Enquiry about this forum, and similar forums
Posted 13 February 2004 - 12:05 PM
I'm a Lutheran student of theology and I've been reading topics on this forum for a couple of days now. I'm very much interested in the deep spirituality I've found in some Orthodox writings I've read during the last year, and I very much yearn to learn from wiser and more experienced Christians in these issues.
However, while reading this forum, I've come to a a view if it being very strictly Orthodox. I myself am interested in more or less all classical spirituality, both Eastern and Western. I've been searching the net for similar discussion groups for some time now, but I have been unable to find any. I'm not so much interested in theological debate and I abhor fundamentalist Christianity, which I've had enough of, but rather I seek to find a place to learn about spiritual practise, striving and aschesis in an environment where I can trust the advice to be based on experince. Therefore, if any one of you here is aware of other similar places on net where I would be able to share on such views, I would be greatyly thankful. I've done a lot searching to find such forums, but this is the closest I've come to
Just to give some background: During the last Great Lent I read through The Ladder of Divine Ascent by John of the Ladder, and I found this book to be extremely valuable for my spiritual life. During the last year I've been reading Filokalia (Philokaly?) from the Orthodox side, and I also translated The Mystical Theology by Pseudo-Dionysios to my native language. From the Western side I've been reading such works as The Cloud of Unknowing, The Interior Castle by St. Therese, The Dark Night of the Soul by John of Cross, Thomas a Kempis' On following the Christ and Augustine's City of God. I'm doing my master's thesis on Luther and I've been reading his Second Commentary on the Psalms and some other books. It would seem that I'm soon to acquit myself with Johannes Tauler and Bernhard of Clairvaux too.
Therefore, I would very much like to share my views on such litterature with other Christians, and to receive advice concerning spiritual life.
Am I on the right forum?
Posted 14 February 2004 - 04:19 PM
Matthew, the moderator, has a good description of the purpose of this website on the main page, under the "Welcome.." area (lower right as it shows up on my screen). If what you read there fits your purpose, this is a great group, where you can engage in discussions with people who are seriously interested in their faith, and how to live it more fully.
Wishing you well in your studies, and your growth in faith -
Posted 13 February 2004 - 04:40 PM
In my (humble) opinion, you are on the right forum. "Deep spitituality" is one thing, which, of itself, may or may not be helpful. The healing and cure of the soul, to me, is the unique value of Orthodox spirituality, and it is here, in Orthodoxy, where you can encounter those "wiser and more experienced Christians", the Holy Fathers and Saints.
Posted 13 February 2004 - 06:57 PM
if you wish to find a place to learn about spiritual practise, striving and ascesis in an environment where you can trust the advice to be based on experience, I suspect that you will have to spend some time in a monastery. If an opportunity ever arises where you could come to visit Greece, then I would recommend you make every effort to spend some time on Mount Athos.
Posted 15 February 2004 - 09:08 AM
I don't think I dare to ask very many questions, but I'll follow the conversation...
I agree with you. However, I don't foresee that to be possible at least in the near future. I'm married, so I don't think it will be possible for me to spend much time in a monastery. And I think that to really benefit from it, it would be neccessary to have enough time, at least a month or so. We have the monastery of New Valamo here in Finland, however it's much of a tourist attraction and when you visit it, you rarely see the monks except in the church. You shold somehow learn to know some of them, to get guidance and I don't think it's easy.
Then, of course, there's the 'problem' of me being Lutheran. So, preferably, I would need a Lutheran spiritual father. In the beginning of the last century there used to be old priests and laity that had much that kind of wisdom. There were people who were reading old spiritual books and were known for their piety, but nowadays it's quite difficult, the church is so much more secularized. And such people who might give some guidance do not very much advertise themselves
Posted 15 February 2004 - 09:33 PM
Welcome to the discussion community. You are of course most welcome here, and I note that you can find a rather detailed description of the purpose of the discussion forum on-line at:
Do not be affronted, however, if you find strict and stern views among those here: Especially when it comes to the praxis of spirituality, prayer, etc., there is an ancient understanding in Orthodoxy that Orthodoxy spiritual practice can only be understood fully from within the living experience of Orthodox life.
We look forward to your participation.
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