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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 in review

2010 was both a blessing as well as a curse. Both painful as well as a delight.

The bad first:

1.)Three people I knew fell away from Orthodoxy. I knew two personally and one online. The one online started out as a nominal christian, turned atheist only to join Islam. Then from there he became Orthodox and about a year after being Chrismated he decided to become a Protestant. First a nonCalvinist, and two weeks after that he decided to become a Calvinist. I tried to get him back but it was a no go. I assembled a team of about 6 to talk to him through e-mail and after a few go arounds of going back and forth we saw that it was probably best to stop. I told him that he made too many changes quickly and that he needed to slow down and think about this some more. I also told him that it would probably be best to put his old blog on private. He refused to take my advice about taking it slow and so I said that I would still see him as a friend, and so is our relations today. We are friends despite our theological disagreements.

2.) Some months before that I lost another friend who went to my Parish. I drove him to the Ancient Christianity Conference once. I met his parents, and other family members in Indiana. He was raised Baptist like myself, and he was also an African American. However, he was struggling with doubt, and atheism in particular. He carried that struggle with him when he became Orthodox. At first I thought he was able to handle his personal struggle for he found a girlfriend who was a daughter of a GOA priest, and he was pretty much embraced. But two years later he caved in to his doubts. He worked at the Library and so he would spend alot of time there. Well, I don't know when, but he got a hold of two "psychology and religion" books with an Atheistic bent/bias. He ate it up and decided to totally give in to his doubts. I knew he was flirting with atheism for the two years I knew him. But he finally gave in. I didn't know about it until some months later. Perry called me and told me about it for I still had his name as an administrator on my blog. I told Perry I saw him at Church some weeks ago, and how he never told me that he was now an Atheist. And so I spoke to the one in question and sure enough it was true. I tried to get him back by arguing with him nicely on facebook, but it was a no go. Some months later he invited me to see him. He wanted me to see his new friends and he wanted us to all talk. Well, I thought I was gonna debate them, but when I got there I saw they had no interest in that. Instead they wanted to talk about carnal things and do drugs, and so I left some hours after arguing with them anyway.

3.) My sponsor who was raised Roman Catholic but became Orthodox some months before me decided to become Roman Catholic again. I wasn't mad at him, nor did I try to argue him out of it. He always loved Thomas Aquinas and scholasticism in general. He also would often criticize the Orthodox for not being categorical and precise in abstract legal definitions like Roman Catholicism. He stopped going to the Parish after talking to our Priest about something. He would always visit the local Coptic Parish and he would try to get the Arabic Chalcedonian Orthodox Christians to do more things with the Nonchalcedonian Coptics. But he would go about it too hard and he would often get depressed when things didn't happen as quickly as he would like.

Plus other things outside the Parish happened as well, and so over all, he just felt more comfortable with Roman Catholicism. I am still friends with him, but I had to delete him from the list of blog administrators.

4.) Being my age and still at home with moms. My job isn't paying enough for me to move out and do what I really wanna do in life, and my mom doesn't want me to leave just yet for she is separated from my step dad and can't really survive on her own....well she can now, but for some reason she doesn't want me to leave just yet. I can't find a girlfriend who won't laugh at me for being in this situation. And so it's been bad. I thought about joining the Armed forces just to escape, find a wife, and get my own place once I get out. But those plans have recently been thwarted. And so now I don't know what I'm gonna do to get out this situation. I'm paying off some old loans for my mom's and from the looks of it they won't be fully paid off until 2014, but I can't stay here that long. I'll go crazy if I have to stay that long.

5.) I was born with three hernias, two closed up, but one was still open. The Armed forces wouldn't accept me with it, and so I had to get it done. It took about 6 to 8 weeks for it to fully heal. The first week was extremely painful. However, I'm not going to the Armed forces any more. I'm staying here. And so I'm going to have to look for a better job or something. Don't know yet. All I know is that I gotta eventually find a way to move to the Hill District. The hood/ghetto of my mothers side of the family. For that's where we(me and the sub-deacon) are planning to reach the community.

Well, that's the bad that happened. Now the good!

1.) I got to meet David and His family this year!

2.) I got to know Perry a bit better and he has really been helpful in not only theology, but also with practical every day parish life issues.

3.) I got to meet Ed and his family at the conference. I first met Ed online about a year or two before. And it was just cool to actually see him in person. He is the one in the middle below!

4.) Also, meeting all the others at the conference was a great blessing!

5.) I've gotten closer with the people at my Parish.....including the older folks. I was shy at first.....some 3 and a half years ago. I told myself that I would take things slow and gradually open up over time. Well, it's been 3 years and 9 months since I've been Chrismated and now I am opening up more and more to people at the Parish.

6.) Subdeacon Paul moved back to Pittsburgh last month or the month before......just when I was planning to bounce to O.C.S.(officer candidate school).....I know, I was just about to compromise my semi-pacifistic stance. Something I believed in for years, but the pressures of life and trying to survive and support a possible future family really got to me. But the sub deacon talked me out of it. He really wants to reach the Urban community here in Pittsburgh and he really wants my help in doing it. He was in Allentown Pa for some months after graduating from Saint Tikhons.

7.) The Ordination of a friend...he was Chrismated 6 months before me, but he was at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary when he converted and so instead of going to seminary again afterwards, our Archpriest and Mandrate decided to take him in under his wing as an apprentice for 4 years. It was cool to see him ordained.

8.) I forgot to mention my friend Troy. He was Chrismated hours before me in 2007. We were both Episcopal before we became EO. In 2010 he finally became a novice monk at the Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne, WestVirginia. Something he would talk about and wanted to do ever since I've known him.

So yeah, 2010 was both good and bad.


Lucian said...

If she dislikes you in your loser-state, she's not The One. (And no, you won't go mad, because people who *are* mad never realize it).

There's no connection between atheism and sin, or atheism and abortion, or atheism and liberalism, or atheism and anything else, for that matter: the drugs and carnality were alone his own doing.

DON'T join the Army! EVER!

Can't you find a job as a web-designer?

Lucian said...

The defections from Orthodoxy are solely the Priests' fault, for not imposing a certain number of years on the wannabe-converts. Say, 5 years (I like round numbers). If Orthodoxy's the Truth, it will still be the Truth after 5 years. If one's adherence or faithfulness to Orthodoxy's genuine, and not just a passing fling, it will still be there after 5 years.

Jnorm said...

LOL! Thanks, I guess I could try. I'm gonna look around and see what's available in this down economy.

Since I'm staying in Pittsburgh now. I need to find something that will work around the ministry that me and the sub-deacon wants to do. I have to meet him today at the home of the archpriest. I told him I was nervous. I don't think I'm prepared.

Unknown said...


I'm sorry to hear about the problems this year. It was great to meet you in person, though; the family and I had a great time at the Antiochian Village with you. Hopefully we'll be able to do something like that again some day in the not-so-distant future.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

I had a great time at the Antiochian Village

Ahem... you in the navy now, Dave? :)

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