Saturday, July 29, 2006


Did I mention that last weekend (7/22) Amy and I went to see one of the final performance of the National Company of Les Miserables? Now, I'm not exactly a big fan of the musicals. I get really distracted by the way they keep breaking into song. Couldn't we do something about that?
Anyways, the show was amazing. And almost as amazing was the Fox Theatre in St. Louis,
where we saw it. Unfortunately, they don't allow any pictures to be taken in the theatre. None at all. So, we didn't even get a picture of us all dressed up for the show. Unfortunate. We were stunning. Especially my wife.

So, this week was a long one of lots of hours spent at the package center.
Today we're taking the kids camping, hopefully at the state park about 25 minutes from here. This will be our first attempt at camping as a family. In fact, even though Amy and I both loved camping growing up, we haven't ever camped as a family. We bought some new camping gear yesterday- hopefully we will camp more now.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Israel-Lebanon Pt. 3

John, your comments have been well-thought out and genuinely challenging, so I thought I would copy and paste yesterday's in a post and respond to you line by line (or paragraph.)

Yes, Israel is attacking Lebanon, who has a military that is unwilling or unable to contain Hezbollah. Hezbollah initiated this recent round with the firing of rockets and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.
I understand why the war started. I understand that Hezbollah instigated it. However, if Israel is destroying the infrastructure in Lebanon, doesn't that lessen the Lebanese Army's ability to contain or disarm the Hezbollah militia? This makes absolutely no sense.

In war, innocent people suffer. If we used the logic that we have to make sure no innocent people get bombed or killed, Hitler would have won World War II. The nature of war is that innocent people will die.
Yes, in war innocent people die, which is why when war must be waged it must be contained within standards of decency to keep the number of civilian deaths to an absolute minimum.

The problem is Hezbollah blends into the local population - and the local population seems to let them. They are doing everything they can to win and they are using the local population as their shield.
There is no way that Hezbollah's blending into the local population is the local population's fault! How could they be blamed for submitting to Hezbollah for fear of their lives?

Israel has to get to them one way or another. So if you want to blame anyone, blame Hezbollah who has vowed the destruction of Israel.
Hezbollah may have vowed the destruction of Israel, but the damage to Lebanon is disproportionate to the amount of damage to Israel. Also, thanks to US military support, Israel definitely has the power to remove Lebanon from the planet. Hezbollah does not have comparable power.

I am definitely Zionist in my leanings. In essence I am not going to stand in the way of God's covenant with Israel and I take very seriously the word of God which was to Abraham, I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you.
Yes, I understand biblical prophecy, and all that. I hope you're not one of those who sees letting Israel attack its neighbors as a way to bring about the end times.
The truth is, from the very first centuries of the Church, the Apostles and Fathers have seen the Church as the rightful children of Abraham. Children by faith and not by circumcision. In Lebanon there are many many Orthodox Christians who are being attacked in this current conflict, in fact an Orthodox Christian monastery was destroyed (perhaps their having a dome was their fault for looking like a mosque). Siding with Israel (God's people) in deliberately targeting innocent Lebanese Christians (God's people) or Muslims is a betrayal of the values which Christ expressed in His life and ministry.

Yes, nations have a right to defend themselves and their people against attacks. What concerns me is the western world's silence in the presence of what is obviously an overly aggressive display of force on Israel's part.
And, you're right, I don't know what Israel can do. They, of course, sustaining more damage from Hezbollah now than before the starting bombing Lebanon. And now they've ensured that Hezbollah will have no shortage of recruits for years to come. How does that acheive the goals of peaceful coexistence in the region?
But then, Israel's (and American Ziongelicals') goal isn't peaceful coexistence, is it? It's the eradication of all the Arab people within the boundaries of the Promised Land. And that's why the world should stand up and prevent the Israeli military from attacking Lebanon.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Statement by the Antiochians

Mind you, I attend an OCA parish, however the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America has published a statement on the current Israel-Lebanon war, which I can heartily agree with.

Appeal For Intervention In the Middle East

It is a worthy statement, even if it might overstate the number of Antiochian faithful in North America.

Lord, have mercy on us all.

Israel-Lebanon Pt. 2

In answer to a well-thought, if a bit extremist in his zionist leanings, comment from John Lunt:

Yes, God is the God of Israel. Sure, I'll give you that. However, many of the civilians being killed and maimed in Lebanon are Christians, those who have received the Jewish Messiah.
Any Covenant God has with Israel does not negate their responsibility to behave in the international arena in a way which recognizes standards of war and the Geneva Conventions.

Are we to assume that because God has a covenant with Israel guaranteeing them the whole of the majority of the Middle Eastern world, that we (the U.S. or Western Christians) should support them in military efforts against their neighbors?

Yes, Israel has endured a lot of terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. However, to decry the wrongness of those attacks and avenge through more attacks against innocent civilians is not only irrational, it undermines the moral highground the victim nation could be said to have had in the first place.

Israel's problem is not with the elected government or the civilians of Lebanon. It is with Hezbollah.

It's interesting that you used the example of "what if Canadians were shooting rockets into US cities? Wouldn't we retaliate?" Under the current administration, that's exactly what we'd do.
However, if we were to use the full force of our military (the world's largest) against the whole of Canada for the acts of a terrorist group, the world would be outraged and rightly so.

Israel, with one of the world's largest and most advanced militaries (thanks to the US) is currently attacking a nation whose military power totals to all of 35,000 infantry.
In the current conflict, 10 times as many Lebanese civilians have died as Israeli.

The fact is, the best definition of terrorism is any deliberate act of violence (state-sponsored or otherwise) against innocent civilian bystanders in or out of a time of war. If the aggressor nation was any but Israel, the western world would be outraged. Apparently, terrorism is acceptable when it is the tool of American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Forgive me. May God forgive us both.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Okay, so I'll admit. I'm pissed about Israel's attack of Lebanon in retribution for the actions of a terrorist group. Their argument is with Hezbollah, not the government of Lebanon and certainly not the innocent civilians of Lebanon.
Lord, have mercy.
Meanwhile, the American government is refusing to push for a ceasefire. How many civilians do the Israelis need to kill before a ceasefire is necessary? Is state-sponsored terrorism somehow justified in their 'war-on-terror' foreign relations agenda?
Here's a link to a site with pictures of the damage in Lebanon and a petition. Warning: these are real pictures of war. Some images will be disturbing.
God the Father of orphans and Caretaker of widows, protect these innocent ones from the acts of an aggressive nation, and the inattentiveness of an apathetic world.
Lord, have mercy.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I'm concerned with the current situation in Israel. I don't know about the prudence of attacking a nation in retaliation for the acts of a terrorist organization. Of course, I'm not in the position of making such important decisions.
May God protect the innocents in this current conflict. Lord, have mercy.

Friday, July 14, 2006

One month since my last post

Well, I have been a busy guy, and my blog has suffered for it.

What have I been doing? Let's see, I have gone to Young Life camp in Michigan, bought a car, started catechism at Nativity of the Virgin Mary Church and worked a lot at UPS.
Other than that, not a whole lot. I guess I've read some.

Timberwolf Lake was awesome. It was a little sad, as it was most likely my last ever YL camp trip, as this fall I will be too busy in the evenings to be involved in Young Life.

I had a great time. Our cabin of guys were some of the nicest and most open guys with whom I have ever shared a week of camp. Plus, it didn't hurt that the camp was in Michigan (my home state and the most beautiful in the 50).

We finally bought our new car. It's very nice. I'm glad we waited and waited and waited for it. (We borrowed someone's minivan for over a month!) Anyways, it's a fairly low mileage car, so it should be nice and dependable for the next few years.

Saturday we had our first meeting with Fr. Tom. It was great, and to top it off he is hilarious. I never heard more funny stories in all my life. It was especially funny to hear his stories from his days at St. Vlad's- his impersonation of Fr. Alexander Schmemann is really funny. All in all, Amy and I are excited to be moving forward in our journey to the true ancient Christian faith.

Work has been pretty good. It has rained a lot lately, so the mosquitoes are really bad at the center. I hope I don't get West Nile Virus or something worse. That would be bad.

Reading? Lately, I'm re-reading Fr. Alexander Schmemann's For the Life of the World, which is a great introduction to the integrated worldview of Orthodoxy. Very meaty read. Also, I got the new Again issue on Orthodox Unity in North America. It has articles highlighting the situation here in North America where there exist 15 canonical jurisdictions, instead of one united Orthodox Church of North America. The authors were hopeful that restoring Orthodoxy to its united state here in North America (which it was prior to the Bolshevik revolution in the 19-teens) would assist in efforts to evangelize the continent.

Mostly, I have been adjusting to my new job and figuring how to spend time with my family, so blogging has been a ways down on my to-do list. No apologies for that.

I included lots of links, so everyone who reads here can follow them and find out more what's going on in my life. Check out MY myspace.