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[The Creation of the Chicken]

An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More interesting studies

Sexualization of young girls cause them future problems
. Another big "Well DUH!" Once again the psychological sciences are playing catch up with common sense. I have not had time to read the full report or the "What parents can do" section at the APA, but really now...do we have to?

Turn the damn media off. I'm sorry to cuss but this is just asinine. Do you REALLY think it would do any good to have a sit down with junior and explaining to him that girls are more than objects or explaining to our 11 year old daughters that they shouldn't worry so much about their weight and THEN let them going on watching the crap that is vomited out on TV or the fecal matter masquerading as art or music? How about what they must endure in school? If you really want to protect your girls, you are going to have to remove them to some degree from the influence of pop culture. A nice bastion of moral values within which they have been brought up might also help...DUH! Somehow I doubt the APA is going to save our girls.

However, this columnist is on the right track: Daddy.

Nothing should surprise us about today's youth. Our PC "I'm okay, you're okay" indoctrination appears to be raising a generation of narcissists. Heck I began seeing this in my own generation (Yep, I'm part of it!) and now we see it coming to fruition. Kids who can do no wrong and IF they do we either diagnose it as a disease or we push the blame upon society and throw money at it. We are moving further and further away from the notion of personal responsibility...rather we continue to hurl ourselves toward an all encompassing spirit of entitlement. When things don't work out I think one symptom of this narcissism can rear its ugly head: high school shooting rampages and kids building bombs in their garages why Mom and Dad apparently ignore them trusting that the government school will make fine upstanding citizens of them.

We are beginning to reap what we have sowed. We are trusting in a secular, a VERY secular society to teach our children morality...a baseless morality. Sex education from the government? Sex, that thing we are NOW trying to tell our daughters is special, sacred, and not represented properly by the media? Schools will follow APA guidelines, but it will be too late...already the kids (being smart as they are) are seeing the hollowness of PC morality. How can schools compete with the sexual morality and images one can find on MTV, in the Fashion Magazines, in the public lives of people like Anna Nicole and Brittany Spears, in the fun to be had by presidents with young interns (no harm no foul), etc etc etc. Why should such a study surprise us? Do what feels good...deny any wrong doing...if that fails blame substances, genetics, or society. Do it....we'll believe you and we'll buy your book after you go on Oprah.

It may take a village, but a village full of moral idiocy? Better move.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 3:19 PM [+]
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5 comments

Monday, February 26, 2007

Worklist

With Spring around the corner and summer soon to follow, I have compiled my worklist of things I need to accomplish before summer is over. In no particular order:

Harvest Logs
Rade cut most of our two downed Alders into smaller pieces. They need to be hauled out to the woodshed. However, the method by which this will be done is yet to be determined. Unsure of how close I can get either of the trucks...may have to buck the wood up into smaller pieces and either roll or carry them out.

French Drain/ "dry" creek bed
At the front end of the barn and then leading through the chicken run and down the west side of our garden area we have a real drainage problem. I will install a french drain system and cover it with a rock bed that leads down and dumps it down the hill where it will run off easily.

Convert "storage shed to barn
Presently our largest outbuilding is being used as a storage shed. However, we believe it will function better as a barn for the goats. A few interior walls and a shrinking of the large opening in the front ought to do the trick.

Build a large storage shed
No explanation neccesary...need a place to store my stuff the goats will be usurping.

Goat Fencing
An area to the south and west of the barn (and including the barn) will be fully fenced for the Goats.

Garden Fencing
A large area to be connected to the chicken run will be fenced in order to keep Sue's garden safe from critters.

Replace two Windows
I still have two more windows to replace in the house.

Build Cabin/Guesthouse
It will be small (200 sq ft) and rustic (electricity but no plumbing), but it will be better for our guests than camping or cramming into the boys' room. This will be a big project, but I am planning it now. We hope to have an old fashioned "barn raising" weekend to help with the stuff where I need more than one person.

New flooring and toilet for front bathroom
I already have the supplies, just need to find the motivation.

Finish upstairs room
Need more mudding/tape and paint and then carpet. Again, all I need is motivation.

Extra Pasture for goats
Exact placement is yet to be determined.

The money for these projects is supposed to arrive today...so, no excuses. Anyone bored and need something to do? I'll provide beer and...say a month's supply of eggs or something.
:)

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 12:28 PM [+]
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10 comments

Friday, February 23, 2007

"a quaint throwback"

Family meal seen as way to reconnect families.

It's rather telling that the journalist feels it neccesary to note that this "may seem a quaint throwback", but I am guessing it is something that most of you reading here have deemed as an important part of your family life.

However, again I am going to criticize. Both the study and particularly the reporting of the results. They say that "a national study of kids between 3 and 12 found that more meal time at home was the single strongest predictor..." but they mention very little as to what the other predictors were (note the deliberate belittling of church). And of course people will see the headline and assume all they really need to do is to is eat together and THAT will make the difference. Of course it doesn't work that way.

Families that make the family meal a pivot point in their lives will have many many other things going for it. Making family a priority is not something that can be done by adding "dinner" into your bonchberry handheld...instead it requires the bonchberry be thrown away. At least for a time.

And, for the record, such things are much more than predictors for "better achievement scores", in fact that is probably the least important benefit.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:50 AM [+]
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0 comments

For God is with us

My family and I have really delved into the services this week at St. Elizabeth's, and despite the troubles of our boys being MOST hyper in the evenings we have survived. Life on the "farm" has taken on a rhythm of it's own...perhaps playing its own role in the "Dance." Our chickens have all learned that when we turn the coop light on that they are being called to roost, and like parishioners going to Church they line up and file their way home. No one taught them this, they just do it and then all 24 of them take their respective places on their roosts, again like parishioners in pews (Pews? Anathema!)

The Canon of St. Andrew is hard. Not only because of the prostrations, but because of what the service emphasizes: my sinfulness. One thing that we do differently at St. Elizabeth than what I was used to at St. Paul (according to my poor memory)was that we do the Canon first and THEN the Compline. I particularly appreciated that on Wednesday because I was really feeling the burden (as I should) of my sinfulness. And so, as if to show us the love of God (I recalled our Lord's words: "Go and sin no more"), in slight contrast to the profoundly mournful tones of the Canon, we brighten up somewhat in the Compline as we sing:

God is with us!
Understand this, O nations, and submit yourselves!
For God is with us.

Hear this, even to the farthest bounds of the earth.

For God is with us.

Submit yourselves, O mighty ones!

For God is with us.

If you rise up again in your might, you will be overthrown.

For God is with us.

The Lord shall destroy all who take counsel together, and the word which you speak shall not abide with you.

For God is with us.

For we do not fear your terror, and we are not troubled.

For God is with us.

But we will ascribe holiness to the Lord our God, and Him will we hold in awesome fear.

For God is with us.

And if I put my trust in Him, He shall be my sanctification.

For God is with us.

I will set my hope on Him, and through Him I shall be saved -lo, I and the children whom God has given me.

For God is with us.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness - on them a light has shined.

For God is with us.

For unto us a Child is born; to us a Son is given.

For God is with us.

And the government shall be upon His shoulder, and of His peace there will be no end.

For God is with us.

And His name shall be called the Messenger of Great Counsel, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the World to Come.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Now and Forever and to the ages of ages, Amen.

God is with us!
Understand this, O nations, and submit yourselves!
For God is with us.


...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 9:25 AM [+]
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5 comments

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Soon to appear on your local public transportation?


"Innovative congregation helps churches reach unchurched generations"

Yes, nothing we have not seen before, I suppose...though I wonder if the iconographer was using egg tempera and saying the Jesus Prayer while writing or if he/she was using a MAC and listening to U2 on their iPod.

You know I am tired of the whole po-mo scene...like seriously yawning tired...maybe even to the point of yearning to be ridiculously cynical about it. I think in another couple of years it will all be a joke and this "planetary emergency-like" need to appeal to "a postmodern cultural shift" will be on to something new. We shall gaze upon the po-mo's and their odd little phrases and terms such as "silent generation", "re-imagine church", all manner of "pre" and "post" prefixes, "Ancient Future", "emerging _______", "inclusive forms of worship", "tribes" (TRIBES?!?!), “de-churched postmoderns”, "post-denominational emerging-church movement" (love that one), and "radical welcome" as we now joke at those who used to preach "peace, love, and dope."

This too shall pass and they shall have to devise some new way to do what they are in essence saying they most do in the last few paragraphs on the article. They say the po-mos are distrustful of "organized religion" and "hierarchy" but are they taking the time to explain why they shouldn't be? Or are they simply letting them continue in their biases? I suspect the latter because they seem to be saying: "We need to find out what these people say they need and then give it to them."

Hence Jesus has an iPOD...pretty much says it all.

Blech....I offer THIS bit of Ancient-Future Post modern inclusive worship...the Anathema service (if applicable):

English Translation:

To those who reject the existence of God and maintain that His world is self-existent, and that everything therein came into being by chance, and not by the providence of God, Anathema!

Then, the clergy shall chant: Anathema, anathema, anathema! And after the clergy, the people shall chant: Anathema, anathema, anathema! And so after each petition.

To those who say that God is not spirit, but flesh, or that He is not just, full of lovingkindness, most wise and omniscient, and who utter similar blasphemies, Anathema!

To those who dare to say that the Son of God is not of one essence and equal in honor with the Father, and that neither is the Holy Spirit, and who teach that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not one God, Anathema!

To those who mindlessly say that the coming of the Son of God into the world in the flesh, and His voluntary suffering, death and resurrection, were not necessary for our salvation and for the cleansing of sins, Anathema!

To those who do not accept the grace of redemption proclaimed by the Gospel as our sole means of justification before God, Anathema!

To those who dare to say that the most pure Virgin Mary was not virgin before giving birth, during birthgiving, and after birthgiving, Anathema!

To those who do not believe that the Holy Spirit made wise the prophets and the apostles, and through them hath proclaimed to us the true path to everlasting salvation, and confirmed this by miracles, and now dwelleth in the hearts of true and faithful Christians and instructeth them in every truth, Anathema!

To those who deny the immortality of the soul, the end of time, the future judgment, everlasting reward in the heavens for virtue, and condemnation for sin, Anathema!

To those who reject all the holy mysteries performed by the Church of Christ, Anathema!

To those who reject the councils of the holy fathers and their traditions, which are in accord with divine revelation and are cherished piously by the Orthodox Catholic Church, Anathema!

To those who reason that Orthodox sovereigns are elevated to their thrones not by God's special goodwill toward them, and that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not poured out upon them during their anointing for the conduct of this great vocation; and who likewise dare to rise up against them in mutiny and rebellious disorder, Anathema!

To those who mock and blaspheme the holy icons, which the Holy Church affirms to be reminders of the works of God and of His favored ones, wrought so as to move those who gaze upon them to piety and emulation; and who dare to say that such are idols, Anathema!

To the Theosophists and other heretics who dare to say and irrationally to teach, that our Lord Jesus Christ did not descend to earth and become incarnate once only, but hath been incarnate many times; and who likewise deny that the true Wisdom of the Father is His only-begotten Son; and, contrary to divine Scripture and the teaching of the holy fathers, seek other wisdoms, Anathema!

To the Masons, followers of the occult, spiritualists, practitioners of witchcraft, and all who do not believe in the one God, but worship the demons; who do not humbly submit their life to God, but strive to learn the future through sorcery, Anathema!

To those who fall away from the Orthodox Faith, embracing false doctrine to the scandal of our brethren, Anathema!

To the persecutors of the Church of Christ, ungodly apostates, who have raised their hands against the anointed of God, who slay His sacred ministers, who profane the holy things, who destroy the temples of God, who subject our brethren to torture and persecution, and have defiled our homeland, Anathema!

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 1:26 PM [+]
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15 comments

What are you giving up for Lent?

I heard a brief local radio report about Ash Wednesday yesterday. Overtop of what sounded like Gregorian chant, the reporter was talking about the services outside the Roman Catholic Cathedral St. James in downtown Seattle (Do they really do Gregorian Chant there or was this canned?) Describing Lent as being modeled after "the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness before His crucifixion" (I'll give the reporter the benefit of being technically correct in that the 40 day fast was indeed before the crucifixion...AND three years of ministry.)

Anyway, the reporter asked some of the parishioners leaving the service what they were giving up for Lent after describing Lent as a time to "give up something important." One person said "golf" another said "sweets" and still others said "swearing", "anger", "selfishness", and then...get this..."loneliness."

Loneliness? Well I think I understand why it is something this person needs to give up. [cue the Twilight Zone music please]

Really now, besides the craziness of "loneliness", many of the responses were things that Christians ought to be giving up ALL THE TIME! but beside that, really, deciding for yourself what you need to give up is just another form of self-diagnosis. Best of luck to those who make such decisions. On a serious note, does the Roman Catholic Church no longer offer even guidelines for Lenten fasting?

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 9:17 AM [+]
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11 comments

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Biological Determinism ALERT

I'm serious people we really need to beware of this sort of research and much more specifically to what is implied by it. As THIS article notes (in wording that could have used some better editorial work):

Fundraisers have long invoked religion, volunteerism, family and cultural traditions, tax breaks, peer pressure and the desire to make a difference or leave a legacy as being big factors in charitable giving. But NIH researchers used MRIs to monitor brain activity as 19 people made decisions to give -- or not give -- to a variety of causes.

The last sentence is flawed in what I think the author was trying to communicate: altruism exists NOT because of religion or any of those other things, but because of chemicals in the brain. Sigh.

Biological Determinism is growing in popularity, even many Christians buy into it when they deny that gay people could possibly be born with an inclination for same sex attraction, and they must in turn ask how and why people are ever born with severe deformities. And those who uphold the "born gay" science as a reasoning for absolute acceptance must then also answer for why they do not accept those who may have been born with an inclination toward violence or homophobia or even...gasp...social conservatism.

Fact is, biological determinism - even if partially true - is untenable in real life as we understand and live it.

Now this study, as with ALL sociological and behavioral studies, is ripe for my criticism. You must, somehow, rule out the role of environment in such studies. How do we know that actually believing something (e.g. religious instruction) cannot alter how your brain responds to certain types of stimuli? In other words, if we are raised to believe that altruism is a good thing, might this make a HUGE difference in how we FEEL (biologically) about giving? Hmmmm....

So redesign your study if you wish to prove popular notions of biological determinism, find 100 (preferably more) new born infants. Take 50% of them and raise them in a loving and giving environment. Teach them extensively about the goodness of giving, sharing, and general altruism...maybe even teach them about Jesus. Now, with the other 50%, teach them hardcore Darwinism, indoctrinate them with lofty notions of self, and self-pleasure, and intelligently using others to the benefit of yourself. Teach them that the world is a "dog eat dog" world and you MUST look out for number one.

Now, do your experiment. Would we expect to see the same pleasure indicators in the second group if you COULD get them to give up their money? I doubt it. And of course, the moral problems of actually doing such a study is obvious...further reason why human behavioral studies that seek biological explanations are usually little more than rubbish. The innumerable variables of environment are almost always too much to give much legitimacy to the conclusions the media LOVE to drum up.




...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:47 AM [+]
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2 comments

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Do no harm...

According to data collected in 2002 in the United States regarding gestation age:
86.7% of abortions were conducted at or prior to 12 weeks, 9.9% from 13 to 20 weeks, and 1.4% at or after 21 weeks

Meet Baby Amillia born at 21 weeks old, pictured here next to a ball point pen:


And in the hands of those who may kill or save:



I have seen the remains of countless aborted "fetuses" who were between 8 and 12 weeks of age and they all pretty much looked like smaller versions of Baby Amillia here. One doctor will work to save such a baby and another will work to kill it.

I would suggest the latter does not earn the title physician.

And Baby Amillia is expected to go home from the hospital in the next few days. God grant you many years, Amillia.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 1:51 PM [+]
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2 comments

"We have a planetary emergency"

And the U.N. is being urged to "take action"...on the...asteroid risk.

The United Nations? Because they sponsor an extensive space program?

C'mon now, you know who will be expected to save the world, and I'm fine with that...except...what is this wussy "Gravity Tractor" method????? No way man, we Americans have an entire generation of scientists and astronauts already fully trained to deal with REAL planetary emergencies from outer space:







Yeah baby....lock n' load!

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:47 AM [+]
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3 comments

The Death Sentence

My coworker and fellow Kitsapper had a real nasty rooster on her hands. It had gotten so bad that the rest of her chickens were not able to be free range anymore and the dog and kids had to be exceptionally careful. Not being the type to slaughter, she asked if I wanted the task. Needing the practice I said sure.

Advised that catching the bird would be difficult and perhaps painful, I opted to shoot it. I will admit to being a little tense about it, I'd killed plenty of fish but a big rooster was another thing altogether. So, nervously I lined up my shot and fired. Once shot, it went unconscious (or died) and I hauled it into the woods where I had prepared a spot to behead it and bleed it out.

Unfortunately the spot I chose I had not investigated well enough and as I took my first swing with the axe I realized the wood stump underneath was rotten and it ended up taking three swings. Decidedly unpleasant work.

After bleeding it for 10 minutes or so I tossed it into a bucket and then headed home to where my wife picks up the rest of the story.

Despite the ugliness of it all and despite the very beginning of the fast, the bird looked delicious when all was said and done. Sad to see it vacuum packed and frozen.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:26 AM [+]
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5 comments

Monday, February 19, 2007

Seattle's gunsights fall on Mars Hill

Sometimes I wonder if Seattle can truly suffer a conservative, albeit hip, numerically successful church in its midst. The sight of “cool” young people and 20-somethings going to services and hearing what is billed to be theologically and morally conservative theology must drive some people CRAZY! And in BALLARD of all places…OH THE HUMANITY! What’s next Freemont? Capitol Hill?

As this article shows, Driscoll seems to be taking a lot of heat about he and his church’s take on “women’s issues.” And boy does this article take some choice selections of Driscoll quotes…but at least he is given some opportunity to explain. In one shortened version of the AP story his explanation was left out, making it all the easier to believe that “People Against Fundamentalism” (Not to be confused with “Animals and all manner of plant life Against Fundamentalism”) are right and the Pastor is a “fundamentalist and a misogynist.” (How frightening to be labeled a fundie!)

Don’t get me wrong, Driscoll and I are at odds on numerous issues, but if the “PAF” group are going to protest outside his church because they will not allow female pastors, well I reckon we can expect them to show up at your local Orthodox and Catholic church. Protest? What nonsense. One might just as well protest at Boy Scout meetings for not allowing girls in.

It sounds absurd – somewhat for the moment, but I do believe the time is coming when we will see such protests and they will stand out in front of our parishes and churches mistakenly fueled with all the self-righteous indignation of civil rights activists in the 60’s. Those of us, the hold outs, who will not ordain women and who will not bless gay marriages (amongst other issues), will become more and more ostracized and in time the climate will be ripe for us to publicly shamed in just this way. So to that degree I stand in unity with Driscoll.

Of course, I think Suzanne Gordon and Mark Driscoll are dead wrong in thinking one of them is marketing God and the other isn’t. Driscoll says of his attendees: “They're tired of all the slick marketing and pitches.” Well, actually they are tired of the slick marketing and pitches that have failed to appeal to them and if Gordon thinks her brand of liberal revisionism isn’t simply a marketing scheme, well, I have sad news.

Jesus didn’t market himself…quite the opposite. How nice it would be to have a theology that excuses or even denies the existance of my sins? And how nice would it be to have a way of Christian life and worship that caters to my every and infallible whim? But this is not what I see in the way our Lord approaches us. How many examples do we see of people walking away from our Lord because His call was simply too much to heed? Help me to apply that in my own life this Lent...tis not a time to feel good about myself "just as I am" but to focus on His Holy Image as an example of "just as I can become."

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 9:14 AM [+]
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6 comments

With the ring of forgiveness, we race out upon the sea of the fast

As always, for all the offenses I have given, I plead for your forgiveness. My sins have unleashed untold quantities of greenhouse gasses into our shared spiritual ecosystem, God heal us of this global warming.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:44 AM [+]
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7 comments

Friday, February 16, 2007

The 4H Virtual Farm

For your kids' entertainment and education.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 3:17 PM [+]
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0 comments

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life...

Initially as I watched, I did not think I was going to enjoy the film "Tristan and Isolde" as it seemed to be just your run of the mill "forbidden love" movie. It seemed to have all the makings of Shakespearean tragedy while perhaps being a bit cheesily done. However, the end of the film displayed some character traits such as devotion to duty and selflessness in a rarely seen profound way that I was persuaded to label the whole affair a great film. Two characters came forth - taking me by surprise - in the end to show themselves to be true heroes in the most realistic and rare sense of the term.

I've met people who do not believe in heroes. At the Undersea Naval Museum in Keyport you will find a section in which detailed stories of certain Naval heroes are offered. One story that stood out to me was a certain Captain John Cromwell who volunteered to go down with the ship in order to prevent certain sensitive materials he had in his brain from falling into enemy hands. One of the people in attendance with me poo-pooed the notion of heroes saying that the "reality" of the story was probably a lot different and that the man's choice was likely not quite so clear cut a selfless act. I'm not unfamiliar with cynicism, but anyone who sits down with a Veteran will usually be privy to massive numbers of accounts of selfless heroism. And what are we to say of our Saints? For my part, I believe in heroes.

And I honor Hollywood attempts to celebrate answered calls to duty and truly selfless acts of sacrifice. In Tristan and Isolde there are two magnificent acts of heroism. Watch them for I will not spoil them here.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 9:02 AM [+]
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1 comments

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Byzantine Journey

This book (which might not be readily available anymore), by John Ash, which I borrowed from Rade's library a while back, is fascinating because it reads at like a detailed history text combined with a travelogue.

One account of the author's visit to the Hagia Sophia had a wonderful section with regard to this mosaic:


Mr. Ash references a sermon delivered by Patriarch Photios when the mosaic was inaugurated on March 29th 867, in which the Patriarch celebrated the life-like qualities of the work:

She looks as if she might speak if someone were to ask how she could be both virgin and mother, for the painting makes her lips seem of real flesh, pressed together and still as in the sacraments...

Fascinating. Intrigued by being able to "hear" what the Patriarch said of a specific icon still able to be seen today, I did some more searching and found more of his sermon, including the quote from the book:

A virgin mother carrying in her pure arms, for the common salvation of our kind, the common Creator reclining as an infant – that great and ineffable mystery . . . A virgin mother with both a virgin’s and a mother’s gaze, dividing in indivisible form her temperament between both capacities yet belittling neither by its incompleteness. With such exactitude has the art of painting, which is a reflection of inspiration from above, set up a lifelike imitation. For she fondly turns her eyes upon her begotten child in the affection of her heart . . . You might think her not incapable of speaking . . . To such an extent have the lips been made flesh by the colours
that they appear merely to be pressed together and stilled as in the mysteries, yet their silence is not at all inert neither is the fairness of her form derivatory but rather it is the real archetype.


There is also THIS interesting Art History work on the mosaic, from which I could this extended quote. I imagine if one had the time they could find the entire sermon online.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:51 AM [+]
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5 comments

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Country Music, Lent, Valentine's Day, and Fatherhood

Yep, another country song. This one both warns and encourages us to remember that we are being watched by our kids, and in this case specifically our sons. The chorus has the son singing to Dad:

He said I've been watching you dad, ain't that cool
I'm your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are
We like fixing things and holding mama's hand...


Don't think, Dads, that our kids (both sons and daughters) fail to see how Dad treats mom and how you both love one another. And as this song expresses: our children will both mimic and our daughters will expect the same (both good and bad). So "holding mama's hand" can accomplish a great deal more than you might think.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 1:22 PM [+]
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1 comments

Wuv, twu wuv...

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 12:37 PM [+]
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1 comments

Common Ground...albeit for different reasons

I am terribly weary of the Global Warming debate, especially when people who have absolutely no climatological scientific background (and often NO scientific background) go on and on about how you are retarded for not believing in it or that you are retarded for believing in it. I recently read a column in which denying Global Warming (and let's be specific here - most denial is with regard to whether or not human's burning fossil fuels are the cause of global warming, NOT that global warming is not happening) was likened to denying the holocaust. Wow...a historical verifiable event compared to a hugely complex environmental ecosystem with reams and reams of difficult to interpret data...yes I see the comparison.

Fact is, most of your average Joe or Jane's on the street haven't got a single scientific piece of data in their skulls to support their opinion on the cause of Global Warming either way. And yet they will argue like rabid dogs...hope they are having fun.

The reality is: scientific consensus (whatever that is necessarily) is not like a theological decision of a Ecumenical Council. There are dissenters with solid credentials and with solid reasoning to suggest that we cannot be certain and that to spend billions of dollars and instituting massive regulations is not a very wise thing to do when we really do not have absolute conclusive proof that we are to blame for Global Warming. Science has a rich history of so-called consensus that turned out to be dead wrong. However...

There is common ground to be had here. No one likes pollution hanging over their city and even more broad, no one likes terrorism. So really, the tree-hugging hippy and the jihadist fearing militiamen have common ground here. So whether you are concerned about Al Gore's apocalyptic religious vision akin to "The late Great Planet Earth" or if you are concerned about the Jihadist neighbor whose apocalypse will bring forth the 12th Mahdi and is receiving funds from Iranian oil sales, burning less fossil fuel is a VERY GOOD thing.

So drive a hybrid or take a bus to "Save the planet!" or to "Fight Terrorism!" Whatever.

Jeez, I should run for office.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:45 AM [+]
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17 comments

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Connecting my fatherhood to Lent

Prayer, fasting, and alms-giving are the trinity, as it were, of Lent. Of course, it is also a time of self-reflection, repentance, and struggle to conform ourselves more to the image of our Heavenly Father. In confession after confession, my failings as a father often take precedence as any regular readers here well know. I have come to believe that more than my attaining enlightened and profound theological knowledge or my willing commitment to attendance at multitudinous services or my disciplined ability to pray the entire pre-communion prayers from memory or my glorious elder inspired decision to spend 1/4 of my time at monasteries, my performance as a loving father is the greatest and most obvious indicator of the state of my soul.

Now, If you are a father of a daughter, please go right now and purchase or reserve a copy of THIS BOOK, which I have mentioned before at your local library. Were I wealthy enough, I'd buy a copy for every dad of a daughter I know. For my own part, having finished it, I have decided to really focus on really giving myself over to fatherhood this Lent and I believe it will fit perfectly with all the other disciplines of this season. Not as a temporary improvement, but hopefully as an ongoing shift in who I am. For what is parenthood but another act of martyrdom?

Inspired by the book I will be taking to time to reflect on parental issues and they will naturally be inclined toward fatherhood, but I do not think they will thereby be devoid of any thoughts of interests to mothers or perhaps anyone for that matter. Nor need it necessarily be limited to daughters, for by transforming who I am with them (geared especially to their emotional needs and my emotional entrapments) I believe my engagements with my sons will also be improved quite naturally.

Now, by email I was asked about the "reams of psychological data" that I suggested demonstrated the important role a father plays in the life of his daughter. Thankfully, Dr. Meeker presents them in her book very concisely and references all of the conclusions to the actual studies, which are all found in peer reviewed scientific journals. Interesting because I suspect many of the conclusions would cause most - though not all - people to say, "Well, duh!"

Here's one for both teams, Mom and Dad: Parent connectedness is the number one factor in preventing girls from engaging in premarital sex and indulging in drugs and alcohol. More specifically though, check this out:

Daughters who perceive that their fathers care a lot about them, who feel connected to their fathers, have significantly fewer suicide attempts and fewer instances of body dissatisfaction, depression, low-self esteem, substance abuse, and unhealthy weight

Similarly another study concludes:

A daughter's self-esteem is best predicted by her father's physical affection.

One of the interesting things about these and similar father-daughter studies is that the real psychological key is found in the male (father) to female (daughter) relationship. In other words, much of a young girl's future psychological interactions and perceptions of the opposite sex will hinge on her relationship with her father. Now, let's be clear here, I believe this extends beyond biology and genetics. A step-father or an close uncle or a grandfather could do these things as well. Our children need righteous...HOLY even...examples of pure love and commitment. They need to see their worth demonstrated in the gentle and loving actions of an adult man, and when they grow up they will expect as much from any potential suitors. Dr. Meeker writes: "BE the sort of man you would want your daughter to marry!"

For some of you being a good and loving father just comes naturally and I hate you for it. Seriously though, for some of us it does not come naturally, whether we were never shown a good example, or we are just too wrapped up in self I do not dare to guess. But I do not I must make a more conscious effort to show my love and to show how wonderful and important my daughters (and sons) are to me. Besides good old fashioned hugs and smiles, creativity can go a million miles. A while back I left each of my daughter's a special little note that told them how much I loved them and listed a few special traits about them that I especially appreciated. I could tell it went a long long way with them.

And last night as I pulled back my covers to lay down I found a little note on my pillow that read:

Dad Jams, I hope you hav a grat day. From Mystery

The "Dad" was struck out just as it appears here. You have got to love childhood innocence.

So, Dads, along with me, lets us take extra time to express to our daughter(s) in both written, oral, and physical ways just how much our daughters mean to us. Data and common sense suggests that if they are confident in our love for them they will benefit immensely - like an inoculation against the ills to which a teenage girl with low self-esteem will naturally be susceptible.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:43 AM [+]
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5 comments

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ever Behind the times....

Never-the-less, HERE is an interesting albeit nearly two year old interview of Bishop BENJAMIN from "Our Life in Christ" Radio.



...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 3:06 PM [+]
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Missing you already, my old friend...



Might I suggest as a Lenten discipline that you sit back with a set of headphones and just listen to THIS, over and over and over again. Oh, sweet Pascha.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:49 AM [+]
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6 comments

The Redneck Bachelor Weekend

[WARNING: Do not try anything of what you are about to read, we are trained professional rednecks and you likely are not and even if you were you'd be even less likely to admit it. The creator of this blog accepts no liability for you being more stupid than him or for you being a worse shot or for you be less able to handle your ale or for you just being less lucky]

My wife and fellow Logger Steve's wife went up to Canada to attend an Orthodox Christian Militia Crusader Camp for preparation of our retaking of Constantinople, after all 500 years of occupation is enough. Kh. Frederica I hear is a crack shot with an AK.

Steve and his boys came to our side of the pond and so we two semi-responsible parents set up our own sort of survival camp. Actually, we were blessed with nice weather on saturday, proving once again that Northwest meteorologists earned their degrees from an online school based in Indonesia. Anyway, we therefore spent most of our day outside.

A side about the chicken ranching duties. Them doggies are doing better most everyday about getting outside. On saturday I did the duty of roundin' up and chasing em out...and yes, "Rawhide" was playing in my head. By Sunday though, fully half of them came out on their own. As the sun sets we then reverse the process and again "Ride em in...RAWHIDE!"

So, my wife poses this profound philosophical question: Why make a dump run when most of what you have to take is flammable? Therefore, with the help of a chainsaw, kerosene, and a number of dysfunctional lighters we got ourselves a right roaring bonfire composed of the remains of varies articles of furniture and other stuff. After the last of what needed to be consumed was placed into our little gehenna, we sat down in camp chairs and tended the flames by popping the caps off of some Snow Caps.

And, not being satisfied by this alone, Steve went and got his pistol and we began popping caps at a variety of targets we set up along the edge of the forest. So there we were, sitting in camp chairs, tending our bonfire, drinking beer, and shooting at stuff. Now before you get all "judgy", know that we were indeed wearing ear protection, and being too lazy to move I used my hand as eye and face protection from Steve's spent shells that kept plucking me in the head. I'm sure we were quite a sight, if only I had an old Chevy Turbo 350 tranny to kick my feet up on.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:18 AM [+]
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10 comments

Friday, February 09, 2007

I'm a Lumberjack Logger and I'm okay....



At last month's meeting...the world's problems were solved and we tried to polish off the leftover beer from Rade's wedding. Note the men closest to the taps are the only ones smiling? In my head I'm saying, "Get in my belly!"

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:19 AM [+]
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3 comments

"People aren't drinking more...they're drinking better."

Vodka made in Kansas? You bet.

I think we'd be hard pressed to get the regime here in Washington to let us do this, but if we could I'd be willing to bet we could seriously be successful. The LOG actually tried a "Scotch" made in Oregon and it was perfectly awful, but the push for local products might just be the push needed to really sell a decent Northwest made bourbon or better yet, slivovitz made by a couple of slavic hillbilly rednecks. Rade?

If we could convince Premier and Comrade Christine Gregoire, pictured here:

to let us, I'd totally do it, seriously...as a part of my farm.

Since politicians don't know crap about science, I'm guessing we could convince the Washington State legislature (after all I AM a scientist) that making Plum Brandy will reduce green house gasses. In doing so, we might be able to cash in on all that money Premier Gregoire is presently planning on funneling into preventing Bainbridge and Mercer Islands from flooding.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:22 AM [+]
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2 comments

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Change

Thinking back to November and December, wow what a change! Can you recall how it seemed we perpetually went back and forth between heavy wind, rain, and snow? It seemed most every night I could stand outside and listen to the wind in the trees and worry about which one would end up coming down. And now for the last few weeks things have been very quiet. Cold, but mostly dry and little or no wind to speak of. It is amazing, our winter came in like a lion but appears to be leaving like a lamb.

I arrived home last night to hear a frog down by the pond/swamp greeting me with some very boisterous croaking. Very nice. Though I hope he gets busy because I also noticed some bugs flying about in the air, further indicating that Spring is coming.

Hallelujah! Let the frog chorus bellow! If they get to singing really good I shall sit out front with my dog, my pipe, my best girl, and a small glass of Bourbon to listen to the concert and watch the stars.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 11:46 AM [+]
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3 comments

Hollywood's Ferry wreck

I have never watched the show "Grey's Anatomy", apparently it is supposed to be set here in Seattle. Anyway, when checking my ferry schedule online I saw a banner at the WSF website that noted that the show would feature the ferries as a part of some mishap.

The article is here.

Apparently they did some actually filming on my route, but alas most of the filming was done before "green" screen in LA. GAG! Poor saps, having to pretend to be in Northwest. At least "Northern Exposure" got as far north as Roslyn.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 9:00 AM [+]
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The Daddy Daughter Dance

Each year around Valentine's Day, the Kitsap Parks and recreation department sponsors a "Daddy Daughter Dance." Unfortunately I did not learn about it in time and so I will have to attend next year (the Feb 10th date is untenable).

Typically, some PC anti-traditionalist Nazi is complaining: HERE.

Naturally, I cannot let such a letter go unanswered. Here is my reply which was just sent to the Kitsap Sun.

In a letter published in the February 6th edition, a reader complains that the Kitsap Daddy-Daughter dance is not inclusive enough. Celebrations with a theme are always exclusive to varying degrees, for example: my birthday party is rather exclusive of yours, one couples 50th wedding anniversary party is exclusive of yours, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is exclusive of other civil rights activists, Mother's Day is exclusive of fathers, Ground Hog's day is exclusive of all other varieties of mammals, and July 4th is exclusive of other nations' independence.

If the organizers of the Daddy-Daughter Dance wished to take one night to celebrate that very special, critically important (reams of psychological data demonstrate so), traditional, beautiful, mislabeled as "archaic"(did she REALLY say archaic? How unfortunate) tried and true, relationship between a father and his daughter(s) then I would rejoice with them and encourage them to continue just as it is.

If someone would like to celebrate a different type of relationship, and yes it would be a different type of relationship, then by all means organize a celebration and have fun with it. Had I known about the Daddy Daughter dance beforehand I would have been there, count me in for next year.


...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:27 AM [+]
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15 comments

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Where the blacktop ends

For me, it ends at the dock. And yesterday after I made the dash to catch the ferry I stood on the "sun" (yeah right) deck to watch the city shrink, one of the local hick radio stations (which I proudly listen to) played this song. I'm sure you are weary of me explaining how country songs hit me, but oh well. Every ferry ride home is a little weekend country escape...and while I may opt to keep my shoes on, Sue: Give me some fresh air, give me that farm; Give me some time with you in my arms; Far away from the hustle and the pressure and the noise...

Gonna kick off my shoes
And run in bare feet
Where the grass and the dirt and the gravel all meet
Goin' back to the well gonna visit old friends
And feed my soul where the blacktop ends

I'm lookin' down the barrel of Friday night
Ridin' on a river of freeway lights
Goodbye city I'm country bound
'Til Monday rolls around

Gonna kick off my shoes
And run in bare feet
Where the grass and the dirt and the gravel all meet
Goin' back to the well gonna visit old friends
And feed my soul where the blacktop ends

Workin' in the grind is an uphill road
Punchin' that clock and carryin' that load
I bust it all week and then I'm free
The weekend belongs to me

Gonna kick off my shoes
And run in bare feet
Where the grass and the dirt and the gravel all meet
Goin' back to the well gonna visit old friends
And feed my soul where the blacktop ends

Give me some fresh air give me that farm
Give me some time with you in my arms
Far away from the hustle and the pressure and the noise

Gonna kick off my shoes
And run in bare feet
Where the grass and the dirt and the gravel all meet
Goin' back to the well gonna visit old friends
And feed my soul, you betcha

Gonna kick off my shoes
And run in bare feet
Where the grass and the dirt and the gravel all meet
Goin' back to the well gonna visit old friends
And feed my soul where the blacktop ends

Where the blacktop ends

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 11:47 AM [+]
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Axios!

Some have asked about what exactly we were doing down there in Vegas...well the gist of it as I, a novice in all things, gather is that we the clergy and laity of the Dicoese of the West were giving our "Axios" to who we believed ought to be Bishop for our diocese. Ultimately it is up to the Holy Synod to decide, which everyone expects will indeed be Bishop BENJAMIN.

By the way, here is his "controversial" official picture:

As someone told me recently, according to 19th century Orthodox tradition, official episcopal photos must have the subject appearing as if his hamster has just died.

Here is a pictorial account of the meeting...if you look close you might find my ugly mug in there as well as a few more attractive familiar ones.

There is one picture taken during the Moleben in which Bishop SERAPHIM is "sprinkling" us...alas the picture does not fully communicate the extent of the drenching we all received. There was not a dry upper body in the whole temple.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:58 AM [+]
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8 comments

There's only so much room

You often hear that we humans are only using 10% of our brain's potential, but I've never heard how this stat was derived thus leading me to wonder if it is simply the wishful thinking and selling point of motivational/human potential speakers.

Thomas Edison is quoted as saying, "We know less than one millionth of one percent about anything." Since Edison's time there have been A LOT of scientific papers published and I would contend that we have been gaining knowledge on a logarithmic scale such that we are perhaps closing in on the full one percent mark, but of course how could one measure such a thing? Suffice to say we do know a lot more now than we did in Edison's time.

But scientific knowledge is not the only knowledge out there. Christ illumined us, but I think to a large degree we are now beginning (or perhaps more accurate to say returning) to better implement on a large societal wide scale the teachings of Christ, even if we no longer recognize them as such. A good example is how we used to torture and/or kill heretics. I don't believe some secularized reduction of religious importance led us to stop doing this - I hope - but rather we more fully implemented the spirit and teachings of our Lord. Anyway, that's a sidebar.

For all the knowledge we have gained, few of us can claim to be possessors of it all, instead we have been unfathomably specialized. So specialized that we are hardly able to do anything for ourselves anymore if it lies remotely outside of our realm of expert knowledge. I picture a molecular biologist who has trouble tying his shoes and thus buys velcro all the time (seriously). I wonder if in all our vast specialized knowledge if we have begun to make room in our heads by throwing out stuff we deem "obsolete" or "not needed"?

Knowledge such as that which has been handed down from simpler times that afforded us the ability to be more self-sufficient? Or even moral knowledge? A more clear picture of right and wrong? Who has time to teach such things when we are so busy teaching each other how to convert wav files to mp3? Or trying desperately to remember the 56 different passwords we must juggle? It's ironic that I know how to detect and identify a single viral particle in a millilter of blood, but I have to struggle to know how to be a good dad.

I often joke about how crappy my memory is, but I suspect our collective memory is equally bad.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:22 AM [+]
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Monday, February 05, 2007

Prayer please...

I knew Larry and I would become friends when he first told me about shooting coons on his deck, opting to go with a .22 instead of his shotgun which had gotten to be too messy. He also, in times of much need, has offered some of the most beautiful encouraging words to my wife and I with regard to our often spastic children.

Larry was taken to the hospital today because he was having difficulty breathing. Please keep him in your prayers.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 2:28 PM [+]
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4 comments

Free Karim!

Karim, a blogger from Egpyt, took a brave stand after the Copts underwent a new wave of persecution in 2005. He now faces 10 years in prison (after already being thrown out of his university) for "spreading information disruptive of public order and damaging to the country’s reputation", "incitement to hate Islam" and "defaming the President of the Republic". Amnesty international has more here.

Karim's blog is here, but it is all in Arabic...however, he has links to a variety of intriguing organizations fighting for basic civil rights in the Middle East, such as HAMSA.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 11:52 AM [+]
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11 comments

The buying and selling of relics

'Holy relic' ad angers Russians

An interesting history, if true, on these relics. One would hope they would be donated to the Church. Relics OUGHT to have no commercial value...buying them off of ebay is about as good an idea as buying a kidney there.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 11:45 AM [+]
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Weekend Farm events

Well, the chicken run is functionally finished. We still need to get some netting to prevent birds of prey from wrecking havoc, but for now the chickens have begun their normal chicken routine: roaming the run in the day and back into the coop for the night. Of course, never having been outside before, they are a tad timid and really only a couple have strayed as far as three feet from their door. Others stand inside staring and peaking out which is quite a funny sight. Sue has a pic of the run at her blog.

The other big farm event was our acquisition of a farm truck. And boy is it a farm truck: 1973 GMC 3/4 ton pickup, complete with a beefy 350 motor and plenty of rust. Evolved over nearly 25 years, in no uncertain terms, to haul wood, manure, dirt, feed, goats, small tractors, and rocks. It is beautiful in its ugliness.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 9:32 AM [+]
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Flying Home

Vegas Post #4

A few brief reflections on the last couple of days...

Well, we have made our recommendation for the Holy Synod to consider Bishop BENJAMIN. It was a wonderful service at St. Paul's in Vegas - feasibly the largest Parish I have ever attended a liturgy in. With 50 priests in attendance and a host of readers, choir members and directors, the music was stunning to me. Bishop SERAPHIM of Canada presided and at his entrance the music was especially fantastic, in my little mind one can truly see how that ancient Russian delegation to Constantinople reported back that they were unable to tell if they were on earth or in heaven.

It was lovely and I had a chance afterwards to say hello to Fr. Joseph Hirsch, who during my schooling at Regis University played a pivotal role in my becoming Orthodox. Afterwards a host of us headed out to grab a bit of animal flesh to eat (it is a fast free week after all) and we got some drinks and toasted Bishop BENJAMIN - how often does one get to have a drink with an Archimandrite. The entire affair had a very upbeat and joyful feel to it.

I've spent more social time with clergy in the last few days than I have likely done in all my previous life. Fact is, they are pretty normal human beings - even the bishops. (Well...most of them.) Fr. Christopher, Fr. Dn. Mark, and I had numerous misadventures and spent a good deal of time laughing with and at one another. To any of my California readers, if you still are with me here, we nearly paid you a visit by accident.

A couple of intriguing things I learned: Alex Rodriguez..."A-Rod" has become an Orthodox Christian and I'm told he is quite devout. Fr. Jonah and his monks brew beer and make wine, he tells me they have a great IPA.

Now I wish to investigate a profound mystery of Art Bellian proportions. One very prominent Northwest priest arrived slightly late for the diocesan election and then left – we presume - immediately after it was over. Nobody saw the means by which he arrived and nobody saw the means by which he left. Many are suggesting, unless one can provide evidence to the contrary (i.e. an airline receipt) that we may have been witness to some Ephremite teleportation going on here. Throughout our very long commute home (Fr. Christopher and I arrived home around 4 am) we oft noted with hints of jealously the number of hours that this good priest had already been home.

One last jab at Vegas. We went to dinner at a place that happened to be inside a mall. However, the mall was not content to be a mall, but rather tried to style itself as an outdoor village market complete with rain, thunder and lightning (on the hour M-Th). That pretty much sums up the whole place - most everything is one big plaster façade where people can escape reality, which is one of our favorite pastimes .

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:58 AM [+]
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11 comments

The Mission Retreat

Vegas Post #3

Recognizing the extent of my inexperience, I none-the-less will note that I have never seen so many priests in one place. Black abounded.

Some of them I know - like Fr. Jonah from St. John's monastery - but many more I'd never met. I was also able to meet Bishop BENJAMIN, who seems like an altogether ordinary guy who might very well be your next door neighbor. And I mean that in a very positive way - he projects a real sense of approachability, both in his appearance and in how he speaks.

I find myself impressed by the missionary zeal being expressed through the talks - not a raging out of control fire sort of zeal, but a controlled, humble, and intelligent one that is taking serious the Great Commission.

More intriguing is that there seems to be a real sobriety about the problems that the OCA faces - particularly, I am told in east coast parishes where one all too often finds ethnic ghettos that in one way or another turns the authority of priests and bishops upon their heads. I was encouraged to seem this being perceived as an issue, even though I am very much unfamiliar with it personally.

Except, when I went to my family reunion, I met a number of Orthodox people - either in the OCA or in the Carpatho-Russian Archdiocese. What I learned is that there is a very evident trend amongst these very old ethnic parishes: many people of my father's generation or older were Orthodox, but hardly ANY of mine were.

The reason for this is quite clear, the people of my generation had become assimilated to North America - they had become Americans first, Slovaks second. But their parishes had not done so in any way whatsoever. Slavonic was still used and the Church was all too easily identified with their ethnicity rather than something that would save them. It's tragic, and it continues.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:57 AM [+]
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Viva Las Vegas? Not so much.

Vegas Post #2

I've been to Reno numerous times, but I don't think I've ever done anything more than drive through Vegas before. Our arrival early Monday afternoon had me marveling at the brownness of it all. Rest assured, despite all human efforts, it is and remains a desert. A century ago people died trying desperately to get past this hell hole, now many people yearn to come here and for the most part having arrived die in an entirely different way.

One word comes to mind as I look around Vegas: fake. I feel like I'm walking through a big outrageous theme park. Everything seems like a shallow attempt (albeit expensive) to appear fantastically real and awe inspiring (man's attempt to rival God's natural handiwork in the mountains and stars) and as if that weren't bad enough, the fakeness is richly and extravagantly decorated with all manner of shiny nonsensical crap. Advertising - mostly for shows - pound you repeatedly with all the subtlety of a successful jihadist suicide bomber.

The freeway landscaping is beautifully and naturally dressed up with rocks...brown rocks...lots of them. Astonishingly enough, I noticed vast housing tracts, suggesting that people actually do live here. I could be wrong, but I rather suspect the yards of these houses were composed of the very same rocks the freeways used. Though I did notice a few homes occupied by environmental rebels and anarchists who did make war and tried to grow lawns.

As you can see, Las Vegas holds absolutely and positively ZERO appeal to me.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:56 AM [+]
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Watching the stares

Vegas Post #1 (Not having internet access, I am posting now what I wrote over the last few days)

Presently leaving for the OCA Mission Retreat followed by the special diocesan assembly to nominate a bishop.

Walking through the airport with Fr. Christopher (in his cassock) I noticed how everyone stared at him - usually with confused expressions. However, one of the TSA agents knew to refer to him as father and Fr. Christopher noted that people who come from more traditional catholic backgrounds (in other words, not originally from the United States) often recognize him as a priest.

Save for the occasional Orthodox, everyone else gawks as politely as they can. If I could hear the thoughts of people around me as we walk down the concourse, I expect I'd hear a lot of "Whoa, what's up with that dude?"

Well, despite the traditional cramped quarters, the flight was uneventful with no need for us to use our inflatable life vests or the ramps as life rafts - I'm sure because Fr. Christopher blessed the plane as we took off.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:39 AM [+]
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