An Imperfect Country

In case you were bothered by this post, perhaps you will prefer this story:

A Japanese  company (Toyota ) and an American company (General Motors) decided to  have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practised long and  hard to reach their peak performance before the race.
On the big  day, the Japanese won by a mile.
The Americans, very discouraged  and depressed, decided to investigate the Reason for the crushing  defeat. A management team made up of senior Management was formed to  investigate and recommend appropriate action.
Their conclusion was  the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person Steering, while the  American team had 8 people steering and 1 person Rowing.

Feeling  a deeper study was in order, American management hired a Consulting  company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.  They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the Boat,  while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to utilise  that information, but wanting to prevent Another loss to the Japanese,  the rowing team’s management structure was totally reorganized to 4  steering supervisors, 3 area steering Superintendents and 1 assistant  superintendent steering manager.
They also implemented a new  performance system that would give the 1 Person rowing the boat greater  incentive to work harder. It was called the "Rowing Team Quality First Program", with meetings, dinners and free pens
For the rower. There was  discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and Other equipment, extra  vacation days for practices and bonuses.
The next year the Japanese  won by two miles.
Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the  paddles, and cancelled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year’s racing team was outsourced to India.
The  End.

Fixing the Unfixable

The many disparaging remarks by Anglicans/Episcopalians on both sides about Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ "sabbatical" are largely unjustified.  Williams has made his share of mistakes, but the chasm between the orthodox and revisionists in the Anglican Communion is probably unbridgeable.  It is reminiscent of a remark made about the Revolutions of 1848 that equally applied to the Russian Civil War:

"For a long time, only two real forces have existed in Europe–Revolution and Russia," the poet-diplomat Fëodr Tiutchev had written then.  "No treaties are possible between them.  The existence of one means the death of the other."  (R. Bruce Lincoln, Passage Through Armageddon)

Quotable about America

Something about the U.S. that’s worth repeating:

“I am convinced that the future of America is rosier than people claim – I’ve been hearing about its imminent decline ever since I started reading. Take the following puzzle. Whenever you hear or read a snotty European presenting his stereotypes about Americans, he will often describe them as’uncultured’, ‘unintellectual’ and ‘poor in math’ because, unlike his peers, they are not into equation drills and the constructions middlebrow people call ‘high culture’. Yet the person making these statements will be likely to be addicted to his Ipod, wearing t-shirts and blue jeans, and using Microsoft Word to jot down his “cultural” statements on his (Intel) PC, with some Google searches on the Internet here and there interrupting his composition. Well, it so happens that the US is currently far, far more tinkering an environment than that of these nations of museum goers and equation solvers – in spite of the perceived weakness of the educational system, which allows the bottom-up uncertainty-driven trial-and-error system to govern it, whether in technology or in business.

“It fosters entrepreneurs and creators, not exam takers, bureaucrats or, worse, deluded economists. So the perceived weakness of the American pupil in conventional and theoretical studies is where its very strength lies – it produces ‘doers’, Black Swan hunting, dream-chasing entrepreneurs, or others with a tolerance for risk-taking which attracts aggressive tinkering foreigners. And globalisation allowed the US to specialize in the creative aspect of things, the risk-taking production of concepts and ideas, that is, the scalable and fat-tailed part of the products, and, increasingly, by exporting jobs, separate the less scalable and more linear components and assign them to someone in more mathematical and ‘cultural’ states happy to be paid by the hour and work on other people’s ideas. (I hold, against the current Adam Smith-style discourse in economics, that the American undirected free enterprise system works because it aggressively allows people to capture the randomness of the environment – ‘cheap options’ – not because of competition and certainly less because of material incentives. Neither the followers of Adam Smith, nor to some extent, those of Karl Marx, seem to be conscious of the role of wild randomness. They are too bathed in enlightenment-style causation and cannot separate skills and payoffs.)” – Nasim Taleb

That is, if we don’t screw it up further with legislative fiascos like Sarbanes-Oxley!

This is why we think that the post-modern left hasn’t won just yet, as we mentioned elsewhere.

There Are No Real Noncombatants

The wounding of U.S. Army Chaplain Barron K. Wester in Iraq is a reminder that there are no “noncombatants” in either physical warfare, or spiritual warfare for that matter.

His account of his wounding says it all:

Our unit has been in the process of setting up new forward outposts in the heart of Baghdad.  In this new military endeavour, we have already taken casualties.  We knew this is a dangerous but important mission.  In this latest crisis, my chaplain’s assistant and I accompanied our battalion commander to the scene of a forward unit which had been hit, taking several causalities.  .  The Army Chaplaincy Corps motto is, Nurture the Living, Care for the Wounded and Honour the Dead.  I did precisely that.  I knelt close to one of our dead soldiers; praying for his family and all his comrades who were observing the scene. I knew his death would deeply cut to the heart and soul of those back home who loved him.  He was a Catholic soldier; but that made no difference.  He was my brother; and I was his chaplain.  I moved among the other soldiers, praying with them; laying hands on the wounded, asking for God’s mercy and healing.  Suddenly, I felt the bullet that went through my arm, exiting and wounding another soldier sitting near me.  My chaplain’s assistant, to whom I will always be indebted, in the process of taking care of his chaplain, pushed me under the vehicle and literally laid near me so that I would be protected from further sniper fire.  He was willing to take the bullets on my behalf!  A short time later, I was evacuated to a Field Hospital and then transported to Germany.  My battalion and brigade commanders came by with the comforting words, Chaplain, we need you; get well quickly; you were doing exactly what a chaplain is supposed to be doing.

Our prayers are with Chaplain Wester and his family.

At the Inlet: July, Part 5 (Article XXXI)

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Norman Cameron came into his office very early one morning later in the week.  He was expecting a special visitor who wanted to speak with him in confidence.  He heard a knock on his door, and motioned the visitor to come in.  It was Julian, who came in, shut the door, and nervously sat down.

“Thanks for seeing me at this unpropitious hour,” Julian said.

“Our work never sleeps.  What’s on your mind?” Norman asked.  Julian hesitated.  “It’s Terry, isn’t it?  She’s started something you’re not sure you can finish, hasn’t she?”

“It’s very difficult sometimes,” Julian confessed.  “I may be old fashioned, but I’ve never heard of a couple exchanging a kiss before they exchanged first names.”

“You’ve overlooked the fact that she’s Verecundan,” Norman observed.  “They tend to be more forward down there.  Seems to me you’ve got someone who’s a cut above any other Verecundan I’ve ever met.”

“She’s lived on this end of the Island long enough where she should know better,” Julian retorted.  “My time with her shows a person who’s very serious about her faith.  But then there was the beach…”

“I first saw my wife on the beach out here when we were six,” Norman observed.  “We looked a lot better then than we do now.  Maybe she’s making up for lost time—you both seem to have that problem, you know.  You may have also overlooked the fact that she’s been married before, so that gives her a different perspective on things.”

Julian breathed a deep breath, then said, “I don’t know what to do.  I don’t want to be put in a position where”—

“—you’ll be forced to do something that you don’t think is right,” Norman finished.  “Sounds like something you need to get some spiritual counselling on, instead of coming to this old spy.”

“I spoke with Desmond about it.”

“So what did he have to say?”

“He went into this long speech about the differences between us—who follow the via media—and her—who follows the via extrema.  He said that she’s more used to dealing with strong emotions than I am because of her church.  But he left it up to me as to how to deal with it.”

“And you didn’t find that very helpful.”

“No, I didn’t”

Norman leaned back in his chair.  “I’m not a very religious person—I know you’ve tried to interest me in that, and for that I’m grateful.  I’ll never be able repay you for what you’ve done for my and my family.  You’ve been a friend when no one else cared.  But I’ll also tell you that my first loyalty is to our king—it’s my duty to protect him and our country, and if you ever make me choose between you and king, I’ll choose the king.  One reason I’m your friend is because you’ve never made me make that choice, and I don’t believe you ever will.”

“I understand that,” Julian said.

“I did this little preface to get to my point—you’re not the only one who has had your concerns about Terry Marlowe.”

“I’m not?” he asked, taken aback.

“Terry is probably the most investigated person here,” Norman began.  “A lot of people were unhappy that His Majesty brought her here.  She was, after all, a central leader in the rebellion that literally split our kingdom in half.  So we had to leave no stone unturned.  That forced us to look at some pretty unsavoury stuff.”

“Like what?” Julian asked.

“We were able to obtain her Verecundan dossier.  It had a lot of what we already know—that’s where we got her baptismal and confirmation documents—but it also had all kinds of tittle-tattle about her going to bed with just about everybody she came into contact with.  I found this amazing, since Verecundan feminists on the one hand gripe that women are held to a double standard and the other trash a woman they don’t like by showing her as a whore.  But we had to investigate it, even before the Drahlans foolishly dumped her as Royal Counsellor.

“So we sent Kyle down to Barlin and elsewhere.  He gave kickboxing exhibits in churches, schools and on the streets.  Between those he was talking with people about all kinds of things, and the subject of Terry came up quite frequently.  We also talked with a lot of other people as well.  And we finally came to two conclusions about her.”

“Which were?” Julian asked, eagerly.

“First, we realised that all of this material was a lot of rubbish.  The sources didn’t check out.  We’ve concluded that all of the sexual exploits in her files—except those when she was a prostitute in Verecunda, and obviously her marriage—were either fabrications or came from her political enemies.  I also grilled her pretty intensely the first morning here, and my gut feeling about her squares with this.  This was a relief to us, because if any of this had been true, we would have fought her coming here vigorously instead of recommending it.

“Second, in the course of all this, I came to understand something that most people here don’t—that her church expected her to be perfect, and that she’s worked hard to live up to that.”


“Perfect.  That little adventure on the beach last weekend was probably her first time in a bathing suit since her husband was killed.  He probably never saw her in one until they married—you’re quite the privileged character.  You’re also probably her first boyfriend since that time.  The only jewellery she’s had in the last fifteen years was her wedding jewellery, which she sold during the war to pay for her house.  Her grandfather was the richest man this Island has ever known, and yet she could probably count the number of outfits she owned on both hands.

“Julian, take my advice.  Most of us here in Serelia wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the feelings generated on that beach of ours.  She’s a good woman.  You need to stop worrying about being normal and start thinking about something more permanent.”

Julian sat in silence for a minute.  “I supposed you’re right, Norman,” he finally said.  He arose.  “Thank you for your help.”

“Any time,” Norman replied.

A short time later Julian and Terry gathered after dinner for catechism in the colonnade.  Julian wanted to start but Terry closed the Prayer Book.

“There’s something we need to talk about,” she said to him, seriously.

“Oh?  And what might that be?”

“It’s about last Saturday.”  She looked away, and then back into his eyes.  “I overdid it.  I owe you an apology.  Probably overdid it for our first kiss, too.”  She grasped his hand.  “I just want you to love me as much as I love you, Julian.”

“If that’s possible, I do,” he said.  It was his turn to do some thinking.  “How long has it been since your husband was killed?” he finally asked.

“Six years,” she replied.

“Did you court anyone after that?”

“Not until you,” she said.  “We had a war to finish.  Then we had a nation to build.  I don’t know, being both a minister and a head of government, I didn’t feel I was in a good position to open up that part of my life.  There were too many complications.”

“Some people say you should have courted Prince William,” Julian observed.

“William wasn’t a Christian at the time,” she replied.  “I won’t date anyone who isn’t.  That’s why I grilled you so hard on the subject.  Besides, I always felt that William wanted someone racier than me.”  Julian blanched at the thought.  “Now he has everything—both Jesus Christ and the wife.”  She looked at him with a slightly sad look.  “I know you’re trying to make this easier for me, but you don’t have to.  I guess I’m kind of an extremist with stuff like this.  Back before I met Jesus, I was either selling myself on the streets or I was known as the ‘Virgin Terry’ in school.”

Julian sat up at that.  “Was that unusual?”

“In Verecunda, it certainly was.  I lost a few close friends over that.  One I didn’t lose was Cathy Arnold—she felt that it was my choice, even though she didn’t agree with it then.”

Julian could see pain coming over her again.  “That was a difficult thing to do, wasn’t it?”

“It was the right thing to do,” she replied, “but the social ostracism was hard to take.  It seemed to be harder on my mother than me, though—she arranged for my prom date to rape me.”

“You don’t need to relive that,” Julian said.

“Thank you,” Terry replied.  “Now you know why Verecundan women have the reputation they do.”

“Girls,” Julian corrected her.  “We’re still dealing with a girl here.”  That earned Julian a long embrace before they resumed their catechism.

The pattern of life continued for everyone.  Adam and George were spending a lot of time together, touring the kingdom and especially visiting their many economic enterprises.  Serelia’s economy was very much a centralised business; most of the major enterprises in the country, except those of the remaining founding families such as the Amhersts, were under control of the Crown.  This was one of the main things that caused the war with Drahla; now that the Drahlans were gone, the king’s control over the economy was enhanced.  The monarchy’s success in maintaining control was based in part of their paternalistic policies towards their people; another important task of Adam and George was to hear petitions from people as they went about.

Terry and Darlene were making good progress at last on their duty.  One morning Terry came in as usual.  After they had prayer together, they were supposed to have Bible study, but Darlene wanted to chat a bit.

“How are things with Julian?” Darlene asked.

“They’re very good,” Terry replied with a smile.  “My catechism is going well—we’re having a good time with it.  We had a lot of fun back on the beach last Saturday with you, George, Desmond, Priscilla and the children—that was a nice outing.”

“That was nice,” Darlene echoed.  She assumed a pensive look to her, and became silent.

“Is something wrong, Darlene?” Terry asked, worried about her friend.

Darlene took a Bible, opened it, placed it in front of Terry, pointed at a verse, and asked, “What does this mean?”

Terry read the verse aloud: “‘And all the people answered: ‘His blood be on our heads and on our children’s!’’—Matthew 27:25.  This verse has always been difficult because it involves the Jews.  The thing you have to remember, though, is that at this point the Jews were the only ones interested in Jesus Christ one way or the other.  When the Gentiles came in contact with His followers, they often reacted in the same way or worse.”

“That’s the problem,” Darlene sighed.

“What’s the problem?”

“The Gentiles,” Darlene came back.  “And specifically, the ones in Beran.”

“What are you talking about?  Everyone knows that Christianity was illegal in Beran, as it still is in Claudia and was in Verecunda.”

“It’s more specific than that…In 1829 Beran’s first King Aaron—my ancestor—had set everything up—his throne, the Lodge, slavery, everything.  Then he discovered that his Grand Tyler, a man named Edouard Avinet, was a Christian, and was running what we would now call a house church.  Aaron became enraged at this; he decided to make an example out of him.  So he took Avinet, his entire family, and others in the house church out to a place north of Beran now called Avinet’s Beach, stripped them and crucified them—all twenty-six of them.  The youngest was Avinet’s last daughter, who was three.  They were so proud of this that they incorporated the whole thing into their version of Royal Arch Masonry—I think the Claudians still do.  Then Aaron made crucifixion the penalty for being a Christian.  I think they only did that twice after that in Beran.”

“The Aloxans took me to Avinet’s Beach when I was there for their revival and Bible classes,” Terry shared.  “They feel it’s a sacred place, even though I don’t think they’re aware of the full story.  I think King Leslie does, though.  They’re trying to purchase the property for their campground and Bible school—I think they’re pretty close to getting it.”

“You’ve been there?” Darlene asked.  Darlene was, though retreating into her thoughts.  The more Terry thought about the enormity of the event, the more tearful about it she became.  Finally Darlene came out of her near trance and said, “Terry, am I cursed?  What about my little one?  Doesn’t it also say”—she took the Bible and went back a couple of chapters—“that ‘And the King will reply ‘I tell you, as often as you did it to one of these my Brothers, however lowly, you did it to me.’’  Have I, through those which have gone before me, crucified my Lord, Terry?”

Terry pulled herself back together, took a Bible and went to Ezekiel.  “‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.  But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die,’” she read.  “Everyone who has sinned in any way has crucified Jesus.  Darlene, you took the first step to breaking this thing by being saved.  You followed up on that step too.  There’s a lot of ‘backwash’ from old Beran, some spiritual, and some temporal.  We’ll just have to deal with it as it comes.  But if we trust God, and follow Him, we can overcome whatever legacy this and all the other evils of old Beran—and old Verecunda too—that come our way.”  Terry took Darlene’s hands and they prayed for this to happen, and then resumed their work.

As the days progressed, so did Terry’s catechism.  One evening, as they sat in the colonnade, they reached the thirty-first of the Thirty-Nine Articles.  Terry read it out: “The offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone.  Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.”

“I suppose that may be difficult for you with your Roman Catholic background,” Julian said.

“Not really,” Terry replied.  “I guess I didn’t give it much thought growing up.  After I was born again and went to the Avalon Retreat, the more I read the Bible the more uncomfortable I got with the whole idea of the Mass as a sacrifice.  Since then I have always preached that Christ’s work on the Cross is complete.  And we seldom said Masses for the dead or living on the Retreat.”

“Interesting,” Julian mused.  “Let’s move on to the next one.”

“Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God’s Law, either to vow the estate of a single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore, it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness,” Terry read.  She put her Prayer Book down, turned to Julian and said, “That’s something only you can decide.”  With that Julian felt those long slender fingers coasting across his back and once again found himself in a long embrace and kiss.

Overcoming Obstacles: A Reminder For Us All

Back in 2000 there was a funeral for Nadezhda Shatova, a Ukrainian Pentecostal living in California.  As noted below, on the surface there wasn’t anything extraordinary about it.  But one of her relatives shared the testimony about their lives–and the persecutions they suffered in the old Soviet Union–and this account was put into the piece below.

It’s a reminder of the price that many have paid for the Gospel, especially under regimes such as the USSR.  (This is the same "scientific" regime that brought you Lysenko!)  It’s also a reminder of why these people came to the US, for the freedoms that we seem to be so eager to throw away in the name of political correctness.

No matter what kinds of difficulties you may be suffering–whether persecution such as this, realising that the "game is up" in the Episcopal Church, or whatever, we present this piece as an encouragement to you.

By Vladimir Kupinich

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4:12-13)

On the 24th of November, 2000 a funeral was held for sister Nadezhda Shatova who turned 60 years old when the Lord called her into his eternal land. Relatives and close friends, the members of the church she attended and many other brothers and sisters came to the funeral to express their sympathy to the family of the deceased and to the whole family of Feodosi Linchuk who had left for the eternal promise land of our Lord Jesus Christ a while ago.

Brothers in Christ preached the Word from the Scriptures that open to us the mystery of our eternal life with Christ: “Whoever believes in Son has life everlasting…" (John 3:36), "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on…" for" their deeds will follow them." (Rev. 14:16)

At the end of his life Apostle Paul said: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness." (2nd Tim. 4:7-8)

At first glance there was nothing extraordinary about the funeral. A lot of them are held at our church. Besides, the deceased sister Nadya did not seem to stand out among the rest of us. But when a minister from our church Adam Semenovich Bondarchuk asked Luba, the sister of the deceased, to tell us something about the deceased and about her life, sister Luba lold us that they, that is their family, went through great trials of faith and did not deny the Lord during some of the hardest times of the persecution of the Evangelical believers. When we heard her testimony, we were amazed and said: "They seem to be such ordinary brothers and sisters, but in reality they are true heroes of faith!"
Here is what sister Luba Kirakovskaya told us:

“My father and mother, Feodosi and Palageya Linchuk, who have already gone to be with the Lord, became believers in the early 20s when a missionary from America came to the Ukraine to preach the Word of God. Having received new life, my parents also received water baptism in the village of Ivanovtsi, Berclich region, Zhitomirskaya area. This was the time when persecutions against God and His people were beginning. Believers were hated and persecuted Komsomol leaders would try to make Christians turn away from their beliefs by beating them up, putting fear into them, slandering them in mass media, firing them from their jobs and sending them to prison. In spite of it "… more and more people were added to their number." (Acts 5:14) That is how a small church was formed in the village of Ivankovtsi, a full Gospel church. Church services were held in the houses at night. My father, Feodosi Linchuk, became the overseer of the new community, undertaking this dangerous labor in God’s harvest field.

Once, when the believers gathered together at night for prayer and worship and my father was standing at the table and preaching, they heard the glass shatter and a big rock flew by his head. If the father had not turned his head right at that moment, the rock would have hit his head and killed him. Anxiety came upon everyone after that incident. Brothers and sisters understood that they became believers in the Lord Jesus Christ at a very dangerous time. The father, however, being the pastor of the church, encouraged the believers not to get discouraged, but to stay together and love the Lord even more.

This was not the end of their trials, though. The "American faith", as they called it in those days, had to be done away with. Thus, at one of the Komsomol meetings it was decided to burn the house of the Linchuk family. They decided to do it at night so no one could get away. At 3 o’clock at night young guys poured gasoline all over the house and set it on fire. People in the house started panicking. The father ran to save the children. As soon as he took them out into the street, the roof fell in. When the barn caught on fire, the cow started mooing, but none of the .neighbors tried to untie it because they were afraid they would be treated the same way if they helped this family. So the cow burned inside the barn. This happened in 1939.

This tragedy was very painful for the Linchuk family. All of the belongings that were in the house burned. Feodosi found a little room and the family moved into it. The financial life was very difficult. The children had to kneel before the Lord and ask Him for bread daily.

Luba went on to tell how her father and mother got hired to work on the collective farm. They were not given any money for their work, just some soup and 400 grams of bread. The parents ate the soup at work and brought the bread for the kids at night. The children always eagerly waited for the parents so they could eat some bread once a day. One night when the parents were returning from work, they oldest daughter Manya who was only 5 years old ran out to meet them and said: "Anya is asleep. She kept calling for mommy and saying: "Mommy, give me some milk and bread", and then fell asleep." When they came to the house, they found their daughter dead, she had died of hunger. She was only 3 years old.

Dear women, you like no one else understand the feelings of a mother who looses her child to hunger without being able to do anything.

No one wanted to bury the child since everyone was afraid to help believers. You can imagine the heart of a mother breaking from grief and anxiety. One can understand why a song was put together about mothers:

"Your hair turned gray too early from grief…"

They did not have the money to get a coffin, but as best as they could they buried the dear child. Trying to save the rest of the children from hunger, the parents continued to go to work, and would tell the children that there is God in heaven who hears and knows all their troubles.

Time went by and new trials came into the life of the Linchuk family. Because Fedosi was a minister and held night services in the villages of Ivantsovi and Semenovka, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison in a Siberean camp. Palagea was left all by herself to take care of the family while her beloved husband was taken away by godless authorities. The mother tried to do her best to save her children from hunger and also from godlessness that was everywhere. At nights, when the children were asleep, she would stretch out her hands towards heaven and cry out to God to save her children and her husband who was in the camp.

The authorities decided to go further in their persecutions and take the children away from the mother and send them to an orphanage. The mother refused to give her children up and she was brought before court and sentenced to prison for 6 months. The children were left all by themselves and had to go through the valley of tears.

The oldest sister Manya (she was 14 at that time) took it upon herself to take care of the rest of the children. She found jobs wherever she could to feed us, – Luba testifies. She tried to dry little pieces of bread and send them to prison for her mother. Luba and her brother Vasili (he now lives in Portland. Oregon) went to the same grade. The teachers hated them because they were from a family of believers. More than once they put up students that were older to beat them up and drag them by their legs after classes.

The youngest sister Anechka who now lives in Sacramento went through a lot of mockery and mean treatment from her godless teachers. One day, when she was going home from school, some hooligans, students from her school, grabbed her and wanted to throw her into the river, but Nadya having heard the screams, ran out and defended her. Anya enjoyed visiting services, tell poems, sing in the children’s choir, visit the funerals and the sick. She was 12 then. Because she was so active in the church godless people hated her.

Today Anya has 2 daughters. The oldest one, Lina, is married and lives in Sacramento. Her husband’s name is Ghena. They live happily and serve the Lord. The youngest one, Larissa, is now 16, she sings in the choir of Nicoli Ribin and is interested in missionary work. The mother is happy for her children. Anya went through many troubles and tribulations, but the Lord will reward her in His Kingdom.

Time went by; the children grew up to become good Christians. They did not deny the Lord during the trial times. They survived the German occupation, the war, postwar destruction and in all of this they never went away from the Lord. The postwar years were not easy years either. The year of 1947 was especially hard. The Ukraine did not have any bread, so the people were hungry. One day Vasili, who was 9 at the time, asked his mother: “How many days one can live without bread and die in order not to be in constant pain from hunger?" When the mother heard those words, she took him inside the house and the two of them fell on their knees and cried out to God. At that time someone knocked on the door. They opened the door and several believers came in and said that God had revealed it to them that children were dying of hunger in that house. God gave them the address and they brought them enough food to last for 3-4 months. Then everybody kneeled before the Lord and praised God.

In 1948 mother returned from prison again which made the children’s life easier. Feodosi returned from the camp in 1949 after 10 long years of separation. The children were so happy to see their parents back. Feodosi resumed the work of the pastor in the villages of Ivanovtsi and Semenovka and did it for the next 17 years. The Lord took him back in 1996 when he was in Sacramento. The oldest daughter Mary went through a lot of hardships in her youth and died at a young age of 48. The second daughter Galya now lives in Sacramento and is faithful to the Lord. Th,e third daughter – Nadya Shatova – died this year. Her husband, Vasili Shatov, is grieving the loss of his dear wife.

When Nadya was still alive, she read the Bible every year. Here in America she recorded the Bible on the tape recorder (47 tapes) and left them for her sisters in order that they could listen to the Bible since their eyesight was going bad and it was getting hard for them to read. Nadya and Vasili have 3 children: Oleg who is married to Irina from the Semenuk family; daughter Marina who is a member of the local church and the youngest daughter Lana. They all are grieving over the loss of their deceased mother.

The third sister that Niidya has, Lubov Kinikovskaya, lives in Tennessee with her husband Edward. Nadya’s brother Peter lives in the Ukraine, with his family in the city of Vinitsa. He as well was sentenced to 5 years in prison for the Word of God and went through many trials and tribulations. Brother Vasili lives in Portland with his family. The youngest sister Anya has a daughter named Larissa. They all grieve the loss of Nadya, but they know that she is in Heaven with God.

Thus, dear grandchildren do not forget the blessed family of the Linchuks. To God be the glory for

Internationalism is a Two-Way Street

TEC House of Bishops’ recent rejection of the Anglican Primates’ request for a "primitial vicar" to help those parishes which could not stomach the church’s left-wing agenda is an illustration of how it’s easier to tell others to be internationalists than to be one yourself.

Liberals–and not just Episcopal ones either–have been telling the rest of us for years that we should be better "internationalists," heeding super-national authorities such as the UN.  They criticise the Bush Administration’s unilateralism in Iraq (they also criticised his multi-lateral approach to North Korea!)

But now that a very international body has told TEC to have some regard for those to disagree with them, they reject the call because it impinges their "national sovereignty" (or the TEC’s equivalent thereof.)  Sounds like the Bush Administration’s playbook if you ask me.

Back when the UK "ruled the waves," sometimes people found they also "waived the rules."  Sounds like the "English church" in the U.S. (for the moment, at least) is trying the same thing.  If, as Emerson said, consistency was the hobgoblin of little minds, liberals must be geniuses.  But they are unreliable ones.

Sell All or Shut Up

“And a man came up to Jesus, and said: “Teacher, what good thing must I do to obtain Immortal life?” “Why ask me about goodness?” answered Jesus. “There is but One who is good. If you want to enter the Life, keep the commandments.” “What commandments?” asked the man. “These,” answered Jesus:–“‘Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not say what is false about others. Honour thy father and thy mother.’ And ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thou dost thyself.” “I have observed all these,” said the young man. “What is still wanting in me?” “If you wish to be perfect,” answered Jesus, “go and sell your property, and give to the poor, and you shall have wealth in Heaven; then come and follow me.” On hearing these words, the young man went away distressed, for he had great possessions. At this, Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you that a rich man will find it hard to enter the Kingdom of Heaven! I say again, it is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” On hearing this, the disciples exclaimed in great astonishment: “Who then can possibly be saved?” But Jesus looked at them, and said: “With men this is impossible, but with God everything is possible.” Then Peter turned and said to Jesus: “But we–we left everything, and followed you; what, then, shall we have?” “I tell you,” answered Jesus, “that at the New Creation, ‘when the Son of Man takes his seat on his throne of glory,’ you who followed me shall be seated upon twelve thrones, as judges of the twelve tribes of Israel. Every one who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or land, on account of my Name, will receive many times as much, and will ‘gain Immortal Life.’ But many who are first now will then be last, and those who are last will be first.” (Matthew 19:16-30)

One of the strange things about Christianity–and the current dispute between TEC and the Global South is the perfect illustration–is the fact that the most "socially conscious" churches tend to have the wealthiest congregations.  TEC, in fact, has made a career out of attracting such people.

But when it comes to actually meeting people of lesser means on their own level, TEC cannot bring itself to do this, even when the Scriptures make it clear that the Global South is in the right about the real meaning of the Word of God.

We have gone down this road before but two things bear repeating:

  1. Wealthy congregations have the means to right many of the inequities of the world, but they will not do it.  It is more convenient for them to get the government (or the UN, through the MDG’s.) to solve the problem for them.
  2. As long as they have wealth they will not part with, they are part of the problem, not part of the solution, at least from the "zero-sum" view that dominates the Left.

Evangelical churches have been criticised for their obsession with tithing and giving.  People say that "tithing is Old Testament."  But the above scripture shows what the New Testament standard might look like.  In this perspective 10% is the easy way out.

We have had enough of wealthy churches such as the TEC whining about the "social injustices" of the world while they not only continue living as they do but pander to others to "join the club."  If the current Presiding Bishop really wants to turn the tables on the Global South, she should direct her congregants to sell all as Jesus commanded the rich young ruler.

It’s time to sell all or shut up.