The Future of This Blog

I have ruminated over the purpose and existence of this blog for at least the last four years. I have often thought I’d just nuke it, but just as I’d been about to make such a resolution firm someone would communicate on one or another aspect of the blog’s usefulness to them. I’ve taken such communications as providential (even suspecting that such interpretations of circumstance perhaps have an element of vanity about them). Frankly, though, it’s been those expressions of utility alone which have kept this blog alive.

This announcement however is not about the demise of this blog. In recent days, following months of encouragement from a dear friend, I have decided to try an experiment of sorts with regard to writing, and this blog plays a factor in that. I will begin to try to post here more regularly, though probably only once a week, or four or five times per month. I imagine the content will be pretty much the same as it has been through the 29 or so posts thus far this year, and I will likely continue my present trend away from the more academic or intellectual (which was the character of my posts, especially for 2005, as a search of the archives will attest).

Aside from brief reflection-type posts, however, I doubt I will share much if any of the other fruits of my writing practices. And my intent will only hold water if this blog contributes to my writing practices rather than takes away from them.

I will also be cleaning up the archives, which means I will be either deleting or privatizing older posts. If you are here looking for a post you no longer see, send me an email (see the About page) and I’ll let you know if it still exists and whether or not I can send you an electronic copy (should you desire one). Then again, I’m sure you can find an archived page somewhere in the bowels of the internet as regrettably nothing, it seems, ever truly disappears from the web.

I’ll give this little experiment with this blog about six months to see if things are going the way I anticipated (or in a different but acceptable way). If all goes well, come the end of February, I’ll give this thing another extension. One day, though, this blog will die. As all mortal things must.


Your Prayers

I ask your prayers. Starting on Monday, I will be traveling to Missouri to give a presentation on the Orthodox Church to a missions class at my alma mater.

I am, of course, excited about the opportunity to speak for a couple of hours about the Orthodox Church. I have never before had such an invitation. And it came about through a bit of serendipity, unique friendships and timing. I am quite thankful for it all. It certainly feels a bit daunting. But what a blessing.

This will also be a trip where I will get to see certain of my former mentors and professors, some former classmates, and catch up on all that’s happened in our lives in the past twenty years. (Yes, I have the daddy pictures ready to go!) To say that I will have some time for the indulgence of nostalgia probably doesn’t cover it. My undergraduate college was a strongly formative influence in my life.

Of course, because of the personal connections, I’m probably experiencing a bit more nervousness for this presentation than I do while teaching. Actually, I never have any anxieties about teaching (you either know your stuff or you don’t; if you do, there’s nothing to be nervous about; if you don’t, you won’t hide your ignorance and lack of prep). None of the students will know me, of course, but the professor is one of my friends from back in the day. One wants to do well with that particular audience.

Then, too, I hear tell there’s a certain video still floating around that was made while all of us roomed on Williamson first (during the year of exile from Seth third). It’s grainy and shaky. The Spanish guitar music filters out some voices. But there’s probably still some usable leverage there. One can never be too careful.

Almost There (And None Too Soon)

Well, I continue work on the presentation about the Orthodox Church that I’ll be giving in just a little over a week. I have greatly scaled back on the talk (trying to exercise rhetorical sensitivities to my audience as mostly first-timers in their exposure to Orthodoxy). So I pushed a lot into a “supplemental resources” packet (sorry, 89 pages in pdf–overkill?). The talk itself is going into PowerPoint format. I’m trying to nail down content, and then see what I can do about design. No lasers and dry-ice machines, but it needs to be more visually appealing.

This has been a good invitation/project for me. I’ve got to take the equivalent of five years (plus) of private research and learning, and put it into a format that is accessible to folks that I have to assume will have little to no exposure to the Orthodox Church. Further, this will be an audience who will likely have little to no exposure to some of the technical philsophical/theological terminology which I would otherwise be able to use as something of a shorthand. I am being forced to introduce concepts and histories for which I will have to find non-technical terminology and/or definitions. This is a good thing. But it is a hard thing. One advantage I have is that I was raised in this Christian milieu, so there are things about it that are very, very familiar to me. But this is also a disadvantage in a way: I will have to be very careful that my familiarity does not come off as a lack of deference. I owe a great deal to my heritage churches, and I want that to come off clearly–even though my reception into the Orthodox Church must no doubt be perceived as an implicit critique of my heritage churches.

I’m still somewhat flabbergasted at how all this sort of serendipitously worked itself out. It’s a unique opportunity I have never had before, and do not anticipate having again. May the Lord make this a blessing not only to my hearers but to me as well.

Today I’m Glad I Haven’t Yet Nuked This Blog

I have on several occasions in the past seven years thought about nuking this blog. But today I’m glad for my hesitation.

Lord willing I will be giving a presentation on the Orthodox Church to some folks from my heritage churches (Stone-Campbell/Restoration Movement) and I have rediscovered the rather large amount of material I wrote here during 2005 which specifically touches on the questions I’ve been asked to address.

Whew. That will save a lot of research.

Eternal Rest: Fr David Lynch

Update II:

I just saw Ben Johnson’s obit for Fr David. Please give it a read. Also, note this from our Bp MARK:

Fr. Lynch passed away in the Diocese of Toledo, so Bp. MARK is asking all Orthodox of the Byzantine Rite to pray a prayer rope for Fr. Lynch, saying on each knot, “O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of Thy departed servant.” Those of the Western Rite can offer appropriate prayers as well.

Funeral Arrangements for Fr. David Lynch (1936-2008 )

Wednesday July 2, 4:30pm-8:30pm
Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church
1449 N. Quentin Road
Palatine, IL 60067

Requiem Mass according to the Orthodox Gregorian Rite
Thursday July 3, 11am
Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church
1449 N. Quentin Road
Palatine, IL 60067

Thursday July 3 following the funeral
Windridge Memorial Park
7014 S Rawson Bridge Rd
Cary, IL 60013

One of our priests, Fr David, fell asleep in the Lord yesterday evening. Pray for the repose of his soul, for strength and comfort for Khouria Martha, and for his family and friends. Funeral arrangments are pending.

Funereal Thoughts

I don’t know why, but I’ve been thinking about my funeral this morning. Don’t misunderstand, I have no intimations that my death will be coming soon. Indeed, I specifically asked our guardian angels this morning, as I always do when I pray in the mornings, to protect me and my household from an unexpected death. And it’s not because I’m feeling morose or sad or blue. As my friend Tripp can attest: I’m in a glorious mood today and vociferously demonstrated it as a passenger on the Tripp Hudgins Theological Short Bus. (See, Tripp, I was able to work that into a post!) No, I’m just thinking about my funeral. So here’s what I want.

First of all, I hope to die in the Orthodox Church. Thus, I want my funeral to conform to the Orthodox service in all ways that are necessary and in whatever ways are appropriate to my status (as Orthodox or non-Orthodox) when I die. I want my funeral held in my home Orthodox parish (right now, All Saints Orthodox Church in Chicago), unless that would not be suitable, in which case any other appropriate location would suit me just fine, though it should be a church if possible. I would, in any case, like the Psalter prayed over my body prior to my burial.

At some suitable time, at the gravesite service if possible, I would like my family and friends to sing my favorite hymns over my body; namely, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” (enough verses of each to convey the full meanings of the hymns) and the Nunc Dimittis. I would also like read the Gospel passage with which I have always most identified, Luke 7:36-50.

With regard to the expenses surrounding my funeral, I first defer to the needs of my family and friends to express their grief and hope. But compatible with that I would prefer that the least expense possible be spent. If it is compatible with the law, a simple pine box with a simple cross on the lid is perfectly suitable for my body. It will make no difference in terms of the Resurrection. In any case, the least expense that is compatible with the law should be spent.

Ultimately, I would like to be buried next to my wife, so whatever conditions that necessitates should prevail. However, if at all possible, I would like to be buried in the cemetery in Augusta, Kansas. The soil of that place is as much a part of me as anything, and I wouldn’t mind keeping the connection till Christ comes. But if it is not possible to be buried there, Haverhill cemetery near Haverhill, Kansas (east of Augusta) is down the road from one of the places I used to live, and that would be suitable as well.

If anyone is moved to give a memorial offering in my name, they can do so to their local church’s budget for provision of food, shelter and clothing to the poor.

I would that my family and their needs be always remembered, and that prayers for me be offered till Christ comes.

No eulogy. Preach the Gospel.

In all things everything must be done as is fitting for the glory of our Lord.