Friday, September 15, 2006

Cut the crap, Lauren

Well, I guess it's about time I write about what has been really going on. I've been avoiding it because it's just too much and it makes my head spin thinking about everything. Jason and I have been investigating Orthodox Christianity lately and have become intrigued, surprised, overwhelmed, and then even more intrigued with it. We have left the evangelical church of our youth and now I feel strangely free and unattached, yet a little nervous and sad as well. We told our friends and family and for the most part everyone has been super supportive but I think they are scratching their heads about it.

I could go on and on about all the things that bothered us about our church but I think that is unproductive and well, just not very nice. And I am so thankful that I had the experiences and love that I had there. In an optimistic way, the good very much out weighs the bad.

So here I am, reading and reading and reading. I'm reading books, blogs, websites all in an effort to gain more understanding and while I'm getting closer, there are so many things that I don't get about Orthodoxy. I'm sure a lot of it is cultural, and the years of Protestantism and Evangelical teachings and the whole sola scriptura thing. Like the veneration of the saints - how are they hearing all these payers to pray for us if they aren't God and don't have His omnipresence? And the ikons? I'm still not there yet at all.

Oh I have millions of questions. But for the most part, the answers that Orthodoxy has given me are more than sufficient and have truly opened my eyes and explain all the confusion and divisions among the churches. One book that made a world of difference was Gallatin's Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells.

When we were first thinking of leaving our church, I did a lot of research on the emergent church and considered doing the house church thing. But I always got a feeling of a wavering of doctrine, or almost like the personal soul searching was encouraged more than worshiping and praising God. It seems so me-centered. And when I read that God wants us to die to ourselves, a theme going on in my life lately, I realized that we need to step away from this kind of self-centered path to God. Nothing about Orthodoxy has been convenient to me. At all. Good Lord above, you mean I have to bring my almost two year old with me in there for OVER and hour? You've gotta be kidding. And then there's all that standing? I miss my comfy chairs. I miss my comfy life.

And there I find, I am right where the Lord wants me to be. He deserves to "inconvenience" us. He deserves for me to feel weird for him. And in theme with my blog, this is why we can't just be normal.

So we are on a true journey, one I hope we feel a little bit more comfortable in, but not too comfortable. Pray for us.


Blogger Susan said...

Good searching Lauren...I came to Orthodoxy through marriage 35 years ago.
I was Catholic before so it wasnt so much to digest.
Baby steps!

7:11 PM  
Blogger Thomas Ham said...

I have and will be praying for you guys! Like I told Jason, if you have any questions just holla at me or matt or anybody for that matter at Church. - Me - Fr. Josiah

10:10 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

Hi. This is Evan, Annie's husband. We remember what it was like contemplating "the leap" from evangelicalism to Orthodoxy. We were so afraid of all the things we would miss about our old church, all the strange, new things we would have to get used to. But, afterward, looking back from the other side, we realized we didn't really give up anything, but gained everything—the fullness of Christian faith and worship, and our only regret was that we hadn't done it sooner.

And if the worst reaction you get from friends and family is head scratching, be grateful! It could be worse.

"O Saviour, who hast journeyed with Luke and Cleopas to Emmaus, journey with thy servants as they now set out upon their way, and defend them from all evil." (prayer before beginning a journey)

10:41 PM  
Blogger Lauren S. said...

Susan - Thanks for your kindness. Baby steps for sure!

Ham - thanks for everything. See you at church tomorrow.

Evan - thanks for the prayer. We just bought a little prayer book last week and I've been praying (when I remember) but I didn't even think to do that one! I'm pretty sure it's in there...

5:09 PM  
Blogger annie said...

Well, I came to read your comments and maybe leave my own two cents, ( I don't think they are even worth that much, though) and I discover my husband has commented. That's unusual. I think we can both relate so well to how you are feeling. We have completely been there.
The best way to learn the Orthodox Faith is by just being there in church. It's great that you have friends to help you through it, as well. I would encourage you to bring your questions to the priest, too. He will have the answers you need and it will help you in building a relationship with him.
We are excited for your family, and look forward to journeying with you through your blog.

7:33 PM  
Blogger sara said...

What a brave and beautiful post Lauren...your family continues to be in my prayers.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Lauren S. said...

Thanks again Annie and Sara. I think we're a little shy about asking the priest stuff. I don't know why, he seems really nice. Thanks for your prayers Sara.

1:54 PM  

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