Tag Archive for: War

The Beat of the Church

Next Step #788 – March 21, 2024 – An experiment on the streets of Glendale is about to come to an end, or at least will be put on hold. The Youth Ministry which began in 2003 is having its building sold from under it. Finding an alternative to political solutions to war and conflict. Fr. Datev Tatoulian is buried in Armenia. Fear in Armenia vs. Fear of the Random. Listening to the beat of the church.

Fr. Datev Tatoulian
Notes from a priest’s funeral
Lenten Journey re: Sunday
Reclaim 2024
20 Years Ago Series Opener
Blackmore’s Night
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://Epostle.net
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Scenes from Nor Hadjin Church and Fr. Datev’s Burial

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Tooth is a Maximum, not Teeth

A Tooth for a tooth is the maximum sentence

Next Step with Fr. Vazken #787 – February 19, 2024 – The disconnect between what is being preached and what we go through every day. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth are the maximums; in Gaza its about pulling all the teeth. News, what to do with it? Unshaken is not unchangeable. Value of Church attendance: It’s not about God. “Won’t slow down” is nothing new for us as its “Better to burn out than it is to rust.”
Next Step #229 Abstract to the Tangible – epostle
Israel before the UN Court
Lenten Sunday Videos
Wind Pushing Boeing Airplane 787 
Reclaim Conference
Lenten and Spiritual Messages
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://Epostle.net
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Psalm 37: Impossible Reconciliation with War

Next Step #784 – November 23, 2023 – Thanksgiving edition at the beginning of Advent and in the middle of a war. Discussed in this episode: The impossible the reconciliation of Psalm 37 with war. Power, Horseys and the meek. Armodoxy Delivers: Religion with practical application, connecting the dots in life today, not in the future. The Three fundamental questions: leaving God to deal with those things we can’t forces us to take up what is in our hands, namely peace and understanding. Religion and its application.
Advent 50 Series – Essential Teaching of Jesus
Psalm 37
An invite Christians Can’t Ignore
No atheists in birthing rooms
Thank U Very Much, The Scaffold Song
Cover: Envato Elements
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://Epostle.net
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War Speak

Armodoxy for Today: War Speak

Warning: The following message may contain content that is graphic and/or disturbing intended for historical purposes.

After the fall of Nagorna Karabakh I shared, in a daily message, the absurdity to the vocabulary we have invented for war. Now that Israel is at war I hear the absurdity reinforces with talk about the killing of women and children being of a different caliber than that of a man. There are rules for humanitarian corridors, as we kindly ask assailants not to bomb areas.

Here is a revisit to the oxymoronic language of war.

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that juxtaposes concepts with opposite meanings within a word or in a phrase that is a self-contradiction. For instance, “act naturally,” is an oxymoron because if you’re acting, you’re not natural. Awfully good, is often used to describe something of excellent quality, even though if it’s awful, it certainly can’t be good. There are many oxymorons that are part of our daily conversations. Deafening Silence, Civil war, Old News are all examples of the pairing of opposite meaning words.

You can say that I’m clearly confused, I truly am, over a set of words with the same or similar meaning that are paired together to give the illusion that they are opposites. And although they’ve creeped into our daily conversation, their pairing doesn’t fool me. I’m talking about the words “War crimes.” We talk about people being guilty of war crimes, as if war is not a crime in itself as if you can have a war without committing a crime. Digging a bit deeper we find that there are rules and regulations that govern war. Because we have classified our society as civilized, we have formulated rules for war. A soldier is fair game to be shot while a civilian is not. It sounds crazy, but a young man who dons the uniform of a soldier is no longer presumed to belong to a mother or father who will be devastated at his death.

It’s bizarre and even sickening, when we try to convince ourselves that we are civilized, that our conflicts are resolved by the shooting, maiming, injuring and killing those who oppose us. In Kigali, Rwanda I stood at the genocide museum. There, they had exhibits of all the genocides of the 20th century. I stood as the child of survivors of the first genocide of the 20th century at the scene of the last genocide of the 20th century. With one foot in Armenia and one in Rwanda, I was looking at the spans of 100 years and all the genocides that occurred in between. The Holocaust, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Bosnia were all there along with others that were somehow left off of the 6 o’clock news. It’s sobering when you look at them all and think is this the best we can do to resolve conflicts?

War Crimes! We even have rules that govern executions, that is state approved killings. In the time of Christ, we know that crucifixion was the manner in which criminals were executed. What we may not know is that the cause of death of the crucified was asphyxiation. The crucified person would die a slow death, gasping for air, and with each gasp getting less and less oxygen into his system. It was cruel and unusual. That was the process of execution two millennia ago. We evolved, and now we kill humanely. Did you catch that oxymoron. A quick bullet by a firing squad, electrocution, gas chamber and lethal injection. And then in 2020 we learned of George Floyd, neither tried nor convicted, died of asphyxiation, as he was deprived of oxygen on the streets of Minneapolis.

In the time of Jesus they had rules and regulations governing execution. But it wasn’t about humane methods, rather it was about man-made laws. In the Gospel of St. John we read that after Jesus had given up His spirit on the Cross, (19:31-35) “… Because it was the Preparation Day, the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”

Very much like the modern day expression of war crimes, the Jews had rules and regulations that allowed for death – even cruel death – so long as the rules were adhered to, it was acceptable in their society.

That spear, known as the Holy Lance, is now kept by the Armenian Church. In Armenian it is called the Holy Geghart, and one of our monasteries where it was housed bears the name of that instrument. It is used during the blessing of the Holy Miuron, to stir and bless the Sacred oil. When that Lance entered the breathless body of our Lord Jesus on the Cross it was sanctified in the same manner in which the Cross of Torture became the Cross of Salvation following the Crucifixion.

There is no such thing as war crimes. All wars are crimes. We need to stop fooling ourselves. Conflicts need to be resolved civilly. If Christ transformed the tools of murder into instruments of life, we can do the same in our language and expressions. We can transform war crimes into peace actions.

Let us pray, from the Book of Hours of the Armenian Church, Beneficent and abundantly merciful God, through Your forgiveness and infinite love of humankind be mindful of all that believe in You and have mercy on all. Help us and deliver us from our several perils and trials. Make us worthy to give You thanks and glorify You, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, now and always. Amen.  

Cover: Artsakh Cross, Custodian for an hour

Blowing in the Wind

Armodoxy for Today: How many?

In the early 1960’s, Bob Dylan wrote and sang a beautiful song which also became an anthem for an era and a generation. In “Blowing in the Wind” Dylan asks a series of questions beginning with, “How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?”

“The answer is blowing in the wind,” is the answer to each of the questions. It is a folk song where the poetic words rhyme with the contemplative melody. One question in particular strikes us today, “How many times must a cannonball fly before they’re forever banned?”

Over the last few days the Middle East has once again exploded into a hotbed of military action. Hamas attacks Israel, Israel sounds the alarm for retaliation. World powers are lining, choosing sides. Still fresh in our minds is the cowardly barbarism we witnessed in Nagorna Karabagh and the takeover of lands by Azerbaijan. The war in Ukraine continues to the attention of the world, and lesser-known hotspots, particularly in Darfur, Sudan and the Congo, get the same treatment as does Armenia, with interest mostly to their people.

Ironically, we can only wish that they were hurling cannonballs at one another. The art of war has escalated so far that annihilation of cities, countries, and the threat of harm to our world makes the answer even more meaningful: The answer is blowing in the wind – a wind carrying debris, the stench of death and nuclear fallout.

On the business front, the retail giant Amazon is having a two-day sale this week, trying to beat other retailers before Black Friday next month. An assortment of products, from electronics to housewares are going at reduced prices. I’m reminded of another one the many voices of the 1960’s, John Lennon, who once observed, “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

Could the answer to peace be as simple as that? That we merely must want it and, therefore, demand it? Certainly, we’re seeing Amazon rake in millions of dollars selling second, third or fourth television sets to people who demand it. Why are we not treating peace as something we want, and therefore demand? We have turned over the rights to geo-governance and determination to politicians and so called leaders who have betrayed our confidence, to say it politely.

In these Armodoxy lessons, I’ve brought to you the message of Jesus Christ which the Armenian Church has followed for centuries. It is simple. God has endowed each and every one of us with the ability to create our story. Our eyes are before us, not behind us. Look forward and drop the victim mentality and the other goals that keep you swimming in stagnant waters. In Jesus’ words, “Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) The answer is with us.

I share with you today, the words to this song, “Blowing in the Wind”:

How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly before they’re forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, and how many years must a mountain exist before it is washed to the sea?
And how many years can some people exist before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, and how many times must a man look up before he can see the sky?
And how many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’til he knows that too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind.
-Bob Dylan

Hours Later

Next Step #781 – September 21, 2023 – Hours after the cease-fire in Artsakh, people deal with the new reality. Fr. Vazken shares thoughts from the 1988 protests to this day.
CBS News Account
CivilNet Account
Amerikatsi Movie
Armodoxy for Today. Today
AP Source
Leveraging Love
CNSY Living with War
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://Epostle.net
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Kid Play

Roots of Armodoxy: Kid Play

Armenia is surrounded by hostile neighbors. One wonders, what is life like under the imminent danger of attack and war? We know that that imminent threat of extinction is reality in many parts of the world.

In Armenia, you’ll find a very healthy family life, with young kids playing carefree on the streets to a late hour. The streets are literally filled with life. This is not a cliché but a reality that can be witness any night of the week.

We sat in the courtyard of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Cathedral in Yerevan. From one side a young man was flying a drone. From the other side, young people with arms locked, were laughing about some inside joke. A group of tourists joined the fun by picking up ice cream cones from the local vendor, licking away at vanilla and chocolate swirls. In a skatepark, skaters and razor-riders dared each other with a beautiful display of riding that almost looked choregraphed.

Skating away on the thin ice of a new day…

Parents at a distant, confident that their children are fine and safe enjoy one another’s company.

For us, from the United States, we can’t even imagine a similar scenario in the US today. Oh, yes, there was a time when carefree went hand-in-hand with youth, but those days are firm in our memories and sometimes jarred from scenes in movies. Today fear from within has paralyzed society from enjoying these simple moments, begging the question, what is the difference here or there? Do we not also face imminent danger? Random shooters, child theft are the counterparts to attack and war.

The prayer of St. Nersess Shnorhali, from the 15th hour comes to us, “Christ, guardian of all, my your right hand protect and shelter me by day and by night, while at home and while away, while asleep and while away, so I may never fall. Amen.


Children Lost

Roots of Armodoxy: Children Lost

Yerablur is place where you sober up quickly. Sometimes the beauty and charm of Armenia and all of its wonders are very exciting and mesmerize the senses. It becomes easy to forget that there was and there still is a cost to this beauty.

Graves on a small hill in Yerevan, called Yerablur, with an abundance of flags, incense and flowers, dazed family members, and “brave soldiers that cannot get older” make it clear that freedom has a cost, that is, freedom is not free. These graves are of the soldiers that paid the price.

Most of these graves are from the 44 day war in 2020, when the Azeris attacked the Armenians and young men, many in their teens, we called to defend the homeland. The grave markers, or tombstones, stare at you with pictures of these children.

As we stood there on this hill, I reflected on our purpose for being here: Peace.

As the Armenian Church we offer something that no one else can, namely the peace through an effort of love and compassion. Walking “in the shoes” of others is a form of compassion. In Armenian, the “In His Shoes” formula is summed up, “Tzav’t Tanem” – let me feel your pain.  To feel the pain of others is the beginning of compassion, and the next step is to help alleviate the pain. The way of the world is to send weapons of war – guns, bombs – the way that we have discovered in the ancient form of Armenian Christianity is not by passing along guns – weapons of violence – but by offering the tools to overcome the guns.

A little chapel sits at Yerablur, where we offered a prayer for the souls of all those who’ve fallen for this sacred land, but not before reciting the song by Stephen Stills, which serves as our prayer,

Daylight again, following me to bed

I think about a hundred years ago

How my father’s bled

I think I see a valley covered with bones in blue

All the brave soldiers that cannot get older

Been asking after you

Hear the past a’ calling from Armageddon’s side

When everyone’s talking and no one is listening

How can we decide

Do we find the cost of freedom buried in the ground?

Mother Earth will swallow you

Lay your body down

Changing the Program

Next Step #745: Armenia is under attack. Einstein’s theory of insanity is tested again as the same program is followed: GIGO once again. Archimedes – his lever and fulcrum – here is the plank to use. Gandhi and MLK tapped into the Power which Armodoxy has had all along. Mutual annihilation: It’s a check and not checkmate. Listen in for a renewal of the “Leveraging Love” plan. Reconciling Khrimian’s admonition to “bring guns” and Gandhi’s demand for non-violence.
Leveraging Love
In His Shoes Promo (Famine)
Khrimyan Hayrik’s “Paper Ladle” 
Divesting from the Sudan – Burbank Leader
Ian Anderson – “Two Short Planks” www.jethrotull.com
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Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org and Epostle.net
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Children Unheard

Next Step #732: Whether children of war or those who suffer the effects of autism, it’s the Church that is the Body of Christ in this world today. Pope Francis, Little Red Riding Hood and the bad wolf: WW3? Jesus and the problem of unchosenness. Fr. Vazken discusses the challenge of a war that is forgotten and points to a new ministry initiated in the Western Diocese, to families challenged by autism.
Pope Francis says WW3 has been declared 
Divine Liturgy at Pentecost 2022
Armenian Autism Outreach Program
Blessing Armenian Autism Outreach and children at the Cathedral (6/12/22)
Conversations with God
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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