Posted by: readerjohn | November 23, 2014

Sunday 11/23/14

  1. We get the Plutocracy we deserve
  2. The new Α & Ω
  3. Is the Daily Currant shilling for Snopes?
  4. Progressive Eugenicist Indiana
  5. Plotted Parenthood
  6. More on Christian Marriage in the new regime

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | November 22, 2014

Where the action is

  1. Where the action ain’t
  2. Where the action is
  3. Who killed the commonality?

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | November 21, 2014

Friday 11/21/14

  1. Which one of these was the Philanthropist?
  2. How the Russian Church Survived
  3. Sex and Character
  4. Preening over People
  5. Don’t worry your pretty little head
  6. “Be fruitful, gelding.”
  7. Preening over Peace
  8. Bill Cosby

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | November 19, 2014

Wednesday, 11/19/14

  1. Channeling Toqueville on Children
  2. What if marriage isn’t what we thought?
  3. The Spirit and the Zeitgeist
  4. Judicial humility – imagine that!
  5. McCain, Graham, Lieberman – and Santorum
  6. BlindPigAcorn
  7. Richard Lugar, Statesman

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | November 17, 2014

Monday, 11/17/13

  1. The Lightworker flickers
  2. You distress me: Why aren’t you dead yet?
  3. Teetering on the brink of what?
  4. Absurd suspicions vindicated

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | November 15, 2014

Saturday, 11/15/14

  1. Who needs Church for cheezy uplift?
  2. Transvaluation update
  3. Liturgy as Anthropology
  4. Prison or Stronghold?
  5. Burn or bury?
  6. How animus analysis works
  7. Health-based echoes of Cambodia
  8. Anna-Maria’s Deep Throat

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | November 13, 2014

Commemoration of John Chrysostom, 11/13/14

  1. Cheap Sex
  2. What you should get for $50k tuitions
  3. Keeping Up Appearances
  4. The Inevitability of Choice
  5. One Cheer for Disestablishmentarianism

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | November 11, 2014

Revelations in Death’s Wake

My father-in-law and my mother died two weeks to the day apart. I was present both times when, in civil terms, they “breathed their last” but more importantly, if invisibly, their souls separated from their bodies.

We bury my mother today.

I haven’t been avoiding this topic. I haven’t written about it mostly because I don’t really have my thoughts collected. (Yeah, I know that hasn’t always stopped me.) Although this blog has been something of a Journal, I’ve not shared all that many of my “most personal” thoughts and experiences. There are just too many interesting things in the world that aren’t me or my feelings.

But here’s one that surprised me. These deaths have left huge holes in our family’s schedule of the last few years. The Saturday after my mother’s death, we arose and said, basically, “What now?” Saturday morning meant I visited my mother in nursing home, which I did once each week. But she wasn’t there (and the funeral home didn’t need drop-by visitors). Every morning meant my wife visited her father, as did every afternoon and, increasingly, evenings and in the middle of the night if he awoke delusional from a TIA. But he wasn’t there, either.

So we’re disoriented. That’s a surprise. The extent of the disorientation is a bigger surprise, maybe coming from the double-whammy of two such deaths so quickly. We need re-oriented. I want to avoid self indulgence, but to much stiff upper lip can lead to madness, methinks.

Second, I hate modern, efficiency obsession. My father-in-law pre-arranged cremation, and as he was living far from his very few remaining family, there was no visitation and, as of yet, no memorial service of any sort.

It was all very efficient, dammit.

Say what ill you will of the modern funeral industry, but it gives at least a little chance to grieve. My father-in-law didn’t think of that, or didn’t think anyone would grieve him, or something. And for much of my daily life, I’m surrounded by people who intend to do much the same thing to their families. “I don’t need my body any more. Haul it out with the trash and incinerate it.”

My mother’s soul, with all due respect, was not “freed” from her body. It was wrested from her body by the great enemy, death, and will be reunited with it in the great and glorious Resurrection from the dead at our Lord’s second coming. Christians don’t believe in “the immortality of the soul” simpliciter; we believe in the Resurrection of the body. Insofar as modern Christians have come to think and act otherwise, they are sub-Christian. You can look it up in the Creed if you’d care to.

Third, I’m happy that mother’s death wasn’t over-medicalized. I’m a right-to-lifer to the core, but that doesn’t mean torturing people to keep them alive. Mother issued a no code request nine years before her death. Resuscitation efforts on her were unthinkable, with her rheumatoid arthritis and brittle bones. It is appointed unto man once to die.

Yeah, there was oxygen and an air mattress and the electrical whir to keep them working. There also was morphine to keep her from hyperventilating and Ativan to reduce her anxiety, which had become chronic. But no monitors, no medical people in the room at death. When I thought my mother had died, I went and felt for a pulse, wrist and neck. I didn’t call for a nurse immediately. I said goodbye, commended her to the Lord, and then got a nurse to make it official.

Then I stayed with the body until the funeral home came, and as they lifted her onto the gurney.

Fourth, I couldn’t pay my mother’s body as much respect as I’d have liked. Rod Dreher writes of the sudden death of a youngish man in their little mission parish. They were ready for the eventual death of someone, and they handled it in the Orthodox manner.

It’s kind of creepy to turn our loved ones over to professionals who will needlessly replace their blood with formaldehyde, primp them, make them up, and try to make them look alive lest we be reminded too powerfully of the last enemy. And although my father-in-law chose it, I find cremation creepier still. But we Orthodox are living in a land of liberal western Christianity, and there’s a point where resistance is, if not futile, a bit over-the-top obsessive.

Fifth, I no longer have the illusion that I can’t be that old because my mother and father-in-law are living. It’s now official: I’m next. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

That’s about all I’m ready to share yet. If I figure death out, you’ll be the first to know.

UPDATE: One afterthought. It was surprising how unsuitable were all the standard “verses” the funeral home had to offer. “God hath not promised skies always blue ….” Nah. “I have loved you with an everlasting love ….” Beautiful, and true, but out of context. God spoke that through the prophet to Israel, not to individuals. And so on.

Then they commented that they could do anything I wanted. I picked Romans 8:38-39:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

SECOND UPDATE: David Mills, coincidentally, feels somewhat toward cremation as I do.

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

Posted by: readerjohn | November 10, 2014

Monday, 11/10/14

  1. Tipsy fesses up
  2. Blogger in Chief
  3. Cui bono?
  4. Tony Perkins, shakedown artist
  5. God done Franky dirty agin’
  6. War on Women themes sucked real bad

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | November 9, 2014

Sunday, 11/9/14

Much bullshit is spoken about things we do “for the children.”

This is not bullshit. It is the author at his white-hot best:

It will be said that the one—the unrepentant or semi-repentant sinner, the one who wants to have the faith on his own terms—is “marginalized,” a word I detest, but which may serve my purposes this once. If adults in immoral sexual relationships are “marginalized,” Lord, let me speak up now for people who do not even make it to the margins, for the poorest of the poor, for people who have no advocate at all.

Let me speak for the children of divorce …

Let me speak for the children thrust into confusion, to justify the confusion of their parents or of people in authority over them …

Let me speak for the children exposed to unutterable evils on all sides. Here is a girl at age twelve who has seen things on a screen that her grandmother could never have imagined. She is taking pictures of herself already, and making “friends” among the sons and daughters of Belial …

Let me speak up for the young people who see the beauty of the moral law and the teachings of the Church, and who are blessed with noble aspirations, but who are given no help, none, from their listless parents, their listless churches, their crude and cynical classmates, their corrupted schools …

Let me speak up for the young people who do in fact follow the moral law and the teachings of the Church. Many of these are suffering intense loneliness. Have you bothered to notice? Have you considered all those young people who want to be married, who should be married, but who, because they will not play evil’s game, can find no one to marry? …

(Anthony Esolen, Who Will Rescue the Lost Sheep of the Lonely Revolution?)

See also the Update from the 31-year old former “prototypical ‘good Christian girl'” at Rod Dreher’s blog here.)

* * * * *

Dr. Alfred Kentigern Siewers responds to a deservedly controversial piece floated by a Priest on the Orthodox Church in America’s “Wonder” site. The OCA version is down but the priest’s parish hosts a copy.

The priest author is just fine with some sorts of unrepentant or semi-repentant sinners who want to have the faith on their own terms, less hospitable toward convert “fundamentalists.” They don’t count. They don’t make it to his margins. They are stock figure bad guys. Maybe the poor Padre doesn’t have any of them in his parish, but only unrepentant or semi-repentant who heard that he’s especially friendly toward their sort and who hope to lead Orthodoxy into the promised land by the leading of “the spirit.”

[C]hanging the Tradition in response to American secularism paradoxically seems OK. This often involves a kind of cultural American phyletism–on the one hand criticizing the influence of American Orthodox converts, while on the other emphasizing the need to engage an imaginary homogenous American culture and to be less “old world.” Ironically, the “old world” element in American Orthodoxy often can be pluralistic and cosmopolitan by comparison.

(Dr. Siewers, emphasis added.)

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

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