I am a convert
I came form a strict presbyterian background to the light of Orthodoxy.
I did so because of the love and preserverance of the truth that the Church has maintained form its inception.
But as I speak to my protestant and Roman Catholic friends, and deign to tell them about the faith and to seek it out as I did, they come back much of the time in a defiant, reluctant attitude. Alot of it has to do with what is posted on our web pages, as they are usually what people seeks out first. They see rampant what is percieved to be condemnation, especially from our hard core "The protesants and Catholics are herertics that are hellbound" representatives. I know there are those who have tried to show the light of orthodoxy in love, but much of the time, what is found is the warrior attitude amongs our bretheren. I understand this, because no matter where we go or bloom, it seems we are under persecution. Mayhaps this has made our mission a stronger drink that most can handle, and we cannot say "if its too strong, to heck with them". That, it seems is our biggest failure as Orthodox Christians. Our sights seem to focus more on the negative than the positive. Mayhaps this is a reaction to the persecution we face from protestants, catholics, evangelicals, muslims, and the rest of the religious world. We need to find a way to get the message across without what seems to be beating them over the head with a stick and saying "heretic" at every turn.
An example of this is a family that I am very close too. They are Epicopal, but very disturbed at the events in England, the US and Canada with Bishops who do not belive in the faith they attest to shepherd. They looked into Orthodoxy, but found that the first impression made them cringe. Alot of talk about "you are wrong" and not enough about "here is what you have and here is what you lack and why." They are no longer looking eastwrd as a result. Another is a family that is half Orthodox, half Roman Catholic. The priest whom they spoke to said of the Roman half, "You are a vile pagan and must be converted before I spek to you again." The family went elsewhere, to another Orthodox Church that would marry them, and now their children are irreligious. I hear these stories and it saddens my hear that our blessed chirh is seen in such lights. I know that these things happen in any religion and situation. But for the one Holy Church with Jesus Christ as its Lord in the fullest sense possible, it is a disgrace.
Brethren, we need to show Orthodoxy in its full light true, but it must needs be done in a processional way: one step at a time. For new converts and those curious about the faith, few convert when they are told, as they are told by the rest of the protestant world "you are wrong." We must love and direct them to the source from which that love flows. If they accept, God Bless them. If not, the same. We need not be Anti anything as much as pro Orthodox. And what drive person away is a beating with the faith. Many web pages and persons present the faith thus. It saddens me beyond measure that so many are taken away because of this.
One of the aforementioned family said "you have got to learn to change your image withour compromaising your faith, of course." They see me as a good example of what the Full Faith brings, poor example and wretch that I am. But it will still take them time to reconsider. All one can do is be the best one can be for God. The rest comes with that.
Just my thoughts.
Ian Lazarus :grommit: