Thursday, December 23, 2010

What's your excuse?

You understand Teacher, don't you, that when you have a mother who's an angel and a father who is a cannibal king, and when you have sailed on the ocean all your whole life, then you don't know just how to behave in school with all the apples and ibexes.

Pippi Longstocking

Friday, November 19, 2010

Paganization of Christianity

I am listening to Fr. Thomas Hopko's podcast series on Church & State. This is an excerpt from Part 3.

He describes the "paganization of Christianity" after the 4th century, the change from a Church looking for the coming Kingdom to one wanting to protect earthly kingdoms, from Christians asking for the strength and grace to endure suffering to asking to be spared all suffering. Sound familiar?

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By nature I am a skeptical person, and people with a lot of skepticism start to question atheism.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

Monday, November 08, 2010

Trust in God, not riches

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Friday, September 17, 2010

On Living Simply

We who are disciples of Christ claim that our purpose on earth is to lay up treasures in heaven. But our actions often contradict our words. Many Christians build for themselves fine houses, lay out splendid gardens, construct bathhouses, and buy fields. It is small wonder, then, that many non-believers refuse to believe what we say.

St. John Chrysostom

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Last Supper and Passover

Ever wonder why the Gospel of John has the Last Supper occur before the Feast of Passover while the other gospels have it occur on the Feast?

John 13:

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

And supper being ended [...]

Matthew 26:
Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 

Presbytera Jeannie explains it in Part 6 of her lessons on Exodus. Here is the excerpt.

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Beginning to Pray

Just finished listening to a series of podcasts covering Metropolitan Anthony's "Beginning to Pray". The first chapter is called "The Absence of God". Listen to this audio excerpt of the first in the series if you've ever felt that you were praying to a wall and wondered why God didn't seem to be responding.

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I recommend Deacon Michael Hyatt's "At the Intersection of East and West" podcasts. I would probably also recommend the book, except that I haven't picked it up yet! Will try to bring exact change to the church bookstore next week. :)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Who Wants to Live Forever

As a young physician caught up in the early years of the H.I.V. epidemic, I was struck by my patients’ will to live, even as their quality of life became miserable and when loved ones and caregivers would urge the patient to let go. I thought it remarkable that patients never asked me to help end their lives (and found it strange that Dr. Kevorkian managed to encounter so many who did). My patients were dying young and felt cheated out of their best years. They did not want immortality, just the chance to live the life span that their peers could expect. What de Grey and other immortalists seem to have lost sight of is that simply living a full life span is a laudable goal. Partial success in extending life might simply extend the years of infirmity and suffering — something that to some degree is already happening in the West.

Abraham Verghese

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Forgetting wrongs

You will know that you have completely freed yourself of this rot [of remembering wrongs], not when you pray for the person who has offended you, not when you exchange presents with him ... but only when, on hearing that he has fallen into bodily or spiritual misfortune, you suffer and weep for him as for yourself.

St. John Climacus


Man is mud whom God has commanded to become god.

St. Gregory of Nyssa (via Fr. Stephen)


Is faith to be understood simply as a mental exercise, or is it somehow something more? [...]

When speaking of faith, we are describing a relational trust that is rooted in our participation in the life of God. St. Paul says that “faith works by love” (Gal. 5:6). Marriage, at its best and highest moments, can have something of this experience on a human level. The relationship is more than mental and emotional. It is physical and involves a union with the other than can only proceed from trust, freedom and love. It would not be wrong to describe such a relationship as faith. The Church asks husbands and wives to be faithful – which means far more than simply avoiding sex with other persons. It is little wonder that marriage is a common image used for the relationship between God and His Church.

Fr. Stephen

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Praying when weak

I often tell people who say they are struggling with prayer to quit trying to pray like a Pharisee and learn to pray like a Publican. We often want to pray from strength – to approach God when we at least feel spiritually alive. The Publican refuses to lift his eyes to heaven. The contradiction of his life and the goodness of God are more than he can bear. And yet he prays. And, ironically, it is he who goes down to his house justified rather than the Pharisee.

Father Stephen

Monday, March 22, 2010

Reasons to not read the Bible

Reasons 4th century Christians gave for not reading the Bible, from St. John Chysostom via Presbytera Jeannie. From another podcast I've started listening to and highly recommend, Search the Scriptures.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Be still

The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be still.
Exodus 14:14

Sunday, March 07, 2010


We are called upon not to be successful, but to be faithful.
Mother Teresa

Friday, March 05, 2010

Living and dying

To live as a Christian is impossible. As a Christian you can only die.

Elder Sophrony via Fr. Zacharias (24 MB MP3)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bodily afflications

An excerpt from another podcast, this one from Fr. Thomas Hopko, about how our bodily afflictions contribute to our salvation.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lent, salvation and the body

An excerpt from a recent podcast I've listened to. An interesting insight, I think, into how our bodies contribute to our interaction with God and are not just things to be despised because of their inclination to sin. And a profitable saying at the beginning of Lent.

This is Fr. Meletios Webber is the Abbott of the Holy Monastery of St. John of San Francisco.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

TV for baby

“I’m proud of what I made,” Ms. Aigner-Clark said in an e-mail message on Monday night. “Welcome to the 21st century. Most people have televisions in their houses, and most babies are exposed to it. And most people would agree that a child is better off listening to Beethoven while watching images of a puppet than seeing any reality show that I can think of.”

Julie Aigner-Clark, Baby Einstein founder

That's setting the bar pretty low, isn't it? Better than a reality show?

Regardless, I'd be interested to see if there are flaws in studies showing that television is bad, period, for children 2 & under.