Reblog: The Adoration of the Konvertsky

From Second Terrace’s The Adoration of the Konvertsky:

I will deal more ethically with the reflexive irony. How go the konvertsky — that famous (or infamous) influx of unlikely American Anglicans and distraught establishment Protestants, and even more unlikely mishmash of “free church” Evangelicals and Charismatics — that immigrated into that patently odd jurisdictional ambiguity of the American Orthodox Church?

I hope that the majority of those who have left their own heterodox “Ur” and entered the Orthodox nave of Canaan have stayed. I hope that they and their families have continued along the eternal path of becoming, and have tasted the first fruits of theosis. I hope they have learned of the Church’s tradition and “theoria,” and have become wise in responding to the foolhardiness of this contemporaneity. I hope they have become adept at fighting the passions, and fending off the feints and wiles of the loathsome powers.

…There are, as you might expect, anecdotes, as far as data is concerned. I am aware of several narratives of ex-protestants who tell stories of disillusionment after five to ten years in Orthodoxy. The first apprehensions of beauty have worn off, and the frustration of relationships and disappointments have set in.

Other, more extreme, narratives include the exposure to egregious ecclesiastical misbehaviors. Some converts have seen Bad Things — and some of these converts have had Bad Things done to them. Some of them have seen persons in the Church not only ape the patterns of the world (“world” in its negative, not John 3.16, sense) — but have seen churchmen actually surpass the world in worldly behavior. Some converts have seen the Church replicate the marketplace DNA, having given religious preference to the term “entrepreneur” and have adopted the management-by-objective procedure and newspeak of corporate America.

…You take Communion differently now, and Chrismation is a one-way seal. You never experienced those things before — but the other part of deification is a providentially-ordered sequence of burden-bearing and grace-sharing. The disappointments from other people are such that God has elected you to bear that particular burden, and to bear His Grace to those particular people.

Yes, they hurt your feelings, but in our hurt feelings is His strength made manifest, and through our hurt feelings do we find the sufficiency of His Grace.

The entire blog post is here; it goes into the various kinds of converts–from the former Evangelicals and fundies, such as me, to former mainline Protestants–and various reasons why we can get disenchanted with Orthodoxy.  It includes the political right-wingers and left-wingers.  It goes into reasons why we should stay put and work on our own judgmentalism (wherever we fit on the spectrum of converts).

 

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Reblog: What Christians Get Wrong About Sexual Abuse

At many conservative Christian colleges, identifying what the victim is responsible for becomes a central part of how administrations interact with them. Counseling processes and disciplinary actions all have a common bent: What do you, the victim, need to repent of? Where are you at fault? While this line of questioning is probably well-intentioned, it is based in a lie that abusers would love for us to continue believing: that victims are complicit in their own abuse.

It is absolutely vital that Christians do the hard work of earnestly evaluating how our beliefs about sin and redemption can create opportunities for abusers. Creation, Fall, Redemption—that is the glorious story of our faith. But Jesus also called for us to be as “wise as serpents,” and the New Testament is filled with pleas from the Apostles not to be deceived by wolves in sheep’s clothing.

–Read the full post by Samantha Field at What Christians Get Wrong About Sexual AbuseRelevant Magazine

 

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The Burning of St. Louis Church Distresses Fond du Lac

Please note: This is NOT about the churches burning in St. Louis, MO.  This was written years ago when Fond du Lac’s St. Louis Church, a beloved landmark, burned down.  This post was prepared and scheduled MONTHS AGO to post in October.

Details:

Story.

Story and Photo.

Video of Burning and Aftermath:

Video Tour of Church Before it Burned:

If you watch the videos, you’ll hear that St. Louis Church meant a lot to this town.  The flag on Johnson Street nearby appears to be at half-mast.

When the congregation was about to be moved into another building and the church demolished, a local group worked tirelessly to preserve the church.

And it is right across the street from my church!  When I went to Pre-Sanctified Liturgy last night, I heard all sorts of stories.  The streets were barricaded, but local traffic could get through.

The night of the fire, the police called one of our churchwomen, who was on their contact list.  She rushed to our own church to fetch various items from the office and the altar.

She wasn’t supposed to go behind the iconostasis, where the altar is, but she did anyway because it was an emergency.

She had to be allowed in the church by a policeman because they were afraid the fire would spread and/or the other steeple would come down across the street, crushing the buildings there.

Apparently she was alone for a while, because Alliant Energy cut the power (in case the church fell on a nearby power line), so there was no phone service.  She didn’t know who to call before she went, because it was very late and the Parish Council President keeps early hours.  Our priest lives in another county.

Another churchwoman who lives nearby saw the fire when she took her little dog for a walk.  She went into our church, and so did one other person.  All three worked that night to salvage what they could.

Our priest said it’s a good thing the wind wasn’t going the other direction, or else the fire would have spread to the nearby houses, the Salvation Army, and our church.  Incidentally, I used to go to the Salvation Army to help with the youth group when I went to a different church.

When our priest spoke about it at the end of the Liturgy, I saw a first-generation Greek immigrant who looked on the verge of tears.  She is a very pious woman, wears her heart on her sleeve.

Our priest said that 90 years ago, the Greek Orthodox community bought our building from the St. Louis congregation and converted it; it used to be a school.

Last night, there was police tape all the way across the street, blocking off half our parking lot, and a policeman on guard.  And the police cars were patrolling Johnson Street, which is right next to Macy St., where the churches are. I kept hearing sirens after church, and it got me jumpy because I’m afraid what’ll happen when the steeple falls.

One guy said at church that he checked behind our altar for soot, and there was none, but there was a lot of dust.  One of the ladies said, “If women were allowed back there, there wouldn’t be any dust.  You know who made that rule?  Men!”  😀

(Of course, I’ve read that the rule is actually, no laity are allowed back there without a blessing–and if a woman has a good reason and the blessing of a priest, bishop or abbess, she can go back there.)

This was adapted from an e-mail written to my close college friends and Richard on March 21, 2007.

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