Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Holy Orthodox Church – a wine press not a rule book

  • Christ in a winepress, Hours of Catherine of Cleves

    The Householder plants a vineyard: his holy Orthodox Church, where he gives his own Precious Blood in the wine that changes us into more than we are. Around the vineyard he sets a hedge of true Orthodox doctrine; above it, a tower where men set apart to be bishops and priests oversee the making of the wine: the salvation of human souls. Most importantly, he digs his wine press: so that human souls may be living grapes, changed by Orthodox worship – the true worship of the temple – into the new wine of his eternal Kingdom. A vineyard, not a court of law. A wine press, not a rule book." - Fr. Alexander Tefft

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Grandmother was shocked

"Do not be proud of the fact that your grandmother was shocked at something which you are accustomed to seeing or hearing without being shocked…It may be that your grandmother was an extremely lively and vital animal and that you are a paralytic."  -  G.K. Chesterton

When I was a boy in school I heard often about the possibility of searing my conscience.   When I was a kid I thought that was silly, after all, I was free in Christ and could do anythnig I wanted to do.  I was wrong.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Slowing down some

We've decided we are doing too much.  I've gone to working only three days a week.  Athanasia has dropped out of her M.A. program.  (It would have been a second masters and she she was never sure she wanted it to begin with.  It's just that her employer was paying for it and who likes to pass up something like that?) Our pace just wore us down.  Two full time jobs, two M.A. programs, and no childcare which meant juggling crazy schedules and not getting any housework or laundry done.  Even the boys were worn out by it.  Anyway, I think our slowing down was none too soon, as we all got sick last week, and except for Athanasia, we are all still sick.  I'm still in my M.A. program.  And, I still work a little at home on my days off.  I just feell free not to if I have other things I have to do.  It is much better.

This afternoon, we were all feeling a little better so we went for a walk through the redwoods.  I think it might have been a mistake.  When we came home Basil was shooting liquid out both ends, Anselm had a fever, and I had lost my voice again.  But we hadn't been outside since Thursday morning and we were starting to feel a little stir-crazy.  When you are used to living life out of doors being cooped up for three days in a little apartment, with three other sick people, can feel like prison.

The boys are in school.  Basil is doing okay, but I've decided that Anselm Samuel's class is moving waaaay to slowly in math.  They've been on long division since before the Christmas break.  He is starting to get bored with it, and math has always been his favorite subject.    So, in the last couple of weeks I've introduced him to fractions and simple algebra.  He likes it.

I learned that my son Devon is living in the south Korea, I guess, with his girlfriend.  I wrote to him but haven't heard back.  I don't know if I ever will.  If you are reading this and contemplating divorce, keep in mind that you run a great risk that your children will hate you forever, and it doesn't matter who's fault the divorce is.

A couple of weeks ago I helped all the Cub Scouts in Anselm Samuel's den earn their whittling chips.  That was a lot of fun.  Only one boy got cut, and that was because his mother wouldn't let him use a sharp knife.  That was kind of frustrating.  I gave him a knife that was razor sharp and would require almost no effort to use, and she replaced it with a knife that was dull because she was afraid he would cut himself.  And, just as predicted, he was struggling through the wood, forced the knife, and cut open his finger.  Blood went everywhere and he screamed but it wasn't that bad of a cut.  He still managed to complete the tasks and earn the chip.  His mother wasn't happy, but she's the one who didn't follow instructions.

Last Tuesday was our Pack's Blue and Gold Banquet.  We didn't have enough money to have it catered this year so we did a pot-luck.  There were about 20 lasagnas.  It was very funny.  Athanasia recreated, in cake, my telling of the "Legend of the Hairy Toe" at the camp out last October.  Her cake won the "Judges Favorite" trophy.

I've been chanting the Third and Sixth Hours before the DL at church on Sundays.  I missed today because of illness but I really like it.  I was asked to take on the job of Parish Warden but I had to turn it down.  In my parish it seems to be a job requiring 10 to 15 hours per week.  I wish I had the time, mostly, because I really want to be of service to the parish, but, in part, so I have an excuse to buy one of those really cool churchwarden pipes.  (Isn't that cool?  What other ecclesiastical office has a pipe named for it?)  But I had to turn down the job.  Maybe, when I am finished with school...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Papers papers papers

I'm trying to decide on paper topics.  I'm juggling 5 and am not sure which two to go with.  Maybe you can tell me in what you'd like to know about and that might help me decide.   Here are the topics I'm considering:

1)  The Synod of Whitby: Why did it happen and what did it accomplish?
2)  The relationship between the Imperial Army and the Church as suggested by the Yassi Adda nautical excavation and the possible connection between that relationship and the schism of the non-Chalcedonian churches
3) A comparison of the Byzantine theory of Symphony and the experience of Anselm of Canturbury's resistance of the king's will
4) The role of evangelistic marriages, wherein Christian princesses [i.e., Ethelburga] were married to pagan kings, in the conversion of Europe
5) The roots and decline of western European Arianism