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This is not baka_gaijin30 but his wife.. I am writing to let all of his friends on Livejournal know that Jeff passed away on July 28, 2010. 
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A new documentary is coming out called "The Making of a Saint" all about the Canonization process of Blessed Elder Philotheos Zervakos of Longovarda, a Greek Orthodox monk who passed away back in 1980. The film focuses on a Greek American family and the healing miracles brought about through the Elder's intercessions. I can't wait to see it when it comes out.

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It's a 2 bedroom, $725 a month with heat, and we hope to be able to start moving in by this weekend ^_^
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I've been reading some of the Church Fathers. Back when I was Roman Catholic and thought I had a vocation, I read St. Augustine's City of God and his Confessions. As a former occultist I have a great affection for Saints who were once great sinners (St. Mary of Egypt, St. Cyprian, St Paul), so I was able to appreciate both his conversion story and his insights into the folly of paganism. Reading City of God, I was surprised by the level of sharp humor used against the enemies of Christ's Church, as well as some of the heresies of the time he mentions (apparently there was one heretical group whose sole claim to fame is that they claimed water was not created by God but was preexistent matter, since the Scriptures never mentioned specifically that God created it).

I've started reading the Eastern Church fathers. So far I've read Eusebius' "History of the Church," a book of Early Christian Writings, "On the Holy Spirit" by St. Basil the Great and "On the Incarnation" by St. Athanasius. St. Basil's book was written in response to certain Arian and semi-Arian attacks on the Holy Spirit's equality to the Father and to the Son (if the Arian's didn't accept the Son's equality they sure weren't going to accept the Holy Spirit's). After reading the book, I now understand better why Orthodox theologians are so careful about wording and how theology is expressed. For example, the Arian form of the expression of the Holy Trinity would be "In the name of the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit." They were basically pulling in Greek philosophical terminology to make their case, and so St. Basil had to devote several chapters to the use of terms such as "In," "And" (which was objected to by his opponents because it implied to full an equality), "With" (again objected to for the same reason), "By," "Through," and a host of other terms used and misused by his opponents. The fact that he was able to do so without completely losing me or causing my eyes to glaze over is quite impressive, lol.

St Athanasius book "On the Incarnation" is quite simply the best book on Christology I've ever read. He's concise, to the point, and he makes everything so clear that I actually found myself breezing through the book. I have a LOT of admiration for St. Athanasius; exiled five times, excommunicated by councils that were only later proven to be false, more than once he probably looked like a complete failure to his opponents as he hid in the desert. Yet he knew the truth, and he clung to it and would not allow himself to be shaken. It's hard enough for the average person to stand up to normal peer pressure, I can't even imagine what it must've been like for him. He was only a Deacon at the time of the first Ecumenical Council, yet within three short years he was made Patriarch of Alexandria. "Athanasius contra mundum," "Athanasius against the world."

I'm now reading "On the Unity of Christ" by St. Cyril of Alexandria, written in response to the Nestorian Heresy. Of the Church Fathers I've read so far, he's the most difficult. His style is much more academic than the others, almost scholastic but not quite. After I'm done with it, I think I'd like to read "On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ" by St. Maximus the Confessor next. The best part is that once I'm done with each book I can then donate it to the Church library. 

Another cool thing- apparently both my Priest and the Subdeacon are impressed enough by my interest in theology that they're encouraging me to think about taking theology courses. I have to admit that I'd all but abandoned dreams of being a Priest years ago after some of my adventures while pursuing a place to seek out my vocation, but perhaps God could still use me as a Deacon or Subdeacon. I'm going through the process now of applying to go back to college in Winter of 2011 to finally get my Bachelor's Degree (I think I'm like eight classes away), and once that's done I'll see where I am with God at that point and hopefully I'll have a better idea of what He wants from me by then.

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Super Dave Osbourne shows how not to get car jacked. Lol, I still can't stop laughing!


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It's been quite a while since my last post, so I figured I'd let everyone know I'm still alive and doing fine.

My first anniversary cruise with my wife was awesome! The boat set sail from New York City, and the water in the harbor was almost brown from all the pollution, but after only a few hours out at sea the water turned an amazing aquamarine blue. We went on a Carnival ship, and we went to Grand Turk in the Caribbean, and well as Half Moon Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas. I set the alarm for 5:45 in the morning so that I could see the sunrise out on the ocean at six. You've never seen a sunrise until you've seen it out at sea, out of sight of land, with no buildings or trees or anything whatsoever to get in the way of the changing colors of the sky. All there was was the deep blue ocean, and the waves. It's so immense you could lose yourself in it, and I found myself more than once just staring at the waves as if hypnotized by them. We had a balcony on our room, and I'd get up, go out onto the balcony with my prayer book, and as the sun slowly rose I'd say my morning prayers. It was incredible.

On board the ship, the food was awesome (I think, however, that I might've over did it :P ). There were shows (imagine the cheesiest version of a Vegas-style musical review imaginable, now times the cheese factor by twelve and you'll have some idea of what it was like), and on our shore excursions I got to eat conch and see the ocean floor in a glass bottom boat. My wife also had a wonderful time, and I'm definitely happy we were able to share it together.

In other news, the apartment complex my wife and I live at is now under new management. And whereas before we qualified for the low income housing, under the new management we're over the limit (we make too much money, about four thousand annually too much). So, we're now looking for another place to live. The Lord has seen me through everything else in my life, I'm sure he'll see my wife and I through this too.

Well, I have to get going. I'll try to update again when I get the chance. Take care ^_^

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful

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A well done documentary about St. Herman of Alaska.

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Okay, so my wife is at work, when one of the store's managers gets a phone call. The manager shares a house with a woman who has an autistic son, and the son called the manager shouting "Come home, I caught a gnome!" So she leaves work, goes home, and the autistic son of her roommate (the son's 23, by the way) has brought the mattress from upstairs and propped it up against the closet door downstairs. When she removes the mattress and opens the door, out pops not a gnome, but a midget Jehovah's Witness who was going door to door. He looks up at her after spending an hour and a half trapped in a closet and asks, "Can I leave now?"

My wife's still laughing at it after hearing about it at work today. Stuff like that you just can't make up, lol.

Current Mood: amused amused

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He could hear the crowds screaming "crucify" "crucify"...
He could hear the hatred in their voices,
These were his chosen people.
He loved them,
And they were going to crucify him.
He was beaten, bleeding and weakened... his heart was broken,
But still He walked.

He could see the crowd as he came from the palace.
He knew each of the faces so well.
He had created them.
He knew every smile, laugh, and shed tear,
But now they were contorted with rage and anger...his heart broke,
But still He walked.

Was he scared?
You and I would have been
So his humanness would have mandated that he was. He felt alone.
His disciples had left, denied, and even betrayed him.
He searched the crowd for a loving face and he saw very few.
Then he turned his eyes to the only one that mattered
And he knew that he would never be alone.
He looked back at the crowd, at the people who were spitting
At him, throwing rocks at him and mocking him and he knew
That because of him, they would never be alone.
So for them, He walked.

The sounds of the hammer striking the spikes echoed through
The crowd. The sounds of his cries echoed even louder,
The cheers of the crowd, as his hands and feet
Were nailed to the cross, intensified with each blow.
Loudest of all was the still small voice inside his
Heart that whispered "I am with you, my son",
And God's heart broke.
He had let his son walk.

Jesus could have asked God to end his suffering,
But instead he asked God to forgive.
Not to forgive him, but to forgive the ones who were persecuting him.
As he hung on that cross, dying an unimaginable death,
He looked out and saw, not only the faces in the crowd,
But also, the face of every person yet to be,
And his heart filled with love.
As his body was dying, his heart was alive.
Alive with the limitless, unconditional love he feels for each of us.
That is why He walked.

When I forget how much My God loves me,
I remember his walk.
When I wonder if I can be forgiven,
I remember his walk.
When I need reminded of how to live like Christ,
I think of his walk.
And to show him how much I love him,
I wake up each morning, turn my eyes to him,
And I walk.

-- Author Unknown
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So back when I was a Catechumen me and two of the other students were buying all sorts of books on the Orthodox faith and passing them around amongst each other. Finally, I said "Wouldn't it be nice if our church had a lending library?"

It was then that I learned a very important rule about parish life: if you come up with an idea, and are foolish enough to suggest it out loud, it becomes your project and your responsibility! So, everyone told me "Great idea, you do it." So I was able to get a fellow parishoner to donate a wheeled three-tier cart that could serve as a portable library we can bring out on Sunday and wheel away again during the week, we already had several books at the church, and I donated a bunch of my books. In order to get it all approved however I had to write a proposal for the church council, which they approved. So I guess I'm now the church librarian, lol.

In other news, my wife and I had a good enough tax return that we're going on a cruise for our first anniversary this year. We'll be sailing the Carribean. We can't wait!

Till next time, take care everyone ^_^
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