I was on vacation this week so I decided I would spend the morning with my Pastor. We met at the International House of Pancakes - a fitting place to discuss Orthodoxy since it is world wide :) - and we had eggs and chatted.
First, we talked about how my life was going, generally, especially how my son Justin's move back into the house is affecting the family. And we talked about all my kids. (although they are "kids" no more - the youngest graduates High School in a couple of weeks).
Then we switched the conversation towards Orthodoxy. Back in February I met with my Pastor to talk about my Eastern Orthodox leanings and in March I blogged about that conversation (which you can read about here: Orthodoxy or Bust!: Visit number 21...coming of Age!) In February, Pastor Del gave me a phone number to a Religion professor at our Denominational College. She is an expert in church history (especially the early church) and a good friend of my Pastor.
I told Pastor Del about that conversation, on how everything she said only confirmed my belief that Orthodoxy is the original church and, consequently, that is where I should be. The professor, when asked by me, conceded that all the doctrines of the church, and by church , I mean Protestantism and Catholicism, were clearly defined by the Orthodox Church. I pressed the professor more (this I did respectfully and didn't get a chance to tell this part of the conversation to my Pastor), asking her, if she conceded that there was only one Church in the beginning and that the Orthodox church seems to be that One church, why she was a Nazarene? She told me that she thought God wanted a place for everyone and that Orthodoxy didn't "fit" everyone so God had different denominations so that everyone had a home.
While I can appreciate God's patience and humility, in allowing for that, I think it's probably better to go along with His original plan.
We spent a great deal of time talking about how Orthodoxy is all about Worshiping God and he appreciated that. One thing that Pastor Del has always strived to do is cultivate a respectful atmosphere on Sunday mornings. He is totally repulsed by much of what he sees going on in Evangelical Christianity in regards to what is called "worship. Our conversation continued, and Pastor Del, who is a great shepherd and takes his job and calling seriously, listened attentively to me, on how I thought I should "join the Orthodox Church." He said, I should pray about it more and if that is how God is leading me than go with his blessing. He said, once I became a member, I would no longer be a member of the Nazarene church, I could no longer hold office or vote in business meetings. I said, as soon as I made a commitment to become a catechumen, I would send a letter to the board, asking to be released from membership.
Pastor Del encouraged me by saying no matter where I went, he would consider himself as my pastor. That is just like him. He is a person who cares about those whom God places in his life. I am greatly blessed to have Pastor Del as a friend and a Pastor. He has helped me greatly in the past in some, er, struggles I was having...but I am writing NOT about that here!.... Pastor/parishioner privilege :)
And the truth is, if I take the plunge and become a catechumen, I cannot sever all association with my protestant parish. My wife is a member there and I would attend when I could.
I invited Pastor Del to come with me to Vespers some Saturday. He said that would be a great idea and hopes to do so later in the summer.
Now, I guess I have to talk to Father Gary...I wonder if he likes IHOP?