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As Leon Podles wrote in his 1999 book, "The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity," "The Orthodox are the only Christians who write basso profundo church music, or need to." Rather than guess why this is, I emailed a hundred Orthodox men, most of whom joined the Church as adults.What do they think makes this church particularly attractive to men?

It’s funny when I think about it, because what women want from a man is what I was trying to teach them all along.Their responses, below, may spark some ideas for leaders in other churches, who are looking for ways to keep guys in the church. The term most commonly cited by these men was "challenging." Orthodoxy is "active and not passive." "It's the only church where you are required to adapt to it, rather than it adapting to you." "The longer you are in it, the more you realize it demands of you." The "sheer physicality of Orthodox worship" is part of the appeal. It is about mercy, but it's also about overcoming oneself. It is rigorous, and in that rigor I find liberation. Several mentioned that they really appreciated having clarity about the content of these challenges and what they were supposed to do.Regular days of fasting from meat and dairy, "standing for hours on end, performing prostrations, going without food and water [before communion]... The fact that you must 'struggle' during worship by standing up throughout long services is itself a challenge men are willing to take up." A recent convert summed up, "Orthodoxy is serious. "Most guys feel a lot more comfortable when they know what's expected of them." "Orthodoxy presents a reasonable set of boundaries." "It's easier for guys to express themselves in worship if there are guidelines about how it's supposed to workespecially when those guidelines are so simple and down-to-earth that you can just set out and start doing something." "The prayers the Church provides for us morning prayers, evening prayers, prayers before and after meals, and so on give men a way to engage in spirituality without feeling put on the spot, or worrying about looking stupid because they don't know what to say." They appreciate learning clear-cut physical actions that are expected to form character and understanding.For one, they are the “chosen people.”For another, once they do reach a socially acceptable level of maturity, they blossom into really successful individuals (I'm specifically referring to the ones that don't eventually enter into politics or money laundering).They are diligent and dedicated guys whose compassion and patience are rare finds in most men.In a time when churches of every description are faced with Vanishing Male Syndrome, men are showing up at Eastern Orthodox churches in numbers that, if not numerically impressive, are proportionately intriguing.

This may be the only church which attracts and holds men in numbers equal to women.

Men also appreciate that this challenge has a goal: union with God. " Orthodoxy preserves and transmits ancient Christian wisdom about how to progress toward this union, which is called "theosis." Every sacrament or spiritual exercise is designed to bring the person, body and soul, further into continual awareness of the presence of Christ within, and also within every other human being.

One said that in a previous church "I didn't feel I was getting anywhere in my spiritual life (or that there was anywhere to get to I was already there, right? As a cloth becomes saturated with dye by osmosis, we are saturated with God by theosis.

Marrying a Jewish guy is like winning the lucky sperm lottery, and it pays off in the form of devotion and hard-to-pronounce last names daily.

What they lack in stature, they make up for in good character and fun holidays.

Perhaps due to their borderline questionable attachment to their invasive Jewish mothers (no judgment: I have one and will become one), they understand and value treating a lady right, especially someone they love.