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things people say about yr faith and how u answer
  • hi, this is the topic that i suggested in another thread.
    i am wondering how people deal with other people's reaction to them as Christians and (for those who are orthodox) as orthodox Christians.
    also if u r not Christian, u can ask us questions here.

    recently, a relative of mine noticed i was still going to 'that church' and asked me (after i have been orthodox for 3 years):
    'do u still believe in the Holy Spirit?'
    :o
    i wasn't sure whether to laugh or to recite the nicene creed, but instead, i gently explained that the Holy Spirit comes to us through chrismation and that people in our church often experience the supernatural, but we don't make a fuss about it coz we are trying to be humble.
    it was quite difficult to explain (the relative didn't get it), so wondered if anyone had anything better to say in this situation.

    also a colleague this week was surprised to find out Christians fast! i wanted to say 'we got there first, your religion just copied us'
    ;)
    but instead explained that fasting was about deepening our relationship with God.

  • You are very funny mabsoota and i really appreciate it that you made this thread. This is a topic which i am really interested in because sometimes i am put in awkward positions in which it's hard to answer. I am hoping that some learned person will enlighten us in this thread.
  • Hi all,

    Two very good questions by your relative mabsoota. I often find myself strugeling to answer very simple questions to which I should know the answer to.

    We do believe in the Holy Spirit and call him our comforter. We also recieve certain gifts from the Holy Spirit (love, peace, long-suffering...etc)

    Fasting is an ancient tradition that predates even christianity. As you might recall, the pharisees criticisized the apostles for not fasting.
  • [quote author=Philopateer;Belleville, NJ link=topic=12931.msg152429#msg152429 date=1330063391]
    Hi all,

    We do believe in the Holy Spirit and call him our comforter. We also recieve certain gifts from the Holy Spirit (love, peace, long-suffering...etc)



    Do you mean fruits of the Holy Spirit?
  • [quote author=Theophilus 1 link=topic=12931.msg152440#msg152440 date=1330111040]
    [quote author=Philopateer;Belleville, NJ link=topic=12931.msg152429#msg152429 date=1330063391]
    Hi all,

    We do believe in the Holy Spirit and call him our comforter. We also recieve certain gifts from the Holy Spirit (love, peace, long-suffering...etc)



    Do you mean fruits of the Holy Spirit?


    Yes, I think that's what he means? Gifts of the Holy Spirit are something different.
  • I like this thread; thanks for creating it Mabsoota :)

    I have a follow-up question: As Orthodox Christians, should we change our practices to connect to their level? For example, when singing to the less-fortunate during Christmas time, should we sing Protestant Christmas carols or Orthodox hymns? And where do we draw the line (to what extent can we adapt to their 'faith')? Should we also celebrate their feasts on their dates (Easter, Christmas...etc) to connect with them?

    How about when trying to bring those who are already Orthodox, but far from the church, back into the church? Should we go party with them to show them 'we're cool too', or never get ourselves personally involved and just pray about the matter?

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, Orthodoxy is a strict way of life, and a lot of people aren't interested if you appear as 'extreme' and 'really religious'. So should we engage ourselves (aka, bring ourselves down (for lack of a better word)) with their 'ways' to bring them (back) to Orthodoxy?
  • I think that we can do nothing but cheerfully live the Christian life as we know that God expects of us.

    When we try to live like the world to attract others then we are only attracting them to the ways of the world and endangering our own salvation.

    Remember, what is the cost of being a Christian in many times and places. It is a matter of life and death. For many people just becoming Christian is a death sentence as far as the hostile forces of the world and of evil are concerned.

    There is no reason at all for us to be self-righteous, or to put on a show of being holy. But equally we are Christians and THIS is how we live.

    If a person is being drawn to God by the Holy Spirit then such a soul will find themselves attracted to those who remain steadfast in their faithfulness and holiness. If a person is not seeking God then it does not matter how we water down our faith, what will attract them is not Christ but just more fun, and excitement and distracting activity.

    I don't mean this in any sort of absolutist way. Where there is a need we should meet it. But if a person is not attracted by the fulness of the Christian life then they are not moving towards Christ. Therefore we need to ask ourselves if we are living the Christian life in its fulness, or merely living the outward appearance of the Faith. A hypocrite will repulse those who are seeking truth.

    We do not need to be cool. But we do need to be dependable, trustworthy, always there for a person. We should not share in their sin, but we should be ready to help them when they need our help and are ready to repent and seek Christ.
  • I was hoping you would say that :)

    That was also my point of view on it, but I received a lot of criticism.. which led me to doubt what I thought.
    (I'm the opposite of St. Athanasius; unless someone I trust agrees with me, I'd probably renounce everything I ever believed in).

    Thank you for answering, Father!

    PS: You're cool.  8)
  • yes, eg. u can go out to eat with yr mates, then when they want to go clubbing till 2am, just politely decline and arrange to meet them next time they are shopping, eating, going for a walk etc.

    i've tried going to the club, drinking coke, getting indigestion from too much coke as there's nothing to eat, getting really bored with the blaring music, then trying to counsel my mates when they get all tearful from bumping into their ex, thinking i am doing some good, but actually once people are really drunk, they don't take in any of the good advice u give them. the next day everything is forgotten and yr really tired at work or in class, having wasted yr time.

    but there is nothing wrong with having a fasting food celebration on 25th december with yr friends, or congratulating them on the feast of the resurrection (or inviting them round for sayami but nice lunch) on april 8th.
    saint paul met people at the level they were at, he ate with them and discussed with them in their pagan lecture hall. but he didn't go and sin with them or miss celebrating the Holy Communion because of their influence.
    so i think a lot depends on yr intention. are u hanging out with them coz they are cool and u r lonely, or are u trying to influence them to turn to God?


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