The aspect of Christian Orthodox which probably has always troubled me the most is the part that it makes me the essential element in mankind’s redemption. First of all, I needed to determine what the Truth is and then properly respond to that Truth, so I could personally be redeemed. Disconcertingly, there were so many versions of the Truth, and the explanations of the Truth always seemed a little fuzzy to me, not quite precise enough to make one certain of compliance. If I had a bad day and didn’t feel particularly good about myself, you can bet I didn’t feel safe in what I had done.
To compound the misery, I also had to deal with the additional responsibility to participate in the conversion of the entire world. Now that really was a psychological/moral load! When Jesus said His load was easy and burden was light, I wondered how the call to evangelism could be considered so. To some extent the church tried to mitigate the awesomeness of the burden by providing ministers and missionaries who could be paid to go in my stead and fulfill the requirement, if I just contributed enough money to support them. Ultimately though, the church preached that each Christian had a personal role to teach and convert. The effectiveness of God’s plan always fell back on my shoulders, weak as the are.
Given the reality of human frailty and the vicissitudes of life, it is easy to see how many get frustrated and overwhelmed by this concept of how God deals with mankind’s redemption. If the chain is only as strong as the weakest link, and I am that link, then the chain is never going to support the load.
A plan which depends on human wisdom and effort cannot be designed for the measure of success which God’s Love and His stated desire would dictate. Either I am to be crushed between what seems possible and what is supposedly required, or I must seek a new paradigm. The latter has its own issues, but that is the route I choose.