Jon Kennedy's Postcards from
his missionary journey in Europe

The blog from Romania - a roundup
of every-day important things

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Today's Scripture: At that time, when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaios, and Thaddaios; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay."

St. Matthew's Gospel, chapters 9:36-38; 10:1-8,
from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
See the Bible study notes below.

Additional reading for today: 1 Corinthians 4:9-16 «

Today's diary - life in Romania

The biggest flea market in Eastern Europe is claimed for the extravaganza that spreads out for one week a year along a rugged valley shared by the town of Negreni, an hour's drive west of Cluj. The picture above shows only the most remote pocket of the market, which extends probably for a mile along (mostly) the opposite side of the river that's being crossed in this picture. I got a ride to the market with Anka and Raluca, friends who are both young doctors in a Cluj hospital, and Raluca's mother.

There seemed to be endless tables of merchandise, including clothing (thousands and thousands of jackets and sweaters appropriate to the season upon us, primarily) and everything imaginable from used collectibles, farm implements, fishing gear, furnishings, produce, and on and on. I saw very few prices on things other than the food on sale, but was told that everything was negotiable. There was a phone-camera booth selling selfie sticks for 35 lei, which I have seen for sale in Auchan (the huge Walmark-like emporium in the mall) for 34 lei, not a very encouraging sign. I was looking for some new trousers and a sweater or warm but light top, but ended up not buying anything but the food and coffee I ate and drank on the premises. There was a rain shower in the late afternoon, which dampened everything but after it passed, it was back to business as usual. The most interesting photo I got of the day was the one below:

That, folks, I was told, is a large pot of pigs ear stew. Despite being a first and probably once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to avail myself of such a delicacy, I resisted the temptation. The jars on the left of the stew appear to be stuffed peppers. Here they stuff peppers with rice and little else (I much prefer my late mother's stuffed peppers, filled with ground beef with some rice in it, and topped with stewed tomatoes). I don't know what is used to put the smiley face images on the peppers in the jars.

It was a tiring day with lots of walking over rough terrain, but well worth the effort to see some real Romanian rural color up close.

Today is again chilly and wet. Another Friday is upon us. See you on Monday, Lord willing.  «

Headlines - an Orthodox Christian news aggregator
Links to news, features, research and opinion pieces. See caveats, below.

Gun homicide rate down significantly since 1993 peak; public not informed

Chicago famed imam held on $1 million bond on charges of sexual harassment

U of Toronto college forced to cut gender-neutral toilets after voyeur incidents

Claim: ISIS so weakened by Russian bombs it could be defeated within hours

America welcomes Islamic 'refugees,' but finds no room for Christian refugees

First Things: What was significance of Pope Francis's meeting with Kim Davis?

Jack Nicholson seems an unlikely abortion opponent, but he has good reasons

Russian Orthodox Church declares Russia's attacks on ISIS to be a holy war

Raymond Ibrahim on Obama's take on ISIS and its threat on Christian civilization

Scorsese’s film Silence, set for release next year, explores the mystery of faith

Christian worldview - spiritual growth
(This department alternates with Writing stuff)

Today's meme might seem a strange choice for a web department emphasizing what can be called apologetics. Though Christian philosophy or worldview is not an exact replica of apologetics, both worldview and apologetics are in the business of seeking answers to basic questions about religious questions. I'm not quite exactly in the business of providing "easy" anwers, but I do try to provide a framework of answers or explanations on which to build a Christian life and enable the faithful to get an overview of what is required in the teachings of the Lord through Scripture and the tradition of the church to fulfill the role of His disciple.

But if there is a difference between apologetics and worldview study in their approach to finding answers, it is that the worldview approach is personal, for you, not world-oriented, for you to straighten out—or convert—your neighbors. And this is a vital distinction. The Orthodox approach to salvation is to work out your own salvation rather than to work on your neighbors' salvation. That may seem self-centered and counter-intuitive in terms of Jesus' great commission, but the reason Orthodoxy emphasizes working on your own salvation/sanctification/theosis is that our approach to evangelism or "church growth" centers on being an example rather than having the best arguments to win skeptics over to our way of thinking. To do the latter, you first have to judge something of the spiritual condition of your skeptical neighbor, and such judging is forbidden in the Lord's teaching. So being a holy example is the alternative. Many other "brands" of Christianity so demote or downplay the process of becoming holy, despite the great emphasis that receives in Scripture and the multitude of examples from church history of holy men and women so influencing the world around them, solely through their holy examples, that revivals of faith broke out spontaneously around and through them.

If we progress in the mysteries of God that Metropolitan Kallistos is stressing, we will automatically become "magnets" drawing others to Christ and a desire to have what we have and to live holy lives themselves. «

Today's video




Today's quotes


As God illumines all people equally with the light of the sun, so do those who desire to imitate God let shine an equal ray of love on all people. For wherever love disappears, hatred immediately appears in its place. And if God is love, then hatred is the devil. Therefore as one who has love has God within himself, so he who has hatred within himself nurtures the devil within himself.

St. Basil the Great «

The central Christian belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter. A good many different theories have been held as to how it works; what all Christians are agreed on is that it does work.

— C. S. Lewis «

Bible study notes: The main thought in today's Gospel passage is that ministries of caring: healing, casting out demons and improving people's lives are the foundation on which the Gospel is to be preached. It is "turn or burn" but also, "come unto me all who are weary and oppressed." As the passage begins, the people were oppressed, both by their temple rulers as Jews, and by their occupying rulers from Rome, and by the oppressions of every day life. The disciples took the good news that all oppression will be relieved if you will receive the One who brings peace of soul and of mind, the Lord of mercies.

A word with God: Lord of mercies, have mercy on me a sinner, and give me the peace that transcends the oppressions of this life. In the name of the Father, and of the Holy Spirit and of you Lord Jesus Christ the eternal Son. Amen..  «

§     §     § Return to top

Every-day important things; A word from God; a word with God; taking stock of our place now; catching up on world and social concerns ("headlines"); an inward reflection (worldview); something to get you out; something to laugh about; some thoughts to sharpen your thinking.

Caveats on "headlines"; links to articles on current issues—news, features, research and opinion that may signify how the cultural winds are blowing. Note that most 'news reports' are not 'objective' and if some are 'neutral' it's because the writers and editors are disinterested (could care less about the topic). Neither are 'news reports,' in general, highly accurate or unbiased; try to discern the bias of any report's source; always read aware and at your own risk. «

Unless specified otherwise, none of the message memes used in this blog are the creation or property of the author, but are reposted here from the social networks. «

Quotations usually have not been vetted (and thus may be falsely attributed). «

Videos used here are embedded from video websites (most frequently YouTube), and occasionally these are removed from the sites from which they were embedded, or permissions on those sites change, causing them to "disappear" from these pages. This is also likely to happen to links to articles outside this site. This is beyond the control or remedy of this blog. «

Comments: Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page. «

§ I have now uploaded over 3,000 photos and videos, mostly from my recent 19-month visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), some photos of the family, and some new ones from Malta on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.

For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter (click on either icon to go to the site).

Google+ works more automatically, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there. Feedback: Please comment on anything in today's blog on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to

Feedback is always welcome.

§     §     §

Please pray for my mission to Europe. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My permanent/postal address is 632 North 20th Street, San Jose, CA 95112; my telephone number is +40 741 370 148; within Romania: 0741 370 148.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


related pages

The Nanty Glo Home Page

Previous blog entry

INDEX of blogs since February 4, 2015


This blog is just
an attempt to communicate
between an American lay missionary in Europe, his friends there, his friends in his home parish in Silicon Valley, California, his parish in his adopted home base of Belfast, UK, and his friends in his native coalfields of Western Pennsylvania, and any others interested. When time for deeper reflection is lacking, this may consist mainly of reposts of things from online networks that seem to resonate with members of his circles.

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

Suitable letters to the Home Page will be considered for publication in the Forum department unless they are specifically labeled "Not for Publication."

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

C.S. Lewis Society of Northern Ireland

Blogs I follow:

Glory to God for All Things

Dock Cafe - Life in the Titanic Quarter

Sitting around the campfire with Jim

Other books by Jon

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on Amazon


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