That is our hope. Not that things will work out for our benefit. Not that our lives will look the way we wanted them to. And not that we will be spared from suffering.

Our hope is in the One who never failed to fulfill His promises to us. We hope in the One who has only ever been faithful in our own lives, and since the beginning of time. Our hope is in God alone.

—  Raechel Myers, She Reads Truth

“Once, the city used to pulse with energy. Dirty and dangerous, but alive and wonderful. Now, it’s something else. The changes came slowly at first; most didn’t realize - or didn’t care - and accepted them. They chose a comfortable life. Some didn’t. And those who refused to conform were pushed to the sidelines, criminalized. They became our clients.” -Faith

Crossovers IV (Previous I, Previous II, Previous III)


This is an excerpt from my post: KIEVAN RUS: PART 2 – DYING LIGHT IN A DARK AGE.

After defeating and subjugating the Volga Bulgars (Turkish Muslims) in 985 CE, the Bulgars sent envoys to Vladimir (986 CE) which told him: “Though you are a wise and prudent prince, you have no religion. Adopt our faith, and revere Mahomet” (Primary Chronicle). Out of curiosity he inquired about their religion. Although the Muslim envoys expressed that the prophet “Mahomet will give each man 70 fair women” (P.C.), the need for circumcision and abstinence from pork and wine was too much of a penalty in his eyes: “Drinking is the joy of the Russes. We cannot exist without that pleasure” (P.C.).

The next envoys to speak with him were Catholic Germans (Holy Roman Empire) sent by the Pope, the Pope’s message was that “Your country is like our country, but your faith is not as ours. For our faith is the light. We worship God, who has made heaven and earth, the stars, the moon, and every creature, while your gods are only wood” (P.C.). Inquiring about them Vladimir was told that they practiced “Fasting according to one’s strength. But whatever one eats or drinks is all to the glory of God, as our teacher Paul has said” (P.C.). Vladimir dismissed them stating that “Then Vladimir answered, “Depart hence; our fathers accepted no such principle” (P.C.).

The third to arrive were envoys from the Jewish Khazar Khaganate (Turkish steppe nomads) who replied that they required circumcision, observing the Sabbath, and abstinence from pork and hare. When Vladimir asked them about where their holy city of Jerusalem was they responded that “God was angry at our forefathers and scattered us among the gentiles (“non-Jews”, “heathens”, “pagans”) on account of our sins. Our land was then given to Christians” (P.C.) Vladimir responded that “How can you hope to teach others while you yourselves are cast out and scattered abroad by the hand of God? If God loved you and your faith, you would not be thus dispersed in foreign lands. Do you expect us to accept that fate also?” (P.C.).

^ Ivan Eggink’s painting represents Vladimir listening to the Orthodox priests, while the papal envoy stands aside in discontent.

The fourth and final sent was a Byzantine Greek scholar on behalf of Orthodox Christianity then arrived and spoke harshly about each religion. The Greek scholar then went on artfully preaching and lecturing to Vladimir about the bible, their faith, life after death and judgement day. The Greek scholar told the prince that “If you desire to take your place upon the right with the just, then accept baptism” (P.C.). The Greek scholar won him over but Vladimir wanted to continue learning about these faith before deciding so he gave the scholar many gifts then dismissed him.

The next year (987 CE) Vladimir sent ten “good and wise men” to investigate these religions further within their own domains since no man speaks negatively of their own faith when trying to convert another into it. They were not impressed until they went off towards Tsargrad (Constantinople) which left them in awe. Before Vladimir, his retainers and the elders, the envoys spoke:

Then we went to Greece, and the Greeks led us to the edifices where they worship their God, and we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendor or such beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We only know that God dwells there among men, and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations. For we cannot forget that beauty” – Primary Chronicle.

Vladimir’s boyars added that:

If the Greek faith were evil, it would not have been adopted by your grandmother Olga, who was wiser than all other men.” – Primary Chronicle.

Some see this simply as a tale intended to explain their religious origins while elevating Orthodox Christianity and insulting the other religions. In retrospect the decision to convert to any religion had a very strategically impact. As trade with the Muslim world had declined, the nearest Jewish realm (Khazars) had greatly weakened and the Catholic world seemed a distant thought which paled in comparison to the aid that the Orthodox Byzantines could provide them. 

The Orthodox Byzantines were the main trade partner that the Rus relied upon; they were rich, boasted powerful armies and by aligning oneself with the Byzantines the Rus would be on better terms with the Turkish steppe nomads. Another advantage granted was that Vladimir would have greater power and authority than he had previously as he would then be seen as a semi-holy figure given the right to rule by the heavens, no longer would he be referred to as Kniaz (“prince”) but Veliki Kniaz (“great prince”) instead. Truly, the Byzantines were the greatest choice available to the Rus at the time so the choice to convert to Orthodox Christianity was simple.

However, the Byzantine Empire was in dire straits as they were plagued by enemies and conflicts both foreign and domestic. Vladimir captured the rebel Byzantine city of Korsun (ancient Greek colony of Chersonesus) in the lower Crimean Peninsula and told the Byzantines that he would return it in exchange for the Byzantine Emperor Basil II’s sister’s hand in marriage (Anna Porphyrogenita). There are accounts that state Vladimir also aided the Byzantine Emperor against his enemies by, in the winter of 989 CE, sending a fleet of six-thousand Rusians to help Byzantine Emperor Basil II against rebels, usurpers and pretenders.

^ ‘The Baptism of Vladimir’ by Viktor Vasnetsov.

Upon his return to Kiev, Vladimir began his attempt to destroy and stamp out paganism in Kievan Rus. He ordered all pagan shrines, alters and idols destroyed with the latter being dragged towards and discarded into nearby rivers. He then went on to the city of Korsun with priests and his Byzantine princess, there a multitude of peoples greeted them and went into the waters where they were baptized. Pagan centers of worship were dismantled and replaced with Christian ones. Vladimir also “took the children of the best families, and sent them for instruction in book-learning” (P.C.).

In 989 CE, Vladimir ordered the building of a grand basilica (Desyatinnaya; Church of the Blessed Virgin of the Tithe) dedicated to the Virgin Mary within the capital city of Kiev, this church constructed by Greek artisans (completed in 996 CE) and was served by Khersonian priests. Vladimir’s grandmother Olga’s remains were reburied within this church as well as his own and that of his Byzantine princess Anna after their death. Vladimir even had the poor and beggars visit his palace to receive food, drink and valuable skins. The weak and sick that were unable to visit didn’t miss out as Vladimir had wagons taken throughout the city which were loaded with bread, meat, fish, fruits, mead and kvass.

These desecrations of pagan sites and pressure to convert did not sit well with the Rusians which is apparent by the numerous riots that arose. One of the greatest arose from Novgorod, the second most important Rusian city, but these riots were quickly quelled, pagan places of worship were destroyed and the city was forced to convert to Orthodox Christianity. 

In the year 6497 [989] Vladimir was baptized, and all Russian land [as well]. And [they] appointed a metropolitan [to serve] in Kiev, and an archbishop – in Novgorod”. 

And the archbishop Joachim the Korsunian came over to Novgorod, and destroyed the altars, chopped down the idol of Perun, and ordered it to be dragged into Volhov, tying [it] with ropes, dragging [it] on dirt, beating [it] with sticks, and [Joachim the Korsunian] ordered everyone not to accept it [the idol] anywhere [i.e. not to pull it ashore]”. – Novgorod First Chronicle.

^ ‘The Baptism of Kievans’ by Klavdiy Lebedev.

If there are any errors please privately inbox me so I can update it. As always, if you’d like to read or learn about any specific historical subjects just let me know what they are and I will take note of them.

See Also:

  • KIEVAN RUS: PART 1 – NORTHERN ENIGMA OF THE MIDDLE AGES: In this post I will be covering the early portion of the medieval realm known as Kievan Rus (pronounced ‘Roos’); a multiethnic and cultural realm incorporating the Norse, Slavs, Turks, Balts and Finno-Ugrians. A realm centered around the many rivers that were riddled throughout its domains and led them to the riches of the Byzantine Empire, Silverland (Islamic Middle East) and the Baltic Sea. The culture, battle tactics and armaments of the ancient Slavs are addressed as well as the Druzhina (personal bodyguards and standing army). Also mentioned are some of the conflicts the Rus had with one another, the Greeks (Byzantine Empire), Bulgarians and Turkish steppe nomads. 
  • KIEVAN RUS: PART 2 – DYING LIGHT IN A DARK AGE: In this post I will cover some of the civil wars, wars of succession and familicide that plagued Kievan Rus; their peak under leaders like Vladimir the Great (who unified the Rus and made Orthodox Christianity their official religion) and Yaroslav the Wise (while Europe was in a dark age, he made Kievan Rus a beacon of knowledge, literacy, trade and faith); Kievan Rus’ shattering into various feuding states, their clash against the Mongols and their rarely spoken of religion. The Chernye Klobuki (Turkish mercenaries) and the Varangian Guard (Norse, Slavic, Germanic, etc.) are also noted; the latter were warriors employed by the Byzantine Empire to act as the Emperor’s trusted personal guard and on occasion they acted as pirate hunters, policemen, jailers, prison guards, torturers and interrogators.
One Down, 62 Million Trump Voters To Go

I suppose there could be a fair amount of this over the next four years:

When Donald Trump named his Treasury secretary, Teena Colebrook felt her heart sink.

She had voted for the president-elect on the belief that he would knock the moneyed elites from their perch in Washington, D.C. And she knew Trump’s pick for Treasury – Steven Mnuchin – all too well.

OneWest, a bank formerly owned by a group of investors headed by Mnuchin, had foreclosed on her Los Angeles-area home in the aftermath of the Great Recession, stripping her of the two units she rented as a primary source of income.

“I just wish that I had not voted,” said Colebrook, 59. “I have no faith in our government anymore at all. They all promise you the world at the end of a stick and take it away once they get in.”

… Over five years, she tried unsuccessfully to adjust her loan with OneWest through the Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program. But she said that One West Bank lost paperwork, provided conflicting statements about ownership of the loan and fees and submitted charges that were unverified and caused her loan balance to balloon….

Colebrook said she is still challenging the foreclosure in court.

I’m sorry it took Colebrook until now to realize that Trump is a con artist. Other voters will eventually discover that.

read more

anonymous asked:

There's only two episodes left? They better finish that season well....

I have faith, I don’t think we’ll have another week where Isak just kind of drifts and doesn’t reach out to anyone. The whole point of the show is to prove that he’s grown as a character. I have faith in our child. 

We know the foundation of faith is not what we can see, it isn’t our emotions, nor our intellect.

Faith is the belief that you will be rewarded for your trust. Trust is where we place our worth.

People who say they have trust issues usually say this because they’ve been let down. Men and woman who say they have lost faith in humanity usually say this because they have been exposed to multiple tragic experiences of human failure and have been deeply discouraged or heartbroken.

Faith in God doesn’t begin through the disappointments and failures and broken trusts we have known. Faith in God is realized when we abandon those false ideas of hope, of self-love and appreciation for the motivating thought that God has surpassed the limits of all things in order to make His home inside of us.

The human mind always wants a reason to believe and to hope and to trust and to wait, but love never needs one. And that is the beauty of having faith in God. He believed in us in Him far before we ever had a chance to believe in Him, and sent His Son as proof of His love and of this truth.

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

What kind of bullshit is this?

Since when is the religious requirement that my son be circumcised “elective”?!?!

(Please, don’t bother sending me any information about circumcision– it is not up for debate, and I really don’t need anyone’s attempt at guilt tripping me regarding this. My sons will be circumcised. If you don’t like it, kindly fuck off. You can make decisions about your own children, but not mine.)

I am Jewish. I am raising Jewish sons. Ergo, they must be circumcised.

(I prefer to have this done in the hospital, as is my choice, and to have my sons have a Hadafat Dam Bris done when they are older. This allows my sons the choice to join either of our family’s faith traditions without needing to have a circumcision as an adult. They may chose to join a faith tradition that does not have this requirement, but who knows.)

My husband and I are both graduate students with enormous debt. I work full time while he finishes his graduate degree, as his program requires sabbaticals in Chicago several times a year.

We qualify for Medicaid. I am not ashamed of utilizing this program, as I pay taxes for it. We will likely qualify until my husband begins working full time in the summer/fall after his graduation.

My state’s department of Health and Human Services, which administers Medicaid, has made a blanket ban on infant circumcision without “significant, severe medical indication” that the circumcision is needed.

So, I am not able to access this medical procedure for my child using the insurance program that my fucking tax dollars pay for, because they have deemed it “elective” and/or “cosmetic"for my Jewish/Muslim child.

I am so so so so so fucking over this already. I will of course pay out of pocket, because again, it is not negotiable for our religious faiths, but what the fuck.

I’m so tired of this bullshit. My religious requirement should be an automatic exception to this blanket rule, but it’s not. I’m just so irritated.

kiLLING TWO MEMES WITH ONE STONE with swanky meme squad @maqui-chan @pemprika @exucaribur yo waddup homies

I think it’s important to admit the fact that we don’t always want to choose God. We walk through seasons when God is the last thing we want to choose. Seasons where our minds are muddled and our inspiration cracking and our faith sometimes feels paper thin. We are not perfect. We hurt and we are slow to trust and we put our all into people and let our worlds shatter when they leave. We’re human. It’s a catastrophic mess but this is where we meet God. So yes, there are times when we don’t want to choose Him, but we choose Him still because there is not a single moment when He doesn’t choose us.