Former Evangelicals who convert to Orthodoxy are often painted with such a broad brush — seen as such peculiar fruit — that even the likes of a St Herman of Alaska (Happy Feast) might not understand.
For those painted with such baggage (even a small “checked” bag), Community of Grace – An Orthodox Christian Year in Alaska serves to vividly remind of the how & why many Americans found and, through it all, stay in the Church.
Having been a part, temporarily, of the Antiochian Orthodox Evangelical Mission when first received into the Church, and having later visited Alaska, I found many personal connections with this story. For American Orthodox Converts with a somewhat similar story, Community of Grace should prove refreshingly poignant. For those without such history, the book provides an educational snapshot of the sometimes peculiarly pious beings that populate Orthodox churches in America.
But it is the shared struggles, joys and pains of Orthodox Christians in intentional community that only those who have been there can write and, thanks to Mary Alice Cook, all of us may reap. Paint it as fruit, put it in your bag.
Life in Alaska is hard; living in [Christian] community is harder.
Yet, Grace abounds!