So one of my friends--my very best friend actually--has been sort of confused religiously for quite a while now. He is sort of somewhere on the fence drifting between Evangelical Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. He's the one with the extremely attractive twin sister that I got the hots for. Anyway, moving on, his theology is VERY Evangelical in nature--except less dogmatic and rigid, yet for some reason, he still attends Roman Catholic Mass simply because his father is a lapsed Roman Catholic and because he goes to a Roman Catholic school. I've been trying to share Orthodoxy with him for quite a while and he seems more held back by emotion than reason.
Anyhow, he was especially sad today and via a test message conversation, he was venting his struggle with particular sins to me we had a conversation. I told him that some of his difficulty may have to due with his lack of allegiance to a Church, since he is not receiving any guidance or treatment.
Here is the exact words from our conversation. I've coded my words blue and his words green.
Me: I think that a lot of your difficulty may be due to the fact that you lack a clear Church allegiance. You seem to be somewhere in the middle between Evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism. Trying to battle all your sins on your own is damn near impossible. You need guidance. And that is only found in the Church--the Orthodox Church ideally--but even allegiance to a non-Orthodox Church is probably better (at least in most cases) than drifting and sorta doing it all on your own. In fact, if you read the Bible, the epistles talk about suffering together and helping each other as a community and uniting to the Church; not to do it all on our own.
Him: I know you're right. I just can't make a commitment. And sometimes I feel it's just me and God battling this addiction alone. But I know he doesn't judge me for my affiliation because I can feel the strength and love he gives me somehow.
Now, as much as I was tempted to put on my polemic hyperdox suit and rant on about there being no salvation outside of the Church, accusing him of Evangelical hyper-emotionalism--especially at his part about not being judged on "affiliation"--and rant on about schismatics and the like, I tried as hard as I could to take a kinder, more gradual approach.
Me: A good question to ask yourself is how do you want to respond to that "strength" and "love"? I highly doubt that God wants you to do this alone and reject His Church--His visible body on Earth. You should make a decision and unite yourself to it--ideally the Orthodox Church--out of respect for that "love" and "strength" you claim you are receiving. Being with God and belonging to the Church are not mutually exclusive but go together. St. Paul orders us to ADHERE to the traditions of the Church in 2 Thessalonians 2:15. It is because through the Church you can receive treatment for your spiritual ailment. It is like a hospital.
Him: Okay I go to Mass most Sundays
Me: That's a good start--as much as I think it would be better for you to attend Orthodox services instead with me--but still, unless you FULLY adhere to and participate in the life of the Church then you are not going to get the full treatment unless you stop drifting. That's kinda like going to the doctor and only doing part of what he says; unless you do it fully, you won't get the full treatment. I'll pray for you that you make the right decision some day and join Orthodoxy
Him: Thanks man. I gotta go now, goodnight
So how did I do? What direction should I go in in the future?