Needless to say, things on the road to Orthodoxy have gotten a bit bumpy and the wife and I have decided to take a bit of a detour at present. From our many long conversations, which frequently turned into arguments (or at the very least hurt feelings on one side or another), it became clear to me that she isn't ready and I really don't know that she ever will be. Right now, its just too big a departure from the theology she has known and embraced her entire life and probably the best thing I can do in loving her is to yield to her discomfort, anxiety and resistance. So I have and we've decided to start looking somewhere else for a church home.
For me, this is a bittersweet moment. I am sad that Orthodoxy did not draw us in as I had hoped, but at the same time I feel a sense of relief that the tensions between us and the heartache this has caused is over. The joy that relieving this burden brought about in my wife (not Orthodoxy itself, but the burden of the disagreement we had over it) was sign enough that I'm making the right decision. But I also think some of that relief stems from my own trepidations about Orthodoxy. There were really only a couple of significant issues, but they kept on intruding. I was ready to move forward but scared of the possibility for error. I am worried about finding a church we can both feel comfortable with. We went to a Lutheran church on Sunday morning that seemed pretty good to both of us, so I think we should be able to find something. I'll have to do some more reading & studying on what's out there in liturgical and sacramental Protestantism.
I'm not sure how I'll reconcile the new perceptions and ideas that Orthodoxy has introduced. I doubt I'll ever be able to subscribe to sola scriptura if this road doesn't eventually take us back to the East. Similarly, I've found the more wholistic approach Orthodoxy takes to theology far more compelling than the legalistic language of Western theology. I mean, did Christ become Incarnate in order to die to open the door to humanity to participate in God's life or to simply move our names from one column to another on some heavenly scoreboard? I think the depth and beauty of that kind of thinking will be hard to find, though I can obviously "feed" myself with Orthodox writers. And, of course, the idea of the church being the Church will never be a possibility in Protestantism. While I maintain some hope that we will eventually end this detour, I don't want to hold on to that hope too tightly. I, of course, don't want to be disappointed if it never comes to fruition, but I also don't want to let it hold me back from trying to find a good church home, a place where we can get involved and feel like a part of something.
Thus far, this blog has largely been about my journey towards Orthodoxy. It first started as I struggled with my role as a youth pastor in a church that left a great deal to be desired and then, as that position ended, transitioning to being a student again, both in school and in the Orthodox church. I'm not sure where it will head from here but I plan on maintaining it. I have appreciated your prayers and words of encouragement and hope you will continue to keep the wife and I in your thoughts & prayers in the weeks and months ahead.