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Friday, March 13, 2015

"Secular Parenting" and Parasitic Atheism

Of course, the Los Angeles Times is giddy about the 'Good News' of secular parenting.
We have seen studies that have also shown us that gay parents are actually better than heterosexual ones.  Yes, it seems that liberation from 'traditional morality' and the confines of religion are absolutely wondrous!
Well, that's until you look at the details, and by that I mean the ones all around you.  The ones you are not supposed to talk about.
You know, like the record levels of divorce.  Must be fun times, eh?  How about use of psychiatric medications and treatment?  Addiction, a favorite of this blog, seems to be blooming... can we blame religion for that?
Interestingly enough, the featured expert does mention that later in life those raised without religion do tend to go looking for it or something like it. 
There are other studies that indicate the opposite: religious families tend to have lower levels of social problems than children raised without a serious religious practice at home.  While kids in the typical parish do have problems, as a former substitute teacher, I can say I'd prefer to be in a Sunday School classroom than a secular one any day of the week.
It is stupid to suggest otherwise.
What they are looking for is how the kids answer the questions posed to them, hence the 'attitudes' they are measuring.  They are not really examining the things kids won't say in an interview, nor are they looking at the plain evidence around us.
Secularism demands obedience just as much as religion does.  Certainly, Orthodox Christianity does have a whole list of 'freedoms' one gives up to follow Christ.  There is a difference in emphases, and on the whole a secular interviewer will find far more positive answers from a secular-minded child than a religious one who has not been raised with the vocabulary of the Secular Elite.
But, even then, we ought also consider some of the underpinnings of the secularism preached in this article.  Tolerance?  Since when is that a 'secular' attitude? 
From the article-
For secular people, morality is predicated on one simple principle: empathetic reciprocity, widely known as the Golden Rule. Treating other people as you would like to be treated. It is an ancient, universal ethical imperative. And it requires no supernatural beliefs. As one atheist mom who wanted to be identified only as Debbie told me: “The way we teach them what is right and what is wrong is by trying to instill a sense of empathy ... how other people feel. You know, just trying to give them that sense of what it's like to be on the other end of their actions. And I don't see any need for God in that. ...

“If your morality is all tied in with God,” she continued, “what if you at some point start to question the existence of God? Does that mean your moral sense suddenly crumbles? The way we are teaching our children … no matter what they choose to believe later in life, even if they become religious or whatever, they are still going to have that system.”
So, the question then comes down to this: what do you do if the child/adult decides to question the premise of empathy?  What if they decide not to care about others' feelings?

Is that uncommon?

There's the logical weakness, for which the seculars have no answer except the brute force of handcuffs and prison bars, which is also a contributing factor in why we have so many people in prison.  Secularism in schools has weakened the religious side of culture, and brought forth a generation of weakened religious people.  Prisons are filled with failed religious practices and failed religious people. 
You can mock them, much as secular elites do.  Or, you can think about how much better they would be if they actually followed the religion that they appeal to after they get caught in the grips of life.
Whereas Christianity tells man that, whether he 'gets caught' or not in this life, he will still have to answer for his crimes, the secularist must be caught now.  Kids, and adults, figure that one out pretty quick.  That's why atheism as a political force quickly devolved into a regime of murder.

The Golden Rule itself was not invented by atheists or secularists.  It comes from Christianity, though the Christian is the one that stands out: whereas the 'Golden Rule' is usually about reciprocity, Christianity actually calls us to lay down our own lives for the sake of others.

You don't find that in secularism the same way.  Yes, secularism demands 'sacrifice,' but it does not demand love for one's enemies.  To test this, just ask a secularist to love a 'racist' or a 'religious homophobe.'  After you scrape the secularist off of the ceiling, you will get the picture.

The truth is that secularism is 'parasitic,' in that it still requires people to be informed by Christianity in order for it to work.  You are free to choose to ignore the Divine commandment so long as not too many people around you do the same thing.  Once the scale tips towards every person deciding how others feel and how he will or will not meet those feelings, the more the system breaks down. 

Religion waits for no man, and so we have a safeguard against the self-contemplation that leads to narcissism and myriad of problems we have right now... especially loneliness.

Another meaningful related fact: Democratic countries with the lowest levels of religious faith and participation today — such as Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Belgium and New Zealand — have among the lowest violent crime rates in the world and enjoy remarkably high levels of societal well-being.

Yes, all success stories... up until you read the news.  Birthrates among these wonderful secular nations are plummeting.  People are lonely and depressed.  Suicide is high, and that evil 'racism' that secular people here in the US are concerned about is woven into the very fabric of their cultures (follow the ethnic riots and tensions in Europe).

The only way this article makes any sense is if you just obey the secular Party Line.  Obey, don't question.  Religion is bad, period.  We are better for not believing.  Question them, not us, because we are smarter and better.

Of course, in the end, when your 'kid' is high all the time and living in the streets, you'll demand he go to treatment... and he'll start hearing about God.  They you will probably just revert to the second line of defense of Western secularism, called the ABCs... Anything But Christianity.

You still need Him.  We all need Him.  His love is the very fabric of the Universe that holds it all together.

Meanwhile, the way is wide to secularism.  March through its gates, and enjoy the fruits of our modern paradise.



Monday, March 9, 2015

Sober Living House

So, if you are curious, that's what I've been really thinking about during my post hiatus.  It isn't enough just to post blog entries.  I'd like to do something more.
So, I'm listening to people who are 'in' the treatment world, and most will tell you the bigger challenge is getting the newly-sober through the first year without a relapse.  It means teaching new life skills and getting through mankind's oldest enemy (even older than the devil)... time.
We need time to learn and to grow.  The problem is that time moves at its own pace, both too fast and too slow at the same time.
Once you have spent the big bucks and gotten your 28-day 'treatment,' where will you go?  Most people go back to the people and places that were part of their addiction.
Sober living houses are not treatment, but a place to start living a sober life.  Wouldn't it be great to have a sober living house that is Orthodox based?  There would be access to Orthodox chaplains, prayer service, education... a place where one can get a spiritual and religious boost in addition to having a supportive, drug/alcohol-free environment?
Of course, this means not only finding a sponsoring agency (I'm talking to one, so we'll see), but also finding donors and volunteers.  Once it gets off the ground, it isn't expensive... but buying a house in the Los Angeles area is.  Yet, I think it can be done.
There are enough resources in the area that residents can get the support and guidance they need, plus there are opportunities to find work.  Once we get one going here, I'm sure there will be others.
What do you think?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Yes, I am still alive...

Well, it has been a long time since I posted here.  Judging from the occasional emails that come in or the comments that aren't spam (oh, boy, there are a lot of spammers out there), people are still reading the >4 years worth of almost-daily posts.
I stopped posting because of two reasons: one, I felt like I was starting to repeat myself; and, two, my life is unmanageable.
As to the first, I am working on some new theories, but I'm not entirely comfortable with speaking them aloud until I've had more time to examine the evidence.  Until that happens, what I have to say I have already said.  You may like it, or you may not, but it is there for the world.
As to the unmanageability of life, it is just that: I am stretched too thin.  I have young kids and an old body (thank you, modern life).  My health is as neglected as the fixer-upper house that constantly challenges me to learn new skills in construction and repair.  All of that with a moderately-sized parish with its own unique set of demands.
I have not given up on the message, but the messenger himself is weak.  The vessel is more than cracked... it is worn out.
That does not mean that I have utterly surrendered.  My priorities are to get my family through the next few years and my house in a more livable condition.
At the same time, I am gradually collecting information on what it would take to start a long-term, Orthodox-oriented, sober-living house.  We're talking about a post-treatment home where a group of sober Orthodox Christians can live and work. 
Sobriety (and one could include abstinence from all manner of temptations, including crime) is often defeated by returning home and finding all the well-worn paths just as they were left.  Old friends arrive on the doorstep, and the siren-call of the old life is often too much to bear.
Sometimes, a 'geographic' is exactly what the newly-sober needs to get on with life.  When your home is a tomb, life requires you to move out of the cemetery.
Of course, it takes money to get something like this going.  And, money requires willing partners, and those partners need a plan.  That's the tough part.  There is not precedent for it, and no existing infrastructure.  It is something new.
Please pray.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

'Spice' Hits Russia, and American Legalization Starts to Crack

The Vice Channel is reporting that the 'designer drug' known as Spice has hit the Russian streets.  Heroin is doing what it has done in the US: the bad effects are becoming widely known and unpopular, so as the users die off, new ones are less likely to get started.
Spice hit the US streets a few years ago, but its 'bad trips' have helped curtail its abuse.  Besides, with marijuana legalization basically a reality in much of the US, pot is still a much more attractive alternative.

Of course, Russia is also fighting an additional battle, one that we in the West are also dealing with, but in a different way.  If you watch this RT video, you'll notice one of the dealers has a 'Salafi-style' beard:
Russia has a large Shia Moslem community, which the Saudis have spent years infecting with Radical Sunni (a.k.a. Salafi, Wahabi, etc.) Islam.  Saudi success meant years of conflict in Chechnya.  If these guys are Salafis, then chances are they are tangled up in Russia's own 'War on Terror.'
Of course, the Great Legalization Crusade in America is happening at a time when, as the same channel reports, the Dutch are gradually shutting off the spigot on marijuana:
The rest of Europe is tired of dealing with the expenses of Holland's permissive attitude.  There is also the growing sense that the time to play is over as the 'guest workers' are gradually becoming a force of their own to be dealt with and, after this summer's race roils in France, Sweden, and Italy, Europeans are beginning to realize that they might have to come back from holiday and start doing something about their culture of infertility.
As for the US, Colorado is already starting to have its regrets over the legalization process, which now has a majority of the consumption not in cigarettes and pipes, but in 'edible' forms to avoid the nasty smoke.  Attempts to stop the distillation of marijuana have been stymied, and for good reason: the only reason anyone uses marijuana is to get high.  Again, that attitude with any other drug, or alcohol, would get you public consternation.  Here, we accept that it is nothing but an intoxicant.
While other states are toying with legalization, the fervor is over as other states see Colorado's problems.  Already, people are now worried that these edible marijuana products are going to end up in Halloween treats for children.
Is that far-fetched?  With so many people hyping the benefits of marijuana, even for children, how many people out there might try to 'share the benefits?'
The mental illness of the drug world is tragic.  We will just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

'The Pill'

Yes, I am still alive.  Doing a lot of thinking, which actually is not as conducive to writing as much as one might expect.  In this format, 'thinking out loud' can lead to all kinds of mostly-permanent problems.
The internet has its own 'permanent record.'  And, particularly these days, few humans seem to possess the 'mercy gene' which allows for minor foibles to go unpunished.  There is a totalitarian mentality these days, perhaps mostly because we are so much more afraid of the world than we were before.
However, that's not what I'm posting today.  Rather, a reader of this blog sent me a very interesting article:
Of course, it contains all of the usual bromides... the 12 Steps are too hard, the overall success rate of AA is only 5-8%, etc.
Another bromide is that 'harm reduction is successful with heroin addicts.'  That should be rewritten to say that harm reduction is successful at making addicts slightly less of a public nuisance.  They are still addicted and are not free.  It is like having padded manacles or gentle slavery. 
So, a pill is developed that will 'help' reduce the effect of alcohol, thus reduce the amount of drinking.
I swear these folks have never talked to an addict.  It isn't about the drinking.  Or the using.  It is about the suffering.
Sure, the pill may reduce the effect of alcohol, particularly on those alcohol abusers and hard drinkers that get carried away like the way many people lose themselves occasionally at the dinner table.  That's not addiction.  It is gluttony.
The addict will find a work-around.  Sure, he may stop drinking with the pill, but watch his pantry or his computer screen or his bank account... the addiction moves into another activity that releases the endorphins and 'relaxation response' that drinking once did without the pill.
Addicts don't need alcohol to get high.  They just need a high, and they can get it lots of ways.
Heck, I've seen raging alcoholics give up their drink overnight and remain on a rage bender for years.  yes, there's another pill for that, and soon our friend can take a whole pantry of meds and literally fry his liver doing what the 12 Steps do organically.
Maybe that can be AA's new message-sharing strategy-
The 12 Steps are the Green way to recovery.
Yes, I am kidding.
Sure, the recovery rate in AA is low... because the meetings are open and most people take years to get to a point of willingness.  AA is meant for the 'hopeless alcoholic,' not the newbie abuser with plenty of spunk and lots of ambition.  Read the histories written by Dick B. and you will see that AA has changed dramatically in that respect.
The 'pill' does not rebuild the relationships broken by addiction, nor does it cure the inner suffering the Steps address.
No pill can replace the healing of repentance and conversion.  No pill can make your amends for you.  No pill can replace the sense of God's love and mercy.
No pill can make you Sober.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Same-Sex Friendship

The hyper-sexualization of the modern Materialistic Consumerism has caused us to be alienated from one another.  Here's a look into this problem:
People these days are lonely.  The drive for online friendships is an easy way out, but it really never sates the thirst we have for real friendships and associations.
Think about it: children need a mother and father, but after the divorce, they are forced to accept and then reject their parents' various sexual partners.  Marriage has become about sexual union rather than family-building.  We tempt our children into early 'dating' long before they are ready to marry, then gnash our teeth when they abuse their freedom and have sex, which we encourage by supporting sexualized advertising aimed at them.
We are sex-obsessed, which is why our news outlets sprinkle a heavy dose of 'entertainment news' in with the hard stuff, knowing we are more interested in some young tarts cleavage more than we are in the spread of Ebola.  After all, Ebola does not generally effect Wifi access, does it?
Sure, we have the iPhone#, with all the attendant apps and access to our electronic needful-things, but what about real people?  Most of us have much fewer of those around these days.  We used to have clubs and fellowships and teams... they are dying out as people sit at home and bask in the eerie light of a LCD screen.
When we make the effort to meet others, it is often with that overwhelming desire, enforced by media messages, to have intercourse.  Like a prisoner first released for a long sentence, everything seems to stimulate us.  perhaps we've been watching millions of images of these things, and thus we are now 'primed' to go to work.
But, we know it is wrong, and so we stuff our stimulus down and thus begin the awkward fumbling of a 'proper relationship,' all the while wondering and wondering and wondering if our stimulation and craving for human intimacy is sexual or not.  We don't know, because we get so little of the real thing in either way.  Thus, they become confused.  Sex and social intimacy blend into a single neediness.
But, failing to understand that sex and friendships are different, and that sexual intimacy and social intimacy, while sharing some traits, are not the same, we become afraid to have both because we know there is a difference but it is no longer taught to us... and the guardrails are removed.
We encourage sodomy and so-called 'same sex attraction,' which then places the same barriers that heterosexual men and women place in their own relationships in order to prevent the blending of sex and friendship.  It is awkward for a man to treat another man like a woman, but that's what happens.  Or, rather, he may treat himself like the woman knowing that he really isn't, but, again, it is all confusing and therefore awkward.
Some people enjoy the confusion.  Yes, there are people who thrive on it.  It makes them feel alive.  Most of us like things to be straight-forward.  We benefit from rules and standards and clarity.  In this age, the former have the edge.  They are out to cause confusion.  They like it.
But, the rest of society pays the price for social experimentation.  We become the lonely ones, earning for the joys of friendship unmuddled with sex.
Until society reaches the breaking point, we will have much more of this alienation.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Be Mad At God First

For countless centuries, perhaps even from the beginning, man has often viewed the world with an 'us-versus-them' attitude.  His classical approach to life is that those who are not for him are against him, and that those against him are pure evil and a dire threat.
After all, the 'Other' takes our stuff and makes a mess we have to clean up.  The 'Other' is selfish and greedy and inconsiderate.  Of course, we are never like that.  We are always perfect.  It is the Them that has all the problems.
So, when we feel threatened or imposed upon by circumstance, we turn out ire towards some other.  When things get really bad for us, and we are genuinely afflicted, then our hatred of the Other becomes fully justified and we can go about hating and resenting.  Our insults are true because we say that they are, since we have decided it is so and the Other has no truth at all.
Whole political systems, from Stone Age Tribalism to Modern Age Marxism are built on the premise that the bad guys over there, be they the fellows in the tepee on the other side of the hill or the wealthy Bourgeoisie in the manor house (these days, a McMansion is enough to get the envy of most Americans going), must be stopped because they are bad and we are good.
Race politics is another place where this is the core belief.  Be angry, and remain so, because only your rage will give you the strength to fight your enemy.  Kind of like this:
So, we encourage our rage for 'social change' or 'preserving our traditions' with hate and well-suckled grievances.  The Other becomes, like the video suggests, the 'nail' that we have to be angry enough to hit.
The path of Recovery requires that we drop the pretense: anger is a poison, and it is never justified.  Resentments and condemnation of others is the same judgment and condemnation you will receive.  Hence, the Lord's Prayer.
Most people are weaned on hatred, and it is mother's milk to them, and no matter how often they read their Bibles, they can't get over their own hatreds.
Those who afflict you... who lets them get away with it?  God.
I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I gird you, though you do not know me, that men may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am the LORD, who do all these things. (Is 45:5-7)
God sends Israel into the hands of the Egyptians.  And the Babylonians.  They are afflicted by others.  Who should they have been angry at... their afflicters, or the God who ordained their affliction?
Here's a bishop's take on the matter:
'This Came From Me' by St. Seraphim of Vyritsa

Have you ever thought that everything that concerns you, concerns Me, also? You are precious in my eyes and I love you; for this reason, it is a special joy for Me to train you. When temptations and the opponent [the Evil One] come upon you like a river, I want you to know that This was from Me.

I want you to know that your weakness has need of My strength, and your safety lies in allowing Me to protect you. I want you to know that when you are in difficult conditions, among people who do not understand you, and cast you away, This was from Me.

I am your God, the circumstances of your life are in My hands; you did not end up in your position by chance; this is precisely the position I have appointed for you. Weren't you asking Me to teach you humility? And there - I placed you precisely in the "school" where they teach this lesson. Your environment, and those who are around you, are performing My will. Do you have financial difficulties and can just barely survive? Know that This was from Me.

I want you to know that I dispose of your money, so take refuge in Me and depend upon Me. I want you to know that My storehouses are inexhaustible, and I am faithful in My promises. Let it never happen that they tell you in your need, "Do not believe in your Lord and God." Have you ever spent the night in suffering? Are you separated from your relatives, from those you love? I allowed this that you would turn to Me, and in Me find consolation and comfort. Did your friend or someone to whom you opened your heart, deceive you? This was from Me.

I allowed this frustration to touch you so that you would learn that your best friend is the Lord. I want you to bring everything to Me and tell Me everything. Did someone slander you? Leave it to Me; be attached to Me so that you can hide from the "contradiction of the nations." I will make your righteousness shine like light and your life like midday noon. Your plans were destroyed? Your soul yielded and you are exhausted? This was from Me.

You made plans and have your own goals; you brought them to Me to bless them. But I want you to leave it all to Me, to direct and guide the circumstances of your life by My hand, because you are the orphan, not the protagonist. Unexpected failures found you and despair overcame your heart, but know That this was from Me.

With tiredness and anxiety I am testing how strong your faith is in My promises and your boldness in prayer for your relatives. Why is it not you who entrusted their cares to My providential love? You must leave them to the protection of My All Pure Mother. Serious illness found you, which may be healed or may be incurable, and has nailed you to your bed. This was from Me.

Because I want you to know Me more deeply, through physical ailment, do not murmur against this trial I have sent you. And do not try to understand My plans for the salvation of people's souls, but unmurmuringly and humbly bow your head before My goodness. You were dreaming about doing something special for Me and, instead of doing it, you fell into a bed of pain. This was from Me.

Because then you were sunk in your own works and plans and I wouldn't have been able to draw your thoughts to Me. But I want to teach you the most deep thoughts and My lessons, so that you may serve Me. I want to teach you that you are nothing without Me. Some of my best children are those who, cut off from an active life, learn to use the weapon of ceaseless prayer. You were called unexpectedly to undertake a difficult and responsible position, supported by Me. I have given you these difficulties and as the Lord God I will bless all your works, in all your paths. In everything I, your Lord, will be your guide and teacher. Remember always that every difficulty you come across, every offensive word, every slander and criticism, every obstacle to your works, which could cause frustration and disappointment, This is from Me.

Know and remember always, no matter where you are, That whatsoever hurts will be dulled as soon as you learn In all things, to look at Me. Everything has been sent to you by Me, for the perfection of your soul. All these things were from Me. (
Do you want to blame someone for racism, and inequality, and the burdens others unfairly place on you, and the suffering of the poor, and the inequality of the rich, and that you didn't get what you wanted... put the blame on God.
He started it all, and He is the one who lets it happen.
Do not be a coward and blame mere mortals.  God could stop them, but He does not. 
And, since you are afraid of God, it is easier to hate others than taking Him on.  That's being a chicken.
If you are angry at another person, you either don't really believe that God is in charge, or you think He is asleep and not doing His job.  You may need to rouse Him with your indignation.  Yes, God will surely respond if you are angry enough!
Those who can actually muster the courage to be angry at God are well on their way to recovery.  After all, to be angry at Him means you really believe that He is there and that He is all-powerful.  This is a stronger belief than the made who pays lip-service to God but in his heart believe that men are responsible for his suffering.
Men are tools.  Reread the Old Testament.  Pay attention to Deuteronomy 32.  That is a warning for all of us.
Our afflictions are the path to healing.  Do not resent others for doing what is in their nature to do.  God will deal with them.  You yourself must be healed, and God will only do that if you cooperation.
If you must hate, then hate truly and hate God.  He can handle it.  Hate Him and get over it.  Be honest.  Sometimes we cannot avoid being angry over what has happened to us.  Direct it to the One who really did it, and who also knows why it must be so and can change it from bad to good.
Be angry with no man.