Monday, February 28, 2011

In Which My Cat Freaks Me Right the Heck Out

So, last year we had to put my cat Loki down. She was the oldest, and the next oldest is Yoda who's about a year or so younger. They grew up together and were our matriarchs.

Yoda developed a subdermal hematoma in her left ear two weeks ago. It's something that can happen to cats, where the lining of the ear separates from the inside part of the ear and then fills with blood. It's really great! /end sarcasm. The space fills completely with blood and it's this huge, hard swollen thing that drags their ear down and is (I assume) painful for the kitty! What they do is put the cat under, slice open the ear, drain the blood and then sew the lining back to the inside part of the ear to keep it from happening again.

Yoda had her surgery, but she's got stitches, so she has to be kept separate from the other cats until they come out. She's been living in my room since then. It's nice having a cat in here full time. I haven't had one since we put Loki down. Anyway.

I have Loki's ashes in a little wooden box on my nightstand. The box came with a nice velvet-y bag, and I left it in there. It's been sitting there the entire time Yoda's been in my room.

Well, on Saturday, I went back into my room for something and found that Yoda had pulled the bag, with the box in it off my nightstand and had it on the floor beside my bed. Okay, fine. She's a cat. They do stuff like that. I put it back, told her to leave it alone and didn't think about it.

Sunday, I came home from the gym and walked past my bedroom door. I could hear Yoda yowling. Not the 'help!' or 'pain!' yowl, but...a cat yowl of something. Talking. So I finish up in the living room and then go into my room, expecting to see her on the bed, yelling at me.

Well, she's not. So I walk around to the far side of my bed.

And there she is, with the box containing Loki, standing over it, yowling.

WTF cat. Stop it.

You're freaking me out.

She had to knock it down and then drag it around the length of my bed, and then back up to hide it to where she couldn't be seen from my door. And she's not a large cat. She's tiny.

I've taken the box out of the bag. Maybe that'll stop her.


The first three chapters of Ghost Story will be released tomorrow, with chapters 4 and 5 following one week apart.



Ack! How is it almost Lent again already?!?!

Okay. *takes deep breaths* I just realized Orthodox Lent starts...Monday? Monday. Crap!

Orthodox have fasting days all throughout the year. It's not something that I've dealt with thus far. In Roman Catholicism the only *fast* is during Lent. And even that isn't...*waves hands about*'s not much, restriction wise. No meat on Ash Wednesday or Fridays during Lent. Also, Ash Wednesday and Lenten Fridays are the fast days. So you eat less - only one full meal all day and no snacking between meals. The rest of the week is normal. Obviously, children under 14 and people who have health reasons are exempt from the fast.

Orthodoxy has rules about dairy and I think they give up meat entirely and become vegetarians for two months(ish). No eggs, no alcohol (not that I drink much, but it's an ingredient in things...).

I don't know why I'm suddenly panicking about this. It's not like I have to keep the Orthodox fast or anything. But I've just realized that Lent is coming up and I don't even know the rules! *does crazy Kermit the Frog panic run*

don't mind me. I'll just be over here having a completely unnecessary meltdown

Friday, February 25, 2011

Supernatural S6 - The French Mistake

Raphael is a douche. We all remember that, right?

And Balthazar is Gabriel's understudy. And also Cas' ex.

Ruby? Why're we brining up Ruby? I don't like it.

Balthazar! Hi there! I really love him.

And I want Raphael dead.

Oh *that*'s right. That's why Ruby. Duh.

*giggles so hard it hurts*


Ok. no, wait. seriously. i just had to pause the show to laugh. *deep breaths*

right. lets try this again.

*flaily* MISHA!

fake!me fake!mine

right. this whole thing is going to be me going:


can't drive the prop car....

'You *married* fake!Ruby!'

Them acting like they're acting. BADLY!

Misha! In the background and the Twittering!


Will Virgil's powers work in real life where there are no angels?

And that'd be a NO.

Just got pick-pocketed by a powerless angel.

'it wasn't *all* the way to death.'

Misha's just like a little PUPPY! someone needs to take that phone away from him.


*pouts* Did he just kill MISHA?!?! no likey.

'the scary man killed the attractive crying man'

Oh god. It's bad, because MISHA BABY! but still so damn funny

and the angel just killed 'god'. let's all not think *too* deeply about that one, right?

Raphael's a girl! *is pleased*

Hey, look. Cas is a BAD ASS! YAY!

Balthazar gave his boyfriend back the really powerful toys.

Okay, I'm trying to figure out exactly what Balthazar says here.

"Well, Cat." - I SWEAR that's what it sounds like, okay? Pet name anyone?

"Well, Cat, now that you have your sword, try not to die by it."


And now Dean and Cas are fighting. Which is all a part of Balthazar's plan to get back in Cas' pants. Prove I'm wrong! You can't, can you?!?


i have no idea what the fuck that was. except for a drill bit coming out someone's ear there at the end. that i recognized.

Abdicating Responsibility

So, this started with the realization that I was attracted to the more...strict interpretations of religions for a long time because I did not want to be responsible for my life. I had a desire to interact with the rest of the world as little as possible, and I wanted an excuse to do that. I wanted to believe that my discomfort with other people, with making decisions and taking responsibility was because the world was out of order and my feelings were indicating how the world was supposed to be.

And I found other people who seemed to be saying what I wanted to hear. That women were supposed to be under the men. Set apart, not looked at, not talked to, etc.

I'm not saying that that was the correct interpretation of any of the religions I looked into, just that that was the one that appealed to me, and why.

I've gotten better though. :D

But this led to the idle thought: how much is religion, in general, the abdication of responsibility for both our own lives and the state of the world around us?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Don't Even Know What To Title This

So I was going to do a post about my trainer and how she's given me an ultimatum to get rid of my big, baggy exercise t-shirts. I have until April. Anyway. I was going to do pictures and show you guys how awful it'll be without the nice baggy shirts.

But then I took the pictures.

First, let me say I have no freaking clue why the pics are so damned fuzzy. I think it's something to do with the program I use of the computer. I'm getting a new computer just as soon as my nerd Dad finds one for me. I'm switching to a desktop. Anyway. I'm doing everything the instructions tell me but since I switched to Linux Mint and the F-Pimp or whatever the programs called, my pics are all fuzzy!

Moving on.

So this is the pic of what I wear to the gym right now. Big, right?

And this is a t-shirt that fits.

But here's the kicker. This one's of me in the exercise top that my trainer wants me to wear. Oh my god, people. I look like a real girl! (Ignore the roll looking thing at my waist. It's not a roll. I have the top pulled down over the top of my exercise pants so it looks a little funny.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yet Another Moar Dresden Files Thoughts Post

I finished Changes. The question of who was shouting fuego is not answered. I maintain the possibility that it was future!Harry.

This bit kills me, every time:

"I put my left hand over her eyes.

I pressed my mouth to hers, swiftly, gently, tasting the blood, and her tears, and mine.

I saw her lips form the word, 'Maggie...'

And I...

I used the knife.

I saved a child.

I won a war.

God forgive me."

Dear lord, Butcher.


Allusion to What's Coming Next: "Finally, it made the books in the supernatural community as the night of bad dreams. Before the next sunset, the Paranet was buzzing with activity, with men and women scattered over half the world communicating about the vivid and troubling dreams they'd had. Pregnant women and mothers who had recently delivered had been hardest hit. Several had to be hospitalized and sedated. But everyone with a smidge of talent who was sleeping at the time was troubled by dreams. The general theme was always the same: dead children. The world in flames. Terror and death spreading across the globe in an unstoppable wave, destroying anything resembling order or civilization."

The Fomor. Which we didn't know about until Even Hand came out and then Aftermath. BUTCHER! *shakes hand in the air in frustration* Anyone else think this whole thing is just a part of their evol plans? Yeah. I know. Not a stretch. But how awesome is it that they've been manipulating things since the beginning?

Aftermath - I hadn't read it until now. I'm only about halfway through, so we'll leave analysis until later. But I have two things.

A) Marcone is fucking awesome. All the time. And he takes shit from no magical being who is not Harry Dresden. You sir, are not Harry Dresden. Attend.

B) This description of Harry from Murphy's point of view: "Watching Dresden operate was usually one of two things: mildly amusing or positively terrifying. One a scene, his whole personal manner always made me think of autistic kids. He never met anyone's eyes for more than a flickering second. He moved with the sort of exaggerated caution of someone who was several sizes larger than normal, keeping his hands and arms in close to his body. He spoke a little bit softly, as if apologizing for the resonant baritone of his voice.

"But when something caught his attention, he changed. His dark, intelligent eyes would glitter, and his gaze became something so intense that it could start a fire. During the situations that changed from investigation to desperate struggle, his whole being shifted in the same way. His stance widened, become more aggressive and confident, and his voice rose up to become a ringing trumpet that could have been clearly heard from opposite ends of a football stadium.

"Quirky nerd, gone. Terrifying icon, present."

Yet Moar Dresden Files Thoughts

Really only the one. Not so convoluted as the previous linking. And not quite as wacky as my theory that Martha Liberty is Harry's grandmother. (Also, pretty sure Jim has said something that makes me just flat out wrong on that one, but I live in the tiny sliver of possibility here!)

I'm right in the middle of the battle at the end of Changes. The Grey Council has shown up and is kicking ass. And in the middle of it all, Harry hears someone further up on the pyramid using 'fuego' and feels sort of upset that 'someone was fuego-ing and it wasn't me'. Now, I haven't finished the reread, so maybe this is all nothing. But who was using Harry's spell?

IIRC, each wizard chooses their own 'made up' or ancient language to cast the spells in. Something that they don't actually understand so that they can assign value to the terms and add an extra layer of insulation between their minds and the stress of the spellcasting. So far, I believe that each wizard we've seen has their own spell language. Yes, they can cast other peoples' spells, but they tend not to. And if they do they tend to cast the spell using their own spell language. So who the hell was using Harry's fire spell?

Wacky theory of the day: It was Harry from the future.

We know that, at some point, Harry will break each Law of Magic. No time travel is on there. Don't ask me how or why, but I think future!Harry Showed Up too.

Of course, if I keep reading and it gets explained, then that's all out the window. We'll fuego that bridge when I get there.

How To Pray

Right, so, responding to Becky's comment on the 'Faces in the Cloud' post brought this to mind. It's not about the mechanics of prayer, but about what I learned about the attitude that you have to bring to prayer.

We tend to pray for things. Not necessarily material things, at least once you hit adulthood. You tell me you never prayed for a pony/toy/puppy/kitten/etc. as a child and I will laugh at you. But we pray for situations and we tend to pray for the outcome that we desire to be what happens. I think many of us think that if we just pray hard enough that God will say, 'okay' and let it go the way we want.

That's not what happens. I'm going to explain how I came to that realization.

I've had my job for 14 years. I started when I was 14 and have moved up into my current position from being a part time receptionist. I worked with the same group of women, most of them old enough to be my mother or grandmother most of this time. These women helped raise me, essentially.

One of them, Pat, was diagnosed with lung cancer several years ago. She'd quit smoking three or four years prior to that, because her daughter and son-in-law were trying to have children and she decided that she didn't want the grandbabies to grow up around the cigarette smoke. She had kicked the habit and never had any trouble physically since. Then, one day at the gym, she coughs and there's blood in the phlegm. Pat went to the doctor and they found all these chunks of cancer in her lungs.

It was devastating. I'd lost my grandfather to cancer two or three years before this and his was a long, hard death. The thought that someone I loved would be going through that again, that her family was going to have to suffer like that. The pain and uncertainty and the hard hurt. Pat and her daughter Jen were incredibly close and you could see the fight killing something in Jen.

We all prayed for her. For Pat to beat it and recover. We wanted her to see her three grandchildren grow up. Jen had a prayer that she handed out, asking us to pray, to a saint whose 'area' was cancer. I still have the prayer, though I can't remember the name of the saint right now or any of the words. But I saved it in a little folder I keep prayers I find and print out in.

I prayed it faithfully, every day, begging God and this saint to save my friend. She just kept getting worse. The doctors were trying everything, but the cancer had gone unnoticed for so long that it was everywhere. Toward the end they found it in her brain and her spinal column.

At some point, maybe a month or so before her death, I changed what I was praying for. I can't remember what caused the change, what realization or anything like that. I just know that I didn't stop praying for her recovery, but the way I approached it was different.

I started praying that if it was God's will that she be healed. But if it was not God's Will, if His desire was that Pat be with Him sooner rather than later, that He make it easy for those of us left behind. That He help us to understand and to...not move on, but to integrate what happened into our lives and keep going.

When Pat died, she died well. If such a thing can be said about a slow, lingering death. She died in the hospital, surrounded by her family. Way too young, but by that point she was ready. Her last words were to her husband. She told him to 'let me go'. It made it...I hate to use the word 'easy', because nothing about death is ever easy. But it eased him, he said later. To know that she wanted to go. That she wasn't fighting, wasn't afraid anymore. She was ready.

*Note: And since I'm tearing up while I type this at work, one of my coworkers is asking me what's wrong.*

The point is, I learned to approach prayer less as a magic slot machine. Insert coin (prayer) get prize (desired outcome).

Prayer is not about changing God's mind about what is going to happen. It's about teaching oneself to turn to God, to rely on Him. It's about taking one's own ideas of what is 'best' and laying them aside. Accepting God's Will. Prayer is asking for the strength to accept what God deems best for our lives and to *know* that it is really the correct path.

I try to pray, when I am praying for specific intentions, in a general formula of: 'If it be Your Will, let X happen. But if it not be Your Will, then let Your Will be done, and help me to understand.' Not those specific words, mind, but you get the idea.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Asking Mary's Prayers - Under Your Compassion

Right then.

Here's the actual prayer all this has been leading up to.

Under your
we take refuge,
Theotokos; do not
overlook our prayers
in the midst of tribulation,
but deliver us
from danger,
O only pure,
only blessed one.

Movie: The King's Speech

My grandmother never wants to go to movies. Seriously, the last movie she saw was Windtalkers, which came out in 2002. And she hated it because it was, 'too violent' and had 'too much cussing'. Given that it was a movie about WWII...I don't know why any of that was a shock. But it apparently was.

But Tuesday last week, my Mom lets me know that my grandmother wants to go see The King's Speech and wanted to know if I'd take her. Well, I really wanted to see The King's Speech because, um, Colin Firth! but none of my regular movie buddies wanted to see it. Not really their 'thing'. And the one woman who would ordinarily enjoy a based on true events historical movie had a terrible stutter as a child and didn't want to see a movie about it. She said it was too close, which I could understand. So I had resigned myself to waiting and seeing it when it came out on dvd. But since my grandmother wanted to see it, well, problem solved!

I don't think there's any big secret on the 'plot' of the movie: it's about King George VI of England, who wasn't supposed to be king. But his older brother was a complete and utter idiot and wound up abdicating the throne so he could marry the American divorcee he was in love with. So the second son, who had a really, really terrible stutter wound up being king of England just as WWII starts. And the movie is all about his personal struggle to be the king his country needs, a public figure that is bold and someone the people can look to and rally around. Which, necessarily involves him being able to speak in public without the stutter.

This was a fabulous and painful movie.

It was just amazingly well done. It was actually painful to watch him stutter and try to choke the words out. There were a couple of scenes where I had to look away from the screen. Knowing that it was a movie, knowing that looking away wouldn't make it stop, or keep me from hearing the stutter, I still had to do it because I was so embarrassed for him. As if looking away from his 'shame' could make it better somehow. And there were parts where he was stuttering and I had the very real urge to reach out and just *shake* him until the words came out. It was awful and perfect. And then, in the final scenes, where he had to give his radio address, announcing that they'd just declared war on Germany....I was tearing up.

So very, very good. Painful, but in the best way.

ps: I also saw Unknown this weekend. Liam. Neeson. That is all.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Asking Mary's Prayers - Safety First

I like that the author includes a section cautioning readers about the pitfalls associated with spiritual encounters.

While it is entirely possible for people to have dramatic conversions. Stories where they are 'struck blind on the road to Damascas', it is also entirely too easy for these fantastic stories to be misleading. You can argue whether the person might be being mislead by their own desire for the encounter, or by a dark spirit. The author mentions that she herself has a dramatic story, and that when she tells it she can see some audience members lost in it, while others are skeptical.

"This skepticism is a healthy thing. In fact, it's a firm part of the Christian tradition. Visions, apparitions, and other mystical experiences must never be taken at face value; too many of them are the products of emotional projection, while others are fabrications of the Evil One. Some have even humbler origins. Scrooge initially attributed Marley's ghost to indigestion, saying: 'There is more of gravy about you than of the grave.'

"Taking false things for real is guaranteed to lead from bad to worse. Even legitimate experiences can tempt some people toward ballooning self-regard and progressive grand confusion.

"When it comes to spiritual experiences, 'safety first' means treating them with caution, and keeping handy a few grains of salt. It's good to have a spiritual father or mother, or at least a mature Christian friend, who can help with discernment. A common piece of advice is to simply ignore such occurrences, because with time the real thing has a way of establishing itself. If it's real, it will bear fruit by changing you for the better. You will find yourself becoming more patient and humble and loving toward other people. On the other hand, if its effect is to make you feel excited, it's probably a fraud."

And, she says, whatever you do don't go looking for such experiences. You're bound to experience something eventually. Just like eventually everyone gets that email from the Nigerian prince telling them they've won millions of dollars.

"Seek the Lord, not his gifts, not his saints. Don't even seek a better prayer life. Seek him, and all things will be added unto you.

"Because even when encounters are genuine, any beauty perceived is ultimately due to the presence of Christ. A saint is just an ordinary person who has been filled with the spirit of Christ. The quality that distinguishes one saint from another is like that of the light streaming from lanterns made of different shades of glass.

"Each human being is an unrepeatable individual, and to fail to be a saint is to eternally deprive the kingdom of God of one irreplaceable shade of radiance. As the French philosopher Jean Bloy wrote, 'There is but one sorrow: not to become a saint.'"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Asking Mary's Prayers - Faces in the Cloud

One argument I've seen against prayer to saints is the difference between being able to see (theoretically) your prayer partner(s) here on earth, whereas you cannot see those in heaven. So if you can't see them, you can't call them up and talk to them like you would your best friend who you would ask to pray for you, why do it? Is it the same thing? How can you know these saints to have a relationship with them?

Well, the 'why' I think is covered. More prayer is *good*. If you knew someone here on earth whom you considered to be a holy person, someone who lived a Christian life, who strove with all their might to follow God, wouldn't you ask them to pray for you? Well, that's who the saints are. Only the saints have ended their fight here on earth. They've passed the goal and are with God in heaven.

Prayer to the saints is not like seances, or communicating with spirits in any other fashion. Those are explicitly forbidden in the Bible, and nothing good ever comes of them. Trust me on this one!

"A better way of looking at the presence of the holy departed is found in the story of Christ's Transfiguration. When Peter, James, and John were on the mountaintop with Jesus, they had a momentary glimpse into heavenly realities. Jesus was transfigured before them, and became more radiant than the sun. Elijah and Moses appeared beside him, talking to him. (And don't you wonder what they talked about!) Some kind of loving melody, or exchange, or conversation is going on eternally in heaven, among the holy departed and the angelic host and the undivided Trinity. For a brief moment, these three Apostles glimpsed it."

People find companions in the saints. It happens differently for different people. I know some who study the lives of the saints and find themselves drawn to one in particular. Others find that a saint has much in common with their own lives, or their own troubles. Some have dreams in which the saints come to them, give them messages and the like.

The point is that though the saints are not physically walking around, available on the phone or Skype or anything, they are not dead. It is a different relationship from the one you might have with another person like yourself, but it is entirely possible to have a relationship with them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Supernatural S6 - Mannequin 3: The Reckoning

aka the episode where Amber thinks the Trickster will be back, even though she knows it's wishful thinking...

Ah, flashbacks first to the epic dump of dumps, and then Sammy's soulless story and the collapse!

Okay, I'm totally jaded because the whole visual of Sam's skin being on fire - not actually horrific enough for me.

And he's back. Yay?

This is not going to go well.

And now I giggle at the anatomy mannequin killing the guy.

It was funny, okay?!

"You shove it down and you let it come out in spurts of violence and alcoholism."

"That sounds healthy."

"Works for me!"

Boys! Really? Above conversation explains so much of what is wrong with you two...

Hello? Janitor? College? Trickster? Come on!

Dean really needs to stop playing with hearts, both real and plastic. It's kind of wrong.

Know why the mannequins kill? Because they're not anatomically correct. They've got no way to get out their urges but through penetrative acts with foreign objects.

*snort* Dean and the mannequin. Dean is the best. Of all things.

Oooh...see, I was doubting the whole Trickster thing because both guards were coming up clean, but now with the missing girl. Hope springs back to life!

And this is why Winchesters can't have girlfriends. They should stick to each other. And Castiel. And Gabriel. You know what I mean!

*If* I'm right, then I vote Johnny as the Trickster's diguise.

And everyone who knew Ben was lying, raise your hand. *hand goes up*

*smishes Dean and Lisa together*

Hmmm...maybe not then. Who knows? It could just be a vengeful ghost, or the sister's a witch!

Damn. Cold air. But I want Trickster! Let it go Amber, let it go....

Nope, nope. Wait! Trickster can fake the ghost bits, and 'kill you for being a dick!'

And now *I* want to kill these dicks. Whoever's doing it, good for them!

I really do love Ben. Awwwwwwwww....I....ISSUES. Damn adults fucking up kids lives.

My god Dean's a pretty man. Those *lips*. Yeah. Move along. No coherence to see here...

Uh. Doll! Look, I totally try not to judge people and their kinks, but I find the whole really really realistic sex dolls thing odd. Not that that one's particularly realistic, but it brought it to mind.

Okay, so it's not Johnny.

I'm 99% sure that was the sister going into the bar. So my vote's switched to the sister being a witch. Though I still want Trickster! *clings to the belief with grim determination*

The dead sister's possessing the living one? Maybe?

Oooohhh...kidney. That's...that's cool.

Not the car! "You leave my baby alone! She's got nothing to do with this!"

Oh noes! She totally stabbed herself. I mean, really, how else would that piece of glass do that?

*is disappointed* No Trickster...

"All we do is make a mess."

"That's not true!"

Um, actually, it sort of is. I mean, according to Death, you guys are chaos walking.

And I'm not 100% on that soul thing, Sam. That little hell flashback episode was way too understated. And what about the burning eyes? Yeah. I don't believe you...



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Asking Mary's Prayers - Why?

I've had the question asked of me, by Protestant friends. Why? Why pray to the saints? Why not go directly to God?

Well, of course we still go directly to God. The Saints have no powers of their own. They're not magical people, or demigods. They do not stand between God and ourselves, but rather *beside* us. The simplest explanation is the best. Do you ask friends, fellow church members to pray for you? Yes, I'm certain that you do. This is the same thing. Because the saints are not dead in the ground, but alive in heaven, we can still speak to them. Ask them to add their prayers to our own, to the prayers of the earthly members of the church as well. We are all one church, whether here or in the hereafter.

I suppose one could ask why do we ask anyone to pray for us? Isn't God enough on His own? Of course he is. But God wants us to pray. And we know that Christianity is not something meant to be practiced in a vacuum. We are a community. Isn't the saying, where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am? (Or something like that. I am not an encyclopedia of Biblical references and it's 8 min to midnight, so I'm not looking it up. You get my point!) The Church is a community, and only together can we fully experience the life that Christ wanted for us.

We don't fully know why, but we know that God wants us to interact with Him. He doesn't want us to just sit back and go, 'oh, well, God's will will be done anyway, so why bother?'. It's not enough to believe, it's not enough to trust in God. We must admit that we need Him. Free will. We must ask. God will do what He deems best, but He wants us to turn to Him with our problems. He wants us to pray for change within ourselves, to become more in line with His will. And part of that, part of being co-workers with Him, is asking others to work with us as well, both those who we know here on earth, and those who have gone before.
Guess what I just did.


Did you guess that I just took off July 26th from work so I could read Ghost Story right away?

If you did, you'd be right.

I'm not obsessed. Not.

Do you think it'll hit Murdock at 12:01 that morning?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Asking Mary's Prayers - "The prayers of the saints"

In antiquity, as now, when Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christians gather together for worship they are aware that they are not merely joining together with those Christians in the room with them, or in the city, or in the same country. Not even only with all the Christians in the world. They were joining together with every Christian who had died and gone on to heaven in worshipping God.

I know that the RC church uses the terms the Church Triumphant and the Church Militant. The Church Triumphant is the body of believers who have gone on to their final rewards before us. The Church Militant is those who are still alive on earth. Who still have to fight against the enemy. Whether that enemy would be a physical temptation, or merely an internal one.

In addition to having the surety of knowledge that the saints, the dearly departed in heaven are alive with Christ and capable of adding their prayers to ours, we know that the bodies of saints remain holy and sacred here on earth. Relics have been known to be the vehicles through which God performs miracles.

Many churches had altars built right over the graves of saints.

The altar of a Roman Catholic church, and I believe the Eastern Orthodox as well, must contain a relic of a saint. When an altar is 'decommissioned' for whatever reason, the reliquary must be removed and placed in a new altar. The icons and other art of saints that covers the inside of RC or EO churches also serve to remind the worshippers there that they are not alone. People have gone before them, and have made it to the end of the race, victorious.

"If death has truly been destroyed, then these departed friends in Christ are alive and invisibly present; they are just as genuinely present as the friends and family we can see. But now they are also in the throne room of God, and continually at prayer. The early Christians had such complete confidence that death had been overthrown, that they asked the holy departed to pray for them."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Asking Mary's Prayers - Victory Over Death

This section takes off of the first point brought up in the last. The ancient Christian belief about death.

"Stop anybody on the street and ask for a one-sentence definition of Christianity, and you're apt to hear something along these lines: 'Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins.' But it doesn't take much reading in the works of the early Christians to realize that they were focused on something beyond that which resulted from the Cross and Resurrection. The empty tomb means something for all of us. Christ's victory has rescued us from death."

One tactic of the 'evil one' (however you choose to view the devil) is to use the fear of death to keep humanity in bondage. People are, for the most part, instinctively afraid of death. It takes an unusual human to never have any concerns about what lies after they take their final breath.

Jesus took on human form to, in part, destroy death through His own death. He crossed to the other side and destroyed the hold that death had on us. Sometimes we can't see that, but it's true. I'm hardly saying that we don't fear death any longer, but for those who believe in Christ, we know that it is not the end. That there is justice and something better waiting for us in the end.

Susanne's Question

Amber, I'm curious how the two differ and what about the OC's stance on Mary made more sense to you compared to the RC's thoughts?

Okay. Like I said, my understanding is fairly simplistic, but I'll do my best to explain what I know.

It's not that the basic beliefs in regards to Mary are vastly different from RC to EO or anything. Both believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary is perpetually Virgin. She remained virgin before, during, and after Christ's birth. She is the only sinless human being. We can't compare her to Christ in this instance, because while Christ was also sinless and fully human, He is God. There's some variance when you talk about what happened to Mary at the end. Did she die, or was she assumed alive into Heaven? If you ask most RC's, you will be told that she was assumed, alive, into Heaven. The Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is celebrated on August 15th, and while the actual language of the dogmatic statements don't say whether or not she was alive at the time, most people seem to believe that she was. In EO, the same event, Mary's assumption, body and soul, into Heaven is known as the Dormition of the Theotokos. The Falling Asleep of Mary.

Which actually, in my mind, leads to the key difference between the two points of view. In the Assumption, the reason that so many believe Mary was assumed alive is because of the understanding of Original/Ancestral Sin. While I know RC who say that this is not what is taught, if you ask the RC on the street, they will tell you that Mary had to be assumed into Heaven alive because she was born without the stain of Original Sin. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception tells us this.

When you see the words 'Immaculate Conception', it is referring, not to Christ's conception, though that too, was Immaculate, but to Mary's. The basic idea is that Mary was conceived, in her mother's womb, entirely without sin. She was 'reset' to the state of Eve, prior to the Fall. From her birth, she could do no wrong. It was simply not possible for her, even though she had free will, to choose anything but God and His will, because she was born perfect. So of course she was always going to say 'yes' to God when the Archangel Gabriel came. What does this have to do with her death? The only 'sin' she could be cleansed from, in the womb, would be original sin. Which implies that we carry not only the consequences of Adam and Eve's sin, but the guilt of it as well. By stating that God preemptively cleansed Mary of this 'guilt', implicitly or otherwise, the RC says that every other human carries this guilt - which I believe is where the idea (mistaken, I believe) comes that baptism washes away the guilt for original sin. This is also where one gets into, well what happens to unbaptised babies who die? Would God send them to Hell even though they have committed no personal sins? And then you have theories of purgatory and limbo, etc. Anyway. If Mary, in the RC theology is cleansed of original sin, then not just the guilt, but also the consequences must be removed. And one of the consequences of original sin, on a personal level, is death. Humans die so that they don't continue in their fallen ways forever. But if Mary is cleared of that, she would never die. So, logically, she was assumed, alive, into Heaven. As I said, though, that is not explicitly stated.

In the OC theology, however, mankind bears only the consequences of Ancestral Sin, not the guilt. No child is born to suffer the guilt of their parents. Analogously, I think of it like the child of alcoholics. Let's say a child is born to two hard drinking alcoholics. Just prior to the child's birth, they drive drunk and kill someone. When the child is born they have to live with the consequences of their parents' choices. They will likely have Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. They may have other problems, depending on if the mother took drugs as well. They will likely be placed with a relative or into the foster system because of their parents' crime. They must bear the consequences of their parents choices. But they bear no *guilt* for the same. They are not responsible, or answerable to anyone for what their parents did. But they have to live their lives in the circumstances their parents created for them. That's how I view Ancestral Sin. We have to live in the world our progenitors created for us when they chose to Fall. But we are not answerable for their personal sins, even the very first one.

So when Mary was born, in the EO, there is no need for the idea of the Immaculate Conception. Mary was born just like everyone else. Free will, and with the possibility to sin, just like every other person on the planet. The difference is that Mary *chose* to never sin. She chose right, every single time. That makes it far more important and meaningful, imho, as opposed to a woman who was never even capable of making the wrong choice. Anyway. Sorry, I keep tangenting here.

Any. Way. All this leads to the belief in the EO church that Mary did, in fact, die on earth before being assumed body and soul into heaven. Because she was, after all, merely human. A sinless human, by choice, but human none the less. And so she had to suffer the consequences of the Fall, just like all the rest of us. Only she, by free will, and by the Grace of God, of course, chose rightly and became a willing participant in God's plan of salvation for all of humanity.

So basically, I guess, it's not so much merely the theology around the Virgin Mary, but the theological points that it led me to.

Like I said, kindergarten theology here. If anything isn't clear, or I let a point dangle, let me know and I'll try to clear it up to the best of my ability. It's perfectly sensible in my head, but I'm writing at work and sometimes I get interrupted and think I've made a point when I haven't. :-)


I know the whole blog is tagged as non-spoiler safe space, and sanil is busy with school so the chances of her seeing this and reading it are slim, but I can't remember how far into the series she's read, so I WARN.








Right then. So, in WoJ notes, we learn that the runes/sigils/markings on the lighthouse/keepers house on Demonreach that we see in Turn Coat are related to/the same as some from the Welcome to the Jungle comic. The only ones I can think of that Harry doesn't use himself are the ones that the Hecatean was using on her file cabinet. Those, which Harry knows enough about to understand what they're fore are described as being preservative. Making the cabinet a magical fridge, sort of kind of.

Harry spends most of a year dead, and then comes back at the end of Ghost Story. Demonreach is at the end of Ghost Story. Somehow, Harry's body is preserved well enough that his soul/spirit can be put back in it and not be all icky and zombie-esque.

So. Harry's body is being stored in the keeper's house on Demonreach. Mab is also keeping all of Chicago really freaking cold, to help things along, but the magic on the house is doing most of the job.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Here you go Susanne...

*this* is what Christ looked like. Not the freaky stuff you've posted on your blog that scarred me for life! :p

Musical Accompaniment

Just started the reread of Changes. My timing would have been *perfect* for the original release date of Ghost Story. But I'm okay with it! Really!

I've decided that the Linkin Park song Waiting for the End is perfect for the end of Changes.


This is not the end, this is not the beginning
Just a voice like a riot rocking every revision
But you listen through the tone and the violent rhythm and
Though the words sound steady, something empty's within 'em
We say yeah / with fists flying up in the air
Like we're holding onto something that's invisible there
'Cause we're living at the mercy of the pain and fear
Until we dead it / forget it / let it all disappear

Waiting for the end to come / wishing I had strength to stand
This was not what I had planned
It's out of my control
Flying at the speed of light / thoughts were spinning in my head
So many things were left unsaid
It's hard to let you go

I know what it takes to move on
I know how it feels to lie
All I want to do is trade this life for something new
Holding on to what I haven't got

Sitting in an empty room / Trying to forget the past
This was never meant to last
I wish it wasn't so

What was left when that fire was gone
I thought it felt right but that right was wrong
All caught up in the eye of the storm
And trying to figure out what it's like moving on
And I don't even know what kind of things I said
My mouth kept moving and my mind went dead so
Picking up the pieces now where to begin
The hardest part of ending is starting again

Demonstrating a Fairly Loose Understanding of History...

We went and saw The Eagle this weekend. I loved it. It hit me right in my ancient Rome kink. Also my military battles/armour/uniform/marching kinks. I have issues, I know. :) Also, Channing Tatum is easy on the eyes.

Anyway, it's set around AD 160. So we watch the movie, I drool a lot and go SQUEEE in my head, and all that. Then we have the post movie discussion. And her first question was,

"So this was set in AD 160, right?"


"That's after Christ?"

"Yep. AD. Anno Domini. After Christ."

"So, weren't all the Romans Christian?"


I should probably explain that what prompted the question was watching Tatum's character pray to several Roman gods, chiefly, sanil, Mithras. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Asking Mary's Prayers - How Old?

The 'eminent papyrologist' Edward Lobel examined the scrap of papyrus and dated it to about AD 250 based on the handwriting style, making it from about the same time period as the fresco of Mary in the catacombs. But Colin Roberts, who edited a collection of papyri published in 1938 did not agree. He did not believe that a prayer so directly addressing Mary could have be written in the third century. In his opinion the prayer had to be dated at least one century later.

Roberts even made a guess at reconstructing the prayer. This, however, proved to be incorrect. It wasn't until 1994 that the prayer on the papyrus was correctly identified. James Shiel, a professor at the University of Sussex, was flipping through the old Roberts volume when he came across a reproduction of the papyrus. He recognized in it a phrase that that occurs in the Latin prayer Sub tuum praesidium. The phrase appears in the Memorare as well.

Sub tuum praesidium:

We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God: despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, O ever glorious and blessed Virgin!

May the divine assistance remain always with us! Amen

The Memorare:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought they intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do we come; before thee we kneel, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer them. Amen

These two prayers had always been considered the products of the medieval The earliest known copies date back to the fourteenth century. However, with a little more investigation, Shiel discovered that the prayer was contained in the Greek Orthodox Book of Hours, the cycle of daily prayers. In fact, it is still in use in the concluding prayers of evening services. This prayer supplied the missing pieces of the third century prayer perfectly.

Some believer, 1,750 years ago heard this prayer and copied it down to be able to carry it with him. We know only when it was written down that first time, not when it came into being. Such is one of the problems with oral tradition. It's hard to track down just when it starts.

The prayer starts with Mary's compassion. It does not speak of taking refuge under her power or her merits, but instead speaks of a very human motivation: she loves us. A person who sees one they love in trouble cannot help but do all that they can to help.

The prayer pleads with Mary from the midst of life's tribulations. It asks, 'deliver us from danger', using the same verb for deliver that is used in the Lord's Prayer. "It is sobering to recall that this prayer was first used by Christians who lived while their faith was still a capital crime, and for them 'deliver us from danger' might have been an urgent appeal."

Some might question the addressing of Mary within the prayer as 'only pure, only blessed one'. After all, wasn't Jesus pure? And aren't we all blessed? Keep in mind that prayers are like poetry. Hyperbole and metaphor abound and are part of what make the prayers so touching to our hearts, and so beautiful to say.

There is a shift in attitude toward Mary in this prayer. In the earlier text, The Gospel of Mary, she is a child, a tender figure. Someone to protect. In this later text she has become a champion of prayer, someone we turn to for protection.

Two expectations are inherent in this prayer. One, that Mary is alive to hear it. The way the prayer is addressed is as though to someone who is right there. Not someone absent, or dead, who we cannot expect to hear us. But someone there with us. Given the beliefs that we hold on the afterlife, there is no disconnect between addressing Mary as though she were right there with us, even though she is in heaven at this moment. The second assumption is that Mary's prayers are effective. The ancient Christians, as well as the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox of today have no problem with the idea that the saints may intercede for us. In the catacombs, around the place where the bones of St. Peter and St. Paul were placed in AD 250, requests for the saints to pray for people were scratched into the walls over a hundred times.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Supernatural S6 - Unforgiven

Missed last week because our ISP crapped out on us. Bastards.

Okay, so today is all about Sam and the naughty bad things he did while being unSam.

Let me say this: Sam is an idiot. I mean, he's smart, I know. But this whole, 'let's ignore the giant warnings and poke at shit' thing is not smart. It's a family trait, to be sure, but not smart at all.

Ah, Evol Grampa!

You cannot tell me that Sam couldn't have taken the cop out without beating the shit out of him. He did that because he *liked* it. Eeeeevil.......

Dear Dean: in-a-pro-priate. I love you, but no.


Oh, I'd have given money to see Sam in that stupid pirate hat.

Unrestrained Sam is a horn-dog.

Box o'wine. Does anyone really drink that crap?

Well that was ominous and insect-sounding-y.

Seesee? Cocoony stuff in the flashbacks!

Oh, I know this one! Sam used the sheriff as bait and he got killed and the wife brought Sam back to get her revenge!

Arachne's story is actually really fucked up and tragic. I like to use it to demonstrate how messed up the Greek/Roman pantheon were.

There's half my theory proved.

Oooh! Oooh! The arachne was making mates and Roy survives and is what's doing the killings!

Woah. Um. I got nuthin.

*grin* I win at life.

D'uh. Well, don't say Death didn't WARN YOU!

Okay. I know that was meant to be a serious ep preview and all, and I am so very much reading too much of what I want into things, but couldn't that be a Trickster kind of thing to do? I think so...

Can a Marriage be Invalidated

I need to stop wandering by some sites. I know the information there is wonky. So I should just stop.

But anyway...

Is there anything, you think, an action, or a discovery of a previous condition, etc. etc. that would make you believe that you weren't really married to that person, or that you have to divorce them immediately on religious grounds?

Asking Mary's Prayers - When Did Christians begin to pray to Mary?

In the Gospel of Mary we got to see the tender affection that early Christians had for Mary. She was a very real person to them. They could relate to much of her life. They felt her pain at the death of her son on the cross.

The oldest known extant image of Mary comes from the catacomb of St. Priscilla, beneath Rome. The painting shows Mary with the infant Christ on her lap. A prophet stands beside them, pointing to the star above Mary's head, a sign of who she is. The way the painting looks, it feels as though we've just walked up on mother and son, perhaps interrupting a feeding.

In the same catacomb there is another fresco of Mary, from a slightly later period. This fresco shows Mary praying, her hands raised in the traditional orans position. She is facing us, challenging us.

The first image is dated to about AD 225. So, within the first three centuries of Christianity we know that Mary was revered enough to be placed on the walls of tombs, acting as a warrior for God in her devotion to Him through prayer.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Respect, Love, or a Combination Thereof

If you have to choose between being respected or being loved, isn't there something fundamentally wrong with the relationship?

We're speaking of romantic/marital relations here.

If the person really loves you, they will respect you as well.

If it is only respect, and not love, why marry? We're not living in a time when the majority of us marry for property or a good name. We marry because we want to marry that person. Mutual respect is not enough to decide to not only live with that person but to become one flesh with them. It's the most intimate relationship on earth.

And respect, while necessary, is not enough on its own.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Asking Mary's Prayers - Compassion

Next chapter in The Gospel of Mary!


This section covers a prayer that was 'discovered' in 1917. I say 'discovered' because, as we will see later, the prayer has actually been in use in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches all along. What was found and purchased was the oldest extant copy of said prayer. It was found in Egypt and sold to the John Rylands University, Manchester, England in 1917.

The piece of parchment is tattered, worn, about the size of an index card. It contains only ten lines, and they are ragged, misspelled. Like someone jotted it down, not for posterity, but making notes for themselves.

Bits were missing, but it was clear that the prayer was addressed to the Theotokos, the Birthgiver of God. The fourth line of the prayer reads, 'Theotoke', the 'e' on the end of the word being the form used when speaking to someone.

Savior Siblings

I saw an article yesterday about France, I think. Hang on. *runs off to google* Yep. I saw the article yesterday, though I guess it came out on the seventh about France having it's first 'savior sibling'. Which led me to toddle around the net looking the concept up.

Basically, what happens is that a child is born who winds up having a fatal disease, typically a form of cancer from what I've read, which can best be treated by a 'hematopoietic stem cell transplantation'. 'Hematopoietic' means the formation of blood cells in a living body. So the most effective treatment for the disease would be the transplant of uninfected matching stem cells (or an organ) into the child's body.

Where do they get these genetically compatible cells or organs? Well, that's the thing. It's hard to find compatible matches in the real world, apparently. The best chance is a parent, sibling or other relative. But given the genetic dice roll, there's no guarantee that a match will occur naturally. And then you're left with the world wide population of people who are willing donors. *holds fingers a tiny little bit apart* The chances seem to get smaller and smaller.

So what some people have done is to produce, on purpose, a child who is both a genetically compatible match to the afflicted child and free from the disease so that their cells/organ can be used to save the life (hopefully) of the first child. They do this by IVF, testing each zygote for compatibility and then only implanting a zygote that matches.

The procedure is, unsurprisingly, controversial.

1) What is done with the zygotes that are rejected? A zygote is a fertilized egg, and under certain views is a person at that point. The destruction of the zygotes, whether deliberate or simply through allowing them to remain frozen until their viability is passed (I don't know how long that would take or even if it happens. It's merely speculation.) would be the killing of a child, like abortion.

2) Genetic selection = eugenics. Yes, the use of it is meant to be a saving thing in this case. Lots of really horrible things start life out as a good idea. Something meant to benefit humanity. We already have cultures and people who 'select' for gender, typically to the detriment of female children. I've heard talk of 'designer babies' - where the baby is chosen on the genetic level for certain desired traits. Male,  green eyes, dark brown hair, no baldness, etc. etc. etc.

3) Is it right to create a child for the sole purpose and benefit of another child? What about the care and affection for the savior sibling? The right to their own life, not as a useful extension of the first child, but in their own right? I'm not saying that the parents of such children view them as 'spare parts', of course. I can't imagine anyone doing that. I'm just throwing out the ethical issue that I've seen raised.

There's a book by Jodi Picoult on this topic called, My Sister's Keeper. I haven't read it, or seen the movie, but I do intend to pick the book up and read it. I love Picoult, but I have to space her out. She writes 'real life' works, not monsters and aliens, which is my usual fair. And her subject matter and the skill with which she writes makes them all heart wrenching. So I have to pace myself with her.

Thoughts? Have I missed something?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WHY do I do this to myself?

I found a page of Ghost Story spoilers for the first 4 chapters. I am mainlining it and twitching because I have to wait until FUCKING JULY!


and I was fine with that until I started reading the spoilers. dammit. 


Why I'm Grateful I Left Christianity

I had this thought this morning. I'm actually glad that I had to leave Christianity as a kid.

I know people who go on and on about how they made the choice to be Christian as a teen/pre-teen/toddler and how their parents didn't force it on them or anything, or their peers, but how they were led to it, yadda. I don't doubt that they sincerely believe their stories. Honest. I just...don't put a lot of faith in them I guess. Kids are kids, even up to the teenage years. It's a rare one who doesn't follow the crowd, seeking love and acceptance and a place to shelter for the storm.

Herd animals, the lot of us.

I had to leave Christianity. I really did. The life I was given forced me to. And I did some less than sterling things in the years after that. I'm not proud of those things, but I'm not going to deny them either. Once done, a thing can never be undone.

But all of that forced me to really look at religion, at faith. I'm not saying I've been the most diligent or scientific student by any stretch, but having been thoroughly disgusted by the faith I was raised in, seeing it as a part of the abuse really, made me fascinated by the power that religion has over people. It can take them to the highest level of humanity, or the basest. People live for their faith, or they die for it, or they kill for it. They do wonderful things and horrific things, all in the name of their god. And a lot of times both extremes are for the same god!

I found religion to be fascinating, academically. But I viewed it as a hold over from primitive times. People who couldn't deal with the world had religion. People who couldn't accept that life sucked, that all it was was pain. That's who had religion.

I was an angry person. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again. The sheer, churning depths of my anger are, I feel, impossible to get across to anyone else. There are things that simply cannot be accurately related to anyone else, ever. All description fails. I wanted the world to burn until there was nothing left.

That's why I had to leave. There's a million little details, but really I left because I was unceasingly angry. There are parts of me that are still dark. That are not nice. We all have those parts to one degree or another. I simply acknowledge mine and the fact that they might be stronger in me than they are in some others.

And I spent a lot of years doing other things. Atheist, agnostic, dark, black things I don't talk about any more, and finally, at the end, pagan. Paganism, for me, was a religion of balance. Opposing forces holding the world between them. Gods and goddesses. It was beautiful, and I could find value in all religions from that point of view. Some were deluded, most especially the patriarchal faiths, but there was something worthwhile in even them.

It was a process. My life had to get better, I had to stop being afraid and angry all the time before I could see straight.

I do believe that if I had been forced to stay in Christianity, to ape faith or even pretend within myself that I believed that I would have broken away anyway at a later date, and the damage would have been worse. It might have even been permanent. I'm a hard person, unforgiving in many ways. If I hadn't made the break when I did, when I was still young and not so hard...I don't know.

Aside from all that though, not 'being' one religion or another made me open, eventually. It wiped out, or skipped entirely, a lot of the things that I would have been taught if I had finished my religious education in the version of Christianity I was being raised in. Do I still come across things that I didn't realize were hard-wired into me? Oh yes. But for the most part, I had rejected all of it.

This left me looking, and it let me see the flaws, the problems, how turmoil and strife and confusion there is in the multitude of Christian 'denominations'. How the ego and personality led to breaks all over the place and a startling lack of unity, even when unity was claimed. It let me look at everything and see how we got where we are, looking back into history and comparing claims, looking at everything and finding so much wanting at almost every turn.

It led me here, to, while not complete understanding, but an understanding of what I don't understand, and the comfort and confidence that I am at the very least finally heading in the right direction, without having to fight to shed decades of Protestant misteaching in the process. I've got my own baggage, no doubt, but it's not as hard for me as it might be for some, because I *know* that I've been wrong.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In Which I Commit Dinner

Here's another installation in the 'oh good lord she cooked!' saga.

Today, roast chicken. Or, really, yesterday. Since it's quarter past midnight here and all. Sleep. Whatever.

First off, buy a whole chicken. :) We get the Perdue Oven Roaster & Parts. I throw the 'parts' away, because I haven't found a recipe for cooking them that doesn't involve frying, and I can't eat them fried what with the butter and all being un-good for the diet and no one else in the family wants to eat chicken hearts.

The rule is 20-23 minutes per pound at 350 in the oven.

You prep the pan, which for me is just lining it with non-stick foil. We have a turkey roasting pan which is just lovely. The chicken comes out so insanely moist, and you leave all the fat drippings behind. The chicken needs to be unwrapped and the little package with the 'parts' pulled out.

Then you wash the chicken and drain the fluid out of it. I also look for little feather bits while I'm doing this. They cook fine and you can actually eat them and they're just tiny things, but if I see them I have to remove them. It's a mental thing.

I coat the chicken in olive oil before breading. What I do is lay the chicken in the pan and then pour a little oil into my palm and basically massage it into the chicken. I find it easier to get just a thin layer and get it into all the nooks and crannies on the chicken that way.

My breading is a mix of store bought Italian bread crumbs, Season All, Onion powder, Garlic powder, Oregano and Parmesean cheese.

Again I leave the chicken in the pan and pat the breading on by hand. We don't want a real thick crust because most of us can't eat the skin anyway, and making sure it gets into every part of the chicken ensures that the taste of the breading is in every bite.

Once I have the chicken ready and the oven is to temp, I pop it in and wander off for an hour and a half (usually. It's all dependent on the weight of the chicken). We have stuffing, typically, which I am not allowed to make inside the chicken. Parental preference. And a veggie, depending on what's in the house and what we feel like.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapters 24 & 25

I'm doing the last two chapters together so you guys'll be caught up with my reading. When I said we were almost done I was referring to the section of the book that deals with the actual Gospel of Mary/Protoevangelium of James. There's still more of the book.

It's the morning of Zacharias' murder, only no one knows that he's been killed yet. The other priests are waiting for him to come and bless them, but of course he doesn't come. Eventually, getting nervous, they go looking for him. One priest enters into the sanctuary where Zacharias died and sees congealed blood beside the altar of the Lord. Then a voice rings out: "Zacharias has been murdered, and his blood shall not be wiped away until his avenger comes." This scares the crap out of him and he runs back to the other priests.

Seeing as how there's strength in numbers, they all go in and see the blood, and then from the ceiling panels of the temple comes the sound of wailing and the priests rip their clothing in mourning. Zacharias' body is missing, and his blood has become as hard as stone.

They mourn Zacharias for three days and three nights and then choose Simeon to be his replacement.

The final chapter is just a statement of authorship, really. It says: "Now I, James, wrote this history when an uproar arose upon Herod's death in Jerusalem, and took myself into the desert until the uproar had ceased. I glorify God, who gave me the gift and the wisdom to write this history. Grace will rest on all who fear our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

The authors note points out that it is unlikely that James would have written this work at Herod's death in the year AD 4, when Jesus was still a small child. Ancient Christians were also skeptical about this, which may have been one of the things that kept it out of the Bible. They included the Epistle of James, which comes from the same author, supposedly, and they found this gospel useful, but the two were not considered to be on the same level.

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 23

Herod, still seeking the infant John, sends officers to his father Zacharias. They demand to know where his son is, and he tells them that seeing as how he's been at the temple all the time, serving the Lord, he has no idea where his son is at the moment.

The officers return to Herod and report this. He is enraged (some more) because he believes that John is the one who will be king over Israel.

Herod sends the officers back to Zacharias demanding that he tell the truth and give up his son or be killed.

The officers obey, and Zacharias replies: "I am a martyr of God if my blood is spilled, for the Lord will receive my spirit; but you shed innocent blood at the entrance of the temple of the Lord." And the officers murdered Zacharias around dawn, but no one else knew what had happened. So he was deep inside the temple building, I assume.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 22

We're getting close to the end here. :)

Herod learns that the Magi have ditched him and is 'unhappy'.

He sends out assassins and has them kill all of the children who were two and under. I actually came across a quote today from, drum roll please, Caesar Augustus. He heard that Herod had ordered all of the boys two and under killed, and his (Herod) own son was among that number. Caesar Augustus is reported to have said: "I would rather be Herod's pig than Herod's son."

Here's a link to OrthodoxWiki about the Massacre of the Holy Innocents.

Mary hears of Herod's slaughter and takes the infant Christ, swaddles Him and lays him in an ox-manger to hide Him.

At the same time, St. John the Forerunner is only six months old. Elizabeth takes him and runs into the hill-country. She tries to find a place to hide, but can't find anywhere. Tired and afraid, unable to climb any higher, she cries out: "O mountain of God, receive a mother and her child." Immediately the mountain splits open and receives them. The text says "And that mountain became translucent to them, and an angel of the Lord was with them and protected them."

The note says that the Greek used says 'diaphanous' for what happened to the mountain. So, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the Greek translates 'to show through'. So did the mountain become see through? Not a very good hiding place, unless it was like a one way mirror, where they could see out but no one could see in. Maybe it just means that they found a cave system and could watch people searching for them without being seen themselves.

The tradition holds that Elizabeth lived there with John for the rest of her life. When John was grown, he came out of the wilderness as a powerful preacher.
Yes I did just spend 20 minutes on the phone at work arguing over whether or not the Clark Kent persona is a commentary by an alien being on the human race or a necessary and completely believable fiction to remove attention.

Guess which side I was arguing.

Why I Love the Dresden Files (aside from the funny and the pyromaniac wizard)

"God isn't about making good things happen to you, or bad things happen to you. He's all about you making choices - exercising the gift of free will. God wants you to have good things and a good life, but He won't gift wrap them for you. You have to choose the actions that lead you to that life." - Uriel, The Warrior, Side Jobs, Dresden Files

Questions I Saw Somewhere

Bored again. Bored. Boredboredbored...

And I can't shoot a VR or a smiley face into my walls. Mostly because I'm at work, and that's both not compliant to the reference and frowned upon for a litany of reasons. Anyway.

I've seen these questions, or something very similar, somewhere, listed like...questions people have a hard time answering. So, because I must alleviate my boredom somehow, here they are. What do are your answers? Do you have them? Do you think the questions themselves are flawed in some way? Do you have any questions that people have a hard time answering?

1. Why did God create in the first place?

2. Why doesn't God just save everyone?

3. Why did God put Satan in the Garden?

4. What will we be doing in Heaven?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 21

Joseph and family are getting ready to begin their journey home when a great hubbub starts. The Magi have arrived from the east seeking the 'one born king of the Jews', having seen his star and come to worship him.

I'm pretty sure we all remember how this went in the Bible?

Herod calls the Magi before him and questions them to find out where the child is, so that he can 'worship' him as well. But, of course, we really know that Herod is threatened, believing this kingship to be a human, material one that he needs to quash to maintain his own throne.

The Magi set out and locate Christ and His family, and worship, gifting the child with gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then, having been warned by an angel of Herod's true plans, they set out for home by a different route.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 20

The midwife - I assume the first midwife has gone back to the cave with Salome - tells Mary to 'get herself ready' because there's a large argument going on about her condition. And then Salome reaches in and tests Mary's condition.

She screams and pulls away because, uh, her hand bursts into flame and starts burning off. I kid you not.

Salome begs for mercy from the Lord, and an angel appears before her and tells her that the Lord has heard her prayer. He instructs her to reach out to the child, hold him, and she will be healed. Salome obeys, saying: "I worship him, for a great king has been born in Israel." and she is healed. She leaves the cave 'having been made righteous' and a voice comes to her, telling her to keep what has happened to herself until the child comes to Jerusalem.


I have the sudden desire to build a miniature version of Harry's apartment and lab in the vein of Victorian dollhouses and then put tiny things in them.

Budding Miniature Obssession

*blinks at dashboard* according to it, this is my 700th post. What now? Really?


I was googling miniatures the other day, for a sekrit fangirly thing and now I find myself sort of, um, fascinated by them. By the Victorian doll house kind and all the little tiny things that go in them.

I do not need a Victorian doll house just so I can buy tiny things to go in it.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 19

Joseph is still telling his part of the story. He recounts meeting a woman coming down from the hill-country. She greets him and asks him where he is going. He replies that he is in search of a Hebrew midwife and she asks who is giving birth in the cave. He tells her that it is his betrothed, and she is shocked that it's not his wife, but Joseph tells her that 'It is Mary who was brought up in the temple of the Lord; I received her by lot as my wife, but she is not my wife, and she has conceived by the Holy Spirit.'

So she goes with him to see if it is true.

They come to the cave and a bright cloud has overshadowed it and they are unable to enter. The midwife cries out that salvation has been born to Israel. And then the cloud withdraws from the cave and a bright light shines out of the cave, so bright that their eyes can't bear it. After a few minutes the light draws back and the baby Christ is revealed and he takes the breast of His mother Mary, nursing.

The midwife is astonished by all of this and leaves the cave, meeting another midwife on her way by the name of Salome. She tells Salome the tale, that a virgin has given birth. There is some speculation that because Salome is named, but not explained (just like Joachim, Anna, Joseph, Elizabeth - all people who the original hearers would have been familiar with) that she is the same Salome who later becomes one of Jesus' followers and is at the foot of the Cross with the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene, and was one of the myrrh-bearing women.

Salome doesn't believe the story and declares that she will go to Mary and 'place her finger, and test her physical condition'. So Salome is going to go physically examine Mary to determine whether or not she really is still a virgin, even after giving birth.
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