St. Stephen's Musings

:: St. Stephen's Musings ::

:: Welcome to St. Stephen's Musings :: Bloghome | contact me by email |
Blog Roll
:: St. Stephen's Musings

:: Wednesday, August 20, 2003 ::

The Interview

As a former journalist I am tipping my hat to Tripp. He has come up with a very insightful set of interview questions for a few of us bloggers. You are all invited to participate. (See directions at the end of the post)

Here are my brief but hopefully illuminating answers to the quesions he asked of me:

1. You mention that on your road to Orthodoxy you spent a little time exploring Zen. What was that like for you?

Looking back, I think my interest and exploration of Buddhist spirituality was simply an attempt to incorporate elements such as silence, meditation, more intense prayer, and asceticism into the Christian life I had known in Protestantism. At one point I would have almost echoed the famous line from Chesterton's "Orthodoxy" when he mocks the modern fascination with Zen: "Buddhism and Christianity are a lot alike--especially Buddhism."

However, while I enthusiastically extolled the virtues of the Buddhist philosophy, I never really bought into the theological foundations of it and in fact very much continued to believe in the basics of the Christian story. I was simply desperate for a more holistic Christian lifestyle. Buddhism offered a bridge to what would eventually lead to a discovery of the the Desert Fathers and the Philokalia.

These, in part, led me to Eastern Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy, in a typically paradoxical way, was very similar and very different than both Protestantism and Buddhism...

2. What is it that you do for a living? How is your faith worked into that?

I work as a media accounting manager for a direct response television advertising agency.

While not fitting very comfortably into C.S. Lewis' "noble professions list" I am still fortunate in having a very flexible schedule and a quiet work environment. Throughout the day I am able to pray the Jesus Prayer at my desk and have many opportunities to be patient with the foibles of my co-workers. Needless to say, even these things are a struggle!

3. What Orthodox congregation do you attend? Are you happy with it?

Funny you should ask. Over the last year we have been splitting the majority of our time between two parishes: St. Nicholas (OCA) and St. John the Baptist (GOC) while also going to Annunciation (OCA) for Vespers and to visit other friends.

Coincidently we have just decided this week to make St. John's our permanent home parish. However, we plan to continue visiting St. Nicholas and Annunciation for mid-week Vespers on a regular basis. We are very blessed here in Portland because the pan-Orthodox community is quite vibrant and interconnected.

4. You have mentioned several times your fondness and curiosity about lay community. Where does that come from? Have you had experiences of community that have led you to this point?

This interest is in many ways almost totally due to a) Orthodoxy and b) my reading of a variety of monastic literature over the years. Since becoming married, it has become very clear to me that living an authentic Christian lifestyle is extremely difficult in contemporary America with our culture's fanatical insistence on Individualism. We desperately need an "arena" (to borrow a phrase from St. Ignatius Brianchaninov) within which we can better live out our calling as Christians in community since we are "members one of another."

The monastic vision and experience of being "in the world but not of it" has a lot to teach *all* of us and also greatly pushed me toward the idea of more intentional communal living. They are our best example of how to most radically live out the Gospel. My interest in intentional community also comes from realizing, within the framework of parish life, that there has to be a middle ground between total monastic seclusion on one hand, and radical individualistic living on the other. Much more could be said....

5. Tell us about your kids.

No children yet. Unless you count me since I can be quite childish at times! Lord willing and "in the fullness of time", we will remedy this situation! We can then invite our friends over for a rousing game of "hold and pass the baby."

Official Rules

1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.
3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions
6. I will answer reasonable follow up questions if you leave a comment.

:: Karl :: 9:16:00 AM [Link] ::

RSS Feed This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?