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God may have created man before woman, but there is usually a rough draft before the masterpiece.


"Wit" is the ability to see resemblances; "judgment" is the ability to discern differences.

— From Dr. Johnson's dictionary.

The Nanty Glo Home Page and all its departments are for and by the whole Blacklick Valley community. Your feedback and written or artistic contributions, also notification about access problems, are welcomed. Click here to reply.

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Jon Kennedy's recent book,
C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, is available for purchase at $2.99. Purchase supports the author'
s planned mission to Belfast, Ireland. Click here to download it directly to your Kindle or your Kindle bookshelf on your PC or smartphone.


Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
his sojourn in Northern Ireland'

Lent was made for man, not man for lent
and other subjects on which I'm no expert

Jon Kennedy  

JONAL ENTRY 1268 | March 22 2013

[Jesus said] "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath."

— Luke 2: 27-28 (RSV)
from today's lenten Orthodox
lectionary readings

My smart phone (which cannot be used as a phone here in Europe as American and European phones use different sections of the radio frequency spectrum, but can be used for anything available on the Internet where ever there is wifi access) tells me it is now 35 degrees and tonight's low temperature will be 33, so yesterdays snow, four inches deep or so on most surfaces, is slowly melting. Showers now are predicted, but no more snow is forecast, with a balmy 40 degrees predicted beginning on Monday and then lingering on through much of next week. How have I, who had boasted of never paying attention to the weather back in San Jose, been reduced to making it topic A? Well, where there's no weather to speak of, why bother? And where there is a lot of it, how can you not discuss it?

We Orthodox are in the first week of lent, and I suspect today's Bible passages were chosen to teach us about ascetical practices. Ascesis or ascetical practices are primarily fasting and praying, especially spending hours in prayer in what is called "vigil," praying through the whole night. Most vigil is practiced by monks and nuns in monasteries, not lay men and women, but often in the parishes some lay people will keep vigil—often in teams that rotate hours rather than all keeping awake all night—for 24 hours before the start of the Pascha (Easter) service at midnight on Holy Saturday/Easter Sunday.

And what the church is conveying in choosing passages like today's (I think, but am no expert) is to tell us not to approach our ascesis as a legalistic obligation but to do all that we do through our own free will and for our own benefit, not with an attitude that somehow fasting hard and long or praying all night somehow benefits God. The Sabbath—and the fasting and extra praying—are made to help us, not the other way around, as though God created us to make us fast or pray. Orthodox have a tendency to try being heroic in their keeping of lent, so the bishops who wrote the lectionary (the list of Bible readings) chose this one to help us keep the fast in perspective. If you do it, do it for yourself, not for God. Doing it for yourself pleases God, but it adds nothing to His standing in the universe. This is why, I have been told, it's not appropriate to "confess" failings in the fast in the sacrament of repentence; if such a failing is a sin it is to against ourselves, not to God. I am told, but again your intelligence may differ, this is different from the Catholic approach to lent.

C. S. Lewis said that in his early Christian life he was struck by the many Psalms that call readers to give God glory and praise Him in many circumstances and many ways. ls God insecure such that He needs our glory, praise, and worship? Of course as he matured, as we all should, it became clear to Lewis that praising God and worshipping Him from our hearts, minds, and bodies is for our benefit rather than His. He speaks to us through our speaking to Him; communion is always two-way and reciprocal, but it is our general responsibility to initiate it. That has to be qualified by saying also, however, that He has already initiated contact with us through His glorious handiwork in nature and His revelation in His written and incarnate Words, and that the Incarnate Word initiated Communion (the Eucharist) with us, such that no one has an excuse for not seeking and finding him (Romans 1:20).

The librarian of the seminary I attended in Philadelphia also served as a librarian in a New York City institution and commuted between the two cities every week by train. He never wore an overcoat, only a suit or sports coat with a scarf...I tell you that only because it's the most interesting weather story I have and I'm always reminded of it in weather like this.

Besides my confession regarding FaceBook and YouTube yesterday, I've been watching some telly over my tablet computers. Both the 700 Club and the Tonight shows, which I tried to never miss when living in San Jose, can be streamed here a few hours after their original airing in the United States. I watch the evangelical-produced 700 Club mainly for its news reportage, having long since concluded that virtually all news readers on the mainstream outlets (including Fox's) are secularists without a clue about the real Maker of the news, whereas at least on the 700 Club the journalists or readers profess to answer to and attempt to please a higher Source and Critic. To me, that has to count for something. And I watch Leno mainly to keep up with what "the world" is buzzing about, though I have to wonder why I bother or care. Relevance.

Today's embedded video from YouTube is one that I shared in this department in April, 2010, a 7:10-minute film of a cable car ride down San Francisco's Market Street in 1906, allegedly four days before the great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. I'm repeating it because I saw a similar video about Belfast on YouTube today and realized I had never shared this historic film on YouTube, and now that I am an iPad user, I am painfully aware that many people cannot watch the videos I have put online on this site in Windows Movie format.

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If you missed my overview of my venture in Northern Ireland, check it out here.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

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