An Ecclesiastical Experience . . .


As most of you already know, my dear friend Joel Borofsky and I have taken ownership of Jonathan’s blog.  Frankly, I feel incredibly humbled and slightly terrified for having accepted this responsibility.  In spite of my fear and trembling, however, I feel comforted by the knowledge that Jonathan appears to have great faith in us!

Since I’m one of the new guys, I thought it prudent to introduce myself . . . so, hi, my name is Joshua.  I’m married to the most beautiful British gal on the planet and have four amazing children.  When I’m not sword fighting with my son or having a tea party with my daughters, I love to read super nerdy philosophy books, write blogs, draw, and rock out on my acoustic guitar.

Recently, my family and I joined the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church!  I come from a devout Protestant family: my father has been a pastor for over thirty years, my sister is a missionary in Southeast Asia, and I, too, pastored for several years.  As you can imagine, our decision to join the Church was not easy.  Our journey was filled with years of angst, hours upon hours of discussion and introspection, mountains of books, and, intensive prayer.  While all of these activities played a role in our conversion it was our first hand experience of the Church that had the most lasting impact on us.  The great Russian philosopher Pavel Florensky once said, “Only by relying on immediate experience can one survey the spiritual treasures of the Church and come to see their value.”  This is certainly true in our case.

I still remember the first night my wife Rosie and I secretly attended vespers at an Orthodox church near my parents house.  Up to that point, we had only rationalized about “the Church.”  We had loads of objective information, from piles of books,  rattling around our heads–but no subjective experience.  We were like blind beggars crying out on the side of the road–our first encounter with eastern liturgy was like the miracle of experiencing sight for the first time.

One day I will share the entire story with you; until then, please enjoy these beautiful photos.  Perhaps they will give you a taste (if you haven’t experienced it already) of the beauty and richness of the Church.  Perhaps they will stir your soul and fill you with an intense desire to experience ecclesiality for yourself . . .

baptism2  baptism3

baptism4  baptism7

baptism5  baptism6


*A slightly modified version of this first appeared on my personal blog Truth is a Man.

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About J. Matthan Brown

Songwriter, blogger, and speaker, J. Matthan Brown currently resides in Wake Forest NC where he studies Philosophy of Religion at Southeastern Seminary.

7 thoughts on “An Ecclesiastical Experience . . .

  1. Looks like a good start, Jonathan would be proud. Ain’t it great to experience the Church, not just ruminate. Keep up the good work, I have already seen some of you work on Christian Watershed and was very impressed and I am eagerly waiting to see what you will do here.

  2. I did the same for years: study, read, pray. And then finally I had the chance to attend an Orthodox service. There is no getting around it, no matter how much one reads, one must finally step into an Orthodox Church and experience the Liturgy. I look forward to you posts here!

  3. But. You’re. Not. Orthodox.

    Why is this on an Orthodox blog? You can’t follow the Latin church and be Orthodox. You can’t believe in the filloque, purgatory, the co-redemptress, indulgences, penal atonement and all the rest and be Orthodox. Why is this on an Orthodox blog?

    • Thank you for pointing this out Blair–I think it’s important for our readers to understand who I am. You are absolutely correct when you say that I’m not a member of an Orthodox Church. I am Ukrainian Greek Catholic (a.k.a. Eastern Catholic or Byzantine Catholic). We are Orthodox Christians who are in full communion with the Holy See. Our Church is self-governed and we have a Patriarch (his name is Sviatoslav Shevchuk). We worship using the same Divine Liturgy of St. Chrysostom (or St. Basil as the occasion calls for it), we profess the same Nicene-Constantinopalitan Creed (that’s right, we do not include the notorious filloque clause), we utilize the same icons and incense, and use all of the same theological lingo as Eastern Orthodox Christians.

      My dear friend Joel Borofsky, who will be the primary organizer of both Hipsterdox and Orthodox Ruminations, is an Orthodox Christian. He and I share the hopes and prayers of Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis regarding the union between our churches and view our cooperation on these two blogs, as well as our other website The Christian Watershed, as our very humble contribution to this cause.

      We are still figuring out how this might look in the future. For now, however, we shall continue to share great material, covering a wide range of topics, viewed through the lens of Eastern Christian theology/spirituality.

      I sincerely hope this clarifies things for you. God bless!

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