As the townsfolk stirred....blearily awakening from their "post-Liturgy" nap...they heard the peel of a bell. As they threw open their windows they were greeted with the announcement of the winner of April's Post of the Month!
Their amazement was doubled when they realized that the announcement introduced them to not one, but, two worthy individuals!
Announcing our winners....
The posts most worthy of praise in April were:
Sure, it's more than OK when God shapes and molds us. But not everyone experiences that molding and shaping as joy. Just telling them to "believe" and "trust" and "have faith" isn't necessarily going to be of any help if they've been trying to do all that and they're still having trouble.
A potter molds a lump of clay into a vessel on a wheel. Whether the lump of clay has a fault which spoils it, or the potter messes up, or some outside force intervenes and messes things up...none of this matters to the clay, it is spoiled. If the clay decides to leave the potter and fall off the wheel, all it does is crash to the ground unable to rouse itself, becoming hardened, brittle, and eventually returning to the dust, and the potter is left without a vessel. But if the clay stays on the wheel, it doesn't matter how spoiled it feels, how bitter, how frustrated, how angry, and so on, because the potter can handle whatever the clay dishes out to him while he works to refashion the clay, and when he's done, the clay is transformed and the potter enriched. But the bare minimum for this to happen is for the clay to stay on the wheel. The clay doesn't have to like anyone or anything, but it must stay on the wheel.
As has been stated, the conditions of your reception into the Church should be discussed with the priest who would receive you, of course. If you believe the Orthodox Church is the true Church which has maintained the true dogmas and correct praxis (discipline) of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church; and if you are fully prepared to renounce your past errors and your sins, then there should be no obstacle to your reception. You are not expected to completely know and understand every teaching of the Church before being received. Many of the teachings of the Church are a mystery that is unable to be rationally and logically understood or fully comprehended within the confines of human existence. However, if we have the correct attitude towards the Church, we will be skeptical about our own opinions which contradict Church teaching and quick to seek understanding about the Church’s teachings with a humble disposition. If so many saints for so many centuries who were filled with the Holy Spirit did not “have a problem” with celibate bishops or other teachings, then why should you who have such a problem who have not been received into the Church or participated in its grace-filled sacramental life?
It is often the case that converts come to Orthodoxy by reading a lot of books and taking a primarily cerebral journey through Church history, theology, etc. Consequently, many converts are well-informed, yet the other side of this is that they can often be overly trusting in their own intellects, and so easily fall into pride and delusion, thinking they “know better” than their priest, their spiritual father, their bishop, the saints, etc. I’m not saying this is the case with you, but it is something to be aware of. We cannot grow in understanding unless we humble ourselves, realize that there are things we don’t understand, and challenge our own preconceptions which are at odds with the universal teaching of the Church, while seeking to understand rather than dismiss Church teaching.