During Great Lent, I ran a series of posts from guest bloggers asking to explain why they became Orthodox. The why is important. Most of us are very good at telling the story of how we converted, but I asked contributors to reflect upon the reasons behind that story. I have spent the past three weeks reflecting on the posts in the series. What I learned was different than what I expected. Continue reading “Into Orthodoxy: Lessons Learned”
Read more about the Into Orthodoxy series.
By Mark Timson
I became Orthodox because I didn’t want to be gay anymore. I wanted to write a high-minded, spiritual reflection for you about my deepening walk with Christ, but I’ve torn up rewrite after rewrite because none of them were true. I became Orthodox because I was a gay man in denial, which as we all know is more than a river in Egypt!
I was raised by devout Evangelical Protestant missionaries in the developing world, longing from middle school on for some way to change who I was, to stop being one of the guys responsible for the collapse of Western Christian civilization as my parents’ church knew it. I couldn’t love God and love another man, and I was tormented by this reality. When I finally discovered the strong, deep peasant Orthodoxy of my parents’ last mission field I thought I finally had a way to live in God as well as all the rules I needed to live righteously. And if you live in righteousness, the evils that beset you will be removed. Right? Right…
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By Sheila Mullican
I became Orthodox because God hurled me into it. Arms flailing. Guts wrenching.
My whole life has been a chasing after God. I first knew Him in a tiny church in Appalachia. My earliest memories include flannel-graphs, brush arbors, and foot washings. As an adult, I followed Him to a mega church in the city where I played in a rock and roll band (my daddy’s words) and offered the love of Christ to those far from God.
In all of those places, God was. And I had meaningful encounters. But I craved an intimacy with Him that eluded me. Though I would have told you my hope rested entirely in the grace of God, I frantically tried to prove myself worthy of His love. I volunteered for everything, certain that if I did just a little more He would be happy with me and want to be with me. Continue reading “Into Orthodoxy: Hurled into Heaven”
Read about the “Into Orthodoxy” series here.
I am Orthodox because:
- I like not being expected to believe that non-Christians will necessarily spend eternity burning in hell;
- Orthodoxy teaches that salvation does not come automatically to all self-professing Christians who recite a magical incantation of faith, but is the result of a lifelong commitment to spiritual struggle;
Read about the “Into Orthodoxy” series here.
By Fr. Lawrence Farley
In my journey home to Orthodoxy, I took the long way around. I was born into suburban respectability in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and therefore attended Protestant Sunday School like all the other respectable kids my age. Since Christian Faith in my home was more nominal than real, when Sunday School became boring (the ultimate indictment), I stopped attending and soon sunk into agnostic adolescent mediocrity. I didn’t give ultimate questions much thought; I was more interested in girls. (Sadly, they were little interested in me.) But around midway through my teenage years I thought that life must consist of something more than a meaningless dance of atoms, and so I went back to my United Church looking for answers. There I encountered a few people my age who introduced me to the Jesus Movement (it was 1970), and in the Jesus Movement I encountered the Lord Jesus. It was a very high-voltage part of the Jesus Movement, replete with speaking in tongues, prophesying, and effervescent evangelism, characterized by a direct experience of the overwhelming love of God and the power of the Spirit. Continue reading “Into Orthodoxy: The Long Journey Home”
By Karissa Knox Sorrell
“We grew up with the Jesus story, until we outgrew it,” Frederica Mathewes-Green says in her book At the Corner of East and Now. What a perfect description for how I felt when as an adult I became disenchanted with the church I’d grown up in. Jesus had always been enough for me. I’d grown up as a Nazarene preacher’s kid and missionary’s kid. I attended church three times a week, read the Bible and prayed every day, memorized hundreds of verses, and evangelized all my friends.
But toward the end of my college career, I began feeling a disconnect between my faith and my “real life.” I remember spending an hour at chapel three days a week, fervently singing, lifting my hands, and praying. Afterwards, when I walked out of the church doors, I completely forgot about God for the rest of the day. Worship, while emotionally touching, seemed momentary. I knew I had to find a way to bridge the chasm that had become apparent in my own life. The Jesus story was simply not enough for me anymore. Continue reading “Into Orthodoxy: Into Eternity”