Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why Orthodoxy?

Today we were baptized into the Orthodox Christian Church at our little church on Troost. It felt good. I know that a lot of our Protestant Christian family/friends/acquaintances are curious as to why we would take this step, and the answer is both simple and complex. We took this step because it was right for us. Because we found the Orthodox Church, and it found us. For me, it has a lot to do with compassion and humility and gentleness, and maybe most of all, with mystery. I think I may have been looking my whole life for faith that allows for mystery, that doesn't ask me to figure out the answer to everything, that fills in the spaces of why and how with the sense that sometimes we're simply meant to accept the mysteries of God.

And then there was my growing disillusionment with the politicization of the Evangelical Christian Church, with my longing to bring some of what I was figuring out in yoga to my spiritual life as a whole. Maybe that's a strange way to put it, but there it is. I wanted something that was kind and gentle to everyone, that didn't disguise gossip as a prayer request or allow for resentment because it was "righteous indignation," both of which I was guilty of more often than not. I wanted to learn to be truly kind, to have my faith guide me in that direction. Going to my first confession last night, it came full circle for me. After confessing my own sins before God and my priest, the priest asked if I forgave everyone. My breath caught in my throat as I whispered, "Yes." After laying my own flawed soul bare, it suddenly became clear that I was no better than anyone, and forgiveness was indeed the only option. I have never experienced this kind of clarity on my own, on a level that was less than cerebral. Of course I knew that I did plenty wrong, but there was still a holding out, a sense that I was better than someone else (or, if I'm honest, a lot of someone elses). And then suddenly, I wasn't. I'm not. It opened up my heart to a new kind of gentleness.

Tonight when I was looking up some things, I came across this quote, from a write only identified as "An Orthodox Priest."

"Ours is the way of compassion and humility. Ours is the way of personal, interior transformation. Of sacrament. Ours is the way of minute particulars. If we must, we will suffer gladly for the truth, but we will not be the cause of suffering for others. Because we are called to love our enemies, we have no enemies, only neighbors."

I think that right there sums it up. I hope that this is the truth my life will speak every day.

1 comment:

Jess said...

Congratulations! Sounds like a very good spiritual fit!