My mom and grandma made their first visit to an Orthodox church on Sunday…all things considered it went pretty well. They didn’t sneeze when Fr. Isaac got going with the incense. They didn’t sigh at the sight of a wall of icons. My grandma did suggest to my godmother that we needed less liturgy and more preachin’ (spoken like a true Baptist), but all in all I was so proud of them and honored to have them as my guests.
I know that my conversion to Orthodoxy has been a difficult one for them, as I came out of the liturgical closet, as it were. We have had our fair share of arguments, we have cried and we have learned together. But I want to thank them, above all else.
They took great care to raise me with a fear and love for our God. They made sure I knew not to run in church, knew that you treated a pastor with respect, and that church was the most important place one could choose to be.
To my mom and grandma, thank you so much. I love you.
I can safely say I tried almost every single type of church that’s out there. Small fundamentalist churches, big fundamentalist churches, mega-churches, college town churches, charismatic churches, and house churches. It would be easy, and probably reasonable, to fear that Orthodoxy is just the next stop-off. I would be less than honest if I said that fear hadn’t crossed my mind in the days after I joined the Church.
But here’s the difference. All my life I had been the spiritual square peg, trying to stuff myself in the round holes of Western Christianity. From absolutely the moment I walked into an Orthodox church and found myself stumbling through the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, I fit.
I’ve been trying to figure out why that is. Intellectually, the evidence of the unbroken chain of history from Sts. Peter and Paul is impressive. Theologically, my church’s statement of faith, which we recite during each Divine Liturgy, is the pre-filioquian Nicene Creed (it’s worked for centuries). And spiritually, its practices provide for complete healing and accountability in an active faith community.
But I think it’s something more than that. It was home to me. It was as if all my spiritual life I had been outside in the snow, my nose pressed to the frosty glass of a window. Inside the window was all the safety and warmth I could ever need. Now that I’m inside, I couldn’t ever leave. Why would I? There wasn’t any “wrapping my head around” that decision. The decision wrapped itself around me. I am captive.
And I don’t mind.
About six months ago, I joined the Holy Orthodox Christian Church. My whole life was preparing me for that step, though of course I had no idea. If you had told me 10 years ago, as a first-team Protestant, that that was what God would call me to, I would have told you you were crazy.
But here I am, an Orthodox Christian, in a world of die-hard Evangelical Protestants.
I am not big on journaling…it feels too much like work, so I didn’t write a lot of this down. But over the months and years, at times I felt kinda like Mary, the blessed Mother of our Lord, as I “treasured all these things” in my heart.
Now my heart is full, and I must get it out. And for some reason, this seemed like a good way to do it. So over the next few days, weeks, months, or however long it lasts, this little blog of mine will detail some of my thoughts, feelings and fears as I was led closer and closer to Orthodoxy. I’ll also probably throw in some of these things that I am learning now, or need to learn, or don’t want to learn.
That’s my goal. Let’s see if I can stick to it.
This is it…my first post to a blog. I’ve been commenting, lurking, and sneaking peaks at others’ blogs for some time. Now I have one. My very own. Wow! Now that I have one, I’m not sure what to say…as a writer I fear the blank page on occasion. But it will come…and hopefully those lurking here will be challenged, blessed, or whatever.