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I hear this, as a parent who first tried to erect barriers around my children against bad things, the things I'd done in my coming of age and so on. I was learning some good things as a Conservative Protestant Christian, but over time I came to have reservations about the culture wars/cultures war and my role in them/it, which was based on a lot of future phobia. While our kids were coming of age my husband and I moved the family to an academic church community that was mainly an extended Bible study, and in which I found glimmers of peace and light.

But then our oldest started attending an Orthodox church. This brought a huge change into my life, and now (long story short) I’m Orthodox, along with my husband. Our academically oriented Protestant friends assume we chickened out and went back to what the group somewhat sneeringly calls Popular Christian Culture, or the Christian Ghetto. (Maybe the group doesn’t really sneer at others; maybe I just felt free among them to do that; in any case, I find in the Orthodox universe an example of attempting not to sneer at anyone, which is refreshing.)

I sort of recognize the ease with which I can paint my new community as above all such future phobic problems, but that’s a fantasy on my part, seeing as my new friends are mostly converts from the culture I started with. As for our former group, the very academic-est ones are starting to advocate withdrawing from culture and creating their own, in phobic tones and shades, as far as I’ve noticed.

Your post rings true as a reminder to do that which our priest advocates continually: be there, in church, in the sacraments, in the doctrine the Fathers worded when the need arose. I need to keep coming back, for my own sake and others’ (those Protestant friends I’m deeply missing and praying for). I need with all my heart to keep drawing near.

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