Nov 282016

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. In the book of the Revelation there is great joy among God’s people when evil empires and leaders are finally judged. We saw a picture of that when there was dancing in the streets this weekend over the death of Castro. Those who found this joy odious display an historical illiteracy that is stunning…



2. I’m pretty sure the election is over so we can all stop posting “proof” on social media that those who think differently than us are stupid, evil ,and deceived…

3. When I was a younger man I set out to work until I was able to answer every question anyone had about the Bible. As an older man I’ve found that “I’m not sure” is often the correct answer…

4. When I was a younger man I wanted to teach the Bible so well that my church could answer every question anyone had about the Bible. Now, I simply want to show them Jesus and what He has done and is doing…

5. In two weeks I will have finished teaching the book of Revelation…without ever needing to refer to current events for clarity…

6. It is with sad resignation that I have stopped recommending books to people that seem to be interested in a particular topic. There was a day when people sought to have an informed opinion, now it is enough to be able to spout an one…

7. If there was a way to sleep until Dec. 26, I’d take it…

8. I can’t avoid the feeling that those of us who don’t have the tradition of following the church calendar are missing something wonderful…

9. The last Vikings loss officially began hockey season for me…

10. There is nothing more painful than trying to hang on to your dignity when the Lord is teaching you humility…heard that from a friend…

  34 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. Very nice thoughts for after a long weekend. Thank you.

  2. Thank you, Richard!

  3. Yes, well written and thoughtful.

    #1). I didn’t know this. Which chapter and verse? I need to carve out time to read this important book.
    #2). Completely agree.
    #4). Amen.
    #7). I agree. I wish the Christmas holidays were like Thanksgiving. Come together with friends and family to be thankful and celebrate Jesus’s birth without all the commercialism.

  4. mk,

    Read Rev. 18 & 19… there’s quite the party when God judges the corruption on earth.
    Good to see you here, my friend.

  5. I think #8 would remedy #7.

    Advent begins today for those of us on the Old Calendar. A gentle fast (fish allowed most days) until Nativity in January.

  6. Remember folks, no one is forcing anyone to participate in the world’s version of Christmas. We are all perfectly free to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord however we want.

  7. An article about Christmas I wrote a few years ago when people were in a tizzy when clerks wished them “happy holidays.”

  8. Thanks, Michael. Good to be here. I’ll be sure to read this evening – looking forward to it.

    Xenia, you’re right. Thanks for your reminder and encouragement. I’m going to make a point of doing so.

  9. #3…. totally. I feel that I ‘know’ less now than ever. I’m ok with that. I think.

    #4 Same here. If I had a venue or platform to “teach”. Oh wait, my grands…

    #5 Clarity? I wish. Revelation is more mysterious and strange to me… except for being a source of hope that ‘someday’… things will be made right.

    #8 Yes, and I often forget to follow it….and am always blessed when I do.

    #10…. Did you hear that from me, or just observe what mess I was/am? Total identity loss. I’m still trying to understand “what happened”, but stopped obsessing about it 24/7

    Thank you my friend…. In the immortal words of Frog and Toad, “Spring is just around the corner”…

  10. #3 and #4.

    Sometimes we confuse knowing the Bible with knowing the Lord.

  11. Xenia –
    I like your article. Good words—“Christmas should be a holy day where we contemplate and give thanks for the Incarnation. We need a little more emphasis on the “holy” and a little less on the “merry”.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Xenia,

    Do you have an article you can recommend about the Advent?

  13. Amen Xenia, your #10 comment. Amen…and loved reading your blog post again.

  14. Michael, good words.

    Xenia, good article linked at #7.

  15. Amen to number 5 Michael…well done!

  16. Hi mk,

    I don’t have any particular articles on the internet to point to other than what I’d get by googling “Orthodox Advent” which would bring up some stories to read. We don’t have the western Advent wreathes or Advent calendars, but I think they are a fine tradition anyway.

    The idea behind the relaxed fast before Christmas is that we are the world, sitting in darkness, awaiting the Great Light. So before Christmas, it’s (mildly) gloomy because we represent the lost world. All the celebrating happens after Christmas, when we have something to be happy about: Salvation has come to the world!

  17. #’s 3&4 really resonate. I’m realizing that “I don’t know” is among that list of answers.

  18. Thanks, Xenia, for explaining and sharing. It sounds like a nice tradition and celebration afterwards. ….And now I can see how you stay away from the frenzied and frazzled world of consumerism. Your tradition sounds peaceful and meaningful. Blessings to you and yours this Christmas season.

  19. mk,
    I posted this Saturday on Open Blogging – it is not an article but a conversation about Advent

  20. All through history until the recent times Advent was always it’s own time of waiting and anticipation.

    Christmas is it’s own time and in tradition has run it’s season Dec 25 – Jan5th (you know, that 12 days of Christmas stuff.) which then begins the season of Epiphany Jan 6th which runs to Lent – as we follow Jesus making appearances starting with the wise men and moving forward.

    It’s all about the timing and the rhythm of the calendar. Even Jan 1 is the day of the circumcision – the 8th day.

  21. Hope I’m not breaking the thread (perhaps related to #6), but…

    Cleaning out my file cabinet of research for my thesis. I have about 140 copied articles and offprints dealing with – Fourth Century patristics, Athanasius, Alexandrian Christianity, etc.

    As I do little research in that area these days, it is time for them to go. I’m willing to pay the shipping to pass this trove along to someone with research interest in the area. If someone is interested, let me know and we’ll make contact arrangements…

  22. Duane,

    That is very generous…there’s treasure there.

  23. Thank you, MLD. I’ll be sure to listen to this tonight and look forward to learning more about Advent.

    Btw, some years back, you recommended a book called, “God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life” by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.

    Then you went on to pen the following:
    “I maintain that a person can show up on Sunday morning for the Divine Worship Service, partake in the word and sacrament, leave and do no other “churchy thing” the rest of the week and still be productive for the Kingdom”.

    1.) Being a good spouse.
    2.) Being a good parent.
    3.) Being a good employer/employee.
    4.) Being a good community leader – a little league coach, a neighbor.
    5.) In all areas of normal life—just loving your neighbor through your vocation by helping to make their life easier and being productive so that they can do the things that “love their neighbor” through their vocation”.

    I then penned this into the front cover page of my Bible and can’t tell how often I refer to it and am encouraged by it. Thank you, sir.

  24. Blessings to you too, mk.

  25. Good thoughts, Michael. #3&4 especially resonate with me. The older I get and the more I study, the more I realize that what I really know for sure is that Jesus is Lord and I need His grace and mercy as much as, if not more than, I ever have.

  26. mk – thanks for the kind remembrance.

  27. #1, sadly there are people making Castro out to be some sort of decent human being.

    #2 In your dreams Michael. In your dreams. Sorry to say this.

    #3 & 4 Showing people Jesus is desperately needed in our society. Even though people will still cast stones.

    #5 I’ve never sat under teaching where headlines and magazines weren’t offered as evidence of one thing or another.

    #6 I’m still reeling from the fact I admitted I read the Left Behind series! 🙂

    #7 Even though Christmas has been reduced to what we see I still enjoy this time of year. From my youth it’s always held fond memories.

    #8 I observed Advent a few years ago. Outside of that I haven’t observed these things.

    #9 Tough times for Vikings fans. No comment on hockey! 🙂

    #10 A good remedy it seems is to surround yourself with those who allow you to maintain your dignity by coming along side you in silence or letting you know they love you and are there for you.

  28. You (the plural you – perhaps we) need to observe 2 different Christmas events
    One is the Christ Mass and the other is the egg nog event.

    I can and do observe each with the same gusto. But they are not the same … they just fall on the same day.

    I also get a kick out of those who complain and say we must put Christ back in Christmas … but I note that they never demand that the Mass be put back into Christmas … why is that?

  29. Over here, we celebrate Dec. 25 in a fairly secular way. The kids come, we eat salmon, and go to see a Star Wars or Hobbit movie. None of our kids are Orthodox and for my husband and me, it’s the feast day of Saint Herman of Alaska on the old calendar.

    On January 7, the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ in His Flesh, that is when we go to church, receive the greatest gift of all time and spend the day eating entirely too much delicious food at our pastor’s house. After 2 weeks (The 12 Days of Christmas) we celebrate Theophany (Epiphany) and then the season has come to a conclusion.

  30. I couldn’t help thinking (in Belushi’s voice) re: #2, “Over?! Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?!”

    In light of recent recount efforts…

    As to #1, our neighbors and good family friends when I was a kid growing up managed to get out of Cuba. I thought about them this weekend. I have no doubt there was celebration.

  31. Re #9…the last Vikings loss also granted me freedom to dream of Pitchers and Catcher Reporting, but I am a Twins fan, so hope is deferred indefinitely.

  32. Re #7, what bothers me most about this “season” is the greed and rudeness of shoppers. Of course, I am a shopper too, looking down my nose at other shoppers. Spent about 30 minutes at Wal Mart today, and counted it as the worst 30 minutes of my day. It was the people there, but that is dishonest. In reality, it was my attitude towards the people at Wal Mart. Judgemental me.

  33. Dan,

    I’m right with you on #32…went in there to buy cat food and lost my mind… 🙂

  34. Dan,
    See if this will help you through

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