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.