Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Processing Elimination continued

Having reread my last post, I feel a bit guilty and need to apologize to any Greek Orthodox readers who may have stumbled upon our little experiment/lifestyle change.  I have nothing against the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America.  In fact, I often use their website for info about the lives of saints, lectionary, icons, links to other Orthodox sites, etc.  I have nothing against people who are Greek or converts who enter the Archdiocese.

One of the things we talked about when we decided to head in the direction of Orthodoxy was a want to be in an English speaking parish.  Understanding that a lot of people in Orthodox churches speak a native tongue other than English, we wanted to be in a parish where the main language of the Liturgy was English.  Nothing against Slavonic, Serbian, Russian, Greek, or Arabic; they are not our mother tongue, and being part of a church where we feel like we can be a part of the congregation without a foreign passport is very important to us.  Having a service where things take place half in Greek (or another language) and half in English is hard for the uninitiated.  Every now and then is fine, but if it's central elements to the worship, it's very challenging to walk in and have no idea what is going on.

I don't know how to best finish this thought.  I keep returning to the fact that we just come from a church that was very enmeshed.  As I said before, everyone was related and had grown up there.  There simply wasn't a schema for how to say "You are welcome here" beyond maybe asking you to volunteer for something.  They certainly bent over backwards when we first arrived, but those things disappeared rather quickly.  Felicity, especially, felt very alone and isolated from the life of the church we attended.  We don't want to be part of that again.  Psychologically, spiritually, emotionally, I need to feel like I'm part of a church and not just an observer--an attendee.  We did that, and that's been overdone in our family.

This isn't/wasn't meant to be polemical.  I'm sorry if it came out that way.  I'm trying to process this whole experience.  We were talking yesterday, and commented that were so thankful that it wasn't a matter of doctrine, theology, or worship.  These things are united.  It was where we felt most welcomed, invited, loved, and accepted.  No icy stares.  No cold shoulders.  No how-do-I-get-out-of-this-conversation fidgets.  I know that Fr. T. will be a great part of our spiritual journey, but he will not be our priest...in the sense that we will be attending another parish on a weekly basis.  Praise God for His priests!  May we always be thankful.

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