Sunday, May 07, 2006

Welcome to Sober Joy

The title of my blog actually comes from a Greek word - nepsis. It literally means "sober joy." Many of the fathers of Eastern Orthodox Christianity say that this state of sober joy is the goal of mature spirituality, and it is my fervent desire.

So this little corner of the blogosphere is meant to be a place where I work toward this goal, and maybe get some help and comments from you, weary blogger.

A little bit about myself. I am a former Pentecostal pastor who converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity in November of 2001 along with about 20 families from the church I had pastored in Atlanta, GA. I have a theology degree from an Evangelical Protestant school, and actually spent some years working in the Evangelical Protestant media ministries as well as pastoring. I am even a member of NRB (the National Religious Broadcasters).

I want this blog to focus on my current obsessions. Here they are in order of my strongest addictions:

Religion (Eastern Orthodoxy specifically)
Politics (the crunchy conservative kind)
Culture (I'm American by birth, but Southern by the Grace of God!)

Currently I am struggling with the plight of converts to Orthodox Christianity. Many come to Orthodoxy with little to no cultural connection to the faith, so we enter into a group whose conversation has already been going on for centuries. How do we catch up? Should we even try? Is there a place for us in this conversation? How do we deal with the feelings of frustration of feeling like an outsider? Just a few questions I'm currently thinking about.

In any event, Southern hospitality is legendary, so I want to hold up my end. Welcome, dear friend. Come in. Please join the others in the sitting room. I'll be in with some sweet tea and snacks in just a minute.


seth said...

welcome to the blogsphere barnabas! looking forward to reading your thoughts.

your godson,

Fr. Joseph Gibson said...

From one Stranger to another Stranger: Thank you for your thoughts and reflection on your journey to nepsis. I think the buddhist concept of "mindfulness" would be a close idea. To be awake, to be mindful by the Grace of God's Holy Spirit, is what I pray for, with fear and trembling.
St Isaac, the Syrian says something like this:
"He who sees his own sins, is greater than he who see the angels. He who sees his own sins and repents, is greater than he who raises the dead." May God continue to grant us His Great Mercy as we make our way in this strange but wondrous land of God Love and Mercy. Fr. Joseph

Barnabas said...


Welcome, godson. Thanks for stopping by. Tell my other godsons I love them very much.

Hope you are well.


Barnabas said...


Thank you for stopping by. I have always said that my discovery of Orthodoxy kept me Christian. I had despaired of ever being able to reconcile what I felt were the truths of Christianity and what I saw taught.

Orthodoxy showed me the path that put the Person of Christ in the perspective I just knew had to be true.

Plus it confronted my own spiritual poverty in a loving and frank way without shaming or coddling me.

Thanks again for the visit. I look forward to the day when we are able to finally have that old EOC reunion we've talked about so much.


Ole Rocker said...

Good to see you here
in the blogosphere

Barnabas said...

Thanks, Steve. Glad to have you stop by.

donovan_lipham said...

i hope you don't mind if I add you to my list of links to watch. I know you much less I think than I'd like, and as our paths have been different (and as you'll see from my 'website') I am currently a few steps removed from the epicenter of your heart - nonetheless the dialog of your journey I consider an invaluable addition of resource.

i do not have a myspace or an site, but eventually i hope to turn the domain into something useful for more personal interaction...and...maybe I'll see you there.

Barnabas said...


What a joy to reconnect,

I am thrilled you stopped by. Please feel free to comment, question, or rant. Nothing gets healed in the dark.

Greet your dear sister for me and also my long lost buddy, Fr. Kurt.

While it is true our paths may have taken different ways, I remember when Kurt was struggling with his own journey.

Greet all my friends, especially Josey and Misty, at Redeemer.


donovan lipham said...

yes it is a joy.

since my last comment, i have opened things up by creating a new "livejournal" and so there will be more food and fluff to feed on, if it pleases you. Some days will be more fluff than others, but you're welcome to it, nonetheless.