Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Unity In Conversion

I have been a convert to the Orthodox Religion for almost 5 years now.
In that time the road,though straight by faith,was not always so by community.
When you join the Orthodox faith you begin to find out quickly that people of tradition,nationally not biblical,can be very daunting and challenging to deal with.
To a new member it becomes apparent that sometimes the line between belief in nationality and religion can become blurred.
As I have matured,faith wise,the knowledge that I am not only stubborn but persistent has now been instilled in me.
I am coming to peace with who these traditional orthodox people from far off lands, are in their pride of heritage,just as in my own lineage.
Some people convert over to a faith and allow them selves to be lost in an others ethnicity,this is not good,God says we are to lose our old selves,but not lose our personal identity,the good parts of us.
A closed society is never a good thing,if growth is a priority.
One day while reading the bible it dawned on me,that I,like the first Gentile Christians,was trying to fit into an old set of traditionalist,whom at that time were the Jewish Christians.
Exactly how do you believe in the one true faith with out losing the best of yourself in the process.
The apostles Peter and Paul faced this dilemma them selves,Peter wanting these new Gentiles to fit in with the Jewish customs,while Paul pushed for different rules for the Gentile followers,which would be just has sacrifical and meaningful for them.
Accommodation,allows the new people entering the community,to assist the old traditionalist in growing and maintaining a community .
For many years now the Orthodox Church as not deemed it necessary for anyone but their own nationality ,to enter because the numbers were in their favor,now not so much so and those who felt locked out because of language have started to enter in larger numbers.
It's hard to keep a good thing under wraps forever and lets face it we are all God children not just a chosen few.
Inclusion should be the word of the church and with it a need to understand that social,not doctoral,change is needed in the eyes of the old to the new.
When you enter a religion you should take off the old like a cloak and put on the new like a suit of armor,always ready for the battle ahead.
But that warfare should not be with each other in the church.
No one group is better then another and no one idea is clearer.
Instead we should see that the old ideas that one has should be marred with the new.
Just has a marriage between an Orthodox person and none Orthodox person blends to make one a more rounded individual,so should our ethnic communities.
We as Americans are a melting pot for everyone from every walk of life and our religion should reflect this diversity with out changing our faithful doctrine and integrity.

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