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

Friday, February 27, 2009

And I don't even really like cats...

Okay, I know there are bigger and badder things in the world to deal with, but this was such a heartwarming story, I had to share it.

Kudos to the crazy cat guy! =P

Feline Town Built for 500 Cats

And, if you'd like to donate or help out, you can visit his website here: Caboodle Ranch

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

YES!! Ladies Against Feminism is back up!

*imbibes anti-feminist goodness*

Now, back to studying for my Spanish exam. =(

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Holy smoke! I hit the jackpot!

Early Church Fathers series

Huzzah! =D
Ecumenical Patriarch on the Great and Holy Lent

(EC-PATR) - By God's Grace Archbishop of Constantinople,
New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch

To the Plenitude of the Church,

Grace and Peace from our Savior Jesus Christ
And Prayers, Blessings and Forgiveness from Us

"Come, all peoples, let us today welcome

The gift of fasting

The period of repentance granted to us by God"


(Monday, First Week of Fasting)

Brethren and beloved children in the Lord,

The fast proposed to us by our Holy Church is not any deprivation, but a charisma. And the repentance to which it calls us is not any punishment, but a divine gift.

When the Church urges us, through the words of Scripture, not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth "where most and rust consume" but instead to store up treasures in heaven, where there is no danger of corruption, it is telling us the truth. For the Church is not of this world, even though it lives in this world and knows it. It knows humanity: our real need and distress. It knows our time well: the time of great development and speed, the plethora of information and confusion, the time of maqny fears, threats and collapses.

This is why – with calmness and steadiness – the Church invites everyone to repentance. This is why it discourages its children from taking the wrong path by treasuring their labors and basing their hopes on unstable foundations. Rather, it encourages them to store up treasure in heaven; for where our treasure lies, there also our heart is.

The treasure that cannot be corrupted and the hope that does not shame is precisely God's love, the divine force that binds all things together. It is the incarnate Word of God, who stays with us forever.

He is the sanctification of our souls and bodies. For, He did not come to judge but to save the world. He did not come to criticize but to heal. "He wounds with compassion and demonstrates compassion with fervor."

He abolished he one who held the power of death, namely the devil. He annihilated the sorrow of death, namely the joyless form and dark presence of death, which darkens and poisons all of our life and joy.

This is why, when our heart and love are directed toward the divine-human Lord, who has authority over the living and the dead, then everything is illumined and transformed.

Indeed, when the Apostle exhorts us "not to set our hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Tim. 6.17), he is assuring us that the true enjoyment of life is exactly what God offers us, while we simply receive it with gratitude and thanksgiving. Then, the little becomes abundant, because it is blessed; and the fleeting and momentary shine with the light of eternity.

Then, not only do the joys of life contain something eternal; but the troubles and sufferings become occasions of divine comfort.

The divine economy of salvation is certain. For, God is "the one who provides everything with depth of wisdom and loving-kindness." And the deposit of our labors is secure, for "we surrender all of our life and hope" to the incarnate Word.

So when the Gospel refers us to heaven, it is speaking literally. It brings us down to the reality of the earth, which has become heaven.

This is the certainty experienced and confessed by the Church.

Through your Cross, O Christ, there is one flock and one church of angels and human beings. Heaven and earth rejoice together. Lord, glory to you."

The Church grants us the opportunity to experience this miracle of earth-become-heaven. Our roots lie in heaven. Without the Church, we are uprooted and homeless.

For the Church is our home. So long as we return to the Church, we are returning home; we come to ourselves. So long as we are estranged from the Church, we are lost and meaningless.

So long as we approach the Church, we perceive the authenticity of what is true. We behold the heavenly Father awaiting us outside the house.

We are convinced by the sense of goodness and beauty; we sense the presence of God's powerful love, which overcomes death; we no longer sense the corruption and doubt, which mock the world.

Therefore, let us heed the divine invitation to enter the ocean of fasting in order to reach the harbor of light and resurrection with all the saints.

Holy and Great Lent 2009

Your fervent supplicant before God,

+ BARTHOLOMEW of Constantinople

(Thanks to Byzantine, Texas)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Whatever happened to Ladies Against Feminism? I haven't been able to access their site for quite some time, no matter which computer I use.

Anyone have any ideas?

Something Else Positive

This is neat:

Forgotten History: Muslims who save Jews

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Random Awesomeness

To men:
A physical match with a pregnant lady is a no-win situation that you never want to find yourself in...you win, so what, you just beat a pregnant lady, you lose, holy crap, you just lost to a pregnant lady. So please go out of your way to be nice to her.
~Dr. Awesome at www.gotmanswers.blogspot.com

=D

~~~~~~

EDIT: Okay, I officially endorse this blog o'manswers. No, it's not some dirty semi-pornographic site that defines "being manly" as "being the best pickup artist in town" - the owner is actually (*gasp*) Christian! His posts are AMAZING (or should I say, AWESOME!!). I got a full-on abdominal workout just laughing through them.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Joyfulness?

Huh? .... Wha - ....??

Er... Sanity???

THANK YOU, JESUS!!!

I'm (almost) speechless. This is ... amazing. Now, let's see if it actually goes anywhere and does anything. I've been so pessimistic for so long on this issue that I've forgotten how to be hopeful.

N.D. House passes bill saying fertilized egg is human
"This language [of the bill] is not as aggressive as the direct ban legislation that I've proposed in the past," Ruby said during House floor debate on Tuesday. "This is very simply defining when life begins, and giving that life some protections under our Constitution — the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." ~ Rep. Dan Ruby, the bill's sponsor
The fact that it only passed 51-41 is unsatisfying - it should have been unanimous - but, it's a start. =)

Some of the comments after the article are sick.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm no football fan, I find the sport completely uninteresting (hockey's more my thing), but when the player of any major sport shows such wisdom and humility, I sit up and take notice.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Troy Polamalu:



Thanks to Adventures of an Orthodox Mom

The Sanctity of Books

Something has been weighing on my heart for the past few months - the sacrosanctness of books.

Why?

Why are books so exalted while television and even radio is looked down upon? What have books done to make them so holy, so untouchable, whereas "Turn off that darn TV!!" is a constant phrase in my own home.

Can't books be just as smutty, just as frivolous, just as vapid as television? Don't try to tell me that The Devil Wears Prada is somehow automatically better simply by being in book form than "The Bells of St. Mary's". Yet, that is exactly what people seem to mean when I hear them screech, "Turn off the stupid TV and read a book!"

Reading is just as sedentary an activity as television, it will ruin your eyes faster than television, but, for some reason, the fact that books force you to imagine the story yourself rather than it being shown to you is held as the evidence that books are inherently better.

Why am I suddenly posting this now when I said it's been on my heart for several months? Yesterday in my C.S. Lewis class we began studying An Experiment in Criticism. We aren't reading it as a class, rather, the professor is outlining it for us chapter by chapter. We got into a discussion about it, as the professor often forces us to do, and one of the things that came up was the fact that the Harry Potter books are somehow okay because "they got children to read" - as though reading for the sake of reading is good and it doesn't matter what it is.

People, this is stupid. Reading should not be an end in and of itself. What you are reading is far more important. To simply allow yourself or your kids to sit down and let a book speak to you without guarding yourself is spiritually dangerous; you have to enter it with your own preconceived notions and ideas. The same can be said for watching a movie or listening to the radio.

So please, next time you think that television is inherently bad while reading is inherently good, research some of what's out there. It's not the medium that matters, it's the content.

~~

And, just to give you some perspective, books for the sake of books haven't always been so highly praised:
Although [novels] have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the nine-hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne, are eulogized by a thousand pens--there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them.
~ Jane Austin, Northanger Abbey

~~~

EDIT: And, as a delicious irony, I have now added the "Books to Read Before I Die" gadget to my sidebar. I'm not saying books are bad. I'm just wondering why they're so exalted.

Several Things

I just got back from a weekend in D.C. with EJ. We visited Mt. Vernon on Saturday and the National Air and Space Museum on Sunday (can you guess which place was picked by whom? =P). It was so much fun.

I'm taking a special studies class on C.S. Lewis and am learning oodles and gobs about the man and his works. In a way, knowing that he wasn't perfect - and that, yes, it's perfectly fine if I don't agree with everything he says - has helped me gain a greater appreciation for his works. We've read The Great Divorce and Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, the teacher has outlined for us the arguments in The Personal Heresy and we're now working on An Experiment in Criticism. The professor is constantly forcing us to engage in debates over Lewis' viewpoints, but I don't usually participate in them, preferring to sit back and form my own opinions quietly. The same few people are usually the ones arguing and, often enough, they haven't thought through their responses. It's funny and instructive hearing the professor destroy them (not that I think I could do any better). =P

Oh! and E.J. just informed me last night that he's seriously considering applying for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and becoming a career officer (if he gets accepted)! This has changed things for me somewhat. You see, all this time I've been figuring he'd just do his five years and then we'd be able to move on and set up our little homestead, but I wasn't really thinking about what he'd do to earn money afterward. This is a steady-paying option, though it's not always the easiest life to live.

God moves in mysterious ways.

I just have to say that I'm so proud and appreciative of him. At 19 years old, he's had to grow up so quickly by providing and looking out for his little family's future.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Click the ball

One more useless way to waste your time and have fun doing it. =)

(I managed to change the ball's color at least six times! Go me!)