Thursday, January 29, 2004

Ten Things That Drew Me to Orthodoxy:
10) Orthodoxy: A faith that one can be consumed by. Part II

Fast-forward six years post Quaker and Calvary Chapel days. We were Anglicans, and very happy ones at that. Happy and content as we could be, or so we thought. I guess looking back I would have to say we had settled for Anglicanism as the last best thing. And there we were standing on the eve of coming to Orthodoxy, the levy was about to break and we were planning a picnic in the wash (hindsight is a wonderful thing).

While still resolutely Anglican, we (Sara and I) were attending Orthodox services when we could get away from St. Luke’s, reading books, and debating with friends. Sara and I would stay up late reading aloud to one another from Common Ground and other books. This time was often filled with dramatic pauses and sighs of fear and awe. This new picture being pieced together in our midst was blowing us away. We were discovering many facets of Orthodoxy that bade us to dig deeper, not just intellectually but in searching our hearts.

Orthodoxy was for me like an encounter with a lover that you continually find new and more intense intimacy with. I noticed that after each encounter, each liturgy the sweetness and connection grew. Like a good wine laid down, Orthodoxy was fermenting and growing more complex with each taste. As this went on, something else was occurring, the hymns, prayers and images were constantly running through my head. Driving around with Sara and we would break forth in the Troparia or Prokeimenon, driving alone, walking to class it was always with me calling me “further up and further in”. No matter where I was the liturgy was in my head calling me back. The brilliant aspect of this was, it didn’t matter where or what I was doing, including sinning! I was only observing and the intensity even on the sidelines was transforming.

Part III coming soon.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Ten Things That Drew Me to Orthodoxy:
10) Orthodoxy: A faith that one can be consumed by. Part I

Disclaimer: This list is a compiling of things that stood out to me in Eastern Orthodoxy, that were either; viewed as “unbiblical”; seldom mentioned; never emphasized; or just plain ignored by the various denominations (or “non-denominational” denominations) I’ve been a part of. Lastly, they are not listed in order of importance or any order for that matter.

Growing up in the late 70's early 80's listening to Keith Green, Petra and others from the Maranatha genre, I was exhorted to live as a Christian and give my whole life to Christ, not just Wednesday and Sunday but everyday and every part should be given wholly to God. Seems like a good solid proposition. Well as the adage goes, it is truly easier said than done. Not only was this difficult given my own spiritual disposition, but the Evangelical paradigm at that time was rather limited given its rejection of anything that resembled ritual tradition or Catholicism.

Enter “Quiet Time”: A special time usually comprised of time alone for prayer and Bible reading and varied levels of “listening to God” (depending on your particular level of charisma). An individual may add his or her own creative touches to this time of Bible reading and prayer, but essentially this is “Quiet Time”. After a session of “Quiet Time”, I may have felt really “thoughtful” but it never stayed with me, which was very frustrating to say the least. I’m not blaming “Quiet Time” for this, it may have been the poor disposition of my soul, but I needed something, anything to steer me through the narrow gate, and my thirst for connection and transformation sent me on a quest for a deeper well.

Part II Coming Soon

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Thursday, January 22, 2004

Smells like…

Last night at Vespers Fr. poured the incense on with caution thrown to the wind. It was different incense than the usual “cedar of Lebanon” variety that is common at St. Barnabas. Indeed, the smell was more like the full, perfume fragrant taste of a fantastic IPA. So much was this the case that I could taste the smell, if you catch my meaning. It was beautiful and despite my usual tired, spacey headedness I was drawn in and stirred with clarity. It was one of those moments where you feel thankfulness rushing through your bones, right down to the marrow.

As I stood praying and feeling quite caught up, I wondered as I’ve heard wondered about elsewhere in the blogosphere, “This is very beautiful, and I feel great reverence and connectedness, but is this any measure of something significant occurring?” I must admit I am curious to hear answers to this. However, my initial thought is, “Yes, experiences of this nature are significant in that they refresh and are carried with the worshipper as a sort of residue and reminder that Christ is merciful.”

It seems slightly insane that a notably delicious malt beverage could play such a role in grace.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago today an event of incomprehensible scale and implication, an event of deep beauty and rare joy took place. My beloved and I were brought together by God through the sacrament of marriage. It seems more like three minutes, rather than three years. Yet, today I stand here a changed man, closer to God and humanity because of this most intense and challenging relationship.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Glory to thee, O God.

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Thursday, January 15, 2004

“With your feet in the air and your head on the ground…”

Okay, so I’ve been posting knick-knacky sort of “hey looky what I found” kind of stuff the last couple of months. Let me apologize for that. Some time back, I realized this pattern, and tried to grasp motivation to write something more substantial (e.g. Ten Things That Drew Me to Orthodoxy). As of yet, this work is still stuck in some state of progress. So, why haven’t I been posting more serious or thoughtful things lately?

As I looked through my archives, I felt bad that I had not offered up anything more worth while for my kind and thoughtful readers. I read so many great blogs and glean so much from them. I watch the tracking of my site and see people stop by regularly, only to see posts like “Tacos”, or my recent dentistry. In addition to that I feel bad that I haven’t been more thoughtful, contemplative and open with myself. Really, the only thing I’ve been thoughtful about lately is the fact that I haven’t been able to be more thoughtful. As I commute to and from work, sit at my computer, stand at St. Barnabas praying, eat dinner with my family, I sit pondering just where my mind is. Here I sit tonight still pondering the fog I seem to be immersed in, and wonder if there is some quick and easy way out of this? Is there some simple prayer that can get me connected again to the rhythm and flow of my life? How did I get here to begin with? Well, if you’ve kept up with the math here, I have many questions and few answers. My point in all of this is simply, thanks for stopping by, say a prayer for me and hopefully I will have something for you soon.

*title taken from The Pixies

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004


This picture is appropriately titled, Gonzalo Eating Tacos.

David has inspired an urge for tacos, but alas it's Wednesday! Hmmm...I know what's for dinner on Thursday!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2004


Journalist??? What's that supposed to mean? Just look at my blog and you'll know that cannot be true.
ENFP - "Journalist". Uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama. 8.1% of total population.
Take Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Update: A more detailed explaination of ENFP or any other. Thanks to Clif and Tripp.

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Monday, January 12, 2004

My Beautiful Wife!

For those of you who have not paid attention to the new links in my side bar, please do so soon. There is one in particular I would like to point out, The Bluecanopy is my wife Sara's blog. I am very excited to announce it, and am confident her writing will be a worthwhile read.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Lord Have Mercy

When I wish to open my mouth and to speak on the exalted theme of
humility, I am filled with dread, like someone who is aware that he is
about to discourse with his own imperfect words concerning God. For
humility is the robe of the Godhead. The Word who became human clothed
Himself with humility, and thus spoke with us in our human body.

Everyone who has truly been clothed in humility becomes like Him who
came down from His exalted place and hid the splendor of His majesty,
concealing His glory in lowliness, so that the created world should not
be utterly consumed at the sight of Him. Creation could not behold Him
unless He took part of it to Himself and thus conversed with it: only
thus was creation able to hear the words of His mouth face to face.

St. Isaac of Nineveh (the Syrian), 7th century

Need I say anything? Thanks John for forwarding this.

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