Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It Was Not Meant to Be

I went to have a Hershey's Kiss today, my first one in a million years.

I took it out of the bag, unwrapped it, and discovered....

a maggot, cooked into the chocolate.

I no longer want chocolate.

Clearly, my trainer and God have been conspiring against me.


Some Do-Nots of Dating

1. Do not date where you work (this rule may be relaxed, in special circumstances. But in general, it's not a good idea. If it ends, you still have to work professionally with this person for many years.)

2. Do not date someone who is married. "Separated" is still married. Until they are divorced, they are still married.

3. Do not have sex with them within the first week of dating!

4. Do not 'move in' together after having been dating for less than four months!

5. Do not tell your jealous s.o. about all the people that flirt with you on a regular basis. They will start a fight, and then you'll be left in the middle, crying about how it's not your fault!

6. Do not, after having been told that your s.o. is not invited to a wedding, proceed to include them on the attending response. They were very specifically not invited for a reason.

Ah, coworkers. It'd be entertaining, if it weren't true...

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Can Find Thinkies Even In Non-Scary Horror Movies...

I went and saw The Last Exorcism this weekend. Not bad. It could have been so much better though, and it wasn't really scary. Though everyone elses' level of tolerance for this sort of thing may be lower than mine.

The basic premise, for those who don't know, is that this is a documentary that this preacher, Cotton M_____ (I can't remember his last name) is making with a two person crew. The man has made his living, since he was like...seven, as a preacher in his father's church, and he performed his first 'exorcism' when he was ten. After the birth of his son, however, Cotton has a crisis of faith, realizing that, in the hospital having found out that his preemie son will live, his first instinct is not to thank God, but to thank the doctors. However he continues to be a preacher and an exorcist until he sees an article (seven, eight years later, maybe? The son is sevenish, it looked like to me.) about an autistic boy who is killed during an 'exorcism', and this gives him nightmares. So he is having this documentary made to expose himself, and all the other 'exorcists' as frauds, to try and keep another child from being killed.

He picks out a request for exorcism at random, and (given that this is a horror movie) of course, it turns out that this is the one exorcism where the girl really is possessed. The whole time, Cotton and the crew think that it's abuse going on, and they're trying to rescue the girl, but that doesn't end well for them. I know, contain your shock! I think the film was trying to be Blair Witch-y, but sort of failed at that, and while it had creepy moments, and the girl playing Nell (possessed girl) did a really great job at being just slightly off, most of the time, and completely eerie and creepy at others.

There's this one scene where she's been locked into her room, alone, and they hear a conversation going on in there. And it really sounds like two different people talking. So they open it up, and she's just sitting there, in the same position she was when they closed the door, staring, dead pan, slack face. Of course, she says she wasn't talking, and so they slip out and as they're closing the door, you get this really quick flash of her whole face changing, and there's this slick, half-smile that's there and gone and I can't describe everything that changes on her face, but it goes from dull and sad and helpless to evil and creepy in like...two seconds.

Anyway. Cotton, at one point in an interview, says that, 'if you believe in the Bible, you have to believe in demons'.

Do you think that's true?

I tend, as we all know, to take a far less literal interpretation of the Bible than a lot of people. However, it's not even a question to me that demons and angels and the like exist. I can't prove it, I just know that it's true. But do you *have* to believe in supernatural beings if you believe in the Bible? Does it take away from your faith if you remove all the supernatural elements from the biblical stories and just rationalize them away? If you do that, what are you having faith in?

Demon = Human Soul + Archangel Power

So I have this theory. It's based on one of the interviews I read in the SPN mag this month.

In it, whoever was being interviewed said something along the lines of demons being the result of mixing a human soul with angelic power. So that says to me that all the demons powers, their juice, comes from Lucifer (and maybe the other angels that fell with him? Or did they just get their Grace yanked and born as humans? What happened to that 1/3 of the host of heaven?).

Now, your run of the mill, average demon (with the wide spread and variety of their powers notwithstanding), has black eyes. More powerful demons get to have different colored eyes. The original crossroads demon that we meet has red eyes. Azazel's eyes are yellow. Lillith and Alistair's eyes are white.

My theory, such as it is, is that the closer the demon gets to the original source, the more powerful they become, the more 'angelic' in power level they hit, their eyes lighten in color. Given that Lucifer, outside of a host, is (as far as we can see) a bright, bright light (I saw a fic once, where Cas described himself as a highly intelligent sunbeam in his true form - sarcastically, of course), this makes some sense to me.

Have we ever seen Crowley's demon eyes? I don't remember. But I want them to be not-black. Because, if he's essentially, by default, in charge of Hell (everyone bigger and badder than him appears to be dead), then he should be fairly badass.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

'There was just a hamster wheel going round and round in that skull.'

*choke* I just read a fic where the author re-hymenated Marcone, made him the damsel in distress, and made Harry his knight in tarnished leather jacket. I...think I may be in love.

Mostly, she *re-hymenated* Marcone!

And Hendricks totally uses metatextual in sentences every chance he gets.

Pardon me whilst I snicker.

Hendricks chuckled. "We'll put baby gates on the entrances. That should confuse him for a week or two."

Jus In Bello

This ep really shows the true character of the boys in a way that I think gets forgotten. Sam's always portrayed as the nice, good brother. In spite of the fact that he's destined to be Lucifer's meat suit. And Dean, given his sybaritic lifestyle, and general ruthlessness, gets portrayed as the hard one. The mean, nasty one. But here, when blondeRuby presents her spell, the solution to get them out of the mess of demons there to kill them, Sam's the one willing to let Ruby slice the heart out of the nice virgin, and Dean's the one who refuses. Who recognizes that winning at any cost isn't winning at all.

Thus cementing my belief that Dean really is the more awesome brother, and that Supernatural is the story of Dean, not Sam.

'When this is over, I'm going to have *so much* sex.'

*glance at deputy*

'But not with you.'

Also, I'm finding that Bella annoys me less this time around. Ruby was always kind of cool, in that, 'you're totally evil and we all know it but Sam's too stupid/desperate to see it' sort of way.

Also, Lilith! Dude, she was so much creepier in a kid.

Bonus: Dream a Little Dream of Me: 'Daddy's blunt little instrument'. I love that line, and the whole argument that Dean has with his subconscious SO MUCH! Also, demonDean is hot. I'm just saying.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sirach 23

*A Prayer for Wisdom*
1. O Lord, Father and Master of my life,
Do not leave me to their counsel,
Nor let me fall because of them.+

2. Who will set whips over my thoughts
And the discipline of wisdom over my heart,
So they may not spare me in my errors, nor neglect me in my sins?

3. Lest my mistakes be multiplied
And my sins abound.
Then I would not fall before my adversaries,
And my enemy would not rejoice over me.

4. O Lord, Father and the God of my life, do not give me haughty eyes,

5. But turn me away from evil desire.

6. Do not let gluttony or lust overcome me,
Nor give me up to a shameless soul.

*Warning to Children*
7. My children, hear the teaching of my mouth,
For he who keeps it will not be conquered.

8. A sinner will be overtaken by his lips,
And a slanderer and arrogant man will be made to stumble by them.

9. Do not accustom your mouth to vows,
Not make a habit of using the name of the Holy One.+

10. For as a servant who is continually beaten will not lack bruises,
So also he who makes a vow and continually names the Holy One
Will never be cleansed from sin.

11. A man who swears many oaths will be filled with lawlessness,
And that plague will not depart from his house.
If he offends, his sin will be on him,
And if he overlooks it, he has sinned doubly.
If he swears in vain, he will not be declared righteous,
For his house will be filled with trouble.

12. There is a way of speaking comparable to death.
May it not be found in the inheritance of Jacob;
For all these things will be far from godly,
And they will not be involved in sins.

13. Do not accustom your mouth to lewd expressions,
For this is sinful speech.

14. Remember your father and mother
When you sit in council with great men
Lest you forget yourself in their presence
And by habit act foolishly.
Then you will wish you had never been born,
And you will curse the day of your birth.

15. A man accustomed to abusive words
Will never discipline himself as long as he lives.

*Men of Sin*
16. Two kinds of men multiply sins,
And a third kind will bring down wrath;

17. A soul heated like a burning fire
Will not be quenched until it is consumed;
A man whose whole body is given to fornication
Will not cease until the fire burns out.
To a man who is a fornicator, all bread is sweet.
He will not grow weary until he dies.

18. The man who transgresses against his marriage bed
Says to himself, "Who sees me?
Darkness encircles me.
The walls of my house hide me,
And no one sees me.
Why should I be afraid?
The Most High will not remember my sins."

19. His fear is the eyes of men.
Yet he does not know that the eyes of the Lord
Are ten thousand times brighter than the sun
And look upon all the ways of men,
And observe even the secret places.

20. Before all things were created,
Everything was known to Him,
And the end of all things is also known to Him.+

21. This adulterer will be punished in the city streets,
And where he does not suspect it, he will be seized.

*Women of Sin*
22. So also the woman who forsook her husband
And brought in an heir by another man.

23. For she first disobeyed the law of the Most High;
And second, she transgressed against her husband;
And third, in her fornication she committed adultery
And bore children by a stranger.

24. She will be brought before the assembly,
And there shall be a visitation of her children.

25. Her children will not take root,
And her branches will not bear fruit.

26. She will leave behind her memory as a curse,
And her disgrace will not be blotted out.

27. Those left behind will know
There is nothing better than the fear of the Lord;
And there is nothing sweeter
Than to give heed to the Lord's commandments.

+23:1-6 - It appears this prayer may have formed the basis for the Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian, the prayer of repentance which Orthodox Christians pray repeatedly throughout Great Lent, though that prayer is simpler and shorter.

+23:9 - Sirach's warning reflects the serious matter of making vows and not fulfilling them. To break a vow made in the name of the Holy One would be to take God's name in vain (Ex 20:7).

+23:20 - This verse is very clear on God's foreknowledge: all things are known to Him.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Impulse Control Fail Win

I went to BAMM today to pick up the new issue of the SPN magazine (which I did, and am reading. well, not right this second, since even my multi-task skills fail at both typing on the comp, watching the tv, and reading all at once.). The plan was to walk straight back to the magazines, find my issue, and turn around and walk straight back to the register. Well, we all know that wasn't gonna happen...

Turns out, they were having a sale on audio books. And I am now the proud owner of three Jim Butcher books on cd! I got Captain's Fury, Small Favor, and Turn Coat for about $10 each, which since they're originally about $50 each? Yeah. Utter win.

They had a couple LKH audio books on sale too, for like $7, 8 bucks, but I didn't pick them up. I might go back for 'em though. I haven't made up my mind if I really want them or not.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tobit Chapter 14

Last chapter of Tobit...

1. Then Tobit ceased giving thanks.

*Tobit's Final Words*
2. He was fifty-eight years old when he lost his sight, and eight years later he regained it. Tobit did almsgiving, and continued to fear the Lord God, and gave thanks to Him. 3. He grew very old, and called his son and his son's sons, and said, "My son, take your sons. Behold, I have grown old, and I am departing from this life. 4. Depart to Media, my son, for I trust all the words Jonah the prophet spoke concerning Nineveh, that it will be overthrown. But in Media there will be more peace for a time. For our brethren in the land will be dispersed in the earth from the good land. Jerusalem shall be desolate, and the house of God therein will be burned up. It shall be desolate for a time.+

5. "But God will again have mercy on them, and He will return them to the land. They will build the house, but not as it was before, until the times of the age are fulfilled. After this, they will return from the captivity and build Jerusalem honorably. The house of God within her will be built as a glorious building for every generation forever, as the prophets said concerning her.+ 6. All the Gentiles shall return to truly fear the Lord God. They shall bury their idols in the earth, and all the Gentiles will bless the Lord.+ 7. His people will offer thanks to God, and the Lord will exalt His people. All who love the Lord God in truth and righteousness will rejoice. They will show mercy to our brethren.

8. "So now, my son, depart from Nineveh, since what the prophet Jonah said will doubtless come to pass. 9. But keep the law and the ordinances. Be merciful and righteous, that it may be well with you. Bury me decently, and your mother with me, but lodge no longer in Nineveh. 10. My son, observe what Aman did to Ahikar who reared him, how he led him from light into darkness, and how greatly he repaid him. Indeed Ahikar was saved, but as for that man, he was repaid with retribution and descended into darkness. Manasseh did almsgiving and was saved from the trap of death that was set for him. But Aman fell into the trap and was punished.+ 11. Now then, my children, observe what almsgiving does, and how righteousness delivers us."

After he said these things, his soul departed as he lay on his bed. He was one hundred and fifty-eight years old, and Tobias buried him gloriously.+ 12. When Anna died, he buried her with his father. Then Tobias departed with his wife and children to Ecbatana, to Raguel his father-in-law. 13. He grew old honorably and buried the parents of his wife most respectfully. They inherited their estate and that of Tobit his father.

14. Tobias died at Ecbatana of Media when he was one hundred and twenty-seven years old. 15. Before he died, he heard of the destruction of Nineveh, taken by Nebuchadnezzar and Ahasuerus. Thus before his death he rejoiced over Nineveh.

+14:4 - Scholars agree that Nineveh was overthrown in 612 B.C. Jonah warned of the fall (Jon 3:3,4) and Nahum, in his book, records it.

+14:5 - The temple will be rebuilt, but not as it was before. The second temple, not as glorious, was completed in approximately 515 B.C. (see Hag 1:1-15).

+14:6 - The Gentiles: See note at 13:3.

+14:10 - Ahikar: See 1:21.

+14:11 - Almsgiving and righteousness: See 12:8,9

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

White Collar Fanservice

I demand an ep where Peter and Neal have to pose as a couple!

Also, ps, Matt, you kinda look like the worlds sexiest dork in those glasses. This is not a bad thing, I'm just pointing it out.


I have just had a man, who I work with peripherally, hit on and flirt with me.

That is all.

Hosea '6:5'

*Return to the Lord*
1. "'Let us go and return to the Lord our God;
For He has grasped and will heal us;
He will smite and plug the wound with lint.+

2. After two days he will heal us.
In the third day we shall rise
And live before Him.+

3. Let us know, let us pursue
That we might know the Lord.
We shall find Him ready as the daybreak,
And He will come to us
As the early and latter rain to the earth.'+

*Israel and Judah Are Unrepentant*
4. "What shall I do to you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do to you, O Judah?
Your mercy is as a mourning cloud
And as the early dew that goes away.

5. Therefore I have cut off your prophets;
I have slain them with the words of My mouth,
And My judgment shall go forth as the light.

6. For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God
More than whole burnt offerings.+

7. But they are as a man who transgresses the covenant;
There they despised Me.

8. Gilead is a city working vanity with troubling water.

9. Your strength is that of a pirate;
The priests have hidden the way;
They have murdered the people of Shechem,
For they have done lawlessness.

10. In the house of Israel I have seen horrible things;
There is the fornication of Ephraim;
Israel and Judah are defiled.

11. Begin to harvest for yourself
When I return the captives of My people.

+6:1 - "These may refer to those among the Hebrews who afterward came to believe in Christ. In such a thirst and long captivity they will seek the face [5:15], namely, the Son" (Theoph).

+6:2 - The Church understands this text as a messianic prophecy regarding Christ's Resurrection: two days refers to the time the body of Jesus lay in the tomb; the third day points to His glorious Resurrection promising we shall rise with Him. St. Paul writes that Jesus "rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1Co 15:4), most likely alluding to this passage from Hosea.

+6:3 - Among the Church's early writers, Tertullian (ca. AD 160-225) is the first to relate this passage to the Resurrection of Jesus, and more precisely to the myrrhbearing women who went at daybreak (Lk 24:1) to their Master's tomb to anoint His body.

+6:6 - God does not reject worship as a whole, but He criticizes the way Israel perceives it. Instead of a means to enter into a relationship with God and to foster community ties, the worship gradually becomes a goal in itself (Am 5:21ff.; Mic 6:6ff.). This applies also to Orthodox people who see the liturgy as "boring".

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Because I Must Obey Susanne....

*holds out arms in classic zombie pose* Braaaaaaaaaaiinsssssssssssssss..........

Bold if true:
I am a cuddler.
I am a morning person.
I am an only child.
I am currently in my pajamas.
I am currently pregnant.
I am currently single.
I am currently suffering from a broken heart.
I am left handed.
I am married.
I am addicted to my myspace.
I am online 24/7, even as an away message.
I am a little shy around the opposite gender at first.
I bite my nails.
I can be paranoid at times.
I don’t like anyone.
I enjoy country music.
I enjoy jazz music.
I enjoy smoothies.
I enjoy talking on the phone.
I have a car.
I have a cell phone.
I have/had a hard time paying attention at school. *for the record, because it was boring.
I have a hidden talent
I have a lot to learn
I have a pet.
I have a tendency to fall for the “wrong” guy/girl
I have all my grandparents
I have at least one brother
I have been to another country
I have been told that I am smart
I have been told that I have an unusual sense of humor

I have OR HAD broken a bone
I have Caller I.D. on my phone.

I have changed a diaper
I have changed a lot over the past year.
I have done something illegal.
I have friends who have never seen my natural hair color
I have had major/minor surgery.

I have killed another person
I have had my hair cut within the last week.
I have mood swings
I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life
I have rejected someone before.
I have seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
I have seen the television show The O.C.
I like Shakespeare.
I like the taste of blood.
I love to cook.
I like to sing.
I love Michael Jackson
I love sleeping.
I love to play computer games.
I love to shop.
I miss someone right now.

I own 100 CDs or more
I own and use a library card
I read books for pleasure in my spare time

I sleep a lot during the day.

I strongly dislike math
I watch soap operas on a regular basis.
I will try almost anything once.
I work at a job that I enjoy.
I would classify myself as ghetto.
I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free.
I am currently wearing socks.
I am tired.

I love to paint/draw/sketch/sculpt.
I have had/have a broken heart
Graduated High School.
Smoked cigarettes.
Rode every ride at an amusement park.
Collected something really stupid.
Gone to a rock concert.
Helped someone

Gone fishing.
Watched four movies in one night.
Gone long periods of time with out sleep
Lied to someone

Been dumped.
Failed a class.
Taken a college level course.
Been in a car accident.
Been in a tornado.
Watched someone die.
Been to a funeral.
Burned yourself. (accidentally)
Ran a marathon.
Your parents got divorced.
Cried yourself to sleep.
Spent over $200 in one day.
Flown on a plane.

Cheated on someone.

Been cheated on.
Written a 10 page letter.
Gone skiing.
Been sailing.
Cut yourself.
Had a best friend.
Lost someone you loved.

Shoplifted something.
Been to jail.

Had detention.
Skipped school.
Got in trouble for something you didn’t do.
Stolen books from the library.
Gone to a different country.
Dropped out of school.
Been in a mental hospital.
Watched the “Harry Potter” movies.
Had an online diary.
Fired a gun.

Gambled in a casino.
Had a yard sale.
Been in a school play.

Been fired from a job.
Taken a lie detector test.
Swam with dolphins.
Gone to sea world.
Attempted suicide.
Voted for Pop Idol.(Arabic Super Star or Star Academy)
Written poetry.
Read more than 20 books a year.

Gone to Europe.

Loved someone you couldn’t have.
Had surgery.

Had stitches.
Taken a taxi.
Seen the Washington Monument.
Had more than 5 IM’s/online conversations going at once.
Had a drug or alcohol problem.
Been in a fist fight.
Suffered any form of abuse.
Had a hamster.
Petted a wild animal.
Used a credit card.
Gone surfing in California.
Dyed your hair.

Got a tattoo.
Had something pierced.
Got straight A’s.
Your parents sent you to a shrink.
Been handcuffed.
Known someone with HIV or AIDS.
Taken pictures with a webcam.
Started a fire.
Had a party while your parents weren’t home.
Gotten caught having a party while they were gone.

Perpetual Virginity

Susanne's causing trouble again! :p

Thanks for answering. So Mary was destined to never experience sex and Joseph was a good enough man to never again want it? Wow!

I always thought the Bible said she was a virgin until AFTER Jesus was born.

" 24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."

I guess I always thought of "until" (vs. 25) in this way. Doesn't until usually imply a certain point when it happened?

Your way seems a bit more like making up neat traditions when I thought the Bible was pretty clear about it. Is this Tradition? Would it have been wrong for Mary to have sex with her own husband after Jesus was born? They were married. Sex within marriage is holy and sacred. OK'd by God. Plan of God. Nothing sinful. In fact withholding from sex is more sinful within marriage, I'd think.

To me it seems more realistic for Mary and Joseph to refrain from sex until sometime after Jesus' birth. Then later they had more children which are the ones referred to in the Bible as Jesus' brothers and sisters. No need to invent cousins although I understand what you mean that cousins could have sibling-like status in a culture that is very extended-family oriented.

Thanks for sharing your POV.

It's not *my* point of view, though. It's the Church's.

'Brother' has a broader definition in the Bible than just the son of your mother/father. It is used to identify not just actual brothers, but cousins and nephews as well. We see this when, in the OT when Lot is called Abraham's 'brother', when we know that he is actually his nephew. Or Jacob being called 'brother' of Lavan, when Lavan is his uncle. The reason behind this is that apparently neither Hebrew or Aramaic contain a word for cousin. So relations had to be expressed differently, i.e. 'son of the brother of the mother'. The relationship had to be understood in an almost roundabout way. If we accept that the term 'brother' is used in the Bible in this wider sense, how do we know that that is the sense it was used when referring to the 'brothers of Jesus'.

Some arguments against Mary and Joseph having children together:

1. When the Archangel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will conceive and bear a son, she asks how this can be, because she knows not man. Now, at this point, she is already betrothed to Joseph. So, logically, if you're a woman betrothed, expecting to marry, then the question of 'how', doesn't enter into it. You would expect that, in the normal course of relations between husband and wife, a child would be the result. So if Mary had anticipated having a typical relationship with Joseph, there would have been no issue with the how. Her even asking the question hints to the fact that she must not have expected their relationship to be typical. It seems reasonable that she expected to be betrothed to Joseph, and under his protection, but not to share his bed.

2. When Jesus was 12, the Holy Family consisted of three persons - Mary, Joseph, and Jesus (Luke 2:41-52). We know that Jesus was the first born of Mary. Not, of course, that first born must necessarily indicate that there are second, etc. borns. First born can also be *only*. Anyway. So, any children would have to be younger than Jesus. However, after the visit to the Temple in Jerusalem, St. Joseph disappears from scripture. It is likely (and this is Tradition), that Joseph died, being older than Mary by some many years, leaving her in the 'care' of her son, Jesus. So. If Mary and Joseph had had children after Jesus, they had to have been born after he was 12. Doing the math, that would, at best, make the oldest of them 18 at the time of Jesus' ministry. Given how the 'brothers' act, and how they are described as behaving in everything to Jesus as His guardians, they cannot be *younger* than Him. So the four 'brothers' that are mentioned cannot be natural brothers, since they could not be elder children of Mary and Joseph, or younger. They might have been step-brothers, the sons of Joseph from a previous marriage, or cousins. Not so much with this argument anymore. Sanil pointed out that the argument from silence doesn't really help.

3. Christ gave Mary to John to look after at the Crucifixion. If there had been brothers, her guardianship would have gone to them, by law. It speaks to there not being any that Jesus had to entrust her care to an unrelated male.

Now, the whole 'he knew her not until' thing. The word 'until' does not always mean that something happened after a certain point, but not before. For instance, Michal, David's wife? Is said to have born no children until the day of her death. Should we infer, then, that she had them after she was dead? No. It just means that she was barren. There are other examples, such as when Christ tells the Apostles He will be with them until the end of the age. Does that mean that after the end of the age He takes off? Goes and plays Scrabble?

As for Joseph and Mary not having the blessing of sex in their marriage. I have seen it argued, and it does make a certain amount of sense, though ymmv, that Joseph and Mary were never actually married. They were betrothed, but never married. Joseph remained as guardian to Mary and Jesus, in order that she should not be killed for being pregnant without a husband. However, in a sense, she was 'married' to God. So having sex with Joseph would have been adultery. After all, it's not as though Mary were simply an incubator, a convenient vessel for Christ, so that her interaction with Him and with the Holy Spirit doesn't 'count', in some sense.

Anyway. Keep in mind, please, that the Church existed before the Bible. The books that were chosen to be included in the Bible were chosen because they contained information that was important for salvation purposes. However, the Bible was never meant to be used apart from the teachings of the Church, and the Traditions thereof. It's not 'making up' little stories, but maintaining the beliefs that have been held since the beginning.

And what I've written above is just a poor example of the defenses for Mary's perpetual virginity that exist. If you look it up, there's been a metric ton of papers and books that have been written on the subject, both for and against.

Fear Mongering

My gym has tv's set up in front of the treadmill/bike/eliptical section, so people can watch while they sweat. One of the tv's is set to Lifetime, two are set to some sort of sports channels, and one is set (eternally), to Fox. I tune my little radio into the Fox tv, because the others are likely to put me to sleep, and Fox has the bonus of pissing me off so much that I pedal REALLY HARD like I'm kicking Glenn Beck in the head. So it's good for me, in that sense. :)

You know what message I get from Fox?

MUSLIMS ARE SCARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RUN AWAY! FEAR THEM! THEY ALL WANT TO KILL US AND EAT OUR BABIES! Everything they do or say is a plot to get you and crush you and everything you love and send us all back to the stone age!

That's it. That appears to be the entirety of their news contribution. Muslims = bad. All of them. Admittedly, Glenn Beck is more obsessed with socialists and communists than Muslims, but the news programs that I see are all about the Muslim 'problem'.

They do it just to frighten people. Get people scared enough, and worried enough about the 'sekrit' enemies that are lurking just behind every door, and they'll let you get away with anything. Seriously, have we learned nothing from history? The easiest way to marginalize a group is to convince the larger amount of the populace that they can't be trusted. That they have secret agendas and loyalties that run counter to the 'nations'. Then you can start taking away their rights and their freedoms, and no one will say 'boo', because they're all scared of them!

The thing that really brought this to a point was last night when I was watching the Daily Show. It's a 'fake' news show, but not so much. Because the stories that they report on are true. They've been covering this whole mosque thing up in New York, and also covering Fox's coverage. And they played a bit from a Fox show where they were going on about the funding for the community center and mosque, and how 'this man' that was one of the main supporters is tied to this that and the other terror organization/mosque/whatever. They make him out to be this shadowy, evil seeming person. They never mention his name, or show his picture. Well. Turns out, 'this man', is the Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. Who also, as it so turns out, owns the second largest majority share of News Corp, which owns Fox News. Which explains why they never said his name or showed his picture. Because if they did, people might google him and find out that he's evil, but his money's still good for Fox. Also, News Corp owns a 9% stake in bin Talal's media conglomerate. So the two are in business, and not just superficially.

But Fox won't say that, because it might make people question how bad can this guy be, if you're working for him? And how sad is it that we have to get the facts from a 'news show' on Comedy Central? I like Stewart's suggestion. If we really want to stop funding the 'terror/victory' mosque, stop watching Fox.

All that being said, for the love of God, people, just let them build their freaking community center! Is it going to have a mosque in it? Sure. Wanna know why? Because Muslims have to pray 5 times a day! It's easier to have a mosque in a building where there are going to be a lot of Muslims, each and every day! Christian organizations build chapels or prayer rooms, or what have you into their buildings! The Muslim's have been using this building for a year already.

I'm so fed up with people who just hate. It's like a freaking disease.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

'Houses of the Holy' and the Expendables

Given what happens in later seasons, I find Houses of the Holy increasingly ironic. Though I do have to say, they kept the arrival of the 'angel' fairly consistent with the later arrival of angels. The light, the shaking, the electrical issues. All it lacks is the ear splitting/bleeding 'feedback'. Though one could argue that that would be because all the people were those capable of hearing the angels talk. It'd kind of be in line with angelic behavior, too. Them being such dicks and all. Also, hell, that crypt has the *exact same statues* in pretty much the same layout as the convent in season four! Oh, Sammy, you hang onto that faith. We're going to need it to be there so we can crush it into dust, mix it with demon blood, and finger paint with it later.

Hah! Hadda thought! The last bad guy. The way he died. Cas totally was hanging around and smote him for Dean.

Mary Winchester to WeeDean: Angels are watching over you.

Audience: Waiting to steal your body!

oldPriest: Men cannot be angels.

Me: No, but they can be worn like suits by 'em!

re: The Expendables - There's a lot of really massively huge men, beating the crap out of other really massively huge men, and blowing shit up in insane ways. Plot does not matterexist.

Best part? I got to see one of these

in 'action'.

Amber like big gun. Make big boom! YAY BOOM!

A Little Bit of Domesticity

We have this arrangement at my house. My mother cooks Monday through Thursday nights, my sister cooks on Friday nights, and I cook on Saturday. Sunday is usually left overs.

These are last nights offerings, in progress.

First we have corn on the cob, bubbling happily in the pot. I'd never actually made corn on the cob before (and I jokingly asked if it was microwaveable), so I wasn't sure how to tell if it was done. For some reason I sort of thought that maybe it would sink (since it floats naturally). But no. I looked it up before I started cooking and you just boil it for 10-15 minutes, and it's done.

Here we have chicken breasts. I breaded them with a mix of this Italian bread crumb that we have and Parmesean cheese. Everything is better with cheese!

Now, there was also a salad, but I didn't make it. My sister had made a *huge* batch of salad for the night before, with lettuce, cranberries, nuts, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes. So we ate more of that. And there's *still* more. She might have gone overboard.

I also set the table. I see you being impressed with our fine crystal and china! :p We have about 30 of those little plastic cups. They give them away at the local baseball games, and my mother just...she always comes back with a *ton* when they're doing it.

*And*, unlike certain people in the household *coughmomcough*, I do not leave the kitchen a disaster when I cook! I have no idea how she makes the level of mess that she does, but when my mother cooks, there is a *stack* of dishes in the sink and she somehow manages to get whatever she's cooking all over the outside of the pans. I have no idea how...Anyway. My grandmother always made us do dishes as we were cooking (as we got the chance), so there wasn't a huge mess for afterwards.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

P&P: The Eastern Fathers and the Papacy Part 2

*St. Basil the Great*
St. Basil was born into a saintly, aristocratic and wealthy Christian family in Caesarea, Cappadocia (Turkey) in 330. His family produced seven saints - aside from St. Basil himself, they are: St. Macrina the Elder (St. Basil's grandmother), St. Emmilia (his mother), St. Macrina the Younger and St. Theosevia (his sisters), and St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Peter of Sebaste (his brothers).

St. Basil was a brilliant student of rhetoric and philosophy, completing extensive studies in Caesarea, Constantinople, and Athens. On the death of his father, St. Basil turned his back on a promising career, sold his property, received baptism, and joined his mother and sister Macrina in a small ascetic community at Annesi in Pontus. In 370 he became archbishop of Caesarea. At that time the Arian heresy (which denied the divinity of Christ) was sweeping through the Roman empire. Even the Emperor had fallen to the heresy and was vigorously persecuting orthodox Christians who stood against the heresy.

Defense of the true faith was St. Basil's primary task as archbishop, and he carried it out for the rest of his life with unflinching courage, great intellectual power, and charity. He was one of the principals in expunging Arianism from the Eastern Roman Empire - for this he is called St. Basil the Great.

He was one of the first Church Fathers to appreciate the value of pagan literature in the education of Christian youth. In overcoming Christians' opposition to page literature, St. Basil in his Address to the Youth (Sermon 22) offer his classic solution, often called the "theory of the honeybee." Here St. Basil insists "that pagan literature must not be totally condemned; rather Christians must, like the bee, select what is to their profit and reject what is inacceptable [sic] to the Christian point of view." At the age of 49 in 379, worn out by work and continually plagued by a serious liver condition that caused him endless distress and depression, Basil breathed his last with the words, "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit."

*Pope Damasus: Birth of the Imperial Papacy*
St. Basil's correspondence with Pope Damasus and his clash with him over St. Meletius' succession to the see of Antioch tell us a lot about how the Eastern Church perceived the bishop of Rome.

Damasus was elected bishop of Rome by a majority of the Roman clergy and people. However, a rival party had also elected their own candidate, Ursinus, to the same position. An ugly riot broke out between the partisans of the rival claimants. Damasus was supported by the charioteers, and by the grave-diggers, who emerged from the catacombs armed with their spades and picks to 'exchange their task of burying corpses for the more exciting occupation of making them.' Close to 150 people were killed before order was restored and Damasus was firmly seated as Rome's new bishop.

Pope Damasus was devoted to the Christian martyrs who lay buried in the catacombs. He encouraged their veneration by enlarging public access to the burial crypts and passages for pilgrims. He is also credited with finding and restoring graves of martyrs all but forgotten. It was Damasus who commissioned his secretary, St. Jerome, to undertake a new Latin translation of the Bible, which later became known as the Vulgate.

Pope Damasus (366-384) was the first pope to seriously promote the Petrine text of Matthew 16:18 as "a theological and scriptural foundation on which the claims to Primacy were based...From Damasus onwards there is a marked crescendo in the expression of the claims made by the bishops of Rome." Pope Damasus and his successors began responding to requests for guidance in the manner a Roman emperor would respond to his colonial governors - answers "composed in a formal chancery style modelled on imperial rescripts."

He now customarily referred to his see as 'apostolic' and adopted the imperial 'We'. In a Church where all bishops had regarded one another (and referred to one another) as 'brother', be now addressed all other bishops as 'son'. Unsurprisingly, he wasn't very welcome in the East. His reserved and haughty manner offended many, including the Cappadocian doctor of the Church, St. Basil.

*St. Basil Rejects Rome's Candidate*
The see of Antioch became vacant in 375. Pope Damasus made the mistake of recognizing Paulinus as bishop. A man who was clearly rejected by St. Basil and the Eastern Church. St. Meletius was recognized by the East as the true bishop of Antioch and they were unflinching in their support of him. Despite this, Catholic apologist Stephen K. Ray, in his book Upon This Rock, claims that "Basil sees Rome as the caretaker of the troubled Eastern Churches," and uses Pope Damasus' support of Paulinus as clear evidence of Rome's supreme universal jurisdiction over the Eastern Church.

Mr. Ray briefly quotes St. Basil's letter to Terentius as saying that certain men were "carrying about letters from the westerners, handing over the bishopric of Antioch to them." From this Mr. Ray concludes: "How could Rome prove its primacy in any stronger terms than to hand the Antiochian bishopric over to someone of its own choosing? Obviously Rome had the right and duty of overseeing such ecclesiastical matters, and Basil recognized this authority."

Mr. Whelton claims that the quote from St. Basil is taken massively out of context. He does give Mr. Ray the benefit of the doubt by saying that he likely was quoting from an intermediate source, and so has no idea of the context of the letter he is misusing. St. Basil's first real clash with Rome was over the episcopal succession at Antioch, and his letter to Terentius clearly shows that he did not recognize Rome's authority in the East.

"I hear moreover, that the Paulinians are carrying about a letter of the Westerns, assigning to them the episcopate of the Church in Antioch, but speaking under a false impression of Meletius, the admirable bishop of the true Church of God. I am not astonished at this. They are totally ignorant of what is going on here; the others, though they might be supposed to know, give an account to them in which party is put before truth: and it is only what one might expect that they should either be ignorant of the truth, or should even endeavor to conceal the reasons which led the blessed Bishop Athanasius to write to Paulinus. But your excellency has on the spot those who are able to tell you accurately what passed between the bishops in the reign of Jovian, and from them I beseech you to get information. I accuse no one; I pray that I may have love to all, and "especially unto them who are of the household of faith;" and therefore I congratulate those who have received the letter from Rome. And, although it is a grand testimony in their favour, I only hope it is true and confirmed by facts. But I shall never be able to persuade myself on these grounds to ignore Meletius, or forget the Church which is under him, or to treat as small, and of little importance to the true religion, the questions which originated the division. I shall never consent to give in, merely because somebody is very elated at receiving a letter from men. Even if it had come down from heaven itself, but he does not agree with the sound doctrine of the faith, I cannot look upon him as in communion with the saints."

This clash over the person of St. Meletius, Bishop of Antioch, is historically known as the Meletian schism. St. Basil, along with the Eastern Church, supported Meletius as the rightful claimant to the see of Antioch over Rome's candidate, Paulinus. St. Meletius was made president of the Second Ecumenical Council (Constantinople), convened by Emperor Theodosius. When he died during the council, Rome's candidate Paulinus was *still* ignored, and Flavian was elected to the see of Antioch.

While St. Basil had no desire to disrespect the bishop of Rome ("I accuse no one"), he does not accept the pope's choice for bishop of Antioch. Indeed, he considers Pope Damasus's decision to support Paulinus to be against the sound doctrine of the faith.

*St. Basil and the Arian Heresy*
We know that the Arian heresy was a great heresy that almost overwhelmed the Church. It was actually fought and conquered without Rome's involvement. In his lifelong battle with the Arian's, St. Basil never displays any awareness that in the bishop of Rome resided a supreme authority for settling doctrinal disputes. Rather, it is to St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria that he looks for leadership, guidance, consolation, and healing of the spiritual sickness in the Church. St. Basil says of St. Athanasius:

"Who has more capacity than yourself, with your intelligence and prudence? Who is keener to see the needful courses to be taken? Who has more practical experience in working a profitable policy? Who feels more deeply the troubles of the brethren? What through all the West is more honoured than your venerable gray hairs?

"The worse the diseases of the Churches grow, the more do we all turn to your excellency, in the belief that your championship is the one consolation left to us in our troubles.

"...that I could not make a more fitting beginning than by having recourse to your excellency, as to the head and chief of all.

"[I] direct my gaze in the direction of your reverence; I remember that our Lord has appointed you to be physician of the diseases in the Churches; and I recover my spirits."

As the Arian heresy raged in the Eastern Church, St. Basil appealed to the Western churches as a whole for aid and support. He never appealed to the bishop of Rome as 'supreme pastor', or any other phrase or title that would imply universal jurisdiction. He addresses his appeals as one equal to another. In another letter, he places Rome second after Gaul in his appeals. He appears to be unaware of any divinely ordained Roman supremacy.

*St. Basil and the Westerners*
Pope Damasus's continued rejection of St. Meletius along with the Westerners' lack of support for the troubled East finally discouraged St. Basil. His references to the Western Church became less than favorable. In a letter to his old friend Eusebius, St. Basil expresses doubts that sending more letters to the Western churches would produce anything of value at all, and is certainly less than flattering in his remarks. In another letter regarding his brother St. Gregory of Nyssa's proposed visit to Rome, St. Basil comments on the pride and arrogance of Pope Damasus.

It seems fairly obvious from his actions and his letters that St. Basil was completely ignorant of any one bishop rightfully possessing the office of 'supreme pastor'. It is also obvious that he found pretensions such as those practiced by the bishop of Rome insufferably arrogant.

Sirach 22

1. A lazy man may be compared to a filthy stone,
And everyone hisses at his dishonor.+

2. A lazy man may be compared to the filth of manure;
Everyone who picks it up will shake it off his hand.

*A Father's Disgrace*
3. The disgrace of a father is begetting an undisciplined son.
And a foolish daughter is born to his loss.+

4. A sensible daughter will bring an inheritance to her husband,
But a shameful one is a grief to her father.

5. An arrogant daughter shames both father and husband,
And she will be dishonored by both.

6. An ill-timed statement is like mournful music,
But the chastising and instruction of wisdom are always timely.

*The Fool*
7. He who teaches a fool is like one who glues pottery together,
Or like trying to arouse one from a sound sleep.

8. He who tells something to a fool tells it to a drowsy man,
And at the end he will say, "What is it?"

9. If children live honestly, and have wherewithal,
They shall cover the baseness of their parents.

10. But children, being haughty, through disdain and want of nurture
Stain the nobility of their kindred.

11. Weep for a dead man, for he left the light behind;
But weep over a fool, for he left intelligence behind.
Weep gladly for a dead man, because he is at rest;
But the life of the fool is worse than death.+

12. Mourning for a dead man lasts seven days,
But mourning for a fool or an ungodly man lasts all his life.

13. Do not hold a conversation with a fool,
And do not visit with a senseless man.
Beware of him, so as to avoid trouble,
And you will not be defiled when he shakes himself off.
Stay away from him, and you will find rest
And not be exhausted by his insanity.+

14. What will be heavier than lead?
And what will be his name but "Fool"?

15. Sand, salt, and a piece of iron are easier to bear
Than a senseless man.

16. A wooden beam bound together in a building
Will not be broken loose in an earthquake;
So a heart strengthened by reasonable counsel
Will not be afraid in a crisis.

17. A heart settled on intelligent thought
Is like a plaster decoration on a smooth wall.

18. As fences set on a high place will not stand firm against the wind,
So a cowardly heart in the thought of a fool
Cannot stand firm against any kind of fear.

*Building Friendships*
19. He who pokes his eye will cause tears to fall,
And he who pierces a heart reveals its feeling.

20. Throwing a rock at birds scares them away,
And disgracing a friend will break up a friendship.

21. If you draw a sword against a friend,
Do not despair, for a restoration of friendship is possible.

22. If you open your mouth against a friend,
Do not worry, for reconciliation is possible.
But as for reviling or arrogance or revealing secrets or a treacherous blow-
with behavior like this any friend will flee.+

23. Gain your neighbor's trust when his is poor,
So you may be fulfilled with him when he prospers.
Stand by him in his time of trouble,
Then when he gets his inheritance, you may share it with him.

24. As the smoke and vapor of a furnace precede a fire,
So abuses precede bloodshed.

25. I will not be ashamed to shelter a friend,
And I will not hide from his face.

26. If anything bad happens to me because of him,
Everyone who hears it will beware of him.

27. Who will set guard over my mouth,
And a prudent seal over my lips,
That I may not fall because of them,
And that my tongue may not destroy me?+

+22:1 - A powerful condemnation of laziness. The filthy stone was used like toilet paper - which explains 22:2.

+22:3-6 - Because the father is ultimately responsible for the discipline of children, St. Paul issues a helpful word in Eph 6:4.

+22:11 - The concept of rest for the dead suggests a life after death, not a cessation of existence.

+22:13 - Close contact with a fool can defile a person, and his influence is an exhausting irritation.

+22:22 - St. John Chrysostom has a lengthy discourse on friendship in which he quotes from this verse, listing the evil actions that destroy friendship: "reproaching...and revealing of a secret, and a treacherous wound." He goes on to say, "For there is nothing good without friendship...so let there be a man having ten thousand talents and another a hundred friends: the latter is more rich in resources than the former."

+22:27: This passage amplifies Ps 104:3, which is sung at Vespers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Family Is Insane

So, last night, after dinner, I was still sitting at the table with my Dad. And my Mom comes over with a little old cassette recorded. She puts batteries in it and then plays whatever is on the tape. It's music, so I say,

'What's that?' - meaning, what's the music. My Dad's answer:

'A tape recorder.' *dead, silent shock*

'Oh my God, how stupid do you think I am?!? I *know* it's a tape recorder! I'm not that technologically ignorant! You think I'm living in the stone age, don't you!' meanwhile, all four of us are laughing hysterically!

'I didn't know! I didn't know if you'd ever seen one! Everything's digital now!'

'I still now what a cassette is! I know what a VHS is too! And a Beta! Atari!'

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What My DVR Does

IDEK, I just feel like announcing exactly how much tv I watch. And to make it more entertaining, I figure I'll list the pairings I ship for my shows (not all shows will have pairings. Some are not that kind of show.)

Done in order of priority on the dvr:

1. Supernatural - Dean/Sam, Dean/Castiel, Dean/Gabriel, Dean/Sam/Castiel/Gabriel, Bobby/Crowley (oh, the shame, if burns!)

2. Merlin - Arthur/Merlin

3. Leverage - Nate/Eliot, Hardison/Parker, Nate/Sophie, Haridson/Parker/Eliot

4. The Mentalist

5. Criminal Minds

6. NCIS - Gibbs/Tony

7. CSI

8. Ghost Hunters

9. MonsterQuest

10. The Closer - Brenda/Fritz

11. Psych - Lassiter/Shawn

12. Paranormal State

13. The Colbert Report

14. The Daily Show

15. Dirty Jobs - MIKE ROWE!

16. MythBusters

17. Challenge - pretty cakes/sugar art!

18. Ace of Cakes - CAKE!

19. Ghost Adventures

20. Ghost Hunters International

21. Warehouse 13 - APPARENTLY HG Wells/Myka

22. CSI:NY - Mac/Danny

23. Bones - Booth/Bones

24. Destination Truth

25. The Vampire Diaries - Stefan/Elena/Damon

26. Castle


28. Ghost Lab

29. White Collar - Neal/Peter, Neal/El/Peter, Diana (she's a ship all on her own, got it?)

30. Sanctuary

31. Smallville - Clark/Lex (I don't CARE about canon at this point. CLex, got it?)

32. Paranormal Cops

33. Glee - Kurt/Finn (I know. And yet.)

34. The Next Food Network Star

35. Memphis Beat - Dwight/His ex-wife whose name I cannot recall

36. Ghost Hunters Academy (I don't know why I watch half of these ghost shows, I just can't seem to stop!)

37. The Glades

38. Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files

Answers to Susanne's Questions

I'd thought to just respond in the comments, but it's way too long for that. So you get your own post. Don't you feel special? :)

How many children do you want?

I don't really have a set number of, 'this many kids', but I know I'd like to have a big family.

What names do you like (no limit) and why?

Joseph, Josephine, Rose, Elizabeth, Miriam, Mary, Margaret (not Peggy), Liam, Katherine (with a C or a K), Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, Castiel (no, I probably wouldn't *actually* name my child that, but some people apparently are, and I like the name), Dean, Charles, James, Jamie, Donna, April, Joanna

Do you like family names?

Like, my family? We don't really have 'family names'. Well, wait, that's not quite true. We have a tradition of having Marie in the middle name of girls that goes back a few generations. Well, in the general idea of family names, I don't dislike it. I wouldn't pick a name just because it's a family name, but if we like it, then sure, why not. Especially if it does have some deep meaning to the husbands family (since it wouldn't to mine).

What do you think of homeschooling?

I like it as a concept. I think that it's a good way for the parent to get control over what information their child learns, and when. It also allows for a greater degree of flexibility of curriculum based on each childs needs and abilities. You get a closer relationship with the child as you're not sending them off for a huge chunk of their lives. There can be downsides as well, of course - insulation against the world, not necessarily having enough interaction with peers - but I think most homeschooling programs have built in 'fixes' for those problems. So all in all, if it were possible, I would homeschool my own children.

If you had to live in another country where would you choose?


Same with another state?

Hmmm...oddly enough, Wisconsin. I've lived there before, and while I don't appreciate snow as a weather feature that I have to live with, I thought it was a beautiful place, and I did love it there. It was just really, really, really freaking cold! But I got to 'hunt' other kids at camp through the woods, and sled, and ski, and ice skate (badly), and it was a nice place to live.

What is your ideal weather?

Ooohh...sunny and warm, with just enough breeze that the air isn't dead weight. That's laying around the beach/pool/yard weather. Of course, on nice, stormy days, you can just curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and read.

Do you enjoy the mountains?

No. I am terrified of heights. I hate them. If God intended me to go up high, He wouldn't have had me raised in a perfectly flat state. I go up in elevators (reluctantly), clinging to the back guard rail with a death grip. I find mountains pretty, and once I'm in them and don't look down, they seem flat, but going up? Going down? No. So in general, no, I don't enjoy mountains. If I moved someplace where I had to live in and drive in mountains, someone else would have to drive, forever. I think I'd have a panic attack.

Your opinion of the "ground zero mosque".

Okay. I think that they, like anyone else, have the right to purchase private property and build on it, within the bounds of the statutes and real estate laws that apply. Despite the 'title' of Ground Zero Mosque, the building is not, in fact, on Ground Zero. It's supposed to be where there is currently an old Burlington Coat Factory store. That is not 'sacred ground'. That's empty retail space. Now, I don't actually think that building it there is a good idea. Not because it's sacrilegious, or spitting in the face of the victims and their families, but because there are some really freaking crazy people out there, and if they do ever manage to get the place built, I believe that there will be trouble from people attacking the Muslims trying to use this center. I think, at this point, they'd be better served to decide to build elsewhere, from both a pr perspective and a safety perspective. It'd show them to actually be dedicated to finding peace and common ground with non-Muslims if they said, 'You know what, we didn't mean anything bad by wanting to build here, but we understand your feelings. We will build in this other place.' I think (aside from some real hard line wackos, this would gain them a lot of good feeling and some of the people who are on the fence, or upset, might calm down, and see that this is not an attempt to build a monument to 'Muslim victory' near the site of a mass murder in the name of 'Islam'.

Meanwhile, with all this mess about the mosque/community center that may or may not ever get built, no one talks about the Greek Orthodox church that was *actually* destroyed in the attack and is struggling to find a place to rebuild.

Thoughts on politics, Sarah Palin et al.

I think all politicians are scum sucking liars who would sell their own mothers for a chance at power. I loathe Sarah Palin and think she reflects poorly on women in general. She's like GWB with boobs! She comes off as completely stupid. I cannot believe that people are rallying behind a woman who talks like a freaking moose on helium, reads whatever is put in front of her, needs to write notes on her hand (and get freaking *caught* checking them!), and thinks it's sporting to hunt animals with a high powered gun from a helicopter! You wanna hunt? At least be on the damned ground. Why is the fact that she *quit* her job as governor seen as a good thing? The fact is, she didn't carry through. God forbid that woman ever comes into power. I would love a female President, but not her. For the love of all that is holy, NOT HER. I am actually *twitching* with how much this woman disgusts me.

Your favorite Bible character (OT and New). Why?

Huh. Mmm...I actually don't think I have favorites.

Favorite Bible verses/passage.

Apparently I don't have one of those either.

What has God been teaching you lately?

I don't rightly know. My main concern, lately, has been the decision between remaining Roman Catholic, or becoming Orthodox. And I feel like I lean toward Orthodoxy, but I haven't hit this moment where I feel like, 'right now!'. I sort of feel like I'm in a holding pattern, where there's not urgency to do anything at all about it.

Do you stop to smell the flowers or are you too busy?

I try to make the effort to stop and appreciate life. Whether it's smelling the flowers, or watching an animal in nature, or just gazing at the clouds. I don't always manage, but I try.

What do you struggle with the most in life (fear, anger, drunkenness, Amazon not delivering your books on time, etc)?

I'd have to say it's a specific type of fear. I'm constantly worried about people noticing how odd I am, and not knowing the proper social behavior, and having them judge me. It holds me back from a lot of things, because I literally cannot speak/do whatever it is I want to do, because I *know* that they will realize just how much I am not like them, and reject me.

What is your favorite type of music? Favorite singer/song.

I'm eclectic with the music. I think my favorite right now is Muse's song Uprising.

Do you like to dance?

I love it. I'm not saying I'm good at it, but I love it. :)

Do you prefer blondes or the tall, dark and handsome types?

Dark. Tall is not a requirement, and handsome is in the eye of the beholder, but I definitely prefer darker colors over blondes.

What have you learned the most from blogs?

I am not as much of a freak as I think I am.

What is a weakness of knowing people only from blogs/online?

We can't get together and do things! I can't call you up when I just want to chat. We can email, sure, but there's something about the human connection...like, I'd love to just hang out with sanil, LK, and you. Sit in a restaurant somewhere and just yap. Or go see a movie, or shop. Girlfriend stuff. And we can't do that, because we're scattered all over the country. So, y'know, y'all just need to move to Florida!

Do you think most people are as they seem or do you think we mostly keep things hidden or both?

Both. We present certain true aspects of ourselves to others, but no one ever reveals everything about themselves. It's too hard, and too dangerous. The more someone knows, the more they can hurt you, intentionally or otherwise.

What is your favorite food, color, dessert, movie, TV show?

Pizza, red, Key Lime pie, Inception, Supernatural.

Book: Mary, Called Magdalene by Margaret George

I have this thing for Biblical fiction. Not Christian fiction, but specifically fiction based off of stories in the Bible. It's hard (imho), to find *good* examples of this kind of writing. The only one that comes directly to mind is Anita Diamant's The Red Tent.

Obviously, this book is based off of the person of Mary of Magdala from the New Testament. I enjoyed the book, even though I disagree with a few of the things that the author runs with. Such as Mary and Joseph having children together after Jesus' birth. Or the romantic (though unfulfilled) relationship between Mary and Jesus (she loves him and wants to be his wife, but he knows that that is not his path). I think she leans more heavily toward the view that Jesus was a prophet, but not divine, but that could just be my view of her writing, since she doesn't say one way or the other. Since it's from the point of view of Mary, and she's still learning, that makes sense, of course.

I liked the introduction to all of the Apostles and how each of them had a different relationship with Jesus, how he spoke differently to each of them, and they took different 'highlights' away, even though the message was the same. I was very amused when Simon bar Jonah's name was changed to Peter, at first as sort of an in joke, because he was so stubborn someone told him he had a head like a rock, and Jesus said he should be called 'Peter' because of it. :) Or, when Jesus met Judas, and they were going to eat with the 'sinners' that Jesus had told Matthew (who used to be named Levi) to invite, Jesus says 'I like sinners' and Judas says something like, 'oh, good, I like sinners too' which is less amusing, but still amusing, if you're me, I guess.

She also had a different take on *why* Judas betrayed Jesus. That he did it, misguided as it was, to try and save Jesus from himself. That he didn't 'get' what the real mission was, and was concerned that Jesus was going to get himself killed, so he thought he'd get him locked up for a little while, and out of harms way. Which didn't work out so hot.

Also, Mrs. George at least avoids the popular yet erroneous belief that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute. So she gives her a perfectly normal life, growing up, getting married, having a child, just...due to a mistake as a child, she slowly becomes possessed by demons. She wasn't a 'bad' person, just an unfortunate one, in that sense.

I enjoyed the book, but I wouldn't call it the best Biblical fiction I've ever read. Still, I don't feel as though I wasted my time with it.

Ask the 'Author'

So, I'm bored.

You guys have any questions? Things you want to know about me (or anything else, it does just have to be personal questions, but if you ask me how butter's made or something, I'm not going to know...) but haven't had the chance to ask?

Now's your chance. Ask away. I do not guarantee an answer - there are some things I will not put on the internet, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

Tobit Chapter 13

*Tobit Exalts the Lord*
1. Then Tobit with exceeding joy wrote a prayer, saying:

2. "Blessed is God
Who lives unto the ages,
And blessed is His kingdom,
For He scourges, and is merciful;
He brings down into Hades,
And leads up.
There is no one who will escape His hand.+

3. Give thanks to Him before the nations,
O children of Israel,
For He scattered us among them.+

4. Make known His greatness there;
Exalt Him in the presence of the living,
For He is our Lord and God;
He is our Father unto all the ages.

5. He will scourge us for our wrongdoings,
But He will again have mercy
And gather us from all the nations,
Wherever you were dispersed among them.

6. If you return to Him with all your heart
And with all your soul,
To do the truth before Him,
Then He will turn to you
And not hide His presence from you.+

7. Behold for yourself what He will do for you,
And give thanks to Him fully with the organ of speech.
Bless the Lord of righteousness,
And exalt the King of the ages.

8. In the land of my captivity, I give thanks to Him,
And make known His might and majesty to a nation of sinners.
Be converted, you sinners,
And do righteousness before Him.
Who knows if He will desire you
And have mercy of you?

9. I exalt my God,
And my soul exalts the King of heaven
And will rejoice exceedingly in His majesty.

10. Let all speak of His majesty
And give thanks to Him in Jerusalem.
O Jerusalem, the holy city,
He will scourge you for the deeds of your sons,
But He will again show mercy to the sons of the righteous.

11. Give thanks to the Lord with goodness
And bless the King of the ages,
That His tabernacle may be restored again to you in joy.+

12. May He rejoice in you, the captives,
And may He love those who are distressed among you
Unto all generations forever.

13. Many Gentiles will come from afar
To the name of the Lord God,
Bearing gifts in their hands
And offerings to the King of heaven.
Generations of generations will offer You joyful worship.+

14. Cursed are all who hate You;
Blessed are all who love You forever.

15. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for the children of the righteous,
For they will be gathered together
And will bless the Lord of the righteous.
Blessed are those who love You.
They will rejoice in Your peace.

16. Blessed are the many who grieved over all Your scourges,
For they will rejoice when they see all Your glory
And will rejoice forever.
Let my soul bless God the great King.

17. For Jerusalem will be built with sapphire and emerald,
And her walls with precious stones,
And her towers and battlements with pure gold.
The streets of Jerusalem will be paved with beryl, onyx, and stones from Ophir.+

18. All her streets will proclaim, 'Alleluia!'
And will give praise, saying,
'Blessed is God, who exalted you unto all the ages.'"

+13:1 - As with many Old Testament prayers, the prayer of Tobit resembles many of the psalms.

+13:2 - Blessed is the kingdom is how we begin the Sunday worship of the Church.

+13:3 - The nations are the Gentile nations where God's children are scattered.

+13:6 - This promise is repeated to Israel throughout the Old Testament.

+13:11 - His tabernacle is the temple in Jerusalem.

+13:13 - The author of Tobit understands that one day many Gentiles will come to the King of heaven and that generations of generations of them will worship in what will be called the One Holy Church (see Jn 1:12).

+13: 17,18 - This passage also has in view the New Jerusalem (see Rev 21:1-3, 10, 11)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pork or Parents

Oh, so, this was a segment on the Daily Show on Monday night. The video is here if you want to watch it to get the whole story. But, basically, this Muslim woman applied to be a foster mom. And the agency she applied to turned her down, and in the letter they sent back, told her that she was being rejected as a foster mom because she refused to serve pork in her home.

Wait, wait, let that sink in. Take a moment. I'll wait.

Now, of course, this is only a short segment, and we don't get every little bit of information. However, let's assume that there's nothing else that would make this woman a bad candidate for being a foster parent. Let's just give her the benefit of the doubt, okay? So...because she will not serve pork, which is not a requirement for life or anything, she is denied. Any children that she might have taken in and given a loving, supportive environment are just s.o.l. because she won't serve them pork. What about alcohol? I'm certain that she also explicitly stated in her application (since she had to say something about the pork) that there would be no alcohol in her home. Why not mention that? Oh, because it's a *good thing*. No alcohol is good, for kids who are perhaps coming from places where they've been removed due to a parents alcohol/drug abuse issues. But pork! Pork is a god given right! Pork never did anybody any harm! (Tell that to the people who ate bad and undercooked pork and got brain worms.)

The woman says that she was a foster child herself, and all she wants to do is give kids like her a good place to be! Assuming, as we are, that there is nothing *wrong* with the situation, why in the hell is the lack of pork a disqualifying position? What if it was an allergy? A refusal to serve sea food because she (or someone in the house) is allergic to it? Would that be disqualifying? I doubt it. So...that means it's about religion. And that's just not right.

I've been thinking about this for a couple days, so bear with me. A good home is, I think the most important factor here for the kids. Why should it matter what faith the foster parents subscribe to? This woman, specifically stated that she would make sure the kids got to go to whatever church or synagogue or what have you that they wanted to. She doesn't appear to be attempting to convert children through osmosis in her home.

Let's say, theoretically, that I have married, had children, and then my husband and I have both died, somehow not leaving a guardian for our children, and they are sent into the foster system. I say (from the peanut gallery I realize), that I would rather have my children in a good home, regardless of the faith of the people taking care of them, than lost in the foster system, maybe going to people who will murder them and then hide their bodies and have the crime not be discovered for *decades* because the system is so over worked. But I get that that's a worst case scenario.

What about if I had assigned a guardian? Assume that my husband has no siblings, the grandparents are deceased, or incapable of taking in the children, and BabySis and her Hubby (theoretical) are chosen as guardians should something happen. Years go by, and they convert to Islam. I've thought about this, really - would I change the guardianship based solely on that fact? Assume that nothing else has changed. They've not left the country, we're still friends, they're still the same people I know. Only now they're Muslims. Would I still want them, more than anyone else I know, more than complete strangers, raising my children? Would I trust them to honor my wishes for my children's religious education? And I can say that I would trust them, still. If I trusted them enough in the first place, I don't see that their being Muslim would change that. I've considered the problem of faith by osmosis. Depending on how old the kids are and other factors, would they be drawn to Islam just because they're living in home where it is practiced? Maybe. But I'd still rather Muslims that I know and trust than people of whatever faith I don't.

I think my ending conclusion is that the religion (and the possible strictures thereof - fasting, no pork, no wine, no working on Saturday, etc.) of foster parents shouldn't be a deciding factor. There are so many other concerns! Assuming that they are not crazy people who will do actual harm to the child they can be Jewish, Muslim, Amish, Hindu, Pastafarian (the worship of the Great Spaghetti Monster in the Sky - may the blessings of his noodly appendages be upon you), Baptist, Anglican, Evangelical, non-denominational, Orthodox, Catholic, *whatever*.

Sirach '6:5'

Susanne, you get to go first:

Chapter 4
*Care of the Poor and Needy*
1. My son, do not deprive the poor of his living,
And do not keep eyes in need waiting.

2. Do not grieve a soul who is hungry,
Nor provoke to anger a man in despair.

3. Do not trouble a heart that was made resentful,
And do not put off the gift of a man in need.

4. Do not reject a supplicant who is afflicted
Nor turn your face away from a poor man.

5. Do not turn your eye away from a needy man,
And do not give a man occasion to curse you;

6. For if he curses you in the bitterness of his soul,
His Maker will hear his prayer.

7. Make yourself beloved in the assembly
And bow your head to a great man.

8. Incline your ear to a poor man
And answer him peaceably and with gentleness.

9. Deliver a person who has been wronged
From the hand of the wrongdoer,
And do not be fainthearted when you judge his case.

10. Be like a father to orphans
And like a husband to their mother;
And you will be like a son of the Most High,
And He will love you more than your mother.+

*Pursuit of Wisdom*
11. Wisdom exalts her children
And lays hold of those who seek her.+

12. Whoever loves her loves life,
And those who come to her early in the morning
Will be filled with gladness.

13. He who holds fast to her will inherit glory,
And the Lord blesses every place she enters.

14. Those who serve her will minister to the Holy One.
And the Lord loves those who love her.

15. He who obeys her will judge the nations;
And he that gives heed to her will live with confidence.

16. If he trusts in her, he will inherit her.
And his posterity will be in possession of her.

17. At first she will walk with him on disturbing paths
And bring fear and dread upon him;
And she will torment him with her discipline
Until she can trust his soul
And test him with her ordinances.

18. Then she will come straight back to him,
And will gladden him, and reveal her secrets to him.

19. If he wanders away, she will forsake him
And hand him over to his ruin.

*Shame and Sin*
20. Watch for a proper opportunity and keep yourself from evil;
And do not bring shame upon your soul.

21. For there is a shame that brings sin,
And there is a shame which is glory and grace.

22. Do not show partiality to someone to your own harm,
And do not let your respect cause another to fall.

23. Do not withhold a word in time of need;

24. For wisdom is made known be a word,
And instruction by a word of the tongue.

25. Do not speak against the truth,
And do not be put to shame by your ignorance.

26. Do not be ashamed to confess your sins,
And do not exercise force against the current of a river.

27. Do not subject yourself to a foolish man,
And do not show partiality to a ruler.

28. Fight to the death for the truth,
And the Lord God will fight for you.

29. Do not be rash with your tongue
And sluggish and neglectful in your works.

30. Do not be like a lion in your home
And act in pretense with your servants.

31. Do not let your hand be extended to receive
And shut when you should repay.

Notes from OSB:

+4:10 - The care of the poor, the needy, and the orphan is nothing short of Christlike: you will be like a son of the Most High.

+4:11-19 - Gaining wisdom is not passive or automatic. Note the action verbs: seek (v. 11); loves (v. 12); come (v. 12); holds fast (v. 13); serve (v. 14); obeys (v. 15); gives heed (v. 15); trusts (v. 16).

And now for me:

Chapter 6
1. Do not be an enemy instead of a friend;
For a bad name brings disgrace,
And a double-tongued sinner is of such a kind.

2. Do not exalt yourself with your own counsel,
Lest your soul be torn in pieces as by a bull.+

3. You will devour your leaves and lose your fruit,
And be left like a withered tree.

4. An evil soul will destroy him who possesses it
And make him an object of malignant joy to his enemies.

5. Pleasant speech will multiply his friends,
And a gracious tongue will multiply many kind greetings.+

6. Let those who live at peace with you be many,
But let your counselors be one in a thousand.

7. If you gain a friend, gain him in testing,
And do not be in a hurry to trust him.

8. For there is a friend who is such to his own advantage,
But he will not remain beside you in the day of your affliction.

9. There is also a friend who changes into an enemy
And will reveal a quarrel to your disgrace.

10. Again, there is a friend who is a companion at table,
But will not stand by you in your day of trouble.

11. Further, when you prosper, he will be like you,
And speak boldly to your servants.

12. But if you are brought low, he will be against you,
And will hide himself from your presence.

13. Stay away from your enemies
And hold onto your friends.

14. A faithful friend is a strong shelter,
And he who finds one finds a treasure.

15. There is nothing that can take the place of a faithful friend,
And there is no way to measure his worth.

16. A faithful friend is a medicine of life,
And those who fear the Lord will find him.

17. He who fears the Lord guides his friendship rightly,
Because as he is, so also is his neighbor.

*Instruction Brings Wisdom*
18. My son, from your youth up, choose instruction,
And you will find wisdom also into old age.+

19. Come to her as one who plows and sows,
And wait expectantly for her good fruits;
For in her work you will labor a little while,
Then you will quickly eat of her fruit.

20. She is very harsh on the undisciplined
And on the one who lacks the heart to continue with her.+

21. She will be like a heavy stone of trial upon him,
And he will not delay to throw her off.

22. For wisdom is like her name and is not manifest to many.

23. Listen, my son, and accept my judgment,
And do not reject my advice.

24. Put your feet into her fetters and your neck into her collar.

25. Put your shoulder under her and carry her,
And do not be angry with her bonds.

26. Come to her with all your soul,
And keep her ways with all your strength.

27. Search for her and seek her out,
And she will become known to you;
And when you become self-controlled, do not let her go.

28. For in he end you will find her rest,
And she will turn to you in gladness.

29. Then her fetters will be as strong protection for you,
And her collar a glorious robe.

30. For there is a golden adornment upon her,
And her bonds are a blue thread.

31. You will wear her as a glorious robe
And put her on yourself as a crown of exceeding joy.

32. If you are willing, my son, you will be taught,
And if you apply yourself, you will be prudent.+

33. If you love to listen, you will wait with anticipation,
And if you incline your ear, you will be wise.

34. Stand in an assembly of elders,
And who is wise? Attach yourself to him.

35. Desire to listen to every divine narrative,
And do not let proverbs of understanding escape you.

36. If you see a man who has understanding,
Rise early in the morning
And let your foot wear out the threshold of his door.

37. Set your mind on the ordinances of the Lord
And practice His commandments.
He will strengthen your heart continually,
And the desire for wisdom will be given to you.

(+5:9 - 6:1 - The double-tongued man is one who "talks out of both sides of his mouth" and brings shame and disgrace (6:1))

+6:2-4 - In ancient agrarian societies where fences were few, a young bull would be forced from his herd and would wander about looking for a herd where he was strong enough to assert dominance. But in doing so he was in danger of encountering stronger bulls and being torn in pieces. So is a man who looks only to himself for counsel and wisdom. One Orthodox saint teaches, "He is a fool who has himself as a spiritual father."

+6:5-17 - There are also those who are fair-weather friends and appear to be especially close when one is prosperous. But if things turn for the worse, these false friends will become enemies (v. 13). Faithful friends are a great treasure (v. 14). Such friendships are beyond worth (v. 15) and are like a good and healing medicine (v. 16).

+6:18, 19 - Lifelong instruction is essential to gaining wisdom. As a farmer patiently plows and sows in order to produce good fruit, so is the one who gains the fruit of wisdom.

+6:20 - To the undisciplined and spiritually ignorant, the gaining of wisdom seems to be harsh and overly demanding. But the person seeking wisdom will gladly continue with her because of the great good she will bring into his or her life.

+6:32-37 - The requirements for gaining wisdom: (1) be willing to be taught - have a teachable spirit; (2) love to listen (v. 33) rather than persistently talking; (3) attach ourselves (v. 34) to those older and wiser; (4) listen carefully to divine narrative and wise proverbs (v. 35); (5) continuously practice the commandments (v. 37) of the Lord. As we do these things, He will grant our desire for wisdom. Remember, the early church fathers saw the Wisdom of the Proverbs and Sirach as speaking of the preincarnate Christ. We find Him in the complete personification of Wisdom.
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