Tuesday, February 28, 2006
HURRY ... this e-offering won't last looooo
"Fair is foul, and foul is fair."
Despite criticism from parents, the school board on Monday stood by its decision to allow McBeth to resume working as a substitute teacher ...
Quotes from Macbeth:
Stands not within the prospect of belief.
ACT I Scene 3.
The insane root
That takes the reason prisoner.
ACT I Scene 3.
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray ’s
In deepest consequence.
ACT I Scene 3.
I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.
ACT I Scene 7.
A deed of dreadful note.
ACT III Scene 2.
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
ACT III Scene 2.
Thou canst not say I did it; never shake
Thy gory locks at me.
ACT III Scene 4.
Hence, horrible shadow!
Unreal mockery, hence!
ACT III Scene 4.
The weird sisters.
ACT IV Scene 1.
Monday, February 27, 2006
THE CROSS: Elder Ioann Krestiankin
On February 5, the day of commemoration of the Synaxis of New-martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Elder Ioann Krestiankin, at age 95 the oldest monastic of the Pskov Caves Monastery, and its spiritual director, an Elder fervently loved by all, reposed. He died several minutes after communing of the Holy Gifts of Christ. We present here to the readers of Parish Life instructions excerpted from three of Fr. Ioann’s letters to spiritual children:
Did you know that you do not get down from the Cross? You are taken down from it. And your Cross, if you courageously carry it to the end, will yield great spiritual fruit, transforming your soul, and nourishing your loved ones as well. The great difficulty is that the enemy of all mankind, who is irritated by your charitable acts of compassion, the beginnings of love, intensely opposes everything [you do]. And recognizing the machinations of the enemy, we do not have the strength or the skill to oppose him. Yet that is what we must do.
No one has ever found it painless to carry and ascend his Cross. Yet without the Cross, we cannot see Christ. We choose the Cross but once, and the rest of life is lived with what opportunity that Cross offers us.
No matter where we might go, our Cross will get no lighter. External sorrows may abate for a time, but it is then that inner ones, even more heavy and profound sorrows pile up on us.
Today, Russian intelligence can no longer recruit on the basis of political ideals. All KGB operatives share a communist ideology, which dumfounds the West. But, clearly, they can't go up to a Western liberal and ask him to fight for global communism. That's why potential agents are asked to fight against America, and many agree to do it. The second pillar of recruitment is a love for Russia. In the West, only Russian immigrants have feelings of filial obedience toward Russia. That's precisely why [the KGB] works with them so often. A special division [within Russian intelligence] was created just for this purpose. It regularly holds Russian immigrant conferences, which Putin is fond of attending. Now a grandiose operation is underway: the uniting of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia with the Moscow Patriarchate, or more precisely, with the Russian state. If this happens, the Orthodox Church here will become a bastion of Russian influence and a center of espionage.
Tar Heel Teens, Taxes & Tinky Winky
RALEIGH — The seminar "The New Gay Teenager" — conducted at the exclusive, taxpayer-funded Governor's School last summer — was illegal, a national Christian legal organization says.
“The New Gay Teenager” seminar was based on a book with the same name, written by homosexual Cornell University Professor Ritch Savin-Williams. The book and the Governor’s School seminar discussed whether homosexual teenagers benefit, or are harmed, by embracing labels based on their sexual orientation. The co-leaders of the seminar — 19-year-old Wesley Nemenz, a University of North Carolina at Greensboro student, and Susan Wiseman, a teacher at East Forsyth High School — identified themselves as gay. Wiseman was investigated for allegations of sexual activity with a 17-year-old student, but last week a county district attorney decided not to press charges against her ...
The Whole Story.
HT News Forum
In case you're wondering, that's the North Carolina Governor's School logo in the upper left corner. Alas, finding a non-offensive pic for this post proved futile. Furthermore, in light of the above news links -- I am not making this up -- here's the header on Gov School's webpage:
IMAGINE ... A Summer Program
... where students who are among the best and brightest gather for the love of learning and the joy of creativity
... where teachers and students form a community while searching together for answers to challenging questions
... where there are no grades or tests
... where a synergy of intellectual curiosity fuels the exploration of the latest ideas in various disciplines
Sunday, February 26, 2006
OK, Okay ... OCA!
Allegations of financial misconduct are rocking the Orthodox Church in America, whose former treasurer says top officials misappropriated millions of dollars in donations from agribusiness titan Dwayne Andreas, U.S. military chaplains and ordinary parishioners across the country.
The highest officers of the 400,000-member denomination, an offshoot of the Russian Orthodox Church, are accused of using the money to cover personal credit card bills, pay sexual blackmail, support family members and make up shortfalls in various church accounts.
The former treasurer, Deacon Eric A. Wheeler, said the greatest fear of the church's leaders in the late 1990s was that Andreas, the retired chairman of Archer Daniels Midland Co., would visit Moscow and discover that they had not used his donations to renovate a church and build a conference center. So they prepared a modern-day Potemkin village, ordering a brass plaque that could instantly transform a Moscow law office into the "Andreas Conference and Communications Center," he said.
The potential scandal will come to a head Wednesday when the church's governing body of 10 bishops, the Holy Synod, is scheduled to meet behind closed doors at its headquarters in Syosset, N.Y., to consider demands from some bishops, priests and parishioners for ...
Long Version. (See how many Church History errors you can find!)
[UPDATE: Sorry, the shorter version disappeared.]
May God grant resolution, peace and concord to His Holy Church!
Disco is [Obviously] Dead :)
+ It is a privilege that a man must earn by promising his life to her.
+ THERE IS NOT ONE WOMAN IN THIS WORLD WHO DESERVES ANYTHING LESS THAN EVERYTHING A MAN HAS TO GIVE.
+ She has lost something if she does not demand a commitment first.
+ The measure of a man is how much he willingly gives of himself. (Our troops are an example of that.) A good man pays this price willingly, by putting a ring on her finger first--whether she demands it or not.
+ Every day is a new opportunity to live up to this ideal.
Find the reference H E R E.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Got Milk? Beer? And, oh, now cut that out!
On my way to becoming Anglican, I wasn't particularly into the guitar-strumming, hand-holding, testimonial-type-stuff. But, Bill was a nice guy and we formed a friendship. He liked to ride a ten-speed and would often loan me one and we'd go riding through the Wisconsin countryside. All this kept leading up to two events. The first was a prayer meeting at his house with about 30 other teens & twenty-somethings. I survived. The other was: Bill and I went bar-hopping.
Now, before you get the wrong idea, Bill didn't drink. Rather, as I observed on our only outing, he would walk into a bar ... heads would turn, lots of greetings, and he would then belly-up. Since he was a regular, the bartender already knew what Bill wanted. Even though I rarely drink it, in every bar I said, "I'll have the same." MILK. Yep, Bill would order a glass of milk and talk about the Lord for about 30 minutes in each bar. He was, as I said, of local fame and well liked. I must admit, to me, our first stop seemed kinda hokey. If you know Wisconsin, you know that it doesn't require much travel to go from one bar to the next. We hit quite a few that night, on our ten-speeds ... all milked up.
Naturally, when I hear of "bar ministry" I think of that story.
But Mollie asks: Got Beer?
As for this next "specialized ministry" ... Y'all, I just don't know.
Here's an excerpt from an AP wire story:
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Heather Veitch is not your typical evangelical Christian.
The 31-year-old married mother of two visits one strip club a month, paying for lap dances so she can talk to the strippers about God.
The Web site for the ministry she formed with two other women - JC's Girls Girls Girls - features glamour shots of the three that were taken by a porn film director.
The three attend porn conventions, where they pass out Bibles wrapped in T-shirts that read Holy Hottie.
For what it's worth, the "former" porn star's pastor -- whose church, Sandals Church of Riverside, is contributing $50,000 to her ministry this year -- said:
"What good would it do to send the 'church lady' to an erotica convention?" Brown said. "She's going to get laughed out of the building."
Veitch [the "former" porn star] doesn't think the women [current porn stars] should have to quit their jobs before entering a church.
"What we say to that is, 'Do we ask gluttons to stop eating too much before they come to church?' " Veitch said. "Sin is sin."
(I'm thinking, I'm thinking ...)
I don't know what ever happened to my pal, Kawalski. He'd be knocking on 50 by now. But, old-fashioned sensibilities lead me to conclude that if gals like Heather had ever encountered guys like Bill ... well, they'd be a lot better off. I don't think they frequented the same clubs. More than that, I'm not sure they believe[d] the same things.
I think I'll go have a glass of milk.
"We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."
Thursday, February 23, 2006
The Great Prayer of St Ephraim the Syrian
With the Great Fast upon us, several searchers have found this post from last year helpful. Blog regulars, please forgive the repitition.
The Moral Person
Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair,
lust of power and idle talk;
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my
own transgressions and not to judge
my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen. (1)
This prayer, written by St Ephraim the Syrian in the 4th century, is a regular part of the Orthodox Christian's prayer "diet" during the Great Fast (Lent).
The first part of The Prayer bids God, “the Lord and Master of [our] life,” to take certain “spirits” from us. Then follows a petition for the Lord to give certain “spirits.” The Prayer concludes by bidding the Master to grant sight and self judgment. Thus, we bid God to take, give, and grant. Underlying the petitions of The Prayer are several admissions. The first admission is that we have a Master, who is God. We come face to face with the God of the living at the outset of The Prayer.
In beseeching the Lord to take certain things from us, we are admitting that we currently possess them. The first spirit to be removed is “sloth” (2). Whether the ascetic exercise is prayer, fasting, or alms giving, sloth leads to an abundance of sins. This has been true in all ages. However, it seems that sloth is currently viewed as the means and end of the modern person. What would the Lord ask of those who sit idly in front of the TV for hours on end? Or, how about our sloth in areas of charity, hospitality, prayer and good works? Thus, we must begin by asking God to deliver us from this spirit of sloth in order to practice good works, watchfulness, and vigilance. St. Mark the Ascetic warns us of three giants: spiritual ignorance, forgetfulness, and laziness. He claims that if these three are slain “all other powers of the evil spirits are removed” (3). It must be added, however, that a person might be extremely busy, productive, and active – all the while neglecting the things that are needful. This is also a form of sloth.
The next spirit is variously translated as “despair” or “meddling” (4). What do despair and meddling have to do with each other? Despair is often the result of failed pride. And what causes most meddling? Pride and the belittling spirit of superiority. It should go without saying that these never cease to fail us in the moral life.
Besides that, they learn to be idlers, gadding about from house to house, and not only idlers, but gossipers and busybodies, saying what they should not (5).We should, rather, strive for hope and joy. This is the goal of the spiritually moral person. Despair is of the devil.
St. Symeon the New Theologian, an experienced spiritual physician, recognized that long and untimely sorrowing of the heart ‘darkens and disturbs the mind,’ it banishes pure prayer and compunction from the soul and creates a painful pining of the heart which results in hardness and painful callousness. This is how the demons bring about despair (6).In admitting the defeating sin of despair and meddling, we are able to open our eyes to the Sovereign Lord of Hope and Joy. Note the words of St. Paul:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise-worthy -- meditate on these things (7).How can we avoid the “lust of power” (8) when our culture makes of it a supreme goal? This moral self-love is advertised by our media and taught by our culture to such an extent that it seems archaic to criticize it.
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them (9).What of the moral person?
It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (10).It is our high calling to be servants to our fellows and slaves to God. Allowing God to be our Lord and Master is a humbling experience.
The next section of the prayer should cause fear and trembling for us all. Here we ask the Lord to take from us the spirit of “idle talk” (11). Here we connect our tongue with the sin of sloth.
I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned (12) .Instead, giving in to the spirit of idle talk, we speak to make ourselves look better, which leads us to be judgmental and slanderous. We live in an age of unprecedented, unbridled, unadulterated idle talk. The modern person fills the hours with radio, television, phone, internet, and gossip. The moral person should practice self-criticism, examination of conscious, and silence.
We now come to the second part of St. Ephraim’s prayer wherein we ask the Lord and Master to give us certain “spirits.” The first gift besought is “chastity” (13). Chastity is synonymous with faithfulness. It is self-control, whole-mindedness, and the opposite of a broken character -- which is caused by the sin of sloth.
Bid the older men to be temperate, serious, sensible, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness (14). Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty (15).By these examples from Scripture, we can see that the meaning of chastity is more than fidelity. It is fidelity to the Truth. Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ. Thus to be chaste, we must be in a relationship where we keep our hearts and minds on Christ. This fidelity is required in the moral Christian life.
The second gift is “humility” (16). In contrast to Greek literature where humility is viewed as a weakness, Scripture celebrates it as a cardinal virtue (17). However, as with Greek literature, this virtue is missing from the paradigm of modern man. It is the model of the Saviour: “And being found in the human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (18) . It is our calling as Christians.
Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind ... (19) serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which befell me through the plots of the Jews ... (20) with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (21). Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves (22).Our society views pride as a virtue. Yet pride is residual of the fall of Lucifer and his angels from the heavenly realm. As Vlachos writes, “Of course when a person’s heart has been purified, he must not be proud of it, for no creatures are purer than the bodiless ones, the angels, and yet Lucifer, by exalting himself, became the devil and is unclean (23). The enemy of souls is pride incarnate. The opposite of pride -- humility -- is the very essence of the Holy Incarnation.
The discipline of the moral person requires “patience” (24). Yet, it is inherent in our fallen nature to be impatient, quick to judge and condemn.
By your endurance you will gain your lives (25). More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given us (26) ... for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (27).How can we grow in patience lest God sends us trials? The virtue of patience is a great comfort-- one rarely praised in our day of quick fixes (e.g., abortion, drugs, euthanasia).
The fruit of the moral life is “love” (28). “That is to say, when a person lives naturally, he wants to know God completely, he desires only God, and he struggles to attain God, that is, to attain communion with God. The fruit of this pursuit is love. A person united with God acquires the blessed state of love, since God is love” (29). Contrast this with what could seemingly be a definition of our own age:
These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they boldly carouse together, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever (30).Next, we beseech the Lord and Master to “grant” us two things: sight (31) and non-judgmentalness (32). Is there a difference between the words “give” (33) and “grant?” (35). We ask God to give us “the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.” We then ask Him to grant us “to see [our] own transgressions and not to judge [our] brother.” Isn’t it possible that the difference lies in that with which we are familiar and that which is foreign to us? For instance, we’re not all that familiar with chastity, humility, patience, and love. True, we may experience them from time to time. Yet for most, familiarity with these virtues is uncommon. On the other hand, we are all too familiar with seeing transgressions and being judgmental! In The Prayer we ask God to transform this very sight and judgment. We ask the master to help us to see our transgressions and not our brothers’. This last part of The Prayer is key to our soul’s petition for transformation. All that precedes this section mirrors our current state and our needs. However, attainment of this high calling is impossible lest we, with God’s help, work out our own salvation with fear and trembling -- judging, not our brother, but ourselves.
Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you (36).The cornerstone of the Prayer of St. Ephraim is relationship “O Lord and Master of my life.” Unlike the “individual”, who is self-centric, a “person” is someone who is in relationship -- in this case, to the Lord Jesus Christ. From the outset of The Prayer, we are turning over our lives to the One who is to be at the center of our life, Jesus Christ. By our very words (in The Prayer) we invite discipline and imply obedience, both of which are missing in the self-centered modern person.
To humble oneself before God is to admit one’s weakness and dependence, God’s power and goodness, and one’s trust and hope in God. This disposition (described in Mic. 68 as one of the principle requirements of a “good” life) is expressed in obedience and repentance (James 46-10). Such humility is a chief characteristic of the OT heroes of faith (e.g., Gideon, Hannah, David, and Solomon) and a virtue celebrated repeatedly in wisdom literature (37).The other key to The Prayer is sight. We pray that God will grant us to see of our own transgressions. This is a plea for our own salvation. St. Seraphim of Sarov “Find inner peace, and thousands around you shall find their salvation.” How can we continually see the demons in those round us when our own passions condemn us?
Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (38).Our eyes are filled with the modern “judges” of the media: news anchors, politicians, talk show hosts, and all the other “talking heads” of the air waves. The moral person must guard against the promiscuous judgments spewed forth daily from the media.
The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness, If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (39).No one can serve two masters. Herein lies the key to understanding the prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian as a moral tool for the Christian life. We pray that God take from us the spirit of the world and give us, rather, His spirit. Within this short prayer lies the essence of our struggle known as spiritual warfare.
1) Although the Prayer was originally written in Syriac, I've defined the terms by use of the Greek text merely as a matter of clarification as there exists various English translations. Greek translation taken from Greek Orthodox Holy Week and Easter Services, comp., George L. Papadeas, (Daytona Beach, Florida: Patmos Press, 1994); p.107.
2) αργιας (αργος): inactive, unemployed; idle, adverse from labor; unprofitable, hollow; to be unemployed, to be inoperative, to linger. NB: All Greek term definitions taken from The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, ed., Harold K. Mouton, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978).
3) Vlachos, Hierotheos. Orthodox Psychotherapy (The Science of the Fathers). Greece: Birth of the Theotokos Monastery, 1994; p.255.
4) περιεργιας (περιεγος): over careful; officious, a busy body.
5) 1 Timothy 5:13.
6) Vlachos, p.179.
7) Philippians 4:8.
8) φιλαρχιας (φιλ - αρχη, αρχω, αρχων): first place, headship; high estate, eminence; authority; a principality, prince, of spiritual existence; to be first; to govern; one invested with power and dignity, chief, ruler, magistrate.
9) Matthew 20:25.
10) Matthew 20:26-27.
11) αργολογιας (αργο - λογιας): idle talk.
12) Matthew 12:36.
13) σωφροσυνης (σωφρωη, σωφροσυνη): sanity, soundness of mind, a sane mind; female modesty.
14) Titus 2:2.
15) 1 Timothy 2:15.
16) ταπεινοφοσυνης (ταπεινοφρων, ταπεινοφροσυνη): humble minded; lowliness or humility of mind and deportment, modesty.
17) Jeffrey, David Lyle. A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992; p.366.
18) Philippians 2:8.
19) 1 Peter 3:8.
20) Acts 20:19.
21) Ephesians 4:2.
22) Philippians 2:3.
23) Vlachos, p. 200.
24) υπομονης (υπομονη, ης; εν υπομονη & δι υπομονης): patient endurance; patient awaiting; a patient frame of mind, patience; perseverance; endurance; constantly, preservingly; an enduring of affliction; the act of suffering; undergoing.
25) Luke 21:19.
26) Romans 5:3-5.
27) James 1:3, 4.
28) αγαπης (αγαπε, ης): love, generosity, kindly concern, devotedness; love-feasts.
29) Vlachos, p.250.
30) Jude 12-13.
31) οραν (οραω): to see, behold; to mark, observe; to be admitted to witness [with εον = to reveal one’s self, to present one’s self].
32) πταισματα (πταιω): to cause to stumble; to stumble, stagger, fall; to make a false step; to err, offend, transgress.
33) give: to make a present of. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition.
34) grant: to consent to carry out for a person allow fulfillment of. Ibid.
35) John 8:10, 11.
36) Jeffrey, p.366.
37) Matthew 7:3-5.
38) Matthew 6:22-24.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
A fundamentalist Baptist cut the liberal icon's throat in broad daylight on a New York City street after the release of "Submission," his movie with actress Susan Sarandon that attacked the Religious Right for oppressing women. As a final symbolic act the killer used his knife to pin an anti-abortion tract to Moore's chest, with an explicit warning that Sarandon was next.
Are You a Crunchy Con?
How 'bout you?
R U a CC?
From a review:
And the most permanent thing of all is God. At the heart of Mr. Dreher’s family-centered crunchy conservatism is an unwavering commitment to religious faith. And not just any religious faith but rigorous, old-fashioned orthodoxy. Only a firm grounding in religious commitment, he believes, can sustain crunchy conservatives in their struggle against the radical individualism and materialism he decries. Nearly all the crunchy cons he interviews are devoutly Christian or orthodox Jewish believers who are deliberately ordering their lives toward the ultimate end of “serving God, not the self” — often at considerable financial sacrifice.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
From Big Brother to O Brother (Where Am I?)
Remember when TV, Radio, and water were free? Soon you may have to pay for Net services.
I always knew there was something dark and mysterious just waiting to jump up from under the streets of Los Angeles. (No, it's not the remake of the "Thriller" music video.) Black Blob attacks LA.
HT News Forum
Speaking of music videos ... there's more here than, well, should meet the eye.
And, when it comes to music, more here than should meet the ear!
But if all this partying and blobbing don't kill us, there's always this and this.
All things considered -- and I do mean all things -- how long before some bishop somewhere advocates THIS in a celebration of unity and diversity?
Monday, February 20, 2006
Love & Not Love
Enemies of Love
constantly demanding reassurance
cruelty / injustice
More quotes from Bishop Brother John Charles.
HOUSTON -- Houston's police chief on Wednesday proposed placing surveillance cameras in apartment complexes, downtown streets, shopping malls and even private homes to fight crime during a shortage of police officers.
"I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?" Chief Harold Hurtt told reporters Wednesday at a regular briefing.
Houston is facing a severe police shortage because of too many retirements and too few recruits, and the city has absorbed 150,000 hurricane evacuees who are filling apartment complexes in crime-ridden neighborhoods.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Some Notes on Prayer (IV)
"Time, Place, Posture ... must be taken into account with regard to prayer."
"We have no power within ourselves to help ourselves."
"God does not ask of us infinite perfection, but an infinite desire."
"It is the value that God places on me that is my real value."
the desert ... either way, the promised land is always on the other side.
"Unrepented sin, disordered relationships, anger, lack of charity, etc ... can lead to dryness."
"When the Spirit leads un into the wilderness it is to strip us of excess baggage."
"Prayer begins when we address God and allow God to address us."
"When we are 'unwell' -- we may be dry."
"We never lose the need for the reflective use of Scripture."
1) What does this say to me about God?
2) What does this say to me about myself?
"Prophecy is not foretelling the future, but confronting the present situation with a word of God."
"Humility allows God to cleanse us."
"The only things that don't change are dead things."
"Academic theology divorced from pastoral care is an invention of the devil."
"The most neglected person in the parish is the wife of the parish priest."
"The Church accepts people that the world rejects. The same goes for priests."
Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
Looks like Britney is doing the Will & Grace show.
Pic's Caption: Filming her guest appearance on Will & Grace on Thursday, working mom Britney Spears heads out for a lunch break in Studio City, Calif. The singer will reportedly play a conservative Christian on the NBC sitcom.
What, you may ask, does this have to do with anything? Well, this & this ... and, you know she cooks (right?), okay ... this.
Culture vs. Culture Club
The Russian Orthodox Church has called it "the propaganda of sin". Bishop Daniil of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk yesterday condemned the plans as a "cynical mockery" and likened homosexuality to leprosy.
Friday, February 17, 2006
No Such Thing as a Bishop Gene
Serge's comment is food for thought, at least.
1) like the academically unqualified Barbara Harris was promoted 17 years ago in the rush to make a statement, Robinson's problem was covered up and/or ...
2) all the pressure of being a world symbol as well as a bishop got to him and aggravated it.
The obvious point of many who've spread this news online is his becoming a practicing homosexual didn't do the trick and he remains unhappy.Somebody else has suggested that this could be a way for ECUSA to prevent a split in/from the Anglican Communion (for now) without having to repent: use the alcoholism as an excuse to retire Robinson early. I'm not sure if they'd do that or if Robinson would 'take one for the team' like that though... perhaps if he were paid handsomely for his trouble like the severance package Jo Mo Doss got from the Diocese of New Jersey.
He's, of course, referring to THIS.
Any way you look at it, all things considered, he's unfit to be a church leader.
Maybe his failure is just plain genetic.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
(417 before Sitemeter, 99,583 after)
At 9:08 pm (CT), someone in Dallas, Texas, was the honorable 100K visitor.
As anyone with a blog knows, it's a lot of work. More than that, I appreciate your time.
You know, that sounds harsh. Forgive me. I'm sorry. Sad, really.
Lord have mercy.
Calvary - Rock City, the Willies, and the Full Nelson
So now, just when it seems everyone's all grown up, Willie Nelson sings a gay country song, "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)"
The country outlaw sings: "What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?" and "Inside every cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip out."
Friends, I think this all started when he sang that duet with Julio Iglesias. Remember, "To All the Girls I've Loved Before?" Uh huh, right.
His latest offering gives new meaning to:
"A Good Hearted Woman (In Love w/ a Good Timin' Man)"
"On the Road Again"
and, of course
"Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys."
I promise, when Prince joins Professional Wrestling and KISS releases a gospel album, I'll seek out that therapist's couch.
How Goes the War?
HT Fr Victor Potapov
"The victory of jihad in Kosovo would be a local triumph pointing the way to further victories to come, eventually to a worldwide victory. They would point and say: "Where is their God?" As Christians, our hope of victory is not an earthly one. "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." I remind you that in our part of the world, we suffered centuries under shari'a rule, and no man knows the numbers and names of all the martyrs from those times. We do not prefer to repeat that nightmare, but we are prepared for it if it comes. But my plea to you, as American citizens, is that your country would not help hasten that day for the Christian Orthodox people of Kosovo."
HT Fr Miguel Grave DePeralta
One of the demonstrators was a small child with a placard that said, "Whoever insults the prophet kill him." Another marcher wore a suicide bomber costume.
Other signs in London said: "Behead those who insult Islam," "Europeans take a lesson from 9/11" and "Prepare for the REAL Holocaust." The organizer of the Feb. 3 event told the BBC that he looked forward to the day when "the black flag of Islam will be flying over Downing Street."
But what stunned British writer Geoffrey Wheatcroft was something else he saw while blitzing through news reports about the waves of fury inspired by those 12 Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammad.
"Not only did the police make no arrests" during the London demonstration, even though it "openly incited murder; they actually sheltered the fanatics" ...
Meanwhile, Willie Nelson sings a fruity country song, homosexual bishop admits he's an alcoholic, folks long for the next American Idol, and iPod sales soar.
God help us.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Southern, Baptist Humour
After forty years of shaving himself every morning, a man in a small Southern town decided he'd had enough. He told his wife that he intended to let the local barber shave him from now on.
He went to the shop, which was owned by the pastor of their Baptist church. The barber's wife, Grace, was working that day so she performed the task.
Grace shaved him, sprayed him with lilac water and said "That will be $20." The man thought it a bit high, but paid the bill and went to work.
The next morning he looked in the mirror and his face was as smooth as it had been when he left the barbershop the day before. "Not bad," he thought. "At least I don't need to get a shave every day.
The next morning the man's face was still smooth. Two weeks later, still smooth. It was more than he could take, so he returned to the barbershop.
"I thought $20 was high for a shave," he told the Baptist-barber-preacher's wife. "But you must have done a great job. It's been two weeks and my whiskers still haven't grown back."
"Of course they haven't" she replied. "You were shaved by Grace. Once shaved, always shaved."
Thanks to blog reg, Keith.
A Devil of a Story for Little Booky Men?
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
SOS on the DVC
Joan Acocella traces the growth of the Mary Magdalene myth—neither the Bible nor current Catholic doctrine identify her as a prostitute. According to gnostic texts discovered last century, she was Jesus' chief disciple. The fallen Magdalene we know may be a result of successful doctrinal warfare waged by the Orthodox Church against competing Christian sects.
Huh? That, I must admit, is the dumbest thing I've read in a while. Can someone, perhaps having read the article, enlighten me?
Here's DV on the DVC ...
The main purpose of this anti-Christian sub-plot in [The Da Vinci Code] is twofold ... [Dan Brown] wants to make the case for a revival of paganism, which embraces the "sacred feminine" and is superior to Christianity, seen as male-dominated and hierarchical.
Now the "sacred feminine" is not unfamiliar to Episcopalians, many of whose ultra-feminist priests have also embraced it as part of the ECUSA new religion. The New Age movement has been incorporated into the Episcopal Church. "This is a call from the Mother Earth and the Sacred Feminine to bring the feminine principle into consciousness and create a critical mass, a tipping point--the metaphoric millionth circle," wrote one Episcopal feminist. Other New Age supporters the Very Rev. James Parks Morton, formerly the Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and now President of the Temple of Understanding. While at St. John the Divine, Morton said, "The language of the 'Sacred Earth' has got to become mainline." Morton acted on this belief by holding a St. Francis Day communion service in 1993 that invoked the gods Yemanja, Ra, Ausar, and Obatala; the celebrant was Episcopal Bishop of New York Richard Grein.
The tragedy of books like The Da Vinci Code is not so much their error as their persuasiveness. Men and women are being lured into believing a lie, the ancient Gnostic lie which h the early church fought so tenaciously to suppress. Brown is offering men and women a spirituality that does not work. He is proffering sex and "the Force" instead of relationship with a transcendent Lord. People are being sold a lie that will never provide the satisfaction for which they hunger and thirst.
Orthodoxy NEEDS Deaconesses?
... Whenever this issue comes up so many people jump on the bandwagon of the fallacy of Slippery Slope its just annoying. I have read this book thoroughly, and while she, yes, asks for women to be ordained, she never asks for them to be ordained *Priests*, or *Bishops* or anything. Let's us all remember for a moment that we are *Orthodox* Christians, NOT Episcopalians, we have varying orders of ordinations, and our priests (unlike the Episcopalians) have fully sacramental functions and are not simply social workers who give a self-help talk every Sunday (which women can and do do in our church anyways, so if the Episcopalians want to call the women who do that in their church "priests" then fine, whatever). And we are definitely not Catholics either (where their messed up ecclesiology pratically demands that every ordained person is nothing more than a defective pope, and hence one ordinations DOES equal another). So let's all think rationally about this for a moment, for goodness sakes.
The whole comment may be found in the Comments on the original post (hyper-linked above).
I bring this [back] to your attention because, well, I disagree all the more. The Holy Spirit allows certain practices to die out. The Kiss of Peace? It used to be on the lips. The thing is, it was between priests & priests, deacons & deacons, males & males, females & females. This practice died out due to abuse. I don't believe this is the time to bring back certain practices -- especially deaconesses.
What need is there? Why is anyone even talking about it? Is the Church, the Body of Christ, groaning for this lost ministry? Or is there something else, less divine, going on? Sane replies, minus hubris and hysteria appreciated.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Da Vinci Code & Something Else
Oh My ... this piece is like something one might think, but never write. (Reader beware.)
HT News Forum
Sunday, February 12, 2006
VP Hunting, Really!
Now, George [W] Bush's VP has shocked us with his "pick" of a virtual unknown while hunting quail.
If I were a conspiracy theorist I'd be going bonkers thinking of how the Republicans have no candidate waiting in the wings and, of course, Cheney is not running for president. For him to step aside would cause chaos. Then again, his exit could be hastened, understandably, by his actually shooting someone -- making room for a contender.
Who'd a thunk?
My Uncle (the Monkey)
I kid you not.
Nearly 450 Christian churches around the country plan to celebrate the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin on Sunday with programs and sermons intended to emphasize that his theory of biological evolution is compatible with faith and that Christians have no need to choose between religion and science.
More ..."I find deep spirituality in the truths of evolution."
And, of course, the Creationist response is just as monkey-fied:
When pastors dismiss the creation account as a fable, he says, they give their flock license to disregard the Bible's moral teachings as well. He shows his audiences a graphic that places the theory of evolution at the root of all social ills: abortion, divorce, racism, gay marriage, store clerks who say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
Then again, I believe this writer actually IS related to Uncle Monkey:
[Today] is Darwin Day, and I plan to observe it by thanking God for evolution. Without it, we'd all be living in caves.
The debate over Charles Darwin's theories pits scientists against fundamentalist Christians, who take the Bible's version of creation literally and equate evolution with atheism.
Where does that leave Christians like me, who have no trouble reconciling evolution with faith? Frustrated, and out of the game.
That's why I welcome Darwin Day. I hope it evolves into an international movement showcasing the common ground between science and religion in the 21st century.
If you must ...
If you want to read something a whole lot more enlightening -- there's this -- wherein we find:
In a word, I feel sadly that the Church and contemporary society are in danger of waving goodbye to each other. You could say that was already happening with the existing legislation on divorce, abortion, genetic experimentation, and in the current pressure towards the legalization of the direct killing of terminally ill people. But the dangerous and deeply unwise social experimentation and engineering involved in these same-sex civil partnerships seems to me to be taking the alienation between the Church and society to a new and potentially disastrous level.
If I were a Muslim, I'd be "hurt" and "humiliated" that the revered prophet's name is given not to latex blowup males but to so many real blowup males: The leader of the 9/11 plotters? Mohammed Atta. The British Muslim who self-detonated in a Tel Aviv bar? Asif Mohammed Hanif. The gunman who shot up the El Al counter at LAX? Heshamed Mohamed Hedayet. The former U.S. Army sergeant who masterminded the slaughter at the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania? Ali Mohamed. The murderer of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh? Mohammed Bouyeri. The notorious Sydney gang rapist? Mohammed Skaf. The Washington sniper? John Allen Muhammed. If I were a Muslim, I would be deeply offended that the prophet's name is the preferred appellation of so many killers and suicide bombers on every corner of the earth.
-- Mark Steyn
Friday, February 10, 2006
Thursday, February 09, 2006
The "Things" We Are Not to Do:
1) We are not to be masterful and lordly (Matt.23:11, John 13:13 - 17);
2) We are not to return evil for evil (Rom.12:17);
3) We are not to avenge ourselves, but rather give place to wrath and suffer ourselves to be defrauded (Rom.12:20);
4) We are not to do our alms before men, or to let our left hand know what our right hand doeth (Matt.6:1 - 4);
5) We are not to return cursing for cursing or railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing (1 Peter 3:9);
6) We are not to grudge, judge, complain, or condemn (Jas.4:11; Matt.7:1; Phil.2:14);
7) We are not to give way to anger, wrath, bitterness, or evil speaking (Eph.4:31; 1 Peter 2:1);
8) We are not to conform to the world or to be ambitious after high things (Rom.12:2 - 16);
9) We are not to be slack in paying our debts (Rom.13:7 - 8);
10) We are not to backbite or speak of other men's sins until we have spoken to them first (Matt.18:15; Jas.5:19 - 20).
11) We are not to be guilty of adultery, fornication, uncleanness, drunkenness, covetousness, wrath, strife, sedition, hatred, emulation, boasting, vain glory, envy, jesting, or foolish talking (Eph.5:3 - 4).
The Gospel will not save us if we are disobedient to the commandments of Christ:
1) "Blessed are they who do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Rev.22:14).
2) "Every one that heareth these sayings of Mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man that built his house upon the sand. And the rains descended and the floods came and the winds blew, and beat upon that house and it fell, and great was the fall of it" (Matt.7:26).
3) "It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than after they have known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them" (2 Pet.2:21).
Taken from an old book, "The Most Useful KNOWLEDGE for the Orthodox Russian-American Young People," compiled by the Very Rev'd Peter G. Kohanik, 1932-1934.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Monday, February 06, 2006
I can't take much credit. And if I told y'all I lit a votive with the "Steelers' name on it" prior to Liturgy, you'd probably think me silly. So I'll just keep that part to myself.
Sometimes God works through referees.
UPDATE: Cruci-fixins Has Been Canceled.
Story H E R E.
Thanks to FWD from Blog Reader & Orthodox Inquirer, Douglas Burns.
Imitate the Muslims?
Secondly, at best, Islam is a Christian heresy. At worst ... well, you're seeing it.
Finally, we are taught to bless those who curse us, to pray for our enemies, to do good to even those who hate us. The only outrage, in my opinion, is when my money (tax dollars) is used to support demonic -- or just plain dumb -- arts.
My two bits at Dawn.
Some Notes on Prayer (III)
"Thankfulness is not self-centered."
"Grace is God's way of acting graciously toward us."
"Hope is not wishful thinking -- but assurance."
Psalm 22 = Prayer of Praise
"Theology is a word about God. You cannot have a Black Theology, Feminist Theology, or Gay Theology because theology is about GOD."
"Gossip: Itching ears make tattling tales possible."
"Sins confessed are merely signs of something that lies much deeper."
"Confession requires ... Contrition: not just being sorry, but recognizing by my sins I crucify Christ afresh. Intention to amend: change, reparation."
"Confession = owning up."
"Any priest can pronounce absolution. Not any priest can give direction."
"I will not direct a priest who does not say daily prayers, does not take a day off, or neglects his wife and children."
"Vary what you do -- add variety to your prayer."
"We have no power in ourselves to help ourselves."
"God does not ask of us infinite perfection -- but, an infinite desire."
"It is the value God places on me that is my real value."
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Sensitivity Training ... Elsewhere
Denmark! Even if you were overcome with a sudden urge to burn the Danish flag, where do you get one in a hurry in Gaza? ...
Say what you like about the Islamic world, but they show tremendous initiative and energy and inventiveness, at least when it comes to threatening death to the infidels every 48 hours for one perceived offense or another. If only it could be channeled into, say, a small software company, what an economy they'd have.
It's Mark Steyn ... H E R E.
HT News Forum
And, just to show y'all I was on to sump'n, he even mentions Chef Britney!
Saturday, February 04, 2006
My One, My Only ... MEME
4 jobs you have had in your life
Door-to-door book salesman
4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over **
4 Places You Have Lived
Boone, North Carolina
4 TV Shows You Love To Watch (Don't usually, but enjoyed:)
Everybody Loves Raymond
Lawrence Welk (yes, really)
Monday Night Football (will miss it now that it's moving to cable)
4 Places You Have Been On Vacation
Pawleys Island, SC
Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
4 Websites You Visit Daily
Orthodixie's Sidebar :)
4 Of Your Favorite Foods
Duke's Mayonnaise :)
Salad (yes, really)
4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now *
See vacations. :)
4 Bloggers You Are Tagging
Though I'll be shocked (nearly as much as when I did it) if they actually do it.
* Places I'd rather be: Northwoods of Wisconsin, Normandy, Camping, Lake Tillery (NC)
** I like these movies, too:
All That Jazz (yes, I know)
The Deer Hunter
The Truman Show
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Mr Holland's Opus
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Producers (the original)
and, did I mention ...
Groundhog Day ?
Britney Spears & Other Religious Leaders
Is OVERSENSITIVITY a sin according to Islam?
HT News Forum
WASHINGTON -- The State Department criticized today cartoon drawings in Europe of the Prophet Muhammad, calling them "offensive to the beliefs of Muslims."
While recognizing the importance of freedom of the press and expression, department press officer Janelle Hironimus said these rights must be coupled with press responsibility.
HT Houston Chronicle
The United States, which before the September 11 attacks was criticized for insensitivity to the Islamic culture, has tried to become more attuned to Muslim sensibilities. Accusations last year that U.S. officials desecrated the Koran sparked deadly riots in Asia and heightened that awareness.
The U.S. response contrasted with European governments, which have tended to acknowledge tension between free speech and respect for religion but have generally accepted papers' rights to print the cartoons.
Come to think of it, "What would Muhammad say to Britney Spears?"
Friday, February 03, 2006
Secondly, whoop-tee-do! Unemployment is down! I wish it would go up a few points because in my experience not many people, especially young workers, really want to WORK these days. Is it just me, or is the I-don't-care-what-you-want attitude prevalent everywhere? I could give many examples, but then I'd have to kill myself. (heh heh) See? I don't know what made me say that (except maybe the gal at Burger King, the rep on the phone, the lady at the tax office, the one at the help desk, etc).
Then there's my fantasy of a
Whew. Okay. Forgive me.
-- St Basil the Great
Thursday, February 02, 2006
The pop star will appear as a Christian conservative sidekick to Sean Hayes' character, Jack, who hosts his own talk show, on the April 13 episode, the network said.
Jack's fictional network, Out TV, is bought by a Christian TV network, leading to Spears contributing a cooking segment called "Cruci-fixin's."
Activists go H E R E.
Many will probably just go H E R E.
And, in other news:
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
The Qualities of a Real Christian
Love -- Read the thirteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians.
Joy -- Do you scatter joy and happiness wherever you go? Do you feel a joy in your heart because you are trying to live the Christian life? A Christian, even in the midst of trouble, should be glad, because he has Jesus near, and be able to have this Christian joy in his heart.
Peace -- Are you disturbed by things that happen around us? Jesus is the only One who can give us, and keep us in, perfect peace. We are told we must keep our mind on God, then we can obtain peace.
Longsuffering -- Can you tell how Paul suffered for the Lord and yet never complained? He was glad to do it, and was happy and rejoiced, even in the midst of deepest persecution.
Gentleness -- We learn this lesson from our mothers. How gentle they are and kind.
Goodness -- Trying always to do the right thing.
Faith -- Always believing in God ... even though other people do not. Trusting in Him at all times as we trust in our parents.
Meekness -- Not boastful and desiring the best place, but doing our best without boasting and wanting to be seen. Being silent when others are having an argument, unless we know our word is true and will not add to the strife.
Temperance -- How we need to study this question now when so much temptation is being placed in our path. Let us try to be temperate in all things.
Taken from an old book, “The Most Useful KNOWLEDGE for the Orthodox Russian-American Young People,” compiled by the Very Rev’d Peter G. Kohanik, 1932-1934.
Some Notes on Prayer (II)
The following quotes are from my seminary days -- Ascetic Theology 2 -- with Bishop Brother John Charles.
A couple from Dom John Chapman:
"Pray the way you can -- not the way you can't."
"The only prayer you'll ever have is the prayer you have today -- muddled and confused -- but if you don't pray it, you'll never pray at all."
"Prayer doesn't change things. Prayer changes people & people change things."
"Crises do not change us -- they simply reveal to us what we've become."
"One can bear almost anything for 24 hours."
Prayer: "Lord, let me behave."
Prayer: "Lord, I'm at your disposal."
"God can do anything He likes ... but, normally He acts normally."
"He'll normally let you do anything you like while you come to your senses."
"God doesn't coerce people. He waits for a response of love to His love."
"Be thankful for someone who is driving you mad. It won't change them, but it'll change you."
"Be thankful & be happy."
"My age is the right age -- and it increases annually."
"If you can't be thankful for where you are -- you aren't gonna be thankful anywhere."
To be continued ...