Monday, February 07, 2011

Leaning towards Orthodoxy

Having been brought up as a Catholic the liturgy, the statues, the incense and all the other stuff that goes with it have never particularly bothered me, even though I have 'moved' from the Catholic Church into something different: Christianity rather than a particular denomination. We go to a Baptist Church, and are members there, but I don't consider myself a 'Baptist'. A Christian, definitely, but I don't define it beyond that.

I've been following a blog written by Joseph Black. He's an American lecturer at a Christian College in Nairobi, Kenya. In the last few years he's leaned closer and closer to the Orthodox Church (not a 'denomination' as such, but a major stream of the Christian church, as Catholicism is), and in recent months was baptised into the Orthodox Church. He's been writing about his journey on his blog, and though personally I couldn't see myself going 'backwards' as it were, into something like Catholicism or Orthodoxy, I understand his reasons.

In his latest post he talks about taking several of his students to an Orthodox service - it's part of their course to attend different churches. For anyone who wants some answers as to why the Orthodox church does some of the things it does, particularly in relation to icons, read Black's post. It's very helpful.

By the way, Orthodoxy as a word gets used in different ways within Christianity: G K Chesterton wrote a book on Christianity and called it 'Orthodoxy' - but it has nothing to do with the Greek or Russian Orthodox streams. Rather it relates to the basics of Christianity as a whole, though in typical Chesterton style, it isn't in any sense a formal introduction to Christianity, nor a manual that tells you specifics about the faith.

As Chesterton writes in the introduction: "When the word "orthodoxy" is used here it means the Apostles' Creed, as understood by everybody calling himself Christian until a very short time ago and the general historic conduct of those who held such a creed. I have been forced by mere space to confine myself to what I have got from this creed; I do not touch the matter much disputed among modern Christians, of where we ourselves got it. This is not an ecclesiastical treatise but a sort of slovenly autobiography. But if any one wants my opinions about the actual nature of the authority, Mr. G.S.Street has only to throw me another challenge, and I will write him another book." [G S Street being one of his regular opponents.]
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