Sunday, November 9, 2014

Intro post

My old blog Bayou Huguenot served its purpose, yet I was not pleased at its direction.  My tone became angry and I realized whatever good I planned to do with my book on Orthodoxy would be negated by my tone and direction.

I began asking myself several questions:
  1. What can I present that Reformed Protestants today are generally lacking in?
  2. Per number (1), is there an aspect in which I have read a lot and could contribute something on the popular level?
These answers are:
  1. The Eastern Fathers.
  2. Gregory Nazianzus

Other Reformed guys are good at the minutiae of Reformed distinctives.  God bless them for it.  I can hold my own in such a discussion, but I never see it advancing anywhere.  I hope my understanding of the Eastern Fathers, particularly Gregory Nazianzus, can help inquirers into Orthodoxy from a Reformed perspective.  My goal is no longer to "keep people from Orthodoxy at all costs."  It's rather: to show where the two sides meet, where they diverge, and if any discussion possible. 

Many of those who do leave for Orthodoxy haven't explored all the options.  That is not necessarily their fault.  One essay I planned to write was "The Zondervan Revolution."  Evangelicalism became so successful that it failed to "nail down" key areas--areas which were then not under attack.

Then there are the problems of over reaction to Rome.  This over-reaction meant, for example, "all icons are out," even if the icons weren't being worshiped.  The problem was the same argument must also be applied to pictures of Calvin.

I could multiply examples, but it comes down to this:  There is an avenue of thought that allows for the richness that Evangelicals are seeking without succumbing to what I believe are weaknesses in the Orthodox (and by extension, Roman) approach.

This blog will explore those areas.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jacob,

    I went back and skimmed a number of the posts and comments you have under the EO topic at your old site. I'm glad for a more irenic leaning in your explorations and critiques. I did note your explanation to” John*” for what you termed your "bulldog" mentality vs. the Orthodox in comments under one of those posts. It validated what I have intuitively sensed was feeding the attitudes underlying your comments and writing. This, btw, is one of the reasons I was so skeptical in my response about the influence on you of the so-called "True Orthodox" in a comments thread at OB (don’t know if you will recall that) and also about writers from that camp on your site. My deep conviction (gleaned from my own experience) is that there is a very deadly trap for souls in the puritanical and legalistic mentality (the “Donatist” spirit) that tends to characterize such groups (Orthodox or any of their counterparts in other religious traditions). It is every bit as spiritually deadly as the apostasy of mainline liberalism, which beliefs and attitudes allegedly even infect some quarters of the Orthodox Church (witness the enmity with Jesus of the gnat-straining, hyper-observant Pharisees, not only of the politically elite and worldly Sadducees in the Gospel accounts).

    Am I correct in understanding your four years “in Orthodoxy” was within a “True Orthodox” context, not in any canonical parish? Did you actually attend a local parish and become a catechumen or member? Regarding what precipitated your “bulldog” mentality, I can fully sympathize with how an encounter with certain “Orthodox” expressions of spirituality (especially as interpreted in a schismatic, hyper-traditionalist group) can provoke such a struggle for someone interpreting these through Reformed and Evangelical lenses. I’ve had to wrestle with this some myself, but apparently I didn’t get stuck in despair and have landed in a more joyful, hopeful spot than you did. I am in a canonical Orthodox Church because I categorically reject the “Donatist” spirit. The reality of how God holds His Church down through history and in the present very disordered moment in this country (for canonical Orthodoxy) is much more messy than that. I believe it is far more willing to embrace a whole bunch of chaff in order not to damage immature wheat growing alongside. I am also convinced it is far more spiritually healthy for a Christian to fully embrace what is genuinely Orthodox in his own non-Orthodox confession, denomination or non-denomination, than embrace “Orthodoxy” for the wrong reasons (i.e., because he perceives it to be something other than it really is, and thinks what he perceives is what he needs for God to be okay with him). The only reason to embrace Orthodoxy is because its vision of Christ in all His glory and His saving work more than any other inspires me to love Him. This is why I am, and will remain, Orthodox.

    Kind regards,

    Karen (the name I normally post under when I don't have to use my Google account).