Sunday, June 28, 2009
Conversion to Orthodox the Mindset
This is my initial response to Conversion from In Your Light We Shall See Light
The phenomena is well documented I concur. A word of caution here though...the "zeal" or more accurately the fervor with which converts defend the traditions of Orthodoxy is the same they used to defend and follow their heretical past. When an overwhelming number of leadership positions are filled by converts coming to be in the one true faith, and more important for the economy of the church, to lead it into the next generation it is worthy of a cautionary note. The conviction of their past faith or belief system was sought after with the same dedication they now user to promote Orthodoxy. I believe that a strong examination of the character type or personality type which tends to be an all or nothing having the same commitment whatever the cause. I am not talking about a Borderline Personality Disorder or any disorder in the clinical sense but it should not be easily dismissed. In the end we are all converts of course. Studies need to address the character which promotes such rigidity and later which tends to ostracize other followers. These well meaning humble converts who keep every fast very often are the first one’s to continue in their former tradition of overthrowing the ‘big church’. Not having been sufficiently purged of their “I can’t go straight to Jesus” mentality they soon reframe this to “I can practice Orthodoxy without a Mother Church. I can dismiss essential jurisdictional concerns and banish the ethnicity of those with which I am not a part.” Archbishop Kallistos Ware in his conversion was warned against joining the Greek Church because “he would never be accepted” and would have no “future” in it. IN his book he discusses how his mindset was not to lead or take over but to be a part a follower in the Orthodox Church. Likewise he denies ever having experienced resistance or discrimination for his Anglican roots. This is contrary to the experience of Peter Guilquist who arrived on the scene an already self proclaimed bishop. Perhaps pressure is applied or more correctly perceived based on the conscious or unconscious agenda of the convert. Orthodox living in a true sense is a continuous mellowing and rounding out of the person as he or she moves toward God. It is not a rigid Pharisaic adherence to stipulations and minutia.