Yep, I did it. It's disrespectful and shameful, but I did it anyway.
I'm currently at a crossroads. A few of you know my situation. I mostly don't post, but only read this forum.
The base point that I stand behind for my spiritual journey is Veritas non cambitis (Truth does not change). I'm tired of reading non-Chalcedonian articles and I'm tired of reading Chalcedonian articles. I shouldn't have to read pages upon pages of information to figure out which church to join. Shouldn't truth Himself make it apparent where he wants you to worship him? You are the light of the world; a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden...
He said the way is narrow. Well, apparently I can't even find where it starts to begin walking down it.
The Coptic church I've attended is very ethnically Coptic. I stick out like a Germanic-Saxon light bulb. I don't read Arabic. I don't speak Arabic. I don't speak Coptic, except for maybe 2 or 3 phrases. I live in America, and naturally, I speak English... fluently.
When the Wednesday "mostly English" service was being said in Arabic, many people were singing along. I was not. I could not understand, because I don't speak Arabic, as I've stated. When the deacon who walks around telling people what page that day's psalm reading was going to be on, he told me in Arabic. Three times. As I said, I don't speak Arabic. Everyone's just happily singing along, except me.
So, I got frustrated, put my shoes on, crossed myself, bowed towards the altar, and left.
Then, I decided to stop at the Antiochian church that's about 15 minutes down the interstate, and spoke with the priest. They use all English. They are 99% converts. They are Byzantine. However, I like the theology of the OO churches better. I like the icons of the OO churches, too (not that I think Greek or Russian icons are unpleasant). Furthermore, I cannot stomach listening to EOs call OOs "monophysites" and Severus of Antioch a "monophysite heretic," anymore than I could stand someone calling EOs "crypto- semi- quasi- Nestorians."
So, I emailed the priest of the Coptic church, expressing my concerns. That's the second part of the "canned answers." Pray and talk to a priest. He told me, "I have no idea what to tell you."
He stated that he hated to lose me (as will I, he's very nice) and His Grace the Bishop is wanting to evangelize. He and I came to a common understanding about the Coptic church's attempts to evangelize at the moment:
It is in its infancy in America compared to EOs.
It will be a haven to Copts fleeing Muslim persecutions.
A grand majority of these will not speak Engish, thus necessitating using Arabic for their benefit.
This will cause great difficulty in European descended Americans converting because most southerners like myself will not stand there and listen to an Arabic service.
The use of English will never take precedence over Arabic due to reasons 2 and 3, without multiple churches in the area.
If the OO Communion is the correct Orthodox faith, then the Church should be like a Mother to me, yes?
If I don't understand what my Mother is speaking to me, then how will I have a relationship with her?
The priest of the Antiochian church, upon my mentioning of the Council of Chalcedon, stated that the council is so full of minutiae and politics that it's difficult to figure out what's going on, and that most scholars today state that the only reason the division happened was due to semantics and politics. He also stated that he can commune Copts who approach his altar, though he cannot serve in a Coptic church.
I'm not a great logician, but I can deduce a few things:
There is only One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church.
There are not two. There is one.
If the OO are incorrect, then why is there limited inter-communion? If the OO are incorrect, then what's the point of "Orthodox Unity?" Why does the EO accept Cyril of Alexandria as Orthodox, and not recognize OOs who proclaim Cyril's miaphysite christology as Orthodox and Eutyches as a heretic?
If the EO are incorrect, and the OO are the Church, then what's the point of "Orthodox Unity?" If the EO are incorrect, then my country has been without the true church up until the last 50 years or so. I will have to bide my time and wait for native born Copts to become priests that will have to be bi-lingual.
If both are correct, then the Body of Christ has truly been split by men, under "the guidance of the holy spirit making it ecumenical," and the Gates of Hades have triumphed, and we're all going straight to Hell.
If both are incorrect, then the Body of Christ never existed, and the Gates of Hades have triumped, and we're all going straight to Hell.
If the Gates of Hades have triumphed, then Jesus Christ is a liar. If Jesus Christ is a liar concerning the foundation of His church, then he is not God.
If Jesus Christ is God, and has watched men split the Body of Christ, and then has not fixed it and let it remain that way, then He is malicious and cruel.
Yes, I am running on pure emotion, because this is my heart on an electronic message board, and my intellect is fatigued badly.
Yes, I am anxious, nervous, and on the verge of the deepest, darkest despair of my life because this is the last stop of the line.
Yes, I have prayed. Yes, I am praying. Yes, I will pray, until my despair overwhelmes me.
Yes, I have talked to priests. Four that I can think of off the top of my head.
No, I do not know why I posted this. No one reads this forum anyway.
Yes, I fully expect (in the rare event that someone does read this forum) to be chastized, told to grow up, told to deal with it, told to be patient with God, told to have faith, told that I'm disrespectful for posting this, told that I need to log off the internet and do something else for a while, or not told anything because no one knows the answer to this exceedingly long post that reeks of teenage emo-esque angst.
Yes, I have accepted the fact that I may go to the nuthouse soon. It will be the same situation, except jello and thorazine will have been added.
I could die in five minutes of writing this. I am not baptised. My wife is not baptised. My child is not baptised.
Yes, I have a lot of pressure on me to find a home for not only my soul, but my family's as well. Thus, yes, I think it's important to figure out where to call home.
That is, if a home even exists.
A Song of Ascents.
1 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD;
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
3 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morningÃ¢â‚¬â€
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
8 And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.