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

Friday, January 29, 2010

Another one bites the dust!

I loved perusing Hope Chest Legacy every now and then just for fun, but, guess what, the CPSIA got that one , too. Good freaking job, legislators.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Holy Wow

I just read this post over on Vox Day's blog: Even an atheist knows better.

Vox quotes this damning excerpt from an interview between Christopher Hitchens and "Unitarian Minister" Marilyn Sewell:
Sewell: The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I'm a liberal Christian, and I don't take the stories from the scripture literally. I don't believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus dies for our sins, for example). Do you make and [sic] distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?

I would say that if you don't believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you're really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.
When even one of the wildly popular "New Atheists" can tell the difference between a real Christian and a "liberal" Christian (and, seriously, if you read the entire article, you'll see just how intellectually dishonest Hitchens is), you know you're in trouble.

Warning: I haven't read all of the comments on Vox's post. Proceed at your own risk.

Yet another HAE adventure...or two

So I went to my family doctor Tuesday to get a referral for an immunologist. To say he wasn't too happy to see me would be an understatement. Before he even came into the room, he stood right outside the door (or so it seemed) and complained about how I'd waited to make a follow-up appointment to my ER visit until almost a month afterward (if he'd bothered to ask, that was due to some confusion on my part). When he did come in, he listened to my request and then basically tried to talk me out of seeking more treatment for my disease. "There's nothing that can be done," he kept saying, "that's all the immunologist will tell you, too." When I mentioned that there were three drugs out there (well, one will be coming out, soon) to treat the symptoms, he then tried to talk me out of using them "because many drugs have side effects worse then the disease."

Umm, excuse me? This condition could kill me within the day and you're worried about side effects???

During my defense of why I wanted to see an immunologist, I made the mistake of mentioning that my father is a doctor and that made him even more uninterested in having anything else to do with me. He actually picked up my chart and said, "Well, then, your father can treat you," and continued talking about the potential side effects of many medications. I tried to explain that my dad doesn't live in this state, so, no, he can't treat me, but the doc just wouldn't stop talking; and as he was talking, he was walking right out the door. Clearly, this "consultation" was over.

I got my referral, though, so hopefully the immunologist will be more understanding and/or knowledgeable.

My second HAE adventure came yesterday when my top lip swelled up so badly that I looked like the offspring of a duck and an alien. Then, just when that swelling began to go down, my cheeks began puffing up, along with my lower lip. So now, I look like a chipmunk crossed with the offspring of a duck and Tim Robbins. Fun stuff. =P

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fallen Being

What has been one of the hardest things for me to understand on my journey to Orthodoxy is the difference between being a fallen being and having a fallen nature. In my protestant incarnation, I was raised to believe that humans are essentially evil, our natures are corrupted, and we can never hope to approach perfection. Orthodoxy, on the other hand, rejects that belief. Instead of butchering things by explaining it myself (because this concept seems to still be eluding my me on a basic level), I'll let the ever-wise Father Stephen take it away:

A Nature that is Less than Obvious

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, one day late

Infanticide is nothing new. People have been killing their babies and children almost since the dawn of time. They sacrificed them to various gods and notions: wealth, honor, poverty, greed. Middle Easterners gave children (both their own and others') to appease Moloch's insatiable hunger, Aztecs used children as part of their human sacrifices, and the post-Homerian Spartans disposed of any baby that looked defective.

Killing babies in the womb also has a long and ignoble history. Women did it for many of the reasons listed above, and they still do it for those same reasons today. The only difference for them was that, before the advent of modern medicine, abortion was much more likely to end in the death of the mother as well as the child.

Human beings are no more or less charitable in contemporary society than they were centuries ago. If abortion were outlawed today, women would still find ways to kill their babies, albeit in smaller numbers, in or out of the womb. That is why the legal system can only do so much without changing people's hearts and minds (to use the old cliche). Outlawing abortion is one goal, but ending abortion is what we ultimately strive for.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tattoo, and my first blog picture ever

Well, I gone and done it; I got myself a tattoo.

A simple cross on my wrist.

I've been wanting a tattoo for years, but was never satisfied with the designs I thought up. A unicorn on my ankle might be temporarily adorable, but would I really want it for the rest of my life? If I was going to permanently ink a part of myself, I wanted it to mean something. I didn't want a tattoo just to have one, so it's kind of funny that the simplest design can have the most lasting and meaningful significance.

For the last year or so, the biggest thing holding me back was the fact that it would be an easily identifiable symbol on my body. In a world in which Christianity already is, or is quickly becoming, a hated minority, having something on me - anything - which would make it easier for the government or those in control to identify me could have dangerous, or even deadly ramifications. However, once I gave my fingerprint to the plasma center, I figured, what the heck, I sold my identity for $200 a month, why on earth shouldn't I do this?

Besides, this tattoo isn't merely for decoration, it's a physical reminder of the way I'm supposed to act. When others see that mark on my skin, they'll automatically judge my behavior based on what they observe. It forces me to stop and consider every action.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Changing my name

When I joined the Church, in keeping with tradition, I took a new name: Monica. I've now changed my Blogger user name to reflect this.

I chose Monica after the mother of St. Augustine, whom I've felt close to since even before I began investigating Orthodoxy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I probably shouldn't be admitting this, but...

...I've been playing Super Mario Brothers from the original Nintendo since I was seven and have never beaten it. So, this kind of blew my mind:

5 MINUTES, people. Five! That just ... I can't .... I'd never even seen level 8-4 before watching this video!

Haiti Relief Links

International Orthodox Christian Charities has some links on how to help:

Urgent Action Appeal

Health Kits

Emergency Clean-Up Kits


Saturday, January 9, 2010

"I must blog about this..."

North Korea has its own website.


It's basically one big, collective grovel to Kim Jong Il and his father, just the way they like it, I'm sure. Here's a direct quote from the "News and Articles" section:

Chairman Kim Jong Il of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a broadminded statesman.

His politics mirrors his broadmindedness as it is. He administers the benevolent politics and all-embracing politics which make no discrimination among all members of society, irrespective of their origin, past career, political view and religious belief.

His politics rallied the popular masses from all walks of life including workers, peasants and intellectuals, into a socio-political force. Such wonderful reality as the single-minded unity of the whole society in the DPRK is wholly attributable to his all-embracing politics.

His broadmindedness is not confined only to the DPRK. Many Koreans in the south and abroad are admiring his generosity.

For real. You cannot make this stuff up.

EDIT: Awww, if you were planning on traveling there to celebrate the anniversary of the Great Leader Kim Il Sung, you can forget it if you have a U.S. Passport.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No longer a catechumen

Last night I became an official member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Finally, I don't feel like an outsider, anymore.

God be praised!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Not Always Right

I love sites like this:

This is one of my favorites.

Christmas is all Pope & Circumstance
Me: "Good afternoon, thank you for calling [church's name]. How can I help you?"

"Yes, I'd like to know why the time of the Christmas Eve mass was changed."

"There was a scheduling conflict with the Christmas Carol Concert. I'm sorry if it's caused an inconvenience for you."

"It has. Many of them."

"I'm so sorry."

"You'll change it back, then?"

"Um, no. See, there's still the scheduling conflict."

"But I have plans at the mass' new time! I need you to change it back!"

"Ma'am, I'm really not in charge of that decision."

"I am not getting off the phone until you change it back."

"There really isn't anything I can do for you. I'm sorry."

"Have you called the Pope and told him about this? Call the Pope and tell him that your priests have changed the mass time. He'll fix it."

"I actually don't have his number on me."

"I'll hold."
And, sadly, this following "Customer" would have been me. EJ had to explain to me what an ISP was after I read this:

It's Going to be a Long Day
Me: "What type of internet do you have?"

Customer: "Internet Explorer."

Me: "No, sorry, I meant what type of internet, like your ISP?"

Customer: "Internet."

Me: "No, what type."

Customer: "Uh...modem?"

Me: "What kind of modem?"

Customer: "Black."

Me: "Is it plugged into a phone cable or a coaxial cable? Like a cable you'd plug into your TV."

Customer: "It's plugged in to ... the wall."

Friday, January 1, 2010

An Unexpected Twist

Following up on my last post, EJ and I decided it would be best if I went to the ER rather than wait for the regular clinic to open. Amazingly, there was no wait and, when the nurse took me back to a bed, I was surprised to see an actual team waiting there: vitals, IV, the whole nine yards. I went in expecting them to be as unworried as my general practitioner, but when they began checking my airways and asking if I had any trouble swallowing or breathing, I realized it was probably a very good thing that I came to the ER.

Long story short, I spent the night in the ICU for observation because they believe I have adult onset hereditary angioedema. Neither I nor they know what triggered it - or even if I actually have it. The labs they sent out won't be back for about a week, after that, they'll be able to confirm or disprove it.

The prognosis for this disease, according to Google health, is basically that "Hereditary angioedema can be life threatening and treatment options are limited. How well a person does depends on the individual's specific symptoms." Awesome.

I know I ask for prayer here a lot, but I'm asking for it once more, prayer for strength, peace, and a different diagnosis; I do not want this disease. I'm scared. Hereditary angioedema can cause your airways to swell shut and doesn't respond to epi-pens, the only way to help a patient breathe is intubation and time.

Praise God, though, no matter what.