PRETORIA – Father John “of Shanghai” Mbaqanga, pastor of the All Saints of the Southern Hemisphere Serbian Orthodox Church, has given notice that converts at his parish will no longer be able to store their theological and cultural baggage in the overhead bins.
“All theological, religious-practice, and cultural baggage must be checked at the gate,” says Father John. “Then our specially-trained baggage handlers do their best to lose it.”
“Often this has the added benefit of curbing convertitis,” he continued, “although we haven’t found a way yet to prevent that entirely.”
At this point in the interview a young man walked up and burbled, “Did you know there’s an icon with three hands?! I love Orthodoxy! Wow!” He then quickly turned and walked away without giving the good priest a chance to respond.
“Not all beliefs and tendencies converts picked up before their conversion to Orthodoxy are considered baggage,” Father John admits. “For instance, converts from charismatic traditions that emphasize speaking in tongues often go on to learn Slavonic and make great Readers. Also, some converts are able to turn their baggage around and do great things that actually contradict their earlier beliefs. For instance one of our parishioners, Mo (“Abba Moses the Ethiopian”) Hjoodt was from a teetotal church, but now brews the best beer in the parish.”
Father went on to list some of the baggage that the parish’s baggage handlers have “lost,” but your intrepid editor, knowing which side his kulich is paska’d on, decided not to go there.
Copyright © 2012 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.