How Orthodox are you?
How Orthodox are you?
Benedict Seraphim (Aka Clifton) has some funny, yet serious posts about Orthodox who take their Orthodoxy a little too seriously: HERE and HERE.
I've neither heard, nor would I pay much attention to Ortho-bloggers complaining about the Study Bible or Conciliar Press tracts. I note it to be an ironic thing for protestant converts to be complaining in true protestant fashion about other Orthodox or their efforts being too protestant. Sure some of these things may be "milk" as compared to "meat"...but I always get a little nervous about claiming I've fully graduated to the "meat" of Orthodoxy, let alone outright decrying the girly-man Ortho-low fat "milk."
Personally, I think it is great to have an OSB that at least makes an effort at applying a little Paradosis to the Scriptures...I know many have found them illuminating. And the low-fat Orthodox tracts may help to open doors to the riches within. And what are those riches? What is the "MEAT" of Orthodoxy?
It is precisely THAT thing which makes the Orthodox Church so much the Ark of salvation. Few, I think, could argue that it doesn't largely hinge on that which we hear time and time again: the call to self-examination and repentance. What is the heart of Orthodox tradition and practice but these things? The MEAT isn't the Typikon or "The Rudder" or keeping the fast perfectly, or attending every service, or wearing a headscarf, or not wearing jeans to church, or anything at all like that...the MEAT is when you start truly practicing asceticism beyond the fast which is (for example) loving your neighbor as yourself. Do we not hear these lessons in the life of the Church? Do we not fast in vain if we are eating our brothers? Are we the Publican or the Pharisee? How many times must we (****I****) hear the admonitions about the uselessness of the fast if we don't have the proper understanding of its intent? The Church pounds into our heads that her traditions are meaningless if we are not exercising them as a means of metanoia.
The Paradosis of the Church is not summed up by trying to be externally more and more Orthodox, but to truly experience metanoia. It is nothing...NOTHING...to do prostrations and bows at the right time and place if we are not truly prostrating and bowing our wills and self to God. Alone, the prayers and bowing render us as clanging gongs and babbling pagans. Bowing our wills and self to God, I believe this will express itself not in judgmentalism, but in the fruit of the Spirit:
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
I cannot help but believe that if we are spending too much time complaining about others not being Orthodox enough, that we ourselves are missing the same boat we think they failed to catch. Now again, I've not seen the blogosphere raging against things not Orthodox enough, but I would advise we concern ourselves with those things which I believe the Church teaches us: that YOU yourself are not Orthodox enough. This is the heart of Orthodoxy that not even a protestant stylized study Bible or tract can hide from people who come and see.
Have those who would spend time labeling such things as overly protestant failed to see it? That is not for me to judge...I'm merely suggesting. The litmus test for how Orthodox you are is VERY VERY clear; we ask God to help us be more Orthodox every time we press your heads to the floor while saying the Lenten prayer of St. Ephraim.
It matters little whether you have an Orthodox Study Bible, Prayer Rope, Ancient Faith Radio Bumper sticker, or Starbuck's coffee with steamed milk waiting for you in or on your car in the Church parking lot.