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a passionate repentance

I find it immensely ironic that I named this journal for 'community'…

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may God stand
I find it immensely ironic that I named this journal for 'community' (at a time when I didn't really know what the word meant) and 'community is something I am having great difficulty with.

I am a convert. There's a part of me that sees the ethnic and cultural identity of the church I am a part of and feels alienated. I don't want to become Arabic, or Russian or anything. Just Orthodox and American. Me, in other words. But I also feel a little threatened. I fear that others may regard my presence *as* a threat. That I'm going to come in and change everything. That they, in short, don't want me there.

That's just my fear. My phobia. It's not necessarily underscored by any experience, it's certainly not meant as any kind of universal experience by all beings who happen to be converts.

I just don't know how to get around it.

Or fix it.

I wish I did.

I'm trying to see this as simply the need to focus more on the real reason for going to church--to worship God. It's not easy, the voice of my fears is loud. I've been listening to it for a long time.

That's why if anyone has any words of advice I'd be glad and grateful to hear them. I really would.

By the way, this is a very good article on converts to the faith and sectarianism:

http://htaoc.com/faith/library/articles/convert.html

(Here's hoping I formatted the link correctly)

Post Script: Having found this article by Mother Rafaela of Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery I have to link to it. Read it please. It lit up quite a few dark corners for me.

http://htaoc.com/faith/library/articles/convert.html
  • You have mentioned your un-ease and this feeling of not truly belonging before in regard to your church. Forgive me if this is an offensive suggestion, I don't mean it to be, but why this church in the first place if you feel the fit is not what you'd like? Why not seek out a church where you feel completely comfortable worshiping? Where you would feel like an asset instead of a threat.
    • No offense is taken at all.

      I have fears, and I'll be the first to admit that I worry a LOT. I could worry for England. But the point of the faith is not to adjust itself to me but me to it. And I suppose that means that I'll have more moments like this, more tests and more discomfort until I really do develop an Orthodox phronema.

      Like I said, I see this as a prod to develop my focus: God, and His Church, not just the people in it. It's just..uncomfortable right now while I work on these fears.
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