Well, I have had this blog for a few years now. I have used it to discuss why I started wearing a headcovering in my Orthodox Church and why I converted to Orthodoxy. I have used it to explore and share my feelings about secondary infertility and a few other things such as vaccinations, gmos, halloween, etc. Honestly, the blog mostly started as a way to share my Orthodox faith with my immediate family who is Protestant.
However, I feel like this blog has mostly run its course. I am thinking about starting a new blog about Orthodox homeschooling. Not because I am an expert or anything, but because I have an only child (pretty atypical for most Orthodox Christian homeschooling families) I have some extra time. I’m imagining for most moms when their first child is in kindergarten/1st grade, they also have one or two other younger kids and could find some of my research helpful. For example, while many children can only check out a few books at the library at a time, my son can check out as many as I can carry since he is the only one (like 20?) On the other hand, I’ve read some pretty amazing homeschooling blogs by moms who have many children so I could be wrong about this. In any case, its time to move on to a new chapter.
Thank you for anyone who has taken the time to read this blog. When and if I have a new blog, I’ll post the link here.
by Josh Garrels
I was born into a system constructed for failure
It’s a sinking ship manned by drunken sailors
An escape artist behind the bars of a jailor
An asthmatic attack when we forgot the inhaler
If the shoe doesn’t fit what good is a tailor
In the midst of a crisis please cancel the gala
Without a symphony there’s no need for a prelude
To foreshadow what’s to come.
See the secret committees, commence with their meetings
To make red tape in response to simple questions
Questions threaten the perception of the beneficial systems
A pyramid scheme with it’s cogs and it’s pistons
Mechanization of men, making more and more
Live in a miserable exhistance
How can so few, claim so many victims
And this begs the question
My rest is a weapon against the oppression
Of mans obsession to control things
Look at the long line of make believe kings
The lord of the flies want’s you to kiss his ring
Follow new rules with invisible strings
And become a puppet in the diabolical scheme
How do good men become part of the regime
They don’t believe in resistance.
Hold fast like an anchor in the storm
We will not be moved
Lesson number one, overcome
Every fear of regret and confusion
It’s all illusion, delusion
Sent to disconnect the holy fusion
Of spirit and the flesh
Every mortal breath, is meant to bring forth fire
But only when the fear of death, gets consumed
On the funeral pier
So let the flames rise higher
Let every man be considered a liar
If he doubts the goodness and faithfulness of God
Itching ears will compulsively nod in approval
When unbelief is taught in all our temples and schools
But God can restrain the madness of a fool
He can bring His truth through the mouth of a mule
You can move an mountain without any tools
It just takes the faith of a little seed
to make a way through what might seem to be
And the ability will match the occasion
The outcome will defy explanation
The liberation will not be televised
When it arrives like lightning in the skies
Hold fast like an anchor in the storm
For your love, we will rise and overcome
Through the fire
Hold fast my people and sing
Through peace and through suffering
All for the joy that it brings, to be free
It’s gonna cost us everything
To follow one Lord and King
True love endures everything
To be free
Hold fast, like an anchor in the storm
We will not be moved
Christ is Risen!
It’s Stupovi time!
This is a sermon that I found on an Orthodox E-Zine of Archbishop Averky of Blessed Memory which speaks to exactly what were are experiencing today. Nearly every time I am feeling despondent I can read a sermon of Archbishop Averky since he is very familiar with the times we live in .. (Source: Orthodox E-Zine – Sunday of Orthodoxy sermon )
Sermon on the Triumph of Orthodoxy
by Archbishop Averky (Taushev)
“This is the Apostolic faith, this is the faith of the Fathers, this is the Orthodox faith – confirm this universal faith.”
Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, you will hear these solemn and significant words in the Rite of Orthodoxy which the Holy Church has established to be served on this day. The first week of Holy and Great Lent has ended a week of intensified prayer and ascetical repentance. Now the Holy Church, desiring to encourage and console us, has established for us in this first week of Great Lent, on its first Sunday, a spiritual celebration,one most dear and close to our hearts – The Triumph of Orthodoxy.
This celebration was first performed in 842 in Constantinople in the presence of the Blessed Empress Theodora by His Holiness Patriarch Methodius – in memory of the overthrow of the last terrible heresy to shake Christ’s Church, the heresy of iconoclasm. But in this celebration the Holy Church marks the triumph of the holy Orthodox faith in general, her victory over all impious heresies, false teachings and schisms.
Our Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour founded His Church on earth so that all belonging to her could be saved, could elude the nets of the devil and enter into the Heavenly Kingdom prepared for them. The devil exerted all his strength to overthrow and destroy the Church of Christ and, through this, to hinder the salvation of men. At first he raised up terrible persecutions against the Church on the part of the Jews and pagans. For almost three centuries the blood of Christian martyrs flowed without ceasing. But the devil did not succeed in his task.
The blood of the martyrs, according to the apt expression of the Christian apologist Tertullian, became the “seeds of Christians.”
Christianity triumphed over its persecutors.
But the devil did not resist after the defeat he suffered at the hands of the martyrs . When the Church of Christ triumphed in the world he raised up a new, even more dangerous persecution against her: from within the Church, as the Holy Apostle Paul had foretold in his conversation with the Ephesian presbyters, men arose “speaking perverse things.” Paul called such men “grievous wolves.” [Acts 20:29-30].
These were so-called “heretics” who tried to pervert the true teaching of Christ concerning faith and piety in order to make this teaching ineffective for men. When this happened, the Holy Church, in the person of its best servants, took up arms against these heretics in order to defend its true, undistored teaching. There began to be convoked first “local” and then “ecumenical” councils. Bishops came together from all the corners of the earth and through the Holy Spirit they gave voice to the pure and undistorted Truth, following the example of the First Apostolic Council of Jerusalem [Acts 15:6-29].
They also cut off heretics from the Church and anathematized them. This was in according with the clear commandment of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who said, “If he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.” [Matthew 18:17].
And in accordance with the commandment of the Holy Apostle Paul, that great “apostle to the nations” who said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” [Galatians 1:8].
And in another place he states: If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema. Maranatha [I Cor. 16:22].
Thus our moving, majestic and solemn Rite of Orthodoxy takes its beginning from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and from his great Apostle, called by Him to be the “apostle to the nation”, i.e. of the whole pagan world. From the ninth century on the Holy Church has established that this rite should be served on the first Sunday of Holy Great Lent and that it be name “Orthodox Sunday”.
The rite, brothers and sisters, is particularly important and significant in the evil times we are experiencing, times in which the Orthodox faith is wavering and shaking. This wavering and shaking of the Orthodox faith is due to those very persons who ought to be strengthening and supporting it in the souls of the faithful. Those who should be pillars of Holy Orthodoxy – high-ranking hierarchs including the heads of certain Local Churches – are departing from the Truth of Holy Orthodoxy.
It is terrible to have to say that even the head of the Constantinopolitan Church, which is known as the “Ecumenical” Church, the man considered to be the first hierarch of all Orthodoxy, has set out on this path!
On all of this there undoubtedly lies the print of the Apostasy about which the Holy Apostle Paul foretold [II Thess. 2-3] – the apostasy of Christians from Christ.
We are now face to face with this Apostasy. The major threat to true Christian faith, the Orthodox faith, is the so called “Ecumenical ‘Movement,” headed by what is known as the “World Council of Churches,” a body which denies the doctrine of the unity and infalliblility of the True Church of Christ and attempts to create from all the presently existing and distracted faiths, a new “false-Church” which, from our point of view, will without any doubt be the “Church” of Antichrist, that false-church which the Antichrist, whose coming is now being rapidly prepared in the world, will head.
From the teaching of the Word of God and the Holy Fathers of the Church, we know that the Antichrist will be both the religious and political leader of all humanity: he will stand at the head of the new universal false Church; he will also be the director of one new world government and will attempt to submit all to his absolute power.
The Orthodox faith – this is the “faith of the Apostles,” “the faith of the Fathers” – it is that faith which the Apostlic Fathers, the direct disciples of the Holy Apostles, and the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church and their lawful successors, established by the Holy Spirit, interpreted for us in their marvellous and inspired writings.
Brothers and sisters, we must hold this faith steadfastly if we desire eternal salvation! Now we shall perform with you this deeply instructive, moving and highly solemn rite which consists of two parts:
- the first part is the prayer of the Holy Church for all those who have gone astray or fallen away from the true Orthodox faith;
- in the second part the Holy Church pronounces dread anathema against all false teachers, heretics and schismatics who have grown stubborn in their malice and who do not wish to reunite with the true Church of Christ but instead struggle against her.
Then we shall sing “Eternal Memory” for all departed defenders of Holy Orthodoxy and “Many Years” for those defenders of the Holy Orthodox faith and Church who are still among the living.
Here are some excerpts from a blog by John Valdez regarding the apathy of many people today towards Absolute Truth and beauty. (Above is an icon of St. Maximus the Confessor, who is one of the greatest examples of standing for Truth at all costs and not caving to peer pressure and the like. St. Maximus the Confessor )
“Rouse thyself, thou who sleepest, and rise from the dead, and the Christ shall shine on thee.” +St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (5:14)
Too often do we become diverted in the cares of mass and social media, teleporting through computer mainframes and cellular devises to a land sadistically bent on self-worship. It seems these days that at birth we are plugged into a computer grid of ever-distracting chaos, gazing on a vacant throne only occupied by phantoms of our own fantasies… There is something more sinister happening other than Jenner that is eating at the very core of our beings and the fabric of humanity. Nietzsche began to sing a lullaby that has been blasted into our ears across time, sending a dramatic wave of slumber and apathy down to our very age. In this dream world, lethargy exists so profound that seeking has been put to death and replaced with dispiritedness.
Death to the World’s publication was birthed in a time when there was unrest, rebellion, and disgust with the material core of our society. Now, there is nothing. Lack of movement exists and triviality has become the norm. Why do we wonder then that Jenner is worshipped? There is no question, there is just complete obedience to the media machine that seeks to stamp God out of every last one of us, that seeks to break the legs of the resistant in order to force obeisance. We cannot serve two masters and it is too often that we jump up to post our own opinions, giving into the murky pool of lukewarm spirit… Scholastics who have become Saints of our times did not attain Christ through educated hypothesis or book learning, but through crucifixion of the mind and a renewal of self in the image of Christ. They woke up and refused to slumber.
Sleeper, Christ is calling you. Arise from the apathy epidemic and open your eyes to a cause for life and give up your senseless world. Refuse the dreamland of this age and drift from the pools of the lukewarm. Rise and fight, for the Kingdom of Heaven is taken by the violent and the violent take it by force. We do not receive life without shedding sweat and blood. Let us rise from the smoggy clouds of sloth, regard our comfort as chains, and embrace crucifixion for renewal and resurrection. Awake and die to thyself.
I’m not sure officially how many types of being judgmental there are, perhaps there is an infinite brand of sin for each individual based on each person’s life experiences. But I am convinced there are at least two dangerous types –
The first is when we judge someone for not seeming to follow the Gospel and/or the commandments of Christ, which is difficult for us to avoid doing completely on our own despite our efforts (the success in this could only come from the Divine Love of the Holy Spirit). We judge people for what see on the outside, what they do, not knowing the virtues in their hearts, and perhaps there are not many in certain people, or perhaps there are many, but it is for God to judge, not us. May God help us.
The second is when we judge people who we see trying to follow the Gospel and commandments of Christ. We judge them in a different way and tell ourselves that they must be doing this out of fear and compulsion. They must not really love Christ. Its must be unhealthy, not genuine. Sometimes we hold a subtle hostility to Christian piety because perhaps we cannot understand why anyone would choose to live this way outside of fear, compulsion and pride, and this can even happen inside the Church – because the world is everywhere, and everywhere we look, and everyone, and everything is fallen except for Christ.
“Do not marvel my brethren, if the world hates you” – 1 John 3:13
“Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” – Matthew 18:7
“ The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” – John 7:7
One person may wear long flowy skirts everyday out of fear, out of a coerced obligation of modesty, out of pride, who knows..whereas another person wears a long skirt everyday to feel like a princess of the Most High, to feel lighter in the spirit while draped in cloth like the Angels and Saints in icons, and because the conscience and soul feels healthier that way and closer to Christ. There are people who prefer to assume the worse intention when someone is doing something that seems to follow the commandments of Christ, in this case modesty…but this type of judgement seems to happen with every facet of life. The homeschooling family is paranoid, the family that does not watch much television is weak, afraid and scared and perhaps the family that does not let their children play violent, bloody video games is just afraid of masculinity or has “convertitis.”
The Greatest Commandment
The reality is when people who have tasted death in some form in their soul and body, taste the life of Christ, they will try to do whatever they can to preserve it (according to ability and possibily failing quite a bit). The lame who walks, does not want to be lame again. The blind who sees, does not want to be blind again. “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly” Proverbs 26:11. Christ is life, the world is death…may we all have the strength to do what we need to do cast out the death of judgement and pursue Christ with all our our heart, soul and mind and to the naysayers, we have a quote from Christ himself to his beloved Apostle Peter: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16: 23)