Please forgive me
This post should have been written last Saturday for forgiveness vespers.
I’m jealous. Jealous of successful bloggers and writers. I have been blogging for decades and have very little to show for it. Perhaps because I have such a hard time focusing on any one topic. there are so many interesting things out in the world. Curiosity isn’t necessarily a good thing, as I have learned through Orthodoxy.
One such blogger I have envied (she has done nothing wrong… it’s ME I’m to blame) is, Sylvia Leontaritis over at Adventures of an Orthodox Mom.
I made myself purchase her book: Songs of Praise; A Psalter Devotional for Orthodox Women. In case you have not noticed, devotionals are not a big ‘thing’ in Orthodoxy. Devotionals are not a bad thing, we just have ‘The Ancient Fathers’ and I think that devotionals are over-looked in favor of reading ‘The Fathers’. Not that you can’t write a devotional around The Fathers; or that only reading your bible and writings/sayings of The Fathers is bad. It’s just another difference between Orthodoxy and just about everyone else; the book shelves are not over-flowing with Orthodox Devotionals.
So… I humbled myself and bought her book… begrudgingly. I read the introduction hmmmm. I read what she wrote about a Psalter Group (could not convince anyone to join me…). And read what she wrote about the saints reading Psalters. Then I began to read the actual Psalms and devotionals. What a blessing it has been. It’s tough. Don’t get me wrong. She starts you off with just a few pages, 8 then quickly escalates to, 13. I have other books I am reading during Lent. It’s been a bit of a challenge. It’s not the reading part that is tough… it’s the subject matter. If you want to change, and grow as a Christian- books written by orthodox Christians tend to be the meatiest, at least that’s what I have found. There are no books on ‘How to Build Wealth Using Scripture’ in the Orthodox world of literature.
Typical Orthodox titles are: Living without Hypocrisy, The Lives of the Optina Fathers (full of stories of suffering, repentance, redemption, etc.), Thirty Steps to Heaven (a bit of light reading to help one ‘get over themselves’ in order to be an acceptable offering to God), Wounded by Love, etc.
Orthodoxy is Christianity as it was, as it should be, and as it can be. It is not some weird religion for Greeks and Russians. (Side note to priests of Orthodox Parishes, if you are an Orthodox Church in America, please do more to reach out to English speaking people in your communities. Orthodoxy is wonderful but people are not hearing about it much because it is still looked at as an ‘ethnocentric’ religion open only to people of certain races.)
I am thankful to the modern writers of life as an Orthodox Christian. For those of us who did not grow up in this wonderful way of life, you have been lifelines.
God is good. Please forgive me for being petty and jealous. Thank you to the Orthodox bloggers, and writers of books, who have helped me on my journey.