Nov 5/18 2009 24th Wednesday after Pentecost
As is usual in such cases, I am the one who is the answer to the question “ One of These Things (Is Not Like The Others”) ”, since, following the church calendar, my fast begins 13 days later than most people in America (but not the Orthodox world). I have all kinds of strong opinions about the calendar, but am not a “calendarist”  so I am trying to be a good sport and begin my blogging with the others on Nov 15.
I had an auspicious beginning, as I did not post anything on Sunday. I always post the Sunday homily in audio form, but that day, the batteries ran out, and I did not have a backup plan. I figure I am starting “early” anyway.
It is kinda tough to write something for each day, because I seem unable to write anything but mini-opuses (working on that). Working two full days and usually a full day to go to a prison each week does not help things much either, but I am going to give it a shot. If I could only get ahead a little bit!
I am trying to come up with a system. I am inclined to want to write about Scripture (in commentaries or homilies) as often as possible, but sometimes the creative juices do not flow, or at least do not get on paper. I have always found it to be much easier to talk about Scripture than write about it. The next favorite is some excerpt from the services, usually from the daily Octoechos, Lenten Triodion, or an upcoming feast. Anything a pastor can do to inspire people to read Scripture and to attend the services is a good thing, as we are by and large a Scripturally illiterate people, and even more so (just peek in almost any church on a Saturday night or observe the truncated service) a liturgically illiterate people.
Other good stuff is a small “gleaning” from the Fathers, or even a comment about some current event (such as a Roman Catholic bishop’s recent ridiculous letter about H1N1 precautions – I hope to get to it). Of course, while we are building, progress reports with pictures are good. I have started a series (2 so far) of “ Christian Life Skills”. I also try to answer questions that come up from email, parishioners and blog comments. I am way behind on this!
If anyone has some suggestions, please let me know. I need material, and need to get a little bit ahead, like a cartoonist or columnist does.
The list of blogs which have promised to post daily is below. I am planning (I hope this is more successful than my planning to get my office clean!) to read them, or at least skim them.
- Schole: Fr. James Coles, St. Ignatius Church, Mesa, AZ
- Orthodox Praxis: Fr. Dcn. George P. Bithos, Transfiguration Church, Austin, TX
- Observations from an Empty Well: Fr. John McCuen, Holy Archangels Church, Phx, AZ
- Redeeming the Time: Fr. Seraphim Holland, St. Nicholas Church, McKinney, TX
- Dagnabit!: Fr. Stephen Lourie, St. George Church, Altoona, PA
- 30 Days: Fr. Matthew Thurman, St. Luke Church, Solon, OH
- Be Transfigured!: Fr. Athanasios Haros, Transfiguration Church, Florence, SC
- Fr. Peter-Michael Preble: Fr. Peter Preble, St. Michael Church, Southbridge, MA
- Papamike’s Ponderings: Fr. Michael Winn, Holy Spirit Seminary, Ottawa, Ontario
- Ramblings of a Redneck Priest: Fr. John Moses, All Saints of America, Middlebrook, VA
- Shine Within Our Hearts: Fr. David Eynon, Annunciation Church, Decatur, IL
Priest Seraphim Holland 2009. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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 “Calendarist” is a pejorative. It means different things to different people. The basic jist is that it is someone who considers the Old Calendar (or, rarely, the New Calendar) to be a dogma or pseudo-dogma. Of course, dogmas cannot be broken and those who elevate the calendar issue to a dogma, on par with the Holy Trinity or the Two natures of Christ (that is, if you don’t believe it or do it, you are not a Christian) are mythological creatures, and very hard to find. There are abuses on “both sides of the aisle”, such as Old “Calendarists” are rigid, without love, anachronistic, etc. or New “Calendarists” are heretics. It is a shame when this happens (as it always seems to) when the issue is discussed on an email list, because it is possible to have very strong, well reasoned arguments against the calendar change and not be even close to being a “calendarist”.