six months to insanity

Not for nothing did I change my blog's subtitle several months ago. What a new road my life's been on since February.

When this year started, I considered myself a Radical Biblicist. Now things are different. Not entirely; the journey has been leading this direction, as I now see it, all along.

Here's how I view things today: during my lifetime I have dealt with belief in God, via different denominations and non-denominations, plus studies regarding cults and Christianity, and also (perhaps most profoundly from years ago) experiences of my own choosing that showed up plainly my rebellion and God's mercy. These have led me to the "pre-denomination."

I think I have come home.

If that sounds dramatic, I'm sorry. I know reality is a place where everybody lives their story, each one equally significant. Because of that One who created, there's a reason we're all here. There is much to see, from multiple angles. Such wonder and beauty. Fragile steps along solid paths to true understanding. If it's insane to believe such things, well, I'm guilty.

I must admit I have been nervous. You don't just wake up one morning, "hear" God telling you something, and expect your very rational (though loving) friends to consider you still right in the head. This overthinking, undereducated woman fears being considered an idiot. Some days, though, that fear comes to matter much less.

Six months ago I got the message I needed to seriously consider Orthodoxy. It had to do with Tim, but the thought came to me in the context of my problem with pride. With feeling superior. I had gone to sleep, you could say, in the room within myself that has a sign on the door proclaiming, "God is the one in charge." I didn't think it mattered if I nodded off in there.

Gently, yet firmly, I got shaken awake. Have you noticed this happens to biblical characters? In one story, ten virgins await a bridegroom. They all doze off, because the waiting is long, but then, suddenly, the bridegroom appears and those who are still willing (well-oiled) hurry with him into the wedding feast. In another scene, three apostles watch, at their master's request, while he goes farther forward to pray in deep suffering. The master understands the men, even when their weakness lets him down. He doesn't point a condemning finger.

The message I received nudged me strongly, in part, because its delivery was familiar. This sort of thing has happened to me before. Only maybe four other times has something like this happened that spoke to every instinct, capturing my full attention.

I've taken seriously each of these message moments, in part, because there were two other aspects to each of them that seemed significant. Every one has come as a shock to me. Totally not where I thought things were headed. Yet, like the cool surprise at the climax of a great story, I have seen looking back where the unexpected element came from. There was foreshadowing.

The other aspect was my mistrust of myself each time. While feeling a sense of comfort amid the off-kilterness, I didn't expect that I was sensing aright. Only time would tell, each time. I waited in wonder to see the future's development. In other words, while I came to a conclusion based on a message I firmly thought God had given, I tried not to presume upon reality or close the door on the possibility I heard wrong.

Each of the previous times, the message I was given has remained valid to this day; in fact, each one only appears more plausible and right, many years later.

This sort of thing, however, never happened before regarding which church I should go to. And, yes, you remembered right, I was merely told to seriously consider Orthodoxy.

Only fleetingly, though, did I muse that perhaps this meant I was to infiltrate -- you know, the ultra-Protestant in disguise, seeking to free those poor slaves to religious ritual. Well, no. The way our introduction to Orthodoxy came about, I could see from the first there was a Gospel reality central to the foreign things these people were doing. I went and watched them. At first I assumed they said things and made motions with an attitude of needing to top other Christian expressions, to make themselves feel good as uber-churchgoers. I thought perhaps I would straighten them out on a few points. But mainly I knew I've never been sophisticated. I couldn't worm my way into something with ulterior motives, and it would be a sorry show if I tried. Besides, I don't think that's the sort of reason God would give me such a message if he had.

I was there to engage, as honestly as I could. Scariest sort of situation for me, when I am reluctant. Yet, it was the only way I would ever have pushed against those Orthodox words and actions I considered showy to find they are founded on something of rational meaning. Mysterious, rational meaning, true, at least for a Western mind to grapple with. But my little brain isn't the first and won't be the last to do so.

This past week I read the blog of a friend from the Radical Biblicist community. Satellite Saint contains attempts he's making to seriously consider Orthodoxy. As far as I know, if he's received divine nudges to do this, they were gradual or subtle, and he has mostly studied the concepts (though he did visit our church one day and posted about it here). He makes no claim to be committing to Orthodoxy, and I take him seriously there. This may be a passing study for him, but whatever the case, I appreciate greatly his articulation of very sane issues. I wish him the best, as I do all my friends, on the journeys ahead, in the messages to be engaged with.

Comments

Tucker said…
Deanna, thanks for the reference and link. It was really a blessing to meet you and Tim outside St. John's that Sunday I visited. It was good to know someone who was a part of the church and could empathize with why I would come. Like you I feel very much on a journey. I am not as settled with Orthodoxy yet as you, but I think I find the same beauty and richness that you do, though still from outside rather than inside. And I also have recognized that my own pride has been a big part of the reason I had clung to a version of Christianity that no longer seems so vital. Who knows where God will lead me, but Orthodoxy still is pulling at me and calling me to humility--something that I long for more than I used to.
Deanna said…
I appreciated your comment, Tucker, though it took me a while to remember to say so.
You are sharing worlds within worlds and I love the learning.
Helen said…
It is not everyday I see a description of hearing God like this, but you knocked it out of the park! Hit the nail on the head! This is NOT an easy way to live a Christian life. It feels good to know others are out there.