Greetings from member who has been lurking for a while.
I have been lurking and reading on the forum for a while, but never introduced myself. I thought I would take the oppurtunity now.
My name is Gerhard and I live on the outskirts of London, almost in Kent, in the UK. I have been in the UK for approximately 7 years, but was born and raised and educated in South Africa.
With regards to my Church background, I was baptised and confirmed in the Dutch Reformed Church. I also taught sunday school in this tradition for a few years. I also spent much of my teenage years doing missionary work in some or other form in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mosambique.
I later underwent an evangelical and charismatic phase, after which I joined a non denominational evangelical church. I enrolled in University with a view to preparing for the ministry, but for various reasons decided to rather study social work. I completed my first degree majoring in Social Work, Philosophy and Psychology. Despite the change I did finish a year of biblical studies, hebrew, and ancient middle easter studies at university. I later also completed further studies in spoken Arabic.
I had some detours over the years in the theosophical movement, and later adopted spiritual practices heavily influenced by pagan neoplatonism and Kabbalah. This is a chapter which I was glad to put behind me, since any spirituality without Christ has always been rather bleak and unsatisfying for me.
I now work with as a social worker, and family therapist, having completed my MSC in Systemic and Family Psychotherapy.
I started to explore Orthodoxy for several reasons:
1. I wanted to make a serious re- commitment to the Christianity of my youth, in thought and practice.
2. Over the years my own thought about Christianity seemed to approach the teachings of the Orthodox church more than any other church.
3. I have always had a strong contemplative aspect to my faith, and have used the Philokalia as a support in my prayer life for some time. I wanted to find out more about the church that gave rise to such wonderful exemplars of the Christian life.
4. I realised early on that the Philokalia and its teachings only made sense within the broader context and practoce of the Orthodox Church itself. If I wanted to take it seriously I would have to explore the church context from which it arose.
5. I love liturgy and ritual, and found its most sublime expression in Orthodoxy, yet I could see the ancient roots of the first Christianity within all the embellishments.
I have visited an Eastern Orthodox (Antiochian) church in London a few times, but decided that I want to explore the BOC as well. I hope to attend a BOC church soon. I have used 'Our Daily Life' compiled by Father Peter for some time with my wife in our personal devotions. I hope to contribute to the discussions more actively in the future.
Gerhard (Morpheus on this list.)