Thursday, June 30, 2011

Economics of Children

Anselm Samuel traded two rolly-polly bugs, one moth and one lady bug for three pokemon cards at camp today.   He seems to think it was a good trade.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

From the CSA we got a huge amount of carrots

8 c. carrots, sliced (about 2 lbs.)
2 c. cider vinegar
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. whole cloves
1 tbsp. whole allspice
2 sticks cinnamon

Peel and slice carrots into 3/4 inch long pieces. Cover and cook in a small amount of boiling salt water about 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain. Combine vinegar, 1 1/2 cups water and sugar in a kettle. Add spices tied in cheesecoth. Bring mixture to a boil. Add carrots, cover, and let stand at room temperature overnight. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes. Remove spices and pack carrots into clean hot pint jars. Fill to within 1/2 inch of top with hot syrup. Seal immediately. Process 30 minutes in boiling-water bath.Makes about 4 pints.

Boy Scouts

I have had a very full plate of Boys Scouts this week.  Monday night through Friday night was our local Council's Cub Scout Twilight Camp.  From 4:30 to 8:30 I led an ad hoc Den of 11 Cub Scouts, aged 5 to 8 from station to station where they shot BB guns, played kickball, made and launched model rockets, played vollyball, learned how to shoot bows and arrows, sang songs, acted in skits, conducted flag raising and lowering ceremonies, made crystals, buit a wooden model of the space shuttle and played soccer.  On the first day they made their Den flag and a different boy carried it at the head of our formation from station to station.  And we yelled our Den Yell the whole time we were marching from station to station.

As much as I enjoyed working with the kids I think the best part for me was meeting all the adult leaders.  There are about 45 families in my Pack.  And they are pretty good.  They get their kids to the meetings on time, and some of them volunteer to help out and run the pack.  But for the most part Scouting isn't very important to them.  It's just another one of their kids activities, along with soccer, little league, and school.  They are in it for their kids but don't really think of themselves as part of the Scouting movement.  But the people who volunteered to run the Twilight Camp were amazing.  Their dedication to Scouting is as near to total as it can be.  It was inspiring to be around them.

The other Scouting related thing I did this week was that I interviewed for an executive position at the Council.  (The BSA is mostly a volunteer organization.  The Council serves more than 30,000 youth members in hundreds of Packs, Troops, and Crews but only has 7 paid employees.) They had applicants from all over the country and norrowed it down to 20.  I was one of the 20 they interviewed.  I think it went well, but they have a four part hiring process and I only just completed part one.  I won't know anything for a couple of weeks.

Tonight after Twilight Camp, Basil and I raced to the baseball park to join the rest of our Pack (We were the only ones from our Pack to go to Twilight Camp.) for the last two innings of the SJ Giants (2010 Cal. League Champions) game against the Stockton Ports.  We lost 8-5 but it was fun.  Tomorrow night we will join with Scouts from lots and lots of packs for the official Scout Night.  After the game we will spend the night in a tent on the outfield!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

I woke up from my post liturgy nap feeling a little sad.  I had been dreaming of my Dad, my Mom, and my oldest son:  All in the grave.  It got me to thinking about their funerals, and how a friend of mine was surprised that I took my youngest sons to their funeral.  She is someone whoe doesn't think its right to expose children to the harsher realities.  And that reminded me of a woman who, when I was teaching 4 year olds at Peninsula Bible Church, asked me to skip the part about God killing people in the flood.

"Let the children come unto me", Jesus comanded.  Is there another way to come to Jesus than by repentence?  Is there another way to come to him than by asking for mercy?  How can a child seek salvation if he doesn't know what he has to be saved from?  It seems to me that not letting children know about death, the consequence of sin, is the same as keeping them from Jesus.  Mourning the death of those he knows and loves is one of the steps to blessedness.

Part of that blessednes Jesus taught us about, probably all of it, is in the command to "come unto me".  We gather around Jesus.  We gather around the one who conquored death.  An Orthodox monk called Elder Ephraim said mere human sorrow becomes isolating and destructive.  When we keep children from the funeral of their loved ones we guide them away from Jesus and force them to moun alone.  If we keep children from funerals we keep them from Godly mourning, we keep them in isolation, we keep them from Jesus.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What God Hates: A Helpful List of What to Avoid

I was thinking today about the Congressman who resigned, and about how some people have suggested that his wife should divorce him.  I tend to think that if she can stay with him she should.  What he did was wicked, but it seems to me that adding another divorce, which God hates, to the total sins of the world only makes the world a worse place.  And thinking about God hating divorce made me think about what else God hates.  Here is a list, in order of appearance in the Bible, of the 44 things, persons, and behaviors God hates.

1.   Homosexual acts (Leviticus 18:22).
2.   Humans having sex with animals (Leviticus 18:23)
3.   Idols, and the materials used to make idols (Deuteronomy 7:25)
4.   Sacred pillars (Deuteronomy 16:22)
5.   Blemished sacrifices (Deuteronomy 17:1)
6.   Worshipping the sun, moon or stars (Deuteronomy 17:3-4)
7.   Divination (Deuteronomy 18:10)
8.   Astrology (Deuteronomy 18:10)
9.   Enchanters (Deuteronomy 18:10)
10.   Witches (Deuteronomy 18:10)
11.   Charmers (Deuteronomy 18:11)
12.   Wizards (Deuteronomy 18:11)
13.   Necromancers (Deuteronomy 18:11)
14.   Transvestitism (Deuteronomy 22:5)
15.   Prostitution (Deuteronomy 23:18)
16.   Remarriage to a former wife after she has been married to another man (Deuteronomy 24:4)
17.   Dishonest scales (Deuteronomy 25:13-16)
18.   Workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5)
19.   The wicked (Psalm 11:5)
20.   Those who love violence (Psalm 11:5)
21.   The perverse (Proverbs 3:32)
22.   A proud look (Proverbs 6:16-17)
23.   A lying tongue (Proverbs 6:17)
24.   Hands that shed innocent blood (Proverbs 6:17)
25.   A heart that devises wicked imaginations (Proverbs 6:18)
26.   Feet that are swift in running to mischief (Proverbs 6:18)
27.   A false witness who speaks lies (Proverbs 6:19)
28.   Anyone who sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:19)
29.   Lying lips (Proverbs 12:22)
30.   The sacrifices of the wicked (Proverbs 15:8)
31.   The ways of the wicked (Proverbs 15:9)
32.   The thoughts of the wicked (Proverbs 15:26)
33.   The proud in heart (Proverbs 16:5)
34.   Those who justify the wicked (Proverbs 17:15)
35.   Those who condemn the just (Proverbs 17:15)
36.   Vain sacrifices (Isaiah 1:13)
37.   Feasts and New Moons (Isaiah 1:14, Amos 5:21)
38.   Robbery for burnt offering (Isaiah 61:8)
39.   Idolatry (Jeremiah 44:2-4)
40.   Evil plans against neighbors (Zechariah 8:17)
41.   False oaths (Zechariah 8:17)
42.   Esau (Malachi 1:1-3; Romans 9:13)
43.   Divorce (Malachi 2:14-16)
44.   The deeds of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:6, 15)

Thursday, June 16, 2011


A hilarious comment on an article about California being ranked at the bottom for personal liberty:

"Ha! You laugh at California now, but wait till we get the $45 billion bullet train between Modesto and Bakersfield completed. That will be the biggest money maker you have ever seen. People will come from all over the world to ride it, and many thousands of jobs will come back to our state. You will see"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sadness Continues

One of the problems of our age, which I think should be called "The Media Age", is that we are aware of so much sadness and suffering.  In the past, there was a lot more death. Most most children did not live to see their first birthday.  But sadness was, for the most part, local.  We didn't hear about a tribe sliding off an ice shelf.  We didn't hear about a village being burried by a mudslide.  We didn't hear about a misbehaving bishop.  We didn't hear about every cocaine addled musician.  We didn't hear about every sex-addicted politician. Today we do.

A couple of years ago I mentioned Sly and the Family Stone breaking up dut to the effects of drug abuse.  Sly is still at it.  Still filling his body with those horrible chemicals.  Still suffering.  Still hurting himshelf and others.  And the sadness just seems to spread.

Maybe, all of this bad news could cause Christians to pray more.  If so, then maybe what I now think of as the "Media Age" could become known as the "Prayer Age".

Lord, have mercy.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


I saw this on one of my favorite blogs: Cartego Delenda Est  (The author of the blog is also the major reason I am Orthodox today.)

A Darwinist (D) having a conversation with an ID proponent (ID)

D: Naturalistic forces are sufficient for producing biodiversity.

ID: Can you provide any evidence to support your claim?

D: It’s all over the place.

ID: Could you point me to one of those places?

D: Well, sure if you insist. Here is the evidence for Macro Evolution.

ID: Please try to focus. We are not talking about Macro Evolution. The issue is whether or not naturalistic forces are “sufficient” to produce it.

D: Please tell me why you think an intelligent agent was responsible.

ID: Again, I must ask you to stay on topic. We are discussing your claim, not mine.

D: I believe that my neo-Darwinistic theory is adequate. Eventually, matter in motion will produce life and leave the appearance of design, even though that design is not real.

ID: I understand that you believe in the neo-Darwinism paradigm, but I am asking you if you have any good reasons for believing in it.

D: ID is not a rigorous science.

ID: ID is rigorous enough that its proponents can produce empirical evidence that lends itself to scientific measurement. Do you have any empirical, measurable evidence to support your position?

D: Please define “information.”

ID: I will be happy to do that at another time, but I am, at the moment, interested in finding out if you can make a rational case for your argument.

D: I think evolutionary processes resemble intentional intelligent processes very closely.

ID. That is an interesting claim, but I am still hoping that you will defend your original claim, which you seem to have forgotten.

D: Well, if you must know, I find the Darwinistic explanation more parsimonious?

ID: But do you have any reason to believe that this parsimonious explanation reflects reality or is consistent with the evidence?

D: Yes, thousands of scientists believe it.

ID: But that is precisely what all the fuss in about. Those scientists, like you, cannot support their beliefs, which is why we are having this discussion.

D: Well, I’ve been busy, and I’ve slightly lost track of the challenge. But yes, I do think that unintelligent processes can generate intelligent ones. I don’t see any good a priori reason to think they couldn’t.

ID: But do you have any evidentially-based reasons for believing that?

D: I have already presented the evidence?

ID: Again, you have presented summaries of arguments on behalf of Common Descent? You have not, in any way, presented an argument to support the proposition that naturalistic forces can take life through all the taxonomic levels or produce even one new body plan.

D: Please define “naturalistic forces.”

ID: They are what you thought they were when you said they were “sufficient.”

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Saturday Soundtrack: 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

At the age of 7 I didn't really understand what this song was about, or how silly the advice given in the song was.  I guess I was a teenager before I understood what the song was about.  I just liked the chorus

Just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan 
You don't need to be coy, Roy
O, you hop on the bus, Gus 
Don't need to discuss mucth
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

In a way, it's a very 1970s song, isn't it?  Very selfish.  Admittedly, I do not know Paul Simon, but I always pick up this very sefish vibe from his songs.

Anyway, I remember, like with so many other songs, first hearing it while riding in my brother Mark's car.

The album, Still Crazy After All These Years, was the fourth released by Simon after his break up with Art Garfunkle, and produced three top 40 hits.  (Interestingly, one of those hit songs, though not the subject of this blog post was written and recorded with Garfunkle.)  And the album was noted then and now for certain unusual and innovative musical techniques.  On this song it is Steve Gadd's drumming.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Dream Come True

Tonight, after supper, Anselm got out his music book and recorder and asked if he could show me how to play Miss Masey, which he learned how to play in school.  I played on the ukulele.  Then he asked his mother to play on her recorder.  Then Basil wanted to play something.  First he tried the cabasa, but that took a little more skill than he was able to muster, so I switched him to the tamburine.  And then we four played music!!!  I was so happy.  The boys are asleep now.  I can hardley wait until moring when we will play again.


We walked to the library today.  Something I love about where I live is that the neigborhood is full of trees.  Most streets in Willow Glen are overarched by branches so that walking or driving along them is like going through a green tunnel.  At oak trees I tell the boys about Abraham and Sarah being visted by the Holy Trinity at the Oaks of Mamre.  At a particular sycamore where they swing on ropes someone has hung from stout limbs I tell them about Zacheus and Jesus.  At the junipers, which are not my favorite tree, they climb high in the branches as I tell them about Elijah and the prophets of Baal, and how after that great miracle he was afraid of Jezabel and ran and rested (hid?) under a juniper.  At the fig tree I tell them about Jesus cursing a fig tree for not bearing fruit.  There are some cedars, so tall they are easy not to notice, and at those I tell them about King Hiram supplying the lumber for Solomon's temple.  I live in a good place for teaching my boys about the love of God.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A guide to Orthodox Seminary Education

St. Tikhon's :  You go here to learn how to use a censer.
St. Vladimir's: You go here to learn the meaning of a censer.
Holy Cross: You go here to learn how to raise money to pay for a censer.
Holy Trinity: Their censer is more Orthodox than your censer.
St. Herman's: Would someone, please, buy them a censer?