Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Evil Results of Unverified News and Bias


The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything -- God and our friends and ourselves included -- as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.

- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (1952; Harper Collins 2001) 118.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Shocking Advice of Saint Paisios the Athonite to a Physician


In his book Holy Mountain (Αγίων Όρος), Metropolitan Nektarios of Argolidos refers to a certain physician who asked Saint Paisios the Athonite (+ 1994) the following question:

"Elder, there are certain patients that I don't know what to do with, whether I should send them to a priest or a doctor?"

He responded:

"You will see, that not all are for the priest nor are all for the doctor. One you will send to the doctor, another to the priest, and another to the bouzoukia*."

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

My Top Twenty-Five Movies of 2018 (and Ten Best Documentaries)


2018 is probably the year I saw the most movies ever in theaters, not only new releases but also old releases, seeing about 90-95% of all the movies that were newly released in theaters. And I don't even get paid to do it. With that being said, I think I can give a pretty good assessment of the top 25 movies in 2018, even though all art is subjective. These were my personal 25 favorites that stood out above the rest, despite the fact that it was a very good year in movies. In many ways it was very difficult to come up with this list, because very few if any movies really do stand out as the best of the best. In fact, until the moment when I wrote this list down, I had very little idea what I wanted in my top 25. It was hard enough narrowing things down to 50. Furthermore, this was a very good year for documentaries, and I really don't like including documentaries with movies, so I decided to compile a separate list of my top ten documentaries. Also, I'm only including movies and documentaries here that I saw in theaters, where I think a true movie experience can be experienced, and not by streaming or any other means. That being said, here are my two lists. Click on each film to read more about it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christ at the Castle: Papadiamantis’ Tale Captures the Genuine Spirit of Christmas


Literary companionship with “the saint of Greek literature” Alexandros Papadiamantis is always a good idea, but especially beneficial during the holidays. Of course, the pious “kyr-Alexandros” covers all the holidays in the Orthodox calendar, but his Christmas stories offer a particularly seminal contribution towards recapturing the true meaning of the Nativity – “the metropolis of feasts” according to St. John Chrysostom.

Papadiamantis’ short stories do a masterful job of recounting the traditional Greek Orthodox ethos associated with this blessed feast, putting him on par with Dickens when it comes to extolling the virtues of Christmas. And while today’s world is still filled with plenty of Ebenezer Scrooges, it is increasingly hard to pinpoint some of Papadiamantis’ classic characters.