Christ is Risen!
I had originally intended to write about something else, but after having a conversation with my sister, I went with this one.
She and her husband are exploring Orthodoxy, and to them I pray God’s blessings as they search. Recently she had a conversation with a coworker about home churches and the problems he has with a liturgical church (he’s a very enthusiastic free-church Evangelical with a degree in Protestant theology). It reminded me of some articles I had read awhile back about why a certain Evangelical was not Orthodox.
Basically to that author it came down to this: I’m not Orthodox because I like the Protestant traditions.
But unfortunately, it’s not about traditions, it’s not about a theological argument. It’s about the way to Christ.
We are made to know God with our whole hearts, our whole minds, our whole souls, our whole BEINGS. Orthodoxy is about KNOWING God, not knowing things about God, not systematic theology, not finding proof-texts for why we don’t do things a certain way.
In response to my last post, “Basil” wrote that Orthodoxy is not about shifting a single belief, but rather shifting a worldview, a matter very difficult. I agree.
Orthodoxy is all about transformation. That’s why it’s so much more than deciding to believe a certain way. It’s about “becoming.” It’s theosis, about becoming more like Christ, about becoming the way we were created to be.
And it is hard. It is the hardest thing EVER. I knew when I converted that I was going to have to give up much of what I had always believed. Not all of it, but a lot of it. I knew that my Christianity was going to have be more than a Sunday gig. It would be an every-hour, every-day kinda gig.
To be honest, there are times when I think I too prefer the Protestant traditions. It was much easier not to fast, it was much easier to go to church just on Sunday, etc. But it’s not about me. It’s about God. And I believe that Orthodoxy is the way He gave us to know Him the best. It’s a rather exclusive claim, I’m aware of that.
As I worked toward conversion, and now as I learn, I realized I could not just work my way through whatever intellectual arguments I had against liturgical practice, infant baptism, sacramental worship, the Body and Blood of Christ, and others. I had to experience, to do.
As Orthodoxy sank into the core of who I was, I felt myself knowing God in the place where I was intended to know God–in my SOUL. It began to transform. And as that happened, all those other concerns and arguments made more sense. We baptise infants because the Church is the Body of Christ, where the life of Christ is, and we will not withhold that from anyone, regardless of age or mental capacity. We believe in the sacraments as a cancer patient believes in chemotherapy–these things make us better, they cure us, they make us like Christ. I could go on and on, and probably will at some point.
So to those who say I’m not Orthodox because I prefer my Protestant tradition (and we’ve had this discussion earlier on this blog), I again say fine.
But just know this is not about tradition. This is about life.