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St. Jonah is a Russian Orthodox Church
Why Orthodox? Good question.

I was raised in the United Church of Christ, not to be confused with the United Church of Canada or the Churches of Christ.

I entered Confirmation class with seven others when I was twelve. Not by my choice; at twelve or thirteen, we were required to enter. During the class, I had a number of questions. In most cases, instead of getting a straight answer, the instructor--our pastor--would only cite from the Bible or say it isn't in the Bible. Many of my questions, though, were not associated with what was in the Bible, except one: Why did some Bibles have books that were not in others? He answered, simply, that they do not belong. I wasn't satisfied because he never said why. (And at this time, I had no clue what "solo scriptura" was.)

As time went on, I couldn't find the answers I wanted. For example, why did we say the Apostle's Creed when it is nowhere in the Bible? This one was not answered until years later, when I learned it was actually the Roman confession of faith. "Wait a minute," I thought, "if it's Roman, then how can we use it if we, as Protestants, reject the Church of Rome?"

Another problem was with the books not in the Bible. When the question was brought up, he told us they did not belong. The next week, he brought in a book with those books in it. And it wasn't just a book you get in the store, it was in a bright white binding that looked like an actual Bible! The fact that writings considered unacceptable were treated so well set off alarms in my head.

But the biggest thing was when we were discussing the passage where Jesus scribbled in the sand when asked about an adulterer. In some Bibles, this is John 7:53-8:11; in others, it is not there. I thought the others just omitted it, but when I went to prove it, I discovered the story was a later addition! Obviously, something didn't add up and I needed to do more studying.

So, I started studying everything I could about Christian history. I learned about the Church Councils, the Roman persecution, and much more. But when I studied Martin Luther, I discovered that "solo scriptura" was a much later addition. Before that, there was tradition, explaining things not in the Bible. So, I left.

I attended Catholic services twice, but as I learned more about it, I liked it even less than I did before. The Roman Catholic Church has a history of changing its beliefs. I wasn't sure what to think.

I looked at other Churches. The Methodists looked promising, but I ran into the same problem as in Confirmation class. Same with the Prebyterians. I heard about the Pentecostals and didn't even bother. And those TV-churches are all waaaaay off. So, I both eliminated Protestantism and Catholicism. What was left?

I knew nothing about only one more church, the "Eastern" Orthodox Church. I picked up two books, Finding Orthodoxy by Timothy ("Kallistos") Ware and At the Corner of East and West by Fredrica Matthews-Green. As I read on, I felt more and more of a pull. I went online and discovered a number of Orthodox Churches in the area. Unfortunately, the one I'd planned on visiting disappeared. I held back a while because my job at the time had me working every Sunday morning. Once that was over, I went to another parish I'd looked at visiting, St. Jonah.

I found nothing but an empty building. What I didn't know is that they had just purchased some land. I found them in October, and it only took me three weeks to become a catechumen. I've been happy there, since.

Right now, they're operating out of a house. A large shed in the back is going to be converted into a temporary church before the real one is built.

March 23, 2013: The temporary church was completed in 2012. The main church is estimated to cost a million dollars, and will take years to fund.

July 23, 2018: A few years ago, I suspended my affiliation with the Orthodox Church until I can reconcile certain issues. Sort of a self-imposed excommunication, even though I still feel a pull toward it. Father John explained the Orthodox side of the issues to me, but some things still don't make sense. These are things I cannot allow the human source to attempt to explain, as that has proven to be a major problem.

Back of the property, where the church will be built

Links:
Orthodox Houston
Russian orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR)
The OCA was granted self-government by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970.

More coming soon:

  • Why I Rejected Protestantism
  • Why I Rejected Roman Catholicism
  • The Problem With Televangelism


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