Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Learning to Live in England, Part 20

So what have we been doing since the last report, which ended a week ago Sunday? Well, this and that. Monday (not yesterday, but a week before that) I went to the knitting group at the [Anglican] church. Nice ladies there, three of them named Joan, two Jeans, and Joyce. Plus Ann, the curate.

Tuesday I was very adventurous and had my hair cut here in Ormskirk. Thirty-six pounds! I thought that practically extortionate, and for that price I didn't get one of the senior stylists, either, but a sweet young thing named Lisa, probably newly out of cosmetology school. I told her exactly how I wanted it and she proceeded to cut it exactly as she had understood. Which was not at all what I'd had in mind. Well, Mark (my son) likes to observe that the difference between a good haircut and a bad one is two weeks. Not that it is a bad haircut, mind you, just a new one for me, unaccustomed, very short on the sides and in the back.

To my surprise, Demetrios loves it! (He spent all this time working on his project.)

Thursday, David and Julia came to Ormskirk to pick up their new car, a black Vauxhall; and as the dealership is near us, they came and got us afterwards and we went out to eat. We went to The Peacock, a Chinese establishment right here in Ormskirk, and Demetrios and I were very surprised at what a good restaurant it is. It not only has a gracious decor, but the food is plentiful and delicious, too. And as almost always in any Chinese eatery, the service was excellent. We all shared a 'Banquet for Four,' several courses, all yummy.

Saturday, the plan was to have a barbecue at their house, but the nasty weather caused us to change plan and eat indoors. David prepared us some marvelous lamb and steak and pork sausages, with potatoes and veggies. We had another batch of my failed cheesecake ('lemon bars') for dessert, only this time it was something halfway between lemon bars and cheesecake, still very tasty, though.

Then after dinner we watched a DVD, the popular musical, Mamma Mia. Demetrios and I had enver seen it. It was fun to watch, but I cannot recommend it. It's based upon a mammoth inconsistency; it's an unabashed celebration of the very behavior (promiscuity) that has caused the central characters so much pain all their lives!

During the discussion over dinner, I finally understood where David is coming from, religiously. I mean, I knew it, fuzzily before, but now, clearly. It's not that he rejects God, not at all! Nor does he reject Christ. 'But religion...' Yes, religion is the problem. Religion, in whose name such atrocities have been committed. The religion of fear and guilt. He said yes, that's what he meant, and I said,from the bottom of my heart, 'If that's what you're rejecting, I salute you!' David sees through that nonsense and worse than nonsense; Julia, too.  And they aren't going to pretend otherwise. Hooray, hooray, hooray!!!


Nina said...

I am sorry about the haircut....maybe it would help if the next time you took some photos of the hairstyle you want with you...We have already seen Mama Mia!....I enjoyed it mostly for the music...I am a big ABBA fan!

Anonymous said...

Anastasia: David’s concerns are a major problem for the Church – a scandal (from the Greek) actually – precisely because it makes people stumble as they try to “work out their salvation.” I cannot think of a single denomination, mine included, that has not contributed to this tragedy.

Nevertheless, the old Latin adage is true: “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” (Outside the Church there is no salvation). It is true because the Church, with a capital “C”, is the same as “the Kingdom of God,” without regard to denomination. But, as our Lord explained to Pilate, there is no violence in His Kingdom, or, as we read in Revelation 21, “27 … nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.”

It takes only a little knowledge of history to see how much evil there has been in the churches. Nevertheless, even from these churches the Gospel has been proclaimed, and continues to be proclaimed. Even within these churches the Holy Spirit guides the minds and wills of people so that the His Kingdom comes, and His Will is done. One of the qualities of God that absolutely boggles my mind is that He, and only He, is able to turn evil into good.

God’s people, filled with the Holy Spirit, have been given the “spiritual discernment” to distinguish between the way of the world and the will of God. The same Spirit gives us the will and the courage to speak up and to act when people pervert God’s will. So grows the Kingdom of God on the blood of the martyrs, even today.

Our Lord knew all that when He was telling Pilate about His Kingdom, so that when He bore the sins of the world shortly afterward, these also were among them.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

許惠吟許惠吟 said...

哈>v<"" 感謝分享.............................................................

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

For the record, the Orthodox Church does not have a record of violence or atrocities. That's not to say Orthodox people have been innocent of these, or groups of Orthodox people, or even a rogue bishop now and then. But it is to say that people who commit these things are never doing it with the sanction of the Church, but instead are sinning against the Church when they inflict even minor harm upon anyone whomsoever.

Anam Cara said...

I must say I am surprised at your reaction to Mamma Mia after your report of Shirley Valentine. I feel the opposite.

Donna's indiscretions were all youthful (both for her and the young men involved) and at a time when the entire world was saying nothing except "free love." (Not that everyone fell for that, but if you were in those circles, I imagine the peer pressure was pretty strong. I was an adult in the 70's, but I was living in Europe and saw what happened at discoteks, etc.) As far as we can tell, Donna has lived a pretty quiet life since Sophie was conceived, working hard at being a single mom at a time when many would have chosen an abortion or giving up the baby (which arguably might have been better, but still, she was brave and thought out the consequences)

Shirley on the other hand, was an adult, should have known better. Costas used women for his own pleasure. And my goodness! The nudity shown in the movie!

Also, I love ABBA and thought it was very clever of the writers to make a story out of disjointed songs like that. And the scene with the guys dancing in the flippers is amazing - you need to see that part on stage (the only place the play is better than the movie in my opinion)

Aren't name funny things? We hardly ever find a Joan, Jean, or Joyce in the US these days.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anastasia: I waited, hoping that someone would come to my rescue, so I would not have to go into the distasteful topic of atrocities committed by the Orthodox Church. But so that I do not waste too much of your time, or mine, would you let me know what “the Orthodox Church” is, so that I don’t dig up any dirt needlessly, just to find out that it is about the wrong church? So that you don’t think I am trying to lead you into some clever trap to define what “the Church” is, are all of the following part of the “Orthodox Church”: Albanian Orthodox, Bulgarian Orthodox, Georgian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, Orthodox Church of America. Or is “the Orthodox Church” defined in some other way.

I also feel bad because this is introducing a jarring note into your apparently wonderful stay in England, about which I, and I am sure many others, are reading with a great deal of pleasure.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

somehow or other, the end of my last message was left off. It is not a matter of wanting to see my name in print, but, to paraphrase Jefferson, eternal hostility to anonymous submissions.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Anonymous said...

Before going into the specifics I have to express my opinion that the “correctness” of a particular church body, whether measured by doctrine, faithfulness, or adherence to tradition, has not made any church body immune to human failings. It all begins with the Seven Churches in Revelation.

If the Russian Orthodox is included in the statement: the Orthodox Church does not have a record of violence or atrocities.” then that statement is quite obviously wrong. During the fight against the Judaizers, toward the end of the 15th century, the church quite officially argued for and was directly involved in the torture, cruel execution (burning alive, and drawing and quartering were among the most popular), and imprisonment of the heretics. Toward the end of the 17th century, the church did the same to the Old Believers (Staroobrjadsy). Until the beginning of the 20th century, monasteries and convents were used as prisons for both religious and political prisoners. Most people were kept there without any prior judicial proceeding; many were kept in inhuman conditions, leading to extreme suffering until liberated by death. If I were to do even a little research into the subject, I am sure I will find numerous instances of the same horrors, both in the Russian and other Orthodox Churches.

These are historical facts. They make me very sad, because, as I said in my earlier post, they are a stumbling block for a multitude of people who are offended by the actions of Christian churches. They are kept out of the Kingdom of God, because of the sins of evil people, committed in the name of Christ. I simply do not know of an effective way of neutralizing this effect.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

George, anything 'official' in the Orthodox Church has to be so by the consent of the whole, by the body of bishops in communion with one another, and with the support of the people. Meaning not just the people of any given nationality, but the whole. (Oh, yes, including our mothers and fathers who have reposed before us.)

Otherwise, it's a group of people sinning against the Church as it sins against God.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Anam, I think I was able to empathize with Shirley a little better, precisely because she did know what she was doing, and felt driven to do it anyway. At least it was only once; she wasn't promiscuous. I felt sorry for her in the circs.

But in general, I have to agree with you. The lack of sexual values, both here and in America, is shocking; but we encounter it more here than there, for some reason. People seem to have no concept of sex as anything more than a form of casual recreation, and it is reduced to that. In fact, I may write a post on that subject.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

George, I do agree with you that we have all put up these horrible stumblingblocks to those outside the Church - and inside, too, for that matter.