Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Life is Not Conducive to Organized Religion, Apparently

Okay, so here's the thing.

I do still desire and intend to convert to Eastern Orthodox at some point in my life. I'd rather it be sooner than later, but. But. Life gets in the way. And as life gets in the way it becomes less and less urgent feeling for me to do anything about it.

ETA: Or do I? I mean, thinking about it, if I was really believing down deep, wouldn't I say screw it! to all other concerns and go for it since the ultimate state of my soul depends on it? So perhaps I don't believe as I think (or tell myself) that I do since I'm clearly far more concerned with this life and the things I have to do in it.

I was composing a sort of letter/email (in my head) to the priest of the Greek church and I think it explains my issue so here it is, sort of. Not that this was ever meant to actually be sent, mind. I was thinking about all the problems and it's kind of a joking thing in my head.


Fr. _____,

Good afternoon. My name is Amber _____ and I'm contacting you to speak about converting to Orthodoxy.

I'm certain that you have a regular program for how a conversion would be accomplished, but I'm fairly certain that I would be unable to attend it. Let me explain.

I work a full time job, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. In a very necessary bid to get my health back I have a personal trainer. I see her Monday's and Wednesday's from 5:30 to 6:45, after which I have another hour of cardio that I cannot miss. On Tuesday's and Thursday's I must do another hour and a half of cardio. Due to the religion of the owners of the gym my trainer works out of they are closed Friday evening and Saturday (they're Seventh Day Adventists), so in order to get in 5 days of exercise I have to use the gym on Sundays. Due to abbreviated Sunday hours, I am unable to attend Divine Liturgy with any sort of regularity, which is why you wouldn't recognize me. I am also unable to afford to pay for a second gym membership in order to be able to exercise on a Friday or a Saturday.

In addition to the above, I am going back to college starting next semester (January). Which means that I will be taking classes, online as much as possible, but there will likely be some classes I can only take at night which will limit my schedule even more. And those classes will change from semester to semester which means that it is impossible to establish a definite day that I could attend religious instruction.

In other words, I believe that the Orthodox church is the church left by Christ and would like to become a member. However, my life is not conducive to it and I don't have any wiggle room in which to fix that. So unless I can convert by correspondence course without actually having to attend Divine Liturgy on a regular/semi-regular/at all for the next couple of years, then it's going to have to wait.


And this is why it would be easier to not bother with organized religion at all, or to return to a personal, private tribal based practice. Then it wouldn't matter that I can't get to the classes or attend the services.


  1. *hugs* I Get the feeling. You can still worship and not have a label, which may work best for you at the moment. OR they may have a way of working around it...but if they are orthodox I highly doubt it. I'm sure you will think of something. I'm still looking myself but so far no dice, and that is ok. Life is in flux. Often you have to go with the flow and life finds its way.

    And CONGRATS on school. Its hard, I'm in the same boat, but totally worth it. Bravo!

  2. Ha! You are so funny! I know there is a seriousness here (the eternal fate of your soul might be one), but the way you worded everything and concluded with the religious correspondence course made me laugh.

    Really glad you shared this and congrats on going back to school. I will expect a post about that (field of study? career goals or hopes?) in the near future. :D

    (Yes, I am a bossy big'd you ever guess?)

  3. LK,

    Thanks. I think probably a lot of people get this issue.

    I can't tell you how tempted I am to say, screw it! and chuck the whole thing. *flips a table*

    I'd think that, actually the class/learning process could be done through email and just the occasional visit with the priest. Maybe they don't normally do it that way but I would think something could be worked out. It's really the lack of ability to attend Divine Liturgy that is the insurmountable issue. Attending the worship service is integral, just like going to Mass is if you're converting to Catholicism. I assume other denominations would also like converts to attend their worship services before/during and after conversion. :)

    Thanks! I've got an appointment with an adviser tomorrow at lunch time so we'll see how it all goes...

  4. Susanne,

    It is kind of funny, isn't it? :)

    I'm going to be honest and say, I really feel unable to get myself worked up with fear or worry that I'm going to drop dead and possibly be...on the wrong side of God? I mean I understand that it's entirely possible for something to happen and for me to die at my relatively young age. But I'm just...*shrug*...I guess I don't believe that God would go, 'Well, you didn't sign on the dotted line in time. You took too long trying to work through the morass of choices and problems that I left lying around. Too bad for you!' *hits the button that opens the trapdoor in front of his desk*

    I'll do a school post just as soon as it's all official - as in, I'm actually signed up for a class.

  5. Or organized religion is not conducive to contemporary life? :-/

    I can definitely identify with this. There are no groves (ADF groups) near me, and even the online ones aren't really something that fits my needs. So I'm trying to build something for myself and find what works, and then if I can do that maybe open it up to others in the organization. I hope that in the next few years more religious groups and other organizations catch onto the way life works today and adapt to it, but that could be wishful thinking.

    I get that it's a sort of joke, but I do also think you should send the letter or at least call and talk to someone who could answer those questions. It might turn out they've run into this problem frequently enough that they actually do have a way to work around your schedule.

  6. sanil,

    This is also a possibility. :-/ But then doesn't that mean that organized religion will eventually die off? Or mutate into something that fits modern times?

    I probably should, but I don't feel any sense of urgency about it. And it's, now that I'm thinking about it, making me wonder if my lack of urgency signals that I really don't feel as deeply or certainly about it as I tell myself I do. So I hesitate even more for that reason, see?

  7. Umm...Yes, to all three questions. Everything adapts or dies, the trick will be for organized religions to figure out how to do it without losing themselves. I'm interested to see how or if they manage the changing world.

    And that makes sense. Probably a good idea to take the time to figure that out. Good luck! :)

  8. First, good luck with your studies!

    Second, I know what you mean by not cut out for organized religion :)

    Looking forward to your school post!

  9. sanil,

    I'm personally guessing that future religion will resemble current religion as much as current religion does historic religion. Which can trace the path but it's not the same. Like the evolution from polytheism to monotheism.

  10. Suroor,

    Thanks! I'm working on finding a class that fits my schedule. It's harder than it should be. :)


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