Hey Biro, Kerdy, dllwatkins, JamesR, Benjamin the Red, mabsoota, jmbejdl, alanscott, PrincessMommy, Rdunbar123, wayseer, JoeS2, Maximum Bob, Agabus, Desiring_Unity, Achronos - thanks so much for your replies! Your different experiences and perspectives are very helpful and have given me much food for thought.
Good day Deborah!
I'm not sure weather you welcome my reply or not as I have no intentions of converting, yet, I have no intentions of not converting either. I'm not sure I'm even an ‘inquirer’ per say to Orthodoxy. I simply see myself as a repenting sinner and fool seeking Truth. I believe I have found such in Orthodoxy and hold a profound reverence and respect toward the Orthodox Church. Where this leads I will follow and some how I know in my heart God will guide me in His time and in His way as I believe He has done thus far.
With that said I don’t hold or recognize any stigmas toward Orthodoxy that may exist. I see my journey as one toward Christ our Lord. I will speak of my faith to anyone that will listen and reference Orthodoxy without thought or concern. I speak of Truth and Understanding I have found in Orthodoxy to immediate family, extended family, Church, and friends. Sadly, many friends could care less to listen and I’m afraid we just don’t spend as much time together any more. He does warn us we will have to leave much behind I guess.
As far as reactions? Keep in mind I pray at a Wesleyan Church so it’s a little different as John Wesley himself held a profound belief in the Orthodoxy. It would be difficult for anyone to discredit Orthodoxy without discrediting (in small part) the very doctrine our Church is founded upon. I have had a couple of ‘strange’ looks but to be honest I think it was as much out of ignorance as any negativity. My Pastor encourages me to learn and grow. Yes, he points me more toward Wesley but also realizes it is difficult to study Wesley without mentioning Orthodoxy, Church Fathers, and Patristic writings. My immediate family: My daughter (20yrs) has begun to make visits to the Orthodox Churches in her area. She also seems to be seeking God without stigmas but with an open heart and mind. My wife is by my side in our journey though she was raised Baptist so more conflicts surface for her both due to Orthodoxy and Wesleyan theology. She’s working through that just fine though! Her family I’m guessing might have some raised eye brows but nothing mentioned to my knowledge. My mom was at one point a Church of God once saved always saved woman. I speak to her of my journey, what I am learning, and she herself has now listened to Orthodox sermons on line and I even found a John Wesley sermon she printed out laying on her table. Others like extended family; well, I did hear my aunt say ‘Orthodox? Wow, they are a little too hard core!’ I just smiled.
If I have a point to offer in my reply it is that I am in my infancy spiritual speaking. Should I not share what I am learning without concern of reproach? You have found Truth in Orthodoxy glory to God. The fruits of the Spirit in you will be seen by others. Should they not know where that seed came from?
There will be some that criticize us in His name. That's on them not us.
Well, now in addition to the others you have the opinion of a fool!
God bless you in your journey!
Alanscott, thank you for your gentle but straight-speaking post. Ugh - a bit hard to take in places on first reading, but welcome and necessary in that it brought to light some hidden motivations for holding off telling anyone. Fear of man, of what others might think. I know very little about Orthodoxy, and worried I might make a hatchet job of explaining the basics, not yet being able to provide evidence from the bible or wider Tradition very well. Not really being able to put into words the heartfelt joy and truth I've found in Orthodoxy so far. How I'd cope against attacks on what might be seen as "doctrinal errors", or efforts to steer me back to "biblically correct" beliefs. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Your attitude, your focus, is a more healthy one, that honours both God and His creation. I don't consider you a "fool" in any way but for Christ, and I'm honoured to share this journey with you on OC.net.
I have found engaging with Orthodoxy really stressful. Apart from the internal conflict - am I doing the right thing - I know that if I eventually become Orthodox I will loose my previous Anglican friends - they just would not understanding. Apart from one or two, I know I could never adequately explain why I choose Orthodoxy.
I have told my closest friends, they number less than the fingers on one hand, and they support me while not following me.
But the time is fast approaching where I will have to inform my local priest. I have been avoiding making that contact for some time now. What makes my situation somewhat different is that the nearest Orthodox church is over 3 hours away making a total of 6 hours for the return trip just to attend DL.
There is no easy answers here I'm afraid - and God seems strangely silent on the matter.
wayseer, thanks for your frank post. I can identify with some of your points - internal conflict, not being able to explain easily, difficulties caused by church distance. I'm glad your friends are supportive of your journey to Orthodoxy. I hope the conversation with your priest goes well, and that it helps resolves any issues and provides clarity. God bless you on your path.
I had told my wife what I was exploring before I even knew that what I was exploring was Orthodoxy. So she was there throughout the process in which I explored via the internet and reading church fathers, etc. It was in fact, at her suggestion, that we first attended a Divine Liturgy. Throughout that process nearly a year in length I keep myself from expressing any affirmative statement that I was converting until the end, saying I wanted to be sure my wife would be on board before I finalized any decision. Looking back though, I probably knew where I needed to go within the first couple of months. This as all my prayers thereafter that 'God would guide me and open doors that needed to be opened and close doors that needed to be closed' were tinged the hope that this would lead me further into Orthodoxy. I'm happy to say that it has. We're now six months into attending our Orthodox church consistently and only, with another three months before that of attending there every other week on Saturday evenings before we left our former church.
I made a decision early on to not tell anyone, other than my wife, what I was looking at until my mind was made up. This went to both sides of the equation, I have an uncle who's a retired Orthodox priest, but the rest of my family and friends were firmly Protestant and my wife's family Protestant and Roman Catholic. The idea was that I wanted to explore these things on my own without anyone trying to influence me one way or the other.
This may have been my biggest mistake in the process, though its hard to say because it didn't go the other way. I feel that in doing this I betrayed the trust of my friends and my Pastor. I was myself a Licensed Minister and my Pastor was my accountability partner and also a friend we would do some holidays together and he and h is family had done work on our house. So, he was right to point out his shock, when he found out a year after the fact and only when my mind was made up what I was doing. His reaction was not the best at all points including his hasty, he only had one week, analysis of the Orthodox church. But, I did my best to indicated that our leaving was not about being negative about him or our church and he did permit us to come a last time to give a public goodbye. Also, I'm happy to say I've kept in some touch with his family via facebook, and shared congratulations with them on various family events. More, I did run in to him in person the other day and gave him a hug, which he reciprocated and had a good, though brief chat.
Family, I told in different stages owing largely to the desire on my part to inject some theater into the process. The reaction has been good but then my uncles conversion had paved the way. He himself, by the way, was predictably delighted yet shocked. Part of the conversation went "No way", "way", "no way", "way..."
Friends, some know some don't, with no significant reasons for delay just kind of a when we see them and/or the topic comes up kind of thing.
My wife's family mostly still doesn't know and when she tells them will be up to her.
God bless you on your journey.
Maximum Bob, I had to laugh when I read your post!
I've barely taken enough steps to bend grass blades in terms of knowledge or book reading, but was absolutely convinced that Orthodoxy was "it" after attending my first DL. My prayers and hopes are along the same lines
Not wanting to be influenced by others is one of my reasons for holding off telling people as well. Your post, along with a few others, has convinced me that it's better to tell people earlier rather than later. It's not fair to land it on people just before making the move, it is a betrayal of sorts. It's not giving people fair credit...some may question or ridicule our decision, or pull away...but those people may have done so regardless at what point we tell them. Some may not know of, much less about, Orthodoxy. Some may want to know more. Should we not share this treasure that we have found?
It's time for me to start sharing, even if only with very close friends and family at this point. I want and need to be honest and open. I'm tired of living a double life.
Thanks again and hugs to all,