Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"It's Fine For You, But It's Not For Everybody"

"Well..." they begin to say as they become more and more put off by your convert enthusiasm, "...it's good for you but it's not for me." I often heard this when I became 'born again' back in the early 1980's. They would say Jesus isn't for everybody, or they might even say Jesus can't be the only one true Savior. What about those who have never heard?

Now, my new convert enthusiasm is from discovering Orthodoxy. I began telling all of my Christian friends - friends who used to pass out tracts with me as we witnessed to the lost out on the street corners and who heard all of the same excuses - about my great find in discovering the Orthodox Church. And now, they are saying, "Well, it's good for you but it's not for me." and "There can't be only one true church. What about all of the other Christians?"

Ironic, isn't it? I guess it goes to show people are pretty much the same when they don't want to have their minds changed about something. We all make excuses for why we don't want to change. The non-believer says, "As long as we all believe something, and are sincere about it, that's all that God cares about." And the Christian, when confronted with the big, scary, historical, beautiful, Orthodox Church, says "As long as we all believe in Jesus, that's all God cares about."

I am certainly over-simplifying here and mean no offense to anyone, but it has been almost comical to me to get pretty much the same reactions and hear the same lines from my Christian friends when I present to them the very thing that would complete their Christian faith. I know I have said this before, and others have said it too, but it truly was like finding a treasure hidden in a field - a treasure with no end to its riches.


s-p said...

Good observation. What it boils down to for most people is "All God cares about is what I care about". sigh.

Jim H. said...

I'm sure you're comforted to know that all those friends are now praying for you to have the scales removed from your eyes! You're probably one of the main prayer topics at their Bible study now. "Okay...who wants to lead us in prayer for Nic who has been led into false teaching?"

Nicodemus said...

Jim, my guess is that they have probably given up on me - and besides, Orthodoxy is such a mysterious, if not unknown, side of Christianity that they may not know what to think about it. Therefore, they can't be sure if I have been 'deceived' or not. My hope is that they are questioning their own foundation of the faith as a result.

But, I have been gone for over a year now, so whatever lingering effect my depature may have had, whether good or bad, has probably subsided by now.

Bobby said...

We have to ask ourselves is the local parish we attend a rosy-colored glasses of the "What's" of Orthodox spirituality?

What does the Saints have to say about spiritual education or what type of liturgy we attend?
What do the Monks of Mount Athos say about how we should live in "our World"?

It all becomes delusional if one doesn't put perspective with their practice. I used to live in the Atlanta area attending St. John Maximovitch parish. Great people to hang around with especially when they started multiple homeless feeding and shelter programs. But then we (and I) become so prideful that we do a great job that it becomes a hum-drum Orthodoxy. The vision of Mount Tabor becomes dull due to expressing too often. No amount of zeal could encourage us here in America if we chose not to listen to those people that Dr. Bradley Nassif are talking about on the Illumined Heart. Well I don't know where you attend but evangelical Americans choose to "shop" for the Orthodox Faith later to return as ineffective. Take David Bryan's comments to heart and be thankful your journey didn't become David Clendenin.

Nicodemus said...

Bobby, I am certainly guilty of the 'shopping for the right Orthodox church'. I really wanted to not shop, but the first parish I visited had no outreach program. If the Orthodox were who they claimed to be - the one, true Church - then they shouldn't keep it to themselves. Fortunately, I found a parish in my area that is primarily outreached focused, and as a result, not a dead church.

Bobby said...

Sorry JTT but I have to plug your post so Nick can read this:

Why Does Anyone Become Orthodox?