(OC.NET PALACE) - An agitated mob remained under the expansive balcony of the OC.net Palace, waiting patiently for the greatly anticipated announcement of the May Post of the Month. Just as the popcorn vendors were reaching critically-low reserve levels, and the price of a buttered bag spiked to over $98.00 OCND ($0.21 USD), the familiar blaring of the trumpets was heard.
Suddenly, onto the balcony of FrChris' brewpub came the global moderators who, holding an unusually large-sized scroll, began to announce as with one voice: "It is our great privilege to announce to you, and to proclaim to the corners of the OC.net world, the May Post of the Month, as written by our beloved brother, BrotherAidan!"
Just because evangelicals, whether Orthodox converts or still protestant come equipped with a ready made vocabulary of personal faith and piety doesn't mean they really are.
What I noticed right away when I began the journey to Orthdoxy is that Orthdodox people don't have the vocabulary of personal faith that evangelicals do. By this I mean the evangelical talk of a "personal" relationship with Jesus; "quiet time," "God told me" (aside: when I hear this I usually want to run for the nearest door) "the Lord led me" "commitment" "giving one's life to Christ" "sharing" "God spoke to me through scripture" (the apex of sola scriptura).
Anyway, evangelicals carry this vocabulary of personalized religion into Orthodoxy; they quickly learn the new lingo and can answer all the protestant objections to Orthodoxy. The really smart ones might remember alot of quotes from the Fathers or what the various canons say. And every one thinks they are pious and better Orthodox Christians.
Life-long Orthdox will be more reticent. They may talk of a rule of prayer, but won't easily volunteer (so as not to brag) about their own rule of prayer; they will talk more of the liturgy; if they brag, it won't be about themselves but about an uncle or their mother or the priest they grew up under. But you can bet, they absorbed alot from them and likely practice it themselves. Like some Roman Catholics, they might not have scruples about saying a few cuss words or having a drink.
So evangelical converts wrongly conclude they are not pious or are ignorant. Meanwhile. the elderly of these "ignorant" people, with great pain and effort, make their aching prostrations during lent. In fact it might take them the whole sequence of every one else's three prostrations just to get their old arthritic bodies to do one. Just getting up the stairs into the church is their greatest prostration that they do (at least I beleive
God sees it as such).
Then again there are humble and sincere converts as well as cradles that take it all for granted and for whom Orthodoxy is more of a nationality thing.
Fortunately, I don't know people that are like the latter description. As someone already said, it is really an individual thing. person by person.
But it is better not to judge at all and remember the Lenten prayer we say about not judging my brother's sin.
Because really, we don't know the other person's starting point. Someone else's sporadic attendance at liturgy but involvement in all the ethnic food activities may be much further along in his/her journey than I am. In the end, each of us can only judge oneself. And pray.