Suggestions Wanted

As an Orthodox catechumen, I often find myself in conversation with friends who would like to know more about the Orthodox Church. I’m thankful for that, yet I hesitate to recommend many of the offerings available. Too many of the books coming out in English are geared toward persuading converts into the faith. There’s nothing wrong with such books, but I find they aren’t always appropriate for what my friends need or want to read. Often, what I’d rather recommend is a book that is decidedly more devotional in nature–something that communicates the heart and essence of Orthodoxy without polemics or vast history lessons. Rather than a catechetical selection, I want to give something inspirational and stirring. So far, I’ve found the books of Metropolitan Anthony Bloom (“Beginning to Pray” and “Courage to Pray”) to be along these lines. Vigen Guroian’s books about theology and gardening are also a good match. But the others in my library are either conversion books or are too academic.

So, dear readers, I turn to you. Do you know of any books that fit the bill of what I’m looking for? What books do you recommend to curious non-Orthodox friends? (If anyone has insight into the writings of Matthew the Poor or Mother Raphaela, I’d love to hear from you about those.)

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6 responses to “Suggestions Wanted

  1. I do believe that one comes to Orthodoxy a little at a time. There is so much to grasp and understand, and one must wrestle with many things of Western Christianity. The one book that began my journey to Orthodoxy was Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos Markides. The first time I read it, I was confronted with a Christianity that I didn’t know existed by I longed to have. I was skeptical but wanted to believe it. That book spurred me on to other reading and websites. That was 3 years ago. My husband and I are going to be received as catechumens this Sunday!

  2. When did you catechumenize?

  3. Thanks for your comment, Nancy. And many years to you both!

    M, it was on Pentecost. The wife and I had some good conversation and both agreed it was the right time for me, though she didn’t also take the step. It’s been a good change for us.

  4. Wounded By Love: The Life and Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios

  5. My “go to” book right now is “Bread, Water, Wine and Oil” by Meletios Webber. It is somewhat “catechetical” but does not engage in the polemics and “us vs. them” or conversion stories etc. It is just a VERY nicely written overview of Orthodox spirituality with no typical “apologetical overtones” to it.

  6. That’s a good suggestion, Steve. I’m thinking I could benefit from re-reading that myself.

    And thanks for your comment, Emil.

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