“I came to Orthodoxy because I wanted to be part of a faith that would prepare me for martyrdom.”
The words hit me like a gunshot. I had only just begun to explore the Orthodox Church and this bold declaration made me more uncomfortable than any altar call or hellfire and brimstone sermon.
I have since tried to find the source of the quote but my foggy memory and lack of context have so far prevented it. If the quote sounds familiar to you, please clue me in so that I may give proper credit.
I was raised in the southern United States. In terms of my religious heritage, I am truly a product of my environment. I was baptized in a Southern Baptist church at a very young age. Later, I spent my twenties trying to convince myself I was a Pentecostal believer. My environment left little chance I would ever be anything other than a mainstream evangelical Christian.
On the occasions when I tried to imagine my reaction if I were asked to deny Christ, the concept seemed too abstract. I didn’t live in ancient Rome, or even the modern Middle East. The possibility of having to renounce my belief in Christianity was so remote as to be incomprehensible. But the word martyrdom in this context struck at me with a force that should have repelled me farther back into the comfort of my Baptist roots.
Instead of a retreat, I took another tentative step forward. Then another.
I now find myself on a path that has been worn smooth by those who went before me in response to the tantalizing words of Jesus:
“Come and see.”
I invite anyone who stumbles upon this site to do the same with me.
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