This is usually the point in this particular story where many people simply assume that I’m either becoming Orthodox or planning to become Orthodox at some point. They tend to act in disbelief when I tell them truthfully that I have no such plans. I’m not sure if I have any “plans” at all at this juncture. More than anything, I’m letting each day come as it will and I’m not sure what the future holds.
I’ve puzzled over that expectation and disbelief for some time and I think it may be linked to our modern tendency to self-segregate in groups according to what we believe about God. That tendency is most evident, of course, among Protestants, but I believe it may be much broader and deeper than that.
It’s not a drive I seem to share. Ultimately, any group with which I associate is going to be a community of people with all the difficulties that entails. Of course, I will tend to move away from groups who hold beliefs I find abhorrent or perhaps even harmful, but that’s more from the effects of those beliefs upon people than because of the beliefs themselves.
I suppose other things matter more to me than the specific beliefs a group does or does not hold. And most of those things revolve around relationships more than ideas. Don’t get me wrong. It has been, is, and will continue to be a huge relief to me that the things I’ve experienced, understood, and believe about God and the nature of reality are not somewhere on the fringe, but are instead right in the mainstream of Orthodox theology. But that fact alone does not translate into a desire to run out and become Orthodox.
What would translate into such a desire or intention? That’s really hard for me to say. As many spiritual leaps and transitions as I’ve made in my life, I can’t really say that I exactly planned any of them. Even in retrospect, I’m not sure I could detail the reasons for every shift, though some are clearer than others. If my wife were ever drawn toward Orthodoxy (which is unlikely) that would almost certainly pull me in that direction as well. I know myself well enough to know how important that relationship is to me. Other than that, I’m not sure there’s much that ever would, though once again I’m not good at predicting the future.
One thing I do know, though. I will continue to pray, “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me, a sinner.”