Eastern View on Individuality

My fellow Byzantine Catholics, what would you say is the view on personality and individuality in the Orthodox tradition? I ask this because I feel I’m at a fork in the road in my walk of faith, I feel I was recently lead by the Spirit to abandon my past subcultural/counter-cultural leanings but I wonder if it’s a good thing for Christians in general to opposed to such things (in my case the Gothic subculture) or if it was just God’s “pastoral” decision for me. Maybe I wasn’t identifying with the correct culture for who I am as an individual? All I know is that the still small voice within me is making feel as though such identifications are imperfections that are dangerous and feed into the passions. I feel like I’m being called to stop listening to rock and heavy music and all, but it’s all I’ve identified with and enjoyed fully. I just get scared that I’m going to have to empty myself so much that I’ll be alien to myself and to others who are in the world. And if what I’m being lead to were truly the best then wouldn’t that basically mean that all Christians should (gulp) conform? I’m confused as to whether it’s proper to give up one’s individuality so much - is it disrespectful to the particular “icon” God has designed us to be? or is it as important as I feel it is? I’ve felt a growing and gnawing conviction and detachment against the Gothic subculture for a while now, and after I followed it I felt like I had just taken a major impediment out of the way of grace. I don’t want to leave any impediments in the way anymore, but on the other hand I don’t want to shipwreck something I may have been made to be. I feel such a pull toward heavy music because to me it’s essentially an icon of transcendence and might. The closest I’ve ever come to such a feeling was through Mozart’s and Verdi’s renditions of the Dies Irae.

Should I be heeding the idea that “the perfect is the enemy of the good” here? I admit, I originally got the idea of ditching my musical tastes from reading some of Seraphim Rose’s shorter writings through Death to the World. I just feel led to be radically Christian and I don’t want to stop short of my potential, and I’ve been becoming more old-fashioned the more time I spend with Byzantine Catholicism. :whacky:

I mean… this icon is what I like to think of when I think of “God”.

Christ Almighty Icon

Matthew 19:16-30 is radical in detachment. It is possible to let go of one’s attachments which are like too much baggage (some say the eye of a needle is a narrow passage way of rock).

Now someone approached him and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?

He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

He asked him, “Which ones?”

And Jesus replied, " ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother’; and ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’"

The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?”

Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.

Funny thing is… I was basically willing to sacrifice my entire personality to God and what He actually did is clean and spit shine it and hand it back to me with instructions through prayer! All of us are icons of Christ, all of us have received what we are from Him. Genes be damned, who created them? All the potential differences come from our Father anyways!

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