Land costs money. Some can be tempted to shrink from the challenge--especially in this time of financial crisis. But I keep reminding the people, "God made the land. If he wants us to have it, he will provide the green paper to buy it. Just seek his will." (I'm not really talking to them. I'm talking to myself.)
Our generation has feared poverty; we have built all sorts of levees to protect ourselves from it. But the sea of our passions and greed has overtopped the levees, and only God knows whether we are about to face a Katrina-like deluge of trouble.
Those who contemplate coming to the Church must face squarely the issue of how we value money and security--and anything else--over against truth and the will of God. Last evening the wife of another priest told me of a family that was contemplating the Church. She said they told her they were subjected to horrific demonic attack. They pondered pulling away, returning to the place they were coming from. But they kept praying, "Lord, have mercy. Help us." And it was made clear to them, "Don't worry; you are not alone."
A dear bishop once told some Lutherans, "You must not impoverish your family to become Orthodox." It is true that the Orthodox Church has, for those who come, much in the way of good will, but little in the way of resources. But I would make bold to amend that bishop's words.
When it is not clear to a man that the Orthodox Church is the truth, he is not yet ready to come. He would be foolish to put family at risk in such a case.
But when it is clear, when the questions have been answered to such a degree that his heart says, "Yes, this is the Church"--then truth tips the scales. He may wait for a time, to try to help spouse and children come to the same conclusion. But once it is clear, he must obey the truth. "Even though knowledge is true, it is still not firmly established if unaccompanied by works. For everything is established by being put into practice." (St. Mark the Ascetic) This is the true theology of the cross--not the theoretical, but the practical denying of oneself and taking up suffering freely and willingly for Christ's sake. Surrender to Truth is made without terms and conditions. "I will follow you, but first..." someone said, and Truth replied, "Let the dead bury their dead..."
It takes no faith to walk on water when it's turned to ice.
That is why I ask your prayers, all you (?both of you) who read these scribblings. I am Orthodox in name. I wish to be Orthodox in truth--to abandon my thoughts, my will, my dreams, and follow after Jesus Christ. Please, in God's name, pray for my conversion.