Tasty Tidbits, 11/12/11

  1. Mercy/Almsgiving.
  2. Soul Train.
  3. Entertaining angels unaware.
  4. From the sublime to the Republican.
  5. Sexual division of labor.
  6. Impossible? Irresistible!
  7. Not quite how it turned out.


Today is my “Name Day.”

In Orthodox Christianity, we have “name saints” who are rather, I think, like Catholic “patron saints” except we’re actually named for them and communed under that name.

My name saint is John the Merciful, Patriarch of Alexsandria in the early 7th Century, also known as John the Almsgiver. I picked him (“cradle Orthodox” don’t get a choice) because (a) I couldn’t find any lawyer-saint in the pre-schism Church (Thomas More doesn’t count since he’s post-schism, but I’ve got his icon, from a Catholic friend, just the same), (b) his commemoration falls on my birthday and (c) I’ve always been blessed to have enough to tithe, and to take pleasure in doing that and at least a bit more.

We celebrate the Saint (in theory, though I expect the presents) even when the Name Day and Birthday coincide because we don’t know yet whether Reader John is going to prove worth celebrating, but we know Saint John did. I sure don’t measure up to this, let alone this.


Saint John was born in 555 on the island of Cyprus in the city of Amathus; his father, Epiphanius, was a ruler of Cyprus. The Saint was consecrated Archbishop of Alexandria in 608. A man of exemplary uprightness, in his zeal for Orthodoxy he strove mightily to fight the many heresies among the Christians in Egypt; but above all, he was famous for his singular generosity, humility, and sympathy towards all, especially the poor. His mercy was so great that the report of it reached the Persian invaders of Jerusalem, who desired to see him because of it. Saint John reposed in 619, at the age of sixty-four.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone:

In thy patience thou hast won thy reward, O righteous Father. Thou didst persevere unceasingly in prayer; thou didst love the poor, and didst provide for them in all things.Wherefore, intercede with Christ our God, O blessed John the Almsgiver, that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Second Tone:

Thy riches and wealth didst thou disperse unto the poor; thou now hast received the Heavens’ riches in return. For this cause, O all-wise John, we all honour thee with our songs of praise as we keep thy memorial, O namesake of almsgiving and of mercy.


How cool is this soul train?

The train is a mobile medical hospital with a consultaion and diagnostic center. A priest travels with doctors and nurses throughout Russia who serves in the church on the train dedicated to St. Olga. Both doctors and priest offer medical services and spiritual help to those in need. Admission is free for all.


I (we?) don’t give enough credit to this “image of God” thing, or to Christ’s “inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least of these, ye did it unto me.”

I see Bob Marley as a stoner with catchy music. Michael and Teresa Wilson saw

that Bob had this wild hair and dressed like a simple man, but in his lyrics he referred to the Bible, which blew our minds. I was from Manhattan, Kansas, and at the time I thought that people who read the Bible and went to church had to wear a suit and tie, had to look and act a certain way. I was even anti-church because of those images. It was a new awakening for me to realize that the Bible was for everyone, everyone in the world, not just the stuffy suit-and-tie people I’d known.

So here comes Bob Marley, with his guitar, his dreadlocks, and smoking herb (marijuana), and it all attracted me. He was a person who was there for the poor, the elderly, the kids, and most of all, he was talking about God. At the time it seemed that he was actually reaching us middle and upper- class white Americans more than black Americans. The people he tried to sing for shunned him.

Rastafarianism led them to Haile Selassie who led them to Orthodoxy, where I can’t say they’re “mainstream” but, God bless ’em, their story inspires and stretches me.


Rod Dreher and Daniel Larison tag-team on how it’s Easy to Roll Conservatives (or how Romney Will Take Conservatives For Granted (and They Will Let Him).

Nuthin’ but tribalism, and we’ve got too darned much of that already.

A few years back, I was very close to a single-issue, pro-life voter. I got very angry at a fellow-member of what I fondly called the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (it was like blacks using the N-word, or women doing “slut walks” — a solidarity thing) who said the GOP wasn’t worth a damn and backed the Constitution Party. I still think his solution was wrong, but his diagnosis was right.

Our economic problems are so serious, and the GOP candidates’ solutions so risible, that it will take more than empty rhetoric about human life to get me to vote for a war-mongering, capital-punishing, “we’ll-grow-out-of-this-with-tax-cuts” fool.

Look at my tribe: do you think we’ve learned a thing about hubris and foreign policy from the Iraq experience? No, not to listen to the rhetoric of the GOP presidential candidates (Ron Paul honorably excepted). What about from the economic policies that led to the worst crash since the Great Depression? Oh, hell no. We just want it to be 1980 all over again. We’ve learned nothing. And we’re not the only ones.

(Rod Dreher)


We give birth. You pick up the check.” How can a guy turn down an offer like that? It’s a little harsher on the distaff.


I don’t recall who said “writing about music is like dancing about architecture,” but people, from critics to scholars, still do it.


I liked the creativity of this quite a lot. The game it symbolized didn’t turn out quite like the big, dominant pumpkin image foreshadowed, but a win’s a win.

* * * * *

Bon appetit!

Having become tedious even to myself, I’m Tweeting more, blogging less. View this in a browser instead of an RSS feeder to see Tweets at upper right.

I also have some succinct standing advice on recurring themes. Maybe if I link to it, I’ll blog less obsessively about it.

About readerjohn

I am a retired lawyer and an Orthodox Christian, living in a collapsing civilization, the modern West. There are things I'll miss when it's gone. There are others I won't. That it is collapsing is partly due to calculated subversion, summarized by the moniker "deathworks." This blog is now dedicated to exposing and warring against those deathwork - without ceasing to spread a little light.
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1 Response to Tasty Tidbits, 11/12/11

  1. (another) Elizabeth says:

    Many years, Reader John.

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