A Return

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Today Courtney and I were welcomed into the Orthodox Church.

 

 

I know some who do not know me that well may think that it appears wishy-washy, but one must understand that I am a very convicted and zealous person. I do not make decisions very lightly.

 

 

I did not remain an Anglican, as much as I loved Anglicanism, because I could not submit to a bishop of the church who would not stand by Christian teachings. I could not be part of a Tradition that allows bishops to deny the Resurrection and other core teachings.

 

 

As someone who feels called to minister as a priest, I did not want to take a vow to uphold the Episcopal Church’s teachings.

 

 

So I do not see it as being wishy-washy or experimenting or church hopping. For me I found what I have been looking for my whole life spiritually. Father Stephen talked about in his homily today how his brother whispered to him during his chrismation how this was everything they had looked and searched for as kids. I agree with that.

 

 

Further, this does not negate my experiences or upbringing as a Protestant. I do not resent or hate those times despite my outspoken disdain for some of the doctrines.

 

 

Becoming Orthodox fulfills those things for me. I have come home. I am grateful for the faith of Jesus Christ I learned at Lebanon Community Fellowship growing up there as a kid.

 

 

I am grateful for the faith in Jesus my parents taught me as Baptists.

 

 

I am grateful for the faith of Mountain Mission School and her teachers who loved me and cared for my broken soul as a wounded boy.  I am grateful for the ways my faith grew there and was instilled in me.

 

 

I am very grateful for the faith of my wise professors here at Johnson University like Doc Reece, Dr. Bridges, Dr. Gupton, and Dr. Owens, plus many others who have shared with me and instilled in me faith, wisdom, and virtue.

 

I am grateful for Anglicanism itself despite its many flaws at the moment. It was the stepping stone into Orthodoxy for me. I would not have become Orthodox without first becoming Anglican. It would have been too much for me. It was there I discovered the Church Fathers and the ancient Church of the East.

 

I am grateful for the kind priests like Father Brett and Father Howard at Ascension who helped us in our journey while we were there. I am especially grateful for the love and care Father Rob Travis poured into me as a passionate young man and for the care he gave me and Courtney through our separation.

 

I am grateful for those Christians who still today contribute and invest in my life whether through prayer, friendship, love, or gifting me books like my friend Andy. I am grateful for all of you. And I am glad you have a part in my life.

 

Becoming Orthodox does not negate any of these things, but again, fulfills it for me.

 

Thank you to everyone who has played a part in my faith and spiritual journey and for all that you did in it. If it were not for you I would not be here today. I would not be a Christian. So it is with much appreciation that I thank you. And thank you to all who have expressed to me and shared with me the Ancient Faith. If it weren’t for your witness and prayers I would not have become Anglican little long Orthodox. I ask that you all continue to pray for us in our journey.

 

 

I am eternally grateful for having grown up around the Christian faith in such a way. I am excited to begin this journey as a communicant in the Orthodox Church as His grace renews me and brings about theosis in me. I have found everything I have been looking for in the Orthodox Church as Father’s brother said to him.

 

I have found hope. I have found healing. I have found mystery. I have found consistency. I have found right teaching. I have found reverence. I have found a set of practices not just concepts and ideas. I have found peace. I have found Jesus in the Eucharist.

 

I have returned home. I am glad to be home…

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About Joel

Joel is a 32 year old currently residing in the southeastern United States. His interests lay in philosophy and theology. He is a writer for The Christian Watershed.

4 thoughts on “A Return

  1. Welcome home, John. I like what you said about not despising where you came from. I feel the same way about my Lutheran upbringing and my subsequent journey through Pentecostal/Charismatic circles. St. Justin the Philosopher said that all religions in the world have a kernel of truth in them, even more so the Christian churches of today. They all came from the same root, though their deviations have separated them from that root, that kernel of Truth remains to be discovered. God bless you on your continued journey with the body of Christ.

    • Thank you for your kind words, friend. I greatly appreciate your insights about all of that. You’re right on! Blessings to you as well!

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