Saturday, May 28, 2011

Meeting with Pastor at IHOP, eggs and Orthodoxy!

pastor Del

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?


  1. It sounds like Pastor Del is a very nice man with a big heart. That's the hard part of conversion -- leaving such people to a smaller role in your life. But, for us, the blessings far outweighed the hardships.

  2. David,
    Yes, it will be hard...especially since I have known this church and this pastor for over 16 years! ...but I long for the Sacraments!

  3. Yes, sounds like your pastor is a good and caring pastor, hope he can come out & experience a Vespers service sometime (or even next year's Pascha!). Just a comment though on what the Religion professor said: "Orthodoxy didn't "fit" everyone". My feeling is that this is one of the main problems experienced as a Protestant - everything revolves around me, and just reinforces my current state of being. If I don't like the worship service or the praise band, I'll go to a different service that "fits me". If I don't like my pastor, I'll fire him and hire a new one that "fits me". If I don't agree with the theology, I'll start my own church plant that "fits me". In the Orthodox church, it's not going to change to suit me because it's not about me. If there is a problem or issue, the odds are that it requires a change of my own heart (ie metanoia, repentance) to bring me in line with the Truth, not a change of the Truth to reinforce my own viewpoint. (However, this doesn't mean to just blindly follow whatever I am taught, but that's a whole other discussion). Enjoying reading about your continuing journey. Shane

  4. Shane,
    one of the things I like about Orthodoxy is I do not get to decide...that is up to God! And isn't that the proper place for a creature to be in?

    "Finding a church that fits" has resulted in thousands of denominations!

  5. Absolutely Jim, and those thousands of denominations often disagree even on the most “basic” of doctrines. If “Truth” becomes subjective or relative, why bother seeking it? This does lead into the “not following blindly” subject though – when looking into the Orthodox faith, feel free to challenge, question, and investigate it as deeply as you wish (with an open heart). It's withstood 2000 years of challenges, I'm pretty sure it can withstand some more (and if it can't, then it's not worth following so you're better off seeking the Truth somewhere else). What I found frustrating being a Protestant is that the deeper I dug, the less I found – superficial answers, self-contradictions, detachment from history, disagreements in even foundational issues (and this was even in strong "Bible-based" denominations). When I was looking into Orthodoxy and asking questions, the answers had substance and the more I dug, just kept on finding deeper and deeper roots, a secure foundation. There are also many safeguards to protect this Truth – Holy Scripture (as interpreted by the Church), the writings of the Church Fathers, the services, the hymns (one of the greatest sources of Orthodox theology), the icons, the prayers, the priests & bishops. They are all in full agreement, and if something deviates from this, it should set off warning bells for the faithful (this safeguard is sadly lacking in non-Orthodox churches, the latest extreme example of course being May 21st coming and going and leading thousands of Christians astray). Shane

  6. Shane,
    when I first started seeking something deeper then Protestantism, I first went back to my roots of roman Catholicism but I wad troubled by some of thier teachings- the idea of birth control and sex only for procreation, the annulment process seeming to me to be just fancy legal footwork and the universal juristiction of the pope...all these problems were answered in orthodoxy and, to date, I can find nothing I disagree with...I guess I found the right church!

  7. Who doesn't like IHOP?

    Pastor Del is a good man and the church history professor seems like a nice lady. They both seem balanced and healthy. Be thankful for that.

  8. Yes,
    I couldn't agree more... I thank God for great people in my life who bring me closer to Christ

  9. No IHOP's around here, sadly. I have to meet with pastor or priest at Denny's, which exist at just about every interstate exit. :)

    Enjoyed reading about your conversation...

  10. Bill m.
    Thanks for reading...I haven't eaten in a denny's in years! It wad a favorite on my college days :)