Thursday, August 31, 2006

The BBC Visits Jordanville

The BBC visited Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, to do a report on their Summer choral school. You can listen to the report by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Martyr Who Would Not Be Forced to Convert to Islam

Forced conversions to Islam is nothing new. Countless martyrs were either martyred for refusing to convert, or were forcibly converted, repented, and then were martyred for being "apostates", or for slandering "the prophet". Here is one martyr who would not renounce Christ, even though her family encouraged her to do so, to save her life.

Note: Chryse means "Golden" in Greek. She was Bulgarian, and so went by "Zlata" which means "Golden" in Slavonic.

Newmartyr Chryse (Zlata) of Meglena, Bulgaria
Commemorated on October 13

New Martyr Zlata (Chryse) This "golden vessel of virginity and undefiled bride of Christ," was born in the village of Slatena, Meglena diocese, on the border of Bulgaria and Serbia, while Bulgaria was under the Turkish Yoke.

From her youth Zlata displayed an unusually strong character, a firm faith in Christ, and was both chaste and beautiful. A certain Turk was obsessed with her, and seized her one day as she was gathering wood. He carried her off to his house, and repeatedly tried to seduce the maiden and force her to accept Islam. Since persuasion did not work, he began to threaten her with grievous tortures.

The glorious martyr was not frightened by these threats, but said she would never deny Christ no matter what they did to her. For six months the impious Hagarenes tried to make Zlata accept their religion, but she remained steadfast. Then they ordered the saint's parents and sisters to convince her to become a Moslem. Otherwise, they said, they would kill Zlata and torture them.

The parents and sisters of the saint wept and urged her to deny Christ "just for the sake of appearances," so that they all might be spared torments and death. St Zlata was unmoved by their pleas, and replied, "You who incite me to deny Christ are no longer my parents and sisters. Instead, I have the Lord Jesus Christ as my father, the Theotokos as my mother, and the saints as my brothers and sisters!"

When the Moslems saw that they could not weaken the resolve of the saint, they tormented her for three months, beating her with clubs. Later, they peeled strips of skin from her body so that the earth was reddened by her blood. Then they heated a skewer and passed it through her ears.

Nearby was her spiritual Father, the hieromonk Timothy of Stavronikita Monastery on Mt. Athos. She sent word to him to pray that she would successfully complete the course of martyrdom. It was he who recorded her martyrdom.

Finally, the Moslems fell into a fury at having been conquered by a woman, so they tied her to a tree and cut her to pieces with their knives. Her pure soul was received by Christ, Who bestowed on her the double crowns of virginity and martyrdom. Certain Christians gathered her relics secretly and buried them with reverence. St Zlata suffered for Christ in the year 1795.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Price Tag for TIERS approaching 1 BILLION dollars

According to a recent article in INPUT, TIERS has so far cost the tax payers 800 million dollars. Mind you, this was necessary because the old system was costing the state 1.5 million dollars a year. At this rate, even if TIERS doesn't cost the state another penny... which of course it will, since TIERS still does not work as well as the old system by a long shot, the state will break even in the year 2540 A.D.

It is possible that INPUT has the figure wrong, because in 2005, the price tag admitted to by HHSC was approximately 300 million... and so if we stick with the lower figure, we will only have to wait until the year 2156 A.D. to break even, barring any further expenses needed to fix TIERS.

This, of course, does not take into account the intangible human costs of people doing without because a system doesn't deliver the services that they are supposed to be getting.

"Recent controversies surrounding "big bang" projects like the $800 million Texas Integrated Eligibility Redesign System (TIERS) will drive states toward more iterative approaches to integrated eligibility. "Everyone looked past the low-key, successful implementations in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts a few years ago and got excited about the potentially huge short-term returns of a project like TIERS," added Dixon. "The next wave of projects will follow the more patient example of states like Utah, New York, and North Carolina, which are taking phased approaches that minimize the risk of service disruptions upon rollout of the new interface."" INPUT, August 23, 2006

One has to wonder when someone is going to be held accountable for such a huge amount of waste.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Rowan Williams,as THE BISHOP

Read this article about the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, handling of the current crisic in Anglicanism over gay marriage and the ordination of gays by clicking here.

Then watch Monty Python's "The Bishop":

This skit should make complete sense now in the light of the firm leadership we see to address this problem.

The Bishop: "It has made a decision that is not the decision of the wider body of Christ. In terms of the issue under consideration: there are enough Christians of good faith in every denomination – from evangelical to Roman Catholic – to whom it is not quite so self-evident, who are not absolutely sure that we have always read the Bible correctly. They are saying: this is an issue we must talk about. But if we are going to have time to discuss this prayerfully, thoughtfully, we really don’t need people saying: we must change it now."

No... the rest of Christendom is not saying this is something that you must talk about. They're saying that you have departed from Christian tradition.

The Bishop: "Don't marry the gay guys Vic... don't marry the gay guys!


The Bishop: "We wuz too late!"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

TIERS for the Elderly

Translation for those who don't know all the agency lingo below. The new Computer system that the State of Texas paid hundreds of millions of dollars for, and been trying to get up and running properly for the past 7 years, still doesn't work, and so they are now telling staff that work with Medicaid for the elderly and disabled to go back to using the old system for any cases that are new, or haven't already been converted into the new (but dysfunctional) system.

To: TIERS/State Portal Users
From: TIERS Application Support
Subject: ME/DADS New Applications
Date: August 9, 2006

The Office of Eligibility Services has requested the Medicaid for the Elderly and People with Disabilities staff located in the Integrated Eligibility pilot offices to discontinue processing applications for clients who are unknown to SAVERR and TIERS through the TIERS system. These applications should be processed using the legacy system (SAVERR/MECM) effective July 15, 2006.

In order to keep consistent with this process, The Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) staff located in the Integrated Eligibility pilot offices (Travis and Hays Counties) will discontinue processing applications for clients who are unknown to SAVERR, SAS and TIERS through the TIERS system. These client applications should be processed using legacy systems (SASO/SAS Wizards) effective July 15, 2006.

ME/DADS cases currently in TIERS should continue to be worked in TIERS.

Texas Works staff located in the Integrated Eligibility pilot offices should continue processing new applications through the TIERS system.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Granny was right

In last Sunday's Gospel reading (Matthew 14:14-22), in the King James Version, we run across the word "victuals". I had always heard this pronounced just as it is spelled, however someone in my parish told me it should be pronounced just like Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies would speak of "vittles", and lo and behold, according to Webster's, Granny was right.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Different Take from a Rabbi on Mel Gibson

When Irish eyes are smiling...

Rabbi Daniel Lapin has a different take on Mel Gibson and his recent DUI incident.

h/t Southern Appeal

As for the many other Jewish voices who are jumping on this to renew their attacks on the "Passion of the Christ" for its alleged anti-semitism, the elements in the movie that they point to as examples of anti-semitism are all found in the Gospels. Furthermore, Jewish tradition itself makes no bones about the fact that the Jewish authorities had Christ put to death. If saying so is anti-semitic, then Jewish tradition is anti-semitic.

This justify mistreating non-Christian Jews, any more than it does mistreating non-Christian Italians who also had a hand in putting Christ to death. It just happens to be the truth.