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Re: ADD and religion

Re: ADD and religion2011-01-05T06:50:12+00:00

The Forums Forums Emotional Journey Is It Just Me? ADD and religion Re: ADD and religion


Post count: 14413

Skim Away!

This is going to be a bit long, and in true ADD fashion, somewhat rambling. I promise to do my best. This may be more to do with Theology than you wanted, but I skimmed about half the responses before I started composing mine….ADD anyone?

I am an Orthodox Christian (OCA). I was raised Lutheran (LCC/Missouri Synod – Think stubborn Germans by the pew-full.) I sympathise with your church attendance and attention difficulties. My first pastor once commented, “You never once sat still in Church.”

Before I went to the OCA, I had not attended church in close to 3 years. I still insisted on having my Sundays off, and always considered myself a Christian. I was fed up with going to church to be entertained. I didn’t like what felt like a cookie-cutter answer. I ended up going to the OCA parish close to me for many reasons. The biggest one was the unapologetic, “We believe THIS” attitude with the kindness and understanding brought to the individual struggle.

Imagine if Christianity were an Eastern religion. You’d find the Eastern Orthodox, or simply Orthodox, Church. There is an understanding of mystery, individual discipline and more.

As an ADDer I know I thrive on routine. Less chance of getting lost, screwing up, or getting found out. The fact that the Liturgy is the same except for maybe 5 or 10 times a year means I know what to do when. (I also know when to look at the floor or hold one of the babies to avoid people hugging me during the Kiss of Peace.)

In my confessions (since you mentioned going to yours) I have stated that I am a bad steward of my things (impulsivity) and that I <i>hate, HATE,</i> school. My priest told me not to worry about hating school. If I didn’t like it, that’s ok. I hate confession. I never remember what I want to say and just blurt everything out in about 5 minutes or less. I have never been chastised for it. I don’t particularly like it but in any event I have found it minutely useful in terms of self reflection. But I still hate it and would rather be anywhere than standing there telling the priest why I feel badly about myself. (I think a lot of my confession is ADD related. But I was only recently diagnosed, so this may change.) Sometimes I feel relieved after confession, sometimes I feel like I just did the laundry – one less thing on the to-do list. I go because I want to approach the chalice without feeling like I’ve left things undone.

We have very similar beliefs to the Catholics and in many cases the Missouri Lutherans. I know that Catholic Guilt is famous. That is unfortunate.

Take what you will from the bullets below. <b>As some have suggested it may be worth looking at different churches whether Catholic or otherwise. </b>My only word of caution on this would be don’t let the building and the community define your spiritual life. If nothing else, church has also taught me to deal with the less than awesome parts of community life. My sponsor/Godmother has also been very helpful in keeping me on track.

I think the bullet points should cover the rest of it. (I love chatting about this kind of thing, so anyone, drop me a line if you are so inclined.)

• Mary is the great example, not the great exception (Roman)

• Original sin isn’t the same. An unbaptised infant or someone who has never heard the Gospels could go to heaven. We just leave it to God to decide, we all have our own salvation to work out.

• Mystery – there are no defined number of sacraments. We go to Liturgy, we marry (or not), baptise, do works, pray, partake of communion accepting these as divine mysteries and gifts from God.

• Pastoral Discretion (falls under economia) there are general rules of thumb for the usual, able bodied, ideally situated Faithful. As a general rule, we fast from certain things on Wednesday and Friday. As I’m not married to an Ortho man, my fasting rule is relaxed as per my priest’s directions.

• We stand a lot. A lot. The majority of the Liturgy I stand. This makes things easier. I sway, take small steps. When there is a procession I might make a bigger move to a slightly different spot so that it’s just somewhere other than I was before. I went to my grandma’s church about a year after I started attending the Orthodox Church and was dying they whole time. Up, down, up, down. I have to sit for how long?! And how does anyone know what’s going on?

• The Liturgy is the same 95% of the time. A good portion of it is participatory. I can sing most of the Liturgy. This means I’m involved, pair that with the fact that I’m standing and my fidgeting is less noticeable, add the constant crossing of oneself and I blend in fairly well.

• I too have an issue with the sermon. Our priest is exuberant, and his train of thought is meandering and expands far more that is necessary or helpful. The other clergy are not terribly gifted in rhetoric or oration. I sometimes just have to get up and leave, or chat with my neighbour. It isn’t the best solution but hey, I keep my hands to myself and show up. I think that’s pretty good!

• I understand the guilt and not getting around to going to church. I do like church, I adore the music and I am fortunate to have a wonderful community. It can be difficult to get up and face the world when you know there will be people around who will inevitably engage you. As someone previously said, God will understand. The Orthodox would generally say something along the lines of “On the day of Judgment” you’ll stand before Christ himself, a loving God! The Lord will not condemn a person for a disability.

– Side note: My husband was raised religious all his life, where as I from about 12yrs on. The closed religious community he grew up in was emotionally abusive and destructive. Understandably, he considers church a place of damnation and hate. One of our clergy-wives (Who is also a PK) and I are good friends and we were talking about my husband’s situation. I was getting irritated at all the questions about why my husband doesn’t just try to come to this church etc. “So-and-so,” I said, “I don’t get why these people are constantly going on about Hubby. God will not damn him because he can’t go to church. I go for the two of us, light my candles, sing the liturgy and say my prayers. When he gets to the last day, God will welcome him.”

“Of course He will!” It was such a relief to be able to understand God as a forgiving God but also as one who requires more from those who are capable – no one size fits all.

• Confession. We do it too. 4 times per year is considered to be the general minimum. We consider the priest as a guide and assistant rather than an intermediary.

• Saints are intercessors. We like them. We love the God who created them.

• The Orthodox consider themselves to the THE Church. While this seems pompous (it kept me away for several years in fact) it is feels less so when you realise that the Church would tell you they have the whole Truth, that is to say, the Truth in its entirety. That is not to say that other denominations or religions don’t have some truth in them (most tell you not to murder as an extreme example). Others have truth and value. God will decide who goes where. It seems silly that a man who is raised as an Anabaptist would be condemned because that is all he knew and was a Godly Anabaptist. Likewise for a woman in the middle east who knows nothing other than Islam. God will be her judge, not her peers, not the clergy. God Himself.

Time to end the rant . . .I’ve got the hyper-focus/can’t let go of things, thing going on.