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Monday, May 14, 2012

Two Directions

I've come to realize that there are two distinct directions that information on this blog are going.  

The first direction is towards helping the communities that make up the Orthodox Church better understand the 12 Steps.  In this regard, there has been a lot of progress.  None of the Synods that make up the Church have actively rejected the 12 Steps, and a number of the churches are either positively disposed or even advocating their usage.  From what I've heard, there will be some major announcements in this regard that will be ringing on an international level in the near future.

The second direction is just as important, and this is our task of sharing information about the Orthodox Faith with those in recovery who are looking to deepen their spirituality and break through the veil of anonymity that surrounds the God spoken of in the 12 Steps.

There are plenty of recovering addicts who have resigned themselves either to be Christians outside of any particular 'denomination,' or settle into communities where they fellowship yet feel somewhat alienated because of conflicts between their experiences in sobriety versus the stated theology of their communities.

The origins of AA are indeed rooted in the efforts made by Dr. Bob to find within the New Testament some indications of how Jesus Christ would heal the alcoholic, though the Bible makes no mention of 'addiction' or 'recovery.'  The development of the concept of the Anonymous God largely came out of this problem: there were simply too many entrenched and inaccurate portrayals of Christ to use His name without running into problems.  Rather than attempting to redefine God as interpreted by either denominations or religions outside the general 'Christian' cluster, they avoided the matter altogether by allowing the addict to experience God on God's terms without religious definitions.

Since that time, various denominations have struggled to 'reclaim' the 12 Steps.  Here's an interesting article:

Dick B. has a very interesting book on this based on historical research from Anne, Dr. Bob's wife who kept notes on the development of AA in her home in Akron, OH.

Yet, these attempts at forming an openly Christian 12 Step movement has only really resulted in hybrids.  There still exists a gap between these groups and their denominations of origin.

This is where I think there is a primal divergence between Orthodox Christianity and these denominations: the 12 Steps are found in their fullest form within the spiritual praxis (practice) of the Church.  Many sober addicts have found that within the Orthodox Church there is not only the basis of the Steps, but their elaboration and completion.

Too often Orthodoxy is taught either as a historical institution or a set of intellectual precepts.  While these may be true, the center of Orthodoxy rests on the actual healing of the human person, which is central to the hope of the 12 Steps.  It is this deepening of the work begun in AA and other 12 Step groups that the Church can offer countless addicts in search of greater growth and an end to the anonymity that cloaks God in the program.

Quite a few inquirers into Orthodoxy have contacted me, and I promise that I will continue to address your questions as we move along.

There is much to share.  More is still to come.

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