:: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 ::
The Way Wherein We Should Walk
:: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 ::
In his book, The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis speaks about a Christianized concept of the Tao. It is the path that good men take, despite their age, era, social status, or other external factors. It is the universal path of ‘what people should do.’
In our rather strangely disconnected age, the Tao is often pronounced, but rarely modeled. When I was nine, I ‘became a Christian’ at a summer camp. Someone gave me a Bible and told me that Christians read the Bible everyday. In this Tao-less state, being told something but not having it modeled, I sat down and read the Bible, starting in Genesis and ending in the Apocalypse. No one had told me that most nine-year-olds do not sit down and read the Bible from cover to cover. Of course, I have yet to get over that first love of theology, even these 13 years later, and I am grateful that no one discouraged my childish eagerness. And yet, I am still scared by the Tao-less age in which we live.
Although I admit to being woefully ignorant of current events, I recently became aware that a specific perversion will be taught as ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ in the California public school system. While from my own experience I have little confidence that the schools can teach the fullness of the Tao, correctly or perversely, I still fear for that presumptuous kid (like I was) who hears that “Some of the world has the natural and morally neutral urge to wear their shirts inside-out” and so thinks that he must be one of these kids. He therefore turns his shirt wrong-side out and fully embraces a life-style of inside-out clothing. He has been told a perverted piece of the Tao, and in his innocent zeal to accept it, has fallen outside of the Tao.
Kids accept what they are told simply as ‘the way it is.’ I know a coupla of PKs who go to church everyday. They have all their lives. For them, that is just the way it is. Is this outside of the Tao? Well, it certainly isn’t normal for most American teenagers, but the Tao is both a broad swath of freedom and the narrow way. What happens when the Tao is forgotten, or willfully perverted? I don’t know. I doubt we can loose this narrow way, but at the same time, the world will hate it, as it has all of those who have come before.
Glory to God!
:: 12:25 PM on
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
:: Sunday, August 20, 2006 ::
Tomorrow I’m going to have my tonsils out…from what everyone keeps telling me, it’s gonna hurt a lot. Did I ever mention that it’s not encouraging to keep telling someone how much something is going to HURT? ;-P
So, if you remember, pray for me.
‘Cause I don’t like pain.
Glory to God!
:: 1:12 PM on
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Home, Family, and Friends
:: Friday, August 11, 2006 ::
Every time I come home, I realize all over again: I love it here! No, not my parents house (!), but the area in which I live. Trees, sky, birds, QUIET, coolness, fog…Sonoma County is the best in the world.
I got to go to church today, sing in the choir, live in the liturgy (with 6 priests!), receive the Eucharist, and generally relax “at home.” When I go away, I am usually able to convince myself that no one knows who I am, that I exist, &c, in my home parish. And every time, I am surprised by how many people come up to me and say, “Hi!” Not complex, not hard, and yet so refreshing and reassuring that I usually forget to say anything in response. It’s great to be home!
I also got to see my family today for the first time in a while. My brother just got his first “real” job (Glory to God!), and I am so excited for him as he moves out into the real world. For me, these next two years will be difficult as I watch my brother (with whom, for better or worse, I have been compared to perpetually) get a job, a place of his own, a real life, and all those things that separate students from ‘real’ adults. But I am overjoyed that he got the perfect job. I prayed to St. Xenia a lot for him…but I don’t think I’ll tell him.
Glory to God!
:: 9:49 PM on
Sunday, August 20, 2006
:: Tuesday, August 08, 2006 ::
While I understand that the title of this article is…less then interesting, the topic is in fact one that probably deserves more attention then it has been receiving. For example, here are three translations of the Kontakion of the Akathist, perhaps one of the best-known hymns outside of the Pentecostarion:
Unto you, O Theotokos, invincible Champion, your City, in thanksgiving ascribes the victory for the deliverance from sufferings. And having your might unassailable, free us from all dangers, so that we may cry unto you: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride.
Triumphant Leader to you belong the strains of victory, and since you save us from adversity we offer you our thanks: We are your people, O Mother of God. So, as you have that invincible power, continue to deliver us from dangers that we may cry out to you: Hail, O Virgin and Bride ever pure.
To Thee, the Champion Leader, we Thy servants dedicate a feast of victory and of thanksgiving as ones rescued out of sufferings, O Theotokos: but as Thou art one with might which is invincible, from all dangers that can be do Thou deliver us, that we may cry to Thee: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!
This one hymn has, clearly, been translated in many different ways. Has theological meaning or significance been lost due to translation? I will leave that debate for better theologians then myself. I am more concerned with one thing: which of these translations do you remember? Which is easy to learn? Which do you most ‘cherish?’
For me, this is an easy question. As I go about my daily routine, I catch myself humming the tune to the last translation, done (I believe) by Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston. This was not the first translation I learned, however, nor is it the one written in my prayer book. Instead, it is the one that has been syllabically translated into my first language, English. Similarly to HTM’s translation of the Supplicatory Canon (which again, I find myself singing as I go about my day), this has been adopted to our language in a poetic way. It has been put to song, so regular lay-people like me can remember and sing it as we go about our regular lay lives.
As I have been struggling to learn a non-syllabically translated version of the Dormition Lamentations for the last week (we sing words like “THEEEE-o-to-KOOOS’), syllabic translations have been on my mind. I know there are strong objectors, saying that we distort theology by making it metric. But when we have as such vastly different translations of one well-known hymn as I have shown above, are we really loosing that much theology? The gain --- allowing musical people like myself to mull over the words all day long --- seems to greatly surpass the loss. So, why isn’t more stuff syllabically translated?
Glory to God!
:: 10:17 PM on
Friday, August 11, 2006
:: Thursday, August 03, 2006 ::
This morning after liturgy, I was talking with Fr. J about various events in the Bible. He was mentioning some of the hymnography at vespers the other night for the Righteous Judith and how disgusting it was. I mean, she does walk back into camp with the enemy kings decapitated head in her hand! (Quick: what’s the story of Judith?)
But, how clean is the Bible? Not very. There are stories of prostitution (Who was Mary Magdalene, anyway? [not a prostitue, as I have been corrected in the comments!]), brutal and graphic murders (What did Phinehas do again?), battle (do I need to reference one?), and even cruel victory customs (hamstringing horses), not to mention dashing babies heads against the rocks (Ps 136).
With all of the blood and gore in our own sacred text, why then are Christians so against things like violent movies? Christians are aware of the world, and cannot be otherwise; and yet while acknowledging the general filth and debauchery of the world around us, we must recognize it as unnatural and wrong. The world sees the same things as we do, but it insists on glorifying them or making them seem normal; this is how/why violent movies sell.
Then again, Christianity is able to redeem that very debauchery she condemns. What happens to Mary Magdalene (hint: St.)? And Phinehas? He gets glorified in a Psalm for fulfilling his calling and executing God’s justice as God’s minister (see Num 25:7, Ps 105). Glorifying violence, bloodshed, debauchery and such is bad, and yet even these things are redeemable in light of Christ’s coming.
Glory to God!
:: 11:50 PM on
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
As is obvious, the frequency of posts is inversely proportional to my homework load. Sorry for the lull!
Although I have at many points been told to stop being ironic and start being real, I must point out at least one irony that struck me today as I trepidatiously look forward to seminary. At Biola, and even more so at UCLA, I am able to carry my chokti in my hand and ‘play’ with it as I walk across campus, during a lecture, during group activities, &c. No one knows what it is, nor really cares. When I get to St. Vlads, I won’t be able to carry it and ‘play’ with it anymore. It would not be socially acceptable.
Does anyone else see the irony in this?
Glory to God!
:: 8:21 PM on
Thursday, August 03, 2006