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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::

:: Monday, October 01, 2007 ::

Probably not around much anymore…

I’m not here much anymore. Or rather, I don’t have time to be here much anymore. I barely have time to check my email, much less blog or surf the web!

This summer, I was in South Africa, and didn’t get much of a chance to blog; when I got back from South Africa, I spent the rest of the summer living at a woman’s monastery called St Barbara, which gave me even less of a chance to blog. I miss the monastery a lot.

Now that I am back at school (St Vladimir’s), I still have no time to blog!

I have also come to the conclusion that politics are evil, and to vent my political views and scrapes for all to see can have negative repercussions. In other words, I am too close to what is going on and don’t want to see scandalous by what I say about it.

I may pop my head up from my work once in a while to see how the blog world is progressing: I may even post here. But for the most part, I just don’t have time: I am far too busy trying to graduate and figure out what I am doing with my life.

So, keep me in your prayers, forgive me if I have offended you, and thank you.

In XC,


Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 8:22 AM on Monday, October 01, 2007 [+] ::

:: Sunday, May 20, 2007 ::
Justified Hatred?

The other day, Fr. Joseph over at Orthodixie posted a link to a page of hatred. . The contents of the page, inaccurate and ridiculous as they are, still raise the question: Can we justify hatred?

Let’s say that I love God more then anything else in the world. I also love man, and hence I want him to be saved. Due to this love of the Good, I hate evil. But in my mistaken belief, I believe that God is a butterfly. In honest zeal and true love for God and man, I advertise my beliefs. I promote them using all means available to me. In fact, I also promote the hatred of what I see as evil, since this hatred musts needs exist beside such strong love: no one would doubt that the saints hated evil. Mistaken as my belief may be, my hatred seems justified.

So, shouldn’t we all go putting up hate-sites? Perhaps because we do not fully understand the idea of the evil we are to hate. Evil is that which goes against God. All debates on its positive or parasitic existence aside, there is undeniably something fighting me when I try to do good: this is evil. The saints have the idea that the evil we see in the world is there because of me. Not because of Hitler, or Stalin, or you, but because of my sin. But no matter where this evil arises, it seems like it fights against salvation. And so, out of love for our fellow man, we should stop things that fight against salvation.

Which brings me back to the beginning. Why isn’t hatred justified? One could say that in this case, there is a lot of ignorance at work. Perhaps this is true, but I could say that I hate torturing innocent children, as ignorant as I am about the issue. The author clearly has misdirected zeal, but would this zeal be any better if it were a hate page about another group of people?

My gut tells me that hatred like that, so publicly expressed, is unjustifiable. But my mind can’t give me a good reason why my gut should so dislike it. Any suggestions?

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 12:06 PM on Sunday, May 20, 2007 [+] ::

:: Sunday, May 13, 2007 ::
Research Interests: Choice or Responsibility?

As I am in the process of looking at and choosing PhD programs to which I will apply, I was instructed that I should state my “research interests” in any letter I send. Academically, I am interested in patristics, specifically Greek Patristics, and monasticism, usually in its early forms (Palestinian and Egyptian). These are the subjects of which I keep abreast in the field, which I feel comfortable writing about, and about which I can enter into a semi-intelligent discussion. But these subjects are not theology in the pure sense.

Theology, if it is to have real impact on the world for Jesus Christ, is a culturally relevant phrasing of an unchanging dogmatic truth. While I like to think of myself as a theologian, I do very little theology in this sense. Really, there are few hot debates on Palestinian monasticism as compared to its contemporary Egyptian monasticism.

Then there is a subject that I do not consider among my “research interests,” yet it comes up repeatedly in my academic and personal life. I will speak about it this summer in Africa. In its various forms, it is a near-weekly question I am asked when I am at my home parish, especially now that I am a “seminarian.” It is a hot topic at all Inter-Seminary Dialogues. It is a can of worms! In other words, “What is the place of women in the Orthodox Church today?”

Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate and strongly opinionated about it. Yet I feel as if the topic in general theology is too big, too much of a dead horse, and the passions it arouses on both sides lead to little constructive debate. And yet, it seems that every time I look up, someone else is asking me to speak/write/opine on women in the Church. I realize the uniqueness of my position as “a woman at seminary,” and the more I read academic articles, the more I realize I stand quite against the academic majority (yet, I believe in solidarity with the majority of the “people in the pews”).

So, I have my research interests, which truly interest me, boring as they may sound. And I have this, which mostly stirs my passions and excites me to debate, but also gives me a venue to be heard as a student-theologian to non-Orthodox (often non-Christians), such as at the Inter-Seminary Dialogues. My temporary solution is to gather about 30 articles written in the last 10 years on the subject, as well as the major books in the field, and educate myself on it as best I can this summer. Maybe then I can decide if it is truly a research interest, or just a personal one.

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 7:17 AM on Sunday, May 13, 2007 [+] ::

:: Sunday, May 06, 2007 ::
To Receive or Not to Receive

I have been sick and out of it this week, and I have not properly prepared to approach the chalice. I have not kept my prayer rule, done the preparatory canon, kept the Wednesday or Friday fasts, or been to church much this week.

I know that these are not a legalistic requirement for approaching the chalice, but they are the only things I can offer to Christ to show my love to him. They are the requirements laid down by the Church, and having failed to meet them, I know I have not put forth my own best effort, and I should not approach this week.

Yet I know that, for whatever reason I have not met them (sickness & laziness), the Eucharist --- if it is not fire that burns the lazy and unprepared --- is divine medicine for the health of my soul and body, which I very much need right now.

I want to approach. And I know I should not. Then again, I do not know if I can make it through the whole Liturgy today (I’m still pretty sick), so it may not matter at all. Hopefully, I will be able to find my confessor in the chapel and ask him before the service starts. But if I can’t…I am not sure if I will approach or not.

Please pray that I get healthy soon…!

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 7:09 AM on Sunday, May 06, 2007 [+] ::

:: Saturday, April 28, 2007 ::
One Step At A Time…

I plan to go to South Africa this summer!

Of course, I am not sure how/if this will actually happen, and while the last 10 days of my life have been the most stress-filled and sleepless weeks I can remember, I know that it will all work out in the end.

Pretty stressed the other week, I wrote to my priest and told him that while I had been accepted to South Africa, I just found out that I did not get the grant from OCMC, and so I didn’t think I would be going. The idea of raising support was not so much daunting, but it required a stronger dose of humility then I could muster. I didn’t want to seem like some lazy mooch who asks money off of hard working people so I could go to another country. It just doesn’t seem right.

In slightly mitigated words, I wrote this to my priest back home. Here’s where the big difference between a good priest and a proud seminarian comes in: I wanted to stress and worry about it; he wisely told me “pray, fast, and seek God’s will.” Oh, yeah --- embarrassingly enough, the thought hadn’t even occurred to me. One of the things he recommended I pray was the akathist to St. Innocent. Now, if you have ever prayed the Akathist to St. Innocent, you know that it chronicles this great saint’s missionary endeavors among the Alaskan peoples. Try praying that and then deciding not to go on a missions trip --- especially if the thing stopping you is pride in asking for support!

So, I am going to South Africa. I have spent the last week doing no homework, but organizing myself, writing and sending letters (which takes more time then I would have thought!), and in all other ways trying to raise support to go to South Africa. I called my parents and told them: I don’t think they’re too supportive, especially of me writing letters of support, and my mom told me that it is a rather foolish leap of faith.

Well, perhaps it is foolish, but I am in too deep now to stop. Pray for me, please. I’m willing to do this, and I’ve worked pretty hard to get thus far, but it is not by my efforts or desire that it will all work out. It is by your prayers, and especially the prayers of St. Innocent, that I will go this summer. May he also pray for me!

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 1:30 PM on Saturday, April 28, 2007 [+] ::

:: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 ::
So Much At Once

A few months ago, I applied for a grant to go to South Africa with OCMC. I found out last night that, while I got into the program, I got absolutely no grant money. That leaves me with less then 8 weeks to raise $4,500 from a church 3,000 miles away. I’m pretty sure at this point that I will just drop out of the program; I said I would do it, and I sent in a down-payment, but it seems better to cut my losses.

Of course, the main problem is now I have no idea what I will do this summer. Mostly, I want to be in California and at my home church rather then way out here in New York. I would like to do a CPE unit, but it is too late to apply to most programs, and I live near none of them.

On the brighter side, I find myself strangely accepting of the idea that I won’t go to South Africa, much as I had earlier found myself strangely accepting the idea that I would go to South Africa. This does not mitigate the great disappointment, but rather I am surprised at my own attitude: it is outside of my hands, and I am alright with that. Glory to God for all things, really. There is nothing I can do either way.

I may still try and do it, scrambling to raise funds by writing letters asking for donations, but I do not think I have the time before the money is due.

So, if you remember, pray for me. Not so much that I get to go to South Africa, but that I am able to do something productive and good this summer, be it in the States or abroad. Glory to God for all things!

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 6:22 PM on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 [+] ::

:: Saturday, March 31, 2007 ::
One Year Ago Today…

One year ago today, I made a decision from which I will not turn back. I renounced Satan, and bowed myself before Christ, my king. I declared war on the enemy of my salvation, proclaiming that I would do all in my power to unite myself to Christ and crush Satan under my feet. I left all I had known in this world, declaring myself dead to its carnal lusts and pleasure, declaring myself dead even to death itself. I died. I was raised again, born anew, with a new name, a new life, and a new calling. Like Lazarus coming forth from the tomb, I obeyed the voice of my Lord.

Then, having turned from my old life, I was enlightened and initiated into to the life of the Spirit. I was made like The Anointed One, Christ himself. Pentecost occurred, and the Spirit came to dwell within me, burning up my sinful passions with his refining fire. I was prepared for the fight, given strength not my own, and confirmed on the path which I had been called to undertake.

Having experienced my own joyous rebirth, I joined my family for a meal that I had only heard about second-hand. Christ himself spread the table, Christ himself offered me not just bread and wine, but his own body and blood. I was now part of his body, receiving from him the fullness of his body. This was the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil; this will make me like God, and I will live forever. This blood and water, this life-giving fountain, this foretaste of the kingdom to come became mine, for the first time.

Glory to God who has brought all things to pass!

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 11:32 AM on Saturday, March 31, 2007 [+] ::

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