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.


Anonymous said...

We must return to the moist, soft, warm, Slavonic, obshchina, peasant deity of Mokosh and abandon the urban, reptile, mechantile religion of the Greeks and Jews, who want to turn us all into wolves while we are sleeping so they can suck our blood. We Slavs are just one big extended family with no bounds of ownership, we are embraced by our great thunder father Tsar and our long armed earth mother Mokosh. The Tsar is the most wise thundering high priest of Mokosh. The land is our fertile mother Mokosh who nourishes us, that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Plowing is like taking a knife to tear my mother's bosom, then when I die she will not take me to her bosom to rest. Land is loaned, not owned, it is our mother heifer, the great round egg of fertility, which holds the blood of our ancestors in its yolk. No, we must warm the earth with fire and water it so that our ancestors may be with us when our doors and windows are open as the
roots of our tree, whose crown is Perun of Thunder, father of all Tsars. We must sew the scalps of the urban reptile people into a big tent where our ancestors may visit us to be warmed by our fire. Cattle are sacred for we must be as cattle and live in herds and abhor the abomination of individualism. It is the wondrous glory of our women to be white heifers. We must get all humans to be as cattle in one grand obshchina for their salvation. Fear of censure binds all into collective behavior for their can be no individualism or privacy. The Greeks and Jews tried to destroy our great communal bonds, with greed, inequality and competition, but we softly fit into the landscape with equality and brotherhood. Mokosh reveals the weather to those who put an ear to the ground and even greater secrets to those who sleep on the ground. Mokosh always works in circles, wind whirls, seasons cycle, history cycles, the sun is a round blini. Birds make their nest
in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. Moskosh is the big round toilet bowl which whirls us all back home. Any attempt to break the cycle of history by modernization can only result in times of troubles. Turn East and say: "Moist Mother Earth, subdue every evil and unclean being so that he may not cast a spell on us nor do us any harm." Turn West and say: "Moist Mother Earth, engulf the unclean power Veles in your boiling pits, in your burning fires." Turn South and say: "Moist Mother Earth, calm the winds coming from the south and all bad weather. Calm the moving sands and whirlwinds." Turn North and say: "Moist Mother Earth, calm the north winds and the clouds, subdue the snowstorms and the cold."

Steve Hayes said...

Thanks for sharing about your journey.

Gina said...

Wow, a real live Ukrainian pagan. :)

Anyway... thanks for stopping by Oozerdoxie. I used to work for CCC, so I understand about leaving livelihood and the familiar way of life to "head east." No regrets here.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear your testimony! (Pavel/Addai), from the ooze and oozerdoxie