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MelindaB

Reading Maketh a Full Man...

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Currently reading

The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto)
C.S. Lewis
Boys and Girls Learn Differently!: A Guide for Teachers and Parents
Michael Gurian, Terry Trueman, Patricia Henley
Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet
Christian Wiman
Deep River: The Life and Music of Robert Shaw
Keith C. Burris
Daring, Trusting Spirit
John De Gruchy
The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
John Thavis
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
Orlando Figes

Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy

Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy - Frederica Mathewes-Green I think I have read too many of Frederica's books in too short a time, because it is getting blurry what she wrote where. I read somewhere a comparison of Frederica Mathewes-Green with Kathleen Norris, who started writing about her Christian faith and her times of retreat in a monastery in Minnesota. I think that the comparison falls flat, Norris is a better writer, and is not so formulaic.This book is based on the same formula as her other book, "At the Corner of East and Now". She writes in this book specifically of the beginning of hers and her husbands life as converts to the Orthodox Christian Church. Alternating chapters that explain the liturgy or feast days are chapters on the life of those in their home (children and guests) and in their church. Frederica's husband becomes an Orthodox priest and shepherds a newly planted Orthodox church.I like what she writes about the newness of their discoveries in the ancient liturgy of the Orthodox Church. But it is kind of the same thing as she has written in "At the Corner of East and Now". Perhaps I should read a few of her other books.What struck me most in this book is that she is writing about converts from western Christian denominations to Eastern Orthodoxy. There are only 2 "cradle Orthodox" (I think) in their church. Knowing a few former Orthodox Christians myself, she paints a much different experience and attitude than that reflected by my friends, some of whom converted from Orthodoxy to Protestant denominations so they could learn to read the Bible and love Jesus. They fled the unfocused and mystical "you never know what you are doing" attitude, and also the rather oppressive regime of fasting. Frederica mentions that of course this Orthodox fasting is "as you can do it", but since it is highly stressed, my former Orthodox friend likened it to "concentration camp". Frederica likens the eastern Orthodox fasting practices to "boot camp". I guess it depends on your perspective. I was also struck with trying to understand the scriptural basis for separating the Orthodox congregation with the "work of the priests" that they carry out behind the iconostatis. It seems that when Jesus died and the temple veil was torn from top to bottom, it signified that there was no longer priest standing between God and man now, but that man had direct access now to God. It seems to me that the Orthodox tradition re-establishes that "veil", but I don't really know why.It would be worthwhile to find a book by a contemporary cradle Orthodox, and read it and compare.