Saturday, April 23, 2005


A friend of mine wrote this tonight. He asked me to share it with you.

by Gustav BenJava

A languid look
passage of the eyes over the shoulder
smooth and slick
A limpid careening of the glance
furrowing of the brow
Sleek and fluid she walks
"Slim" he calls her
She resists with a sly smile
a furtive gesture of the body
(To Have and Have Not)
a furtive gesture of the soul

* * * * * * * * * *

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Technology at my fingertips

I have all this technology at my fingertips, and I'm thinking: why don't I use it?

I have all these ideas in my head, swarming around like bees, or like files on a carcas, and I'm thinking: why don't I do something about them?

Well, I'll tell you what. I'm going to blog. Perhaps I have something good to say. Perhaps I have nothing at all. But if I don't say something, I'll go crazy.

My Lenten Journey:
I don't know how my lenten journey is going. Am I supposed to be getting something out of it? Is that the goal? If I don't get something out of it, then it has all been in vain, right? Sounds rather pathetically selfish to me.

I think that's one of the many things wrong with society. All we think about is: "what am I getting out of it?" You see, it has to benefit you in some way, or you shouldn't do it. It just wouldn't be right to do it if there's no benefit, right?

Are you saying you derive pleasure from it? If it benefits you in some way, that is pleasing is it not? Or we have to be reminded constantly of the benefit, so that we are pleased with ourselves.

It all comes back to the same thing. We live for pleasure. Some of us take pleasure in hurting ourselves (in suffering) and some of us take pleasure in self gratification.

Well, I can't think of any benefit I'm deriving from going without meat. I won't say I've gone without dairy. Oh, I've tried to a little bit, but I won't say I've succeeded in going without dairy. In fact, I haven't even succeeded in going without meat.

One fellow greeted me at Church and told me he was trying hard to keep the fast. I confessed to him almost immediately I had eaten meat once or twice in Lent but that I was trying not to. I am afraid I may have scandalized him. I do hope not!

But the point is: I had no desire to eat meat whatsoever. But they brought me the wrong order at work, and I got chicken. Well, I said a prayer thanking God for his tender mercy at this unexpected gift of some chicken. And I enjoyed every morsel of it.

Now I suppose you are all scandalized. Well, please, let me not hold back. If you are going to be scandalized, the by all means, let me dig deeper. (If you are going to sin, they say, sin boldly.)

I personally believe it is a sin to waste food. I think people who take away perfectly good food and throw it in the trash can, in order to uphold in their mind some religious ordinance, are going to Hell. Sorry, that's just how I feel. Meanwhile, I do not believe that it is a sin to break the fast. The fast is of less benefit to you (oh, there we go again... selfish! selfish! selfish!) yes, the fast is of less benefit to you if you break it, but it is by no means a sin. It is a sin, however, to waste food.

So, if push comes to shove, and there is nothing else to eat in the cupboard, or if someone has given you something to eat, and it is meat. Then by all means you should eat it, and be ashamed of yourself for your self-righteous thoughts of throwing that in the trash can. God has given you that meat: did He give it to you to waste it?

But I digress. I was speaking of pleasure. Perhaps I shall leave that for another time. No... the thought is with me now.

Okay, so about pleasure. I have this little problem. Everything is pleasureable to me. I see the sunshine and I smile. I see the rain and I smile. I smell the flowers and I smile. I sneeze because of my allergies and I smile, because at least I can still breathe.

So, if everything is pleasureable to me: how can I abstain from pleasure? I admit, I cannot. Is the goal of the fast to abstain from pleasure? I think the goal of the fast is to make some effort. (Even effort can be pleasurable.) If you eat less, hopefully you are giving more. If you fast from something, perhaps you can give it to a stranger. I do not know the way I can only speculate. But I know what the way is NOT and it is not hypocracy and self-righteousness. Why do you think the Gospel reading as we begin the fast is all about hypocracy and self-righteousness?

Well, that's enough for tonight.

The Sinner Basil
(in a cloud of flies...)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Merry Christmas

To all my beloved Orthodox friends, I wish you a heartfelt and warm Merry Christmas!


Okay, so here's the scoop. According to Microsoft, April 27th, 2005 is Orthodox Christmas. That's right, Orthodox Christmas.

I have international Holidays turned on in my Microsoft Office Outlook (that's version 2003, SP1, for the Micrsoftie) with the country of Russia enabled. I figured I could get something close to more authentic Holidays on my calendar (like maybe I'd see Pascha?) if I had Russian Holidays on there. Well, according to Microsoft Outlook, I just noticed that next Wednesday, April 27th, is Christmas. That's right, not Easter, not Holy Wednesday, but Christmas. It reads "Orthodox Christmas (Russia)". Check out your version of Office Outlook to see if it shows next Weds as being Christmas too!