It's such a mystery, why is music the way it is?

and does it really direct us in the right direction? does the music matter? does the specific music matter?or is it all the same?

what makes something sacred? what is the point of performance?


I have realized a few things

a few things

I cannot fix anything external to myself, and I am not responsible for anyone outside my family. forgive me for trying to change you, that is a temptation I fall into often.

Poverty takes many forms, and while I believe that Ghandi was right, that it is violence to enable laziness (that is a paraphrase, but accurate I think) We still ought to love the poor, as Jesus commanded many times. what does that mean? It does not mean lobbing electronic grenades, or criticizing the loving efforts of good people.
forgive me, for that is what I have done.

Basically, I have been helped to remember that my struggle is with myself, and that my Ego is often what I have to fight with, not yours. I can't win against your ego, but I can conquer my own.

I was drawn to orthodoxy for a few reasons. They didn't care if I liked them, they were secure and safe without me. I realize now that not everyone is like that, and my interpretation is colored by my history. Also, it doesn't matter, because God is secure and stable with or without me, but offers love. and I accept.
I was drawn to orthodoxy because it was confrontational and honest. Again, that is a particular brand, and one that I love, but it is not everyone and that is just fine.
I love everyone. period. I get along well with people who are like me, but I am realizing that my recent discontent has just as much to do with myself as with anyone else.

its a bit late, I better go to sleep.



Going to St. Hermans tomorrow, Desmond is being received. a long obedience.

can't wait to be there.

and I hope it snows.


Zeke walking

best ever.
Originally uploaded by pasivirta
Zeke took his first steps on sunday, these few steps here are probably still part of his first hundred or so, he has been walking quite a bit in fits and starts, its pretty amazing.
I was doing dishes and he snuck up on me from behind, walking from the living room, because he saw the garbage and no doubt wanted a snack. clearly we don't feed him enough.


In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king

Zeke has started to walk, its pretty incredible. I have a little video on my phone, but I need the micro SD card, when I get that back, I will put a little video up here. I can't find my point and shoot digital, its a panasonic lumix, perhaps one of you saw it somewhere on the mainland, or maybe in seattle, anyways, we have much less video to show off at this point. Anyways. He took his first steps in church. which I think was excellent. we were all quite shocked, not expecting him to walk nearly this soon and we are of course, very proud, even though perhaps our actions have nothing to do with his growth and development, we still like to take credit for it, secretly. but honestly, I have no idea. did I mention I don't like competition? I am such a sucker for it, and I think it is so unchristian, so forgive me if I sound competitive. It's not about comparing, just about good and bad, ultimate things, not better or worse than you. which, like I said, I am prone to.
In other news, Zeke is sick and kind of inconsolable. its a bummer. he is a hurtin unit, squealing in the way that says "Dad, I don't get it, this is pain like I have never felt before, why do I suffer so?" or "Mom, why aren't you fixing this broken glass on the throat thing that is happening here?" anyways, its weird because it comes and goes, but I was sick a few days ago, and now Laurenn and Zeke have the sore throat, but its a short cold I think. At least Its not the H1N1, my boss has that, but she has stayed far away from work, thankfully.
we will be visiting the mainland again soon for a good while, we should be able to see a few people, and I am working at the butcher shop again for a few days, so that will be fun.
Also, we have decided to make hard cider at home, it's incredibly easy, and relatively inexpensive, I think the gear we each bought cost us a few dollars, on top of the ten dollar bottle of cider, its a pretty sweet deal and very crafty feeling for a large bottle of christmas hooch. what a word, hooch.

anyways, we'll see some of you soon, which is sweet.



Originally uploaded by pasivirta


the older I geti

I really really like choral music.

here are some composers you should check out.

Tomas Luis de Victoria.
GP da Palestrina.
John Taverner (with two Rs)(from the renaissance)
Mendelsson's Elijah is amazing.
Britten's war requiem is quite impressive too.
everyone loves Bach, and for good reason.

that should get you started.


tough city

I really look forward to listening to the new CBC Canadian Songquest album. I heard some snippets, and I love some of the musicians. I think Radio 2 Drive is really beginning to reveal a canadian cultural identity that is either just emerging, or just being discovered. But I think it is there. I suppose it could be also that I am growing up and used to want to identify myself with commercial culture, and now I find it abhorrent, is that a word? Commercial radio makes me ill, but I love all of the good music I discover when listening to radio 2 in the morning and in the afternoon. The classical stuff is fine, but I already have a pretty good understanding of where I want to go with my art music time.
I can't wait to be a teacher. I look forward to experimenting with popular music in the classroom, digital media, social media and its ability to unite groups. Today I was thinking about how I could have a contest where kids would have bands and they would have to recruit a songwriter from outside the group, where perhaps it's the outcasts who don't have a voice but have a lot to say who would be better equipped to communicate with music and words. I find I have no motivation to write lyrics, though I love being creative with music, because I am so comfortable with words, regardless of my facility with them. I find Dave Matthews, one of my favourite songwriters, to be not very articulate when he speaks in public (perhaps a variety of factors are involved) but his songwriting is excellent in that it conveys little moments in ways that I think are rare among successful musicians. It also has to do with the chemistry of the band. But I digress, I want to show students that music and creating together can bring unexpected people into a creative process that binds in ways not much else can.
Liturgy, the work of the people, is meant to be like that. When we work together to create beauty as an offering to God, we are bound together in a non-physical way. A spiritual bond is made when we work together on something that is a spiritual offering. We all have different reasons (motives) for being in church, but we go there. I think the worst thing when it comes to church is apathy, not apatheia. Lacking in passion in the western sense. I am having a hard time with church these days, and I think it is largely because we don't have choir practices. I miss everything about the practices, the community, the awkwardness, the progress. I miss the difficult times because it is exactly those difficult times that brought us closer together, that showed us we could trust each other with vulnerability. Better yet, the musical progress made it so exciting to be working together, challenging each other.
I can't exactly remember where I was going with all of this, but I really miss choir practices.


Port Townsend

We returned home from our weekend away in Port Townsend. It was a fabulous weekend, very relaxing and an excellent time to catch up with old friends. The three men involved had spent a fateful weekend together on the sunshine coast, hiking and enjoying nature and also happened to meet the monks for the very first time. It was a weekend sometime in August of 2005 I believe, perhaps even near august 6th. I can't remember exactly, but it was great. we three had fun then, and I remember talking about how we should find a way to have a weekend like this in the future with our wives, and we did! It only took four years, but it was great. We are all married, and there are two babies, and a lot of different thoughts have passed through our heads over the years. We had worked together on the newspaper at TWU, and it was less a newspaper and more an intellectual excercise, a bi-weekly jr sort of peer review publication, involving all sorts of genres, but excelling in general and giving us a taste for creative pursuits that had themes and possibilities. I am sort of rambling, but we really enjoyed working together. They live in seattle now, and we in Victoria, so Port Townsend was a great middle ground.
We played games, we talked about important issues, like babies, church, vegetables, weather, man it was windy while we were there.
It was kind of weird to be so far away, but only drive for about an hour. The ferry we took leaves from downtown victoria, which means we drove for about ten minutes and then took a ferry for about an hour and a half, and then drove for another hour, and we were there. Weird. But the town of port townsend is really cool, very picturesque, lovely buildings, a nice antique store to get lost in, and a great food co-op. I have been working both friday and saturday nights this shift, which has been a bummer, no trips away, but next semester will have me super busy, so I don't know what will happen.
We miss our families, I had a great chat with my sister on the phone today.
This is a string of random things, but there you have it. we are going to watch less TV.
I really like samcro. If you know what that is great, but if not, don't worry about it. I am also really enjoying my terry pratchett books. what a clever writer.
I think I mentioned this before, but I don't remember. We have decided not to go to montreal. I even decided not to take the test, because I loved my time in band class so much the other day that I know I need to be a teacher. So I will do my practicum in the lower mainland and eventually we will go back there to work. In the meantime, we have to deal with living across the street from the ocean. ah well, you can't win em all.


The Poor, Pt 3

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Memory Eternal, Willy.


The Poor pt II

I appreciate the discussion that the last post caused, and hopefully this will clarify.

Matthew 25, like the rest of the Bible, is incredibly important. Most of Jesus' life was spent dealing with poor people, talking about money, and getting people to understand the connection between how the spent their money (and time) and what that revealed about their soul. Matthew 6 also focuses on that briefly, basically saying that its your actions that matter. Just like 1 Cor. 13. Nobody, (well, some of us actually are swayed by words) but almost nobody cares what you or I say, but our actions are really what matter. This is why a blog, while interesting and perhaps an enjoyable way to pass time and stay connected, is not a way to measure anything of substance or significance. (generally, I know there are some really good things written down, like, the Bible, the fathers, etc, this is not a critique of writing per se)
That said (written) the point I was trying to make is that when we minister to the poor, I think we need to think deeply and carefully about that. How, why, what, when, who, where etc. We shouldn't spend so much time contemplating our options that we never do anything, and I am all for giving a random guy on the street the food in my front seat as we stop at the red light (vancouver+pandora anyone?) Just a simple, stringless gift. but if we are going to make an organized concerted effort that is meant to represent the Love of God, why should it have any less of a foundation in history than the way we do the rest of our life in Christ?
I don't think we should ignore the poor, I think we should love them, just like the Bible teaches, because God loves the poor and needs arms and hands (well, not really, but we are supposed to do it) but lets do it thoughtfully. How can we do it best? I think slowly and deeply, in relationships that will last and allow for loving confrontation on both sides, just like in any other relationship.
IN FACT< I just had a bit of a eureka moment, I think part of the problem is when we look at any group as an 'other' it continues the marginalization (I am guilty with my posting titles) if we call someone 'other' they are not our brother. So by looking at poor people and seeing them as poor, they are not even eligible for brotherhood. But if we are less intentionally directed towards one group, perhaps everyone would feel welcome at our table for a meal.


The Poor

What is our duty to the poor, living here in Canada?
I was involved in outreach to homeless people for about 8 years in a semi-official capacity (weekly, name signed up-background check) with the Union Gospel Mission. One of those years, I led a group of 100 University students. Other times, I was going because of the girls I knew in high school. Whatever the motivation, I had the chance to speak with hundreds of homeless people, sometimes just one time, sometimes I knew the same people for years. I know a woman who left her life of prostitution and alchoholism to follow Christ. She has maintained that path.
In Canada, there are so many social safety nets, what is our role as the church? It is a very hard thing to be hungry in Canada, and also hard to be without clothes and food. I think Ghandi said that it is violence to give a man who can work a piece of bread that he didn't earn. I have spoken to people who beg, and they have said that they don't want to work. I have offered food, and they reject it and ask for change.
I don't want to enable laziness, and therefore when doing ministry to the poor, I think it requires a great deal of effort and commitment.
I almost dropped out of my undergrad degree to live downtown with the homeless and destitute. Instead I finished my degree and stopped being involved with outreach.
In Canada, you can't starve.


Dave Matthews on Q

And, surfing was good, though I am still not good at it.


decisions etc

Sometimes its hard to figure things out, like, what to do in life.
The other day, I had another opportunity to conduct the band, its a middle school band, and I LOVED it! with exclamation points! It was great, so it makes me think that maybe I should just suck it up and finish school regardless of what happens with the job in montreal (or abitibi, for that matter)
but who knows.
In other news, my Dad is having an opening of his photos at On The Rise Gallery on south granville. I am very proud of him. He has been doing very well with photography lately, and this is evidence that I am not just saying that. He will have an entire wall of his work displayed. If you can make it, check it out. On The Rise, South Granville, all month long. Opening night is tomorrow night, wine and cheese. Check it out if you can.
oh, and the swell is coming on friday, if things go well, I might just get up on the board this time.


in the key of Grrrrrr

well, today is a grouchy day.

One of my teachers is using interesting techniques in her pedagogy class. She is teaching us how to teach, we have ten minute moments with which to teach a class of grade six band students. Except that the students are actually university music majors who are much quicker to pick up their instruments, and already know what 3/4 time is.
I think it is a terrible idea to take this class concurrent with a class that covers the same material but in a REAL context. I love teaching the actual middle school students, because they react like real people because they ARE real people. It's really hard to take it seriously. ah well.
In other news, I have an interview next monday for a job in Abitibi, of all places, which is like the boondocks of quebec, I don't think there is an orthodox church too near by, so I don't know that we would go, but we'd consider it I think. It's a pretty good job.
I spoke french today with the lady who was driving the bus (it's raining, so I wuss out on part of my bike ride) and it was great, I think my french is improving, but its nigh impossible to tell. we'll see. She said the test is easy, her sister worked for the feds in Ottawa and needed an english course, I would happily take a french course while there.
I love Victoria, but I would also love to pay off debt faster. It's all about the benjamins baby.

I had a hermannator last night, I forgot what that was like. It is an experience. It is very dark, and strong. It hits pretty hard, but not on the palate, I find. But you really couldn't drink more than a few, unless you were out in the rain at backyard fire, in winter. or perhaps the snow.

A demain, je vais aller a habit pour parler le francais avec un amis qui aussi est pratique le francais pour les examens meme que moi, mais j'ai les examens dans le 17 Novembre. Cette semaine, je voyager a www.flashcardexchange.com beaucoup, parce que il y a beacoup des cartes de eclair de francais.

Bon soir!

(I doubt very much that my grammar is perfect, or even close, just a little caveat)


Zeke at Sombrio

Zeke at Sombrio
Originally uploaded by pasivirta
"Mom and Dad, you've been holding out on me! What is this glorious thing I am sitting on?"..."Sand? awesome! I am going to eat it, and wear it, and throw it, and pretty much everything I can think of. what? we're leaving? Nooooooooooooooo!!!!!!"

you should have seen the whale.

Surfing on the west coast of Vancouver Island, mysterious hand injury coincides with sighting a grey whale. but you should see the other guy. (okay, it was barnacles) but we had a lot of fun, even though I still don't know how to surf well, or at all really, but like I said, it was an amazing experience. Totally glad that my buddy Ian from school had gear to lend me.

Grey Whale

I was surfing yesterday, at Sombrio beach, and there was a grey whale in the water near us. like 50 yeards, maybe 70 yards, it was really one of the coolest experiences I think ever. I mean, I have seen whales from boats before, but only once, and to have this whale who was kind of hanging around while we surfed, words don't properly describe it. Q always calls them effing majestic, and its true. Majesty is a word we don't often use except in church, and I think for good reason. but this whale, though I think a juvenile, was majestic. peaceful.
I am really not much of a surfer, I really don't know what I am doing, but the people I was with, didn't care, we were all out there, having a blast, and then this whale pops up and says hi. it was beautiful.



Originally uploaded by pasivirta
I just love this picture so much, and I miss these guys a lot. Its been since this day that we were last all together, I think, and that is far too long. Life has morphed in many ways for all of us, we all look a little different, not much.

Last night, zeke had this crazy sounding sore throat, where every time he would breathe when he was lying down, it sounded like a dry cough. We fixed him up with some steam, and a better position to sleep in, but at first it was really scary. It was the first time I was scared for him. He falls and bumps his head sometimes, and he cries, and its tough, but I kind of laugh and comfort him and tell him it will be okay, because a little bump and a few seconds of crying is not a big deal, but last night he was scared and in pain, and it really really sucked.
he's a little better now and he got some good sleep, so I am not as worried. Being a parent changes your perspective on things in a way that nothing else ever could.


Video/Other News

A Video I made a few years back while doing my undergrad at TWU.

In other news, there is no other news. I will just have to wait until next week to find out when I can take the french test.

In reality, we never expected them to offer me the job, which is partly why we never really talked about it. That, and we have learned to not talk about possibilities before they become reality. But the reason we never expected an offer was because my french is mediocre, passable, but maybe not up to working with the french speaking public standards. we'll see.

OH, and this is rich. Yesterday, they asked me where I live, because if I live in Quebec, they can set up a test quickly. Where do I live? are you kidding? they offered me a job without realizing where I live? very unprofessional.


swear words


Dear Friends, this post has been edited for confidentiality's sake.




Well. we're moving.

Montreal, here we come.

we're excited and sad. Happy to finally have been offered a federal government job, saddened to leave behind a treasure trove of beautiful people. It makes me cry when I think about that part. There are so many people that I really don't want to be that far away from.
But excited at the adventure, the challenge, the opportunity.
but we're sad too. we'll miss you.

pray for us.


odd/family/pumpkin beer/Bachelorhood-briefly

So last night, in church, a man told me that "These are our prayers, and if you don't know them and try to sing along, you mock God" which I thought was odd. I didn't think I was singing that poorly, but I was kind of humming and didn't know the translations. But I was also singing that one harmony in Tone 1 that really gives it its zazz, and maybe he couldn't hear the harmonies properly. anyways, it was weird. I couldn't believe a guy I have never met would talk to me like that. I mean, how un-canadian, and he really was quite canadian, ie, no audible accent. (and I have a good ear)

Anyways. It was weird. It also caused a bit of a row on facebook, but it was all good. I really like having discussions, and am all for being told the other side of things. My problem with this guy last night was how he said it. If he had quietly pointed out that usually people who sing, sing in the choir, and maybe I should go over there, I would have disagreed, but got the point, and been quiet. I just don't like being told to shut up when singing in church. Its...weird.

I watched duck hunting on TV this morning at work, and was thinking about things I can do with Zeke when he gets older, I would love to have a motorcycle for him that we can work on, slowly, a super cheap little bike that he can ride around when he gets his licence (so I don't have to drive him everywhere) but also because doing projects like that is really cool. I made a model with my dad when I was super young and it was really fun. I also just put a new distributor in my car, and while I have not grown up feeling mechanically inclined, wrenches are not that complicated. It's either push or pull.

just about 1/3 of the way through a year of not smoking at all. the frequency of mentioning it is going down, but I still think about it. clearly I am not physically dependant on it, but also evidently I am emotionally attached to the idea. more likely it is the image. one night Gabe and James and I all had G&T's and cloves, and took some photos and wandered to 7-11 when we all lived on eastleigh, it was very high school.

L and Z are on the mainland, and have been since wednesday. I thought that I would have fun, doing all the things I want to do but am too busy to do, but really, I just miss them and wish they were back here so I could do those things with them. It is like someone took the salt away from my life. I am fine, but everything tastes bland and I would rather be with them and tired, than alone and sort of tired. I did go to yoga again, which was awesome. and I doddled my way home from work and had a terrible free espresso at discovery, which is generally one of the best in town. I saw Chris there, which was cool. I stopped at a few garage sales, but nothing like the previous week where I got a free bike. fantastic.
today I miss church while on the ferry, which is too bad. but I get to see my family, and for that, I am very excited. very. vferry. puns like that don't work online as well.

and I just found yet another childhood friend on the ol facebook. one of my fort building, skateboarding, black hair dying buddies. good times.

Happy Turkey!

one more thing. I know I whine a lot, but its because I want the truth to win out. When it comes to my life, and I am reflective, I know I have nothing to complain about. I have a beautiful wife and son, and really, what is better than that? Nothing.


Imagning the Future

Clever title eh?

So, I know you haven't even had time to comment on the last one, but here's another ramble.
Imagine if the future has national boundaries that are drawn on ideological lines.

the example is this:
All of the people who are neo-luddites like C. Townsend et al and don't like technology and its dehumanization of everything band together, buy a chunk of land somewhere in the nether regions of Montana or Southeastern BC and set up their own country. It would be small, the size of a city, but there would be no internet and everything would be grown locally and made locally. I know it sounds utopian, but wait, there's more.
Other nations would be based on things like brand identity, Appleland and Blackberria could have annual tech wars. like color wars, only different.
imagine the possibilities.



well, goodness.
I don't know why I had such a questionable impression of the ROCOR church, I suppose it has something to do with the fact that we only very recently returned to official communion with them, which I find a bit odd, and to be sure the extra prayer that gives a dash of nationalism to the liturgy was a bit offensive. I am not exaggerating, I mean exactly that, it was only a mild offense, but it was offensive. It was a part of one of the litanies and it was a prayer for those in Russia and those in the Diaspora, and I think the use of the word Diaspora implies that Russia is The Homeland of the church, in the same way that a young midwesterner may be surprised to find that Jesus was in fact not a white american.
but at the same time, the name of the church says it, Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. I think it will be a long time before we get real orthodox unity, and I wonder how bad that is. Partially because the church we went to today had a definite Russian flavour, but man did I like it. I mean, I love my home church, it is my family, and I love it.
Today, we experienced serious beauty. It was serious, in that they were working on a beautiful, and I mean beautiful mosaic Pantocrator icon in their very small dome. The dome was wonderful too, a brilliant work of architecture that is hard to understand from the outside because it is so subtle and not at all dome shaped, but inside is perfectly orthodox and clearly intended that way. Anyways, it is not finished, but what is there is absolutely beautiful and serious. Professional.
When I was writing an MA thesis, a hundred years ago, one of the big themes was going to be the difference between the meaning of professional and amateur. Etymologically speaking, one who claims to be able to do something is a professional, they profess ability in a field. One who is an amateur is one who loves what they are doing, but doesn't claim a level of ability.
The whole church was set up by people who were serious and thoughtful about what they were doing, and they knew the right way to do it. There was a little strip of mosaic, halfway up the wall, simple geometric pattern, but it was classy.
The choir was prepared and very easy to understand, though the congregation didn't sing along that much, I found it quite easy to join in because they did all the familiar tones, though some translations were different ie Habitation=Commonwealth(?) But the whole thing was so well put together, everyone was quiet and serious including the kids, it sort of made me sit up and pay attention.
I was glad to visit the ROCOR church, because I had never been, and I had a bad impression which has been erased and replaced by good memories. I am sure we will go to their vespers some sunday night.


GLEE/Organic Farm/Asceticism vs Pleaure/

I have been watching GLEE, and I love it. It is somewhat formulaic, in that the show is not deep, but reflects so much of high school politics, and probably is the result of the success of the high school musical series, and the nostalgia of the genre in general, but it is capturing something that I think a lot of people are going to relate to. Now, I have said before here that I don't think competition is what Jesus had in mind, in general, at all. ok, that may be a nuanced version of what I said, but its what I was one day going to think that I meant. I don't think competition at its root is reflecting the glory of God, but creating and taking glory for ourselves, which is the essence of our screwed up world. Taking something good and instead of seeing the goodness of God in it, seeing the goodness of ourselves in it, which is actually I think a misinterpretation, which can't always be blamed on the one doing the interpreting, so thank God that he is merciful.
But this show is so entrenched in competition that it makes me cringe, but I think that's what High School is like for just about everyone, and its hilarious the way they do things, well, some things. other things make me cringe.
you know, as I write this, I wonder if I will like it by the end of the season, things that are easy to like quickly, often are too much of something, too sweet, too salty, etc, and maybe this won't last. But I am liking the struggle of the music teacher, cause that is what I will be doing soon too. I grew up and went through a music program that was fantastic, but never entered competitions, not because we really weren't excellent, my school won every category it entered at national festivals during the 80's, but our teachers thought that non competitive festivals were more focused on sharing and education, and I agree.

We found a fantastic organic farm today on our saturday family ramble, we were driving out towards sooke, and stopped at a place with a sign for eggs. They were sold out, but they took us to their HUGE garden, and cut us some chard, red onions, beans, orange peppers, tomatoes, basil, kale, zucchini, and they had strawberries that were just getting ripe, and grapes, and everything you can think of. and chickens. It was like my dream of the future. literally. you should come and see it. It was beautiful.

If monks take the road of asceticism towards holiness, does that mean that those of us who are not ascetics are meant to enjoy things that God has given us as a way of glorifying Him? I mean, I know the answer is yes, but I never thought of it as a duality, where we can say that we are categorically not ascetics. We are meant to fast, and pray, but we also have moments and opportunities to see God through the consumption of his many gifts to us, both edible and not, with which to see and reflect His glory, giving thanks in word and deed. The garden and making music are both examples of that, and I am hopeful that despite the fact that I don't feel much like I did when I talked about church a lot more, that I am still growing towards that state of being we all know we are meant for.

It was so nice to take a little family trip today, we stopped at a little fair in luxton, and eventually did find backyard eggs from an old old guy down the street from the fair, it was great. I don't get to encounter really old people much these days, it was nice.


fantastic voyage

We had a great time in seattle, seeing Moses received into the church. The russian priest, Fr. Yuri, really threw down. I like his style. Poor Moses, however, was not as pleased. Fr baptized him for real, plunging him in and out of the water quite vigorously, but carefully. I loved it. I wish Fr. Lawrence had thrown me in like that. Plus, because it was built as an orthodox church, Fr. instructed them to not be weak when it came to spitting on the Devil, so J spit on him good. It was, in the truest sense, awesome.

then we had a toast to Moses, that he would grow up strong, and ate some good food while the canadian and american in-laws had a raging debate about healthcare. they almost got into the octagon ring. good times.
Also, I saw an old friend, Dmitri, who I met on a road trip on the way back from memphis with the orthodorks, and he had just married someone who I knew from T dub. small world.

but a good one.


The Day/Choral Teaching

So today was my interview for a position in Montreal. I almost typed 'at Montreal' which I hope gives an indication of how much I have been trying to think in French and learn more, but its not an indication that I am fantastic at le langue. My Interview went really well, but because I lack a particular level of skills, I don't think there is much risk of moving or actually being offered the position. I will happily stay here and finish my schooling and become a choir teacher, there isn't much that I love in the world more than working on choral music and personal development, as I think singing is so related to personal growth.
When people are able to learn about their voice, it helps them learn about themselves. They learn who they are as people, they learn how to separate themselves from their ability, as far as value and identity is concerned. So many of us attribute our value to our ability in a certain area, but I think as a teacher of music, I will (and have had) have the opportunity to help people realize that their value lies only in ultimate and final questions, God, life, death, resurrection, etc. As a teacher it will have to remain vague, necessarily, but kids will see the truth of love in my life, and I don't worry about the rest. In other contexts, it is possible to be direct, like in church, but the people have to be open to it, which is also hard, because they are volunteers, which is different than in school, when the kids sign up to be taught.
Nonetheless, being in a choir can be very personally challenging, which is specifically why I love leading such an endeavor. It is like leading a mountain climbing expedition, someone is going to get hurt, someone won't make it to the top, but everyone comes out better for it.
Singing is such a vulnerable thing at first, which is why it is such a hard thing to deal with, it is easy for people to get hurt in the process, but because it is so vulnerable, there is such potential for beautiful creation too.
Being in a choir can be so beautiful.

In other news, open house was nice tonight, three people showed up, and we had a great talk about vaccination, we are continuously learning about when/why to vaccinate Z. we decided to wait a bit, but are learning all sorts of things on both sides, so we will see. we of course will have him vaccinated, it is just a matter of when.
I bought some cheap beer, and it was surprisingly good, maybe my tastes have changed, maybe I am going the way of the valley finn, GL, and then people won't drink my beer at new years. we'll see.
still no nicotine, which is healthy, and good, I am sure. Fr. L is my inspiration for a year of abstinence for life insurance. I remember his hardy but faithful refusal and yet his appreciation for the aroma.
Tomorrow we sell the car to a dealer, which is a good thing. They are giving us a fair price, and we are getting an old Honda, which is good, but hard to go from a brand new car to one with 200K plus KM on it. but whatever, it is what it is, and its where we are at, so there's no point in being put out by it. I think that humility is just knowing where we are, and this is where we are.
trying to live within our means.

This weekend is seattle to see J and K's baby M baptized. can't wait.

oh, and I loved Julie and Julia. best line? "You can never have too much Butter!"
we had a date when my mom came to babysit on monday, we had salmon for lunch and a lovely visit.

I love my parents.


Facebook: Secular Heaven

Facebook is the secular heaven.

It has all the people you like right there with you all the time, and they are disembodied, but still pretty. And, you don't have to do anything to keep them there, they just float, right there in front of you, and you can even talk to them with your mind. You don't have to use your mouth. It is a spiritual community, but it is completely centered on you, because you only see what your friends are doing. They may talk to other people, but you only see them talking to people you know, so you are the center of your secular paradise. There are many images to worship, mostly your own, but there is also the divine status update to read, in case images do not fully satisfy the desires of the ego.
I think it was Ram Daas who first said it like this, Be Here Now. It's sort of an interpretation of Matthew 6:33 I think. I mean, very loosely, but it could be read that way. don't worry about tomorrow, or yesterday, or food or clothes or drink, Trust God for today, and let tomorrow be today when it gets here.
sure, it's nice to have all of those people we miss and don't see often enough right there in front of you, but man, how great would it be to talk to them directly, or better yet, visit? better/worse right.

we'll see how long I act on this/believe myself for (ie, stay off the FB)



You know when you were a kid, and wondered if you could ever go all the way around on a swing? apparently you can!



Originally uploaded by pasivirta
look at him! all giggles.



There's this great false assumption out there, or maybe in here, that people who share one or two things of significance in common, such as a belief or similar style of bike or preference in music, are much more similar than in reality.

I assume this about many people who are orthodox. I used to do it much more intensely than before, but I know I still do it.

I thought that of course everyone who was orthodox would at least try to be vegetarian, because eating meat, while not morally wrong, is unnecessary (for some) and it would be a step towards self discipline. I used to think that everyone wanted to fast hard, and that if we were all cranky at each other, we would understand because we were all fasting fairly intensely. I used to think that we should all be monks, or at least try to live like them, and that everyone thought this way, ie, wanted to live like the monks.

I used to think everyone who was orthodox was somewhat socialist. NOT communist, but socialist. but I find myself becoming more of a capitalist, in one sense. Here, in north america, there is so much food for poor people that we enable laziness and 'so-called' poverty. I have two jobs, my second job is pedalling a bicycle around with people on the back. I have a master's degree. If I had to work at Rotten Ronnie's to feed my family, I would. Thank God that is not too likely. when people really need help, great, let's love them fully, but so many people are just not working because they don't have too. but at the same time, come to my house tonight so I can give you some blackberry crumble (as long as there are still blackberries waiting to be picked across the street at the park) I want to share, and I want nothing in return, well, maybe a little company.

in any case, Z and I are going to the park to pick berries. see you this evening,



I am now a Finnish Citizen. Tervetuola!

Tim and Bethany are coming tomorrow. we have had lots of guests this month.
Since camp ended, we have hosted: AJ, Dan, James and Melanie, Kevin, Gabe, and Caroline.
I think that is all so far. Tim and Bethany are rounding out the month, which is great. we get to see them so rarely. they live in the philippines after all.
I have an interview for a job in Montreal. At least they tell me so, but je ne sais pas que j'ai plus que le langue q'il desire pour l'emplois. Et, aussi, je ne sais pas si nous desirons voyager pour trop longtemps et habites au Quebec ou a Montreal. mais, j'aime bien le Francais, et les francophonie, mais, il et un grand 'distance' de ici.
we'll see. My french is passable, but not good by any stretch of the imagination.
I don't like going to church much these days, I just go cause its the right thing to do. I mean, I don't know what else I would do. but it sure has lost its charm. no longer do I see it through rose colored glasses. this Bride of Christ we call the church has so many flaws, and I have really no way to fix them.
My friend from NYC was visiting, and he has an interesting perspective on church. In one sense, he has very strict views on how services should be done, but on the other hand, he was amazed at how strict we are about fasting, despite our renovationist approach to services. I kept on saying something about 'west coast'. but still, I think he can learn from us, and we him.
I miss smoking. It's pretty silly, but I do. I am now a life insured person, well, my policy is approved, and its a 'preferred smoker' policy, which is still silly. I mean, I get it, its a health risk, and its indulgence, and hedonistic. I don't deny it, it is pleasure seeking and bad for you. period.
but I like it.

which of course justifies it. like, the hookah session in Ottawa? Priceless memories.
q,jer,zeke z, and backgammon teacher. srsly.

anyways, now that I am an EU Citizen, I am going to see about working over in Europe, cause, honestly, why would we not go there, now that I am legally allowed to work all over the place. HOW COOL!
I want to go to Finland and learn about orthodoxy there, and maybe take more theology classes. and learn Finnish. and Russian. and French.


My summer class is almost done. I hope to go fishing again, we got 14 salmon, it was fantastic, and it made me wish I owned a boat. want to trade my car for your boat? done.



I think there are a few things that make a summer vacation good.
This summer, we had a good trip, and I know I am likely repeating myself, but I saw that there are thunderstorms in Montana, and storms really make an impression on me. I love bad weather.
I think there will be salmon fishing in the near future, so that is cool. I am definitely looking forward to that. I can't wait for my summer class to be over, it's at such an awkward time of day.
Lost is getting annoying, they really do just keep changing the plot JUST enough to keep people hooked, and to not ever resolve anything. I just want one more moment where hurley is handing out food. that was so nice. just a bit of resolution without tragedy mixed in.
and I am toying with the idea of doing an adventure race, anyone want to join me? I need someone who knows how to set ropes.



Originally uploaded by pasivirta
It's my Dad's birthday today. I think he has done a good job, being a Father is a lot of work, and its complicated. I used to be ungrateful, but now I see that life is a lot more complex and hard to figure out than I used to think.
So hey Dad, thanks! I love you, God grant you many years!


BBQ at Dn. G and Taesia Scratch's Place

Originally uploaded by pasivirta
we had a lovely afternoon at their house, too short, but it was lovely. and they have an awesome place!


Fr. and Matushka Scratch

Originally uploaded by pasivirta
Memory Eternal!

smoking~school~green tea

well, we are getting life insurance, so we can't smoke anymore. no cloves, no pipe, not even that sweet cigar my uncle gave me. we are going to get life insurance anyway, but it is going to have to be the smoker rate since we smoked cloves in ontario and at the Canada day party. I remember Fr. L not smoking anything for a year for the same reason, which is cool, but...something in me, maybe a very unhealthy part of me, is saying 'Noooooooooo!' but I think it is a really unhealthy part, so I will say fine, and my will will be glad for it.
I watched lost and napped today, not much of a saturday, but I found a bike, I just have to get it and deal with it, but the price is right, so I can wait.
I did a test last week, one of my classes is 2/3rds over, and I feel like I have barely started. I gotta get on that.
I am on a green tea kick, iced green tea that is. I am all about it.
Camp is next week, L is going to sask. for a bit, Gabe is returning the week after, and I am going to camp for one day, to do the hike, which I am so excited for.
I know I said it before, but we had such a great time in Ontario. the Z's and the S's and the relatives were all so great. check out the pics on flickr, I will put one up here too.


I have been watching too much tv lately. Time to stop.

I am going to a funeral tomorrow, first ever orthodox funeral. Our friend Horst, passed away on saturday. I was not especially close to him, but he was one of those old guys in church who was always there, he was close friends with the monastery as well. Keep him in your prayers and his family and friends.

I am tired. I love life, but I have been living too much too quickly. It is time for silence, peace, slowness, hopefully some yoga, and less work. kabuki kabbing wouldn't be so bad, but its so clearly a business. how is that for a veiled critique.

anyways, lately it has just not been worth it. so we'll see.

in other news, I am enjoying school, and will get to see Tim and Bethany in August, so that is good.

zeke is huge and so so adorable.

come to our open house on tuesday, we'll be back from vancouver.



We have had an amazing trip, fantastic hosts, great visits, good food, great sights. It is good.

we landed in toronto, and spent a bit of time with pekka and anita, who I haven't seen for a while, but it was great to visit, we had a great conversation and the food was fantastic too. breakfast was awesome. I loved the coffee. oh. I have become more of a coffee drinker. I have been doing all the driving, so sometimes I needed to stop for caffeine, which is unheard of for me, because I have been so sensitive to coffee in the past, but these days I have been having a lot of iced coffee, regular coffee in the mornings, and it doesn't even keep me awake that long in the car. we forgot our ipod, so we don't have much music with us,I buurned a cd at matthew and cheryl's house in ottawa so we aren't totally without tunes.
we stayed with matthew and cheryl in ottawa for four days, and it was awesome. we had so much fun and such a good time. we had a sweet bbq, good ontario beer, a good time at church, we even got to hang out with the eisenpletts before and after they played a few gigs.
we spent a few days in sudbury, zeke had his first sauna, we swam in the lake, and we visited a bunch of my finnish relatives.
I can't even remember it all.
oh, in ottawa we got to see my friend Robyn from Grad School, and that was cool too. I kept on looking for a pedicab, but to no avail. we rented a two person side by side bike when we were in old montreal, which was beautiful. we ate poutine and smoked meat in old montreal, and it was fantastic.
In montreal, they have this bike rental system bixi.ca and it is amazing. I have been saying outrageous all the time, but I like it. anyways, the bike rental thing in montreal is so great. I rented a sweet bike from a machine at one end of town, and returned it to the other end of town, it was like what I hear amsterdam is like, but a little more official. It worked out great, and we say Jer and Sher play in a little place called L'escalier on Fete St. Jean Baptiste and it was great to hear them, to speak french to the locals, (who really like their music) and to be there for the big national holiday.
we then went to kingston, which we didn't see much of, but had a good time with our cousins, and now we are in london, waiting for the family reunion in Elmira. I really didn't capture it all, but pictures that will come will help explain how much fun we have been having.
Oh, and we got to hang out at the Dn. Gregory Scratch's house with his lovely wife, kids, and friends. I love having the church community.

and, I love the people we have seen, and I am having fun, but I am also missing my home, our church, and friends back on the west coast. I also look forward to starting summer classes. I have never taken summer classes before, so it will be fun.

Bonne St. Jean Baptiste!



Things have changed, I forget that I even have a blog, whereas I used to post daily and check so often, I am now quite busy with two jobs and about to start school in July again, which will be good but again, super busy.
we are leaving on sunday for vancouver, and I get to see Tim Stewart and his family, Bethany and Promise, and we are SO excited to see them. Tim and I will have a mini adventure sometime in the morning, don't know what yet, that is the beauty of it. I get less and less unplanned time, but that is the hazard of growing up I suppose, which is okay. I am glad that we have planned so much of our upcoming trip because it will allow us to keep track of everything, and know where we are going next. there are so many people to visit, so it is important to organize well.

Family is such an interesting thing, I love my family. I love my extended and close family, I am hoping to see my uncle and aunt on my dad's side, but I think they are too far out for us to see, they live on an island in the summer that is only accessible by a boat ride and we won't be in sudbury long enough to make it worth their while to come and get us, which is too bad. maybe they will be in town, but I doubt it.

when I lived in Ontario (briefly) I went to my grandmother's grave, and it was a really interesting thing. I never had done that, her grave stone is all black marble and still shiny, her first names are small and our last name is huge and in an imposing font, I will take a picture this time. There's a cedar shrub growing right near the stone. we will also visit Fr. John Scratch's grave in Ottawa.

and goodness, we are going to visit a lot of living people too, but I guess these folks are on my mind.



We are going to Ontario soon, and I am very excited to see my relatives. I like them, they are good people. I lived in Ontario briefly, it was more like an extended visit, but it was still good. I am also looking forward to a vacation, I think this will be our first real vacation, though it will still be challenging, because we are taking baby on the plane. we are also going to ottawa to visit old friends, and having a family reunion in Kitchener. it will be good.

in other news, the new Dave Matthews Band Album is fantastic. It lives up to the hype and more. There's a great line in one of the songs "Baby when I get home, I wanna believe in Jesus" and it confirms what I have suspected all along, that He is kind of like Ghandi and Neitzsche, (two strange bedfellows if ever there were) who seemed to revere Christ, but couldn't reconcile the behaviour of people like me with the perfection that Jesus was, and I get that, a little bit, because I think the same way, why are Christians so dumb! I mean, I include myself in that. and I think it's partially the perfectionist in me that expects better, but at the same time, there has to be room for Grace, which is the whole point, right?

So in an earlier song, Dave Matthews is singing "Grace is all I'm askin" I think perhaps he needs to extend that to himself and a few others and maybe he'll find what he is looking for.
anyways, the album is beautiful, it is powerful and vulnerable. Dwelling on themes of life and death and sex, as a true frat boy existentialist should, and he does it convincingly, finally, after three albums that sound too poppy and fake. I believe the things he is agonizing over, specifically the loss of their friend and band mate last year. "Lying in the Hands of God" is an especially gorgeous track.

its good. buy it.

oh, and Gabe, good for you, you seem to be pounding it out, balling as it were, keep it up. we miss you like crazy, and I have been waiting for that little tidbit. take pictures, write us a story, on your blog, or in an email, find a moment on a day off. hit up the library like a good treeplanter. Glad to hear you are kickin ass and taking names!



I think this is the best summary I have, a cultural and interpretive comment to continue my earlier thoughts, though perhaps less caustic and incendiary.

Jesus' life does not imply the American Dream.


being right

you know, even if I am right, and most of the time I am not, it doesn't necessarily behoove me to go on self righteous rants.
the one below is an example. not going to erase it, but I also sent an email to a loved one about something like this, and, well, it was not a display of dispassionateness.

Lord have mercy.


Open House/Health and Wealth


I hate health and wealth gospel. Benny Hinn is a charlatan, a heretic, and a liar. he makes me so mad, I can't believe people like him are allowed to say the name Jesus Christ and not get blasted with holy fire like Elijah's Stone Altar. seriously.
it makes me think that forgiveness is overrated, except when I get self righteous like this I eventually remember that I am an ass too, and I need forgiveness.
I will shortly be stepping down off my high horse.
and this isn't even about orthodoxy. be orthodox, or not, great, just don't ever mistake the gospel for a manual about an easy fun life. Being a christian means signing up for suffering. Martyrdom. not health and wealth. how about poverty and sickness. Jesus said that we will have poverty and sickness, that people will mock us and attack us, but he also gave the sermon on the mount.

man, it really is all about interpretation. I am glad I have my degree in Interpretation, because it helps me to be aware of all of the presuppositions that float through my head, and perhaps one day I will be able to use that to help others see that about themselves, about advertising, and about religious fruitcakes like effing Benny Hinn. oh my axe is a-grinding. seriously, if I could spit fire, my workplace would be ashes.

It's like when people say that the trinity isn't in the Bible. are you KIDDING? did they skip that minor part where Jesus is baptized in the jordan, by St. John and then that minor detail about the Dove, and the VOICE FROM HEAVEN? if that is not the trinity, then Jesus wasn't God and we might as well be JW's.

The Bible is not a code book, nor is it a book of Doctrine, it is History, stories, narratives. man. people just don't get interpretation. and why not? because we haven't been taught that interpretation is something we do ALL THE TIME. we don't read something and immediately grasp the true essence of the matter, we interpret it through our worldview. we see it a certain way depending on what we have been taught.This is how cults exist, they take people who have weak wills, and stick a ramrod of strong weirdness into their interpretive lenses, so that everything is seen through that strong weirdness, which is why it is so hard to 'deprogram' people.


end of rant.


In other news, we love our new house, it is right across the street from the ocean, and the move went well, if it was always like that, I would do it monthly. well, not really. but we got food, beer, and a truck, spent about a hundred bucks, and moved in three hours. THREE HOURS! totally a record, thanks to the guys who helped, many hands made light quick work.

please come join us this and every tuesday for open house, at the end of Lampson st. at munro I think, across from fleming beach. basement. bring a drink or snack.

call for directions.




hate it.

we are moving again, it looks like we are moving to Esquimalt, but there is one more place we are going to look at first. we'll see.
its really cool, close to the water (like all of us) and should be quiet. its a ways from uvic, and work, but that's ok.

my lovely son has fallen asleep behind me while his mom naps in the room, I am packing. despite having to move, life really is good. I am glad to be on a peaceful island, and happy to be in school soon.

kabuki kabs is going well, I am enjoying it and making money, so that is good. not fantastic money yet, but still quite good. I am going this afternoon for the one cruise ship of the day, so that should prove decent, as long as the weather co-operates.

I am a fan of Dave Matthews Band, and I know a lot of people think he's just an old guy who is stuck in the frat boy years that he never had, but I really respect and appreciate his struggle with existential issues. I really think he is an existentialist who can write melodies and pick bandmates really well. This latest album seems like it will be back to a slightly more honest form of the band instead of the last few albums which sounded really commercial. anyways, I am excited, and though many criticize, I am comfortable in my fandom. (so comfortable that I have to tell you all about it...right) ah well.

my sister is having a baby this fall, so that is cool. very excited for her and jonny.

not going to camp again this summer, going to be super busy with school, so that is a bummer, but someday soon when I am a teacher I will be all over it.

I sang for my kabuki passengers yesterday and they loved it. gotta practice up. I have forgotten all of my schubert lieder.



Originally uploaded by pasivirta
perhaps this post should say "being beautiful is hard"


those were the days.

visiting Gibsons tomorrow with my family.


the michelin baby.

the michelin baby.
Originally uploaded by pasivirta
my cute son.

stuff and things etc


I just discovered the new fluevog cbc shoe, and I want it. I haven't been much of a style guy in the past, but Marriage has a way of changing things.

I finally made some money doing kabuki kabs, so that is cool, it was very encouraging. Some friendly folks from cincinatti let me tour them around old town and chinatown, so that was cool. I am reading a book about victoria so I will know more stuff to talk about. honestly, I think doing a 'tour' is a bit kooky, but if folks want a tour, I will give them one. no problem. that, and victoria is beautiful and maybe you just wouldn't know what to look at otherwise.

I have started to read Ghandi's autobiography. he calls it "The Story of My Experiments With Truth"and it is quite amazing. he was not actually a proponent of non-violence, strictly speaking. His word is Satyagraha, which means 'soul force' or 'love force'. The idea is that instead of using force to stop violence, one would inflict violence on onesself in order to stop violence. not so much like Ed Norton in fight club, but more like Ghandi allowing himself to be attacked or going on a hunger strike, in order that the attacker will recognize the truth of his or her actions. Because the problem with violence is that people delude themselves and pretend that either it isn't violent, or that the person isn't a person, they are an enemy combatant or a fetus. when the person inflicts violence on themselves, it is easier ( I suppose) to see that they are human, which is why this practice worked on the british empire. ok, a large part of this is conjecture because I haven't read much of the book yet, but I am really liking it. Fr. G is heavily influenced by Ghandi and Lanza Del Vasto, and I am also reading 'the sails of the ark'

Ghandi and Fluevog, hand in hand on my blog. John would be proud, and I think Ghandi would enjoy talking to Fluevog, despite disagreeing expensive shoes.

we are moving again, stupid landlords. I am so fed up with landlords. Our current landlady, I think she either doesn't know or is ignoring the fact that the place she rented us is in bad shape. There is no fire insulation between floors and the concrete flooring is not sealed, so efflorescence come up through the floors, as does water, likely creating mold. I hear babies respond well to mold. so we're moving, and going to use the residential tenancy act for all it is worth.

I am in schoo, this summer, and kabbing, and working at my regular job. July and August will be busy, but fun I think.

I love life, it is so full. and I love my family, it's so great to be me. honestly. how do I get to live this dream life?


hockey game

tonight, we are going to Lindsay and John Bell's, come on over! quadra and bay ish.

see you then, hopefully the canucks get it together.

and Q is coming to town!


Open House


our new place

Gordon Head

1625 Dougall


bring a beverage or a snack if you are hungry or thirsty, or nothing if you can't. but come and hang out.

This will start the second week of may.


Obnoxious Orthodox

This explains better than I can what I have been trying to say, I just came across it thanks to Matushka Donna linking to it in the comments.

It's by Frederica Matthewes Green.

Why Converts to Orthodoxy are Obnoxious
Posted Wednesday, November 19, 2008 in Orthodoxy
[Beliefnet; November 19, 2008]

In 1993, over 15 years ago, I was chrismated and joined the Eastern Orthodox Church, but only lately has it dawned on me that I must have strained friendships over the years, due to my vocal enthusiasm for my adopted church. I can’t be the only one to have done this. Converts to Orthodoxy usually precede their decision with voluminous reading and research, so their friends must endure agitated lectures on church history, ancient heresies, and what words mean in Greek. Those friends benefit, no doubt, from this opportunity to practice patience and long-suffering. But why is our kind so characteristically obnoxious?

The first, most obvious explanation is that some people simply are obnoxious to start with. But that can’t be the case with me, so let’s press on.

A second theory is that converts of any sort have a tendency to exuberance that is wearying to outsiders. That’s surely a factor, but I think there’s something else going on, more specific to Orthodox converts.

Here’s a clue to a third possibility. I can remember that, after I’d been Orthodox a few years, developing an increasing sense of tension or frustration. At the beginning, I thought I knew what I was getting into. My husband had been an Episcopal priest for 16 years, and we had gradually moved from evangelical-style “low church” to the more liturgically-fancy “high church.” Orthodoxy looked taking that escalator up one more floor. Plenty of ceremony and beauty, but without the mainline churches’ affection for keeping up-to-date.

It took me a few years to sense that there was a whole other something going on. It took awhile because I grasped it through hearing the hymns of the church year, week in and week out. Everyone associates Orthodox worship with sensory richness, but it’s also rich in theological content. The basic framework of services like the Divine Liturgy or Vespers doesn’t change much, but every day of the liturgical year provides prayers for saints and feasts that can be added to that framework.

And these prayers are jam-packed. For example, on the Feast of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, the chanter launches into this:

Of the Father before the morning star Thou wast begotten from the womb without mother before all ages, even though Arius did believe Thee to be created, not God, classing Thee in ignorance and impudence with creatures…

That’s just a fraction of a thorough march through what happened at the first Council of Nicaea, and why it was important (including Arius’ unpleasant death from digestive indisposition: “his bowels were torn by a divine hook…in a repulsive manner his soul came out”). Hymns like these offer quite a theological education to anyone who comes to services, and if you didn’t catch it all, there’s a good chance they’re going to sing it two more times.

It takes awhile to get it, because it’s gotten by a process of immersion, by soaking in a context of worship. It’s not something you can figure out by studying the Church Fathers. Each of them had his idiosyncracies, and they regularly disagree. But they all came together in worship, and were shaped by the same hymns and prayers, the appointed Scripture readings, preaching, and the “picture bible” of iconography. Rich worship taught the faith to literate and illiterate, peasant and emperor, and it’s essentially the same as our worship today.

After being dunked in this sea of hymnography for a few years I began to recognize an underlying unity among all the elements of Orthodoxy—the worship, the fasting, the exhortations to humility, the companionship of the saints, all of it. There is an organic quality here, and the thing itself is inexpressibly alive. It was like seeing a face emerge from a random pattern of dots, and then wink at you. It was electrifying. And during those years of discovery, my mind was constantly cranking away as I labored to absorb new ideas and excise stubborn old ones. This absorbed my attention so much that I was apt to expound my current level of comprehension to anyone who stood still in my vicinity. Perhaps this unanticipated experience of encountering something unknown and marvelously organic accounts for the distinctive lapel-grabbing impulse among converts to Orthodoxy.

Even more obnoxious, though, must be the tendency to reject hospitality. I kept finding myself in conversations with nice people who wanted to assure me that this very thing I was so excited about in Orthodoxy is something they have in their church as well. And I would try hard, no doubt to the point of rudeness, to convince them this was not so. (Of course, for every person insisting that there were no differences, there was another person asking me to explain the differences. If only you could get them to form two lines.)

Well, was it so? It depends on where you put the emphasis. Most people like to be polite and get along, so they highlight what we hold in common. But every church must have its distinctives, or we’d all be in the same church. At the time I was so occupied with comprehending this strange thing called Orthodoxy that I emphasized the differences, and was impatient with kindly big-tent suggestions.

As I realized what the big difference is, I grew more insistent, I’m afraid. It’s that Orthodoxy still passes on the early church’s knowledge of how to tune in to the presence of Christ. They saw this as a perception skill, something anyone could (with diligent practice) hone; it has nothing to do with emotion. Not that every churchgoer is following that path, not that the church administration is perfect, but that the path still existed—that’s what amazed me.

I felt like Marco Polo. I had been to the east and discovered something wondrous that I assumed all Christians crave. But I slowly came to see that I can’t communicate it. I think people just don’t believe me, and I hardly provide a good personal example. It must sound like vague, fluffy religious talk (though in my experience it is anything but). Maybe you have to soak in it for years, till the evidence becomes overwhelming.

The last reason Orthodox converts are obnoxious resembles the reason adolescents are obnoxious. Young teens go through a few years when they are trying to understand their own unique identity, and trying to establish it in the face of—well, it would be one thing if they had to establish it in the face of hostility, because, even though that would be hard, it would be bracing and clarifying. Instead, an adolescent has to figure out and establish his adult persona in the face of affection. Granny and Pops and Uncle Pete love the little guy, and they’re going to be kindly and patient with him because he’s going through a phase.

But the “little guy” is not going through a phase. He senses that it’s something much more profound than that, ashe is turning into a different person, the adult he is destined to be. Affectionate attempts to obscure this quest feel suffocating. He has no good option for dealing with that affection, so he’s either sullen or angry. There are no doubt some ways that he is the same person he will always be, and there are ways Orthodoxy and every other church has significant points in common, not least that we love the same Lord. But the impulse is to exaggerate the differences when you fear being hugged to death.

This is not just an explanation but an apology, and even an appreciation for the perseverance of friendship in the face of truly annoying behavior. My ideas haven’t changed, and I’m always glad for a good discussion, but maybe I’m past the need to belabor them. Yeah, I think I’ve gotten it out of my system. I hope so.

Pasivirta Three

Hi Folks,

we three P's are looking for a ride from Abbotsford on sunday morning to church.
Gabe F. is driving us to the ferry after, so no worries about that side of things.

looking forward to seeing you all! we won't be at vespers, there's a wedding in Abbotsford that compels us.

Christ is Risen!

kabuki kabs, church, moving.

I love it. and I used to not love it. I used to think I was called to be a 'church critic' so that I could help point out faults so that the church could be healthier.

The guy I met who belongs to a church that engages in what they call 'prophecy' eased my old wounds surrounding that language due to his willingness to engage with a) my pain and cynicism and b) my questions. He didn't tell me my worldview was wrong, that I shouldn't ask questions, that I should just trust the church leaders. those things were told to me at one point by a church leader, needless to say I trusted leaders less after that.

I know that orthodoxy is not for everyone, but I really didn't see that until recently, and I really am repentant in the sense that I think differently and wish I had not hurt anyone with my rantings about orthodoxy being the best for everyone. If you are seeking truth, inside and outside yourself, good for you. how can I judge any further, or even that far at all?

All I really want to do is pour a drink at open house, pull up a full crab trap, and be a choir teacher. maybe go biking once in a while.


Yesterday, I rode the pedicab for the first time ever. It was pretty sweet. I didn't make much money, but I don't really care for the first day. I broke even, I had to pay for the cab for the day, and I paid for it. which was my goal. there aren't a lot of tourists around yet, so its not a surprise not to make much money. we'll see. next week should be busier, hopefully more cruise ships come in.

The organization I work with is a bit shady, they make up rules on the fly, its pretty political, and I think pretty subtly cutthroat, so I am going to follow the rules of road, pay my dues, and ignore the rest of it. and if it seems to not be working, at least I will be fit and I can always find another second job to pay for summer school.


we moved. our new place is alright. our neighbours have three children, and they are loud between 7 and 8 am. It makes me wish children didn't exist. but then I wake up and don't hate anymore. also, we live close to Mt. Doug, which is cool.

we'll have a housewarming party soon.



as I have a tiny space of online time this week, I am uploading a pre-written post.

Today, he who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon a tree. It is Holy Friday for us crazy calendar orthodox.
Blessed Feast!

Following is an explanation of the man I met recently and how he gave me hope, but I think it is still incomplete.

Blog Post

I met a man the other day who helped me be even more grateful for my past in the charismatic side of the protestant church.
I grew up going to a non denominational church, I didn’t even know denominations existed until my late teens. I thought catholics weren’t Christians, and greek orthodox? I had sort of heard of its existence, but never put it in the category of church.
Anyways. I started attending a vineyard church by myself, without my parents, that is, when I was sixteen, with my closest oldest friend Tim Stewart at the church where his Dad was the pastor. I loved it. The people were real, they were honest, the worship was laid back and fun, but also honest. Graham Ord led worship and I babysat his kids. It was glorious. I remember a Sunday morning, me and about four other guys were all dancing up at the front, we ended up doing a sort of can-can line to a song called “walk in the light” it was awesome. We were all shout-singing and dancing together because God was so great and we were so happy to be together with God. I loved dancing in church. I think if I could trust a church like that again, I would enjoy dancing like that again.
I don’t know what changed it, if it was me, or the church.
I started attending TWU when I was 19, just after I had finished a year of being on the planning committee for the evening service at the church. I had even preached one evening. A 19 year old, uneducated (in any sense of the word) boy, standing in front of a congregation of Christians, explaining and interpreting the bible. Hoo boy. I am sure that God can use anyone and that I probably said something somewhere in there that was inspiring or helpful to someone, but goodness. I like when the preacher is educated at the very least in theology, if not the nature of interpretation. Anyways. That is an aside. I didn’t have any clue about anything back then, and I know more now, but I also know that there is so much more to know now, so I still now next to nothing.
So I went to this vineyard church and then I started TWU. I took a few intro to biblical studies classes in my first few years, but I was also involved in Street Evangelism. I grew so much during those years, thinking constantly about what it meant to be a true Christian.
Did I have to live on the street and give all I had to the poor to show them that I really understood what it was like to live their life? No. even if I tried, I wouldn’t understand in that way, and so many people were willing to work with the street people, that I should be thankful for the gift of education and put it to good use. Not everyone gets to go to university, let alone TWU. A good friend’s dad told me that in a random but not so random talk on the phone. One of those moments I don’t like to admit that felt and still feels ‘providential’. You’ll see why I am so against this particular nebulous part of Christendom in a bit. Which is also why I love orthodoxy so much. Of course, it will be an imperfect story, but it’s a story.
So I was at TWU, learning about things. About interpretation, and about the bible, and about ministry. I was directly involved with poor people on the street, every Friday night. We would spend two hours with the folks on the downtown east side. I volunteered in high school as well, with the soup wagons for the street kids on Granville. I guess Uni had me in the tougher part of town. But it wasn’t dangerous if you walked strongly. Posture says so much. We gave out hot chocolate as an excuse to start conversations with people and I guess we were supposed to share the good news of Christianity with them. Which is good news. And we did. I remember talking to a guy we’ll call J, and he was the lookout for the dealers at oppenheimer park. He would whistle when the cops came by and the dealers would scatter. Anyways. The conversation went like this between him and the girl I was walking around with. “So…how’s it going?” “oh, crappy, my daughter lives in north van, and I can’t get over there to get my sailboat because my leg is all infected” (his leg had open sores due to cancer or one of the other 5 or so terminal illnesses he later listed off as having, it was hard to not stare and also hard to look at)
Girl then says “that’s too bad, have you heard of Jesus Christ?” J replies “yeah, my mom used to pray the rosary at the foot of my bed, I wanted to kill her for it”
And he lived the kind of life where language like that didn’t seem like hyperbole. Anyways. That was a huge rabbit trail, except it somehow belongs.
Back to church. I was learning that life is more complicated than I thought. Evangelism isn’t so cut and dry, and maybe just using words to tell people about Jesus wasn’t going to be enough. This, I am discovering as I am writing, was the beginning of my need to reconcile form and content.
At church, the prayer of Jabez was making people crazy for bad theology and lots of money. The church began to recite a givers confession. So many problems with that theology. First, it makes the primary identity of the person ‘a giver’. Second, the only creed being recited is about how “I am giving you money, God, so I trust that you will give some back”. Third, on the envelope, they had a little paragraph that had a bible verse on it, and another sentence that was not from the bible, but a made up phrase about God giving us money. It was all in the same font and format as the bible verse.
The form implied that the content was all from the same place, the bible. I was pretty upset. But then, they were bringing speakers in to talk at the church about topics like “the third heaven. Pat Cocking, a prophet who changed her name legally a few times due to direct instructions from God came and taught that when St. Paul talks about ‘The Third Heaven’ that it is something akin to Christian Transcendental Meditation, though she wasn’t using that language. If she had, I would have (at this point in my life) been a little less likely to call her a charlatan. The Third Heaven is understood by most interpreters to mean the place where God dwells. The first heaven being the air we breathe, and the second one is the stars ( I think ) She told us we could go there by mental excercises.
Now I know that spiritual discipline and gifts from God can amount to amazing things that are rarely seen or heard, but I had a hard time with her and I didn’t know why.
Later, a person came from the arctic circle who had been a part of a revival of some sort. A blowing sound that couldn’t be explained was recorded at a prayer meeting on an audio system. This was interpreted as the Holy Spirit. I sound doubtful because I am. The lady came to our church, preached a contentless sermon and then started shouting prayers and trying to push people over so they would have a spiritual experience. I was so mad. It still makes me mad. The language they use all the time is something about ‘Entering the Prophetic’ but I think what they were doing was psychological and emotional manipulation, but even they didn’t know it. I know it is an intensely arrogant thing to make a judgment like that, but I have spoken to the leadership of the church about it, and their response convinced me. When I confronted them about the health and wealth doctrine, they told me that my interpretive framework was incorrect.
All this leads to the protestant man I met recently who is a conflict management expert who consults with different churches in the lower mainland to help them resolve conflicts. The church I went to when I was a teenager split and then died. Why did it split? Because God spoke to two different parties and gave two different directions for the church and neither group was willing to capitulate.
So. I am thankful for my current church family because there is a decided lack of God Speaking directly to church leaders for the sake of direction. The church calendar decides what the sermon will be, what color the vestments will be, and which saints will be commemorated. Prophetic-oriented churches bother me. But honestly, that is my problem, and it is not anymore.
When I rail about my past, I try to be clear that I love where I came from. My Finnish Pentecostal Church Camp, my Brethren Bible Fly Fishing Camp, I love my dispensationalist roots. I love that I know the bible like I do.
If ever I talk about orthodoxy being the fullness of the church, I mean that in a purely historical sense, in that it hasn’t changed (Doctrinally) since the 7 ecumenical councils. Practice has changed (slowly) but its identity hasn’t really.
All that said, I don’t think that orthodoxy is the only way to God, I don’t think it is for everyone. I surely used to think so, but I know that a lot of people find deep connections to God outside of the walls of the Orthodox Church. And I am glad for that.

I had a great visit with my sister and brother in law. They are expecting a baby in the fall, and I am proud of how my brother in law is thinking very maturely. They go to a church that is similar to the ones I just described, but I see God in their eyes and their hearts. Just like Tim and Bethany. I couldn’t go regularly to church with them, and they with us, but they have a deep commitment and love for God that is evident in their speech and their actions. They are spending their lives on water for poor people.

I love my church, but I love all of the church in its confusion and division. We can’t all be the pinkie finger, or the blood vessels, or the hair. We all have our roles and we all find our home in a place we can call home, and that is good. The man I met the other day gave me so much hope for those who are happy in a church that engages in prophetic activities, whatever that means. I used to have no time for that, and think that anyone who prayed like that was____misguided? But this guy had a good head on his shoulders and kind of put me in my place. It was good.

By the way, I think poverty in North America is a joke compared to poverty overseas. Mostly (aside from mental illness) we enable poverty here. That doesn’t mean we ignore the poor. We are having some homeless folks come to our church for Paschal Vespers apparently.


New Album, Holy week, Unction

I can't wait for this new DMB album.

There's a lot to say, but its still quiet time.

A blessed holy week to the few who still stop by here. be back in a week.

and a snippet...
I met a great evangelical the other day, it gave me hope and healed a few old wounds, and there are parts of evangelicalism that I think orthodoxy could/should greatly benefit from. I wouldn't have said these things even a few months ago. I will try to explain what I mean.

I was at Unction today with Brs. Moses and Samuel and some FROTH. It's an acronym, sort of. It was great, I don't know arabic, but I don't care. I love the Coptic church in Surrey, and I miss some of my old friends from St. H.

Turn out the lights, Holy Week is here.



lent is almost here.

I will see you all on the flipside.

check the ol twitterbox on the side for mini updates.


Arranged Marriage

I think I know why arranged marriage would have worked during ancient historical times like with old testament stories in a way that couldn't work now, or would be very hard to have work now.

The cultural differences at the time would have been minimal between neighboring tribes such that a man and a woman from these tribes could live together without ever having known each other because they would have the same cultural assumptions about roles, power, sex, money, children etc.
Whereas today, we have long courtship rituals that go way beyond what they used to in order to find out if ones cultural assumptions match up enough with the other's in a way that will minimize conflict and maximize happiness.

Of course, this is different again from Christian marriage which assumes that holiness is the desired outcome, not happiness, in which case the cultural differences may be a tool with which to sharpen one another towards God.

but the point is that marriage is different now than it was in biblical times, not because people have changed, but because we live in a society where a multitude of cultures coexist in ways that young people can't really fathom.

It's tough.



We are drinking champagne, celebrating a year of marriage and the arrival home of our son. He's beautiful.

beyond that, I have no words.


I think life will have to be lived with gratitude every second in order to come close to thanking God for everything he has given me. Otherwise, I will have failed to properly thank God. which probably has already happened. But Glory to God for all things.


Yawny Zeke

Originally uploaded by pasivirta
Here is a short vid. of my son. Ain't he wonderful!


A Picture of My Son

This is Ezekiel.


Ezekiel Frank Veli Pasivirta

9lbs. 51 cm.

C-section. (he tried to come out bum first)

no pictures yet, but they are on the way. He's adorable.

He has brown hair, my nose, laurenn's lips, and a large noggin. 37cm around.

Laurenn is at VGH for another day or two. Her mom was a great help, as was our doula Laura and our midwives.

pictures will be here (and flickr) as soon as they are available.

Thanks for your prayers, keep em coming. Baby and Mom are both doing fine.



WallBlank.comis featuring a friend of mine's art today, and its just a cool site, so you should all go and look at it.

and I want to go surfing again.

Still no baby. but today I ordered a stroller. it's a sweet stroller too. like the Subaru WRX of strollers. It's going to arrive friday, so hopefully Baby gets here before then.

This is honestly the weirdest state of Limbo I have ever been in.


escaping relativism and the need for proof.

This is what we orthodox have escaped!

I have realized today that by making the claim that there is such a thing as a correct answer to the questions: a) how do we interpret the bible and b) how do we do the work of the people, that is, how do we do church?

We in the modern (post) west have been brought up to understand that due to the nature of interpretation being something that everyone does at every moment, there are as many interpretations as there are people and moments. Therefore, truth is unknowable and ungraspable, and really, there isn't such a thing as truth, because reality is only as much as can be perceived, due to Descartes and his dumb mental experiments regarding the existence of God and doubt. I think therefore I am. guh. idiot.
anyways. We as orthodox converts have inherited an intellectual tradition that is (thank God) devoid of such foolishness. Orthodox countries, ie, those outside the west, have maintained the idea that there is such a thing as truth (a correct answer) and that it can be found. quite easily actually. AND, there is no master-slave relationship between reason and faith. There is, in fact, no division because in the east, there is much less of a tendency to be dualist in thought. I have not done the proper research to tell you how this all began, but I know that it is so much a part of why the east and the west split, and also why a good many of my friends who have plumbed a fairly deep section of western intellectual history have found it wanting and jumped across the pond to a land where it is okay to not live by proof.
If we were to live truly by what we were taught in school and believe only what we see, none of us would be Christians. you can't prove God, or Christ, or the resurrection. but that is FINE, nay, GOOD. because it's not about proving the existence of God. I am never going to prove anything to you, think about Lazarus, even if the rich man returned from the dead, would that really convince the unbelievers?

naw. proof is ridiculous. and so unnecessary.

Proof flies in the face of trust, which is where relationships come from.

oh, and the platitudes from the mouths of the yoga instructors are getting funnier each time I go. but I was complimented too by one of them on how I have improved, and that was nice. I can actually do that knees on the floor in front while head touches the ground behind and holding my elbows above my head thing.