Published in Apr 11, 2007… it’s a devotional! An Orthodox Christian devotional. As rare, and elusive as unicorns of myth and legend.
In Protestantism, one only has to throw a stone to find a devotional. Not so with Orthodoxy. Yes, we have books. Books about the ancient fathers, nuns, abbesses, abbots, angels, monks, prayer, psalms, etc., but books you open everyday to read from and pray with are rare.
Orthodoxy is intense. Where Protestantism looks at the kale sitting at the edge of the salad bar and says, ‘It’s just a garnish, don’t eat it’s not tasty.’, Orthodoxy says, ‘Eat the kale!’. It’s all kale all the time!’. Well, as far as reading material at least. We read hard, pray hard and feast with joy in Orthodoxy.
But I really wanted a daily devotional. So, I bought the devotional pictured above. I have no idea if I will like it. There are no photos of what’s inside. (I bought it off of ebay for a fraction of what it would have cost on Amazon.).
I have a goal/dream to write devotionals. I do not want to write fluffy devotionals but on the other hand; nor do I wish to crush people.
I am mentioning this and telling you about the devotional book because of that encounter i had the other day at the thrift store. she said she had left Roman Catholicism because she wanted a closer relationship with, Jesus.
My dear siblings in Christ… Your relationship with Christ will be what you want it to be. It will reflect the work you put into it. I do not believe that any one faith has cornered an exclusive map to being close with Christ. I do think that Orthodoxy has a better focus on what matters in regards to working on our inner selves and helping us to ‘die to the world’.
Pretty much everything I have encountered with Orthodoxy is like an advanced university course. Be-that-as-it-may, you can still build that relationship with Christ through; prayer, reading your bible, reading books written by the ancients, prayer, fasting, giving alms, etc I do not know what was different for her in Protestantism than Catholicism that brought her closer to Christ. Some of what we think is closeness turns out to be superficial. I remember exiting services as a Protestant and people challenging you with questions about whether or not you, ‘felt the movement of the Spirit’ during the service. Many times I blindly said, ‘yes!’ not really understanding what they meant or what was going on. That sort of thing can lead to ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ syndrome. ‘What’s that?’, you ask? That’s where you ‘go along to get along’.
You admit to seeing, feeling, or hearing what you think you are supposed to because you don’t want to seem like the only person not, ‘getting It’. This often lead to services becoming more like a three ring circus than a holy worship service.
But back to the devotional. Will it automatically make me feel closer to Christ? I doubt it. But it will, hopefully, provide welcomed insights into our ancient faith. You know that Jesus did not rise up form the grave in a white, three piece suit, thumping a bible and yelling at the crowd to whip them up into a money giving frenzy… yes?
I will let you see the devotional when it arrives. I will make a video going through it page by page, and post it on Youtube. While I do hope it is ‘chewy’ I also hope it is not like the other Dox books I have read where people are starving, being tortured, and being dragged through the wringer/mangler of life.
We’ll just have to wait and see. There are three books in this series. They are yearly devotions so one book for 52 weeks.
Lord have mercy. I will probably love them all and wonder why there are not more!
Say your prayers, give alms, be kind to one another as God is kind to us!
p.s. I just found this on Wikipedia. I hope this devotional is NOT progressive! Oh no! Did I make a mistake?
Thomas Clark Oden was an American Methodist theologian and religious author. He is often regarded as the father of the paleo-orthodox theological movement and is considered to be one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. Wikipedia. (He is one of the authors of the devotional!). Oh well. We will se, we will see.