Some relections on the past six years, part 1

domes_redI’ve been an Orthodox Christian for six years now.  I remember a few nay-sayers predicting that my conversion was just a phase but folks, I think it’s stuck.   🙂   I think over the next few days I’ll post a few reflections on my journey.

For the first few years, my thoughts were consumed with comparisons.    “Calvary Chapel did this but the Orthodox do that.”   Everything I encountered  in my exotic new world,  from Communion to clerical garb,  became the subject for my dialectical musings.   Some of this can be excused as educational-  I really was trying to grasp the differences between two very different traditions-  but often it was very self-congratulatory in nature.  “Oh how pious and smart I am to have joined this wonderful Church,”  as if I could take any credit for any of it.

I don’t make quite as many comparisons anymore, which is a relief because it frees up my soul to appreciate and participate more fully in the life of the Church.  I am not sure if I will ever be completely free of it, though.  It’s like there’s a part of my brain whose function is to take note of everything that happens in church and to compile a list of differences and similarities, compare them with their Evangelical counterparts, and draw conclusions.  I wish this part of my brain had a switch and I could flip the switch to the OFF position.  I think this part of my brain uses too many resource for such a meager return.   It’s mostly static,  I think. 

Today is the day we commemorate St. Gregory of Nyssa and  St. Theophan the Recluse.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Martin Luther's Disciple
    Jan 23, 2009 @ 20:20:52

    Hi Xenia,
    Welcome back to your blog. 🙂

    I have gone through the same process of comparison.

  2. Xenia
    Jan 23, 2009 @ 20:26:17

    Thank you, MLD. 🙂

  3. Laura
    Jan 23, 2009 @ 23:53:06

    Hi Xenia, cool that you’ve started blogging again here. Looking forward to learning more about your church experiences.

  4. Steven Lucas
    Jan 24, 2009 @ 00:21:54

    After watching the movie “The Scarlet and the Black” (based on a true story) I mused about the differences as well. In the movie a Catholic priest saves thousands of lives during the WWII occupation of Rome by the Nazi’s. He saved people due to his compassion not necessarily due to his practices of the Catholic faith. There were plenty of priests who partnered with the Nazi’s during his time.

    My conclusion is that regardless of clothes, ceremonies, traditions, and processes, which can be taken to extreme in both evangelical and orthodox scenarios, doesn’t it boil down to these simple questions…
    Do I love God?
    Do I love others?
    Do I express genuine godly compassion for others?
    Do I encourage others to love God?

    I agree that contemplating the differences of religious practice is time consuming. Contemplating our common belief in Jesus Christ is worthwhile. After all, don’t we honestly all see a little more dimly than we would like to admit? One denomination shouts, “Eureka! I see clearly!” over here and another shouts, “I see more clearly than you do!” over there. I believe we should all look together to Jesus Christ, our Savior, to see together the opportunities He has for us to glorify Him.

  5. Xenia
    Jan 24, 2009 @ 00:31:50

    Steven, thank you for your insightful comment.

    Hey Laura! Good to see you.

  6. debd
    Jan 24, 2009 @ 02:39:39

    Xenia – congratulations and may God grant you many more years! My husband has often wondered if this is my Orthodox phase.

  7. Amy
    Jan 24, 2009 @ 04:13:44

    Xenia! I am SO glad you are blogging again. I’ve missed you and look forward to reading more.

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