In the name of God, here's looking forward to a single, unified Orthodox Church of the United States.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

I love your blogs...but please!

AAARGH!!! People! Why do so many of you seem to be jumping on the bandwagon and adding the little gadget on your side bars that automatically starts playing your favorite song(s) whenever the hapless reader scrolls by????


It is annoying and distracting to have the same song play every single time we open your page, especially if it doesn't happen to be the reader's favorite style of music. I ask this only to help you, because I love you: TURN THEM OFF, PLEASE!!

I needed this

haha. Amy posted this quiz on her site and, when I took it, I wasn't even trying to get the results that I did; I just attempted to answer as honestly as possible. =P

Your [Belief-O-Matic] Results

The top score on the list below represents the faith that Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa.

Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in order of how much they have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

1. Eastern Orthodox (100%)
2. Roman Catholic (100%)
3. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (85%)
4. Seventh Day Adventist (78%)
5. Orthodox Quaker (69%)
6. Orthodox Judaism (62%)
7. Hinduism (61%)
8. Islam (54%)
9. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (51%)
10. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (48%)
11. Jehovah's Witness (45%)
12. Sikhism (40%)
13. Baha'i Faith (34%)
14. Jainism (31%)
15. Liberal Quakers (31%)
16. Mahayana Buddhism (25%)
17. Theravada Buddhism (25%)
18. Unitarian Universalism (23%)
19. Reform Judaism (23%)
20. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (21%)
21. Nontheist (16%)
22. New Thought (15%)
23. Scientology (15%)
24. Neo-Pagan (13%)
25. New Age (7%)
26. Taoism (7%)
27. Secular Humanism (6%)

This could be a good thing. Yesterday I felt drained, as though I'd over-analyzed my beliefs right back into Protestantism. I wondered just how much I actually believed in the precepts of the Orthodox Church vs. how much I was simply enchanted with the "exotic-ness" of it all.

Granted, I'm not going to let an internet quiz decide the fate of my eternal soul, but, still, it's encouraging. =)

EDIT: After reading the site's brief overview of Orthodoxy, I'm not so sure they understand the faith very well. That's less than encouraging for my results.
A relatively short, yet stirringly powerful post by Ann Voskamp for mothers on performing the work of the King:

Strange Disappearance

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Taking the Plunge

I told my mom today about my decision to (most likely) convert to Orthodoxy. She didn't freak out, thankfully. She said that she understands it's my decision and wasn't going to try to stop me; she just wanted to make sure that I still believed in Christ's sacrifice on the cross and accepted Him as my savior. She did ask, though, why I don't simply convert to Catholicism, since that would send my extended family into paroxysms of joy (all of my extended family, on both sides, are Catholic and my mom was raised as such) and I said there are just too many doctrines in Catholicism with which I can't agree. Granted, there are many things in Catholicism that I now see the truth of - just from an Orthodox perspective. She doesn't know much about Orthodoxy (hence the Catholicism question), but, then again, neither did I until a few months ago. This will be an excellent opportunity to share with her some of the things I've learned. =)

I hope I haven't offended anyone. I always fail spectacularly when I try to write even a few sentences about why I believe what I believe. St. Peter help me.

More of a Recommendation than a Review

If you haven't read the book Revival & Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858 by Iain H. Murray, do it - now.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I'm researching the lives of three of the heaviest hitters of the Second Great Awakening, Asahel Nettleton, Lyman Beecher, and Charles Grandison Finney, and this was one of the books I picked up for it. I was expecting another scholarly tome expounding upon the details of each man's journey through life and his accomplishments and disagreements therein (much like the paper I'm trying to write =P) and wow, I was kind of blown away. This book is excellently researched and is easy to read. Yes, it is over 400 pages long, but it's worth it (I wasn't able to read it all the way through due to the time crunch I'm under, but, after this paper is turned in, I'll be retaining it to give it a thorough second-time over).

Here's the inside flap for a description of what it's about:
Marrying careful historical research to popular and relevant presentation, Revival and Revivalism traces the spiritually epoch-making events of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through the eyes of those who lived at their centre.
Fundamental to the book's thesis is a rejection of the frequent identification of 'revival' with 'revivalism'. The author demonstrates that a common understanding of the New Testament idea of revival was prevalent in most denominations throughout the period 1750-1858. Revivalism, on the other hand, is different both in its origin and in its tendencies. Its ethos is man-centered and its methods too close to the manipulative to require a supernatural explanation.
Iain Murray argues that an inability to recognise this distinction has led many to ignore the new and different teaching on evangelism and revival which began to be popularised in the 1820s. While the case aginst that teaching was argued almost universally by the leaders of the Second Great Awakening, their testimony was submerged beneath propaganda which promised a 'new era' if only the churches would abandon the older ways.
Finney espoused the new style of revivalism while Nettleton and, to a lesser extent, Beecher rejected it. I'm no Calvinist, but there's no denying that the latter two knew the difference between a genuine revival that would result in lasting conversions of souls and a manipulative, 'forced' revival that was pleasing for an hour and then passed away into eternity.

Again, I highly, highly recommend it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I want to know that I'm doing this for the right reasons. Am I pursuing Orthodoxy because it is exotic and unfamiliar? Will my interest cease once it has become routine? I find that, after much struggle, I am able to accept and embrace many of the Orthodox teachings that differ from protestant ones, such as the Eucharist and saints (I feel a particular connection with St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine).

I don't want to embark on this journey alone. I want EJ to want it, too. I want to discover Christ's church with him.

My decision will create yet more waves. There is so much drama in my family right now and it's mostly because of me. I'm tired of trying to explain everything I believe and do to a group of people who won't accept it (there's more to this than just the headcovering issue I've mentioned in the past.)

Right now I'm emotionally drained and spiritually whirling. I need Christ's power to settle over everything.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'm researching three of the most famous revivalists of the Second Great Awakening for a paper in my "Founding of the American Republic" class, one of whom is Asahel Nettleton. His 1854 biography by Bennet Tyler and Andrew Bonar contains this gem that I just had to share:

"Being accosted by a Universalist, who wished to engage in a discussion on the doctrine of future punishment, [Dr. Nettleton] said to him: "I will not enter into any dispute with you at present; but I should be pleased to have you state to me your views, that I may have them to think of." The man accordingly informed him, that, in his opinion, mankind received all their punishment in this life, and that all would be happy after death. Dr. Nettleton then asked him to explain certain passages of Scriture, -- such as the account of a future judgment in the 25th chapter of Matthew, and some others; merely suggesting difficulties for him to solve, without calling in question any of his positions. After taxing his ingenuity for some time in this way, and thus giving him opportunity to perceive the difficulty of reconciling his doctrine with the language of inspiration, he said to him: "You believe, I presume, the account given by Moses of the deluge, and of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?" -- "Certainly," he replied.

"It seems, then," said Dr. Nettleton, "that the world became exceedingly corrupt, and God determined to destroy it by a deluge of water. He revealed His purpose to Noah, and directed him to prepare an ark, in which he and his family might be saved. Noah believed God, and prepared the ark. Meanwhile, he was a preacher of righteousness. He warned the wicked around him of their danger, and exhorted them to prepare to meet their God. But his warnings were disregarded. They, doubtless, flattered themselves that God was too good a being thus to destroy His creatures. But, notwithstanding their unbelief, the flood came, and, if your doctrine is true, swept them all up to heaven. And what became of Noah, that faithful servant of God? He was tossed to and fro on the waters, and was doomed to trials and sufferings for three hundred and fifty years longer in this evil world; whereas, if he had been wicked enough, he might have gone to heaven with the rest.

"And there were the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which had become so corrupt that God determined to destroy them by a tempest of fire. He revealed His purpose to Lot, and directed him and his family to make their escape. 'And Lot went out and spake to his sons-in-law, saying, Up! get ye out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked to his sons-in-law.' They did not believe that any such doom was impending. They, doubtless, flattered themselves that God was too good a being to burn up His creatures. But no sooner had Lot made his escape, than it rained fire and brimstone from the Lord out of Heaven, and they all, it seems, ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire; while pious Lot was left to wander in the mountains and to suffer many grievous afflictions in this vale or tears; whereas, if he had been wicked enough, he might have gone to heaven with the rest." After making this statement, he requested the man to reflect on these things, and bade him an affectionate adieu."


If I'm violating any copyright laws, please, let me know and I'll remove this immediately. I'm not trying to do anything illegal!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

St. Thomas Aquinas and Abortion

This is very touching story of redemption and a wonderful example of how God can work in people's lives even without the help of anyone "witnessing" to them.

Serbian Abortionist Who Aborted 48,000 Babies Become Pro-Life Activist

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Posting binge today. =)

This is part of a sermon by John Wesley found on Voddie Baucham's blog:

13. Let it be remembered, that I do not speak to the wild, giddy, thoughtless world, but to those that fear God. I ask, then, for what end do you send you children to school? “Why, that they may be fit to live in the world.” In which world do you mean, — this or the next? Perhaps you thought of this world only; and had forgot that there is a world to come; yea, and one that will last for ever! Pray take this into your account, and send them to such masters as will keep it always before their eyes. Otherwise, to send them to school (permit me to speak plainly) is little better than sending them to the devil. At all events, then, send your boys, if you have any concern for their souls, not to any of the large public schools, (for they are nurseries of all manner of wickedness,) but private school, kept by some pious man, who endeavours to instruct a small number of children in religion and learning together.

14. “But what shall I do with my girls?” By no means send them to a large boarding-school. In these seminaries too the children teach one another pride, vanity, affectation, intrigue, artifice, and, in short, everything which a Christian woman ought not to learn. Suppose a girl were well inclined, yet what would she do in a crowd of children, not one of whom has any thought of saving her soul in such company? especially as their whole conversation points another way, and turns upon things which one would wish she would never think of. I never yet knew a pious, sensible woman that had been bred at a large boarding-school, who did not aver, one might as well send a young maid to be bred in Drury-Lane.

15. “But where, then, shall I send my girls?” If you cannot breed them up yourself, (as my mother did, who bred up seven daughters to years of maturity,) send them to some mistress that truly fears God; one whose life is a pattern to her scholars, and who has only so many that she can watch over each as one that must give account to God. Forty years ago I did not know such a mistress in England; but you may now find several; you may find such a mistress, and such a school, at Highgate, at Deptford, near Bristol, in Chester, or near Leeds.

16. We may suppose your sons have now been long enough at school, and you are thinking of some business for them. Before you determine anything on this head, see that your eye be single. Is it so? Is it you view to please God herein? It is well if you take him into your account! But surely, if you love or fear God yourself, this will be your first consideration, — “In what business will your son be most likely to love and serve God? In what employment will he have the greatest advantage for laying up treasure in heaven?” I have been shocked above measure in observing how little this is attended to, even by pious parents! Even these consider only how he may get most money; not how he may get most holiness! Even these, upon this glorious motive, send him to a heathen master, and into family where there is not the very form, much less the power of religion! Upon this motive they fix him in a business which will necessarily expose him to such temptations as will leave him not a probability, if a possibility, of serving God. O savage parents! unnatural, diabolical cruelty. — if you believe there is another world.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rock on

Found at Free To Cover:

I've actually been very, very lax with wearing a headcovering of some kind to church the past few weeks. I've been wanting to blog about it - but at the same time didn't want to admit that I have outright failed in this area of my religious walk. Pray God that He pushes away my inner demons who would place this stumbling block in my path.

As for the clothing links given in the video, I have to say, I'm not a big fan of Christa Taylor or Layers. I know some ladies love them, but it's just not my style. I identify more with the Russian models dispersed throughout the video (they were the tall, skinny ladies usually shown in groups of three or four with gorgeous scarves on their heads). Actually, when the article appeared about the "modest fashion show" sponsored by Russian Orthodox churches, I saved nearly all the pictures to use later for outfit inspiration (not that I'd only dress in the colors of the liturgical year, but I like the simpler lines).


Yay... -_-

Communist Party Ecstatic Over '08 Election Results

I don't want to be the blog of gloom and doom. In fact, just last night as I was laying in bed I finally realized that "liberty," as people keep railing about, is not a God given right. God is above "liberty" and above "oppression." They apply only to our earthy bodies, and, while those two concepts are both very real and should not be ignored, this earth, along with its various political and religious systems, is not our home. If the Communists decide to take over tomorrow and subject all of us Christians to inhuman torture, we Paul says we should submit to it with songs and rejoicing - because what they are doing affects only our bodies, not our soul. (Granted, that is, of course, far more easily said than done. I'm the worst offender at times for saying one thing then having the hardest time putting it into practice. =P)

But the thoughts Christ put into my head last night were so comforting. We are not to worry and ponder and wonder at what might have been. Follow after Christ, neglecting nothing in His service, and then let Him worry about the world.

Preserving Peace of Soul

Friday, November 7, 2008

Feminism and Karl Marx

I've been randomly looking up anti-feminist blogs over the past couple of days (because, as I've stated before, I'm kind of addicted to them) and I came across this one. By focusing on one specific ethnicity, the author is able to all the more clearly explain the destructive communist, and downright evil, forces at work in the modern feminist movement.

In particular, I was drawn to his most recent post. It's an excellent expose of the link between actual communism and the feminist ideology. I wish the author had included sources, but, if everything he says is true, then everyone who hates the reds ought to be up in arms against these women. And if what he writes isn't enough to at least make you think twice about the movement everyone seems to have embraced with little or no forethought, just read the very last comment to the post. It's a long one, but it is an amazing firsthand account of a woman from India describing how feminism is now working its way into the very fabric of society in east Asia.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I've often wondered if the statue dreamed by the king in the book of Daniel has been misinterpreted by Biblical translators. I'm not saying Daniel was wrong, but, in any Bible I open, the headings above the various chapters and sections give specific countries according the the parts of the statue, but then I wonder if we're maybe jumping the gun. Before I realized such headings existed, I always thought the feet of clay and iron represented America. After all, we're powerful (though that's waning), we're clearly divided, we're in the last days, etc. But the Bible I'm reading says the feet represented Rome. In such an ambiguous interpretation about an ambiguous dream, how can anyone be certain?

Yes, I realize I'm no scholar, I also realize those who are scholars have pondered over and wrestled with this issue. Still, I want to know: How do you know?

Pres. HopeChange

Well, it's over now, thankfully. I didn't trust myself to make a coherent, Christian post yesterday, since I was fighting wave after wave of vitriolic, decidedly un-Christian hatred for this country most of the day. Thankfully, the Lord has given me grace enough to calm my passions and begin looking forward at what this means for all of us who are in the world but not of the world.

I spoke to my mom in the morning yesterday, close to tears, only half-jokingly asking her to buy me a handgun for Christmas since I knew they'd soon be illegal, and she wisely told me to calm the heck down. "Christians," she said, "have never known persecution in this country and, now that we have a president who is against what we stand for, we are shaking in our boots. God raises up kings and He subdues them. Nothing happens without the help of His hands." She put me to shame (in the good, helpful way) and forced me to realize that it's easy to talk the talk, but it's a whole different story when it comes to walking the walk.

Late last night, I was wondering for the umpteenth time just what I can do to further the Kingdom of Christ. I am a coward and can barely answer normal questions about my faith, let alone engage in a debate of some kind. Then God hit me: I can pray.Even if I can do nothing else, I can pray.

Praise Jesus.


From an Orthodox blog in China (I haven't read more than the first few posts, so I can't vouch for the rest of it):

“How captive are we, we fallen children, to the pleasures and passions that rule our lives. How we treasure the chains which imprison us, bestowing upon them garlands and wreathes, adorning them as friends. We sit bound by our desires, a lamentable state, yet we rejoice, for our eyes are shut fast; and as in a dream we see our confinement as freedom, our chains as wings.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yay! Vox Day endorsed my chosen candidate!

Vote Your Values

He brings up one of the reservations I had about Chuck Baldwin - namely, his party's support for the War on Drugs - but, that was one thing I was willing to compromise on since it didn't force me to vote against religious convictions per se, even though I knew the federal government had no right to be conducting this "war" in the first place. Nobody's perfect, least of all a politician.
I freaking love Vox Day's blog.

A Flock of C Gulls

(I make no guarantees for the language of the commentors.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Food for Thought

Hmm, instead of placing our hope for change in what the next presidential candidate has or has not promised to do, hows about we all realize that politics can't hold a candle to the power of God's people on their knees with empty stomachs and broken hearts.

(11) "The LORD utters His voice before His army; surely His camp is very great, for strong is he who carries out His word. The day of the LORD is indeed great and very awesome, and who can endure it? (12) "Yet even now," declares the LORD, "Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; (13) and rend your heart and not your garments." Now return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. (14) Who knows whether He will not turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, even a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God? (15) Blow a trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, (16) gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and the nursing infants. Let the bridegroom come out of his room and the bride out of her bridal chamber. (17) Let the priests, the LORD's ministers, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, "Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not make Your inheritance a reproach, a byword among the nations, why should they among the peoples say, 'Where is their God?'" (18) Then the LORD will be zealous for His land and will have pity on His people. ~Joel 2:11-18