Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fourth Visit

I'll tell you more about my fourth visit later...this week my church is involved in Vacation Bible School so I don't have a lot of time to blog. The above picture is of the bouncy thing the church rented for the kids to play, eh? I'll blog more later...peace out, jim

Monday, June 28, 2010

Taking time to Reconnect


This past weekend I worked for the Air Force. So after a busy Monday through Friday at my civlilain job I worked Saturday and Sunday for my military job. That leaves very little time for my family. I had wanted to go to Vespers Saturday but I believe I was needed at home.

So here I am involved in three churches-Our Family church where we all go Sunday mornings, the Church of the Nazarene, a Baptist church that offers contempary worship on Sunday Evenings where both my wife and I go and the Orhtodox Church of America Parish where I go alone when I go- and if I had to choose between them all, which would I choose. Well, I won't tell but I'll give a hint, the one I like is the One with the Sacraments, Bishops, Liturgy and 2000 year old history :) ...

I am looking forward to the time when I can commit to being a catechumen and get really involved in the life of the church...but I am not there yet because I do not want to abandon my family...Lord, have mercy...

So Saturday after working all day and not really seeing my wife all week, we went out for a walk on the beach. As you can see, I am working out my salvation, one day at time, remembering those whom God is put in my life.

photo by Mike Baird, used under the creative commons licesne.
check out his work at:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Prayer of the Saints


We had an interesting conversation at dinner last night. We started talking about Martin Luther and whether he was German or not. After answering in the affirmative I recounted how Martin Luther became a monk….”Save me, St. Anne and I will become a monk,” so he said as he trembled in a thunder storm. My wife observed, “You know, I find the Saints to be distracting.” She said, it seemed odd to become closer to Christ by praying to someone else. I, of course, said that we merely ask for prayers from those in heaven as we would ask for prayers from those on earth.

After the conversation moved on, I thought about something I could have said (but as is usual I always think of clever things to say after moment is passed). ..I remember when I went to a Pentecostal church, my friend and mentor, Dave, said whenever he had a unique problem that needed special prayer he would seek out a specific person (whose name escapes me). She was a very godly women- old, weather beaten and close to Christ- and it seemed whenever she was asked to pray for something, when she did, God answered her. So my friend Dave would save special problems for her. If he needed prayer for something mundane, I would do but those life moments that demanded special attention, this old lady who was so close to Christ that her prayers were always answered, was the one he sought out to pray at the altar with him after a church service.

Isn’t that what the Saints in heaven do for us? They are close to Christ and we ask for their special prayers in times of crisis. My wife seemed to be turned off by the Catholic’s “worship of Saints” which, I admit, I have seen in times past. Saints must be given honor while God alone receives worship. I think that this abuse- that is, undue attention given to Saints at the expense of Christ- sullies the whole practice of asking the “Communion of Saints” to pray for us. But, as with everything else with the Reformation, the baby was thrown out with the bath water. That’s a shame because I know I can use all the prayer I can get!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Post

I received a very encouraging email from Ken...after he read my post about "being shy" he encouraged me to stick around after verspers sometime and talk with the rest of them as they are, as he calls them, a welcoming group. So that is what I will do next week.

Last night my wife was very sleepy so I ended up going to pick up Matthew (our son) from work which meant I missed Vespers... :( I had wanted to go because I had heard it was a Reader's Service this week and I wanted to know what that was about.

My daughter Sara drew me a card for Father's Day. As you can see from the different discriptions of me, when it comes to the "Ipod touch" she points out there are plenty of Orthodox podcasts on it!

Happy Father's Day to you dads out there!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Third Visit!

I made my third visit to an Orthodox Church…Vespers, of course.

This time I felt I was able to be less overwhelmed by all that was going on and more able to participate in Worship, although I do still stare as people enter the church and kiss all the icons before they make their seats. This may be rude but I watch anyway. (How else am I supposed to learn?)

I realized the other two times I went I had gone on Special Feast days, one was Ascension Thursday and the other was for Pentacost- last night was my first “normal” service, although, to be honest it wasn’t much different from a “high holy day.” Lots of singing, but there was no special procession of a particular icon and no Litya bread.

People hung around after the service for what I guess was confession. I felt uncomfortable hanging around so I scooted out of there. I have read that Orthodox Worship is "Not about you" and I can truly say that they do not follow the protestant module of being "seeker friendly" but I am not giving up.  People, however, have made overchores to me, even on this very website (thank you, Ken) and I have been to protestant churches before where I was ignored and, perhaps, I am sensitive about these things becasue I tend to be shy in new stiuations.   I think if I want to “socialize” I will have to come on a Sunday morning so that I can join in on the coffee hour after the Divine Liturgy…maybe, soon but, of course, that will be hard since I go to church with my family on Sunday mornings.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Didn't make it to vespers last night!

...but I wanted to. I have been working for the Air Force this weekend (actually it is our block training which began thursday and ends today) and I had planned to show up at Vespers after work, first coming home for a quick bite and to spend some time with the family but a friend of mine, Tony,- his father passed away due to cancer and I had to go to Freehold to attend the wake. I could have gone after the wake but I hadn't yet seen my family and I also had to say good bye to my sister who was visiting from Georgia.

I realize that sometimes family obligations will keep me from Vespers but, in my heart, I really wanted to be there. That, I suppose, is a good thing. It means that Orthodoxy is working on me (Or, rather, the Holy Spirit) drawing me to the ancient faith.

Next week, God willing, I will make it to Vespers.
Lord have mercy!