Wednesday, March 31, 2004

That last post was from Christa, trying to sound like me (or us). Anyway...

I had a counseling appointment at Fuller today to map out the last few classes I have to take. 6 classes to go and I'm out. I had signed up for a class this quarter called 'Basic Counseling SKills', but it was cancelled yesterday because not enought people signed up. I still may do it with the professor on an individual basis. I'll know about that in a day or so.

A lot of the classes that I have left are going to be somewhat counseling-based. All my requirements are done, and all I have left are electives. Counseling is probably the thing I am missing the most just because I don't have a whole lot of experience in it. But the home stretch is at hand!
The computer is up and running and so is the Infobahn!! So I thought I'd spend some time expounding on the finer things in life. So how are the Giants? Who ever said that Einstien knew what he was talking about? Who is Tolstoy anyway?

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Yeah, sure. And Binny Hinn heals people.

I finished writing the explanation of icons that George asked for, and am having my priest read it before I send it to George. I'll post it here, too.

Our home computer is up and operational. Christa will be getting our internet connection set up in a day or so, and then you will have more of me on this blog than you ever dreamed of!

Monday, March 29, 2004

I lost my studs and my bow tie was frayed. I had to do some shopping. I found these fabulous mother of pearl studs and cuff links on eBay. I was going to go with onyx (I am a conservative, you know.) but heck, it's Pascha and white is definitley the color for the ocasion. While shopping for bow ties I found this fun little article on bow ties in the Atlantic.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Just got back from church. Very long day in SF. Left the house at 7:30 this morning. Just got home 10 minutes ago.

We went to the liturgy of St. Basil this morning. It was the last of the services celebrating the Annunciation. The services do not usually move me to tears. This one did. The scripture readings were very interesting. When I am not so tired I will tell you about them.

Oh, before church I went with Cyndi to one of her jobs. Met a couple who own a wine importing business.

Church tonight was the vigil for the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt. Again, when I am no so tired I will tell you about her.

Had pretty good kung pao prawns for lunch.

After lunch I went at Java Beach while Cyndi was getting her hair cut. (The boy was napping in his stroller.) As I was sitting outside drinking my black espresso and reading my book about Fr. Arseny, this budhist comes up and wants to talk. It was interesting. We talked for a little while. I was able to drop a couple of hints that Jesus is the fulfillment of the dharma, that asceticism to reach nothingness is still only only striving for nothingness. He wanted to know about Fr. Arseny, but I didn't feel comfortable telling him about him. All I said was that he seemed to be one of the few people who came close to reaching the heights to which all Christians are called. I don't know why I didn't want to go into more detail. I don't know if it was because of the whole "pearls before swine" thing, or if I thought he needed to know Jesus before he gets into stories about his followers, or what. I think part of it was that he was just into buddhism because he thinks buddhism is cool, and he would have thought Fr. Arseny (Or even Jesus) was a cool and esoteric thing to look into. I don't know if I made the right decision. (Its not like I even made a decision. It was just that I didn't feel right about giving the guy too much information. I don't know.

As we were comming out of church tonight a transvestite begger asked for help. Said he was homeless & hungry. I told him to follow me and I'd buy him some food. While in the store he said several times that he'd rather have cash. Didn't want cheese, or milk, or fresh fruit. Then he said "And I can't have any frozen food cuz I don't have a microwave back at my place". I didn't say anything, but I was disappointed that he had lied to me about being homeless. His name is Chantelle. I hope he can get himself straighened out and go home to his family in Kentucky.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Thank you for praying for the Church in Kosovo. Its a hard situation.
March 21 is during lent, and a birthday party is inappropriate to a time of mourning and repentence. Also, have you ever had a butterless birthday cake?
The only resaurant fish tacos I've had are Chevy's and Una Mas. I didn't like either of them. Chevy's used salmon, and Una Mas smotherd them with what seemed to be salad dressing. Where is the nearest Rubio's?

Here are the activities for the the 10th:

10 AM Vespers immediately followed by the Liturgy of St Basil. This will be an extremely long service since several people are being baptised and/or chrismated.

There will be a break following the liturgy.

About 8 P.M. (I don't know the exact time) we will start reading the entire book of Acts aloud. This will be completed about 11 pm.

At 11:10 P.M. The Hours will be served. This takes exactly 20 minutes. It is during this service that most people will be arriving.

At 11:30 P.M. the Paschal Divine Liturgy will begin. I'm not sure what time it ends. My memories from previous years seem to say 1 or 1:30 A.M. But I'm not sure. One loses track of time, with all of the shouting, and singing, and processing, and bells ringing, and kissing, and stuff. The eating starts right after the liturgy.

Clothing: Dress up. Last year some of the men even wore tuxedos (if mine still fits I will be wearing it) and some of the women wore evening gowns. You will only be outside for a few minutes during the procession, so you, probably, will not need a heavy coat.

Food: Bring anything. A bottle of champagne, a loaf of french bread with butter, a ham, a six pack of beer, a box of chocolates, a Togos hot pastrami sandwich, anything. I think we are bringing pecan pie & a bottle of Southern Comfort.

Easter basket: You might not know this but the Easter basket has its origen in the Orthodox Church. After a long time without meat, cheese, eggs, wine, & fish, we bring baskets full of these things to church to be blessed. So, bring your easter basket. I don't know about other parish's but at Holy Trinity it seems to be the custom to have paska and kulich in the baskets. If we can find a mold for paska that costs less than $30 we'll do it too. But at the very least we will have sardines, salami, several cheeses, wine, deviled ham, boiled eggs, & milk chocolate (all the stuff we'll eat for brunch on Sunday) in our basket.

After all of the eating and drinking you are going to be doing you might want to spend the night in SF. There is a hotel just 1 block from the church.

You'll also want to learn these. You will be shouting them often.

English: Christ is Risen
Response: Indeed He is Risen

Russian: Xris-to Vosk-rese
Response: Vo isti-nu Vosk-rese

Greek: Xris-tos Anes-ti
Response: Ali-thos-anes-ti

Yupik Eskimo: Xris-tusaq Ung-Uixtuq
Response: Iluumun Ung-uixtuq

I've read you posts and emails on the destruction of the churches in Bosnia. Tonight I will set some time aside to pray for them. By the way, a lot of your recents emails aren't making it through the spam filter.

One last question...if Anselm's birthday was March 21, then why is the party a month later??
Fish tacos are the bomb!!!! There is this great place I know in Laguna Beach called Wahoos Fish Tacos which is just ass-kicking good. Christa had never even heard of a fish taco when I took her there for the first time and was a bit dubious. But she loves them now. If you can find a Rubio's around you, they make great fish tacos also.
Can you give me the rundown on what happens on April 10th? You told me it starts with the reading of Acts. The entire book??? When does the food kick in? What should I bring??
Last night, Cyndi made fish tacos. (Annuncation is the only fish day during Lent.) But she went nuts with the adobo. It was like eating fire. It was the absolute most painful food experience I've ever had. Thankfully, I had a bottle of Gruet Brut on hand(left over from the 3rd Day of Christmas party). Had to drink the whole bottle to get the flames under control. I'm not saying the tacos were bad. They were just amazingly hurtful. But they tasted soooooo good. Had to eat three of them.
Okay, I'm finally back. It's been busy with the end of the quarter at Fuller, an out of town funeral to go to, etc. But we did finally get our computer at home and it should be up and fully operational in a couple of days.
Jeff, I got the message about the funeral. I'm sorry to hear about your cousin. I hope yo are doing okay.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Hey, Jeff. Its been two months since I wrote an answer to your question. Are you ever going to read and reply to my post of Jan 27?

Pascha is just around the corner!
Even more Yum!!!
Punks to Monks!!! I don't know what's going on here, but there seems to be a strange thing going on with punk rock and the Orthodox Church. Read about a front man who became Chancellor of the GOA. Is it that Punk's radical nihilism (It isn't the fashionable nihilism of philosophy students. It is the crass comercialization of nihilism. Nihilism for the sake of getting money to get drugs. Punk, like hip-hop says all there is is money and possession. But not even posession, because posessions can be taken away. There is only experience. The high of drugs. The high of sex. The high of power over women and weaker men. Give me my ho and my bling-bling cuz that's all that is. It is tasteless and unrefined. It is gross and vulgar. It doesn't even pretend to be deep or profound. It hopes in nothing. Believes in nothing. Beareth nothing. Self dissapears with an extra mg of horse, or the wasting away of AIDS. It is slow suicide.) is only answered by the radical embrace of reality that is Christian monasticism?
“And so the error spread until all bishops under the Pope of Rome required their priests to insert the offending word into their missals. The Monestary of Kubaan, which hand-copied all the missals used by the Latin church, suddenly found its services in high demand: much higher, in fact, than it could commodiate; thus giving rise to the famous Kubaan Missal Crisis of 1063."

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Jeff, I just noticed that you haven't blogged in over a week. Have you lost interest?
Well, we made a decision. I'm staying with AllDorm and staying in school. Cyndi will more hours. We will both sleep less. Going to be a tough year. Dinner last night was a lot of goodness. Mussels and shrmip simmered in sauvignon blanc and garlic. French bread from Semifreddi's bakery. Cyndi said it was the best meal we've had since Lent started. I think every day this week is a wine & oil day. That makes cooking much easier. I have a cold. I think I might be spending too much time in the pool in the evenings.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Jeff, I just found out that Archimandrite Benjamin will be consecrated to the episcopacy at Holy Trinity Cathedral, San Francisco, California, on Saturday, May 1, 2004. This is going to be exceptionally wonderful. You should come.

Also, here is a list of other services in the month of April.

2) Conclusion of the 40-day Fast, Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, 6 p.m.
3) Resurrection of Lazarus, Matins and Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, 9 a.m.; Vigil of Palms, 6 p.m.
4) Palm Sunday: Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, Festal Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, 10 a.m.; Bridegroom Matins, 6 p.m.
5) Great and Holy Monday, Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, 9 a.m.; Bridegroom Matins, 7 p.m.
6) Great and Holy Tuesday, Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, 9 a.m.; Bridegroom Matins, 7 p.m.
7) Great and Holy Wednesday, Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, 9 a.m.; Matins of Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.
8) Great and Holy Thursday, Vespers and Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, 10 a.m.; Matins with 12 Gospels, 7 p.m.
9) Great and Holy Friday, Royal Hours, 10 a.m.; Vespers of Deposition, 4 p.m.; Matins of Burial, 7 p.m.
10) Great and Holy Saturday, Vespers and Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, 10 a.m.; Paschal Vigil and Liturgy, 11:30 p.m.
11) HOLY PASCHA: The Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Agape Vespers, 1 p.m.
14) Bright Wednesday, Paschal Vespers, 6 p.m.
15) Bright Thursday, Paschal Divine Liturgy, 9 a.m.
16) Bright Friday, Paschal Vespers, 6 p.m.
17) Bright Saturday, Paschal Divine Liturgy, 10 a.m.; Vigil, 6 p.m.
18) Antipascha: St. Thomas Sunday, Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, 10 a.m.
21) Vespers, 6 p.m.
24) Vigil, 6 p.m.
25) Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearing Women, Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, 10 a.m.
28) Vespers, 6 p.m.
30) Canonical Election of Bishop Benjamin of Berkeley and Great Vespers, 6 p.m.

If you can only come on two days, I'd recommend Matins on Holy Thursday and the Paschal divine liturgy. FYI: The services run into each other so the start times are approximate.

Monday, March 22, 2004

I hate making decisions. At least decisions that put me on a track that is difficult to get off of later. You know I am going to school to be a nurse and working at AllDorm. And Cyndi is working part time at Starbucks and managing an apartment complex. Well, Starbucks wants her to be available more hours and wants to make her a manager. What this means is that I would have to either quit AllDorm or school to take care of the little boy.
Quitting school hurts in the long term. Quitting Alldorm hurts (Much) in the short term.

In other news I just found that my church has a relic of The Venerable Grand Duchess St. Elizabeth Fedorovna Romanova the New Martyr. It is her biography that inspired me to start down the path to becoming a nurse.

The car broke down today. Thankfully, it happened right in front of a mechanics shop and the repair (a new hose) only took 10 minutes and $50.

Muslims in Kosovo are systematically de-christianizing the region. Below is a list of churches destroyed since March 17.

1. Cathedral of the Most Holy Mother of God of Ljevis, 14th century (Prizren)
2. Church of Holy Salvation, 14th century (Prizren)
3. Cathedral of the Holy Great Martyr George, 20th century (Prizren)
4. Holy Archangels Monastery, 14th century (Prizren)
5. Church of St. George Runovic, 15th century (Prizren, courtyard of the Episcopate)
6. Church of St. John the Fore-runner and Baptist (Pec) with parish home
7. Church of the Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple 19th century (Belo Polje near Pec)
8. Church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God (Djakovica) 19th century with parish home
9. Church of the Holy King Uros (Urosevac)
10. Church of St. Nicholas (Kosovo Polje)
11. Church of St. Catharine (Bresje near Kosovo Polje)
12. Church of St. Nicholas, 19th century (Pristina)
13. Church of St. Nicholas, 19th cenutry (Gnjilane)
14. Church of St. Sava (Kosovska Mitrovica)
15. Church in Vitina (Vitina near Gnjilane)
16. Devic Monastery, 14th century (Srbica)
17. Church in Donja Slapasnica (Kosovska Kamenica)
18. Church in Brnjak near Bela Crkva (Orahovac)
19. Church of St. John the Fore-runner and Baptist (Pecka Banja)
20. Church of St. Elijah, 19th century (Vucitrn)
21. Church of St. Michael (Stimlje)
22. Church in Obilic (Obilic)
23. Church of St. Lazarus in Piskote (Djakovica), damaged in 1999, now burned
24. Church of St. Nicholas (Tutic church), 14th century (Prizren)
25. Church of St. Kyriake, 14th century (Prizren)
26. Church of St. Panteleimon 14th c. (Prizren)
24. Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary building , with chapel (Prizren)
25. Episcopate - seat of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren with chapel (Prizren)

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Well, today is the little boy's birthday. They prayed for him at church today. In other little boy related news, the pool is open and he has been enjoying it for the last two days. Cant swim but is fearless when it comes to jumping in off the edge.

Other news, it looks like we are getting a new auxilliary bishop. A monk named benjamin will be consecrated at my church in April. Fr. Victor said we should expect a handful of bishops and two metroplitans to come for the laying on of hands. I am very excited. Next to baptisms this is probably the most important of the mysteries - the passing on of the episcopal charisma! I'll let you know the date as soon as I find out so you casn come see it. We began praying for the bishop-elect today.

This is the week of Annunciation. But it is also the week we remember St. Mary of Egypt and is the 5th week of lent. Crazy busy week at church. Seems like we are going to be having services every morning and evening until Sunday.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Bad parenting, a 24 year old "boyfriend" (where are the cops?), and a women's clinic kill a 15 year old girl.
Islam is evil, and is persecuting Christians in the Holy Land. If Christians (eastern and western) do not get back to their robust roots conversions to islam are what we should expect. But Islam doesn't care if conversions are made peacefully. Mohamed met a demon in a cave and received a "revelation" from it. And that same demon is the spirit of Jihad. Spain has capitulated. Kosovo is burning.
I just found out that a friend of mine is pregnant. It got me to thinking about 2 Timothy 2:15 where it says: "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." I remember the first time I thought about this verse. It was when John Hannaman was teaching, and that one freaky woman got angry with him. Anyway, The thing I remember most is reading a bunch of commentaries and all of them saying pretty much this: "It is a hard verse to understand but it might mean this."

It wasn't until I saw my wife become a Christian that I understood, at leat a little bit, what this verse meant. At the time, she did not want me to be Orthodox. But someone at the Mission of the Synaxsis of the Theotokos gave her a sheet of paper with this prayer on it:

"O Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ our God, the Source of life and immortality, I thank Thee, for in my marriage Thou has blest me to be a recipient of Thy blessing and gift; for Thou, O Master, didst say: be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. I thank Thee and pray: Bless the fruit of my body that was given to me by Thee; favor it and animate it by Thy Holy Spirit, and let it grow a healthy and pure body, with well formed limbs. Sanctify its body, mind, heart, and vitals, and grant this infant that is to be born an intelligent soul; establish him in the fear of Thee.

"A faithful angel, a guardian of soul and body, do thou vouchsafe him. Protect, keep, strengthen, and shelter the child in my womb until the hour of his birth. But conceal him not in his mother's womb; Thou gavest him life and health.

"O Lord Jesus Christ, into Thine almighty and paternal hands do I entrust my child. Place him upon the right hand of Thy grace, and through Thy Holy Spirit sanctify him and renew him unto life everlasting, that he may be a communicant of Thy Heavenly Kingdom. Amen.

"O All-Merciful Christ our God, look down and protect me, Thy handmaiden, from frear and from evil spirits that seek to destroy the work of Thy hands. And when my hour and time is come, deliver me by Thy grace. Look with compassionate eye and deliver me, Thy handmaiden, from pain. Lighten mine infirmity in the time of my travail and grant me fortitude and strength for birth giving, and hasten it by Thine almighty help. For this is Thy glorious work, the power of Thine Omnipotence, the work of Thy grace and tendrt-heartedness. Amen.

"My most gracious Queen, my hope, O Mother of God, the joy of those in sorrow, help me, for I am helpless. Intercede thou and pray thy Son, Christ our God, that He lighten for me this season while I am giving birth. For I know no other help save thee, no other hope save thee, O Mother of God, that will guard and protect me and my child. For by thine intercession and help we send up glory and thanksgiving for all things unto the One God in Trinity, the Creator of all, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. "

She prayed it pretty often while she was pregnant, and she still has the sheet of paper in a file folder with all of the ultr-sound pictures, hospital admission papers, etc. And this prayer, and the way the birth of her son was treated by the Church (it is acompanied by a naming rite at 8 days, and a reintroduction of the mother to the church at 40 days.) had an effect on her. In fact it was the night of the naming rite that she first said she believed.

Jeff, I know you are holding off on posting your review of the Passion. Fr. Tom Hopko, Dean Emeritus of Saint Vlad's saw the movie last week and shares his thoughts here. And here is the opinion of two Roman Catholic academics. I think it is interestng how Fr. Tom and the Roman Catholic Scholars had such different reactions to the faces of the people in the movie. I, not having seen the movie, do not have an opinion. Peter Bouteneff has a more middle of the road opinion of the film.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

The news calls them Albanians and Serbs. But we know they are Muslims and Christians. The world hates to admit that Christians are hunted down and killed by the peace-loving Muslims. But we know the code. "Salaam, salaam", they say when they meet you in the market, when they are selling oil or trinkets to tourists. But when an AK-47 is in their hands, or a kilo of plastique is strapped to their bodies the cry changes to "Allahu akbar". And there is the sickening smell of blood, and the report of rifles, and sound of mourning and fear. There is death. Islam means submission. It means submission to demons and death. But Christ has conquored death. Christ has conquored the demons. Churches and monasteries are burning, and the deaths of His holy ones is prescious to Him. There are thrity one new martyrs waiting under the altar in Heaven. There are thirty-one newly-crowned heads in Paradise.

Holy Martrys, pay to God for us that we will endure till the end.
I wasn’t able to go the presanctified liturgy last night. But Cyndi, Anselm’s Godmother, and I prayed the Compline service together. It was really great to read the hymns for St. Patrick. Although, I wish the bishops would make St. Patrick’s day a major feast, thus a wine day. I kind of miss my mid-March glass of Bushmills.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Two men were sitting next to each other at a bar. After a while, one guy looks at the other and says, "I can't help but think, from listening to you, that you're from Ireland."
The other guy responds proudly, "Yes that I am!"
The first guy says, "So am I! And where about from Ireland might you be?"
The other guy answers, "I'm from Dublin, I am."
The first guy responds "Sure and begorra, and so am I! And what street did you live on in Dublin?"
The other guy says, "A lovely little area it was, I lived on McCrery Street
in the old central part of town."
The first guy says, "Faith and it's a small world, so did I! So did I! And to what school would you have been going?
The other guy answers, "Well now, I went to St. Mary's, of course."
The first guy gets really excited and says, "And so did I. Tell me now, what year did you graduate?
The other guy answers, "well, now, let's see, I graduated in 1964.
The first guy exclaims, "The good lord must be smiling down upon us! I can hardly believe our good luck at winding up in the same bar tonight. Can you believe it, I graduated from St. Mary's in 1964 me own self."
About this time, Vicky walks into the bar, sits down, and orders a beer.
Brian, the bartender, walks over to Vicky, shaking his head and mutters,"It’s going to be a long night!”
Vicky asks, "Why do you say that, Brian?"

"The Murphy twins are drunk again."

I love John Locke. I used to have his Two Treatises on Government in a beautiful leather-bound edition. I really was impressed with how he ripped apart Robert Filmer's monarchist theory in the first Treatise. And if I remember correctly, he argued that each human being, and not just the king inherits Adam's rights. And in the Second treatise He just squashes Hobbes down to size by showing that the king and the subject remain in a state of nature in realtion to each other, and of course his argument that all human rights are really property rights is the foundation of our state. Unfortunately, I lost the book, and many of my more valuable books, when I became homeless back in the 90's. But you know, according to Locke you only have a right to that property which you can enjoy. I definately was not enjoying all of my books packed away in boxes.

Actually, something I have been thinking about lately is how little stuff can I get by with. For instance, my library is down from 2,000 volumes to fewer than 40. My wardrobe has been shrinking as well, as of last night I am down to two trousers. I have 6 sweaters but only wear three. It seems that I can spend a lot of time and money acquiring things. But who knows what the future holds? Will everything go the way of that leather-bound volume of John Locke's Philosophy? If so, why bother acquiring stuff? As George Carlin teaches, the main reason to have stuff is so you can put it some place.

But why were you reading Locke if the course was about the middle class in the 19th century? Was the application of his theory of property given as the reason for the expansion of the middle class?

The Egles book you read: Was it the one about the orgins of the family and private property, or was it the one about the living conditions in working-class england? I've never read either. The only thing by him was the demon-spawned Manifesto. It is insidious, and passion-roousing. Even I, steeped as I am in the knowledge of God and His economic laws, found my heart pounding as the evil words reached their climax.

St Patrick's Breastplate:

Today I put on
a terrible strength
invoking the Trinity
confessing the Three
with faith in the One
as I face my Maker.

Today I put on the power
of Christ's birth and baptism,
of his hanging and burial,
His resurrection, ascension,
and descent at the Judgement.

Today I put on the power
of the order of the Cherubim,
angels' obedience,
archangels' attendance,
in hope of ascending
to my reward;
patriarchs' prayers,
prophets' predictions,
apostles precepts,
confessors' testimony,
holy virgins' innocence
and the deeds of true men.

Today I put on
the power of Heaven,
the light of the Sun,
the radiance of the Moon,
the splendour of fire,
the fierceness of lightning,
the swiftness of wind,
the depth of the sea,
the firmness of earth
and the hardness of rock.

Today I put on
God's strenghth to steer me,
God's power to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye for my vision,
God's ear for my hearing,
God's word for my speech,
God's hand to protect me,
God's pathway before me,
God's shield for my shelter,
God's angels to guard me
from ambush of devils,
from vice's allurements,
from traps of the flesh,
from all who wish ill,
whether distant or close,
alone or in hosts.

I summon these powers today
to take my part against every implacable power
that attacks my body and soul,
the chants of false prophets,
dark laws of the pagans,
false heretics' laws,
entrapments of idols,
enchantments of women
or smiths or druids,
and all knowledge that poisons
man's body or soul.

Christ guard me today
from poison, from burning,
from drowning, from hurt,
that I have my reward.

Christ beside me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,

Christ within me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me.

Christ on my right hand,
Christ on my left,

Christ where I lie,
Christ where I sit,
Christ where I rise.

Christ in the hearts of all who think of me,
Christ in the mouths of all who speak to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Today I put on
a terrible strength,
invoking the Trinity,
confessing the Three,
with faith in the One
as I face my Maker.

Domini est salus.
Domini est salus.
Domini est salus.
Salus tua, Domine, sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Jeff, Check this out. I'll need to get more info from the other guys to flesh out the links. Is this what you had in mind?

I am concerned that with five voices on a blog you will give even less attention to a topic than you already give it. With just the two of us blogging you have problems staying on topic. For instance, you wanted each of us to talk about our 10 favorite books. I think you gave it less than 5 minutes. I thought about your question for several days and gave really good reasons for my selections. But you were on to something else in a flash. I felt like we could have had a really intersting conversation but you just wanted... I don't know what you wanted. But I'd still like to know what it is about Dumas's writing that you like.
Amen, Daniel!!!!!!!!!
Of our close friends, the ones most likely to keep up would be Bryguy and George. Why not send them an invite and I'll call them and let them know.

I read Mill's "ON LIBERTY" in college. My freshman year, all humanities students had to take a year-long course in the humanities, with a different topic to be studies each quarter. One quarter the topic was 'The Middle Class in the Nineteeth Century' (can you think of ANYTHING more boring??????????????) Anyway, we read Mill along with John Locke, Dickens' 'Hard Times', something by Emile Zola and that other book by Frederich Engels (not Das Manifesto)

I don't know aht happened with the 'Bombs of Butter' post. Maybe they're soooo good that the Blog wanted to make an example of them.

I'm going to at least TRY and read the Jan 27th post tonight or tomorrow.

So what do you think has caused your father's deterioration???
Al Sharpton: If I was a democrat he is who I would vote for. Of all the Dem candidates, he is the most consistent with the leftist world view.

St. Patricks Day: I do not recommend green gin. I have no chieftans music, but the little boy has a thing for bagpipes. Have you ever read the hymn St. Patrick wrote? I think it would take well to modern instrumentation and a folk/rock sound. You can hear it here.

Or maybe a Chieftains Cd. Do you have any of their music?? I've got this one cd of theirs in which they do "The Long Black Veil' with Mick Jagger on vocals. It is th very definition of sublime
I was thinking about green gin for St Paddy's Day.
Al Sharpton announced that he's dropping out of the presidential race. YAWWWNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 15, 2004

Okay, St. Patrick's Day is coming up so just in case some out there is in the gift giving mood I would be so happy if you bought this for me.
I am going to take a moment to comment on homosexual marriage. I think it has been a long time comming. Heterosexuals have been chipping away at marraige for a long time. Beginning with John Stuart Mills evil book, "On Liberty", (I'm not giving a link to this book because it is too wicked for human eyes.) which says that if it causes no harm to others it must be allowed, to the birth control pill that divorced procreation from sex, to the liberalization of divorce laws, to the de-sacramentalizing of marriage and just making it a contract between two people has created a climate in which marriage has become nothing but a way to get insurance benefits. Well, if that is all it is, then let the homosexuals have it. They can't screw it up worse than the selfish heterosexuals have.
Adding people to the blog: I am not opposed to it. Keith asked about it. But he isn't real fast about replying to email. Do you think he would keep up? And George seems awfully busy, too. But yes, I'd like to add them. But lets find out if they can make a comitment to posting every day before we add them.

So, have you read my post of Jan 27 yet?

I saw that you posted your message about the little bombs of butter a whole bumch of times. I went ahead and deleted the duplicates.

When are you going to post that paper on the Psalms?

I might be going out to Washington, DC weekend of April 24.

About my Dad: He has given up. All he wants to do is sit in his chair and watch TV. He is in constant fear. Sometimes he acts like his old self. But most of the time he is a feeble, fearful, old man, who can only think about how good life used to be but seems to have forgotten that there is something called Heaven. It is very sad.

The little bombs of butter are coming out of a 3-year retirement this weekend. We're having some friends over for dinner and Christa requested them. Martinis will be consumed as well
Why do you think your dad is going to die soon? When I saw him over Christmas, he didn't look all that different from when we used to go to the ranch. He still looks pretty hale and hearty to me. Wouldn't surprise me if you dad lived to be 90
Good picture, but I didn't know you had services in the midst of forest fires
What do you think about adding George onto the blog?

Also, I saw 'The Passion' this weekend. if we want George on (and I do) then I'l withhold my remarks on that until then. But could you republish your remarks about the movie in general? I lost that email that had them. That might be our next good discussion topic (something we'll probably have a lot of agreement on!)

Caleb is 11 months old today

Sunday, March 14, 2004

I love this picture so I thought I would post a link to it again.
Long long day. Today is the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. It means we are 1/2 way through lent. Pascha is almost here. One of the songs for this day:

Kontakion in tone 7
Now the flaming sword no longer guards the gates of Eden;
it has mysteriously been quenched by the wood of the Cross!
The sting of death and the victory of hell have been vanquished;
for You, O my Savior, have come and cried to those in hell:
"Enter again into paradise."

I'm trying to get my dad and my brothers to go fishing with me next Saturday morning. I have a feeling my dad will die soon. I want Anselm to have a chance to go fishing with his Grandfather before that happens.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

You said people with Down's Syndrom usually don't know they have it. Same thing applies to Alzheimer's
Just got back from Santa Cruz. The boy and I drove over the hill this morning while Cyndi was doing an open house. Walked around on the peir. The boy loved the sea lions. I learned that no fishing license is needed to fish of the peir. I think I'll ask my dad if he wants to go fishing. Drove by the mission. Thought we would pop in and venerate the relics of any Orthodox saints, but there was a Mass going on and I wouldn't feel comfortable doing the Orthodox thing in the middle of a Roman Catholic Mass. So, after that we went downtown. Bought the boy some sandles for Summer. The clerk hit on me. I was more than a little surprised. Apparantly she is looking for a group relationship. "I like kids but I love their parents, if you know what I mean." (Wink). Wow! I was not expecting that in a childrens shoe store at 11:30 in the morning. At noon the bells of Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church started ringing. It was really beautiful The boy really enjoys church bells. He points and says in an awe-struck voice, "Bells! Bells!" But I think the sea lions were the hilight of his morning. Oh, and the kids who cought a skate while we were watching them fish. He enjoyed that, too.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Well, it is not so much that we ever stopped recognizing the authority of the Bishop of Rome as it is that we never thought he had as much authority as the Roman Church claims he has.

Now, I am not an expert on this, so I want to be quick to say I might be wrong, but this is my best understanding of the situation before and after the Great Schism.

Bishops of major Christian centers became the leaders of the surrounding rural bishops. (This can be seen in the Letters of St. Ignatius written in A.D. 110.) These bishops became known as archbishops and metropolitans.

Here is how it worked (and still works in the Orthodox Church): Let's say you are the Bishop Diocese of Oakland, but across the bay is the Diocese of San Francisco, and the Bishop of that city is also the Metropolitan of Northern California. The Bishop of San Francisco would not tell you how to run the Diocese of Oakland. He has his own diocese to care for, after all. But when all the bishops in California get together the Metropolitan would preside. Also if you have a problem in Oakland, you would give the Metropolitan a call and see if he can help you out. And lets say the Bishop of Stockton is a political monster and trys to get a bunch of your parishes to leave you and join his Diocese. You would go to the Metropolitan and say, ""Stockton's bishop is messing with my diocese and the people are confused about who to listen to." The metropolitan would step into a situation like that and, hopefully, straighten it out.

Now take it up one level from the metropolitan and you have the Patriarchs. The bishops of the leading churches in really large areas became known as Patriarchs and Popes. There might be five or six or more metropolitans in the a patriarchate. The Patriarchs style themselves with all kinds of titles. The Bishops of Rome and Alexandria called themselves Popes. The bishop of Constantinople calls himself the Ecuminical Patriarch, the Bishop of Tblisi calls himself the Catholicos. Essentially, they are all just bishops. And sacramentally, all bishops are equal. But we pile them high with titles in an effort to "give honor to whom honor is due".

Now as for the Bishop of Rome, when he was Orthodox he was considered the first among equals. It did not mean that he was an imperious lord, reigning over all the other bishops. What it did mean is that when the Patriarchs got together, or when all the bishops from all over the world got together, the Bishop of Rome would preside. Or he would get involved if there was some item of contention between a couple of patriarchates, just like a when metropolitan presides over a local council of bishops.

It is instructive to look at the Jerusalem Council in Acts. Peter did not just make a decree, in fact, he didn't even preside. Instead they held a council. This is the way it was always supposed to be.

So what happened with Rome? Why did it get too big for it's britches? Well, two things mainly.

1) In the eastern half of the Roman Empire there were four patriarchates in close proximity to each other, and because the east was more urbanized than the west there were a lot more bishops. They were used to working with each other. But in the west, things were more spread out and the only Patriarchate was Rome. Rome was THE hub for all ecclesiastical things in the west. And gradually, the Bishop of Rome began to take on a more monarchical in his patriarchate. Today, the bishop of Rome has the power to "hire" and "fire" bishops in any Roman Catholic Diocese in the world. This is not a power Orthodox Patriarchs have. Instead, if a bishop goes bad and needs to be relieved the Patriarch would call a council and all the bishops together would decide what to do.

2) The western half of the Roman Empire there was a gradual economic and political decline so that, by the end of 5th century, the Bishop of Rome was the sole unifying power in the west, at least until the rise of Charlemagne. But in the east, the power of the Roman Empire was not diminished until the Muslim Arabs conquored Palestine, Mesapotamia, Egypt and much of Sryria during the wars of 632- 640. But Emperor Justinian reconquored Greece, Sicily, the southern end of Italy. And in 867 Basil I became emporer and began pushing back against the muslims in the south and east of the empire, and his heirs followed his example. By 970 the empire had expanded again and controlled northern Mesopotamia, & Northern Syria. But in 1070 the Seljuk turks mounted a series of devestating attacks into Asia Minor. And in 1071 the imperial army was crushed at the Battle of Manzikert. And the empire also lost its hold of southern Italy. But the empire managed to survive into the 15th Century when it was finally conquored by the muslims. All of this history is only to show that in the east there was a strong Christian imperial government for centuries after the implosion of the western half of the Empire. So the Eastern Patriarchates never assumed the political power the Bishop of Rome had gained.

So, these are the things that lead to the Bishop of Rome thinking he had such great power over the rest of the church, and even the power to change the Creed, thereby defineing the Christian faith. (Oh, there was also an 8th century forged document called the donation of constantine that later Roman Popes mistakenly put their trust in.)

And to sum up, yes, the excomunications and anathemas between the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Rome occured in 1054. But they were against individuals not entire churches. And they were lifted sometime in the 20th century. But that is not the same thing as restoring communion between the two churches. That is, I think unlikely. Rome has drifted further from Orthodoxy over the years. And Rome has committed atrocities against the Orthodox church that hurt us even today.

But we have hope. We know that the grace of God works in everyone who has been baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity, we know that Jesus prayed that we will all be one. If the Bishop of Rome ever repents he will assume his rightful place as the first Bishop of the Orthodox Church, and will give the Bishop of Constantinople a long needed rest from a job he was never supposed to have.

The service for Pascha will start with the reading of the Book of Acts sometime around 7pm on April 10.

The autism story was funny. Back in my twenties when my life seemed to be constantly falling apart I would sometimes stand infront of a mirror and list all of the evidence that would indicate that I do not have Down's Syndrome. (Most people with Down's Syndrome do not know they have it.)

Okay, I've got an historical question. At what point did the Orthodox church cease to accept any authority from the Pope? WHat it at 1054 or before? Just curious, nothing more
Whe is your Easter celebration again? is it the night of April 10th?
Regarding you post about Mary, etc. on the 10th...okay, I'll give you the last word.

I'll try to pull some of my papers out and try to post them. 2 or 3 at the most.

Christa got all hopped up yesterday and thinking that Caleb was autistic. She heard something in passing on some cable channel, etc. So I had to go an autism website today and read her some of the symptoms (of which, of course, Caleb has none) My wife is the ultimate conspiracy theorist.
Did you hear that Santa Claus is missing one of his reindeer? Apparently Prancer got married last week in the Castro

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Mom is home. She has to go back to the doctor tomorrow morning though. They think she is still bleeding but are not sure. They do know that it is so slow that it isn't life-threatening right now.
That's exciting news about that degree finally being within sight. Are you going to be getting the M.A. or the M.Div? You know, you've been in school a while and you've never given me any of your papers. I'd love to read them. Maybe you could post some of them here?

Mom is still in the hospital. The physics havn't been able to fid the source of the bleeding. Still giving her transfusions. More tests to find the source.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Mom is doing better. Still in the hospital. But doing better.

In answer to your question why is adelphos always translated as brother: Because brother is a pretty good translation for the word. But again, I am not arguing that St. James was Jesus’ cousin. You asked me to show you how brother can not mean brother. I was just showing you that brother can mean a more distant kinsman. I agree with you that Jesus and St. James were legally brothers. I have no dog in the brother vs. cousin fight. That is a protestant vs. roman Catholic argument. According to the Orthodox Church, St James and Jesus were legally brothers, since they were both legally the sons of St. Joseph.

About the Fathers being wrong. When they are wrong it is usually just one of them being wrong on one subject and he is then corrected by the others. For them to be wrong on Mary’s Ever-Virginity means that the whole Church was wrong. Is that what you are saying?

About the Protoevangelium of James. I was very clear (do you just skim what I write?) that we do not base doctrine on it. Rather, the author of that work drew from the tradition of the Church to write a pious poem. Kind of like no Protestant (I hope) would regard the Left Behind series of books as an authority on the last days, rather, the authors of those books rely on Dispensationalist traditions for the basis of their work.

About Matthew 1:25 – I’ve already shown you several protestant authorities who disagree with your interpretation of that verse. How do you know you are right and they are wrong?

You said: “For Orthodox, if there is a contradiction, then you seem to manipulate the text to make it say what you want it to say. That's the only way I can understand the linguistic hoops you are jumping through.” Of course I could turn this around and say the same thing of protestants. Or even denominations within Protestantism. Get a Lutheran and a Presbyterian in a conversation about sacraments, or a Baptist and Pentecostal in to a conversation about tongues and they will each make all make biblical arguments at each other and come away convinced that the others are wrong and making the Bible say what they want it to say.
This is not the way of the Orthodox. We have a discipline that we sometimes call the “patristic mind”. When we look at the Bible we do not look at it as a modern people using modern tools to understand it. Instead we ask, how has the Church lived with this passage? What has been the consensus of the Church through the ages? It keeps us from developing novel theologies (such as dispensationalism) and explains to us difficult to understand passages such as 1 Corinthians 11 or John 6. (They are not difficult passages if you accept the plain meaning of the words. Ha ha!)

But you know, we really believe the Bible is our book. I think it was St. Athanasius (Or maybe St Hilary?) who said he wouldn’t debate heretics from the Bible because they were unworthy of the Bible. What the Orthodox Church teaches is that the Bible can only be properly understood in the Orthodox Church (a la Ethiopian eunuch). You will see what I am talking about if you go back a few weeks and read what I posted on the Book of Revelation.

Oh, I am going to re-read the first part of Matthew and see if I can find all of this sex you are talking about.

So are you helping Christa train for the MArathon? Is that why you can't cross the bay yo go to the farmers Market? Oh, if you go, go early. About 9 A.M. it starts getting crowded.

Okay, here is my final word on Mary. I think we're beating this horse to a slow-lingering death and might be time to move on. But here we go...

1. I checked Kittel on 'adelphos', and he breaks it down into 2 categories. One is physical relation and the other is spiritual relation. With perhaps 1 exception, the physical 'adelphos' always means blood brother. Spiritual brotherhood is another matter, but i believe that's easily discernible in the text. This spiritual brotherhood is what Abraham means when he addresses Lot in Gen 13, but the objective narrator makes sure we know that it is uncle and nephew. If, according to your view that brother does not mean brother, the question to ask is why it has always been translated that way.

2. I do not set myself up as the ultimate arbiter of truth. That is best left to the likes of David Koresh, Jim Jones and Mary Baker Eddy. Im simply looking objectively at Scripture and telling you what seems patently obvious. As far as the church fathers, you have told me time and again that they were not always right on everything.

3. So you are basing the teaching on an apocryphal, dubious text? If you don't accept other things from that, why would you pull that out? if you refer to it as a 'pseudo-gospel', then how can you truly believe anything in it?

4. I'll try to get to the Jan 27th post next week when I have more time.

5. You know as well as I that you can use the same word in a different context and it has a different meaning. The sentence in Mt1:25 clearly implies they had sex after. Plus, Mt 1:18 has sexual overtones in it

6. From a plain understanding of the text, it seems they were wrong. Here seems to be one of the main theological differences between us these days. For Protestants, if there is a contradiction between what Scripture says and what a church says, then it is the church that is wrong. For Orthodox, if there is a contradiction, then you seem to manipulate the text to make it say what you want it to say. That's the only way I can understand the linguistic hoops you are jumping through.

And thus I am done with Mary.
I'm going to do something a bit different when I'm cooking at home next week. I gave Christa a stack of about 7 cookbooks. I told her to pick one and that everything I make next week will come out of that book. Should be an interesting experience. I've got couple a weeks off between classes (just finished Psalms last night and am starting a class on Biblical Counseling in 3 weeks) so there's a bit of extra time on my hands. I'm getting to be in the home stretch at Fuller. 18 classes down and 6 to go. I'll be done in a year.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

My mom is in the hospital. Hemoraging. Blood transfusions. Dad is just about panicked. Very bad day.
I will get to your notes on Mary tomorrow morning. Don't wait up today.
This is kinda in response to something that Daniel wrote in a note. I've always found 1 Cor 11:27-30 to be a bit difficult to understand, especially when it comes to people getting sick and dying because they were not serious, humble, etc when taking communion. The question which would be interesting to ask is why the same thing does not happen today.

As far as why Jesus let so many go away from Him, that's a pretty easy question, with 2 possible answers. The first is that Jesus is not going to force anyone to follow Him. That is why He let other people go also, like the rich young ruler. But also I think it shows the mentality of a lot of the crowd who followed Jesus. They were there for the show, the miracles. That's why they kept asking for a sign. They didn't want the hard teaching, but wanted to see Jesus do something. People today still tend to do the same thing. They will come to Christ, but when they are faced with such teachings as "Take up your cross and follow Me", their faith becomes shallow and non-committal
Ah, thats right. I'd forgotten about Keith's past life. God protected you well prior to your marriage. I always admired your commitment to chastity.

I tried to figure out what you meant by "Orthodox Speak". I couldn't find what you meant, except maybe using words such as Theotokos, and Ever-Virgin. If you'd like I can translate Theotokos to God Bearer. As for Ever-Virgin, I suppose I could use the Perpetual Virginity instead, but I do not know for sure what that means to a former Roman Catholic such as yourself. I know exactly what Ever-Virgin means so I usually use that. Anyway, let me know what I wrote that made you say "huh?" and I will try to explain better.

I can't ask Keith if he's still a virgin...he was a bit of wild man in his past. But we can pray for him to be pure until his wedding day and encourage him in it.

I'll read in detail your latest psot about Mary a little later today. I'm also going to respond to what Daniel said and how he clearly misinterprets John 6.

Did I ever tell you how you remind me of John Kerry? He has a propensity for slipping into what is known as 'Senate Speak', using words and terms which those in the Senate probably understand but regular people are turned off by. You often seem to slip into "Orthodox Speak', throwing out whole sentences and paragraphs to which I usually repond by saying 'Huh? I then tend to skip over those because i don't want to spend days going back and forth over what a particular phrase in orthodoxy means.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Super busy day today has been. Dentist appointments this morning. Looking at a lot of expensive work. Going to try three crowns but still might lose a tooth. I had school in the afternoon. And then this evening, the boy's Godmother came over for a lenten meal (indian dish involving garbonzos, cauliflower, lentels, basmati rice, safron, tumeric, onions, chiles, ginger and a bunch of other stuff) and Compline. It was my first time to pray the Compline service. It was very enjoyable. Learned a little about St. Felix of Burgundy, the Enlightener of East Anglia.

How you post doesn't matter to me. I just like to read what you have to say.

I don't think I asked the questions of you that you are going to ask Keith. As I recall, throughout your engagment, the question I kept asking was: "Are you still a virgin?" Every time I asked and you answered in the affirmative a demon kicked himself. There is not much that pleases them more (if they are even capable of pleasure) than damaging a marriage before it even starts.

Regarding Mary. I am not sure she or her Holy Son are all that happy with the amount of time I am spending talking about her. It seems to me that she was always directing people to Him. Nevertheless, could you tell me exactly what verses do not make sense if they do not mean St. Mary is the mother of the people called brothers of Jesus? (Read, below, what Calvin says about this argument of yours.)

Also the argument I have been using consists of more than the two points you mentioned. I will quickly review it for you and ask you to be very specific in where you think I err:

1. Brother (Greek: adelphos) does not always mean siblings sharing a parent. It can mean cousins, nephews, uncles, and close friends. I gave Abrham and Lot as an example of people who are not brothers who yet were called brothers in Genesis 14. I could have given you many more instances of the Greek word adelphos being used to signify various relationships, but I didn't. I thought you would have given up your position and ceeded me this ground with just one instance of brother not meaning brother. The word adelphos, that is brother, is not only used of 1) male children of the same parents ; but 2) male descendants of the same parents, Acts 7:23,26; Hebrews 7:5; 3) people of the same nationality, Acts 3:17,22; Romans 9:3 . . . ; 4) any man, a neighbour, Luke 10:29; Matthew 5:22, 7:3; 5) persons united by a common interest, Matthew 5:47; 6) persons united by a common calling, Revelation 22:9; 7) mankind, Matthew 25:40; Hebrews 2:17; 8) the disciples, and so, by implication, all believers, Matthew 28:10; John 20:17; 9) believers, apart from sex, Matthew 23:8; Acts 1:15; Romans 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; Revelation 19:10 (the word 'sisters' is used of believers, only in 1 Timothy 5:2).

St. Jerome thought that St. James, et al. were Jesus' cousins. This is not the position of the Orthodox church, and I only mentioned this because you asked me to show you how brothers does not mean brothers. In addtion to St. Jerome's belief that they were cousins, I gave you the Orthodox teaching that St. James was the son of St. Joseph from a previous marriage. In this case it is also possible to call St. James the brother of Jesus. The law, seeing Jesus as the son of Joseph, would regard him as the brother of St. James. Both of these explanations were given to you in answer to your post of 12:14 P.M. on January 13, 2004. Your exact words were: "Can you make a cogent argument for why brother does not mean brother???" I just did.

2. You depart from the ancient teaching of the church and set yourself up as the ultimate arbiter of truth when you deny the ever virginity of St. Mary. The teaching that the Theotokos is Ever-Virgin is unquestioned by all conservative churchmen, and even most radicals.

Let's start with the very early guys. These are the guys who put Ortho into Orthodoxy. They viewed with outright hostility anyone who added any thing to the Tradition they received. I just can't believe that men such as St. Jerome, St. Athanasius, St. Cyril, St. Ambrose, St. Leo the Great, St. Hilary, and St. Augustine would buy into some novel idea. You have to remember, that when these guys smelled heresy it was like putting a pound of beef liver in front of a hungry pit bull. Yet they all affirmed St. Mary's ever-virginity. Even the heretic, Origen believed it.

Later, in the 6th Century, the Council of Constantinople, following the example of the Apostolic Council and the custom of the church, met to find the will of the Holy Spirit. They twice declared that Mary remains a virgin. The entire church, throughout the whole world agreed with this dogma. Why? Because it was uncontroversial.

Even your own reformers held to the doctrine. I could fill up pages with quotes from Luther and Zwingli attesting to the correctness of this doctrine. (Don't worry. I'm not going to do it.). And Calvin says of a certain heretic, "Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ's 'brothers' are sometimes mentioned."

And as late as the 18th Century, Protestants held to the idea that Mary is still a virgin. In his "Letter to a Roman Catholic" John Wesley said, "The Blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as when she brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin."

3. The teaching that St. Joseph had children before his marriage to St. Mary is ancient. It's earlist written form is to be found in the second century Protoevangelium of James. While the Orthodox church does not base any of her teachings on this pseudo-gospel, we do hold that someone appropriated the truth and wove it into this allegorical poem, much as Jannes and Jambres were woven into the non-canonical Book of Enoch long before that tradition was written down in the Epistle of Jude.

4. Though the Tradition of the church encompasses the Bible, it is larger than the Bible. That is to say, not all Christian doctrine is in the Bible, though it certainly does not disagree with the Bible. Pleas see my post of Jan 27 for more on this.

5. The word "heos", which is variously translated into English as "to", "until", and "till". I explained this fully in just the past few days. Please refer to those posts. If we do not belive Jesus departs from us at the end of the age, there is no reason to think St. Mary and St. Joseph had sex.

6. The Ever-Virginty of the theotokos was a universal teaching. In no part of the world did the the Church reject the teaching of St. Mary's life-long virginity. In Africa, Europe, and Asia the Church affirmed the doctrine. Until the Reformation, there was no place on the planet where a group claiming to be the church tought that Mary had children after Jesus was born.

A a schemamonk is a monk who undertakes the most severe ascetic practices. This is because he (or she) has attained a level of holiness at which only the most rigid disciplines can help them attain greater holiness. This level of discipline is called the Great Schema. The man I saw the other day seemed to float as he walked. I didn't mention it the other day because I wasn't sure I was seeing it correctly. I'm still not sure about what I saw. I know saw his feet moving. I'm just not sure they were touching the ground. And his movement was smooth as though he was on wheels. The prefix "heiro" means is is also a priest. Most monks are not schema monks. And most monks are not priests. A heiro schema monk is rare. I suppose a floating heiroschema monk is even more rare.

About plain meaning of the Bible. I do not believe you. I belive you have certain doctrines that yu belive to be true and you interperet the bible to support those interpretations. I would go into this, but Daniel made a comment about this and anything I say about it would just be restating his words.

Why does your wife's training for a marathon keep you and Caleb from visiting the farmers market? (How is she doing? Do you think she'll be ready by race time?)

Quote of the day on John Kerry:

"For John Kerry, being rebellious means having red wine with fish" Matthew Cooper, Time magazine (yes, i know why the border is red. March on, comrade)
I need to call Keith this week and see how things are going. My questions to him are about the same as the ones you asked me before we got married. Are you being pure in thought, action and word to Cheryl???
Does it seem as if, about once a week, I show up and throw up on the blog??
I have read your posts of Mary's virginity and you just don't make your point much beyond sayng that that is what traditio says and that 'brothers' can be possibly translated in other ways. In essence, those are what you arguements boil down to. I prefer a simple, clear reading of the text. As i mentioned before, there are at least two scenes in the gospels in which, if brother does not mean brother, then the story has no meaning at all.

It seems to me that the Orthodox Church, in trying to give honor to Mary, has gone too far. Of course we know that Protestant churches, for the most part, in an effort not to appear too Catholic have probbly downplayed Mary more than they should have. But as it stands, i do not believe your point is logically feasible when one is confronted with the text of the gospel
I'm dying to go to the Ferry Building Farmers Market. The only thing that prevents me from doing it is that Christa is doing her marathon training on Sat mornings. I've heard such fabulous things about it.

What is a heiroschmamonk? Sounds like a German dish.

What's this about moving to Santa Cruz???? What happened to moving back to Sf??? If I could live around there, it would be in Felton, or Ben Lomond or Boulder Creek. The best BBQ chicken I have ever had was at the Boulder Creek Brewing Company. The beer is good also. But it was a chicken sandwich which was pretty much soaked in the most wonderful homemade BBQ sauce. Next time you are over that direction, make sure and check it out. There's also a great hotel in Brookdale, right by the river, which is a great place to stay.

How do you prefer me to do my posts??? All thoughts on a single one or split them up into individual posts?
A quick story from the weekend.

Mary, who I work with here, was visiting her daughter's family in Rocklin this weekend. There were family sports going on on Sunday morning and they wanted to go to church that day. The only church in Rocklin they could find with an evening service was a Catholic church, so they went (her son-in-law was raised Catholic). Their 10-year old son had never been to a Catholic service before, so he was a bit confused when the priest was up there putting the wine and the bread together. So he said to his mother, in a loud enough whisper so everyone around could hear, "Why is that man making dinner?"
It looks like we might finally get our computer ordered by the end of this week. Then I can blog my ass off!

On April 18th, I'm preaching at my church. Well, it's a co-preaching gig. They've done that on occasion where 2 people give the message together. I'd never heard of it before we got there, but it seems to work somewhat well. It;s going to be quite a change from preaching at our old church where there were 60 people. This is 3 services with about 120 in each service.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Well, here we are. Sunday night. Just got the boy to sleep and made myself dinner. Cyndi is at work. Since this is a wine day I am taking full advantage of it and drinking a bottle of Riven Rock Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfortunately, this wine is not very good. I suppose the best way to describe it is by saying it is like a good wine that has been cut 50/50 with water.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Long day. Cyndi, the boy and I drove up to SF so she could meet up with her sister at the office of one of her clients. They spent three hours working there while the boy and I went to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

I bought something labeled "Giant Fuji Apple". It was huge. As big as some grapefruits I have seen. It turned out that it was not an apple. It was a very large Asian pear. Very dissapointing.

After that Cyndi and the boy drove out to the beach (He had fallen asleep in the car) and I went to Arcangel Bookstore. One of the people with whom I had been a catachumen was working. We talked for a long time. Then Cyndi came and picked me up. We went to the vigil service at Holy Trinity. Then the long drive home.

We just got the boy to bed. Very tired. Go bed now.

Friday, March 05, 2004

It is the time of year to start thinking about Community Supported Agricuture (CSA). It is the best produce experience I have ever had. I whole heartedly recommend it. Cyndi and I use Two Small Farms. You can find CSA farms in your area by visiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Hey, Jeff. Remember how the Mother of God was surprised by the news that she was going to have a baby? This makes no sense. She was engaged to be married. And being a Jewess, she knew the stories of prophecies of various women having children, from Eve on down the line. She should not have been surprised. Yet she was surprised. In my reading of "The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God" by St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, I came across this information: By the time of the Annunciation, the Theotokos had already decided to remain a virgin her whole life and that is why she was astounded by the news that she was to be a mother.

I should say something else here. While I was reading that book and considering the arguments in a very academic way, the little boy took the book out of my hands, kissed the Icon on the cover, then turned all the pages kissing all the icons printed on the pages. His respnse to the book was better than mine.

Holy Theotokos, pray for me that I will repent of my many sins.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Jeff, I came across this text in the 1871 Commentary by Jamison, Fausset, and Brown. They are protestants, by the way.

"Verse 25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: and he called his name JESUS--The word "till" does not necessarily imply that they lived on a different footing afterwards (as will be evident from the use of the same word in 1Sa 15:35 2Sa 6:23 Mat 12:20 ); nor does the word "first-born" decide the much-disputed question, whether Mary had any children to Joseph after the birth of Christ; for, as LIGHTFOOT says, "The law, in speaking of the first-born, regarded not whether any were born after or no, but only that none were born before."

These Protestants disagree with you. How do you know your interpretation of this verse is correct?
Yesterday was such a good day. Cyndi had a trade show she had to go to so I worked out of the office at home for a couple of hours, and then spent the day hanging out with the boy. We went to the park and he chased ducks and geese all over the place. He had much fun. After that we went to the market. Then it was nap time. (I did some more work while he was napping) After that we visted granny and papa. Had a nice visit. (Advice: Never let your toddler son up in you your lap if (1) your mother has just given him a piece of chocolate and (2) you are waring light colored pants.)

After that we drove up to Felton for the liturgy of St. Gregory (aka Presanctified Liturgy) at St. Lawrence Church. Wow, What an experience. I think one 1/3 of the congregation was couples in the late teens and early twenties, all with two or three kids. I loved seeing it. I think we have a problem in this society, very visible in SF, and Silicon Valley, that people delay marriage so long. I met a very old heiroschmamonk at church last night. First time I'd ever seen one. Anyway, the service was beautiful. Much uf it spent in prostration (I don't know about other Orthodox, but my forehead gets sore after a few minutes.) The building itself is a converted auction barn, and looks like it could hold 300 comfortably. I think the floors are polished redwwod. Lots of oriental rugs. THe Iconograpy was good, all by the same artist. Unfortunately, the artist pretty much makes the same 3 or four faces. So St. Christopher looks like Jesus. There were lots of people there. The building was very full. Lots of clergy were there, too. Three priests were serving communion. The deacon had a good voice and lead the litanies very powerfully. The priest was kind of nasally. The choir was amazingly good. The best Orthodox choir I have ever heard. I think that if Cyndi and I ever move to Santa Cruz (we are thinking about it) we'd make St. Lawrence Church our home.

And today is off to a great start. Had a breakfast of a crusty baguette from Grace Baking, olives, vegan hummus, and black french roast coffee. And these fabulous little treats. (Yes, they are Lent-friendly)

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

About Kristie and eBay. I talked to her a couple of months ago and she said she didn't have any friends there. I suppose that might have something to do with her leaving the company. Have you taken a look at their valuation? And their P/E ratio is stupid. I can't figure it out. Its like they are in their own mini-bubble.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Wooo HOOOO!!!!! My client in DC wants to expand his program from 2 schools to 7!!!! Yes. This means I make money! But more importantly, it is a huge indicator that my program works!!!!
Keith asked for wedding advice. Here is what I gave him. What advice would you give for a wedding?

1. I think the best protestant wedding service is from the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer. They have made some changes lately so look for a copy published before the 1920's.
2. Require the minister to give a sermon.
3. Involve everyone in attendence by sining a hymn. Make it solemn. A hymn thanking God for his mercy and providence is best.
4. Elvis and Liberace are both dead. Therefore, no white tuxedos at your wedding.
5. If the wedding is in the morning wear morning clothes.
6. If you are not having groomsmen, then buy a tuxedo. Rented tuxedos never fit right.
7. Don't to 1st corinthans 13 for the reading. Every one does it. Instead do the creation accout of Eve being taken from Adams rib and Pauls command to submit to one another and give your life for your wife.
8. The bride and groom should have communion alone together.
9. Here is a link to some info about the Orthodox wedding rite. Take any ideas you like from it. http://www.hhwedding.com/orthodox_weddings.htm
10. This is the most important advice. Let Cheryl do whatever she wants to do. If she wants white tuxedos, and an Elvis impersonator, and sequiend gowns for the bride's maids let her do it. It is very likely that she has been thinking about this wedding since she was 5 years old and knows exactly what she wants.

It seems that you didn't read anything I posted about Mary's virginity. All you do is repeat what you've already said. I really wish you would pay attention to what I write. But since you don't here are the two things I said before:

1. The Greek and Hebrew Words that are translated in to the English word "until" are used two different ways.

Since it seems you didn't read the whole Gillquist essay, here is his answer to this objectio of yours:

"At this point, however, a very valid question can be raised. If she remained a virgin, why does the Gospel of Matthew tell us that Joseph knew not his wife until after Christ was born (Matthew 1:25)?

From a Scriptural standpoint, the presence of the phrase "until she had brought forth her firstborn Son," does not automatically mean that Joseph must have known her afterward. This is because in both Greek and Hebrew the word 'until' or 'to' can have several different meanings. We find it in II Samuel 6:23: "Michal, daughter of Saul, had not child to (until) the day of her death." It is used again in Matthew 28:20 where the risen Christ says "Lo, I am with you always, even to (until) the end of the world." And in Deuteronomy 34:6 we read "Moses was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, but no one knows his grave to (until) this day."

Obviously the use of the word in these passages does not imply that Michal had a child after her death, that Christ will depart at the end of the world, or that Moses' burial place was discovered the day Deuteronomy 34:6 was written. By the same token, the word 'until' in Matthew 1:25 does not mean that Joseph and Mary began a sexual union after Christ was born. Such a teaching is found nowhere in Scripture and is contrary to the consistent voice of the entire early Church."

As I mentioned earlier, Blesed Theophylact gives more examples than these.

2. The Orthodox church does not necessarily hold that the people described as Jesus' brothers were his cousins. We are adamant that St. James is the son of Joseph by a prior marriage. I'm not aware of any explanations of the St. Jude or the others' relationship to Jesus. To quote Fr. Gilquist again, "Scripture is therefore silent concerning the nature of this relationship between Christ and these brothers and sisters. Early Fathers differed slightly in their understanding of what the terms meant. Some, such as Saint Ambrose, believed that they were children of a former marriage between Joseph and a wife who died prior to Matthew chapter 1. Others taught that they were cousins. But on one point, almost everyone is in agreement: Mary and Joseph had no sexual union whatsoever, before or after the birth of Christ."

So, what is it about this that is hard for you?

You don't have a computer at home? Where were you when you were working on your Psalm 19 Paper & drinking a martini?
Okay, okay...one thing at a time. The whole thing about Mary's virginity and Jesus not having any brothers or sisters strikes me as being just outright ridiculous. Throughout matthew (which I've been reading) it seems clear that it was a normal marriage with sex included.

Mt 1:18 They were betrothed but had not yet come together--in Greek it is a term with sexual overtones.

Mt 1:25 Until means exactly that in Greek. They didn't before, but they do now.

Mt 12:46-50 Jesus' mother and brothers show up. If mother means mother, then brother means brother. The whole point of that passage is that blood relation is not as important as being obedient to God. If they were not His brothers, then the passage makes no sense.

Another passage (I can't quote it right because I can't remember it's location) says that the people were mystified by Jesus because they knew his mother, brothers, etc. Once again, if they were not brothers and sisters, the passage makes no sense.

Even Eusebius refers to James as the brother of Jesus (he does not qualify this in any way)

The Orthodox position on this is inherently untenable in the face of SCripture. I will take the clear words of Scripture over someone hundreds of years later who says that brother might mean cousin anytime. I continue to be mystified as to why you believe some of this. There is just no sense in it at all.
No, we don't have a new computer yet, but we should be orderng one in the next few days, then we just have to wait for it show up, put it together, yada yada yada
Okay, I promise I'm going to get to the Jan 27th post...yeah, and Godot is going to show up, too. It will probbly be next week. This is end-of-the-quarter week. I'm finishing up my final paper, outlining the last of the psalms and preparing to teach a 4-week series at church on the lives of the Apostles. ALso, it is our anniversary on Thurs (4 YEARS!!!!!), so wer'e going out to celebrate. I don't know what we're doing, because Christa is planning it.

No, I didn't know Larouche was out of jail either. I remember he went in 6-7 years ago. I would assume his getting released would not be front-page news, however.

I just got an email from Kristie Reed. SHe quit EBAY and isn't sure what she's going to do. I'll forward you the email. I'll probably call her today to see what's up.

Monday, March 01, 2004

About Mary's virginity. I was reading the 9th century comentary on the Gospel of Matthew by the Blessed Theophylact earlier tonight. He gives the same explanation of "until" as Fr. Gilquist does. But he gives more examples from the OT. You know, you never replied to that post of mine either. Looking forward to all of your responses.
Jeff, you have no idea how thrilled I am you finally got a computer at home. There are so many things I am interested in knowing. Did you finish St. John's sermons on 1 Corinthins? What did you think? What did you think of my defense of infant baptism? (You know, of course that nowhere does the Bible say it is wrong to baptize infants.) And of course, there is the post of Jan 27. You've had more than a month to prepare your response. I can hardly wait to read it. So hurry up and post it!
When did Lyndon get out of prison?

I guess it is officially election season. I heard my first Lyndon Larouche ad on KCBS yesterday. I didn't even know he was still alive, and was pretty sure he was in jail. I'm still waiting to hear my first Harold Stassen ad of the season.
One of the ad agencies I am trying to do a deal with has this very odd thing on their website. After wasting almost five minutes on it I thought I'd share it with you.

Also in thinking bout yesterday there were a couple of little things I noticed.
1. The Archpriest from Moscow who was at the Sunday of Orthodox Vespers last night in San Francisco had real diamonds and hand painted icons in his mitre. It was shckingly beautiful.
2. There was a very very old Serbian priest at the same service. When it came time for everyone to prostrate all of the other priests looked at him and seemed to take their cue from him. Would they not have done the prostration if he hadn't? I do not know. But he was first on his face before the Lord. Everyone else followed. It was too crowded for me to do the full prostration. I was only able to get down on my knees.
3. During the Praying of the Our Father during the liturgy at St. Stephens, everyone rasied their hands. I have seen it in Icons and I have seen priests do it at various times during the liturgy, and it is mentioned in the Bible, so I know it is traditional. Also, at St. Stephen's everyone exchanged the kiss of peace ('Christ is in our midst', 'He is and ever shall be'. Kiss.), not just the clergy. It is interesting to see the differences in the various Orthodox Churches. Cyndi and I were talking about it, later. I guess the thing that really matters is not the differences, after all, the Western Rite is Orthodox, and it is dramatically different from what most Orthodox do. What matters is that in that cup is the "One Lord Jesus Christ" and the bishops in all of the Orthodox churches all partake of the same episcopacy. Though there are disimilarities, there is no disapation of love.

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