February 28, 2008

Bird Play

We soar like an eagle,
We sing like a bird,
We waddle like a penguin,
We feel the hawk blowing,
We wear an albatross necktie,
We are sometimes vultures,
We are sometimes chicken,
We sometimes eat crow,
We are free as a bird.

We have two small brown birds living in our living room. In a cage. We lock them in and grant them only a small universe. Instead of soaring free they perch. And they sing. They can see beyond their bars. They cannot escape.

To us they are pets, pretty amusements. To them we are jailers bringing bread and water. In what gilded cage do we live? Where do we get our bread and water? What is our song?

Pricked by pride we grasp and hold onto that which we cannot keep. Better to humble ourselves, to let go, to let God. Only then are we wise owls.

February 27, 2008

Tuesday's Children

Very busy day. Old Glory in cloudy sky. Blustery day at the dock. Monsters among us.

February 25, 2008

Monday's Misfits

These were all taken today. It was one of those days when everywhere I looked my mind was framing photos.

February 24, 2008

My World

We have had visitors from Virginia. Meanwhile here a few photos I took last week. Also, there were some portions of the story I was posting that were inappropriate, therefore they were deleted.

February 16, 2008

The Truth Liberally Dispensed

I found a link to this over on Orthodixie's place. This is a well written and straight to the point summation of the liberalism infecting many/most of the other faith traditions. The issue for me always comes down to being able to love as we are commanded without giving up the ship.

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Liberal Christianity will not survive for a long time

Intervention at the opening session of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, Geneva, 13 February 2008

I would like to draw your attention to the danger of liberal Christianity. The liberalization of moral standards, initiated by some Protestant and Anglican communities several decades ago and developing with ever-increasing speed, has now brought us to a situation where we can no longer preach one and the same code of moral conduct. We can no longer speak about Christian morality, because moral standards promoted by 'traditional' and 'liberal' Christians are markedly different, and the abyss between these two wings of contemporary Christianity is rapidly growing.

We are being told by some allegedly Christian leaders, who still bear the titles of Reverends and Most Reverends, that marriage between a woman and a man is no longer the only option for creating a Christian family, that there are other patterns, and that the church must be 'inclusive' enough to recognize alternative lifestyles and give them official and solemn blessing. We are being told that human life is no longer an unquestionable value, that it can be summarily aborted in the womb, or that one may have the right to interrupt it voluntarily, and that Christian 'traditionalists' should reconsider their standpoints in order to be in tune with modern developments. We are being told that abortion is acceptable, contraception is agreeable, and euthanasia is better still, and that the church must accommodate all these 'values' in the name of human rights.

What, then, is left of Christianity? In the confusing and disoriented world in which we live, where is the prophetic voice of Christians? What can we offer, or can we offer anything at all to the secular world, apart from what the secular world will offer to itself as a value system on which society should be built? Do we have our own value system which we should preach, or should we simply applaud every novelty in public morality which becomes fashionable in the secular society?

I would also like to draw your attention to the danger of a 'politically correct' Christianity, of a Christianity which not only so easily and readily surrenders itself to secular moral standards, but also participates in promoting value systems alien to Christian tradition.

We are facing a paradoxical situation. British secular politicians who share Christian convictions are concerned about the rising Christianophobia in the UK and initiate a debate on this issue in Parliament, calling for recognition of the country's Christian identity. At the same time the primate of the Church of England calls for 'a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law.'

I am sure I will be told that Christianity must become more tolerant and all-inclusive, that we Christians should no longer insist on our religion as being the only true faith, that we should learn how to adopt other value systems and standards. My question, however, is: when are we going to stop making Christianity politically correct and all-inclusive; why do we insist on accommodating every possible alternative to the centuries-old Christian tradition? Where is the limit, or is there no limit at all?

Many Christians worldwide look to Christian leaders in the hope that they will defend Christianity against the challenges that it faces. It is not our task to defend Sharia law, or to commend alternative lifestyles or to promote secular values. Our holy mission is to preach what Christ preached, to teach what the apostles taught and to propagate what the holy Fathers propagated. It is this witness which people are expecting of us.

I am convinced that liberal Christianity will not survive for a long time. A politically correct Christianity will die. We see already how liberal Christianity is falling apart and how the introduction of new moral norms leads to division, discord and confusion in some Christian communities. This process will continue, while traditional Christians, I believe, will consolidate their forces in order to protect the faith and moral teaching which the Lord gave, the Apostles preached and the Fathers preserved.

February 15, 2008

Evil Weed

This photograph has not been retouched or modified in any way. I was observing the destruction of some illegal drugs this morning and this is the last photograph taken before I left the scene. While looking through the photographs this afternoon with a co-worker he noticed the image in the flames. I have often looked at photographs that supposedly contain strange images with a great deal of skepticism, but not this one. I took this photograph and I am stunned by what it seems to contain. I have no doubt that there are creatures that inhabit our world with us that we cannot see. The Holy Scriptures are full of stories of visits to our reality by heavenly creatures.

I am NOT saying that this is some otherwordly creature but I will go out on the proverbial limb and say that this looks to me very much like some sort of skeletal creature either in or fleeing from the flames.

Witnessing the destruction of so much cocaine and marijuana was a sad yet joyful experience. Glad because we are able to take so much of this poison out of our community and out of the hands, bodies and minds of our children, our neighbors and even our friends. And yet sad because there is so much available here in our little corner of the deep South. It took the better part of two hours to burn it all. And a few months down the road we'll do the same thing again. We stand in the breech only to see the walls crumbling around us. So many families split asunder. So many lives ruined.

Every year I have the honor to speak to several classes of students who are graduating from the D.A.R.E. program. I try to emphasize to these fifth graders that most of the people in our county jail are there because of some tie to drugs or alcohol. Either from stealing and burglarizing to feed a habit, or from beating and/or abusing an innocent (and sometimes not so innocent) bystander.

Recently I have taken an orange jail jumpsuit and a set of leg irons with me as a visual aid. I tell them that this lovely orange one-piece jumpsuit will be their duds and the leg irons will be their bling-bling. It always gets a laugh but I think it also makes the point. Sadly I know that in some cases I am preaching to the choir. Some of these children are already intimately familiar with what drug and alcohol abuse does to a family.

As for the figure in the flames, it may just be a photographic fluke. Most likely it's just an interesting conversation piece. But I know that the destructive demon that hides in the marijuana, the cocaine and all their kin is all too real, all too ready to burn all who dare to accept their seductive embrace.

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.