A reader writes:
Following up on Dan H’s comment, I would like to suggest a separate post by our host on this topic: “A person should attend my church because _____”. Most people here think church attendance is the thing to do, especially in contrast to the nonreligious life which is thought to be arid. So imagine you were talking to a non-attender; what exactly would you say that might be persuasive? It would be interesting.
That’s a great idea. I’ll start. You’re welcome to participate, whether you’re Christian or of another faith. Please keep your own comments to this exercise, and not saying to others, “I won’t go to your church because _____.”
So, a person should attend my church because it teaches the truth about who Jesus is and who you are, and how you can attain unity with God. And it not only teaches this, it provides the means for the healing of your soul, through prayer, fasting, and the sacraments. You can see and hear and smell the presence of God through beauty there. That more or less sounds like what a lot of churches do, and you’ll find faithful Christians in those churches, but there’s something so … other about Orthodoxy, especially in its emphasis on the mystical, that breaks through the everydayness of the framework through which we American Christians experience God. Orthodoxy is exotic to Americans, but you can trust it because it represents the unbroken experience of the Christians of the East, dating back to the early Church — and it is the lived experience of hundreds of millions of Christians today. You are going to find a lot more stability in this church than in others; at its best, Orthodox worship and teaching is a profound sign of contradiction to the modern age, and the American way. Alas, you’ll find just as many sinners, but we’re working on our salvation together, and could use your help.
Wait, that’s too long. How about:
You should come to my church because you’re dying, and we can show you life.