As I said at the beginning of this blog, I wanted to explore the plight of converts to the Orthodox Christian faith.
My previous posts have been a glimpse into my own struggle with some issues of a convert with literally no ethnic connection to any Eastern Orthodox groups coming into a community where the conversation has been going on for centuries.
I wanted to first start by examining my own soul. Usually when I am confronted with this kind of struggle, its roots are in my own spiritual poverty, so that's where I have found I must begin if I am going to work through a spiritual struggle. King David prayed that God would search his heart to see if there be any wicked way in him.
It is this willingness to begin first with my own spiritual poverty that helps protect any struggle from a prideful and self centered trap that leads to resentment and self righteousness.
To be sure, it is not guarantee that this trap will be avoided, but it is a good beginning.
Now that that is said, I confess that my current struggles have to do with the sense of being a stranger in my own church. Having converted to Orthodoxy after a lengthy spiritual journey, I (foolishly) thought I had dealt with the possibility of confronting a heavily "ethnic" mindset within Orthodox churches here in America. I was wrong.
This "ethnic" mentality has exhausted me of late and I am currently assessing my own spiritual strength. I am not wondering about Orthodoxy at all. I will leave the Orthodox Church half an hour after the Ecumenical Patriarch leaves the Church! But I am wearied of being "xenos" among a people who seem to have little sense about how to do anything other than be "ethnic" and preserve their "ethnicity."
My prayer is that there will finally be a bishop who has a vision as St. Paul did of the Macedonian calling out "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" (Acts 16:9)
Maybe a Southern bubba stepping out of his pick-up and calling out "Come and help us, y'all!"
I am convinced that Americans are spiritually hungry for the theological depth of Orthodoxy, but can they ever have access to this abundant spiritual banquet if there is no sense of urgency to help them make the journey?
The Mass is Not Ours but For Us
2 days ago