Thursday, December 22, 2005

Thirsting for God

In the last three days I have re-read two books I'd read about Holy Orthodoxy: Matthew Gallatin's Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells and Clark Carlton's The Way: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Orthodox Church. Yesterday I took an afternoon and read all of Gallatin and today I'm reading Carlton.
Both of them point out the primary problem with Protestantism from the start (and even moreso since the Great Awakening)- individualism. It's clear to see that individual interpretations and preferences are at the very heart of everything we practice and believe.

I guess I was inadvertently quoting Matthew Gallatin when I said to Bob yesterday, "If the Orthodox Church is The Church, then it doesn't matter I think about the Church, it only matters what the Church thinks about me."

He said something about our having better critical and hermeneutical skills than the early church, as well as many developments in psychology and science.
But, wait, by that reasoning we would have a better understanding of church than even the Apostles, because they lived in that age of comparative intellectual darkness. However, if, instead of discounting anything ancient, you assume that Christ's Church will always be present on the earth, (and not in secret, as some Baptists suppose), then the only way to objectively view the interpretation of Scripture is to compare mine to the early Church Fathers. In doing this, one will find that the Holy Orthodox IS the Church founded by Christ in the Apostles. This Church has been continuous for all these centuries.

Now, recognize, that, as a mere inquirer and novice of the Orthodox Faith, I don't assume to apologize for the Faith, but I am merely working through these things in answer to myself.
"What is it in the Orthodox Church that attracts you?"
And I guess that is my answer.
Yes, the Orthodox Church is mystical, experiential, sacramental, and communal- all things that are appealing to my personal bent.
If there is Absolute Truth anywhere, it is to be found in the Holy Orthodox Church.
If the Orthodox Church is The Church, then there's nothing I can do but submit myself to the Church of the Apostles, Fathers, Saints and Martyrs.
Pray for me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Well, in answer to a question in my comments, here is a regional map. In the center you'll see a big star: that's Jackson. That's where we're moving to. If you follow I-55 south from there a ways you'll see Caruthersville, MO. That's where we're moving from. To get an idea of the relative location in the U.S. I zoomed out so you can see the metro areas that surround us, St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Little Rock, Kansas City, etc.
Stacy, I hope this helps you place us. We moved to Missouri last December from Dyersburg, TN. Now we're moving farther north. Further up and further in, as Aslan says...

On another note, I did have a couple of conversations about my interest (some would say obsession) with Orthodoxy, and it was interesting. One guy (whom I'll call my benefactor) said that I wouldn't be using my full potential in the Orthodox Church, because I'm more of a free spirit and wouldn't handle being under authority. I wouldn't hesitate to say that he understands me very well, but the exact reason that I need to be under the authority of the Church. It's the only path to truly, humbly serving Christ.

My pastor and I also discussed Orthodoxy for a bit. He's concerned about some 'problem doctrines' like infant baptism. I said, if I'm under the genuine authority of the Church, then it doesn't much matter what I think about a given issue. What has the Church practiced in all times at all places? That's more what we should be interested in. I've been looking for a Saint's principle of hermeneutics: universality, consensus, historicity.

Well, that's all for now.
My benefactor said, "If God's calling you to the Orthodox Church, then you need to sign up now, but I just don't think it would be the best use of your skills and personality."

What to do... what to do??

Dancing in the streets

For those of you who haven't been following my blog for long, a little note of background.
In July I resigned as youth minister at my church. Then I registered to be a full time student at Southeast Missouri State University. This was my first semester as a full time student in five years. It went pretty well. My grades are up this morning- All A's. So, thanks be to God who allowed me to do well in the midst of all these hard transitions in my life.

Over Christmas break we are moving north to live near my college. Over this semester we have been pretty poor while spending around $300 a month in gasoline. Approximately 600 miles a week is a bit extreme.

Seeing as my college is paid for and it's about time I finish my education we decided to make it a priority even over my job and ministry.

So, what will we be doing? That's the real kicker.
God has provided a house next to the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson,MO. They love Young Life, and so they're excited to have a YL family live in their house for free.
Amy will be working as the secretary at the church (making as much as I did with YL) in the mornings. While she's at work, I'll be learning to be a good stay-at-home-dad and house-husband. I'm registered for 18 hours at SEMO in the afternoons and I'll volunteer with Jackson YL in the evenings.
That's what we'll be up to before long. We have a truck for the 28th. Hopefully, we'll have lots of help to load it and unload it.
Pray for us as we go through yet another hard transition. (And pray for a home for our dog.)

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Yesterday I finished my finals. I think I nailed them all. My grades should be up online on Tuesday, so now I just wait... I think I did pretty well.

Tomorrow I'm going to see underoath in Nashville at RCKTWN. Yet another hardcore/screamo concert for yours truly. We'll see how that goes. This time I'm getting really excited because I actually like underoath a lot. (They're not quite as "screamy" as the others.)

Tuesday night it was decided that we are moving. So, we'll be moving to Jackson, MO the week after Christmas. It should be great for us. I'll write more about it later.

Well, that's all in our wild lives.

Pray for us.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Finals Week

Today is my first day of finals. I have one today and three back to back on Wednesday. I will try to be disciplined enough to spend minimal time on the internet in the next three days.

I've been reading The Brothers Karamazov and studying a lot lately. The novel is for pleasure for a break between studying times. We're allowed to bring one page of notes into the final today, so I've been typing that note. My handwriting is awful, so typing will fit a lot more information on the page.

Anyways, there's lots of stuff going on in our lives this week. I'll share more about that thursday when I know more.

Pray for me.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Of finals week

Today is my last day of classes for the semester. Bright and early Monday I'll start my finals. I have one on Monday and three on Wednesday. That'll be a joy.
Consequently, my brain has been preoccupied with school.
Also, we have some big possible life changes and moves looming and I've spent a lot of time thinking about that.

I did want to give a plug for
Our Life In Christ & Ancient Faith Radio
One of the guys from Our Life in Christ read my blog the other day and posted a nice comment, so I want to mention their show. It is very thoughtful stuff. It's especially helpful for protestants who are trying to learn more about Orthodox Christianity. And I wanted to mention Ancient Faith Radio, because I first listened to OLIC on AFR. Ancient Faith, not American Family!!

I'm going to go heat up my car, it's pretty cold.

Pray for me.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sola scriptura continued

I've received a few messages about my misrepresentation of the protestant cornerstone of thought- sola scriptura. First, I apologize. It's hard not to see (and even point out) glaring problems with my own religious upbringing as I explore the ancient Christian faith.
For the reformers sola scriptura didn't mean "nothing but the Scriptures". I recognize that Luther kept some things that were purely tradition and even Calvin kept some extrabiblical tradition. Now, a lot of protestants today are children Zwingli. Those are easy to spot. If they deny being a Protestant, then they're Zwinglian.
Amy and I were talking about this issue of authority and she said something like this:
For the average (ornery-type) protestant, they study the Bible to find out what they believe, then they take it to their church and point out their faults. Eventually a protestant believer leaves that church and joins one that agrees with his doctrine. What kind of submission to spiritual leadership is that?

That sounds like a better slant to this question of authority. The Fathers never abrogate the Scriptures. They affirm, interpret and apply them.