I have two Greek Orthodox friends who’ve injected into my faith parts of their own. They challenge me with their knowledge of the bible and church history and their commitment to their beliefs regardless of how boring or conspicuous it makes them seem to everyone else.
My brief time with these two men has piqued my interest in the earliest records of the Christian Church, in the teachings of the earliest followers of the Way, as they called it.
This morning I bumped into one of them again and one of the many things we talked about was how different a church service is today in America from a church service in the Middle East during the first three centuries. It got me thinking about what exactly Christianity is, where it comes from. Christianity, it turns out, is a Jewish Middle Eastern religion that originally embraced paradox (God is both wrath and love, life with God is easy and hard) and mystery (the book of Ephesians contradicts itself confusingly). Early Christians used Middle Eastern methods of communing with God as well, like the time Peter meditated while fasting and wound up hallucinating about a blanket.
I feel like something’s missing from my faith, from the theology or methodology. I don’t know what but I’m thinking this new interest of mine in the ancient origins of Christianity, how primitive believers thought, prayed and lived together holds part of the answer – or maybe just more questions we moderns haven’t thought to ask.
I’ll let you know what I discover.