let’s paint the outside of a beautiful house

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It took 3 hours to get this lift around the house from where the rental company dropped it off. But now we can get all the high stuff!

 

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other evangelical mishaps along the way

i was thinking yesterday about this really uncomfortable experience we had with our “community life” pastor at the church we went to right before we began attending an Orthodox Church. it was really unpleasant. me and my now wife had been dating a little over a year and it was not going well. we were caught up in all kinds of toxic behavior. i do believe this guy really wanted to help. but he had no idea how to and was woefully incapable. we had all of these meetings with him that were unproductive and frustrating. to some degree, it seemed as though he was needing the power trip. that frustrated me because it seemed to me that certain pastors in evangelicalism were not ordained but self-appointed. this was certainly the case here and it was immensely frustrating. we wanted help. he wanted to help, but this self appointed watch-dog just made things worse.

we used to sit around and criticize the other pastor of the church. his sermons weren’t serious enough for us. he wasn’t telling it like it is, we complained. what arrogance reigned in my heart at this point. i had zero spiritual life to speak of, but i was more than happy to rip anyone else apart for what i perceived to be a lack of their own. God, help me.

going back to 2005 (in my memory), there was a mounting conversation on sexual ethics — which things were and were not permissible. of course, the sides divide and no one of the thousands of little popes can agree. many have embraced the sexual revolution without a thought (i did for quite a long time in a more muted way). recently, an old acquaintance who was in our friend circle posted some photo of himself to instagram. in the caption, he wrote about how he came out and near the end he wrote that it was most important to “love the f— out of yourself”. lots of our friends “hearted” the photo. people who i thought were more or less in line with traditional christian sexual ethics. it stunned me. even if they are of a more liberal sexual ethos, making one’s life end to love the f— out of yourself is as anti-christian as it gets. it is sad to see this happening; people who largely call themselves christian embracing bold secularism and thinking the two are the exact same thing.

Lord have mercy.

 

on becoming orthodox

it was a little over four years ago we stepped into an Orthodox church for the very first time. it was overwhelming. so much of my life-long Protestant catechesis was questioned. and thank God it was. i don’t know how it would have been possible for me to be saved in that world.

i was thinking about that yesterday when i couldn’t fall back asleep at around 330 in the morning. somehow my mind drifted off to an old email conversation between an old North Carolina friend and myself about 6 years ago. during a significant spiritual struggle, i remember writing to her “i cling to christ and his resurrection”. okay. really? how did i do that? all of that clinging happened in my head. and no where else. (modern protestantism/evangelicalism isĀ very gnostic). if something happens in your head but not in reality, is that reality?

in Orthodoxy, we participate in the resurrection every pascha. we mystically enter into it. it really, truly happens to us. that is actually how someone clings to Christ and his Resurrection.

if i make a confession, but am not baptized into a concrete reality, can i really be saved? or is that salvation only happening in my head?


the heresies of penal substitution and predestination also wore me down over time. God was hateful and couldn’t wait to send sinners like me to hell. i was doomed no matter what. yeah, there was some of my own neuroticism and pride all wrapped up in that, but instead of rooting those things out, these awful doctrines make it worse. gosh, do i hate those doctrines. they create hell on earth.