In the last post, I mentioned that I was brought to the Orthodox church kicking and screaming the whole way. In this post, I will aim to give light to the reasons I was kicking and screaming for so long.
I will not aim to answer these objections in this post, merely to point them out. As this blog is about my journey to Orthodoxy, the answers will come in the order in which I found them. I ask your patience as you follow my steps into the church.
There were three major objections I had to the Orthodox church from the outset. They are also all very closely linked.
- Similarity to the Roman Catholic Church.
- Growing up, my two closest friends were Roman Catholic. They were awesome people, and we often shared what are churches were like. But mentally for me whenever they would share, I would “guard” my thoughts by hedging their beliefs into a box that I called “heretical”. It was fine for me to listen to them as long as I didn’t buy into what they were saying.
- Importance of Mary in the Church
- Tagging onto the first objection, Mary was central to most of my hesitations about the church. For much of my Christian education, I was taught that Mary was simply a woman who obeyed God. There was nothing special about her, other than her obedience. Coming into a church where she is honored was to me similar to honoring the waiter who brought your food. They didn’t cook the meal, so why would I give them honor that is due to the cook?
- Prayers to the Saints/Guardian Angels
- The final of my three major objections was the way that I perceived prayers to the saints. After all, Hebrews 4:14-16 says that Jesus is our high priest. We should pray to him, and him alone. Again some of the Catholic misgivings I had tainted my view here. I saw the prayers as being directed straight to the saints with the expectation that the saints themselves would answer them. This basically said to me, that my concerns or cares were not important enough to God or Jesus for them to answer them directly.
- The Deuterocanonical books. Growing up there were 66 books to the Bible, no more, no less.
- Iconography. This one seemed plain to me, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
- This one could be classified as a “major” concern like the three above. However, I didn’t want to dilute the above list with “similar” concerns, due to the closeness of Iconography and Prayers to the Saints. However, I still want to address it, and so I shall.
- Confession to the Priest. Again Hebrews 4:14-16 objected to this in my mind. Why should I tell a fallen person my own sins, when God is present and listening?
- Kissing the priests hand or kissing the cross/icons.
- Honoring relics.
- Lack of “teaching” during Sunday service
- Ethnic importance