The Lure of the Mystical Path – Alice Tallmadge, Oregon, USA

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CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY

The Lure of the Mystical Path

By

Alice Tallmadge, Correspondent

Originally published in The Oregonian, Sunday, April 9, 2000

From Ashland to Portland, the Orthodox tradition is drawing Oregonians to its ancient depths

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/04/the-lure-of-the-mystical-path/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

EUGENE — The Saturday night buzz is revving outside the doors of St. Eugene Orthodox Church in the Whiteaker neighborhood. Motors race. Doors slam. Nearby taverns begin to fill with eager revelers. But inside the walls of the humble, dome-topped church, an otherworldly peace reigns. Pungent incense hangs in the air. Gold-flecked icons, lit by flickering tapers, line the dark red walls. Women, their long hair covered with scarves, stand on one side of the small nave, men on the other.

They take turns filling the room with plaintive, old-world chants. Other worshippers stand quietly, hands to their sides, heads bowed.

“This is how we worship, to stay concentrated in prayer,” said St. Eugene member Sarah Cowie.

“We believe that, during the service, God pours himself out. If you get quiet enough in your mind, you can feel, palpably, his presence.”

The 70 or so members of St. Eugene aren’t immigrants from Russia, Eastern Europe or Greece. They are Eugene-area residents, most of them converts from Protestant sects, who have found solace and sustenance in a tradition that dates back 2,000 years to the early Christian church. Cowie and other St. Eugene members are among the growing numbers of Oregonians who are converting to Orthodoxy.

For years, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Portland, established in 1895, was Continue reading “The Lure of the Mystical Path – Alice Tallmadge, Oregon, USA”

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Video – Joseph Olivares, USA: What is Eastern Orthodoxy and why did I decide to become Orthodox?

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Joseph Olivares, USA:

What is Eastern Orthodoxy and why did I decide to become Orthodox?

On Spiritual Deception – Fr. Dcn. Charles Joiner, South Carolina, USA

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ORTHODOX HEART SITES

On Spiritual Deception

by Fr. Dcn. Charles Joiner

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

Deacon at Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral,

Greenville, South Carolina Area, USA

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/10/on-spiritual-deception/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

The author of the Orthodox Way of Life blog, Fr. Dcn. Charles tells it like it is.

Having recently discovered that throughout much of my Christian life I was involved with “spiritual deception,” I find it necessary now to seek ways to fully understand and totally reject this error.

My deception began with a well meaning pastor at the United Methodist Church where I grew up. I asked him,

“Why are there so many different religions? How can we say that the Christian way the the best way?”

His answer was,

“There are many paths to God. Ours is the most direct and easiest path.”

He did not know how to answer this question from a true Christian perspective and advise me of the struggle that I would necessarily face. I now know that what he taught me was a serious deception. It is very clear now that the other paths will not lead to a God-oriented spiritual life and union with God. They only lead one to a life of self-satisfaction and greater pride.

Jesus Christ came after these early attempts to reach God which were inadequate and showed all mankind how to gain union with God. He showed us the need for extreme humility in our relationship with God. He showed us a path that involves purifying ourselves and continually struggling against many things, yet relying on God’s will. I discovered that the path He opened for us is not an easy path.

It is a difficult one along which we are easily deceived by seeking pleasures though various forms of meditation, yoga and others activities, taught by well meaning teachers from other eastern religions who have not discovered for themselves the way of Jesus Christ.

I now know this from experience, having experimented with Vedanta, a Hindu religion, Buddhism, and Eastern forms of meditation. Regrettably, I even led an effort to find the “universal principles” of all religions and then set up a organization (formally organized as a church under IRS rules, no less) to teach this to others. Oh, how easily we are deceived by psychic level religious experiences which only serve to boost our pride and our sense of self-sufficiency.

Through this experience, I learned that it is essential to recognize that we are engaged in spiritual warfare as Saint Paul so clearly tells us. In my youth I was never prepared for this battle by being properly instructed in the spiritual disciplines.

I didn’t appreciate the power of the Sacraments that Christ initiated for us to help us in this battle. Growing up Methodist, communion was symbolic. It was grape juice and a wafer symbolizing the blood and body of Jesus Christ. Powerless when compared to the actual Blood an Body of Jesus Christ that is offered in the Orthodox Church for remission of sins and eternal life in union with Him. I faced many such deceptions along the path. Fortunately, I have a very strong guardian angel that kept me on a path seeking God and who taught me the Jesus Prayer in the midst of these deceptions.

It was this prayer that protected me and led me back to Orthodoxy.

Seraphim Rose saw this attitude I experienced as one that permeates much of Christianity today. He wrote on this sad condition of “Christians” in his book, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future. Here is an excerpt.

“The life of self-centeredness and self-satisfaction lived by most of today’s “Christians” is so all-pervading that it effectively seals them off from any understanding at all of spiritual life; and when such people do undertake “spiritual life,” it is only as another form of self-satisfaction. This can be seen quite clearly in the totally false religious ideal both of the “charismatic” movement and the various forms of “Christian meditation”: all of them promise (and give very quickly) an experience of “contentment” and “peace.” But this is not the Christian ideal at all, which if anything may be summed up as a fierce battle and struggle. The “contentment” and “peace” described in these contemporary “spiritual” movements are quite manifestly the product of spiritual deception, of spiritual self-satisfaction––which is the absolute death of the God-oriented spiritual life. All these forms of “Christian meditation” operate solely on the psychic level and have nothing whatever in common with Christian spirituality. Christian spirituality is formed in the arduous struggle to acquire the eternal Kingdom of Heaven, which fully begins only with the dissolution of this temporal world, and the true Christian struggler never finds repose even in the foretastes of eternal blessedness which might be vouchsafed to him in this life; but the Eastern religions, to which the Kingdom of Heaven has not been revealed, strive only to acquire psychic states which begin and end in this life” (From Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future by Seraphim Rose, pp 187-188).

Some of my friends will think this is a bit harsh and it is not my intent to condemn those who sincerely seek union with Jesus Christ no matter what their form of Christianity is. But I can say without a doubt, that we can be deceived as I know I was.

For me, I found the fulness of the Truth in the Orthodox Church where the sacramental life is emphasized and practiced with regularity. It was in the context of the Orthodox Church that I found I could surrender and then seek, not my own way, but instead follow the way the Church sets out for all of us.

Video – From Glory to Glory: The Journey of Fr. Anthony Salzman, GA, USA

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From Glory to Glory:

The Journey of Fr. Anthony Salzman, GA, USA

Three reasons to join the Eastern Orthodox Church – Michael Witcoff, USA

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CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY

3 Reasons to join the Eastern Orthodox Church

by

Michael Witcoff, USA

Michael Witcoff is a Christian, a copywriter, an author, and a marketing consultant. He believes the West is experiencing divine wrath for turning our backs on God, and that the only hope for salvation is to unite under one faithful banner as our enemies have under theirs.

* * *

Friends and brothers, it’s been quite a while since I last wrote to you. Between my consulting business and my growing interest in the world of blockchain technology, I’ve had a lot on my plate lately.

But the time seems right for me to come back to Return Of Kings and share a bit more of my journey with you. The rhythm I aim for in life is to learn and grow, then share and teach.

Today’s topic, Eastern Orthodoxy, is something I’d never even heard of when my last article here was published. But since discovering what it is and delving deeper into its mysteries, it’s consumed an enormous amount of my time and attention.

So much of it, in fact, that I recently decided to leave my Wesleyan ways behind and become a full-fledged member of the Orthodox Church. Today, I’d like to share with you my top three reasons for doing so.

1.It’s The Church That Jesus Planted

During my time as a Protestant, it never even occurred to me that a denomination existed reaching all the way back to the time of the apostles.

Once I realized there was an unbroken chain of tradition reaching back nearly 2,000 years, I began to ask an entirely new kind of question. What did they teach? How did they worship? What did they believe? How did it get Continue reading “Three reasons to join the Eastern Orthodox Church – Michael Witcoff, USA”

Reason #1: the ever-changing church – Why I have converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church

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COMING HOME – ORTHODOXY

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Reason #1: the ever-changing church

Why I have converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/05/reason-1-the-ever-changing-church/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

This series of articles are from the “Becoming Orthodox” blog.

This is the first in a series of posts highlighting reasons why I have converted to the Orthodox Church. They are listed in no particular order. Some are big, important reasons; others may be small, wonderful but non-essential reasons. I hope they offer food for thought.

A few months ago I read an article in Christianity Today that highlighted a Christian movement in Mexico. It’s been awhile since I read the article and I can no longer recall the particulars, but one line really stood out: “How will the church in Mexico continue to change?” asked the columnist.

If the church is the pillar of truth (1 Timothy 3:15), then it should be unchanged since the day that it was founded by Jesus. Yet in any particular church group (save one) you will find numerous changes. Roman Catholics have a pretty long history, but they change the rules all the time. Protestantism is no different, being that it was borne out of a desire for change; a desire that certainly continues to this day when we have thousands of different denominations.

I’m disturbed by all of these changes. Truth doesn’t change. Neither should the Church.

 

My Journey Through Lutheranism and Calvary Chapel to Orthodoxy – Patrick Keenan, North Dakota, USA

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My Journey Through Lutheranism and Calvary Chapel to Orthodoxy

by Patrick Keenan, North Dakota, USA

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2017/03/my-journey-through-lutheranism-calvary-chapel-orthodoxy/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

My parents brought me to Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church for Baptism as an infant. Somehow, someway a grace entered my life that has resided as long as I can remember. The quest as to who He is and how I should know him has been a lifelong pursuit.

It was an evening in 1966. Our modest North Dakota apartment housed my Mother, Father and myself. Dad was at the family Drive-In. Mom and I decided to watch NBC’s Saturday Night at the Movies. It was a Rock Hudson Movie called ‘The Spiral Road’. Rock’s character was an Atheist Doctor in a south pacific Island who had fallen in love with a Christian nurse. She asked Rock why he didn’t believe in God, to which he replied something like:

‘because at one point I challenged God to show himself to me. I told God ‘If you are there- strike me down!’ He did nothing and that is why I do not believe.’

Well the next day, of course, was Sunday morning. Our Redeemer’s was a large Church with a huge wooden cross hanging on a rock wall behind the pulpit. As I recall, the Continue reading “My Journey Through Lutheranism and Calvary Chapel to Orthodoxy – Patrick Keenan, North Dakota, USA”