The truth will make you odd.
Flannery O’Connor

«— Says Who? (Apologia Pt 1)
—» Says Who 2 (Apologia Pt 2)

An Email List Without Emails

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Through the grapevine, it’s gotten back to me that certain people who could benefit from the information that gets distributed in my email list are not subscribed because they “don’t do email lists.” I don’t usually do them, either, so I definitely understand your apprehension. There are options, though. You have a choice.

If you’re a spamophobe — and I certainly am, so I don’t blame you — you can opt not to receive any emails at all when you subscribe. What’s the point of that? If you are subscribed, you can read the emails archived on the website.

Another option is to receive only special notices in the mail. I use the special notice feature for things like address changes — which are plentiful in the Navy — and when I’ll be on leave and visiting a certain locality.

So, if you think you have to receive every email I send out — all one of them every week or so — you don’t. Don’t miss out on important information — like my new address — just because you don’t like spam.

See? You really can have your cake and eat it, too.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 4:52 pm

«— For Whom a Lot of Respect is Due
—» An Email List Without Emails

Says Who? (Apologia Pt 1)

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Many people look at the world around us and believe that there must be a God. Usually this is an intuitive response to the beauty of the world: a magnificent sunset, a stream proceeding endlessly to a green horizon, a starry sky of diamonds against the black velvet of night — experiences that leave us speechless, sure that someone must be responsible for it all. Sometimes, these experiences are coupled with a philosophical investigation of the idea of God’s existence, and one of the many proofs for God’s existence adds further support to belief.

However, we cannot induce from these things what kind of creator God is. Is he good or bad? For us or against us? In the end, we cannot even know that God is a creator separate from what we see around us. As proof, one need only look at the vast multiplicity of religions in the world. So many people, searching for the reasons for their lives. If one were to judge truth in religious belief from this multiplicity of religions, one would be tempted to conclude that truth in religion was an illusion — all religious beliefs are equally fantastic and unbelievable.

The only way we could know for certain anything about God is if he told us himself. He would need to reveal himself to us. Christians believe that this is exactly what has happened. The name for Christian Scripture is the Bible; it records God’s revelation to us. Beginning with our first parents — given the names Adam and Eve in Scripture — God has patiently revealed himself little by little. Everything has been done “in the fulness of time”: when human society was ready and the moment was right for the fulfillment of his plan.

In a comment on my post A Charge to Keep I Have, Pete asks,

This discussion seems to be… yet another argument about whether the Orthodox church is the only true church…. Does every issue have to become this? I’m not asking from a position of cynicism (yet)—I sincerely want to know whether it?s possible to have real dialogue… about other issues without reference to the Orthodox/“Heterodox? issue.

Karl brings it down to the real issue in response:

[A]ll truth claims eventually come to their core: by what authority does one claim that [X] is true? In regards to Orthodox vs Heterodox discussions of ANYTHING, [the] issue must at some point touch on the Authority Issue. Otherwise we just shout Scripture verses, or philosophical syllogisms, or whatnot back and forth totally befuddled as to why the other person ?just doesn?t get it.?

From our POV, this is a waste of time. We might as well get to the real issue: How do you know that what you believe is true?

The New Testament Scriptures testify to the life of Jesus Christ, whom Orthodox Christians believe to be God. The Orthodox believe that the Incarnation of God is the ultimate authority for all questions. “Incarnation” is a word from Latin meaning “enfleshment.” For Orthodox Christians, Jesus Christ was not merely a man, but God enfleshed as a man.

None of the books of the Bible were written by Jesus. There is no evidence, in fact, that he was even interested in leaving any teachings or instructions in writing at all. His actions — as recorded by the writers of the gospels, the books of the Bible that describe his life — seem to indicate that he was more interested in forming a community of which he is the head. Christians call this community the Church.

Just before his ascent into heaven, Jesus left his authority with a group of twelve hand-picked men called Apostles. These men had lived with Jesus for three years and were intimately familiar with his teachings. In addition, on Pentecost they were filled with the Holy Spirit, who enabled them to recall and teach what they had learned with power and authority. The Holy Spirit also brought them together and constituted them into a new reality, the Church, which Orthodox Christians believe is one with Jesus Christ, its head and founder.

This is why St. Paul considers the Church to be “the pillar and foundation of the truth.”

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Filed under: — Basil @ 6:16 pm

«— Victoria on Evolution
—» Says Who? (Apologia Pt 1)

For Whom a Lot of Respect is Due

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Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to preserve the English tongue, it should be. Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

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Filed under: — Basil @ 8:01 pm

«— Anastasis
—» For Whom a Lot of Respect is Due

Victoria on Evolution

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In catching up on my blog reading, I have noticed that Victoria has a blog, The Light Fraction. Victoria is a member of my home parish, St. Athanasius Orthodox Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

I have been reading her blog with quite a bit of interest, since she is an intelligent, articulate thinker — and very sensitive to aesthetic realities. Prior to meeting Victoria and her husband, Suketu, my experience of scientists led me to believe that they were very highly technical and quite oblivious to aesthetic concerns. Victoria and Suketu are both unique individuals whose friendship I value highly.

It is always with great interest that I listen to their professional and informed opinions on the question of cosmology and origin science. Back in February, Victoria posted about evolution and Christian faith, inspired by the ironic legislation recently passed in Georgia. She followed it up with articulate responses to specific questions and objections raised in the comments of the original post.

I first became interested in cosmology and origin science when, in my collegiate Old Testament class, I realized that a healthy understanding of the initial chapters of Genesis cannot support a fundamentalist interpretation that excludes modern science. I myself have posted about this before, in “Teleological Evolution” and “More Origins Stuff”.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 4:19 pm

«— Farewell Sunday
—» Victoria on Evolution

Anastasis

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How fitting that I should post on Holy and Great Saturday. As readers of my email list know, I now have limited access to PCs. I will probably be doing some more posting — probably not as frequently as before, though.

This year’s Holy and Great Week observations have been filled mostly with travel from boot camp (Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois) to submarine school (Naval Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut) and the stress of acclimating to a new situation. It is a lot like the first few days of boot camp, actually, with more freedom. However, more freedom means I have to take responsibility for what needs to happen, whereas in boot camp all I had to do was follow instructions.

Needless to say, I have not been able to attend any services this week (with the exception of Palm Sunday, on which I attended Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago). For someone whose life centered around the services of the church, this is quite an ascetic work — certainly not one that I could or would have chosen on my own. But since it is being imposed upon me from the outside, I am taking it as from the Lord.

I may be able to attend Agape Vespers tomorrow at the local Greek parish. Keep me in your prayers.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 7:09 pm