Orthodoxy and Me

There are two “child” pages within this page and topic:

How I Came into The Church, the chronological tale of my “journey to Orthodoxy,” and

I Believe in the Orthodox Church, which gives a summary of some reasons for my decision.

The rest of this page is a collection of blog articles and metaphors that for a long time served as the only sort of explanation I could manage.

A Treasure Chest, Bread, and a River

Occasionally someone asks me why I converted to the Orthodox Church, and I often don’t know what to say, because usually they don’t have time for the whole story, and it doesn’t reduce to a sentence or two without becoming almost worthless as a true account. I came up with the following metaphor that describes in part some of my dilemma:

Imagine a treasure chest the size of a swimming pool, filled with precious gems. All sizes and shapes of bright and deep colors, with light emanating from the jewels and reflecting off the millions of facets. First I notice the chest and its contents from far off, and can’t see it very well.

Then I come closer and stand on the edge, and the treasures do look lovely, but I can’t touch them. They do seem to be exerting some kind of pull on me, but only when I actually climb into the chest and scramble among the jewels do I find that they are warm to the touch, as though alive. Each one is a complex world of its own, and I get lost just looking at a single bright stone for an age. But then, I see another I want to nestle up to and get familiar with.

What can I tell you who are outside the chest? Nothing I can say will convey the full beauty and truth of these precious things — I myself am pretty overwhelmed by the experience of knowing them even as superficially as I do, and talking about their many features and meaning feels extremely inadequate.

The chest is the Orthodox Church, and the gems are all the truths, doctrines, practices and traditions of the Life that is the church, the fullness of Christ. Sometimes I have described Orthodoxy as a nourishing bread, the recipe for which has a thousand ingredients some of which seem unnecessary to outsiders, but which our mother the Church knows are just what we need to grow up healthy and strong — not by studying the recipe but by eating the bread.

Another time I used the picture of Orthodoxy as a broad and deep river, containing the maximum amount of oxygen, and a multitude of species of water creatures and plant life. I was a fish who had been hatched and raised in a swampy backwater where we only heard rumors of the big river and warnings not to go there.

But I did accidentally get swept into the current and out into the river, where I got so much oxygen in my gills that I immediately could swim faster. Seeing all the strange creatures was a little scary, but I was invigorated by the whole experience and well fed by the plenitude of food in the water surrounding me.

Articles from My Blog

Below are some of my own blog posts in which I write about bits and pieces of my Orthodox experience. I pray they might give a glimpse of those treasures that I’m coming to know, and that God would cause you to forget anything that misrepresents Him or His ways.

With quotes that convey elements of Orthodox theology or spirituality:

Christ has destroyed death

The false self vs. the heart

The beauty of Christ is grace.

What the birth of Christ’s mother means to us

Censure vs. looking at your own sins

By grace you are saved.

The liturgical year is not merely a calendar.

Freedom and dependence and Mary

The Virgin Mary shows us the way.

Doing what you can

Do not judge

Transfiguration of suffering

Beauty is never necessary.

What we do during Lent



Orthodox hymns, prayers, liturgical readings:

O Heavenly King

Lenten Prayer

A burial hymn with audio

Paschal homily of St. John Chrysostom

 

My personal experience of church life:

Theophany – The Baptism of Christ

The end of Holy Week

Pascha (Easter) Morning

I bake communion bread.

One of our beloved saints

These also are my people.

Orthodox history in California

 

Page last updated July 2015

3 thoughts on “Orthodoxy and Me

  1. I love your descriptions so much. Thank you for sharing this. I am a new convert and cannot put the experience into words most of the time. Blessings!

    Like

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