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The Road Goes Ever On And On

January 2, 2016

 

The Road

I recently read an Orthodox blog post about the revolving door that we converts have created in the Orthodox Church, especially here in North America. The post is titled: Leaving The Orthodox Church. I won’t rehash the whole thing, as I would do it an injustice. But here is the gist: all of us modern converts come from a broke, postmodern, individualistic context, in to the Orthodox Church. As such we see “Our Journey” as something wholly our own, and with no other context. The tendency is to become disillusioned and “move on” in our journey, to another equally valid path, or to create a sort of cult out of trying to keep purely external Orthodoxy, in an attempt to get back to the kind of tribal life all mankind experienced before the modern era.

The thing I found so fascinating about the post, was that I was thinking about this very thing in regard to my own journey to the Orthodox Church. I have asked myself if I would simply “move on”, as I had done from an Evangelical, to a Presbyterian, to Orthodoxy. But as Peter asked our Lord, in the Gospel According to St John chapter 6, “Lord to whom shall we go? Thou alone hast the words of eternal life.” so I think to myself, “Where else would I go?”

I just found out that a priest/monk I used to read reflections and articles from, left the Church, and became a Protestant minister. I have to admit I was very surprised, as it seems it was quite sudden. Again, I ask myself if my own Orthodox faith is transitory, provoked by reflecting on this priest’s departure from the Church.

While I feel the tendency within myself to get the “Ho Hums” about some of the repetitive aspects of Orthodox liturgical rubrics, tones, hymns, etc. And while the private prayers themselves can become a mindless recitation, if I’m not being attentive and present in them, I know that I am home, though still on a journey, as it were. But the journey is not a road I am on alone, but the Ark of Salvation, traversing the sea of this present age.  The sea gets rough, and the journey becomes uncomfortable, but the Lord Himself is present. If He is here, this ship will not sink!

I understand, and sometimes find myself faced with feeling disallusioned at times. I find myself wishing “more could be done” by our hierarchs to do out reach (internal and external), or rolling my eyes at our own glib “Orthodox platitudes”, or yet another convert podcast (or even my own blog). Or how about the continuous cycle of fasting? I see this as a temptation. Not a “trick of the devil”, but the laziness, judcgmentality and evil in my own heart and mind. So, I get why people decide to find their way back to the door, and show themselves out.

But for myself (and I say this as no pat on my own back, because it just happens to be where I am right now) I continue to say, “Lord, to whom shall I go? You alone have the words of eternal life.” And I believe this Church is the place where the fullness of that salvation is. The road that goes on and on, yet never moves.

 

P.S. Any of you who follow this blog, or find/found it encouraging, I apologize for the near two-year gap since I last posted. To be honest, I felt (and still feel, really) that I have nothing to say that is worth putting out there; just one more voice, taking up space on the internet. There’s a better than 99.999% chance this was my pride, but I’d like to think there was some semblance of purity to my motives… but probably not.

 

 

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