Wednesday, April 26, 2006


So, I wanted to brag that I wrote an in-class Composition Monday without any notice and got a 99. Woot.
Yeah, I should be working on my paper(s) right now, but I'm blogging.

Yesterday there was a fundamentalist Christian street preacher on campus. It caused quite a stir. I shouldn't call him a fundamentalist, but it seems that would be a good description of the beliefs he was stating. The worse part was how he was yelling at people, apparently telling they were going to hell. In my religion & violence class we talked a lot about how people respond to that.
I said that it seems to me that if we have relativism except for one thing (the fact that everyone has to be a relativist) then we're being internally inconsistent. Another way I said it was, "So, to prove to someone that they're not right in trying to dominate other people we'll dominate him into realizing he's not right. Doesn't sound right to me."

Anyways, by the time I got there there was quite a crowd. The man wasn't really saying much of consequence. Mostly he was being harassed by students who weren't even listening to him. Maybe religious tolerance will one day have to include the religiously intolerant. I don't know. This guy was probably going about it in the wrong way, looking for trouble, but they weren't exactly respectful in return.

Now, I must put my creative energies to work on my paper.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Paschal Homily

Oh, and, by the way, among the many things that I loved about Pascha and will reflect upon in the coming weeks, was St. John Chrystostom's Paschal Homily (which, if you didn't know, is read in all Orthodox parishes every Pascha). So, here it is:

If any man be devout and loveth God,Let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast!If any man be a wise servant,Let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.
If any have laboured long in fasting,Let him how receive his recompense.If any have wrought from the first hour,Let him today receive his just reward.If any have come at the third hour,Let him with thankfulness keep the feast.If any have arrived at the sixth hour,Let him have no misgivings;Because he shall in nowise be deprived therefore.If any have delayed until the ninth hour,Let him draw near, fearing nothing.And if any have tarried even until the eleventh hour,Let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness.
For the Lord, who is jealous of his honour,Will accept the last even as the first.He giveth rest unto him who cometh at the eleventh hour,Even as unto him who hath wrought from the first hour.And He showeth mercy upon the last,And careth for the first;And to the one He giveth,And upon the other He bestoweth gifts.And He both accepteth the deeds,And welcometh the intention,And honoureth the acts and praises the offering.
Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord;Receive your reward,Both the first, and likewise the second.You rich and poor together, hold high festival!You sober and you heedless, honour the day!Rejoice today, both you who have fastedAnd you who have disregarded the fast.The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously.The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.Enjoy ye all the feast of faith:Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.
Let no one bewail his poverty,For the universal Kingdom has been revealed.Let no one weep for his iniquities,For pardon has shown forth from the grave.Let no one fear death,For the Saviour's death has set us free.He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.
By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive.He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh.And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry:Hell, said he, was embitteredWhen it encountered Thee in the lower regions.
It was embittered, for it was abolished.It was embittered, for it was mocked.It was embittered, for it was slain.It was embittered, for it was overthrown.It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.It took a body, and met God face to face.It took earth, and encountered Heaven.It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
O Death, where is thy sting?O Hell, where is thy victory?
Christ is risen, and thou art overthrown!Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!Christ is risen, and life reigns!Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.For Christ, being risen from the dead,Is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be glory and dominionUnto ages of ages.


Man have I been busy these past twenty days in which I have not posted on here. Shame on me.

This year we did Easter in our protestant church and Pascha in our Orthodox church. (Mind you, we haven't even been received as catechumens at Nativity of the Virgin Mary yet.)
It's funny because our kids have been saying "Happy Easter 2!" a lot since we celebrated them both to varying degrees.

Pascha at Nativity of the Virgin was awesome. How joyous! One of the choir directors asked me what I thought of it during the feast and I said, "It was both more celebratory and more solemn than I'm used to."

On a sidenote, my wife and I commented on the bell-ringing at 12:30 or so during the procession and later during the gospel reading (at 2 AM). Man, if I lived in that neighborhood...

Anyways, we're very busy lately.
I'm racing towards the end of the semester for college. I have two ten-page papers due in the next week or two. The title for my paper for Modern Philosophy: "Leibniz: Infinite Divisibility, Infinite Regress, and the Ultimate Reality of Things".
For my Religion & Violence class I'm working on a paper on non-coercive/violent evangelism, particularly in a cross-cultural context. I'm looking at some good cases- the Anglican conversion of the Moru people in Sudan and the Orthodox evangelization of native Alaska, especially St. Innocent of Alaska.

So, that's what I'm doing, in case someone checks this blog. Blessings on all of you. I'll post more after my classes wrap up.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

God protect Caruthersville

Yesterday I took the afternoon off from classes and drove down to Caruthersville, MO to visit folks. Probably everyone has seen Caruthersville on the news as the site of a really big tornado that destroyed a lot of town. Well, if you have read my blog much you realize that Caruthersville is the town where I was doing Young Life until December. We're now living about an hour and a half north in Jackson, MO.
I parked at a friend's house on the very edge of the damaged zone. The damaged zone itself is blocked by state police and National Guardsmen (who happen to have machine guns on them), so I figured it would be best to walk into the zone to check on people. I walked down to the high school, where I took this picture. This is the high school where I have so many memories of meeting my high school friends.
The whole experience of walking around (I probably walked two miles all together) the damage zone was a bit overwhelming. Even after watching all the videos I could on the Cape News website ( I was blown away by how much of the town is just missing. I got disoriented a couple of times because I was walking along and everything looked the same in every direction: houses, trees and cars busted up and destroyed.

I walked through the east side of town, which is the poorer, mostly black, part of town. It was a ghost town. On the main street of town, Ward Ave. lots of people were out helping people. On the east side barely anyone was doing anything. I guess a lot of the houses on the east side are rentals and landlords haven't gotten to them yet.

Please pray for Caruthersville a lot in the coming months. I don't know how long it's going to get "C-ville" back to normal, if ever.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I wanted to pass on some links to whomever may read this blog:

Our St. Louis Orthodox Young Adults/OCF has a Yahoo! Group: click here

Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green wrote an interesting article on the interaction and differences between cradle-Orthodox and Orthodox converts as well as a hopeful glimpse at the future of Orthodoxy in America. click here

Some people have set up an Orthodox Wiki which has a whole bunch of information on Orthodoxy. click here

Here is a great Orthodoxy which a little about Orthodoxy in North America, but is especially great for its trans-jurisdictional canonical Orthodox church-finder. click here

Enjoy the links.

Where have I been?

This weekend we went up to St. Louis to "Our Orthodox Family", as we refer to them down here. What a great time. Saturday night was Vespers at Ss. Cyril & Methody in Granite City. After Vespers the ladies (I'm assuming it was the ladies, cause the food was gooooood!) had a great lenten dinner prepared. Towards the end of dinner we young adults settled down at a table to visit with each other and Fr. Andrew of Ss. C & M. And the conversation was great. I was amazed to find out that Fr. Andrew had converted to Orthodoxy (or at least been convinced of it) in East Lansing, MI. That's nearly my hometown! Then, after his chrismation and seminary he was sent back to East Lansing to St. Andrew's, which is an Orthodox Church I drove by a million long before I ever thought of joining the Orthodox Church. Anyways, those were some coincidences.

After dinner we stayed with Shawn and Tara. That was great. Shawn and Tara are converts and very excited about the Orthodox faith. I won't mention the fact that they seriously have a cross of some sort in every room of their house. Oops, I guess I just did.

Sunday liturgy was great. Fr. Oliver gave the homily and it was great. He's a very engaging speaker. As an aside, it is nice going to a not-humongous parish with three priests. Each of them is different from the other two, so together they're a great blend.

Dinner coffee hour I had good conversation with Fr. Oliver about seminary plans and if there could be Orthodox seminary in my future. He offered some valuable insight and discernment. I believe he converted to Orthodoxy while in a protestant seminary, so he knows what I need to know.

Sunday was the first time our kids stayed all the way through Liturgy. A lot of Sundays one of us takes them downstairs at about the 1 hr mark when they get a little too fidgety or too fussy. This time there was none of that. They were awesome. I wonder if part of that is our evolving sense of what a child's role is in the community worship. We're letting go of some of our western sit up, sit straight, pay attention mindset and allowing them to meet God in His Liturgy in their way. And when we don't fuss at them for moving around a little bit, they stop fussing. Of course, we're talking about a little bit of fidgeting, not rolling under the pews or running down the aisles. That wouldn't even fly even in an Orthodox Church.