Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The monastery is fairly new, so there is lots of work to do down there, if anyone has time or expertise to offer.
Our group had no expertise to offer, just sweat. So, we spent a few hours spreading wood chips on what will be reflection/walking trails. The area is naturally beautiful, and peaceful. One of my friends commented on the way back that it felt like we were on 'holy ground.' We were.
The Springfield, MO area will be blessed for many years with the presence of these women living lives of prayer in their vicinity.
I'm looking forward to taking my family down to the monastery within the next few months, hopefully after the chapel is completed.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
For the future, Amy and I are starting to seriously look towards our move back to Nebraska. Kearney, Nebraska, to be exact. How strange is that that we have a town in Nebraska picked out that is around 4 hours from her parents', has a university where she can finish her bachelor's and has an Orthodox church? Too cool.
So, now I am searching in earnest for a job in Kearney. One where having BA will help me make more money, but probably one where a BA in Philosophy and Religion doesn't much matter. The point really isn't to get into a Philosophy career, but to get plugged into a church and grow until I can go to seminary.
So, anybody out there, if you pray, pray for me to find a job.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Well, as it turns out our finances were a bit tighter than we'd imagined going into my last semester at SEMO, so I opted to stay home. However, after trying for the past six months to find mp3 files of last year's conference in Colorado Springs, I was excited to find that the Conciliar Press/Ancient Faith Radio strategic merger has yielded the fantastic result of all the main sessions being pod-casted. Absolutely great!
So, yesterday, last night, and today I have listened to all the talk that are up already over here.
I especially like Fr. Kevin Scherer's talk about sharing your Orthodox faith with your Protestant friends. He made a distinction between sharing with Modernist and Postmodernist Evangelicals. As you could probably tell from my journey I find myself somewhere in the middle between the group wanting Biblical proofs for the faith and the group searching for 'authentic community.'
It is exciting to think more about ministry in an Orthodox context. I can totally see myself 10 years from now in a campus ministry setting, Lord willing, when and if I make to seminary and beyond to ordination.
My biggest goal for the next 6-9 months is to move closer to an Orthodox parish, so that it won't break us financially to be more involved in the parish, and then, to begin to ease back into ministry opportunities.
Pray for me.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Work was not so fun last night. I've been getting home late lately.
On a positive note I have my graduation application in and now I have all of my missing requirements waived or met with the current semester. Graduation here I come. I really will get my bachelor's degree before my thirtieth birthday.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Loads of fun.
It hasn't been so great lately what with the 100+ weather and the center being a giant metal barn with a belt down the middle.
My classes start on Tuesday. I am busy making sure all deficiencies are taken care of so I can graduate in December. This summer I got registered/certified as a substitute teacher, so I'm hoping to get some extra work subbing this fall. (I only have class on Tuesdays/Thursdays). I'm pretty excited about this semester, as I have some fairly easy classes and then I have an independent study with the campus RC chaplain, Fr. Patrick. He has his Ph.D. from the Lateran University in Rome, so I'm looking forward to studying Philosophy of Religion with him.
That's what I'm doing. Now I should help my wife prepare lunch.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Anyways, I'm starting to look in earnest for jobs in Nebraska so that we can hopefully move out there some time in January. I'd like for Amy to be able to start with a class or two in the spring semester. Then we could use that time to get settled in and she could start full-time in the fall. That would be a good transition.
That's about all. I need to drive to campus today to get my graduation application ironed out so I'm definitely on the list for December. It seems some of my Philosophy/Religion courses aren't showing up the way I'd like them to.
Monday, July 23, 2007
In the blogging part of my journey I started out as a Youth Pastor in a non-denominational Protestant Evangelical church.
The Emergent Convention
Tony Jones' The Sacred Way led me to the Jesus Prayer and (in the same post) I describe our plan to take our youth group on a "Faith Pilgrimage" to services of eight different Christian traditions.
First trip to an Orthodox Church (Greek Archdiocese)
Shortly after beginning this series of experiences I announced my resignation and plans to go back to college fulltime.
After my initial in-person experience with the Orthodox Church (I had been listening to the Divine Liturgy on the Greek Archdiocese website occasionally for at least a year), I found out we were blessed to live within driving distance of one of the original EOC parishes which were received into the Antiochian Archdiocese, St. John Orthodox Church in Memphis.
So, I visited.
Then, my family visited with me.
Some time around then, when I felt my conversion was imminent, but scary, I renamed my blog "peering over the eastern edge of the world"- translation= contemplating leaving everything you've ever known (and have done for a living)
My first attempt at home devotional use of incense
Then, after only visiting St. John four or five times we moved closer to my college (which was in the opposite direction from Memphis) and visited Nativity of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church (OCA) in Madison, IL where we met our future sponsors and our kids' future godparents.
Suddenly I felt comfortable seeking out Orthodox people in strangers
Our minds continued to be reshaped and reshaped
Here's my reflection on our first 'Forgiveness Vespers'
When we were finally both in agreement that were ready to pursue acceptance into the Orthodox Church, we started Catechism in August and we were received (through baptism and chrismation) December 9, 2006.
That's not our complete journey, but you get the gist of it.
Lord willing, I will graduate with my BA this December, then we will probably relocate so we can be more involved in a parish and start to seriously pursue/prepare for seminary.
My wife has given me permission to go to the Orthodox Conference of Missions and Evangelism, so now I'm looking for a ride partner.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Then I spent too much money at the gift shop and drove back to my mom's house too late for lunch. Oh well.
Friday, July 13, 2007
The website is liturgica.com and it is a great source for liturgical theory, history and buying liturgical music recordings.
I wanted to share my summer reading list (I've read other light reading, as well.) These are the books that have been in my 'pile'
Books I've read:
The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts, Frederica Mathewes-Green
Mary the Mother of God: Sermons by St. Gregory Palamas, Christopher Veniamin
Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought, Luigi Gambero
Mary, Mother of God, Eds. Carl Braaten and Robert Jenson
Against Those that Are Unwilling to Confess That The Holy Virign in Theotokos, St. Cyril of Alexandria
The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God, St. John Maximovitch (of San Francisco)
The Mother of God, John Henry Newman
Still to read:
Mary: The Untrodden Portal of God, George S. Gabriel
Anyways, it has been an interesting summer of reading, and it is helping me to clarify in my mind the differences between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic veneration of the Virgin Theotokos and the Protestant disdain of her.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Here's the reading from the Holy Gospel according St. John the Theologian and Evangelist:
19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
Seeing and Believing 24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
That You May Believe 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:19-31 (NKJV)
[sources: http://oca.org/Reading.asp?SID=25&M=4&D=15&ReadingNum=3 , http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%2020&version=50]
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Here is the First Oration of St. Gregory Nazianzus.
On Easter and His Reluctance.
I. It is the Day of the Resurrection, and my Beginning has good auspices. Let us then keep the Festival with splendour, and let us embrace one another. Let us say Brethren, even to those who hate us; much more to those who have done or suffered aught out of love for us. Let us forgive all offences for the Resurrection’s sake: let us give one another pardon, I for the noble tyranny which I have suffered (for I can now call it noble); and you who exercised it, if you had cause to blame my tardiness; for perhaps this tardiness may be more precious in God’s sight than the haste of others. For it is a good thing even to hold back from God for a little while, as did the great Moses of old, and Jeremiah later on; and then to run readily to Him when He calls, as did Aaron
and Isaiah, so only both be done in a dutiful spirit;—the former because of his own want of strength; the latter because of the Might of Him That calleth.
II. A anointed me; I withdrew a little while at a Mystery, as much as was needful to examine myself; now I come in with a Mystery, bringing with me the Day as a good defender of my cowardice and weakness; that He Who to-day rose again from the dead may renew me also by His Spirit; and, clothing me with the new Man, may give me to His New Creation, to those who are begotten after God, as a good modeller and teacher for Christ, willingly both dying with Him and rising again with Him.
III. Yesterday the Lamb was slain and the door-posts were anointed,and Egypt bewailed her Firstborn, and the Destroyer passed us over, and the Seal was dreadful an d reverend, and we were walled in with the Precious Blood. To-day we have clean escaped from Egypt and from Pharaoh; and there is none to hinder us from keeping a Feast to the Lord our God—the Feast of our Departure; or from celebrating that Feast, not in the old leaven of malice and wickedness, but in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, carrying with us nothing of ungodly and Egyptian leaven.
IV. Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; to-day I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; to-day I rise with Him. But let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us—you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world and of the Prince of the world. Let us offer ourselves, the possession most precious to God, and most fitting; let us give back to the Image what is made after the Image. Let us recognize our Dignity; let us honour our Archetype; let us know the power of the Mystery, and for what Christ died.
V. Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us. Let us become God’s for His sake, since He for ours became Man. He assumed the worse that He might give us the better; He became poor that we through His poverty might be rich; He took upon Him the form of a servant that we might receive back our liberty; He came down that we might be exalted; He was tempted that we might conquer; He was dishonoured that He might glorify us; He died that He might save us; He ascended that He might draw to Himself us, who were lying low in the Fall of sin. Let us give all, offer all, to Him Who gave Himself a Ransom and a Reconciliation for us. But one can give nothing like oneself, understanding the Mystery, and becoming for His sake all that He became for ours.
As you see, He offers you a Shepherd; for this is what your Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for his sheep, is hoping and praying for, and he asks from you his subjects; and he gives you himself double instead of single, and makes the staff of his old age a staff for your spirit. And he adds to the inanimate temple a living one; to that exceedingly beautiful and heavenly shrine, this poor and small one, yet to him of great value, and built too with much sweat and many labours. Would that I could say it is worthy of his labours. And he places at your disposal all that belongs to him (O great generosity!—or it would be truer to say, O fatherly love!) his hoar hairs, his youth, the temple, the high priest, the testator, the heir, the discourses which you were longing for; and of these not such as are vain and poured out into the air, and which reach no further than the outward ear; but those which the Spirit writes and engraves on tables of stone, or of flesh, not merely superficially graven, nor easily to be rubbed off, but marked very deep, not with ink, but with grace.
VII. These are the gifts given you by this august Abraham, this honourable and reverend Head, this Patriarch, this Restingplace of all good, this Standard of virtue, this Perfection of the Priesthood, who to-day is bringing to the Lord his willing Sacrifice, his only Son, him of the promise. Do you on your side offer to God and to us obedience to your Pastors, dwelling in a place of herbage, and being fed by water of refreshment; knowing your Shepherd well, and being known by him; and following when he calls you as a Shepherd frankly through the door; but not following a stranger climbing up into the fold like a robber and a traitor; nor listening to a strange voice when such would take you away by stealth and scatter you from the truth on mountains, and in deserts, and pitfalls, and places which the Lord does not visit; and would lead you away from the sound Faith in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the One Power and Godhead, Whose Voice my sheep always heard (and may they always hear it), but with deceitful and corrupt words would tear them from their true Shepherd. From which may we all be kept, Shepherd and flock, as from a poisoned and deadly pasture; guiding and being guided far away from it, that we may all be one in Christ Jesus our Lord, now and unto the heavenly rest. To Whom be the glory and the might for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, April 13, 2007
I will stand upon my watch, saith the venerable Habakkuk; and I will take my post beside him today on the authority and observation which was given me of the Spirit; and I will look forth, and will observe what shall be said to me. Well, I have taken my stand, and looked forth; and behold a man riding on the clouds and he is very high, and his countenance is as the countenance of Angel, and his vesture as the brightness of piercing lightning; and he lifts his hand toward the East, and cries with a loud voice. His voice is like the voice of a trumpet; and round about Him is as it were a multitude of the Heavenly Host; and he saith, Today is salvation come unto the world, to that which is visible, and to that which is invisible. Christ is risen from the dead, rise ye with Him. Christ is returned again to Himself, return ye. Christ is freed from the tomb, be ye freed from the bond of sin. The gates of hell are opened, and death is destroyed, and the old Adam is put aside, and the New is fulfilled; if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; be ye renewed. Thus he speaks; and the rest sing out, as they did before when Christ was manifested to us by His birth on earth, their glory to God in the highest, on earth, peace, goodwill among men.
And with them I also utter the same words among you. And would that I might receive a voice that should rank with the Angel’s, and should sound through all the ends of the earth.
[source: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf207.iii.xxvii.html ]
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Your Resurrection, O Christ our Savior,
has enlightened the whole universe,
calling back Your creation.//
Glory to You, O almighty Lord!
Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those who hate Him flee from before His face!
Today, a sacred Pascha is revealed to us:
a new and holy Pascha,
a mystical Pascha,
a Pascha worthy of veneration,
a Pascha which is Christ the Redeemer,
a blameless Pascha,
a great Pascha,
a Pascha of the faithful,
a Pascha which has opened to us the gates of Paradise,
a Pascha which sanctifies all the faithful.
As smoke vanishes so let them vanish; as wax melts before the fire!
Come from that scene, O women bearers of glad tidings,
and say to Zion:
“Receive from us the glad tidings of joy,
of Christ’s Resurrection!
Exult and be glad,
and rejoice, O Jerusalem,
seeing Christ the King, Who comes forth from the tomb
like a bridegroom in procession!”
So the sinners will perish before the face of God. But let the righteous be glad!
The myrrh-bearing women,
at the break of dawn,
drew near to the tomb of the Life-giver.
There they found an Angel
sitting upon the stone.
He greeted them with these words:
“Why do you seek the Living among the dead?
Why do you mourn the Incorrupt amid corruption?
Go, proclaim the glad tidings to His disciples!”
This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Pascha of beauty,
the Pascha of the Lord,
a Pascha worthy of honor has dawned for us.
Let us embrace each other joyously!
Pascha, ransom from affliction!
For today, as from a bridal chamber,
Christ has shown forth from the tomb,
and filled the women with joy saying:
“Proclaim the glad tidings to the Apostles!”
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
This is the day of resurrection!
Let us be illumined by the feast!
Let us embrace each other!
Let us call “brothers” even those that hate us,
and forgive all by the resurrection,
and so let us cry:
“Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!”
If you're trying to imagine how this would sound during the service, the longer regular font parts are sung by the choir. The italic parts are actually chanted by the priest, a reader or a deacon. As many hymns in Orthodoxy, it's kind a liturgical call and response.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
In the Orthodox Church the feast of Easter is officially called Pascha, the word which means the Passover. It is the new Passover of the new and everlasting covenant foretold by the prophets of old. It is the eternal Passover from death to life and from earth to heaven. It is the Day of the Lord proclaimed by God's holy prophets, "the day which the Lord has made" for his judgment over all creation, the day of His final and everlasting victory. It is the Day of the Kingdom of God, tile day "which has no night" for "its light is the Lamb" (Rev 21:22-25).
The celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church, therefore, is once again not merely an historical reenactment of the event of Christ's Resurrection as narrated in the gospels. It is not a dramatic representation of the first Easter morning." There is no "sunrise service" since the Easter Matins and the Divine Liturgy are celebrated together in the first dark hours of the first day of the week in order to give men the experience of the "new creation" of the world, and to allow them to enter mystically into the New Jerusalem which shines eternally with the glorious light of Christ, overcoming the perpetual night of evil and destroying the darkness of this mortal and sinful world:
Shine! Shine! O New Jerusalem! The glory of the Lord has shone upon you! Exult and be glad O Zion! Be radiant 0 Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your son!
[source: Hopko, Thomas. The Orthodox Faith, Vol. 2: Worship. http://www.oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=76 ]
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Chapter IX.—The resurrection of Christ proves that the body rises.
If He had no need of the flesh, why did He heal it? And what is most forcible of all, He raised the dead. Why? Was it not to show what the resurrection should be? How then did He raise the dead? Their souls or their bodies? Manifestly both. If the resurrection were only spiritual, it was requisite that He, in raising the dead, should show the body lying apart by itself, and the soul living apart by itself. But now He did not do so, but raised the body, confirming in it the promise of life. Why did He rise in the flesh in which He suffered, unless to show the resurrection of the flesh? And wishing to confirm this, when His disciples did not know whether to believe He had truly risen in the body, and were looking upon Him and doubting, He said to them, “Ye have not yet faith, see that it is I;” and He let them handle Him, and showed them the prints of the nails in His hands. And when they were by every kind of proof persuaded that it was Himself, and in the body, they asked Him to eat with them, that they might thus still more accurately ascertain that He had in verity risen bodily; and He did eat honey-comb and fish. And when He had thus shown them that there is truly a resurrection of the flesh, wishing to show them this also, that it is not impossible for flesh to ascend into heaven (as He had said that our dwelling-place is in heaven), “He was taken up into heaven while they beheld,”as He was in the flesh. If, therefore, after all that has been said, any one demand demonstration of the resurrection, he is in no respect different from the Sadducees, since the resurrection of the flesh is the power of God, and, being above all reasoning, is established by faith, and seen in works.
[source: http://ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.viii.ix.html ]
Monday, April 09, 2007
Liturgically, the priest comes out to the people and says/yells "Christ is risen!" in one of various languages, and the people reply with the response, "Indeed he is risen!" in the same language.
In our parish, it is customary to alternate the Paschal greetings in English, Greek and Slavonic/Russian. Different parishes probably use different languages for the greetings based on the lingustic/ethnic makeup of the community.
So, here are the anglicized/trasliterated Paschal greetings and responses in 50 different languages:
Language Greeting Response
Aleut: Khristus anahgrecum! Alhecum anahgrecum!
Aleut: Khris-tusax agla-gikux! Agangu-lakan agla-gikux!
Albanian: Krishti U Ngjall! Vertet U Ngjall!
Alutuq: Khris-tusaq ung-uixtuq! Pijii-nuq ung-uixtuq!
Amharic: Kristos tenestwal! Bergit tenestwal!
Anglo-Saxon: Crist aras! Crist sodhlice aras!
Arabic: El Messieh kahm! Hakken kahm!
Armenian: Kristos haryav ee merelotz! Orhnial eh harootyunuh kristosee! Athabascan: Xristosi banuytashtch'ey! Gheli banuytashtch'ey!
Bulgarian: Hristos voskrese! Vo istina voskrese!
Byelorussian: Khrystos uvaskros! Saprawdy uvaskros!
Chinese: Helisituosi fuhuole! Queshi fuhuole!
Coptic: Pchristos aftooun! Alethos aftooun!
Czech: Kristus vstal a mrtvych! Opravdi vstoupil!
Danish: Kristus er opstanden! Ja, sandelig opstanden!
Dutch: Christus is opgestaan! Ja, hij is waarlijk opgestaan!
English: Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!
Eritrean-Tigre: Christos tensiou! Bahake tensiou!
Esperanto: Kristo levigis! Vere levigis!
Estonian: Kristus on oolestoosunt! Toayestee on oolestoosunt! Ethiopian: Christos t'ensah em' muhtan! Exai' ab-her eokala!
Finnish: Kristus nousi kuolleista! Totistesti nousi!
French: Le Christ est réssuscité! En verite il est réssuscité!
Gaelic: Taw creest ereen! Taw shay ereen guhdyne! Georgian: Kriste ahzdkhah! Chezdmaridet!
German: Christus ist erstanden! Wahrlich ist er erstanden! Greek: Christos anesti! Alithos anesti!
Hawaiian: Ua ala hou 'o Kristo! Ua ala 'I 'o no 'oia!
Hebrew: Ha Masheeha houh quam! Be emet quam!
Hungarian: Krisztus feltamadt! Haloban feltamadt!
Ibo ( Nigeria): Jesu Kristi ebiliwo! Ezia o' biliwo!
Indian (Malayalam): Christu uyirthezhunnettu! Theerchayayum uyirthezhunnettu! Indonesian: Kristus telah bangkit! Benar dia telah bangkit!
Italian: Cristo e' risorto! Veramente e' risorto!
Japanese: Harisutos Fukkatsu! Jitsu ni Fukkatsu!
Javanese: Kristus sampun wungu! Tuhu sampun wungu!
Korean: Kristo gesso! Buhar ha sho nay!
Latin: Christus resurrexit! Vere resurrexit!
Latvian: Kristus ir augsham sales! Teyasham ir augsham sales vinsch! Lugandan: Kristo ajukkide! Amajim ajukkide!
Norwegian: Christus er oppstanden! Sandelig han er oppstanden! Polish: Khristus zmartwyckwstal! Zaprawde zmartwyckwstal! Portugese: Cristo ressuscitou! Em verdade ressuscitou!
Romanian: Hristos a inviat! Adeverat a inviat!
Russian: Khristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!
Sanskrit: Kristo'pastitaha! Satvam upastitaha!
Serbian: Cristos vaskres! Vaistinu vaskres!
Slovak: Kristus vstal zmr'tvych! Skutoc ne vstal!
Spanish: Cristo ha resucitado! En verdad ha resucitado!
Swahili: Kristo amefufukka! Kweli amefufukka!
Swedish: Christus ar upstanden! Han ar verkligen upstanden! Syriac: M'shee ho dkom! Ha koo qam!
Tlingit: Xristos Kuxwoo-digoot! Xegaa-kux Kuxwoo-digoot! Turkish: Hristos diril - di! Hakikaten diril - di!
Ugandan: Kristo ajukkide! Kweli ajukkide!
Ukrainian: Khristos voskres! Voistinu voskres!
Welsh: Atgyfododd Crist! Atgyfododd yn wir!
Yupik: Xris-tusaq Ung-uixtuq! Iluumun Ung-uixtuq! Zulu: Ukris tu uvukile! Uvukile kuphela!
In the Orthodox Church the Paschal feast lasts forty days until the Day of Ascension. So, I will try and post some thoughts on the Paschal season and the resurrection everyday until then. Mostly, they won't be mine, but thoughts from the Fathers or the Saints.
Have a blessed Paschatide!
Christ is risen! Indeed he is risen!
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and 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 Savior'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 embittered, when 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 your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are 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 dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin!
Again I say: Rejoice! Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb!
With Himself He has raised all the dead! Rejoice, all you people!
Shine! Shine! O New Jerusalem!
The Glory of the Lord has shone on you!
Exalt now and be glad, O Zion!
Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
After Liturgy was the Cheesefare Sunday Luncheon. Yum. And after that was Forgiveness Vespers, which are the official start of Lent.
During Forgiveness Vespers Micah and I were up in the choir loft, and I noticed he was getting a bit distracting, so I went to reprimand him. He looked at me with his 'serious face' and said, "it wasn't me. It was that boy who looks just like me." Nice. I stifled a laugh and reprimanded him for lying. At least he gets points for creativity.
Well, Forgiveness Vespers is (one of) the home(s) of the penitential Prayer of St. Ephraim:
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk.(Prostration)
But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.(Prostration)
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brothers and sisters. For blessed art Thou unto ages of ages.
O God, cleanse Thou me a sinner (12 times, with as many bows, and then again the whole prayer from the beginning throughout, and after that one great prostration)
Here's the link to my post on Forgiveness Vespers from last year.
So, if I've offended you in any way (and I'm sure I have) in the last year, please forgive me. And may God forgive us all.
Friday, February 16, 2007
He proceeded to tell me why (basically) everyone who isn't for the war at this point is a traitor. Now, given his proclivity to broad definitions (which would allow for calling Congress treasonous when they are clearly doing their job of checking the President's power), and my penchant for stating ridiculous arguments to get a rise out of people, it went on and on.
This particular driver is a good christian man. He comes from a church which he describes as very close in character to the Assemblies of God. I call him a "Baptistmatic".
After discussing politics for about 30 minutes after he got off the clock, when the conversation was concluded (because he was leaving), we shook hands and said, "We're both christians; let's not talk about politics anymore."
Sounds good enough to me.
What particularly got my goat is when he insisted on calling me "liberal" and "a democrat" when I didn't see exactly eye to eye with him. Apparently his two party system (which is only in his head) has no room for free thinking or independent voters. And so it is with people who think in such a stark, dichotomous way. It's either one or the other "You're for us or against us" and all that.
While I applaud the more honorable side of conservative politics (I've listened to my share of Rush), it is particularly troubling to me when Conservative Christians feel they have to tow this party line, in conjunction to or in relation to their christianity. And thus, the world has the image that we American Christians think that God is middle-class, white and Republican (Thanks Derek Webb). Well, he's not. And in fact, it seems to me like many of the Republicans' stances are contrary to the values which Christ taught. And so, having come to the Republicans for their protection of 'conservative social issues', such as abortion, gay marriage, and so; christian conservatives also ended up buying the whole party platform, even the parts that are contrary to or crosswise with the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church. And because they have done this and they are thoroughly devoted to the Scriptures (if not Christ and the His Church), they even seem to see warrant in the Scriptures for the Republican Platform, and tell you (with a straight face, no less) any of the ridiculous views of the Republican establishment as if they were dogmatic truths.
All this being said, I fear that I am no better. No, my biblical interpretations are not skewed to the left because of my politics (which aren't really all that far left), but I couldn't describe myself as a liberal or a conservatives, because I think sometimes the Church, the Scriptures and Christ call us to transcend contemporary political values to see our ways to a higher plane.
So, I have decided that along with more traditional disciplines of the Lenten fast, I will 'give up' politics this Lent and 'take up' peacemaking. For, blessed are the peacemakers, and all that.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
You know I never was good at Valentine's Day (or anniversaries or birthdays)-- and yet you put up with me. (By the way, you are more beautiful today than our wedding day.)
You have been my best friend since I met you. This year we'll celebrate 7 years of marital bliss. Although I am sure it has been more bliss for me than you. I do not know how you can stand being married to me and my peculiarities.
I'm not complaining, though. I'd be glad to have you for another 70 or 700 years.
Thank for being my best friend, my wife, and my lovey chicken.
I love you more.
Monday, February 12, 2007
“News Corporation Earnings Decline 24%”
Accessed at : http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/08/business/media/08news.html?ref=media
This article focuses on the drop in earnings that News Corp’s owner, Rupert Murdoch reported yesterday. Apparently News Corp is losing money on some of its new internet outlets.
A note of interest is where News Corp, owner of arch-conservative Fox News did make money this last year: “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” “Borat” earned News Corp $230M in profits so far, just through ticket sales.
How intriguing that a company which owns Fox News, the U.S.’s most conservative cable television news outlet, would make its profit from a movie which is disturbingly obscene and stands in stark contrast to the views and preferences of Fox News’ target demographic.
What is the role of a corporation’s principles in producing entertainment content? It is plain comical to think of how News Corp seems to be deliberately marketing their Fox News network to social and political conservatives, while they are also releasing one of the most obscene movies to play in American theatres in years.
On a positive note, perhaps, is Fox News’ own review of the film:
So, at least we know that, this time, conglomeration/consolidation didn’t prevent the movie reviewer at Fox News from saying what he thought about the movie’s content. Although, it does seem that the review itself avoids having a negative outcome with the ending line, “…if you have a sick sense of humor, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" is for you,” which has the tone of a wink to the content which has just been denigrated in the preceding review.
I assured them that I am no expert on Orthodoxy or even a very good Christian. They seemed to appreciate my journey. Hopefully some of them will come to St. Louis some weekend to visit our parish and experience the Orthodox worship. It truly is difficult to understand the Orthodox Church's theology apart from experiencing her worship. Overall, the visit was good. I wasn't out to make any converts, and I think I succeeded.
On another note, I have been listening semi-nonstop to Snow Patrol's album, Open Your Eyes. It's a great collection of soulful pop punk songs. Woohoo!
Also, I re-discovered Skillet this past week. I listened to them a lot when I was in Bible School. And then they got kinda weird with their androgynous haircuts and overly-techno music. A few weeks ago I heard a song on the local LP (low power) college station, RAGE 103.7, which had a cool sound that stuck in my head. I couldn't even remember the words until I heard it again this past week and they announced it as Skillet. Skillet? I thought. Hmmm.. Couldn't be good old Skillet from Memphis of Christian Rock. I guess I've been out of the Christian Rock loop for a while now. Anyways, their newest album they came back sounding like Evanescence. Very cool stuff. Here's the link: Comatose
Enjoy the links and have a great day. Now it's time for me to do the dishes. Yippee!
Saturday, February 10, 2007
This week in my Media Ethics class we watched a bit of Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism. It is admittedly far left-wing propaganda, but their estimation of the quality of FOX News' "reporting" is probably spot-on. It is particularly fun to watch Bill O'Reilly verbally accost the son of a man killed in the WTC on 9/11 who was against the war in Afghanistan. Wow. Now, that's "Fair and Balanced" journalism. There's also a comical video montage of Bill O'Reilly telling guests to "shut up" and then usually calling for someone to "cut their mic". Is very very funny. Anyways, that gave rise in mind to the image of two people in a debate where one of them is using notecards and, turning to the next card, says, "My next point: You shut up!"
In other news, this week I read Fr. David Joseph Honeycutt's One Flew Over the Onion Dome this week. I'm planning on doing a "Book Review" for my Religion in America class. Very funny stuff. Unfortunately for us, it is very true to life. There are some particularly funny stories in it which had me laughing outloud. Anyways, anyone who is Orthodox, converted to Orthodoxy or thinking about converting to Orthodoxy should read this. It hints at a beneficial moderate path in the conversion from heterodox groups to the Orthodox Church
Also, I read a great list of "Twelve Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert".
And this after I have already accepted the invitation to share my 'Journey to Orthodoxy' with a local Sunday School class tomorrow.
Well, that's what's on the top of my head right this instant. Now I'm going to go cook pancakes and/or waffles for the family's saturday morning breakfast. Peace.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
We're preparing to have friends over for lunch this afternoon.
In an hour or so our family will say the morning prayers together.
That's our custom when we can't make the drive to St. Louis for Liturgy.
The kids don't mind. They especially like me to read the life of a Saint commemorated today.
Oh, and the Gospel reading. Then, most Sunday afternoons (when we're home) we take the kids to Barnes and Noble and read to them for a while. (Our B&N has a sizeable children's section.)
Next week, we'll be in Madison for Liturgy and the annual parish meeting. As someone who has previously worked in professional christianity, I have little or no desire to engage in the 'business' of being church. However, as a Christian who recognizes the necessity of the physical manifestation of the Body of Christ, I shouldn't eschew the business side.
My Old Testament Literature professor is a Sunday School teacher at our local Episcopal Church. They're reading Bishop KALLISTOS' The Orthodox Church, and when he heard I was a convert to Orthodoxy, he invited me to share with his Sunday School class. Interesting.
So, the Sunday after next I'll be sharing my journey to the ancient faith with a room full of highly-educated (slightly intimidating) Episcopalians.
I assured him that I am not an authority on Orthodoxy or even a particularly good Orthodox Christian, but that I could share some of the reasons I converted and share my experience.
I talked to Father; he said he thought it sounded like a great opportunity. I told him I would be going in the next few weeks, as I plan to give up Episcopalians for Lent.
(that got a chuckle out of him)
Well, other than that, school is going well. Classes are fairly easy, since I dropped my Spanish minor. Two philosophy classes and three religion classes.
Work is okay. Something about that place makes me feel like I am losing my soul. Pray for me.
If I have offended you in any way, please forgive me.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Originally I chose my minor as Spanish simply because I had eight hours of spanish coming into SEMO. After a while, I kept going with my Spanish because it would be a marketable/useful skill to have in job hunting.
Well, I am a Spanish and my Spanish really isn't getting better from classes. What I lack is motivation and practice. So, my Spanish classes are getting harder and harder and my Spanish is not improving. If I wanted to use Spanish as a job skill, I would definitely have to improve, which means lots of practice, which doesn't necessarily involve having a minor in it.
That being said, I've also been thinking about seminary and grad school. If I don't end up going to seminary, will I have to be stuck working at UPS my whole life? I hope not.
Well, Amy and I talked about having grad school/academia as a back up to seminary. So, if I graduate with a BA in Philosophy and a minor in Religion, that will serve me well; and, if I don't go to seminary and go to grad school to pursue a PhD in Philosophy of Religion, then my undergrad degree will serve me well. Either way, I'll have the degree that's best suited to my longterm goals.
As far as Spanish, I do intend to set aside some time to practice/learn Spanish in my free time.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Anyways, while I haven't been posting much, I especially have not been giving much of an explanation for my recent reorientation within christendom (recent, although it has been a long time coming).
Many (if anyone reads this blog) who come here probably knew me as a Protestant Evangelical (at times a bit of a Fundamentalist, as well). So, while I have no intention of arguing with old friends and Evangelical comrades, I will offer this link to the Orthodox Church in America's Introduction to Orthodox Christianity:
Anyways, here's A Veteran's Voice.
The author of this blog does not necessarily endorse the views of the author of that blog, but that guy is way more intelligent than this one, and he has served our country in a time of war.