Your last post just really hit home with me John. Before I read your post, I knew that you and I, and most if not all of us on this website, are not a bunch of monks. But, somehow after reading your last post, it just is somehow really crystal clear that some of us are husbands and fathers and businessmen and homeowners . . . and in this we really are not a bunch of monks.
As we consider where our services come from, and as we might consider cycles of daily and weekly worship, I think this matters. Just as we have considered an emphasis on the size of the local body of believers and an emphasis on the health of the local body of believers (viz. appearances and actuality), I wonder if there is some room to consider the fact that we are not a bunch of monks living in a monastery with our main responsibility in life being to go to services on the same property in which we live.
I really think this needs to be addressed in a plain and simple way. Otherwise, it is easy to begin to feel "less than." And, while humility is always a good thing, I'm not sure that this type of "less than" feeling has anything to do with humility (if that makes any sense).
There is a very fine line here between what is helpful and what is not, in this train of thought, about our 'approaches' and 'pursuits' . . . and while knowing I was attracted to Orthodoxy because of both the emphasis on Community and the mystical aspects, at the same time when the line between unreal expectations and the teaching of the Church becomes blurred . . . and when "doing everything," as Fr. Peter has said, is what is expected or striven for, then I think whether we know it or not we have gone down a rabbit hole and it is hard to distinguish what is real from what is pretend (or pretense).
I'm not sure that I have a conclusion here in this, but knowing we are not a bunch of monks going to services everyday in the church building; but, that we are husbands, fathers, etc., maybe there is no clearly defined answer to be given in a one-size-fits-all fashion, and in plain in simple language. Maybe no matter how much we rack our brains on this subject, or even talk to numerous pastors who seem to think they know what's best for you, possibly there is a wisdom to be found in a letting go of this somewhat and just being honest and real and saying I don't know. Why would we not do this really, in our direct and responsible relationships with the Triune God? . . . why would we not just make our starting point about this question one of an avoidance of all forms of pretense in ourselves and say to God, I don't know. And, now I'm thinking of a prayer by Thomas Merton that I'll post as a possible conclusion to the whole matter (look at the honesty in this please):
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really understand myself,
and the fact that I think I am following
your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the
right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may
seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and
you will never leave me to face my troubles alone.