Archive for August, 2007

foul

August 30, 2007

As I was driving home from work today I saw a duck.

The markings on it’s wings looked like the stripes on the side of a pair of Adidas sneakers.

Corporate imprinting is everywhere…?

pilgrimages and parades

August 29, 2007

Friday evening I leave with some brothermans to go to St. Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, CA. We are going to spend a couple of days at the Monastery and for the 25th Anniversary of the repose of Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose.)

This afternoon I learned that while I am away I will be missing my dear wife and our oldest son’s participation in the Walla Walla Frontier Days parade on Saturday. They will be skating/parading with the Walla Walla Skate Park Assoc. peoples.

If you are going to be in the Walla Walla area this Saturday; go on down to the parade and give my wife and son some moral support. Thanks!

-Parade start time: 10:00 a.m.
-Parade route: Starts at 5 th & Alder, travels downtown Walla Walla, then East to Palouse, North to Main, then West on 5 th.

And if you should think about it… please keep us in your prayers.

Saint Alexander

August 26, 2007

On Saturday (Aug 25 / Aug 12 on the Church calendar) in the reading from the Prolog from Ohrid I was introduced to a Saint that I had not met before- Saint Alexander, Bishop of Comana.

stalexanderofcomana2.jpg
The following is taken from the August 12th Prolog entry:

THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR ALEXANDER, BISHOP OF COMANA
As a simple charcoal-burner, Alexander lived in the town of Comana near Neo-Caesarea. When the bishop of Comana died, St. Gregory the miracle-worker and Bishop of Neo-Caesarea (November 17) was then called to preside at a council to elect a new bishop. Both clergy and laymen alike were present at the council. However, the electors were unable to agree on one person. At the time of evaluating a candidate, they all primarily paid attention to the points of his externals: external dignity and behavior. St. Gregory then said that they need not look so much at the external characteristics as much as at the spirit and spiritual capabilities. Then some jesters mocking cried out: then we should elect Alexander the charcoal-burner as our bishop! General laughter then ensued. St. Gregory asked: “Who is this Alexander?” And, thinking that his name was not mentioned at this council without God’s Providence, Gregory ordered that Alexander be brought before the council. As a charcoal-burner, he was completely soiled and in rags. His appearance again evoked laughter in the council. Gregory then took Alexander aside and made him take an oath to speak the truth concerning himself. Alexander said that he was a Greek philosopher and that he enjoyed great honor and position but that he rejected all, humbled himself and made himself to be a “fool for the sake of Christ” from the time when he had read and understood Holy Scripture. Gregory ordered Alexander bathed and clothed in new attire and, with him, entered the council and before all began to examine Alexander in Holy Scripture. All were amazed at Alexander’s wisdom and words of grace and could hardly recognize in this wise man, the former quiet charcoal-burner. Alexander was unanimously elected bishop. By his sanctity, wisdom and goodness, he gained the love of his flock. Alexander died a martyr’s death for Christ during the reign of Diocletian.

HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT ALEXANDER, BISHOP OF COMANA

Men look upon clothes and the face,
But God looks at the soul and the heart.
Glorious Alexander, a charcoal-burner, was,
With the charcoal-burner, the body is blackened
And from soot, which water cleanses,
In the sinner, the heart is darkened
Which only the fire of faith can cleanse
The fire of faith and the cry of repentance.
It is easier to cleanse the skin of a charcoal-burner
Than the blackened heart of a sinner.
Alexander, with humility, covered
In a cave concealed, as a hidden flame
For laughter, to the gullible world, he was.
The world did not see; Gregory saw,
With an acute spirit, the charcoal-burner discerned
And in him, found a saint,
In the dark cave, a beautiful flame,
Beneath the mask of insanity, great wisdom,
Beneath the dirty soot, a pure heart,
A royal soul in decayed rags.
That the light be hidden, the Lord does not permit,
At the appropriate time, the light proclaims,
For the benefit and salvation of men.
All is wonderful, what God judges.

REFLECTION

Learn to respect and to love the lowly and simple people. Such as these are the most on earth: such as these are the most in the Kingdom of Heaven. In them, there is no pride, i.e., the basic madness from which the souls of the rich and the powerful of this world suffer. They carry out their duty in this world perfectly and yet it appears to them amusing when someone praises them for it, while the self-seeking men of this world seek praise for all their work and often, it is imperfectly completed. St. Alexander was an eminent philosopher and he left everything, hid himself from exalted society, the praise of the world and mingled with the lowliest and the simplest of men, as a charcoal-burner among charcoal-burners. Instead of former praises and honors, he endured with rejoicing that children ran after him and laughed at him because of his sootiness and raggedness. However, Alexander was not the only one who liked to live with the lowly and simple. Many kings and princes, learning of the sweetness of Christ’s Faith, removed the crowns from their heads and fled from aristocratic vanity to be among the simple people. Did not He alone, the King of Kings, the Lord our Christ appear among shepherds and fishermen? St. Zeno counsels: “Do not choose a glorious place for living and do not associate with a man of a prominent name.”

May we learn from the examples set for us by those who have followed Christ Jesus before us. God is glorified in His Saints!

spontaneous camping

August 26, 2007

Friday afternoon my wife surprised me with an unplanned camping trip. Earlier in the day she had run into friends at the store who invited us to join them camping.

With my wife performing the finishing packing touches as I pulled up to the house after work, within a half-hour we were off to Jubilee Lake for a time of camping.

During our time camping we enjoyed:

–A morning visit from a deer in our campsite; and encounter that allowed Andrew the opportunity to feed a deer.

–Walks around the lake.

–Crawfish hunting and the first time that I have eaten crawfish.

–Campfires.

–Continued reading of ‘Into the Wild’ by Jon Krakauer.

–Being with my family and friends.

–And a surprise meeting…

We were completing a walk around the lake when we ran into a group of people. These people were from a Church and were camping in the campground as well. The youth pastor, turned out to be a friend of my friend Justin.

You might recall an earlier blogpost were I shared about an unknown couple buying me dinner. Due to a comment that this young man made I realized that this person was in the resturant that evening; and from a brief question I asked him I learned that it was he and his wife who had bought me dinner that evening. It was nice to meet him and have the opportunity to thank him and his wife and share with them about my reaction to their gesture.

All in all it was a great couple of days away. Relaxing.

I need a shower.

Thy word have I hid in a camouflage Bible cover so that Thy deer may not see me

August 17, 2007

I can almost hear the talk around the elk hunters morning campfire, “Where did I leave my Bible? I just set in on a log yesterday and now I cannot find it… ”

realtreebible.jpgAll thanks to the Bible with a realtree camo cover.

Here are some snippets from the Religion newsblog website:

The cover of this Bible is graced by leaves and tree bark. This enables the devout who also hunt to take their Bible into the woods with them while concealing it from their prey.

The article then gets to the root of things:

Such products are classically American and highlight cultural traits which are especially pronounced in the South.

The first is a love affair with all things cam, from pick-up trucks to baseball hats to shotguns.

“Men in the South love camo, it’s just another way to communicate that they are an outdoorsman,” said Lingner.

These products also highlight the U.S. evangelical love affair with hunting, fishing and the great outdoors.

I am going to have to disagree that this is a Southern thing, as here in Southeast Washington there are many men (at least the people I work with) who enjoy hunting, fishing, camping and etc.

And this is not just a ‘hunter thing’ Western Christianity seems to have found a way of attaching itself onto all sorts of areas of life. I am sure this is fueled by a sincere effort to have Christianity in all of one’s life… but is Christianity really suposed to impact life from the outside via t-shirts and other assorted products? Or does Christianity impact life from the inside of one’s heart and into all of one’s life?

If we are seeking Christ, living a life of repentance, I think it is the later.

Although the camo Bible cover is a bit humorous to me it is just another example of gimics being used. I too have been guilty of using gimics. I am ashamed to admit that when I used to work with youth, on one occassion I offered to pay kids $5 for each friend that they brought is a series we were doing, some kids took me up on it too….

It is just sad to me that Christians have resorted to gimics, gimics that come and go….

It is not just products either– one can also see Worship gimics, “creative” teaching/theology gimics, and other things as well.

Is this what Christianity is all about?

I realize that for some, perhaps they partake of different things in a pursuit of REAL Christianity. I know that in my own Christian journey I banked from Charismatic to Liturgical and back again. Trying to figure out what Christianity was all about, that there had to be more to following Christ than saying the sinner’s prayer and then hanging on until I died. It would be honest to say that at times I was ready to toss the whole thing in and just be a tree-hugging pagan.

It is at this point that it would be appropriate to share “the nutshell version” of how I came to the Orthodox Church.

I was raised in the Lutheran church, but I would describe my formation as pretty much evangelical with a charismatic influence. I had accepted Christ and was seeking to follow Him. My spiritual formation was in the Lutheran Church and in a youth ministry from Calvary Chapel of Long Beach.

I still remember when in the 80’s I asked a question about Christianity to a friend. I asked him, “Is there more to Christianity than this?” There just seemed to be something lacking… my question seemed to stem from the whole “I am a Christian, now what?” sort of thing.

Anyways… as years went on I came across the book, ‘Becoming Orthodox’ this is about Orthodox Christianity and the journey of some Campus Crusade for Christ people who were searching for the original Church. The ideas presented made sense to me and my evangelical mind. But that was like the seed of introduction. Over the years my exposure to Orthodox Christianity grew…

Probably 10 years ago a Priest moved to Walla Walla and started an Orthodox Mission. I remember one woman I knew who pretty much said that she knew it would only be a matter of time for me to become Orthodox once the Mission started.

I started attending Services every so often. I continued to learn more and become more exposed to Orthodoxy.

Eventually it came time for me to make a decision about the whole Orthodox ‘thing.’ In a nutshell what it came down to was: 1. Is the Orthodox Church the original Church? and 2. If it is, do I have a responsibility to be there. My answer was “yes” on both accounts.

In July of 2000 my wife and I, along with our two children (we now have 3 kids) were baptised.
(I told you that this is the nutshell version; Tthere is more to the story than this, I would be glad to correspond with anyone who would like to know more about my journey.)

Since coming into the Church I have learned so much more about the Faith and it’s practices, and have also learned how much I do NOT know. It is in The Church that the question asked in the 80’s, “I am a Christian, now what?” Has finally found an answer.

The Orthodox Church contains the fullness of the Christian Faith.
The Orthodox Church has the ‘spiritual medicines’ for the healing of our souls. And the Church has been doing this without gimics.

talking statistics (not that i really know anything about statistics other than i find some of them interesting in a trivia sort of way)

August 15, 2007

Sometimes I enjoy looking at statistics, not the “high-brow you gotta know stuff to understand” type of statistics but rather the “average person ‘this is interesting trivia'” type of statistics.

Today I was noticing some stats listed at trendwatching.com. These stats were about women (and men):
Average life expectancy for women is 81 years versus 73 years for men (Social Security Administration, 2006).
But then it says,
The average age of widowhood for women is 55 years old (US Census, 2006).

If men live, on average, until the age of 73; how are women (on average) becoming widows at age of 55? How does that work out? What is this statistic saying? Does it mean that there are that many single older people running around? Is this a statistic that also gives an indication to the ammount of divorces in our society?

Women 65 years or older today have a 44% chance of entering a nursing home at some point in their lives (Genworth Financial, 2006).

That is almost half of the older women in our society.

But then in just 3 short years:
By 2010, women are expected to own half of wealth in the United States (Women in Higher Education, 2007).

And if the Genworth Financial stat is true, nursing homes will just take that wealth.

Interesting stuff to talk and ponder about over coffee.

quote’em

August 14, 2007

I went to my wife’s blog and began to read part of her most recent post, when she said: “Don’t read it, it’s private.”

She makes me laugh.

speak out

August 9, 2007

Elsewhere I came across the following question, which I would like to pose here as well:

What is YOUR definition of MANHOOD?

Men, women, children of all ages please respond.

Glorification of St. Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America

August 9, 2007

August 9th commemorates the Glorification of the Venerable Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America.

http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsLife.asp?FSID=102241hermanstrail11.jpg
‘St. Herman’s Trail’ by Fr. Luke Dingman

Troparion – Tone 7

Joyful North Star of the Church of Christ,
Guiding all people to the Heavenly Heavenly Kingdom;
Teacher and apostle of the True Faith;
Intercessor and defender of the oppressed;
Adornment of the Orthodox adornment of the Orthodox Church in America:
Blessed Father Herman of Alaska,
Pray to our Lord Jesus Christ
For the salvation of our souls!

Troparion – Tone 4

O blessed Father Herman of Alaska,
North star of Christ’s holy Church,
The light of your holy life and great deeds
Guides those who follow the Orthodox way.
Together we lift high the Holy Cross
You planted firmly in America.
Let all behold and glorify Jesus Christ,
Singing his holy Resurrection.

Kontakion – Tone 3

The eternal light of Christ our Savior
guided you, blessed Father Herman,
on your evangelical your evangelical journey to America
to proclaim the Gospel of peace.
Now you stand before the throne of glory;
intercede for your land and its people:
Peace for the world and salvation for our souls!

Read about the life of St. Herman of Alaska here

Photos from the Glorification of St. Herman here.

Another resource for reading about the life of St. Herman of Alaska here.

God is glorified in His Saints!

change

August 4, 2007

change.jpg

graphic props to Central Elements