Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lent - This Is Going To Hurt Me More Than It'll Hurt You

Okay, so, I usually don't tell people what I give up for Lent - it's a private devotion, and announcing it to the world seems to me too much like making sure that everyone can see me on the corner of the street, wailing and gnashing my teeth and rending my garments.

However, since in this case, it kind of effects ya'll, I decided that I really do have to tell you guys.

For Lent, you give up something that you love, or add a devotion. When giving something up, it's supposed to 'hurt'. For instance, I couldn't give up Tootsie Rolls, since I'm allergic to them, and never eat them anyway. In trying to think of what to sacrifice this year, the idea of giving up blogging came up. And I immediately rejected it because, 'but', 'what if', 'but I need to...'. Which is why I went back to the idea. It's really the best thing I can give up this Lent.

Lent begins tomorrow, February 15th and goes through April 3rd. (Yes, for those of you familiar with the Catholic Lent, those dates are 'wrong'. I'm using the Orthodox calendar for Lent. At least, the Orthodox calendar that I have.)

For those days, I will be off the blogs. I won't be posting, I won't be reading, and (obviously) I won't be commenting. (See why I decided you guys needed to know about this one?)

If, for some utterly unfathomable-to-me-at-this-moment reason you feel like you really need to talk to me, or I need to know something, you can email me. I will be checking my emails. My email address is akelios(at) (You know what to do to make that work.)

I'll check the blog one last time tonight, reply to any comments, and then I'm 'off grid'.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sirach 2

1. My son, if you draw near to serve the Lord,
Prepare your soul for temptation.+

2. Set your heart right and be steadfast,
And do not strive anxiously in distress.

3. Cleave to Him and do not fall away.
That you may be honoured at the end of your life.

4. Accept whatever is brought upon you,
And in exchange for your humiliation, be patient;

5. Because gold is tested in fire
And acceptable men in the furnace of abasement.

6. Believe in Him, and He will help you;
Make you ways straight and hope in Him.

7. You who fear the Lord, wait for His mercy,
And do not turn aside, lest you fall.

8. You who fear the Lord, believe in Him,
And your reward will not fail.

9. You who fear the Lord, hope for good things
And for everlasting gladness and mercy.

10. Consider the ancient generations and see:
Who believed in the Lord and was put to shame?
Or who stood fast in His fear and was forsaken?
Or who called upon Him and was overlooked?

11. Because the Lord is compassionate and merciful,
He forgives sins and saves in time of affliction.

12. Woe to cowardly hearts and weakened hands,
And to a sinner who walks on two paths!+

13. Woe to a fainting heart, because it does not believe!
Therefore it will not be sheltered.

14. Woe to you who have lost your patient endurance!
What will you do when the Lord visits you?

15. Those who fear the Lord will not disobey His words,
And those who love Him will keep His ways.

16. Those who fear the Lord will seek His approval,
And those who love Him will be filled with the law.

17. Those who fear the Lord will prepare their hearts
And will humble their souls before Him.

18. We will fall into the hands of the Lord
And not into the hands of men;
For as His majesty is, so is His mercy.


+2:1 - One who determines to serve the Lord will be tested and face temptation (see 1Co 10:13). Thus, we prepare our soul for this challenge to our fidelity.

+2:12-14 - Faintheartedness, the loss of endurance, and double-mindedness are forms of unbelief and bring great instability (see Jam 1:8).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

OSB: Christ's Genealogies

Deuteronomy 25: 5-6: 5. If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband's brother shall go into her, take her as his wife, and dwell with her. 6. Then it shall be, the firstborn son she bears shall be named by the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.+

(+25:5, 6: This law explains how Joseph (the foster father of Jesus) could have two fathers, as recorded in the two genealogies of Jesus. In Luke's record of the genealogy, Joseph's father was Heli (Lk 3:23-38). Heli was his legal father, for he died childless. Jacob, his brother by the same mother, raised up seed for him. This seed was Joseph, according to Matthew's genealogy (Mt. 1:1-16). Thus, Jacob was Joseph's natural father (JohnDm).)


Right, so I'm not going to type out the genealogies, because, well. They're long, and I am being lazy. However, I found this interesting and thought I'd put it out there. What'd ya'll think? Make sense?

Also, as to the question of *why* include genealogies of Joseph since Christ was not his biological son, but rather, adopted. It's my understanding that Joseph, being a righteous man, would have married within his own tribe. Thus, Mary would have shared many of the same ancestors - she was also descended from David, but the genealogies of the time were traced through the men, not the women.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cain II - Genesis 4: 1 - 8 & Exodus 21: 12 - 14

1. Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man through God." 2. Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a shepherd of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3. Now in the process of time Cain brought a sacrifice to the Lord from the fruits of the ground. 4. Abel also brought a sacrifice from the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. The Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5. but He did not respect Cain and his sacrifices. So Cain was extremely sorrowful, and his countenance fell. 6. So the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you extremely sorrowful? And why has your countenance fallen? 7. Did you not sin, even though you brought it rightly, but did not divide it rightly? Be still; his recourse shall be to you; and you shall rule over him." 8. Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

And then, as we all know, Cain was kicked out of Eden, into Nod. Now, on to Exodus:

12. He who so strikes a man that he dies shall surely be put to death. 13. However, if he did not willfully lie in wait, but God delivered him into his hands, I will appoint for you a place where the slayer may flee. 14. But if a man acts with premeditation against his neighbour to kill him by treachery, you shall take him from My altar that he may die.

So. I think the issue here is that we don't have an exact timeline of event. The account obviously skips through time, since Eve has the boys, and the next thing you know they're full grown and making sacrifices to God. While we can ascertain that the death of Abel follows (likely closely) on the heels of God preferring one sacrifice over the other, it's not clear how closely.

If it had been premeditated murder, then God should have smote Cain, right then and there. But instead, He gave him a place to flee. Similar to the law He handed on through Moses.

And, on top of that, I still don't know just how much Cain would have understood about his actions. Yes, as Susanne pointed out, they clearly knew that animals could die, because Abel sacrificed one - but did they equate that with themselves? Adam and Eve knew that death was a consequence of their actions, but did they understand that that included death by violence or accident? Or merely old age? Did they even really understand what 'death' meant?

2 Kingdoms 6:5

(Again, for those of us playing the home game with the 'abridged' Bible, that'd be 2 Samuel :) )

5. Then David and all the sons of Israel with strength played music before the Lord on well-tuned instruments, with songs, harps, lyres, flutes, and with drums and cymbals.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Right, two extraneous-to-the-post things first:

1. I've lost a total of 20 lbs as of last night. Yay!

2. We're running an obituary tomorrow of a man that had two wives. He was married to one of them for 34 years, the second for 23 years. The women were best friends and each knew he was married to the other. Obviously, he never 'legally' married the second wife. 8-0

And now, on to the post!

So, continuing to work on the death penalty post, and I was thinking about Cain.

Cain is often referred to as the 'first murderer' for killing Abel. But...was it really murder?

Okay, bear with me.

At the point in time when Cain killed Abel, there were what, three, four people on the planet? Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and maybe some sisters. It's a fair bet that no one had ever died. So, when Cain lost his temper and killed Abel, did he really understand what he was doing? Did he understand the concept of death?

It was clearly a 'crime of passion'. His sacrifice had been rejected, for no reason that we're given, and he was pissed. He lashed out - not a good thing, of course, especially given what must have been the violence of his temper since he did wind up killing Abel. But I don't know that he really *understood* what he was doing.

It's as though a person of diminished capacity picked up a rock and hit someone with it. They kill the person, but we don't hold them as responsible as we would someone in full possession of their faculties who picks up the same rock and hits a person with it, killing them. On the one side, we understand that if we hit that person hard enough, or often enough, we will kill them. And the assumption must be that we intend for that consequence. But if a person doesn't understand the ultimate consequences of their action, can they be held to the same standard?

Is that why, perhaps, rather than demanding Cain's death, God exiled him? Because while he had done a terrible evil, he had lacked the capacity to comprehend what he was doing?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Kinder - Catchup Post

I'm still teaching, I just sort of forgot to tell ya'll about it.


1/31 Class - They were *horrible*. We had a full class, plus one (one of the girls brought a friend) and they just would not listen or be still or quiet or behave! It was so bad that, while Debbie had half the class out to the bathrooms and I was trying to move on with what we were doing, I had to have them all put their heads on their tables and be silent. I waited a few minutes and asked them if they thought they could all behave so we could do something, and two of the boys said 'no'. So we continued to sit with out heads down. The next time I asked, those same two boys said 'no', but the rest of the class jumped in and said 'yes'. So I said that everyone who thought they could behave could sit up and participate, and those two boys could keep their heads down. Suddenly, shock of shocks, those two decided they *could* be quiet and participate.

2/7 Class - This week, we only had about half of the class. They were back to normal, a little rambunctious, but so much better. Must have been the full moon or something last week. *rolls eyes* We had them cut out hearts and on one side write 'Jesus Love Me...' and fill in why they think Jesus loves them (something good about themselves) and on the other side write 'I Love Jesus...' and fill in why they love Jesus (most of the answers started with, 'He created...' and inserted whatever the kid likes best) and we hung them up on our cabinet.

Our Gospel reading was...Luke 5: 1-11 (I believe). It was the story of Jesus calling Simon (Peter) and the Thunder Brothers (James and John) (Okay, I just like calling them that, alright?). One of the kids was confused as to how they were going to 'fish for men'. He wanted to know if they were going to start throwing nets on people.... :) I explained that no, Jesus was just talking to them in terms they would understand. Because they'd been fishermen all their lives, He used 'fishy' words to get them to understand what He was asking them to do. Then, one of the boys wanted to know what the difference was between Jews, Catholics, and Christians. First, I explained that Catholics *are* Christians - followers of Christ. Then, I (briefly) explained who the Jews were. And I told them, 'Jesus was a Jew' *dead silence* 'He was?' 'Yes'

We somehow got on to sin, and I was explaining about how people can't go to Heaven with sin still on them, which is why Christ came to us and gave us the Church and the Sacraments, and one of the boys (It's always the boys, have you noticed?) asked, 'what about the people who get stuck on earth as ghosts?' *insert evil laughter here* *cough* So. The last ten minutes of class were all about ghosts. :)

I explained, basically, that we don't know, really, what causes ghosts. Another of the boys explained that 'yes we do, it's when people die and then years later somebody builds a house over their grave and they get disturbed...' and I said, yes, some people think that, but really, pretty much everywhere we walk or build there's likely to be peoples bodies, so that can't be it. I got back to the whole, 'we don't know' and a kid brought up orbs. Well, as I explained, 99% of the time, orbs are dust or bugs that get caught in the camera flare. And the same kid said, 'but this one had a smiley face in it!' So...try to explain matrixing and the minds ability to pick out human features where there are none (in nature). *Anyway* of the kids said, 'but it's paranormal!' I said, 'yes, but all paranormal means is that it's 'above normal' it just means that we don't *know* what causes it yet.' and then I told them about how the ancient people thought that when there was an eclipse it was caused by a giant monster in the sky trying to eat the sun. *insert gasps of shock and laughter* I explained, they didn't know better, and they had no way of knowing that the earth was revolving around the sun and the moon was revolving around the earth, and that every so often, they intersected just right, and the sun 'disappeared' temporarily. 'Ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh' So, just like that, we may, eventually, one day have the ability to understand what causes what we call 'ghosts'. And I explained that sometimes, people just jump to the wrong conclusion, without looking for regular, boring reasons for things happening.

I told the kids that my house has a ghost, but we basically ignore it. I told them that my bedroom door swings shut on its own every so often. And I told them, at first, my family thought it was the ghost. Then, I told them, I figured out that, even though it looks perfectly flat and level, my room is actually just very slightly titled! And it's *just* enough that, if the door isn't pushed back far enough, it starts to slowly swing shut, builds up a little speed, and *bam* slams shut. Nothing paranormal at all. Just gravity. :)

Also, at one point, I had taken two of the kids to the bathroom, and realized that my scarf was slipping. So I whipped it off to fix it there in the hall. The boy came out, glanced at me, bent to drink out of the fountain, and did a double take. 'You *do* have hair!' *lol* 'Yes, I do.' :)


So, this weekend we're off, and the next weekend I'm going to tell them that I'm out of town, which is (mostly) true. So I'm going to have two weeks 'off'. I plan to go to Holy Trinity this weekend, but I'm not sure about the weekend after that. That'll be Lent, and I don't know if maybe they have 'heavier', it's Greek Fest. So...yeah.

7 Things About Me

So, Susanne did this, and 'generally tagged' anyone who wanted to. So here you go: more info about me that you'll never need. :)

1. I love Ghiradelli peppermint bark. With an unholy passion. Seriously. Keep me from it, and I may break your arm. Fair warning.

2. I would move to England/Scotland/Wales in a heartbeat. I have no idea why, I just want to live there. It's so *pretty* and *old*. (I have a thing for history, okay?)

3. On the subject of history, and old things: Rome. I *will* go there one day. And...then never leave, because I'm not sure I'd be able to drag myself away before I'd seen *everything*, and that's pretty much impossible to do...

4. I may, and I stress *may*, be obsessed with Castiel on Supernatural. There's been no definitive proof so far, but I admit that it's a possibility. He combines being cute, kicking butt, and being adorable like a *puppy*! *continues to obsess, quietly*

5. That being said, I may also be obsessed with the Trickster on Supernatural. He's just so. much. fun! In the scary, give jerks what's coming to them sense of the term 'fun'. Also, that *other thing* about him, which I will not say, because I don't want to spoil Sanil. Just in case. But *that*. He is a BAMF. For the record.

6. I believe in ghosts. I live in a haunted house (not scary at all). They don't bother me, I don't bother them, that's my general rule.

7. My name really is Amber. I looked it up on Behind the Name, out of curiosity:


Gender: Feminine

Usage: English, Dutch

Pronounced: AM-bər (English), AHM-bər (Dutch) [key]

From the English word amber that denotes either the gemstone, which is formed from fossil resin, or the orange-yellow colour. The word ultimately derives from Arabic عنبر ('anbar). It began to be used as a given name in the late 19th century, but it only became popular after the release of Kathleen Winsor's novel 'Forever Amber' (1944).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Book: Treasure in Clay - A Bit of Humour

First, a short story that I'd heard before:

"If I added up all the summers I spent in St. Patrick's Church, Soho Square, in London, they would amount to six or seven years. Being an American, I opened the church in the morning, for the Americans rose earlier than the English did. This particular Epiphany morning in January, a limp figure fell in - that of a young woman about twenty-four or twenty-five years of age. 'How do you happen to be here?' 'Well, where am I, Father?' 'Oh, 'Father'?' She said: 'Yes, I used to be a Catholic, but not any more.' I said: 'Were you drunk?' She admitted she was. I added: 'Men drink because they like the stuff; women drink because they do not like something else. Who are you running from?' She said: 'Three men - and they are beginning to find out, so I get drunk.'

"It was one of those typically cold January mornings in London; she had been exposed to the cold all night long. I made a cup of tea and asked her name. I pointed to a billboard across the street, asking: 'Is that your picture over there on the billboard?' 'Yes, I am the leading lady in that musical comedy.' I invited her to come back that afternoon before the matinee. She agreed on one condition: 'that you do not ask me to go to Confession.' She said: 'I want you to promise me faithfully not to ask me to go to Confession.' I said: 'I promise you faithfully not to ask you to go to Confession.' That afternoon before the matinee, she returned. I then told her that we had a Rembrandt and a Van Dyck in the church: 'Would you like to see them?' As we walked down the side aisle, we passed a confessional. I pushed her in. I did not ask her to go, for I had promised not to ask her to go. Two years later I gave her her veil in a convent in London, where she is to this very hour."


And now, the beginning of the chapter entitled 'The Lighter Side':

"By nature I am a rather serious person. But in a paradoxical kind of way, I am very fond of humour and laughter. I have had several discussions with Milton Berle on this subject and he has attributed humour to me though I have never claimed to possess it as a gift. There may be incidental flashes of it here and there but it is not one of God's gifts to me. However, there is a close relationship between faith and humour. We say of those who lack as sense of humour that they are 'too thick'; that means they are opaque like a brick wall. Humour, on the contrary, is 'seeing through' things like a windowpane. Materialists, humanists and atheists all take this world very seriously because it is the only world they are ever going to have. He who possesses faith knows that this world is not the only one, and therefore can be regarded rather lightly: 'swung as a trinket about one's wrist.' To an atheist gold is gold, water is water and money is money. To a believer everything in this world is a telltale of something else. Mountains are not to be taken seriously. They are manifestations of the power of God; sunsets are revelations of His beauty; even rain can be a sign of His gentle mercy. I remember once meeting a doorman at the Great Southern Hotel in Killarney. I said to him as I came out of the hotel door: 'Oh, it's raining.' He put out his hand and said: 'You call that rain, Father. That's holy water from Heaven and it's blessing yourself you ought to be doing with it,' as he signed himself with the sign of the Cross.

"All the parables of Our Blessed Lord are tokens of something eternal. Camels, eyes of needles, patches on clothing, seed on a roadway, the quickness of the lightning flash, redness of the western sky - all these reminded Him of moral and spiritual lessons in the Kingdom of God. That is why He began each parable with: 'The Kingdom of God is like...' The only thing He ever took seriously was a soul. He did not take even death seriously, for death is a condition of life.

"In the early days when I was on national radio, a man came into St. Patrick's Cathedral one morning and, not recognizing me, said: 'Father, I want to go to Confession. I commute from Westchester every day. I had three friends with me - all Protestants. I became very angry and spoke most disparagingly and bitterly of that young priest that is on radio, Dr. Fulton Sheen. I just cannot stand him. He drives me crazy. I am afraid that I probably scandalized those men by the way I talked about a priest. So, will you hear my confession?' I said: 'My good man, I don't think you committed a serious sin. There are moments in my life when I share exactly the same opinion about Dr. Sheen that you do. Go to Communion and reserve your confession for another day.' He left very happily, saying: 'It certainly is wonderful to meet a nice priest like you.'"

Sirach 1

1 All wisdom comes from the Lord
And is with Him forever+

2 Who can count the sand of the seas,
The drops of rain, and the days of eternity?

3 Who can search out the height of heaven,
The breadth of the earth, the abyss, and wisdom?

4 Wisdom was created before all things,
And the insight of prudence was from eternity.+

5 To whom has the root of wisdom been revealed?
And who has come to know her great deeds?

6 There is one who is wise and is feared exceedingly.
He who sits upon His throne.+

7 The Lord Himself created wisdom.
He saw and numbered her
And poured her out on all His works.

8 In the midst of all flesh according to His gift;
And He provided her for those who love Him.

9 The fear of the Lord is glory and boasting,
And gladness and a crown of rejoicing

10 The fear of the Lord will cheer the heart
And will give gladness, joy, and long life.+

11 For those who fear the Lord, it shall be well to the utmost,
And on the day of his death, he will be blessed.

12 The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord,
And she was joined with the faithful in the womb.+

13 She constructed a foundation of life among men
And will be trusted among their seed.

14 The gratification of wisdom is to fear the Lord,
And she intoxicates them with her fruits.

15 She will fill every house of theirs with objects of desire
And their storehouses with her harvest.

16 The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom,
Making peace and soundness of health to flourish.

17 The Lord saw and numbered her,
And poured out the power of comprehension;
And He exalted the glory of those who hold fast to her.

18 The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord,
And her branches are length of days.

19 Unjust anger cannot be justified,
For anger's decisive influence causes his fall.

20 A patient man will hold fast until the proper time,
Then afterwards gladness shall burst forth for him.

21 He shall conceal his words until the proper time,
And the lips of many will tell of his understanding.

22 In the treasures of wisdom are the parables of knowledge,
But godliness is an abomination to a sinner.

23 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments,
And the Lord will supply it to you.+

24 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and instruction,
And His good pleasure is faith and gentleness.

25 Do not disobey the fear of the Lord,
And do not come to him with a divided heart.

26 Do not be a hypocrite in the sight of men,
And be careful with your lips.

27 Do not exalt yourself, lest you fall
And bring dishonour to your soul.
The Lord shall reveal your secrets,
And in the midst of the assembly He will strike you down,
Because you did not come in fear of the Lord
And your heart was full of deceit.

*All notes are from my Orthodox Study Bible*

+1:1 - Forever tells us Wisdom is without beginning. He is Christ, the power and wisdom of the Father (1Cor1:24)
+1:4 - The statement Wisdom was created before all things is a prophecy concerning the Incarnation of Wisdom, who was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8); for He became incarnate for us men and our salvation (Creed). "Created" refers to his human nature which He assumed at His conception in the Ever-virgin Mary. "All things" refers to all creation, which Christ came to redeem along with the children of God (Rom 8:21-23, Eph 1:10, Col 1:15-17). From eternity also shows that Christ is without beginning.
+1:6 - This verse is left out of some ancient manuscripts but included in others. It very possibly was taken out following the Bar Kochba rebellion of AD135, when Jewish rabbis made a strong effort to purge the LXX references that could be interpreted as referring to Christ as Messiah. This was done to stem the tide of Jewish conversions to Christianity, which had brought near total destruction to the Jewish nation.
+1:7 - Again, created wisdom refers to the Incarnation (see 1:4), while wisdom poured...out on all His works reminds us the Father created all things through His Son.
+1:10, 11 The fear of the Lord brings blessing both to life and to death.
+1:12 - The capacity to fear the Lord and thus to believe in Him is joined with the infant in the womb. This would explain why the Lord Jesus Christ speaks of the special faith of nursing babes (Lk 18:15-17).
+1:23-27 - To gain wisdom we must be obedient to the commandments, maintain faithfulness and humility, and come to God with an undivided heart.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Archangel Michael = More Awesome Than You

Yes, I did just spend something like 15 minutes playing this scene over and over and over again so I could get the whole conversation right.

M = Michael the Archangel in John Winchester's body & D = Dean Winchester

Now, for those who don't know (ie: Everyone not as obsessed as me) Dean is supposed to be Michael's vessel on Earth for the final battle between him and Lucifer (whose vessel is supposed to be Sam, Dean's younger brother). Dean keeps refusing to say 'yes' to Michael, which keeps him from 'moving in'.

At this point, another angel, Anna, had gone back in time to kill John & Mary Winchester, the boys' parents, before they could have Dean and Sam, thus averting the apocalypse (or so she thinks). Michael has just stepped in (while wearing John Winchester) and killed Anna and is taking the opportunity to have a little heart to heart with Dean, since he can't talk to him normally.


M: Well I'd say this conversation is long over due, wouldn't you?

D: Fix him!

M: First, we talk. Then I fix your darling little Sammy.

D: How'd you get in my dad anyway?

M: I told him I could save his wife, and he said yes.

D: I guess they over sold me, being your 'one and only vessel', huh?

M: You're my true vessel, but not my only one.

D: What's that supposed to mean?

M: It's a bloodline.

D: A bloodline?

M: Stretching back to Cain and Abel. It's in your blood, your father's blood, your families' blood.

D: Awesome. Six degrees of 'Heaven' Bacon. What d'you want with me?

M: You really don't know the answer to that?

D: Well you know I ain't gonna say yes, so why're you here? What d'you want with me?

M: I just want you to understand what you and I have to do.

D: Oh, I get it. You got beef with your brother. Well get some therapy pal, don't take it out on my planet!

M: You're wrong. Lucifer defied our father, and he betrayed me, but still, I don't want this any more than you would want to kill Sam. You know, my brother, I practically raised him. I took care of him in a way most people could never understand, and I still love him. But I am going to kill him, because it is right, and I have to.

D: What, because God said so?

M: Yes. From the beginning, he knew this was how it was going to end.

D: And you're just going to do whatever God says?

M: Yes. Because I am a good son.

D: Huh. Yeah well, trust me, take it from someone who knows, that is a dead end street.

M: And you think you know better, than my father? One, unimportant little man? What makes you think you get to choose?

D: Because I gotta believe, that I can choose what I do with my, 'unimportant, little' life.

M: You're wrong. You know how I know? Think of a million, random acts of chance that let John and Mary be born, to meet, to fall in love, to have the two of you. Think of the million random choices that you make and yet how each and every one of them brings you closer to your destiny. Do you know why that is? Because it's not random, it's not chance. It's a plan that is playing itself out. Perfectly. Free will's an illusion, Dean. That's why you're going to say yes. Oh, buck up. It could be worse. Y'know, unlike my brothers, I won't leave you a drooling mess when I'm done wearing you.

D: And what about my dad?

M: Better than new. In fact, I'm going to do your mom and your dad a favor.

D: What?

M: Scrub their minds. They won't remember me or you.

D: You can't do that.

M: I'm just giving your mother what she wants. She can go back to her husband, her family -

D: She's going to walk right into that nursery!

M: Obviously. And you always knew that was going to play out, one way or another. You can't fight city hall.

*fixes Sam**angelDeLorean's him back to the right time*

M: He's home. Safe and sound. Your turn. I'll see you soon, Dean.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book: Treasure in Clay

The non-fiction book I'm reading right now is the Autobiography of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. I have a great and abiding affection for this man that I can't quite explain. He was an excellent speaker and teacher, and they still show his old tv show 'Life is Worth Living' on EWTN.

Anyway, I found this story amusing.

To preface it, he was discussing his singing ability, or rather, lack thereof. To quote: "I was among those who could hardly carry a key on a ring."

So then, after his ordination, he relates this experience offering Mass:

"The same year I was to offer Holy Week Eucharist in St. Patrick's Church in Washington. The liturgy of that week is slightly different from that of other days of the year and I was a bit concerned as to whether I could do it properly. One of the directions given in Latin during the course of the Holy Saturday liturgy was to sing Alleluia three times. There are about forty-nine notes in that Alleluia, which would test even the skills of a Caruso. I did my best to give utterance to all those black notes in the missal. I gave a sigh of relief at the end of the Alleluia, but old Monsignor Thomas, the pastor, who wore purple socks, shouted out from the sacristy in the hearing range of the entire congregation: 'Sing it again!' I sang it again, simply because he ordered me to do it. When I finished the second effort, again in still louder tones, he cried: 'Sing it again!' which I did in reluctant obedience and feeling very stupid for having to do so. But then I noticed at the end of the Latin directive about singing the Alleluia the little word 'ter', which means three times."

I find this very, very amusing. So I share.

1 Kingdoms 6:5

aka: 1 Samuel (for those of us not playing with an Orthodox Bible...)

5 - And for each lord, add a gold mouse that images the mice utterly ravaging your land. Then you shall give glory to the Lord; perhaps He may lighten His hand from you, from off your gods, and from off your land.

For context, this is while the Philistines had the Ark of the Covenant, and this is the Philistine priests telling their leaders what to do to get rid of the plagues on their land since they captured the Ark.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Role of Women in Church

I'm just curious as to what the different opinions are on here.

What do you think women can/should do in church? Lead, pastor, teach? Are they supposed to be silent and do nothing? Clean? Do they need to have separate ministries, and if so, what?

I know it's a vague kind of question, and it's not one of my leading questions either, but I really just want to know what you guys think - what's the 'place' of women in church, and why do you think what you think?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Book: Reconciliation by Benazir Bhutto

I've been trying to think about what to say about this book. I still enjoyed reading it. I still found it interesting. But my...early, bubbly feelings about it have long since gone.

She presents a view of Islam that is unrealistic and not historic in the least, despite what she would like her readers to believe. A basic knowledge of history will let you know that what she claims in regards to the 'tolerance' of Muslim nations is incompatible with the facts.

She tends to make general statements as though they were fact, often without citing supporting evidence. And when she does present some evidence, it is often not much, and (annoying to me), not properly footnoted within the book. For instance, her Qur'an quotes (or quotes of any kind for that matter), lack the little superscripted numbers that would point you to the reference. She does have a list of those references in the back of the book, but you wouldn't know they were there unless you went looking for them, and then, since the quotes in the text lack connecting numbering, you still have to look back to try and find the quote that the reference is referring to. It's *annoying*.

On the subject of her quoting the Qur'an, she takes one or two verses out and ignores the rest. The context of the surrounding text is lost, as is the historic context or any other sort of context for that matter.

There is also the (as Achelois had to point out for me) problem of her, at least once, attributing something to the Qur'an that is not, in fact, in the Qur'an. The number of prophets (120,000) is not found in the Qur'an, but in hadith. I can't say whether or not there are more such misattributions because I'm not that intimately familiar with the Qur'an or the hadith. I just know that if it happened once, it colors my perspective. The chances of it happening elsewhere in the book go way up in my estimation.

Now, this book was still in manuscript form when she was killed. Are some of the problems a lack of ability to go back over her work and a lack of knowledge from those who did have the opportunity? Maybe. But since most of the issues that I have tend to be ones that support her premise, perhaps not.

She states, at the end of the book, that the purpose of the book is to show that it is time for new thought, for new ideas and new ways of looking at the Qur'an to take root - to combat the extremists who have hijacked her faith. And to show that that perspective, that of the interpretation of the Qur'an being a matter for each age is the one that actually meshes with the intent of the Qur'an.
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