Monday, July 23, 2007

My Personal Faith Journey

Since I recently got quoted on a popular Orthodox blog, I wanted to make a post recapping my journey (or at least linking to different points in it [in chronological order].
In the blogging part of my journey I started out as a Youth Pastor in a non-denominational Protestant Evangelical church.
The Emergent Convention
Tony Jones' The Sacred Way led me to the Jesus Prayer and (in the same post) I describe our plan to take our youth group on a "Faith Pilgrimage" to services of eight different Christian traditions.
Faith Pilgrimage
First trip to an Orthodox Church (Greek Archdiocese)
Shortly after beginning this series of experiences I announced my resignation and plans to go back to college fulltime.
After my initial in-person experience with the Orthodox Church (I had been listening to the Divine Liturgy on the Greek Archdiocese website occasionally for at least a year), I found out we were blessed to live within driving distance of one of the original EOC parishes which were received into the Antiochian Archdiocese, St. John Orthodox Church in Memphis.
So, I visited.
Then, my family visited with me.
Some reflections
Some time around then, when I felt my conversion was imminent, but scary, I renamed my blog "peering over the eastern edge of the world"- translation= contemplating leaving everything you've ever known (and have done for a living)
My first attempt at home devotional use of incense
Then, after only visiting St. John four or five times we moved closer to my college (which was in the opposite direction from Memphis) and visited Nativity of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church (OCA) in Madison, IL where we met our future sponsors and our kids' future godparents.
Suddenly I felt comfortable seeking out Orthodox people in strangers
Our minds continued to be reshaped and reshaped

Here's my reflection on our first 'Forgiveness Vespers'
When we were finally both in agreement that were ready to pursue acceptance into the Orthodox Church, we started Catechism in August and we were received (through baptism and chrismation) December 9, 2006.
That's not our complete journey, but you get the gist of it.
Lord willing, I will graduate with my BA this December, then we will probably relocate so we can be more involved in a parish and start to seriously pursue/prepare for seminary.


I was surprised today to find a quote from my blog on Fr. Joseph Honeycutt's Orthodixie. What an honor. And I really did appreciate his book.

My wife has given me permission to go to the Orthodox Conference of Missions and Evangelism, so now I'm looking for a ride partner.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

In Michigan...

We're in Michigan for the weekend retrieving our kids from my mom's house. Since we were about an hour's drive of Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery in Rives Junction, MI, this morning and attended Liturgy there. It was beautiful. Especially since the nuns are the choir.
Then I spent too much money at the gift shop and drove back to my mom's house too late for lunch. Oh well.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Pascha songs

Here is a link to "Pascha: Hymns of Resurrection" by the St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary Choir. And, since we're in the OCA we use most of the arrangements in our parish choir.

The website is and it is a great source for liturgical theory, history and buying liturgical music recordings.

Back from the summer

So, I've been having a pretty great. Doing a lot of reading and playing with my kids a lot. This week their in Michigan at my mom's.

I wanted to share my summer reading list (I've read other light reading, as well.) These are the books that have been in my 'pile'
Books I've read:
The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts, Frederica Mathewes-Green
Mary the Mother of God: Sermons by St. Gregory Palamas, Christopher Veniamin
Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought, Luigi Gambero
Mary, Mother of God, Eds. Carl Braaten and Robert Jenson
Against Those that Are Unwilling to Confess That The Holy Virign in Theotokos, St. Cyril of Alexandria
The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God, St. John Maximovitch (of San Francisco)

The Mother of God, John Henry Newman

Still to read:
Mary: The Untrodden Portal of God, George S. Gabriel

Anyways, it has been an interesting summer of reading, and it is helping me to clarify in my mind the differences between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic veneration of the Virgin Theotokos and the Protestant disdain of her.