Come to Jesus Meeting

August 4, 2010

Where I’m from, we call uncomfortable confrontations a ‘Come to Jesus Meeting.’ I supposed this post will be in the spirit of that.

For the last year or year and a half, the Desert Calling webforum community has been mostly inactive and has, at last, shut down. I must admit that I was somewhat responsible for not keeping up with things in the community and did not help when I could have, and let hurt feelings get in the way of Christian brotherhood and community spirit. For my friends and acquaintances from DC, I want to offer a heartfelt apology: Forgive me, for I am a wretched sinner.  In addition to this, the blog site here never really “came together” or coalesced around an idea or direction. The group of contributors had great and grand ideas and, initially, a shared vision and purose; that is, to share the depths of the Orthodox Christian faith with others, to encourage those who had found themselves at the doorstep of the Church, and to share how our own lives had been changed by the Church.

The problem is, we were all newbies. When we started the blog we were two enthusiastic catechumens and one overly-zealous convert on whom the Holy Chrism was not yet dry. We knew in our heads all about the Church, and, true enough, that changed our perceptions of the world pretty vastly. But we, each one of us, was not truly changed as much as we thought. We discovered where our hearts were, and–quite understandably, given the exile from the heart which characterizes our society–stupidly believed we had been (past tense) changed. We failed to realize that the depths we were discovering were not even really the depths, but just the edges of the beach where the tides occasionally washed over our still very dry feet.

So while the idea may have been started with the best of intentions, while the goals were good and the purpose fine, the truth is we lacked what was necessary to finish the task we had set for ourselves and to make a good report of it.  And in many ways it hurt us spiritually (at least, it did me) to continue to work on something that 1) I was not qualified to do and 2) was getting tired of doing. As time wore on and we sought more “help” (from more newbies) things just got worse; there was a lack of unity, a lack of true brotherly feeling (which had so characterized the formation of DC and was the initial inspiration for this blog), and differences in approach and philosophy that could not be reconciled because so many of us (read: Justinian) were convinced that our approach and our philosophy were correct. Instead of acting to compliment one another, we acted to try to prove our “side.” This is not Orthodox, and it shames me to say that I have acted this way. Again, I ask forgiveness from all those whom I wronged whether intentionally or unintentionally, knowingly or unknowingly.

That being said, the question is what to do with the Desert Calling Blog. I have considered just letting it die; either deleting it or just abandoning it. After considering that I’ve decided that is probably not a great option. So what I propose to do is to keep the existing posts and simply change what the blog’s main focus will be. Many of the most popular posts here have been on reflections from the Desert Fathers…so future posts will be along those lines. A story or saying of the Desert Fathers and then some small, quick reflection or devotion about it. If you liked these sorts of posts here in the past, please let me know. If this is of no use to anyone, you can feel free to tell me that as well.

God be with all of you. Blessed fast!

3 Responses to “Come to Jesus Meeting”

  1. desertseeker Says:

    I’m sorry to hear this, Justinian. Desert Calling was my first “Orthodox community.” A DC member invited me to Church for the first time. I met you there, and Columbina, and Bob, and others. I confess I didn’t hang around the forum much, but once in awhile I’d drop in, and I’m sad that that’s no longer a possibility. To any DC members reading this, thank you for the part you played in my (and my family’s) conversion to Orthodoxy. Thank you for welcoming me and for being my first Orthodox teachers.

    • Justinian Says:

      Thanks. It meant (and means) a lot to me and DC–as it was and should have been–will always have a special place in my memory. I met many wonderful people there, including ourself, and count some of them among my very dearest friends. The fact remains, the site existed without any kind of blessing and was run by people with too much ego and not enough Orthodoxy in the heart (and among them, I am chief). I am very happy for you and your family, and thank God for you, because you are such an inspiration; but for every “success” story we had from DC, there are at least 5-10 failures. It is probably best that it is laid to rest.

  2. seeker 2008 Says:

    Hi all! Did not really know what had happened… was away for a few months and I was not aware how it has all come to this. But in al things, let us be grateful for what DC has been. In God’s time, he will make the dry bones come back to life again…peace and love…..

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