What I’m “About”.

April 21, 2008

On our Myspace, someone requested our friendship and simply said: “Hey man, what are you about? Sounds intriguing.”

Let me tell you first what I’m not about.

I’m not about the modern expression of Christianity, little more than self-help seminars, visions of health, wealth and prosperity, and hedonism, all wrapped up in pretty walls and powerpoint presentations with a cacophony of modern music with a veneer — an idea — of what Christianity should be to the self-taught, undisciplined, prideful man.

I’m not about the idea of the Church being a place where you go simply to feel good on Sundays. I’m not about the idea of foolishly assuming that all we have to do is “believe” and we are eternally secure in salvation. I’m not about the idea of debasing the Christ, the Eternal Logos, ineffable in might and glory, to some “buddy” — I shudder at the thought.

I’m not about to think that God’s plan of salvation for man is entirely evident in what modern day Pastor Bob or Brother Jim has to say, nor do I think it can be found within our own biases, ideas, or assumptions. I’m not about asking “What is true to me”, I am about “what is true.”

To date, there are literally tens of thousands of ‘denominations’ expressing entirely contradictory views of Christianity. I’m not about to believe they are all true, as Christ says “A house divided against itself cannot stand”, and the Apostle Paul said “let there be no divisions amongst you” to the Corinthians.

It began with One Church, it will end with One Church.

I’m not about to say that God is not going to save anyone outside of His Church, for God’s love is as an infinite ocean, and our sins are as a handful of dust in comparison — however both Biblical and secular history point towards One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic Church.

In Acts we find that the Church began at the feast of Pentecost, in Jerusalem, where God the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples according to His Divine Providence around 33 A.D. From the point, after Christ gave the world what the West knows as “The Great Commission”, these disciples went into the world, building the Church, Baptizing in the name of the Holy Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Three Persons, One God.

In a nutshell, as years passed the Church grew into larger proportions. The Apostles had formed Apostolic ‘Sees’, in 5 major places: Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, Constantinople(modern Turkey) and Jerusalem. In 1054 AD in a tragic event known today as the Great Schism, the Roman Patriarchate broke away from the other Four, thus forming the Roman Catholic Church. This Schism is where things tragically began to go downhill…

After Rome split, they started the Crusades in 1095. In 1517, the Protestant Reformation began, and by this time of course the Roman Catholic Monk, Martin Luther, had started his church, then came the Church of England, so on and so forth. All these years later, so many churches exist, and given the state of this world everyone is free to open a building, name it what they wish, and preach whatever gospel people want to hear.

No matter what one may believe today, there is a church to fit their specific idea, when in truth they only worship themselves, their own egos, their own ideals and mentalities.

What I’m about, is in opposition to all off this. It is the established, recorded, faith which lacks nothing. It is the Church of the Apostles, of the Creed, of the Councils, the Faith which established the universe.

Orthodoxy.

The Faith undistorted, unchanging, unmoving, and unwavering.

It is the answer to the void we seek to fill with carnality, hedonism, materialism, money, pride, adornment of self and self-gain. It is the path trodden by the Saints and Apostles, as paved by the Cross, as watered by the blood of the radiant and victorious Martyrs. It is what we were all born to find, it is among the hardest things you will ever do, yet beyond compare more free and liberating than anything this world can offer.

It is the descent into one’s own heart, and the ascent into the Kingdom. It is the renewal of the Fall of Adam, communion with God, growing in Christ. It is dying to the world and death to the self, forsaking the “do what thou wilt” philosophy of our nihilistic age and embracing the call to “Take up your own cross, and follow Me” as we read of in the Scriptures.

It is forgetting what WE are about. It is saying, “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives within me.”

It is the ancient way, the straight and narrow way, which few shall find and fewer shall walk. It is the careful and strong preservation of Spirit-given knowledge, which none can know, unless he is in the Spirit.

And what I’m about, is infinitely nothing in comparison. I am a sinner, and I am seeking to walk the Way.

… Whether or not this explanation was to the liking or disliking of this person, I cannot say. All I can hope is that I at least partially represented what Orthodoxy has come to mean to me personally.

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4 Responses to “What I’m “About”.”

  1. Justinian Says:

    I am moved, and deeply saddened that I am likely to be among the few that find the path, but not among the even fewer that walk it.

    This is an excellent summary, though.

  2. Barbara Says:

    I love the Eastern Chuch dearly. I left my parish a few years ago, telling only my children that I intended to join the Byzantine Church. The reason I was secretive was because I wasn’t angry or unhappy and didn’t want to be insensitive to our priest’s feelings. It is simply a thing of the heart, no less than that.

    When the time came for my new pastor to welcome me- he kindly told me I could visit as often as I wanted but was not allowed to join without approval of the bishop- the bishop invited an associate to respond to my letter. I don’t really understand, he asked me to continue experiencing the Byzantine Church for a while longer. He didn’t know I had no questions or that I’d studied the rite and traditions for eight or so years- even tried to learn Church Slavonic with much relish regardless of how it came out of my mouth. A few years have passed and I am still not able rejoin my old parish, though I continue to support it.

    ‘Truth is I only listen to Orthodox music, liturgies, and even homilies(on CDs). One day a year or so ago, I leaped up from the computer and called St. Katheine’s to make arrangements to take the “Journey to Orthodxy”, simultaneously I begged God to please help me find a loophole… he would not allow it.

    I think I understand now, but don’t know how to put it into words. It has to do with obedience to him and to his churches, it has to do with his will and timing. I cannot bridge the chasm- it was my unacknowledged intention, deep down, to be an Orthodox Catholic. Someday the Holy Ghost will make us one, in the meantime I unfailingly pray for that moment to come.

    I teach religious ed. in my daughters parish, some days God and I spend hours and hours planning, editing. I don’t feed them milk toast or necessarily use the “textbook”. We use the bible, and through it our Latin, Greek, and Hebrew cultures blend easily. We are one family, and God only expects parents and teachers to pass on the truth, whatever else you inherit, if I don’t give you that, I’ve failed.

    I go to the abortuary every Friday. I take a little chair because I am old and cannot stand more than an hour at a time. I go no matter what the weather is like- truth is, I don’t care a bit what the weather is like. God and I go. He helped me write a letter that I put inside of the pamphlet that I offer to people before they enter the building. When God helps me think and write- what happens is good for me and for the person that reads it. I love each person I encounter before I even meet them. Their children are in my thoughts, they are very close to me, I talk to them in heaven- they would be so pure and holy, and a source of great consolation. Well, I mention it because it looks like this may be the way I end my days. Just able to do a little with the use of his great heart. He makes me very happy.

    Pray for me. I’ll remember all of you. God willing, we’ll meet in heaven.

    Barbara

  3. blackincense Says:

    Dearest Isaac,

    All the things that you ARE about, are the things that make you so very much beloved.

    You have undertaken a great work on the battlefield. I am praying for you always.
    Love,
    Suzanne

  4. Theresa Says:

    Isaac(Blake to me), I miss you my son as you are on your spiritual journey. I am so proud of you. Pray for me as well. I love you! Mom P.S. Please call…I’ve been so worried,although I know God will keep you safe, I am still a mother with a mothers heart.


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