Thursday, December 31, 2009

Human Trafficking/Modern Slave Trade Mental Illness Born from Indifference

Worst Run Ever (almost)

Today's run was a huge disappointment. I ran 4+miles with all three kids. I pushed Mia, Stavro rode his bike and Theophani ran along. It was a run of conflict and general confusion.

Registration Closed No Disney Marathon for 2010

All for nothing. No Disney Marathon this year. Will search another one somewhere else....maybe.

What was I thinking "Did I actually write that"?

"Did I actually write that"? flashed through me as I reviewed last night's blog entry for typos.  I went to vespers last night and it was just Father and I. I fumbled through the psalter readings and hymns which was a real wake up call for me to realize that I have grown lazy from the congregation and although I participate fully I am safe within the herd. Getting out and committing planting my step assuredly is what I will have to work on this year. Vespers are always more challenging for me as they were not part of my family's custom growing up and then it would have been all in Greek. Likewise the Divine Liturgy was also in Greek and now I have the Greek and two English translations with the varying musical arrangements under my belt. Still last night I could not avoid the lack with respect to the most basic service. I was more concerned with the word hell instead of hades but lost sight of the reality that I was inept at leading I was only a good follower who always remained a bit to the outside peering in listening attentively for errors or difference. I don't think it was being judgemental and I don't think this is  denial but it is being sensitive to the casually made alterations to hymnography, iconography and ecclesiastical traditions.
Back on point what caught my attention this morning was  my public announcement to all three of my readers that I was intent on running the Walt Disney World Marathon in 9 days. This is something that I have not prepared myself for in the  least. In fact it became clear in November that my training was not ratcheted up enough to run the marathon and in fact it had dropped off considerably.I was running in a month what most average runners would run in a week or two at the most. Yet it became clear that I can cover the distance and I can complete the task but I would not beat any PR's or any former time. I would be in it for the long haul and would have to check any semblance of an ego at the starting gate. I would be at the end of the pack. Let me say here I was never at the front of the pack and I am not a natural athlete by any means. This is a stark reality not exercise in humility. But my statistics in each race where encouraging and missing Boston by 15min this time last year was not bad considering I never trained for it.
This year I will only be thinking about my commitments for this coming year my need to reshape my communication skills and become a more affectionate person. I will need to sort through my responsibilities at home and address how I can better serve my family help them feel more appreciated and loved. After all I am trying to keep up with them and their standards and examples of Christian ethics and living.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm Registering for Disney Marathon (26.2) Jan. 10, 2010

It will be official tomorrow once I book my room then the registration for the race. This will be a real test of will and determination, strength and inner drive as I am not prepared for this my third marathon. The goal to complete the race to explore my commitment to all that running can be and my spiritual relationship with it. It will be a tamma to demonstrate my devotion to my church the ecumenical throne and my servitude. Thanks Father Kyrill for helping understand that through the uncertainty of my own preparedness I'd have to trust God and the process of persuing Him.

Truth Stings Turks 'social and religious tolerance' Security Tightened for Ecumencial Patriarch

(off the press) Sharply increased security measures and guarding the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul following the recent interview with the program "Sixty Minutes" of the television network «CBS», which screened Sunday, December 20, 2009.
Recalled that Patriarch Bartholomew in this historic interview said that he felt "crucified" and that even the Turks pursue the ekdiogmo the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The interview was an unprecedented complaint to Turkey, the first time in the history of the last fifty years has dared to make public and Ecumenical Patriarch, addressed the American people in general around the world.
Patriarch Bartholomew said, that the Orthodox Christians in Turkey are treated as second class citizens. Underlined quote, that "we do not feel that we enjoy our full rights as Turkish citizens.
When the reporter Bob Simon who did the interview asked him "if you treated as second class citizens here, and you Greeks, why not go to Greece," the Patriarch replied, "because love our country, born here and I want to die.
We feel that this is our mission, which is over 17 centuries "and added" I wonder why the authorities do not respect us this story.
Note that so far the garrison of the Patriarch was only one policeman on guard Representative, who accompanied him on his travels outside Phanari.
Recently, however, as informed by the 'National Herald' by high-ranking government officials from Greece, the Patriarch of the guard has been upgraded to seven policemen.
In all the movements now in the Istanbul Patriarch car accompanied by two police cars, one ahead and the other following, each police car has three police officers as crew, while the personal guard of the Patriarch-cop always moving along with Patriarchal the vehicle.
The upgrading of the Patriarchal guard did the Turkish government. There was yet no sign of threat or anxiety, and surprise is the fact that the variety of the Turkish press commented sympathetic interview of Patriarch in «CBS».

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

No batteries required.

Today was another quick 5.45 miles. It has been such a relief not to be dragged by crunching numbers and just to enjoy the time on the pavement. I took Xena with me again today. She was all tuned up and ready to go; impeccable pacing and attention to my gestures and  audio cues. I can't wait to take her out on the trails again. I tether her simply for her safety due to traffic. On the trails she can just run beside me or clear the path. Running off is not a consideration or option. Working through any unforseen kinks from her off season before getting off the beaten path. This is so much more organic who wants running to be mechanized. Enough already!!

Accolades, Squandering, Mouse the Modern Morphine Pump, Mesmerized

A quick update on running ran yesterday with the Mia and Theophani upwards of about six miles. Now onto today's message. One's definition of success one honest accounting of what is valued and which accolades are sought after, tells a more accurate portrait of what the individual really serves. If professional acclaim and promotion is what drives you then choices and efforts are placed there. Family health and connection is another. What we do and how we pursue our goals are what defines the nature of the person more then sweeping  statements and professions of faith or some unrelated ideal we may have of ourselves. It is not possible to actually put God first when the time spent seeking Him and strengthening that relationship and exchange is always taking a back seat to the popular seen, work, financial ambition, social climbing or socializing. The notion that attending church services regularly don't  directly impact day to day living is fool hearty. The declaration that attending church occaisionally is sufficient and has adaquate benefit is contradictory to other claims made by individuals who uphold this falacious belief. These are the same people who see the benefit of pumping iron regularily and who likewise maintain that binge drinking with friends 'occaisionally' has no great impact on character, drive, health or judgement. It is equally absurd as believing that making that one business connection will change much of anything including business. People are always searching for that one break to make up for all the 'sacrifice' and it doesn't happen that way. Such individuals are completely lost, affirming that all indications to the contrary, are in some way beside the point. They are much like the dog chasing its tail or the tail wagging the dog. A successful life is built on the foundations of the world on increments of learning associating and familiarizing oneself with the way of God. Breakthroughs are the result of concerted effort overtime with diligence and should be approached as an ultra marathon not a 50 yard dash. Untold human potential lay waste to fantastical dreams and whimsical ambition and 'intuition'. I often tell people when departing from their company 'go with God'. If you are with Him your journey will be secured; regardless of the outcome because the course is established by the company you keep. I  don't know how to explain this to younger, more ambitious, self confident types who fail to discern that over confidence is a weakness and liability. I don't know how to explain this to the youth of today who have all the accolades of their parent's diligence, hard-work and success. All the high minded, snooty pleasures, superficial beauty without any of the exertion effort or personal accomplishment. There is a trend of entitlement which is sweeping this nation which is telling youth (and all of us really) how much we deserve over inflating our self image and self esteem. You no longer hear the cries of  'poor self esteem' any longer because the egotistical beast is fed daily. We have become a society which grips the mouse or stylus while looking aimlessly into the abyss of the pretty little lights like a junkies. We have become stupefied exchanging actual currency: reality with a forgery. With each click each nano second we are immediately rewarded with pretty pictures and intellectual numbing. Our view of reality has never been so challenged so that we are no longer even seeking the deeper things, the eternal but only the immediate. Get unplugged from the  matrix and you will find that you not only survive but you thrive. Tweet no more!!! Shut the cell very very very very few people need you that badly. When my phone rings I only answer about 15% of the time. I only check who's calling if my children are not with me. Everyone else doesn't need me on demand and you know what everyone survives! In fact the only people who are bothered by the fact that I am not bound to the immediacy of the call are those who wish to serve their own interest or intrude. The cares of this life will choke off your spiritual side. Feed your spirit, your soul is the only thing which can't be taken from you can't be stolen. Only you can neglect it and forsake it. Only you can defend and nuture it. It is the one aspect of yourself the one part of your health and real life that is totally within your control.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Running the Course Hit the Mark

Considering the extent to which running left me feeling empty and the process without purpose or appreciation has to be addressed briefly. I ran again today with all the pleasure I used to find in it. I ran with Xena, my dog, who by now, regular readers know. She was a pleasure and a gift. Our run was the perfect example of master/servant and metaphor for the relationship of christians to Christ. "My sheep hear my voice and know me.I am their's and they are mine". Xena the trusted friend, companion and assistant while I served as her guide and guardian. It was the kind of experience that  childhood dreams where made of. It was the missing link in my own childhood; the relationship what would have filled the void of loneliness and despair. A salve to heal many wounds and to correct a million wrongs. It was one of the few mandates in my adult life. Orthodoxy has taken on a renewed excitement and revival; understanding it anew through the guidance of Jn 1034, my regular church attendance and thoughtful discourse with my spouse. It has involved releasing 'the shoulds'  from my life as to not impose them on others seeking their course and path to orthodoxy. It's about understanding sin as truly being off the mark and not merely and academically about being 'bad'. It is corporate but very personal. My greatest obstacle at this point are my moments of intolerance, anger and irritation with my children and the constricting economy. As for my running with its renewed vitality that can be attributed to understanding its purpose it is about more then physical heath or stress relief; it is really about the journey to the transcendent God the God who can't be confined and who should be pursued. The malaise that invaded and infected my run was the gages and measures I was using to operationalize success. Success is not found in times or mile markers or running regimes this can't be overstated. Rather the foundation and essential property of benefit is the space and time provided to contemplate the eternal the Trinity and my relationship to my Lord. It is the time I spend free from the cares of this life and this world which choke my relationships with anxiety and undo anger. It gives me the reprieve from my own neurosis. Running speeds me up; to slow my mind and synch my body long enough to appreciate my immortal soul and its relationship to God. Running itself is a paradox and balancing act of sorts I use the body to ignore it. I move more to find stillness. When assessing success in these terms the lessons of obedience to a rule of prayer and contemplation is beneficial in the totality of my person hood. It is the reward for the effort it is what make the run essential. I was told that I should keep running to keep from running like a hamster on a wheel on the inside but in reality without running I became a regimented procrastinator without a due course.The procrastination created indifference and laziness a kind of melancholy and disappointment. Those were the thoughts and belief which dominated my run today which left me with a feeling of appreciation for such insights and health and the wonderment that such lessons could come from play and the exchange between me and my dog each of us creatures of the Creator who watches and loves without judgment or condemnation of the sinner.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Synaxis on the Run

Today I sported my new brooks sneakers ghost 2. I am trying a shoes a half size smaller to see if it helps with my toe nails. I know more information then you needed. I did want to share with you my thoughts on and about the run. First the specifics, I ran just before vespers while Stavro rode his bike just ahead of me. We went for 5+ miles. During the run several things became obvious the first was that it was a long long time since my last run, new sneakers are 'a good thing' and the basic long term benefit to running is the spiritual benefit of the experience.  I had been sidetracked by the mile markers and the distance wrongly thinking that the accomplishment was in those superficial signposts. The benefit is not marked or evident in the mileage or the time but the space of the run. The subjection and celebration of the body and the attention given to the trinitarian self which pays omage to the Trinity. The body becomes more prominant so that it can fall to the background. I'm learning how Christianity and Orthodoxy is comprised of the balance of paradoxes.  There is a unique celebration of what seems like opposing forces which when in a homeostatic state denies neither position but allows each piece its moment to reflect and participate in the dance with the Lord of the Dance. Vespers was a blessing. The spirit was obviously fluid and present. It dumbfounds me to think how people think orthodoxy is hum drum and a vacous ritualistic proceedure. It is the structure which is freeing testing the whimsical and sifting through the rummage of what is fashionably mystical.  Find your value and hold the course steady and true. A true visionary is not inventive but reflective introspective and seeking. You must have an attatchment to understand where you are traveling. Embrace old world understanding and it will bring with it a modernity which doesn't scandalise which doesn't compete with the cause.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christ is born for everyone!!!

"Christ is born; glorify him. Christ is from heaven; go and meet him. Christ is on earth; be exalted. All the earth, sing unto the Lord." — Unless your homosexual, Gay in Uganda or know somebody who is gay or knows somebody who knows somebody who has had a homoerotic thoughts or 'tendencies'. Also if your a women who wants to serve in the church's ministry then screw you too, but only in the missionary posture.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Attiki Greece, Constantinople, Turkey, Port Orchard Washington, Netherlands, Mountainview, CA and friends from NY

Merry Christmas. It has been forever since I've written a personal message and I'm sorry. You have been faithful readers and companions on this journey through the church year and as we all figure out the Odyssey of our lives. Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom..." Many blessings and Merry Christmas keeping Christ who is the source of all the seasons in our hearts and mind.
p.s. to all my running friends I was gifted new sneakers!! (brooks ghost 2). My fuji which is really blue (of course) will get use right after the holidays!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Press spokesman of the Patriarchate Turkish

Turkish to English translation

22 12.2009
Press spokesman of the Patriarchate
Holiness Patriarch, this speech was given on the questions of members of the press in Turkey, and the answers are given a different style and expression is not used.......
Issues facing the Patriarchate's utterance with the required duties as a spiritual leader, they always at the same time realistic and thoughtful style was expressed with........
"Self çarmıhda feel" statement caused this problem consists of expressions of sorrow and distress. All languages have idioms and narrow discourse of these not loaded meanings in that language are evaluated.........

22 12.2009
Patrikhane Basın Sözcülüğü'nden
Saygıdeğer Kamuoyu'na Açıklama;
Son günlerde, Patrik Hazretleri'nin Amerikan CBS Televizyonu muhabiriyle aylar önce yapmış olduğu bir konuşmasının; konuşmanın kasdı ve kullanılan ifadeler dışında ve bunları aşan yorumlara tabi tutulması dolayısıyla saygıdeğer Kamuoyu'na aşağıdaki açıklamanın yapılmasına gerek duyulmuştur:
Patrik Hazretleri; bu konuşmasında Türk Basın mensuplarının soruları üzerine vermiş ve vermekte olduğu cevaplardan farklı bir üslup ve ifade kullanmış değildir.
Patrikhane'nin karşılaştığı sorunları dile getirme ödeviyle yükümlü bir ruhani önder olarak, bunları her zamanki gerçekçi ve aynı zamanda özenli üslubuyla dile getirmiştir.
“Kendini çarmıhda hissetme” deyimi de bu sorunların sebep olduğu üzüntü ve sıkıntılarının ifadesinden ibarettir. Bütün dillerde bu gibi deyimler vardır ve dar söylemleriyle değil, o dilde yüklenen anlamlarıyla değerlendirilirler.
Patrik Hazretleri'nin; kendisine bu deyim kullanılarak sorulan soruyu cevaplandırırken asla özel olarak Hükümetimiz'den gelen bir baskıyı ifade kasdını taşımadığı aşikardır.
Nitekim cemaatimizin sorunlarıyla içten ilgilenen saygıdeğer Başbakanımız da, Hukuk Devleti yolunda çektiği sıkıntıları zaman zaman; Batı dillerindeki “çarmıh”lı deyimlerle değil, Türkçemiz'deki “kefenli” deyimlerle ifade etmişlerdir. Hükümet mensupları da Demokratik Hukuk Devleti olma yönündeki içten ve bütün iyi niyetli halkımızın katıldığı ve desteklediği girişimlerini gerçekleştirmek isterlerken aynı sıkıntılara maruz kalmaktadırlar.
Patrik Hazretleri ülkemizin esenliği ve Hükümet'in Hukuk Devleti yolundaki gayret ve başarıları için her zaman dua etmektedirler.
Bu gayretlerin başarıya ulaşması için çekilen sıkıntıların gizlenmeyip açıklanması, demokratik bir toplum düzenine olan güvenin tezahürüdür ve bu sıkıntıların giderilmesi için de açık ve demokratik bir toplumda bunların açıklanmasından başka bir çare olmadığını bütün sağduyulu ve iyi niyetli insanlar kabul ve teslim ederler.
Kamuoyuna saygıyla duyurulur.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

At the Phanar, Christmas 2009


by God's Grace
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch

To the Plenitude of the Church — Grace, peace and mercy from the Savior Christ Born in Bethlehem,

Beloved concelebrants and blessed children in the Lord,

"Heaven and earth have united through the birth of Christ. Today, God has appeared on earth, and humans have ascended to heaven." (Christmas Hymn)
The distance and separation between God and humanity resulting from sin has been abolished with the assumption of the entire human nature by the Only-Begotten Son and Pre-eternal Word of God. It was God’s good will – that is to say, His initiative and will – that the incarnation of His Son should abolish all such distance uniting heaven and earth, as well as creation with its Creator.
During the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos, the Church chanted: "Today is the beginning of God’s good will and the proclamation of human salvation." During that feast, through the dedication of the blessed Mary to the temple and her preparation there to become the bearer of the boundless God, the road was paved for the incarnate dispensation of God, which foretold our salvation.
During the feast of the Annunciation, when the divine conception of the Inconceivable occurred through the Holy Spirit within the womb of the Theotokos and divine nature began to coexist with human nature in order that – as St. Athanasius the Great articulated it – "we might become deified," the Church again chanted: "Today is the beginning of our salvation and the revelation of the pre-eternal mystery; the Son of God becomes the son of the Virgin." Thus, the "divine good will" welcomed at the Entrance, as well as the salvation commenced and revealed at the Annunciation, are today rendered a tangible reality, as we celebrate the great and holy day of Christmas. Today, "the Word assumes flesh and dwells among us" (John 1.14), while the Angels celebrate the event, chanting: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among humankind." (Luke 2.14)
With the Incarnation of the Divine Word, the salvation of the human race has already potentially occurred. For those who believe in Jesus, live in accordance with this faith, fulfilling His commandments and practicing His teaching, are thereby elevated to become the friends and participants of God! They become "partakers of divine nature" (2 Peter 1.14), gods by grace! This takes place exclusively within the Church, where we are reborn in Christ and adopted by the Father through Holy Baptism and through the holy Sacraments, as well as by cultivation of virtue in order to be filled with divine grace and the Holy Spirit, growing "to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ" (Eph. 4.13) until we reach the level of saying, like St. Paul: "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me." (Gal. 2.20) Those who acquire such perfection are not regarded by Christ simply as His friends or brothers, but are recognized by Him as members of His Body. This is why, from the height of the Cross, he would say to His Most Holy Mother about the Evangelist John: "Woman, here is your son," and to John: "Here is your mother." (John 19.26-27) Christmas, therefore, opens wide the door of human "christification" and deification by grace; and for this reason, "the entire creation rejoices in celebration and the heavens delight with us on this day of significance and salvation." (Hymn of December 28)
With these joyful and hopeful realities before us, from the sacred See of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Phanar, we extend to you our fervent festive congratulations and wholehearted Patriarch wishes on this central feast of the Christian calendar. We greet all of our beloved faithful throughout the world, the beloved children of the holy Mother Church – clergy of all levels, monastics and laity, pastors and parishioners, and especially those suffering, experiencing sorrow, need or trial. May the pre-eternal Son of God – who was born in a cave and lay in a manger – who for our sake became Son of Man, render all of us worthy of his self-emptying love and of His sacred, venerable incarnate dispensation.
At the Phanar, Christmas 2009
+Bartholomew of Constantinople
Fervent supplicant for all before God

Monday, December 21, 2009

Muhammad ibn Abdullah Words from the Prophet

In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammad (s) granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including ...such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.
An English translation of that document is presented below:
This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them.
Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses.
Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet.
Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them.
If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected.
They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).
Thanks John Sanidpoulos

60 min extras!!!!

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ecumencial Patriarch Hits Home Run!!!

My review of the interview of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch on 60 Minutes is "OUT OF THE PARK"!!! I know the press had to ask 'why don't you just leave..." it is like asking black Americans to go back to Africa. OUTRAGIOUS. Great great effort and hats off again to The Order of Saint Andrew the Archons National Commander Dr. Anthony Limberakis and Spiritual Advisor Rev. Alexander Karloutsos.
On a more personal note Euphemia (Mia) gives a shout out to Nouno!!!

Rwanda Under Global Scrutiny, Reversing Its Gay Genocide Position

"The Minister of Justice Tharcisse Karugarama has condemned and refuted reports that government intends to criminalize homosexual acts saying that sexual orientation is a private matter not a state business: 'The government I serve and speak for on certain issues cannot and will not in any way criminalize homosexuality; sexual orientation is a private matter and each individual has his or her own orientation — this is not a State matter at all."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Turkey slams orthodox chief’s crucifixion remark

Patriarch Bartholomew says he feels "crucified" in Turkey ANKARA (AFP)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday criticized as unacceptable remarks by the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians that he feels "crucified" and "second class" living in Turkey.
"We regard the use of the crucifixion simile as extremely unfortunate.... I would like to see this as an undesired slip of the tongue," Davutoglu told reporters here when asked about Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I's comments in an interview with US television network CBS.
" We regard the use of the crucifixion simile as extremely unfortunate.... I would like to see this as an undesired slip of the tongue "
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu "We cannot accept comparisons that we do not deserve," the minister added.
He rejected criticism that the Islamist-rooted government in Turkey was discriminating between its citizens on religious grounds.
"If Patriarch Bartholomew I has complaints on this issue, he can convey them to relevant authorities who will do whatever is necessary," he said.
In an excerpt from the interview, which will be broadcast in full on CBS on Sunday, Bartholomew I says that the tiny Greek minority in Turkey is not treated equally.
" This is the continuation of Jerusalem and for us it is equally holy and sacred land. We prefer to stay here, even crucified sometimes "
Patriarch Bartholomew"We are treated... as citizens of second class. We don't feel that we enjoy our full rights as Turkish citizens," says the patriarch, who represents the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians.
He ruled out the option of leaving Turkey. "This is the continuation of Jerusalem and for us it is equally holy and sacred land. We prefer to stay here, even crucified sometimes," the patriarch adds.
The CBS website quotes Bartholomew I as saying that the Turkish government "would be happy to see the Patriarchate extinguished or moving abroad, but our belief is that it will never happen."
The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul dates from the Greek Orthodox Byzantine Empire, which collapsed in 1453 when the city fell to the Ottoman Turks.
Though Ankara does not interfere with the patriarchate's religious functions, it withholds recognition of Bartholomew's ecumenical title, treating him only as the spiritual leader of some 2,000 Orthodox Greeks still living in the country.
Turkish authorities also keep closed a theological school on an island off Istanbul, depriving the church of a means to train clergy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Turks threaten priests life over bell tower

Summary: ISTANBUL, December 15 (Compass Direct News) – In response to a Swiss vote banning the construction of new mosque minarets, a group of Muslims this month went into a church building in eastern Turkey and threatened to kill a priest unless he tore down its bell tower, according to an advocacy group. Three Muslims on Dec. 4 entered the Meryem Ana Church, a Syriac Orthodox church in Diyarbakir, and confronted the Rev. Yusuf Akbulut. They told him that unless the bell tower was destroyed in one week, they would kill him. “If Switzerland is demolishing our minarets, we will demolish your bell towers too,” one of the men told Akbulut. The threats came in reaction to a Nov. 29 referendum in Switzerland in which 57 percent voted in favor of banning the construction of new minarets in the country. The Swiss ban, widely viewed around the world as a breach of religious freedom, is likely to face legal challenges in Switzerland and in the European Court of Human Rights. Fikri Aygur, vice president of the European Syriac Union, said that Akbulut has contacted police but has otherwise remained defiant in the face of the threats. “He has contacted the police, and they gave him guards,” he said. “I talked with him two days ago, and he said, ‘It is my job to protect the church, so I will stand here and leave it in God’s hands.’”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Eating Operationalizes Motives, Emotion, Reason and Spiritual State

Eating as an extension of activity.  Often enough, when talking with family, close friends, colleagues or clients I am amazed by their skepticism on my philosophy of eating and my disinterest in many 'sweets'.  They dismiss even the possibility of food not having some kind of 'hold' on me that I am not preoccupied in the least with what, when or how much I consume. They fail to truly accept my understanding about the practicality of eating. There is the nutritional necessity of course and I will not explore that here further. Eating habits are dictated by availability of variety and that too will not be discussed in any detail. What is up for discussion is how food is a strong indicator of our interests, ceremony, causes, activity level, socialization to include of course emotional and mental states. These dynamics or parameters for eating are real and become cyclical but I believe by large our eating is controlled by our level of functioning and mental focus. Individuals stuck in a mental state of depression where their life is riddled with inactivity, procrastination, self loathing and regret will have a very specific pattern of eating or 'relationship' with food. While an athlete's eating is driven by their cause, their dedication to the activity of one type of movement or another, their personal ambition and level of competitiveness. A monastics eating rules are predicated on the mandates of monastic life. They reflect the discipline and the tools necessary to wage war against temptation. Food is celebratory as in a wedding reception or reflected in the bounty. It is a sacremental instrument.  My position is not based on self restraint or willfulness or an extraordinary will power and abstination. Rather my eating is driven by pleasure and by my necessity to feed my body the locomotive for my running. Others as a matter of necessity eat to their health. I do not understand the irrationality of young women and even men living in the land of plenty starving themselves unless I take into account their psychological dysfunction the emotional side of eating and dysfunction. The need to have control beyond good measure or sense when feeling out of control. The need to stuff feelings, add protective blubber and even failed attempts to vomit out the pain and undo the excess the gorging. Fasting in the church is a tool which leads us not only to contemplate our return to God but is indicative of it.There is a reciprocal experience between the foods we eat and how we demonstrate our hospitality. So to those skeptics friends all; my decisiveness is merely the result of my lifestyle. As therapeutic perspective we have turned our attention to the wrong side of eating. We are treating the symptoms not addressing the cause or how the lifestyle and mindset is a set up for defeat. Amazingly when talking with individuals who self identify as having an eating issue or concern they perpetually dismiss and correlation between eating and the rest of their lives. Cleaving on to the dysfunction the 'yeah but' responses are the impediment to normalized eating and ultimately weight and body image. These behaviors and beliefs are not incidental irrelevancies they are the root cause and our eating is the actual fruit. It is about how we relate to our bodies as vehicles. It the acknowledgement that the body is the receptacle the outward outcome of the inner reality.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mommy and Mia (Euphemia)

Today's run to church didn't work out as I am planning on spending the night at Sts. Raphael Nicholas and Irene Church with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for Dionysius of Zakynthos which is tomorrow. The parish was gifted one of his slippers from Met. Mytilini Iakovos during our trip to Greece in 2005. I took the baby in her ironman stroller to publix to run an errand. She loved it. It was a cool evening and because of Florida weather we haven't been able to do it for months.

BREAKING: Rwandan Parliament to Vote This Week on Criminalization of Homosexuality

Jodi Jacobson's blog

"Updated 8:22 pm, December 15th, 2009 to reflect the change in an update from IGLHRC from "vote on the bill tomorrow," to "debate the bill tomorrow and vote on it this week."

Rwanda. Yes, Rwanda.
When I first saw the email heading, I thought it might be wrong. The human rights community has for some weeks now been focusing on a bill in Uganda--on which a vote is expected any day--to criminalize homosexuality. The Uganda bill, on which the White House only just released a statement of opposition, was introduced on October 14, 2009. The so-called "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" would:
Imprison for life anyone convicted of "the offense of homosexuality";
Punish "aggravated homosexuality" – including repeat offenders, or anyone who is HIV positive and has gay sex – with the death penalty;
Forbid the "promotion of homosexuality," and jail rights defenders who work on LGBT rights;
Imprison anyone for up to three years if they fail to report within 24 hours anyone they know who is lesbian, gay,or transgender, or who supports the human rights of LGBT persons.
But the email from our colleagues at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said Rwanda, and I clicked on the link. And I found that yes, they meant Rwanda, and that yes, indeed yet another country in sub-Saharan Africa--one which has made such vast progress from the genocide of a decade ago--was going to vote on a bill to criminalize the existence of a whole class of people. Rwanda's Chamber of Deputies will debate the draft code tomorrow (or today as you read this), December 16, 2009, and is expected to vote on the bill later this week.
IGLHRC wrote that:
The lower house of the Rwandan Parliament will vote on a draft revision of the penal code that will, for the first time in Rwanda, make homosexuality a crime.
The proposed Article 217 of the draft Penal Code Act will criminalize "[a]ny person who practices, encourages or sensitizes people of the same sex, to sexual relation or any sexual practice."
If the Chamber of Deputies approves, the draft code will likely go before the Rwandan Senate in early 2010.
Article 217 violates Rwandans' basic human rights and is contradictory to the Rwandan Constitution as well as various regional and international conventions, notes IGLHRC.
A coalition of organizations, including IGLHRC, the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), and Rwanda's Horizon Community Association (HOCA) are "urging the international community to act against this proposed law and support the equality, dignity, and privacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Rwanda."
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, who professes a belief that homosexuality is "against God's will," only just last week came out against the proposed bill in Uganda. Yet Saddleback Church is deeply involved in Rwanda, and I can't as yet find any statement regarding his opposition to the bill in Rwanda.
The fact that such bills appear to be spreading throughout sub-Saharan Africa is not much of a surprise. Discrimination and bias against gay, lesbian, and transgender persons are virulent throughout the region and even many well-educated professionals are highly prejudiced against gays. And many of the most vocal ultra-fundamentalist conservatives have been receiving huge amounts of US government assistance under PEPFAR and other programs for several years, enabling them to grow in influence and reach."

Palestinians, Arabs and those from the wider international community.

This document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at this time when we wanted to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its people. In this spirit the document requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in our region, calling on them to revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against our people and the dispossession of the land.
In this historic document, we Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings because true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the oppressed, a call to justice and equality among peoples.
This document did not come about spontaneously, and it is not the result of a coincidence. It is not a theoretical theological study or a policy paper, but is rather a document of faith and work. Its importance stems from the sincere expression of the concerns of the people and their view of this moment in history we are living through. It seeks to be prophetic in addressing things as they are without equivocation and with boldness, in addition it puts forward ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and all forms of discrimination as the solution that will lead to a just and lasting peace. The document also demands that all peoples, political leaders and decision-makers put pressure on Israel and take legal measures in order to oblige its government to put an end to its oppression and disregard for the international law. The document also holds a clear position that non-violent resistance to this injustice is a right and duty for all Palestinians including Christians.
The initiators of this document have been working on it for more than a year, in prayer and discussion, guided by their faith in God and their love for their people, accepting advice from many friends: Palestinians, Arabs and those from the wider international community. We are grateful to our friends for their solidarity with us.
As Palestinian Christians we hope that this document will provide the turning point to focus the efforts of all peace-loving peoples in the world, especially our Christian sisters and brothers. We hope also that it will be welcomed positively and will receive strong support, as was the South Africa Kairos document launched in 1985, which, at that time proved to be a tool in the struggle against oppression and occupation. We believe that liberation from occupation is in the interest of all peoples in the region because the problem is not just a political one, but one in which human beings are destroyed.
We pray God to inspire us all, particularly our leaders and policy-makers, to find the way of justice and equality, and to realize that it is the only way that leads to the genuine peace we are seeking.
His Beatitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah
His Grace Bishop Dr. Munib Younan
His Eminence Archbishop Atallah Hanna
Rev. Dr. Jamal Khader
Rev. Dr. Rafiq Khoury
Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb
Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek
Rev. Dr. Yohana Katanacho
Rev. Fadi Diab
Dr. Jiries Khoury
Ms. Cedar Duaybis
Ms. Nora Kort
Ms. Lucy Thaljieh
Mr. Nidal Abu El Zuluf
Mr. Yusef Daher
Mr. Rifat Kassis - Coordinator
The ‘Moment of Truth’ document can be downloaded in several languages as PDF files.
Organizations adopting the document up until 11 December 2009:
Near East Council of Churches – Gaza
Laity Committee in the Holy Land
Council for Orthodox Organizations
International Centre of Bethlehem
Department of Service to Palestine Refugees
Siraj Center
International Christian Assembly
Arab Orthodox Charitable Society
Arab Orthodox Club Union-Jerusalem
Arab Orthodox Club-Beit Sahour
Arab Orthodox Club-Bethlehem
Arab Orthodox Club-Beit Jala
Orthodox Housing Society
Alternative Tourism Group
National Christian Assembly
WI'AM –The Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center
National Christian Alliance
St. Yves
1- Dr. Bernard Sabella 50- Mr. Nader Muaddi
2- Dr. Elias Esaid
51- Mr. Nael Dahmas
3- Dr. Irene Hazou Mikhwel
52- Mr. Ousama Daher
4- Dr. Jad Isaac
53- Mr. Raed Abed Rabbo
5- Dr. Majed Nassar
54- Mr. Raed Saadeh
6- Dr. Muna Mushahwar
55- Mr. Rami Kassis
7- Dr. Nasri Qumsieh
56- Mr. Rami Qreetm
8- Dr. Sulaiman Rabadi
57- Mr. Rami Zeidan
9- Dr. Zougby Zougby
58- Mr. Ramzi Zananiri
10- Advocate Khalil Dugbach
59- Mr. Richard Elias
11- Advocate Nabil Mushahwar
60- Mr. Richard Zananiri
12- Advocate Raffoul Rofa
61- Mr. Saba Abu Eita
13- Mr Fadi Isaac
62- Mr. Salim Jaber
14- Mr Qustandi Dabagh
63- Mr. Sami Abu Daieh
15- Mr. Abed-Almasih Younan
64- Mr. Sami Alyussef
16- Mr. Adham Rishmawi
65- Mr. Sami Khoury
17- Mr. Anton Abu Akleh
66- Mr. Simon Awad
18- Mr. Azzam Musleh
67- Mr. Simon Kuba
19- Mr. Bassam Turjum
68- Mr. Subhi Mikhwel
20- Mr. Bassem Anchouat
69- Mr. Suleiman Abu Daieh
21- Mr. Butros Abu Shanab
70- Mr. Thafer Kassis
22- Mr. Daoud Rafat
71- Mr. Tony Hazboun
23- Mr. Dimitri Diliani
72- Mr. Wadi Abu Nassar
24- Mr. Elias Kheir
73- Mr. Waseem Khazmo
25- Mr. Elias Tams
74- Mr. Wassef Daher
26- Mr. Francis Tams
75- Mr. William Nazi
27- Mr. Gassan Daoud
76- Mr. Wisam Tum
28- Mr. George Abu Zuluf
77- Mr. Yacob Dahdal
29- Mr. George Akroush
78- Mr. Yacob Kassis
30- Mr. George Rishmawi
79- Mr. Yacob Moussa
31- Mr. George Sahar
80- Ms. Alida Zumout
32- Mr. George Tams
81- Ms. Anwar Banoura
33- Mr. Giries Misleh
82- Ms. Claudette Habash
34- Mr. Hani Odeh
83- Ms. Dina Zreneh
35- Mr. Hanna Khoury
84- Ms. Fadia Musleh
36- Mr. Ibrahim Matar
85- Ms. Hania Qassasieh – Persekian
37- Mr. Issa Safari
86- Ms. Jumana Tams
38- Mr. Jalal Qumsieh
87- Ms. Mayada Tarazi
39- Mr. Jamil Ghraib
88- Ms. Mira Rizk
40- Mr. Jawad Misleh
89- Ms. Nadia Esaid
41- Mr. Joseph Hazboun
90- Ms. Nora Karmi
42- Mr. Khader Kokaly
91- Ms. Pauline Nunu Saadeh
43- Mr. Marwan Toubasi
92- Ms. Randa Makhlouf
44- Mr. Michel Bahnam
93- Ms. Randa Siniora
45- Mr. Michel Qreetm
94- Ms. Rula Daher
46- Mr. Musa Jarjou'i
95- Ms. Scarlet Habib
47- Mr. Nabil Almufdi
96- Ms. Sherine Abu Akleh
48- Mr. Nader Abu Amsha
97- Ms. Sirine Dahmas
49- Mr. Nader Hrimat
98- Ms. Walae Qumsieh
To become a signatory, please send the following information to Mr. Rifat Kassis:

Elias Chacour on Relationships in the Middle East

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

From Jn1034 Orthodox Repentance

From "the intersection of Episcopal breadth and Orthodox depth," the Rev. Michael K. Marsh shares "Some Thoughts on Repentance":

"Repentance is
— is as much or more about our heart as it is about our actions.
— is returning our gaze to God.
— is changing the direction of our life in order to face, see, and receive our coming salvation.
— is turning our life around.
— is to choose a new life.
— is not just about changing behavior – it is a change of mind, a change in direction, a change in attitude, a change in our way of being.
— is the recognition that our self-sufficiency is inadequate.
— is a search for life which is realized in personal communion with God.
— is not simply about improvement in behavior or even being perfect, a psychological feeling, or strengthening our will. It is, rather, a change in our mode of existence by which we cease to trust in our own individuality
— is not individual feats or works of merit but a cry of trust and love from the depths of our abyss.
— is our true Christmas preparation.
— is how we cooperate with God in our own salvation.
— is refusing to continue to settle for less than what God is offering.
— manifests our desire for God.
— is our response to God’s desire for us.

Monday, December 14, 2009

For Hellenism and the Greek Ethnos

This makes all my neurons fire with affection!!!
Magnificent! Greek is not pejorative but the essence of what can be referred to as civilized.
It is a birthplace, the origin of the great thinkers and philosophies.
It transcends time, borders and nationalities.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Matriarch Lillian Lovchuk 91 years young

In recognition of the outstanding service loyalty and love,we the members, family and friends of Holy Trinity Church present this Honor of Distinction to our parish Matriarch Lillian Lovchuk. Lillian remains a fortress of resolve  and dedication to this small parish and in doing so honored  the faith of her father. Lillian never doubted this parish,  its purpose or her commitment. As a loving mother to each of us,  she stood us a pillar immovable, making her claim for this sacred space and strengthening our determination to complete the holy mission and task we had been given. Lillian is a woman who stands firm in her faith and her understanding runs deeper then any river. We thank God for Lillian and pray for her health. May God grant her many, many, many years.

Hopewell Junction and Attiki and the Commute to Church

Yesterday was a bit warmer then I would prefer but the blanketed sky provided the perfect umbrella. Initially I ran with a sleeveless shirt on top of my sports bra not because of a modest ideal but because of vanity. I was embarrassed with the image I had of myself swooshing and moving to and fro. Years ago when I started my training I didn't have those self conscious thoughts as I demonstrating a willingness to look stupid and to cast self consciousness aside to learn. Last evening however my tummy blubber was indicative of a basic neglect of myself and that was too much exposure. After two miles I dispense with the shirt and ran with it to my side. I decided to set aside any embarrassment by openly declaring that I had backslid regressed and was making this confession openly. I realised how much of my runs may have been about outsiders and not about me.

Anyway during my 13.4 mile trek to church many things became apparent. First it is a long, long way. When I would run in the park out and back I never had that sense of how far the distance was, how much time it was taking, as I ran into the sun rise not the sun set. This destination running is different somehow. I am always worrying about the time it will take. It is like I am in the rat race with all commuters racing about to get to somewhere else. In the park it is the path not the destination not the getting finished which is the task. It is understood it will finish soon enough.The distance on-the road to someplace presents itself in a very different way with the expectation of performance. I have been a loner in my runs I don't mind the isolation but I wish I has a comrade.   

It is amazing how the same person, can experience the same distance, with very difference points of reference. I know I will run to church again but I totallyget that it is far. Most people who know me are totally unimpressed, taking it for granted as it is just a thing they have some to expect and see me doing. But I wouldn't want those close to me to think that thirteen miles are easy; they are not, even when they feel great and are enjoyed.They are two hours of time to fill with thoughts, prayers, music, and inner conversation. It is about time management. A time for reflection thesis/anti-thesis/synthesis. It is as much about running to and from something as itis about trying tostay present. It is erroding to realize how my running has  been taken for granted by those close to me as if it was like a walk by the sea. It requires quite a bit of reslove and determination to commence and complete this task repeatedly. I could easily become overwhelmed and procrastinate and talk myself right out of the challenge. I could blow it off and begin to recreate my persona but is essential to recreating myself. It is necessary though it is not an easy task it has many challenges physical, mental and spiritual. It is my road to Damascus and my time in the desert. Running is just the activity which maintains the order of things. And yes many times it is joyful that would be grace.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Unbelievable but true: the headquarters of Turkish Secretariat for entry into the EU is building confiscated in 90

Unbelievable but true: the headquarters of Turkish Secretariat for entry into the EU is building confiscated in 90

Yesterday at 11:37pm
» 12/11/2009 12:18 TURKEY
Turkey prepares to join EU in a building confiscated from the Orthodox by NAT da Polis
The new headquarters of the Secretariat for entry into the European Union is an old school of the minority Orthodox in Ortakoy, seized in '90. Embarrassment of Erdogan government and Europe.
Istanbul (AsiaNews) - Unbelievable but true: the headquarters of the Secretariat for the entry of Turkey into the European Union is a building confiscated from the Orthodox Christian community in the 90s. The building is located in Istanbul, in the well-known area of Ortakoy, under the first bridge over the Bosphorus.
Before the seizure, the building was used as a primary school for children of the minority Orthodox in Ortakoy. Here, once lived a thriving Orthodox community, now non-existent because of past purges against minorities, executed by the "secular" Turkish State.
Thanks to the policy of purging, the building and many other schools, at one point found themselves without students, unused and then confiscated. The forfeiture rule however prevented foundations - owners of buildings - from allocating them to different uses. The community of Ortakoy appealed to the administrative courts in Istanbul, which have yet to rule on the issue. In case of a ruling to the contrary, the Orthodox intend to apply to the court in Strasbourg. The inauguration of the Secretariat took place in the presence of Prime Minister Erdogan, accompanied by Minister for European Affairs Bajis and by various authorities and European representation.
The event has aroused unease in diplomatic circles in Brussels, so much so that on the eve of the inauguration, a senior government official visited Patriarch Bartholomew I to let them know that the courts decision will be respected. The question also arises whether the current Turkish government aware of the building’s history.
Meanwhile in Brussels some discomfort is spreading towards politicians who are champions of Turkey’s entry into the EU. Ankara has not yet shown a convincing European orientation, it is believed that the "champions" are tied to the country by economic and financial interests.
One suggestion for resolving the issue comes from Lakis Vigas, representative of minorities in Turkey in the General Directorate of Foundations. Interviewed by the newspaper Milliyet on the case of Ortakoy, he says a possible solution would be if the Ortakoy foundation were granted the possibility to lease the building to the Turkish nation. This gesture would have a noble purpose: the entry of Turkey into the EU the "source of our hopes."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

the road to better living

I got out and ran today and I'm so glad I did. The weather was awesome: cool, overcast and breezy. It is the kind of weather where someone unfamiliar with the conditions might forsake the run misinterpreting the shade and welcoming wind for something more ominous like a storm. The storm never came thankfully. I run so little now that I feel like I can hardly call myself a runner. The claim rings hollow lacking the basic credential like just running with some regularity. I have broadened my definition of success that perhaps it has come to mean nothing or is of very little intrinsic value. It may be indicative only of a weak character. Tapering is healthful and basic to any running regiment but there is a tipping point when the image no longer reflects the actual likeness. This is true in any arena.  Learn from my mistake be sure to behave a in manner to which exemplifies your self concept. I know I am under-trained and have not been true to what keeps the momentum or push in my day or my week and the extra weight is empirical evidence of this. It must seem pathetic to an outsider, perhaps to all my readers, that something as casual as my running could play such an important role in my life and the vitality it brings but it is how I have come to measure my progress and lately I have been found wanting.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Maddow More then Gay it's simply Genocide

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the state of a deanery toxic buffoonery

I have not abandon my ideals or my religious conviction,in my middle years, but rather abandon the idealism of youth that misled me to believe in priests and bishops to act accordingly. There is laid the disillusionment of many and the betrayal of what is holy. I will not be sperated from my belief or my faith in what is holy, only in whom it may dwell.

hopeless, unproductive, clueless, reprehensibly neglectful, belligerent, abusive, vile, puffed up, self-serving, hypocritical, clannish, Pharisaic, hired-hands, scattered flock, well fed brotherhood cloaked in shadow, prideful, scandalous piety, intolerable cruelty, morally bankrupt, misappropriated loyalty, charade, unorthodox

Scandalous as priest show themselves as the custodial hired hands scattering the flock. not true shepards who lay their life down for the sheep. They don't even part with their convience.

Monday, December 7, 2009

just bloggin'

(Theophani her first 15k!)
Today I officially began the layout of a book I plan to have published. Several  have been in the works for years but this is one I will get into the can by this year's end. It will not be published until next year and will publish it myself if need be but it will be completed. The idea is simple and exemplifies the appeal of this humble blog and intrinsic value of a good teacher and willing pupil. The reciprocity of all relationships. More on it in future entries. Planning on running later today. In fact I had been hoping to run for a couple of days now but have given myself permission to be busy with others. Today is warmer and sunny. There is cool breeze comming through the open window where I am seated. From the dormer window I consider marathon. I would have to spend the next three weeks training faithfully with at least a few 18-20 milers. I also would need a pair of sneakers or it will be over before it begins.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

lucid unfettered thinking

I managed to run today around 2.30pm for 5.75 miles. The weather outside was cold enough for this Floridian to wear a long sleeve shirt! The sun hasn't shined in days and it has been damp, windy and raining, as it only does in the Sunshine State. Oddly enough my mood has improved despite the inclement weather.
While running many thoughts move through my brain probably what most would consider free associating. Interesting I usually talk quickly because I have these flight of ideas which creates a kind of pressured speech. It comes from not feeling heard and from wanting to be. Running creates a lucid unfettered thinking and no audience save God and me, myself and I. My ability to go to that place or space I think is why runners high or the flow is a state I find often even during shorter less taxing runs. Not to dismiss prayer or the contect of such thoughts.
During the run I wanted to walk several times and thought how I snuff out the joy every time. I stopped anyway took two-three steps and then was off again. I got over my sense of failure and self consciousness and kept moving. My toes got numb from wearing old sneakers which I tied too tightly. My hip behaved. I don't mind pain or discomfort but I don't want injury. As runners we push through the laziness, the boredom with our only guest ourself and learn to endure or tolerate discomfort. With this kind of suck it up attitude we also wrongfully try to push through an injury.
I have been at that 10-12 week training bust where skeletal-muscular systems are breaking down. A taper now is emotionally and mentally challenging but the body can heal and will then get stronger markedly so. Anyway...I remember to enjoy the time running when I could and how long I had asked for just his kind of weather. Watch what you ask for because when you get it you are out of excuses.
Lastly, i did think often enough about people in my personal life who opt out of sanity, or what is reasonable, or resist feeling different feelings or changing mindsets because "it isn't easy" or because this or that 'is hard'. Of course growth is difficult stretching beyond our comfort zone us uncomfortable. So what suck it up and get on with living. Stop squandering your good health and youth on fear. Some people could drown in a foot of water and resent you telling them "stand up". Off to church now. Vespers last night was meaningful.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Heavenly Elect Unified Not Moralistic

As citizens of heaven and ambassadors on earth, coming together with the ethnos of heaven, we pray and worship. Through the mystery of the church, the language of our supplication is heavenly.
This is applicable to peoples of different sexes,  races, nationalities, cultures, orientations, social class, education, intellectual capacities, spiritual maturity and the many faces of diversity wherever found. Let us not limit the inclusive spirit of Christianity with the taliban mentality of Islam; lest we wake to find ourselve removed from the elect.

"2) Moralism
Unfortunately, the spirit of moralism which we mentioned earlier, i.e., basing the Christian life on moral improvement, has adversely influenced the piety and spirituality of Christians to a significant degree even here in our land. We often cease to pursue Theosis because of  Western influences on our theology. Guidance that only aims for moral improvement is anthropocentric – it is centred on man, and in it, human effort dominates, and not the Grace of God. It then seems as if it is our own morality that saves us, and not the Grace of God. Life under these conditions does not give us genuine experiences of God, therefore the psyche is not truly satisfied because its thirst remains unquenched. This method of guidance has been tried, and it failed because it does not represent the genuine spirit of Christ’s Church. It is often responsible for atheism and for many people’s indifference towards the spiritual life, especially among the young. In our catechisms, sermons and everything said by parents, teachers, clergy and other workers of the Church, instead of talking about sterile improvements of mankind, let us educate Christians towards Theosis. This is the genuine spirit and experience of the Church. Otherwise, the virtues, regardless of how great they may be, do not, in fact, fulfill the purpose of the Christian life. They are simply ways and means which prepare us to accept Theosis, the Grace of the Holy Spirit, as St. Seraphim of Sarov taught so clearly".

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Running Under Tornado Threat to Find Mystical Rain

I gave serious thought to quitting do I dare say ending my relationship with running. I have thought about the payoff in practical terms and aside from a lowered heart rate and slimmer body frame I had lost the inclination to press on. I was trantruming about one matter or another. After a small bout with melancholy I did what I have come to know: I read, went to church and wrote a pastor. I read and attended church when it didn't seem at all related to my delema or experience; as if church can be delegated to Sunday mornings and resigned to stay there. Then I asked some pointed questions about running and practice and vocation. I was expressly told to keep running and pray.
I was told to stay the course to remain steadfast. I ran today for the first time in a long, long, long time. There were moments during the first few miles I wanted to walk a runner's defeat (even a slow runners defeat). Then I stepped out of myself and ran thinking about the Phanar His All-Holiness, love, acceptance and honesty. There were tornadoes warnings and the weather though windy, was warm. At the mile three marker the rain came and I was almost elated, the waste of torments washing away, draining from my pores. I took noticed and kept moving reflecting on the words of an email. Hearing the voices of my history.
When I got home the lightening lit up the ominous sky. I prepared myself for vespers (which I missed) but made bible study which got hijacked talking about the Manhattan Declaration. I took the opposition's position to the Declaration while I was blasted by some devoted people who believe that a hard line must be taken against homosexuals and "deviants". They equate abortion with gay relations. They quickly threw the Ecumenical Patriarch under the bus an attitude or opinion I do not and will not take.
As for the Man. Dec., I honestly don't know what the correct opinion as I lack the true understanding but I have been making efforts to see my faith from a difference viewpoint. If my Patriarch condones the opinions and the Declaration then I will also affirm it. This much I know: I was not the angry party in the discussion and I appreciate the spirit of inclusion. I don't much care for the smell of condemnation. I used to hold those opinions and maintain those postures. I may be farther from the truth more now then ever but I must continue to evaluate and reassess as I continue as a journeyman in my life.
P.S How is is that Met. Jonah declared anything with heretics as if he represents the orthodox church? They didn't affirm commonly held beliefs they declared 'these truths as self evident'

Basilica's Art Museum Orientale Lumen in Orlando: October 16th - November 29th

A masterpieces currently on exhibition at the Basilica's Art Museum near Walt Disney World, the Icon of the Holy Brother Apostles by master iconographer Elias Damianakis, represent a brotherly embrace between the Eastern and Western fraternal churches.

Detail of the Icon of the Holy Brother Apostles Peter and Andrew -the First Called (c) by Elias Damianakis.

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea, they were fishermen. He said to them, Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed him. [Matthew 4:18-20]
****November 3, 10:53 AMOrlando Roman Catholic ExaminerMaria Mederos****