I often tell people that my wife dragged me to the Orthodox Church kicking and screaming. To be honest, I was content in my little Evangelical Baptist Church, teaching Sunday School and making friends. I realized my wife, a Protestant convert to Orthodoxy, would not be content. So I followed her, confident that God would be there also.
"It was the “work” involved with Orthodox worship that enticed me from the start."
It was the “work” involved with Orthodox worship that enticed me from the start. I could respect standing for long services where entire passages of scripture were read. I wanted to participate in corporate fasts that were realistic yet challenging. I had no doubt this form of worship would bear fruit so I was Chrismated (received).
"Studying the writings on this central question vanquished many of the doubts I had..."
Then came the studies. Standing before me were two-thousand years of unbroken history and theology and I wanted to consume it all. I didn’t. But I tried. This is where I fell in love. I found many of the questions I held over the years were discussed at length during the early centuries of the Church. Many of the doubts I had concerning Orthodoxy, I found, were distortions created by a Western Church who is at odds with itself. Orthodox theology revolves around the question, “Who is the person who is Jesus Christ?” Studying the writings on this central question vanquished many of the doubts I had about the Orthodox Church and the choice I made to be received by Her.
"In a world that increasingly finds ways to divide itself into factions and parties, this little parish is home to all of us."
I would be lying if I said there were no lingering questions or doubts. But this is why I stay. The Orthodox Church is not afraid of those questions. I have never felt afraid to ask them. St. Mary Magdalene as a parish is exceptional in providing this comfort. In a world that increasingly finds ways to divide itself into factions and parties, this little parish is home to all of us. We can disagree about the many ways to engage our culture through politics or discourse, but we engage one another always in love. And we always meet at the Divine Chalice together, as The Body of Christ. This is the miracle we experience at St. Mary Magdalene.