Friday, June 22, 2012

A Farewell

Sometimes decisions come after a lot of painful deliberation and ambivalence. Others seem to present themselves naturally, all at once.

I've decided to shut down the blog, though the words will remain up. I should say that this has nothing to do with anyone other than myself; no authority figure in the Church has discouraged or prohibited me in any way from blogging. Rather, it just comes from an honest realization that I am most likely going to be extremely busy learning the nuts and bolts of being a priest, and the blog would, for me, simply be a distraction of something I could be doing, maybe should be doing...and if it's simply no longer an option, so much the better. My FB time is going to be severely curtailed, as well. I do plan on still reading friends' blogs, though, and commenting as able. Friends I've met in real life after meeting through blogs remain good and close ones.

I also suppose the close comes with the close of a phase in my life, which friends of mine and I have spoken about, regarding new converts' tendency to pontificate via blogs during their initial years of being Orthodox. While this can be helpful--I think this blog and my testimony blog actually served me quite well in articulating what I believed and have also led to several emails thanking me for help in coming into the Orthodox Church--I think there comes a time when converts in general have less to say and more to live. There are exceptions--Fr. Stephen Freeman and Steve Robinson both put out very regular, though very different, blogs that continue to challenge and inspire--but I think that, in my case, my move to seminary signaled a time when what was needed was less output and more input. Specifically, regular and personal prayer, study of spiritual and pastoral issues, and learning from experienced pastors about personal weakness and development as a man, a Christian, and a priest. Such exploration might make good blog posts, but when much of it is personal, and all of it is time-consuming, blogspot tends to go on the backburner.

I may start a new blog someday, once a "stride" is hit in the pastoral life. If so, I'll link to it here.

Thanks to all who've read over the past seven years. May God bless and keep you in your dedication to His Christ and His Church.

8 comments:

C Squared said...

Blessings. It has been great to keep up with you this way and I hope this next venture is just as good for you. I have full faith it will be.

charles d said...

Good luck and may God grant you many years ! :)

s-p said...

May God bless your ministry. I'll miss your voice on the blogosphere (I have already... I figured you were winding it down as most blogs do.) I hope you'll be back some day with some hard won wisdom. (It doesn't come any other way...:)
peace to you and your house,
s-p

elizabeth said...

Will miss you but it is understandable and good. God keep you and yours well!

Ian Climacus said...

Thank you for allowing us to share the journey with you. My prayers and best wishes, and may God grant you many, many years!

Matthew McNatt said...

May God bless you in your priestly journey ahead. Thank you for blessing me, and others, by sharing publicly your journey to the Orthodoxy faith and your growth herein. God grant you many years!

Aaron Taylor said...

Well said, Fr David! I hope you have a fruitful ministry.

Jon said...

Father David, I read your testimony on your other blog, and, as an Orthodox convert myself, I have some questions about it.

Primarily, you seem to concentrate on the discipleship of the disciples from the beginning, and the idea that such discipleship has been continuously passed down via apostolic succession, and therefore the Orthodox Church is able to know the true meaning of how we should relate to God (and many things found in the Bible) in a manner that Protestants are not.

That was a large part of the reason I first became interested in the Orthodox Church as well.

Your listing of early Christian documents definitely helps disprove many Protestant notions and arguments against God.

However, I can't help but notice that those documents also seem to disprove the idea that there was any clear unity of belief or certainly gained via apostolic discipleship. I've read nearly everything Christian written before 200 AD, and there are many contradictions between the different documents, not to mention enormous contradictions between them and current Church beliefs. And several of the authors (Justin Martyr comes to mind), seem to know as little as we do about some aspects of the Bible, and seems to be working through much of the same reasoning process that we do.

As Church beliefs began to develop and ecumenical councils were held, these councils seemed to finally decide and lay down dogma that had been forming for centuries, rather than simply regurgitate already-established dogma that had been clearly passed down all along. And, though my reading of 3rd/4th/5th/6th century Fathers isn't as complete as my reading of the earlier writings, I can't help but notice that there are still many contradictions and differences of opinion. However, they do look more like today's church than the earliest writings do - perhaps suggesting that our various Orthodox churches provide a good reproduction of 4th-century Christian practice, rather than really replicating 1st-generation practices.

So while our Orthodox churches preserve many things that the protestants lack, they do not seem to be assured of having any specific truth. In fact, it does seem that Protestants can find truths of Christ that the Orthodox have lost and then re-invented over time. I read the writings of the Anglican theologian N.T. Wright, for example, and have trouble believing that he knows less of Christ and 1st-century Christian practice than, say, the average Ethiopian Orthodox or Russian Orthodox bishop embroiled in fights over political power.

I could list a ton of examples, but I think that you've read much of the same stuff, so you probably already know what I'm talking about. You are a somewhat newer convert than me, I think, and your journey to the priesthood may have enveloped much of your attention (I had to choose not to follow that same path and remain a lay servant), but I'm guessing that you've seen many of these same thinks. How do you feel about that, and is it something you still wrestle with?