12.31.2008

tired

I know that once baby is born, I will be so much MORE tired, but I am tired. I tried to go snowshoeing on monday, but it didn't really work. I mean, we had an epic adventure and there will be pictures on flickr of our awesome trek through the wilderness. I mean. well, the snow was too deep for our sweet little cars to make it up the hill, so we tried to snowshoe up the road a bit, but nothing doing.

I got to spend some time with some good old friends recently, and there is a lot of hard things happening these days, but we encountered some great hospitality in the form of a future monk and the local antiochian priest and his wife, who are wonderful. and Biss and Phil were there, Macrina fell asleep in my arms. she is a lovely little baby.

I finally am realizing how nervous I am that I will be one of two main examples of how to live, and the main example of what it means to be a man of God. lord have mercy. I hate praying for humility, but its been coming in spades in the last month or so. maybe one of these days that will be enough to last a while. not likely.

Happy New Year!

12.28.2008

2008

It has been an eventful year.


highlights include:

Marrying the most wonderful woman ever.
Finding out we are having a baby
Being the Choir director at my church
a little bit of travelling
studying at UVIC for a semester
catching and eating shrimp and crab at my local park
hiking on the west coast of Van. Isle
Surfing in Tofino
surviving NVP (morning sickness)
reading a blog called 'stuff christians like'
continuing my love affair with flickr and my blog
Montana
James and Katherine's wedding


Things I wish I had done

Visited Gibsons more
made it to mexico for our honeymoon
been more organized
caught a salmon



oh, and all is well. Thanks for your prayers.


we may go snowshoeing tomorrow, but the weather says its rather dangerous right now, changing temperatures and all. we'll see.

12.26.2008

less than beautiful, slightly more hard

Chalk one up for being is hard. I am choking on my knees.

12.18.2008

Yoga-pt 2

alright,so many responses require a quick post.
I went again to yoga today, and I enjoyed it again. partly because it is so hard, and partly because it encourages discipline. I don't fear the spiritual aspect because it is without flavour, that is, it is something that will further my orthodox spiritual discipline. It is only form, and completely without content, so the content of it for me is Orthodoxy. For others, I don't know what it would do for ones existence, except possibly make it seem as though one was doing something with spiritual value, which I think might actually be the most dangerous part of the whole thing, or anything. It tricks you into thinking you are doing something.
Remember, Satan is alluring, not ugly. the fact that this is rooted in Indian mysticism isn't what is going to cause trouble.

12.17.2008

Interpretation and Hot Yoga

I can't remember the last time I talked about this, perhaps as recently as last post. but I simply have to get my thoughts out there, and thoughts that may be read are more likely to be coherent and logical. no guarantees though.

Orthodox Christians have a particular interpretive lens which shapes their scope of the world. we understand things a certain way because we are Orthodox christians. Protestant christians have a particular worldview, as do Roman Catholic christians.

Great. we all have particular things we disagree about. but at least we have in common that we understand and acknowledge that we all have a very particularworldview, and that it is through that worldview that we come to understand the bible, history, church fathers, faith, the church, saints, eucharist, meals, alcohol(only one H?), friendship, marriage, cars, hockey, competition, sin, photography, art, music, commerce, finance, politics, etc etc. What really grinds my gears is Christian people who say to me "we are just reading the bible and doing what it says" as though there was not a particular interpretive lens at work, but rather pure knowledge without form was being transmitted to the souls of disembodied believers who then do exactly what God intended when he grabbed the apostle Paul's hand and held it while Paul scrawled out letters, just like in HEROES when they look into the future and their eyes go white and they are in a trance. St. Paul was the first practitioner of Christian Transcendental Meditation, he was meditating on the transcendence of God and then woke and found he had written half of the new testament. how to disseminate it? another time. ANYWAYS. please, just acknowledge your sources of interpretive bias. honestly. If pentecostals and vineyard and Benny effing Hinn are all reading the bible without interpreting it, then why do you all disagree so severely, and still end up on the same side of the spectrum of historical interpretation?

I went to hot yoga today, and it is a very interesting experience. This is the other reason I must write this down. I think it will help me to be more focused and disciplined, which will make me a better person, and, Lord have mercy, a better Father. For a second I felt like I was cramming, "OH! I have an exam coming! (baby) I better go and...be a good person (become disciplined)"
but then after that second passed, I continued to enjoy the really intense workout that really did require and I think build focus. It's kind of like singing in a choir, rather directing a choir, because there are SO many different aspects of each pose to focus on, let alone remembering to breath when your lungs and diaphragm are all so crunched up. but it surely is an endorphin junkie's happy place. as long as the pseudo spirituality doesn't get you all up in arms, I think it can be a good practice, especially during the fast. it is snowing out. Its been trying to for a while, but the rain has been winning. anyways, Yoga has spiritual aspects, but everything has spiritual aspects unless you are a gnostic, so, relax. I think the key is when they start talking about focusing, and not letting things come to mind, interpret that in a christian manner. Okay, no logismoi. focus. okay. Jesus prayer. stretch, twist, pain, my body isn't really meant for this, is it? harder, breathe, stretch, okay, relax, listen to some crazy sanskrit words that make it all eastern mystic-ish, whatever. It's good. I have a two week unlimited pass, and I am going again tomorrow. It's all about interpretation. remember that that is what we do, we interpret, and we teach our kids to interpret. clean your interpretive lens. go to church. do prostrations, they are the first of the Christian Yoga moves.

11.30.2008

Ugh.

I didn't get to stay at church for lunch today, it was like part of me didn't get fed.

I had a lovely time seeing and singing with many old good friends.

and then I talked to some guy who just was not listening, and didn't realize we were speaking different languages.

what to do with life eh?

11.26.2008

Hospitals, Doctors, Midwives....

If you go to a hospital, its because there is something wrong, and you have to get it fixed, or at the very least, stop feeling the pain.
Childbirth, then, must get lumped into that category by those who work in hospitals because I doubt that they are trying to change their approach to the problems that walk in the door based on the nature of the problems. I imagine it would be hard to change your approach when your training is all about problem solving. I have a good friend who is a Doctor and his wife is a nurse, and I know they do a great job, but (and I have yet to ask him) I think it too is a problem to be solved.
So, the difference (gross generalization here) between a Doctor and a Midwife is that the midwife is seeing the birth as a good and natural thing, and the Doctor sees it as one of many problems that he has to solve during that shift. I am so thankful for Doctors, they do wonderful things, but I think it is the worldview difference that becomes obvious in the way the situation is treated. Pregnancy and Childbirth are not problems, even if they are problematic.

Did I mention how excited I am to have a baby! Matthew and Mira had their baby last night, and the pictures on facebook are great, Joshua is SO cute. he looks like a cute muppet cross of Matthew and Mira. honestly. very cute.

Its cold and cloudy. Sufjan Stevens Christmas music is playing, and I am still hanging in the balance. That is okay though, I don't mind waiting.
I do absolutely love being the choir director, we had such a great practice the other day, it was so fun and effective. The Christmas music is so beautiful. And I love the word Megalynarion. honestly!

I think maybe its time for a fire in the fireplace. I haven't been shrimping lately, I lost my gloves and its cold out, so I am hiding inside until I find them or really get desperate for some shrimp. Or until G and R come and visit, which is going to be fun. I am very excited to see them, its been a while. The girls get to be pregnant and go shopping together, and G and I will go biking and exhaust ourselves because we are out of shape, though I think I win in that category. my back still hurts from surfing in Tofino.

we will be at St. H's on sunday because we are having supper with the in-laws, its F's Birthday, and its going to be a fun bash. L's brother is coming from AB, so that will be cool. I am having fun with all of these abbreviations.


have you heard the Sufjan Stevens Christmas albums? They are so great, especially the songs he has written about his sad childhood. man, they are funny and sad. what a guy.

11.21.2008

blast.

I am still a hot head.

forgive me brothers and sisters.

11.19.2008

part one, second time.

SO last time, I think it was fine, but poorly organized, so I am going to start off with a skeleton, and work my way into it over time.



1. Trust.
2. Proper Breathing.
3. Awareness of Body: Including
-breathing
-vowel shape
-posture
-rib cage placement
-space inside mouth
-resonating chambers inside head-sinus cavities
-tension and its effect on the body ergo the voice
4. Listening louder than you sing
5. Vowel shape and its affect on tuning with other singers.
6. Learning music -Aural or Visual?
7. Meaning of text matching the shape and meaning of the phrase, and the piece.
8. context of the piece in the liturgy
9. Liturgical considerations for variation of settings/arrangements.
10. Ability for the congregation to sing along, size of choir, choristers being booted to the congregation to beef up the sound of the body as a whole.

Now, this is not a comprehensive list, I am sure there are more things to think about, but I am thinking out loud here. If there are any categories I have left out, please let me know. Then I will more systematically address each of these issues, and perhaps have a little pamphlet to put together.

Gabe is going to be here this weekend, so that is going to be good. I look forward to seeing him. Life is so weird, with all of its changes, and seasons. People I used to live with, like Gabe, I rarely see. but that is partly due to the water being wide. ah well.

we were at Galiano Island this week, and during the week the gulf Islands sure are dead. it was SOOOO quiet, which was nice. but even the nice restaurants were all closed, which was a bummer. but we still enjoyed ourselves.

I am so excited to meet our baby, I can't wait. It's going to be so much fun. and so crazy hard no doubt.



oh, and Pray for Konrad, apparently he hurt himself in an accident. I don't know much more than that.

11.17.2008

choral manifesto pt 1

I believe quite a few things about music, and choral music particularly.

First, the most important part of a choir is the trust built over time between the members, and between the members and their director.
If this trust is there in even the smallest amount at the beginning, and grows at whatever pace, over time, any issue that is musical or extra-musical can be worked on because there is an atmosphere of trust between the singers and each other, and between the director and the singers.
Tension in the body is one of the largest contributors to singing incorrectly, either with regard to the diaphragm apparatus or with regard to the shaping of the vowel. Tension can manifest itself as poor posture, which will result in singing out of tune.
It can also manifest itself as poor vowel shaping. If you carry your tension in your jaw, it will make you shape your vowels in a locked manner, so that you don't allow the sound to reverberate through the back of your throat and out through a nicely shaped resonating chamber, ie, your mouth.

So, if you can create a trusting environment between all members of the group, you can begin to eliminate tension, and begin to think about these details that will allow for better singing.

After this first step, begin to think about the blend of the group. this can be adjusted by moving singers around to stand next to different singers, which will change the sound they are used to hearing. It will also help the singers become more independent.



I think what I am trying to say is that the most important aspect of music isn't the music, but the people.

this is the first in a series of attempts to put these thoughts together coherently.

11.15.2008

spinto band/love/axios

So I found a cool band all on my own. check them out. they have the most amazing videos.
http://www.youtube.com/user/SpintoBand

anyways.


I was talking to Fr. G the other day, it was great. we talked on the phone cause I haven't been able to get over there, and he reminded me of things I know, but forget. I find it important to remember that when we feel like we need to be loved, the way to kill that passion is to love others because it creates love and denies the selfish side of that ego based lie, because we really are loved by God, and it takes our trusting in something that we can't feel and ACTING on that trust to create love and live in it. So there. Go and love someone when you are feeling like someone should be loving you. Let me be clear, I know how loved I am in so many ways, but its something that I am happy to be reminded of and to bring to your attention, whomever you may be. anywhoo. there you have it. it's like prayer, practice praying and eventually you will be praying for real. Or practice loving, or being a christian, or whatever, and then one day, you realize that you own the doing of it so that it is where you find your identity, in a good way.
Victoria did some work on her template, and it looks good. go check it out.

Eis Polla Eti Dhespota Met. Jonah! Axios!

11.14.2008

Dear Sufjan Stevens

Thank you.

have you ever heard of the orthodox church? you might like it.

but seriously, thank you. keep it up.

11.13.2008

Dear Dave (Matthews)

Honestly, when I first heard your music, I wasn't that impressed. I remember two times listening to the radio when I was about 13, hearing "what would you say" and thinking about how cool it was that there were a bunch of men shout-singing a chorus, it was such a good acknowledgement of masculinity. but that was about it for that song, and then I heard Crash, which was nice sounding, but all I remember is the 'I'm the king of the castle' line. Which, I thought was clever.
anyways, your music is a struggle between a celebration of life, your obvious anger with God and a desire to not believe in Him, despite your deep appreciation for being alive and the reality of Love. There is such beauty in that kind of a struggle, as is evident in much of your music. Many people say you are a cheeseball, especially when you are performing live, but I get it. I mean, I communicate so often and so have had the practice, but I hear the clarity of meaning coming through your music, and the fog with which you speak when you try to use your words. No wonder you have to write music. anyways, It's beautiful.
But listen, the God whom you are so angry with and have been hurt by isn't actually God, its people who have done terrible things in God's name. And, the the material things you enjoy so much have been created by God and are good. Its true. The rules that many american Christians would have you follow in order to restrict your freedom are not the same as living life fully and giving thanks for the beauty that has been created for us to revel in. When we truly are thankful for all we have been given, we will begin to understand the right place for all things in God's creation. I think that appreciation will lead to a proper use of all of the gifts of the world, where we don't have to be controlled by anything, and we can give thanks for everything. And the thing is, I see that thankfulness in your music, celebrate we will, cause life is sweet for certain. It is. So often you have clearly expressed the ideal of certain aspects of life in ways that cannot be properly grasped except through music because it occurs in time and with other people. Its temporal aspect is the acknowledgement of our humanity, our mortality. And, it is that mortality that creates or leads us to beauty, to choose one thing and not the other.
Don't believe the hype, you already know that God loves you, you just have to go and ask Bob Dylan where to hang out on sundays.

11.11.2008

on location

So, we are having a mini vacation in Tofino, where I went surfing with Ilya yesterday. It was so great! After the first attempt,which lasted about 15 minutes, I was so winded and a little uncomfortable in my wetsuit that I had to take a break and just breathe and get used to it. I thought I was going to puke I had swallowed so much saltwater and my arms were already tired from trying paddle past the break. but whatever, I went back out and finally caught a few waves, not standing up on a board, but just finding out how to catch them and ride them in and get momentum. It was quite the rush, the waves just push you along, which I suppose is the whole point. anyways, it was sweet. I got dumped a few times and tumbled around in the water like a rag doll, which is not that comfortable, but it felt very cleansing in a way. I can't really describe it, but it was amazing. I think I understand why people live to surf, but I think it would get old, kind of like snowboarding. and skateboarding. Now, mind you, those two sports evolved from surfing in the first place, and having skateboarded since I was like 5 (not learning tricks since then, but riding nonetheless) and snowboarded thoroughout my high school years, I always regarded the culture of surfing to be a cultural homeland of sorts that I never was able to get to, because it was just that cool and far away. That, and I thought wetsuits would still be cold. Surprisingly, if I had the strength, I could have stayed out there all day. I was pretty tired pretty quickly. anyways, I was not cold. Anyways, I finally made it to the storm surf shop in tofino, a place I had seen as a mecca. well, I am glad to have been there and done that and not bought the T-shirt, I think I had romanticized it quite a bit, and it was just another expensive store selling name brand skateboards, surf gear, and expensive jeans to people who want to buy an identity that is cooler than they really are. I used to be like that and now I am not. I struggle to continually have my identity in the right place, but I know it can't be bought, and I know that Storm, as cool as it is, is not who I am, nor who I want to become. Surfing is fun, and an amazing workout for the upper body (and I imagine if one gets up on the board, lower body too) but it's not an identity that can last.

that said,

Dear unnamed pro surfer:


your ability to ride waves is unparalleled, and its quite poetic to see the rise and fall being managed by a guy on a board, but why do you keep going back, day after day? Isn't it always the same, or even just a little bit different, and what is it about surfing that makes you keep going back, is it the admiration of fans, the girls that you ride with, or for, or the tan and the hair and the big sunglasses and baggy jeans.

I guess what I am realizing is that I see everything as good and can't imagine becoming so focused on one thing because it negates the possibility of all others. But I guess that is the reality of life. I think my enneagram says something about this. ah well.


Nonetheless, I am in Tofino, with my lovely wife, and we are enjoying the peaceful time. We are staying at a beautiful house that is in the process of being built, and our hosts are very generous and hospitable. It was dinner last night at shelter, a restaurant befitting a destination resort town like whistler, or apparently Tofino. This weekend there are a lot of students up here renting boards and hitting the waves. Its a good time. pictures to come.

11.06.2008

letters.

This is the first of a few open letters to musicians I like.

Dear Greg Graffin,

I have spent much time listening to your music, and I love the way it calls the powers of our nations to account for the things they do that are less than moral. I love your critique of hypocrisy in institutions because of its powerful form and accurate content. I loved being in the mosh pit hearing 21st Century Digital Boy, and I love that I am posting this on a blog.
I think that you believe so many of the same things about the world that I do, that freedom is a part of life, not merely a right, but something so fundamental that it should be taken for granted. That there is such a thing as right and wrong, and injustice should cease. That this planet is valuable and should be taken care of. That those in positions of power who abuse and take advantage of vulnerable people should be judged harshly.
I take issue with your narrow view of Christianity though, because I think you are tainted by the vocal right wing american version of the church. I must say that as a Christian, I identify (shudder) in a way with them, in that they claim to be followers of Christ. I think if you were to look at certain followers of Christ, like Ghandi, you would find a different way of reading and being that makes a lot of sense. I suspect you agree with Bill Maher in some ways, though not in such a vitriolic fashion, that Faith is a foolish construct. I suggest that reason requires just as much faith as an epistemological foundation as faith, when you really get down to it. Even Descartes had to take on faith his assumptions about being. I see being as a relationally believable situation. We exist because we are in relationship with other beings, and finally and fundamentally, we exist with, for and before the one who created us. It takes the same type of faith to trust in scientific facts that you can't engage with through sense data other than words, as it does to believe in 'myth' that comes to us in the form of words, and is lived out in community with others. Can you really deny the existence of love, or tell me that its existence is a result of evolution? do animals love and if so, does it help them survive? what about music? you are a professional political musician, and music should have died long ago, according to its lack of evolutionary purpose.
You may think you don't have faith, that your knowledge is purely based on reason and rationalist thought, but if you are honest with yourself, you will find that you use a faculty called trust in the same way I do, but you trust in hypotheses made by men about things they didn't create and can't see. I didn't create anything, but I can see love, and that's enough for me to continue to have faith in its reality.

11.05.2008

well

There is change in the air, Barack Obama is the next president of the US, and the world seems hopeful.

What I want to know is how should orthodox christians vote? I see abortion as an issue that points to the rest of your worldview, so we can't possibly support abortion as a morally acceptable practice, with the possible exception of it being a lifesaving situation, even that I don't understand and don't want to comment on.
However, Obama supports late term abortion ( I think ) and that is absolutely brutal. But he seems to have a lot of other seemingly Christian policies, financial, foreign, political, etc.

What I want to know is why is there no consistency of worldview? why does the left support the poor, as Christ would, and care the planet, as Christ would, and abort babies? It seems so strange.

I don' think there is an answer, but I don't get it.



In other news, I have been recording a lot of music lately for Choir practices, and its been going well. We had the greatest Choir day ever the other day, it made me so happy to be the director.

I find myself to be very busy these days, between school, church, and everything else, there aren't many evenings free. one in fact.

I wrote a paper letter and its in the mail today. I haven't been to visit Gibsons in SO long. I miss those guys immensely, and I need to get there for a visit before they have their new addition. So I wrote a letter. A paper letter. I think this digital age is changing our value systems, specifically to do with information and the written word. It is not actually going to change what we value, but how we decide what is valuable. Publishing is so easy now, how do we decipher what is good, when preservation is so widely available. And, oh, imagine all of the annoying people who are going to be given PhD's 200 years from now because of their research on the beginning of the digital revolution? They will spend hours pouring through email accounts that belonged to people who died and never got purged (somehow) I wonder what happens to an email account when the owner dies. or a blog for that matter?

11.03.2008

uncertainty

I just don't know. I love my life, I love it so much. It is a lot harder than it used to be, for sure, but in good ways. I love being married, I love being orthodox. why do I get to have such a sweet life? (more on this later)

10.30.2008

Flow Theory/grinding my gears at uvic...

Today in class we learned about this theory of motivation called flow theory, and, from what I understand, it goes like this.

Learners who are pushed to their limit in all areas will excel because they are being fully engaged. I think this makes sense, I wish I had been pushed more when I was in high school.


in other news, you know what really grinds my gears? I go to UVIC right now, and there is a debate going on about a pro life group called Youth Protecting Youth. They are a club and deserve club funding. They are being denied the funding based on their political view that abortion should be illegal. They don't believe that a woman has the right to choose.
The UVIC student society has decided that since it believes in the freedom of a woman to choose, this group who wants to limit that freedom, does not get funding.

The irony is, this is not about abortion, it is about censorship. The UVSS is a student society, representing students at a university. The last time I checked, students are studying ideas and are meant to form a worldview by spending time debating ideas and standing on the shoulders of giants. If the UVSS has their way, they will censor a group based on their understanding of the world, that is, they will curtail their freedom of belief and expression.


let me try again, I think I am confused.

UVSS says that YPY is not allowed to exist, and will not sponsor or fund their group because of their pro-life position. UVSS says this is due to protecting the freedom of choice held by women over their bodies. nobody could deny that every man is a free agent. but to deny fredom of expression to one group because of its beliefs is censorship, especially in a place where ideas are supposed to be freely exchanged. I think my article says it better. ah well. stupid leftists. I mean, I am fairly left leaning, and I wouldn't even say that abortion should be illegal, I don't think it should ever happen, but I don't know that that should be left up to the government to decide...but I do think that anyone who believes either way should be allowed to discuss their ideas and worldview with anyone who will listen, ESPECIALLY on a university campus. honestly!

10.29.2008

Son.

reading.

I have been reading, and I realize that I am going to have a son. I can't fathom how much this will teach me, how I will be humbled and how I will become so much more than I am.
Laurenn is 25 weeks I think, there are pictures on FB. but I so often don't think of the reality that is the baby boy inside her. Its different, and I don't know what makes me say it differently, but sometimes its Lord have mercy on our unborn boy, and sometimes its Lord have mercy on our unborn child. There's a difference between a boy and a child, boys are rambunctious, find their value in their father's opinion of them far to easily, and no doubt he will show me my weaknesses.
My Dad was good to me in many ways, but like all of us, he has his faults. I too will leave good and bad marks on the soul of my son, but gosh I want him to grow up and be a better man than I ever will be. God grant, and if so, that I will accept such a thing. My pride wouldn't like that.

Things are on the move these days. Dan is going to Gibsons at pascha. I am in school, but I am always applying for government positions, I think one of these days it may pay off. whether or not it is in Victoria, who knows.

55 maxims.

click me for Fr. Thom's list of 55 maxims. Best thing I have read in a while, got the link from Ochlophobist, a new favourite read.

10.28.2008

Belief

I have been thinking lately that to believe in something isn't actually a thing that we do in the way that we talk about it, as though it is a choice. someone asks you if you believe in God, its not because you decided one day to do that or not to, its a result of how you interpret what you see and experience.
You see the world, and you are thankful and you say that it is not possible for this to exist without the hand of a Good God, you investigate and find that there are truth claims that make sense to you, it is because there is sense in the world, logic and order to the world, and it all fits together. This is the result of how you see the world, your worldview. You can't decide to change it, but it can slowly be changed, for better or worse I think. I wonder about people I know who at one time seemed very dedicated to what they claimed to believe in, and then go through subtle processes that change how they live, though they don't say anything different, or think they believe differently, they act in a way the shows they believe something different than what they say, either about themselves or the world. Often they don't even see it until it is too late, and God grant that they ask for mercy and try to come back to themselves and their family, but who knows. God knows.

I have been catching shrimp in the shrimp trap lately, if I move, I will certainly miss this place. more on that later.

I really enjoy being the choir director, especially when we have practices that go well. Our practice last night was great, so much fun and so productive. They worked hard and it payed off.

I want to find a way to post music here, I have a few recordings of the choir doing russian stichera, but we are moving to a byzantine vespers, which is also going to be cool.

10.23.2008

honestly!

I presented in class today on whether or not popular music should be used a subject or even as part of a teaching method for music in schools. I also attended english class.

Both classes managed to end up in discussions/arguments about religion, specifically Christianity. Its amazing how many people have the same arguments saved up for why they aren't christians. I honestly am fine with you not being a christian, it doesn't threaten me, you don't have to justify it. please, enjoy life, or not, go to church, listen to music, whatever. don't try to convince me that your reasons for not being a christian are good, and I won't try to convince you of anything either. I don't think convincing anyone ever convinced anyone. Perhaps with the exception of Fr. Justin, and then it wasn't one person, it was history, which is really hard to argue with if you really are seeking the truth. but whatever. It was fun. I even got to diss the book of mormon in English class, and the most unexpected person got offended. The girl with the huge long three year dreads turned around and was offended when I said the book of mormon reminded me of a cheap knockoff of King James English. Don't get me wrong, the mormon people I have befriended from time to time over the years, especially Joseph Olsen and Toni and a few others at Fat Camp were among the coolest, most sane people I know. anyways, it was unexpected and fun. She is not a mormon anymore, but felt like she had to defend herself.
Its weird being in school and already having been through a few times, to talk to young students who know that they are right and that they have examined their beliefs and convictions and are confident that they can tell you their views and not be offensive or offended...

I also love when I tell folks I am a christian and they tell me that the church has done terrible things and organized religion blah blah blah. honestly? what-effing-ever. I could not care less about these arguments, because I have so much of my own soul to clean up and kick into shape that those issues, as real as they are, don't affect right here and now and aren't good enough reasons for anyone to believe or not.

10.22.2008

10.16.2008

hockey

I love hockey. I love the intensity I saw tonight when the canucks beat the red wings. I love playing floor hockey with the guys from church, we have such fun practices. I love playing against St. Hermans because I know all the guys, and they know me.
The game this year was too much. It was too intense. I saw some guys out there ready to throw down. and it was out of Christian love for their brothers, they saw their brother being unjustly treated and they were going to defend him. I saw it in their eyes, heard it in their voices. The blood they would draw would be justified due to righteous anger.
so then, should we even put ourselves in this situation? should we engage in a competition with people we don't know that well? I don't think it breeds brotherhood among those who don't know each other. I think that this is because pride is an all encompassing tradition, like orthodoxy. except that it is the opposite.

I see competition, in any situation, as inextricably linked to pride. I heard this from Fr. Gregory, but I see it and will defend this position as my own. Pride and competition come from the same place, our desire for identity and security.

If I want to know who I am, and where I stand, I can cast myself alongside another person, as though they are the measuring stick from which I can acquire identity.
A close friend of mine and I did this a lot. He's going to be a monk, and I am going to be a father, so we can't really play the competitive games anymore, and we even came to the point of noticing it and talking about how we were competitive with each other about grades, school, and musical things. It was quite...the process. anyways.
we used to measure ourselves next to each other, because we saw in the other things we valued. That is the beginning of the sin of Pride. why? If I was better, I am finding my identity in a place other than who I am before God. If I am worse, I am finding my identity in a place other than who I am before God. This is the problem with self esteem. We shouldn't be worrying about self-esteem, we should worry about how God esteems us. and because we know (cause the bible tells us so) that he loves us, then we need to act as though it is true.
Then, we need to know that our identity comes from this, that we are not who we are based on our relationship with our friend who is better or worse than us, but we find our identity based on our relationship with God who is perfect, in Jesus Christ, in the church.
somewhere in the bible it says "do not think of yourself more highly or lowly than you ought to" ( I think that's in the bible?)
aka: know thyself.
Pride. Sin. Hockey. Competition.

Competition and Compare sound similar and I bet etymologically are related, though I haven't checked.

Hockey (Pro) makes money off of our obsession with who is the best compared with each other. It is the opposite of humility. Competitive sport is driven by this underlying current. If we truly found our identity in who we are before God, we would find it bizarre that we continually went around spending hours (or entire lives) to be better than the next guy or girl. why not submit, and say that the other person is better, just let them win? so what?

I am half preaching to myself, I get so bitter when I am losing at settlers, its ridiculous.

but honestly, competition, where in the bible does anyone mention the benefit of sporting events!

(don't get me wrong, I still like watching hockey, though I think I shouldn't. its an intellectual quandary, or is it?)

cloves.


Cloves Study

if you click that link, you will find a study that shows that smoking djarum cloves is not any healthier than regular cigarettes. Still nicotine and carbon monoxide shredding your lovely oxygen rich blood cells.

music education.

I am taking education classes right now, and it is interesting. I have just started a blog for one of the classes. but the other one is a Jazz Pegagogy class, and I have to improvise a solo today.

I don't like solo performance, philosophically speaking. Today we talked about world music, and there was a brief mention of how in Ghana there is no such thing as the observer, but everyone participates. Its kind of like that in the orthodox church, there really is not a distinction between performer and observer. The priest leads us all, and we are all both producers and consumers, if I may be so crass. we all sing, we all pray, and we all partake in the gifts. I think that is the ideal, as then it can't be about monetary exchange, because nobody is receiving anything from anyone that wasn't produced by all.
In the places I used to come from, there was a clear distinction between those who produced the music and those who responded to it. I mean, we have a choir who leads, and maybe it is unfair to cast such a stone at the past, but our culture leans so far towards the economic model of performer and consumer, separated by the direction of the flow of money.

I think music should be a participatory situation, where all are engaged in some way. I don't like egalitarianism, I like the way that humility suggests that we all know our abilities and can contribute in one way or another. This is played out (theoretically) well in church, where the musicians sing, the priest prays and preaches, the subdeacons light candles and clean things, readers read, etc.

everyone has a role to play, nobody should be bored or unengaged. I think that if you are going to church and are not doing something, you should be. those who are just learning, that is a little different, but it is the work of the people, and if you aren't working, someone else is doing your share.


Time for class.

10.15.2008

I like the ochlophobist. you should read his ( I think ) blog.

ochlophobist

well...

So,
a close friend of mine is going to become a monk at the fabled moldovian monastery (let the reader understand)
I am joyful for him, and I won't miss him because I can visit there if I am near enough to do so.
but when he told me, I got a little teary because I know that it will be so hard, but so beautiful because they live such a simple, quiet beautiful life. Congratulations brother! (he won't read this, but still)
My Dad, among others, doesn't see the value in monastic life because it is not evangelical, in the manner of 'going out' but in the manner of telling others the good news? It is the most evangelical because it is taking full advantage of the peace offered to us by Christ in saying to us 'do not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow has enough worries of its own'.
lovely.
fishing. I don't get fishing. maybe I just don't do it often enough, but I used to be really good and really confident at it even, we went salmon fishing and I just never catch fish anymore, the last large fish I caught must have been at camp when I was like 14, since then I have had lots of fun, but never any really large fish. but again, its probably because I haven't done it enough. I am too much of an interdisciplinary hobbyist. I want to do everything. I think I have inherited that too.
I want to mountain bike, rock climb, fish, hike, go crabbing, sing, go snowboarding, travel, hitch hike, and all of these things have taken my time over the past decade(s?!) or so, so focusing on one and really getting to know it isn't what I have done.

and, is killing animals necessary? I mean, I have this neverending debate with myself about eating animals. I like the taste, but many things that feel good aren't necessary or even healthy. so that is not a good reason. but taking a life equals genuine cost, it really costs you and the world something when an animal dies. the animal loses their life. I am not saying the feel things, but that life itself is valuable. eating animals is not sin to be sure, but is it necessary? let it be clear that I still eat fish from time to time, and even a burger now and then when I am on the run with no time for a proper sacramental sit down with friends.

I am going to be a father, I can't imagine anything more daunting.

10.09.2008

behaviourism, work.

So,I work in a place that is behaviourist. I Think that is a word, and it bothers me. I mean, I like the people I work with, on all sides, but I don't like how behaviourism only looks at behaviour. I think that it is narrow minded to look at someone with only one lens.
Sometimes, tests that are supposed to provide irrefutable empirical evidence are shown to be faulty. we had a situation where a test said one thing, but then the client indicated a different thing, which indicated to me that the test itself was faulty.
I hate running, my knees hurt when I run, I would much rather ride my bike. we have to run at work.

If God judged us only on our behaviour, and not at all on our motivations, we would have to live in an explicitly legalistic world. But, God being loving enters into a kind of knowing that is relational. don't ask me to explain it. and I think that is the point, it is hard to explain the nature of relating to a person and knowing them. There is a hebrew word that I can't remember that means "to know" that is translated as "lie with" we colloquially joke by saying "knew her in a biblical sense"
I think that really knowing someone means that you look past behaviour, or you take everything into account, not just behaviour, which, while important, is only one aspect of a persons being.
I will say that I see it as an effective tool for teaching people who are non verbal, because it ends up circumventing the need for spoken language, and instead gives symbolic meaning and value to actions.

So, while I acknowledge that ABA has a lot to offer a lot of people who are disabled, and also can help us teach babies things before we can communicate with them (like toilet training, we can talk about that later) I think that it can't be seen as a whole worldview.

10.08.2008

The Pink Poles


P1050447
Originally uploaded by pasivirta
These poles remind me of and symbolize my youth in a way.

perhaps...perhaps...perhaps...

well, there's a lot happening, so maybe it behooves me to write a little more. encouragement notwithstanding.

I had great tacos with Steve this morning, so that was nice.
I am back in school, studying music education at UVIC. I am the choir director at my church, and I remember now how much I love music and being a director. I love managing people, it is hard, but so rewarding, especially when people make progress, I can almost see people's souls clamoring for tough love. Nobody in our culture tells people the truth. "you are making a mistake, stop it and life will be better" that is my goal in life. help people stop making mistakes.
speaking of Goals, I am going to be a father. Laurenn is pregnant.

In case you haven't read for a while, if you used to follow, and are unaware, here is a brief update.
Married, 02 02 08. Baby coming Feb 1 2009. Living in Victoria, directing choir at All Saints Orthodox Church in Victoria. New Tattoo last december. less cloves and hookah since Laurenn is pregnant. Working with a young person with Autism and in school full time to be a teacher.

I also may (MAY) end up in Edmonton, but we won't know for a while I think. right now, I am planning to be here in Victoria, to finish school and become a teacher.
I love life, its hard from time to time, in fact more often lately it is really beautiful and really intense.
Laurenn was sick for four months, to the point of puking every 45 minutes all night, that was fun. oh man.

I have not been able to visit the monks for a long time now, getting there from Victoria is an ordeal. I could drive to Prince George from Vancouver in the amount of time it takes to get there from Victoria, even though it is only about 50km across the water. I need a boat. I wish so bad I had a boat, I have been crabbing and I will go fishing next week, which is also exciting.

I love living here, but I wish I could catch more fish, and Laurenn doesn't love fish either. Oh man. so many good topics to discuss.


Forthcoming, you can expect blogs on the following subjects.

Orthodox music Byzantine (2 part) vs Slavic (4 Part)
Pop music in the music classroom
priesthood
fatherhood
confrontation and canadian politeness
to eat meat or not to eat meat
to eat carbs or not to eat carbs
violence, competition and pride
academia
callling
amateur vs professional

inane TV shows like the unit. oh man. shamefully admitted.

hockey.

relationships. marriage. friendship. love. babies.

silence.

smoking.
drinking.
escapism.
beer.
hiking. camping.


music.

8.12.2008

Todd Bentley

is a heretic.


Todd Bentley is wrong.

Lord have mercy.

6.27.2008

values.

I used to think I was over being cool, but now I just know how to do it.
Drink beer, smoke cloves, a pipe, don't inhale, but hold it just right. Listen to good music, be a good leader, brash if necessary but commanding. love people and they will at the very least like you.
go to grad school, but don't expect any real benefits. people who haven't been might think you are smart. talk about radiohead and sufjan. maybe even vonnegut and pahlaniuk.
read poetry by cohen and cairns and dillard. talk politics. smoke some more.
cool. good thing I am cool. I bet God cares that people think I am cool. I wonder if the devil is cool. probably, because cool is making bad look good. better.

cool is justifying being better than the other guy. man, its cool when guy A beats guy B at sport x in a new and amazing way. so cool that it's news. people make a living talking about some guy putting a ball in a hole. how stupid is that? almost as ridiculous as how much we pay to see men put rubber discs behind another guy into some twine. man.

Its cool that we can make idols out of people who make money telling us that sin is cool. That putting others down by being better than them, objectively, in a way that is meaningless, like doing tricks on a snowboard. what the hell is the meaning of snowboarding? or even the most fundamental of sports, soccer. it takes nothing. two feet and something resembling a ball, and two or more people. who is better. Beckham is better than you. so your value is less than his.

the system of value that this world perpetuates, and that the church has bought into is completely backwards to God's thinking and being. If you think that your church has not bought into the culture of this world, you are wrong. my church has bought into it, as individuals and as a group. we compete with our neighbourly parishes, we teach out kids to compete at camp. Jesus would do it. He would play soccer, and he would win. so that we all knew who was better.

Our churches do not love in the way that Jesus loved. we compete, we sell, and we judge them and ourselves on the same scale that people who deny God do, because we can't bear to accept the love of God and the value judgment that is unconditional love. we don't believe it. if you really believed that our value had nothing to do with our performance, our wealth, our worldly success, we would all live like monks. or be monks. although kids are nice too, and a good attempted corrective.

our value lies in our ability to submit ourselves to death. death of ego. death of our own false value judgments. death to competition. death to everyone around us. the only one left is Jesus Christ and next to him, we are both translucent and fully opaque, based on his light.


Thank God.