There must be a better way

I did something interesting over the summer… I took some witchcraft classes, created an alias, and infiltrated some groups on social media. My goal? To better understand pagans, wiccans and witches in order to better discuss with them the gospel.

One question I asked was: “If you have a deity belief system, why would you believe evolution over your creation myth? There is NO scientific evidence for evolution.”

Instead of finding out about other people’s belief system of creation, I received a scalding hot earful of vitriol and name calling.

I had always thought that evolution was used by atheists to get people to stop believing in ANY deity, not just to try and get Christians to walk away from God. I did not get to read much about other people’s creation myths which is unfortunate. What I did discover which truly surprised me was, these groups of people all believed either fully in evolution, or a combination of evolution and whatever deity system they held dear. Mostly, however… and disappointingly, the conversation devolved (hee-hee) into arguments and name calling.

There has to be a better way… does there not?

While some of the ancient fathers, theologians and philosophers were against literal interpretation of the Genesis telling of creation LINK I tend to lean toward the ideas and writings of modern day supporters of the Genesis account.

We can see in various passages of scripture the description of the stars and planets and their placement in the constellations. The bible is accurate about that information to the point where the Wise Men used the stars to show them the way to the Christ child AND the stars can be used to tell someone of the gospel story.

The Witness Of The Stars: Color Illustrated, Formatted for E-Readers (Unabridged Version) by [E.W. Bullinger, Leonardo]
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0173TUBRC/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
LINK

In the book of Job, God asks, Job “

Job 38:4-30

English Standard Version

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
    and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

“Or who shut in the sea with doors
    when it burst out from the womb,
when I made clouds its garment
    and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10 and prescribed limits for it
    and set bars and doors,
11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
    and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
    and caused the dawn to know its place,
13 that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
    and the wicked be shaken out of it?
14 It is changed like clay under the seal,
    and its features stand out like a garment.
15 From the wicked their light is withheld,
    and their uplifted arm is broken.

16 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
    or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
    Declare, if you know all this.

19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
    and where is the place of darkness,
20 that you may take it to its territory
    and that you may discern the paths to its home?
21 You know, for you were born then,
    and the number of your days is great!

22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
    or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
    for the day of battle and war?
24 What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
    or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?

25 “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
    and a way for the thunderbolt,
26 to bring rain on a land where no man is,
    on the desert in which there is no man,
27 to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
    and to make the ground sprout with grass?

28 “Has the rain a father,
    or who has begotten the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb did the ice come forth,
    and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?
30 The waters become hard like stone,
    and the face of the deep is frozen.Read full chapter

The reason why I think it is so important that Christians lay hold of the Genesis creation account (not myth.. ACCOUNT) is because evolution is used as a lame attempt to disprove ALL of the bible but especially the gospel. If there is no Adam nor Eve, then there is no reason for Christ to have come to redeem us.

Get it? No creation, no fall, no need for a Savior and certainly no resurrection. It matters. either all of the bible matters or none of it does. We tend to get ourselves caught on a slippery slope telling ourselves this or that does not matter. This is how alternative lifestyles are given a toe hold where they should never be allowed.

As Christians, what are we doing to be apart from the world? Not a part of the world… apart as in separate from the world?

I went to ladies group today for the first time in a WHILE.

The Monk of Mount Athos: Staretz Selouan 1866-1938: Archimandrite Sophrony,  Rosemay Edmonds: 9780913836156: Amazon.com: Books
LINK

This is the book we are reading for those of you who would like to join in. today’s lesson was about grace, and some other things I will go into in my next post.

If you have been a staunch supporter of evolution over the creation account in Genesis, I lovingly urge you to read more about it. Maybe even watch some Kent Hovind videos on the topic. He has a fair few. I put on down below to help you get started.


The Holy Days are upon us… NOW

Nativity Icon Greeting Card for Sale by Munir Alawi
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This year has just FLOWN by! Combine that with some personal crises I am dealing with since about August-ish and I plumb forgot until now that hey… it is NOVEMBER!!! Why does this matter?

Well the Advent and Nativity Fasting seasons are upon us. I thought I would connect you to a few resources should you be interested in connecting in some way this Holy season.

NATIVITY FAST This begins Monday, November 15th for those of us on the new calendar.

ADVENT SERIES for young adults

BOOKS for personal or group studies:

When the winter begins to make way into the Northern World, the Church of Christ begins to celebrate ‘a splendid three-day Pascha.’ Thus Father Thomas Hopko begins the first of forty meditations for the season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, ending with the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple on the fortieth day after Christ’s birth. In the style of his popular book for the paschal fasting season, The Lenten Spring, the author again draws on the biblical readings and liturgical hymns and verses of the season to illumine the way for believers to follow the Church’s days of preparation and celebration for the Coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in human flesh. Many references are made to the writings of the saints and Church Fathers, as well as to contemporary Christian teachers and spiritual guides. All those who love the Lord’s Coming will find comfort and strength, as well as enlightenment and instruction, for having passed through the Winter Pascha with this book as their companion.
HEAR THE CHRISTMAS STORY AS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE MAKE THE JOURNEY TO THE MANGER ALONG WITH MARY AND JOSEPH, THE SHEPHERDS AND THE MAGI Has the Christmas season become the most stressful time of the year instead of the most wonderful time? Do you struggle to keep Christ in Christmas?The story of the Nativity is told in a mere 40 verses of scripture-19 in the Gospel of Matthew, 20 in the Gospel of Luke and 1 in the Gospel of John. Yet nearly each word of every verse is packed with meaning. We are all familiar with holiday words like “joy” and “glory.” Have you ever wondered about their deeper meaning? The glory of the Lord (Luke 2:9) is not just part of the Christmas story but something we can experience in our own lives. Joy reminds us of the child-like innocence we used to have and can recapture.In Luke 2:20 we read “And the shepherds returned.” The shepherds were still shepherds; witnessing the miracle of the Incarnation of Christ didn’t change their status. It changed their hearts. Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections for Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany is a series of short daily reflections on the scripture readings of the season, to be read during the Orthodox Christian Advent and Nativity season between November 15 and January 7.Spending a few minutes each day reading and reflecting on these scriptures will not change your status either. It will change your heart. You will better understand the “good news of a great joy,” and why “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” AND AS YOU PREPARE TO AGAIN CELEBRATE GOD’S GREATEST GIFT TO US, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO OFFER WITH A MORE GRATEFUL HEART YOUR GIFTS TO HIM. Father Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is a Greek Orthodox Priest who serves St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida.
The author of the popular Meditations for Great Lent takes us through the hymnography, scripture readings, and iconography for the forty days leading up to the Nativity of Christ, showing how a full understanding of the Incarnation can enrich our spiritual lives.


No critters allowed

Steam Community :: Guide :: Raw mouse input

No you may not!

We had some door-to-door exterminators come by yesterday. They all had these cute, mini-Segways you steer with your knees. I thought that was clever albeit not very good for a workout but since our neighborhood is at such a high altitude, I will give them a pass this time…

The man who sold the treatment plan to us told me a little bit about what is going on at other people’s homes in the neighborhood; ‘You have a very, buggy neighborhood, and your neighbor around the corner has large rats we’re getting rid of for him.’

me- “Grrrreeeaaat.”.

Great Sarcasm GIFs | Tenor

I do like it that they sweep the cobwebs off of the house and clean up the dead bodies (mice, mice, baby). Our neighborhood is older and we live in the mountains. I’m surprised people have not yet been carried off by some of the smaller wild life let alone the bigger wild life although one woman in our area was supposedly bitten on her bottom by a bear one day when she was in her backyard. I can neither confirm nor deny this information but it did make it into the local news.

We do see bears from time to time in our neighborhood. A tech is coming by next week with bait traps for the voles. If I were to plant a garden now, I think it would be eaten up from the bottom due to all of the wild life in our yard. It has gotten very bad out there with vole holes.

I am a bit excited to have a critter free home and yard! We’ll see.

How are all of you doing? Who needs prayer?

I am paraphrasing but today’s reading in the book; Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives by Elder Thaddeus was about not allowing ourselves to become to wrapped up in the cares of the world. How can you detach more from the cares of the world? Are you a news junkie? do you visit conspiracy theory websites? Even the MSM can get too carried away (pretty much all of the time!!) so I avoid it all.

It can be frustrating to watch the news especially when it is so obviously biased about what is going on in Israel, and still focused on blaming Mr. Trump for everything.

Detach. Tell your family not to bother you with news updates, and avoid reading or watching the news for a few days and see if you feel better. It can be difficult. Everyone wants to tell me about the news. I think they think I am missing out but it is my choice not to watch or read the news so I must keep reminding them not to tell me anything about it. People do tend to get too wrapped up in it. It’s not as if knowing what is going on will change the world.

You can pray for the world without watching the news everyday. There will always be; war, famine, violence, protests, etc. Solomon said, ‘There is nothing new under the sun.’. He was right.

Say your prayers, give alms, go to church and avoid the world!


Scripture and saints

Scripture Readings

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Today’s commemorated feasts and saints

Virgin Martyr Glyceria at Heraclea, and with her, Martyr Laodicius, Keeper of the Prison (ca. 177). Righteous Virgin Glykéria of Novgorod (1522). Translation of the Relics of Ven. Makáry, Archimandrite of Obruch (or Kanev—1678). Martyr Alexander of Rome (284-305). St. Pausicacus, Bishop of Synnada (606). St George the Confessor, with his wife, Irene, and their children, of Constantinople (9th c.). St. Euthymius the New (1028), founder of Ivḗron Monastery, and his fellow Georgian Saints of Mt. Athos: his father, John, his cousin, George, and Gabriel. Monastic Martyrs of Ivḗron (Mt. Athos).

Free Scroll Border Cliparts, Download Free Scroll Border Cliparts png  images, Free ClipArts on Clipart Library

First of all, Orthodox Christians do not worship saints or the Theotokos (virgin Mary to others). When I brought this up he steadfastly kept trying to convince me being Orthodox was wrong without coming out and saying it is wrong. He brought up how ‘wrong’ it is for Jesus to be depicted on the cross. It is not.

Three Bar Wall Cross Russian Silk Orthodox Icon » Brass & Orthodox Icon  Wall Crosses | Crucifix art, Wall crosses, Orthodox icons
See the itty bitty skull at the foot of the cross? That is Adam’s skull and the blood of Christ is redeeming us all. It is a powerful symbol and I just can’t have a cross now that does not show this very important reminder.
Icons of the Mother of God - November - Orthodox Church in America
Theotokos (Mary) holding Christ in her lap.

The entire visit was an attack against Orthodoxy from asking the saints to pray for me, to icons, to… you get the picture. By the time I left I was exhausted.

TOP 22 ORTHODOX CHURCH QUOTES | A-Z Quotes

I made the mistake of trying to defend myself and Orthodoxy. Some how along the way in Christianity the scripture that tells us to provide an answer for our hope has turned into, ‘argue with everyone’.

1 Peter 3:15 | Scripture quotes, Bible quotes, Scripture verses

This does not mean argue with everyone, pick fights, and be unpleasant. People do not convert to Christianity because you were a better debater than they. It’s not as if I joined a cult for heaven’s sake! I went and converted to the original Christian church. The church that was started at Pentecost. This person thinks we are roman Catholic, we are not and no matter how many times I remind him I am not a Roman Catholic he still uses RC references.

Orthodox quotes about peace 25 pope john paul ii quotes to make you fight  for what you believe in | Dogtrainingobedienceschool.com

While I was not hostile, I certainly was not at peace and I took the bait. I began to debate with him. What I really should have done was just shrug my shoulders and say, ‘I don’t know.’.

These sorts of ‘debates’ really do not accomplish anything beyond hurt feelings and bruised egos.

Lord forgive me. Help me to acquire a spirit of peace and not one of conflict. Help me to consider those around me better than I and to be quiet & humble. Amen.

The book club begins soon. Have you purchased your book?

Read through the beginning of the book regarding his life.


On my reading shelf: possible gift ideas for readers.

club master eyeglasses on pile of three books
Photo by @sincerelymedia on Unsplash

How many of you expected to be so busy without leaving your homes? Such is the life of any stay-at-home-wife/mother. Even without going anywhere but the store, we tend to have full day timers/planners. Falling into bed at the end of the day with something great to read is such a treat… especially if you can keep your eyes open long enough to read it!

A few things occupying my nightstand of ebook space are;

The Jane Austen Diet: Austen’s Secrets to Food, Health, and Incandescent Happiness (ebook) written by Bryan Kozlowski. I bought this book because, Jennifer L. Scott recommended it on one of her videos. I have been watching her on Youtube lately. I started reading it on the Amazon site (the Lookinside) feature and decided to buy it. I love Bryan’s wit and writing voice. He is someone I would invite over for a cuppa and Jane movie marathon or just to sit and talk about her work. If you love, Jane, and you love food I recommend this book. I think it would also make a great gift as long as you presented it to the receiver as a lark and an addition to their, ‘Jane’ collection. There is quite a lot about body acceptance written in these pages, wisdom gleaned from Jane’s books. I think any fan of Austen’s work would like this book.

Image from the Amazon site

If you follow my blog you already know that I am reading, The Holy Angels by Mother Alexandra (in printed format). My sister and I have formed a book club with just the two of us. This is an amazing book. It is meat and potatoes stuff. Whether of not you are a Christian, if you have wanted to know more about angels, this is the book you need to buy. It too would make a great gift. Here is a descriptive excerpt from Amazon’s website:

First published in 1981 and long out of print, The Holy Angels has yet to be surpassed as a comprehensive and comprehensible account of the nature of the angels and their role in our salvation. In layperson’s terms, Mother Alexandra presents the essence of everything the Church has to teach us about the angels, beginning with the Old Testament, continuing through the New Testament, and concluding with the Tradition of the Church as expressed in her theology, hymnography, and iconography. For those who long to become better acquainted with these holy servants of God and to understand their role in our lives, this book is a great place to start.

Amazon.com

Also on my shelf is:

The winter Pascha by Father Thomas Hopco who I think is this generation’s C.S. Lewis (don’t hate me). Also in print form.

When the winter begins to make way into the Northern World, the Church of Christ begins to celebrate ‘a splendid three-day Pascha.’ Thus Father Thomas Hopko begins the first of forty meditations for the season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, ending with the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple on the fortieth day after Christ’s birth. In the style of his popular book for the paschal fasting season, The Lenten Spring, the author again draws on the biblical readings and liturgical hymns and verses of the season to illumine the way for believers to follow the Church’s days of preparation and celebration for the Coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in human flesh. Many references are made to the writings of the saints and Church Fathers, as well as to contemporary Christian teachers and spiritual guides. All those who love the Lord’s Coming will find comfort and strength, as well as enlightenment and instruction, for having passed through the Winter Pascha with this book as their companion.

Image and quote taken from Amazon.com

Yes, I am having a hard time keeping up with my reading. I have other studies I am plowing through as well as other books I re-visit from time to time to try to keep up. The book I am keeping close and reading the most is The Holy Angels book. As I said my sister and I are discussing it and I do not wish to fall behind.

This brief list does not include books I have accumulated to read ‘one day’. Which include: The Catholic Vote for Trump even though the election is over I want to finish this book. The author has some very good insights on what is going on in our nation. Catholic or not, religious or not you can’t live in America and not know there is something very wrong with our nation right now. Something which began long before, Trump took office. Also on my list of ‘to-read’ are; Triggered by Donald Trump, Jr. (e-library book), some of the Madame Chic books by, Jennifer L. Scott (all ebooks), Everyday Wonders; Stories of God’s Providence, by V. Rev. Michael J. Oleksa. If you like Alaska this is a must read even if you are not a Christian. I find Fr. Oleksa to come across as very tender hearted with a great love for the people he serves. He has written several books about his life serving the people’s of Alaska and the history of Orthodoxy in Alaska.

Here is an interview he did.

Also in my Kindle are the books written by, Constantina Palmer:

Every monastery exudes the scent of holiness, but women’s monasteries have their own special flavor. Join Constantina Palmer as she makes frequent pilgrimages to a women’s monastery in Greece and absorbs the nuns’ particular approach to their spiritual life. If you’re a woman who’s read of Mount Athos and longed to partake of its grace-filled atmosphere, this book is for you. Men who wish to understand how women’s spirituality differs from their own will find it a fascinating read as well.

Image and quote from the Amazon.com website.

From the author of “The Scent of Holiness,” The Sweetness of Grace is a collection of stories derived from conversations with Orthodox nuns, monks, and laypeople, along with experiences of Orthodox life in South Korea, Greece, and North America. Those who enjoyed Everyday Saints will enjoy these similar stories from other parts of the Orthodox world. The book includes conversations with monastics, priests and laypeople and stories of the sweet and difficult aspects of Christian life. The stories span three continents, including experiences in South Korea, Greece, and North America.

Image and quote from the Amazon.com website.

This is a partial list. Of course I am not reading every book at the same time. I like to rotate my reading. Orthodox books tend to be, ‘chewy’. Meaning, very meat and potatoes. You don’t skim an Orthodox book, you ‘chew’ on it for a while as you ‘mentally digest’ it.

Any of these Orthodox books would be a great choice for a Christian book club, a gift for a friend who loves to read, or to grace your nightstand/e-reader device.

What are YOU reading these days? Let me know in comments.





Building your Orthodox library

How would you read about Orthodoxy if you were stuck for days, weeks, months, without the Internet?

While I have learned SO much about the Orthodox church by accessing online; blogs, podcasts, videos, e-books, etc. I have also been building a hard copy, old-school, analog (ha ha, I know not entirely accurate but my term I use for, non-digital) library.

Books, dear… I’m talking about good, old fashioned, made from paper books.

Image result for i love books gif

I think, other than the subjects of herbs, and nutrition/healing, my largest collection of books I own is on Orthodox Christianity. That said, I could read more, and more about Orthodoxy. It is the one subject about which, I would never grow tired of reading.

Of course, the Orthodox Study bible is paramount and I recommend it as your first major investment to your library. Find a reading plan on line, print it out and keep it with your bible. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bit outdated. Sept. 1st is still Sept. 1st. It will be ok.

Books on the sayings of the desert fathers,

Sayings of the Desert Fathers   -     Translated By: Benedicta Ward SLG

and of the Optina Elders are necessary reading.

You can do collections such as this:

Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

Or books about individuals such as this:

Elder Anthony of Optina

All can of course be found on Amazon.

Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

One of the first books I read as a catecumen. So precious.

Wounded by Love

This author also has a blog.

The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God (Orthodox Theological Texts)

Words of the Heart: Gerondissa Makrina Vassopoulou

Buy also a good prayer book, and a good psalter you will read. People have their favorites but what really matters is to buy one you like, will pick up, and use.

Some books are for reference and not necessarily for daily reading: Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy is one.

Also, I glean from the reading lists of others such as that of the Abbot of Holy Transfiguration Monastery.

A word of caution about reading; The Arena. that is geared toward monastics and may trip up laity. If you MUST read something like that our parish priest recommends; Thirty Steps to Heaven as a Lenten read.

Image result for thirty steps to heaven

Here are a few other titles I recommend specifically for deeper study of the bible

You may purchase them one at a time as needed or all three in a set.

‘All three’ meaning commentary on; Book 1-The Four Gospels, Book 2- The Acts of the Apostles, Book 3-the Epistles and the Apocalypse.

About the author; Archbishop Averky approaches the New Testament first and foremost not as a literary work of antiquity, but as the revelation of Jesus Christ as God in the flesh. Writing in the tradition of biblical exegetes, he provides a commentary that is firmly grounded in the teaching of the Church, manifested in its liturgical hymnography and the works of the Holy Fathers. Analyzing all four Gospels chronologically and simultaneously, he allows readers to see the life of Christ as an unfolding narrative in accessible, direct language. Archbishop Averky’s commentaries on the New Testament have become standard textbooks in Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary and have been published in Russia to widespread acclaim. This present collection makes the complete commentary available in one collection for the first time. It is an indispensable addition to the library of every student of Holy Scripture.

This is a good start and your library will grow as you do. The important thing to remember is to purchase it in paper, and to not buy digital books. I also recommend buying some sort of notebook or journal in which you may record your thoughts. If you have a favorite book not listed here, please share it with us.