Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The "Real Live Preacher" Visits An Orthodox Church...And Loves It!

Saint Anthony's Orthodox Church; San Antonio, Texas

I've been following this blog recently that I find quite fascinating. It is the blog of a man who calls himself the "Real Live Preacher". His name is Gordan Atkinson and he serves as a Pastor for a Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas.

Apparently Pastor Gordan is on sabbatical and every Sunday is trying out new churches in the area to see how they worship. In late May of this year he stumbled upon an Orthodox Church on the internet named after Saint Anthony the Great and decided to try it out along with the rest of his family. It seems that his experience was so positive that he now has pretty much decided to only attend Orthodox worship services for the rest of his sabbatical.

As a cradle Orthodox myself, I find his initial "culture shock" during his first Divine Liturgy not only fascinating but a bit hilarious as well. Apparently Saint Anthony's has no pews or seats, so the rest of Pastor Gordan's family has dropped out of the whole Orthodox experience. They just could not take standing for over two hours. But Pastor Gordan has faced it all courageously and to the credit of the parish they have welcomed him with open arms and made him feel very comfortable. "Pews?" he writes, "We don’t need no stinking pews! Providing seats for worshippers is SO 14th century."

One thing I especially loved to read here was how Pastor Gordan describes the richness and depth of Orthodox worship, and how this made him feel like a child again - something apparently he has long sought for. He describes it this way:

"I don't think it was an accident that I felt drawn to the Orthodox Church in this short season. And I think I understand why these Sundays have been so meaningful to me. When I walk into an Orthodox Church, I don't know anything. I don’t know the theology. I don’t know the language. I don’t know the practice. I don’t know the deep meanings behind the symbols, icons, and worship movements. It’s like being a child again."

You can follow the rest of Pastor Gordan's Orthodox adventures here. So far he has made four postings and I look forward to the rest.

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