What is the fundamental difference between Protestant and Orthodox experience?
This was sparked by a comment in the recent Origen thread that Origen had helped Grigorii see a contrast between Protestantism and Orthodoxy:
As a Protestant my mind was consumed by guilt and so much so that I would rather kill myself and run away from God as far as possible in order to never have to face Him who would condemn me. Origen opened the eyes of my heart to see that God did not wish to confirm my fear, but He wanted to heal me, not condemn me but set me free, not destroy me but save me.
Now, I am not as well-read in Origen's works as I am in those of others, so a "bunny trail" on the subject would better fit here in the Convert forum. Suffice it to say that my experience was quite different from Grigorii's. I was quite happy as a Baptist, not weighed down by guilt as he was. In fact, my picture of God was much more "comfortable" than the one I have now; God was seen as the One who was so eager to save me that He had done it all (i.e., "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe," etc.), and I was free to rejoice in the certain fact that I would enjoy heaven forever.
Origen (among several others) helped convince me that this taking heaven for granted was dangerous, that many who assumed they would go to heaven were blind to the way they still actually were...spiritually sick and in danger of going astray from God in their hearts without even knowing it. The God of Orthodoxy is more serious-faced (just look at any Pantocrator icon!), but it's because there are serious issues at work in our hearts. I do take comfort, though, in knowing that, along with the Law of Righteousness in the left hand, that right hand of His is raised in blessing
, instead of a backhand slap.
So there's the composite terrible/gracious experience of God in Orthodoxy, which, uncomfortable though it may be, is more in keeping with the nuanced reality of apostolic (and, by extension, biblical) faith.