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The theological reflections of an Eastern Orthodox convert and seminarian
:: St Seraphim, OCA::
:: St Andrew, AA::
:: Orthodox Church of America::
[::..Blogs I Read..::]
:: Huw's Doxos::
:: James' Paradosis::
::Fr. Joseph's Orthodixie::
[::..Other Links..::]
:: St. Vladimir's
(current school)
:: Torrey::
:: Biola::
:: The Onion Dome::
:: Yahoo::
:: Dictionary::
:: Boundless Webzine::

:: Thursday, March 30, 2006 ::

Far, far away…

As I type this, I am sitting in the women’s dorm at St. Vladimir’s. Regular posting will resume when I return…

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 6:58 PM on Thursday, March 30, 2006 [+] ::

:: Tuesday, March 21, 2006 ::

Forward from a friend

Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to the finest of delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved the 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another.

He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the difficult times.

The King's 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her!

One day, the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of luxurious life and wondered, "I now have four wives with me, but when I die, I'll be all alone." Thus, he asked the 4th wife, "I have loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"No way!", replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart. The sad King then asked the 3rd! wife, "I have loved you all my life. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"No!", replied the 3rd wife. "Life is too good! When you die, I'm going to remarry!" His heart sank and turned cold.

He then asked the 2nd wife, "I have always turned to you for help and you've always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?" I'm sorry, I can't help you out this time!", replied the 2nd wife. "At the very most, I can only send you to your grave." Her answer came like a bolt of lightning, and the King was devastated.

Then a voice called out: "I'll leave with you and follow you no matter where you go." The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She was so skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect.

Greatly grieved, the King said, "I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!"

In truth, we all have 4 wives in our lives: Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die. Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it will all go to others. Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.

And our 1st wife is our Soul. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world. However, our Soul is the only thing that will follow us wherever we go! Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of us that will follow us to the throne of God and continue with us throughout Eternity.

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 11:52 PM on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 [+] ::

:: Monday, March 13, 2006 ::
Seminary, here I come…

I just got accepted to St. Vladimir’s! Woohoo!

I’m visiting in two weeks. Anything I should watch out for?

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 10:18 PM on Monday, March 13, 2006 [+] ::

:: Sunday, March 12, 2006 ::
Prayer Appreciated

I am in the process of telling my parents about my upcoming baptism. It is and will yet be a difficult and emotional process for both sides. My mom feels as if I am rejecting that in which I was raised. For my dad, all discussion of religion is painful and difficult. I have dreaded this discussion for years. Don’t leave comments with trite and canned answers; please, they will only frustrate me and will not work. But if you think about it, please do pray. Thanks.

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 8:35 PM on Sunday, March 12, 2006 [+] ::

:: Friday, March 10, 2006 ::
The following is a letter I wrote to the editor of my school newspaper. It will probably not be printed in its fullness, but since I know many of you are Biolans, I encourage you to read the article in this week's paper as well as my response.

Dear Sirs:

I was insulted and disgusted by your recent article entitled, “Few Biolans celebrate season of Advent.” Aside from the obvious informational error that Advent is the 40 days before Christmas (the 40 days before Easter are called Lent), the first sentence categorically insults the majority of Christendom, and the remainder of the article perpetuates and reinforces ignorant stereotypes.

“Though Lent is traditionally a Catholic practice, Christians often consider to be [sic] valuable addition to Easter celebration [sic].” Perhaps I can both theologically and gramatically rephrase this sentence to better convey my sense of indignation, “Though Lent is traditionally a Christian practice, Protestants often consider it to be a valuable addition to the Easter celebration.” Have I made my point?

After denying the faith of much of Christendom, the author continues to promote common Protestant misconceptions about Lent. While I am not here to quibble about the definition of “the church,” the author clearly has an adequate conception, as she states that a certain local church believes, “Catholics are also part of the church.” In this light, the purpose of Lent can be rephrased not as “to stop doing what I choose,” but rather “to submit my will to the authority of the ‘church.’” In other words, I do not get to decide what I give up for Lent. As part of the renunciation of my own will, I am told by the “church” how I will fast, pray, and give alms during this holy season. It is not an excuse to diet, give up video games, or watch less T.V. It is a holy obligation to pray more, fast more, give more, and to put more effort into working out my salvation. To trivialize or promote false information about these difficult and salvific practices is not only to insult Christendom, but to flaunt your ignorance before the eyes of those who truly practice the sacred fast of Great Lent.

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 12:46 PM on Friday, March 10, 2006 [+] ::

:: Saturday, March 04, 2006 ::
For I Knew and I Understood What I Did

This week, on Wednesday, we will hear in the fifth canticle of the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete this poignant line: “When I examine my actions, O Savior, I see that I have gone beyond all men in sin; for I knew and understood what I did; I was not sinning in ignorance.”

This is the painful and amazing part of Lent. How many times have I said to myself, “I know it’s a sin, but I’ll do it now and confess it later?” In one way, I am very ignorant of my sins; this is called mercy. If we knew our sins, we would despair of our salvation in light of our depravity. But in another way, I am very aware of whether or not a specific action constitutes a sin, thanks to my conscience.

But this line gives me hope. It reminds me that I am not the only one who knows clearly and understands clearly what my sin is. And I sin anyway. I am like a bratty child; I am only thankful that God is my merciful Father.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me!

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 1:00 PM on Saturday, March 04, 2006 [+] ::

:: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 ::
Ki (Chi)

I am taking a karate class this term taught by a good, practicing Anglo-Catholic. It is a fun class: hitting people is fun, being hit is fun, and wearing a gi is fun(ny). Now, given that I go to Biola (where Biblical and Protestant Christian truth really does rule the day) and that I know my teacher is pious, I generally trust that what we are taught accords with a Christian worldview. What exactly then is ki (or ‘chi,’ as in tai-chi, in Chineese)?

Our teacher explained it as the non-physical force in physical things; the ‘spirit’ of things if you will. It can be harnessed and used for such things as breaking boards or avoiding being hit. It can make people oddly strong or unmovable. He told a story about a girl rather new to karate with such a strong ki that, with her eyes closed, she could tell where someone was pointing at her.

In class, we did a few ki exercises. In one, we paired up and one of the people stiffened his arm by tightening his muscles. His partner tried to bend his arm at the elbow; most arms bent. The ki part was the second time we did it. We were told to hold our arms straight and imagine a fire hydrant-full of water coming out of our hands; arms were to be completely relaxed, and the water was supposed to loosely flow. Our partners tried to bend our arms as we were relaxed and focused. Nothing. Next we made a ring with our fingers (thumb to index finger). If we tightened our muscles, our partners could pull it open. If we relaxed and focused on “the energy flowing in a circle around [our] fingers,” our fingers were unmovable.

Weird? Yeah. Spooky? Well, I was quite spooked, but I did it because we were doing it in class. I know the instructor (and my instructor’s instructor, the Anglican priest to whom I made my first confession before I even knew of Orthodoxy!), and I knew that he wouldn’t lead us into anything weird, right? Knowing how opinionated everyone out there is, has anyone heard of this before? What do you think about it? Is it OK for a Christian to do? Is it something that is true even if a Christian doesn’t believe in it or use it? Is there really a non-physical force all physical objects possess? Is it something one should hone, or just leave alone?

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 11:30 PM on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 [+] ::

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