Chronicle of Conversion: A Tough Day One

1 December 2013

So, now it begins officially.  I have publicly announced to my Baptist congregation that I will be leaving not only the pastorate.  But, I will go forward and convert to Orthodox Christianity.  As expected, some in the congregation took this hard.  I felt bad as well as I am leaving behind a denomination that has nurtured me from birth.  I have served at a very loving church for 16 years when most pastors barely make 6 years in their first pastoral assignments.  Though, I made it through the sermon without shedding a tear, some were not as fortunate.  Yet, there were others who gave me words of encouragement and wished me well.  I am not sure if putting one’s resignation letter in the sermon is a normal practice.  But, the way I did this seemed to soothe out the possibility of any major blow up.  I have been to a church meeting where a pastor announced his departure.  It was not pretty.   This has not been my happiest day.  To add to my sorrow, I came home to find that Liverpool had an absolutely horrible loss to Hull City in the EPL and the local PBS station replaced my beloved Globetrekker with some fundraising Christmas special.

Yeah, in order to reach the place where God has for us, we all must endure some pain.  Who knows?  I could endure more pain between now and my Chrismation.   Yet, I know I have the support of my devoted wife.  She  does not want to convert yet.  But, she hasn’t attended Trinity either.  My mom called me twice this morning and later in the evening.  And I received support from my Baptist and Orthodox friends on Facebook.  I do believe I am headed in the right direction.  The first step is just painful.  I intended to publish some other articles about doctrinal differences that led me to see that the Baptist Church should use Orthodox history and spirituality to reform its self.  But, I will keep silent on the topic for a while.

Tomorrow, we have a hunt at the park.  I will use the down time to fill out a job application and also to register for a local clinic (I should have been to see a doctor to follow up for my diabetic diagnosis).  I have already read a few books on the faith including the catechism book, “The Way” by Clark Carlton.  I will probably borrow a better copy of “On The Incarnation” by Athanasius and “On the Holy Spirit” by Basil from my new church home on Friday.  I feel weird this evening.  I may take my butt to bed.

Ah, a favorite song.  “When the World Is Running Down” by the Police.   When the world is running down, you make the best of what’s still around.

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7 comments

  1. John, many blessings on your journey home. It has been one year since my family and I were chrismated. Our old Assembly of God church friends still can’t figure out why. I wasn’t a pastor, but did teach the adult Sunday school and filled in at the pulpit on occasion. I can’t speak to the rightness of the timing of your decision, but I can say, it is the right decision. Orthodoxy is total immersion therapy of the soul. God bless. Alec

  2. That would be a difficult day. I’m sure that you’ve had some unpleasant conversations. I will pray for you on your journey.

  3. Welcome to the journey! Yes, it will be hard, but nothing worthwhile is ever a piece of cake. Be encouraged and, whatever you do, stay the course.

  4. it was tough for me to tell my Episcopal family that I was becoming Orthodox, but you will get through it. prayers for you on your journey home brother!

  5. Greetings. We have a friend or two in common on FB, and through a bit of FB stalking I’ve somewhat casually followed your growing interest in the Orthodox Church. I’m intrigued (and inspired) by the extent you’re upending your life, personally and professionally, and, well, everything. There’ll be many more rough, frustrating, and confusing days ahead, particularly with confused people who truly love you and are concerned about you. But fear not! Life in Christ’s Church is absolutely worth it all.

    I found the best way to help people understand the sort of transformative effect a life in the Orthodox Church can have is to simply invite them to come and see what’s inspired you. So when those confused and concerned people ask you why you’ve “lost your mind”, “thrown away your career”, or some other even less helpful way of asking (my mother wanted to “make sure you’re not joining a cult”…just accept the characterization (I told my mother “it is”) and invite them to see why you’re doing it.

    My family will be praying for you, John.

    Best regards,
    Andy

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