1.31.2005

have I slept too much

I love the examination of conscience in the prayer book. questions like have I kept the fasts and the feasts? both are equally important. have I eaten or drunk or slept too much? Its so great because it implies a need to know yourself and know how much of anything is too much. Know thyself. How can we know ourselves without knowing God? In order to know ourselves, we generally have to compare ourselves to someone else, because there is no such thing as a view from nowhere, and when we see ourself, how can we know what it means unless there is something else to compare to. So, we look at God and realize we are so far from where we ought to be, but at the same time that He is allowing us to become more like Him. Being towards life, life now and later. As well, being towards death, which in turn is life, but knowing that we will die one day and hoping that we die well. praying for mercy and peace.
Oh, and like I said on a comment, it will not be a bad thing, but a good thing to marry an orthodox girl. its all so new to me, like walking around in a new and beautiful city, its shining and squeaky clean. not perfect but joy squeezes out of the cracks of the buildings, and sounds out in muffled kyries from underground, and lands on your ears from the flitting birds diving through sunshine and light breeze. and calm peace wafts from the fire on a summer evening, warming your being, not just your soul or body. but everything. mostly because your friends helped you build it.

1.30.2005

welcome home.

It is the phrase ringing in my head, people I know deeply, people I barely know, hugging me and welcoming me home, genuinely. I know that the home I am entering is one that has people in it, with real warts and warm hearts. Good intentions and selfish tendencies, people like me. honest people. And, they are all here because they are loving God, out of that comes a love of people. It is a real community, I know I idealize it, and I am very much in a honeymoon stage with this thing, but I am going to enjoy it while I am here. I pray that we all will be given strength to endure the reality, drudgery that is real life. I see that this people group, this place and this encounter with the Almighty is one that brings so much joy. right now, writing and thinking about it, I almost feel it, and that is not at all the point.

I had a friend here this weekend, visiting from out of town, a girl who I have known in various capacities over the past five years. We have such a safe relationship because we were in a romantic relationship in the past. because it is safe, and we don't think of each other in terms of what the other offers us in terms of the future, we can relate so easily, peacefully and freely. Its so healthy, its funny too though because though I a few times wondered to myself about it, I knew that I was not interested in anything other than the freedom that we have with each other, knowing that we are not objects for each other to own, rather humans to interact with, to talk, listen, walk, sing, pray and just be. no pressure, no expectations. probably the way most good friendships should be. it was so encouraging, and it showed me what romantic relationships probably should be like, free.

I had a good conversation with people last night at andreas, our externally liturgical restaurant, great food, solid service, good late night hours.

we talked about relationships and the idea that we need to not see people as something that we want to own. To look at people as people, and not as a possible source of love, intimacy, or whatever to satisfy our own longings. nor should we look at people as possible places to pour out our love because we ought to do so, because that is equally objectifying. we need to see people as people, see what they need. Know them. yadah them. know them all through.for the sake of knowing them. Anything else will lead to self delusion, and ultimately pain for all involved.

In any case, I trust it will be a while before I have learned how not to objectify women, through the prayers of our brothers and sisters, I will grow through and away from this, towards selfless love.


catechumen

so, it is now officially the day I will join the orthodox church. I am no longer a protestant, no longer an Evangelical, though I only found out that I was such a thing in the past five years. I know I will always be an evangelical Orthodox Christian, but what really matters is the Christian part.
I am not abandoning any parts of my faith, rather they are coming into a fuller version of themselves. my faith is continuing to grow, and the orthodox community, the liturgy, the historical, philosophical, theological perspectives are all so healthy that I can't imagine anything else. Granted, the church is full of humans, and so there are all sorts of normal human problems.
there is so much joy, so often. I can't really think right now, its late, but one of the things that I have been learning is submission to authority is good. I am so excited to have people who I can trust to give me healthy guidance and who are very counter-cultural, intentionally so. being able to commit and submit to a group of people, elders, theologically wise people.
too tired right now, but wow am I excited. only one drawbacks, no kiss at an orthodox wedding, but on the bright side, I get to marry an orthodox girl.
peace

1.29.2005

monastic bombastic

Hey,
thank you. I have been hoping someone would read it, because I wrote it assuming no one would, and I think if only a few people do, I can still do that. The first one (I think) was my need to rant about amber, and its taken off from there. indeed, my thoughts about monasticism were not so much a need to escape girls/women, though it would make things easier in some respects, its more about how whenever I find myself in a place I like, high school choir, particular classes at university, now church,
I find myself wanting to have a way of ensuring that what I have experienced there can be experienced by others in the future. perhaps being a leader in those arenas, choir teacher, prof, monk/priest. being a monk would be a desireable thing because I want intimacy so badly that if that is a way to actually speak with saints and God, conversationally, or whatever, extended hours in prayer, nothing else except farming etc, maybe that would be the best way to live. but at the same time right now its way too much to give up the possibility of marriage. I also want to live among people who are not christians, because I know that people see through me quickly and know that I have something worth knowing about. I am talking about people outside the church mostly, and I do that intentionally. I talk way less about God now, on purpose, but people find out and ask more often.

I was humbled beautifully the other day, the guy I hate working with, his name is David, I worked with him the other day. I hate being near him because he speaks so much english, and its usually really pornographic, of course this day was not that different. I prayed the Jesus prayer for him and myself, and later on we talked about drugs a bit, why I stopped, and he told me that he started smoking pot for an illness and continued because it gave him temporary respite from being depressed and stressed. he was the first person to be a little honest and vulnerable with me. It was very humbling, and kind of cool. of course later on he kept on being really gross about who he had (insert degrading, objectifying expletive here) on the weekend, and detailing it. so, yeah.
he opened up a bit, so I could see that he trusted me a bit. I don't know why, but it was cool. so I want to be able to work with people who are not christians. I think I need to

1.23.2005

can we take a ride

get outta this place while we still have time?

please, lets.
I love so much about right now, I seem to have everything in front of me. He has given me so many things. I could go to school next fall, learn more, go to asia and teach if school falls through, but I don't want to. I love church too much. and the lower mainland.

And I think its time I wrote about Roxi too.

it has finally come to my mind that there are some good clear reasons for us to have broken up.

Trust.

She did not trust me, for two years, and it ate away at my soul. I didn't even realize it until a friend of mine told me recently that she trusted me, I didn't notice the pain until I felt the healing, I had grown so used to it. being trusted is such a gift, its almost the most important thing. and it wasn't there, and it destroyed us in so many ways. it hurt so many things, without actually being obvious.

out of that lack of trust came a desire for us to be on the surface something that the other could trust, we tried so hard to show each other that we could act the way the other person wanted, we weren't being ourselves, and we did that for SO long. it was also painful and hurtful to both of us.we worked ourselves to death, trying to be something, I know not what, for the other. instead, we should have been ourselves.

I found I couldn't because who I was, was painful for her. now I know that I am a human being, worth dignity and selfhood without trying to be someone else for someone else. sometime, someone will actually want me, not the part of me that is willing to change. oh how egocentric I am tonight!



its going to be too long before the next church service. I will go and read The Mountain of Silence and consider monasticism.

1.22.2005

Work

Yesterday I worked. It was great, and now I am drowning in normality. Life is so wonderfully plain. I sit here and type away, waiting to go to the store, to buy the same coconut bun I bought earlier this week, perhaps the same sushi too. trying to have a feast for no reason except that I am alive. I have been given such a glorious version of our experience here on earth. I get to submerge my senses in Jimmy Eat World and Jurassic 5, knowing that life seems better when mediated by sounds organized by time and pitch. waiting, for what. nothing, I am not going to wait any longer.
I have been waiting for something, waiting for God to come down from heaven and tell me that everything is just as it is, and why have I been waiting for something to happen, because everything is already happening, and nothing is going to get very out of the ordinary, so get to it. indeed, I have, and I am.
yesterday, I was alive, and again today, I live and tomorrow I shall live and it will be wonderful. I am going to go to church, and have a few awkward moments with the people I love, and eat food. I will eat food that tastes great, food that satisfies me in so many ways, because it is eaten in the company of people who are full of love and try to let it out. they are human and they are who they are, so it doesn't always work right, but they know that will happen.
I am not waiting any longer. I have waited for so long to have that person to share my life with, THE ONE, but whenever I find her, its not going to be too soon, so I don't think it will do any good to keep wandering and wondering where and when.
I don't have to, I have found joy, not happiness-necessarily, but joy. Joy in knowing I am loved, and its a knowledge not from the scientist and his textbook, but from a relationship. relational knowledge is just as valid for truth as is scientific knowledge, because how can you prove that someone is my friend, really? it is empirically impossible to show friendship, becuase the essence of love, of any kind, is kidden within the recesses of the soul, where science does not belong.
The same is true of faith, in anything. I have faith in God, in my friends and their friendship, and the church, and all of these things are lacking in empirical credibility, however I trust them as much as, perhaps more than, the concrete that I pour on a not so daily basis.
I trust that God exists, not because he is visible, but because I know Him. Granted, I want to know Him, and I try to find Him and understand Him, but thats how we know, effort.
And goodness, its not as though God has not tried to help us see Him.
So, I am not going to wait for some divine revelation that 'now is the time' or blah blah blah, "such a time as this" or "39 days that we really don't want to make an end out of, but merely a means to God, but its almost impossible because of the nature of the form of the 40 days of purpose" the purpose becomes finding purpose.
No, why wait? but, don't go knocking on doors, because if you really have something of value, and know how to communicate that properly to those in need, they will come to you. I think perhaps its a problem to communicate that to our society today, especially when the evangelical church con-forms so much to our culture. The evangelical church reflects postmodern culture more than it is aware. We dress the same, eat the same, watch the same, read the same and talk the same. almost. we might be a little more righteous because we don't swear or drink, but moer importantly than these little legalisms, we worship at the same ideological altar as most in our society.

We work for the same goals as many of our colleagues. we have boats, fast cars, myriad CD's, big houses etc. We baptize them in the name of God's blessing and justify ourselves.
We seek after intimacy with the same reckless abandon as any outside the church, perhaps doing as much damage to each other through emotional intimacy as others do through physical intimacy, bowing to the idea that we need another to complete us, or that we find our identity in who is with us. Trophy hunting.
Where does our identity lie? how big our house is, how much we know about the enlightenment and its affects on our epistemolgical presuppositions, how many letters are after our name, or is it our slave status in a kingdom we can't even see?

Its hard work being a Christian. don't think otherwise.

1.18.2005

yet again

So, here we are, whining about the better gender. Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me a sinner.

Why are you so strange? you who are the other, so bizarre and alluring, so attractive yet elusive. perhaps it is love I cannot find, there are plenty of women around, lots of ladies, it just seems that our humanity always gets in the way of relating properly to each other. reading about mount athos makes me ante-nostalgic for celibacy. I don't know if I could do it, especially since I have run myself into the ground many times, circling my soul ever after the girl who is one day going to form herself into the one. right.
when in reality, its more like trying to navigate a mosh pit while system of a down screams deer dance, knowing it is a harrowing time. I wish people saw marriage as equal to monasticism, because I can't allow myself to believe that God would place a heirarchy on things like that. reason being the ability to convince onesself of the validity of both. marriage is knowing God through personal relationships, human relationships, and monasticism is knowing God directly, being married to Him.
I want to be married to a person. I don;t think my faith is strong enough to spend my time alone, rather, I am a people person, I should not spend it alone anyways. but I guess I would not be alone, I would be with God. nor am I disciplined enough. and I don't want to. although its not about what I want, but would I be drawn to it and not want to do it at the same time? its another moving downtown thing, except that when I thought about that, it was "I have to move downtown to properly love and know these people" so perhaps to love and know God properly, I have to move...where. into a communal livin setting, where I can get married, please, please, please, I know I want intimacy with you God, but I don't know. but I can't run. Father, forgive me a sinner, I need to know you, I need you, but I can't, not now, can I? it will be a long time before I know whether or not you are calling me there, so I don't actually have to worry about it. knowing myself, I suspect I am not meant for that. we will see. oh father, that would be hard. isn't there another way to know you with depth? is it impossible other than, I guess its designed to pragmatically get one closer to you.




my fear is this. I generally go whole hog at whatever it is I find myself in. I want to go to graduate school so i can become gatekeeper at a university, a leader, an educator. It is the way to get to the top of the university framework. now I am going to become orthodox, and the highest spot is monasticism. in keeping with who I have been in the past, might I move towards that? right now would be a good time to jump in, I am jaded enough about relationships.

1.16.2005

Ortho-doxy

no, not that one.
Orthodoxy. and though I realize my title is a little unorthodox, it is Orthodoxy I will be writing about today.
I am becoming orthodox. In two weeks I will become a catechumen, I know its a little while, but Fr. Justin, who will be my sponsor/Godfather will be away next week.

details, details.

the why is the real question, so here is my attempted answer.

Mostly, it has to do with worldview. For about three years now, I have been slowly growing in awareness that my mind has an infection. Enlightenmentitis. Indeed, I have been educated (up until University)in a worldview that presupposes the supremacy of the enlightenment and its subsequent reverence of rationalism.
When I first came to St. Herman of Alaska, I asked questions like "why would you pray to the saints, or Mary, they are dead, and they are not Gods, do you suppose omnipotence is granted freely to all the dead?"
And while I would not deny the validity of my question at the time, I am beginning to understand that my question reveals my western presuppositions.
I assume that when people die, they go to some place that is not here. They 'go' as it were, somewhere. as well, I assume that they are actually dead to this life/world/existence and that our time carries on in a way that cannot be compatible with whatever dimensions God has set up.
This is all because it would be reasonable and logical to assume that dead people can't hear us, because they are off in heaven, doing heavenly things like playing bach chorales for St. Paul and singing TL de Victoria for the Blessed trinity. whatever the case, they are not here. why not? we can't see them. out of sight, out of...existence, right? well, maybe not. But, it is our western assumptions that tell us that. We trust a) ourselves, and b) our methods, for truth.

Going to St. Herman's has been teaching me many things, not leat of which is that the western epistemological presuppositions, when applied to scripture, are nothing but a recipe for disaster (schizm)

We as westerners, begint to prize our individualism so much, that when someone interprets something in a way that seems strange or heretical to us, we skip town, join another church, or...you guessed it, start our own denomination, or community church.

This is because we have been taught to trust our own intellect as the master of truth. how insane is that. I mean, granted, those who held power in the church in the past certainly abused it, and for that there can be nothing except our meekly kneeling upon our knees and begging for forgiveness of those we have hurt.

I have begun to see that I have been using western intellectual tools to decide whether or not I agree sufficiently with the eastern theology to join myself to a community I am growing to love. However, when I realized that ( and I am realizing it as I write) it is my western notions of truth that define my problems with certain theological ideas, I see that my flaws are rooted in Descartes, not the Holy Spirit. ( All too often, Christians mistake their feelings for the whisper of God-be careful, that is just as dangerous as a cartesian scientist trusting his own brain to liberate te ex infernis )

I spent my time measuring 2000 years of Christian tradition with my measly 24 year old intellect. Hmmmmm...am I sufficiently equipped to do this, well, in a way I must be. I have realized that I am not, and for that I am eternally grateful. Trinity and its IDIS program are partially to blame perhaps, and likely it is the Holy Spirit as well who has helped me to see that I am not able to decide.

On the other hand, the theological principles, and specifics too, once explained, are also acceptable, even to my western brain. The Problems I had with orthodoxy, praying to the saints, mary, kissing icons, embodied worship like crossing myself and bowing (which, admittedly is not really that questionable, its just new and odd)
became easier to understand and even do, the longer waited and the more I talked with the people here.

Now, there are some risks, but none that don;t appear anywhere else. Things like pride, inward focus etc, but they also have a higher chance of not being issues because of the genuine accountability that can go on in the intentionally small communities that orthodox churches are. Not only that, but the spirit of God is evident in the way the people revere the Holiness of the sanctuary, and in the humility of the relationships that grow out of the liturgy and take hold in the fellowship meals and fester over movies and ethical addictions and andreas; that is the geography of the langley ortho-crew. St. hermans, EA, Andreas.


So, I am going to marry the church, and that is quite enough of relationships for now, thank you very much.

First, I must get engaged, and that is in two weeks. I am going to be orthodox, I say that to myself, so I can understand it more. I will be going to the same church for the rest of my life. Another thing about this is that it cuts off my consuption mentality, I will no longer be free to worship God how I want to, I will pray every night, along with my brothers and sisters, and every morning, and I will be held responsible for my actions, for my words, and for my deeds. how sweet is that!

in any case, I don't know how much sense this makes, but It is me, trying to make sense of my life. Ah, Christ centered humanism. Christian Humanism.

Why am I becoming orthodox?
It saves me from my western worldview (which I think is responsible for the downfall/splintering of the western church)


I am not sure yet how to articulate it any further, but I know that it all boils down to worldview shift.

Today I am cranky

However, its because I am tired. Tired of what you say? tired of people wanting something from me. the other day, my friend and I took a nap in a living room, each on our own couch, the fire on and bjork screaming beautifully to frenetic noises often construed as melodies. I enjoyed it, it was actually peaceful, is some ways. I appreciate that my friend tries to not want anything from me, and is successful. I have a hard time knowing women and not wanting something from them, generally I see them with a sign above their head that rates them on a scale that changes by the second, their marriage potentiality. I am learning to see women as people, not merely as objects of future consideration. I have now a growing list of women who I know are safe friends. At least four friends I know of, who are single and who are honestly my friends, whether or not I give them anything. I don;t really know how I will learn to love someone without being aware that I want something from them, it seems very hard, and perhaps it will happen without me noticing, that is always best I suspect, because then you have the giving relationship without trying, and then when you try at it, it will be better.


on the other hand, I am so sick of girls liking me, well, in that projectification way, that I can do without it for a while. I just want to go to church and pray and bow and stand and think and read and work and eat and worship. of course its all part of life. eucharistia. I guess it depends. perhaps the video will help. all I know is that Amelie was not right. she was cute, but a figment.

every time I want to possess someone, it turns out bad, but how do you know that you are having good motives. can we?

baahhhh!


I just want to not think about it, it is so wearying. I would rather read The Idiot.

1.15.2005

vulnerable as a manatee

vulnerable as a manatee

would I were it was

re-baptism

Hi, Here is the answer to the rebaptism question. as for the rest of the blog, read at your own risk. depending on how you know me, it might be just that.

Fr. Lawrence, the Priest who will Baptize me in the summer wrote this, and it explains it pretty well.

Peace


Thank you, David, for your email. You ask an excellent question, since
it involves so many things, including the Orthodox understanding of
sacraments, of ecumenical relations, and the place of subjective experience
in the Church's role in all this.
The main component in the Orthodox approach to baptism (and to
sacraments generally) is obedience to God. That is, we baptize mostly
because Christ has said to do so. Gauging a person's individual and
subjective experience is something else. That gauging is, I think, very
difficult if not impossible, and the Orthodox cheerfully leave that to God.
What God has left to His Church is the stewardship of His mysteries (1 Cor.
4:1), and it is about this objective stewardship that the Church has to
concern itself with.
Thus, when (for example) a Salvation Army person comes to the Orthodox
Church and says that he is born again, and has had a subjective experience
of regeneration, etc., we do not judge him, even though he has not been
baptized. (The Salvation Army does not baptize, or observe the Eucharist.)
If he says he has been regenerated, we do not contradict him. God is
sovereign, and can do whatever seems good to Him. In the Scriptures, the
new birth is always seen as the result of baptism (compare Titus 3:5, "the
washing of rebirth"), and baptism is given us as the instrument through
which this rebirth is affected. But God can still grant this reality, in
full or in part, regardless of a person's obedience to Scripture. But
though God is not bound by His rules (as it were), WE are so bound. Thus,
when the unbaptized Salvation Army person comes to us, we baptize him
anyway, because God has said to baptize. What effect this has on his inner
experience, we do not know, and leave to God.
Regarding other Christian confessions that do immerse in water in the
Name of the Trinity, the Orthodox Church is called to discern, for not
everything purporting to be apostolic baptism is indeed apostolic baptism.
Obviously (for extreme example), Mormon baptism is not baptism. One
question to be resolved in this process of discernment is, "What do the
groups immersing think they are doing?" That is, do they think they are
doing what we Orthodox think we are doing? If so, then we accept that.
So, if a group (say the Presbyterians) says, "In baptism, we wash a
person in water in the Name of the holy, consubstantial and undivided
Trinity, for the remission of the person's sins and for their regeneration",
then we recognize in this act our own baptism, and do not baptize again. If
a group (say the Mormons), says "In baptism we wash a person in the Name of
our God, who is not really a Trinity as the Orthodox understand the term",
then we do not recognize our baptism in this act, and we baptize the person.
If a group (say the Pentecostals) says, "In baptism we wash a person in the
Name of the holy, consubstantial, and undivided Trinity, to bear testimony
to a prior work of grace, but we are insistent, as a church, that this
baptism neither bestows remission of sins, nor regenerates", then once again
we cannot discern in this act our own baptism, and so we must baptize the
person. It is not a matter of judging the other groups; simply of accepting
what they say they are doing, and basing our own responses upon them.
In your own case, we do not deny that God may have touched you as you
say when you were twelve. But your own understanding of that experience is
not the point, for the baptism was not yours, but the church's baptism which
baptized you. In other words, the significance of the act was not yours to
define, but the church that did the baptizing. They were the ones who
offered baptism, and who did it, and the explanation of what that baptism
meant comes from them, not from anyone that they baptized. (Thus, for
unlikely example, a person may say, "When I was baptized, I felt that was my
ordination to be an apostle." They may indeed feel like this, but the
understanding of what that baptism meant must come from the baptizing
church, not the baptized candidate. Theology is ecclesial, not
idiosyncratically personal.) Thus, in discerning whether or not your
baptism was an Orthodox baptism, we look at what the Church that baptized
you said the baptism meant. And the tradition in which you were baptized
explicitly denies that baptism bestows remission of sins and regeneration.
We believe them. That is why you are to be received by baptism. It is a
matter of the Church obeying Christ, and leaving subjective questions to
Him.
Hope this all helps. If not, please feel free to write again, and I
will try to be more clear.
Yours in the Lord,
Fr. Lawrence

1.14.2005

sooooo. yeah. we are all writing books no one will ever read. the writing of books is endless. animchara is what I said before eh, well, of course I never see things the way they are, but who does? I don;t know the way things are, I will however be joining myself to the Holy Orthodox church, which is the biggest thing I have ever done in my life, and perhaps will ever do. graduate school, a few years, orthodoxy? that will outlast even ____. but a person? to relate to a person, in peace and joy forever? it seems crazy, and impossible, difficult, yet so worth the struggle, from the outside. though today I fear it a little, because I know that being known is such a risk that it only has ended in pain of varying degrees. today I fast, and tomorrow a feast, though there will be dancing and food tonight. thank God for safe friends, right? thank you Father.
I didn;t have my prayer book, nor icons, nor candles last night. I am in distress, though I must leave and go to the bank and carry on in such a state, to the bible belt for a dinner date. a stop in the coq. no more smoke.
and I will not be without you again Father, I need you to calm my soul, it is in a state, but am I just hungry? and for what. a person, flesh, a soul, spirits, meat, rice, fish, wisdom, the will to be obedient. the desire for this to be something other than an overflowing of my soul onto the meaningless walls of cyberspace. walls? right.
and of course I treated her like my girlfriend, why wouldn't I? I need to have someone I feel responsible for, I am going to get a cat. and of course its you too, poking at me. anyways, pops is home. peace

1.10.2005

the sky is falling

and its full of love.

apparently.


its bizarre, and I always get too excited to soon, but I never saw it coming,
it was an invisible glass door, hitting me from behind, knocking me on the head and it
may dissolve due to lifes revolving, but in the meantime I live in a state of love and trust with
animchara.