Sunday, August 31, 2008

What do I believe?

Seems like a whole bunch of things I want to write about; the trouble is making the time.

One of the driving factors in pushing me away from the Baptists was that they taught their own, incorrect, versions of Catholic teaching. The lesson I learned is that if you want to know what a faith teaches, get your information straight from the horse's mouth, not from middlemen. Jack Chick's "Alberto" for me became a watershed in condemnation of bogus teachings. This means that if you want to know what Baptists teach, ask Baptists. If you want to know what Catholics teach, ask a Catholic source. And if you want to know what us whacky Orthodox Christians believe, ask a genuine Orthodox source. The worst thing you can do is think you know what they teach (because a source from your own faith told-you-so), and then find out that you were wrong.

I think the really surprising thing is discovering how much Orthodoxy has in common with mainline Protestant faiths. The Nicene Creed is a good place to start.

For a complete rundown of what exactly Orthodoxy teaches and why, where you can pick and choose what you're curious about, here's an official source:

Or you can just click the title of this post, above.

And once again, for an interesting radio experience, click on "Ancient Faith Radio" to the right. You can choose between discussions of a WIDE variety of topics on the "Talk" stream, or listen to music that Christians listened to 1,000 years ago on the "Music" stream (a fair amount is in English, though).

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A small test of faith

We never know how good our faith is until it is tested. I think of Abraham being tested by the sacrifice of Isaac, of CS Lewis being tested by the death of his wife. When it comes to that, I haven't really been tested yet. But there are little rehearsals along the way. When we suffer a loss, even a minor one, how do we react? Do we react in anger? Do we turn to God? Do we say, "Why me?"

I just had an accident; my car was totaled, it wasn't my fault, but insurance will take months to process, and knowing how they avoid payment on policies, I don't have high hopes for the future on that count. We have to get along without a car for the foreseeable future. How we will obtain groceries (walking with what I, the man of the family, can carry in two hands, how our aging in-laws will get to their dacha, how we will get to church, what we will do if we have a medical emergency...

It is here that I have to ask myself, where is my faith? Do I really rely on God? Or do I really rely on myself? Can I let go and leave things in God's hands when something happens outside of my control?

Not that I doubt my faith intellectually. But I do see at times like this how small my faith is.