I’m a Catholic convert; it’s been 20 years since I came into the Church after roughly 5 years in a Presbyterian church in Texas. The thing that drove that conversion was that both the local and national Presbyterian churches were being infected, I might say taken over, by all the decadence in the surrounding culture. I realized that I could no longer be Presbyterian and my wife and I began searching for a church with the moral and theological strength to withstand what was happening. Through a series of events that transpired quite rapidly, we discovered that the most likely candidate was Rome and so we made the leap.
Fast forward 20 years and we find ourselves with something of the same problem. It seems evident to us that, with the election of Pope Francis things may change. From what he’s said and written he intends to open the Church to more acceptance of things, such as communion for divorced Catholics and allowing bishops much more authority over matters of faith and doctrine in their dioceses, heretofore unacceptable. I can’t help but wonder if I made a mistake and my whole concept of what the Church was was wrong. I remarked to my wife, when reading about Francis’ wish to allow bishops greater leeway over doctrinal matters, that it sounded to be a lot like Orthodoxy. As soon as I said it, a light went off — what was Orthodoxy?
As I do whenever I’m in need of completely accurate, absolutely solid intellectual knowledge, I headed to the Internet and began reading. I’d always been interested in Orthodox writings on prayer and spirituality, and interested in both the Church and Desert Fathers; I thought both very attractive even before I became Catholic. But in my quick reading, I also began to get a little different understanding of the Church and, especially, what happened in 1054 AD and how that split was viewed in the East. As the old German soldier on Laugh-In used to say, I found all this “veddy interesting!” I decided to investigate further. Within a few days, I’d called Fr Anthony, priest at the local Orthodox parish and proprietor (I believe) of the very popular coffee shop and bookstore run by the parish, and arranged a meeting. We’ve already attended our first Great Vesper service and, yesterday I attended my first Divine Liturgy. I think we have taken our first steps in the journey Eastward.
This blog is meant to be a journal, the story, of that journey. I can’t say we’ll see it through to the end; there’s much to learn and to experience before that will be clear. I will say that however far we go, I hope this blog will document what happens on the road, the ups and downs, good weather and not so good weather, smooth road and rough mountain passes, and, perhaps, serve as a guidebook for others thinking of taking this same road.