Monday, December 15, 2014


Malcolm The Cynic recently posted about jealousy on his blog:  My Fatal Flaw.

What he wrote really struck a nerve with me.  Pride? Yes.  Lust?  Yes.  Selfishness?  Yes, but jealousy being at the root core of my sin?  Had not occurred to me until reading his raw, honest account of discovering the dark, green flow in his own soul.

And so it is here, with me, one of many heavy weights pulling me down.  Especially now, today, December 15th 2014.  It is the day after what should be a joyous anniversary, with loving exchanges of simple gifts, and and sharing happy smiles and playful glances.

But it's not.

In my late 30's my doctor diagnosed me with mild SAD: seasonal adjustment disorder.  From Fall to Spring I tend to fall into a funk.  The dark stays longer, temperatures cool, and most of the time I want to get away from everything and curl up in warm bed in a dark corner like a grouchy bear hibernating for the Winter.  It's been almost 3 years since my family was torn apart and my yearly struggle made even worse, at times feeling unbearable, and hopeless.

Facebook really adds to the hurt.  Every post of pictures, with smiling faces and happy families gathered around food, drinks, and presents just feel like knives digging deep into my back, pushing me down into a thick mire of regret, and bitter.......jealousy.

I long for what other's have, or at least appear to have.  I suspect there is an underlying sense of entitlement, somehow I should have and experience what they do. The fact that I'm painfully aware of the lives I've both earned and failed to earn doesn't help at all.

But today on Facebook someone posted a link to a broadcast of "Fresh Air" on NPR about a Punk Rock drummer from D.C. who made a profound and timely connection to ancient Christian (and some Muslim) music in Syria.  I found it to be sorrowful and hopeful.  Sorrow concerning the tragic fate of communities of faith being systematically uprooted and scattered, if not completely exterminated, and hopeful that God is showering grace and mercy upon them and miracles may await.  Although His instrument and servant of love is not armies or governments with treaties or wars, but a Yankee punk rocker on NPR.

I invite you to listen to the whole thing.  The first piece of music shared during the interview is a Muslim chant, but there are some examples of what may be the oldest existing Christian songs and chant later in the broadcast.

Before War, A Punk Drummer Preserved Syrian Chants


Saturday, October 25, 2014

TED Finds Religion

TED Talks on the local NPR station was discussing relative happiness when our minds wander.

The conclusion was people are happier when focused a some task at hand rather than when their minds were wandering.  Most of the time when our minds wander it is to unpleasant thoughts, like worry or anger about something.

This prompted some rather joyful giggling on my part.  Most religious monastic traditions have discovered this a very long time ago.  Mindfulness, living in the moment, capturing our thoughts with good things are common threads and themes.

The TED Talker also claimed that it didn't matter how significant or complicated the task in focus was, just focusing seemed to bring about more happiness.  He specifically used commuting as an example.

People expressed unhappiness with commuting, not because of the mindlessness or dreariness of the task, but rather with the tendency of the their minds to wander to even more unpleasant things.  People were happier when they focused on the task of driving and were able to control their wandering minds.

Our Orthodox tradition of The Jesus Prayer serves a similar purpose.  It focuses our minds and hearts on a simple, repetitive task, and constrains us from wandering our attention to other unpleasantness.  We also apply significance to the content of the prayer as a simple yet complete expression of repentance and salvation in Christ Jesus.

Ted Talk: Stay In The Moment

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Who wil replace the ancient wizards?

As we long for a magical future where mysterious techno-elves somehow keep us connected, tweeting, air conditioned and mobile, as we leisurely collect our pay for being special snowflakes, and the ancient Wizards who built the foundations we tread upon so carelessly fade into the distance, where will their replacements come from?

The journey from savagery to our current civilization took centuries of blood, sweat, and dirty hands, but a collapse might only be a generation of decay and neglect away.................

....nah....don't worry, be happy, the road goes on forever and the party never ends......

The Work We Value

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reconsidering Empire

I've been an unapologetic, anti-empire hard case for a long time.  This thoughtful defense of an American Empire abroad as a stabilizing for (classical) liberal democracy and western civilization has given me some food for thought and further consideration.

Justification of the current meddling in and destabilization of Eastern Europe and the Middle East is still a dubious proposition in my opinion, but I am now keeping my eyes and ears open for evidence this is the case.

Why Empire

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Take an oath of loyalty to life

"The rise in suicide has been accompanied by a loss of the moral questions that once surrounded it. G. K. Chesterton was one of our last full-throated critics of suicide. His insistence that suicide is immoral sounds strange to our individualistic ears: “Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin,” Chesterton wrote: “It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world.” Chesterton goes on to say that the act of suicide is selfish: “A suicide is a man who cares so little for anything outside him, that he wants to see the last of everything.” It would be difficult to imagine anyone writing such a polemic today. We do not consider suicide the moral catastrophe that people like Chesterton once thought it was."

 The Catastrophe of Suicide by Emily Esfahani Smith

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My friend David writes one of the more thoughtful, balanced articles about home schooling I have read.

Why Not To Homeschool ?

Looks like this blog has become mostly linking to others, but if I have nothing worth writing to offer leading others to those I find worthwhile will have to suffice.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pious Fabrications: My struggle with PTSD and the existence of evil

David, someone I know and have met in person, a combat veteran, also writes one of the few blogs I frequent and link on this one gives his perspective on the Ft. Hood shooting:

Pious Fabrications: My struggle with PTSD and the existence of evil: On November 5, 2009, I was assigned as the Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of the 24-hour staff duty at my unit's barracks on Fort Ho...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Not So Super Bowl

This one was so bad I went to get snacks and drinks during the game hoping to get back in time for the next commercial....

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I Love My Son much as I'm capable of loving anyone.

My heart aches for him often.  He's a young adult, struggling in college, working part time.

We had an argument over the phone today.  Until it was resolved, and all was cool between us later, I was stressed, and sad.

I wish he could experience for two seconds how I feel about him, both the joy and the sorrow.  I'm afraid to die thinking he doesn't know I love him, how proud I am of him.

He is strong and courageous, stands up to me even in my lowest, craziest moments.  Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not, cuz' he can really be a foolish kid .. pain in the ass ....sometimes.......  Most of the time we're good.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


How often do religious expressions of calm acceptance of evil mask internal anguish, anger or disappointment?   Is it a passive aggressive way of directing blame at God for pain we are afraid to live with?

 "I believe that the Divine, force and free will are all intertwined. I have to bite my tongue when I hear of someone speaking of one who left us by other than natural causes, "it's so bad the Lord took him early" when all I can think is "you know, if he hadn't intentionally busted several laws of the State and physics he'd still be here, the Lord notwithstanding". " - more from Brigid the blogger..


Apparently my desire and passion for writing, this blog or otherwise, ebb and flow, mostly ebb......  quoting and linking to other blogs is lame, but it's all I got right now.....

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christ Revealed

"Let us testify to the Savior in our attitudes, words, and deeds. Our world does not need theories concerning Christ, but rather the testimony of lives that reveal the Lord. There is hunger for the God whom Saint John describes: “This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me’”"

 From Dynamis Publications Daily Readings, Jan. 7th, 2014