I read your posts and you sound like a man after my own heart. You will make a good orthodox christian if you choose that path. Your suggestions on being humble, quiet, with a learning heart, volunteering your time to the parish, doing work around the community to show your serious about your faith and loving everyone no matter how grumpy they are to you is right on the money. Love truely conquers all. God will pour His grace upon you in humility.
God bless you in your walk towards the Orthodox faith. You will not regret the choice if you choose Orthodoxy.
Thank you for the kind words. I am late in replying because I don't often have a lot of time during the week for such a pleasant avocation as this message board, and I've had less than usual this week. Anyhow, I have a few observations on posts that have appeared on this thread since I last visited. I am still strongly inclined towards Orthodoxy, nothing I have read here or elsewhere since last time has changed that. I am at this time a little frustrated in my search for a specific church, because I am presently working a Sunday-Thursday schedule - I can't attend Divine Liturgy anywhere until that changes, which will take a few more weeks.
Some folks seem to be passionate one way or another on the "ethnicity" of a given Church. Some are put off by the "Serbness" of a Serbian Church or the "Greekness" of a Greek church, etc etc. Still others are put off by the people who are put off by that. I find a middle way kind of advantageous. On the one hand, I do not endeavor to become a Russian or an Arab or what have you. I couldn't even if I wanted to. I'm a mongrel, of Swede-Scot-Welsh-French lineage, and I enjoy various aspects of each flavor in the cassserole that is me. I have no wish to become a person who is culturally Romanian or Ukrainian or Lakota Sioux. But, I am likely converting to Orthodoxy as the culmination of a long search for Truth, a long hunger for an authentic Liturgy and potent, living Sacraments. One should not convert to a Church in order to adopt a nationality. There is nothing admirable or "Orthodox" about rebelling against one's English roots and pretending one is Syrian. But at the same time, one shouldn't stay in a church simply because its rites and its culture are familiar and comfortable. I think it is an advantage, to a convert, to be immersed in an environment that is not familiar, not altogether comfortable and tried and true. It would help keep you focused on what you ARE there for: the Liturgy, the worship of God, and the partaking of Sacraments. The American Baptist in me will always love "Blessed Assurance". It is a great song. Not just for the warm childhood memories of bland white folks, who have with no trace of an accent and who like ham and bean suppers, gathering together to share their faith in the blood of Jesus, but also because I think anyone who sings it, sings each word of it, sincerely, is in fact "saved". But there is more to the life of a soul than singing a nice song. In the Baptist Church, I could sing about the blood of Jesus. In the Orthodox Church, I will be able to eat it and swallow it, along with His Flesh. For some, the grape juice and cubes of white bread may be enough. The Lord saves whom He will. But I need the body and blood, and if I can get that in a congregation dominated by Lebanese folks or Romanian folks, well, I thank God for that. And I hope they do, too. The cradle Orthodox might not know how lucky they are, they may take it for granted. Whatever Church I end up joining, I certainly hope to make friends and learn some new customs as well as some old Traditions. But make no mistake about it, I am there for the Liturgy and the Sacraments, not for the baklava or borscht.
The other active idea on the latter pages of this thread seems to be concerned with the meaning and the virtue of "evangelizing". There are different ways to do that. Here is an issue I have not seen on this thread, probably because it would be more akin to "Catholicizing" the Orthodox Church, rather than Protestantizing it. I have said in previous posts that I am ALMOST certain Orthodoxy is the Faith to which I want to give myself. It is 98% decided. But, it is not 100%. Because, I could, conceivably, still end up in Rome, despite a number of doctrinal misgivings ranging from priestly celibacy (which has wrought havov on the modern RC Church because it is not happening) to the Bishop of Rome as Universal Emperor. Obviously, this is not the thread to get into nuts and bolts Catholic things. But as regards Evangelization, they SEEM to outdo both the Protestants and the Orthodox. This is why they still have the tip of their shoe in my door, and I would appreciate the insight of people who know more about what Orthodoxy is up to in this area. The Scriptures say "be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only" and "Faith without works is dead". The Protestants are good at preaching the Gospel and imploring their listeners to come in. The Orthodox are (apparently) good at inviting people to worship, to see the Liturgy and Sacraments being practiced. But the Catholics are really good at following the admonition of St Francis: Preach the Gospel always - if necessary, use words. They have so many missions, so many orders of nuns, monks, brothers, and lay people, running soup kitchens, homeless shelters, hospitals and schools, serving the poor in a thousand different ways, all over the world. And as a lapsing Protestant heading towards Orthodoxy, I have to admit it impresses me a whole lot. The Salvation Army is a great little organization, despite their odd inclination to dress up like theater ushers. They devote almost all their resources to serving the poor. Their "church" is usually a room in the back of the soup kitchen or off the dormitory. But they have no Sacraments to speak of. Rome has both, soup kitchens AND the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. And I do find it admirable, and I think it is probably the single best form of "evangelization" that there is. I'd love to know what other Orthodox folks think of this, especially converts.