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Why Become A Catechumen?
24-03-2007, 08:08 AM,
Yes, if I get a chance to read the book you mention, I will certainly do so. I am aware of what Orthodox Christians believe about the Sonship of Jesus Christ as we have had this online conversation before. No, of course I do not mean that these other great individuals were 'Sons of God' in the Christian sense. They were (and possibly still are) 'Sons of God' in a figurative sense. I challenge any Christian to read 'The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna' (originally recorded in Bengali, in five volumes, by M., a disciple of the Master. Complete translation into English, with an introduction by Swami Nikhilananda. With 26 authentic photographs associated with the life and background of the Master. Foreword by Aldous Huxley. Ramakrishna Vivekananda Centre, New York, USA, 1984. ISBN 0-911206-01-9) and then not to say that this man was at the very least Christ-like. Sadly, Christians probably would not take up the challenge because they are convinced that they are entirely correct in the position they take. In my opinion, this is not born out by the evidence from other cultures and religious traditions. Thanks for your posting, and for your goodwill.
24-03-2007, 10:38 AM,
why become a catachumen?
Dear Mark,
Forgive the bluntness of this posting. Many more words could be poured out in response to you, but ultimately it is not a matter of intellectual
expertise or how many books you read, it is a matter of faith which can only be tried and tested in life.
Suffice it to say that Jesus Christ is not a son of God by adoption or in a
figurative sense because of wisdom and miracles - all the saints have achieved that much. Jesus Christ is God's only-begotten Son, being the Logos begotten of the Father before Creation, and being of one divine essence with the Father. Jesus Christ, therefore, is God. Everything flows from this. No holy man, no matter how good, can save us, no philosophy
no matter how wise, can bring us salvation, only the grace of God can do that. Believe or disbelieve that as you wish.
Don't you think that it's about time you got off the ferris wheel that takes you all the way up and all the way down day after day? Too much reading,
too much thinking, too much seeking tend to numb the mind. Please,
take Christ's advice, close yourself in your inner chamber and seek silence. Pray without words so that tears might flow. That will be worth more to you than any erudite diatribe.

Kirk Yacoub
24-03-2007, 07:40 PM,
In response to Kirk's posting:

Yes, I shall believe (or not) as I choose. Your comments are somewhat ironic in the light of the Church Fathers' love of books, and the general perception of Orthodoxy as "other-worldly".

Frankly, I couldn't care less about your personal evaluation of me. In point of fact, you know very little about me. My only reason for being so frank in my postings here is that as I own next to nothing (not even a bank account) and spend most of my time hanging around Dover Library, I have nothing to lose in being entirely open and honest, and have lots of time for reading. Kirk: you appear to me to be an Orthodox bigot.

Having been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia/ manic depression a few years ago, I find getting a job rather difficult. I suspect that expecting any degree of sympathy from somebody like Kirk is perhaps unwise. Frankly, mind your own business, Kirk, and keep your advice and opinions to yourself. I shall certainly be doing this as I seem to get nowhere in sharing my thoughts with others either here or elsewhere.

Please remove me from this set of Forums, Peter Theodore Farrington, and cancel my membership of this internet site. I don't seem to be able to terminate my membership of this set of Forums. Please do this for me. This is my final posting. So long, and thanks for all the words. Words, words, words. I will continue as a member of the B. O. Fellowship, and attend St. Alban's Chatham with Marian on a monthly basis until we no longer feel welcome, or are kicked out. I hope not to have the opportunity of having a conversation with Kirk, as it will be bad for my blood pressure. Hopefully Kirk will remain within the safe walls of the Serious and Syrian Orthodox Church, where he appears to belong, at least for the time being. Thanks especially to John Charmley for his internet friendship, and to Peter Theodore Farrington in particular, as well as the others who responded to my postings here.
25-03-2007, 12:18 AM,
Dear Mark,

In the hope that you will come here at least one more time and perhaps read this, I shall post it.

Can I say that I am sorrier than I can express? Your presence here has been a blessing, and whatever medical terms get applied, they cannot obscure your good heart and your sincerity as a searcher after truth; and I hope that you will not, on reflection, feel that you got 'nowhere' with your thoughts and your words here. I doubt that I am the only one who has read your words with interest - and with growing affection.

Should you stick with your understandable resolution not to post again, can I thank you for your fellowship and friendship here, and express the hope that we may yet meet? Can I also wish Marian Munt and yourself all the blessings possible as you continue with your searching; and can I leave you both with one last comment from St. Isaac the Syrian?
Quote:"When we have reached Love, we have reached God and our journey is complete."

May you both find that Love.

In Christ,

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
25-03-2007, 07:42 AM,
In an age in which membership of the Church is seen as no more nor less than membership of any other organization - a golf club, an association of bird watchers, a community garden society - which can be taken up or dropped by the mere payment of a subscription, Mark is showing the courage of uncertainty! It is far better to be honest and unsure than to pretend to be ready or to suppress questions or doubts and go through the forms without being committed to the reality.

The Church would be a far better witness to its Divine Founder with fewer members - truly convinced of their Faith - than with the proverbial "cast of thousands" who simply "signed up" because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Indeed, the Church is strengthened by those who express doubts, ask questions and force us to think about difficult matters.

Mark: remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son. It was not until he was ready, until he "came to himself", that he could rise up and begin the journey of return to his Father.

Orthodoxy does not seek a mindless conformity, the appearance without the substance. Sadly, many who convert on this basis also wander away and are lost.

Take time, ask difficult questions, explore and reflect. The Father's thoughts were with his son even when he was far away, and the Father was watching and waiting for his son to return. The son was not rejected because of the delay - he was joyfully welcomed because, finally, he returned!

As for labels: we are all, within and outside the Church, fallen and imperfect beings. Some of us have diagnostic labels attributed by others which are supposed to explain what's "wrong with" us. No Christian can ever approach another on the basis of any label. We sometimes get caught up in a sort of "sinners' Olympics", wanting to appear less worthy and more sinful than others. But the simple truth is "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". The moment we begin to judge others we are claiming a state of perfection which we cannot possess. It is not this sin or that sin that matters more or less, but our "falling short" of the glory of God.

It has often been said that the Church is not a holiday resort for Saints but a hospital for sinners. We all seek healing and wholeness and forgiveness because we all need these gifts.

Fr Gregory
25-03-2007, 02:23 PM,
Dear Fr. Gregory,

We are all in your debt for this profoundly moving post, which seems to me to express the spirit of our faith so well.

We have all fallen short, and we all sin; but we can all be saved. How much better it is to ask serious question, hesitate, and even pull back, than it is to go forward in uncertainty; I think Mark's courage is to be commended, if I might venture so to say.

If it be His will, then Mark will find the way that is best for him; he needs to continue to show the humility and energy he has throughout his time here; and those of us who are praying that His will be done, need to keep on doing that - and to understand his sincerity.

Fr. Gregory, you post breathes the spirit we all need; thank you for it.

In Christ,

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

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