I have a rather complicated feelings about this topic.
Yes, of course, of course I appreciate the converts' education, awareness, knowledge of the Christian theology, Orthodox and Heterodox, their largely good orientation in what the Church believes as it is written in the Bible and patristic sources.
On the other hand, I still, in spite of years of thinking about it and wrestling over the "issues" of faith as an active participant of one Ukrainian religious forum (and, more recently, this forum), tend to believe that there isn't much (or even, there isn't anything) worth "knowing" (as far as our faith is concerned), beyong the Niceo-Constantinople Creed. Everything "knowable" is there. What is beyond it or, rather, what is complementing it and filling it with life and vibrancy - is not "knowable" through reading or meditating or devotions, but "experienceable
Fathers... oh well. They wrote a lot. They argued with each other and there is something in their writings that seems to completely contradict the writings of their fellow Fathers. What is there in their writings I can and should and must learn, beyond the Creed and beyond what I irrationally, "sense-ably" experience
during the Divine Liturgy? I don't know...
Their teaching about the Fall - no. I can't learn it from them as long as they talk - and they seem to do talk, unanimously - about the passing of something (maybe not "sin" but the susceptibility to sin, or "sinfulness") - down the generations. I don't believe in this. I can't. Just like I can't make myself believe that there ever existed this "first human couple" - it is nonsense from the point of view of the rational human knowledge as it exists now.
Their eschatology? Perhaps, but I never got it yet even in the first approximation, because it is so murky and irrational. Essence and energies, oh yeah.
Their ethics? No. Their view on marriage and human sexuality (as expressed even in marriage) is alien and unacceptable to me. Other aspects of ethics? The Sermon on the Mount covers it, quite exhaustively...
So... I am not sure I WANT to "study" "our faith." I mean, I will do it, I actually like it (I am a bookish person), and I admire converts with good pious upbringing who are used to these studies. But I am not sure that this is the ultimate goal or even a plus. Again, I believe in what I experience
when I stand and listen to my parish priest chant, when I see the icons, when I smell the incense, when I, shaking and trembling all over, go to that Chalice and receive the King of All. I don't care how this or that Father expressed "our holy Orthodox Faith" in those parts of it that are about the fall of the human race and salvation - I just know by experience
sinned and continue to sin (while maybe all other human beings are perfect for all I know!), and that I am lost in my sin without, well... this
, all this. I am lost without this chanting, without these icons, without this incense, without this priest, without this mystical Body and Blood of Christ, Who is God and man, fully God like God and fully man like myself (except sin). It is only through this chanting, this incense, these icons, this priest's kind, simple words, and through this Chalice that I come to realization that every single next day and hour of my life I have to try living in such a way that no dirt, no mud, no filth mars this "icon of the living God" in me.
That's all I "know" and will know, and nothing of this I got through my home upbringing or Bible classes or devotions or systematic studies of patristics, and I somehow doubt that I will get a lot more if I add the classes and the devotions and the studies of patristics to what I already have and to what I get, keep getting, every single time I attend the Orthodox Divine Liturgy.
I am sorry for this long and incoherent rant, but I just felt like I had to say what I said.