      > > perhaps except for *Way of a Pilgrim*, but its deep and difficult
      > > nonetheless. In some ways, for converts from Western Christian
      > confessions,
      > > it is easier and safer to stick with the academic and cognitive, but from
      > > an
      > > Orthodox perspective it's like looking at a someone's grades and term
      > paper
      > > to determine whether you love them.
      > >
      > > That being said, there is a ton of more academic material you could read.
      > > You won't likely understand most of it - I don't - not least of which is
      > > due
      > > to the fact that they are dealing with concepts not common to the average
      > > Protestant's theology. If you want a 'hard' book to wrestle with, look at
      > > Vladimir Lossky's *The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church*, so, too,
      > > any of works by Alexander Schmemann and Alexander Meyendorff;
      > Archimandrite
      > > Sophrony (Sakharov)'s works apart from *St. Silouan the Athonite* are
      > very
      > > difficult (he is explaining things he has personally experienced) and I
      > > have
      > > found that Archimandrite Zaccheus of Essex's work is also extremely
      > > difficult. Of course, simply reading the doctrinal history of Jaroslav
      > > Pelikan is pertinent - one joke I heard re him was, "When Did Pelikan
      > > convert from Lutheranism to Orthodoxy? When he read his own books." Any
      > > theologian that came out of St. Serge Institute in Paris will also likely
      > > be
      > > difficult. The link to holytrinitymission also has a lot of textbooks
      > which
      > > should be of interest.
      > >
      > > Doing all this reading first is taking the long road, but it is the road.
      > I
      > > read my way into the Church for a long time, but it was a long time and
      > the
      > > reading didn't really convert me, it just drew me to a parish where I
      > began
      > > learning all over again what the real questions and answers were. Don't
      > > mistake words about Orthodoxy for Orthodoxy. Andrew didn't give proofs to
      > > Peter as to why Jesus was the Messiah, he said, "Come and see."
      > >
      > > May the Theotokos and all the saints guide you in your search, by their
      > > prayers.
      > >
      > > Christopher
      > >
      > >
      > > On Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 7:57 PM, tfrjen <oxh973@...<oxh973%40gmail.com>
      > <oxh973%40gmail.com>>
      >
      > > wrote:
      > >
      > > > You all talk in abstract ideas and philosophical sounding words. I
      > > > feel like I'm not getting anywhere.
      > > >
      > > > The NT shows the church composed of believers throughout half the
      > > > world or less while apostles who knew Jesus in-person were still
      > > > alive. It would be stupid to not place yourself into that hirarchy at
      > > > that period of time. But once you get a few generations away from
      > > > Jesus, things get sketchy. Disagreements arise. Maybe the Oriental
      > > > Orthodox were right. Maybe the Coptic Orthodox were right. The Fathers
      > > > weren't infallible and they disagreed on things. Then throw in finding
      > > > "new worlds" and the development of new languages. It was destined to
      > > > be messy but yet we still all believe in the same Jesus and the
      > > > majority of us agree to the same creeds.
      > > >
      > > > If I went by praying and feeling, I'd still be in the charismatic
      > > > church. Instead I made like a berean and started to test things. I
      > > > became an orthodoxy hunter. I got into apologetics. I started weighing
      > > > one Christian tradition against another. I compared and contrasted
      > > > doctrinal differences. I wrestled with Calvinism for about 5 years and
      > > > it nearly destroyed my faith. Calvinism painted a God whom I couldn't
      > > > love. Lutheranism painted a God whom I could love.
      > > >
      > > > What was Martin Luther to do? All he knew was Rome, and he knew it was
      > > > wrong. He tried to fix it. It's not like he could just quit being a
      > > > monk and join the nearest EO church down the street.
      > > >
      > > > So, I guess that all was to illustrate that I'm not about to shut my
      > > > eyes and grope my way into Orthodoxy. I will have to be convinced by
      > > > scripture that God intended that there be one true denomination that
      > > > would never get anything wrong.
      > > >
      > > > Nobody can argue that Orthodoxy isn't a deeply historical
      > > > denomination. All Christian denominations can trace themselves to the
      > > > apostles - however sloppy and bumpy the path. I see the divisions, but
      > > > I also see them as united in Christ.
      > > >
      > > > I just don't get where some of these traditions and practices
      > > > originated and earned legalistic practice. So, Luke liked to paint.
      > > > Does that mean that he and his peers kissed the paintings? What if I
      > > > don't prefer to show my recognition and respect for a saint by kissing
      > > > a painting? What if that is unnatural to me? I'm not that
      > > > demonstrative of a person. I'm not from a kissy family and I'm not
      > > > fond of spreading germs. It's been a real stretch for me to use a
      > > > common cup.
      > > >
      > > > The rigidity of the fasting bothers me. I don't see this kind of
      > > > fasting prescribed in scripture. I could go into this further, but not
      > > > right now.
      > > >
      > > > All churches have their problems. I've attended
      > > > non-denominational/charismatic/pentecostal, Church of God Anderson
      > > > Indiana, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist (several),
      > > > Evangelical Free, Assembly of God, Lutheran and probably others that I
      > > > can't think of at the moment. I've determined problems with each of
      > > > them. How can Orthodoxy claim to be completely sound in doctrine and
      > > > practice. I believe that Orthodoxy has protected and handed down the
      > > > proper interpretation of all the essential doctrines in scripture
      > > > without errors, but it seems that Tradition has added man-made rules
      > > > that while the seem harmless, they are being held in equality with
      > > > scripture. Time alone can't be proof that it's correct because time
      > > > isn't over. There is still time for certain rules to fade out. I'm not
      > > > convinced of this one true church in the form of a denomination.
      > > > Christ has many members. The sum total of the members have the full
      > > > truth that has been revealed. I don't think you can say to the
      > > > Lutherans "we don't need you". Yikes!
      > > >
      > > > Anyhow, I'm rambling now. I never hear of Eastern Orthodox before the
      > > > 90s. In fact, I'm not sure if I first heard of it from a classmate in
      > > > High School (1990), or from a co-worker (1998). I heard about Christ
      > > > before I heard about the Orthodox church. What have I been in all
      > > > these years if not in the body of Christ?
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >


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