26 October 2008

two letters from hell

As the nation prepares for Halloween, I bring you A Letter from Hell. It was put out by Dare 2 Share, a group published by Focus on the Family, and you can now find it on Godtube.com. Enjoy :) Oh, and the juicy part ends around 6:48--past that it gets a bit boooorrring.

Those who brought you A Letter from Hell now present Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America. It's not a stirring video, but it is a long, dramatic essay. Here is a Facebook group's summary of what the "letter" says:

Focus on the Family Action recently put out a hypothetical letter that outlined what America would look like from the perspective of a Christian looking back on an Obama presidency from 2012. The letter starts off by saying, “Many Christians voted for Obama – Younger evangelicals actually provided him with the needed margin to defeat John McCain – but they didn’t think he would really follow through on the far-Left policies that had marked his career. They were wrong.” Here are just some of their scenarios Focus on the Family paints for us:

- The Supreme court leans liberal, 6 to 3.
- Terrorist attacks have occurred in 4 US cities.
- Christian doctors, nurses, counselors, and teachers have either been fired or quit.
- Iran perpetrated a nuclear attack on Israel, drastically reducing the size of its borders.
- Pornography is freely displayed.
- Inner city violent crime has dramatically increased due to gun control.
- Russia has occupied 4 additional countries.
- Gas tops $7 a gallon.
- Euthanasia becomes commonplace.
- Blackouts occur throughout the country.
- Homosexual marriage becomes law in all 50 states.
- Campus ministries, Christian adoption agencies and Christian schools nearly cease to exist.
- Home school families emigrate to Australia and New Zealand by the thousands.
- Bush officials are jailed and bankrupt.
- Taliban oppression overtakes Iraq and death of American sympathizers reaches millions.
- Homosexuals are given a bonus to enlist in the military.

I'm not really sure what to say in response, except that if these letters reflect the truth, I must a) be an idiot, b) not be a good Christian, and therefore c) be going straight to Hell. I guess all I can say is WISH YOU WERE HERE...HA ha ha ha ha *evil laugh*

24 October 2008

On Halloween

Here we go again. Since I can remember I always had a thing against Halloween. It is so dark, ugly and offensive. Even non-scary ways of celebrating Halloween don't settle right with me because the way we celebrate it doesn't change what it is actually about.

Throughout the years I've found that the people in my life who've tried the hardest to convince me that it is okay, even very good, to celebrate Halloween have been practicing Christians. I always thought this was a bit ironic.

So I was so happy to learn a few years back that our own Vladika, Bishop Kyrill, wrote a concise essay, On Halloween, about its origins and why Orthodox Christians should reject every aspect possibly related to it. My favorite part is how he says that all of our actions are either for God or against God, and that we cannot pretend that pagan practices are not related to the spiritual world and therefore are of no consequence. Afterall, we do not live in a merely physical world.

These contemporary Halloween practices have their roots in paganism, idolatry, and Satan worship. How then did something that is so obviously contradictory to the holy Orthodox Faith gain acceptance among Christian people?

The answer to this question is: spiritual apathy and listlessness, which are the spiritual roots of atheism and the turning away from God. In today's society one is continually urged to disregard the spiritual roots and origins of secular practices under the guise that the outward customs, practices and forms are cute, fun, entertaining, and harmless. Behind this attitude lies the dogma of atheism, which denies the existence of both God and Satan and can therefore conclude that these activities, despite their obvious pagan and idolatrous origin, are harmless and of no consequence.

The holy Church must stand against this because we are taught by Christ that God stands in judgment over everything we do and believe, and that our actions are either for God or against God. Therefore, the customs of Halloween are not innocent practices with no relationship to the spiritual world. But rather they are demonic practices, precisely as an examination of their origins proves.

ps. I know that likely some of the people reading my blog do celebrate Halloween in their own ways. This post is just about me and my family and what I truly to be right--and if you haven't noticed, I believe/feel very strongly about certain things :) Love you all!

05 October 2008

a prayer for Grandma

My grandmother passed away comfortably in her sleep last Sunday morning after two weeks of pain and suffering. May God give rest to her soul.

God blessed me with frequent, sweet and quiet visits with Grandma during those two weeks, up to her last hours. Especially towards the end and on the day of her passing, I kept my chotki close and said the Jesus prayer--this gave me such comfort and a sense of strength. During this busy week of funeral/memorial services, I have been so grateful for my copy of the 17th Kathisma (certain part of the Psalter) and the Akathist to Jesus Christ for a Loved One who has Fallen Asleep as it is so comforting to be able to pray for her at home (she is not Orthodox).

I'd like to share a few of the prayers from the Akathist:

Kontakion 3
Bound with the bonds of the flesh, Thy servant would fall into sin, but her spirit pined for Thine eternal truth and holiness. Now, when the weakness of the flesh is constrained by the corruption of the tomb, may her soul be borne aloft higher than the sun to Thee, the All-holy, and may it sing a song of deliverance: Alleluia!

Ikos 3
Thy chief Apostle, in the cold night by the bonfire, denied Thee thrice yet Thou didst save him. Thou who alone knowest the weakness of human nature: forgive also Thy servant Christine for the many ways she often fell away from Thy will:
Jesus, establish her there, where there is no going astray.
Jesus, deliver her from grievous torments of the conscience.
Jesus, may the memory of her sins perish forever.
Jesus, remember not the temptations of her youth.
Jesus, cleanse her of secret transgressions.
Jesus, overshadow her with the gladsome light of salvation.
Jesus, All-merciful Judge, vouchsafe Thy servant Christine the sweetness of Paradise.

Kontakion 7
We believe that our parting will be brief. We bury thee, as grain in a field, and thou wilt spring forth in another land. Let the weeds of thy sins die in the grave, but may good deeds shine forth there, where good seed brings forth incorrupt fruit, and where holy souls sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 7
When the fate of the departed fades into oblivion, when her image dims in the heart and time obliterates, along with her tomb, the fervency of prayer for her, then do Thou not abandon her but give delight to her lonely soul:
Jesus, the warmth of Thy love never ceases.
Jesus, Thy goodwill is inexhaustible.
Jesus, in the never-silent supplications of the Church may her sins be washed away by the offering of the Bloodless Sacrifice.
Jesus, through the intercession of all Thy Saints, grant her the grace of prayer for the living.
Jesus, in the days of our own trials, accept her intercession for us.
Jesus, All-merciful Judge, vouchsafe Thy servant Christine the sweetness of Paradise.


(Akathist to Jesus Christ For a Loved One who has Fallen Asleep published by St Paisius Serbian Orthodox Monastery.)