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Farm Day

Contemplating a farm day. So many projects to attend to, so little time and man power. Several friends are interested in restorative labor. Could these pieces fit together for the improvement of the homestead, and in turn our fellowship with land and neighbor?

In related news, the last gate to the picket fence has been hung. Hallelujah! The burden is (mostly) lifted, with only a few small items to attend to, possible candidates for the proposed farm day….

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Disjointed

There are times I blog and others I think about it. For years at a stretch I don’t think about it. Blogging as a medium appears passe of late. Good ideas in longform are less and less tolerable, and the Twitterverse only seems to accommodate writers of exceptional pith. It comes off as cliche even to feel at odds with the direction of Western society. My devices do not sync with each other or the cloud well enough to make this a multi-media forum. Distraction abounds.

However, writing still interests me.

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What we’re fighting for…

(The Telegraph) – Fighting raged through the picturesque mountain village of Maaloula, near Damascus, on Thursday, as the regime launched a counter-attack against the rebels.

“They entered the main square and smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary,” said one resident of the area, speaking by phone and too frightened to give his name. “They shelled us from the nearby mountain. Two shells hit the St Thecla convent.”

Maaloula, tucked into the honey-coloured cliffs of a mountain range north of Damascus and on a “tentative” list of applicants for Unesco world heritage status, is associated with the earliest days of Christianity.

via Byzantine, Texas: Syrian rebels attack Christian village of Maaloula.

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What Matters

From the helpful blog, Glory to God for All Things:

God matters and what matters to God matters. I know that sounds very redundant, but I’m not sure how else I want to say it. There are many things that do not matter – because they do not matter to God. Knowing the difference between the two – what matters to God and what does not requires that we know God.

And this is theology – to know God. If I have a commitment in theology, it is to insist that we never forget that it is to know God. Many of the arguments (unending) and debates (interminable) are not about what we know, but about what we think.

Thinking is not bad, nor is it wrong, but thinking is not the same thing as theology. It is, of course, possible to think about theology, but this is not to be confused with theology itself.

Knowing God is not in itself an intellectual activity for God is not an idea, nor a thought. God may be known because He is person. Indeed, He is only made known to us as person (we do not know His essence). We cannot know God objectively – that is He is not the object of our knowledge. He is known as we know a person. This is always a free gift, given to us in love. Thus knowledge of God is always a revelation, always a matter of grace, never a matter of achievement or attainment.

It matters that we know God because knowledge of God is life itself. “This is eternal life,” Jesus said, “to know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”

The Orthodox way of life is only about knowing God. Everything we do, whether it is prayer, communion, confession, forgiveness, fasting – all of it is about knowing God. If it is about something else, then it is delusion and a distraction from our life’s only purpose.

Knowing God is not a distraction from knowing other persons, nor is knowing other persons a distraction from knowing God. But, like God, knowing other persons is not the same thing as thinking about them, much less is it objectifying them.

Knowing others is so far from being a distraction from knowing God, that it is actually essential to knowing God. We cannot say we love God, whom we have not seen, and hate our brother whom we do see, St. John tells us. We only know God to the extent that we love our enemies (1 John 4:7-8).

And this matters.

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15th Antiphon

Today is suspended on a tree He who suspended the earth upon the waters.

The King of the angels is decked with a crown of thorns.

He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.

He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped on the face.

The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the Cross with nails.

The Son of the virgin is pierced by a spear.

We worship Thy passion, O Christ.

We worship Thy passion, O Christ.

We worship Thy passion, O Christ.

Show us also Thy glorious resurrection

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May 3, 2013 · 2:59 am

Republicans are often not Conservative

A leftist French parliamentarian, rep. of the Martinique, makes much more sense than the “conservative” Huntsman in a recent speech:

“Until now I have supported all bill and commitments of the Left. But there is, today, a deep confusion that gets in the way for me. The freedom of conscience allows me to speak honestly from abroad (Martinique) to the issues for the people of this chamber, whose opinions are diverse. Speaking for French citizens abroad, on the whole, we are opposed to homosexual marriage. The bill proposed would bring down all the structures, values, and understandings that have held together the social world of our archipelago.

This voice of the French overseas must be heard and taken into account. I must speak to the electorate and rectify their confusion about what is happening here and now. The risk here is tremendous, that the government might cause an irreparable rift. The proposed bill does notoffer supplementary liberties in truth. In fact, the proposed bill weakens the already delicate social framework that has bulwarked the Antillean and Anguillan islands in the wake of our liberation from slavery. I will go further: there is even the risk here that the bill would invalidate the pact that has tied us to the Republic of France for 200 years and more.

This idea of homosexual marriage calls for, on my part, very deep reflection. Let us first distinguish clearly between the issue of homosexuality and the issue of gay marriage. To conflate the two, as some orators have done in this chamber, is dishonest. Homosexuality is a practice, something done in the privacy of one’s home, and of course we must acknowledge it and offer legal protection to those who do this in their private life. On the other hand, gay marriage and gay adoption lift up into the public sphere an idea that would overturn the whole system of norms, and replace them with new norms regarding descent, child-rearing, and procreation.

This is where we must draw the line.

Can we speak of freedom and progress? How? When we are essentially forcing a juridical framework for marriage in place of one that formerly existed naturally? It existed, before, in light of a man and a woman who could sire a child. To confer gay marriages means to replace procreative marriage for marriage based on feeling. The child is no longer the focal point of marriage, and the people outside of the marriage might have a desire for a child, it doesn’t matter if they are even married.

So let’s see what this means. Marriage is now a sentimental concept open to anyone, straight or gay, male or female. This will bring the risk of losing the fundamental value of our society. We would be imposing hedonist individualism to replace our earlier vision of personhood based on solidarity, equality, liberty, and fraternity.

The family, which has been the constitutive unit since the our founding, since the Revolution, since the emancipation from slavery — will explode in the literal sense of the word. Our charge is great standing before history. As for me, a man born to an oppressed people, reduced to slavery, in which the social system denied a man and a woman the right to marry and have a legitimate child — marriage was forbidden! — I bear witness here to the fact that freedom comes from recognizing difference and not in pretending that sameness is equal to difference.”

via Marriage Equality is a Conservative Cause

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Doomsday Provision

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January 30, 2013 · 8:59 pm