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Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Human Condition

I've been wondering lately what it is about the human condition that makes us so consistently prone to compare ourselves one to another. I've noticed in myself this propensity to a greater degree (my noticing, not the propensity itself) then I ever had before. When I do something wrong, I tend to justify myself, "I'm not quite so bad as other people" or, even worse, "I've never done such and such like so and so did". When I do something well, I tend to pride and vanity, "I did that pretty well, at least as well as so and so". When I don't do so well, I tend toward envy, "I wish I could do as well as so and so" (so and so plays a large part in my world, apparently).

Self-justification, pride and vanity, envy - all of these stem out of focusing on how I stack up against others rather than against the Other. Even St. Peter, after Christ's resurrection, on seeing the Holy Apostle John, asks of the Lord "...what about this man?" I like our Lord's response, though, "what is that to you?" What business is it of yours? Why do you care? What difference does that make? In other words, focus on yourself; don't concern yourself with someone else's destiny, salvation, judgement, etc., etc. You follow Me! I think if I could just let that sink way deep down, I'd have more than half the battle won against self-justification, pride and envy.

O Holy Theotokos, save us!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

When the truth won't do...

...make up terms that sound good and the media elite will wink at. Such is the case with the latest craze among anti-life forces in touting embryonic stem-cell research. The new phrase, actually an old one making a comeback, is "pre-embryonic". According to a story reprinted in the Orthodoxy Today website, this term was...

...coined in 1979 by embryologist Clifford Grobstein, a specialist in the study of frogs, who admitted that in this way he wanted to 'reduce the status of the early human embryo,...
I confess this kind of stuff makes me indignant. In the marketplace of ideas, one should be willing to present one's viewpoint as forthrightly as possible in order for it to be fairly evaluated. The type of practice described in this story is simply "stealth" propaganda in the guise of scientific advance. "People won't agree with us, so we'll trick 'em into supporting our position in order to achieve our goals." And they say Bush is like Hitler? Give me a break!

Monday, September 20, 2004

Another Hero of Beslan

By now everyone has probably heard about the little girl and her cross. But here's another story of a hero springing out of the attrocity of Beslan. I don't know if this man was Orthodox or not (though being of Greek descednt it makes sense), but it is a tremendously inspiring account.

http://allisonkaplansommer.blogmosis.com/history/026072.html

The Teacher Chose Death


In an act of unlimited devotion and dedication, to the bitter end, an elderly teacher insisted on remaining with his students. He protected them, bandaged their wounds, and with his death, saved their lives.

Children who escaped from the school told of how they owed their lived to elderly Yanis (Ivan) Kanidis, age 74 – a man of Greek origin who worked as a gym teacher at the school. He was among the hundreds of teachers, students and parents taken hostages last week when Chechen rebels invaded the large school.

On Thursday, in what was an unusual humanitarian move in the midst of the horror, the terrorists agreed to allow a group of women and babies to leave the building. The commander of the terrorist squad, saw Kanidis -- a sickly elderly man -- and offered to allow him to walk free as well.

But Kanidis refused. "I will stay with my students till the end,"the teacher insisted.

"Whatever you say," said the terrorist, dismissing him with a wave of the hand.

"He was just like Janus Korzchak, who accompanied his pupils to Auschwitz," said one of the students who was saved.

Like Korzchak, Kanidis didn't just accompany his students, he guarded their lives. On Friday, when the children began to lose consciousness from the stuffy air and their thirst, Yanis went to the terrorists. "You have to give them something to drink, at least to the smallest children," he insisted angrily. One of the terrorists hit him with the butt of his rifle, but the teacher continued to yell: "How dare you!? You claim you are people of the Kafkaz region, but here in the Kafkaz even a dog wouldn't turn down the request of an old man!"

His efforts bore fruit. The terrorist allowed the teacher to wet one of the bibs of the children and pass it around to dampen the mouths of the little ones who were choking from thirst.

The hostages who escaped told how the teacher repeatedly risked his own life in order to save the children. He moved explosive devices that the terrorists had placed near the young students, and tried to prevent them from detonating others. When the first bomb exploded next to the windows of the school, parents and children began to run out. The terrorists, trying to prevent their escape, threw a grenade atthem. The elderly teacher ran to the grenade to prevent it from exploding on the children. One of the terrorists shot at the teacher to try to stop him and Yanis was wounded in the shoulder – but didn't give up. With the last of his strength, he continued to run, jumped on the grenade, covering it with his body. The grenade exploded, and the
body of the teacher absorbed the explosion, protecting the children around him from injury.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Still Alive and Kicking

After reading some comments below expressing concerns I thought I'd better do a quick update. I'm still alive and well and working furiously. As you may know I started a new job, though still with the State of Georiga DHR/DFCS, in July. This job keeps me a good bit buisier than my old one with less time sitting in front of the computer. Also, it just seemed that I had less and less to say that wasn't simply redundant. Additionally, many things that I am prone to blog on arouse my passions and I decided to take a deliberate step away from the news of the world and try to focus on faith and family more. I'm not sure how successful I've been, I guess only God knows.

At anyrate, thank you for your expressions of concern and keep those prayers coming. They are always needed!

O Holy Mother of God, save us!!