not of this world

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


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slipping over the santa cruz mountains




Monday, July 23, 2007

Weil pearls

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An experimental ontological proof.
I have not the principle of rising in me. I cannot climb to heaven through the air.
It is only by directing my thoughts towards something better than myself that I am drawn upwards by this something…

The love of self is the only love; but only God can love himself.
That is why there is no other love open to us than to pray that God may love himself through us.

NB 434, 193, Simone Weil

Saturday, July 21, 2007

on pilgrimage

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in continued pursuit of what may just turn out to be a pipe dream. the owners of Agia Sophia (hat tip to dear Erin and hubby) have kindly offered to advise me in my ever so beginning stage, business plan structuring, number crunching nightmare, is this at all possible phase. sitting here sipping coffee, scribbling notes and preparing for our meeting, listening to the chant playing - which weirdly is a cd of the Orthodox nuns i spent a year living with, when this whole idea first start brewing so many years ago…



this was formerly the town court building


Elder Joseph the Hesychast




Friday, July 20, 2007


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such craft
your circumspect
faithful hands

Thursday, July 19, 2007

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Every single generation is a renewed battle for civilization.

Every single generation can revert thousands of years into primitive behavior. There is no difference between you and me and an Aztec who ripped out the heart of a human being, while alive, to give it to the gods of the Aztecs. There is no difference. You and I have the exact same nature as those people. The only difference between you and me and them is the value system we have been given. But if you do not give that value system every single generation, every single day, there will be a reversion to moral primitivism. This is lost on the people who call themselves ‘progressives,’ who think we do not need, we have already graduated beyond the need for, a text based, or God based, moral behavior. There is a belief that moral progress is inevitable. It isn’t! It has to be fought every single generation.

spoken by prager today on his show, reflecting upon the current news story about dog fighting, having been highlighted by a sports star’s exposure of being deep into the whole sordid business - and the fact that its popularity is increasing exponentially among our inner cities.

while human cruelty to other humans, as dennis addressed at length, is of far greater concern, the link between people who take pleasure out of being cruel to animals eventually graduating on to take even more pleasure in causing far greater suffering to fellow humans, is well established. though, interestingly, the reverse is not the case. consider hitler and his beloved ‘blondie,’ and that Nazi Germany forbade experimentation on animals, but had no such qualms about so using humans for whom they had contempt, humans whom they judged to not be human enough to warrant the humane treatment they insisted upon for their valued animals.

what’s also interesting is that the warped sense of animal rights witnessed in our day has not held such sway in any society since Nazi Germany. while no decent person sanctions cruelty as is found in the dog fighting in the news today, it is telling that once more the re-emerging primitive and the charging ahead ‘enlightened’ seem to meet in an increasingly sordid, though on the surface, fairly respectable society, one where both extremes in increasing numbers dismiss the need for, or use of, divine guidance or the values which formed it to be such a desirable experiment itself in the first place. a society where all men were judged as being in possession of intrinsic value, an inestimable value from which their rights flow by the hand of the Creator in Whose image they all were formed, and Whose example they are all called to imitate.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

new favorite rebuttal to the new new atheists

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…unlike the anti-modern atheism of Nietzsche and Heidegger, which regarded the death of God as a catastrophe for the human spirit, the new new atheism sees the loss of religious faith in the modern world as an unqualified good, lamenting only the perverse and widespread resistance to shedding once and for all the hopelessly backward belief in a divine presence in history…

…isolating the supposed religious significance of the Bible from the communities and interpretive traditions that have elaborated its teaching is invalid. It is like deriving the meaning of the Constitution today by reading its provisions without reference to “The Federalist Papers,” which provides authoritative commentary on its principles; without reference to the two centuries of cases and controversies through which the Supreme Court has sought to construe its meaning; and without reference to the two centuries of experience through which the American people have sought to put the institutional framework it outlines into practice.

In making his case that reason must regard faith as an enemy to be wiped out, Mr. Hitchens declares Socrates’s teaching that knowledge consists in knowing one’s ignorance to be “the definition of an educated person.” And yet Mr. Hitchens shows no awareness that his atheism, far from resulting from skeptical inquiry, is the rigidly dogmatic premise from which his inquiries proceed, and that it colors all his observations and determines his conclusions.

keep reading — and i mean it, it is that good — The New New Atheism

Monday, July 16, 2007

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

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Religion is a great many things, including many decent and noble things, and deflating them all into a soggy rubber balloon for the sake of Leftist analysis is much like trying to reduce all of human sexuality to physical friction between genital organs. Hitch could easily write a book called “Sex is not great.” Well, it is and it isn’t. What kind of sex? Practiced by whom? To what end?

keep reading my favorite Hitchens rebuttal thus far, On Religion, Hitchens is Not so Great

Saturday, July 14, 2007

not robbery

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wanted to share an excerpt (minus accent and breathing marks) of a belatedly finished translation/commentary of Philippians 2 — the impetus being that the RSV translates 2:6 as: who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped — which has a subtle though fairly signficant different sense than what was discovered in translating and conferring with much more esteemed, though equally orthodox : ) commentators. which is why i wanted to be able to pick my own grubby hands through the original greek with verses such as this one in the first place, and which, although not provisional whatsoever of perfect gnosis of revelation, is, i have to say, uberly rewarding. anyway, here’s a snippet:

οs εν μορϕη θεου υπαρχων −− Who being in the form/appearance of God −−

υπαρχων, present participle of υπαρχω, to be, exist; μορϕη, dative case with εν.

The Second Person of the Trinity, of one substance and nature with the Father and Holy Spirit, thus also dwells eternally in the effulgent glory of the Godhead – that glory which was blindingly revealed to the patriarchs of old, and yet which necessarily maintained the infinite distance between God and man which man, of himself, with all of the best intentions and hard fought piety, could never hope to overcome, and which hindered that intimacy for which God had created him in His image.

ουχ αρπαγμον ηγησατο
το ειναι ισα θεω, −−
believed being equal to God not robbery −−

ηγησατο, 3rd person singular, aorist active, from ηγεομαι, taking the special construction of an articular infinitive (το ειναι) and subject accusative, neuter plural substantive ισα, from ισοs, ιση, ισον, a special adjective which takes the dative case, θεω; negated direct object accusative ουχ αρπαγμον, from αρπαγμοs, robbery or something seized, plundered.

Christ Jesus, the Emmanuel – “God with us” – the “God-hero” prophesied by Isaiah, cannot deny Himself, nor be denied by the Father Who sent Him. The hope of all ages cannot be replaced by any other, whatever forms/appearances such promises may attempt to take. And yet, as Uncreated Author of all that is, He alone has power over created nature to unite Himself, personally, to that nature particularly formed in The Image, adopting substantively that nature completely, in form and appearance, so as to veil, within time, that glory which He shared with the Father before the world was. In the words of another commentator, “he thought it right to veil this glory, and not to appear with it among the children of men.” Thus:

αλλα εαυτον εκενωσεν
μορϕην δουλου λαβων, −−
and yet He forsook Himself/made Himself as of no account, taking on the form of a slave/bondsman −−

εκενωσεν, from κενοω, to empty out, drain: forsake, desert; or also, to make of no account, aorist tense; λαβων, aorist participle of λαμβανω, taking, signifiying simple aspect, once and for all.

Christ’s Incarnation divests the Second Person not of His divine nature and essence, but of the effulgent glory that otherwise would attend Him, were it not for an obediential kenosis serving the purpose that He Himself might restore, through the wood of the cross, the bridge to eternal life forsaken by man’s disobedience in the garden long ago. And not only does He take on this form of a slave and bondsman, but that very act of taking it on is transformative, translating it into one capable of full union with His own divine person so condescending, consummating in His own incarnate flesh the journey of fallen man from slave, to friend, to adopted sonship, awaiting now only the full and glorious revelation of those who accept, in like humility, the invitation to become the adopted children of God, co-heirs with Christ.

εν ομοιωματι ανθρωπων γενομενοs
και σχηματι ευρεθειs ωs ανθρωποs
εταπεινωσεν εαυτον −−
being born in the likeness of men and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself −−

γενομενοs, aorist nominative participle of deponent γιγνομαι; ομοιωματι, dative form of ομοιωμα, −ατοs, that which is made like, a likeness, image; ευρεθειs, nominative, aorist passive participle of ευρισκω, to find, discover; σχηματι dative of σχημα, −ατοs, the fashion, manner, way or state, nature, constitution of a thing; εταπεινωσεν, humbled aorist active, third person, signifying simple aspect.

Not only did he take upon Himself man’s nature which was fashioned in the Triune image, but He took that nature to Himself, in a manner beyond our limited grasp, not merely masquerading in the form of mankind in general, but was found to be truly a particular man, wholly unique, and singularly, superbly, individual.

γενομενοs υπηκοοs μεχρι θανατου,
θανατου δε σταυρου. −−
becoming obedient/subject even unto death, death upon a cross. −−

υπηκοοs, −ον, obeying, obedient, subject; μεχρι, here as a preposition, as far as, taking the genitive θανατου.

In so humbling Himself, the Incarnate second Person took His voluntary lowering farther than it needed to go of itself – being free from the mortal divide of sinfulness - αμαρτια, missing the mark – all the way to the threshold of death, a death which he not only didn’t deserve, but one which mocked and spat upon His face and relegated His beautiful feet to stumbling under the weight of the wood thrust upon Him by the sins of those He would take to Himself, if they would so freely assent. In so going “the extra mile,” He thus burst through that impenetrable threshold on our behalf, and in so doing, Himself made a mockery of the death that claimed Him for but brief, seemingly impoverished moments, when the humility of what IS without qualification, through taking to Himself with unsurpassing love the qualification of imaged human existence, extended through His own surpassing worthiness the invitation to all who had been, and those who would yet, stumble ever farther from that Existence which first called all into being, laying Himself down that we might be taken up with Him.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


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your fabled banks,
placid waters, tease
one living deluge

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