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Why I am not Orthodox.

5 June 2010

Two years ago I resigned as the Rector of an Episcopal Church, left a decade long priesthood, renounced my orders, and along with the rest of my family became Eastern Orthodox. The particular jurisdiction that we became a part of was the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). I was sent by my Archbishop to an Orthodox Seminary in Pennsylvania for a year.

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My family gave up a great deal so that we could become Orthodox, and we didn’t expect to be congratulated for that, but I didn’t expect the cold reception that we got from many quarters either. We were ready to embrace Orthodoxy wholeheartedly, but never really felt like we were embraced back. The Sacraments that I had administered during my ten years of priestly ministry in the Episcopal Church were repeatedly characterized as being without any validity for the people I served. But, despite the arrogance, we found the OCA to be every bit as dysfunctional an institution, in it’s own way, as is the Episcopal Church. There seemed to be a disconnect between the sublime theology of the Church Fathers and our actual experience in the OCA. The reality we found in the OCA as an institution included an ethnocentric insularity and xenophobia among a great many ethnic Russians; anti-Semitism; a latent fundamentalism among a great many of the converts; widespread corruption and abuse of power in the hierarchy; and a good deal of hateful anti-Americanism among Russian immigrant priests and monks (As well as some American ones). There were some disturbing things that we saw and experienced while in the OCA that caused some members of my family to struggle with their faith in ways that they never had to do while we remained Anglican. That is perhaps the most pertinent reason that we decided a few months ago to return to the Anglican Communion. But still it was a gut wrenching decision to make.

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I was drawn to the Orthodox Faith because of it’s faithfulness to the ancient understandings of the Faith. My faith has been informed to a great extent by what I’ve learned from Orthodox sources. In the Western view it is often said that in Adam we all sinned. In the Orthodox understanding however, original sin is not about an inherited guilt. It is instead about the consequences of living in a world that now is sinful. Because of that difference the Orthodox understand sin not in terms of transgression and penalty, but in the terms of bondage and sickness. I believe that this is a truer and healthier way to approach what both east and west are trying to describe. Because of that, my understanding of what salvation is, is transformative rather than judicial. The real object of salvation is God bring about an inner change in us. The Atonement is about recapitulation, rather than appeasement. In the words of Ephesians 1:10, “God’s purpose is, in the fulness of the times, to sum up,” or recapitulate, “all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth…” The need for Atonement is not a need to satisfy God’s wrathful desire to punish, but rather the need for Atonement is the need to recreate in us the image of God that we had lost because of our loss of communion with Him, and to free us from our bent toward sin. Theosis is a central part of Orthodox belief and one that I believe to be true. Theosis is the process of our coming into communion with God. It is what many are talking about when they talk about salvation. Human beings were created to share in the life of the Blessed Trinity. As Athanasius once said, “The Son of God became man, that we might become god.” It is through our participation in the divine life that transforms us into the likeness of Christ. Our salvation then is not as a one time act. It is not about us getting our ticket punched. It is instead about a lifetime of our progressing into a closer relationship with our God.

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There is nothing keeping me from believing as I do and being Anglican. There are others who do, though not many. The Orthodox Church is however, at least as I have encountered it in the OCA, very defensive and aggressively anti-Western whenever talking about differences that exist between the two, no matter how small, no matter how long ago. I’m sorry but I’m simply not interested in adopting as my own some old grudge about the Fourth Crusade, or about Eastern-Rite Roman Catholicism in the Ukraine. The Eastern Orthodox can be very enthusiastic grudge-holders.

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When I first became Orthodox I didn’t think that that cultural differences would matter so much. I still don’t think that it ought to matter so much. The Christian Faith calls individuals out of their nations and tribes and into the Ekklesia. and the Ekklesia, the congregation of the faithful, transcends any nation, or tribe, or race, or culture.

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That is not a truth that seems to have been fully realized everywhere though. I have found that nation and culture matters a great deal to a great many monastics, priests and bishops in the OCA. Oftentimes it seems as if it is the most important thing. And that is why I could not find a home there. I am not the one choosing to be American, or Western, over being Christian. I find instead that among other Orthodox I am suspect unless I hate my own country and live as if I’m a member of someone else’s.

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As I look around at the mostly eastern European congregations that are gathered in any Orthodox Church during the Divine Liturgy, I see that it is most often said at least partly in Slavonic, Greek or some other eastern language. It is obvious to me that, for those congregations, their ethnic identity and their being Christian are practically co-terminus. Perhaps that is not entirely an avoidable thing. The Gospel is taken to people who are formed in a particular culture and the unchangeable truths of that good news find expression in ways that make sense to people living in that culture — be it Russian, or Greek, — or American, or British, or Chinese, or whatever.

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I do not now belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church because I am not culturally Eastern, and I am unwilling and unable to live my life as a pretend Russian, or a pretend Greek. The faults of the Western Churches are the faults of Western culture. Eastern Orthodox Churches suffer from the faults of Eastern cultures. In the words of John Henry Newman, ”the Nation drags down its Church to its own level.”
 Simply put, I was born and raised in the West so I am a Western Christian, I don’t think that I have any real option to be anything other than that. So I have returned to trying to live out the Apostolic Faith as best I can in the place in which I was raised and live. The Eastern Orthodox world, despite the many things that it has to commend it, nevertheless has it’s own profound problems and running to it is not the answer to all that is wrong in the Western Church.

146 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 June 2010 3:37 pm

    What about Western Rite Orthodoxy?

    • 5 June 2010 9:32 pm

      It has seemed to me that the Western-Rite Churches are thought of as being an exception, something allowed for a time. My impression has been that in the long term the intention is that the Western-Rite Churches will eventually use the same rite that everyone else does. Isn’t that the case?

      • 8 November 2013 11:05 pm

        Not that I know of. They are fully legitimate as is. The Church is the Church, neither Eastern nor Western.

  2. Andrew permalink
    7 June 2010 12:12 am

    When I began my journey to Orthodoxy I encountered much opposition from the evil one. I remember many strong thoughts and impulses that stirred inside me and sought to keep me from the Church. After becoming a Catachumen and studying Orthodoxy, I learned about spiritual warfare. I warmly remember that sacred day when I was Chrismated and spit on the devil. It helps to spit on the devil often .

    I am American and converted after the age of 50. I believe that cradle Orthodox are blessed to be born Orthodox. They are my Brothers and Sisters in Christ and I am very thankful to be a part of this Church family. Orthodoxy is a journey and I encourage you to stay and help our Church welcome new members and love the old members.

    • 7 June 2010 3:58 pm

      Thank you for your comment and the spirit in which it was given.

      I tend to think that if the evil one was at work in the experience, and not just my own faulty decision, then it would be in his tempting me to cast aside a fruitful ministry where I was at and lead my family somewhere where I was not wanted and could find no home.

  3. Chelie permalink
    8 June 2010 2:34 pm

    It sounds as though the Orthodox parish you were in was not open to adult catechumens. Shame on them. Please please please do not go back to the apostasy that is the Anglican communion on account of one Orthodox parish’s sins. We must be persistent in our search for Christ. You have found Him in the Orthodox faith, as you so eloquently described. He is there, underneath the rubble of ethnic pride and old wounds.

    It was difficult for me to convert at age 42 from the Episcopal Church (I was born and raised in it, my father a priest and my grandfather a missionary and church planter) but I could not let my comfort in the western rite allow me to deny the truth of the Orthodox faith. Don’t let the hardness of men’s hearts keep you from Him.

    • 20 July 2010 11:41 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I truely appreciate the spirit in which it is offered. My experience though was not with just one parish. I spent a year at one of the OCA seminaries, had been ordained a deacon, and was anticipating being ordained a priest, when I reached the point where I couldn’t go along with it anymore.

      By commenting on my post here you have done more to respond pastorally towards me than did either the priest of the parish to which I was attached, or the Metropolitan. Neither of whom answered the heartfelt letters that I wrote to them when my family and I left the Orthodox Church.

      I pray you well as you continue in the way that you believe is best. I still admire a great deal about the Orthodox theology, as you can tell from my original post. It’s just that after the things that I have seen and experienced in the OCA, I cannot stay. We feel as if we have escaped a very unhealthy and abusive institution.

      • Ilya Zhitomirskiy permalink
        8 June 2013 11:51 pm

        What about the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia or the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in North America? Both are organizations that have significant convert presences, both in their hierarchy and clergy and in the parishes as laypeople. If you still are a clergyman, you could apply for transfer to one of those jurisdictions. Metropolitan Phillip of AOCANA was instrumental in receiving the evangelical converts from the so-called Evangelical Orthodox Church. ROCOR has expanded its missionary efforts into the Southern United States, Haiti, Pakistan, and many other areas. There may be a significant ethnic flavor in ROCOR, but there are a number of parishes, such as Holy Apostles Church in Beltsville, that serve entirely in English and are mostly composed of converts. I don’t think that it was right that you were pressured into joining the clergy shortly after converting. A more experienced bishop would have you go through catechism and helped you find your legs as an Orthodox Christian before sending you to seminary. If you have left the Orthodox Church entirely, consider visiting the churches of both the jurisdictions that I have mentioned. Hopefully, you will be able to be received by confession (because you were previously chrismated as an Orthodox Christian). I would suggest that you read Fr. John Whiteford’s website, because he is a convert to Orthodoxy and a priest, and he also left a pastoral role in a Protestant church. Hopefully this helps.

      • 11 November 2013 12:45 am

        Thank you for your post. Orthodoxy has much that is rotten in it. I think we Orthodox would do well to admit that up front and until we do, we will continue to lose more people because of it. Denial does not help Church growth. Furthermore, this is not an OCA specific thing. In fact, depending on where one lives in America, the OCA will appear less ethno-centric and its bishops less power hungry, etc. The point is, the problems you noted would be found in any other jurisdiction. Let us Orthodox please be clear about this. Please! If we are going to claim a spirituality of humility and truth then let’s embody it. I have found the OCA and one diocese in particular to be a refuge, but I can see how you and others do not and I think every sane Orthodox priest would admit as much, though most probably only in private. I am sorry to have lost you as a potential ally. I think Orthodoxy is going through a difficult time, a time of engaging modernity in the West in a real, serious way, and it is a struggle that will not be easy nor quick.

      • 11 November 2013 11:53 am

        OCAPriest, Thank you. I truly appreciate the helpful contribution you’ve made to the comments here.

      • Aleksandra permalink
        11 November 2013 12:03 pm

        I do not know that Orthodox has any more “rotten” than other religions but I found the OCA to have major problems. If you are looking for the spiritual path, you will find it in the Orthodox churches with an environment that does not hinder you. I have never found that in most of the OCA churches I have attended in many different states. There is one in Texas which is very nice for vespers but come Sunday morning, it turns into quite a circus.

  4. 3 December 2010 4:38 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. This definitely helps me. I am a fairly new Episcopalian and much of what I have read about Orthodoxy resonates with me. So good to hear how you have processed this.

  5. Bella permalink
    31 March 2011 1:46 am

    I realize this post was written almost a year ago, but I just happened upon it and wanted to comment.

    I, too, left lay ministry due to burn out for the perceived stability in the OCA. I attended several parishes due to a move and found most of them to be very ethnically-oriented. The one I stayed at the longest was made up of mostly converts and had a completely different feel; a wonderful group of people who took their relationship with Christ very seriously. But in the end, the easterness of what they consider holy tradition is turning me back towards the west. The novelty has worn off and I can no longer accept that Jesus wants me to kiss icons or the priest’s hand. If they would just distinguish between customs and biblical spiritual practices, I would stay. I probably will retain my love for most of the theology, but the “add ons” have become unsupportable. I know I will never make it as a “good orthodox.”

    I hope you have made peace with your decision and all is well with you and your family. These are gut-wrenching decisions, are they not?

    • 2 August 2011 7:15 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to share a little about your own experience. It was a difficult decision for myself and my family to make, particularly since we had given up so much to become Orthodox. I don’t regret returning to the Anglican Communion at all though. I still love the orthodox faith found in the church fathers, but we did not experience much love in the life of the OCA.

  6. Patrick Stephan permalink
    9 July 2012 7:31 pm

    I am an American convert to Orthodoxy as well. I converted in an all-Russian parish of ROCOR out in the Bay Area. It was six months before anyone talked to me. Later, I learned that many are wary of Americans because throughout the 60s and 70s especially, they’d seen more than their fair share of the “crazy convert” phenomenon: Americans with emotional or psychological damage, searching for some ideal form of existential authenticity in exotic ritual and asceticism. When I converted, you could still see this phenomenon here and there. Some would dress like 19th century peasants, stand with prayer ropes visible during the services, grow Dostoyevsky-style beards, and act super-correct in church — making bows all the time or performing unnecessary prostrations. I asked my Godfather about this — he’s Russian — and he said in the 60s and 70s, some of these persistent converts were brought into the church only to eventually leave it altogether. To Russians who had family members that literally died for the Faith and had been through the furnace of martyrdom after the Communist takeover, this was a serious matter: receiving people into the Church only to have them leave Orthodoxy a year or two later was harmful to both converts and the Church. It was, for them, a sin against the Faith.

    My reason for being there was, I hope, decidedly different. I had read enough about Church history to be interested in Orthodoxy. I knew a tiny bit of Russian (but nothing about the jurisdictional divisions) to think a Russian church was where I should begin. Eventually, I was welcomed into the parish. Having grown up around my fair share of immigrants in St. Louis, I wasn’t put off by the idiosyncrasies of some of the parishioners. Many of their families survived the Bolsheviks first, the Nazis second, then the upheaval of relocating to China, South America, then America. Who was I to judge them and their ideas? Besides, I have people within my own family that are “anti-American” and bigoted in their own ways — to each his own. What I came to church for was the Faith. I’m now in an OCA parish because I like the priest and the parishioners (who are all converts), though I’m not that crazy about the OCA hierarchy, the New Calendar, and some of the ecumenical/New Agey loopiness one finds here and there in the OCA. Again, it’s the Faith. I’ve also encountered people in the Orthodox church of such profound spirituality and love that I’ve NEVER encountered in any other Christian confession.

    So, I’m a bit surprised that you’ve found your way back to Anglicanism after complaining about ethnocentricism in the Orthodox church. It sounds as if you’re guilty of the same thing — confounding the Church with culture. Perhaps you went into Orthodoxy with too many expectations or preconceptions? All the best, regardless —

  7. 9 July 2012 10:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad that it has worked out for you. Your attempt at a “gotcha” in the last paragraph shows that you must not have read my entire post though. I did cover that already.

    • Patrick Stephan permalink
      10 July 2012 4:27 am

      I did read your entire post — more than a few times, actually. And there’s no “gotcha” in what I wrote above. Just my thoughts and impressions regarding your story. My culture, I suppose, is Southern as my ancestors came out of Georgia, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. I was raised Baptist surrounded by Catholics growing up in St. Louis. If Eastern Orthodoxy is anything, it ain’t Southern or Baptist. Even so, it’s the only Christian confession where when I’ve walked into a church and prayed, I felt like I was in the Church of the Apostles. That’s part of why I stayed — it sure wasn’t for the cooking or “hospitality” —

  8. 10 July 2012 1:09 am

    I am Indian, was baptized in a Ukrainian Orthodox Church, am a member of a Russian Orthodox church, frequently visit the local Antiochian Orthodox churches, and my spiritual father is at a Greek Orthodox Monastery…..so it’s a cultural mish-mash – and I certainly am not ethnically fitting into any of these churches. But when I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, the only reason for it was that I believed, truly believed, that this was the church established on earth by Jesus Christ. I knew going in there might be all kinds of difficulties – not only the usual fallenness of others and myself, but also being culturally and ethnically different – and sometimes hurt and rejected because of it. Meanwhile, my family and friends were extremely upset that I was becoming baptized into this new religion. It was a struggle – and it still is a struggle as the cross itself needs to be contended with. But I was very firm, before getting baptized, that I was there because I truly believed this was the church body Christ founded, regardless of what the devil might try to work within it – and that I was staying, no matter what happened, no matter what anyone from within or without tried to do or say to me, whether it was pleasant or not, no matter how hard it would be. But I know that I am staying. And I find so many wonderful people within the churches I visit as well! Far more positive experiences with the community than negative. But most of all, I just want to be a part of what I believe to be the true church…and I’m determined not to let the Devil part me from it – it’s the sacramental life and the prayer life, the spiritual growth, that I am here for. Regardless of who else in the church may rise or fall – I’m in it for Christ, and I’m in it for me.

    I just think of poor St. John Chrysostom, how much persecution he suffered by the hand of church leaders…and yet he did not reject the church, even when he died from the persecution, the words on his lips: “Glory to God for all things.” So then who am I to abandon the church for….anything?

    With that said – I don’t think everyone joins the church for those same reasons. And perhaps this experience is just what you needed to realize what your reasons are for seeking out a particular church. It is important to see the underlying truth, and this was uncovered for you. I hope that you are very fulfilled where you are now. But….I must say that I am sorry for the problems you experienced among the people….and I really wished that you had stayed in order to be the change that you wanted to see there – the church needs people like you to be brave and long-suffering and patient, and to keep witnessing truth and love when you see falsehood or hate or ignorance being propagated. I am in no way minimizing what you have experienced in the OCA. I have never been a member of the OCA, and I have heard of lots of unhappiness and problems at the local OCA church where I live, too – I don’t know if that’s a coincidence or if this is a widespread thing. But whatever the case is….I remain convinced that the church needs you…

  9. Twinpa permalink
    15 October 2012 12:07 am

    I’m a struggling convert myself and would love to talk more in depth with you. If you have and are willing to talk, please send me a little note via email, thanks!

  10. Boris permalink
    25 November 2012 5:28 pm

    “I have found that I need to return to the Anglican Communion because I am culturally a Western Christian, and I see more clearly now than I did two years ago that the Western culture I was raised in is an inseparable part of who I am.”

    Don’t just write that. Say that also in front of Christ, and I’m curious how he would look at you in this moment…

    • 26 November 2012 1:58 am

      That excerpt, from something I wrote almost two and a half years ago, is phrased a little more awkwardly than I would like, but I stand by it. It’s a simple fact for everyone that the culture we are raised in is a foundational part of who we are and how we see the world. There is nothing extraordinary being said there.

      I must thank you though. Reading your comment is a trip down memory lane. It’s tone smells strongly of that peculiarly Russian Orthodox mixture of ignorance, bullying, self righteousness and judgmentalism.

      What an inspiring witness you are of the love of Christ.

      Yes indeed.

      • Boris permalink
        1 December 2012 9:41 pm

        Have I really offended you with my last statement? If it’s so, then please forgive me. That wasn’t my intention. I wrote that, because for me culture is not a reason to leave the church, and to point that up, I wrote that short sentence, therefore it affects aggressive to persons. It was my fault. So I don’t judge you, it just tried you show my opinon.

        But now, I hope we can have a discussion.

        How many Jews didn’t convert because of the big, new culture change by teachings of Jesus and the apostles (Paul)?! Christianity is a total other culture than Judaism.

        How could so many Jews leave their old culture and join the christian one if “it’s a simple fact for everyone that the culture we are raised in is a foundational part of who we are and how we see the world.”??

        Serbs, Russians, Greeks,etc. who hardly have visited the church in their life, but then start to go to church(like me), what will they find there? A russian, serbian, greek culture? No. Just because the liturgy is celebrated in their language, that doesn’t mean that it has something to do with their culture. For such a person the church life will be also a culture shock. It’s a learning process. It’s a struggle. I really don’t know, God knows, how strong and long had you been struggling with your “culture identity problem” in prayers. Somebody in the church have to struggle with “music identity problem”, another with “language idenity problem”, etc. Somebody need for his identity music, other persons music or couture , or people like you- culture…

        But what do you mean exactly with cultural differences? Can you explain it more exactly please?

        I’m thankful, that you make it clear that this was you experience with OCA and not with the orthodox church in general. But excuse for my curiosity, why hadn’t you changed the jurisdiction, for example antiochan or go to an orthodox parish which has many converted Americans and the liturgy is celebrated in english? And how long had you been orthodox?

        Forgive that I cannot yet understand you completely. Maybe I had to experience the same situations which you was undergoing…

      • 13 November 2013 2:35 am

        I feel this may fall on deaf ears…but this is a message for those who feel that culture is so important – that means you, but also certain Orthodox who feel it is more about ethnicity or nationalism than Christ. Culture is an *earthly* thing. When we are raised from the dead, are we going to be divided up by culture or ethnicity? I expect that will not be the case. So in Christ, we must put elevate an eternal perspective over the earthly. But when you are doing that for others and others are not doing that for you, it will be hard – requiring lots of sacrifice. Christ gave his life for me, so I will sacrifice to be in His church. This is because I believe it is the one, true, church – precious above anything. If you do not believe in the uniqueness of the Orthodox church in this way, then it won’t matter. I don’t say this to accuse you, but just to bring to light the point that stands out most for me about this whole post/situation.

    • Dale permalink
      2 October 2013 1:05 am

      The real issue is not that an individual is western, but that the Byzantine Church refuses to accept anyone who is not eastern, or willing to become a pretend easterner. It is this lack of catholicity that is the issue. How can one possibly accept as the one true church a denomination that is regulated to one ethno/cultural tradition? This hatred of the Byzantines for any non-Byzantine tradition is not limited to the west, they have happily destroyed all non-Byzantine eastern traditions within their denominational borders as well.

      One may of course, reply that the Anglican Church is ethnic as well, but there is a difference, we do not pretend to the be the one and only church.

      • 8 November 2013 10:45 pm

        Thank you for taking the time to comment. I think that what you have written is true.

  11. 25 June 2013 7:32 pm

    I recently read your post on why you are not an EO. It was an honest evaluation that every Orthodox Christian needs to read. This is your spiritual journey and you are not afraid to tell the truth of your experience. That is refreshing.

    My family has had experience with the GOA. Our experience can be found at http://www.pokrov.org by placing the word ‘Nevins’ in the search field.

    There are many other things I could speak to regarding our experience and why we experienced it. Our experience will speak for itself and it is undeniable what happened and why that it took place.

    The GOA is in a unprecedented crisis in America. I hope our experience sheds light on that crisis and that it will inform, protect and warn others of the danger.

    There is no such thing as a perfect church. If I ever found one I would not join it for my sin ruining its perfection. This is not about perfectionism. That only leads to religious works, religious legalism and religious performance. However, it is about what is a functional, safe and healthy church. It is about spiritual abuse, authoritarian power and control, systemic corruption, denial, cultism, evil, shaming and a lack of transparency and accountability at the highest levels of the GOA. This is about religious addiction and religious codependency on a massive scale.

    I personally believe the GOA has reached the point of no return. That its issues are circular without solution for the problem itself being applied to the problem as the solution. That only compounds the problem as it insures no solution is ever found. That is irrational and the outcome of the GOA in the real world is now proved to be corrupt, failed, incompetent, irrelevant, abusive, cultic and dying. The outcome does not match the claim of this being Gods only alone right and one true church and salvation.

    The GOA claim is really stating that this church is Gods spiritually correct objective standard of Gods measure of what a true and right church is and that it is the comparison of all other churches to it. The only real bottom line comparison is Jesus Christ in the Gospels and Christ did not come to us as the GOA does. The GOA is not the comparison of other churches to it as the standard. If that is the standard then Gods values, ethics and morality have radically changed since Christ walked among us.

    I remind the EO that those Christ confronted in the Gospels also believed that they were Gods only true and right worship, belief, traditions, theology, salvation, structure and system and methodology. Then Christ compared them to Himself in such places as John 8:31-59. That is where the system of Christ is compared to their system. Those are system verses and Christ exposed the truth about their system. Every EO apologetic defense of their structure and system can found there. All of them.

    All churches struggle with problems but not all churches are completely systemically corrupted. Christ exposed the systemic shame basis of those He confronted. The shame based church is not a grace based church. If you do not know what a shame based church is you can research it by a Goggle search. It will be quite revealing. I also like to call this a toxic faith church. You can also find clarification by Goggle search as to what a toxic faith church is. It will be very concerning to those who find themselves in such a church. If you are an EO I would suggest that you compare the findings to the jurisdiction you are involved with. Comparison is the key. Christ was comparison in the Gospel. He is the standard. He confronted toxic faith.

    Christ’s confrontation in the Gospels stands as a warning to all of us, to all churches, to not become what Christ confronted or there will be serious spiritual and eternal consequences. No Christian or church is immune no matter who or what they claim to be. Those Christ confronted did not listen. They were self righteous in who and what they believed they were. Christ told them who they really were. He exposed the delusional state they were in by viewpoint of themselves compared to Him. The more delusional the church the more crazy making is that church to those who are not in that delusional state and that have an issue to deal with in regards to such a church.

    The GOA rises and falls on its salvation, on its truth in claim. Either its salvation is the solution or its salvation is something other than what it claims to be. Our salvation is not powerless unless we hand the power in our salvation over to that which would render it powerless so that religious dictatorship power and control can rule over us, so that the unholy power of powerless lies in evil can rule over us with impunity. That is not Jesus Christ in the Gospels. He met us at our top down authoritarian rule abused bottom to raise up and out of that by transformation in personal relationship with God. He did not come to us as corrupt authoritarian power and control that wants to power press push down and mold us into its image and that is what has happened to the GOA. It is molded into corruption and corruption does not supply a solution to corruption. This corruption is all about power and control in religious dictatorship rule that is not at all conciliar.

    Authoritarian molding is not Christs transformation. There are clear differences between the two. It is wise to know the differences. It is the difference between true freedom in Christ and bondage by evil.

    The GOA Archdiocesan Clergy Laity Council (leadership council) is powerless to stop the corruption causing the corrupt and failed state of this church. So goes the leadership council and so goes the state of the GOA. This powerlessness turns the leadership council into pathetic religious codependency that serves the hierarchy by protecting it from transparency and accountability. The rules that rule over the leadership council are don’t think for yourself, don’t feel, don’t talk, don’t look and don’t ask hard questions.

    God the Holy Spirit is not powerless in the face of evil and its corruption. Only belief in an evil lie can render the power of the Holy Spirit powerless in us. The only power evil has is the lie believed. When the lie is believed it intimidates, coerces, abuses and threatens. That is spiritual bondage and that is the state of the GOA. It has been in this state for a very long time. This state of church renders the church into a carnal spiritually immature failure.

    The God the leadership council serves determines the GOA outcome in the practical reality of the real world. Jesus Christ lived in the practical reality of the real world. He was not delusional about himself in the claim He made about Himself. He was objective, truthful and rational in His comparisons in the Gospels. He did not mince words, play religious political power and control games or subject people to spiritual abuse to bring them into conformity with Him. He did not come to us a corrupt authoritarian power and control that uses and abuses us to its corrupt means to its corrupt end. He came to us as personal relationship in humility and sacrificial service that paid a huge price to set us free from is taking place in the GOA. Christ confronted corruption and He held it transparent and accountable and that corruption murdered Him for it.

    The resurrection of Christ defeated this evil. Christ is radical paradigm shift. He was revolt to revolution to reform, to change, to innovation, to transformation. He simply paradigm shifted right past them and left them to die in their left behind paradigm. If the EO believe they are above this they are believing a delusional lie about themselves.

    Let this be clear, evil murders to get and stay in corrupt power and control. He first lies to you and when the lie is believed he owns you and once he owns you he destroys you. He will turn a church into a liar, thief and murderer. His goal is to turn it into a cult that bows to him. He does it through the leadership. When a church is ruled over by the lie of evil he turns the church into his corrupt character and his character is church murder, the murder of Christ’s rule in the church. This is obvious to the spiritually mature when this takes place. The spiritually immature allow it to take place, they enable it and are accessories to it. They are mind controlled manipulated puppet pawns being played on evils diabolical strings. They are easily rendered powerless by submission to evil that coerces, intimidates, abuses and threatens them to keep them in conformity to his will and not the will of Holy Spirit.

    The last thing evil in rule power and control wants is to be held transparent and accountable with consequences. He does not want the whole truth and nothing but the whole truth told and then acted upon against his evil. All of this makes me wonder if the GO understand the difference between good and evil. When evil replaces good by deception those that believe the deception believe evil is the good of God. If this is ingrained by indoctrination and made generational the problem solution is very difficult to find and apply. It takes complete corporate repentance and leadership leads the repentance. If leadership does not lead the repentance the church is over time turned into a cult. A cult is powerless to stop its corruption in cultism. A cult is idolatry of evil that it believes it is somehow not evil.

    Their is an excellent book called, People of the Lie by Scott Peck. I would recommend that all Orthodox read this book. This book will reveal how People of the Lie can turn a church into The Church of the Lie. Corruption is all about power and control. That is what is at the core of corruption. Evil is at the core of corruption and evil corrupts by lies that take over power and control of a church. That is the state of the GOA and its leadership council. It is not under the authority of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and it does have the power of the Holy Spirit to change its corrupt and failed state. That is the point of no return. That is a cult of corruption. Some would call it a Christian cult.

    Ashley Nevins

  12. seba permalink
    29 August 2013 3:32 pm

    The problem of orthodoxy is exatly it’s “eastern-es”. Orthodox churches were deeply rooted into the soil they were planted on as you can see in europe with armenian church, greek church, russian church, etc., when you try to take for example russian orthodoxy and plan it in america, it simply won’t work because it NEEDS to be american orthodox church, completely new body of the same church, instead of transplantation which results in americo-russian church. English church before the roman “intervention” around 500-600(?) was one of those independent churches.

    Don’t mind toxic people trying to proselytize by badmouthing you into guild or shame because you left their church, if they only knew this tactic was one of the earliest things to condemn by church fathers lol….

  13. 25 October 2013 7:49 pm

    “There is nothing keeping me from believing as I do and being Anglican.”

    I am unfamiliar with Anglicanism, but I thought the Thirty-Nine Articles were more or less Reformed. Many of the views that you hold (I hold as well, though Presbyterian), would seem to fall outside the boundaries set by the Articles. Can you provide some insight on this?

  14. Nick permalink
    7 November 2013 5:57 pm

    Andy,
    There was a diversity of theological influences in the development of the 39 articles. There certainly was a strong reformed “moment” in their development. But there was also a strong patrisitc moment through a theologian like Lancelot Andrews that looks very Orthodox in its soteriology and ecclesiolgy (Lancelot held to something like theosis in his soteriology). So its hard to pin down ‘a’ or ‘the’ theological tradition most influential in the 39 articles. Its strength is its weakness. The Anglican Communion allows for a wide range of theological conceptualization based around the liturgy and the prayers with a high view of scripture not as nuda scriptura which the reformed fell into but prima scriptura.

  15. Aleksandra permalink
    8 November 2013 4:49 pm

    I am sorry for your suffering. Please keep searching for the way, the truth, and the light. My family has gone through things that I could never imagine but I know that the true Orthodox church is the foundation of Christ. It was not easy for Christ and will definitely not be easy for any that truly follow Him. He says seek and you shall find. It requires much fasting and prayer. Please forgive me if I do anything but lead you to the truth.

    • 8 November 2013 9:04 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I am glad if your experience has been better than mine.

      • Aleksandra permalink
        11 November 2013 12:14 pm

        Never said that my experience was better than yours. In fact, I have never seen any family that has gone through the suffering and trials that we have–not to say there are none. As I said before, the Way the Truth and the Life never said we would not experience difficulities and trials and He also said there is only one way to the Father and only one Church. It cannot be divided even though the evil one will try–he will never take me away from the one true church. This is my foundation. There is no other one. Maybe it would help you to read the stories of the people that have suffered under the KGB churches and are still suffering under them. They did not give up their faith!

  16. 8 November 2013 6:11 pm

    For what it’s worth, please allow me to say how sorry I am for all the coldness and dysfunction you faced in the Orthodox church. I am the wife of an Orthodox priest, and I am very cognizant of the fact that all the correct doctrine in the world does not excuse us from our primary calling as Christians to love. Loving you and your family was our first duty before God, and we failed you in that. I am sincerely sorry.
    “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Cor 13: 1-3

  17. 8 November 2013 8:19 pm

    I left the Episcopal Church and ordination because it ceased to be Christian and after being told that it was part of the communion of churches discovered that was not true. The Orthodox Church offered teachings of the ancient Church, the writings of some of the most brilliant theologians through the history of the Faith, and the authentic sacraments as they were meant to be understood and applied. The Orthodox Western Rite was a better fit for me. Same theology in a Western perspective of liturgics along with ministering to Episcopalians and Roman Catholics and Evangelicals that were looking for the truth. Your testimony is hurtful and unfair to Orthodoxy and systematic of those claiming to serve Jesus Christ and only looking for your own satisfaction. There are mean people on Earth in all walks of life and there are broken souls in the world, but followers of Christ are called to rise above that and be the salt and light. I would suggest you stop blaming Orthodox Christianity and face the fact that you simply preferred an organization that promotes sodomy and abortion as not sinful while they preach paganism and Pelagianism, since you admittedly get on better with that community. With the persecution, sacrifice and devotion the Orthodox Church has shown for two-thousand years, it certainly deserves much better than the shallow opinion you have of it.

    • 8 November 2013 8:37 pm

      You know nothing about me, not even the things that you could easily learn by reading more of this blog, and yet you don’t let lack of knowledge stop you from making assumptions about me.
      Thank you for reminding me why I’m so much better off to have gotten free of that hypocritical, self-righteous, and ethnophyletic group of people I encountered in the OCA. You with your hate are part of the problem.

      • 8 November 2013 9:12 pm

        Sorry, the problem is sin. I am a sinner, and judge nobody else to be a greater one than myself. People that judge others as “haters” might feel that they win political arguments, but merely bring down judgement on themselves. Theophilus was one of those pesky foreigners, and Orthodox. The depth and truth of Orthodoxy is far greater than one man could ever comprehend if he was seriously searching, and to judge Christ’s Church by the shallow and negative comments of sinners misses the mark completely. To use that limited experience to pronounce Orthodoxy not as the Bride of Jesus Christ as led by the Holy Spirit but driven by that prejudice of men is hatred, self-described Θεόφιλος. Έχω δώσει τη ζωή μου για να υπηρετούν τον Χριστό στην Εκκλησία Του και προσεύχονται για τους ανόητους που θα χρησιμοποιήσουν positio τους για την καταδίκη ό, τι δεν χρειάζεται καν καταλάβει.

      • 8 November 2013 9:31 pm

        ἐντολὴν καινὴν δίδωμι ὑμῖν ἵνα ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους, καθὼς ἠγάπησα ὑμᾶς ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους. ἐν τούτῳ γνώσονται πάντες ὅτι ἐμοὶ μαθηταί ἐστε, ἐὰν ἀγάπην ἔχητε ἐν ἀλλήλοις.

  18. Edward A. Hara permalink
    8 November 2013 9:59 pm

    This is a very interesting post with interesting commentary below. I have had a similar experience in the Byzantine Catholic (Ruthenian) Church in America. The people in this church are from the Ukraine and Central European area of the world. As such, I have no ethnic identification with them. I was raised a Westerner and was out of my place.

    I began to study the apostolic faiths after my smug Calvinism was challenged online by Catholics who really knew their faith (instead of the usual ignorant pew slugs I had encountered all my life — sorry, I know that sounds harsh, but for a Protestant, it is not impressive when people can’t defend what they believe). As I was studying, I met a ROCOR priest and began to attend his Saturday Vespers services. I loved the beauty I was confronted with, from the architecture of the little wooden church to the icons to the lovely Rus chant. It was feeding my soul.

    But as I studied, I sincerely felt that there could only be one head of the Church on earth as their was in heaven. Broken-hearted, I resigned myself to being a Roman Catholic. One night, a friend told me about the Eastern Catholic Church in our town. I became a member a year later, April 14, 2001.

    Sadly, my experience with the parish was much the same as that of the poster. The old timers stayed to themselves, referring to us converts as “boat people.” It was from the other converts, people like me who managed to ignore the ethnicity in the church and concentrate on the beauty of the worship, that I received the best of Christian love and welcome.

    In 2003 I was at a conference in Gettysburg PA. Between sessions, I engaged, Fr. Thomas Loya in conversation. Somehow, the state of the church came up. Fr. Loya looked me dead in the eyes and said:

    “If the Byzantine church in America doesn’t learn to evangelize, it will be gone in 50 years.”
    “Why?” I asked, somewhat incredulous.
    “Ed, look around you the next time you visit a parish. What do you see? Old babas, no men, and no young people with children. The church is an ethnic ghetto and it is dying.”

    And he was and is right. From a high of 200,000 some 50 years ago, the Byzantine Ruthenians have barely 60,000 members. Parishes have been closed due to lack of support. The idea of doing what the cults do — going out in pairs to meet people where they live — is held up to ridicule.

    Very sad. I love the church and the beauty and I have chosen to ignore the things that are going on. I have been punished for speaking up against certain abuses I saw, and I still continue to attend because the Liturgy feeds my soul.

    The churches in America that do not warmly welcome converts and seekers, and who do not go out and bring Christ to the unlearned and unchurched, presenting an intelligent defense of the faith and the love of Christ to those in need, will be gone in the future.

    And this country will be that much poorer for their absence.

    Brother Ed

    • 8 November 2013 10:09 pm

      Thank you for commenting. What you describe sounds very familiar to me. I agree with you that this country will be poorer for their absence. I’d say that we are already impoverished on account of the poor witness they are making to the sublime theology for which these churches have principle guardianship.

      • Edward A. Hara permalink
        8 November 2013 10:12 pm

        What is most interesting to me is that in January I was in Houston TX and visited the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham. It is quite beautiful. I was raised Episcopalian and I felt very much back home, even after almost 50 years away from the Anglican Liturgy.

        My wife wants to move to Houston, and if we do, I am going to be sorely tried between this beautiful Liturgy, which is in full communion with Rome, and the Byzantines, which are also dying down there.

        **sigh**

        Never easy, is it?

  19. xfinenib permalink
    8 November 2013 10:18 pm

    O my dear God. This could have been me 25 years ago. Disgusted with modern Rome, I was chrismated by a Moscow Patriarchate parish. Felt very unwelcome. The pastor was a convert who also converted to being Russian. From there, I tried a Ukrainian Parish. The interior was painted in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. How’d ya like to walk in on Sunday and have the whole congregation turn around to see who entered? No-one spoke. From there I joined ROCOR—the Church Abroad, who insisted on re-baptising and re-chrismating me. I travelled 50 miles one way to go to church. No-one would speak to me in English. To make a long story short, I went to the same Seminary in PA., as the author. Awful place. The maintenance engineer was the dean of students. Previously, was denied entrance to the UO Seminary, because I wasn’t Ukrainian, but could speak it. Finally, I left, and haven’t set foot in an Orthodox Church since. I am only relating a few of the extremely alienating, un-Christian, unwelcoming experiences I went through. One must not only convert to Orthodoxy, but also convert to that particular ethnic group, and even after that, you’re still an outsider. Stay away, is my advice.

    • 11 November 2013 11:44 am

      Thank you for sharing a little of your experience. I’ve found out that there a a great many of us who have had experiences similar to this.

  20. Brother Michael St. Jacques permalink
    8 November 2013 11:48 pm

    Thank you for this sharing! It is thoughtful, informative and charitable.
    I will be praying with and for you and your family as you continue your journey with and in our Beloved Brother and Lord Jesus! Multos anos!

  21. Robert permalink
    8 November 2013 11:49 pm

    Well, being born, baptized, and raised Roman Catholic, I found the Byzantine Catholic faith at a young age, since we had recognized that they were also part of the Communion of the Holy See, and that they had a different tradition. Now, that could be very much different, since Catholic is Catholic, and you can always go back to Roman tradition without jumping through a lot of hoops, if one doesn’t agree with the Byzantine Theology, but for some reason, I find myself fondly deeply rooted practicing in the Ruthenian tradition, and never wanting to let go. Originally, I was introduced to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic tradition, but was quickly suggested to try the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church.

    Although I do see where you are going with your story, even though it’s from Episcopalian to Orthodoxy, then back, which requires a lot of sacrifice and having to be converted and reconverted. I had considered full-out Orthodoxy, but thought that would not exactly be the right thing to do at the end of the day, but still I was wanting to experience, and become an active part of Eastern Christianity, while still remaining Catholic, although it’s been said that it is “Orthodox in Communion with Rome and the Holy Father.” Either way, the Ruthenian Byzantine Tradition has always accepted many different nationalities, and the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church has even warmed up to those who weren’t Ukrainian to join their tradition as well. Either way, Byzantine Catholicism is a lot more accepting than Orthodoxy when it comes to one wanting to experience Eastern Christianity, when it comes to finding a Church to convert to, since you can always switch between Roman and Greek Catholicism, as long as you are in Communion with Rome, as often as you wish.

  22. Susan Peterson permalink
    9 November 2013 2:18 am

    As you have begun to discover, all churches being made up of humans, all have their serious flaws. I think if you really believed that Orthodoxy is The Church you would have stayed Orthodox and just found the least uncomfortable place to be Orthodox in.

    However, one thing you don’t mention is that there is another way besides Anglicanism to be a western Christian in an apostolic church. The previous poster mentions it. I wonder why you didn’t consider becoming Catholic?

    I am a Roman Catholic (convert from basically, no religion, with a brief stay in Anglicanism first, was baptized there at age 20) since 1972. I have been attending a Ruthenian parish for about 6 years. They were slow to welcome me, not unfriendly but not especially friendly either, until I had been going there about a year; then they adopted me. I move back and forth pretty easily between the two rites now. (With occasional visits to Ordinariate parishes to get my fix of Anglican style liturgy and music!)

    I think we have a lot to offer. Besides, I believe we are The Church. If Anglicanism every pales again, please consider us!

    In Christ,
    Susan Peterson

  23. Teddy permalink
    9 November 2013 4:29 am

    Your beautifull. Your theology belongs where God has found you now. So that you can be a beacon to those around you. The Orthodox Church that didn’t want you , doesn’t obviously feel it needs you – we have the fathers after all which we choose to ignore. Preach to those who will listen, your reward will come from God not, comfortable idiots. Bravo to you brother or sister. Pray for us self righteous ones. No sarcasm. God did not come for the self righteous. You have the right spirit, you will not be judged by God on the letter of which jurisdiction you belong to but the spirit in your heart of true love for God and man through the Godman. Keep going.

  24. 9 November 2013 5:33 pm

    I am sorry you felt rejected by the orthodox church. Russians do have a cold way of dealing with everything, not only religion. You should try serbian orthodoxy, or romanian orthodoxy, but remenber, you only see what you trully want to see. If you are looking for love, compasion and understanding, you will get that. Remember God is love, but the people are not. We were created to become perfect, but yet we are still subject to the devil’s work. All the best to you and your family.

  25. Franco permalink
    9 November 2013 10:14 pm

    Truly was my experience of Orthodoxy as well. It was more about preserving ethnic expression than the faith of the Apostles. I returned to my Church.

  26. 10 November 2013 12:28 am

    I fully understand you dilemma with the Eastern Orthodox as I too have traveled that same road much in the same manner suffering greatly with the dysfunctional Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia.

    In quite retrospect I might suggest you look toward the Old Roman Catholic Church, Archdiocese of the United States of America. There things quietly happening there that may be of interest to you. Robert+

  27. Cyril permalink
    10 November 2013 2:20 am

    As a Coptic christian, I know how ethnocentric we are but we try our hardest to be welcoming and have church be less cultural and more ecclesiastical, but some of us that grew up there can’t really differentiate until an american says ‘hey why do you do that or say that’ and that’s how we can fix things. if anything we need people that aren’t ethnic to help churches in that sense. The idea doesn’t just end with east vs west but the generations, I feel having an american teaching orthodoxy in a western sense to youth can go a million times better than some random person who can’t even formulate a sentence properly.

  28. Arsany permalink
    10 November 2013 7:04 am

    I’m not trying to judge your decision but don’t you think, it’s like you spent a lot of effort trying to reach the king palace and once you found it and got there already and you actually about to meet the king then you just turn back telling him ” I’m sorry, I know it’s the right palace I been looking for and here you are the king I wanted to meet but sorry I didn’t like your palace doorman”. I do totally agree with your opinion about the effect of culture, but do you think that culture that didnt met yours or a person who wasn’t very welcoming or even anything should keep you away from a faith u have reached to know that it is the correct faith? and I’m sure that it took you a lot of time and researches to get there.

  29. Daniel permalink
    10 November 2013 3:49 pm

    Do you believe: ” The offering of Christ once made is the perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual, and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said that the priests did offer Christ for the quick and the dead to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.” –Article XXXI of the 39 Articles (http://gavvie.tripod.com/39articles/art3.html )

    If you believe it, you shouldn’t be Orthodox. If you deny it, you shouldn’t be Anglican.

    • 11 November 2013 1:24 am

      You do not appear to understand the limited role the the Articles actually play in Anglican theology, or the broadly different ways that Article XXXI has been interpreted through history.

  30. 10 November 2013 8:11 pm

    I am an Orthodox Priest within the Antiochian Archdiocese and I am so sorry for what you have experienced. These things do happen and we as Orthodox always need to be reminded to live to the fullness of our Faith and be who are called to be. When this is not the case we need to call ourselves to repentance.May God continue to be gracious to you in all the days ahead.

  31. Arne permalink
    10 November 2013 8:47 pm

    Forgiveness is contingent on your forgiveness to others. There is no other way to God. But forgiveness through Jesus. Grudges aren’t allowed according to the Lord.

  32. EthiopianTewahdoOrthodox permalink
    11 November 2013 6:45 am

    what’s your take on the presence of our Lord when he feeds us his flesh and blood?

    • 11 November 2013 11:33 am

      I believe that Christ is truly present in the Bread and the Wine (Metousiosis).
      “He was the Word that spake it; He took the bread and brake it; And what that Word did make it; I do believe and take it” – John Donne (Divine Poems. On the Sacrament)

  33. Svetlana permalink
    11 November 2013 8:58 am

    Without being cruel, because the OCA does have its problems- did it surprise you that you were sent to seminary so quickly (thus uprooting your family twice in two years)? I mean, without ignoring that Christians should be welcoming and loving ( and not grudge-holding, prejudice) is it completely fair to lay this at the feet of Orthodoxy? It’s all pretty- impulsive not only your actions, but the Hierarchs that supported you. (Plus, if we’re honest South Canaan and it’s environs are not like the rest of America. And PA is sort of a strange Commonwealth too. So how many levels of culture shock were you negotiating, really?)

    • 11 November 2013 11:22 am

      It was not an impulsive decision, but one that developed over the course of several years. If it had been an impulsive decision do you think that would excuse the corrupt and abusive institution that I have described?

  34. Reverend Father Nicholas Finley permalink
    11 November 2013 12:38 pm

    This article and all the comments are very curious to me, to say the least. I am mostly saddened by them. I am a priest in the OCA and all the anti-OCA comments are most disturbing. I’ve been in the OCA my entire life. My parents converted from Catholicism, and though I’m not going to try to convince anyone that the OCA is paradise, it certainly is not the hell that seems to be described in all the above, at least not to me. I cannot honestly say that I have any inclination to be a part of any other church, western or eastern. My entire extended family is western, but I’m eastern. This is how I was raised, and this is where I’m staying. I am saddened that you had such a difficult time. I pray the Lord will grant you everything that is necessary for salvation. Please pray for me a sinner!

  35. 12 November 2013 3:27 am

    It is a common error to confuse Orthodoxy with the OCA (or ROCOR, or GOA or…). You left one imperfect institution – made imperfect by imperfect human beings, went in search of Orthodoxy,, and encountered…. human beings! But that did not affect the Orthodoxy that they imperfectly preached.

  36. 19 November 2013 9:34 am

    In times of confusion and inner unrest – sincere prayer and if possible fasting are great tools to prepare our hearts to hear the voice of our beloved Christ Jesus over anything especially that pertaining to our eternal salvation. Pray for me – – –

    John

    Unworthy servant in the Coptic Orthodox church

  37. 19 November 2013 5:49 pm

    Theophilus,

    I am sorry to hear about what you experienced, I had been a member of the OCA for 10 years and had pretty much the exact opposite experience to the one you endured. However, where I live currently there are no OCA parishes so we tried the Greek and the Antiochian parishes. We experienced a horror show at these two and after trying to suck it up and make it work for a few years we decided we couldn’t do it anymore. Me and my wife (cradle Orthodox) went to a RC Church for a few months before trying out the local Episcopal Church. It was the best decision we ever made. I hope that God heals your spiritual wounds.

  38. 3 April 2014 11:59 am

    Below is a link to something that I posted today that may be pertinent to the discussion that has gone on here.

    https://lifeondoverbeach.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/mother-thekla-have-you-faced-christ-crucified/

  39. George permalink
    24 April 2014 1:36 am

    I used to be Greek Orthodox, but I am not, anymore. It is not Christian as they claim to be. It is a very corrupt religion that is filled with hypocrises and evilness. All the Greek Orthodox priests are nothing, but phonies and hypocrites. It is no wonder why Greece is a country with very corrupt politicians and very corrupt people. I hate when the Greek government still supports the Greek Orthodox priests and churches through peoples’ tax money.

  40. Fr. Ed Scully permalink
    27 May 2014 6:51 am

    Fr. Thank you for your journey. Like all journeys there are both hills and valleys, smooth paths and rocky ones, twists and turns and straight pathways. I’m an Episcopal priest, and sometimes wonder in who’s Church I am. While I love much in the Orthodox tradition, I, like you, am more grounded in the Western Church tradition. Western Rite Orthodoxy would seem to be a good fit, but I find the form of the liturgy [basically Trent or the 1928 BCP] unsatisfactory. I find that also true about the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil. I grew up in the Roman tradition and was ecstatic when the Mass went to the vernacular and the rubrics simplified.

    So I remain an Episcopal priest, trying to live out the Gospel and preach that to my parish. I find the 1979 BCP the best as it provides a solid Western structure but with flexibility but yet grounded in a solid understanding of the four-fold Holy Eucharist.

    I know we don’t have a perfect church, and from what you and others have written in this blog, neither do they. We are all sinners and we are members of churches that are sinful, yet we, and the very institutions of which we write, are still loved of by Christ.

    Again, thank you, for your journey, and for sharing it with us. Please know that there are others who walk along side of you. Somehow I think this prayer from the 1979 BCP says it so well:

    O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brother. We thank you for giving him to us, his family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage. [In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.]

  41. 5 June 2014 11:21 am

    Perhaps you weren’t ready to become Orthodox and you balked at their non=acceptance of your Anglican sacraments. I am aware of the superiority Orthodox seem to feel over Catholics too. They shouldn’t though, as they are the schismatics.

  42. Jimmy Kobeski permalink
    14 July 2014 4:57 pm

    A very well thought out article on your experience. I too converted from the Episcopal Church to Orthodoxy – specifically the ROCOR – but after about 2 years, returned to my Episcopal Church with few regrets. While the people at my Orthodox Church were very friendly, there was always the feeling that I didn’t totally belong. I got the similar feeling that it was more of an Eastern European club – especially with the use of Slavonic. More importantly, to me at least, was the Divine Liturgy. While I consider it beautiful, I don’t really think it can be traced back to the apostles. From my lay perspective, I think the apostles got together with fellow believers, prayed and shared a meal together, emphasizing Christ’s sacrifice for us and then went out into their daily lives living out Christ’s message in their experiences. While this might sound like an oversimplification of Christianity, I don’t personally believe it needs to be more complex than that. The Divine liturgy and Orthodoxy were more of a strict adherence to form – more focused on rules even to the point of being phariseeical – from my perspective as a teacher, it seems like learning by memorization rather than the hands on approach, which might have worked at one point in history, but not in our present educational system. Similarly, what worked in Christ’s time wasn’t what worked in the time of the Old Testament. The fact that the Episcopal Church can look at what works in our modern society and incorporate it into the church (I.e. women in ministry, inclusion of LGBT) shows, at least for me, that Christianity progresses and changes while keeping Christ’s basic message – His “golden rule.” Is there really anything more important for a Christian? While I am relatively young (in my 30’s), I try and stay well read and informed on religion. It often amuses me that many denominations focus more on words, gestures, practices, meanings, etc. rather than on how to better live out the Golden Rule. I hope I didn’t offend anyone as these are just my opinions and perspective. Come what may, however, I am very glad to have made my permanent faith home in the Episcopal Church.

    • Snow permalink
      14 July 2014 11:53 pm

      You just reduced the entirety of the gospel message to “Jesus said be nice to people.” The gospel message is not the golden rule. It is transformative. We spend our time on this Earth getting ourselves back in alignment with our intended nature, and we cannot accomplish this simply by being nice to people.

      I’ve learned a lot during my three years of spiritual hell. I’ve finally come out the other side of it this past year and rerooted myself inside of Orthodoxy. Mostly what I learned was that my struggles with the church were all centered on me, how I felt, what I liked, didn’t like, what I chose not to accept or not believe. I intentionally looked for reasons to disagree with the church to try to break away from it. Once I stopped all of that, because I was mentally and spiritually exhausted, my struggles began to end and I was able to accept the authority of the church again.

      God doesn’t change, Christ doesn’t change and neither does his message. The changes in the Espicopal church say much about individual desires and social conformity, but they say nothing about Christ or his message of redemption and transformation. And while Christ said that the greatest of the commandments are to love God and your neighbor, He did NOT say that those are the only commandments.

      • Jimmy Kobeski permalink
        15 July 2014 12:54 pm

        Thank you for your comment. I should have written more in my originally posting but it was my first time replying to a blog and I wasn’t sure how much I could write. Also, please remember that I mean no offense to anyone – I am only sharing my viewpoint.

        With that said, I totally agree with you that our existence here is meant to be transformative. God will judge all of us someday based on what we did or didn’t do and if we have been exposed to His message, our goal should be to become more like Him while here on earth in our thoughts, deeds and words. To me, the four gospels are the core of the Christian’s belief. They relate to me the life of our Savior and the message he gave to us. If Jesus spent much of His ministry healing the broken, the sick and the downtrodden, and wanted to show them a better way to live and to believe, shouldn’t we do the same? While the Golden Rule might not be the “end all, be all” of Christ’s message, I believe that by living it in our own lives, we really do end up being “transformed” and prepared for eternity. Doesn’t doing those things make us more like Christ….transform us from the many evil ways of this world to be more like Him?

        Of course faith is the starting point. From our faith, once it has been nurtured and developed, I believe love springs forth. This love is not just in our own hearts between us and God, but also in the actions we take with those around us. When that love…the same kind of love that Jesus showed (focusing on those who need it rather than the well person…who is hard to find since we are all sinners), then I believe we are left with hope for eternal life.

        And while the Gospels do not make up the entirety of the New Testament, I think the remainder of it, found mainly in the epistles, shows how the early church interpreted Christ’s message based on the times they lived in. This can probably be applied to the early church fathers as well who were interpreting and creating the new church here on earth. If the apostles were with us today, or if Jesus was physically and bodily here with us (I am not referring to the Eucharist), where would they spend their time? Would it be in churches where people gather on Sundays or would it be out among the people most in need of receiving that “transformation” in their lives? The poor, the neglected, the lonely, the unwed mother, the arguing married couple heading for divorce, the LGBT population whom He created like everyone else, children who yearn for the basic necessities? They might spend some time in a church, but probably only to move us, the church-goer to get out there and start actually living His message – having been transformed for Christ is the most worthwhile goal but not if we keep it in ourselves.

        When you mention that there are additional rules we must follow, are you referring to the Ten Commandments, which I think most of the world, Christian or not, believe are a basic set of human tenets to follow (whether we humans follow them or not)? Of were you referring to stoning an adulterer to death? An eye for an eye? No meat on Fridays? Saying a certain amount of prayers during the Liturgy for it to be valid? Speaking in a language during Liturgy that people don’t use or know?

        While I feel the Orthodox Churches (as all churches should) do spread the message of “transformation,” I also think the ancient Jews did as well but in their case, as I feel is the case with the Orthodox Church, it is “mostly” an internal transformation with no impetus to carry that transformation into your daily lives. And like the Jews of that time, very focused on rules and procedures (see Pharisees). This is a perfect way for your faith to be anchored down like a boat anchor, which some people like. But as an Episcopalian, I much more prefer my “transformation” to be a boat rudder for me, guiding me through what situations and experiences life throws at us in this century, with the Holy Scripture, tradition and reason to guide me. I feel this much more reflects the message of Christ in the Gospels and is a truer transformative experience that prepared us for our final judgement.

        Every experience I have had in an Orthodox church has focused on just a few key points. First, about convincing me that everyone else has it wrong but them. Second, that the Orthodox church has continually, through history, been persecuted. Finally, that to be a good Christian, I must follow Orthodoxy’s man-made rules and obligations. While that might not be the case in every Orthodox church, it is what I experienced.

        To these experiences, I say first that none of us know who has it right and who has it wrong until we are face to face with God. Our only comfort is to take the simplicity of Christ’s message and embrace it in our hearts and lives. While the message may be simple, applying it is hard, but then again, Christ asks us not to take the easy road, but the more difficult way. To turn against the lures of today’s society; greed, pride, lack of charity, etc. is definitely taking the hard path. The Episcopal Church make no such bold claims to be the “all-knowing” church. Rather, we face what comes and apply Scripture, tradition and reason to come up with the best understanding. This understanding must evolve and change without getting rid of the core message and I am very thankful that my church can do that.

        Second, the Orthodox need to move past grievances that happened centuries ago (schisms, splits, sects, crusades, sacking of Constantinople, etc.). I am not saying to forget them because they helped make you who you are, but if these things are the “glue” that helps unite Orthodoxy, it is pretty stale glue that has lost it’s stickiness to be able to attach to anything we face in today’s society. You become a church living in the past rather than the present. To me the past is a good guide that helps us navigate the present and look to the future, but it can’t keep us there – we must continually move forward.

        Finally, one of the most appealing things about the Episcopal Church to me is the variation in style and form. I do not have to fast for half of the year to feel I am a good Christian nor do I have to feel offended if the priest skips or changes a prayer during Liturgy. New music, variations in how Liturgy is celebrated as well as so many different ways for me to practice personal devotions alone or with my friends and family. I do not have to cross myself or bow and prostrate at certain times and fear offending anyone. It is all worship and it is all part of building one’s faith that I spoke about earlier. By allowing us to build our faith in different ways, we reach out to more people who all have their own preferences, likes and dislikes. Some may say that allowing so many different styles caters to one’s needs and that isn’t what the church should be about. But in reality, we are all individuals with different needs and at different points on the path to God in our lives. If everyone at a Liturgy in an Orthodox Church are all on the same page and at the same location on that “path” at the same time, I commend your church! In the end, for an Episcopalian variation and lack of strict rules of practice doesn’t diminish our faith but expands it.

        In conclusion, even though I feel I have written a novel here, which I apologize for, my basic message refers back to your comment on transformation. I can say with confidence that by living my faith I feel I am being transformed in the Episcopal Church. I respect that you feel you weren’t but then again, I didn’t feel I was in the Orthodox Church. Some people need a very rigid structure and format to feel they are being a good Christian whereas I believe scripture, tradition and reason are the guideposts that help me make my way through life to prepare me for my heavenly reward. I am sure in the end, we will continue to disagree but I think the important thing is that we are both striving to live the message of Christ, albeit in our own ways. I wish you much peace on your spiritual journey and offer my prayers, only asking in return that you keep me i yours.

    • Alek permalink
      15 July 2014 12:09 am

      There is only one truth and one way. It is too bad you did not feel like you belonged. The evil one loves this. Anyway, will we ever truly “belong” anywhere in this world? The next heavenly one is where we should hope to “belong”…..after we have walked the straight and narrow path through much prayer, fasting, penitence and searching. I wish you a very profitable journey.

      • Jimmy Kobeski permalink
        15 July 2014 1:08 pm

        Thanks for your comment. I too believe there is only one truth and one way and that is living the message of our Savior. But I believe it is interpreted differently among the various Christian denominations and think that is okay as long as we are all traveling that same path toward Christ. I think the evil one much more prefers to have one completely loose their faith because they don’t feel they belong. In my case, however, I remained on the path toward Christ and have since only strengthened my faith. I appreciate how an Orthodox Christian might walk the “straight and narrow path,” through fasting, penitence, etc., but I hope you can appreciate that other denominations can also walk that same path by following other practices and applying different interpretations. Thanks for your wishes and I extend the same to you as well. Peace!

  43. 15 July 2014 4:51 am

    Wow. I read this string back to 2010. I am a renewal Christian. I use that term because “Pentecostal/Charismatic” labels do not describe my walk. I have no “cradle” church tradition. I have attended hundreds of different Christian churches; Evangelical, Reformed, RC, Orthodox, P/C and various other flavors of “non-denominational” congregations over 40 years.

    I can worship the Lord in any Christian venue and have found spiritually mature people in most of them. But I found these spiritual people there not because the church was instrumental in their transformation; they just appeared to be content to attend that facility, having been transformed, it seems, by some other means. My practice is renewal; my theology/doctrine is Orthodox. I am active daily in ministry but have not and will not “join” an institutional “church”; already being an active appendage of the Body of Christ.

    I do believe in the strength, support, and power of corporate worship and prayer; but not at the price of entrusting one’s soul to any worldly institution claiming some kind of divine prerogative, exclusivity or favor.

    Having set the context, my question is this? Why does this entire string seem to assume, as a given, the a priori requirement of membership in some form of mundane Christian tribal club or institution?

    I’m not trying to be flippant, saints; I just point out the obvious. For starters, “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” is not a valid answer.

    • Jimmy Kobeski permalink
      15 July 2014 1:16 pm

      Do all church denominations claim to have a divine prerogative? I know the Episcopal Church does not claim to be the only true church nor does it claim to have all the answers. What it does claim is that by traveling down the path of life together (i.e. belonging as a member), we can share that learning experience and hopefully grow together. Personally, I don’t think Christ’s message is for us to travel that path alone. If we did, we leave too much room to interpret the message in our own way, which can lead to much error. That’s not to say a church cannot err, but at least as a group, we can discuss, think and reason the answers out together following some set format – even a loose format as in the Episcopal Church. Our set format is based on Scripture, tradition and human reason that serve as our guideposts to navigate through life as a group. As humans, we are prone to joining things – we just have to be choosy about what we join to make sure it’s the right fit for us. Peace to you on your journey!

      • 15 July 2014 3:08 pm

        Yes, I agree that it is better to walk the Way with others. My point is that the institution we think of as “church” is not a mandate or even a NT concept. Yet, we are culturally conditioned to make that assumption a priori and without thought when it comes to a Christian walk.

        Be blessed in your walk.

      • Alek permalink
        16 July 2014 4:09 pm

        Christ only has one “church” and it has not changed in 2000 years. The teaching found in the Orthodox Church are from Christ through the Apostles and Church Fathers. See the chart (Orthodoxy The Tree of Life) http://travelemissary.com/about-me/orthodox-links/ It is what it is. One God, one truth, one teaching, visible and invisible, One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, One Baptism.

      • 16 July 2014 10:12 pm

        The bottom line…

        Alex and other of his Orthodox mindset miss the point completely. He means well but he is not seeing the real issue well due to subjective exclusiveness that sees itself as Gods only right and true Christianity in Orthodoxy.

        I don’t have a tree. I have a chart graph and many other resources the exclusive Orthodox do not have that exposes why and how Orthodoxy has turned itself into a corrupt and failed church in America. I have the comparison of Christ in the Gospels in comparison to who the Orthodox really are in their exclusive viewpoint they have of themselves in America that explains what they spiritually did to themselves in America.

        There is no denying now by the state of the Orthodox jurisdictions in America that they have done something to themselves to be found in such a state. For one thing they did not come to America as the Great Commission. They came here as the omission of the Great Commission. In affect, they came here in omission of Jesus Christ in their exclusive viewpoint of themselves. Now the consequences come home to them in America and they cannot any longer by closed system exclusivity hide, cover up, keep secret, lie about or spin their real world outcome here. Their unrepentant sin, like the Bible tells us, has found them out for who and what they really are here.

        If the Orthodox are this in America what are the Orthodox from where they came from? Are they who the EP of Astoria, NY fame is?

        The curtain on the Great OZ church has been pulled and the Orthodox are exposed in America. No wizard metropolitan’s of fire, smoke and mirrors with booming authoritarian voices found at grand Orthodox cathedrals can hide who the Orthodox really are here now.

        I am a bottom up and open system western rational Pro-test-ant Evangelical Christian realist. Jesus in the Gospels came to us as a rational, open system hold you transparent and accountable, bottom up raise you up, protesting, exposing, confronting, spiritually mature and alive evangelical full of grace and truth. He made it very clear that He alone is the only comparison and that only through Him alone is salvation.

        Orthodoxy came to America as Philippians 2:1-11? Really? That is who the Orthodox believe they came to America as and this who they are today in America? The EOC structure and system of authoritarian rule with an exclusive viewpoint of itself is the Jesus of Philippians 2:1-11 coming to us in America?

        Yes, exclusive Orthodox Christians explain to all of us less than exclusive Christians how you came to America like Jesus came to us in the Gospels. We are all waiting for your exclusive Orthodox explanation that cannot be wrong about itself no matter what the real world corrupt and failed outcome of your church is in America. You made the ultimate exclusive claim and now you get to live up to it by the comparison. You have caused the comparison by saying you have no comparison. In America you are compared. Where you came from there was no comparison. Welcome to America a place like you have never in your history tried to exist in and look at how well your existence here is working out for you here.

        What is the opposite of rational Christianity? Is it irrational Christianity? Are the Orthodox in America experiencing a rational or irrational outcome in America? Did Christ come to us in the Gospels rational or irrational? Did He have an irrational outcome?

        John 8:31-59 (An excellent read if you open your Bible to read it.) It was a comparison between the system of the rule of Christ to that of the system of rule of the evil one. He bottom lined it with them all. EO there is a bottom line to what you have done to yourselves in America and why you did it to yourselves.

        Those Jesus was in contention with in the Gospels also exclusively believed that were Gods only right worship, right belief, right structure and system of rule, right fathers, right traditions, right history, right theology and right salvation. Jesus was in contention with a top down authoritarian closed orthodox religion based in tradition and it had an exclusive viewpoint of itself.

        Those the rational Christ confronted had a irrational viewpoint of themselves, you think? Did an exclusive viewpoint of themselves lead to an irrational viewpoint of themselves? Well, did it? Can you give us lesser than and wrong in comparison to you Christians a rationally truthful answer to the question? Well, can you? Let’s hear it. We are open system open ears waiting to hear your response to this post comment.

        The EO exclusively believe they are Gods only alone right and one true church. Orthodox Christians are Gods only alone right and one true Christians in their Orthodox Minds.

        Orthodoxy is a top down totalitarian authoritarian structure and system based in its own religious power and control and its generationally transmitted mindset is church/state unified as one in power in control. Its authoritarian structure and system and its exclusive viewpoint of itself cause it to be a closed, isolated, segregated and subjective. It is not inclusive. It is exclusive.

        America is western, rational and modernity. The Orthodox are opposed to what is western, rational and of modernity. In other words, and no matter what any Orthodox believes otherwise, America is a threat to Orthodoxy. This is somewhat like matter and anti matter coming in contact with each other. They don’t mix. The Orthodox are not going to become relevant in America no matter what they try to do to become relevant. This is not the Orthodox century for America. It is the century we watch them die in America.

        America is based upon freedom of religion options that in reality is religious competition and where there is competition people compare. Where Orthodoxy comes from in its theological superior to all under them and outside of them mindset is we are exclusively are right and there is no option to us. The EO believe they are Gods objective standard of spiritually correct measure that determines the God correctness of Christians and churches outside of us and if you are not of us you are heresy and apostate. Only Orthodoxy by exclusive claim can be the comparison.

        The orthodox Christ was in evangelical protest contention with in John 8:31-59 were in effect telling God standing right in front of them that He was a heretic practicing apostasy. You can see every we alone are right tradition argument they apologetically make and they sound very much like the apologetic arguments the EO of today make. They were systemically corrupt and by their exclusive we alone are right viewpoint of themselves had reached the no repentance return to God point. They were in self righteous idolatry of themselves by their exclusive mindset of themselves. I did the rational comparison.

        The orthodox Christ confronted believed they were the only exclusive option. There was no option outside of them. Then Jesus showed up out of no where differently than what they expected God to come to them as. He came as the freedom in Christ option of choice. He came as competition and He made the comparison. He came as the direct opposite of what He was in contention with so that there would be no doubt that they were radically different The comparison was the living God compared to exclusive dead religion that had turned itself into God and salvation. Christ confronted what we today in modernity would call an institutionalized dead religion cult.

        The orthodox Sanhedrin became one with the Roman state to carry out the murder of Jesus. There could be no God in rule authority power and control other than them. There is no place in the Gospels or in the NT where Christ or the Apostles advocated the merger of Christ with the dictatorship state and to become one in authoritarian institutionalized rule representing the authority of God on planet Earth. He came to us the opposite of that. He is the comparison between open system bottom up freedom in Christ Christianity and closed system top down authoritarian in bondage with Satan dead religion. That is what Jesus exposed in the Gospels by being the only comparison that cannot be corrupted.

        Christ did not mince words with them in what they had turned themselves into by their exclusive we alone are right orthodox perspective of themselves and He told them what that had resulted in by who was in real rule power and control behind the scenes not seen by them, John 8:42-44. Satan wants to be God. He has a delusional exclusive viewpoint of himself in his want to be God.

        They then took up stones to kill Jesus. Kill Jesus in your church by replacing His humble rule with authoritarian corrupt man with an exclusive we alone are right mindset in rule and your church will go religion dead. When by exclusivity you turn your church into God and salvation you will one day find it spiritually religion dead. You will turn your church into a Christian cult.

        Only Christ can be the comparison and because He cannot be corrupted like a religion can be corrupted. Jesus in the Gospels is a direct warning to His followers to not turn themselves into what He confronted or there will be serious consequences. That is what has happened to the EOC and it can exclusively disagree with me and stay in its corporately unrepentant, systemically corrupt, failed, irrelevant, immature, abusive, cultic, self righteous and in spiritual bondage dying state never to return back to God. Your church will either implode or it will linger on as dead religion church dying a slow, ugly and painful death. It will operate as a Christian cult. Then in their Orthodox delusional exclusive viewpoint of themselves everyone will wonder, what went wrong when are Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church? The unseen subjective mindset the exclusive claim in exclusive viewpoint of themselves creates will not be able to objectively see what the real problem is destroying their church. I can prove it…

        The two largest Orthodox jurisdictions in America are dying. No solution strategy to stop their dying state will work and because any strategy will still be centered in the exclusive self centered and self righteous claim that we are Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church with a top down authoritarian structure and system of rule based in its own power and control. Self idolatry in authoritarian power and control will be the unseen threat to the strategy that stops it from correcting the dying state of Orthodoxy in America.

        No church exposes itself to itself like the bottom up and open system freedom in Christ church. Any Orthodox can do the research to see why and how that is true for themselves. Conduct a Google search of functional vs. dysfunctional church, spiritual abuse, toxic faith systems, Christian cult criterion, signs of a dying church, etc and you will not see the Orthodox exposing themselves to themselves like this.

        You can western rational Christian graph chart what happened to the EO in America. You can objectively rationally compare just like Christ in the Gospels is the rational comparison to see how you turned your church into a institutionalized dead religion church. You have been told why it has and now you can see how it has. Conduct a Google search on the ‘life cycle of a church images’ and see what comes up. There are many images found there but there are three specific graph’s that EXPOSE how the Orthodox did this to themselves and what has resulted in as an objective real world outcome of their dying church that is not by the power of Christ in their Orthodox salvation resurrecting it from the dead.

        The line between exclusively claiming to be Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church and turning that exclusive claim into our church is God and salvation is THIN and EASILY CROSSED and the Orthodox in their exclusive closed and segregated isolation have crossed it. Orthodoxy has institutionalized its exclusive claim and so I highly doubt if it is going to confess this corporate sin, repent, and break the systemic bondage it has placed itself into by turning the church into a culture of unrepentant systemic corruption that indoctrinates everyone in this church.

        When a church replaces the authority of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit with its own authority and power in rule as God and salvation as our exclusively only right church God is forced to take His hands off of that unrepentant church by its self glorifying self idolatry of itself and that church is left to try to operate itself under its own authority and power and it dies. The more evil replaces God in such a church the more systemically corrupt and in corporate bondage it becomes and to the point it can reach a no repentance return to God.

        In God void created by turning themselves into God and salvation that is the set up to turn your church over to Satan and by deception in delusional isolated and subjective viewpoint of your Orthodox selves will never see that happen. Evil will replace God and your church will go systemically corrupt corporately unrepentant.

        Satan does not repent. What he owns by his lies believed and therefore rules over by belief in his lies will not repent. He wants to deceive you into believing he is exclusive God and salvation. He is also a dictatorial top down authoritarian ruler. In his pathologically insane delusional viewpoint of himself he has no comparison. He is all about self glorifying idolatry of himself. He is the ultimate cult leader.

        A church that has turned itself into God and salvation does not have to corporately repent or systemically bondage break its sin. God does not repent. You repent to God. You bow to the God of your repentance and salvation. Orthodoxy is self idolatry that will not corporately repent of its systemic in bondage sin of self idolatry.

        There is simply no way that a church this top down dictatorial authoritarian power and control centered, systemically corrupt and unrepentant at this depth and for this long of a period of time and it not have turned itself into a Christian cult.

        Yes, I know, it is impossible for Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church to turn their church into a cult. The exclusive claims says that is impossible. You cannot be Gods only true church and a cult at the same time. That is the perfect set up for we alone are right closed system religious denial that cannot be wrong about itself by its exclusive viewpoint of itself. Institutionalize that mind set and it will never repent return to God.

        The life cycle of a church graphs don’t lie. The Orthodox are dying in America and they don’t really know or understand why they die. The exclusive Orthodox really only listen to their exclusive selves and so they will not really listen too or believe this in what it is telling them in the why and how of their dying state in America. When you are Gods only alone right and true you don’t have to listen to anyone outside of you. That is exactly the problem the orthodox Christ confronted had.

        Yes, I repeat the same theme to the Orthodox and the reason why is because the Orthodox do not listen. Christ had a repeating theme to the orthodox He confronted and they did not listen. I will not belong to a Gods only true church and I have made reasons obvious why I will not to the Orthodox. Converting over too or into Orthodoxy is converting into the state of their corporately unrepentant in systemic sin bondage church. That is not the resurrection salvation of freedom in Jesus Christ. I rationally compared among freedom in religion competitive options and to Jesus Christ in the Gospels and discovered that the Orthodox are not all who they exclusively claim to be.

        I will not be winning any Archon of the EP award at some posh GOA NYC hotel banquet and where the Archbishop tells the attending audience that Greek Orthodoxy is the finest Christianity that there is (He actually said that at such a banquet and it must also mean that he is the finest Orthodox ruler that there is in America by his position as archbishop of the GOA). He is not delusional in exclusive perspective of himself and his church. He is ORTHODOX! ORTHODOX! ORTHODOX! in perspective of himself and church. The exclusive audience of Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church all clapped and agreed with him.

        Greek Orthodox the Orthodox Christian Laity website (www.ocl.org/) has posted the co-chairman of the GOA Archdiocene Council, Michael Jaharis, July 2014 speech on the state of the church this week. Under the last heading of his speech he exposes himself. In logical rational progression down the page I ask him so very pointed questions about that last component of his speech in the comment area. I am in a particular position to ask him those questions like no one else is. It will be obvious why that I am in that position when you read it.

        Ashley Nevins, the father of Scott Nevins.

      • Alek permalink
        17 July 2014 12:11 pm

        The bottom line is that there is much corruption in the Orthodox church just as there was in the Jewish Temples back in the days when Christ walked the earth. There were saints and sinners. Do not let those who stumble in the faith keep you from the way of prayer, fasting, pertinence, and communion with God. There may be more that are off the path than on it. Doesn’t mean we get off the path. We can never follow the majority. We have to follow the truth.

      • Jimmy Kobeski permalink
        17 July 2014 2:31 pm

        I think your missing the point that several people are trying to make. Christianity is the truth and the path but that doesn’t mean people cannot travel the path differently. The Episcopal Church doesn’t make any claims to be the one and only way like Orthodoxy does, but rather one of many ways to travel that Christian path. Just because you are an old faith stretching back to the beginning as you claim, doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for reform. If you think about it, Christ came to reform as well because mankind distorted the faith and needed to face new situations in new ways. Do the Orthodox really feel that nothing needs to be reformed or approached differently? I wouldn’t ask a faith to loose their core but only to be willing to look at form. A recent post pretty much had it correct – the Orthodox are insular, exclusivist and triumphalist. I think Jesus would look on the Orthodox today much as he looked at the Pharisees of old and refer them to his beatitudes.

      • 17 July 2014 9:22 pm

        Alek, the Orthodox are not by their exclusive viewpoint of themselves above being critiqued. The Orthodox have existed in subjective closed INSULAR isolation with a TRIUMPHANT exclusive mindset of themselves for so long they have turned themselves into self glorifying idolatry that it is above anyone outside of them finding fault with them.

        I fully understand there are no perfect churches. If I ever found one I would not join it. My imperfection would only ruin it. However, this is not about perfection it is about a safe, healthy and functional Christianity that is humble, other centered and outreaching vs a Christianity that has very much become the opposite of that.

        I don’t think Alek has ever had anyone explain to him what the difference is between a top down closed system of church and a bottom up open system of church. That is one of the major differences between Christ and those He confronted in the Gospels. John 8:31-59 explains the difference between the two systems. The Orthodox have never had it explained to them quite like I just did and it is not the first time I have explained this to them.

        The real danger is that a top down totalitarian authoritarian religious structure of top down closed system rule that is closed, isolated and subjective with an exclusively viewpoint of itself that believes that it alone is Gods only true church is the set up to turn that church into a Christian cult. Alek, please explain to us how it is not if you see that otherwise.

        Alek, welcome to modernity America freedom of religion religious competition among religious options that are western rationally compared to each other and Christ in the Gospels. It doesn’t expose your church to be the singularly beautiful and beyond comparison viewpoint of it has of itself, does it? Pop goes the Orthodox bubble in America. In the bigger Orthodox picture that bubble in the last century has been popped in Russia and Greece and now in America. I believe the consequences are telling you that your church has a serious issue it is not seeing and dealing with. The prop up that has held you up for centuries really no longer can prop you up and it is glaringly obvious that it no longer can.

        If you cannot stand up on your own two feet in America freedom of religion good luck standing up anywhere with any real relevancy outside of only being really relevant to yourselves.

        The Orthodox don’t like the comparison that compares them like they have NEVER compared themselves and because they believe they have no comparison to them. The comparison does not match their isolated subjective ‘we alone are God right’ closed system indoctrinated exclusive viewpoint they have of themselves and that is just too bad. Spiritually grow up and face who you really are in the objective mirror of God or don’t and die by the consequences you have created for yourselves. Live or die is the stark and harsh black and white bottom line real world reality of it now for your church in America.

        Keep believing what the exclusive Orthodox mirror hanging on the exclusive Orthodox wall tells you about being the most exclusively God right and true and most beautiful beyond comparison church of them all and DIE by not seeing yourselves in the objective, rational and truth telling mirror of God. This critique is not the problem. What it points out is the problem. We are not the problem for pointing out the obvious Orthodox problem. If we are made the problem for pointing out the problem that only points out your problem more!

        The Orthodox in America are not going to escape what they really came to America as and what that has created as consequences for them here no matter how by their exclusive viewpoint of themselves they disagree.

        Alek, you and other Orthodox are being told that due to the Orthodox exclusive mindset in exclusive viewpoint of itself through its exclusive claim that the subjectivity that the exclusive claim creates that it will never see itself as it really is with the objectivity that is necessary for it to make correction and survive itself in America. There is simply no way that a church that believes it is Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church will ever by that subjective exclusiveness see itself with rational objective truth. It will only see itself through its subjective exclusive delusional viewpoint of itself and because of that it will never fully see or understand how subjective exclusive wrong it really is. Therefore, it is incapable of objectively seeing why, what and how it must correct to survive its subjective exclusive closed isolation that is killing it dead in America.

        It is now obvious that the Orthodox survive where they come from by being the only real option with populations of people where they exist that they can replenish themselves with. If they don’t have either they DIE and because they are not about real other centered evangelism outside of them due to their exclusiveness. Their real world outcome in America proves that more than anything else does. They are a dead church/state exclusive religion under the boot of corrupt foreign authoritarian power and control rule that has lost the living inclusiveness of Christ’s real salvation through a living personal relationship with Him and that living personal relationship with Christ is not a dead impersonal relationship with a dead religion as their God and salvation. Who the God they have relationship with determines their real world outcome no matter who or what they exclusively claim to be.

        Alek, please go to the first among not equals and that has proved itself to be the lie of conciliar GOA San Francisco diocese website and analyze its save the GOA strategy and tell me objectively what are the three serious threats to the strategy are that the subjective Orthodox cannot see and that will first undermine and then destroy the strategy. I am asking you think outside of your closed subjective Orthodox box with an objectivity that you have never viewed your church with before. That strategy is the set up for failure and mark my words it will fail within 5 years of its implementation. It is in exclusive subjective religious denial of what the real objectively seen serious threats to it are.

        There is simply no way that at the core of any save the church strategy by any Orthodox jurisdiction that it will not be based upon a top down authoritarian structure based in its own power and control and its exclusive claim and those are the problems causing it to die in the modern real world. In other words, any strategy will defeat itself and the subjective Orthodox will not be able to objective see how it did defeat itself. The reality here is that no one who is not EO here and posting wants to see the Orthodox fail. The reality is we are just telling you why and how you are failed. Its not what you have been indoctrinated to believe what your church is, is it. The objective truth in the warning is subjectively being reacted against and it sounds very much like the defensive subjective reaction Christ faced in the Gospels.

        I noticed what Alec put up in Orthodox apologetic defense. Our history and tradition proves that we are Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church. What is your present church state telling you what your church future is? What in your past led you into the present state of corrupt and failed church? Who and/or what is responsible for the state of your church? It is questions like these that modern rational church growth and relevancy strategy development ask in the reality of the real Christian world. Oh, I see, since it is western, rational and of modernity then the analysis in the critique and the questions asked must be Orthodox rejected, right? Nothing self defeating in that mentality, right?

        The closed system exclusive, isolated, insulated and subjective Orthodox are a defensive design of church structure and system of church and so their reaction to the critique is highly self protective subjective defensive. They have a we alone are right self righteous egotistical system thin skin. They are easily offended and hold a grudge. This is very much a cult like Us vs. Them mindset that pits them against anyone who is not of them. It is alienating by subjective exclusive viewpoint of themselves that cannot be wrong and becomes very offended when its wrongs are pointed out to it. What it is being told here offends its subjective exclusive image in viewpoint it has about itself.

        Orthodox, I have had my life threatened by Orthodox over my critique. I have been called such things as, Spawn of Satan. I once had a metropolitan tell me in person that I am an unbelievable liar, etc, etc, etc. I have experienced who the Orthodox really are in the worst and most horrific possible ways. However, putting that aside what the Orthodox are being told here is trying to by love, grace, truth and mercy help them see themselves as they really are and so that they can find correction back to God and so that they themselves can then practice love, grace, truth and mercy as a church.

        The Orthodox in their exclusive, closed, insulated isolation from where they came and from and by how they established themselves as the same here have never faced a critique of who they really are here like they are now getting. The DNA of my Christianity is to critique expose it by comparison no matter how dirty, ugly and messy the comparison exposes it to be. No church exposes itself to itself like the pro-test-ant evangelical church. In the Orthodox Mind we are rebellious, out of control, fractured and out of unity mess. Look again dead religion Orthodoxy. You don’t really understand what the unity of Christ really is in your unity by systemic corruption and look at how well that unity by corruption is holding you together as you implode in America. Jesus was not unity by corruption. He was divide over corruption as unity and that is exactly what He did. He is revolution against corruption and that revolution in His living church is not dead. It is dead in dead religion Orthodoxy.

        Unity by corruption is like a pressure cooker filled with unrepentant corporate sin and systemic bondage without a repentance release pressure valve that explodes due its refusal to divide over unity by corruption. The pressure cooker has exploded and now look at the mess you are in. You ingrained and generally transmitted this corporate sin and bondage by corporate unrepentance and now your pressure cooker church has exploded and you can’t put it back together again. Many of the Orthodox believe the solution to their dying state in America is pan Orthodox unity that will only more centralize the top down authoritarian power and control corruption mess they are already in. If it isn’t bad enough as it is then double down on the corrupt authoritarian power and control by more centralization and make it worse than it is. Yes, turn the heat up on that pressure cooker and explode it worse than it already is. Like I have said in the Orthodox Mind the only solution can be what is killing their church dead.

        Trying to explain this to the Orthodox is like trying explain rational real world reality to someone who lives in the Twilight Zone wrapped in the Outer Limits as the only known reality to them. They are exclusively right thick as a brick in their Orthodox closed heads and so they can’t get what is being told to them through their Orthodox exclusively right thick heads. Jesus is standing right in front of them shaking His head. He stands at the closed Orthodox church locked vault door of their dead religion knocking to bring repentance, revival and renewal in and they are telling Him they want nothing really to do with Him. In their exclusive claim in exclusive viewpoint of themselves that is their exclusive closed and insulated isolation they are telling Him they are self sufficient without need of Him. They don’t need God when they have turned their church into their idol god. Without God they die and that is exactly what they are doing to themselves by their sufficiency caused by their self idolatry of their church as their God and salvation.

        In other words, you are being told this so that you can be relevant Christianity to a lost, wounded and broken world as Christ’s healing resurrection salvation to come to it. By imploding yourselves by exclusiveness you are proving that you do not want to correct the reasons why you are and that are causing the opposite of outcome of a church that is based upon Gods love, grace, mercy and truth. You are being told that you will never effectively be that kind of a real Christian church with your exclusive viewpoint you have of yourselves in your exclusive claim. You are being told that you will really only be relevant to yourselves if you keep holding onto your exclusive claim of being Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church. You are being told this in tough love because you refuse to listen to it told you with any other form of love. The Christ of the Gospels is in your face and you believe it is something wrong in comparison to your exclusive viewpoint of yourselves in your face.

        No, this is not Gods truth in tough love come to you this is the heretic apostate church persecuting you, right? This is a wrong proud attitude being a critical spirit against your humble spirit in being Gods only alone true and right, correct? We are the lost not in unity with Orthodoxy Pharisee and Sanhedrin like that are persecuting the Jesus in you, right? How dare such heresy and apostasy tell Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church they got it wrong, correct? Who are they in comparison to us to tell us we have it wrong, right? We are Gods objective standard of what Gods only true and right church is that tells you how wrong you are in comparison to us and so you have no standing to tell us how wrong we are, right? If you are not of us you cannot see us like we see ourselves and so any criticism of who we are by you will get it wrong about us, correct?

        The Orthodox represent less than 1% of Christianity in America and that means they have the most to lose by having turned themselves into a corrupt, failed and dying church that will not repent return to God. The EO can by their exclusive Orthodox viewpoint of themselves and church disagree and continue to with powerlessness to stop it watch their church erase itself in America by the reasons others and I have stated.

        No, I will not becoming a member of Gods only true church. I know what it really is and I know by what it really is what it will turn you into if you join its exclusiveness. I made the freedom of religion free choice comparison and discovered it not as a Christian what I want to be involved in. I know what the difference between is between rational Christianity and its opposite irrational Christianity is. The Orthodox made this decision easy by their irrational outcome in America and their inability to correct that irrational outcome by a irrational solution that only leads them into a deeper irrational church failure.

        I do not believe I am alone in that decision. No way would I allow an unrepentant sexually corrupt EP be the Christian authority in rule over me, etc, etc, etc. My Christian DNA tells me to confront him and if he does not repent throw him out with spiritual warfare disruptive, dividing and messy violence if necessary and replace him with a Christian leader of repentance who can lead by a role model and example of transparency and accountability instead. No way do I want to be in that pressure cooker of unrepentant, ingrained and generationally transmitted corporate sin in bondage. That unrepentant sin and bondage reeks like spoiled rotten meat in a boiling over pot. I refuse to be indoctrinated by church culture of unrepentant systemic corruption. What is based upon its own power and control is political and what is based upon the authority of Christ operating under the power and control of the Holy Spirit is spiritual. I know which one I want to be associated with as a church. I am not going to waste my Christian life in a dead religion church like that going in irrelevant Christian cult circles with itself and because it will not corporately systemically repent.

        There is simply no way the foreign ruler Patriarch’s of Eastern Orthodoxy or the archbishops and metropolitan’s of American Orthodoxy in their unrepentant corrupt states will or can lead their jurisdictions through a process of corporate repentance that bondage breaks the EO away from what is destroying them. That would mean they lose power and control by the corruption they prop their power and control up with. Repentance means broken humility over sin and the exclusive Gods only true and right rulers of Orthodoxy in their proud and arrogant self righteous viewpoint of themselves are not about to repent or lead their church by humble broken repentance before God out of the sin and bondage it is in.

        Repentance would mean that the Eastern Orthodox would nearly in totality have to start all over again. Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church are not going to do that. God as Eastern Orthodoxy does not have to start all over again for how God right Orthodoxy is. God does not repent return to God!!!

  44. 16 July 2014 10:34 pm

    Insular, exclusivist, triumphalist. Now you know why I’m not an institutional Orthodox.

  45. daysea permalink
    19 July 2014 4:46 am

    I am late to reading this and posting, and I have not read all the comments, but I do feel the need to say something regarding the language. Being a cradle Greek Orthodox who never learned to speak Greek, as a young person I questioned the use of Greek in the liturgies, explaining to my mother I had no idea what on earth they were saying or what was going on. Now, many many years later, I realize it did not matter. What mattered was the reverence I was learning during the liturgy. The correct way to approach God. The smell, the sounds, the feel of the sacred, yes, the smell of Orthodoxy. Now it is easy for me to detect the fraudulent. I have read a lot the last months about the OCA, which is how I found your blog. I admit I was intrigued by all the scandal and suspicion among members. I was suspicious of the somewhat Americanified and Californiafied, if you will, world view that contained their expression of the faith in perverse worldly boundaries (“It’s not about this…It’s about this.” I don’t know anyone Orthodox who would dare even after a lifetime in the faith to be so presumptuous as to explain Orthodoxy thusly.) After listening to many homilies of their priests and bishops, I had to conclude this OCA did not smell Orthodox, that they had missed something very fundamental, and this was love. There are nuts in my Church as well, always have been, always will be I suppose, but who am I to say why they are there? Was not Judas himself at the Lord’s last supper? Christ holds out to the end, hope for each one of us, even already knowing what we will decide. Love does this. But the point being, that was not my impression of the OCA, but rather that it is not a few corrupt or odd members, but that it is fundamentally corrupt, at its core, in its understanding, and in its subservience to American liberalism, individualism, psychology, and an insistence on charismatics. These converts would have done better imho to go to a Greek Church, to forego the priesthood and bishophood and monasteries for a time, and to make themselves as little children, as all of us born in it were once, babes, to absorb the essence of Orthodoxy and to learn its authentic smell. The sentimental hallmark version of love I detected in the OCA so easily turns to hate, and for them, it appears, it did. My comment is not so much to you as about them. I believe they should have humbled themselves and started at the beginning, but listening to their odd use and abuse of Orthodoxy, for what seem like personal ends – status, grievances, experience, I can see that this would have never been possible for them. The humility was not there from the beginning, nor were they willing or able to learn it.

    • 19 July 2014 12:42 pm

      Ah yes, the trusty old “you need to be more humble” line that is used so often to dismiss anyone who tries to point out painful truths or ask uncomfortable questions. There are times when it is appropriate to advise humility, but it’s been more often that I’ve heard “you need to be more humble” used as a way to silence things that desperatly need to be said.

      • Micky permalink
        19 July 2014 4:55 pm

        He’s not speaking about outward humility. It’s about inner humility. Only if we don’t judge others, if we really forgive deeply,only then we can ask questions, we can act rightly, decide rightly. If we don’t hear the angels singing in our heart, it’s better not to act or ask questions at all, because you don’t have the right disposition of heart.
        Hearing and Seeing Frank Schaeffer, the most people see a person speaking badly about protestantism – it may be true or not – and you see at the same time a person who just can’t forgive his father and his former church. And this is just so sad. You can have a hyper intelligent irrefutable logic, but this is for nothing, if the Holy Spirit doesn’t lead your ways and thoughts, because you cannot get over, cannot forgive.
        If we live in the church, we should also pray with tears to see the things rightly and not to judge others. We’ve just too much trust in your mind and that’s why we act so often out of an outrage.

      • 21 July 2014 12:44 am

        You really do not see how you are a victim of the spiritual abuses of your church yourself and you do not see how you enable the victimization of others like you yourself is being victimized. The Orthodox laity in all of the jurisdictions are all systemically spiritually abused victims who forgive their church and continue to trust their spiritually abusive church no matter how spiritually abusive it treats them. You might as well be forgiving of and trusting in SATAN who rules over the systemically corrupt and unrepentant church culture of spiritual abuse of power. This is what I know about the evil one. He does not repent, he does not forgive and he does not ask for forgiveness. He is not humble and what he owns by the lie he rules over by the lie and the lie is proud, arrogant and self righteous.

        Inner humility is expressed outwardly. The outward expression of pride is the real world outcome of Orthodoxy in America. There is simply nothing the Orthodox can say that would prove that the corrupt and failed outcome is not the expression of their inner spiritual life and mindset. The Orthodox are not going to escape who they really are here by their less than humble outcome.

        Yes, the Orthodox need to have spiritual outrage over who and what caused this failed and corrupt outcome in America. They need to make a JUDGEMENT on who and what caused its corrupt failure and remove what the cause is.

        Ahhh, its the old ‘Forgive’ deflection. In the context of these comments on this subject matter that is a subtle form of saying you are the problem for pointing out the problem. Don’t face the real issues with spiritual action but instead forgive and forget. The short term attention and memory span of the Orthodox is highly predicable, just forgive, forget and move on without dealing with the problem. If you dwell too long facing the problem you will not see yourselves as you delusionally exclusively see yourselves as you really are. If we just all forgive then no one has to take responsibility and everything can continue in the dead religion church status quo all the same going no where but down in its dying state.

        Typical Orthodox learned indoctrinated submission to authoritarianism that corrupts them and then the religious codependency passive talk, you need to forgive us, reaction is this. You are saying, you need to do something we will not do. Our act is cleaned up giving us the integrity to tell you what to do by pointing out the problem in you that we believe will not forgive us. In fact, you are being just too highly rationally logical with us proving you are not thinking spiritually like God thinks about such issues. Its the old ploy of you have a problem that we point out so we don’t have to look at the problem you first pointed out about us. That ploy is not going to stop your church failed state of metastasized systemic corruption leading it to church death.

        Any problem any person has who confronts your church over the problem it has pales into insignificance compared to the problem your church has. In fact, their problem, if they have one, was most likely created by the problem your church is and created in their lives. If anyone should be forgiving and seeking forgiveness it is your problematic church that created their problem that you believe you are pointing out. Yes, ad hominem make it about the person and not the points the person brings out. That ploy will not invalidate the truth of your church it points out. If those who you victimize have not forgiven you then their case against you is not credible, right? You are the ones who decide who has or has not forgiven you and when your church is in a state of unforgiveness before God due to its state of unrepentant corporate systemic sin that spiritually victimizes.

        What’s next, Orthodox? The powerless expression when scandal takes place, Lord Have Mercy? That is their Orthodox moral and ethical outrage? In other words, God have mercy on the victims and/or the scandalous situation and because the Orthodox will not take any merciful action to stop what abuses Christians. God do for others what we will not do for them under your authority first and by your power as Christians. It is pathetic.

        Forgiveness is freely given but trust is earned. Verify then trust. You verify by holding senior leaders transparent and accountable to objective standards of Gods morality and ethics. If the laity is powerless to do that then no amount of forgiveness is going to stop the failed and corrupt church state from imploding. The Orthodox are trust and don’t verify by transparency and accountability.

        Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church are the most trustworthy Christians that there are, right? They are the most forgiving of all in Christianity, correct? Their evangelism of the forgiveness of God that has caused their dying dead state of church is the proof. They bring the forgiveness of God that they are to others in America who don’t have it and by their Gods only true truth mindset of themselves they do that better than any other church in America. You can trust them not to convert you into systemic corporate unrepentant corruption and bondage as your salvation, right? If you later figure out that they have and leave them then that means you are putting the forgiveness in your salvation at great risk and are now heretic and practicing apostasy. Your Christianity is in question if you leave them. The FORGIVENESS you received from God in your repentance of sin and acceptance of Christ as your savior is now in question, but the systemic unrepentance of systemic sin that caused to you leave is not put into question, it is forgiven by those you left and then trusted by them in that forgiveness of it. You are basically asked, why would you leave us for that!?! Those asking that are exposing the problem you are leaving and they don’t know that they are glaringly by their trusting in what you figured out cannot be trusted no matter who or what it exclusively claims itself to be.

        WHY I AM NOT ORTHODOX or why anyone would leave it is your believing a lie of deception and not them them believing a lie of deception by their staying and for the reasons why they are superior Orthodox. It is simply impossible in their superior Orthodox Minds that Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church can be involved in and practicing a lie of deception on a massive church system wide scale. Only those not of us or who leave us can and do. They believe those who are not of us or who have left us have settled for something spiritually inferior in comparison to Orthodoxy by the deception they are involved in and that the Orthodox would never be seen practicing due to their exclusive Gods only true truth that tells the truth and never deceives. You have to be deceived to leave and deceived to choose something else over it. There is simply no other reason to leave Orthodoxy in their Orthodoxy only exclusive minds.

        You are to forgive the unrepentant sin corruption and bondage you see and experience and stay. That is the Orthodoxy Unity By Corruption Way… you forgive, then trust and stay. Like an ostrich with his head in a hole in the ground you stay. If you ignore it, deny it or look the other way it just all goes away and so it can stay all the Orthodox trustworthy to you same corrupt and failed way. That is delusional. What is delusional can be forgiven, but I will leave it to the delusional Orthodox to trust it. I see what it will turn you into if you trust it. It turns you into its delusional viewpoint of itself that will not corporately repent due to its delusion that cannot see what it needs to repent over and away from. Many Orthodox can even know the exact nature of their systemic corruption and bondage, want to see their church repent of it to stop it, but they will be powerless in their own authoritarian power and control as God as their church to find the repentance power of God to stop it. I fully understand what Orthodox repentance and forgiveness really are. I see it in the outcome of their corrupt, failed and dying church that refuses to repent to find the repentance power of God to correct it.

        The Orthodox can say what ever they want about the comments here, but nothing they will say will get to the bottom line solution to their corrupt, failed, irrelevant, incompetent, abusive, cultic and dying church in America. The reaction comments are not comments of how the Orthodox are going to take action to stop their failure and corruption. They are powerless to stop their failure and corruption for having handed their power over to what corrupts them and brings about their failure. The reaction comments expose their powerlessness. Instead of taking action you get a lecture of how you are telling them wrongly on their corruption failure problem. You have an attitude problem with the attitude problem at the center of their corruption and failure.

        The Orthodox will react defensively to criticism but they will not react with offensive spiritual warfare action against what is causing their corruption failure and abuses that then delivers criticism to them for their lack to action to stop the failure, corruption and the abuses. If the Orthodox don’t like the reaction of the victims they create like at, http://www.pokrov.org , then stop the pathetic powerlessness excuses of why you will not clean your act up. The ladies who operate Pokrov had their children sexually abused by EOC. clergy. They have now partnered with SNAP. 97% of the Orthodox who make contact with them about an abuse taking place in their jurisdiction want Pokrov to do something about it for them and don’t want anyone to know that they contacted them. I can forgive someone like that, but I absolutely will not trust them. They will not stand with me as I try to stand with them. They want me to do for them what God has told them to take responsibility for themselves. No wonder to me why the Orthodox in America are not standing but instead have fallen down.

        Cults render you powerless to them to take action against the cult by your handing your power over to the cult and so it can take your power to take action against the cult away from you. The cult changes your identity from the power of the Holy Spirit to the powerlessness of the cult lie it tells you your identity is before it as your idol god. You fear the powerless cult by your powerless, worthless and insignificant identity is has indoctrinated into you by its stealing your power from you. You have a meaningless powerless identity in the Christian cult church of meaningless powerless identity. Jesus Christ does not define us like that. Your status, image and position in the cult is threatened if you report the cult, openly work to stop the cult and identify yourself. You then in your image status quo keeping powerless spiritual cowardice want others to take the risk, pay the price and make the sacrifice you will not make, take or apply.

        In affect, like the abuse victims they are expendable and you are not. Those who stand you will not stand with them and because in your LEARNED meaningless powerless culture of corruption indoctrinated Orthodox Mind they are supposed to get the consequences for taking action you will not take. Others who have not handed over their power you want them to be your power. That is a self centered learned powerless religious codependency IDENTITY. It is shame fear based identity. Those who stand in your place are to be living sacrifices as you stand in the background and watch them take Christ living action RISK for the victims of your sick shame based church of spiritual abuse of power. That is pathetic.

        Frank has now become a verbally abusive problem. He has serious unresolved emotional issues. What is the GOA hierarchy doing about this problem? Frank is a backfire in the Orthodox face. He was not vetted before he was fully embraced. He was supposed to be the proof that the Protestant evangelicals are inferior to the superior Orthodox and they believed he validated that the Orthodox must be viable and relevant if the son of a famous Protestant theologian converted to Orthodoxy. Who is Frank without his famous dad’s name and who did he become when he became an Orthodox? The Greeks are not eating crow with Frank. They are eating skunk with Frank. He turned on you like he turned on what he left. He is not now making what he left look bad and when he did you all loved it, laughed and clapped. Os Guinness says it all about Frank. He is a spoiled brat. Frankly, Frank is basically as irrelevant now as the GOA that he joined is.

        This really not about Protestants vs. Orthodox. It is all about Orthodoxy vs. Christ by their corrupt and failed real world outcome. Jesus was a protesting, dividing, overturning, confronting, comparing, rebuking and paradigm shifting evangelical God in the Gospels. If He was in rule as God in the GOA and OCA they would not be found in a corrupt and failed state powerless to stop their self destruction. Jesus Christ in the Gospels is antithesis and diametric opposite of OCA and GOA corruption and failure. He is zero tolerance of corporate systemic sin and bondage corruption and the EO are the tolerance of those things by the true ruler who rules over them in John 8:42-44 (You tolerate the demonic in rule over you!) Yes, Orthodox, forgive this corrupt failure and then translate forgiving it into TRUSTING IT and start the circular cycle back to what corrupted you in the first place. In effect, forgive the demonic rule over you and continue to trust its rule over you by keep appointing its rule over you. That is pathetic.

        I understand why it is difficult for Gods only true Christians to look into the objective mirror of God and be shown that they are not who they exclusively claim to be and when God as their church defined them by exclusiveness and when it was not Jesus Christ God who defined them inclusiveness. Gods only true church is exclusive and Gods true church is inclusive.

        Yes, point the finger at those who you abuse and tell them that they are not forgiving you by how they confront you. Admit no abuse wrongs and don’t admit that you are spiritually immature religious codependent cowards who are powerless and afraid to stop the abusers who create the victims. As religious codependent spiritual cowards supporting and enabling of spiritual abusers of power don’t see your sick idea of forgiveness of your corrupt abusive church as corruption that abuses. Your church culture of spiritual abuse is need of repentance before God who is its ultimate forgiveness. Repentance turns away from its sin and does not keep practicing the sin it has repented from.

        You talk ‘forgiveness’ but keep practicing the sin that abuses and makes victims and then if a victim confronts you in a straight up no compromising fashion they have a unforgiveness problem towards you. Righteous anger over your unrepentant sin that victimizes is now rage against you. (I can understand why someone who has been sexually abused RAPED by your church would struggle with forgiving your church, can you? I can understand why they are rage angry with your church over its unrepentance, denial, apathy and indifference towards their being abused by all of you, can you? I can understand why they rebuke you to your denying faces with words that don’t mince words about you, can you?)

        It is all fine with you in the denial of what your church of abuse is but it is not fine with the victims of your abuses who are not in your denial. Their not being OK with you like you are with yourselves in your church is your problem that you bring to them in your abuses of them. They are not the problem no matter how they call out your sick abusing problem that your church will not repent from and stop. You are the problem that created them as a problem for your church. If you don’t like the rebuke stop creating what brings you the rebuke. You were just rebuked again.

        Which would you rather have in your Orthodox faces? The victims you create or the corruption that creates the victims? Well, well, well, you got both of them in your face and it is by your Orthodox choice that you do by not taking action against what puts them in your face. Now point out any problem you have created in their lives and so you don’t have to face the problem that all of you are in your church that created a problem in their lives.

        If you expect to get something other than this from the victims your church creates you will never be satisfied until they tell you they forgive you as you define that forgiveness for them and they then silently walk away from you allowing you and your church to abuse over and over again and again. Yes, you heard me right YOU and your church. YOU are enabling its abuses that creates victims by your not taking Christ risk action to stop it. It is just easier to defensively react on a forum than it is to take pro-active risk, price paying and sacrificial action for Jesus and His children. You have not stated one word of action you personally are going to take.

        Gods only true Christians in Gods only true church really can’t be wrong about themselves. Instead of asking for forgiveness from their victims they accuse them of having a forgiveness problem when they confront them. The victims are made the problem and when it is the church that victimizes them that is the problem. Orthodox, get it about this truth about you clear, you will not repent of your abuse sin no matter how many of your victims forgive you. You are not trusted like you trust your untrustworthy church of unrepentant abuses.

        LOL, the unrepentant want forgiveness for their unrepentance that will not repent. Tell that to God and see what kind of an answer you get back from Him. Your answer back will be that all of you remain powerless without the power of God in His forgiveness and you will go in dying circles with yourselves in unrepentance before God. You will continue to victimize in your unrepentant state and be powerless to stop the abusing and the consequences it creates for your church. You will continue to create victims who get right in your face like this is in your unrepentant face that needs to repent before God and so that your church can repent return to God who does not abuse and create victims.

        Unrepentance = powerlessness

        Repentance = the power of God

        The power of God does not abuse or create victims. The unrepentant powerless do abuse and create victims. Get it? If you GET IT then you can explain to us how unrepentant powerlessness creates spiritual abuse victims. You can’t explain it. All you can do is powerlessly try to defend it. You are in denial of what your church really is and what it really does to people.

        Is the GOA and OCA experiencing the forgiveness power of God that can bring correction to bring them back to God or are they experiencing the powerless of unrepentance that is powerless without God and that cannot without God find correction back to God?

        The thought has never occurred to you that if your church repents and seeks forgiveness from its victims and brings restitution to its victims that its victims would find it easier to forgive your church. Don’t make it any easier for them, don’t repent and make it harder for them, and that unrepentance, sir, only further abuses your victims like pointing out any problem your exclusiveness believes they have does. Again, the victims of your church abuses are not the problem. Your church that makes them victims is the problem.

        You are the problem that points out my problem that your exclusive only we alone are right believe that I and others like me have. Yes, God as church tell me all about my problem to avoid the problem you have that creates victims by your spiritually abusive church. Read the books, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse (VanVonderen), Toxic Faith (Arterburn) and People of the Lie (Peck) and then connect the dots between them and tell me what my spiritual unforgiveness problem is. Tell me how you and your church don’t have to first repent and then seek forgiveness of its victims first and before you EXPECT your victims to forgive your church that victimized them. Don’t confess your sin to them and ask them to forgive you. No, instead point out what you believe is their unforgiveness of you instead. Tell your victims they have an unforgiveness problem that negates the true problem your church has. Tell them that their problem is greater than your church problem that created their problem. Condition the action you will take to stop the victimization by the degree of forgiveness your victims bring to you. If they don’t forgive you then take no action against what made them victims of your spiritual abuses and if they do forgive you don’t take action against what made them victims of your spiritual abuses. Makes perfect LOGICAL sense to the Orthodox.

        Well, we are all waiting for your exclusive Gods only true truth Orthodox explanation. Ad hominem get on with it! Find your reason not to listen and so you don’t have to face what your church really is and take the Christ risk, price paying and sacrificial action necessary to correct it.

        The spiritual abuser church says to its spiritual abuse victim, ‘You are the problem because you have not forgiven me for my spiritual abuse of you that I have not repented over and asked your forgiveness for. You don’t trust me like those who enable my spiritual abuses do and that means there is something spiritually wrong with you. They all go along with me and don’t do anything about me and so why don’t you do what they do too? Do you have an authority problem with God the church? If you would only forgive me then you would trust me and if you would only trust me then you would forgive me. Trust in me because I am God your church who is the God who brings you your forgiveness by the church being God your salvation.’

        I fully understand the spiritual mindset of Orthodox forgiveness that hypocritically tells its victims that they have a forgiveness problem.

      • Alek permalink
        21 July 2014 1:10 pm

        The church is corrected by a Power much greater than any man can do. People have to repent, pray, and fast It will all be corrected in His time.

    • 20 July 2014 1:05 am

      Regarding the statements of humility and judgement made by the Orthodox commenting…

      The week that the OCA enthroned Jonah I went on an Orthodox forum and predicted he would last about 2 years give or take a little. The day he was enthroned he was on stage with other bishops who had led the OCA into the failed and corrupt state it is in and he said something profound that I will never forget. He said, ‘I have the MOST PROFOUND RESPECT for the bishops on stage with me.’ I made the right judgement call. How long did he last?

      QUESTION: Was that profoundly intelligent or profoundly stupid for him to have said that?

      It told me that the OCA had just enthroned another immoral and unethical incompetent with a situational and relativistic morality and ethic.

      One of three things is going on in the OCA to have enthroned another incompetent ruler:

      1. The OCA had not fully repented over the issues it needed too and it circled cycled right back to the same incompetency that got it into trouble.

      2. The OCA authority structure that develops leadership is the wrong type of structure to develop competent leadership with.

      3. The OCA authority structure is the set up for centralizing power and control into the hands of a few rulers who are not held transparent and accountable.

      Did all three of these things go wrong or is coming to a conclusion that one or more of them did a critical spirit inside of a judgmental attitude?

      It does not matter if the jurisdiction is under foreign rule or under independent self rule the outcome of the jurisdiction is the same, failure and systemic corruption (Ex: OCA and GOA). The two symptoms are the failure and corruption and they point right at the cause, the top down authoritarian structure and system of centralize power and control rule. If that is not bad enough the jurisdiction hierarchical rulers all exclusively believe that are Gods only true rulers in Gods only true church. This is the set up for a church of we alone Gods only right and true rule idolatry that idolizes it structure and system of rule and those who rule over it.

      The need to be more humble excuse as the solution is not the first time I have heard that. Please explain to us how a top down authoritarian religious structure and system based in its own power and control and that has a self righteous, ‘we are Gods only true and right rulers’ mindset about itself is going to find humility in repentance over its authoritarian spiritual abuses of power and control?

      I have also heard many Orthodox tell me that the solution to their corrupt and failed church state is for them to more practice the Orthodox Mind. In other words, the Orthodox Mind solution is a top down authoritarian centralized power and control mind that is a exclusive, closed, isolated, segregate and subjective SYSTEM of mind. That Orthodox Mind is also anti western, rational and modernity and that is exactly what America is. No way the Orthodox Mind that believes it is Gods only true church with Gods only true structure and system of rule in it is itself by its exclusive perspective in mind set it has about itself is not anti freedom of religion. America is all about freedom of religion. It is not based upon the corrupt bondage of exclusive church/state merged as one as the authority of God on the planet. American freedom of religion is the escape from that, get it?

      We do not think exclusive Orthodox THEOCRACY here.

      The Orthodox would LOVE to turn us into an Orthodox based country.

      Do the Orthodox want to turn our Christianity and our country into something like Russia or Greece?

      There will be no HUMILITY solution coming to any of the failed and corrupt jurisdictions as long as their top down authoritarian structure and system of rule power and control and the exclusive claim combined with that authoritarian structure of rule are not removed and replaced with a more HUMBLE structure and system of rule and HUMBLE viewpoint of themselves. What is top down authoritarian cannot humble itself to become Jesus Christ bottom up humble. It is not based upon Philippians 2: 1-11. It is based upon what Christ refused at the Great Temptation. Personally, I will not bow to it. I know what it really is under its pretty veneer that it believes has no comparison to its beauty.

      How a church thinks determines its outcome in the reality of the real world. It is obvious how the Orthodox Mind really thinks by its corrupt and failed outcome in the reality of the real world. It thinks we exclusively are Gods only true Christians, Gods only true structure and system of rule and Gods only true rulers in Gods only true church. That is not the Christ mind of humility. It is the mind of pride, arrogance and self righteousness with an exclusive superior viewpoint of itself. Now by the exclusive claim thinking through your Orthodox Mind deny this is the truth of what is really going on in Orthodoxy in America.

      Yes, explain to us how the Orthodox Mind does not see itself as the ONLY Christian mind to think about God, Christianity and church with. Tell me like the Greeks have told me that their Hellenic interpretation of Scripture can be the only way to interpret Scripture and explain to us what that interpretation has turned out for the Greek Orthodox in America. Oh, I see, a sexually corrupt EP of Astoria, NY fame is the one who leads them by how he through Gods only right and true exclusive Hellenism interprets the morality of Scripture for them. The higher up in the hierarchical caste and class structure of authoritarian power and control rule the closer you are to God and therefore the better you rule like God would have a senior Orthodox ruler rule, correct? The higher up the structure the better Gods only true and right ruler interpretation of Scripture, right? Top down centralized religious authoritarian power and control rule would never see itself as superior by class or caste to that under its authoritarian rule power and control, right? Why, its Gods most humble Christian rule that can exist in Christianity by the exclusive Gods only true truth in its rule that sees itself just like the humble Jesus who came to us full of GRACE and TRUTH in the Gospels saw Himself, correct? It comes to us full of GRACE and TRUTH in HUMILITY just like Christ did, right?

      No church can come to you more full of the HUMBLE GRACE and TRUTH of Christ like the EOC can by its exclusive claim and structure of top down authoritarian power and control rule that reinforces (enforces) and is joined as one with the exclusive claim.

      Putin and Krill as one in rule, what a church! Where do I sign up for that HUMBLE Christian healing relevancy to a lost, wounded and broken world!?! Is there a sign up at the airliner crash site? Did all of those dead peoples souls go to Orthodox exclusive heaven? What’s next ROC priests walking around the crash site saying the Jesus Prayer? Yes, I noticed how the ROC has renounced that act of terrorism sponsored by a Russian anti aircraft missile system operated by Russian military advisers (Did an Orthodox Christian separatist push the launch button or was it an Orthodox Christian Russian military officer?) The MP is pointing his finger right at Putin, right? He is holding his Orthodox brother transparent and accountable with church discipline consequences, right? There is no corrupt religious political power and control manipulating game being played by these two HUMBLE ORTHODOX CHRISTAN MEN OF GOD, correct?

      Of course, Krill wants nothing to do with Putin’s delusional vision to return to Czarist Russia church/state grandeur, right? Only a dictatorship based church would want to be one with a dictatorship state and the EOC is no religious dictatorship that wants to be one with any dictatorship state, right? That would not be how Jesus came to us in the Gospels and the EOC is all about modeling who Jesus was in the Gospels by how they come to us like Jesus in the Gospels came to us, right? Jesus came to us a authoritarian religious political ruler who was unrepentant systemically corrupt, correct?

      Church/state authoritarian power and control rule is the most transparent and accountable form of rule Christianity has ever known! God and the state as one hold God and the state as one transparent and accountable? God and the state as one is really the church and the state as God. God does not hold God transparent and accountable. Who among the Orthodox can hold God your church transparent and accountable with consequences that bring the humility to it necessary for it to find Gods only true humble solution correction back to the only one true God? Will it be your top down authoritarian hierarchies who believe they are Gods only true rulers in Gods only true church that lead the jurisdictions through a process of HUMBLING corporate repentance? If not them, who then will it be?

      The Orthodox Mind is not the mind of Christ’s humility that leads to repentance before the humble Christ as the only one true God. The EOC is only as HUMBLE as its top down authoritarian structure and system of power and control rule is is HUMBLE. The EOC in America is only as humble as it does not see itself as God and salvation.

      Like the Orthodox in America have never been told before is this and they don’t like being told this like this. They really only want to be told that we are Gods only true church that has no comparison. If feels so much better than facing the reality of the real world of what their dying corrupt and unrepentant church outcome makes them feel. The Orthodox feel SHAME in their real world outcome of church that was caused by their being a shame based church that shames and is shaming. It is shame based shaming itself in its shame based failure. It is a vicious bondage circle trap they cannot freedom in Christ break free of for believing that their church is Christ’s only right and true freedom in Christ church. By the exclusive claim this must be the most shame free and shame bondage breaking Orthodox exclusive Gods only true truth freedom in Christ based church on the planet! There is no Gods truth that can set you Christ free like the Gods only true truth EOC. Just look at how the truth that sets you free set free the Orthodox church outcome in America for the proof of this being Gods only truly set free by Christ truth church.

      Orthodox, welcome to the COMPARISON from a Christianity that exposes itself to itself like no Orthodox jurisdiction will and that now has your dead religion church in the cross-hair’s of the comparison methodology it uses to expose itself with. As an Orthodox you are just going to LOVE what I tell you next. It uses a western rational modern Christianity approach in methodology of comparison. You are getting your exclusive claim and its structure and system of authoritarian rule that enforces that exclusive claim compared to the outcome the exclusive claim enforced by your authoritarian structure and system has created for you in America. The symptoms of the failed and systemically corrupt church have been traced back to their cause in the comparison exposing your hypocrisy and unrepentance and why you are both.

      It is no wonder to me what the real reason is why the Orthodox are anti western rational modernity Christianity. It exposes them by comparison as it refuses to bow their exclusive we are Gods only true and right structure of Christian rule mindset it has about itself.

      Not Orthodox Christians be warned. This church wants to convert you over into it and turn you in what it is. It wants to turn you into its real world outcome. The grass is not greener on the other side, it is dry dead brown. Don’t be fooled by the shinny pretty outer ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing hiding veneer. Look below its plastic dead religion surface of spiritual deception to see what that white washed tombs paint is really hiding. See the truth in how its form really functions. Connect the Mathew 23:1-37 dots and heed the seven direct woe warnings of Christ given to us. Think Christ freedom in Christ bottom up for yourself without a top down authoritarian religious structure and system of over the top self glorifying idolatrous power and control rule that claims to exclusively be Gods only true church in a church culture of unrepentant systemic corruption thinking for you.

      Orthodox who disagree send us your most theologically educated and experienced metropolitan or your most highly recognized theologian or your most holy humble pious monastic elder to disagree with us and see how that disagreement turns out for them. In fact, send us all three at once. Send them to us as an apologetic defense team of Orthodoxy. I for one would relish that debate.

      I know what every last one of their John 8:31-59 apologetic defenses will be. I know how to COMPARE like Christ compared in the Gospels. I know who the John 8:42-44 ruler is and who rules over a unrepentant systemically corrupt church based in its own authoritarian power and control rule. I know how the Orthodox and this corrupt ruler together have turned Orthodox rule into their self glorifying idol God and salvation. I know how that John 8:42-44 delusional ruler really leads by how he thinks in exclusive viewpoint of himself in his pathologically insane want to be God and glorified as God. I know what the exclusive lie he told them was, why they believed it and what its consequences seen in the real world are.

      Orthodox, who is the God that in Christian truth truly rules over the GOA and OCA? Is it the father of lies or God the father of truth? What does their real world outcomes tell them who is the God in rule over them in Christian COMPARATIVE truth really is? Truth compares and the state of the Orthodox church in America is not who or what is be compared against no matter who or what its unrepentant and going in circles with itself systemically corrupt exclusive claim claims itself to be. Only Christ who cannot be corrupted can be the comparison. He came to us as the direct opposite of what He confronted and so there would be no doubt in who He claimed Himself to be. He came as the comparison of Holiness in rule to Sin in rule, Pride in rule to humility in rule, idolatry worship in rule to worship of true God in rule and hate in rule to love in rule. (Did leave something out of His comparison?)

      Corruption is sin that hates Gods holiness the last time I compared it to my Bible. The more systemically corrupt unrepentant is a church the more that church HATES GOD and Gods love. The hate of God is the self destruction of a church found in systemic corruption bondage that refuses to corporately repent. Satan hates God, Gods love and Gods church and he wants to destroy Him, His love and His church and his most effective lie is the lies that lead to church systemic corruption that hates God to destroy God and His church. Satan is systemically corrupt himself and he does not repent and what he rules over by corruption will not repent of its systemic corruption he has turned into his systemically corrupt character. The Orthodox are destroying themselves in America and I know why.

      Yes, I know, Orthodox, the exclusive claim of being Gods only true church is not the lie the father of lies is destroying your church with. The exclusive claim is just too exclusively God only right and true to be a lie from the father of all lies who himself wants to exclusively be God by a lie of deception.

      If the Orthodox in America believe their church smells of Gods only true and authentic Christianity that is only because their culture of systemic church corruption has acclimated indoctrinated them not to smell the corruption reek and see the dead rotting corpse of a church causing that reek. It all smells Orthodox beautiful exclusive claim normal to them and its smell has a priceless perfume aroma that has no comparison to it. That is the deception of the exclusive claim causing them to have a delusional viewpoint of themselves that only smells like beautiful Orthodoxy that has no comparison. Deception leads to delusion and delusion leads to a subjective irrational mindset that is not at all objective about itself. Orthodoxy by its exclusivity has a pompous, grandiose and self righteous delusional perspective of itself that is incapable of humbling itself to see itself as it really in the objective mirror of repentance before God. In other words, it cannot smell itself like it really smells. That strong church death stench odor can be traced back to the cause of its reek by comparison. It takes HUMILITY to make the comparison.

      It is Orthodox wrong to make the comparison, come to conclusions as to what the comparison is telling us and then make a judgement on what is really going on. That is a critical judgmental attitude and spirit to do that. Jesus never judged by comparison and He never told us to compare by His truth and make a judgement call on what the comparison exposes, right? Only the Orthodox by their exclusive claim in viewpoint of themselves can determine the God right and correct state of other churches and Christians in comparison to their exclusive claim and church and that is not their being wrongly judgmental.

      Keep those self protective closed system defense explanations coming Orthodox and I will expose them for what they really are by comparison that makes a judgement call on what they really are. You can then call that a proud, arrogant and self righteous attitude with a critical spirit of sinning judgement against you and that is heresy and apostasy persecuting you, but you still will not be able to escape what the comparison expose’ tells you the truth about all of you in your church and what your church itself is really all about. My judgement is that the Orthodox in America are not going to escape the consequences they have brought to themselves and why and how they did bring those consequences to themselves.

      The Orthodox in America are over. The EOC in America is going to continue to exist here in America. Something can be over and still exit. Those Christ confronted He paradigm shifted past and left behind, but they still existed, and they were OVER at the same time. The modern automobile was the paradigm shift past and that left behind the horse and wagon. That form of transportation is over in America, but horses and wagons still exist, get it?

      • Alek permalink
        21 July 2014 1:21 pm

        Christ said that His Kingdom is not of this world and I don’t think we will ever enter into it through a worldly institution. In some of the Orthodox churches you will find the way to the Kingdom through much prayer, fasting, and repentance. One will not get that in any other church. Maybe the Holy Spirit can inspire this in a person but many people have come to know this through worship and teaching of the Orthodox faith.

  46. Jim Kobeski permalink
    28 July 2014 2:33 pm

    Again, I think Alek’s comment is skewed. I pray regularly and intensely both in and out of church. I am also repentant of my sins and ask for forgiveness every time I am at church (albeit in a different form than the Orthodox). As for fasting, it is only one of many ways to sacrifice and repent. To say none of this occurs in non-Orthodox churches is a serious mis-representation. Every once in awhile, the ostrich picks his head up out of the dirt to see what’s going on. In a like manner, think the Orthodox need to do the same. What you’ll see is that there are many valid forms of Christianity. I am not saying your church is invalid – why do you do that to everyone else?

    • 28 July 2014 10:57 pm

      The EO believe they are the valid form of Christianity in America or anywhere else for that matter. In other words, the only valid form of Christianity in America is what has to steal your power to prop its powerlessness up with and so it can project the veneer image that it is alive by Christ to lie lure you into it and so it can steal your power to prop itself up with. It is a vicious circle of lying to steal your power to prop itself up with so it can continue to lie to lure others into it to steal their power to prop itself up with. No amount of prayer, fasting or repentance is going to correct that unless it is specifically pointed right at that problem on a system wide scale by the church in corporate repentance.

      The Gods only true rulers of Gods only true church are not going to lead their jurisdictions through that corporate repentance and bondage breaking process and so things are not going to correct themselves by some form of Orthodox spiritual magic over time, but the dying state of Orthodoxy in America will become worse and worse over time.

      Living in the open system rational practical reality of the real Christian spiritually mature world and not in the closed system delusional spiritually immature ‘we alone are God right and true’ Orthodox delusional world understands practical spiritual reality and how Orthodox spiritual magic is not going to escape their real world outcome in America and no matter who they magically claim to be here in America. No amount of Eastern mystical thinking or practices is going to save the Orthodox from their rational real world corrupt and failed outcome in America unless they rationally corporately repent on a system wide scale. Hopeful Orthodox thinking that is as irrational as the irrational outcome of their church in America is will remain irrational hope in God saving them somehow as long as they don’t rationally corporately repent of their irrational outcome here.

      This is not bad news come to the Orthodox. It is the good news come to them as freedom in Christ corporate repentance and bondage breaking that is their only hope of survival in America. Christ stands at the closed Orthodox church door and knocks to come in and bring corporate repentance and bondage breaking to them but they will not by their exclusive claim in viewpoint of themselves combined with their authoritarian structure of top down power and control rule unlock the door and let Him in. The authoritarianism and exclusiveness are the locks on the door keeping Christ out.

      Knock, Knock, Knock, is anyone home???

  47. Snow permalink
    25 September 2014 4:00 am

    Ashley, I’m very sorry for the loss of your son, but that was an isolated incident and you cannot blame the entirety of Eastern Orthodoxy for it.

    Your ridiculously long posts sound kooky and cult-like. You’ve posted these same comments all over the internet. Reading your comments is like reading a bottle of Dr. Bonner’s soap. Please just withdraw and let people converse without further clogging up the comment section.

    • 7 August 2015 6:44 pm

      The entire of Orthodoxy is not responsible. Let that be clear. The GOC is responsible.

      What, Eric Cliff is just an isolated incident? Spiritual abuse is only isolated to the GOC and no other jurisdiction is involved with it? Prove it.

      The only thing ridiculous is the state of Orthodoxy in America. The only thing clogging is what is clogging the growth and relevancy development of the Orthodox in America.

      However, what I see is that the entirety of Orthodoxy in America is in serious demographic collapse trouble. What, you have not noticed that? Can you explain why the two largest jurisdictions are corrupt, failed, incompetent, irrelevant, abusive and dying? Those are isolated incidents?

      Have you read the Pew Report on the state of Orthodoxy in America? Yes, give us your best explanation of why it is in that state and I will comment back. You will not like what I tell you. I promise you that. You can’t handle the truth of rational objective facts.

      What sounds kooky and cult like is the GOC. Its hierarchy is systemically corrupt and ephraim is a cult. (Have you checked out the state of the ROC lately?) Systemic corruption and cultism is what clogs Christ right out of a church. They will turn a church into a cult.

      You are in denial. The systemic corruption and the cultism of the GOC is posting itself in communities everywhere in America where their cult church exists.

      You do know what the rational objective comparison criterion’s are that help people find out if they are in a cult church or not, right? Do you need me to explain it to you? You will not like what I tell you.

      The bottom line is that you cannot make a case to the points I make. Ad Hominem is the best response you have. Reading your comment is classic Orthodox denial. That denial will not stop the dying state of your church here but it will accelerate it. Yes, explain how demographic implosion of jurisdictions in America is an isolated incident. Explain how there are no common denominators in those implosions.

      The GOC is dangerous and you don’t like being told just how dangerous it really is and why it is dangerous. There is a lot to the explanation of why and how it is in the state it is in. The dangerous state of the GOC in America is not an isolated incident. Look at the GOC Chicago diocese. Hierarchy spiritual abuse is rampant and out of control. Elder following priests are destroying parishes. A pedophile protecting EP and archbishop lead the GOCA. What kind of hierarchies rule the other jurisdictions? Go to http://www.pokrov.org to find out. They are not in denial. They see right through and a call it out for what it really is.

      So, what happened to our son is an isolated incident? What planet did you say you are from? Yes, explain how your jurisdiction is different than the GOC.

      I sound cultic? Just how to do I sound cultic? Back your words up with explanation. You said it you back it up. I back up what I tell you. I explain it. I can use crayons to draw it for you if you are struggling with comprehension. I can do a child’s connect the dots crayon picture of it if you want. It will not be beautiful Orthodoxy who has no equal or comparison, but it will be the reality of the real rational world that Orthodoxy is struggling to survive itself in.

      Your denial is obviously not keeping up with what is really taking place in the GOC and other jurisdictions.

      What about the OCA and the Serbian church here??? In other words the problem is systemic and it is also systemically connected by the same theological thinking and structure and system of church. How a church thinks determines its real world outcome. How it treats people is by its structure and system of authority. Freedom in Christ church authority does not treat people with authoritarianism. How Orthodoxy treats people with spiritually abusive authoritarianism is not a single isolated incident. It is systemic.

      Yes, just what is the real world outcome of Orthodoxy in America? Whose fault is that, is it open system freedom of religion America’s fault or is it closed system authoritarian church/state thinking fault? Is it the fault of exclusiveness or inclusiveness? Is it the Protestants and RCC fault? Well, whose fault is it? Do tell.

      I will say this about Protestant evangelicals. They produce books like The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse and Churches That Abuse. What you got Orthodox? You got a closed system that cannot produce open system honest books like these.

      Do you know what is the difference between a top down closed structure system and a bottom up open structure and system? Can you explain how authoritarianism in a top down closed structure and system is freedom in Christ? I can explain how it is not.

      Please explain to us how Christ came to us as church/state and as a monastic. Show us in the Gospels and NT where those two things are advocated. Use Philippians 2:1-17 to explain it.

      Please withdraw? The moderator determines that and not the Orthodox. The moderator withdrew himself from your church and he had good reason to do that. Is he now involved in heresy and practicing apostasies? Has he lost salvation? Give us your best Gods only true Christian answer.

      What is withdrawing is the dying state of the GOC in America. The dying state is not just ISOLATED to the GOC here, It is an epidemic systemic problem impacting all jurisdictions. Orthodoxy is withdrawing itself right off of the map of Christianity in America. I can explain the reasons why it is and that you obviously are denying.

      I will not ask you to withdraw, but I do ask that you engage me on what you specifically see is me not telling you the truth of your church. If I have it wrong, am ignorant or lying tell me how that I am. I will not run away. Yes, tell me how I got it wrong about the wrong state of your church and why it is in that state. Tell me how its state is isolated in the GOC and how that state is not causing great harm to people created in the image of God.

      Yes, Orthodox, please all withdraw yourselves from this forum and because you disagree with me and don’t like what I say about the state of your church and why it is in that state. I see you talking all over the place on other forums and saying the same things about other churches from your exclusive we are Gods only right viewpoint.

      I will not ask you to leave this forum or a discussion on it. That would be ridiculous.

  48. Father Gregory permalink
    9 November 2014 12:07 am

    A post that resonates with me deeply. I went to the “other” OCA Seminary (similar experiences of arrogance, anti-westernism, abuse of power, spiritual abuse etc etc). I eventually became an OCA Priest but I have since left and have been received in the Anglican Catholic Church.

    Thank you for writing this post.

  49. jay permalink
    5 December 2014 2:04 am

    I have attended an EO for several yrs. Became a catechumen 2+yrs ago. I never felt comfortable, never felt like I belonged. The congregation was at least 90% converts, it felt fake to me. I love the depth of teaching,loved the people. No other church has the deep insight and answers as the Orthodox. I have recently been attending a REC church. I felt so at home, but again it don’t have the “fullness ‘of ancient Christianity. I feel like I am turning my back on the “True Church”. It def. tears at the psyche…I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject, if possible.

  50. Will permalink
    28 January 2015 8:01 am

    When you returned to the Anglican communion, was it to an Anglo-Catholic or high church congregation?

  51. Will permalink
    28 January 2015 8:06 am

    I left an Evangelical Anglican congregation in Sydney, Australia and went into Orthodoxy. However it was uncomfortable as all the Greek Orthodox churches were all Greek and in Greek, Russian Orthodox churches were all Russian and in Russian and the Antioch churches were all Lebanese and in Arabic. I just felt I didn’t fit in and while I tried, I just couldn’t find fellowship or even communicate properly with the Priests. I was always seen as the outsider and not fully orthodox. Now I am currently visiting an Anglo-Catholic parish and a Roman Catholic one, speaking to the Priests and trying to decide. How can an Anglican believe in the orthodox view of original sin? Doesn’t the 39 articles teach original sin? Thank you.

  52. Mary permalink
    5 February 2015 11:41 am

    Well i stay because the sacrements are valid no matter how much it stinks in the ark.its peculiar how rediculed i am for my hair shoes and personality…even for thinking! A priest even attacked me – more than once. Its a rough road to stay on sometimes. The promise is if its the church – weeds wiil be there and wolves because our Lord said it. If it doesnt stink how can it be the ark of our salvation? I mean all the animals were invited in too… It is for me that ark, and that doesnt mean im not tossed around sometimes and wearing wounds and scarrs. And sometimes the stench makes me want to hurl. Whatever all it was, i believe you. Im sorry no one could have warned you in advance. Its life in the trenches and if youd had someone to yell “incomming!” You could have run for cover from the snipers. Its one granade after another some days. And dont get me started on the machine gunners! I totally get what you are saying. im thankful for your candor and for saying it. i dont have to meet you in person to love you. Glory to God.

  53. 5 February 2015 1:14 pm

    Mary, the church is supposed to be a hospital for diseased souls, not a garbage skow where the staff walk around and shoot the wounded. Jesus never established, or intended to establish, anything that looks like Ark you describe. God gave us discernment and free will for a reason. Use it… for Christ’s sake.

    • 19 February 2015 9:41 pm

      The modern church is to be a model to this fallen world of healing, support and recovery ministries in the church to a society and generation it is found in. That is not Orthodoxy in America.

      I would encourage the Orthodox to visit this website and see what they are missing by being a top down centralized structure of authoritarianism that is a closed, isolated and subjective system:

      http://www.nacr.org/ (The National Association of Christian Recovery)

      The church that is bottom up open system of humble servant followers of Jesus and that is pluralistic inclusive to those wounded, broken, suffering and traumatized by this fallen world is a cutting edge Jesus relevancy church to our society and generation. That is not Orthodoxy in America.

      In my city is a church that has 300+ in weekly attendance at its Christ centered healing, support and recovery ministry. Another one is developing that same kind of ministry in it and is going to coordinate it with its homeless ministry that has over 300+ attend weekly. That is not the only Orthodox parish in my city of 200K. On a good Sunday about 100 of Gods only true Christians show up to that parish. It has been in existence here for 60+ years.

      Only the most exclusive of Christians attend the first among equals GOC that has no equal to it and so that is why it is not like 4 other churches in my city with 2,000+ each in attendance on Sunday. That parish is the first class section of Christianity and while all the rest are in the second class. That is why the second class Christianity has so many more Christians in it than the first class Christianity in my city. The parish is so first class Christianity exclusive it keeps exclusively to itself. Its something like flying on a jet passenger plane with two classes of seats. It is class or caste Christianity that believes that is how Jesus came to us in the Gospels by omission of the Great Commission of Jesus that omits Jesus. Yes, I would say that the church that omits Jesus is quite the exclusive church.

      The two consequences of the fall were death and shame. The evil one’s strategy against us in the church is shame spiritual abuse it to its church death. It is hate Jesus first and hate the church of Jesus second as his first two priorities of a church.

      All church growth and relevancy development strategy and what can kill it dead are in the Gospels and NT. The goal of the strategy is corrupt the church by IDOLATRY and destroy it by that idolatry through shame to its church death.

      There is simply no practical real spiritual world way a top down authoritarian structure and closed system that has an exclusive ‘We alone are Gods only true church and Christians’ viewpoint of itself will not turn that into IDOLATRY of its structure and system of authority over Christ and then over the people of Jesus in a spiritually abusive power and control fashion. It abuses and negates healing ministry in the church to its abused church death.

      The Orthodox in America will not be developing a Christ centered healing, support and recovery ministry in it that Rescues Like Jesus Rescues. They can try and it will not really go anywhere as a multiplicity of Jesus healing relevancy internal ministry development expansion of those kinds of ministries in their church and I know why. Satan does not want it to it to bring the healing of Jesus to it or allow it to bring the healing of Jesus to those outside of it and when he has idolatry of his evil in rule authoritarian power and control over it. That would be counter productive to his strategy of idolatry, shame and church death and the closing out of any Jesus alone strategy solution to it.

      The evils ones strategy is to gain authoritarian power and control over a church turn its system into closed isolation and cut off all ways of bringing Jesus healing and recovery to it. His strategy is to cut off any way of bringing corporate repentance of sin and systemic bondage breaking to it so that he can destroy it.

      His strategy is Idolatry that shames a church to death. Idolatry of a church structure and system of authority renders that church powerless without the power of the Holy Spirit to correct itself and it goes into a death spiral as a result. It has replaced the power of the Holy Spirit with mans authoritarian power and control. Man is the idol and his authoritarian structure and system of rule power and control.

      Unless that kind of a church comes to an end of its own powerless power and repents it will die in its own powerless power without the living power of the Holy Spirit. The evils one power is dead and the power of Jesus is alive.

      I believe the 5 priorities of a church that defeat the evil one’s hate Jesus shame and death strategy to kill the church dead and that moves the church Jesus growth and relevancy forward and protect it are based in one over riding priority of God that is Love Jesus First and the Love Like Jesus Loves second.

      The strategy of Jesus Love Jesus – Love Like Jesus Loves leads to the Jesus priorities of:

      Worship Jesus

      Live for Jesus

      Rescue Like Jesus

      Jesus Spiritual Warfare

      Idolatry of Satan by his deceptions that shame abuses and brings church death is the archenemy of a church based upon those Jesus priorities and like it is the archenemy of the spiritual gift of prophesy. It has been turned into an archenemy of Jesus. Why would I say that?

      The goal of the evil one’s strategy is to turn the church into his strategy of hate Jesus, to turn it into the same archenemy of Jesus that Satan is. He usurps the authority of Holy Spirit and the Lordship of Jesus in the church to replace it with himself in authority as the idol and it all goes corrupt and powerless to stop it.

      Idolatry of a church will systemically corrupt a church to its shamed church death and render it powerless to stop its church death.

      The Orthodox exclusively believe they are Gods only true church and Christians and that leads to pride, arrogance and self righteousness. It leads to self idolatry and by deception that is really idolatry of Satan (John 8:42-44).

      The proud, arrogant and self righteous idolatrous dying Orthodox church can disagree and stand by powerless to stop the evil ones strategy to destroy it.

      The ultimate goal of the evil one in gaining authoritarian idolatrous power and control over it is to corrupt salvation and I if you don’t know what that will mean for a church over time then you are spiritually deceived by idolatry of the evil one in ways you do not see and will deny deny if pointed out to you (John 8:31-59).

      The Freedom in Christ Church of Jesus is being compared to the authoritarian closed and systemically corrupt and idolatrous church in John 8:31-59. All church growth and relevancy development strategy and what can kill it dead are found with Jesus in the Gospels. If you can’t see how Jesus is warning us to not turn the church into what He confronted then your church will be corrupted and turned into idolatry in ways it will not see and just like it had with those Jesus confronted in the Gospels.

      The exclusive Orthodox do not listen. They are so exclusively we are Gods only true church and Christians right about themselves they really only listen to their self idolatrous corrupted selves. Satan is authoritarian self centered and Jesus is humble servant other centered. Jesus had the same problem with those in John 8:31-59. Their religious orthodox denial of why they are in the state they are in is the same denial of the Orthodox of today. The EO simply cannot be Jesus reasoned with and so their church dies as a result.

      The #1 Priority of the Orthodox is Love Our authoritarian Structure and System FIRST and love our exclusives selves in it SECOND. That is is church culture that indoctrinates and disciples them. It the church of idolatry bondage and not freedom in Jesus.

      The idolatrous church does not Love Jesus first and therefore it cannot love like Jesus loves second and that is the real reason why it is found in America to be corrupt, failed, irrelevant, spiritually immature incompetent, cultic, abusive and dying. That is exactly the goal in the strategy of Satan that is his liar, thief and murderer Hate Jesus strategy by idolatry over Christ’s strategy of Love Jesus First – Love Like Jesus Loves Second of Gods love, grace, mercy and truth strategy.

      The Orthodox merged their church with the Roman dictatorship state as one in Christ’s authority and that was the worst corruption of Jesus, the Gospels and NT in Christian history and they believe it was the best thing that ever happened to Christianity. They merged with a authoritarian kingdom of this world and Jesus refused that in Matthew 4: 1-11, Luke 4:1-13 and Mark 1:12-13. The EO believe that themselves about as well as those in John 8:31-59 believed Jesus.

      Jesus + Something Else = The Corruption of a Church

      Jesus + Idolatry = The Corruption of a Church.

      Jesus + NOTHING = What?…It equals the 5 priorities of Jesus that is the freedom in Jesus church.

      Jesus + The Five Priorities of Jesus and that are Freedom in Jesus = What?

      Jesus + An Authoritarian Rule Structure and Closed System that are Satan’s Bondage = What?

      Satan’s Bondage of Idolatry (Hate Jesus) is his spiritual warfare strategy and Freedom in Christ (Love Jesus) is the spiritual warfare strategy of Jesus. Love Satan vs. Love Jesus is the strategy of the evil one and Love Jesus vs. Hate Satan is the strategy of Jesus. Love Satan is hate Jesus and love Jesus is love Jesus.

      Oh, but, Ashley you are not EO and so your salvation is not Christ’s salvation and at the very least it is highly suspect to us. You are the one with corrupted salvation in comparison to our exclusiveness as Gods only true church, Gods only true Christians and Gods only true salvation. There is no salvation outside of our Jesus + Our Church as Salvation = Only We Have Christ’s Salvation. You are the one who is corrupt in comparison to us!!!

      That is exactly the same argument the orthodox made with Jesus in John 8:31-59. Every EO apologetic defense is found in those verses. All of them. All church growth and relevancy development and what can kill it dead are found in the Gospels and NT.

      Jesus in Philippians 2:1-11 is how Jesus comes to us. It is not how the EO come to us by Byzantine state dictatorship rule merged with Christ as GOD and Salvation! Yes, merge a kingdom of this world with Christ’s church and the consequences will catch up to that church at some time and over time and those consequences have come to the Orthodox of today. The idolatry props that hold the EO up no longer can hold it up and so it falls to the floor powerless by its idolatry to stand back up.

      Jesus + Idolatry Props = What for a church in consequences come to it? It really is this. Satan + Satan’s Props = What Outcome for a Church of that Idolatrous Prop Up?

      Jesus in the Gospels knocked the idolatrous props right out from under those in John 8:31-59 and that exposed their idolatry for what it really was in comparison to Him Alone as God and Salvation. Jesus + Nothing = The Comparison of Jesus to Self Idolatry that is Jesus + Something Else and the plus something else is idolatry. The plus something else is the evil one as a lying, thieving and murdering deception of a counterfeit Jesus to gain power and control over the EOC. It is Anti Christ Hate Jesus as the plus something else that has systemically corrupted the EOC and rendered it powerless by the idol of its worship to stop its destruction.

      Satan is the ultimate in self idolatry who wants to be God. The goals of his Hate Jesus strategy are shame and death of Christ’s church. It is the strategy of the liar, thief and murderer who shames a church to its death. It is the shame based and idolatry based church that mimics its idol god of shame and idolatry that leads to its church death. It mimics the death character of Satan in its church death.

      Satan’s strategy is the counterfeit Jesus to deceive us into idolatry of Satan to the shame death of a church.

      Ashley, you are nothing less than heresy that practices apostasy in comparison to us the Orthodox as Gods only true Christians and so anything you tell us must be heresy apostate. Therefore, we will not hear you.

      Orthodox, read John 8:31-59 and see that like thinking and attitude and the resulting behaviors it produces. It is the state of your church in America and from where it came from.

      Basically, the Orthodox did not come to America as the Great Commission of Jesus. They came here as the Great Omission of the Gospel commission of Jesus and in that omission they omitted Jesus. Satan omits Jesus to replace Jesus with a counterfeit Jesus who does not share the Gospel with those without salvation and to pervert salvation into a lie within the church that omits Jesus to send it to hell. The props knocked out from under it proves this and so do many other things too. You know, like its imploding demographic state in America.

      Jesus, in effect, told those in John 8:31-59, Go be orthodox right with your idol god that you believe is your salvation and see what eternal consequences it brings to you (John 8:42-44).

      Now, Orthodox, bring your best apologetic defense to what I have told you here. Use your prop ups to do it with. Start with the third Roman Byzantine dictatorship ruler after Constantine that sealed the deal on the merger of a kingdom of this world with Christ as one in the same as God, as Jesus come to us in the Gospels. I will use Jesus + The Gospels + The NT = Jesus + The Gospels + The NT alone. I don’t need your prop ups. I have Jesus and Gods Word alone as my crutches that hold me up. Oh, yes I need Jesus + Gods Word to hold me up and I am not ashamed of Jesus, the Gospels and NT ashamed of that. I am not a shame based Christian that shames Jesus, the Gospels and the NT. I am a freedom in Jesus and Gods Word based Christian. I am a Jesus + Nothing Christian.

      The Orthodox plus something else is what gives them the self centered idolatrous viewpoint of themselves that sees itself superior to all else underneath its exclusiveness. Satan too has a highly exclusive viewpoint of himself. The Orthodox are Romans 12:2 molded conformed to it and not Jesus Christ freedom in Christ set free of its bondage and that is why they are a dying church that is really only relevant to itself in its exclusive viewpoint of itself. They are Romans 12:2 molded conformed to idolatry and not transformed by freedom in Christ and their real world church outcome proves it.

      In freedom of religion America the true church of Jesus has to stand up on its own two Jesus feet alone and walk without Satan counterfeit prop up or it falls to the ground and can’t get back up. You know, just like Jesus in the Gospels stood up on His own two Jesus feet and walked in our midst as freedom in Christ alone as our salvation with no Jesus + Something Else Idolatry Prop Up us as our salvation.

      It is easy by believing the lying deception of idol god Satan as God to turn a church into a cult in Christianity or into a Christian cult church.

      Love Jesus First – Love Like Jesus Loves Second or die EO in America by self centered exclusive idolatry of your church and yourselves in it. Love your exclusive selves and your exclusive church first over love of Jesus alone first and watch that destroy your church in America. Your exclusiveness in idolatry of yourselves in you exclusive church that you idolize is your #1 Priority over the first two priorities of Jesus.

  54. Will permalink
    5 February 2015 10:57 pm

    Can anyone tell me how someone can be an Anglo-Catholic or High Church Anglican and believe in the 39 articles of faith and homilies? Isn’t there a conflict between the Catholic worship style with the real prescene in the Eucharist etc and the evangelical nature of the articles and homilies? I keep being told that to be Anglican is to be Catholic and Protestant but each parish seems to only focus on one. This is something I am struggling with and would like some help in understanding it.

    • 6 February 2015 1:07 pm

      The Articles of Religion are part of a wider theological tradition built on the Bible, that includes the ancient creeds, the Early Fathers, and the Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church. They are not a stand alone document. Anglicans have never regarded the Articles as a Confession of Faith in the narrow sense, but rather as a broad affirmation to the Biblical version of Christianity. We have been required to subscribe to the Articles as “containing nothing contrary to Scripture” rather than asked to bind ourselves to a particular version of Biblical theology.

      • Will permalink
        20 February 2015 6:26 am

        Thank you for the reply. Could you explain the difference between Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical Anglicans? How can they both exist? How is the Catholic worship style with the real prescene in the Eucharist compatiable with the Bible? This is something I am struggling with since I worship in the very low church Sydney diocese but was raised in the moderate anglo-catholic diocese of Brisbane. Is it possible to converse with you on these issues via email?

      • 20 February 2015 5:53 pm

        All the religion church talk aside….

        The GOC of A is foreign ruled.

        It is ruled over by a top down centralized authoritarian structure and it is a closed system.

        It is part of the church that the forth emperor after Constantine sealed the deal on merging the church and that state that was the biggest mistake in all of Christian history.

        Jesus did not come to us as a merger with the Christ and the state or as top down centralized authoritarian structure and a closed system.

        The concerning thing I have found about the EO is how it is Orthodoxy first, their jurisdiction second, their bishop third, their parish forth and Jesus fifth. With some Orthodox they put a monastic elder second. Jesus is buried under the religion of Orthodoxy.

        In Orthodoxy it is primarily love the Orthodox church first over Jesus first. It is a structure and system of self idolatry with a ‘We are Gods only true church and Christian’s’ exclusive Orthodox Mind about itself.

        When the Orthodox came to America they basically came here as an omission of the Great Commission. When you omit the Commission you omit Jesus right out the front doors of the church. They came to America as the Orthodox religion and not really as the living church of Jesus Christ and its real world outcome state in America proves it. In Orthodox it is not really Love Jesus First – Love Like Jesus Loves Others Second. Its set of priorities reflect its real world outcome in America. Its priorities are Orthodoxy! Orthodoxy! Orthodoxy! first over Jesus.

        Foreign rule + Authoritarian Closed Structure and System of Rule power and control + We are Gods only true church and Christians = Orthodoxy Over Jesus. Stated another way it is, a foreign ruled authoritarian closed structure and system with an exclusive viewpoint of itself over Christ.

        The state of Orthodoxy in America is the state of the church from where it came from. It simply duplicated itself here by being the same structure and system with the same attitude in mindset from where it came from. In America a church has to stand up on its own two Jesus feet and walk without what props the EOC here up and so it has fallen down to the ground and can’t stand back up.

        It does not matter if the jurisdiction is under foreign rule or not the authoritarian structure and system of rule causes the same failure as both the OCA and GOA are.

        Jesus and the Apostles dressed street like everyone else. Jesus did not walk around with the Apostles dressed like the royal authoritarian church/state golden robed and jeweled hierarchy of Orthodoxy. Jesus told us how they dressed and the thinking and attitude that goes with it in the Gospels. If that is not a dead give away I don’t what is.

        The Sanhedrin and the Roman dictatorship state together conspired to murder Jesus. Their self idolatry of themselves conspired to kill Jesus. The state and the religion conspired to kill Jesus. If that is not a dead give away about Orthodoxy I don’t what is. The more a church replaces Jesus with idolatry of itself the more systemically corrupt that church becomes over time. Then a time comes that the consequences of that sin catch up with that church in obvious ways. Idolatry murders Jesus in a church by the degree that idolatry replace Christ in authority of a church. Over time that can turn a church into a cult in Christianity or into a Christian cult.

        Satan always has a counter strategy to the authority of Jesus and it is to replace Jesus in authority in a church with idolatry of itself and subtly unseen by his deceptions worship of him as the church authority. He wants to turn it into pride, arrogance and self righteousness that is authoritarian self centered and self protective of its power and control. He wants a pride centered authoritarian corrupt church character and because that is his character. Satan is a corrupt top authoritarian dictatorship ruler who wants to close the system of Christianity to render it powerless to an idol of its worship and the idol is John 8:42-44. If he can authoritarian rule over it he can close and isolate it and render it powerless by idolatry of him ruling by deception behind the scenes unseen.

        Orthodox, the deception of the evil one is proud and corrupt top down centralized authoritarianism that closes and isolates replacing the humble servant Jesus holy authority and whose bottom up and open system inclusiveness. The deception is idolatry over Jesus in authority. It simply cannot Love Jesus – Love Like Jesus Loves because of this. Love of the idol OVER Love Jesus – Love Like Jesus Loves has taken place and it SHOWS!

        The more a church mimics the character of the evil one the more evil it becomes and the more evil it becomes the more corrupt it becomes and the more corrupt it becomes the more obvious why it is corrupt becomes apparent.

        I find it interesting that someone would want to be a part of Orthodoxy when it is a obvious what it is compared to Jesus in the Gospels. The standard of Gods comparison is not the religion of Orthodoxy. It is Jesus alone in the Gospels. Get that wrong and your church will go wrong by the degree it gets that wrong.

        All church growth and relevancy development starts with Jesus in the Gospels and the NT and what can kill it dead is found in the Gospels and the NT. Kill Jesus authority in your church and you kill the spiritual gift of Apostle, Prophet and Evangelist off. Jesus is the church foundation and those three spiritual gifts are what build the church on Jesus its foundation. The spiritual gifts are linear in process of church growth and relevancy development and not vertical top down authoritarian, closed and isolated power and control in process. If you want to stop church growth and relevancy development just turn those spiritual gifts into what Orthodoxy is.

        Orthodox, the goal of Satan’s Hate Jesus strategy to stop or kill the Love Jesus – Love Like Jesus Loves strategy of the Holy Spirit church growth and relevancy development in the real world where real people without salvation live.

        The EOC hierarchy is the direct spiritual line of the Apostles? Really? They have that spiritual gift by the state and outcome of this church in America. They are the prophetic voice of the Holy Spirit that speaks into and exposes corruption by that spiritual gift? They are the evangelism spiritual gift by the demographic implosion of Orthodoxy in America by that spiritual gift?

        The EO don’t like hard questions that make them think for themselves and see themselves as they really are in the reality of the real world in comparison to Jesus, the Gospels and the NT.

        The EP of Astoria NY fame rules over the Greek Orthodox Church and the Orthodox by what I state here are powerless fallen to ground can’t get back up to stop that corruption of their church and how that corruption leads it into ever more corruptions that lead to a more and more corrupt, irrelevant, abusive, idolatrous, cultic and dying state of this church in America.

        What’s next Orthodox, Putin and Krill as one in church and state unity as Jesus come to us in the Gospels?

  55. Dave permalink
    20 February 2015 6:23 am

    Have you considered trying the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch? Whilst our circumstances differ, I haven’t found any anti-western bias or sentiments in it or felt out of place due to my Irish background. Antioch may differ to other churches as it is not a nationalistic church but embraces all regardless of national or ethnic background. Two parishes which I attend offer English language services as well as in Arabic and Slavonic and are made up of many backgrounds including Lebanese, Syrian, Greek, Macedonian, Serbian as well as Australians like myself from western and northern European backgrounds. I understand they have a diocese in the UK.

    What is your thought on the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch? Is it plagued like the OCA?

  56. 20 February 2015 6:38 pm

    I agree with how a culture can influence and become a church. In the west I call it the Rational Business Corporation Machine Church.

    The self appointed Patriarch of the modern Protestant Evangelical Church in America recently stated that he had discovered the first purpose driven Pope and calls him Our New Pope. He also has stated that Rwanda is the first purpose driven country. He is Protestant Pope.

    Some others and I are addressing his corruption by a particular spiritual gift of the Holy Spirit. Its not pretty but its real world Christianity that exposes itself to itself.

    I have been to his church 3 times and the last time I was there I intersected with the corruption of one of its pastors. I walked in on a situation that was spiritually abusing his lay staff like I have never seen before in my entire Christian life. It was at a conference that particular church ministry was sponsoring. He had his lay staff gathered outside of the building the conference and away from those at the conference. I just happened to innocently open a side door to the building and there it was. He didn’t see me watching but then by others looking at me he then realized I standing there watching. The pastor like a Marine drill Sargent was walking up and down pointing his finger at them raging at them over religious performance and image of the ministry he leads. He was yelling at them chewing them out!

    Jesus + Peter Drucker = A rational business corporation machine church that can spiritually abuse. I understand the use of modern management and marketing used by a church. However, I also understand how they can be abused and that is what I witnessed at this conference.

    The pastor I intersected with in his prior life before becoming a pastor was the VP of marketing for a large business corporation. It was obvious what was the Purpose Driving him.

    What is on the surface veneer of a church does not reveal what can be below that shinny surface. The encounter was prior to the Patriarch of the purpose driven church made his Pope statement. For some reason I was asked to leave and refunded my money.

    I one time visited a GOA Congress in Az and was asked to leave and they called the police. As the police were racing in with their lights flashing I was driving out of the hotel conference center.

  57. Jenn permalink
    5 August 2015 10:03 pm

    One thing that I have notice is my 7 year search of Orthodoxy is that many converts seem to forget what it means to be human in a sense. They seem to lose parts of their humanity, their feeling of pain, curiosity, hope , fear as a person searching for truth and turn into cold heartless dogma shouters. Not meant in a bad way. Many seem to forget what it felt like to be on the outside, they forget how much it took to change and to understand. They become harden and can only seem to understand life and relate to people from their new adopted point of view. It is like they completely abandoned their old life and all of the empathy with it. That is one thing I do not like about the Eastern Orthodox converts. They seem to project their unresolved anger and issues unto those who are trying to seek Orthodoxy and in the process push them away.

    But regardless you will find the hateful bunch in all religions no matter where you go. It will always be a challenge and people will be difficult and project their baggage at you at times and may even disguise it as piety. But use discernment pray for them and continue on carrying your cross, because they are in your path for a reason. Some of the things they may say may have some things within that may be useful. Take it in as a raw food that needs to cooked and seasoned first. You must season it with discernment and great care.

    At the end of the day salvation is more important than the things that people say, even though it may drive you away from them. You don’t go to church to talk you go to church to worship God. Just go to Church and leave immediately after and then you will never have to listen to the potential things that will cause you to fall. It is not necessary for your salvation to know every person in your parish. Go for the right reasons and remember why you first became Orthodox. It was not for the conversation after Divine liturgy it was for meeting Christ in his Church.

    I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I wanted to leave this Church and jump ship into RCC or OOC. But I remain and tune out the noise of the unnecessary. Keep in mind your end goal and you will make it.

    • 7 August 2015 4:11 pm

      Leonardo states, I really doubt of the generalizing potential of your view.

      OK, lets get more specific then with objective rational facts that are specific.

      The issue with the EO in America is can they survive in America in the 21st century. The objective facts tell the story of their serious decline here. They are in a state of demographic implosion. I would encourage any Orthodox and especially Greek Orthodox to see the Pew Report being discussed by the Orthodox and what is it telling them the ramifications of its objective facts are on their church future.

      Anyone who cannot see that the GOC hierarchy is not systemically corrupt and that the GOCA monasticism is a cult is either blind or in denial. The cult monasticism and the hierarchy systemic corruption are clear signs pointing to the GOCA itself being a cult. The GO in America are powerless to stop what their church has become and what their top down centralized authoritarian power and control structure and exclusive closed system are doing to them.

      When the EP and the archbishop of the GOCA are both pedophile protectors you know there is a serious immorality senior leadership problem.

      The Chicago GO diocese laity has a petition to remove its corrupt hierarchy. The problem is that it appeals to a corrupt hierarchy to solve the problem. When corruption becomes the solution to corruption the solution will only lead to more corruption. The petition exposes the spiritual immaturity of the laity placing solution trust in the very thing abusing them.

      The two largest EO jurisdictions in America are both demographically dying. They are corrupt, failed, incompetent, irrelevant, abusive, cultic and imploding. That is not the holiest people I have ever met. Corruption is not holy unless you are spiritually delusional. I suppose while in Greece you missed what the state of their church is there?

      Have you missed it about Krill and Putin? How is the ROC doing in America these days? What about the Serbian church?

      Your viewpoint is backed up by Klaus? He is your objective facts?

      Have you ever visited Pokrov.org? If you want facts visit that website.

      You are going to see every solution that the GO in America put forward to try to stop their collapse fail. Not because I want them to fail, but because I know their character and I know what they are really doing to themselves by why and how they are enabling their own demise here. I also know what the Orthodox church/state mentality really is, a dictatorship, and it is not how Christ came to us in the Gospels and He was also not a monastic.

      The Orthodox in America are in freedom of religion now that is not church/state. In America a church has to stand up on its own two Jesus feet and walk. Freedom of religion is competition among options. Where there is competition there is comparison and free choice. Frankly, the Orthodox are not by any means the choice being made no matter who they exclusively claim to be. All of the props that in the past have held the Orthodox up here are collapsed. In the case of the Greek church here they believe the great commission and evangelism are immigration, marriage and birth.

      The OCA says it is not under foreign rule and the GOC is. It does not matter if a jurisdiction is under foreign rule or not by the dying state of these two jurisdictions. That points to another problem causing their demographic collapse and it is a systemic corruption problem.

      Orthodoxy in America represents about .5% of Christianity here. About half of that tiny number is the Greek church. The Orthodox have the most to lose and they are loosing sustainable numbers. They cannot attract and retain enough numbers to sustain themselves here. It is only a matter of time before they become a tiny fraction of their already tiny size here. Time is not on their side.

      As the Orthodox die as a church in America the reasons for their church death here become more and more undeniable and glaringly obvious. Every solution I have seen them put forward is a lesson in how not to go about developing church growth and relevancy. All of their solutions have failed and will continue to fail.

      The GOC parish in my city of 200K has about 100 of Gods only true Christians showing up on Sunday. It has been here for 60+ years. It is the only parish I am aware of in a 50 mile radius. In that same 60 year time period several churches with hundreds and thousands in attendance have grown here.

      I know all of the reasons why they are dying and every rationalization, excuse and blame for their state of church in America. If you cannot make it in freedom of religion that is telling you many things why you can’t. I can list all of them, but this brief has made the point. The Orthodox are erasing themselves in America. They are by their exclusive claim of being Gods only true church really only relevant to themselves.

  58. Jenn permalink
    5 August 2015 10:42 pm

    I just want to comment on some of the many things that make me want to leave the EO and end my Catechesis.

    1. The monastery I go to hates on everyone who is not Eastern Orthodox with a passion. They rarely act as Christ said and are very combative with it. They treat them falsely and speak evil against them bind their backs calling them heretics, schematics, and even enemies of God.

    2. They love to hate on Oriental Orthodox without knowing anything about them. They refuse to do any research on them and treat them as if they don’t exist. Me coming from a relatively good experience with the diversity of the OO tradition with their acceptance of different races with ease and having many races in their communion. I loved it there. But here in the EO speaking on the OO is like breaking a taboo. They also never call them Miahpysites or even recognize the joint agreement made in the 1980’s and 1990’s. They often call them monophysites which they do not profess or believe and just say false things about them which are hateful and mean. When I was in the OO they never said anything bad about the EO and considered them brothers. But in the EO the OO are seen and portrayed as enemies of God and heretics and led by demons. They even went as far and said that their martyrs are not even legitimate and are in even in hell being tormented by demons because they don’t accept all the councils.
    I find that completely unacceptable, anyone who has died such an horrid death for Christ is with Him even if they did not live the best of life like the thief on the cross was with Christ because he believed in His divinity and died with him believing.

    3. Many not all but many EO state that only EO are in Heaven and everyone else is in Hell.
    Enough said.

    4. The EO is God’s favorite nonsense that I found in many cults. EO has a cultic mentality which I detest just having left a cult in my protestant days It raises my cult alarms.

    5. EO thinks of itself as infallible which seems to go against its on dogma and Church fathers who stated that no bishop can be infallible so how can any group of bishops meeting in a council can be deemed infallible without falling into a fallacy? Therefore stubbornness and hardness of heart is ramped.

    6. Only the Godhead is infallible, the Holy Spirit is infallible but not the people. That is why we can sin and still be in the church. The Holy Spirit lead and guides us in all truth but the people do not always follow the given path therefore not every pronouncement of the EO can be infallible, unless we go RCC level.

    7. They lack love which is a Christian’s hallmark. What they call love is nothing more than a farce. They don’t love others outside of themselves. They even made this statement called “truth in love” which is nothing more than a ticket to bash the opposing side while saying ‘but I love you and want you to join my church’ that is nothing but lies.

    8. They want to keep the people ignorant of the scriptures and church traditions. They are really bad it pushing literacy of scripture among the cradle and converts. They rather teach modern theologies more than the ancient ones which is puzzling to me.

    • Leonardo permalink
      6 August 2015 10:14 pm

      I’m a very surprised how you experienced EO. I know there’re some fundamentals there, but after have been trying to be a faithful orthodox christian since seven years, I met much more humble and lovely, than fundamental and stubborn orthodox people.

      First I thought you’re just generalizing, but probably it depends also on the place, where you met orthodoxy. After visiting over 15 monasteries especially in Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Germany and England, I found only one monastery, where the monks were filled with some hate against heretics and so on. I don’t know why you exactly accuse EO of having a cultic mentality. You can claim that you’re The Church and to be very humble at the same time. To see how super-modern believers replace humility with some sort of relativism makes me sad. Luckily I know ‘Klaus Kennneth’ personally, who is more or less famous. He tried for over a decade many religions, christians churches and therein many cults(!) out, and he said that in the EO he found the holiest people he ever met, and real freedom – so I really doubt of the generalizing potential of your view.

      • Jim permalink
        7 August 2015 1:14 pm

        I belonged to an Orthodox Church for about 2 years before switching back to the Episcopal Church where I currently belong and plan to remain. I was enthralled by the pomp and ceremony of the orthodox as well as their dedication to the Blessed Mother and saints. In the end, however, it was their reliance on form and ceremony with little regard for carrying the Jesus’ message out of the church doors that caused me to leave. I am of the belief that Jesus would much rather us carry his message out into the world than rely on following a specific worship format each Sunday. The orthodox don’t seem to realize the modern world and all of it’s issues whereas I feel the Episcopal Church does. The world changes and religion must adapt as well. Some continuity is great, but when it’s all you have, your church will eventually be empty and no one left to listen and act on Christ’s message. Social issues in today’s world require addressing and hopefully be done with our lord’s golden rule in mind. I believe in that and am very happy the Episcopal Church does as well.

    • 7 August 2015 6:55 pm

      To long of an explanation. Please limit your comment or withdraw from this discussion. I find it offensive when you say the Orthodox do not realize the modern world and that Christ would rather us carry His message to those outside of the church than rely on a specific worship format each Sunday. The Episcopal church is not Gods only true and right church and so what you say about Orthodoxy is heresy. Your salvation is at the very least suspect, but in reality since you are not Orthodox you most likely don’t have salvation.

      Playing with SNOW is fun.

      • Aaron Munn permalink
        17 August 2015 4:58 am

        The fundamentalism was a real issue I encountered as well. Also legalism and rigidity. A lot of converts are going to Orthodoxy from fundamentalism Protestant churches but this ethic does not reflect the ethic of Jesus Christ at all. In fact it is just the opposite.

        It is too bad because the Orthodox Church has a good liturgy and spiritual tradition . But it’s not infallible, there are things for which people should be discerning. But many of the new wave of orthodox converts bring a fundamentalism attitude that is inappropriate for spiritual growth.

      • NIcholas permalink
        28 August 2015 11:33 am

        “The Episcopal church is not Gods only true and right church and so what you say about Orthodoxy is heresy. Your salvation is at the very least suspect, but in reality since you are not Orthodox you most likely don’t have salvation.”

        Heresy? Nonsense. A heretic is a person who rejects teachings of the church that he BELONGS to. You are NOT a heretic if you criticize teachings found in another church. You, as an Orthodox Christian, just criticized the Episcopal Church. Does that make YOU a heretic? As for “salvation” and not being Orthodox, I once WAS Orthodox, and can’t count the number of times that I heard our priest and others say that other ORTHODOX churches and jurisdictions had fallen away from “Truth” and that their salvation wasn’t assured. Our priest wouldn’t even speak to the priest at the Greek church right up the street because of this. Nice for you that you belong to the “real, right, true, faithful, correct” Orthodox group, and that your salvation is guaranteed.

  59. 17 August 2015 5:15 pm

    No church is infallible. However, when a church claims to exclusively be Gods only true church it is saying it is infallible. The exclusive claim is the ultimate in fundamentalist. That we alone are God right thinking leads to pride, arrogance and self righteous and none of those things are appropriate for spiritual growth.

    Its not the converts fault that Orthodoxy in America is corrupt, failed, irrelevant, incompetent, abusive, cultic and dying. The attitude of this state of church is is not appropriate for spiritual growth. It is not Christ ethical. It exposes the spiritual immaturity of this church to allow and enable this state of church.

    Spiritual immaturity is not discerning. Converting to Orthodoxy is not discerning. Look before you leap and know what you are really joining. I understand why a legalistic and rigid Christian would want to convert to the legalistic and rigid exclusively claim of being Gods only true church. Orthodoxy by its exclusive claim is the ultimate in fundamentalism.

    Orthodoxy is a top down centralized structure of authoritarian power and control inside of a exclusive, isolated and closed system. That creates a church system of legality and rigidity as well as moral and ethical license. The attitude this type of structure and system creates is inappropriate for spiritual growth.

    If you are indoctrinated by corrupt authoritarian power and control you will be indoctrinated into spiritual immaturity and you will not be discerning. You will learn to practice misplaced loyalty, respect and submission that is not conducive to healthy spiritual growth and spiritual discernment.

    Converts are not the problem. They may well contribute to the problem but the problem existed before they converted. It is not a Protestant church created problem. Orthodoxy is responsible for its state of church that is inappropriate.

    The Orthodox fundamentalist cult leader Elder Ephraim was not a convert. He is the new wave of fundamentalist attitude in the GOCA. The GOC hierarchy is not converts and they are systemically corrupt and are legalistic and rigid in the self protection of their corrupt authoritarian power and control. Systemic corruption is like a encompassing wave.

    Google: Pew Report and the Eastern Orthodox. It will expose why Orthodoxy in America is dying and it is not the result of Protestant converts bringing something with them into Orthodoxy that already exists there.

  60. NIcholas permalink
    28 August 2015 11:22 am

    I also left the Orthodox church 2 years or so after converting, at the same time that you did, but not because of a lack of acceptance. Our ROCOR parish was (and is) a parish of mostly converts. Our priests had been Episcopalian priests, and most parishioners had been Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, – we even had an atheist convert – and only ONE family out of our numbers was ethnically Russian. We visited Russian parishes, monasteries and convents at times, attended conferences, welcomed bishops and visiting priests and monastics, and at no time was I or anyone else made to feel unwelcomed because of a “lack” of heritage. That you experienced this in the OCA, which is more liberal than ROCOR in some ways, is odd. I left the Orthodoxy (not the OCA in particular) for two reasons really: I couldn’t stand the endless, factional bickering that is part and parcel with it – this group being “truer” than that group, parishes switching jurisdictions, etc., and I didn’t like the way in which the church refused to engage with the secular world on many issues. Clearly, it has done so in the past. Slavery didn’t end because the Orthodox Church spearheaded the anti-slavery movement, the secular world did that, and the church went along, changed, and now agrees – contrary to Scripture and the teachings of the Apostles and Fathers – that slavery is sinful.

  61. Jim permalink
    28 August 2015 4:20 pm

    Personally, I think that anyone who follows Christ and His teachings as well as lives a good life can count on salvation. I wasn’t aware that Christ favored one of His denominations over another…hence the word CHRISTIAN,…which describes many many denonimations. The Orthodox need to get over their superiority complex. You might have a nice church building and elaborate ceremonies and rites, but has your message entered the mainstream of America as so many other Christian denominations messages have? You should focus on re-evaluating your own faith rather than worry about that of others.

    • 31 August 2015 5:13 am

      Unfortunately, John 8:31-59 and Luke 18:10-14 cannot get over itself.

  62. April permalink
    31 May 2016 10:25 pm

    I am currently an orthodox catechumen. I was raised Protestant. I’m scared that I won’t be accepted into the church. I would like to talk to you. How can I reach you?

    • 17 June 2016 3:48 pm

      I’m sorry, but I don’t give personal contact information out to people I don’t know personally. A few years ago someone commenting on this blog made a threat toward me and my family. It was then that I decided to get rid of all personal information that would make it easier to identify me. As you undoubtably guessed Theophilus is not my real name.

      If you have found an Orthodox parish where you are treated with dignity by the clergy and laity then I would not want to dissuade you from staying there.

      • April permalink
        21 June 2016 5:38 pm

        Thank you for your reply. I’ve been going to this Orthodox Church for nearly a year. Only a few people regularly speak to me. The Russian contingent mostly speaks to only each other. I know that folks can be slow to come around, but this parish isn’t providing the home and family feeling that I’m looking for. I feel very alone in my orthodoxy. Everything was going fine with my lessons, until I asked the priest about “the one true church”. Being raised Protestant, I always thought that the real one true church was the total of all true believers, no matter from which denomination. My priest said that ONLY the orthodox are the one true church…that the Roman Catholics, Episcopals, etc., are heretics and do not possess the fullness of the truth or faith…and that salvation is only through the one true church. I was terrified. It seemed like an east versus west thing to me…especially with the Roman Catholics. I asked the priest about opting out of studies. I don’t think I would go for the long term in the Orthodox Church…I’m already looking for reasons to skip services. His response really scared me even more so. I think I belong in a western church. But, now I’m scared about not continuing my orthodox studies and having to tell the priest. Any thoughts?

      • Marina permalink
        21 June 2016 10:55 pm

        When a church must resort to fear tactics to keep its members, that is a red flag. In a romantic relationship, when this happens, we recognize it as a hallmark of abuse. For a long time, I forced myself to keep attending Orthodox services because, like you, I was afraid to leave. Take it from me, if you don’t want to lose your faith, give yourself permission to go to a place where you can find love. That is, after all, Christ’s central teaching. Saying you are the true church when you have no love is meaningless. But I promise, you can find healing outside Orthodoxy. If God exists at all and is a loving God worth worshipping, then he will surely understand why some people simply cannot remain in Orthodoxy. If you find you are being harmed spiritually, then you don’t need any priest’s permission to take care of your own soul. Seek out kindness, love, mercy, whatever is nourishing, and do not let them frighten you.

      • April permalink
        23 June 2016 10:56 pm

        Thank you so much for your response, Marina. It’s good to know that I’m not alone. Loosing my faith, all together, is a fear if I keep up with all of this confusion and stress. The one word that the Orthodox preist used in our last conversation, that was so freigntening to me, is “culpable”. He said that I would be held culpable at my judgement before God if I knew Orthodoxy was the truth and I didn’t do it (convert) because of selfish reasons such as not liking to stand for 2 hours, pleasing my non-Orthodox family, or feeling alone, etc. I’ve been beside myself ever since he said that. I’m just not certain that Orthodoxy is the ONE (and only) true church, and yes, I do feel lonely there and not at home. I’ve taken meetings since with a Roman Catholic preist, two different orders of Catholic nuns, an Episcoal lay person and professor, my Presbyterian family member who consulted with her Reverand, and some others. They were all supportive of me. But what kept going through my head was that all of these folks were from the Westen Church. I felt like my preist would just say that these are opinions from people in heretic churches that don’t possess the fulness of the faith. I need to officially “opt-out” of my catechumen studies but am still terrified to do it. I’m afraid that even if I do it by email, he will respond with that scary word, culpable. Isn’t the fullness of God’s truth what you know in your heart; and what the apostles came to know? Is the one true church all true believers? Any more words of help would be much appreciated.

      • Marina permalink
        24 June 2016 3:43 pm

        April, I can relate to your pain and fear! “Culpable.” It shows he has NO understanding of the gospel. Sadly this is a common (but not universal) belief in Orthodoxy, but it’s wrong and it’s not even in sync with their own theology. Orthodoxy is supposed to teach a view of God that is not legalistic. God as pure love, uniting himself to us in joy. But you are not encountering that view of God in this parish. Fear tactics are spiritual poison. So many of us who spent any amount of time in such an atmosphere have spiritual scars that are taking years to heal. If you need permission to go, maybe this will help to know: I spoke very frankly to a priest about my own reasons for leaving the church, and I received a blessing to go! Remaining in the church was killing my faith and he understood and acknowledged that and trusted in God to sort it all out. As he should! God isn’t bound by technicalities. We don’t need these black and white ideas about God, that he automatically punishes people for some action or another. That is nonsense. A strong arm scare-tactic to keep someone from using their own good judgment. That is the kind of tactic cults use, and it has NO place in a church that claims to serve Jesus Christ. You might find a different Orthodox parish elsewhere where you could encounter God in a spiritually healthy community, but clearly this place you have been attending is not that, and they don’t get to claim that you are better off with them because technically they are Orthodox. Fruit of the spirit– if they are not manifesting love and peace and joy, then they aren’t able to help you on your spiritual journey. They haven’t found their own way yet. I can speak only for myself, that I feel greater love, greater joy, and greater energy to serve my neighbor, now that I have left Orthodoxy and found refuge in a Protestant parish that both teaches and actually demonstrates the message of God’s love. If you are afraid of what this priest will say to you, just remember that he is human, he does not speak for all Orthodox priests (many of whom would be appalled by his words to you) and he certainly does not speak for God.

      • 29 June 2016 10:35 pm

        Thank you again, Marina, for your openness and frankness. Spiritual scars…I think I am getting them. You hit the nail on the head. It really helps me to read that you had an (orthodox) priest “give you permission” to go. My issue is still not resolved. They aren’t letting me go that easily.

      • Marina permalink
        30 June 2016 4:53 am

        April, I just want to send my warmest encouragement to you. You have been put in a very difficult situation! In the end, the decision is yours alone. You alone know what is the landscape of your deepest heart. You alone can fully know what is harming or feeding your soul. I believe God is much greater than any of these petty threats. He will give you the courage to look deep inside yourself, to the heart where He dwells, and to draw on that deep strength you will find there. You will know what to do. Your soul is a treasure of infinite value–worth protecting and defending. Whatever decision you make, you will have my support and many others’. Peace.

    • Micky permalink
      24 June 2016 10:57 am

      Dear April, I’m so sad that you feel alone in your orthodox parish. If you were in my parish I would give you thousand hugs. I know how it is to feel alone in a parish. For about two or three years I had been in such a state. But it helped me to humble myself, to feel connected with the people spiritually in first place and not emotionally. We’re all Children of God. And this is such a beautiful truth. What helped me at the beginning – it may sound a bit strange – is to have some orthodox friends on facebook and to write, talk and even meet them. And my prayer rule helped me as well – to have Orthodoxy in my heart, so that I’m not too much disturbed by some things/people in the Church.
      Your orthodox priest should not have frightened you. That’s not good. Some things he said are not true. Only God can judge who is saved and who not. But we need humility and not relativism to avoid judging others and to love them. I can believe that the orthodox Church is the Church, which Christ established, therefore the only true apostolic Church, but that should not led me to pride. I should be able to humbly myself before people who are from another denominations or religions. I should consider them to be more virtuous than me and that they’re more worthy and closer to salvation despite the fact that I’m in the true Church. This is the orthodox way. It’s our duty to realize humility in every part of our life.
      I don’t know if it’s possible for you to visit another orthodox parish. If not, I hope someday you’ll live in a place where you can do that and where you can give the orthodox Church a second chance. I don’t know the reason why you felt attracted by the orthodox Church. Seek daily God’s will in your prayers and try to follow the path, which he shows you and try to carry the cross, which he gives you out of his wisdom and infinite love for you. Forgive me.

      • April permalink
        29 June 2016 10:24 pm

        Thank you, Micky, for your kind letter. It is much appreciated. Humility is lesson and a virtue that I must always remember. The online community has been of great help to me. Many blessings to you.

    • Naturegirl permalink
      12 December 2016 3:59 am

      April, ;leave while you can, if you fear that they will not accept you, than your gut instinct is probably right. The Orthodox Church has a huge problem with Neo-nazis and racists calling the Church home. Many only accept pure ultra -conservatives as being true Orthodox. They only care about form and not the spirit. Racism is rapid disease eating away at the faith, and anyone who calls it out gets black listed. If you are not a staunch detractor of LGBTQ, abortion and the supposed enemy of the faith “liberalism” and God forbid if they smell ecumenism on you. They will chew you out. Don’t waste your time get out while you can research the bitter evils within the Church. Members and clergy especially the monastics can be the worst people to deal with, and others always try to cover their a**es by offering the tired excuse that “the church is a hospital” routine. Yeah , yeah. When are these terrible priests , clergy and monastics are going to start to being held accountable for the evils that they are committing in God’s house. Do they think that they will not be punished by God for so many people who have left the faith because of their sinfulness? Lord have mercy! For that judgment will be exceedingly terrible. All those people whom they have turned away from the truth because of their sins, haughtiness, and arrogance is not going to do good for them at that dread judgment. Many of them act like they will walk right into heaven when they die because of legalisms they hear the Gospel readings and the admonishments of the saints and especially the monastic saints to be humble and they still go on sinning and act like their perfection. Don’t bother with this Church, go back to being protestant and go to a “High-Church” denomination like the Anglicans. Presbyterians, Methodists, and Episcopalians. Do yourself a favor and read over these articles so that you can make an informed decision about this faith. Don’t allow anyone to rush you into this faith, for many are exceedingly wicked and schismatic.

      http://religiondispatches.org/how-orthodox-christianity-became-the-spiritual-home-of-white-nationalism/

      https://stsimonsorder.org/2016/12/02/a-home-for-white-nationalist/

      https://publicorthodoxy.org/2016/11/21/the-challenge-of-the-other/

      https://publicorthodoxy.org/category/orthodoxy-in-america/

      https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/orthodox-church-s-role-russia-s-anti-gay-laws

      http://remnantrocor.blogspot.com/2012/06/suicide-at-efremite-monastery-in.html

      http://ocl.org/a-letter-from-a-greek-orthodox-priest/

      http://www.eurekaencyclopedia.com/index.php/Category:Greek_Orthodox_Abuse

      http://greece.greekreporter.com/2014/11/28/greek-supreme-court-charges-14-over-vatopedi-monastery-scandal/

      https://www.rt.com/news/stalin-appears-christian-icon/

      http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/jewish_1.html

      http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/11/russian-orthodox-patriarch-compares-sex-marriage-nazi-laws-apartheid/

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerian_Trifa

      http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14690760701321155?src=recsys&journalCode=ftmp20

      http://imrussia.org/en/analysis/law/2256-divine-totalitarianism

      http://www.dep.church/downloads/SerafeimMpok.pdf

      • Evgeni permalink
        16 December 2016 10:02 am

        “The Orthodox Church has a huge problem with Neo-nazis and racists calling the Church home. Many only accept pure ultra -conservatives as being true Orthodox. They only care about form and not the spirit […] Don’t bother with this Church […]”

        I feel sad, but I love you. That’s not how I have experienced the Orthodox Church – not at all. I feel sad, that you’re quick to generalize people. Of course, I’d bad meetings with many protestants, calling me idol-worshipper, and therefore a satanist, and so on, but I know that the most of them are nice people.
        One “problem” in the Orthodox Church, is that people are connected to their church out of traditionalism and not out of love for God and virtue. But I think it’s better that this group are a part of the church than to be atheists. They are still welcomed to go the orthodox church, because they are Children of God. Anyway, I’ve never meet a white nationalist, who visits regularly the orthodox church.
        It’s not easy to love sincerely people from other denominations and with quite contrary way of live or those who are full of pride. And if we love them, than we shouldn’t do it out of relativsm (that’s very easy), but wiith humility and in the Holy Spirit.

      • Alek permalink
        21 December 2016 1:07 pm

        Do Not Judge

        (Matthew 7:1-6; Romans 14:1-12)

        37Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. 38Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.

        39And he spoke also to them a similitude: Can the blind lead the blind? do they not both fall into the ditch? 40The disciple is not above his master: but every one shall be perfect, if he be as his master. 41And why seest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not? 42Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother’s eye. ”

        The truth is hard to find, but not impossible (with Him). Don’t let the bitter people on here lead you astray.

  63. Guthlac permalink
    8 December 2016 4:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience as a convert to Orthodoxy. Your experience and that of many commenting (not all, sigh, internet flaming etc. is alive and well) is thoughtful and helpful to me. I was not raised in any church, became a Christian in my early 30s, was baptized in the United Methodist church, and over the years got involved to the point of becoming a local pastor on a part time basis in addition to my full time day job.

    Long story short, endless liberal vs conservative debate, other experiences, led me to look around, and through interaction with a couple people i work with, one Orthodox, one Catholic, I became increasingly aware of church history etc. My wife and I left Methodism and joined the OCA as converts in 2003.

    For years I think I was so taken with the richness of Orthodoxy, the liturgy, history, saints etc. that any flaws were things I could overlook. I should say that the church I am still in at this point, an OCA church, has been very welcoming in general, and the services are all in English. There is enough of a mix of people that the ethnic feel is pretty diverse. That said, the priest does seem to have a bit of a hangup about ethnic background, I have heard him joke about someone with an English surname that that’s not Orthodox, now, “_____sky,” that’s Orthodox!

    The issues in the OCA with financial corruption etc. in recent years were quite disturbing. I have found the culture of Orthodoxy to be too authoritarian and closed at times for my liking. A sort of “Fr knows best” mentality. Part of the problem I think is that it is all a very small community. When I was a local pastor in the Methodist church there were 50 some churches in the district I was in; more than in the entire NY/NJ diocese that I am in! That smallness encourages a sort of clubby and clannish mentality I think. The transparency and democracy that I took for granted in the Methodist church is simply not present in the OCA.

    At this point too with the vantage of perspective I look back at my Methodist days and think things like, yes, there was the running battle over gay ordination etc., but my goodness, the denomination, and individual churches that i knew, did a lot more it seems in charitable work than the OCA, or most OCA churches.

    Sometimes as well, and I think you touched on this in your post, it just still feels foreign, a gap is there. Orthodoxy was hidden in the east for almost a 1000 years, which for me as a westerner by family origin and culture leaves so much out. No western saints after the schism of 1000 are recognized for example. It still can seem such a stretch, I don’t know, like a step too far somehow. Everything from Meister Eckhart to John Wesley and so on is just left out.

    Partly for me I am experiencing great frustrations in my local parish, which can happen in any denomination, but there is the additional challenge for Orthodox that it is such a minority thing, that if the one in your area isn’t working for you, the next nearest may be 50 or 100 miles away! Thanks again, I hope your return to the Anglican church has worked out.

  64. 15 December 2016 2:05 pm

    Guthlac, Thank you for taking your time to write a thoughtful response to my post, and for sharing with me some of your thoughts and experience in OCA. There are problems where ever you are. Every Christian and every Church, whether Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant, is under profound spiritual attack. With most Western churches the attack seems to be on the front of the sexual revolution and radical individualism. The Orthodox Church does better in resisting those attacks, but loses ground with issues around pride. Unhealthy forms of ethnic pride that lead to contempt and abuse of others; unhealthy pride in the form of pharisaism; unhealthy pride that leads some to think they have the secret knowledge that opens the gates to heaven, and all of those other people that I despise don’t have it. Some of these things are evident in comments that have been left by others on this blog post. I guess that my point is that, no matter where you are, there will be a profound spiritual struggle that you will have to engage. I wish you well.

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