I've been waiting for inspiration to strike and tell me what kind of blog this would be in the long run. I think it has. For many months now, I have been looking for reasons to remain connected to a religion. I believe in God, because random chance is just too farfetched an idea for me to accept; but sometimes it's been very hard to believe that He is anything more than a Creator and scientific observer. Evidence is strong that the idea of religion is born of mental and spiritual breakdown, and the need to explain things we can no longer cope with, or connect with something we can claim special powers from. Watching DH gradually lose all connection to reality as his addiction progressed, and the subsequent dark spiritual forces that surrounded us as a family, made this particularly sensible to me.
Long ago, DH's excuse for not attending church with me was that he believed in the Orthodox tradition. I wonder now if that was his way of ensuring we would never agree on religion, so that he would always have an excuse. Two years ago, when I became desperate enough - and disillusioned enough with the Protestant tradition - I decided to look into their beliefs. I was raised to vilify and abhor anything that could be labeled "Priestcraft," but it was clear by then that any form of religion out there was rampant with priestcraft, whether the leaders were robed or not.
It wasn't that I was disillusioned with our current congregation. Our minister was - and is - one in a million. The church is 200 years old. It's small size, local significance, and historic beauty appealed to me. The people were mostly elderly, kind and gentle people full of love for their fellow man. True followers of Christ. No one scowled when our kids fretted, they were always eager to lend a hand in any way it was needed, and it was only because I could no longer believe in some of the doctrines that I was willing to look elsewhere.
Also, I must admit, a new couple who attended for a while played into it. They didn't think our congregation was "friendly" enough; I guess people who minded their own business overall weren't evangelical enough for them. And when I got pregnant with the Princess, I started to feel like the church mascot, with him petting me every time he came close and the rest of the people starting to follow suit. It was incredibly irritating and made me avoid getting there until the service had begun.
So I googled "Orthodox Church America," and came up with a congregation in the next state that looked promising. There were a couple of churches closer, but they looked bigger and more culturally oriented. We attended an Easter service. People were friendly. They asked about our interest in Orthodoxy, and explained that much of the congregation consisted of converts. This was a big plus for me. The peace and beauty of the service was unparalleled by anything I had previously experienced. I couldn't wait to go back.
(I'm not going to label this a series, because the story is ongoing; but it will have to be written in parts as I have time.)