After I became a Christian, my path was towards a traditional and orthodox understanding, based upon a strong church.
There were two problems. The first is that there were exceedingly few strong and Christian churches even a decade ago but since the birdemic there are none.
The second line is to seek a traditional and orthodox Christianity based-upon either a small but devout church, or some traditionalist section from within one of the large churches: the first is mostly followed by serious Protestants, the latter by serious Catholics - both Eastern and Western.
But there is a problem with any serious attempt to lead a traditionalist life for one who is realistic about This World, and that is the tendency to despair about This World - and to live entirely in hope and expectation of The World To Come.
I saw this most vividly and explicitly within the most traditionalist branches of the Eastern Orthodox church, towards which I was gravitating under the influence of reading Fr Seraphim Rose. Rose died in 1982; but even forty years ago, he could perceive that the tradition of Orthodoxy had been broken (by the Russian Revolution, after which there were no Orthodox nations). For one who bases his Christian life on tradition - that break must be irreversible.
It meant that we had entered the End Times, and that the best that could be hoped was each individual person becoming ever more isolated from the True Church; using personal discernment to try and discover and cling-to whatever he could of traditional doctrines and practices. But aware that this path could only decline, dwindle-towards... well, not nothing, but very little.
And to treasure that 'very little' was the only and best prospect.
Realistically and honestly; such a Christian mortal life could only be a lifetime of incremental retreat and rearguard fighting; destined to lose; and therefore, all hope would be directed towards escaping this mortal life with faith intact.
In other words; traditionalists were called-upon to live without hope for this mortal life - except the real-but-shrinking hope of holding-onto enough of Christian faith to reach the next world of resurrection into Heaven.
Hope was therefore to be directed almost (but not quite) entirely towards our own death.
This is indeed a possible way of surviving spiritually in this mortal life; and it is a path some people within the orthodox traditional churches have apparently chosen - including some who do not seem fully to realize that they have chosen it.
I say this because such Christians apparently continue to interact with this mortal life as if there was hope of reversing its spiritual decline; but they betray their real feelings by expressing an almost impatient desire for their own death (when God wills it, obviously - not by suicide) and/or for the end of the world.
Indeed, most Christians will have experienced exactly this feeling from time to time.
Yet I think it is mistaken. I believe that a fuller view of Christian life will recognize that God will not sustain any situation - any person's life, any civilization - without good and positive reason.
So long as we personally are alive, and our civilization continues; this is because there is important spiritual work yet to be done in-line with God's plans - IF we make the right choices.
In other words, we ought to (must) continue to hope for this mortal life as well as for the immortal life to come - yet this hope needs to be realistic and truthful, and therefore spiritual rather than material.
We need, I think, to be able to accept that these may be (seem to be) the End Times in which this world (including its churches) is in terminal decline, a decline that cannot be reversed and will lead (overall) to massive physical suffering...
And yet we need to have a hope-full, positive, attitude to the spiritual possibilities of this life.
In practice - for me, and perhaps most people - Christian hope cannot be wholly negative and defensive in the way that seems to be entailed by traditionalism.
Therefore, I think it is absolutely reasonable to suppose that God will always be working to enable each person to have solid grounds for positive spiritual achievement in his or her own mortal life - whatever the fate of The World.
Consequently I came to reject a Christianity based in traditionalism and orthodoxy of theology that (when honestly conceptualized, as by Seraphim Rose) offered no realistic and positive hope for this mortal life.
To be positively hope-full for this mortal life (as well as for the life to come) entails moving the focus away from civilization, nation and church to the level of the individual Christian.
Which led me to 'Romantic Christianity'.
I hope I have made it clear that I regard traditionalist/ orthodox Christianity to be a valid option, a genuinely possible way of Christian life.
But it is a desperate situation to be in - and one that cannot be sustained by many people. There is a tendency to lose the slender and dwindling hope altogether - and then to despair of This World. And such despair is a sin - because This World, however corrupt, is yet God's creation.
Which may be why there has been such a massive apostasy from traditional Christian (and other) churches - especially at the levels of leadership: an abandonment of Christianity in this world - and its replacement with mainstream secular left values.
There is an alternative way of being Christian - one which offers the possibility of a hopeful attitude to this moral world, and a sense of positive purpose for this mortal life; but it involves regarding tradition, orthodoxy, church, human-groups as being of secondary, not primary, importance. Indeed, I believe that the alternative is a deeper and more validly Christ-derived truth. This is the motivation for much of my theological writing.