Monday, November 26, 2007

and exhale.........

Ok, I'm going to take some pressure off myself. I've put off writing on here because I felt the need to limit my writing to only Orthodox related things. Now doesn't that sound ridiculous, Orthodoxy is not the only thing I think about. I really wanted to document (for myself) exactly how I came to Orthodoxy. I want a chronological journal telling my story, hopefully someday I'll do that. Therefore I will start writing about not just one thing, but everything. As a result I'll probably start writing more frequently. (I hope you in reader-land don't mind!)

School is over, I did "ok" in most everything. I felt I spread myself way too thin this semester, and as a result my grades were "thin." I decided I would try to do EVERYTHING when school got out. I'm going to work tons (so that maybe I can save enough money to not spread myself so thin next semester.) Actually I'll be going to work in about an hour. I think I'll actually be excited when school starts again!

At church, we've been preparing for Christmas for almost 40 days. I think this has given me a much better understanding of the nativity of Our Lord. The Orthodox tradition is a fast leading up to Nativity along with increased church services. I have loved going to the Paraklesis service on Monday nights. I love the idea of being in church praying, as silly as that sounds. I used to believe a church was no different than any other place to pray. I can't believe I actually get excited to pray at church!

Today is the anniversary of the birth of 3 dear friends! Abby is my best friend and always gets the short end of the stick because her birthday is one week before Christmas! (So I thought a blog shout out for her might be approporiate! Now I don't have to get her a gift right?)
Also my friends Shanna and Gigi are celbrating their birthday today (twins!)

Orthodox Christians sing "Many Years" for everything! It's a really sweet hymn that we sing for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings... so in closing I want to sing (type) "Many Years" for all my friends with birthdays today!

God grant you many years, God grant you many years, God grant you many many years!
(I know it's kind of redundant, but I do love it!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Search For the First Church and Other Reasons I Became Orthodox

In order to continue the story I began in my previous post it is important for me to include some background information. My unique journey to the Eastern Orthodox faith can be attributed to many factors. I don't feel I need to prove Orthodoxy or that I could even try. My goal is to tell my story.

I was raised in the Protestant tradition (Methodist and Baptist respectively.) In my teens I became serious about my faith. While studying the Protestant reformation in high school I developed an interest in Church history. I loved studying Martin Luther and the reformation. I made the study of theology my hobby. I loved the who, what, where, when, and why of what I believed. This attitude of searching for the "reasons why" would be vital in my conversion.

Orthodoxy was unaffected by the work of my beloved Luther's reformation. It is something completely different (a bit of history that is interesting to study.) It has actually been said that Luther and his followers might not have started the reformation if he had known more about Orthodoxy. It was both culturally and geographically removed from Europe and the reformation. It is neither Catholic nor Protestant and is it's own entity, Orthodoxy.

So many factors led me to Eastern Orthodoxy. Along with my love of theology I also had an interest in the worship of the First Church. I had read a series of Christian fiction books set in the first century. I began to speculate, much like the author, about what the first church was truly like.

Orthodox worship isn't traditionally held in a living room accompanied by an accoustic guitar. As I said in my previous post I thought I was looking for an independent non-denominational church. Interestingly in the 70's and 80's a group of Campus Crusade for Christ leaders also embarked on this quest. They would find Holy Orthodoxy. I cannot tell their story as well as they can, I highly reccomend Fr. Peter Gillquist's book Becoming Orthodox. It tells their story.

In January 2007 I set out on my quest to find a new church. I visited several Protestant denominations. As I was searching I found myself drawn to what I called a more "traditional" style of worship. This attraction to liturgical worship would also lead the way to my conversion.

The conditions were perfect for me to discover Orthodoxy. My knowledge of Orthodoxy was rudimentary to say the least, but I was ready to find it. It was nothing like I expected, which is much like the paradox that is Christianity itself. It was perfect, and it is the first church I was searching for.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Orthodoxy in a Coffee Shop

I'm writing this from Java Cabana in Midtown. Today was a long complicated day, so I was thrilled to hear that Brandon wanted to eat a late lunch at Square Foods. After enjoying an oatburger we came here. When he decided to go to work I decided to stay here.

I said I would explain my move Orthodoxy. Last year I started looking for a new church. I knew I didn't want to be Baptist, although I didn't know what Christian denomination I wanted to be. At that point I was open to almost anything. I wanted to worship in the first church. Honestly I thought that would be some sort of low profile non-denominational church.

During this time Brandon and I started dating. He had been attending St. John Orthodox Church casually. We talked about religion quite often. All the while I was busy looking at more of the same, protestant denominations that is, and didn't see the ancient church I was looking for.

During this time Lent began. Brandon asked me to come to St. John's Pascha service (Easter.) He said I should probably visit the Church at least once before Pascha, since it's pretty different from what I was used to. The Sunday before Palm Sunday, I walked through the doors of St. John. Needless to say I was petrified, it's very different. (If you haven't read the link from my last post it explains a lot, check it out.)

I liked what I saw in the Sunday morning Liturgy. It was so deliberate and so timeless, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Crysostom has been around for more than 1,000 years. At first, my goal was to attend the Liturgy and understand everything that's going on. It's a lot (including incense, icons, candles, and much more.) I've heard that it takes at least 3 visits to an Orthodox church to get used to the Liturgy. It really does. There's lots of stimuli, especially compared to the minimalist protestant churches I was used to.

After a few weeks of attending St. John, and lots of reading later, I began to fall in love with Holy Orthodoxy.....

Ok, that's all my attention span will allow for now. I'll continue this story later. It'll probably be a few more posts.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Welcome to The Caitlyn-cosm

So, I got a blog (a couple of years late, I know.) I didn't want to, I didn't want to be the annoying girl at the cocktail party that keeps telling you about her life. I had an epiphany; unlike cocktail party girl, my readers are not obligated to read my little blog.

This brings me to the first rule of my blog: Never feel obligated to keep reading, feel free to click the little red "x" in the upper corner at any point during a post. This is the best part of a blog. Now that I have included this disclaimer, I feel much better about creating a blog.

The first post is of the utmost importance. (Get ready to be disappointed.) I'm going to write the exciting "what's been going on with me lately" post. I promise to write more interesting content in the future. It's been a while since I've seen many of you, here's an update.

Church- Most of you know I no longer attend Bellevue Baptist Church. Many of you know I'm no longer a Baptist. In fact I'm no longer a Protestant (no, I haven't converted to Catholicism.) I've become Orthodox, and I attend wonderful church named St. John. It's a pretty long story, I'll write about it in the future. I promise the story has almost nothing to do with B-Vue drama, sorry this isn't that kind of blog. Until I have time to fill you in on my conversion, read this.

Food- This is second favorite subject. I no longer eat meat. Yes vegetarian, no not vegan. I'm not a militant vegetarian, and this will probably be the last post about my herbivorous lifestyle, I just thought you should know.

School- I'm 22 and still in school. I'm still studying public relations. And we're not even going to talk about when I plan to graduate.

Work- I still work at Starbucks. I like my job, it's a good college student job. I drink a lot of coffee. I wake up super early and make coffee for myself and all the schmucks who have "real" jobs.

Etc.- I've been dating Brandon for a total of 10 months, he's swell. Thanks for listening to my ramblings, you are also swell.