Bingo: Second Verse, Bad as the First

2nd Annual Orthogals Bingo Card! First one to get 5 in a row wins an empathetic facepalm from everyone in the room. Use last year’s card to play against your friends and survive the holidays.


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Linkage: Helpful skills edition

Masters of Love [The Atlantic]
Science says successful relationships are built on kindness and generosity. Thankfully, science also gets a little more specific about what exactly those mean.

10 Essential Life Skills You Can Master in No Time [Verily]

How to Push Past that Terrifying Dip in Motivation [FastCo]

How to Handle Being Out of Your Depth: 6 Tips from a Con Man [Art of Manliness]

And just for fun…

How to Make the World’s Best Paper Airplanes [Art of Manliness]

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Bear Serenely

“If you can bear serenely the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a place of refuge.”

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, via Fr Stephen

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Reader questions

the best orthodox friendship sites
That’s a fun question. There are some good options in the blogosphere, and our commenters recently recommended their favorite blogs. If you’re looking to make new friends, have you taken a gander at Orthodox Circle or even OrthodoxChristianDating? Both are a little quiet, but I’ve had a good conversation or two, even truly platonic nice ones. I hesitate to mention online fora, because they get really weird, but there are some nice Facebook groups and online communities.

can you make greek salad ahead of time
Anna says, “You can cut the vegetables up the day before but I wouldn’t recommend adding the tomatoes until it’s ready to be served.” And don’t add lettuce.

films about broken relationships?
Chinatown comes to mind, though it’s as dark as it gets.

funniest movie for a broken heart
Probably Princess Bride, though Roman Holiday is one of my utmost favorites.

how answer rude questions you don’t want to answer
Don’t. Smile absently and ask about the weather, completely ignoring the question. See also this.

dating seminarian sucks
I’m sorry. Are you sure you want to be dating him? If it’s just hard maybe get some support from your priest and matushka. If it honestly sucks, though, it’s okay to break things off. You don’t need a reason to end things, you can just say “I appreciate our time together, and I wish you all the best, but I’m breaking up with you.” Only date someone you’re happy about.

dating a guy who likes secular things
Okay, nothing wrong with that, unless the specific things are problematic. Does he appreciate the sacred as well?

modest, sensible and focused on the team
Those are good attributes. I’m not sure how or why they led you here, but I would like to add that it’s also okay in many situations to be flamboyant, vibrant, whimsical, impulsive, and healthily attentive to one’s own needs. I’m not entirely sure why I feel the need to tell you that, but I do, and I mean it. I try to be modest and sensible and focused on needs and goals of any team I’m on, but somehow the combination of those 3 makes me feel concerned.

matushka definition mother of god
I think you may be confused. Matushka means “little mother,” and it’s an affectionate term for the priest’s wife. The Mother of God is often called the Theotokos, or God-bearer.

lust vs love orthogals
Well, they’re opposites. I mean, really, exact opposites. Lust is dehumanizing; they’re not a person, they’re an object of your desire. An object, think about that for a second. Love…love comes from God, love embraces them as a person, it can’t exist without seeing them as a whole person made in the image of God. You can love someone and find them very attractive without making them into an object.

christian orthodox and being single
god and singlehood
being single and easterrn orthodox
Is pretty okay, actually. There’s room for you here. Plenty of saints didn’t get married, and they still led fulfilling lives with lots of good relationships in them. Monasticism is a beautiful option, but as long as you have a strong community of support I’m not too worried about you. You can live a full, satisfying life and glorify God regardless of your marital status. In fact, that’s what you’re called to do.

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#DudesGreetingDudes [Buzzfeed]
A stellar response to catcalling. Clever and on-point. Language warning.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”>

“Whoa. Bruh. U look good 2day. Thought I’d mention it. I just wanna brighten ur morning! Do you, SON!’ #dudesgreetingdudes

— Francis Ford Coconut (@nikolaiharmon) November 7, 2014

Transgender People Can Explain Why Women Don’t Advance at Work [New Republic]

Do You Know About Jian [Nothing in Winnipeg]
A startlingly honest look at why, even when everyone knows that someone’s a danger, nobody speaks up.

“Would you, if you had nothing besides stories that weren’t yours, little things you’d seen, a million tiny red flags that quietly added up to make you feel unsafe?”

The Stories We Don’t Tell [Becoming Minimalist]

Creature of Habit: Food, Marriage, and Ginger Beer [The Toast]


…Okay, so it’s not the bubbliest of round-ups. But it’s Friday and the snow is melting, so have a good weekend, and enjoy the last of the fall colors!

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Mini Catechism: Liturgy

In a side-step from our usual commentary on life, we offer a brief segue into an explanation of what is happening during the Divine Liturgy. All disclaimers to varied practices are listed in the video. And for those of our readership who arrive just in time for the Gospel, you can know what happens in the first 20 minutes of Liturgy!!

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Your Favorite Blogs

What are some of your favorite blogs? What do you read on young adulthood? What Orthodox blogs do you love? Inquiring minds want recommendations.

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Friday Linkage

“Joking around” can be an act of cruelty [Hatrack]

3 Steps to Building a Happy Relationship [Verily]

How to Get People to Like You [Barking Up the Wrong Tree]

The Myth of Following Your Passion [Art of Manliness]

Conversations with Nuns [Harvard Divinity Bulletin]

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Iris Murdoch on love

Love is the very difficult understanding that something other than yourself is real.

Iris Murdoch

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Communion and Community

 “Community can only exist where there is repentance.”

This weekend, Fr. Stephen Freeman of Glory To God For All Things spoke at a one-day retreat in central Indiana. He gave three talks on Communion and community, and how the two support one another. I won’t try to give a summary (especially since I might’ve missed the first talk because I was reading picture books aloud at the breakfast table), but there were a few points that especially spoke to me, that seemed a bit radical in the world we live in.

Often we’re told that when we’re young, especially if we’re single, that the thing to do is to take big risks and strike out on our own, move across the country for that job, to follow our dreams. To let our biggest dream be of workplace success. But Fr. Stephen asked, “What for?” What’s the purpose of taking a job that pays more, but separates us from the people who love and support us? Companies expect employee mobility—they can build businesses wherever they wish and import employees to work there. On average Americans move every 5 years. But that’s for the company’s convenience, not for ours, and it’s worth examining why. It’s worth looking at the cost.

Fr. Stephen told a story about two Christmas eves. One was when he was a child, living in the same small town as both sets of grandparents, 17 aunts and uncles, and countless cousins. That Christmas eve, his father drank too much, and two phone calls were made. One to an aunt to take the kids to their grandparents’ house for the night; one to an uncle, to come sit with Fr. Stephen’s parents until his dad fell asleep. Their network supported them, and they got through it. I assume there was still some work to be done in the future, but they got through it.
Another Christmas eve was more recent, a newlywed couple: she grew up in one state, he grew up in another, they met at college in a third state, and were living in a fourth state. In this new place they had no family, and they had separate sets of friends, coworkers, acquaintances. There was little overlap. That Christmas eve, the man drank too much, and two phone calls were made. One to a hotel, another to a divorce lawyer. There was no network of people who loved them there to hold them up when they needed it most.

“Stability isn’t just two people being stable,” Fr. Stephen said, it requires a network of friends and family. People sixty years ago weren’t any better at being married than people today. The current 50% divorce rate isn’t just because people suddenly suck at being married, or because people were just magically more skillful Back In The Day. We don’t have that net. Fr. Stephen stressed that it’s impossible to recreate the period where tight-knit extended families were common and the whole community knew everybody’s name, and there’s no point in beating ourselves up about that. But it’s okay to make choices that put community ahead of careers.

A lot of young people come to Fr. Stephen and say, “What should I be when I grow up? I don’t know what major I want! What’s my vocation?”
And Fr. Stephen’s response is, “You have a vocation to be like God.” The will of God, in 1 Thess. 5:18, is “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Give thanks.

Communion—ευχαριστια, Eucharist—means thanksgiving. The basis of our culture, though, is consumerism. Get a job, buy stuff, move away from our families to get a better job, to buy more stuff. But what for? What do we need all the stuff for? How much stuff does it take for us to be thankful? He called consumerism anti-thanksgiving; kids don’t get thankful at Christmas, they get greedy. But we were created to give thanks, homo eucharisticus as Fr. Alexander Schmemann put it. It’s the purpose of life.

Being rich, he said, is having enough to give some away. Consumerism consists of buying things in order to not suffer, à la retail therapy. But it doesn’t work for long—the bills come due, or it just gets old. We weren’t created to shop, as useful as stuff can be, because we’re Eucharistic beings. We’re not designed to consume and consume and consume. God created us to give thanks at all times.

Sometimes life feels like hell. Fr. Stephen spoke about car wrecks, cancer, heart attacks, divorce, even the death of a child. Things happen, and they’ll keep happening. “You are going to suffer,” Fr. Stephen said. But on the night Christ was betrayed, He gave thanks as He broke the bread.

Community is built on giving thanks, repentance, and healing. What does God want you to be when you grow up? Grateful.

To hear Fr. Stephen’s talks in their entirety, please click here.

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