Saturday, July 30, 2005

Pictures and Stuff

I went clothes shopping this morning, and spent all afternoon baking a cake. (It's my sister's birthday.) Hence, I have no idea what to write about. Have some pictures instead. These photos were taken around our property. I'll be sorry to move from here.

Okay, so I doctored this one. =p

That's not the house, it's the shed.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Luther on Works

It is not an easy matter to teach faith without works, and still to require works. Unless the ministers of Christ are wise in handling the mysteries of God and rightly divide the word, faith and good works may easily be confused. Both the doctrine of faith and the doctrine of good works must be diligently taught, and yet in such a way that both the doctrines stay within their God-given sphere. If we only teach works, as our opponents do, we shall lose the faith. If we only teach faith people will come to think that good works are superfluous. -Luther, Commentary on Galatians (emphasis mine)

In the Catholic and Evanjelly churches of today, it is difficult to find the Gospel amid all the Law that is taught. We can't drink, dance, smoke, or whatever it is that is deemed a sin. I've noticed the opposite problem among Lutherans...we are so caught up defending sola fide that we are afraid to teach works. Any preacher that suggests we must do something is immediately teaching Law, not Gospel. Are we neglecting love of Man for love of God?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

JS Bach

I was going to write a post on JS Bach, the King of Organists, whose works take up fully half of my repertoire. Then I decided that Pastor McCain said it better.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dog Saint

You all know the story of the Faithful Hound. Dog is left to guard baby, father comes back, sees blood on the dogs mouth, assumes the worst, and shoots the dog. Baby cries out, father realizes his mistake, and finds a dead snake (or wolf) next to the baby's crib. In his grief, the father buries the dog and erects a memorial to him.

Somehow, this story came to be attached to a local saint associated with the healing of children, who thereby was transmogrified into a greyhound, St. Guinefort.

"This recently happened in the diocese of Lyons where, when I preached against the reading of oracles, and was hearing confession, numerous women confessed that they had taken their children to Saint Guinefort. As I thought that this was some holy person, I continued with my enquiry and finally learned that this was actually a greyhound, which had been killed in the following manner...[T]he peasants, hearing of the dog's conduct and of how it had been killed, although innocent, and for a deed for which it might have expected praise, visited the place, honoured the dog as a martyr, prayed to it when they were sick or in need of something..."

Eventually, a 13th century inquisitor learned of this tale, and promptly had the dog disinterred, and the memorial destroyed. Apparently, a dog cannot be an official saint, but it can be an official heretic. However, the cult of St. Guinefort survived, and people continued to visit the remains up until 1940.

It's ridiculous, the lengths people will go to sometimes. This is the end of today's random story.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Shuttle Launch

This morning, at 10:38 am, I was on the roof of the UF Physics building watching the shuttle go up. What with that dust storm from Africa currently covering the state of Florida, the glare from the sun was awful. However, I did manage to see it (barely) - a small jet trail. The fires from the engines were visible as a bright spot, like a star. It curved up into the sky, quite low (I would guess about 30 degrees from the horizon), and then just disappeared. Interesting sight, though nothing compared to the time my family went down to Cape Canaveral and watched the shuttle launch. I wish NASA would do a night launch while I live here; I've been told they're quite impressive, and much more visible.

On another note, I think that God is angry at Florida for some reason. First a ridiculous hurricane season, then blistering heat with the humidex at 105, and now this. A dust storm. A DUST STORM. The sky is all hazy and dirty looking. At least the sunset should be interesting.

Monday, July 25, 2005

St. James the Elder

Today is the feast day of St. James the Elder, Apostle. (Also known as St. James the Great.) He is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus, and is the brother of St. John the Evangelist. Though there are no scriptural or patristic records, he is held as the evangelist to the Spaniards and Moors, and is often depicted in Moorish clothing. According to tradition, he was martyred in Jerusalem in AD 44, by the hand of Herod Agrippa.

Yep, I'm bored

Birthplace:Kyiv, Ukraine
Current Location:Gainesville, Florida
Eye Color:Brown
Hair Color:Brown
Right Handed or Left Handed:Left
Your Heritage:Ukrainian
The Shoes You Wore Today:Flip-flops, whenever I dare to venture outside.
Your Weakness:Soda
Your Fears:Lots of stuff
Your Perfect Pizza:3 meat
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year:Keep my 4.0 GPA
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger:=p
Thoughts First Waking Up:Uugghnn...
Your Best Physical Feature:My hair
Your Bedtime:Whenever I feel like it
Your Most Missed Memory:When I was little, my family would visit a Ukrainian Catholic church once in a while to see friends. The chanting was very beautiful.
Pepsi or Coke:Pepsi
MacDonalds or Burger King:Neither. Gross.
Single or Group Dates:Date? What's that?
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea:Lipton
Chocolate or Vanilla:Chocolate!
Cappuccino or Coffee:Cappuccino
Do you Smoke:no
Do you Swear:...
Do you Sing:yes
Do you Shower Daily:This is a very personal question.
Have you Been in Love:puppy love?
Do you want to go to College:I am in college.
Do you want to get Married:I don't know.
Do you belive in yourself:What the heck is this supposed to mean?
Do you get Motion Sickness:no
Do you think you are Attractive:Somewhat
Are you a Health Freak:no
Do you get along with your Parents:Usually
Do you like Thunderstorms:yes
Do you play an Instrument:yes
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol:Does the communion wine count? ;)
In the past month have you Smoked:no
In the past month have you been on Drugs:no
In the past month have you gone on a Date:no
In the past month have you gone to a Mall:no
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos:no
In the past month have you eaten Sushi:No, I wish.
In the past month have you been on Stage:no
In the past month have you been Dumped:no
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping:Ew...
In the past month have you Stolen Anything:no
Ever been Drunk:no
Ever been called a Tease:no
Ever been Beaten up:no
Ever Shoplifted:no
How do you want to Die:Dramatic. =p
What do you want to be when you Grow Up:A doctor and a church organist.
What country would you most like to Visit:Ukraine
In a Boy/Girl..
Favourite Eye Color:Deep blue
Favourite Hair Color:Brown
Short or Long Hair:Longish
Height:Taller than me
Weight:Not overweight
Best Clothing Style:Something different than what's pasted on magazines
Number of Drugs I have taken:none
Number of CDs I own:Around 30. Mostly classical.
Number of Piercings:One, in my ears.
Number of Tattoos:none
Number of things in my Past I Regret:You want me to COUNT all of them??!?


Sunday, July 24, 2005


This was recently posted on CCN:

Why is it that when everyone says to you, "Go to church, and listen to the pastor", when you can't even stay awake during the basic point is, the elders of the church tell us that we need to go to church but when we do it's boring??? Answer: the people of the church do not accept change, we have this thing called Youth Sunday at our church every year and it's to show the elders that we do go to church and stuff like that, but they hate it...why do they insist we go if they won't let us connect with the message, I think that we should try to connect with the youth rather than please the elders because we are the "future" and we can change the who wouldn't want to try and connect us to Christ???

My answer is: What's all the hype about change? Why, in this day and age, do we feel a need to change what has been tested by time, and not found lacking? This person is complaining about not being "connected to the message." In many modern churches, that could very well be true. I don't think the problem is lack of change, however; I think that the problem is trying too hard to be relevant. We try so hard to reach everybody, that we get completely caught up in reaching them, and forget about reaching Christ.

Second problem with this mentality. "I think that we should try to connect with the youth rather than please the elders." These elders have seen more than we have. They (in most cases) know what they are talking about. Are we to presume, that in all our 15 (or 20, or 30) years of life, we have learned more than they have?

Finally, yes, the youth are the future. I must say, at this point, the future is looking bleak. Why must we throw out the fullness of Church tradition and knowledge in a faulty attempt to be cool and relevant? The Divine Liturgy is not primarily a place to connect with the youth. That is what youth groups are for, if you must have them. If the service is all about connecting with the ever-changing culture of today, why do I need church? I am looking for a solid rock to stand on, not a boat that will toss me through the storms of life. The problem here is not the church. The problem is our mentality.

(And if you've gotten this far, I commend you. =p)

Okay, I give up.

I have given in to pressure, and have created a blog. Actually, I just wanted a place to rant about liturgy and such. I might even have some thoughts on theology once in a while. Since I'm sure most of you have had enough of me doing that, feel free to ignore me. ;-)