Convertitis - Common mistakes in searching for True Orthodoxy

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Convertitis - Common mistakes in searching for True Orthodoxy

Postby Maria » Tue 7 August 2018 9:54 pm

I cannot remember the source of these common mistakes, perhaps it was one of the many writings from Father Seraphim Rose, perhaps it was from another Orthodox Priest, or perhaps it was someone from world orthodoxy. However, it does not really matter who originally penned them. I found myself as an inquirer and as a catechumen falling into these mistakes and then having them pointed out to me by my own Father Confessor. That was so embarrassing, and gratefully, so humbling.

I did a search and did not find anything. So, if anyone discovers the source of these common mistakes, then please be sure to post a comment below.

Blunders in Conversion and Continuing Conversion
1. Expecting religion to satisfy emotional, psychological needs; the religion will be unstable

2. Having no real engagement in life, and spending all of one's time thinking about and discussing,
online and in person, religion; this is not what the faith is for

3. Compartmentalizing one's life so that religion is one detail that can be turned on and off

4. Maintaining hobbies or interests that manifestly promote dissipation, rather than allowing the
faith to inform one's life more fully

5. Insufficient development of heart and personality such that one is unable to respond to normal
human circumstances, emotions, needs; expecting religion to supply the deficit

6. Religion as egoic escape; no interest in podvig; reluctance to do the will of God when it goes
against one's interests or personality

7. Lack of simplicity, kindness, warmth, forgiveness; believing oneself 'converted' but exhibiting
coldness or impatience toward those in need, or those who make demands on one

8. Eagerness to pursue religious feats in secret; exaggerating fasts, prayer sessions, prayer
postures; refusal to discuss one's rule with a father-confessor

9. Willfulness, desiring preference, boiling over instantly all indicate that conversion is hampered,
likely by personal refusal to do the will of God in one's personal life i.e. not living the Gospel

10. Premature interest in exalted ideas; heading straight for lofty prayer

11. Cold, calculating pursuit of religion; self-serving motives behind one's zeal, prayers, or

12. Pride in being part of the 'true religious club' on earth

13. Constant talk about Church matters

14. Sudden coarse or rough talk indicates the Old Man peeping through a veneer

15. Instantly wanting to change the Church; hectoring others about how they are faithful; eagerness
to change one's parish in some way or ways

16. Preoccupation with one's spiritual 'state' or 'advancement'

17. Baggage from previous religious exposure e.g. still Calvinist at heart, still Catholic at heart

18. Making no attempt to learn 'how' to pray
*** (see this very amusing video: )
*** (a most excellent talk: )

19. Making no effort to undertake personal change consistent with podvig and modest Christian

20. Expecting Orthodoxy, entirely and by itself, to fix one's worst problems, problems which may
require professional intervention

21. Expecting religious routines themselves to heal, without recognizing the need to obey Christ's
essential commands

22. Becoming upset when it turns out that other members of the faithful, including clergy, are not

23. Allowing oneself to be distracted by parish politics

24. Conflating knowledge about Orthodoxy with Orthodoxy

25. Finding the prayers awkward that accuse the self of sin or uncleanness; trying to avoid these
prayers; not seeing them with the eyes of loving faith

26. Walking not the Royal Path, but either the path of modernism, or the path of super-correctness
and 'zeal without knowledge' (definitely from Father Seraphim Rose)

27. Having a negative reason for conversion, such as to spite a former pastor

28. Converting merely to please someone else

29. Having been attracted by the beauty, perhaps on holiday, seeing no deeper into what faith in Christ personally means

30. Not attending services regularly, with the result that the liturgy cannot put roots into the soul and
no personal relationships in the parish can form

31. Indulgence in externals such as growing an odd beard, wearing funny clothes, or using
antiquated vocabulary

32. Being too easily scandalized by exposure to a lukewarm parish or monastery, or to an essay
written by a modernist priest

33. Converting without having come to the conclusion that one can never BE anything BUT

34. Maintaining involvement in New-Age practices (certainly having demonic dimensions)

35. Commencing a habit of nagging others to become Orthodox, or to bow or pray in a certain way

36. Regarding Church as a hobby, rather than as the soul's salvation

37. Behaving far outside the norms established by other parishioners; falling into eccentricities that
could easily be avoided by pursuing a rule established with a father-confessor

38. No love for the saints; no relationships forming with any saints

39. Indifference to the holy fathers of the Church, believing that modern knowledge is always better
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

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Re: Convertitis - Common mistakes in searching for True Orthodoxy

Postby Orthodox in Michigan » Tue 7 August 2018 11:40 pm

Thank you for this post it is a good checklist.

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Re: Convertitis - Common mistakes in searching for True Orthodoxy

Postby Justice » Wed 8 August 2018 1:37 am

I personally struggle with some of these things. Thanks for sharing!

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Re: Convertitis - Common mistakes in searching for True Orthodoxy

Postby Panteri_VRS » Wed 26 September 2018 12:24 pm

I sadly recognise many of the people I went to church with as a teenager... It was when socialism was growing weak in Yugoslavia, and people who were hardcore, fanatical Communists became overnight the exact kind of Christians described in this list. And after the Croats' ethnic cleansing forced my family to move to Russia, I noticed that it was the exact same thing there ; many people don't go to church because they truly believe, but because it's the "good thing to do", and of course, they all embark on a race to look better than their neighbours instead of consecrating themselves to God.

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