Artistic Expression In Faith

Dokken Storm

As a writer, I write all my stories with an Orthodox perspective. Keeping Faith at the forefront of the story can be difficult. I wrote a whole book with the Faith as the focus and it was difficult to truly show the beauty of the Orhtodox Faith; you can find that book here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CKN8JC1. There is a difficulty in sharing Orthodoxy and being a creative person, but it is more intricate to do so and makes the stories unique in message and presentation.

Within Orthodoxy, there is room to show your gifts. This is because we understand we are given gifts from God and we should cultivate these to the best of our abilities. Holy images though are something entirely different but painting an image of something that reflects the Faith or has a deep meaning about the Faith is natural for those who express it through painting. As a writer, I know I am not and will never be a theologian and I would never want to. But this is a creative area that some are meant for, you have to be somewhat creative in order to elaborate on the faith and any particular subject you are attempting to explain. 

To create art within the Orthodox perspective, one should always remember that it reflects yourself as well. The old saying that every piece of art has a little of the creators’ soul is very true. And there is so much beauty in Orthodoxy, it is extremely hard not to see that one can really shine if one shows their gift. 

I think that many of us who are already creating in the Faith need to branch out and help each other more. By doing so, we can lift each other up and show love and be more communal(not in a weird way but in a faithful Christian way). We can show love as well to those who hate us or despise us by allowing them to critique or outright hate what we made. This is the life of a Christian. Honestly, it is better that we have those who hate or don’t exactly love what we create, which makes us work harder to create something that they may like and soften their hearts to come to the Faith. I think many artistic people forget we can evangelize through art since it’s the most even grounded topic ever. Everyone looks at art and sees something different and from that, we can open conversation that has the ability for questions and making ourselves beacons of light in a very dark world. 

It is a worthy task to create something with our Faith at the heart of it. By creating something that shows the Glory of God to a world that has all but forgotten what it means to be in communion with God is something that can really turn heads and help those who are lost. I think as creative persons really show their gifts there will be changes in culture. Not that we need it because we cannot compete with everything that is out there right now, it simply doesn’t work but we can create a culture and have something that moves parallel with the current culture we see. From this, we can and will see that people will notice they have an option to look and take part in something Holy and moral rather than evil and degenerate. 

All this just takes work and time and I believe we can get there, we just need to have Faith, effort and work.

Windows To Darkness: A Peek Behind The Void

Story by Nate Armstrong & Dokken Storm

Cover image made by Nate Armstrong

In The Upside Down two societies are living close but apart. One living in harmonious union with God and the other living in a techno land of illusion. What happens when one who knows nothing of true spiritual life looks over the fence…

On a hill, there is a community of people. These people believe in the Faith that is true and show this continually. Working the fields using both old and new technology. They pray before doing any work, make time to be with family and friends, make attempts at furthering their technological capabilities within reason. They understand what it is they are meant for and what it is they are here on this earth to do. A society dedicated to achieving Theosis. 

Partaking in the daily activities a young man named Ephraem stopped to be thankful for everything he saw around him. Knowing that there were somehow those who knew nothing of the Faith and what it means to follow The Good Shepherd. Having understood this he went back to his work of plowing and seeding fields for the fall harvest, taking moments to be thankful for everything he had and was given.

Across a valley, there is a world of grand illusion. Living in the Metaverse, the people of this citadel leave the real world behind to float above the streets in a digital avatar.  Some keep their human form but others choose the way of chimera.  

Chemical euphoria took care of any pleasure requested, thirst, hunger, and any other desire.  For most citizens of the citadel, this kept them content but some would not live on digital bread alone. 

Within the technosphere, there was something sinister that truly ruled the society. A noble lie was told upon the inception of the city, to maintain the grid and keep the circle turning. The ruler in secret needed the blood of babes to keep himself sustained.

In the cover of night, his private goblins of wire and pandemonium went out into the countryside searching for children of men.  

“My child, come with me and see,” the Goblin said to a little boy while coaxing him from his bed.

The boy was terrified and screamed. A scream that went unnoticed with a metallic hand over his mouth.

“Child, quiet your mind you’re mine and always have been, come and see what I have to show you.” said the goblin.

The boy followed the goblin out the window of his room. His sister saw the goblin and froze in terror. Watching the two leave through a window, the goblin turned back and winked at the girl… 

Stay tuned… Windows To Darkness continues next week right here on Storm Of Ideas.

The Green Zone

Image made by Nate Armstrong

Story by Dokken Storm

A passport is usually something that is used for adventure. To be adventurous takes spirit and patience. In The Upside Down there is a pandemic of illusion. This illusion causes fear, dread, and despair. 

John & Maria had twin sons and one girl. The twins were Florus and Laurus, the little girl was Anna. They were from the extremely small town of Hillsview, South Dakota, this town was home to only a couple of families. They decided to leave the town and go for a trip somewhere. Unsure of where it was they wanted to go, they just wanted to go. 

John & Maria were dealing with the loss of one of their sons, Florus. Laurus and Florus were two very different people. Laurus was more introverted and would rather be with himself and left to his own devices than be around large groups of people, Florus was an extroverted, loving, and outgoing person. Florus needed to be around people and talk to everyone about everything. 

Florus had died six months ago. He had an adverse reaction to a vaccine he was given. The family made attempts at suing the hospital and the vaccine maker but had no luck. It was now law that children had to be vaccinated to be in public places. John & Maria were able to keep their children from it for some time before Florus was caught in public playing alone. He was taken to a facility and held there till his parents picked him up. While there he was vaccinated without the consent of his parents. An attempt was made to sue the government but this was to no avail. Laws had been instated that allowed the government full control over specifics of the health of children. 

John looked at Maria and said, “We will be ok, we just need to pray for him. We will see him again.” Saying this Maria looked away knowing it was true but still hurt knowing she would never see her boy again. There were always conversations about whether there was anything they could have done to protect their child. A guilty conscience made the two boil with anger. 

As the world moved further and further into a black hole of evil and despair over something contrived, people broke apart on levels as of yet unknown to the human condition. Many different theories would fly over the decentralized internet as to how and who was in control of the theatrics playing it in front of everyone. There was never a conclusive answer to the questions raised. 

As John & Maria were in town there was a massive amount of vehicle movement. A soldier with an intercom was directing, “All those who have been walking the streets without the passport of freedom need to come to the end of the road and receive the proper paperwork. If you continue to walk among us without the proper inclusive paperwork you will be jailed for the night and brought the court in the morning. Charges are severe for unlawful behavior.” Words no one thought they’d hear. John heard someone next to him whisper, “I don’t know about all this” and walked to the end of the road. 

Maria gathered her children into the car and they drove off through allies. Evading the military-like vehicles was hard but doable. They had a small sedan that was very silent, allowing them to evade the military vehicles. 

As they drove out there was a man in rags and a Cross around his neck. Slowing the car John leaned out the window, “Can we help you with anything, sir?” The man looked away for a moment and darted his face to John, “If you could see the end it would be amusing don’t you think?” A crazy thing to say but John sat for a second and looked over at Maria. Her face made him smile. The confusion on her face was exactly what was happening inside his mind. Turning back to the ragged man, “Are you sure we can’t help you? We are getting out of here and heading to the town we came from.” The ragged man climbed on their car roof, using a piece of leather string he tied himself down. John assumed this meant he wanted to come with so he drove off to the side road they used to get into the city. 

Outside the city, there was a view of downtown from a hill. Everything looked dystopic and frail. John looked at Maria and they became very aware of what was happening. Things were building up to an epoch. The city was full of people walking towards the end of the street getting their papers and vaccines. The messages were still ringing in their heads. THoughts of depression were looming but they knew they had to get back to their home and pray. John prayed the Jesus prayer the whole time home. 

As they drove up to their driveway the ragged man leaped off the car and ran to a nearby field and dropped to make prostrations. They saw him do this and were shocked for a moment but walked close to him and prostrated with him. Their hearts were lifted in prayer. 

The ragged man looked at the family and began to breathe deeply before saying, “I have not seen anything and yet there is more than enough there to see. God bless us. God willing we will see an end in sight but for now, we can pray and feel close to each other and God. God treated us with undeserved grace because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God.” The ragged man walked away to an open area of the field. John realized he never learned this man’s name. He went to ask when suddenly a massive flock of black helicopters flew over them. The ragged man looked back at John, “Spellbound, a future of miracles and blasphemy. Quite fitting,” and kept walking in the field. 

“Will you tell me your name?”, John asked.

“I am an unsuspecting person of faith and interest in the sense of ideas and thought, but you can call me Martin,” he said looking forthrightly.

Unsure of what to do with Martin John walked back to the house and told Maria the man’s name. “I swear I feel like I have seen him somewhere just not sure where,” she said while unpacking things they got while in town. She dropped something on the table in the kitchen and remembered where she had seen the man, it was in town before speaking to people during protests in online videos.

Martin yelled back for the family in the field. There was a sign in the sky he wanted them to see. The whole family came running out to see what Martin was yelling about. When they looked up they couldn’t see anything. Anna looked around and said, “I don’t see anything mister.” Laurus pulled Anna close and picked her up. Martin turned to the family, “Let sleeping dogs lie, soon we will all see it. A sign from above that we are taken care of and all will pass away and we will see the Kingdom.” Martin walked a bit to the edge of their property and without knowing it knew it was the end of their land. He prayed for their fruits and labors to be great and blessed. When he turned back to the house he had many things on his mind to tell the family. 

Entering the house Martin took a seat facing the opposite direction of the family. A confused feeling befell the whole family but the children laughed at the oddness. “I think there is something that needs to be done as much as it sounds insane. Although, an insane person would probably and has probably done so many times as has been asked to. To take the vaccine and get the proper papers. I want to be an example as to what can really happen to the body and maybe just maybe people will assume what could happen to their lofty and weighty souls. Hades, children is a place and your friends won’t want to play and swim in the lakes there,” Martin said while facing away and making hand gestures that made no sense. John looked and assumed the worst. Martin turned and having the look of a happy and serene man waved his hand at John and made the sign of the Cross over the whole family. He left the house to head back to the town and get what was needed to be in society. 

John & Maria prayed that Martin changed his mind or at the very least no harm comes to him. Something every person did when taking or knowing someone who took the vaccine and got the papers showing they could freely move about. 

Martin got all the required medicine and passport to properly operate in this new society. He began to show side effects quickly. Even though he showed a reaction he never felt it or noticed anything. The people around him noticed immediately and began to show it on their faces. Martin had growths and darkened portions of skin and began to have body convulsions. These convulsions didn’t affect his movement or speech. A glow was around him, a glow of the Holy Spirit. Something many didn’t understand was this glow but those who believed knew well what this was. 

Those who knew went straight for the most open and free land they could find. This land for a time was deemed unsuitable for people due to the environment and climate change. Truly there was no issue. As the people ran they tore down signs that read “KEEP OUT” and kept going. 

Laurus saw Martin coming back to the house from the tree line. He ran inside to get his parents to come and see. They all gathered on the porch seeing this man coming towards them. Maria glanced around Martin and noticed that there was a massive group of people driving through the woods quite a distance away. Martin got to the porch with all the wounds he had received from the vaccine. He still showed that it didn’t affect him in any way, shape, or form. He was asked a million questions about the wounds and pain, all Martin did was the sign of the Cross and walked inside to sit and wait for dinner with the family. 

“Please tell us if you’re in pain or need help, and what happened when you left,” John asked. 

Martin waited a moment and stared into John’s eyes, “I shall tell you all someday what happened in great and secret detail. For now, I think we should be gladdened by God’s grace many have seen and know.”

Inside The Upside Down there was a time and place for everything and this time it was perfect. People will see and usually see what is happening. This time people reacted, next time in another place of The Upside Down they might not.

A Day Alone

Thomas looked out to the field he loved so dearly and saw something that enamored him. A duck flying over a small pond that had no fish or any life beyond microbial. He went to sit next to the pond and ponder the idea of what it meant for him. For him, this was his time alone with God. He prayed for his salvation and his neighbor’s salvation. 

Looking at a butterfly that had just landed on his lap he saw how beautiful the world truly was. Looking to his left side there was a spider that was creeping along. Holding the spider he thought how there was beauty in even the most grotesque things of the world. After realizing this he prayed for those who wish him harm and those who despise what he believed to be true. 

A moment later he went off to another area where he saw something etched in a tree. “To whom it may concern, here lies Alan Army.” He prayed for the man’s soul and moved on. Thomas began to remember the things he wanted in life. Things like a family, a beautiful house, and overall happiness. Understanding that this would all come with a struggle he began to slow his walk. Thinking deeper on the goals he was making and how he would get them. Thomas pulled out his notebook and wrote out the goals. Then he prayed and went on with his day remembering these goals and storing them in the back of his mind. 

He came home to see that there was a news story about a family that had been robbed down the road from where he lived. Thomas thought back on the spider and how there was beauty but also terrible mishappenings around the world. Standing in front of his Icons he saw that there was only one way to be and one way to live. 

Thomas took to writing an article on the place in which we stand today. He titled it “A Day Alone”, the title had to do with our judgment. “In the last days there will be extreme strife”, he remembered.  These thoughts were there simply because he was feeling this deep sense that things in most of the societies’ spiritual life were lacking. People were not truly loving one another as they were commanded to and using each other for personal gain rather than helping each other when they fall. For Thomas, this was peeling his emotional skin and causing him to despair. Thomas started to think if it was even worth making any effort to help those around him if they were just gonna stab him in the back or not be thankful and regret his help. 

Thomas sat down to write anyways and he poured his soul into the words he chose. He wrote a somewhat lengthy paper and went to publish it on a website that accepted letters to the editor. They published what he wrote and in less than a week he was getting messages. These messages were from people who greatly appreciated his words. He received many thank you letters and noticed that all he had to do was step up and speak up. The people around him began to change their demeanor and quickly his whole little town began to thrive. 

Thomas stood in prayer and prayed for discernment. He wanted to know that what he wrote actually helped and to bring him back to a good grounding. A gust of wind blew through his room and it smelled of incense, Thomas then knew what he had done was right and blessed.

Being Aware and Asking Questions

Image and content by Dokken Storm

The manifesting of information concerning the vaccines and their effects has been coming out slowly but surely. They show very vast concerns. Everything from fertility to normal motor functions. It seems hard for many who have the idea that if you question any of this like anything else you deny the evidence. The evidence within what is happening shows its tormenting to question the science and if you do, you are a denier of the truth. A denier of science(totally ridiculous thing to say because no one ever outright denies science, your coffee maker has a scientific process; it’s fucking retarded to think people deny science) doesn’t exist, what does exist is the questioning of facts and figures concerning the science. I will try to show the areas in which need looking and the facts that have brought themselves forward through sources outside the mainstream narrative. I will also bring in stories from those who have reached out to me and told me their stories concerning the vaccine and the pandemic.

Firstly, one needs to understand that if you don’t question anything you won’t learn or know the risks. Secondly, the information out there is always skewed to a very particular perspective; what you’re reading now is skewed but towards wanting others to see what I see and tell me and others whatever they know and have found so that everyone can be in the know and make the best possible decisions for themselves and their families. Also, a little babbling.

Fertility; something I hope many think about if they’re of age. What is it about fertility that keeps coming up in all the concerns surrounding these vaccines? One does not think much of it and believes that this medical practice is necessary to keep themselves healthy and protected from Covid. This is mainly due to people just believing in a system that has failed them routinely but they hold out hope(faith is good but not in the system that literally told people “Don’t hug your family”). There were concerns about fertility and these new “cures” before they were brought out to the public. Most knew that vaccines had been used in the past to sterilize poor populations around the world. https://www.africanglobe.net/africa/vaccines-secretly-sterilize-women-africa/ 

So due to this foreknowledge and also there being this massive issue of nothing being properly tested before being administered to the public, many had lots of questions and concerns. There is a plan to depopulate and the vaccines will probably be used as a tool among many other tools to do this. It has already been done before concerning population control. This article is one to read and check out due to the obvious concerns we all have concerning these new vaccines, https://web.archive.org/web/20210630142714/https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/huge-red-flag-medical-researchers-bury-data-showing-82-miscarriage-rate-in-vaccinated-women 

Here’s another article to see the opposite and obvious ploy to stop people from asking questions “because it’s all conspiracy nonsense and made up”, https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/it-was-inevitable-that-antivaxxers-would-claim-that-covid-19-vaccines-make-females-infertile/ 

There’s an addiction in society to fear and terror. With this whole thing, many clung to it as though it was the only thing that mattered in their lives. Reminds me of the lyrics from Motley Crue “He’s gonna be your Frankenstein, I’ve got one thing you’ll understand, He’s not what you’d call a glamorous man, Got one thing that’s easily understood, He’s the one they call Dr. Feelgood” which is very similar to the way people look at the gods of modernity. Things make them feel good about something. Instead of struggling against the passions and temptations of the world and reaching towards Christ and his Kingdom most would rather stay inside and be fed fear porn and do everything they are told. A sad existence. But this is meant to happen so that when the time comes for the separation of those who follow along to get along and those who know the true purpose of being here understand perfectly the events that unfold. People like to conform due to not wanting to be left behind or forgotten within a group or society. Concerning the pandemic, everyone wanted to just comply and wear the mask so they didn’t have altercations with anyone or be looked at in disgust. This also goes with receiving the vaccine. “Breckler, Olsen, and Wiggins (2006) said: “Conformity is caused by other people; it does not refer to effects of other people on internal concepts like attitudes or beliefs. Conformity encompasses compliance and obedience because it refers to any behavior that occurs as a result of others’ influence – no matter what the nature of the influence.” https://www.learning-mind.com/psychology-of-conformity/ So this is a common thing that happens, everyone wants to conform to what is considered “normal”. If this keeps going then most, most then no one asks questions. More lyrics come to mind from the amazing Dio, 

“We’ll know for the first time

If we’re evil or divine

We’re the last in line, yeah

We’re the last in line”

Questions in these times are required just to walk out the front door. Since there is such a vast amount of fear people are not asking anything they just want to be told. This is an amazing article to read https://inklesspen.blog/2021/06/05/the-temple-of-pharmakon/ Fr Lynch is amazing and speaks clearly on an aspect many need to know and understand. In time these things will come to a head and things will break and it won’t be for the benefit of those who are in the know. Although it was written long ago that people would love their servitude. 

The tracking system ideas are also being rushed around in full mass. Ballparks have their systems and it won’t be surprising to see Wal-Mart and other major outlets have their tracking systems as well. https://covidtracking.com/, https://nypost.com/2021/06/28/prove-youre-vaccinated-with-this-immunaband-bracelet/.  There are also things going around that many knew would come; tracking your thoughts to determine if you’re a terror threat. https://www.activistpost.com/2021/07/police-to-target-americans-for-their-ideological-beliefs-and-behaviors.html 

This isn’t something that should be shocking to anyone especially with things like Neurolink out there and is always promoted as something amazing and brilliant. Tracking now has great uses in our world of nonsense, they believe they can track coofid from your face. It s laughable to think that anything so nuanced as a virus can be tracked by staring at you. https://www.activistpost.com/2021/06/abu-dhabi-begins-using-facial-recognition-cameras-to-detect-covid-19.html 

Many things need to be grasped concerning these new advancements towards a dangerous way of life. Things will go forth as “they” have planned and we the people need to just be aware of what is happening so that we can prepare properly. Not in a rushed, frantic, panicked fashion, but in a proper Orthodox Christian way. We pray, fast, and read the Word, and tend to our families and loved ones. We have no control over how things work out in the end. I would say that being alive today should give everyone a rush and a need to pray. It is very exciting to see these times and be able to tell the story someday. We should not be gloomy about any of it since we know the end goal for us as Orthodox Christians. Sure it’s scary and sometimes troubling to talk with people about things but as long as people have their communities and families everything will be fine. If life was easy it would be boring and made poorly functional. 

Show me the grave new world

You, sold me you slaves of change

Slaves to the new world order

Bound believing in change to chains

Woe is me I stand before you

And part a sea of eternity

Bloody nails, I waited and prayed

But your deceived and laid to waste

W.A.S.P. , Slaves Of The New World Order

Father come save us from this

Madness we’re under

God of creation are we blind?

Cause some here are slaves

That worship guns that spit thunder

The children that you’ve made

Have lost the minds

W.A.S.P., Headless Children

Resist the twist to truth no matter what the cost

Supplant the rights with wrongs inside our heads

Outlawing all the questions to the answers

That no one likes when someone ends up dead

Megadeth, Dystopia

Plug into me I guarantee devotion

Plug into me and dedicate

Plug into me and I’ll save you from emotion

Plug into me and terminate

Accelerate, Utopian solution

Finally cure the Earth of man

Exterminate, speeding up the evolution

Set on course a master plan

Reinvent the earth inhabitant

Metallica ,Spit Out The Bone

Religion’s at our door

But yet we search for something more

We see the prophecies

But that won’t bring us to our knees

All the answers are contained

Within the golden book

Every scar and red blood stain

Ignored and overlooked

Even the devil believes

Piety can leave you to bleed

StryperEven The Devil Believes

The psychological trials of dwellers in the last times will be equal to the physical trials of the martyrs. In order to face these trials, we must be living in a different world.” Blessed Fr Seraphim Rose

In the future Judgment, the condition of each person will be revealed in an instant, and each person on his own will proceed to where he belongs. Each person will recognize, as if on a television screen, his own wretchedness, as well as the spiritual condition of others.” St. Paisios of Mount Athos

Such are the souls of the saints: they love their enemies more than themselves, and in this age and in the age to come they put their neighbor first in all things, even though because of his ill-will he may be their enemy. They do not seek recompense from those whom they love, but because they have themselves received they rejoice in giving to others all that they have, so that they may conform to their Benefactor and imitate His compassion to the best of their ability; ‘for He is bountiful to the thankless and to sinners’ (cf. Luke 6:35).

St. Peter of Damaskos, “Book I: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge,”

The Secret Above: Part I

Story by Dokken Storm & Nate Armstrong

Image created by Nate Armstrong

In The Upside Down there is a place that is not set in time and space but is there in the moment. A moment that is cemented in the minds of the individuals that have lived this event, this epoch. It could very well happen in another place, another time, again.

The Liturgy was performed in an abandoned missile silo.  The decommissioned missile now stood reverently in the middle of the Nave. The towering weapon, once proud and powerful, had become barren, as its parts and fuel had been used for survival over the years.  

 The parishioners had painted the missile hull full of saints and crosses.  There was little space left in the silo not full of Orthodox Christian art and Icons.

 The converted Church had been blessed by Fr Innocent the moment he saw it with tears of joy running down his cheeks.  The priest was now performing Divine Liturgy as had been taught to him by his spiritual fathers. “A perfect place for people to gather”, Fr Innocent would always say to his parishioners. 

The whole parish smelled of incense as Fr Innocent started his sermon, “Today we commemorate many of the warrior saints of our times and the past. One that is of great importance is Great Martyr Mercurius of Caesarea. He served as a soldier in the Roman army. This was at a time when the Romans were persecuting Christians to a horrendous extent. I have to say that he is brought up and this is important because we face something similar today. We are hiding here because many will attack us simply for being who we are. Across this beautiful land, some evil people simply don’t understand the Truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have had to fight with the robbers and pillagers at times to keep our children safe. Something an angel said to Mercurius is this ‘Fear not, Mercurius. Go forth bravely against the enemy, and when you are victorious, do not forget the Lord your God.’ What do we get from this?” Having asked this question the parishioners became deathly silent. The missile was gleaming from the light of the candles in the silence.

The silence carried for a time. There was a bang on the parish doors. Some men were scraping the doors and banging. Screaming out loud and lewd statements. Breaking down the doors the gang rolled through and ordered everyone outside but the Priest. Fr Innocent was struck with questions and bewilderment stood in place for a second. Shortly after a few people had left Fr Innocent heard screams and cries of children. He thought they might be murdering them. He ran out a side exit to see and attempt to help, he saw military trucks with a red “R” on the doors being packed with people. Everyone was taken and the Priest was left alone with a note on the main doors reading, “You had ten days to pay the fee for being in my territory. You will be killed if you don’t pay and so will the people. You have three days.” In a haze and fear, Fr Innocent ran to the woods and prayed for help from God. 

In the Siberian winter wastelands, there is a constant shortage of ammunition. This required all who understood the dangers of the wasteland to be a good marksman with very little ammunition. 

A man solely known as Blackie was going into a small town of maybe a hundred people. Blackie was not a man who enjoyed using his gun. Deeply he wished he could just live without conflict with another. Blackie in his younger years was a member of a group called the Cossacks. He left to see things himself and explore the land he loved. 

There so happened to be a large amount of the Rath gang skulking around town. Blackie walked his horse through the town center to the closest water supply. “There has to be something good here for all these people to be standing around”, he pondered. Above a small sign for a store, a man was staring at him. Knowing he had little ammunition and that the guy would get his buddies involved if he felt like starting something, he looked away for a moment before “You must be new here,” a man said. This man popped up in front of Blackie right as he turned away from the other man. A pig-nosed man was asking Blackie questions as though he was some sort of authority in this little town. He showed no credentials and didn’t have the usual look of someone keeping the peace. He looked like the one who starts all the trouble. 

Blackie didn’t say much to the man, he just wanted water for him and his horse and maybe some food rations. “We’d like your horse and all your supplies”, someone said. Blackie turned to the person saying these outlandish things. When he turned it was a shorter man with a mustache and torn and tattered clothes. Not as unusual as Blackie thought he would look. 

They looked at each other for a moment before Blackie said, “I don’t think that is going to happen.” 

“You don’t think it’s going to happen?” the man said sarcastically.

“That’s for sure and for certain” Blackie said back.

The short man was joined by three others, “You still think it’s not gonna happen?”

“As a matter of fact now I definitely think it won’t happen,” he said undeviatingly.

Now the group was coming ever closer to him and making movements to do battle. With minimal ammunition, he knew he had to time everything perfectly. He scanned the enemy and made decisions based on their movements. His first thought was to shoot the main guy and then see what happens. Eventually, that idea went away cause these folks looked like they also had a vested interest in what he had. Blackie looked around for things and ways to take care of the situation quickly and smoothly. He was known for his shooting but not directly at people. He saw a sign that looked sturdy enough to ricochet a bullet and the angle looked close enough and then he saw his other options. In an instant, his plan was settled.

 A split second later, everyone drew and Blackie went for the ricochet first. To his surprise, the bullet definitely had it in for this short man. The bullet hit him in the head and he twisted around and shot one of the other guys, that guy shot another guy and on it went. Blackie couldn’t believe his luck. He counted his blessings and got everything together to move on…

Navigating The Jungle

Author’s biographies

Nate Armstrong- Knowledge in Biochemistry and Applied Pharmacology in Medicine. Instagram @natearmstrong313

Dokken Storm- Just a researcher on the topics of medicine and world events who also writes fiction. Instagram @dokken_storm

The Scientific Method and Orthodoxy

 What is science and how does one deviate from science? The word itself, science, is taken from the Latin word Scientia meaning knowledge. That word in its modern usage often refers to the method or pursuit behind knowledge, which is also known as the Scientific Method.  

The Scientific Method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

Boiled down they look like:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

These steps make up the tradition of science. 

A tradition that was founded on the idea that collecting and verifying data could lead us to a better understanding of our reality. 

If science is the tradition of collecting and verification of data and we start skipping steps of that tradition are we still scientists?

 If an Orthodox Christian throws tradition to the wind can they still claim to be an Orthodox Christian? Valid question of our times.

Examples of such would be the masks required to enter our parish, an atheist government dictating the rules of the Liturgy; there’s plenty more but for now, this is the ideal area to stop. 

Science and Orthodoxy are both based on truth. We are taking the assumptions of a society that does not believe in Divine Truth and adapting that worldview onto Orthodoxy when we deviate from the tradition of science which was based on a worldview that believes in absolute truth.

As Orthodox, we know that science has limitations to the truth of a fallen world, only a God outside of this can reveal the absolute truth to us and has done this throughout space and time with His Son and the Church. When we listen to the modern science of our current trends we deny this revelation for the platitudes of atheists. Science itself is based on the presuppositions that there is absolute universal truth and that we can discover this truth through experimentation, but times have changed. The science of modernity is not concerned about truth, but only manipulating public opinion by controlling them with fear and denying the truth that our Creator loves us.

Currently, there are many doctors and scientists who agree that the scientific method has been thrown to the wind and everything is all speculation. The biggest indicator of such is no isolation of the virus in an electron microscope. 

This is a pretty big part of the discovery and identification of a virus, yet this part of the process hasn’t been done. 

Another aspect of the scientific method being washed away with ideas and pride would be the acceptance of PCR tests as valid data. As humans, we want to know something in the blink of an eye or at the amount of time it takes to microwave a meal but PCR tests, the test this whole pandemic is based on, do not work the way the media portrays them to. I direct those who disbelieve here https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/29/health/coronavirus-testing.html “The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious.” “It isn’t the result of looking through some sort of cosmic microscope at genes lined up like cars in a supermarket parking lot. It’s a process using a computer program to stitch together DATA— PRESUMED pieces of a virus—based on speculation, bias, pretension, and sheer hype. Rather than science.”, this is just one of the many criticisms around the PCR test as something to diagnose someone for Covid 19.

 On January 23, 2021, a Chinese scientist’s name is Dr. Wu Zunyou was interviewed by NBC said “They didn’t isolate the virus,” this doctor is talking about samples from a market in Wuhan that may have started the whole pandemic.

 The fact that this statement has been said multiple times is precisely why one cannot assume that the scientists in charge of the pandemic response are using the scientific method. 

Science now rests in a religious realm at this point in history, in a debate, this is usually called “Appeal to Authority” and it’s not a good way to argue for one’s point. 

The authority of the scientific method is something that should not be thrown out because a narrative doesn’t fit the science. One never throws away prayer because that prayer isn’t working along the lines of what said person is wanting.  

Before the Covid vaccine, science has had a hundred years to collect and analyze data to determine their effectiveness and safety. With this new form of vaccine, science has little to no data to collect and analyze. 

Therefore, any statement on their effectiveness and safety is mere opinion and therefore not scientific. The same can be said for the effectiveness of wearing a mask. Before 2020, the scientific data showed little to no effectiveness in preventing a virus. Now we are to blindly accept their effectiveness because of the psychological effects they have on society

To explain the most mainstream idea of vaccines the World Economic Forum has an article on the subject. That can be read here https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/how-vaccines-changed-the-world/. The history of vaccines is interesting because history shows people using the scientific method to help and make sure what they were doing was for the help and good of others. 

Yet today, with the new vaccine, this process was skipped, and instead of isolating the virus and producing a proper test, the modern scientists just assumed and assured us we do not need the traditional testing time of several years to make sure all the bugs were worked out before it was thrust upon the people without any real understanding of what it is or even how it really works. 

What is Gene Therapy

The new vaccines are in fact called “Gene Therapy” by the creators. This is due to the way it reacts with the body, unlike the standard flu vaccine that so many others have had throughout their life. “Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is an mRNA vaccine that relies on messenger RNA to deliver instructions to the cells in your body, which then produce small parts of the Covid-19 virus that are just enough to trigger the immune system without getting you sick.” This is the definition of gene therapy “The treatment of certain medical disorders, especially those caused by genetic anomalies or deficiencies, by introducing specific engineered genes into a patient’s cells.” By this definition, none of the companies can call what they are making a vaccine. Definition of a vaccine “a preparation that is administered (as by injection) to stimulate the body’s immune response against a specific infectious disease.” The way in which the medicine being offered by MODERNA and Pfizer are not vaccines. The process that both companies are using is something that hasn’t been done on a massive scale like they are trying to do. Also, little testing before going to market is also something to be concerned about. https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-vaccine-trial-no-animal-testing.html 

Understanding the New Vax and link to Transhumanism

 If we are to understand that we have the coding of life within us then we ought to understand that manipulating this can have huge catastrophic problems.

“Recognizing the broad potential of mRNA science, we set out to create an mRNA technology platform that functions very much like an operating system on a computer. It is designed so that it can plug and play interchangeably with different programs. In our case, the “program” or “app” is our mRNA drug – the unique mRNA sequence that codes for a protein.” The ‘Software of Life’, something that is within the human body that was put there by God. This is what is being modified in the name of “Science”. A secular atheist idea of science nonetheless. 

Within the ideas of science and how the Church views topics of the like are very definite. Definite in the sense that we understand there are parameters that we cannot understand. Therefore messing with the DNA and RNA of persons without years of study is a misstep in the scientific method and the ideals of the Traditions of Orthodoxy. This message of messing with DNA to prevent disease leads to the ideology of “Transhumanism”. 

Transhumanism is a philosophical movement the advocates of which believe in the enhancement of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies able to greatly enhance human longevity, mood, and intellect. They say they would do this through the modification of Man. Doing so is an act against God’s creation. We know from tradition that this is wrong not only from a moral stance but from a biblical one since God created everything perfectly. Since we are created perfectly in the image of God there is no reason to mess with that perfection. Medical advancement can still be within the limits of God’s perfection. The ideals and philosophy of transhumanism are directly against God and will lead to so many catastrophes and this is not an exaggeration by any means.

Possible outcomes of vax

The process of protein synthesis by the cell starts with the information encoded by God inside our DNA. The new form of vaccine bypasses our DNA and gives our cells “orders” on how and when to make a protein. 

This new protein is then inserted into the cell wall and the immune response takes over, flagging the cell as an intruder and producing antibodies against this new unknown protein. 

On paper and inside the lab this is how the new vaccine is supposed to work. However, the human body is not the lab with all of its controlled circumstances. 

While the body tries to maintain homeostasis, that is it tries to resist changes in the environment that can alter the bodies ability to perform chemical reactions inside the body such as keeping the same temperature, maintaining a Ph balance of 7.35 to 7.45, or the level of extracellular sodium; it often fails to maintain the level of control you can have inside the laboratory. 

When God created us He understood this concept far better than we can in our fallen state. He made robust proteins that could withstand the extreme conditions our body has to deal with to maintain life but now we are being asked to insert proteins into our body that were not made by our Creator but by infallible men.  

The shape of a protein will be altered by its environment, this is one reason why the body maintains homeostasis.  The shape of a protein is what makes the protein functional, useless, or even harmful inside or outside of the cell. 

Sometimes when the shape of a protein is altered inside of our bodies, because of changes in the environment, the protein takes a shape that is harmful to life. This harmful shape of the protein is called a prion. 

Listen to scientist and Medical Doctor Bart Classen discuss the problems of prion disease and the new Covid vaccine.  He states, 

“The concern is raised that the RNA based COVID vaccines have the potential to cause more disease than the epidemic of COVID-19…” This paper focuses on a novel potential adverse event mechanism causing prion disease which could be even more common and debilitating than the viral infection the vaccine is designed to prevent. While this paper focuses on one potential adverse event there are multiple other potential fatal adverse events as discussed below. Over the last two decades, there has been a concern among certain scientists that prions could be used as bioweapons. More recently there has been a concern that ubiquitous intracellular molecules could be activated to cause prion disease including Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and other neurodegenerative diseases. This concern originates due to the potential for misuse of research data on the mechanisms by which certain RNA binding proteins like TDP-43, FUS, and others can be activated to form disease-causing prions. 

The fact that this research, which could be used for bioweapons development, is funded by private organizations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ellison Medical Foundation without national/international oversight is also a concern.

Orthodoxy on Health

The Church has very simple ideas on health. They all mostly center around prayer, “As a consequence, the Church has always recognized two dimensions to the healing process. On the one hand is the recognition that our whole life is in the hands of God. We are – body and soul – his creatures, and it is to Him that we turn in moments of illness, both physical and emotional. He is, in the first and most fundamental sense, “the healer of soul and body,” as it says in the Orthodox priest’s Prayer Book.’ In the Orthodox Church, we not only pray for the healing of sickness through priestly “Prayers for the Sick,” but the Church has always offered the healing of God to the faithful through the sacrament of Anointing, or Unction,” from the GOARCH website https://www.goarch.org/-/for-the-health-of-body-and-soul-an-eastern-orthodox-introduction-to-bioethics. This shows how simple we should really think of all the health concerns with this pandemic. The fear being perpetuated right now is not a fear of God but of something so small that you can’t even see it. Do you see how demonic that is? The world should fear and love God above all else.

Final Thoughts

Today our faith has become weakened by the world and its secular views. Our parishes have been closed and around the world, our Priests are being threatened with fines because they want to open up their parish and hold the Liturgy. People have become more fearful of death than they should. They are fearing losing this fleeting material life. Why? If we truly believe in our Lord and Savior then why do we fear death? We should pray and understand that death can come at any time. Salvation is not being healthy in a material way but in a spiritual way. We confess our sins and we receive the Holy Gifts then we go and pray in the morning and at night before bed and before meals. Prayer and love for God are the real miracle medicines, not a vaccine or a pill. If anything those things allow us to have more time to repent but that does not mean we use them for our salvation, that is not what they are meant for. Worldly medicine only heals the body, not the soul. Our souls are something that needs to be healed and repaired daily. If we forget this we lose our way on the narrow path to Heaven and the eternal Kingdom. 

Prayer For All Sick People

O Lord Almighty, healer of our souls and bodies, Who putteth down and raiseth up, Who chastiseth and health also; now, in Thy great mercy, visit our brothers and sisters who are sick. Stretch forth Thy hand that is full of healing and health, and raise them up, and cure them of their illness. Put away from them the spirit of disease and of every malady, pain and fever to which they are bound. And if they have sins and transgressions, grant to them remission and forgiveness, for Thou lovest humankind. Yea, O Lord my God, have pity on Thy creation, through the compassions of Thine only-begotten Son, together with Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, with whom Thou art blessed, both now and ever, and to ages of ages.

Prayer For Protection

O Lord, Thou who steadied the hand of Peter as he began to sink on the stormy sea, if Thou are with me, no one is against me. Grant to me the shield of faith and the mighty armor of the Holy Spirit to protect me and guide me to do Thy will. The future I put into Thy hands, O Lord, and I follow Thee to a life in Christ. Amen

Prayer Against Fear

O Greatly-merciful Master, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and cleanse me from every sadness and disturbance and cowardice. Drive away from me every spiritual choking and demonic sorrow, that I sense in my body and my soul. For You are our Joy, and the hope of all the ends of the earth, and those far off at sea. Be merciful to me, O Master, upon my sins. Take from me the heavy burden of sin and despair. Drive far away from me every sadness and laziness. Confirm me in Your Love, and with unassailable hope and unshakable faith in You, through the intercessions of Your Spotless Mother, and all Your Saints. Amen.

Prayer For Discernment

O Lord Jesus Christ our God, who didst lead the people of Israel in a land of unsown, land of drought and deep darkness, a land none may pass through or dwell in: do thou, the same Lord, lead me all the days of my life, giving me to discern the times and their signs, and to redeem time’s passage— for the days are evil— guiding me in the way that I should go, that I may ever say: I love thee, O Lord, for thou hast heard the voice of my supplication from my mother’s womb, yea, from all eternity, and thou art the Way and the Truth, and the Resurrection and the Life, the Sunshine that ripens all who live and repose in thee, the Peace of God, and also our Peace with him: always, now and ever and unto ages of ages, Amen.

Sources-

https://www.modernatx.com/mrna-technology/mrna-platform-enabling-drug-discovery-development

https://www.sott.net/article/448574-Immunologist-Pfizer-Moderna-vaccines-could-cause-long-term-chronic-illness

https://www.fda.gov/media/143557/download

https://wonder.cdc.gov/vaers.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2020/11/16/what-you-need-to-know-about-modernas-covid-19-vaccine/?sh=72f2b1ee1a53

https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-vaccine-trial-no-animal-testing.html

https://www.goarch.org/-/for-the-health-of-body-and-soul-an-eastern-orthodox-introduction-to-bioethics

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Hold On To My Heart

In The Upside Down there is love but love not for God or between two persons. Truly love does not exist within this world the way we know it. But, maybe, just maybe someone can change that.

  Calix looked at his watch and saw that there was a message about daily motivation. This message was for the whole world. It read, “To love is to die and you and I do not want to die. Do we?” A message that rang true for many people in the world.

Dahlia saw the same message show up on her watch as well. Her thoughts were different from the rest of the world. To her, it made more sense to run to the arms of a lover than it did to live in solitude and only feeding the passions with those whom they did not love. In her mind, she felt alone.

Calix was beginning to feel a sense of bewilderment at the very idea of the world and the way it had changed. He would read stories and watch movies that would show couples kissing, laughing, and holding each other close.  This he deeply wanted without truly acknowledging it. On a subconscious level, he saw himself in those movies and stories. Wishing he had someone like that.

Since the world had grown and molded its heart to be cold and distant everyone moved along with the ideas that had been established concerning Love and what Happiness was. To society, happiness was doing what thou wilt, even to the extent that you had to ruin someone to get ahead. An ideology that should have ruined society but since everything was headed in that direction anyway no one seemed to care or notice this drastic change in the hearts and minds of the world.

A cold heart was something that neither Calix nor Dahlia had. They were warm and caring to everyone they knew. They went to their local parish knowing it was considered old fashion and frowned upon in some areas. Knowing this they went anyway and did so with pride, in the sense that it was going against the norm and being true to themselves and what they felt they needed to do to be happy.

One afternoon Calix sat in his armchair. This armchair was set up next to a window overlooking rolling hills and valleys. As he sat, he looked up to see the different shades of blue and red in the sky. This imagery made him think about things he felt he needed in his life. Thinking he would forget what he needed he grabbed a paper and pen and wrote, “A wife, a family, and a cigar collection.” Two of those held his eye for what seemed like forever. In that forever he got up from the chair and went to pray. His prayer was to have a family and to truly Love. Without knowing his prayer was answered instantly. In that same moment of forever, Dahlia was also praying to find a true and loving husband. She was leaning over her porch banister and was praying at the exact same moment as Calix. Neither knew they had an answer waiting for them.

At the same time, they both felt the need to go to a nearby city named Truth and Consequences in New Mexico. They didn’t know why they had this urge, but they felt they had to go. It almost felt as though they were being shoved out of their homes and on their way to their destination. Their journey was in a sense forced upon them.

 The tangents and trouble people go through on long journeys were not kept from them.

Dahlia had stopped in a small town on her journey to Truth and Consequences, a group of women had been hooking on the corner of this small town. They saw Dahlia and gave her dirty looks; the demon of envy and jealousy was spitting out of their mouths. They yelled slurs at her, the demon was trying to get her to turn away in fear and run home. Dahlia was in high spirits and she knew there was a purpose for her travels. “Why are you here? You don’t belong here goody girl, go home or else,” they said while making lewd hand gestures and screaming swears. Dahlia realized they had this reaction to her because her cross was visible to them. She drove off from that town and prayed for those girls. A feeling of great joy washed over her, and she began to understand a little about the purpose of this journey.

Calix made his way to the town of Waco, Texas on his way to Truth and Consequences. In Waco, there was a Church that was dilapidated. He parked his car and went in. The inside of the Church looked as though it was brand new. The Iconostasis was still intact, and all the items found in an Orthodox Church were still there. On the floor of the Church was a note that said, “Marriage is a spiritual bond.” Calix did not understand this message, but he felt as though it was important to keep this note. He put it in his pocket and went to the Icon of the Savior and made three prostrations. He stood back a moment to take in the whole Church, Calix prayed to be protected on this journey and that whatever was at the end of this rainbow it would be for his salvation.

  The Journey continued for both seekers. In their hearts, they felt as though they were getting closer to something that they needed desperately. Although, they weren’t sure what it was that they needed so desperately. Each had an idea, but it was foggy and hard to determine. God had a plan for these two souls and the journey was a small test before the greatest test of all; Will you love Me after I give you a great gift? This great gift was an answer to a prayer. The answer to this question would determine how Calix & Dahlia would live the rest of their lives.

“Nothing can destroy love that is rooted and founded in Christ,” a voice said. This voice was heard in the deepest parts of their souls. Calix and Dahlia stopped in their tracks, got out of their cars, and dropped to their knees. They both prayed for clarity and discernment. They wanted a better understanding of the words they heard. Quiet was all they got until they felt the push to keep on their journey.

Both were only a couple of miles from their destination. As they got closer, they felt each other getting closer. The two weren’t sure why they felt this sense of calm. They both stopped at the same gas station. Seeing each other they immediately felt a connection and as though they had known this person forever. The awkward first meeting took place but that dissipated. The laughter came as quickly as they blinked. A truly deep connection was formed.

In Truth and Consequences, NM there was a small parish.  So small that it seemed to be more like a monk’s cell than a church. They both approached, “I think we should go and pray. I just feel like something bad is coming our way,” Calix said. Dahlia listened and they both went into the church.

In the distant land of evil, a spirit was coming up for air. Smelling love and compassion this spirit jolted to action and ran to the origin of the smell. Having wings and a decaying smile it was on the hunt.

Calix and Dahlia were looking around the church at the interior structure of the church. The Icons were perfect and looked brand new. A priest came out from a back door. Seeing the couple, “How are you both today?” he said. Both answered, “Wonderful.” The priest introduced himself, “I am Father Juvenaly, what can I do for you both?” he asked. Since they had become so close in a short period of time, they felt that they truly loved each other. They asked to be married there.

Everything was set up. The couple went through the usual requirements to be married in the church but at a faster pace. Fr Juvenaly was excited for the couple. No one had been married in his church for decades. It became very important to Fr Juvenaly that the couple understands the kinds of things that would happen to them since the world had changed so much. The world seeing a married couple would cause jealousy just due to them showing true and almost complete happiness. Both understood this and were prepared for everything. Calix looked to Dahlia and said the words of St John Chrysostom “Our time here is brief and fleeting, but if we are pleasing to God, we can exchange this life for the Kingdom to come. Then we will be perfectly one both with Christ and with each other, and our pleasure will know no bounds. I value your love above all things, and nothing would be so bitter or painful to me as our being at odds with each other. Even if I lose everything, any affliction is tolerable if you will be true to me.” The words were burned deep into Dahlia’s heart. She knew this was the man she would love forever.

Their ceremony was glorious, everything was perfect.

The demon had been waiting outside the church. Waiting for the moment he could tear them apart. Calix and Dahlia felt this presence as they were leaving the church, and both prayed to God for protection. A glow came around them without their knowledge. The demon was not seen by the couple even though he was hiding in plain sight. He began to whisper evil ideas; they did not need each other, wicked ideas of lust, they did not really love each other. All this was doing absolutely nothing to the couple. The light around them protected their thoughts and hearts.

   Inside the light was an angel holding and cradling them to safety. The demon became angered and left them, attempting to curse them. Before the demon could disappear into the dark he was struck by heavenly lightning.

 Calix and Dahlia left for a new place. They left their old lives behind and went for the wide-open lands of middle America. Living truly happy lives. Having six children, growing old on the homestead they created together. They passed this world into the next at the same time and saw the light of the Heavenly Kingdom.

In The Upside Down there is always a place for Love. Love that creates a small bit of happiness in the world, it only needs and takes Faith.

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Pay Close Attention

I am going to be going through some quotes from the two articles in an odd manner and adding in my two fiat cents worth. 

http://www.monomakhos.com/the-broken-covenant/  

 “I am going to leave a comment here, but I am NOT going to leave my name. Why, you may ask? Because I am an Orthodox priest. You may call me a coward if you want to. That’s OK with me. I am writing anonymously because I cannot trust my fellow priests OR lay people OR the hierarchs. On a few occasions I have made comments about injustices done to priests by their bishops and was then threatened by my bishop. The priest was guilty of simply speaking the truth. Guilty of speaking the truth about what the Scriptures teach, guilty for asking questions of the bishops about their compromises with sin, their turning a blind-eye to the scandalous behaviors of wealthy, politically connected laypeople who support abortion and gay marriage and family members who live in open homosexual relationships. There are many hundreds of priests who are afraid to speak the truth because if they do their hierarch will suspend them, or remove them from their parish. In other words, deprive them of their livelihood! There are many good and pious priests who are trying to care for their people and protect them from the secularist agenda of the present political administration. Instead of being supported by their bishops they are censured, ridiculed and labeled as bigots, racists, narrow-minded, malcontents, trouble-makers and rabble-rousers. They are labeled and therefore marginalized I am fearful of the very people who I should trust, but I can’t. If liberal-minded laypeople don’t turn in the priests they despise then other priests will “throw them under the bus.” We are becoming like the Orthodox Church in Russia, in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, when people would turn in others to the church authorities and political authorities for whatever reasons suited them. We are truly living in the “last days” If not the last days before our Lord’s return, then certainly the last days of our American liberty and republic.” This is from the website Orthodox Reflections https://orthodoxreflections.com/orthodox-priests-joining-the-fight-will-change-everything/  These words are very troubling but we must have faith that these things will work out. So be it if you or your Priest are called what is said in the quote, your goal is salvation, not to focus on the way in which others think and see you. Sadly in these times asking for forgiveness doesn’t come as often as it should so pray for them and move on things will work out in the end. We should support our Priests and all the hierarchy that support the Faith and are not allowing the world to dictate to them how they will do that.

Quotes from  http://www.monomakhos.com/the-broken-covenant/  “Priests have been taught from seminary that they are to be martyrs to their parish communities.  They are to witness the faith and be an icon of Christ, even if it means forfeiting their own lives.  However, now, in addition to dispensing the Holy Mysteries, they needed training in epidemiology.” Another quote from that article “As the priests, one by one, objected they were told that they were the only priest having the problem.  Some priests who objected were told they might need a psych exam.  After all, if someone doesn’t care if people die and are continuing in practices leading to death and are therefore guilty of murder, the priest must be crazy!  Lock him up for his own good!”, the words for this quote are theatrical but they are the truth not just for clergy but also for laypeople who have chosen not to wear a mask in Church or anywhere. 

“The bishops, on the other hand, occupy their time critiquing their priests, while flipping back and forth between CNN and MSNBC to get the latest news.   They busy themselves with writing encyclicals to explain the unexplainable, like how it is possible to be an Orthodox Christian and vote for a platform that promotes abortion, knowing in two states full term babies are being murdered.   This has become their witness to God and the Church during the most difficult year in recent history.” This seems to be something that you would think people would all be against but we have to understand that there are people in the Church who are there to move the Church in a terrible direction and it takes seconds to find this information. 

“Lastly, the great influencer of the Church’s new practices has been the government of the United States.  “Put not your trust in princes nor in the son of men,” they say.  Yet when the governors, the CDC, or a physician tells us to stop acting like the Church, we obey.  Isn’t that what the Church did when Caesar, the Turks, and Stalin wanted the Holy Church to cease and desist?  Did we not comply with disastrous results?  Are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes?” I think we are because we don’t pay attention to what’s happening and many people follow along to get along, which is a terrible way to live your life.

I recommend going and reading both articles in full. I just wanted to pull some of the quotes that stood out to me at first glance. There is so much more in these articles that we should read and think about. Creepy things are happening and there must be some sort of push back that isn’t totally violent or things will get truly horrifying and we won’t know how to make things right again. Do not despair if you are having troubles with these things for there is no reason to, “Do not let anything deprive you of hope” says St Nektarios of Aegina. Those are very wise words and they should be remembered in these crazy times.

Hive Mind Dysphoria

Adventure is something that is always met with a contract and rarely does anyone read the fine print. A man should be ready for just about anything; sometimes everything just happens.

 Steven Lackluster had many wishes he wanted to come true so badly. He had long black hair and would go out into the City wearing a long black coat and cowboy boots. Unlike most people in the City he was different in just about every way, he chose what he wanted to believe and was perfectly fine being on the outside of society. The amount of imagination and a never-ending desire for truth was something that, for the time being, was abundant in Steven. He grew up in the City. When Steven would go out, he would look for things that no one else wanted. These things had more value to him simply because they weren’t wanted by anyone else, but he saw something that was useful in them.

The outside world had become a disaster and people just walked around it like it wasn’t there. Some secrets were only meant for a select few, but those few would never allow anyone outside the mathematical squares to know, even a whiff of those secrets.

Steven looked down at his scorekeeper and saw that again he was in the low numbers. He hated the things and so did most of society. There was always something to be worried about and the last thing you wanted was to be in the low scores group. Most of society had allowed themselves to fall under this rule for the simple reason of safety, security, and simplicity.

The Tracers were the last faction of corporate workers or at least the last people who held real jobs. These Tracers had just about every known person tracked and traced from birth to death; if they could, they’d track you after that, too.

There was an ad station to Steven’s left as he was walking down a street that had lights going and all sorts of pigmented hologram statues. Since Steven didn’t have the HM implant it just made a hologram in front of him and not the images being projected straight to his mind. The ad was for a new, digital friend-finder system. Inside the City, these ads would pop up at random times to get people interested in something new from the AI working within the All Being. It would cast directly into people’s minds, sometimes without their knowledge.  There was a woman across the street looking in his direction, not at him but at another ad. This ad was playing in her eyes and she was probably going to buy this new gadget for her loved ones. Brainlink was giving Steven a message on his phone about a person who gave up their Link, he shrugged it off and went about his daily tasks. People were starting to give up the Brainlink service for an updated version that would be out later in the year. Of course, in the last few years people had gathered together and tried to leave the city for something else, something different in their lives. Those trying to leave the Link behind only wanted to do so because there was something in the deepest part of their souls that knew this wasn’t right to have. It also wasn’t right to have this as almost another organ in the body. People wanted to be more natural, the way they were created to be.

Steven was trying to find a bookstore that would carry physical copies of books he planned to read that week. The bookstores always charged huge amounts for them, even though people saw them as an item they were willing to buy.

There were new digital libraries at the end of his block that were neon-lit dungeons to Steven. The dungeons were full of people working through the latest in dramatic formulas. The formulas would be used to pick the right candidate for their spring enchantments. Steven was not one who picked anyone because he believed it was not as formal as just asking someone. A bit of an ancient school of thought that was always looked at with some scrunched faces.

As he investigated the window of the dungeon, he saw there weren’t as many people inside as he thought there would be. When he walked into the library there was the loose cardboard box full of dusty books. The box was in the far corner of an aisle. He dropped to his knees and sifted through the books. He came across some fantasy books that were of no interest, but put them aside for later just in case he couldn’t find anything else.

Steven was interested in finding real books because the rulers of the City had made it almost impossible to actually read anything that was really fantastical or at the very least an interesting read. Everything was written by an AI or some random person who couldn’t string together a plot to save anyone’s lives. Steven was on the hunt for rare books. Things that he could use to understand the past as well as this deep feeling there was something special he needed to read. He just needed to find it.

Someone came around the corner of an aisle and asked “What are you looking for in there? Don’t you know there’s a board to find and download what you’re looking for instead of getting dust all over yourself?” Looking at her with a little discontent he answered, “I’m looking for books I can read, not just download and forget later.”

Noticing the obvious he went back to sifting and found a book on culture written in 2017. An amazing find for something so old and mostly outdated info on culture. He read the back of the book and saw dealt with identity and cultural philosophy. These things were usually kept in the historical creativity section in the digital bookshelves. Most books of this kind were met with humor and banter when talked about publicly. Steven noticed the girl was still there and turned to her, “Can I help you with anything?” he asked sarcastically. “No,” she said, “but you can tell me why that elastic information has piqued your interest?” Thinking for a moment, he wanted to answer in a way that wouldn’t form new questions from someone who seemed who was more than likely an ecstatic believer in the Black Boxes. This was just his best guess seeing that she was asking why he would mess around with “old stuff”. “I like reading and it’s easier to have a physical copy rather than a screen to read from,” he said while looking at the other books in the box. She stood for a second, looking around for others and saw no one was paying them any attention, “Are you some idealist?” After she asked this, she stared at the back of his head and was about to repeat her question when he replied “No, I don’t have a reason for looking through this, other than I like reading and collecting old things from all sorts of times and places I can never go.”

Some time went by, and Steven got up from his knees with two books in his hands, he took them to the scanner and bought them. The girl followed him out the door quietly until they got outside. “What’s your name and what are the real reasons you picked those books?” He became annoyed with this girl, so he asked instead what her name was, and she said “Alessa, Alessa Ream, now your turn.” “Steven.” She looked at him with a look of astonishment that he would only give his first name. “Your whole name since I’ve given you mine,” she demanded while looking at him sternly. Annoyed more, Steven responded “Lackluster, Steven Lackluster, no you can’t laugh,” he said. “Why would I laugh? That is obviously a given last name, not by parents but by yourself. What an individual. No one has ever had a name like that.” “Of course not, it’s just my thing, an inside joke to myself, I’m sure you’ve tried giving yourself fake names to pass checks at the market,” Steven said.

Something was off about the way she looked because she began to look at him in an analyzing way. Steven could tell she was trying to go through the social Link service to find him and see if he was telling the truth. The whole Link system was just an updated version of what social media used to be but with the added perks of having all your information stored in one place. No need any more for a wallet to carry around your social security card or your ID.

 “You don’t have a social block, what’s up with that?” knowing that he was probably an outsider to the social square. “I like to read and learn. I like learning more intricate details on things, I don’t like using that service.” The way he said this to Alessa was calm but also distant as if he would have rather not explain why he did what he did. “Do you believe all the things you read in those books?” she asked calmly. “You ask a lot of questions, what do you want from me?” “I’m only curious and my work is in the business of looking for people of interest.”

“Well, if you have more questions follow me to the end of the block I want to go home before they start the Boxes tonight,” Steven said as he started down the sidewalk. She asked many questions about his interests and if he was someone who had a deeper wanting of something more in his research. Alessa knew by asking this there would be many reactions to the question, but it was a part of her job as a Tracer. Tracers would track those who had shown behavioral patterns that were punishable. Some people only needed a warning, and some needed more attention.

 Steven knew what she was doing and let her follow him, in his mind there was nothing for him to hide other than the fact that he wasn’t a participant in the Black Boxes tradition. Steven knew what the Tracers were meant to do, and he never thought they helped anyone. To Steven the Tracers only made problems for people doing what people do, look for truth and some sort of understanding of their surroundings.

The tradition of the Black Boxes was always held in the nighttime due to the mystery behind it. The mystery being there was no real reason to have them and they seemed to be placeholders for something else. Besides the Boxes, there was the “All Being.” The All Being was the central AI that had all the secrets and ran a subset of AI that would help with the monitoring processes. It was the placeholder for the spiritualist of the City. When society changed there was a need for something that everyone could look to that was above them. It needed to be something that could help them guide their lives.

Steven had been raised to never look at the Black Boxes or even take part in the enchantment because something insidious would happen if he did. As he got older, he felt the idea of it was odd and held no ground. The last time he looked at the boxes nothing really happened but the people around him changed and his minimal friends became distant. Although he never felt anything in himself alter, he felt the people around him alter physically and mentally. Since then, he had never partaken in that mystery again and stayed as far from it as possible. The All Being was the main benefactor of these new rituals of enchantment. The All Being would gather up the scanned memories from each person and process them into banks of info. These banks of information were used to give people their social scores. As a reward for giving up their minds each time they participated in the ritual, they were allowed to partake in sex.

The original rulers knew that people would be willing to give up a little privacy for security. The citizens at the very beginning of everything didn’t know they would be giving up their intimate secrets and thoughts. The people of the City still had no idea that this was happening, everyone just thought it was completely natural. 

Just about everyone would go to the enchantment ceremony at night. Everything was a mix of technology and deep spiritual mysteries. The mysteries being the ones that the people gave to them, everyone explained things differently. During the ritual of enchantment, there was a small ray of light and everyone’s Links were scanned. After scanning, the Black Boxes would open into symmetrical shapes and people would see their numbers with a corresponding number. That number was their spouse for the evening. Their reward for giving up their minds.

The second book Steven held was one that had been alluring to him since he set out looking for old books. The name was The Path and this book was a reprint of an even older reprint. This book was one of the main books that were supposed to have been destroyed after the Black Boxes were put in every major city across the world. Alessa did not notice the other book but kept nagging at him to tell his life story. Looking down the walkway she kept asking “What is it about books in a material manner that makes them so special to you?” over and over. Finally, he answered, “Because I’m not like everyone else I don’t wear the blinker for Brainlink, and I don’t own any other tech besides my phone and even that is very old compared to what you all have.” She took out her phone and showed a news update about the IBOT that had just formulated a new care monitoring system for the depressed and lonely. She showed him the article and he replied, “Is that supposed to mean something to me? Do you think I am some sort of crazy person in need of help from the Black Boxes?” He started walking away from her and noticed on the wall the article was being shown there with images of unhappy people starting to smile after the IBOT told them some feel-good phrase. This had been figured out using algorithms to pick the perfect phrase to make someone feel better.

Alessa looked at Steven and said “I showed you because as a Tracer there is a huge amount of people like you who think there has to be something different out there other than what is right here in front of them. Everyone is connected through the Hive system because that’s what the world needed, I don’t have any way of changing it, without the Boxes we would not know how we need to be and how we can feel better and be connected, to be Us and to have the One Cause.” Steven muttered under his breath “Of course, you would say that.” Out of every type of tracing complex, the government chose Brainlink, only because it tested well enough that people wouldn’t worry about being mind-controlled, although they were because the people that got the full set-up for Brainlink could not have certain thoughts or do certain activities or they would be made unconscious.

Steven knew this was being done, and some other people did as well, but the masses were never told this was happening, it was never a known piece of information, but the whole of society was fine and entirely in tune with the One Cause. It would have probably caused many to give up the whole system and want some new rebellion to start, or lead to massive suicide rates. Nothing like that ever happened, of course, because everyone was in a mental state of happiness or euphoria. The world had become a Hive of similar-minded people who thought the same and never questioned the authority of the Brainlink system, the Black Boxes, or the One Cause. Most everyone was linked and being watched by the AI that molded the Link services to be in concordance with the One Cause. Steven was on the outside of this system because he never took the Link and his parents never forced him to. He was a person among a group of persons of interest by the Tracers. Alessa was sent to see what he was up to and report his actions. This was done regularly by a multitude of people who would come up to him and ask questions that seemed harmless but in fact, were meant to keep tabs on him and others that tried to stay hidden as much as possible. The people who had been watched had no idea that these people were Tracers, they usually just thought they were nosy or just very bored people.

Of all the people who were off the Link system, Steven was a unique person, finding time to investigate the history and decide whether what he was seeing was moral or even real at times. These things were not precisely wanted by the leaders of the Tracer Corp or the One Cause. They could happen if you followed the laws concerning research into history, morals, and philosophy. One could not allow for ideas to be spread of the old ways, especially if they contradicted the Link service, Brainlink corporation or the Black Boxes and One Cause ideology & theology. Steven knew this and knew how far he could go. His main goal was never revolution, but to find a way to leave the city without ever being detected by Tracers, to live in the wilderness, to be left to his own ability to think and write and be creative without the world persecution that would happen if he chose to publish or speak openly of his thoughts. Steven wanted to be the person he knew he could be.

Before he was able to go home Alessa asked “What are your main intentions with these books and the others you’ve collected?” He knew that if he told her what she was wanting to hear she would post his location to the closest police station, and they would come to him and take him to the Motivation Clinic for a mental examination and re-purposing following the Black Boxes and the One Cause. Steven had heard stories about this process and that it was always painful and brought even the strongest willed to their knees. Steven answered Alessa with a very blanketed statement “These books and others like it are my fantasy and have nothing to do with how I feel outwards.” She took this answer and turned and walked away. Steven rushed home and moved all the books he had to a vault in his small apartment. The vault was a specially made one that required DNA and a code that was in a language he made up so that even if someone used his DNA to open it, they would never be able to get in it. He thought he should make it blow up in case of emergencies but thought better of that idea and the consequences of it. The language made no sense because it was just chicken scratch mixed with poorly done hieroglyphics. He made sure that he put The Path in the vault because it was a religious text from before the evolution of humanity started and the world changed.

It was getting close to dark and the enchantment was about to begin, the people started to gather in the city center and the Black Boxes were about to show their alien-like purple light show and the shapes. When Steven looked out his window, he noticed the people putting on their glasses so they could see the messages being shown in the light show. Everyone began to chant “BRING THE ELEMENTS OF TRUTH TO US FOR WE ARE NOT WORTHY OF TRUTH,” a phrase he had come to hate because as he became more aware of the world around him, he knew it was only a blink of an eye and they would see the truth before them. The Boxes and the One Cause had a hold on people and Steven knew it was only because they knew of nothing else but the enchantment. It had been six generations after all since these Boxes had been erected across the world. To be around people during the enchantment was unnerving and very odd. The people watched the light show and Steven watched the people from his window. After a while, he went to his closet and tried to read through the books he had found.

The book on culture is what he picked up first. He skimmed it, looking for anything that was going to piqué his interest. He found in the culture there’s always something that is hidden from them on purpose, he thought about that for a while and began to look through the book more. He came to a chapter called “Belonging to the Idea.” At first he thought this was an odd set of words, but eventually when he read the chapter he found that it was about how people begin to identify with the culture around them and how they begin to adhere to these ideas or try to reform the ideas to suit their own needs. The chapter was extremely detailed with how this is done, and it was a huge eye-opener for Steven. The idea that people groups could come together and believe the same thing that may be contrary to the rest of the population was something he had never heard of or even seen before. When he was a boy the schools were always telling him to be in line and always follow along, “Rules are meant for your safety and well-being” he remembered. This was something his parents hated but they had to allow this to be told to their child because they had to work. “Working the flesh mill,” they called it. The flesh mill was a place of pleasure wonders of the elastic imagination created by a person behind a computer and an AI helper, the clients always went for something outrageous because rules weren’t put on what they could and could not do. Just about anything happened from murder to spy adventures and anything their imaginations could muster together. It was allowed so that people would still be under the control of the system but have an outlet for their energy and creativeness that was completely controlled, the only area off limits was creating a revolution or anything that was against the system.

He took notes on the book, put it down and went for the very special book he had waited to find. This book was something he had heard was outlawed for its extreme nature. In Steven’s mind, he thought that if something was so bad, how could it be written in the first place and passed around for so many centuries before the evolution theory took hold? It had been almost extinct to Steven and he could only ever find fragments of it on the digital board. These fragments were usually something horrible like an apocalyptic event or super bleached of their meaning and original translation. Steven knew this because what was allowed to be read was something that he felt was taken out of context. Knowing a basic amount of history and human behavior, he knew that a large amount of people could not put all their faith into something for so long that had errors and caused harm. Most people are not built that way.

Now he had it, and it had been in about as good a condition a book can be for being a few hundred years old. None of the pages were missing or torn but they were very aged. Whoever had this book before Steven read it often and wanted it to be in good condition. The book was bound in imitation leather and had almost no lettering on the cover. It was sort of hard to make out the title, the only way you would have known what it was is if you opened the book and found the title page.  The first page he read after sifting through it read “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” This first portion was astonishing to Steven. He did not know that the things he had read were true until he read the first sentence of the book. This book was evidently something used by many as their means of morals, spiritual life, and tradition. This made him feel something that he had not known people could feel, a sense of extreme calm.

He read on as the enchantment outside went on, and he came across a very odd sentence “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell from where it came, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the spirit.” He didn’t understand this sentence fully. Steven did not know that the verse he had just read was a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, those that follow the Holy Spirit with heart and mind will follow God at every turn, those that follow the Holy Spirit will also be looked at in an odd manner because the ways of God are unpredictable and beyond our ways and understanding. The Path was full of mystery and some things were difficult for Steven to understand, he hadn’t yet found the purpose for this book to be banned.

As he read on, he heard whispers outside his apartment door. These whispers became clearer and he could hear what they were saying. It was jumbles of odd phrases he hadn’t heard before. He closed the book and put it in the vault and locked it. Just as he did this, he heard a knock at the door. “We would like to come in, we have word that there’s been some contraband in use at this address.” Steven wondered if the girl he talked to really couldn’t let go of her inquisitiveness and sent the soldiers to come take him. He stumbled a bit to the door and said, “There’s nothing here, I am just reading the catalog for the ceremony tomorrow night.” After he said this, he felt stupid because no one reads the catalogs anymore. “Just open up and we’ll see for ourselves. If everything’s good we’ll leave you be, or we’ll have to come in with force” Steven knew they would probably come in by force whether he opened up and did what he was told or not, because right after they said it they kicked down the door.

They grabbed Steven and dragged him down the stairs of his apartment building. They threw him in the back of a van and drove him to the holding center. He was told that he would be held until the investigation of his apartment was finished and then he would go to trial.

They went through his apartment and found his vault. They took him to an interview room and questioned him on the contents of the vault. One of the officers asked, “We would like to know if you have any contraband in the vault that is in your apartment?” “There’s nothing there Officer, I am aware of the laws around that kind of stuff, I don’t have any of that, just books that I keep in there, so they don’t get ruined.” Steven said truthfully. They looked at him and then left the room, they were going to confiscate the vault and open it and see what was inside. When they attempted to open it, they saw the security on it and went to Steven to get him to open it. Steven refused to open his vault, he told them it was for privacy reasons and that he was still allowed some sort of privacy. “You are under our rule and investigation for contraband. You can’t hide anything from us unless you want to forfeit a trial and go straight to the Clinic.” He stayed silent for a while and eventually thought being outside of the Clinic was better than being in one. He gave them his DNA and the code to the vault. They opened it and took everything out and left him alone for some time before telling him he was going to have to spend the night there while they look through the belongings.

Steven sat in the cell they put him in and thought about whether he’d be able to get anything back. The main book he was concerned about was The Path. He had only a small amount of time to read it, but it became something that he would not give up.

The officers came back to him and told him he would be going to trial for the evidence they found that may or may not be contraband. His trial was set for the following day and he was to prepare for it accordingly. This meant he was going to have a jury rather than the usual way things had been done with only a Judge there to determine a person’s fate. When the trial started, there was a huge amount of people there to view the spectacle that was about to take place. The Judge read out his part and the jury were present, but more of a council than peers. “I want to say that none of what I have is even close to contraband and if it were, I would have trashed it the moment I realized it was such” Steven said before he was silenced. The Judge asked, “You have many interesting books in your collection and some of them are very counter to our ways now, why do you have them?” Steven wanted to lie but they had the monitors on him, and they would know when he was lying, “I have them because I like reading them and for no other reason.” The Judge looked at him with some discernment and replied, “If that’s the case then why are these books locked away in a vault that is almost impossible to unlock?” Steven did not want to answer this question because he knew they were going to use it against him throughout the trial. “I have them because I like to read, and I was not trying to start anything controversial with anyone,” he said. The Jury was not willing to hear this and neither was the Judge. Steven was waiting for his judgment in a hall outside the courtroom when someone asked, “You believe there is freedom somewhere outside all this?”

Steven had never seen this person before, and he was not wearing the usual clothes people wore in the city. He was nervous to give any sort of response. The stranger confirmed, “it is out there you just have to understand how to find it, believe that there will be something safer for a mind like yours,” the man said and walked away.

As Steven was called back in, he received his sentence of a month’s worth of time at the Motivation Clinic. After the Jury left in sync he was there alone with the Judge and two guards. The Judge looked at Steven and said, “You will be monitored and re-examined for any alter waves of consciousness for one month. What you have read and collecting go against our modern laws and you know this. The Link system also showed you have no score that is of concern to anyone, almost as if you wanted to keep a low profile, understandable for someone like you. You know that you did in fact have contraband of the old world and willingly lied. The boxes have shown this information is extremely corruptible to the mind but you chose to read them and keep them.” The Judge did not know most of the books Steven kept he rarely read due to there always being people monitoring his apartment. The Judge went on “you know there are reasons for things being the way they are. All this is to be monitored continually. In the morning you will be brought to the Motivation Clinic and start your sentence. After this months’ time, you will be set free without your belongings, those will be destroyed. Take him away and make sure he’s ready promptly in the morning.” Steven was brought out of the courtroom and put back in his cell until morning.

The next morning Steven was brought to the center for monitoring and was placed in a white room. The room had one chair and a wire harness that was to go on his head. The doctors were in another room monitoring him through cameras. Steven was scared for his life. He didn’t know what they were going to do to him all he knew was he had to find a way out by any means necessary.

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