Growing away from the church, advice?

I was raised in a Coptic church in NY since I was 5. We're a very close community but I always feel like an outsider. The people I grew up with never really accepted me and I never really attended church or church activities enough to build relations with people willing to know me. I get asked when I come to church by people who haven't even been in the church as long as me if I am new and it's always annoyed me. I've attended summer camp in attempt to get involved but I ended up with people that came to America a bit after me. They tell each other jokes in Arabic and talk about tv shows in Arabic that I don't understand. I just look like the idiot and my generation doesn't accept me or doesn't care. I've grown tired of caring about how the church feels about me. The kids I grew up with that I've always wanted to be friends with now aren't even worth trying to know. The girls are sluts or wannabe sluts and the guys encourage them on social media. Kids have brought condoms and drugs to our church retreats. I dont know how to fit in with them and im sick of trying. I hate going to church events because im always alone and look like a loser. Although outside of church im very talkative and have a lot of friends. I dont think its even about God or christanity at this point and it makes me sad. In addition to this I don't like the priests. It's not a community I care for anymore. And I've grown distant from God. Being an atheist at one point was one of the worst things i thought I can possibly become but now the thought doesn't bother me that much but scares me. I want to come back to the church and to God and develop healthy relationships but I don't know how


  • edited July 2017
    People used to show off their Arabic in church and gain advantage of knowing the language to serve and it used to annoy me too but overall the language is not made a necessity anymore but it may help to know to watch Arabic sermons

    I recommend to make a study on how to treat sinners. Taking into considertation the parable of the wheat and tares, that Paul said not to even eat with a brother who sins proudly, Jude said on some have compassion making a distinction but others save with fear pulling them out of the fire
    How jesus was there for the outcasts but not to encourage their sin. Consider that maybe it is not right to reject someone who respects your beliefs and is trying / you feel needs time to change their ways because they sin because they have little knowledge of God's love because they did not have many chances to embrace it.

    Unlike them are those who know they can be forgiven but don't want to for some reason they attribute wrong to God or certain Christians . I assume you are not in that category because you are troubled by Christians who minimise sin and you are not finding fault with the bible. I don't know how to treat them

    If God has not judged the sinner He has reason but no one is safe in sin

    The parable of the wheat and tares atleast teaches us that the tares should not stop us from going to church if the word of God is being taught properly which if it is not you should go to another coptic church but if they do not which is highly unlikely because then orthodoxy won't exist to also learn from other Christians but still go to church for communion.
    You can even be convinced Protestants are fully Christian by learning from them but you still go to our church because an orthodox must remain orthodox because they may only be accepted because they do not feel they were sufficiently witnessed to with power by the church and who knows the reason and they have potential valid difficulties to convert but you have no such difficulty to remain

    May I ask why you don't like the priests ? Do you think they are not teaching the word of God ? I find a lot of priests faithfully trying to please Jesus but some may be afraid of certain ideas which I think may be wrong

  • You do need support by the sounds of it and don't want to be jealous of our church but maybe you could go to a Greek orthodox church? It sounds like there are environmental issues that aren't helpful with your abilities to socialize and are not trustworthy.
    But I'll pray for you Sally that the goodness of God brings you to a place of comfort and where you're content to be.
  • edited July 2017
    Hi Sally! Happy to meet you, my name is Miriam and im joining the Coptic Church.
    Its really great that you are staying strong and not falling into the same group as the ones you mention who are behaving in destructive ways now. I hope they will change and realise how sin leads to death and to sin knowingly is dangerous and destructive in all ways. Can you contact any other priest? A priest from another congregation? Someone who you can ask about this problem and who can be engaged in solving it? Its a very serious issue that the young ones in the church are becoming lost to the ways of the world. If you dont find any friends there to be close to and share the spiritual life and prayers and so with, please reach out to christians from other groups weither be orthodox, evangelical, catholic, pentecoastal, protestant - the importance is that the individual you find is striving to be close to God and know his will and respect his will and love him and be full of love for the brothers and sisters. If you find someone like that you can surly grow spiritually together and you can draw closer to God in that way. Also it helps to seek God by learning about Him, study his words, challenge yourself with any thing you find difficult in the faith, meditate on his teachings, create something to honor him like a song or a card or a poem, and seek his company in doing so. What really brings me close to God is realising how far away from him i would be without Jesus, and how much i have to be grateful about like being able to see and hear and walk and laugh and dance and sing and pray and to be his daughter and for having food and for having new things to learn each day and of course for my loved ones and for the sky and the birds and the ocean and the trees and all the beauty and wonder and for knowing his truth and being welcome to it.

    I pray he will guide everyone in your church and bring them closer to his will and goodness

  • Well I'm from the other side of the fence here so I hope I don't come across as preaching my lack of beliefs as that is not my intention.

    Anyway, reflect upon all this. You say you can't relate or communicate properly with people at church. You said you're more outgoing and talkative with other people; which of the two bring out the best in you?

    In your position I would discard that of which I have no use for, but I won't tell you to leave the church or stay away from those people as even I have friends my age from church despite moving interstate (I knew them from my cousin). 

    What people do with their lives shouldn't really be something that concerns you. If you kept finding faults with people, especially something as harmless as just doing something you don't like but won't bring harm to anyone (like keeping condoms, drugs are another issue), you are going to find yourself completely alone.

    You don't have to befriend everyone and not everyone can be an angel, try to go to youth meetings more often. I don't know about you but back when I went we used to go out to places to have fun after the youth meetings, usually to play some sports or something of the sort.
  • edited July 2017
    The verse not even to eat with such a sinner may not mean you can not share a meal with a sinner but it means partake in the least sin with them. I have studied it better. The small sins lead to bigger sins.
    Evil company corrupts good habits. Jesus was never affected by the sins of anyone and had no attraction to sin which is why He could spend time with them
  • hi sally, have u visited churches in egypt or monasteries?

    keeping away from people who want to show off how worldly they are is not unChristian!

    did u mention any of this in confession?

    if all else fails, hang out with the 'foreigners' who are joining the church like studyandlearn.

    may God guide u and show you how much He loves u and may He show u His patience (with u and all the ppl in the church who annoy u)

  • I'm really sad to hear about some of the behaviors of Coptic youth in spiritual retreats, as this shows a failure of leadership and service in our Church.  It's really troubling and it needs to be dealt with.  At the same time, I have to agree with @CopticApostate (hey! what do you know, we agree on something) for finding faults with others around you.  I think there should be a certain point of interaction even with people that you find behaving in a disagreeable fashion.

    Nevertheless, if you truly want spiritual growth, find yourself another parish, another priest from ANY Orthodox Church.  It does not have to be a Coptic Church.  If the Coptic parish you are in is corrupt, and you need to experience a good spiritual relationship with God, I encourage you to consider a different parish.

    I live in NJ, and I know a few parishes near me that are good.  There are also parishes in NYC that I think have good priests and good people.  If you like to consider options, let me know.

    May Christ strengthen you sister.

  • edited July 2017
    if all else fails, hang out with the 'foreigners' who are joining the church like studyandlearn.

    Hey hey hey mabsoota "if all else fails" hahaha we foreigners are really not good friendship material eh just kidding i get how you mean ;)
  • If you want you can find an AntiohianOrthodox(Syrian) church.The AntiohianOrthodoxs or AntiohianGreeks(we are not Greeks we are an other ethnoreligious group look in wikipedia about AntiohianGreeks) look like very with oriental Orthodox.I am very sad who learn this about the Coptic church.I listen so much about terrorist attacks against Copts in Egypt and Copts Martyrs(we have got and AntiohianOrthodoxs martyrs in Syria too) so i have got a different picture about Copts and Coptic church.But now i learn this.What hapoened.Maybe i am 18 years old but i dont understand about this
    But i have got a question:i see this now.What mean Copticapostate?
  • @Sally_16

    I work with a lot of people in your position. Feel free to contact me for advice, if you wish.
  • @AnthiohianGreek

    I was born into the Coptic Orthodox church but for many reasons I denounced my faith.
  • Good morning CopticApostate
    You are up early. I know your two hours behind me.

    I think AnthiohianGreek didn't understand your the meaning behind your name and he/she just clicked on to it.
     Anyway, I still am concerned about the sin in what is happening at your church. The church is a sanctuary meaning holy place, a place where there is spiritual protection. So regarding sin and the sin that seems to be happening inside this supposedly safe place, I deeply feel for you.
      But regarding sin, our church sees sin as a sickness that needs to be healed by the wisdom of Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit in teachings of church Fathers and the wisdom of the church itself and that the Holy Spirit does the good work in all.
      I also see the problem as an enviromental problem and the question is what wisdom can God give us to heal this? My thoughts are drawn to Jesus when He went inside the temple and overturned the tables of the money lenders because where they were was a place of worship. As it is, I don't think probably that you are strong enough to stand up against their sins and that just being a shining light by been good will be enough for you to have any effect or change this enviroment. It is why I believe would probably be better if you changed your enviroment for now and maybe pop back every now and then to see if anything has changed. If not, stay away until it does.
      I pray for the repentance of those people that they see their sin and that God heals them of it.
        And that reminds me, the healing of the sin is a correction which in turn is to be made straight. Getting back on the right path. So get on another part of the path where you feel more comfortable.
  • I forgot to mention it is wrong to despise them because of their sin only their deeds because we are supposed to be the light of the world
  • @AntiohianGreek i think excopts or copticapostates are the peoople who was born Copts but who leave christianity the majority for convert to Islam or other religion.As an exmuslim who leave islam to convert other religion.But i am not sure.
  • But i have a question too.I cant find nothing about for ethnoreligious group of  AntiohianOrthodoxs or AntiohianGreeks.You say that AntiohianGreeks are ethnoreligious group but they are Arabs christians from Syria  and Lebanon and they are not Greeks.I cant find information about this ethnoreligious group.Why?
  • @CopticApostate sorry but i dont understand.You are Copt or not?Because i find members in this forum who are Orthodoxs but not Copts(of course the big majority are Cots).
  • You guys are really going off topic in regards to the original post and focussing on my name. I'll make it simple; I was born a Coptic Orthodox Christian but now I have no religious beliefs, that's all there is to it. Feel free to call it what you want.
  • @CopticApostate That's why social media forum is not always the best place for religious advice. I always prefer a private conversation via social media for such a delicate topic.
  • hi studyandlearn, sorry i realised after i closed the computer it sounded dodgy,

    i was being a bit sarcastic as some ethnic copts are not very inclusive and people are sometimes surprised to see we know some things about orthodox Christianity despite not being born into it.

    i tell them that i went to liturgy for 8 years and listened! they should too!

  • edited July 2017
    Mabsoota I thought it was funny :D i know you always mean well and are full of humor
  • It was my dad who said by not eating with sinners is meant not to partake in the least sins not to not share a meal with them. I did not say it is my dad because I thought though my intentions are good that you don't like me telling problems to others but I am not supposed to judge things on my own

    And I think he is right for God told St Arsenius to flee from men and pray always for these are the source of sinlessness. Yet jesus said I do not pray that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. And Paul said not to forsake the assembling of yourselves together. Therefore he meant to flee from men which cause to sin whether worldly people who try to make others sin or fellow false Christians. Not the worldly people who don't make it their intention to pressure others into their lifestyles
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