Monday, May 19, 2003

St Dunstan
Of Glastonbury and Canterbury - a man of many talents and today's Roman Rite and Book of Common Prayer saint

Great places to learn about Russian Orthodoxy
Both of which I've visited.

St Vladimir’s Seminary
Crestwood, NY
Of the Orthodox Church in America*, a nearly all-American church mostly of Russian heritage - they speak English and their books are like reading things from the Catholic liturgical movement of the good old days. A internationally respected little theological college in a quiet New York City suburb. My good friend Dustin Anastasios Hudson is a student there - a Catholic who is accepted (of course he obeys both sides' rules, which the OCA does enforce, and doesn't receive the sacraments there).

*Either the completely independent, fully canonical Orthodox church of the US and Canada or the American metropolia of the Moscow Patriarchate, depending on who you talk to. Either way, they're great.

Holy Trinity Seminary
Jordanville, NY
Of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad - the site is in English but the community, in the middle of rural nowhere in New York state as befits the serious monastery it is part of, speaks Russian, as the site explains. In a way it's like travelling through Pennsylvania German (Amish and other conservative Mennonites) country - you're in a religiously motivated, self-segregated micro-culture that deliberately is not American, which can have its up and down sides.

Both places have services every day.

The Amish are fascinating in their own right. Contrary to popular belief, they're not pretending to live in the early 1800s. Every archaism they use is a deliberate choice, codified in their Ordnung (rule of life), to keep the religious community together. Anything modern that's not perceived as a threat to that is accepted - they use at least some modern farming methods, for example.

British reality TV
On the same theme, I'm hooked on the upmarket, often English version of reality TV, the programs done by Channel 4 and/or PBS where a largish group of ordinary people agree to live for three months nearly exactly as in a certain historical period - pioneers in 1880s Montana, England during the Blitz and the latest one I've seen, 'Manor House', in which an Edwardian mansion in Scotland was lived in and run nearly exactly the way it was, unromantic reality of hard work for the 'downstairs' servants and all. (The first two scullery maids actually ran away early on!) Best part - Hugh Edgar, the butler and top-ranking servant, an older man with what sounded like a thick Northern accent who knew a lot about the period as his grandparents lived the life he was re-creating. It was almost eerie - of all the people, he fitted in perfectly, sternness and all. He WAS an Edwardian - it was a shock to see him really 'break character' at the end of the series and see he isn't really like that!

And of course as conservative as I think I am, I'm glad some of that is gone - the women have it better now and even the hair and fashions for them are more flattering today.

The inflatable church
'A Church of England spokesman said the inflatable could be used only for civil ceremonies. "A church is its people, and you can't have inflatable people."' - The Sun

True - and of course it's not really a consecrated church, set apart for God and the community's worship. As for the last bit, well, you COULD always... oh, never mind.

Sure, it's making fun of religion but ironically it seems to be a copy of a 'middle-of-the-road' Anglican church, nicer than most Novus Ordo Catholic churches.

And think about it - lots of secularized Britons and Americans, nominal Catholics, nominal Protestants and yes, nominal Orthodox, 'use' the church exactly this way. Namely, as a pretty setting to rent for hatches, matches and dispatches (baptisms, reduced to a new-baby party/baby-naming ceremony; weddings and funerals). So seen as a parody, this 'inflatable church' actually makes a statement about this trivialization of the church in people's lives.

On the same note, did you know that many non-Christian Japanese like to have Christian-style weddings complete with fake church (building) and fake minister (an actor, perhaps licensed to do civil marriage ceremonies), just like this?

And on a lighter note, I can imagine the kind of people depicted by 'Onslow' and his family in 'Keeping Up Appearances' having a wedding in the inflatable church, for real.

What I believe, in photo form

On Mt Athos, Greece

High church, my church
Low church, no church
Middle church, muddled church
High church, my church

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Dave McLaughlin
‘Seriously Orthodox’
The life story of the Old Rite bishop for the Russian Church Abroad, Bishop Daniel. I know somebody who grew up in what is now his cathedral, in Erie, Pa., back when it was part of the priestless Old Believers.

Not a religion for dilettantes looking for the flavor of the month

From The Rockall Times
Matrix Reloaded stars in alternate reality nightmare
Carrie-Ann Moss sobs uncontrollably in hermetically sealed fetish costume

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
Chris Patten, UK diplomat, said in 2000: people look to the EU rather than God
Mr Patten was the last British governor of Hong Kong before the city was returned to the Communist Chinese in 1997.

Lee Penn: Here is the hot quote, which suggests that modern-day Europeans look to the
European Union rather than to God for deliverance:

"In any case, like it or not, the Commission has to respond to an active
global social conscience. In the past people asked God to deliver them from
evil. Today they look to international institutions - and in Europe that
means the EU."

The agency that released the speech said, "The European Commissioner
responsible for external relations, Chris Patten has initiated the debate on
the demands, constraints and priorities of the EU's policy in this field. He
has done so in a succinct paper (which he drew up himself without passing
through drafts prepared by the services) which he has forwarded to the
College urging it to engage in a policy debate. ... The tone of the
Commissioner Patten's communication is unusual for an official document. It
notes that today we no longer turn to God to deliver us from evil but to the
EU; that certain "invitations" from Member States to the Commission have the
nature of Mafia offers that cannot be refused, etc...."

Here is another look inside the mind of those building the New World Order.

W goes to Shinto shrine
Lee Penn: Maybe Bush honored the warrior-emperor tradition in Japan because that's what he wants to be himself.

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