Thursday, January 07, 2010

Orthograph #20 - My Journey


11 comments:

November In My Soul said...

Once again you hit the proverbial nail on the head. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Lord forgive me, but I'm about 12 years along the B axis, and hearing the phrase "journey to Orthodoxy" (also "discovering Orthodoxy" and similar locutions) makes me want to leap up from that coffee hour table, run to the kitchen, and volunteer to wash ALL the dishes. Anything but the "journey/discovery" talk. I'm sorry to feel so annoyed by people making the same . . . er, trip . . . that I made years ago, but it just sounds like a cheesy movie soundtrack is about to be cued up.

In all seriousness, I think what gets me is that "journey to Orthodoxy" and "discovering Orthodoxy" make it sound like Orthodoxy is a remarkably desirable brand of some product, the very shiniest ever! No one using those terms ever thinks their amazing new car will ever get any dings, dents, or heaven forfend, be in any serious crashes. Shiny! And "journey/discovery" talk here in America is, you must admit, steeped in several actual brands of products (think publications, for instance), and the influence of certain popular personalities (celebrities). A certain sameness of tone develops, a brand-loyal subculture.

So, yes, I know I'm a danged curmudgeon. And really, I don't run away when people talk about it; I do listen politely and sometimes even with interest. But since, as I read just yesterday, more than 50% of adult converts eventually ditch Orthodoxy, I'm not entirely apologetic for my dim view of infatuation with "the journey."

I do apologize for the length of this comment, though, and to anyone it may offend. Chalk it up to my sorry lack of patience and love.

John said...

"Journeys to Orthodoxy" stories are appropriate only when asked, and even then the tale should have to be drug-out of one.

JTO blog posts, however, are an entirely different matter :)

Mountzionryan said...

Haha. This is why I signed off the metanoia (convert) list several years ago. Same questions, same arguements over and over. Good when I needed it, but less so over time.

Honestly, though, couldn't this graph represent nearly any kind of "conversion"?

The longer you a X then shorter ( and less likely to share)your story of how you became X.

BTW, I am loving these graphs.

s-p said...

Anon, I've been wondering why so many people are washing dishes at our coffee hours at our Mission! LOL! Actually, it seems to me to be somewhat of a "human phenomenom" to both tell about "our journey" and for some people to want to know about it. St. Paul even tells his story to people in Acts, so its not altogether a bad thing... And it does take two. I still get asked about mine now and then because of the podcasts I do etc. The story gets shorter and shorter though. :) You do touch on several things that are indeed real spiritual issues however: the ego and self absorption and self referenced telling of the story. There are some people I know that, if I were their spiritual father, I'd forbid them to tell their "journey story" to anyone for any reason. But then some toxic levels of self absorption should have been noticed during the catechism process if someone was paying attention. The 50% loss rate I think is due partly to a lack of discernment of these kinds of things during the inquiry stages of people's "journey to the Church". I've become more curmudgeonly too, and have been told I'm "cynical" for calling out the things I'm graphing... I think I'm being realistic. And only because, as I mentioned, I've been to all those places and done all those things. Orthographs is basically "s-p's Confessions". When I put them all in a booklet form, it probably won't be the classic that Augustine's is, but it will be shorter for our A.D.D. culture, won't have any big words, and cheaper to buy. :)

margaret said...

I was such a reluctant, ungracious and ungrateful convert that it's as well no-one has ever asked me about my 'journey'. I could say, "Oh, well, I realised continuing Anglicanism was kind of silly and I've always hated baroque art so Rome was out... and... and... well I think my priest felt sorry for me." You can tell I won't be any competition for Presbytera Frederica any time soon :)

deb said...

Margaret, LOL! I like your story just fine. Maybe writing Not Ready For Prime Time journey stories could yield a companion booklet to s-p's Orthograph book.

bob said...

It could also be A) length of time you worry what other people think of your hair or clothes and B) How old you are. Both talking about one's conversion and "Being a convert" and being generally comfortable in your skin are functions of age in the particular skin in question. There might be a graph with # of chotki knots vs. something else too, but that's for a higher, purer mathematician than I...

Anonymous said...

My problem with "Journey to Orthodoxy" stories is that so many assume their story is really quite interesting and perhaps "inspirational." I guess I thought mine was (I found this graph rather convicting). Also, the genre assumes we all have a pretty good handle on how and why we ended up where we are. But when I reflect now on my "journey to Orthodoxy" I realize the story is rather boring and uninspiring, and that I'm not even sure how I did become Orthodox; frankly, that doesn't bother me. The story of my "progress" in Orthodoxy since conversion would be even more boring and even demotivating to the listener, yet that doesn't make me any less enamored with Orthodoxy.

Team Reporter said...

Can someone elaborate on and site the source of the comment above, "over 50% of adult converts ditch Orthodoxy ..."?

Moo! said...

Michael, I don't know if there are any actual studies on that figure. It is bandied about on the internet but my sense it is anecdotal rather than scientific. I personally know a few people who dropped out, but not nearly 50% of those I know. The other issue is what to attribute dropping out to. The fact of the matter is (in my experience) Orthodoxy attracts its share of people with issues, the catechism process is often run by priests who aren't equipped to discern those issues because they are masked by zeal, a lot of internet knowledge that is impressive, and an appearance of "spirituality" coming from another Christian tradition. So its not a single issue and one that needs a lot of research.