October 02, 2005

An Ecclesiastical Crossroads

Warning: This is kind of a ramblative post.

Iíve blogged a bit about my recent experimenting with the Eastern Orthodox church. After attending several services and a couple Q&Aís with the priest, Iím kind of in an interesting position. Itís a tough decision to make, one with several factors:

1. The liturgy is truly amazing, just a really reverent, even cleansing experience. I have no intention of joining a church just because it gives me an experience that I want, but still, this is a big plus.

2. I kind of feel like this is where Iíve been heading for even the last two or three years. Before looking at Orthodoxy, Iíd kind of come to the point where the only thing I really knew for sure was that I really liked Jesus. Iím not trying to be flip --- I really do. And Orthodox theology just works really well with that --- all I know is that I want to be in with Jesus, whatever that means, and Orthodoxy holds that connection with Christ comes through connection with the Body, which is the Orthodox church. I know this isnít a whole lot different from Protestant theology; itís just that this idea plays out with a completely different sensibility in an Orthodox church, almost a mystical sensibility.

3. Okay, thereís a major problem area: Am I willing to make the break with Protestantism and say that Protestants, as well meaning as they may be, arenít getting it right? God knows Iíve been frustrated with evangelicalism for a really long timeÖ

I once got some very good advice: When faced with a decision before two things, go where relationships are. Going to an Orthodox church would kind of be leaving relationships. I know I can forge new ones, and thatís something I feel challenged to do anyway, butÖ I think thereís a very real sense in which doing the Orthodoxy thing would damage some of my existing relationships. I canít explain that here; youíll just have to take my word for it.

4. I love Orthodox worship. I do. But as far as personal spirituality goes, the unfortunate reality is that if I donít have music, I donít really have a spiritual life. I probably should, but for some reason I just donít. Itís not that Orthodoxy is against the acoustic guitar worship music thing per seÖbut I still kind of feel like I would be missing out, though Iím fairly sure I wouldnít be expunged from church records if I went to a little worship session every now and then.

I donít know what Iím going to do. I wish I wasnít confused. I wish it would just make sense. But maybe thereís a solution in here somewhere. The important thing isnít really Orthodoxy versus Protestantism so much as finding a place to be more whole, if that makes any sense. And thatís kind of up to me more than up to a congregation.

Posted by jessica at October 2, 2005 03:51 PM