Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Cool saying

Huw says on his blog: "I am the only sinner I'll ever know. Everyone else is Christ. "

A very "middle ages" way of talking

So, I'm talking to one of the parish council about getting bids on some landscaping and gardening work.

Him: Did Philip the gardener of Synaxsis get ahold of you?
Me: You mean Philip the son of Alexander the Iconographer?

What This Blog Needs

This blog needs a Roman Catholic voice. Why? Because they are like Orthodox and like Protestants but different from each. Below I'll list some Catholic doctrines and whether Orthodox and (most) Protestants agree or disagree

Apostolic Succession: Orthodox agree, Protestants disagree

Papal Supremacy and Infalibility: Orthodox and Protestant disagree

Roman Primacy: Orthodox agree, Protestants disagree

Anselm's Juridical Soteriology: Orthodox disagree, Protestants agree (This is why some Orthodox say Rome and her Protestant offspring are more similar each other than either is to the Orthodox Church.)

Purgatory and the Availability of Exculpatory Merits of the Saints: Orthodox and Protestants disagree

Communion of the Saints: Orthodox agree, Protestants disagree

Immaculate Conception of Mary: Orthodox and Protestants disagree

Formal acceptance of Holy Tradition as Normative in Church life: Orthodox agree, Protestants disagree

Sacramental world-view: Orthodox agree, Protestants disagree

Nicene Creed: Orthodox do not add filioque, Protestants disregard last two sections

Assumption of Mary: Orthodox believe she died and was resurected before her assumption, Protestants just think she died

Limbo: Orthodox say "huh? What the..." Protestants say, "There, see? See why we're not Roman Catholic?"

Of course, I'm still waiting for a good discussion to break out between Byan and Jeff regarding the Covenenant Theology influence on the Reformed churches. (I think it is really just semi-sacramentalism . But they can't call it that be cause they are Protestants.).

Fundamentalist Catholics?

On "Get Religion", Jeff The Baptist wrote: "Fundamentalism is like neoconservative. Its just a buzz word that lets the left know they are allowed to dislike someone. Nobody out there can really define neo-conservative. Similarly few people, especially on the left, can tell me what the central tenents of Fundamentalism are. When people start calling Catholics "fundamentalists", then you know they don't have a clue."

A New Link

Jeff and Bryan, Did you notice that another person has linked to us? She describes herself as a liberal evangelical. I think she means liberal politically. That brings us up to three sites with permanent links to our blog. The others are:

Othe sites that have mentioned ours are:

This just in from "The Oxen Are Slow But The Earth Is Patient" Dept.

ABC News has taken a hint from a semi-successful Tom Selleck movie and begun a story with a geologic cliche: "The ice in the river is thick, but the currents have moved in President Bush's direction." <More>

Yesterday and a Question for Jeff

Still working on my next ecclesiology post (and the more I work on the more I realize how thouroughly it is tied up in Christology). I anticipate it being ready by Friday. But in the meantime, I thought I would metion yesterday's breakfast and ask Jeff a question.

Yesterday's Breakfast. When I woke up I tought there was nothing in the house to eat. But I found about 1/3 loaf of hard-as-rock stale sourdough bread that the little boy and I made last week. Some vegetable stock, 1/2 a yellow onion, and a couple of cloves of garlic. So, we sauteed the onion and garlic (I showed the boy how to smash and chop garlic) in butter and olive oil (the boy stirred), added the veggie stock, and made made soup. Then we put the bread into a big serving bowl and poured the soup over it. Yummy!

Jeff, you said: "I do want to worship God in spirit and truth." I know the scripture you are refering to, but what does "spirit and truth mean"?

Also, we finished the last of the 9 Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder last night. The 9th book was published by the attorney of the estate of Rose Wilder, Laura's Daughter, long after both Laura and Rose were both dead. The ninth book is dramaticaly different from the preceeding eight. It is also unedited and in many ways, merely an outline of first draft. It is my opinion that the attorney made an error in publishing the book. Laura and Rose were correct in not publishing the book. I wish we had not read it. The 8th book was the perfect ending to the story of Laura's growing up. The 9th book was an unsatisfying account of her her first 4 years of adulthood.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Long Day (all in one paragraph)

Up at 7. Prayers. Coffee. In the car by 8:30. Gas Station. Long drive north along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. Stuck in traffic for a very long time. There are four main Freeways out of the Bay Area. We had the misfortune of being on one of them. We traveled several miles with the speedometer on ZERO mph. But we got to Jeff's house about 10:45 (planned on being there before 10) and had a great time. (Thanks for the chow, Jeff. You can make chocolate pancakes for me anytime. But have you considered putting a little dark rum in the banana caramel sauce?) After brunch on the east side of the bay we crossed the Bay Bridge. Cyndi and I had our first real argument over politics. Specifically, it was regarding the financing of the seismic upgrade of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge. She thinks the State government should pay for it. I think the counties and cities around the San Francisco Bay should pay for it, or even better, the people who actually drive on the bridge. It was a very interesting experience. When we got to S.F. we had to make a stop at the Palace Hotel to drop something off. While I was waiting outside the hotel for Cyndi to pick me up Lavay Smith almost rode over me on her bicycle. It was So COOL!!!! When Cyndi picked me up I told her about my brush with greatness and she was totally unimpressed. Turns out she and Lavay have a friend in common and have partied togeather. According to Cyndi, Lavay is kinda dull and boring!!!! Then to My Sister-in-laws house on Nob Hill for a few minutes. Cyndi had to talk to her about something. Then to the bank, then Archangel Bookstore to buy candles, then to a mediteranean (muslim-owned) resturaunt for a very good lunch of lamb kebabs and shewerma (sp?), then to Golden Gate Park so the little boy could play. It was fun watching him interact with other kids. Although, one little 5 year old snot kept calling my little boy "pip squeek" and throwing a frizbee at him really HARD! The criminal-to-be's mother naively tried teaching her little wife-beater-in-training how to throw the frisbee more softly. The little soon-to-be-gang-member needed a paddling, not gentle instruction. I intervened by walking over to where they were "playing", taking my little boy's hand and walking him away from the junior felon. At first the little boy was not happy, but in a playground with forty kids running around and playing he quickly forgot the abusive frisbee boy and found another little boy (about the same age) with whom he could play "share". They kept finding things on the ground (twigs, rocks, etc.) to give to each other. I like that game a lot more than assault-frisbee. Got the bid from the gardener. Went to the Vigil in preparation for tomorrow's commemoration of the Beheading of John the Forerunner. Then drove home. Whoops! We were almost home when we realised we had to go grocery shopping. Then we went home. What did I find at home? Two parties going on in the complex. Two very loud parties. Had to talk to tennents. I hate that. One of them quieted down. The other gave me lip and for an excuse for being loud said, "But we're watching the Raider's game." Sure, blame your loud party on a bunch of football players in a different city! 1/2 an hour later they were still being loud. police were called. I forsee an eviction. Then I had to write a bunch of thank you notes to people. Now I am writing this blog entry. In about 30 seconds I will begin putting together the gardening bids for the parish council to look at tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The War in Iraq

I don't know why, but today it really hit me that there are men dying over there. Brave men (According to a report I heard on the BBC our Marines fighting in Falujah are fearless.) who have better things to do. But they've left families here. And those families lives continue, or come to an end while their sons and grandsons are over there. And then I thought of this song, sung by a father sending his last son to fight in a war....

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling,
From glen to glen and down the mountain side;
The summer's gone, and all the leaves are falling;
'Tis ye, 'tis ye must go, and I must bide.

But come ye back when summer's in the meadow,
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow;
'Til I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow;
Danny boy, Oh Danny boy, I love you so.

And when ye come and all the flowers are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well may be.
Ye'll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.

And I shall hear, 'though soft ye tread around me,
And all my grave shall linger sweeter be,
Then ye will bend and tell me that ye love me,
And I shall sleep in peace until ye come to me.

And I was feeling all weepy. Then I remembered another song. It is called the Second Canon, 9th Ode, in Tone 8...

In Thy majesty, ride forth victoriously, Son of the Mother of God.
Subdue the people of Ishmael that fight against us.
Grant Thine Invincible Cross to Orthodox Christians who call on Thee for help.

But still, here is an Ave for the the people who die while their children or grandchildren are over there. And it is for the men who die over there.

Ave Maria
Gratia plena
Dominus tecum
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Tui, Jesus
Sancta Maria
Mater Dei
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae

Beats Civil War

Chief Justice John Jay said to the jury in State of Georgia vs. Brailsford:
"It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision."

Memorial Service, Worship

The memorial service is for my Aunt Caroline. She died last weekend. I don't know if you ever met her. She was my favorite aunt. Her son Brian was my best friend as a child. I'm riding dwn to Visalia with my sister. My parents are nt doing well enough to travel that far so they can't go. Cyndi interviewing for a job as payroll and benefits manager at Whole Foods on Friday so she can't go, either. Yes, We will still be at your house for brunch on Saturday. 10 AM. Bringing champagne.

Worship: What Bernard said about the object of worship is one of the reasons I converted to Orthodoxy. Nothing about Orthodox wosrship is like being a spectator in an audience. When I was a boy I would sing hymns in church such as "I'll Fly Away", and "The Old Rugged Cross" which were very me-oriented. Very sentimental. And then at PBC I would sing hymns such as "It is well with my soul", again very me-oriented. And When I was in the choir at PBC I often felt like I was a performer and the songs I sang were for the enjoyment of the people in the audience. (this was especially true at Christmas.) Then at Cornerstone in San Francisco it was like an hour of really good, night-club quality rock music. The band at Cornerstone was good enough to play at Bimbo's or the Great American Music Hall or Slims. In fact, the inside of the church kind of looked like Great American Music Hall. It even had a bar, but it only served coffee. But the lyrics of the songs tended to be vapid. Kind of like Jesus makes me not feel lonely, or Jeus is cool, or Jesus meets all my needs. (To be fair, they had this one song, "Let Your Kingdom Come" that was theologically orthodox, actually said something, and totally rocked. It had a chourus that kind of reminded me of GnR's "Sweet Child of Mine". I have it on CD.)

I know your experience of Orthodoxy when you came to visit Holy Trinity that one time was very uncomfortable for you, but I think that is for two reasons: 1) it reminded you of your Roman Catholic childhood and 2) it was not user-friendly at all. That is, it was God who was the audience not the people, not the choir, not the clergy. The Gospel book was honored in the Little Entrance, God's words were listened to in the Apostol and Gospel Readings, God's great acts in history were recounted and He was praised for them, the people prayed for God's universe, the people bowed their foreheads to when the Holy Spirit entered the Bread and Wine, the Icons of God (including all the people in the temple) were honored with incense. That much worship is foreign to the vast majority of American Evangelical Protestants.

Frederica Mathews-Green wrote about speaking at Evangelical churches. She said she was amazed that after all of that tremendous preaching and beautiful singing that the audience didn't actually worship God. She jokingly wondered if they all sneaked back in to the church later, after she left, and did some real worship.

But, it is true, there is zero entertainment value in Orthodox services. You might not know this, but Orthodoxy does not just mean "Right-thinking" as many translators would put it. It also can be translated as "right-praise". Meaning, among other things, that it is for the hallowing of God's name, not for the warm-fuzzy feelings of the people.

I remember the first time I was ever in an Orthodox Church in Ben Lomond. I was dumb-struck. It seemed like for the first time in my life I was seeing real worship. And it was just a Vespers service! I really thought God might appear any moment, like he did to Isaiah in the year that king Uzziah died. It reminded me of something out of Revelation.

You should really try to make it to the Vigil services with us (It's way better than Vespers, and twice as long!). We have them every Saturday night. (Not to be confused with Festal Vigils which only happen on the eves of major feasts.) They really are the best services for Protestants to attend.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Only on a weblog can one mention a Trisagion prayer in one paragraph and describe a bowel movement in the next. What would we ever do without the Internet??

What memorial service do you have to go to in Visalia? Anyone I know? Are you still coming for brunch on Saturday???

Bernard asked a very intriguing question about whether a church would have a worship service if no one showed up. My first instinct would be to say 'no', but then i realize I fall into the trap. A lot of Protestant churches, whether they know it or not, do gear their services towards the congregation. First and foremost, though, I do think a Sunday service should primarily be worship towards God.

I guess it's something I struggle with a bit. I do want to worship God in spirit and truth. I don't want to be like Aaron's sons who got drunk and lit strange fire. Wherever I end up in ministry, I want to focus on the Sunday service to be on God, not man. The trick, of course, is how to do this.

Bread and Olives

The bread turned out okay. Not very sour, though. I think it is probably because we are in the south Bay.

THere is a big olive tree that is loaded with fruit, here on the property. I think it is about ready to harvest. Been looking at recipes for curing them. I'll have to borrow a ladder from my brothers the house painters.

Days events (so far)

Woke up at 7.

The Boy and I did Morning Prayers. There has been a slight change to the prayers. We sing the Trisagion in the Byzantine Style instead of just saying it. So now we sing the Trasagion in addition to "O Heavenly Kiing..", the "Our Father..." and the Creed. Makes me happy. Maybe smeday I will learn the melody to the Troparion to the Holy Spirit. Oh, the little boy usually pays attention until the middle of the Creed, then he wanders off to do things more interesting to him.

Then breakfst. He had two boiled eggs, a table spoon of fresh ground peanut butter, a Clif Bar, and 10 oz. milk, and a cup of bush tea. I had a pot of coffe with a bit of mesquite honey in it. I also had a handful of peanuts. Then the boy had the worlds largest bowel movement.

While he was taking a bath I practiced on my recorder. (I'm trying to learn Evening Prayer from Fiddler on the Roof.)

After the bath, we began working on the bread. We are making four sourdough rounds. We made the starter a couple of weeks ago and this is aour first time to use it. Very exciting. While the dough was doing the first rise we went swimming. After swimming we divied the dough, formed the loaves, and set it for the second rise. Then I gave the little boy lunch: Sonoma Jack, braeburn apple, milk, crackers. Then mid-day prayers and hap-time. He just fell asleep and I put some brown rice on the stove for my lunch.

Ecclesiology update: I am re-reading the New Testament, Ss. Ignatius and Clement today and tomorrow. Will work some more on the Orthodox Ecclesiology Series of Posts over the weekend. (I have a memorial service I have to go to in Visalia on Friday, so don't look for anything from me on Friday.)

Talked to the real estate agent and the bank today. Here is where the situation lies: I can get the money to buy a 4 or 5 unit bldg with just my signature. But I can't the money to buy a anything larger without a 25% down payment. This is a problem because I don't have 1/3 of a Million in the bank, and I can't find a building of less than 7 units that generates enough income to pay all the expenses. I'm thinking about looking for partners. Know anyone who is interested in a long term income generating investment?

And besides all of that, this is worth reading.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Bernard Bell's Response to my Email (posted with permission)

Hi Matt,

Thanks for your two recent emails, of 7/14 and 8/10.I have just finished another four weeks preaching on Revelation, 7/18 -8/08, this time covering the Seven Trumpets, 8:6-11:19. This brings meto the half-way point in the book. At this rate I'll finish in 2009!

It's a pity the Orthodox don't spend much time with this book, but then nor do the Catholics. Some Protestants spend a lot of time with the book, but most of them completely misinterpret it.

I still beg to differ with you. I still stand by my argument that it is the vision which leads to worship, but I think we'll find that we meetmidway. However, we have to understand what we mean by worship. As I showed in my second sermon on Rev 1:9-20 (the one entitled The Visionwhich Leads to Worship), both Hebrew and Greek have two different words which can be translated worship:

1. Heb. abad, Gk. latreuo. The word can be translated as either serveor worship; the Heb. can also be translated work. This is the word thatwas used for Israel's cultic activities; I don't mean cultic in themodern sense, but activities related to the cult: the stuff thathappened in the tabernacle and temple. This would include sacrifices,offering incense, tending the lamps, etc. It is interesting that werefer today to a church "service." This is the liturgy (from the Greekword meaning the work of the people). I argue that the liturgy is thisfirst component of worship. Not many evangelicals would see it thisway. But then I don't think many evangelicals have a theology ofworship!!! I don't know enough about the Orthodox theology of worshipto know how Orthodox see this. The people that I know who see itclearest are some Anglicans and the Benedictine monks. A question Iregularly ask people in order to expose their theology of worship (orlack thereof) is this: If no one showed up for the service except the"leaders" would you still hold the service. That depends who you viewthe audience as being. If you think the audience is the congregationthen you would not proceed. But if you see that the audience is Godthen you would proceed. Benedictine monk gather five times a day tosing the psalms to God. God is the audience, and they view thisactivity as opus Dei, the work of God (sadly this term is now usuallyassociated with the Catholic group of that name). It's been this wayfor 1500 years, since St Benedict wrote his Rule for the new monasticorder.

2. Heb. havah, Gk proskuneo. The word means obeisance to one's lord,whether human or divine. In the ancient world this meant falling onyour face and paying homage. Today we don't fall on our faces, butstill we pay homage.

So, what I think ought to be happening on Sundays as we gather forworship is:liturgy (latreuo, service) --> vision of the triune God --> worship(proskuneo, obeisance). So, you can see, we're not actually very far apart. I find woolythinking about worship at PBCC. What I have been arguing for repeatedlyin my sermons, and will continue to argue for, is that we need to be shown the triune God so that we can respond in worship (homage). We can't show up on Sunday morning and sing, "Let's just praise the Lord."We need to shown the Lord through Scripture, through song, through the preached Word, through the eucharist. Those are all liturgical activities. With this vision of the Lord we should then respondautomatically in praise, adoration and worship. As I argued in thatsecond sermon, "good worship" isn't singing a bunch of "happy, clappy"songs that make me feel good, but being shown God in such a way that Iagain see him enthroned at the center of the universe, and I again bowbefore him and give him my all.

Hmmm. Maybe I should write a book about worship some day, or at least collect all my thoughts in one place.

Sue and I have been to Patmos twice this year. In late Jan, early Febwe spent two weeks there. It was the depth of the off-season, so theisland was very quiet. I spent the time writing, working on a book on the seven messages to the churches in Rev 2-3. Patmos has a permanent population (i.e. those who stay the winter there) of 2500, and seems to have almost as many chapels. The little family hotel we stayed in had its own chapel. We were invited to attend a memorial service there for the hotel owner's sister-in-law who had died. It was a very interesting experience. Though the chapel was tiny, the men and the women still stood separately. Sue was with the women. I positioned myself next tothe two cantors, who sang the liturgy. I was able to look over theirshoulders and read the liturgy - I can read NT Greek which is not toodifferent from the Byzantine Greek of the 4th-7th centuries in whichthe liturgy is written. As as result I was able to follow the servicepretty well. We were both very glad to have attended the service.

BTW, last December I led a Christmas Eve service at PBCC, a"traditional" service of lessons and carols. One of the hymns, "Let allmortal flesh keep silence," is translated from the Liturgy of St James. I used it as a hymn for Christmas, though it is actually written as aeucharistic hymn. It is a very beautiful hymn. You can find mydescription of that service at http://www.pbcc.org/services/20031224.html.

We were back in that part of the world in June, as I led a tour throughTurkey and Greece for 14 from PBCC. This was our second tour of Turkeyand Greece, the first being in 2001. We spent 3 days in Istanbul, amost delightful city, where we of course visited Hagia Sophia and againsaw all the beautiful Byzantine mosaics. Then we flew to Cappadocia fortwo days. This is a fascinating region, the homeland of the CappadocianFathers. We flew into Kayseri, the modern name of Caesarea, home townof Basil the Great. We stayed 90 km away in Nevsehir, modern name ofNyssa, homeland of Gregory of Nyssa. I didn't find out the location ofNazianzus, home of Gregory of Nazianzus. In case you're not familiar,the three Cappadocian Fathers are Basil the Great of Caesarea, Gregoryof Nyssa, and Gregroy Nazianzus. Then we went around all 7 cities ofRevelation. Then 2-1/2 delightful days on Patmos and 2 in Athens. In the monastery of St John on Patmos we had a very interestingencounter with an Orthodox student from the US. When our group of 14entered the Treasury (the monastery museum) he volunteered to show usaround. We immediately found out that Christopher was from SouthernCalifornia, was studying at an Orthodox Seminary in Boston, and was inPatmos for five weeks to observe monastic life and help out in whateverways he could. Within just a few minutes, I suspected that he was aformer Protestant evangelical, so I asked him his story. Sure enough!He grew up a Southern Baptist in Southern California. In college he gotinterested in Reformed Theology, and followed the Mike Horton, KimRiddlebarger crowd. He joined a URC church (very Reformed), but slowlygrew disenchanted, and entered the Greek Orthodox church. Now he is atHoly Cross seminary in Brookline. We talked with him for 90 minutes,until the monastery closed; had it not closed, we could have talked formany more hours. I was delighted at this interchange. I was delightedthat the other PBCC folk got exposed to someone very different, and toa branch of Christendom about which most evangelicals no nothing. That night I led a lengthy discussion about or encounter with Christopher.

As I was writing this, I realized this would have been good material toput in a blog!

I am currently reading Daniel Clendenin's Eastern OrthodoxChristianity. Clendenin lives in Palo Alto, and used to work forInterVarsity. He is not himself Orthodox, but is very sympathetic. He lived in Moscow for several years in the 90s. You can find out more about him at www.journeywithjesus.net. Enough, enough!



Calling all Bryans! Calling all Bryans!

I think Bryan is not interested in this blog anymore. Did you read his first post? I did and I gathered from it that he never was serious about being part of it. So how do we fit him in? I'd say that, first, he has to show up and say something inteligible.

Church 101

Okay, point one about the church. I absolutely agree with you that it is manifested locally but above all remains one. Our difference is on what the 'one' is. For your thinking, it is the Orthodox church. But first and foremost I believe that the church is people, not a particular sect or denomination. The Orthodox church cannot claim to be 'the' church, but neither can the Lutheran church, etc. Do I believe that you are saved by God's grace? Of course...I've seen GOd work in your life many ways over the years. I also beleive the same about myself.

Is everyone in my church or in my denomination saved? Highly doubtful. The same can be said about your church in Sf and the Orthodox church. Every field has tares. Every flock has goats.

I also do not believe in (I think you've used this term) 'lowest denominator Christian'. Just because you raise a hand, sign a card, walk down an aisle, etc, that DOES NOT make you a believer. Real faith is played out in life. The best evidence that one can give for being a Christian is not that they say they are but that their life is changed. if one professes to become a Christian and then goes back to his old lifestyle, I don't think that person truly has faith.

I'm not sure how you are differentiating between an Orthodox understanding of the visible/vs invisible church and the Protestant way of understainding it. I think the basic definition of the visible church is who shows up to worship on Sunday and calls themself a believer. The invisible church is those who truly are saved. I share a visible church with those around me on Sunday. I share the invisible church with you, George, Keith, etc.

This will be contnued also. How do we Bryan into this???????????????????????

Reprise (ecclesiology)

Hey Jeff, it came up again, our different views on the nature of the church. I've asked you a lot of question over the last few years and you rarely answer them. So, call me supid but I thought I'd ask again and see what you have to say.
You know my position, that the whole church can not have been wrong about dogma for centuries. But you also think I hold that the Church is merely an bunch of clerical titles and office space in Moscow, Istanbul, and Alexandria.
I think you believe that Church is anyone who confesses (orally?) faith in Jesus death for the forgivness of their sins. (Is that correct?)

What I'd like to do is explain what exactly I believe the Church is and ask you where you disagree with me. I think that to a certain extent you are disagreeing with cartoon images of what I believe. This will be kind of mystical, meaning that it is unexplainable; it is like the Creed. We don't say, "I believe in...because...". We simply say, "I believe in..."

So, what is to be said about the Church?

First, it is manifested locally as many churches but remains one. As Saint Ignatius (probably baptised by St. Peter) teaches us, wherever the bishop is, there is the church. But what does that mean? It means wherever Christ is being made known in the Holy Mysteries there is the Church, for the church is His body. Woops! I'm getting way ahead of myself. I'll slow down. Its just that I get so excited about this stuff. For the Orthodox, it is okay to think of the Church as one and as many. It is also okay for Orthodox to think of the Church as visible and invisible. (But this should not be confused with the majority of Protestant's view that the church is divided between local=visable and universal=invisable. That is not what I am saying.)

The Foundation
The foundation for all knowldge of the Church is to be found in God Himself. He is Undivided yet He is Three. The Holy Trinity is both particular and universal. And what He is of Himself, the Church is by His love. It is appropriate to use "He" and "Them" when talking about the Trinity. It is appropriate to talk about individual bishops and it is appropriate to talk about one episcopacy all the bishops share. It was Jesus who prayed "even as Thou O Father are in me and me in Thee, so they may be one, that the world may believe that Thou has sent me." So if this is true, what is the difference between the Godhead and the Church? The question of nature. The Holy Trinity is particular and universal by nature. The Church is particular (e.g. local) and universal (e.g. catholic) by particpation in the love of the Godhead. Some Orthodox who are wiser than I have said that the Church is an Ikon of God for the world to see and by seeing God's love, respond with love toward God.

In Him We Live and Move and Have Our Being
So now is the obvious question: How does the Church participate in the love of God? How does the Church become the Ikon of the Holy Trinity? Through Jesus Christ the Lord. He is the only Way. The Church is an Ikon of God only by Christ's extending of His grace to the Church and the Church's participation in that grace.

(to be continued)
It took me a minute to figure out the 'sawdust trail' references, but thank you very much, Billy Sunday.

I think I'm going to try that roast pork recipe. Looks might good. Tonight I'm making chicken enchiladas with a black bean salad.

Monday, August 23, 2004

A New Catechumen, a Funky Altar Call, an Insight, and the Funniest Thing I've Seen in Weeks

I came across this blog by a new Catechumen. He only has four posts, but he is a good writer. I think I'm going to follow his blog. Also, I really like the look of his blog.

According to Justin, Rick James walked the sawdust trail. (okay, okay, it was carpet. But sawdust is more dramatic.)

Alana writes about something I never get to see: The symbol of a priest's slavery to the Master.

Ho! Hah! Who hooooo! Heee yee haw! This is funny! In fact, it is the funniest thing I've seen in weeks. This is the second funniest.

Supper, last night's and tonight's

Yesterday's supper was:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
3 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 14- to 16-ounce pork tenderloins
Blend first 7 ingredients in processor until rosemary and garlic are finely chopped. Stab each peice of pork a few times with a knife so the marinade can get in real good. Place piggy parts in a large bowl. Pour marinade over the swine flesh and squish it around a little. Dont bother marinating more than 1 hour. In fact, 1/2 an hour will be fine.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place pork in small roasting pan. Slop on some of the marinade. (you'didn't throw it away, did you?) Roast until meat thermometer inserted into center registers 150°F, about 25 minutes. Slice pork thinly.

It was yummy. I made corn bread to go alond with it. (I use the recipie on the cornmeal box but I increase the cornmeal by 50% and reduce the sugar by 50%. It is better that way - less like yellow cake.)

Today, I took the left-over pork from yesterday and chopped it up. In a frying pan (a square cast iron skillet, really) I poured a little sesame oil. Once the oil was just below the smoking point I tossed in a few chopped cloves of garlic and about 3 inches of chopped fresh ginger. When those two beautiful herbs looked nice and toasty brown I added the pieces of piggy. I let them sizzle for a while then I added fresh chopped broccoli, fresh snap peas, and thick slices of red cabbage. I stir-fried it until the cabbage was soft. Oh, while this is cooking water will gather in the bottom of the pan so keep a colandar handy. Every once in a while toss the yummy stir-fry goodness into the colander and then back into the frying pan. You want stir-fry nor boil. Also, just about 1 minute before you take it off the stove, give it a good splash of rice vinegar and a good helping of salt. but keep stiring. You can serve with rice, but why would you?


You are right. The 13th is a Monday. The Panichida for Fr. Vladimir Sakovich, 5:30 p.m.; Festal Vigil, 6 p.m. We'll try to get there by 5:30 but we might be a few minutes late. I think you'll enjoy the Panichida. Bernard said he enjoyed the one he saw on Patmos.

If you would read our blog (august 10) you would know what I wrote to Bernard. Please, try to keep up.
I think you've got your dates wrong for the Elevation of the Cross. Sept 13 is a Monday. Maybe you are elevated too high and are getting altitude sickness.

Christa and I are just getting back from vacation that day.

You say that Bernard wrote back to you. What did you write to him? I'd be interested in hearing about the gist of your conversation.

DInner last night: Veal sauteed with fresh sage in a Merlot shallot sauce
Green beans sauteed with garlic and oregano

A few Little Thigs

It has been a busy day here at the complex. Plumbers, deliveries, maintenence workers, pool men. Wow! I'm ready for a break.

It turns out that I don't start School until the 20th. Very HAPPY about this because it means:
-We can attend the Vigil for the Elevation of the Cross at 5:30 PM on Saturday the 13th of September. (Wanna go with us?)
-We can go to Glendi, the parish festival of St. Seraphim Church in Santa Rosa, on either the 18th or 19th of September. (We'll go on whichever day is easier for you.) If we go on the Saturday the 18th we'll stay late for the Vigil. If we go on Sunday the 19th we'll g early for Liturgy. (They have a very good choir and I'd like to be in a service with them.)

The little boy's Godfather sent him a present! It is a prayerbook for Chidren, a book about the children Martyrs, and a photo of the Lords Tomb in Jerusalem! What wonderful things!

Bernard Bell wrote back to me a very nice letter. I'll try to get his permission to post it here. Essentially, he recently got to live the dream of many American Orthodox. That is he got to visit Patmos and worship with the monks there. But there is so much more to it than that. As soon as he gives me permission I will post it.

Have you heard from Bryan? I thought you said he was really excited about being a blog contributor.

I never said I was better than you. If I've done anything that makes you think that I think that, I am sorry. I really am. I do not believe I am better than you. It think that a comparison of the histories of our lives would show that I am not better than you.

Now as for the Orthodox church being the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church: Yes that is true. It is the Church Jesus founded, all other grouops that call themselves Christian are spliters off of Her, or even splinters off of splinters off of splinters. That does not mean they God does not love the people in those groups. He does. It does not mean that the people in those groups do not love Jesus. Many of them do. Perhaps, most. But that does not make them the Church.

I remember back before I was Orthodox, long before I even knew anything about Holy Orthodoxy, I saw the elders at Peninsula Bible Church ordain a new elder. During part of the service they had the new elders go up the the front of the church, and all the existing elders laid their hands on the new elders. And I remember thinking then, "I wonder who laid hands on them?" I didn't know it at the time, as it was still several years before I would read St. Iraneus, but that is the same question he asked (although, the Saint was asking it sarcastically) about the gnostic Christians of his day.

I guess something to think about is this: Before there were various denominations, how did the Church think of itself? Did it think of itself as a merely a collection of believers? I think history shows otherwise. In the past I have shown you the evidence. You have never given me a good argument that 1) explains away the evidence I have given you and 2) supports your premise.

You know, Jeff, I did not become Orthodox and then start looking for evidence to support my position. I looked very carefully at everything everyone said and then made a decsion. Can you remember back to the first time you had me over to your current house? At that time I was still solidly Protestant. I gave you a little pamphlet about the Orthodox teaching about Mary. I asked your opinion of the claims. I remember it very well because that very week in my small group I had talked about how Mary had other children after Jesus was born. (Wow! I can't beleive I ever thought that!) What I am trying to say is that I came to my current position of affirming that the Orthodox Church is THE Church over a long process of investigation and reading. In fact, I became convinced of the error of Protestantism quite some time before I became convinced of the truth of Orthodoxy.

Here is something to consider: Long ago, back before the Great Schism, at the Second Council of Nicea, certain bishops who had been lead astray by the Iconoclast hereitics repented of there error and returned to the church (much as Peter repented at Antioch). One of these repenting Bishops, Basil of Ancyra said:

"Inasmuch as ecclesiastical legislation has canonically been handed down from past time, even from the beginning from the holy Apostles, and from their successors, who were our holy fathersand teachers, and also from the six holy and ecumenical synods, and from the local synods which were gathered in the interests of orthodoxy, that those returning from any heresy whatever to the orthodox faith and to the tradition of the Catholic Church, might deny their own heresy, and confess the orthodox faith,
Wherefore I, Basil, bishop of the city of Ancyra, proposing to be united to the Catholic Church, and to Hadrian the most holy Pope of Old Rome, and to Tarasius the most blessed Patriarch, and to the most holy apostolic sees, to wit, Alexandria, Antioch, and the Holy City, as well as to all orthodox high-priests and priests, make this written confession of my faith, and I offer it to you as to those who have received power by apostolic authority. And in this also I beg pardon from your divinely gathered holiness for my tardiness in this matter. For it was not right that I should have fallen behind in the confession of orthodoxy, but it arose from my entire lack of knowledge, and slothful and negligent mind in the matter. Wherefore the rather Iask your blessedness to grant me indulgence in God's sight.
I believe, therefore, and make my confession in one God, the Father Almighty, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, and in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life. The Trinity, one in essence and one in majesty, must be worshipped and glorified in one godhead, power, and authority. I confess all things pertaining to the incarnation of one of the Holy Trinity, our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, as the Saints and the six Ecumenical Synods have handed down. And I reject and anathematize every heretical babbling, as they also have rejected them. I ask for the intercessions (presbeiaj) of our spotless Lady the Holy Mother of God, and those of the holy and heavenly powers, and those of all the Saints.1
And receiving their holy and honourable reliques with all honour (timhj), I salute and venerate these with honour (timhtikwj proskunew), hoping to have a share in their heliness. Likewise also the venerable images (eikonaj) of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the humanity he assumed for our salvation; and of our spotless Lady, the holy Mother of God; and of the angels like unto God; and of the holy Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, and of all the Saints-the sacred images of all these, I salute and venerate -rejecting and anathematizing with my whole soul and mind the synod which was gathered together out of stubbornness and madness, and which styled itself the Seventh Synod, but which by those who think accurately was called lawfully and canonically a pseudo-synod, as being contrary to all truth and piety, arm audaciously and temerariously against the divinely handed down ecclesiastical legislation, yea, even impiously baring yelped at and scoffed at the holy and venerable images, and having ordered these to be taken away out of the holy churches of God; over which assembly presided Theodosius with time pseudonym of Ephesius, Sisinnius of Perga, with the surname Pastillas, Basilius of Pisidia, falsely called "tricaccabus;" with whom the wretched Constantine, the then Patriarch, was led (emataiwqh) astray.
These things thus I confess and to these I assent, and therefore in simplicity of heart and in uprightness of mind, in the presence of God, I have made the subjoined anathematisms.
Anathema to the calumniators of the Christians, that is to the image breakers.
Anathema to those who apply the words of Holy Scripture which were spoken against idols, to the venerable images.
Anathema to those who do not salute the holy and venerable images.
Anathema to those who say that Christians have recourse to the images as to gods.
Anathema to those who call the sacred images idols.
Anathema to those who knowingly communicate with those who revile and dishonour the venerable images.
Anathema to those who say that another than Christ our Lord hath delivered us from idols.
Anathema to those who spurn the teachings of the holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church, taking as a pretext and making their own the arguments of Arius, Nestorius, Eutyches, and Dioscorus, that unless we were evidently taught by the Old and New Testaments, we should not follow the teachings of the holy Fathers and of the holy Ecumenical Synods, and the tradition of the Catholic Church.
Anathema to those who dare to say that the Catholic Church hath at any time sanctioned idols.
Anathema to those who say that the making of images is a diabolical invention and not a tradition of our holy Fathers.
This is my confession [of faith] and to these propositions I give my assent. And I pronounce this with my whole heart, and soul, and mind.
And if at any time by the fraud of the devil (which may God forbid!) I voluntarily or involuntarily shall be opposed to what I have now professed, may I be anathema from the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and from the Catholic Church and every hierarchical order a stranger.
I will keep myself from every acceptance of a bribe and from filthy lucre in accordance with the divine canons of the holy Apostles and of the approved Fathers."

Later, the whole Council Said:

"We, therefore, following the royal pathway and the divinely inspired authority of our Holy Fathers and the traditions of the Catholic Church (for, as we all know, the Holy Spirit indwells her), define with all certitude and accuracy that just as the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross, so also the venerable and holy images, as well in painting and mosaic as of other fit materials, should be set forth in the holy churches of God, and on the sacred vessels and on the vestments and on hangings and in pictures both in houses and by the wayside, to wit, the figure of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, of our spotless Lady, the Mother of God, of the honourable Angels, of all Saints and of all pious people. For by so much more frequently as they are seen in artistic representation, by so much more readily are men lifted up to the memory of their prototypes, and to a longing after them; and to these should be given due salutation and honourable reverence (aspasmon kai timhtikhn proskunh-sin), not indeed that true worship of faith (latreian) which pertains alone to the divine nature; but to these, as to the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross and to the Book of the Gospels and to the other holy objects, incense and lights may be offered according to ancient pious custom. For the honour which is paid to the image passes on to that which the image represents, and he who reveres the image reveres in it the subject represented. For thus the teaching of our holy Fathers, that is the tradition of the Catholic Church, which from one end of the earth to the other hath received the Gospel, is strengthened. Thus we follow Paul, who spake in Christ, and the whole divine Apostolic company and the holy Fathers, holding fast the traditions which we have received. So we sing prophetically the triumphal hymns of the Church, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem. Rejoice and be glad with all thy heart. The Lord hath taken away from thee the oppression of thy adversaries; thou art redeemed from the hand of thine enemies. The Lord is a King in the midst of thee; thou shalt not see evil any more, and peace be unto thee forever."

"Those, therefore who dare to think or teach otherwise, or as wicked heretics to spurn the traditions of the Church and to invent some novelty, or else to reject some of those things which the Church hath received (e.g., the Book of the Gospels, or the image of the cross, or the pictorial icons, or the holy reliques of a martyr), or evilly and sharply to devise anything subversive of the lawful traditions of the Catholic Church or to turn to common uses the sacred vessels or the venerable monasteries, if they be Bishops or Clerics, we command that they be deposed; if religious or laics, that they be cut off from communion."

[After all had signed, the acclamations began]

"The holy Synod cried out: So we all believe, we all are so minded, we all give our consent and have signed. This is the faith of the Apostles, this is the faith of the orthodox, this is the faith which hath made firm the whole world. Believing in one God, to be celebrated in Trinity, we salute the honourable images! Those who do not so hold, let them be anathema. Those who do not thus think, let them be driven far away from the Church. For we follow the most ancient legislation of the Catholic Church. We keep the laws of the Fathers.
We anathematize those who add anything to or take anything away from the Catholic Church. We anathematize the introduced novelty of the revilers of Christians.
We salute the venerable images. We place under anathema those who do not do this.
Anathema to them who presume to apply to the venerable images the things said in Holy Scripture about idols.
Anathema to those who do not salute the holy and venerable images. Anathema to those who call the sacred images idols.
Anathema to those who say that Christians resort to the sacred images as to gods.
Anathema to those who say that any other delivered us from idols except Christ our God. Anathema to those who dare to say that at any time the Catholic Church received idols."

Just like at the proto-council in Acts, this is the whole church meeting in council, reaching a decision and being confident that it is inspired by the Holy Spirit. If they are right (and until the 16th Century all people called Christians agreed that they were right), you are anathema. How do you know they are wrong?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Caleb and the pooch

We've been dogsitting my parent's little dog for the last week or so since they went to San Diego. Caleb loves petting Teddy Bear and following him around the house. The only downside is when Caleb is petting Teddy Bear and the dog thinks he's had enough and tries to get away, Caleb grabs his tail and tries to make him stay. No wonder Teddy Bear is becoming a bit leery of Caleb.
One little note to your history lesson. If you are a Christian, the church you belong to has been around for 2000 years and is composed of PEOPLE, not a specific denomination or sect.

I have always been deeply offended by your attitude of 'We've got the Truth and we're better than you".

Wow! What a Title!

His Beatitude Ignatius IV Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East
The Most Reverend and Most Holy Father, Patriarch of Antioch, the Great City of God, of Syria, Lebanon, Arabia, Cilicia, Mesopotamia and all the East; Father of Fathers, Shepherd of Shepherds, Master of Masters, and Thirteenth of the Holy Apostles, our Father and Chief Shepherd: May God Grant Him Many Years!

I think somebody really loves him. A lot.

A few little things

Fantasy Land Update: A lender is trying to find a way to loan me $1.6 million to buy a gorgeous little apartment building in San Francisco. He says he can do it at 8% APR but I don't think I can handle the payments at that rate. I really need 5%. (3% makes a big difference on a loan that size.)

While surfing around I came to the site of an Orthodox Priest in North Carolina. Apparantly, he used to be Protestant. He is also my Kum's pastor. Anyway, he had a couple of cool things on his blog:

What a Faith!
If you could become Orthodox like a Romanian, Experience it like a Serbian, Be loyal to it like a Ukranian, Sacrifice for it like a Russian, Be proud of it like an Arab, And enjoy it like a Greek, What a great Faith you'd have, Especially if in addition you got to call yourself an American.

How old is your Church?
-If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517.
-If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.
-If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland in the year 1560.
-If you are a Protestant Episcopalian, your religion is an offshoot of the Church of England, founded by Samuel Seabury in the American colonies in the 17th century.
-If you are a Congregationalist, your religion was originated with Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.
-If you are a Roman Catholic, your church shared the same rich apostolic and doctrinal heritage as the Orthodox Church for the first thousand years of its history; since during the first millennium they were one and the same Church. Lamentably, in 1054, the Pope of Rome broke away from the other four Apostolic Patriarchates (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem) by tampering with the original Creed of the Church and considering himself to be the universal head of the Church. Thus, your church is 950 years old.
-If you are a Methodist, your religion was founded by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1774.
-If you are a Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your church in London in 1774.
-If you are a Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, New York, in 1829.
-If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1606.
-If you are of the Dutch Reformed Church, you recognize Michelis Jones as founder, because he originated your religion in New York in 1628.
-If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.
-If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year your religion was born and to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy as its founder.
-If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as “Church of the Nazarene”, “Pentecostal Gospel”, “Holiness Church”, or “Jehovah’s Witness”, your religion is one of the hundreds of new sects founded by men within the past hundred years.
-If you are an ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN, your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It has not changed since that time. Our Church is now 1,971 years old.
-- Anonymous

Friday, August 20, 2004

Definitions and other stuff

Here are the definitions of Tropaion and Kontokion. I really do not understand everything in the definitions. All I know is that when I pray the Hours I sing them. (Well, if they are in Tone 8 I sing them. That is the only tone I know. O, the tones are melodies.)

Troparion (pl. troparia) a term of Constantinopolitan origin indicating a refrain (and thus the equivalent of the Palestinian hypakoe and the Roman antiphon), in the form of a poetic composition, as opposed to a Scriptural text. Originally, troparia served as responses to psalm verses sung by the chanter, i. e., as antiphons. This basic function still holds today, but the term is commonly used with reference to the following three types of troparia: (1) dismissal troparia (apolytikia, otpustitel'ny), i. e., resurrectional troparia, troparia of the feast, troparia of the day -- hymns that keynote the main theme of the occasion being celebrated on a given day, first sung before the dismissal at Vespers and then repeated throughout the services of the day -- at Matins, Compline, Hours, and at the Divine Liturgy after the little entrance; (2) troparia evlogitaria -- sets of several t., each preceded by the refrain "Blessed art Thou, O Lord," sung at ResurrectionalMatins after the 17th Kathisma and at the Matins of Holy Saturday; and (3) troparia of the kanon -- brief verses that follow the heirmos in each ode of the kanon. The verses read at the Matins of Holy Saturday with the verses of Psalm 118 [119] are also called torparia.

Kontakion (kondakion) (pl. kontakia) in its original form, a hymn that consisted of a long homiletic series of stanzas called oikoi, usually numbering 24 (the length of the Greek alphabet). Each stanza ended with the same refrain. The greater number of the most ancient kontakia are ascribed to St. Romanus the Melodist. In modern usage, for each liturgical occasion only the first stanza and a single oikos remain, sung after the sixth ode of the kanon at Matins, and occasionally after the third as well; in this abridged form the kontokion is also sung at the Divine Liturgy after the appointed troparia.

I emailed Bryan and it was bounced back.

I'll email you the John Garvey article.

That was a great article by John Garvey. Where can I get a copy of it???
Let me finish a previous thought on credit scores, etc. THe lower the credit score that you have, the higher the interest rate. For example, if I do a loan ror someone with a credit score of 700, my rate would be 4.19. If it is 650, my rate would be 5.19. But if i drop down to 600 (and I rarely do these because usually the credit is pretty horrible) the rate would be at least 6.50. obviously rate increases like this when you are talking about real estate loans jack up the payment pretty high.

I emailed Elizabeth in Chile a couple of days ago but haven't heard back.

We gotta get on that Carter fella about the blog. His birthday is Sunday, by the way.
What do troparion and kontakion mean???

Torparion and Kontokion to the Holy Prophet Samuel

As you know, beginning at sundown last night and until sundown today, it is the commemoration of the Holy Prophet Samuel, the little boy's heavenly patron. Here are the two songs that are added to the daily prayers.

Troparion of the Holy Prophet Samuel (tone 4)
Thou didst blossom as a scion of righteousness from a barren mother, O great Prophet Samuel. Thou didst reveal beforehand the blessings we should receive;
From childhood thou didst serve the Lord in the priestly office.
As a prophet thou anointedst kings
Ever remember those who acclaim thee.

Kontakion of the Holy Prophet Samuel (tone 8)
Thou wast a precious gift to God before thy conception,
Thou didst serve Him from infancy like an angel
And wast granted to foretell future events, wherefore we cry to thee:
Rejoice, O Samuel, thou Prophet of God and great high priest.

The meat, the rules, and an article

The meat turned out very good. The recipe called for an internal temp of 125 F for 1 hour. 45 minutes into cooking I checked the internal temperature and found that it was 180 F. Cyndi said "Take it out NOW!!!". It was perfect. Even the grease in the roasting pan was good.

We had a lot of fun talking with Father David and Elaine. We discovered that they read to each other like we do. (They don't have a TV either.) They brought the little boy an Ikon of St Herman of Alaska. We talked a lot about real estate and property management. They run a charity called Raphael House, and are looking at forming a for profit corporation that buys and manages realestate in order to support their work, which is currently 90% funded by donations.

About the 28th: Anything you want to make is fine. We picked that date because it is a feast day and can eat anything. But, just so you know, even if it was a fast day, we could eat anything you offer. The rule is to never turn down someone's food offered at the table because of a fast. Hospitality is a good work and leads to salvation; it would be sinful to interfere with your salvation. However, I am supposed to avoid being put into situations where I will break the fasts. That is why during Advent and Lent I am careful about accepting invitiations to things. It is a balancing act.

An interesting article:
'Between You and Your God'
By Fr John Garvey
There is a cliche floating around that people drop as if it were a self-evident truth -- a category that may not exist, despite our Declarationof Independence. In anything involving religion, morals, medicalethics, or sexuality, whatever you choose to do is "between you andyour God."Euthanize comatose grandpa? This decision is between you andyour God. (Grandpa's God is presumably as out of it as grandpa is.) A woman's decision to abort is between her and her God, and howa man chooses to worship, or whether to worship at all, is betweenhim and his God.Here we are, back at polytheism. All these gods -- mine, yours,hers, his, theirs -- are the result of a combination of secularismgone to an extreme, combined with individualism and asentimental form of civic religion. Completely absent is the ideathat one of these gods could turn out to be real, and might makedemands, and that there could be serious consequences if we do notobey them.This "between you and your God" language comes up mainly inpolitical contexts, usually in defense of a pro-choice position, butthe fact that it is so frequently accepted without debate shows thatits effects are everywhere. The god invoked here is plainly areflection of its possessor, and can be counted on to affirm itsowner's every longing or whim.Those unlucky enough to feel obliged to vote this November willhave to choose between a man whose god has no problem with thenear-infanticide of late-term abortions and a man whose god wasnot displeased with hundreds of killed Texas prisoners, not tospeak of dead GIs and Iraquis. Am I saying that my god knowsbetter than theirs? No. I am saying that any time any politician saysanything about God and our relationship to God we should realizethat we are being used, and idolatry is afoot. And we should loathewhat we have been offered as a choice.But religion can work badly in another direction. When Catholicbishops say that they will deny communion to those politicianswho support what is euphemistically called "a woman's right tochoose" (the Lexus or the Buick? To kill or not to kill?) they entera fraught area.Without getting into the subject of their own moral credibility (amore serious question than some bishops seem to realize) they doin fact have the obligation to be clear about the fact that some ofthe church's teachings are not just oddities of your faith's form ofobservance -- fast days, for example -- but have universal import.Abortion and capital punishment are not the same things as nomeat on Friday. They have not done a good job of making thatargument, though they seem to think they have.But here there is a weird selectivity. Until pro-choice andpro-capital punishment Republican politicians like Rudy Giulianni,George Pataki, and Arnold Schwartznegger are mentioned by thebishops in the same breath as the offending Democrats, the Waspswho always wait in the wings to emerge as neo-Nativists will beable to say that the Vatican will forever try to control Americanpolitics. And Kerry will be able to show what a brave guy he is bydefying the bishops, which is about as brave as telling SisterWilhelmena that you think she's a meanie.As an Orthodox Christian who doesn't believe in using communionas a common means of discipline -- though no one has a right tocommunion, rights being a stupid category where the sacramentsare concerned, and priests really should refuse communion in somecases -- I am not in a position to inform Catholic bishops orlaypeople about how they should approach Roman Catholicdiscipline. But people who say they believe that the life of aconceived child is human and matters, and this is what Catholicsand Orthodox believe, should not support political platforms thatare callous or indifferent about this; and they really should think
twice about receiving the body and blood of one who died for allhuman beings, including killed fetuses and executed criminals. Thebishops are surely not wrong to affirm this.I have mentioned the worry that the heavy-handedness of a fewbishops will raise the old Nativist specter, the notion that the Popewill try to control Catholic politicians. But there is another anddeeper consideration here. To what extent can a person who isseriously at odds with the direction of a culture sign off on the mostmurderous aspects of that culture, in order to accomplish lessergoods? In other words, in order to raise the minimum wage youvote (because it's the Democratic party line) to allow late-termabortions? Some months ago the Orthodox Peace Fellowship sentletters to Senators Paul Sarbanes (D. Maryland) and OlympiaSnowe (R. Maine) both Orthodox who cast consistently pro-choicevotes, challenging their record in this regard, and asking for someexplanation of their position. The letters remain unanswered.Catholics, Orthodox, and others who are troubled by this issueshould not leave it to the bishops to challenge pro-choiceDemocrats or pro-capital punishment members of either party. Likethe largely lay membership of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, theyshould challenge the politicians themselves. Isn't that part of whatthe priesthood of the laity is all about?* * *Fr John Garvey, a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, livesin Bayside, New York. His column is posted with permission of theauthor and Commonweal magazine. Fr John is a longtime member ofthe Orthodox Peace Fellowship.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Please let me know how the tenderloin turns out!! One things I've learned from doing pork tenderloins is that you usually need a meat thermometer. Once the internal temperature of the meat has reached a certain limit, it is done. You usually need to let it sit out for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to gather.
I was reflecting on your question of when the idea of putting your hands together to pray came about. I thought if anyone knew that, it would be you!!! There's something that seems medieval and monastical about it, perhaps with a bowing of the head to show penitence. Since we are doing it regularly with Caleb, it's almost at the point when I say, "Caleb, time to pray!" that he'll put his hands together.
Yes, I'm still here. I told you I'd be on it 5 out of 7 days. That I can commit to.

Sat the 28th at 10 AM works great. Please let me know if you've got any feast, fasts or famines going on so I can plan appropriately. Can you bring a bottle of champagne so we can make mimosas? Christa and I are currently in a debate as to what to make. WE might make both, who knows. I've got a recipe for scrambled eggs with cream cheese and smoked trout that sounds fabulous but it doesn't do much for Christa. She wants me to make these cocoa banana pancakes (which I made for Mother's Day and are pretty flippin' (pun always intended) good).

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Yucky Day, But Good Evening

All day today was taken up with sales training. YUCK!!!!! So, I'll skip over the details of that and get right to the good stuff.
Tonight, we began cooking for the little boys Name Day celebration. The way I understand Name Days is that they are kind of the opposite of Birthdays. That is, the person who's Name Day it is gives presents. The little boy is too young to give presents, so we, his parents are giving a good meal to people in his name.
I trimmed the excess fat off the aged beef tenderloin, which is a huge piece of animal flesh. Never before in my life have I cut through raw meat with the ease of cutting through warm butter. I was amazed. I made several 1-inch deep cuts in the meat and stuffed slices of garlic into the cuts. I laid 1.75 lbs of thick-cut apple wood smoked bacon out in a rectangle of overlapping strips, a bit like roofing shingles, put three rosemary branches (from my herb garden) on top of the bacon, set the tenderloin on top of the rosemary, and wrapped the tenderloin up in the bacon. It looks like a bacon mummy. It will rest like this until I put it in the oven tomorrow.
Of cousrse, before the main course there will be cocktails and appetizers. The cocktails will be champagn cocktails, brandy fizzes, and sidecars. The appetizer will be crackers topped with smoked trout dip. (it was a hit last Pascha). I just finished making the dip a few minutes ago. All it is is crumbled smoked trout (remove all bones, skin, and scrape the fat off), creme freche, and chopped chives.
Cyndi is making Mexican wedding cakes right now. Those and a peach cobbler (it will finish baking while we eat the main course) will be dessert.
She will also par-boil asparagus, sautee chard, and make homemade macaroni and cheese (the little boys favorite) tomorrow.
The wine with the meal will be a Bogle syrah. I know some people think a syrah is to light and fruity for a robust beef meal, but I think one should drink what one likes and damn the wine snobs. Wine should be fun, not pretentious.
We will move the Ikon of the Holy Prophet Samuel into the main room, decorate it with flowers and burning candles. Father David is in charge of the liturgical part of the celebration. I have no idea what he will do. Knowing his style, it will be short and to the point.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Festal Vigils

Jeff, these are the coolest services of the Orthodox Church a non-Orthodox can attend. They are the Festal Vigils. What makes them cool? You'll have to come and find out.
6 PM, September 7 - Festal Vigil for the Nativity of the Theotokos
5:30 PM, September 13Festal Vigil for the Elevation of the Holy Cross (I have schhol this night so I can't go to this one.)

Siezing the day and reading books.

Woke up at 7:30. The little boy and I got ready for the meeting with my boss. He helped me check the pool chemicals (he gathered the water samples for me.) and used his butterfly net to get the floating leaves off the top of the pool. The he helped me delive some notices to tennants. (He tapes them to their doors.)
The meeting itself went well. She says we are doing a good job and she never has to think about what we are doing here. That is a relief to hear because I am usually not sure about 1/2 the stuff I am doing here.
After the meeting we walked up to the dry cleaner and dropped off some pants and shrts. Also picked some up. (I didn't know I had any to pick up so that was a nice surprise.) The walk to the dry cleaner and back should have taken 20 minutes or less. But the little boy is not goal oriented. Many dandelions were picked and blown, many rocks were stuffed into pockets, many magnolia seed pods were piled into little piles all along the way. I asked him why he was piling the fallen maganolia pods into little piles and he said "other people see later". After he said that, I thought, "Hmmm. That's probably what the people who built Stonehenge ('It's one of the biggest henges in the world!') said." So I hung my dry cleaning on a tree and sat down on the side walk and watched him pile up the seed pods. It was a lot of fun. But a 20 minute walk took more than an hour.
I just go him down for a nap. While we were laying there I showed him how to play music on the headboard. He thought that was really neat.
Well, gotta get the house clean for the name day dinner. Bathroom is done but wow! the living room is a wreck.
Oh, I almost for got the part about this post dealing with books. My boss and I were talking about her 11 year old daughter's summer reading. She is really into reading series of books. And that got me to thinking about Cyndi and I. We read out loud to each other. And oddly, we seem to read series, too. So far we've read all the Harry Potter books (I think they are under-rated. I think the reason some people don't like them is because they have no understanding of Christian symbology.), the Chronicles of Narnia, the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series (Highly recommended), the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, and are almost finished with the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We are taking suggestion for what we should read next.

Wanna see something written by St. Luke?

Bryan and Jeff:
I think I might have posted on this already but here is something you might like to see. As you probably already know St. Luke in addition to being an apostle, evangelist, and physician, was also a painter.

Here is one of his few remaining icons. Of course, it has been decorated with silver and gold and gems, but underneath all of that decoration are St. Lukes brush strokes. This particular Icon was kept in America until recently. When it was returned to Russia (The bishop on the left is Metropolitan Herman of Washington D.C. The bishop on the right is Patriarch Alexi of Moscow.), where it had been kept since the fall of Constantinople) 50,000 people a day (for 5 days) visited Christ the Savior Cathedral to venerate it.

Needless to say, it is a very important icon. It is like having the manuscript of St. Luke's Gospel.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Love, WiFi, Trains, Coffee, and Pac Bell Park

This is beyond cool. It is freaking Blizzard! There is this amazing website that shows the current location of every train on the San Francisco Municipal Rail Road. This particular map is of the N-Judah line. At the western turnaround of the N-Judah is Java Beach , where I first met Cyndi. At the eastern terminal is PacBell Park. (Screw SBC. When Cyndi and I had season tix it was called Pac Bell Park and it always will be Pac Bell Park.) You can run your cursor over the various stops (they look kinda like blue arrows) and a window will pop up that shows the ETA of the next train. Or you can run your cursor over the little blue squares and it will show you info on a particular train. Too cool for words. I can just imagin sitting at my wifi hot spot, fuming about the lateness of the train, and then looking at my laptop to see where it is. Can't you?


My school schedule worked out! But boy, am I ever going to be streched thin through October and November. I'll be taking a full load of hard sciencs (+ 1/2 unit Akido), managing the apartments (more work than you'd think), taking care of the little boy (he is two), taking care of the house, and doing an accelerated course to get my CCRM in 8 weeks instead of 13 weeks. I am not sure how I am going to do it all. I think I need to get myself ready for a drop in GPA. I think you know how anal I am about getting good grades, so this is going to be hard for me.

Reply to Jeff's posts as of this time and date.

Yes, we will be at your house for brunch on the 28th. 10 AM?

It is good to teach children to pray. They take to it easily and are better at it than us grown ups. They expect their prayers to be answered and they never pray just to show off how well they pray. And the prayer you are teching him is good too. Giving thanks is the central thing. Had Adam and Eve been thankful for what they had they would not have sinned. Gratitude leaves no room for sin. But I have a question: Why are you teaching Caleb to pray with his hands together? I ask because it doesn't seem like a Scriptural prayer posture. I can find raising hands (Psalm 28:2 among many others), and spreading hands (1st Kings 8:22), but can find not one verse that indicates we should put our hands together to pray. It makes me wonder where the root of this tradition is hidden. Do you know?

No, 600 is not my credit rating. "600+FICO" is the min credit rating this one particular lender will work with for apartment building financing. What is "FICO"?

Yes, you said you are taking hebrew and that the instructor is Orthodox. I think he used to be Assemblies of God, at least he went to an AG college, and very few non-AG people go to AG colleges. He also taught a course in OT at Jubilee. I bet that was interesting. I wonder how well he was received. Or, perhaps since it was more than 4 years ago, it was before his conversion to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

When Cyndi and I talk to each other we always refer to Anselm as "the little boy". My Dad thinks it is funny, too. We don't notice it.

Jeopardy: Good Luck. Yes, you do know a lot of stuff. But if I were you, I'd be reading through an encyclopaedia right now.

I managed to gross everyone out in the office with the story of the couch woman. Maybe Darwin was right after all.

Did I tell you that I'm taking Hebrew in the fall?
A 600 credit score is not good. It is very rare that I make a loan to someone with a score like that. A good credit score is 660 or above. Is 600 your credit score?

One thng I've noticed and i want to ask you about. You invariably refer to Anselm as 'the little boy' I thought it was just a literary quirk that you had, but when I was over at your place for lunch you called him that also. Why?

Are you guys still planning to come for brunch on Sat the 28th???
I read your bit on the Feast of the Dormition. Did you know that I lived in a Dorminion it college?
On Sept 11, I auditioning for Jeopardy in San Francisco. I'll probably be good because I know a lot of crap

Dormition, Baptism, and Expensive Cuts of Meat

Yesterday was the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Other than the historicity of the event I am not sure what the theological import of the event is. I guess, we are just fulfilling the prophecy to call her blessed. I don't know. What I do know is that when I lit candles in front of her Icons on Saturday night and Sunday morning the prayers I offered were answered. I loved the Old Testament readings about her. One thing I think is interesing is that on her feast days we always read the passage from the Gospel that tells of the woman crying out "Blessed is the womb that bore you" and then tells of Jesus' correction to that womans statement. It took me a while (I'm slow sometimes.) to figure out that God intends for all of us to have the same bessings as Mary. He wants all of us to be "God-bearers".

Also, yesterday was the baptism of a new parishoner. Named after a Saint Blaze. Fr. preached on what it means to be born again. After the liturgy we had a fabulous feast of pork loin and all kinds of other yummy stuff. It was very good. Also, the church was crowded. Almost everyone was returned from their summer travels.

After church we went to Costco and bought a beef tenderloin for the little boys Name Day. It isn't going to be a big party like his birhday, just us, Fr. David, Mat. Elaine, and the little boy's God Mother. (God Father lives in Ashville now and can't make it. But he was at the little boy's first B-day party, and prays for him daily before the Icons of the Holy Prophet Samuel.) So, there are only going to be 6 people at this gathering and I now have an enormous piece of beef tenderloin in the fridge. (Cyndi asked the butcher to cut it in half, but to no avail.) About midnight last night I realized that I have never cooked a beef tenderloin and have no idea how to do it!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

CHrista and I have gotten in the habit of praying with Caleb at night when we put him to bed. We put his hands together and pray something simple like, "Thank you Jesus for mommy and daddy. Thank you for loving me. Please help me to sleep well tonight and to be a good boy tomorrow. Amen" Whenever we get to 'Amen', he gets all giggly and laughs. I think he's going to be a Pentocostal
Okay, here I am. My committmnt to this blog (if there be such a thing) is to be on it 5 days a week. Excepting, of course, vacation, which is Sept 3-10. Backpacking in the Sierras. Kevin Bixby and Mike Kazmark are coming, as is Freddy Santoso, a new believer and a friend of mine whom I am discipling. Once we get back from that CHrista, Caleb and I are going to Sorensen's Resort (20 miles south of Tahoe) for 4 days of R&R. Hiking, going to TAhoe, etc. This is a place we were at 2 years ago along with Keith and Sheryl.

Speaking of Keith, I left a message for him on Fri morning but have not heard back yet. I hope all is well for them in Florida. He lives in Ft. Myers which is right where Charlie hit (the hurricane, not the Vietcong)

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Prison, Church, and a Children's Petting Zoo

I was talking to one of the tennants here yesterday about moving up to a 2 bedroom. During the course of our conversation I learned that the State has moved her son (a very young, very violent gang leader) from a max security prison up near Sacramento to the SHU at Corcoran State Prison. He is deemed too dangerous to be allowed near other inmates. He is allowed out of his cell 1 hour a day. Anyway, we were sitting at the pool talking about this when she said, "You and Cyndi go to church, don't you?" I said "yes, why?" "I thought if it was okay with you, we could go with you". So, tonight one of the tennants is going with us to Vigil.

This morning has been busy with laundry and house cleaning. Taking the little boy to Happy Hollow as soon as the clothes are dry. I went there when I was a little boy, and except for the elephant attacking me I had a blast.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Still in Fantasy Land

Jeff, I'm looking at lenders who specialize in apartment buildings. What is a "600 + FICO Credit Rating?"

Fish, Wine, Oil

Today is the Leavetaking of Transfiguration, so it is a fish, wine and oil day, a very rare thing in the fast for the Dormition of the Theotokos. Menu tonight is semi white-trash: fried catfish, corn on the cob, fried okra, berry cobbler, and Miller High Life. Full on white trash would be hungryman TV dinners, Kraft macaroni and cheese, white bread with balony and miracle whip, fried twinkies, and Arbor Mist "wine". Oh jeff, don't tell Christa, but Arbor Mist makes a pinot grigio now.

Fantasy Land?

I found three San Francisco apartment buildings I'd like to buy:

1. Located in the heart of Noe Valley, it is comprised of 25 one bedroom/one bath units and 1 two bedroom/two bath owners unit. The units feature spacious floor plans, wall-to-wall carpet and track lighting. 22-units also have balconies or patios with views. Intercom systems provide secure controlled entry to the building. The building is elevator serviced from the lobby. Units are individually metered for both gas and electricity. $5,900,000

2. Desirable lower Nob Hill location. 16 units comprising 13 family dwelling and 3 guest rooms. There are 9 studios, 4 one bedroom and 3 two bedroom units. New hot water heater in 2004. Separate electric meter and circuit breaker for each unit. Central gas meter for the house and the 3 studios on the first floor. The other 13 units have separate gas meters. The units have wall to wall carpets & very large walk-in closets. Upside appreciation potential. ("Upside appreciation" when mention in the same paragraph as "lower Nob Hill" means the Tenderloin is getting gentrified.) $2,390,000

3. Great 12 units by UCSF medical center and gg park. 10 two bedrooms and 2 one bedrooms. 2 car parking and 12 storage lockers. Steam heat. Boiler and hot water heater are updated. $2,350,00

I did the math on all of these buildings and discoverd that with zero down and 5% APR over 30 years the rents more than pay the mortgages. I wonder if I can find anyone who want to go in on them with me. I never have used my VA Loan, and Cyndi (because of her CCRM status) has some kind of option with HUD.... Oh well, back to reality.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Just one more day per week, I just need 9 days.

My school schedule is all screwed up. I forgot that my boss is sending me to class on Thursday nights to get my California property managment certification. It means I had to drop chemistry. But to keep full-time status, I had to sign up for 2 classes I don't need that meet on Saturday. I hate this!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Ewwwww, gross!

I wonder if this kind of thing happened before the invention of television?

School, Food, Name Day

Registered for Fall Quarter today: Math, Chemistry, Clinical Procedures, & Aikido. I needed 1/2 a unit to maintain full-time status, and aikido was the only 1/2 unit class that fit into my schedule.

Supper tonight: Sweet red beans and cornmeal mush.

Name day: Planning is going well for the little boy's Name Day celebration. I think we have agreement on the cocktails. (Champagne cocktails)


Erica talks about a confession of sorts:

"My questions were along the lines of a Confession; it was a list of lots of the dumb things I had done and questions about them. So after vespers, the group (6 people) sat around the table, and Sarah very politely asked “Should we exit stage-right?” She was ready to excuse herself and the rest of the group to go off and finish the few after-vespers tasks. “No, stay; these are good questions you should hear the answers to.” Fr. responded. was just about the ask that they go, but Sarah’s glance caught my eye and I shut my mouth. I was extremely uncomfortable for about the first 5 minutes, but then I gave up and stopped being embarrassed. I mean, I stopped being embarrassed of it: the questions, the people hearing them, the stupid things I had done. It was really shocking to realize that as far as sins go, I’ve done ‘um, and so have they, and no one is going to judge me; worse yet, most are obvious to the people who know me, and are of no shock to them anyway. I’ll admit, I thought I would die for about five minutes, but after a moment, it was as if I had permission to ask questions and not really care what anyone thought."

WOW! I wish I was at the point where I didn't care what people thought. Or where Confession was easy for me. I'm always afraid of Confession. And because I don't keep a written list of my daily sins and am usually nervous when I am standing in front of the Gospel Book and the Cross I sometimes forget to say this or that small sin. I hate it. I wish I was like the dying monk I read about in Father Arseny. His confession and self-accusation was described so beautifully. My Confession is always trembling, halting, and torturous.

Play that funky music, white boy!

This is so excellent!!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Killing Time, Reaching Back

I had some time to kill so I checked in with one of my fave protestant preachers, Bernard Bell. After reading all of his sermons on Revelation (the series he is currently preaching) wrote him this letter.

Hi, Bernard. Its me, your biggest fan. You are right when you say in "Worthy is the Lamb" (ch 5) that Revelation is about worship. But you are wrong (if I understand you) in the "Vision that Leads to Worship".
Other than Hal Lindsey's "Late Great Planet Earth" which I read when I was a 9 year old boy, I haven't read any comentaries on the book, so I might be wrong too. Also, the Orthodox do not spend a lot of time with the book. (The book was added to the Canon after the lectionaries of the Eastern Churches were written and we never got around to changing the lectionaries.) But this is how I see it: It is not the vision that leads to worship. Rather it is worship that provides the doorway to the vision. If we look at the text it gives us all the clues. Here is what I mean:
What day is it? It is the Lords Day. And what does the Church do on the Lord's Day? Well, it does the Liturgy.
What other clues are there that the Liturgy is being served?
A. The seven candlesticks. On Orthodox altars there are always 7 candles.
B. John hears a voice behind him, from the midst of the candlesticks. We know that St. John was presiding at the liturgy because he heard a voice behind him. The only person who would have their back to the altar during a liturgy would be the presiding bishop (or presbyter).
C. The Lamb is in the midst of the seven candlesticks. To this day, the Bread on Orthodox altars is called "The Lamb". And yes He is on the altar with seven candlesticks.
So, I from just reading Revelation and doing the Liturgy every Lord's Day, I would say this is what happened.... St. John was in the Spirit while serving the Liturgy on the Lord's Day when all of a sudden he saw what was really going on in Heaven, that is his fleshly blinders came off, like they did 60 years earlier on the Mount of Transfiguration, and he saw that worship in Heaven with which the Church on Earth is mystically joined during the Liturgy.
You know, as I write this I am reminded of a passage. I don't remember the reference, but somewhere in the Old Testament we are told that God "inhabits the praises of His people".
I don't know if you've read it, but here is a link to the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. (http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/liturgy/liturgy.html) It is a shortend version of the Liturgy of St. Basil, which is itself a shortened version of the Liturgy of St. James, which the Church of Jerusalem still uses. It is very similar to the Liturgy that was served by St. John on Patmos, the Litrgy he served here in the Shadowlads, which touches Heaven and mysteriously participates in the Heavenly Woship.
God bless you. I pray for you and the other pastors at PBCC often.

Don't call me Comrade.

I've been thinking abou this whole Red State/Blue State (oe even Red County/Blue County) thing for a while and have this to say about it: The colors are wrong. From the the Star on Brezhnev's Hat to the cover of Time Magazine, the tints and tones of the commies are red. Yet the ideological color scheme is reveresed for the Red Sate/Blue State map. Is this some kind of plot to confuse school children? I mean, when I hear "Red State" I think "North Korea", not "Texas". But I bet there are a bunch of kids in 7th grade civics classes being taught that Oklahoma and Utah are Red States. It really frys me.

Monday, August 09, 2004


"Oh, what a great book it is and how much we learn from it! What a miraculous book is the Holy Bible and what strength it gives to man! It is like a sculpted model of the world, of mankind, and of the characters of men; everything is there and it contains guidance for us for all ages. How many mysteries are solved in it, how many revealed! . . . Every day I bless the rising sun and my heart sings to it as it did before; but now I love the sunset even more, and its long, slanting rays bring back to me quiet, touching, tender memories, dear faces, and images from my long and blessed life. Over everything here hovers the Lord’s truth and justice that moves our hearts, reconciles everything, and is all-forgiving! "

- Said by Staretz Zosima in Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov

Not exactly Starsky and Hutch

Is it just me, or does SCOBA and SCOOCH sound like a bad cop show from the 70's?

Bam! Got you! Bam! Bam! Got you again!

The DNC has lost a second religious outreach person to the fast and accurate guns of the Catholic League. There must be some Templars over there at the Catholic League.

Bryan is not a Protestant?

Huh? The last time we talked about it you said you were Reformed. Is that no longer the case? I remember that that that woman who's house we ate at talked a lot about Loraine Boettner's books and led me to believe that your church's theology was aligned with his. Are you still going to that church? Please clarify.

Oh, I have no interest in changing blogs again.

Fripp-de-Frapp Bobble-Blog

This is my *FIRST* ever posting to a Blog (and I'm supposed to be the "computer" guy...?!).

Fripp-de-Frapp is my Blog area; hereby reserved until I talk Jeff & Matt into ditching "rub-a-dub" and go with "Fripp-de-Frapp"; it's *MUCH* more fun a name of a blog; mostly because we'd just be fripp-de-frappin' .... ha ha! Besides, I don't visit SanFran that often...
Our blogs are gonna be bobbling. That's why my inaugural posting is a "Fripp-de-Frapp Bobble-Blog".

No, I'm not a protestant, as the Christian belief I ascribe to is the Bible, not some historical European dude's interpretation of such; though, I agree (for the most part) with Martin Luther "protesting" against the Church as he did. Of course, since he nailed the 95 Thesis to a door, that'd be a "posting," so I agree (for the "post" part) ... ha ha, har har, eh.?!

Okay, I'm gonna keep it short and simple (maybe) for the first blog posting.

Wiff de 'puter on top 'o me lap,
I post me very first fripp-de-frapp.
Not much to be said,
Look for more next time instead.
As now I must go take a nap.

(that's a limerick, ya know...)

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Birthday, Nameday, Sunday

We got up early today. Today we got to cook for the parish so we had to be there extra early. Usually we get there sometime between 9:30 and 10. Today we were there at 9.

Jeff, I thought you and Christa were coming today? The menu was Lebannese rice pilaf (arborio rice, cinnamon, allspice, caramelized onions, garlic.); salad made of several varieties of heirloom tomatoes and English cucumbers; home-made hummus and pita bread. Desert was vanilla/Mago tofutti, raspberry sorbet, and whole wheat Graham crackers. Beverages: Arnold Palmers and lemonade. Only about 25 people stayed for lunch so we got to bring leftovers home.

Got a chance to talk to Matuska Elaine about her and Father David coming over for Anselm's name day (The Holy Prophet Samuel, Aug 20.) We'll actually do it on the evening of the 19th since the liturgical day starts at sundown.

Yesterday, we went to the dedication of my Nephew Isaac. It was startling to see how it was done. Mother and father stood in front of a group of people, most of whom were evangelical Protestants, recited some self written vows to raise the child to love Jesus, and prayed a prayer asking God to bless the baby. My brother, the maternal grandfather sang a song, the baby's paternal grandfather then prayed for Isaac and his parents. I was was struck by the individual-ness of it. No reference to the church, no rite, just two parents looking on the internet to find words they liked and agreed with. They asked for our support so I am going to put the boy on my "commemoration for the living" list at Church.