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Messages - J. Thomas Shelley

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Your Turn / Re: David W. Preus
« on: August 02, 2021, 11:46:08 AM »
With the Saints give rest, O Christ,
to the soul of Your servant David,
where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sighing,
but life everlasting.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: August 02, 2021, 11:22:40 AM »
The New York Times has provided a helpful map to show the regions most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus as the Delta variant surges in the US:

The fine print at the bottom of the page regarding methodology is utterly transparent and highly enlightening:

The model makes several assumptions about the nature of the virus, reported data and vaccination. First, it assumes that natural immunity continues to offer the same level of protection over time to everyone who has recovered from infection. What percentage of people who have recovered from infections become immune and how long immunity may last are still open questions, but evidence suggests that immunity from prior infection alone is likely to last for at least eight months.

Emphasis added.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: July 29, 2021, 06:22:15 PM »
Mr Garner,

We should have held out. Now Joe wants us to get paid to vaccinate! MJ and I, $200, a decent dinner.  😉

I took the final dose in February and all I got was a headache, nausea, chills, and hot flashes.

Where's my payout?

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: July 28, 2021, 11:09:02 PM »
Can you tell me why I should not be mad at those who refuse vaccinations?

"People who donít want the vaccine arenít 'refusing' it. You donít say a person is 'refusing' to take anti-depressants. Or 'refusing' to get married. You can decline without refusing. You decide whatís best for you. Refuse is a manipulative term, loaded with unfair moral pressure."  Dr. Ben Irvine

Actually, I think that it is fair moral pressure.

And utterly paradoxal that you and Pr. Austin who are otherwise quite broadminded, liberal, tolearant and at times outrightly revisionist on almost all matters of faith and morals (other than the "absolute" that there allegedly are no absolutes) can be such rigid dogmatists only pertaining to mandatory masking and forced vaccinations.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: July 28, 2021, 08:40:24 PM »
Is there any way we can stop this thread?  Every time I long on and look at it I see the same things being said by the same people over and again, none of it having anything to do with the Gospel or any theological issue.  It's become a major bore ::)

If you would like some serious theological discussion on COVID and vaccinations, check out An Orthodox Response to Secularism;  Bioethics 'after God"

Begins at approximately 3:08:00   Originally streamed on July 17.

It was well worth the listening time.  The theological premise is that we live in between the lost Paradise of Eden and the coming Eternal Kingdom of the Resurrection in a broken, fallen world; and this has implications for every bioethical discussion.  Those who are seeking a pain free and death free existence here and now are simply delusional.

Your Turn / Re: ALPB president
« on: July 27, 2021, 08:52:46 PM »

Right on all counts. This is the way the ALPB has operated for more than 100 years. It may seem to be an unusual structure, especially in this era of heightened interest in the American presidency. We consider it successful.

Peace, JOHN

The Casper Glattfelder Association of America (incorporated 1910) is of similar vintage and similar structure.   Directors nominated for staggered three year terms at the annual Association meeting; and the Directors choose their officers from among their ranks for one year terms.

Must have been an early 20th Century non-profit boilerplate.

Your Turn / Re: Facebook courting religion: much to consider
« on: July 26, 2021, 10:02:22 PM »
I think it's significant that we have to undertake a journey (however short it may be) in order to attend a church service in person. Both the Old and New testaments are full of people making journeys in order to be/become the people of God. Having to purposefully go somewhere at a particular time focuses our attention. This holds in secular things, too. I remember the first time we drove to the Magic Kingdom in Disney World, and how that long drive first to get to the parking lot and then the ferry ride to the actual park gate made us forget about the "real" world and anticipate what we would soon be doing.

You may appreciate this, Journey to the Mountain Feast

Your Turn / Re: Facebook courting religion: much to consider
« on: July 26, 2021, 09:59:04 PM »
It might be worth exploring what it is that makes in-person worship better than watching a service on a screen; and how we can improve that?

Orthodox worship has been accurately described as "an assault upon all of your senses".

No matter how big the screen of your TV/monitor, there is no way to capture floor to ceiling Iconography.

There is no way to teleport the aromas of incense and beeswax candles.

And most important of all:  There is no way to impart the Divine Gifts of the Holy Mysteries.  The viewer is reduced to licking the glass of the candy case, unable to "taste and see that the Lord is good".

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: July 26, 2021, 07:18:56 PM »
The fact that exemptions might exist does not make the statement that vaccinations are required a lie.
Beloved spouse has 35+ years experience in school systems in Illinois, Iowa, New York and New Jersey. (You may have heard of those places, even where you live.) Believe me, she knows what sheís talking about. In general, and in the overwhelming majority of cases, like probably  98%, if your kid is not vaccinated against certain diseases, that kid does not get into the school.

I do not know about Ohio, Indiana, and other states with significant Amish communities, but in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the Amish operate their own schools and their children attend, vaccinated only if the local Bishop and Ordnung approves.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: July 24, 2021, 12:04:50 AM »
Rum and Coca Cola, twist of lime.

Aye, I had a parishioner (now of blessed memory) who was married to a Puerto Rican who introduced me to that tropical delight.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: July 23, 2021, 11:10:06 PM »
You haven't responded to my point.  How does a nation or a state determine that individual choice must be overridden by a group determination?  This is not a question that can be blithely answered with factoids and individual opinions.  It requires serious philosophical thought and I'm not seeing too much of that in this discussion.

Perhaps the question should be, why should an individual choice override what benefits the group? It seems to me that the logic should run the other way: what benefits the group should be primary rather than what benefits the individual. When is it OK for an individual to make a choice for the self that is in conflict with what benefits the group?

For the same reason why people want to immigrate to the United States.  People want to make choices instead of having choices made for them.  A number of countries have tried to govern in line with your theory.  The track record is not good.

Aye...and those who can't emigrate are chanting "Cuba libre!"

Your Turn / Re: Deaths of Despair
« on: July 22, 2021, 04:31:43 PM »
Despair is one of the many passions against which we battle throughout our journey to Theosis.

The Orthodox prayers and hymnody do not shy away from acknowledging this reality.

For example, the Eight-Tone Theotokion used this past Sunday in Orthros (Matins)


Born of a Virgin, O Good One who also endured crucifixion for our sake,
who by death took the spoils of death as plunder and showed resurrection, being God,
O despise not the ones that You formed with Your own hand.
Demonstrate Your love for man, O Lord of mercy,
and accept Your Mother, the Theotokos, who intercedes on our behalf,
O Savior, and save us a despairing people.

I love George Herbert's A Priest to the Temple: or The Country Parson, his character and Rule of Life

Many chapters are calls to self-examination and metanoia.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: July 19, 2021, 09:04:52 PM »
If you decide that the risks of not wearing masks are greater than the inconvenience for you of earing them, you are perfectly welcome to continue to wear masks. If you want to wear masks, does that mean that everybody needs to wear masks? If mon is cold, all the kids have to wear sweaters?

Problem is, too many have bought into the basis-less ditty chanted by former PA Secretary of Health Dr. Richard aka "Rachel" Levine, now US Undersecretary of Health.

Dr. Levine was the first and only state level health official to issue a mask order (November 2020) requiring people to wear masks IN THEIR OWN HOMES if someone entered from another household, ie, tradesman, neighbor, etc.

The ditty went like this (and could be sung to the opening bars of the Barney song)

"My mask protects you / your masks protects me".

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: July 19, 2021, 06:49:47 PM »

I think one of the issues, as noted in a previous post (and echoed in my own previous posts), is that of risk.  Can we eliminate all risk? What level of 'risk' is acceptable for a public place like a church? ...

I do not think that I will successfully get my parish to accept the draconian mask mandates we experienced back in 2020. I'm fairly certain the governor will not be able to implement one via executive order. So, do I just shut down my church and go remote until the level of risk is under 1% for everyone? How long will that be?  Already my attendance is a shadow of what it was more than a year ago.  I don't think I would survive well under a repeat total shutdown.

You may wish to borrow the wording from the web site of the Appell Center for the Performing Arts:


An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. By visiting an Appell Center property you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.

The Appell Center encourages all guests to be fully vaccinated for the health and safety of themselves and others.

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