Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Approaching Christmas

It is strange living in a state of mortal sin while trying to raise two sons to be Christians.  And it is totally strange to do those things while trying to prepare for Christmas, without being able to go to Confession or Communion.  But I still try.   I've been taking my boys to church so they can serve as acolytes, and go to Communion.  Two days ago I took them and Kathleen, the woman I live with to see A.C.T.'s A Christmas Carol and out to dinner at John's Grill near Union Square.  It was such a good night.

Today I have been wrapping presents and shopping for Christmas dinner.  Kathleen and I invited the boys and Athanasia over for Christmas dinner but Athanasia declined.  I wish there was some way yo get us all together.  She is so angry all thee time.  She is still under the care of a psychiatrist.  Taking prozac.  I hope that she gets well soon.

I went shopping for Christmas dinner today and have all the ingredients.  I just wish there were more people coming to the table.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

It must be love: Saturday Soundtrack.

In the mid1980s my Dad's denomination was choosing a new Superintendent for the island and they sent my Dad to chair the part of the convention when the Superintendent was to be elected.  He wound up preaching three nights and two mornings, leading all the other pastors assembled for the meeting in a seminar on 2nd Timothy, and serving as parliamentarian for the convention, too.  The meetings went from 8 a.m. until late into the night for 6 days.

The whole time we were in Jamaica this song was on the radio.  I know now it was a song written and recorded by Don Williams but this is the first version of it I ever heard.

Here is Don Williams performing his song.  I like it better than the version I heard in Jamaica.

Monday, November 07, 2016


Tomorrow is election day. Being a Californian means I have to vote on lots and lots of proposed laws. Here is how I decide how to vote on these things.

When I vote no:
1) Is it going to take money from one group of people who cannot be reasonably defined as "all the people" and give money to another group of people who cannot be reasonably defined as "all the people." If so, I vote no.
2) Is my union in favor of it? If so, I vote no.
3) Are either the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association or the NFIB opposed to it? If so, I vote no.
4) Does it increase the public debt at any level? If so, I vote no.
5) Does it deprive anyone of the right to control their bodies, speak their minds, worship God according their consciences, or enjoy their property as they see fit? If so, I vote no.
When I might vote yes:
1) Are both the VFW and the American Legion in favor of it? If so, I'll think about voting yes.
2) Will it improve roads, bridges, dams, and other public works with a tax that expires before I should, reasonably, be expected to die? If so, I'll think about voting yes.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Special Education, Sin, Confession.

I am sick with the flu right now.   I would love to go one year without getting sick.   I suppose lots of people would love that.
I've been on administrative leave from my my school since Thursday afternoon. One of my students who suffers from depression and oppositional-defiant disorder disrupted my classroom when I tried to get him to put away his cell phone. I thought he was going to attack me so to keep him from doing that and getting into horrible trouble I quickly moved away from him. He'll never know I protected him from having teacher assault on his record. I hope his next teacher can help him learn. Yes, his next teacher. I am not going to be at that school anymore. All my ED students freaked out. One threw a desk. several were crying. They were all extremely upset. A police officer had to come to the classroom and get me out safely. I'm meeting tomorrow with the Associate Superintendent about working at a different school. I am hoping for a history classroom and not another ED classroom. That was too hard.
About 4 A few weeks ago my truck got towed for being in one place for too long. (My car is broken down and needs a new engine, too.) It was broken down and I didn't have the money to get it fixed. Now I am living with a woman who would marry me but for some legal obstacles remaining from her previous marriage. It is not a good situation. Being a Christian and living in the world is not easy. I think this is why we pray for God to keep us from temptation. I have to get my life straightened out somehow. I haven't been able to go to Communion since Pascha 2016. I could go to Confession but I have read the Psalms. I know what what the Prophet King David said. I can not Confess sins and seek forgiveness when I know I am going to commit them again that very day. I need to figure out a way to marry her sacramentally without marrying her according to the laws of California. My bishop won't allow it. I heard Fr. Patrick Reardon in Chicago will but he is in Chicago and I am in San Jose. I have to do something fast. I feel my heart withering.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I am a teacher now.

Since the 16th of August I've been working as a substitute teacher at a high school in San Jose.  Friday after work I signed a contract with the school district.  Today, I was given my own classroom and began teaching biology and chemistry.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

My Youngest Son

Basil is 10 years old.  He is 10 years old, 5'7" tall,  and weighs 200 lbs.  But he is still a little boy.  And he loves being read to.

I wish I still had all the books I bought him and Anselm when they were very little boys but I don't. (Their mother donated them to a hospital.  My plan was to save them and give them to grand children.)  Some of my favorites were Harry the Dirty Dog, Are  You My Mother, and  Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

Basil was sent home from summer camp today because of an injury.  I think I need to go to a library, check out some books, and read to him.  Or, maybe, have him read to me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Saint Iranaeus on some matters being considered by the Great and Holy Council

The calendar and fasting have been issues in the lead up to the Orthodox Church's Great and Holy Council scheduled to start in a few days on Crete.   I don't think many people are happy with the Patriarch of Constantinople's "New Calendar" or the idea of revising the fasting rules, but the response to him from some quarters is equally destructive, resulting in schism.  I think both sides need to look at the writings of St. Iranaeus of Lyons, who's teaching was firmly ground on the teaching of our Lord's Apostles.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons (died ca. 202)
"For the controversy is not merely as regards the day, but also as regards the form itself of the fast.For some consider themselves bound to fast one day, others two days, others still more, while others forty: the diurnal and the nocturnal hours they measure out together as their [fasting] day. And this variety among the observers [of the fasts] had not its origin in our time, but long before in that of our predecessors, some of whom probably, being not very accurate in their observance of it, handed down to posterity the custom as it had...    And yet nevertheless all these lived in peace one with another, and we also keep peace together. Thus, in fact, the difference [in observing] the fast establishes the harmony of [our common] faith. And the presbyters preceding Soter in the government of the Church which you now rule— I mean, Anicetus and Pius, Hyginus and Telesphorus, and Sixtus— did neither themselves observe it [after that fashion], nor permit those with them to do so. Notwithstanding this, those who did not keep [the feast in this way] were peacefully disposed towards those who came to them from other dioceses in which it was [so] observed although such observance was [felt] in more decided contrariety [as presented] to those who did not fall in with it; and none were ever cast out [of the Church] for this matter. On the contrary, those presbyters who preceded you, and who did not observe [this custom], sent the Eucharist to those of other dioceses who did observe it.And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome [He was in chains awaiting his martyrdom.] in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points, they were at once well inclined towards each other [with regard to the matter in hand], not willing that any quarrel should arise between them upon this head. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance [in his own way], inasmuch as these things had been always [so] observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant; nor, on the other hand, could Polycarp succeed in persuading Anicetus to keep [the observance in his way], for he maintained that he was bound to adhere to the usage of the presbyters who preceded him. And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other; and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist, by way of showing him respect; so that they parted in peace one from the other, maintaining peace with the whole Church, both those who did observe [the fast] and those who did not." - Fragments From Lost Writings 3
"The Apostles ordained, that we should not judge any one in respect to meat or drink, or in regard to a feast day, or the new moons, or the sabbaths. (Col. 2:16) Whence then these contentions? Whence these schisms? We keep the feast, but in the leaven of malice and wickedness, cutting in pieces the Church of God; and we preserve what belongs to its exterior, that we may cast away these better things, faith and love. We have heard from theprophetic words that these feasts and fasts are displeasing to the Lord. (See Isaiah 1:14)"  - Fragments from Lost Writings 38

Saturday, May 14, 2016

So much has happened

I will start with the most difficult things first.

One of my sons has spent a month in mental hospitals.  After the divorce he fell into deep depression. He gained 60 pounds in one year and only laid in bed.   His mother took him to a psychiatrist who put him on Prozac.  But Prozac is dangerous for kids.  It wasn't long before he began hurting himself.  Then he tried to cut off his hand.  THank God his brother was there and was able to wrestle the knife away from him. He spent a week in a mental hospital run by the Seventh Day Adventists. And another couple of weeks in a a facility owned by the Masons (Say what you want about their weird theology, they do try to help children.  I am thankful.) to make sure his medications were working.  He has been home since Great and Holy Wednesday.

Both of my youngest sons are supposed to start working on the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting's Alpha-Omega Award program with out priest tomorrow.  There are two other Boy Scouts in the parish.  They are all going to work on it together.

Pascha and Holy week were very different for me this year.  First of all, I had a son confined.  His brother and I made Paskha at my girlfriend, Kathleen's house. (more about here later, maybe) but because of my work schedule and their school schedules, and my lack of a kitchen (I live in a truck) we were not able to make kulich.  So I bought one from my parish. (Some of the women bake kulich and sell them as a fund raiser for the parish.).

The only services I was able to attend this year were Bridegroom Matins on Monday, Matins and Liturgy for Pascha (Kathleen went to this with us.  I think "Christ is Risen" has become her favorite song.) and Liturgy on Bright Monday. I hope next year that I will be able to attend more services.

About half way through Lent my truck's ignition failed.  It doesn't run.  And two days ago my car's transmission fell apart.  So, I am depending on the bus to get to work each day (I am staying at my sister's house while she and her husband are on vacation all this month.).  Oh  I must tell you about a car related struggle.  I am homeless, technically.  At first I tried to buy insurance on my vehicles, explaining that I live in one of them and park them both on the street.  Not one company would sell me an insurance policy.  Which means I can't register my vehicles with the state. And that means my license plates are expired.  So, I decided to lie and say I live somewhere and have a real physical address.  The hoops I am having to jump through are nuts!!!  the insurance companies all want two picture IDs, copies of utility bills, and copies of bank statements.  Well, I can give them one picture ID, no utility bills, and copies of bank statements that are mailed to a P.O. box.  Gosh, I've already paid the taxes to the state for these vehicles, it seems to me that if the state is going to require me to buy insurance they ought to make it easier to buy insurance.

In other news, I have decided to try and finish my M.A. in history.  I only have until January to finish it.  I began the research on my thesis today.  I also have to take two more courses.  It is a lot of work but I think I can do it.
I have begun taking the tests required to be a history teacher in California public schools.  So far, I have passed two, am waiting on results for one, and still have one more to take.

I am still working at the YMCA, but I am looking for something that pays more money.  These car problems have convinced me that I need to be making at least double the money I am currently making.  I'm just not sure how I am going to do that.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

What Arius Was Right About

When the 318 fathers at the Council of Nicea asked the heretic Arius to explain himself he didn't speak but he sang his satanic doctrine.  The holy fathers should not have been surprised by that, for song is it the medium by which the life destroying teaching spread throughout the Empire.  But it wasn't only error that travelled by song.  Generations of Christians have learned the Truth not from hearing teachers or preachers but from singing songs.

My father was acclaimed as one of the greatest preachers of his denomination but I only remember a handful of his sermons.  What I remember from my youth are the songs.  To this day I remember them all: It Is Well With My Soul taught me to not despair for God reigns over the tumult of this life.  Holy Holy Holy taught me to only worship the Trinity and why.  Joy Unspeakable affirmed to me that the Christian life is the best life.  I'll Fly Away taught me that even though this life is full of joy it is mixed with suffering and there is something better waiting for us.  How Great Though Art told me what is the only right response to God's condescension.   A Mighty Fortress Is Our God proclaimed God's invincibility and the devil's defeat.  In these songs I and millions and millions of other Christians learned ecclesiology, soteriology, Christology, and eschatology.  All of the history of salvation, the most important things a man must know were taught to me by these songs.  And they called me to Holy Orthodoxy, the fullness of the Christian faith.

But in the last 30 years or so, Protestants have to a large degree abandoned these doctrine laden songs.  They have begun singing songs which though true, contain very little dogma.  I do not understand it.  Why are Protestants, who used to care so much about correct theology becoming like this? (Yes, this is true.  The last Protestant church I went to was like this.) Why are they singing songs that merely repeat one line such as this pseudo Christian narcism?!?!   You want to sing about "surrender"?  Then sing about "surrender" in words that contain TRUTH AND LOTS OF IT.  Come on Protestants!  You are better than that!  Sing dogma.  Sing theology.  Sing Bible.  If you don't your children will go to Hell.

Friday, March 25, 2016


In 1978, when I was in the 4th grade at Sunnyvale Christian School (Or maybe I was in the 2nd grade.  I am not sure.  Things get blurry the older I get.) I saw the movie Grease.  It seems to have to set me on a path I wish I had never set foot on.  From that point on having a girlfriend was the most important thing ever.  Because of my youthfulness, I didn't catch all the sexual innuendos, I didn't understand that two of the characters had sex, that there was a pregnancy scare, etc.  But I did understand that Danny and Sandy belonged together at that that was the best thing in the world.  And that idea was reinforced by watching TV shows such as The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

A Roman priest once told me that pornography isn't sinful because it shows to much but because it shows to little.  It doesn't show two people struggling to make ends meet, taking care of one another through times of sickness, raising children, forgiving each other for the sake of a marriage and children.  It just shows sex, the smallest part of a marriage.  I think, it is the case that movies such as Grease and teevee shows such as The Love Boat and Fantasy Island are bad in a similar way. or at least, they are misleading.  They show only the beginning of a love affair, but not the long hard slog of true love.

I think it was 1998 when Grease had a second cinematical release 20 years after the first release.   That time, instead of a bunch of kids in the audience it was me and 200 women my age who sang along with every song.  Oddly, I knew the songs, too though it had been 20 years since I had last seen the film.  Later, I thought, why were all these women in that room singing songs such as "Beauty School Drop Out" and "There are Worse Things" with such emotion?    And I was sad for them.  What disappointments had the 20 years between '78 and '98 had for them?

About a year ago my son, Anselm Samuel ran the spotlights for his middle school production of Grease.  The script for middle school productions is scrubbed pretty clean.  Its really all about the singing and dancing.  But even in that production there was a sadness buried that, i think, only the adults in the audience were aware of.

Since my divorce a couple of years ago four different women have asked me to marry them.  It was pretty easy to say say no to each of them.  Why was it so easy?  I think it is because I no longer think, as Grease portrayed, that romantic love is the end all be all of human life.  In fact, now I think it is barely tolerable, and is more of a hurdle to overcome on the way to true friendship.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Center of the Universe

I dislike thew NIV for three distinct reasons, but I like this translation of Ephesians 2:10 for it's immediacy and personal application. (It has one severe problem but it is beside the point I am making here.) On Sunday I told my youngest son that he is not the center of the universe, that he needs to get his act together, stop living for himself. Then he asked me, "Then who is my life for?" Saint Paul gives us the answer to my son's question: "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  And that is it.  Nothing else we do on earth matters, except that it might distract us from doing the good things God has prepared for us to do. 

So I asked Father Basil later that day for a favor, and he has agreed to sons #3 and #4 serving in the altar. (Because of the turmoil of the divorce and Athanasia's irregular church attendance they had not been serving as acolytes for the past two years. But now I have them all day on Sundays!)   These boys need to DO something that is not focused on themselves.  Even Boy Scouts is too focused on them.  But at Church, serving in the altar there is nothing about them.  The good works they do there are all for God and the people in the Church.  I hope it helps.

In other news, Anselm Samuel (also known as the Little Boy and son #3) turned fourteen on the 21st.  His birthday present from me was a razor (peach fuzz on upper lip has been growing more noticeable the last couple of months) and an antique "Warren Harding for President" campaign button.  

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sri Srinivasan

It has been reported that American leftists are worried about the possibility of President Obama nominating Sri Srinivasan to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States.  I am glad they are alarmed.  But so too should be conservatives. 

Sri Srinivasan is an admitted Hindu.  Hidus are monists.  This means several things: There is no difference between good and evil, just and unjust, just and unjust, licet and elicit.   It might also mean, depending on the particular brand of monism, that there is no physical reality.  

How can someone who lacks the philosophical foundation to make decisions serve on the Supreme Court?

Monday, February 29, 2016

Cooking for Others

One of the the worst things about living in a truck is not having a kitchen.  Thankfully, there are people who like good cooking but don't have time or talent for the kitchen.  Tonight I am cooking Italian for a beautiful woman who appreciates fine food.    I am in heaven.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Home Schooling

For the fortnight just passed my youngest son has been suffering attacks at school.  At first the physician thought it was asthma, because the main symptom of the attack was shallow and labored breathing.  But now they medical people are convinced it is panic attacks.   His mother and I have decided to home school him. 

Currently, I go to their house every morning when she leaves for work at seven o’clock, to pray and read the Bible with the boys (we finished the Gospel of Mark today), then I take them to school.  With the new plan, I’ll just take Anselm Samuel to school and begin school lessons with Basil Wenceslas when I get back to his house.  Then I’ll take him to the YMCA with me when I go to work at noon.  He can participate in our Home School P.E. class, swim, play racquetball, lift weights, and when he is tired, sit on a couch and read a book until his mother pick him up at six o’clock.  Then she will do any school work with him he didn’t get finished in the morning.

I hope this works for him.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Learning to be an American

I have recently become worried that my two youngest sons are being indoctrinated by their schools to think of themselves a "citizens of the world".  I have come up with an idea to remedy this situation. 

In March of this year their mother has to go out of town for a week and I will be staying at their house.  I've planned a television event that will, I hope, counteract the anti-nationalist propaganda they hear at school.

First, we'll watch Centenial, the story of one family over 200 years of American history.  I saw it when I was 11 years old.  I remember rushing home from church every Sunday night to see the next episode.  Now my boys will get to see it, too.

Second, we'll watch Tora Tora Tora.  I watched this with my Dad when I was 9.

Third, we'll watch The Longest Day, which I also watched with my Dad when I was 9.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

He is never weary and he will not let you fall.

That last post I did was pretty dismal, wasn't it?  But guess what?  Just my little pathetic bit of resistance (more complaining and worry than actual resistance) was honored by God and He healed my truck.  It started, I was able to move it, and didn't get towed!

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Rock and a Hard Place.

My truck won't start.  This is a very serious problem.   I park my truck on the street and have to move it every third day to keep it from being impounded by the city.   I am worried.  If I lose my truck I will lose my home and all my possessions (books, hand tools, and clothes, mainly) and be truly homeless.  Several women have offered me their beds and/or houses but what kind of man would I be if I depended on women?  (Sometimes I think the only thing I am good at it making women, except for wives, happy to be around me.) It is not a sin to be poor but it is a huge inconvenience.

I used to think I wasn't' rich because God was being merciful and He was keeping me from doing evil things with riches.  But now I am beginning to think something else.  I mean, I want to be a good man.  I do not want to sin.  But here I am with no ability to house myself aside from being a prostitute pleasing pagan women.  Two of the women I've been out with in the last year have actually suggested I make money as a paid escort; that unlike the usual man who works in such a situation I am articulate, educated, and polite.

All I want is to get a job as a history teacher, work off my school debt, and then buy a small farm where I can live in simplicity. Yet even that humble dream seems out of reach.    My house-on-wheels is four days away from being towed away by the police, I am about to be truly homeless, and am seriously thinking about doing something shameful.

How did I get here?