Saturday, January 22, 2011

17th visit - Breaking the Chains that Bind?

It was good to get to Vespers last Saturday night but I must admit that I was very distracted.

It is true that I have had some financial setbacks (due to Christmas overspending, no doubt) and I thought that was the reason for my distraction and while it did occupy my mind truthfully I have always known that God has helped me through tight spots before and He would do so again. This, by the way, He has done. The needed money for my short term crisis arrived, Praise God, although I do need to sit down, put a budget together and cut back on some of my unnecessary spending.

What really distracted me last Saturday is my relationship with my wife. For the longest time, I have had a hard time opening up to her; there is a fear there, something inside of me that makes it impossible for me to be vulnerable with her. This, of course, is unhealthy. This, of course, is distracting. This, of course, will not do!

And an added problem to my unopeness is that my wife has no interest in Orthodoxy, She, a happy Protestant, thinks I am nuts for pursuing this and it drives the divide bigger. It is the unspoken wedge that we both know about but what else can I do? I certainly cannot remain a Protestant.

Talking to my wife about Orthodoxy, she said “Why don’t you just convert?” The truth is I know that she does not want me to- my entire family doesn’t want me to and I kind of wanted to go with their blessing or better yet have them come along! She also said I had a duty to discuss this with my Pastor. He may not want someone who holds “such views” in positions of leadership in the church. (Currently, I run the children’s youth group). I have already talked about my Orthodox yearnings with the associate Pastor but that was some time ago so I guess it’s time to talk to the Senior Pastor. We have a meeting scheduled for this Wednesday at 4pm.

At that time I will talk about Orthodoxy and also talk about how it is hurting my relationship with my wife. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Father Gary’s homily was on the Chains of St. Peter. He made the point that normally we don’t venerate chains but these are worth venerating because of how the angel set him free from prison. From there, he asked, “What chains have you down?” He reminded his flock that God is in the business of loosening chains.

This I certainly need, Lord have mery!


  1. I like movies. I like all types of movies. Science fiction fantasy movies are a particular favorite. I've noticed there are always certain people who attend them. There are those, like me, who enjoy a good movie, something original, something clever, something visually stunning, and fun. There are those who go to see this genre of movie not because they are fans, but because their mate or their friends are all going and they are looking for a pleasant social experience, a nice night out. Then there are those who go and become a part of the movie. They memorize dialogue, they dress in costume, they learn to speak Klingon, and they fantasize about living in Pandora, or battling Stormtroopers on the Death Star. If the movie is good, well made, meaningful, all three groups will enjoy the movie, will get something enjoyable or meaningful out of it. It's not that anyone group will enjoy the movie any more or less, it's that they each have a different way of expressing their enjoyment and approval. The same holds true for any other genre of movie; westerns, dramas, comedies. I would assume it isn't any different for for attending a particular denomination.

    If you love movies (God), you should see the genre (attending or becoming a member of a particular denomination) that gives you the most meaning and the most enjoyment. Anything else is not being fair to yourself.

    I found a relationship with God, or placing God in my heart, to be intensely personal. For years I thought my not enjoying Church (and avoiding "Christians") meant I wasn't getting "God". It took me a long time to realize that I had always had a relationship, a faith in God, and that it was ok that I did not "feel' a desire or a need to belong to a congregation. I speak to God often, I don't need approval or validation for that, I'm not a "joiner". That's just me.

    As to discussing things with your Wife, where there is love in a relationship there is understanding. You don't have to enjoy the same type of movie to enjoy a night out together.

    Once, many years ago, someone dear to me told me that my relationship with my then girlfriend was a mistake. I knew he was wrong. I knew I could always be myself with that girl, and that she could be herself with me. I knew what was in my heart, even if others did not see it. I could not imagine a life without her, and I know that now, almost 20 years later, I can share even my most embarrassing moments, and my deepest self doubts with her without fear of rejection or ridicule.

    I know your wife somewhat, you have nothing to worry about or be afraid of.

    I enjoy your blog...glad to see you back. Hold true to your journey.

  2. Re-reading this I'm wondering if it made sense... LOL

  3. Your wife is should talk with your least so he'll understand that your leaving his church is a matter of conviction rather than a dispute or personality conflict.

    That said, it seems to me that Evangelicals are much more uptight about a 2 church family (In my experience...they almost treat it like the dirty family secret). I remember my days as a charismatic and the women whose husbands either didn't go to church or went somewhere else spent much more time hand-wringing and guilt-tripping over it than I've ever seen at either the Lutheran or the Orthodox church. It took me sometime to switch off that tendency myself when my husband decided not to join me in the Orthodox faith. All that to say--yup, it's there and you're probably going to have to deal with it. But perhaps your wife can step back realize she doesn't have to live by reacting that way, and be content with the choices you've each made.

  4. Mike,
    what you said makes perfect sense. Plus I have the added benefit of you knowing me well and for a long time so anything you say is something that is weighted pretty high....guess I'll have to learn

  5. Deb,
    thanks...It's just that my wife feels cheated. We began our marriage, me as a pentecostal and her as a Lutheran. We decided we needed to go to one church and we went Lutheran (which was charismatic so I got my pentecostal "fix" as well). then we moved and had to decide on a different church, we, together made the decision to go Church of the I can understand why me going Orthodox alone would upset her....

  6. We journey through life together but alone. I would think the important thing here is that you both follow your faith..regardless of denomination. There is a huge 'social' aspect to church going as well, perhaps she is upset by that changing. If so, she'll survive. Life is change. Sometimes people have a hard time accepting that.

    I'm a huge history buff, my Wife could care less about history. We got past it pretty easily. You will too.

    Please....don't learn Klingon. One 'Johnny' is enough ;-)

    Hope it all works out for you.

  7. It's a difficult spot you are in: one foot in the boat, the other on the dock. All kinds of amusing or painful things can happen in that position. :) I'm in a similar predicament, and I'm just hoping there are no piranha in the water...

  8. Thanks, Bill, I'm rooting for you, too in your journey....let's steer clear of those pesky piranhas!

  9. I agree that talking with your current pastor is a good idea. Although he may not agree with you. Do you have someone like a spiritual father who knows you and your sins and whose direction you can trust? I am learning that obedience is one of the most important virtues and helps us eliminate our self-will. Your wife needs to see a real change in you, a real love - I think that is what our family and friends will follow. Can't wait to hear how this meeting went.

  10. As a reader with a vested interest in your situation, i.e., finding myself in a similar situation, I pray that you and your wife will find a solution that is peacefully acceptable to all. My inquiries into Orthodoxy have been answered with personal encouragement and cautious optimism when it comes to my wife, who, although not having as devout an experience as your wife appears to have, still is full of questions, reservations and not-so-obscure concerns as to my sanity.

  11. Maria,
    no spiritual father yet...I don't look forward to telling someone my sins, by the way...:)

    Like you, I am not crazy for exploring Orthodoxy; I'm just nuts! :)

  12. I can attest to that ;-)