Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Considering this Orthodoxy Thing

I've got some time on my hand at the moment.  I'm sitting in a Barnes and Noble in upstate, NY; watching CSI:NY; and feeling slightly introspective.  I had a disturbing dream the other night, and I think I may still be dealing with the after effects of that experience.  Maybe I'm just coming to grips with my own complacency.  I'm not sure why all of this is coming to the forefront on this cloudy afternoon.  It is, though, and I'm trying to figure out where I'm coming from.

I dreamed the other night that we'd just given up.  I dreamed that my wife was finished with all of this trying and struggling and just wanted to stop the process.  I saw this Orthodoxy thing as one more string in a list of stuff that I've tried in my life in order to live out a more authentic faith--not as the Truth that I now know that it is.  I give up on so many thing, and I'm afraid that this is going to be one more of those things.

Conversely, my father is praying that we do.  This isn't really a gripe session about my family and their inability to deal with our decision to move into Orthodoxy.  My parents seem to think we'd be happiest as Missouri Synod Lutherans.  I think this is so hard because we're also so alone up here right now.  Our parish is tiny, and pretty widespread across the region.  Our priests are monastics (something completely different than Fr. C. was) and have a calling all their own.  Where do we fit into all of this?  What are we supposed to do, small family of four with two young daughters and a low paying job in a start-up school somewhere in New York's Capital District?

How easy would it be to walk away?  How hard would it be to just give up?  What would it take to just call it quits and try to be Protestant again?  Could I bring myself to a) take the icons off the wall b) find another church c) re-read the Westminster Confession d) reject the Tradition I'm trying to fit into?  I don't even know where I would begin!  What would motivate me to turn my back on the Church like that?  Peter's words keep coming to mind again and again: "Lord, if we leave, where are we supposed to go?"

Maybe all of this is impatience?  Maybe I'm just suffering from new catechumen syndrom as per my post a couple of weeks ago.  Catechism Breeds Impatience.  I'm excited and scared about what comes next--when the gloves come off and the real boxing with the devil begins.  I've realized that we'll never be done with the struggle.  I didn't realize that the struggle would feel like such a struggle.


  1. I appreciate your words and heart on this subject. Your honesty is reassuring. I just married a Greek and converted to Orthodoxy from being Protestant for as long as I've known, and what at first was a fire to my spirit is slowing fading because I am in the heart of Orthodoxy (I live in Greece) but can't understand anything since I do not speak greek. I think I miss the most the community of church, friends. About 98% of church-goers here are old, really old, or young, really young - we fall in the middle. I struggle too a lot of times. I struggle to want to be a part of the church that I do deep down believe is the original church.

    All that to say, thanks for your vulnerability and know that you are not struggling alone. And I have learned that the most growth comes out of our struggles as long as we continue to fight, don't give up... ever!

  2. All of what you are feeling and experiencing is part of ANY major change, not just to Orthodoxy. It forces one to self assess and look at long range consequences etc. That is a healthy thing, and spiritual thing. I would be more concerned about someone who jumps in, has no issues and is all full of confidence and joy... normally they drop out when some of the realities of Orthodox life confront them. Hang in there.