Tuesday, August 15, 2006

seven bowels of the apocalypse

Sorry, I couldn't resist. It really is the best way to bind things up this morning (there I go again). I finally got my hands on Fr. Thomas Hopko's series on Revelation. (Thanks, Jim!) After a little difficulty last night getting it loaded onto my mp3 player, I spent most of the bus ride this morning listening to the first lecture. (Problem 1: it wasn't making the jump very well directly from a CD to the mp3 player, so I had to put the files on the hard drive first. Problem 2: the track titles have to be distinct, and each lecture was broken into a few segments with the same title--I just had to add numbers to separate them. The latter problem, and maybe the former, was probably just a quirk in Rhapsody--I really need to switch to some different software, now that I'm no longer subscribed to their service anyway.) I like it so far. I'd read some stuff by Fr. Thomas before but never heard his voice. He's pretty interesting to listen to. The approach is about what I expected from what I've gleaned about Orthodox eschatology. It's good to hear it all put together in a coherent fashion, though, even if it's not authoritative doctrine. As a recovering Dispensationalist, it's going to take me a while to adjust to a different way of looking at things.

Toward the end of the bus ride, I started to feel some discomfort, and shortly after I got to work, I definitely had to get to the bathroom. I'm not sure if it was the meat I had after the service last night, for the first time in two weeks, or the kung pao shrimp I had with my wife beforehand. (Yes, I ate before Divine Liturgy--I normally try to follow the practice of fasting from midnight or noon, which for an evening DL on a fast day means no eating until after the service, but in this case I made an exception. I can't actually take communion anyway, so I don't think I'm technically required to wait, and I really hate making my wife eat alone.) I'm betting on the shrimp, since returning to meat after a fast doesn't normally do this to me; besides, it contributes nicely to my anti-Chinese-food bias. My wife just reported that she had some stomach issues last night, so that helps. It also diminishes the likelihood that God is punishing me for not waiting to eat :-)

Anyway, the service was good. I had read a collection of Dormition sermons from various Church Fathers over the past week or so, so it was nice to just soak it all in, without having to focus too much on the words. (Not that I zoned out--I just find that it's an easier experience when I'm well-prepared on the content of the service.) I finally met the Khouria at the meal afterward. I started to introduce myself as someone exploring Orthodoxy, when Fr. Gregory said I was really a catechumen. I was quick to interject, "not really," and he of course agreed. As usually happens when I try to explain why I've been exploring for so long without taking the next step, the subject of my wife's reluctance came up. I got the usual affirmation that it's very common for men to find Orthodoxy first and for their wives to resist. Fr. Gregory suggested, although he was careful to say that it's probably not a useful apologetic, that this trend indicates something right about Orthodoxy, in contrast with the struggle of so many Western churches to get men involved. I like to think that he's right, but I agree--it's probably not going to convince anyone.


Jim N. said...


Rhapsody? My friend, had you used the venerable and all-good iTunes, things would have been simply seemless, track titles and all! :)

Trevor said...

Perhaps, but if I see iTunes again I'm going to have to punch it in the mouth. My wife bought me a gift card for Christmas last year when I got my first mp3 player (not an iPod, because I actually like saving money). I'm still waiting for the opportune moment to waste a CD so I can burn two songs that I bought, only to turn around and rip them back off to a standard audio file format that will actually work on a non-iPod player.

I may hate Microsoft for its proprietary file formats, but at least I can easily convert a Windows media file to an mp3. I despise Apple for making a format that's so ridiculously complicated to convert, and not even providing a way to convert it in iTunes.

BTW, Rhapsody might be even higher on my crap list than iTunes, but at least I have a good excuse for using it. I got a free six-month subscription with my mp3 player (which I would have bought even without it), so I had no choice but to use their software during that time anyway. Now I just have to come up with the time and energy to figure out something else and switch to it.

Jim N. said...

a format that's so ridiculously complicated to convert, and not even providing a way to convert it in iTunes.

I don't that was Job's choice. The music industry wanted DRM, Apple had to deliver. So it goes. But then, if I had I *would* waste money on an iPod so I wouldn't have your pain. :)