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My plodding through yielded a payoff

by Andrea Elizabeth

“he didn’t even plan his books, as complex as some of them were. Plotting them, he said, would take out all the fun. He claimed that for him, writing a book was like finding a brilliantly colored string in the grass and following it to see where it might lead. Sometimes the string broke and left you with nothing. But sometimes—if you were lucky, if you were brave, if you persevered—it brought you to a treasure. And the treasure was never the money you got for the book; the treasure was the book.”

Excerpt From: King, Stephen. “Lisey’s Story.” Scribner. iBooks. 
You’re welcome

why it’s not hopeless

by Andrea Elizabeth

The most popular reaction to the debates and this year’s candidates is that they’re both horrible. Finally people have given up the idea of a utopian glorious leader. This is the year of the inglorious. Perhaps previous politicians, like the Wizard of Oz, have been better at hiding their ingloriousness. What will happen now that the curtain has been removed? Maybe small communities will step up and take care of their own lives? That is if they don’t give up, plug into virtual reality, and float away into nihilistic gnosticism.

Time Lapse

by Andrea Elizabeth

is a 2014 indie, low budget time travel film that may or may not have fatal errors (link includes spoilers). I like how it works anyway and many times prefer minimalistic staging with maximalistic psychology. From Wikipedia,

“Time Lapse is a 2014 American indie sci-fi thriller and the directorial debut of Bradley King. The film centers upon a group of friends who discover a machine that can take pictures of things 24 hours into the future, causing increasingly complex causal loops. It premiered on April 18, 2014 at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival.”

*my spoilers here on out* I won’t get into the mechanics but instead explore the morality from a Darwinian survival of the fittest or one with the most knowledge point of view. Yes I think it is the one with the most knowledge who survives the longest, but this cannot override fate. Niceness overrides selfishness too, but again, not fate.

The girl wanted to be loved by the boy, the boy wanted to paint, and the friend wanted money, or perhaps just winning. The girl and the friend were probably the most selfish, but the boy was stymied, and possibly a coward. The girl and friend were the most committed to their gain and the boy to altruism, but blocked. The girl’s selfishness unblocks him somehow. But her selfishness was willing to bargain. Her goals were more mutually beneficial. Letting him stay stymied didn’t do him any good either. He blamed himself for her fall, and maybe that’s fair. Her alternatives, besides the one she chose, were to give up on him and commit to someone else, which I think he would have let her do (his apathy may have made this option less attractive) or to live a life of mutual death. Both of these alternatives required giving up, which she could not make herself do.

No wonder St John of Tobolsk knows how to complete a thought

by Andrea Elizabeth

During his pastorate in Chernigov, John distinguished himself with running a Spiritual Academy, writing prose and poetry inspired by faith, and inspiring faith in others. His most famous work, which is still the standard work on Theodicy among the Eastern Orthodox, is “Iliotropion”, which he wrote in Latin, translated into Slavonic and then into Russian.” Wikipedia

And he was pre-industrial revolution. 1651-1715

And he’s related to St. John Maximovich.

See his treatise on God’s providence here.

Fight Club

by Andrea Elizabeth

So if you weren’t disturbed enough by this movie does that mean you’ve crossed the line or that you’ve made peace with yourself?

Romans 11

by Andrea Elizabeth

This chapter starts out by saying some of Israel have been blinded and a remnant preserved so as to motivate and make room for the Gentiles. Then St Paul says they can be grafted back in. He doesn’t say they were chosen for eternal damnation.

For the Love of Money

by Andrea Elizabeth

I just caught Tavis Smiley’s interview of Sam Polk about his book on leaving a successful career on Wallstreet called For the Love of Money. He is now a philanthropist who helps poor people eat nutritious food. The review within the above link says he does not mention religion when he describes an essentially spiritual awakening. 

Some Christians may believe his silence does not mean he is not privately a Christian as only Christians can be loving and unselfish. What the reviews say caused his eye opening is Reality and Life. A life coach and counseling helped him overcome his addictions, including to money, and to reconcile with his family. He believes not seeing people on the other side of the tracks as other but getting to know them as friends, while acknowledging different roots and thus opportunities, is key. 

I believe non Christians can be open to this type of reality. Are they performing fruitless works that do not count towards salvation? I don’t think so. Seems he meets the criteria for not being a goat to me. 

I’m wondering if what St Paul describes as fruitless works are symbolic purification laws that are believed to magically get you in. Where the state of the selfish heart behind it is ignored, and the belief that the ability to prettily say certain words and wash one’s hands in a certain ritual way will bring prestige and power over others.

Romans 10

by Andrea Elizabeth

“Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

As we sing every Liturgy,

O come let us worship and fall down before Christ, O Son of God who art risen from the dead, save us who sing, Allelujah, Allelujah, Allelujah.

But it’s not the only thing we sing.

The Life of Pi

by Andrea Elizabeth

was more interesting and beautiful than I expected. Spoiler* it made a disturbing story palatable. The question is which is the better story, the symbolic one or the facts? The guy representing the audience says the symbolic one. I’m wondering if it is because it paints the people more sympathetically. I think the murdering cook acting like a hyena seems too hard on the hyena and maybe too soft on the cook. Hyenas eat according to their established food chain. Predator animals may be the result of the fall but they also are part of the natural order. Mankind doesn’t get such a pass. Especially against our own species. I saw a nature show where a mother snowy owl seemed to let one of her weaker babies who had strayed from her warmth stay in the cold just long enough to pass the point of no return before she nestled it. As if she decided just to comfort it as it died before letting the other babies eat it. I wonder if it was hard for her to watch it suffer and listen to its cries.

Romans 9

by Andrea Elizabeth

The great Jacob have I loved Esau have I hated chapter that the Calvinists use. Mainly because of this: “Rom 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)”

Why could it not be of foreknowledge instead? Did not Jacob desire God’s blessing more than Esau? Did not Esau throw away his birthright for a bowl of soup? Did not Jacob have more faith? Nowhere does it say God made Jacob more zealous than Esau. It shows that God gave the inheritance/showed mercy to the one that had more faith proved by action. He was not bound by the law of the firstborn. We don’t have to totally dis Paul’s parenthetical though. God called and Jacob responded. Nowhere does it imply Jacob’s will was forced. Was Esau’s heart hardened? No, all it says is that he hungered for fleshly food more than spiritual. 

It does say Pharoah’s heart was hardened. Here’s one out to Calvinist dogma, Paul may have been speculating: “9:22 What if God”

Orthodox have a more nuanced view of inspiration and what hardened means. What if God inspired someone who does not seek him to go further in his actions than he might left to himself? It seems to me sometimes I make bigger mistakes than I intend for perhaps a different reason than I am aware of. Perhaps someone else needed to succeed instead. It’s not all about me. But my ultimate desire is for God to be glorified and his will, not my temporal one, to be done.