happy halloween

I was glad to hear that our church had a halloween party for the kids. way to go guys!

I will be writing notes for a lecture tonight, how exciting. peaceful though.



okay. So I finally finished my thesis proposal, if you would like to see it, email me, and I will send it. its the 7th version.

and I didn't go to an orthodox church today, it was interesting. It was plymouth brethren. I was almost scared because though they treat communion with silence and respect, they each handed it around, which I know I have experienced, and I know it is a symbol, but being so used to treating the body and blood so carefully, it made me nervous when it came so close to me. not in a bad way I don't think. It was nice to be there, I saw people I knew from before.

I changed the oil on st. herman's taxi, it was needed.I am driving home tomorrow, well, back to sudbury.

I got a bursary! Thank you for your prayers, I will now survive financially until I get home it seems. and school is paid for for the rest of the school year. next semester too. so, that is good.

grace and peace.



ah yes. the home of shania twain. what an honour to be here. not really.
but I might get to see some of the trees I planted three years or four years ago. I also may go and look at junk shops and used books stores. after I manipulate my thesis a bit.

It is good to be here and talk with the Bendell family. I think I am even more open now than I was before to hearing about certain things in different churches. When Tim tells me about healing happening at his church, I believe it because I have heard stories like that about saints that are more believable than the things I used to hear about the toronto vineyard etc, but maybe what it is is maturity? I don't know. But hearing the way Ted and Peggy talk about church and God is a good thing. I like talking about God and church. I think for a while I may just listen though. or try. and of course here I might have to eat some poutine.

Graham, the son who passed away recently left some scotch unconsumed. His brother and I will have some of it tonight in his memory.

whoever reads this before church tonight, after vespers ask to pray for the recently departed Graham Bendell. and of course for sick Dan. poor dan, always sick.

I just had some interesting ideas. wait and see...


electronic neighbourhood

discussion, while good and sometimes fun, is not always love, and does not always reveal God. Love does. Tyson and I discussed this recently via email. of course a discussion. ha.

even my Dad reads this blog sometimes. Hi Dad! though for the amount of hits we had today, I am surprised there was only one comment, well two, but then again I am not surprised. It didn't need much else.

I sat in the sauna today. it was glorious. it snowed a bit in the morning. I worked on my thesis proposal all day in between obsessive email checking and blog reading. when I have the energy I will put it up here on my blog so it can become our next topic of discussion in the electronic version of the thursday night group. it is a little less, though not much, controversial. it is about art and worship in the church.

I am currently listening to neighborhood #1 by arcade fire. I like it. they are weird, but good.

I made greek salad and butter chicken today. hooray for thursdays. I don't know when I will eat it all, there is so much, so I will bring it to timmins. I am hoping to get a bursary tomorrow, so pray for my daily bread please!

and pray for the family I am going to visit. they have lost two of their four sons. one took his own life, and the other reposed in september from cancer.
I lived with them both summers I spent in timmins treeplanting.

well, I must say, I appreciate all of the new st. herman's bloggers out there, its not like being at home, but it sure is nice to hear about your life while I am away from you all. I appreciate all my old blogger friends too, like those in south america and elsewhere, but there is such a huge new crop from church. something like five this week? KF, Qjesse, Victoria, the W's (though they may not be new..) Mira, anyways. its cool. keep it up. I know blogging is kind of a strange thing, but it can be a good thing I think. like Krista francis said, it takes time, and Qjesse said, with prayer and caution, and I will add, just like the rest of life. I guess because its a screen it is easy to forget that it is humans we are dealing with. we need more photos! right.
and mercy.

Lord have mercy.

being orthodox

Phil wrote this. I hope one day to be articulate like this.

I became Orthodox because I want to be right. No really. I want to be right.

The "right" opinion, the "right" dogma, the "right" church, the "right" practice
are all very well, but they are meaningless if they don't change my very being. They become, as the apostle Paul would say, "nothing" or at best "clanging cymbals". I suppose that makes them secondary. On the other hand, when I begin to seek to change my own being they actually begin to matter.

What I believe, what I do and who I do it with affects everything.

Orthodoxy teaches me the way to be in right relation to God, the Universe and
everything. By reading, study, prayer and experience I have become convinced it
is the way of the apostles, martyrs, church fathers, desert fathers (and mothers, for that matter), and of uncounted holy people for the last 20 centuries.

Are there other ways to relate to Christ? Sure. Is my way better? Nope. I suck. But Orthodoxy is not my way. I know it works, so I think I'll stick with it. If someone thinks he or she can invent a better way, more power to them, I guess. After all, if they are serving God, who am I to "judge the servant of another"?

As a friend of mine once said after a penetrating but loving and peaceable
conversation on a similar topic, "I guess it will be an interesting experiment. Why don't we get together again in 30 years and see how our paths have changed us."


Thank you Phil.



Of course I realize catholicism encourages questions as much as any tradition, it was a friend who grew up in a place where questioning was not allowed. this happens in every place as well as catholicism, so he was surprised that I was encouraged to examine and question my worldview.

I do wonder though how much enlightenment rationalism, and augustinian gnostic tendencies have influenced the western branch of the church. and I mean that, I don't actually know. I suspect quite a bit, with the necessity of systematizing eveything, but I hope I am willing to be wrong.

It is offensive that we can't have communion together. It saddens me. it wasn't my idea though, and if you guys had become catholic, we would have had the same discussion from the other side. until I became orthodox. then we would be closer, but not close enough.

no. I will not try to convince anyone to be orthodox who is already a christian (Jessica may argue with that) because if they are walking towards God, seeking truth through Christ, wonderful. I think the same is true of all orthodox. however, I don't think any orthodox would try to convert anyone. I don't know that, but it seems that any disciple making or evangelism is by example alone, and words come after that, as an answer to questions. not often are answers offered if they are not sought. (again, Jessica will disagree, but I am learning)

my friend Tim is a good example. He goes to a progressive charismatic church, and theologically, our churches couldn't be any farther apart. They don't have quite the same emphasis on communion. I don't try to convince him though, because I know it doesn;t matter if he becomes orthodox or not. He serves God and tries to do that more and more each day. are we in communion? no. does that suck? yes. are we still friends. yup. will we one day be in communion? perhaps, and yes. when we enter the kingdom, all these barriers will fall.

the question is is there a wall around a church. is it visible, is there a right answer to the which one is the continuation of the historical church instituted by the apostles?
why would there not be a church like that? who wouldn't want to preserve as closely as possible the faith given to us, with its cultural implications and all.
where did we get the idea that there is no such thing as a right answer to our question of how to do church?

okay. I just talked on the phone to tim snelson in Califonia, and lost my train of thought. but there is some ranting for nous.

peace and love


so, there is a photo, the one I deleted, on flickr, but you need to be a friend or family (on flickr) to see it. its the one of Fr. John and his grandson and a bottle of cream ale. It occurred to me (with some help) that someone out there may see that and be upset by it. if you want to see it, let me know. its really cute.
back to the grindstone.

remember, books on suffering (thanks kim) and flickr.com/photos/pasivirta


Originally uploaded by pasivirta.
are up on my photoblog, follow the link on the right and see the pictures from ottawa. oh, and i will put one here to whet your appetite and give you an easy link.

and, could you give some ideas about orthodox books on suffering? A friend of mine is looking for some, I guess to see what orthodoxy has to say about it. I don't know more than that. I hope to find out soon though.

gender continued...


there are still comments being added here, a response by biss to something ed said. in case anyone is interested...




blast. so, Tyson. I just had a long, I thought well written response. it was a bunch of questions, I will try again tomorrow. know that I have not forgotten.

and, check out this link. who does a music festival on a cruise ship? Dave matthews apparently. goodness. though, from being at the gorge, I am not sure I would want to cruise in the carribean with a boatload of drunk hippies/yuppies.


Don't surrender your loneliness
So quickly, Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you.
As few human or devine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight,
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice so tender.
My need of God absolutely clear.

Don't surrender your loneliness so quickly

~Hafiz ( I think )

comments made on gender roles

I made these comments on Jono's site
hmmm. I sort of agree. however, I want to say that the way that I heard that term "spiritual head" or 'spiritual leader' bandied about Trinity made me think it was so much bullshit.
I think that we have roles as males and females, and that they differ. Men, by virtue of our gender, get to be fathers. women, also, get to be mothers. what is the role of a father in society, in the family? represent the family to the rest of society, defend it from society, provide (though women can and if they are so led, should work, so long as kids are not neglected by either parent as a result of work, on anyone's part)
what does a father do. I think spiritual leadership is not leading bible studies, and praying at dinner, though maybe that is part of it. I think it has to do with being willing to be vulnerable, willing to show what it means to be a human who wants to be like God. show your wife, show your children that being vulnerable takes strength and guts, and faith that no matter what happens, God is able to handle it all. if we are meant to lead as men, I think it is not silly pragmatic things, but really being the first one to admit we were wrong, the first to say we are sorry. the first to go to a pastor or friend for advice. the first to confess sin. be the example, not the pressure applier.

we don't take responsibility for the spiritual growth or development of a woman of any kind, they are humans and as such are capable of thought and observation. I think the key is what they might observe. If we are lazy, and the woman has to take charge, which she may, the kids will see that. If we work hard at life, at love, they will see that too. and, if we take risks for the women in our life, they will appreciate it, knowing that it is not a desire to control or coerce, but a desire to see them experience the love of God.They will experience freedom in christ through the love of their men.
I learned about this freedom that was so Godly and beautiful and overwhelming this summer from Jessica.


well, my thesis is not quite what they need. amorphous and unclear I think are the words they used. hmmm. nose, meet grindstone.


ottawa pt 3

So. what did I already say. Oh yes, Father John scratch is the newest on my growing list of starets and staretsas. It was glorious to be with him and zeke and cheryl. I also had a chance to ask him some things on my own, and he was so gracious. sometimes I feel like I shouldn't even have some of the questions I do, not about orthodoxy necessarily, those I know are welcome. more about relationships, not that we can seperate ourselves into little boxes either, but for whatever reason, I feel like some of my questions are silly. but, then I know people like him and others are always welcoming, so I get to spout off, and sometimes its just a need to be listened to. or heard. and acknowledged? who knows.
boy was it fun.
then I went back to the LLC and spent some time with people I knew long ago, and some I knew more recently. some of us went to a club. yup. a night club. kind of a dumb way to end such a spiritually glowing day, but it was interesting and fun too. I had never been to one before. not like this. it was sad. like, zig's was sad, but it was so obvious. this one, the people seemed to be trying to dance, but it was so crowded, and people were drinking so much, and trying to impress each other. I don't get it. It made me wonder about the educational philosophy behind school dances. why are teachers teaching kids to go to clubs? maybe I was born old, but clubs seem like a dumb thing to do. so, I had a guinness in their little lounge downstairs, and then we moved on.

I got up after a good long sleep in, and then left for a leisurely drive home that included stopping somewhere in quebec to enjoy poutine and old brink architecture. I even listened to a story on cbc 1. I like Ontario, its a nice place to visit. Ottawa was pretty cool, and they have wonderful people at the parish there. I might get to see Fr. Lawrence there in three weeks, I hear he is coming for a meeting or something. that would be rad. one breath of fresh air (english orthodoxy) a month might let me survive. well, it will help anyways. and if I get to see Fr. John again, how rad.

the church had these amazing acoustics, (insert high pitched angelic choir a la simpsons here)
it was sweet. I put my books on the shelf tonight. they are hot. I think something is awry when I think books are hot. too long in the cold north.

I did get to talk to Jessica on saturday, it was really good to hear her voice.

I can't wait for advent, and to be back in vancouver. so excited! but I am also glad to be back in sudbury. I have work to do, and poutine has become my new hobby. for a while anyways. we'll see.

be well,


ottawa pt 2

so, here I am in ottawa.
The cathedral was beautiful, the afternoon was beautiful. I spent it with Fr. John Scratch, a beautiful man. a priest monk. He was married, widowed, and was tonsured recently. the man beams. he glows like phil. only moreso, not to take away from phil, more a compliment.
anyways. we spent all afternoon talking, zeke and cheryl and fr. John. then, he gave us books. not one, not two. more than I can count. three grocery bags, carefully packed. schmemann, meyendorff, vladimir lossky, two volumes of the philokalia, some phrenology (weeee!), lutheran commentaries, a commentary on romans (not barth, sadly) Michael Whelton's book, Two paths, which Fr. said was excellent (!) Fr. Hopko's the lenten spring, wybrew's The orthodox liturgy. more books than I can imagine. zeke also got a huge stack of books. it was unbelievable. Fr. John said the bishop told him to get rid of his theology, and concentrate on the spiritual life, prayer etc. thanks vladkya! when I come home, all my rommates will salivate. I drool just thinking about it. time to go out, part three will be soon seen. it has been so fun being here. man. Many years Graham, welcome home!



is becoming a catechumen! Glory to God! (at Holy Nativity)

his blog is on my list if you want to go see it.


yup, somehow I got to ottawa. what a rad city! I like it here. I drove a friend from school here, and she paid for gas. my trip was sponsored.
I am staying at the laurentian leadership centre, which is insanely beautiful. I guess they got it for like under 3 million including a million or so on renovations and furniture, and its worth 13 mil. crazy. we have a loving Father. He takes care of His kids.
so, I drove here not knowing who I would know, or if I had a place to stay, but I know a ton of the people here, which is really cool. Kevan gilbert is here, Abigail Flint, sister of Amy Flint, who some of you may remember. At least two people I taught IDIS 102 to, Mark Lott runs the joint as far as student life goes, its cool. I am going to go the cathedral for church on sunday!!!! SO excited. I wonder if bishop seraphim will be there. he travels a lot.
I got an email from Jessica, which was good. its good to hear from her. I miss her, its hard. confusing. its like living on the corner of grey street.
tonight I ate hummus for dinner. and soy milk. Its like I fast without meaning to anymore. how weird is that. I am going to go and eat an apple. I like apples. including my computer. I think I might name my computer peach.


orthodoxy, dostoevsky, laughing buddha and beer

So, last night, my "religion and modernity; the problem of evil" class went out the a pub called the laughing buddha, drank beer and talked about dostoevsky, God, free will, orthodoxy etc. It was so great. so great. we got there and they had radiohead on, then later it was arcade fire. so good. the discussion was really good too, this one guy and I had gotten into a pretty good argument in class about the old 'can we be good without God' thing, morality etc, and we were not upset, in fact enjoying the sparring I think, so we talked a little bit more about that too. but we also talked about orthodoxy, and how its so freeing because we are encouraged to make sure we ask lots of questions, so we know why we are doing what we do, why we believe what we believe. he was really keen. what a lame word, but I can;t think of a better one. he said a few times with this strange smile "I like that" because he has rejected his catholic upbringing, mainly on the basis that he was told he couldn't question it. I explained how ideologically, it was more freeing than any other church, or tradition I had ever experienced, while also making sure to tell them that the liturgy seems and is very rigid and formal, it is still freeing too. it was a great night. good discussion, and it seems as though there are some people here I can hang out with, and enjoy sudbury with. Sweet! it would be nice if there were other english speaking orthodox people, here, maybe a convert or two. but that would be hard I guess. maybe they need a mission here. who knows.

peace friends.


no name

I found out yesterday that I am giving a lecture in a fourth year religious studies class in november.

get this, its theme is an evangelical response to pluralism. But, what is so great is that the class is taught by a self-proclaimed pluralist. He is a united church guy who thinks that there are many ways to God, or spiritual experience, or whatever. I hope I can show that there is a difference between what Christ actually represents, and what this guy talks about. funny though that I get to give the evangelical perspective. I guess TWU helps with that.

Jessica and I broke up last week. I got an email from her today, it is good to hear from her. why, you ask? she is episcopalian, I am orthodox. she is a wonderful, zealous Christ filled woman, but our churches differ enough that to continue would become a constant debate, rather than a learning, self-sacrificing (in the healthy way) process. in any case, we are still in contact, so that is good. for all you talstra's and deklerks, moes, et-al, and whomever else it was mentioned to, don't forget the cabin possibility at New Years, snowshoes and all!

I had strange dreams last night. Jeff Martin ( an old friend, not the tea party guy) was there, it was weird. and Jamesmoes was telling me about a meeting with Dr. Snider. how did it go? did it?

I will not get to go to the orthodox young adult retreat in Edmonton this fall, but it sounds like it is going to be so cool. Fr. John Hainsworth is a great speaker, a lot of fun too.

He and I talked about doing a hiking/camping trip next year with 12 young orthodox, calling it the group of twelve, an intense learning experience. body and soul.



poker winnings

poker winnings
Originally uploaded by pasivirta.
This was taken in June, when Tim and Julia Snelson were about to get married. I did the caring thing and took all of tim's money. not really, but I did win. and I kind of miss my hair. not as much as I miss st. herman's. which is a lot.


freedom in the brothers K

Dostoevsky and the nature of freedom in the Brothers K, chapter five. The Grand Inquisitor.

He talks about how if Jesus had decided to give in to the first temptation the devil offered him, that he would be taking away man's freedom by coercing them into following and loving him. I don't quite understand, but that is why I am writing.
If Jesus were to turn stones into bread, we would follow him, so we would be full? but, because we are not full on account of constant miracles, and rather we have to work for food and are free to choose Jesus whether or not we have food, because that is now our own choice(food-work{largely})

one more time. If Jesus fed us all the time, we would love him conditionally, because he feeds us. if we are hungry, and we still choose Him, we are then choosing to love and serve and trust Him out of our freedom, because our motives are not clouded by material things? and then because we trust Him freely, we know that in His love for us he will not let us go hungry, like the birds of the air in Matt. 6.

incidentally, Dostoevsky also uncovers the meaning of life. to have something to live for. (just in case you were wondering) see chapter five. in my little grand inquisitor book, its page 27.

the coolest forest ever!

the coolest forest ever!
Originally uploaded by pasivirta.
this is me in a forest on manitoulin island. my first blogger photopost ever. wheeeee!



Hi everyone,
go to the link on the side that says photoblog, and see the new pics!


I am so tired in so many ways. this week was quite exhausting, i don't really remember how to feel. last night, I smoked a clove cigarette down by lake. it was beautiful and quiet. a little silly because I am sick, but it was good to be alone and quiet. of course I will have been alone long enough by the time the sun sets again, but who knows. Lord have mercy.

here's a story about some people I know.

On tuesday night, they said goodbye. it was sad and healthy. like some sad cosmic joke:
an episcopalian and an orthodox meet at a wedding, hit it off because they are both quite zealous, turns out their churches though both christian, have very different theology, which makes for a good dialogue, but also for different directions. so they walk into a bar together, hit their heads, and walk out alone.

of course not alone alone, they have church and roommates and the saviour, but who is drawn together and then apart by God. I mean, I know its not all like that, and that is too simple, but it could be said.

and its so hard to feel.


wet cote

I have had a beautiful two weeks in the west, and now I go back to the cold north.
Christo and Erica are now wed, as are Biss and Phil, Many years to all involved. It was great to see so many people from two generations of TWU folk.

I am going to the greek church this sunday. its all in greek. I can't wait to go back home already. so many people on the west coast I can't wait to see.

I got a full refund for the crappy vonage service that never worked. I have some friends and family who it works for, but not for me. I will try again when I get back home.


remember when we were in oregon, and couldn't get modest mouse out of our head?
the beach was beautiful, a million unique grains of sand, but they are only grains of sand because they are together. apart, they would be part of dirt or dust.
the ocean, big and cold and louder than the sun.





so, you should all go to rentersweek.com because its a cool site. there is a bit of a bug near the top of the page, but its still usable. If you are looking for a place to live, its pretty good. It doesn't really have a great selection or range because it is fairly new, but since I looked at it last, it has grown quite a bit. the langley options are slim, but its funny to see 2 bedroom condos priced between 500 and 5000 dollars. five grand a month! that is a lot. dang. anyways, this website is new and on the move, I have found the simplicity of the TWU rental page nice. The design crew that started rentersweek.com had some good ideas, as does the current crew, but to focus more on the form or the content will be a detriment to the neglected one. anyways, I just thought I would do a little site review, so check it out, let me know what you think.
if you are moving to vancouver and are looking for a place to rent, it could be helpful, and its growing!

peese. oh, and a personal post coming next. I am on my way to london tomorrow night, wednesday morning. I am going to finish my thesis proposal tomorrow. that is going to be an animal-like all out brawl with my computer to wrestle my thesis into the shape I need it to be.


seattle and coffee

I am looking out over seattle, it is shrouded in cloud and fog, it comforts me when the weather is like this, I know it is backwards, but I think its because then I can wear wool and drink hot things and be comforted. maybe even a fireplace.

I am going to do lots of work today, a cultural reading of a coffee shop, and where better than seattle to do said research? fixing a fake bibliography, then my own, then my thesis.
Jessica comes in now and again to say hi, she works in an office in the backyard here.

There is a wedding on saturday. It will be good to see so many people from school ( I assume) at least the people that I know are coming are cool. I'm excited. I am actually a bit excited to go back to Ontario, I know that is weird, but I have not had enough time to myself lately. I love people, as many as possible all the time is the best way. crowds are my favourite, but I am learning I need to be quiet and alone a bit of the time.

I miss Fr. Gregory and the brothers. I forgot that we actually have FIVE english priests in the lower mainland. I guess if you count Gibsons.

I got soul, but I'm not a soldier.

oh, and look out for a new band coming out called Maryanna'a Trench. they are going to rock out in January, a couple of guys I know from high school.

on the other hand, I am not at all looking forward to missing St. Herman's until I get back in December. blast. I am so blessed by the people there. If any of you have never been there, go and check it out. I heard that a tenor I know. was interested in checking it out. do it! its so healthy and sane and cool, not to mention it has the potential for beautiful music. Speaking of music, I will have a link to the audio from Biss and Phil's wedding soon, so keep checking for that. okay.

enough ranting for nous.


Many Years!

Many years to the newly married Biss and Phil, I am honored to be called friend.

I am in the library at TWU, and I am frustrated by Laurentian's library system, and how I have three different formats for my bibliography. lame.
I had a most beautiful weekend at church. Confession is the most beautiful thing in the world.
weddings are nice too, two beautiful people got married yesterday, they had gorgeous red capes over their white clothing. wonderful. very appropriate. I recorded the choir, it was good too, the recording will reveal some moments that were less than perfect, but thats life right?
I am going to seattle tomorrow night, It is good to talk to Jessica about church, we learn a lot from each other. The episcopal church is similar, yet still very protestant, but it has beauty and truth too.

I had a great discussion with Fr. Michael today, I am blessed to know four priests, three in my own small church of 150, and Fr. Michael at nearby Holy Nativity. I ate lunch and he taught me and talked to me, it was great. He is wise, as are most people with any sort of age advantage, and a cassock sometimes helps too.

I don't know what tomorrow is, but it is peaceful. Its nice to be here on the west coast again, its strange though. back to Ontario next week. bizarre. so much travelling. a blessing, yes, but its hard to concentrate on school.

I also got to see some old friends from TWU, we spent time together in street evangelism, what a strange and good thing to have been a part of.

back to work.please pray for my friends matthew and hilary, for mercy and peace.