Welcome to Live from Dystopia, an on line multimedia letter to friends known and as yet unknown. This blog began as an extension of my letter and email writing and contains stories, essays and commentary on life and events. Comments are welcome on all posts. Please, get a cup of coffee and make yourself at home, shuffle around get provoked. As I get more comfortable with the blogification of my writing, I hope to change the format into a full-on website to make up for limitations of the rent-a-blog format. - Thomas
I am an American Orthodox guy living and working in Moscow with my Russian wife and our three children. My wife and I host an informal agape - mission for a small English speaking Orthodox community to promote food and fellowship. The recipes on this blog have all passed over my table and many of them are original.
The stories on this blog constitute a creative push I have called the Spontaneous Gospel. My focus is writing as a structured task within my normal daily grind. The super short format reflects my goal of writing a complete thought piece in about an hour. In this I have been influenced by my experience in teaching ESL essay writing for the GMAT and TOEFL tests (considerably less than an hour!) and by writer Barry Yourgrau, whose super short pieces in the book 'A Man Jumps Out of an Airplane' inspired me to get down to writing for myself. Primarily I want to get to the point where clarity and transcendence converge to produce a sketch that is as much a product of the readers interpretation of symbols and images as it is of my attempt to strike a note of otherworldly insight in the cramped format. Let me know what you think.
The church as an architectural phenomenon is only the threshold of the Church. The inner church, however, is not a personal construct. Neither is the church a mere accountability before a community of the like minded. The Church is the communion with the historical, physical and eternal body of Christ. The Church is present anywhere kindness is done in the name of God and it is absent even in the most splendid cathedrals with the most sumptuous rituals if one does not have God in one’s heart.
The Russian Mangement Model: Hidden Reflections by Alexander Prohkorov
Nothing in Not Critical by Robert Hughes
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
How to Win a Cosmic War by Resa Aslan
The Tower of Babel was built on the principle that we can achieve the Divine by our own efforts, and was crowed by the division of language. Did God destroy the unity of mankind or create diversity? Man’s audacity is not offensive to God so much as it is futile and the wrath of God is not directed at punishment for punishment’s sake, but as a means of restoring conditions in which our dependency will be more evident and conditions toward communion with God on a level increasingly simple to understand for creatures that have lost the mastery of their original rationality.
"Harvey and I sit in the bars... have a drink or two... play the juke box. And soon the faces of all the other people they turn toward mine and they smile. And they're saying, "We don't know your name, mister, but you're a very nice fella." Harvey and I warm ourselves in all these golden moments. We've entered as strangers - soon we have friends. And they come over... and they sit with us... and they drink with us... and they talk to us. They tell about the big terrible things they've done and the big wonderful things they'll do. Their hopes, and their regrets, and their loves, and their hates. All very large, because nobody ever brings anything small into a bar. And then I introduce them to Harvey... and he's bigger and grander than anything they offer me. And when they leave, they leave impressed. The same people seldom come back; but that's envy, my dear. There's a little bit of envy in the best of us."
From solitude and silence are born tender contrition, and meekness; the activity of this latter in the human heart may be compared to that quiet water of Siloe, which flows without noise or sound, as the Prophet Isaiah speaks of it: 'the waters of Siloe that go softly' (Is. 8:6). - St. Seraphim of Sarov
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Among friends our parish Church is affectionately known as 'Red Village' because it is in the Krasnoselskaya district of Moscow. Krasny Selo, which can mean 'Red' or 'Beautiful' village (the word kransy has both meanings in Old Russian) was once an autonomous settlement that became a part of sprawling Moscow at some time in the late 19th or early 20th century. Our church is dedicated to 'All Saints' (Всех Святых) but the property was originally part of a large womens monastery that also had a large church dedicated to St. Alexis the Man of God (March 31 NS). Both churches are functioning again, but they are separated by a large road that now bisects what used to be the monastery property.
Posts with the Red Village label will be about day to day Orthodox life, some explanations of how we live and attitudes personal and general about life and dystopia.