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Ordinary Shoes

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  1. True but the Democratic party of my grandparents was to left of today's Democratic party in many ways too. And many Evangelical Protestants have gone to the right on abortion.
  2. I haven't read that book and I agree that content is important. I observed that my DD's class did a lot of work on skills that had no connection to content when she was in school. They would work on a sentence about something that was completely unfamiliar to them. There was a big focus on non-fiction due to the Common Core so many times the LA selections were about science or history without any prior teaching about those topics. But on the other hand, I feel that it's a waste of time to discuss some content with a kid as young as mine. For example memorizing the state capitals. That is content but how does that make sense to a kid if they are unfamiliar with the state itself? It seems like it's some random fact that will probably be forgotten. But if the fact can be applied to something else that is real to the child then it will stick better. Like New England made no sense to my my daughter and she could not tell you what the states in New England were. We don't live anywhere near there and she's never visited. But she knows the Penderwicks live in Massachusetts. Jeffrey goes to school in Boston and Point Mouette is in Maine which is also in New England and an 8 or so hour drive from Massachusetts. IDK. I'm no expert on these things but I see what my DD picks up and what she doesn't. We're studying the Civil War. She can't remember Fort Sumpter from one discussion to the next but can tell you many facts about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. She can also tell you all about how Brooks caned Sumner but not the date of the Battle of Bull Run. As I've studied history with my DD (this is our first year HSing but we have always afterschooled history) I see her picking up bits and pieces of content about certain historical periods because they are interesting to her. I can see her applying those bits of content to understand things. But we've never concentrated on memorizing dates or presidents or anything like that. She is exactly where I want her for history. She understands general ideas. The facts and specific historical details, that aren't interesting enough to a 9YO to soak in, will come when she's older with that kind of basic understanding has now as a basis of it. Sorry - I'm not good at explaining these things. My daughter does not like doing grammar and I started trying to make it more interesting for her by making up my own sample sentences about topics she already knows about. It seems to make it easier for her to analyze the grammar when the topic is familiar.
  3. Back when I was Catholic, I knew a priest who would say things about Catholics being poor. I remembered thinking he was deluded. The Anglo Catholic Church is pretty upper middle class now; at least when you consider people who attend Mass regularly. I remember a debate on an Orthodox forum about charging for Sunday school. The former Evangelicals were shocked that a church would charge for Sunday school. I was shocked that a church WOULDN'T charge for Sunday school. But someone made a point I hadn't considered - apparently CCD (or whatever they call it today - Faith Formation?) fees are a sore point for some Catholics because it can add up, especially if the family is one of the few that follows the birth control rules. This person contended that fees for things like CCD make non middle class Catholics feel unwelcome in their church. My daughter attended Catholic school for 3 years and it was clear that her classmates were exposed to a lot of right wing news. She was at this school during the 2016 election. She told me that Hillary Clinton was going to kill a disabled student at the school. She said that Clinton was going to kill all of the babies. She didn't understand that one and wanted to know what that meant. She was in 1st grade at the time. These are things she heard from other kids. She was told by these kids that voting for Clinton meant you wanted to kill babies. The school principal and other parents shared on their FB feed a sermon where a priest said that you shouldn't go to communion if you vote for HRC. That's Catholic America today, at least in my observation. Extremely partisan and hostile to anyone with a different opinion. Orthodoxy is a lot less partisan than Catholicism. I've never heard an Orthodox priest preach about who you should vote for. Orthodox laypeople are a different matter. In my observation, they fall into a few different groups. There are the ethnic Orthodox and they tend to vote Democratic. The ex-Evangelical Orthodox vote GOP. The hipster Orthodox range. If they're young, they're likely to be on the fringes politically. Sometimes libertarian or even communist.
  4. I worry we don't go deep enough in things. I don't know how to do rabbit trails or socratic discussions. Although I think I had a glimpse of something today. We do a family poetry night every week. DD and I had been discussing Constance Contraire's bad poetry (The Mysterious Benedict Society) and I suggested talking about them during our next poetry night. We did it tonight and DD got a big kick of it. We came up with a long list of insulting rhymes. But was it "educational?" It feels like it was.
  5. Thinking about the states - memorizing the state capitals is required in DD's old school during 4th grade. I've always wondered why that's considered a standard thing to do in elementary. I guess I must have had to memorize the state capitals too although I know that I don't know all 50 of them today. Why is that a thing people need to know? You can always look it up if you need to know. RE the atlas, it's one of those kid's atlas so it's not too boring. DD likes looking through it but doesn't seem to retain much. I didn't ask her to memorize. We tried that after I gave up on Tree in the Trail because it was such a bore for both of us.
  6. I know what you mean. My daughter decided to be Cleopatra for Halloween. Last weekend, I listened to her talking about Cleopatra with her friend. She was telling her friend all about Cleopatra's 3 husbands and the asp. She was shocked that her friend did not know about Julius Caesar and tried to prompt her with, "Et tu Brutus?" It's funny what sinks in and what doesn't.
  7. I know that's a broad question. This is our first year of official homeschooling after years of afterschooling. My daughter is in 4th grade. We've had a few misses but I feel like we keep getting closer to the right thing for us. I claim to have high academic standards. We're homeschooling because my DD was very unhappy in school and I did not feel that she was allowed to grow. So we're homeschooling for a mix of academic and non-academic reasons. I look at curricula and what other people are doing and worry that I'm not as rigorous as I thought I was. What should late elementary look like to lay the foundation for high school? We've settled on focusing on math and writing. I assign history books but I'm not expecting narrations. I know some of what she reads is sinking in but I'm sure a lot of it is not. I'm not testing her. I'm not asking her to memorize the years or names of battles. Geography has been a bust. We've spent some time on an atlas but a few days later, my DD cannot remember the name of the states in New England. ISTM that there is plenty of time to learn those kinds of things in the future. New England kind of clicked for her when I explained that is where the Penderwicks live. I'm expecting her to read good books. I assign good children's books and fairy tales. She's reading stories from the Arabian Nights now. We're not doing reading comprehension questions. We talk a little bit about what she's reading but that's it. She needs help in writing and I took a big step back. We've started the paragraphing lessons in Treasured Conversations. I think it's helping her because she seems to have had no prior instruction in paragraphing. We've also done some Killgallon but with minimal writing. But I feel like we're doing less than other people. We're not spending that much time on all of this. Overall, it's about 3 to 4 hours a day including her reading. I worry that I'm not on the right path and I'm failing her. Her school friends are writing multiple paragraphs every week. I know that's too much and I'm sure that most of what they write is not good.
  8. I agree with you that at the heart of the "political" issues is a spiritual problem. However, what I see is that certain political issues are mentioned constantly in church, i.e. abortion, gay marriage and now the new hot topic, transgenderism. But other "political" issues are not mentioned because they are too "political." It gives the impression that some issues are more important than others, not that we should understand the spiritual problem first. We won't get far without getting to the spiritual heart of the matter but maybe we'd make some headway. Nothing is being done now. At least not that I can see. If you look at how religious Americans vote, they religion is actually making things worse, not better. Essentially American Christianity is sick. It has allied itself with one political side and uses religion to justify this. In doing this, they alienate everyone else.
  9. I want to be very clear. The priest who preached that sermon is not racist. He's not a nationalist. He has been very influenced by other conservative Orthodox priests though. For example, he likes that Fr. Joshua Trenham 🤮. There is some ethnic diversity, at least for an Orthodox church. I've been to a lot of Orthodox churches over the years and I don't think what I heard was that different what was preached in other Orthodox parishes that Sunday.
  10. Here's my beef with the "eyes on your own plate" idea - it downplays the reality of systemic problems. Take climate change - we're not all equally culpable for the future awaiting our children. My choice to use a plastic straw is pretty insignificant when the majority of emissions come from a small group of people and companies. The idea that we're all to blame is actually dangerous because it keeps us from focusing the blame on those who have the ability to make changes that we cannot, the fossil fuel industry and those who prevent the rest of us from making changes. Look at David Koch who recently died. What a horrible human being. During the liturgy, we proclaim ourselves to be "first among sinners" but what about this man who will cause the deaths of millions of people in the future? David Koch, a bad man, has died. This intense focus on personal failings keeps us from making a better society. It's also very convenient for those who benefit from the status quo. I walked out the sermon the Sunday after the El Paso shooting because the priest stated that it was not about race. He then went into the standard "we all should love each other more" thing. Not disagreeing that we should love each other more but that shooter said clearly that he was trying to shoot Mexican people because they were invading the US. Obviously he was motivated by racism and influenced by others who stoke racism because it benefits them politically. I've never heard a sermon that pointed blame at the rich and powerful. That's "too political." What if all of us took the attention we pay to worrying about our small sins and instead focused that attention on a system that produces tremendous inequality in this country and world? What would happen if a priest preached a sermon along the lines of David Koch stole from you and your children? He manipulated you by buying politicians that you vote for thinking it's benefiting you but it's not. He funded a network of media, think-tanks, whatever whose sole purpose was to keep from you the truth about climate change and how it would negatively benefit you and your child. Simply because Koch wanted to make even more money. I know what would happen in my parish. People would complain that the priest is "too political." People would rather hear a sermon criticizing them for not fasting or being on the internet too much than anything directed at the larger system. I'm sure all of the Orthodox people on this thread are familiar with the famous saying of St. Seraphim of Sarov. "Save yourself and thousands around you will be saved." There are slightly different translations of this. The Russia made by Russian Orthodoxy was a pretty awful place for the majority of its peasants. The kind of 'quietist' mentality perfectly expressed by St. Seraphim did not improve the lives of the average Russian. The Revolution eventually happened because the Church would never do anything to better the lives of average Russians.
  11. I admit up front that I don't know much about Protestant teachings about these things. How does the Bible have authority if not from an external source? It claims authority but lots of books claim authority. Why believe the Bible but not the Koran? Why believe the 2 books of the Bible but not the Book of Mormon? I know it's true because I feel it's true does not work, IMHO because doesn't every religious tradition feel that their religious books are divinely inspired? Years ago, I took a class at a Catholic church that was taught by a priest who spoke multiple languages. He would read a passage from his Bible and then ask us to read it from our Bibles and we would compare. As someone who never learned to speak a foreign language, I was shocked that there wasn't a one to one relationship between words in one language and another. (I know that sounds stupid.) Then he would write the original Greek word on the board and go through the English words that are commonly thought to translate to that Greek word. It was fascinating. My take away from that was what Bible has authority? Later as I began to learn more about Orthodoxy, I came across the idea that one of the reasons for the schism was that the two parts of the Church (east and west) grew apart because they spoke different languages; the west spoke Latin and the east spoke Greek. Greek is more descriptive and theological (not good words, I know) than Latin. So the East would write something in Greek and the West translate it into Latin. The Greek words would have a broader meaning than the Latin words simply because of the differences between the languages. After a thousand years, east and west had grown very far apart in theology.
  12. Okay but what about the person who legally sells cigarets or alcohol? It can bring about the same ends.
  13. What's missing here is the reliance on authority. You can't justify a male only priesthood based on the Bible unless you also justify the other problematic things in the Bible about the differences between men and women. That's why feminism is such a challenge to traditional churches. Also, there are many ways to logically refute this statement. How do we know for certain that there were no female priests or bishops in the early Church? We don't. Danae's point above is a good one too. Why does maleness matter here but not elsewhere. No one has ever credibly argued that women can't saved through Jesus because they are female and He was a male. There isn't even credible evidence that Jesus existed, let alone was a man. Authority of the Church is the only way to justify this, at least IMHO. If the Church is what she claims to be then it has the authority to say that only men can be priests. You accept the authority of the Church or you don't. That's why these arguments go in circles. Someone who accepts the authority of the Church will accept the teaching, on that basis (even if they don't state that explicitly), and those who reject the Church's authority won't be convinced by their arguments. That the Church has this authority is a much more compelling argument, IMHO. If the Church does not have this authority, then who does? Without the authority of the Church, you have the Bible. First, why is the Bible The Bible? The Church (both Orthodox and Catholic) says that this group of writings is The Bible because the Church says it is. Once you've established that the Bible has authority - how do you interpret it? It is not written in any modern language. Most of us read translations of translations. Aside from the language issues, what does it mean? The Church claims that it gets to decide what it means because it is the Church. The authority of the Church is a compelling argument, at least to me. Where are we without that authority? Like I wrote, you can credibly argue that Jesus didn't exist. Even if you concede that He existed, there is no evidence of the crucifixion or Resurrection. You can't have little 'o' orthodox Christianity without a crucifixion and a Resurrection. All of the things that Christians agree about Jesus were decided in councils of the Church. You take a hatchet to those roots - then how do you know that Jesus was true God and true man? I think (only speaking for myself because I know that everyone thinks about these issues differently), it all comes down to whether the Church has authority or not. For me the question is if you take away the authority of the Church, then what is the basis for Christianity? And ultimately for me, that is why no matter how much I gripe and complain, I haven't actually stepped over the line and out of that body that claims to have that authority. No matter how disappointing both Catholicism and Orthodoxy can be in their current manifestations. "The road to hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lampposts that light the way." - generally attributed to St. John Chrysostom
  14. I'm kind of torn about this. I am a proponent of prison reform and believe that generally non-violent crimes should not have any jail time. However, I see some financial crimes, even though technically "non-violent," as deserving of jail time. For example, Bernie Madoff's crimes lead to suicides and probably other deaths as well. See Atrocious Things that Happened Because of Bernie Madoff I think that maybe adding "unless they are rich" does make sense when discussing non-violent crimes. Whose crimes will have a greater impact? Maybe the solution is to consider financial crimes to be a form of violence? No one went to went to jail for any of the financial misdoings that lead to the Great Recession but millions of people suffered. It undoubtedly caused deaths. It destroyed the livelihoods of families. Does possession have that kind of an impact? I'm also torn about prison this case. I think one of the reasons it's hard for me to denounce the parents here is that I blame the universities too. I don't see them as victims. Elite universities created this environment. It's hard for me to think of universities as victims when 43 million Americans carry educational debt. Debt that is not dischargeable through bankruptcy. Although I guess that's congress's fault, not the universities. Although universities have definitely contributed to the problem by dramatically increasing tuition costs. ETA that what I find most interesting about this scandal is that Lori Loughlin's daughters didn't even want to go to college. Why did their mom go through these lengths to get them into USC when they already had lucrative careers on Instagram? What does that tell us about higher education in the US today? That this happened at all demonstrates how broken the entire system is. Also, IIRC all of the parents involved were wealthy but not super wealthy. Super wealthy people get their kids into elite schools without having to resort to these tactics. The means they use are perfectly legal but achieve the same end, the admission of unqualified applicants thus taking the space of a qualified applicant. Which is another reason why I do not see these elite schools as victims.
  15. I get what you are saying. So much of this is a mystery. What about priests who did more damage than good? Did God not actually call them? Or did God call them and they were corrupted? Speaking only for myself here - it seems obvious to me that none of this is black and white. It's interesting because ISTM that as religious practice has decreased and church membership falls, that the lines become even stronger. It's not exactly "here comes everyone" (James Joyce) in either the Catholic or Orthodox churches today. It's hard to be a hanger-on, KWIM? Sure, in the past when everyone went to Mass, a lot of people just went through the motions. That's the logic for a smaller but more 'pure' church. But I think it can be a vicious cycle because as it becomes more 'pure' then it exclude and alienates more people. Thus making the church smaller and the cycle continues. This isn't just a Christian thing. One of my law school classmates was a Hasidic Orthodox woman. A very unique woman. She told me that her generation is more strict in their religious observances than her parents and her children's generation are stricter than hers. She said this causes more people to be excluded because they can't keep up with the community's expectations.
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