A few months spent searching led me to a stronger faith than I had ever held. But many questions remained. I became interested in eschatology, and spent some time trying to figure out what I could believe on the subject. This led me (once again) to read more of the early church fathers. While reading the church fathers, my interest in other subjects was soon piqued – especially the Lord’s Supper. The one passage that really caught my eye was from Justin Martyr: “For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.” I began to reflect on what *I* had been taught about the Eucharist, about the early church. It didn’t add up. The popular myths about the church from the Pentecostal perspective was that it soon corrupted, was partially restored by men such as Martin Luther, and finally re-emerged in the early 20th century with the Pentecostal movements of men like Parham, et. al.
I began to develop a different sense of church history, although it was far from possessing depth. Around this time I began to participate in the Pal Talk discussions of Theology Web. The topics I was newly interested in came up, but rarely. So I went looking for those who would discuss them. I visited the Catholic room on Pal Talk – they were friendly, gracious, but too . . . :shiver: Catholic. I then wondered into an Orthodox room. Orthodox? Huh? I was blown away. The music, the theology. It was all so new. Since I had resolved myself to an a-millennialist position eschatologically, it was comforting to see that one of the oldest bodies of believers in existence agreed with me. This allowed me to be a bit more open-minded to the Orthodox Church. I began to read everything I could get my hands on. Websites, books, pamphlets, whatever – I was becoming convinced that this was Truth. One book in particular ‘sealed the deal’ for me – and it wasn’t even written by an Orthodox Christian. Evangelical is Not Enough, by Thomas Howard, was the proverbial nail in the coffin for the objections I had to sacramental Christianity.
Now, how was I, in a small town in Georgia, going to find a way into the Orthodox Church? There were no churches within a reasonable driving distance, and I hadn’t exactly shared my new found interest with my wife as of yet – so I sat on it for a while. I continued the study, the interaction over the web, and began to try to live as “Orthodox” a faith as I could. A few months into all of this, I received a job opportunity that would bring me home to Mississippi. I found a parish that would be almost two hours away from our new/old home, but I was determined to attend. I corresponded with the priest and with a parishioner I had met online. Everything seemed to be fitting into to place. I talked to my wife about Orthodoxy, however, and I hit a wall. I had had hopes of her ‘seeing the truth’, but she wasn’t with me on this one. Not by a long-shot. So, after the move, I waited a few months – hoping that she’d become interested. Nothing. Finally, I went on my own. It was like nothing I had seen before. Not remotely. Yet, it spoke deeply to me. I wanted more.