The irony is that in the Orthodox Church one will find a plethora of unique people with equally diverse personality types, most of whom have different stories of how they came to Orthodoxy. I have never met a less homogenous communion than a pan-Orthodox Christian community. Many of us have seen the humorous statement: "I don't belong to an organized religion--I'm Eastern Orthodox."
In simplistic terms, one could note that Catholicism tends toward overemphasizing the collective aspect of being the Church; Protestants go the other extreme by way of radical individualism. Orthodox maintains the paradoxical relationship of freedom, structure, and *perichoresis* between the human person and God in the life of the Church, which is to say the life of the Holy Spirit.
We understand our own stories by meditating on who God is and how we reveals Himself to us. In "The Orthodox Church", Bishop Ware notes that"just as each man is made according to the image of the Trinitarian God, so the Church as a whole is an icon of God the Trinity, reproducing on earth the mystery of unity in diversity."
"In the Trinity the three are one God, yet each is fully personal; in the Church a multitude of human persons are united in one, yet each preserves his personal diversity unimpaired. The mutual indwelling of the persons of the Trinity is paralleled by the coinherence of the members of the Church. In the Church there is no conflict between freedom and authority; in the Church there is unity, but no totalitarianism."
Alan Jacobs, Wheaton professor and author of the other illuminating essay in First Things, "What Narrative Theology Forgot", sums up our personal and communal vocation nicely when he says, "
"So the remedy to the problem of presumptuous and otherwise deficient testimony is not to stop bearing personal witness, but rather to refine and develop our understanding of what such witness should be. And here is where the Church's great communal story offers its aid: for it is the responsibility of the 'many members of the one body' who collectively celebrate and enact that story, to guide each individual member into paths, into life genres, that harmonize with the great melody of God's redeeming work in His creation."