31 July 2016

Reflection on the Sunday Gospel Matt 18, 23-35

It often seems to me the hardest thing to do is forgive. Generally as humans, we don't want to forgive those who have wronged us, even for the most minor of offenses.

Something that you've probably heard from me before, forgiveness is a grace. It's not something that is natural to the vast majority of our beings.

It's a lot easier to hold grudges against people than it is to forgive them. Yes, we pray during the Liturgy, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. (from the Our Father) and we do know Our Lord's words of drop anything against one's brother before coming to the altar.

Let us extend the mercy that God shows to us, unto others...so that we might set aside all earthly cares.

30 July 2016

30 questions about church

30 Church questions: 

  1. Favourite Saint? Ss: Therese of Leisiux, St Tatyana of Rome, Cyril and Methodius
  2. Favourite Liturgical Season? Easter Season
  3. Favourite Theologian of the past? St Simeon the New Theologian
  4. Favourite Theologian of today? Pope Benedict XVI
  5. Novus Ordo or Ad Orientem? Liturgy of St John Chrysostom which is already celebrated Ad Orientem
  6. Latin or Vernacular? Neither, Church Slavonic ;)
  7. Favourite book of the Bible? Numbers
  8. Favourite Hymn of Advent? I don’t have one
  9. Favourite Hymn of Christmas? God the Lord Eternal
  10. Favourite Hymn of Lent? I don’t have one
  11. Favourite Hymn of Easter? Christos Voskres
  12. Favourite Pope? Pope Benedict XVI
  13. Favourite Theology book? The Philiokalia
  14. Favourite Hymn to Our Lady? Mary, Look upon us
  15. Favourite Gregorian chant? The introit of Epiphany
  16. Favourite Hymn of Ordinary Time? How’s Sunday after Pentecost? :p O Holy Spirit
  17. Favourite Mysteries of the Rosary? Sorrowful
  18. Do you pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy? On various occasions
  19. Do you pray the chaplet of St Michael? No, I do not.
  20. Favourite Litany? The Litany of Peace
  21. Favourite Feast day? Pascha and St Therese day
  22. Is your church’s Tabernacle behind the altar or off to the side? Neither, it’s on the altar, in most Eastern churches, the Tabernacle is on the altar of sacrifice, we do not separate them.
  23. Favourite Devotion: the chyotki, Jesus prayer
  24. Favourite Title of Our Lady: Theotokos of Kazan
  25. Person I want canonised soon? Bl Theodore
  26. Favourite Psalm? 51
  27. Favourite Bible verse? Ps 68, 1
  28. Date of Baptism: Oct 17
  29. Date of Confirmation: May 22
  30. Name 5 things you would do if you were Pope? a. restore full rights and privileges to all Eastern Catholic churches (aka allowing Eastern synods to name their own bishops and do their own canonisations) b. put eastern rites fully under eastern bishops. c. revoke the communion in the hand and standing for communion in the western churches indult. d. dissolve Bishops’ conferences. e. give official patriarch status to the UGCC Major Archbishop. 

18 July 2016

15 July 2016

Things I find a bit interesting

a. If someone in their regular 9-5 job, were suddenly to start getting political and start endorsing particular issues or view points, rightly, someone would potentially be angry and tell them to stick to their job. In particular in two fields, religion and education, so many times people are told, don't tell us what to think, or who to endorse for a particular issue. Why aren't athletes held to the same standard? Why do so many give them a pass, just because of physical gifts? There are forums for the political process, in the middle of something that's supposed to be a distraction from the every day grind isn't one of them. (Just as my classroom is not the place to teach people what to think either.) Heck, I find the same to be true even if one is a political commentator, one should stick to the issues at play, and attack the ideas, not really be interjecting opinion as sticking to facts. (Obviously if one is hosting an opinion show, this is quite different)

b. Guilt by association seems to be rising much lately. Suddenly, just because one person screws up, EVERYONE by then must be of the same make up or model. Doesn't matter who this applies to, authority, religion. Who knew we were all robots and exactly the same....guess I must have missed the memo that there's zero individuality within situations. But I forgot, this is a world where we are trying to transform people into parroting robots simply repeating the agenda that's given to them instead of actually educating them.

c. Presumption before facts come out. It is always necessary to read between the lines to see things that are not there? Is it really that painful to wait until objective reports have been made from those without an agenda one way or the other? Of course I should know the answer to this question already.I forget, it's guilt until proven innocent now. Because 'Murica....

d. Russian is my favourite language.....this meme is both cute and very accurate as to how I feel most days....

10 July 2016

The Rant to end all rants…or something to that degree, save all questions, comments or concerns for the end of the rant.

I do not often use this as a social media pulpit (my thought being, if one wishes to change society, one should do so in actual society, working through the legislative, and social processes that we do have)….You’ll have to bear with this rant, because I’m covering a lot of material in one post, so if you’re ready, here we go...

a. The ends do not justify the means….

In short, one can’t do evil to achieve a good, or one can’t do something bad to achieve a good. Rioting just because someone disagrees with a policy or the actions of a few within the whole, not only does it make one look extremely reckless, but it confirms any preconceived notions that people who are racist have. (Aka, one is making them look correct). A person with any kind of preconceived notions more often times than not will not be convinced by logic. In order to reach hearts, one must destroy any preconceived notions in short, by showing them not to be true. If someone tends to think a particular group of people are savages, or whine and complain a bit too much when things don’t go their way, and they do this constantly, this confirms what is already believed. However, if one is able to show the opposite of what these notions, over time, perhaps it’s not a fruit that one will live to see, but it will be in another generation, thoughts will be softened as to be open to different ideas about people.

To extend this to events of recent times. Is it entirely possible that the approach some of these movements take undermine the very arguments they are trying to make? I definitely think this is the case. If one has a problem with the local police, why make a media circus out of it? Why not ask questions, and ask, why these policies are done, or why these things are happening? It seems to me, a matter of subisidarity that before reaching for the big hammer that is the media pulpit, one should seek to solve problems on the local level. For the things that happen locally, are not necessarily a reflection of a national trend one way or the other. Do we not as a society believe that people are innocent until proven guilty? Seems to me now, the opposite is true, every time an event comes up, a certain group absolutely has to play victim, whine, complain, and suddlenly, whala, complaining gets transformed into something that punishes the people that are innocent of any wrongdoing, instead of actually going after the source of the problem. 

Does all this mean that problems do not exist within society? Of course not, people would be foolish to think that society and their relations with the various forms of authority is perfect. But these problems aren’t as magnified as they’re made out to be more often times than not. Alas, man has ancestral sin, which leads to tons of problems. But the few bad eggs of movements, religions, authority figures, etc, does not imply that everyone is like that. 

It seems to me people fall into two traps….one that tends to throw out the baby with the bathwater, the other is them ignoring the elephant that’s in the room. 

For example, some people are not a fan of Trump saying, let’s deal with the problem of illegal immigration, and terrorism by deporting illegals, and temporarily banning muslims from the country. The first extreme is that people start painting with a brush as wide as the world, that anyone who supports such concerns is automatically racist (insert your favourite buzzword here), or does not have a heart to care about people. The second extreme is that people sometimes tend to say there’s absolutely no problem at all, and we can just let everyone in, no matter what. Problem is of course both extremes are wrong. The solution is somewhere in the middle, the part that does not punish those that are innocent, and the part that only deals with the extreme element of terrorism (Islam is not all like Christianity, there is no Pope to speak for them, to really identify who is an orthodox muslim and who isn’t….practices can vary from mosque to mosque….imam to imam) (I’m quite thankful to my muslim friends who rightly condemn terrorism acts and this kind of foolishness)…..Of course it’s also true that 10%-20% (the alleged element of extremists) of a billion is 100 000 000 - 200 000 000, it’s not something that can be treated lightly….Yes, it’s true that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, (aka, we don’t need to go around assuming Muslims are terrorists)…but it’s also not horrible to be concerned about activity and seek to find a solution for it. Really, if you want my opinion (you’re getting it anyway) it’s a problem Islam needs to solve for itself on a massive scale. 

b. love is not love….I blame English

Objectively, the love one has for things is not equal or the same, by virtue of the fact that things are different. The love that one has for an animal is different than one has for a human. (Yes, I understand that some people like animals, (in particular cats in my case) more than humans, because the humans often times emit stupidity to levels that one can’t often control. Other languages have more than one expression for love, and can use it to describe different things, depending on the situation. As I’m often known for saying, I love everyone, not necessarily equally, some I love a bit more than others. I know there’s a tendency to equate things that are not equal in the first place. But alas, I’m afraid that’s quite a big misunderstanding of how equality works….both mathematically and within the realm of the physical. As we know, the equal sign does not imply that two sides are physically the same thing, only their mathematical equivalence. (For a physical and mathematical equivalence one would use the defined as symbol instead of the equal sign, for example impulse is defined as the change in momentum. Or Kinetic energy is defined as ½ mass times speed squared.) So no, love is not love, no matter how hard one tries to make it the same….Please quit trying to make them the same….the minute that you do, you’ll be able to solve ln x = e^x using algebra alone in real numbers :p

c. The Just-us system (™)

It’s amazing what would get you and I put in the slammer for life, the government official gets off scot free much of the time. Why is this? Well, absolute power corrupts absolutely. One can’t tell me they trust the “best run criminal enterprise in world history” ™  to be fair, when it won’t even prosecute itself during its own wrongdoing (in this case Hillary i was president when Bill was too busy checking out Monica’s chest Clinton) We have a situation where the government is absolutely accountable to no one except itself. If it isn’t obvious there needs to be a solution to this problem (in the form of both congress and state legislatures to be able to override decisions of the federal government’s other branches, I don’t know what is. I don’t even want to call it corrupt, it’s right in front of us….they’re not being sneaky, I don’t even think words can describe what’s going on. 

d. Sometimes, words can’t express things

Really, it’s true, and for me, often times than not, words do not express what goes on in my head. (Those of you that are victims of the death glare, probably can testify to this point). I will take my dear time when it comes to finding my voice. (just a tad bit of an OCD perfectionist :p)….but once I find it, all hell breaks loose :D…..