As late, it appears that I’ve been sort of “collecting” Orthodox friends. This is really fun for me because it grants me the opportunity to think about things from the perspective of the East, just for a little while. However, I know next to nothing of their internal politics; I just know that I long for the day that East and West are reunited.
The Orthodox friends I have are fairly well-versed in their faith. I haven’t pressed them on it — I’m not here to test them, just to compare notes — but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were also somewhat ignorant of the internal politics. It’s common in the Catholic church, too, so I don’t really think much of it. But it makes it very difficult for me to make the Catholic church sound attractive when we’re still recovering from the 1960s and 70s, and I know it.
Additionally, I run into a bit of a dilemma. I want to make the Church sound attractive. Actually, I want to make Her so attractive that these friends come home to Rome. But that would leave me sans Orthodox friends. We would agree on all the important matters and then some. Which is so excellent! But the idea of the loss of my interlocutors makes me sad.
Why is it sad that you’d lose them as interlocutors? you may ask. What makes them any different from Protestants? And these are very legitimate questions. It’s taken some chewing to think it through.
I think the biggest difference between the Orthodox and the Protestants is that the Orthodox split off before the Enlightenment. There was no rise of individualism. They are still a church almost as unattractive as the Catholic church to the modern world because they still support difficult and unpopular ideas like self-sacrifice. (They’re just not as reviled because they’re considerably lesser-known.)
Losing the outside view of my Orthodox friends would mean that I’d lose a perspective that’s ever-so-slightly different from mine. It’s one I don’t get to discuss nitty-gritties with very frequently. I’d like to.
This probably isn’t going to happen at all — I’m not sure why I’m worrying about it. But it has been occurring to me and I thought it may be worth exploring.