As mentioned elsewhere, my biggest hang-up is that I believe and know in my gut Orthodoxy is the truth. Hanging around here and folks at the parish have assuaged my vain fears, especially the children. I don't know if you wanted to share this with me or not, but I was curious if you could go more in depth with this.
You have a problem with people at the parish?
I don't mind elaborating and I am not sure why you think the folks at the parish are a problem. They were very helpful.
I won't get much into biography, because I am not too sure it would that helpful. I share a bit of it here now and then in relation to Church practice and dogma to see how I stand. (But I will add that already with the little contact I've had with the Church, it has truly been a hospital).
To put it very simply and this time I ask for no correction, because I know what I am writing ain't ueber-Orthodox.
From my fundie background, I know my Bible pretty well. I know it well enough to read the Gospels and what is claimed is pretty straight-forward IMHO. (Folks can argue for decades over Fatima or whatever, it can be fun, challenging, etc., but really I try to read the Gospels and take them seriously).
Just read the Sermon on the Mount. That is the law for Christians. If you truly believe those words, I can't imagine not being incredibly scared by the prospect of accepting the Gift of God and that those are the words you are to live by in doing so.
It's not for nothing, I believe, that throughout the Bible people are constantly being told to "Fear not!" when encountering God in a very direct manner.
The Ten Commandments? Kinderspiel compared to the Sermon on the Mount. And if you truly believe that your salvation is "worked" out with God over time and you aren't just saved after a confession of faith, it is a pretty frightening commitment.
And if that were not daunting enough you have this:
Matthew 7 NKJV
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Well I ain't prophesied much in my time nor cast out demons. I believe you could reasonably extend this passage to include many pious actions: fasting, attending Liturgy, praying, giving alms, etc.
I'll stop the quoting here and assume you know enough of the Gospel to allow me to say in general, that its words are hard, very much so. People can debate and rightfully so over a lot, but some of the message is just plain clear and any explanation is usually to explain the difficulty of the praxis away.
So if you truly believe this truth and you're not the Theotokos, I can't see taking it lightly (not that she did, but I don't burst out into beautiful canticles of praise to God, when I take these things into consideration.)
I believe this and it frightens me. I could regale you with my "big sins", but frankly I know God can forgive those. The funny thing is and perhaps this might ring true for others, it is my nearly moment to moment petty and banal and uncharitable thoughts, words, and deeds that I know judge me the most severely. And even knowing that I often actively engage with them and revel in them.
In short, I think it is a big commitment and a frightening one. People get cold feet over just getting married. What is the response to becoming part of the Bride of Christ?
As I alluded to above, for reasons innumerable I am sure, going to liturgy has help a lot of my vanity and pride in these areas, but an honest and realistic, and dare I say healthy, fear remains.
But what allays it the most is seeing the small children take the Blood and Body of Christ. For whatever reason, it softens my perceived severity of the Gospel. It softens my heart. And I realize I am rather foolish and prideful and want nothing more than to be able as fully Christian as they are.
And yet, I must honestly ask, if I am willing to die to everything to follow Christ.
For now, I show up to every service I can (~98%). Participate within the parish as much as I can. Follow my very humble prayer rule. Read the Gospels everyday, a couple Psalms, and a text from the OT. I continue to play on here when sick or staring at the ceiling at work. And listen to a ton of Ancient Faith Radio.
Well, you asked for it. Feel free to ask any questions. Again, I am just an inquirer.