hmm, perhaps born in wrong decade?

•June 24, 2008 • 1 Comment

134

As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

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What’s your Blogs reading level?

•June 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

blog readability test

TV Reviews

Tongues of Fire and their implications for us all.

•June 16, 2008 • 2 Comments

Pentecost

The Orthodox Church is masterful at setting before us some seeming dichotomies. At the Feast of Pentecost, literally the birth of the Christian Church, we have such an apparent paradox, and it is one that has caused me to think a good deal about several issues, as well as causing no small amount of consternation within and outside of myself.
I actually began to write this post a year ago at the Feast of Pentecost. At that point in time, I had noticed a good deal of talk about in the media and in everyday conversation about English and it’s role and place in American life and as the default business “lingua-franca”. At that point in time, I had just completed my first semester of College Spanish. I have a long standing love of the Spanish language, going back to the five years I had in high school. I find it to be a most beautiful and expressive language. I say all that to say that Spanish also seems to be the object of much ire here in the United States due to the fact that it is the native tongue of our neighbors to the south, Mexico. But alas, I really digress a good deal here. In fact, I honestly don’t remember all of the thoughts that I was having at that time.
What was brought to the fore for me this year however were two completely different notions, both of which were epiphanies. The first occurred during the Great Vespers of the Feast. I was privileged to be able to read the three Old Testament readings, including the one from the Prophecy of Joel:

Joel 2:23-32 (Vespers, 2nd Reading)

23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you– The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month.
24 The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.
25 So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame. And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame.
27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.
28 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
32 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the Lord has said, Among the remnant whom the Lord calls.

Coming from the background that I did, I was not unfamiliar with this prophecy. In fact, anyone who has been a part of the Charismatic Movement, be it as an Evangelical Protestant. or Roman Catholic, is familiar with it. It is a proof-text for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the coming promise of His outpouring upon all flesh,. he part that always puzzled yet fascinated me was the first verse, which in the more familiar translations speaks of “the former and the latter rains combined”. This had stuck with me for 25 years. I had inquired of Orthodox priests as to its significance, but found no real answers.
Then, while listening to Fr. Gregory’s homily this past Sunday, it hit me. The former rain was that first outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that given to the Apostles to forgive sins. The latter rain was that recorded in the 2nd chapter of Acts. This led to another epiphany, that we are all given exactly the same measure of the Holy Spirit, the former and the latter rain combined. Fr. Gregory’s message was that it is our response to this outpouring that is determinate of the effect that it has in and on our liuves. He does a much better job with the theology than I, and I strongly suggest reading his recent blog entry on the matter for clarity and coherence.
Anyway, these are my rambling thoughts and musings. Pentecost undoes the resultant division that came around from man’s arrogance at the tower of Babel. The outpouring of the Spirit holds great promise. The disciples rocked the world as a result. Will you and I do the same ? We will if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in love towards our fellow man, as well as the whole of creation. I really like what Fr. Gregory has to say in his entry, and for lack of better words, I will leave you with his:

If we wish to acquire for ourselves the gift of the Holy Spirit, if we wish to experience the fullness of what we have received, let us go where the Holy Spirit is, let us do what the Holy Spirit does. Taking our cue from the Kontakion, we acquire the gift of the Holy Spirit by our willingness to love others, to forgive and to encourage others. We grow in the Holy Spirit only to the degree that we cooperate in the Spirit’s work of reconciling of the whole human family to God the Father in Jesus Christ. To acquire the Holy Spirit let each of us be committed to be a sign and a cause of reconciliation in ways great and small.

Some Fun!

•June 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment


Thanks to Fr. Gregory Jensen for this wicked fun toy. He did something worthy, I had fun!

Two quick shout outs!

•March 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here, and that’s ok. There are so may others doing so many wonderful things in the “blogosphere” that I’m not too worried.
I did however want to give props to two of my favorite bloggers, Fr. Gregory Jensen, and Fr. Stephen Freeman who have recently posted two excellent reflections.
Fr. Gregory’s musings on the Scandal of the Gospel and Fr. Stephen’s insight into the commodification of the same are both well worth the effort.
Happy blogging to all!

Anyone?Anyone?

•February 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

expelled
I like Ben Stein. From his dead-pan role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” to his crazy game show, “Win Ben Stein’s Money”. I never knew that he had been a political speech writer, nor a social activist, nor did I have any idea that he cared so deeply about the current debate over Evolution v. Creation.
Let me preface this by saying that I hold a Theistic Evolution point of view. Certainly, as an Orthodox Christian I believe that we, and all of creation are fashioned by God, by Jesus Christ, who is “of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made”.
I do however accept the idea that change has occurred over eons of time, and that God has enabled and directed that change. Not fish to monkey to man mind you, but changes within species, adaptations to environment and other conditioning factors, yes.
I’m not asking “anyone” (nudge nudge, wink wink) to agree with me here, rather I wanted to give some further exposure to Steins ambitious and rather risky new film, “Expelled”
Take a look at the trailer:

It seems Stein can be serious after all.

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Now playing: Lost Dogs – A Vegas Story
via FoxyTunes

Alot like The Eagles, except they’re better!

•January 16, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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And they have a conscience, and a boat load of talent , and oh, did I mention a deep and abiding faith?
I was over at
“The Sporting News” managing my fantasy basketball teams, but I had to come on to make this post.
I have been absolutely overcome by some of the flat out best music I’ve heard in quite some time. I have been so floored that I’ve wanted to call all my friends and tell them they must listen to these roughly dozen CDs from a group of decidedly non-CCM CCMers Including Daniel Amos, The Swirling Eddies, Terry Scott Taylor and last, but certainly not least, The Lost Dogs. It is the latter to which I have devoted the last several hours of my aural attention, and by which my faith in music in general and “contemporary Christian Music in particular has been renewed.
I had first been attracted to “CCM” in the early 1980s and was fortunately exposed very early on to the likes of the 77s and Daniel Amos. I think I may have been a bit to naive as a young lad in my twenties to fully appreciate the intricacies of life in the real world, and thus left to perhaps not fully appreciate the depth, sincerity and truth that these guys were singing about. And then again, they too were younger and greener at the time. I do remember that I thought the 77s completely rocked. They were raw, energetic and authentic and I loved ’em. Mike Rowe’s raw baritone and his screaming Fender guitar were all it took to get me hooked. I was also being introduced to other bands at about the same time. U2 was still a relative unknown when “Boy” and “October” were released. I remember the raw urgency of Bono’s vocals and Larry Evan’s manic guitar riffs. Once again, I detected a genuineness and a longing.
I then took an extended vacation in the abyss of mainstream CCM, ranging from the traditional “praise” music of Kieth Green and Dallas Holm to the pop-ier 2nd Chapter of Acts, the highly commercialized “White Heart”, “Stryper”, and the ‘scandalous’ cross over sensation Amy Grant, and some darn fine stuff from Phil Keaggy and “The Choir”. Then came the “metal phase”, A whole bevy of shaggy haired guys with tattoos of the crucifixion on their backs (sometimes stomachs), some of whom rocked very hard, and a few who actually had something good, even powerful to say. (See “Scatrd Few”, “The Crucified”) And then like a bolt from the blue came 1992s “Scenic Routes”. The premiere from this CCM “Supergroup”, The Lost Dogshttp://www.thelostdogs.com/. I was totally blown away, and like any good head-banger, I was shocked at how drawn I was to this neo-country outfit. The talent level and musicianship simply blew me away. I bought the second disc, “Little Red Riding Hood” as soon as I could lay my hands on it. The third, “Green Room Serenade” nearly wore out my cd player and found extensive airplay from me on Sunday nights when I took over the airwaves at a small local FM station, back in a time when there still were such things, and when management actually let local hicks do their own programming.
Alas, in the midst of life’s twists and turns, I lost track of “The Dogs” at this point in time, but was recently reminded of their genius and blessed to acquire several of their more recent offerings from a friend at the parish. His generosity also brought me 2 Terry Taylor solo discs, “John Wayne” and “Avocado Fault Line”, the former of which is brilliant and the latter of which is growing on me. Hhe also provided me wit Daniel Amos’s “MotorCycle”. I knew of the disc, but, WOW, how had I forgotten how awesome it is! He also had the hard to find “Mr. Buechner’s Dream”, of which I had only ever heard the first disc. And finally, four of the Dog’s cds that I hadn’t been acquainted with; “Gift Horse”, “Real Men Cry” ( the first after the untimely passing of Adam Again’s Gene Eugene), “The Lost Cabin and The Mystery Trees”, and most powerfully, most poignantly to me, “Nazarene Crying Towel”
As Steve loaded his treasured cds into the box for me to borrow, he mentioned that N.C.T. was a very different, unique Lost Dogs disc. What he didn’t tell me was that I would be singing along and harmonizing on my first listen to the astounding opening track, “Moses In The Desert”, or swaying to “Come Down Here”, wanting to play spoons to accompany “Jesus On The Shore”, nor lost in awe and wonder on “Crushing Hand” and “The Darkest Night”
So here I am, standing on the roof of the blogosphere yelling: IF YOU HAVEN’T LISTENED TO THE LOST DOGS OR HAVEN’T DONE SO LATELY, DO IT AT ONCE!!, ’nuff said.
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Now playing: Lost Dogs – That’s Where Jesus Is
via FoxyTunes