15 August 2017

Blessed feast of the Formation of the Theotokos

 O Theotokos, in giving birth you preserved virginity, and in your falling asleep, you did not forsake the world. You are the Mother of Life, and have been transferred to Life, and through your prayers you deliver our souls from death.

A different take on recent events...

I'm sure we've all been waiting for my take on the events of recent happening in Charlottesville, well, we're still going to have to wait, because quite frankly there are other issues that I think need addressing (and somehow I think you'll understand), and I'll use this blog which has a small audience to address those points.

a. Racism through law vs Racism of people

Many people are rightly trying to bring up the point about racism being a problem, and many are coming out condemning the white nationalists and the neo-nazis and such things...but did we ever stop to think that we've done more to commit to Racism via laws and our education system than anything an individual has done?

A couple examples of this:

1. Affirmative action: Or the quota that a specific number of minorities must be hired for thing x, y, or z. Effectively translated, you're not good enough to stand on your own merits, so we need to fix the competition to help you. I find it absolutely insulting to think that I can't stand on my own merits, education, etc, I'd be completely embarrassed if this is how I landed a job, just because they needed x number of minorities for such a position...

2. The lowering of school standards: To say that a nonwhite person can't complete the standards of a particular school, and so we must lower them just because they're a particular race, is also insulting. It's as if to say, we think you're an idiot because you're this particular race....If that isn't racist, I can't say what is.

But, of course, to dare to say these things would probably lead to a considerable amount of criticism. (Oh well, I'm not in this for the sake of popularity)

Those are, of course, only 2 of a perpetual amount of examples I could mention.....The problem is that it creates a victim mentality, that a particular group of people must be helped because of some wrongs in the past. The people of the present, while related to those of the past possibly, are not those people, and we can't have a guilt by association attitude towards these people. Not only is it very un-Christian to associate the modern people with the sins of the past, it's just plain not logical to do so. Quite literally, they're different people from those of the past. Just as it's the same that not all people who hold conservative points of view are ergo racist or all people who hold liberal points of view are idiots. While I'm sure that creates plenty of click bait headlines, and gets the attention one is seeking, it does not help, creating a false narrative, or a false equation of things. That false narrative contributes more to the downfall of things than people realise.

A person that happens to be racist, or thinks in such ways is doing quite similarly, having a collective judgement, by the actions of a few individuals. I absolutely think racism is reprehensible, that said, it's hard when there's crimes committed or when a certain injustice, not to have a particular influence on what one thinks. While once again, not justifying anything, much of the "Anti-White" or the "Anti-Black" or "Anti-whatever" comes from insert your stereotype here. In some cases, it's breaking the law to come into the country, in other places, it's looting, in other situations, it was the past in allowance of civil rights. My point being, that there is something to contribute to the attitude of these particular situations.

Consider the following, would one rather want a person to be openly racist, or use the means of the law to hide their racism? Not much of a choice, but I must say, I have much more respect for those who are openly racist, rather than those that use the means of compassion to hide their racism. In the former situation, I know exactly where they stand, in the latter, they're trying to play me for an idiot and think that I will not see right through them.

Kindness can't be legislated (as hard as we try sometimes)....and we can't force association of people. Why would someone want to associate with someone who doesn't want to associate with them in the first place? To me, that makes absolutely no sense. Forced association creates an animosity towards that particular person or a particular group. I've often heard things said, as we may not like your people as a whole, but we like you individually. I've also heard things such as we don't like you individually, but we like you collectively. Would you much rather someone BS a friendship with you? Or that friendship come through authentic means? If someone or a particular group doesn't wish to associate with me, by all means, don't. I'd much rather not be BS'ed into thinking one is a friend when they are not.

We often times enough segregate ourselves, through our neighbourhoods....I've noticed this more in the northern cities, rather than the southern cities that I have been to. There's a certain tension that each group keeps to themselves and does not assimilate, and more often times than not extends to church and various other interactions.

b. The hijacking of symbols

There has seemed to be this modern tendency to want to ban symbols, just because a specific group of people uses them. (Both sides), Whether it be the rainbow from the LGBTQ etc movement or the confederate flag. There have been groups of not so idealistic viewpoints that have also used many things to fit their ends, whether it be the Bible, a torch, etc. People are going to find symbols that they identify with or what not, and use them, this does not mean we go banning symbols just because. If anything, that should give us cause to re-claim the symbols for their original purpose.

c. The erasing of history

So, I'll grant that removing a statue in of itself isn't a removal of history as such. (The stories of our history can still be told) That said, something I always like to say I think applies, just because one can, doesn't mean that one should. Removing a statue because someone's feelings are offended isn't a reason to remove a statue. Do we realise how many statues would be removed if simply feelings and past sins were the case? We wouldn't have Mt. Rushmore, we wouldn't have the Washington Monument and various other historical landmarks. No one would dare think of their removal, I can hardly see how the removal of other statues is different. History is hardly black and white and isn't meant to gloss over the imperfections of everyone involved. Surprise, man has a fallen nature, so when they do something that isn't right, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise. Just because there's a statue up of a particular person or thing does not imply agreement with everything they said or did within their life. There seems to be this attitude of assuming that we're ignoring the not so glossy things of the past, and I truly don't think this is the case.

A perfect example of the erasing of history, is this semi documentary piece, I didn't learn any of this in my history classes. (I'm not a fan of Glenn Beck, but this is a good piece)

Now, let's connect the dots between all of what I'm thinking. There was a protest over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee (Removal of History), some of these people held reprehensible views, some of them happen to have conservative principles. There were protesters protesting the protest....

The viewpoints of the protesters are really a distraction in this whole ordeal that should have never happened in the first place. (There should have been mechanisms to keep the various groups apart, and maintained). In my opinion, this is about revisionism, rather than about the particular views of the individuals. I've always thought that history was a collection of lies told by the victors, but in this circumstance, it seems that the losers of history are trying to re-write things, it's kind of ironic.

To wrap up my thoughts

1. There are people with view points that are reprehensible that hold conservative points of view, this does not imply that a conservative point of view is ergo racist, or insert your buzzword here, there should not be a guilt by association attitude. (The irony is that they, the racists would support abortion, would it ergo make one racist that supports abortion?....They'd try and shoot that down, but it seems this is only one directional conversation.

2. It is much more respectable to be open with one's hostile viewpoints rather than to hide them through compassion. (Aka, I'd rather someone admit to being a racist, rather than use another means to show that)

3. More often times than not, we ourselves segregate ourselves from society, we don't need law to help that out.

4. Forced association leads to this kind of animosity.

5. Yes, it's absolutely reprehensible that racism, anti-Semitism, and other things like this still exist. Truly it is saddening. The trauma needs to end, and solutions do need to be found, but they certainly won't be through law. That said, if someone had a problem with the whole of my race, but liked me individually, I more than likely would not make a big deal out of it, why? Becuase, we're not all robots and think the same. (At least I hope not, what a boring society)....The Jews aren't out to take over the world (or financial sector)....(the fact that some people happen to be so, does not equate all of them towards this mentality)....We don't need to do guilt by association for this kind of thing either.

6. We're called to love everyone. That doesn't mean we need to agree with them on all they say or do. As the Divine Liturgy says, Christ our God is the lover of us all, there is no room for racism within our creed as Christians, our churches can't become ethnic exclusive clubs.

10 August 2017

Thought of the day

Sometimes, the simplest explanation is the one that is actually correct.

26 July 2017

Dissent from the new orthodoxy, Volume I Transgenders and new military polices.

So, rumour has it that President Trump has banned Transgenders from joining the military...Everyone's freaking out, time for some common sense, let's start with the obvious:

 a. Being in the military isn't a right for anyone. 

Thank goodness within the US the Military is voluntary. In other places, one is forced to join the military against their will. So, someone will, of course, have the audacity to ask, if someone wishes to serve their country in this manner, why not let them? Should not be equal opportunity be granted to anyone who asks?

To be in the military requires both physical and emotional fitness and readiness. We don't cry discrimination when disabled people are excluded from the military. Why is this? Well, it's rather obvious is it not? A fighting force needs to be mobile, and able to move quickly or move in case of the enemy attacking. A person who is disabled would have a difficult time doing this quickly or efficiently. I'm sure there are many disabled people who would love to serve our country's military, (Actually, believe it or not, I was going to be hired to be a nuclear physicist for the Navy out of HS, however, I got hit by a car and became legally disabled, thus ended that opportunity)....Could they serve in other capacities? Yes, but fighting on the front lines would be an absolute no no. But one doesn't realise that those positions that are "undeployable" TM, are few and far between. Being in the military, one could be on the move at a moment's notice. For a disabled person, it would be a rather difficult task, and extra accommodations would have to be made...And for a force that needs to be mobile, there's little time to have the accommodations ready in time. There are of course disabled people that serve in the military that got disabled via battle, or within the military complex, and accommodations and things are done for them according to their need. So we can't say that the military hates disabled people, or strictly discriminates.

So what does that have to do with transgender people? The simple answer is this, they proclaim to be a sex which they are not. This would be something that would apply more for those who go from female to male, rather than the other way...but the point, if they think they are male, they should be judged according to the male standards for the physical fitness tests, which would self-exclude the vast majority of those applying to join our nation's military. (There would, of course, be a certain percentage that could pass). For males going to female, they'll easily pass (well, the vast majority) the female standards for admission. There is, of course, also a psychological examination as well, which the question could be asked, if the person is confused as to which gender they are, what else could they possibly be confused about? (The other thing that would have excluded me from the military is that my mum recently passed during that time, and I was very emotionally unstable at the time)....One needs to be able to do the orders of the military, if one is ordered to kill the enemy, one must be able to do it at the drop of a hat, and any traumatic experience may make that a difficult task, if not near impossible task. You can't when preparing to shoot the enemy have a breakdown moment and cry over some past trauma or painful experience and place oneself in more danger than one is already in.....I believe it to be fair for the military to have people that are emotionally stable and prepared to do the task assigned to them.

b. But, Joe, there are already transgenders serving in the military, should they be kicked out?

No, they should be allowed to finish their terms of service that they have signed up for, and have their records looked at on an individual basis, and their renewal of terms, based upon what they have done in the service, not based upon transgenderism, or what not.

c. But what if the transgendered person passes both the physical and psychological evaluations?

These things should be handled on a case by case basis, as it was done beforehand. There doesn't need to be a media circus surrounding these decisions. I feel the same about homosexuals in our military, these things should be handled on a case by case basis. There are many situations, where certain types of people are banned from having a certain job or what not, but, there are case-by-case exemptions made for particular individuals. Just like a job that has a certain qualification level, but employers make exceptions on occasion, I believe the same should happen for our military, there doesn't need to be an open door policy, but things need to be looked at on an individual basis.   

d. In conclusion, supposedly

I'd love to be able to say, that LGBT whatever rights are being taken way, but since when is joining the military a right? They correctly make discriminations based upon all kinds of factors, from physical to emotional, and those standards should be applied equally. 

As I say always, In situations where there is actual discrimination in a negative sense, or one's inalienable rights are not being allowed to be exercised, I will, of course, support these kinds of situations in terms of rights, no one has a right to take a gun away from you for being homosexual or trans. AKA, I don't support stoning people to death because they've made this particular kind of decision. I don't wish to see people jailed for doing this kind of thing. (I'm sorry though, marriage and adoption aren't rights) The problem, of course, when someone constantly complains, is that when there's an actual serious thing going on, one will not be taken seriously. 

There's plenty of mistreatment of these people in society (and vice-versa as well), but being excluded from the military is hardly something to cry over....there are plenty of normal people excluded as well. Actually,  normal people are excluded from the military all the time, why would this situation be any different?

Tolerance is a two-way street, one can't suddenly announce they have a certain thought or wish to do x activity, and be freaked out when people don't all say it's okay. (Give a hint, if it was okay, everyone would probably agree with it or wouldn't be taken aback by it)....There are some that would be okay with such a thing, but there are some that aren't going to be okay with it, but does one need the approval of everyone to do something? Someone, somewhere on the planet probably does not approve of every decision or announcement that someone or yourself have done. This is a world of multiple opinions, and just dismissing them and throwing around buzzwords without substance to the argument is embarrassing and pathetic. Reading motive into things when one doesn't know the person is embarrassing as well. And one more point of ranting....about these bathrooms....is not a public restroom a place to avoid if so possible? Why not shut one's trap, go do one's business and leave? Use one of the family single stalled restrooms and get on with it....Life need not be that complicated really.....Such is an attempt at the new orthodoxy. 

Of course, these situations aren't quite as black and white as they seem, and there's more nuance to them, but should not those cases be treated individually, rather than the collective whole? Yes, it's very easy to paint a situation black and white when one is not in the situation, and i do believe that people that have to carry various crosses should be treated with mercy, compassion, and respect, but that said, it doesn't mean that everyone's special case be made normal. We deal with people as we should...individually. 

15 July 2017

A sort of update and I suppose some comforting words.

a. Joe, what happened to you last week?

Last week, I was involved in a car accident where I got rear ended. The car that hit me was going 25-35 mph. I'm thankful things were not worse, but evaluations with the chiropractor will have me going at least for the next month or so 3x a week. A bit sore on the right side of my shoulder and neck. It is still painful to have full motion on my right side, but well, what can be done?

As the other driver was without insurance, this is going to be all kinds of fun for them....

A week later, and motion on my right side is still not what it was. I suppose it's going to be a long road to recovery....hopefully there will be no complications, my body is all kinds of screwed up already :p

b. It's often said when one door closes, another one opens, or sometimes to that end, there's a reason that various things happen when they do happen. Sometimes it is also said that that we ought to pray as everything depends on God, and act like everything depends on us. I suppose to that end I can state two things.

It's a lot easier to get to Las Vegas, than it is to Russia :p....I was on vacation in Vegas a few weeks ago, coming back to California has reminded me that I need to leave this state once and for all. (Although 3 munchkins will want me to stick around, LA will be a 3 hour drive :p)....

Peace really does come from forgiveness of heart. A certain situation, which I will not specify, I had been praying for, and finally after all these years, it had been answered. It definitely feels great to have found the reconciliation of this particular situation.

Let not one's heart be troubled at the craziness that is going on in the world, from Rome or otherwise. Our Lord is in charge....

Now to find orthodox parishes in Vegas :p

06 July 2017

A prayer request

1. Please pray for the repose of my aunt who recently passed away. (Diferent aunt than the other who passed away)

2. Please pray for me, as I was involved in a car accident and got rear ended and am a bit sore from the accident. Nothing life threatening, but please do pray for me :)

3. Please pray for a special intention as well.

Thank you and God bless.

29 June 2017

Year 15 of a cross that does not get any easier.

It was on this day, and at this time, when my mum passed away, 15 years ago. As I mention often times enough,  of course in your charity if you can offer prayers for me, my mum, and my family, I'd be much appreciative of it.....

Much often times, I say, like it was yesterday is a lived reality, not some hyperbolic expression. There are some days of course which are easier than others, and some days where near break downs happen, I'd like to say that the new normal is so not normal, it takes stability and tosses it to the side.

15 years after the fact, it's not any easier than it was when it first happened. I suppose that now with age comes some slight attempt at wisdom. But more often times, it's battling the feelings of why then, why at that point in my life, and battling the anger and wrath that often goes through my head, and certainly this year with the death of my aunt, it's been not any easier.

A lot of people will point to the story of Job, and how he lost everything....and still kept faithfulness. I am no where near that holy (nor pretend to be so), I often tend to think the saints were much more human than we're lead to believe....and probably had their doubts and fights with God as well.

Of course, I'm still at Sunday Liturgy, and weekday Liturgy whenever possible, but some days it's extremely hard to keep a staight face. I'm still very Catholic, even if barely climbing the ladder of holiness. I think back to all the times that mum did not let me go explore with my friends who weren't Catholic for Sunday Mass, every Sunday we went. (Even if it meant literally dragging me :p)

To say that she's missed is an understatement. There are many big events that are coming, and although I know that she's watching from above, it's not the same without her here. It's not like there's way to call and hear her voice again. It's kind of difficult, especially thinking of the big M's (Marriage and movement)

May mum's memory be eternal and she have blessed repose.

O Lord, in your goodness, remember your servants and forgive whatever sins they committed in their life for no one is sinless but you alone. You have the power to grant rest to the departed.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever Amen.

With the saints, O Chrisat, give rest to your servants, where there is no pain, sorrow, nor mourning, but life everlasting.