Orthodoxy is the best-kept secret in America, and it is our fault — we Orthodox. For too long we have been concerned with maintaining our little ethnic ghettos. America needs the Orthodox faith.
Metropolitan Philip, Antiochian Archdiocese

«— It’s journalism, stupid
—» Father Thomas Hopko on Scripture and Evangelical Dialogue

A Kiss and a Vow

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

The confession of faith. For many, it is the most memorable part of reception into the Church, especially if it is accompanied by a renunciation of errors. Listen to this recollection by my godfather:

When our youngest, Clare, read the oath, “This true faith of the Orthodox Church, which I now voluntarily confess and truly hold, that same I will firmly maintain and confess, whole and unchanged, even until my last breath, God helping me. And I will teach and proclaim it, insofar as I am able. And I will strive to fulfill its obligations with zeal and joy, preserving my heart in good deeds and blamelessness. In witness of this, my true and pure-hearted confession, I kiss the Word and Cross of my Savior. Amen,” her voice rang clear and pure. She was a good reader and did not stumble in the least – either over the difficulty of some words, much less the boldness of what she was saying. You could hear the echo of the many child martyrs the Church has known through the ages. Somehow all of us felt embarrassed by the purity and sincerity of her words – purity that older men and women rarely have any longer.

Read the rest: A Last Minute Word to Catechumens « Glory to God for All Things

I do not recall making a profession of faith. Shocking? I wish I had, to be honest. I would speculate that perhaps the fact that we had already been Orthodox in theology and liturgy provoked an economical decision, but later catechumens in our parish were likewise not required to make this confession. I do not know why, really. We certainly were not asked to make so sacramental an act as kissing the cross and the Bible as a seal of our pledge to confess and hold and firmly maintain the Orthodox faith until our death.

I wish I had. I am having no thoughts of apostasy, mind you. But I have been thinking about my place in this vast, Byzantine symphony we call the Church. I think all converts spring back eventually from their initial zeal and fervency. And I have been missing some things about my past. Call it nostalgia. I have no intention of leaving the Church, but it would be nice to point back to such a profession, to a kiss and a vow, and remind myself, “I promised.”

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 8:11 pm

«— Spare Some Change
—» A Kiss and a Vow

It’s journalism, stupid

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

Though not a journalist, Stacy asks some very salient questions of the GetReligion blog, enough to get her letter printed.

Impressive.

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 4:41 am

«— New Technology Helps Asthma Patients
—» It’s journalism, stupid

Spare Some Change

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

Or, Have I Unlearned Everything Doctor Hurlow Taught Me in Advanced English Composition?

Earlier today, I was helping my brother write an essay for his application package to a film school in Nashville, Watkins Film School. I discussed basic strategies for structuring an essay, such as the inverted triangle introductory paragraph with thesis, three points with a paragraph each, and summary conclusion. Other structures could be found, but we don’t have time for a seminar in creative writing. His first draft is full of promise, but it lacks structure. So I commended him for having great ideas but assured him that every writer revises his work several times. As I said this, I realized that blogging has changed my writing habits, and I determined that something should be done about it.

When I first started blogging almost five years ago, I was very happy for the opportunity to write nearly every day. Professional writers often say that a daily habit is crucial to developing and nourishing good writing skills. That has slipped over the years. Many of my recent posts are simply passing along links to other sites. Other posts are short complaints or status updates. Writing is no longer something I do daily. I want to change that.

As I discussed structure with my brother, I realized that I usually give very little thought to structure in my articles. Perhaps logical development has become a habit for me, such that structure is completely natural. If that is the case, contemplating the structure of my articles will only strengthen my writing style and ability. As I thought about structure, I realized that I am poorly versed in other possible structures, other than the inverted triangle of journalism. I want to change that, too.

Most importantly, I wondered if this slovenliness has caused my writing to be less powerful and interesting than it could be. In turn, this prompted me to think about whether my content is interesting or useful to my readers. Google Analytics data shows that nearly 75% of my visitors are reading my site for the first time. Only 25% of those who read my writing think it is interesting enough to return. My top hit is a spooky car advertisement video; it may be asking too much to expect more than 25% of its visitors to return when the rest of my site is about Orthodox Christianity and miscellanea. This area needs more examination, but I want to change it, too.

I intentionally wrote this article with the basic structure I spoke of earlier. The goal was to give it a structure — any structure — as an exercise in writing. I want to change some things about my writing, and frequency, structure, and content are good places to consider improvement. We shall see if it produces any changes in my site statistics.

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 9:17 pm

«— Fasting Quiz
—» Spare Some Change

New Technology Helps Asthma Patients

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

A new, non-pharmaceutical treatment may help severe asthmatics, as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. Forbes reports:

One year later, air flow was much better in patients receiving thermoplasty — 39 liters per minute compared to 8.5 liters per minute for those getting standard treatment.

The thermoplasty group also reported an average of 40 symptom-free days, compared to 17 for the others, with fewer asthma symptoms and less medication used.

“Now a second trial, which uses information from this one, moves forward,” Miller said. “It is similar to the first trial except that it will use a sham procedure in the control arm.”

Read more: New Heat Technology Helps Asthma Patients – Forbes.com

See also: TheStar.com | MedPage Today | New Zealand Herald

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 8:12 am

«— Mormon church objects to angel T-shirt
—» New Technology Helps Asthma Patients

Fasting Quiz

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

From the Dynamis daily meditation:

Do I justify being cross, curt, or mean when I fast?

How have I increased or decreased quarreling during the Fast?

What are the ways that I make my fasting visible to others rather than hiding my devotion to the Lord as He commands (Mt. 6:16-18)?

What efforts have I made to remove circumstances or conditions that lead others to sin? How have I made life more difficult for others? How have I eased the pain of others? What wrongs have I corrected to lighten the struggle of others?

What am I doing personally to relieve someone’s hunger, to provide shelter to any homeless persons, or to assure that others receive needed clothing?

To what extent have I asked God to enlighten me in practical ways so that I might provide aid, comfort, and / or assistance to some needy person or families?

Hat tip: Fr Joseph

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 7:13 am

«— Of Red, White, and Blue
—» Fasting Quiz

Mormon church objects to angel T-shirt

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

Why I could never be a Mormon: “…LDS members are discouraged from drinking coffee.”
Read it all: Mormon church objects to angel T-shirt – Boston.com

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 11:23 am

«— eHarmony Refuses to Take My Case
—» Mormon church objects to angel T-shirt

Of Red, White, and Blue

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share


The Union Jack is not an object of veneration, as some flags are. We’re not sure how we would react if someone set fire to it. After all, we see it more often degraded on cheap underwear or tacky plastic souvenirs than billowing vigorously in the wind.

(Read the whole thing: Icon No 7: The Union Jack)

I found this interesting remark in an appreciation of the Union Jack by British evangelical mag Third Way. I recently rediscovered a friend’s blog which led me to the British version of the defunct re:generation, albeit older and still healthy and hale.

This attitude towards Great Britain’s national ensign stands in stark contrast to the attitude enshrined in the U. S. Title Code: the U. S. Flag Code. Beyond prescribing respect, the Flag Code prescribes that the flag should be disposed of by burning or burial and should never be allowed to touch the ground. Orthodox and Catholic Christians will recognize this as standard protocol for holy things.

What’s interesting to me is how few of my fellow countrymen seem to be aware of the Code or even care, judging by how often flags are flown soiled, tattered, and faded or used as an advertising gimmick, flown backwards or carried in state like a dead body — anyone remember all those sporting events of 2001 and 2002 when the flag from the World Trade Center was paraded like a coffin?

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 11:06 am

«— Commenting
—» Of Red, White, and Blue

Protected: eHarmony Refuses to Take My Case

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 11:24 pm

«— Half-way There
—» eHarmony Refuses to Take My Case

Commenting

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

I think I turned off comments because of spam. I’m not sure because I barely remember doing it. Going back, I did it around Christmastide, because that’s when posts first start having closed comments.

I have not, however, turned off trackbacks or pingbacks. If a post stirs you to comment, blog about it.

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 2:04 pm

«— A Warming Consensus
—» Commenting

Half-way There

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

Update: Fr. Joseph Huneycutt notes the mid-fast by quoting St. Theodore the Studite:

Lent is already galloping past and the soul rejoices at the imminence of Pascha, because by it it finds rest and is relieved of many toils.

…it is as if our whole life directs its reason contemplating the eternal Pascha. For this present Pascha, even though it is great and revered, is nevertheless, as our fathers explain, only a type of that Pascha to come. For this Pascha is for one day and it passes, while that Pascha has no successor. From it pain, grief and sighing have fled away; there everlasting joy, gladness and rejoicing; there the sound of those who feast, a choir of those who keep festival and contemplation of eternal light; where there is the blessed breakfast of Christ and the new drink of which Christ spoke, I shall not drink of the fruit of this vine, until I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.

Although this past Sunday, the Sunday of the Holy Cross, is the half-way point for Great Lent (as noted by several priests), today is the half-way point for the whole thing, from Clean Monday to Holy Saturday.

Oh! We’re half-way there:
Oh-oh! Livin’ on a prayer!
Take my hand, and we’ll make it, I swear.
Oh-oh! Livin’ on a prayer!

Peace to all that are observing the fast as they are able.

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 1:30 am

«— Love is the Only Gospel
—» Half-way There

A Warming Consensus

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. —John Kenneth Galbraith

A couple of weeks ago, I watched most of the televised portion of the Academy Awards. Throughout the show, a constantly reiterated theme was that former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth was neither left nor right, neither red nor blue, neither conservative nor liberal, just true.Map of Global Temperatures 1995-2005

I have labored under the belief that there was no real consensus on the existence of global warming, the cause if average temperatures were in fact rising, and the possibility that temperatures would continue rising if temperatures were rising. Being an ignoramus in climatology, it’s important that I understand the state of consensus (especially since I have made so much of consensus in previous articles).

Apparently, that assessment is ten years old, at least. According to Wikipedia, scientific consensus now firmly supports the theory that global warming is real, that it is 90% likely to be caused by human factors, and that it will continue, even if we begin cutting greenhouse emissions. (See articles on global warming, scientific opinion on climate change, and scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming.) The only controversy now seems to be over what should be done.

I began this article hoping to ask Theodora’s assessment of the consensus or lack thereof among scientists, but the articles cited above seem pretty clear that I need to adjust my assessment of the consensus.

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 11:12 pm

«— Check Your Computer for 2007 Daylight Saving Time – Fri, March 09, 2007 – WorldTimZone
—» A Warming Consensus

Love is the Only Gospel

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

This sounds familiar, not because I was gay and now I’m notstruggled with same-sex attraction and now I’ve found a balance (I’ve always been straight), but because this is why I became Orthodox (I was Roman Catholic at the time). Of course, most Orthodox parishes would never have treated me the way I was treated at St. Athanasius, so I would still be Roman today if it weren’t for Fr. D. and Matushka R.

So, if this pricks you about how you treat those with same-sex attraction, excellent. But it may also prick you about how you treat anyone at all.

I care about this so much because I wouldn’t be Christ’s today if it were not for the friendship and love of the Christians in my first Anglican parish, people who knew I was a gay activist, didn’t agree with me about gay sex, and loved me anyway. They knew I had homosexual sex and that I believed it was fine – and they disagreed with me. But they nevertheless invited me to their cookouts, car washes, sporting events, school plays, pot lucks…the whole joyful, chaotic mess of parish and family life and as our friendships deepened they showed me they loved me.

And they told me their stories too. They told me about their own past drug use, their own previous abortions, their own prior womanizing, and their own previous struggles with the Faith and its demands. In short, they made it clear to me that the church universal is a hospital for sinners far more than it is a penthouse for saints.

This was crucial because prior to coming to Trinity, I used to believe that Christians would treat me…well, much as the New Oxford Review appears to believe they should have.

I had a little box of prejudices in which I put “Christians.” Christians, I believed, hated and feared me. Christians would not want to have anything to do with me. Christians believed I could not be trusted with their children.

Read the whole article: Sed Contra: What? Befriend Those People?!

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 4:28 pm

«— Size Doesn’t Matter?
—» Love is the Only Gospel

Check Your Computer for 2007 Daylight Saving Time – Fri, March 09, 2007 – WorldTimZone

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

Check Your Computer for 2007 Daylight Saving Time – Fri, March 09, 2007 – WorldTimZone

Tim has a little chunk of Javascript that checks your computer to see if you’re ready for the new and improved Daylight Savings Time. Check it out.

I’ve got a Mac, so no pain. My Palm is already letting me down: It only sent me an email about the issue this morning. Yet, according to Tim’s article, people have known of this for quite some time now.

We’ll see if the Palm update is lots of pain or relatively painless.

Ask me some other time why I think Daylight Savings should be abolished.

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 5:19 am

«— Jargon Does Not Communicate
—» Check Your Computer for 2007 Daylight Saving Time – Fri, March 09, 2007 – WorldTimZone

Size Doesn’t Matter?

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

In West Virginia, there is a very prominent roadside attraction along the interstate. You can see it on the cover of Roadside Religion. It is the rebuilding of Noah’s Ark. I always think of it when people talk like the myth in Genesis could have actually happened. The last several days in the Orthodox lectionary have focused on Noah and the story of the deluge, so it came to mind again.

You see, it’s been in the same unfinished state for several years. It looked exactly the same when I first saw it in June 2005 as when I saw it again in October 2006. I wonder if the problem with continuing is the size. The size of this marvel, you see, is totally accurate: 300 cubits x 50 cubits x 30 cubits. Which is, if we are generous, 450 ft x 75 ft x 45 ft (133.5 m x 22.25 m x 13.35 m).

You may wonder, as I did, how it is that every breathing creature on the earth is supposed to fit into such a small space. Perhaps that’s what the architects of this strange roadside site wondered, too, when they stopped. Or perhaps they believe that God, had he willed it, could have opened a rift in time and space to fit all the creatures in. Think of the Tardis from Dr. Who. Except with God, all things are possible, right?

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 11:48 pm

«— Asbury College Names First Woman President
—» Size Doesn’t Matter?

Jargon Does Not Communicate

Link to this post  

Share with your friends and followers:
Share

Read the following title of a sermon given at an evangelical Protestant rally recently, then follow the link and get the context: How to Deal with the Guilt of Sexual Failure for the Glory of Christ and His Global Cause.

I count it as a measure of my distance from evangelical Protestantism that the words “sexual failure” meant something completely different to me than they did, apparently, to the pastor who titled his sermon thus. Perhaps he did this to get our attention; well, it certainly got mine. For two paragraphs, and now I’m done.

But only because I immediately knew what he was talking about. I dipped back into that vocabularly and realized that he wasn’t talking about guilt over male erectile dysfunction. I’m no linguist, but I think others might have more difficulty if they’re not hip to the clique’s jargon.

I do this not to point fingers, but to drive home a point. What, exactly, is a prokeimenon? Oh, I know what it is, of course. I know words like stavrotheotokion and coenobium. But do visitors to your church know basic Orthodox jargon? Probably not.

Just something to think about. Maybe I’ll help out with those thoughts a little later on.

Share with your friends and followers:
Share
Share

Filed under: — Basil @ 6:00 pm