Thursday, February 22, 2007


Well, here's something I did learn in class yesterday: SCUBA stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Except it was made up by a Frenchman, so we may need to boycott the word and the activity.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Forgiveness Sunday

This was one of those days when we got up early and drove to Liturgy in St. Louis. The kids were medium to good. That's pretty good considering.
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

Politics Schmolitics

So, at work last night I make a passing comment about the "treasonous congress" to one of our drivers who I know ingests a toxic amount of right wing talk radio. (I suppose much more than an hour a day could skew one's view of reality sufficiently.)
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

Happy Valentine's Day!

I don't know if it is considered bad blog-iquette, but here is my Valentine's Day Tribute to my bride, Amy Nicole (aka Lovey Chicken)

Lovey Chicken,
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

Fox News

I wrote this case study for my Media Ethics class on Friday. I thought it was pretty interesting to see that that bastion of flag-waving conservatism had made its profits last year on BORAT, which is perhaps the most obscene, racist and sexist movie to show in American theatres in years. Hmmm. Makes me wonder why the Evangelicals (or at least the Fundamentalists) aren't boycotting Fox News.

“News Corporation Earnings Decline 24%”
Accessed at :

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:,2933,227136,00.html?sPage=fnc.entertainment/movie
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.

My visit with my Episcopalian friends

Yesterday I had a great time visiting with a Sunday School class (in an Episcopal Church) which is studying the Orthodox Church. They are finishing reading Bishop KALLISTOS' The Orthodox Church.
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

In Other News

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.