Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about those things.  (Emphasis added.)

Phil 4:8

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This is from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians.  It speaks of virtue.

We are not a healthy society, not a virtuous society.  Yes, there are virtuous people.  You can see them in the military men who occupy positions in the present administration of President Trump.  One thinks of General Mattis, General Kelly, General McMaster.

Sadly one does not see it in critical places like universities, in the Church leadership, in the Congress, in the Judiciary.  Without virtue we will  perish.  If there is one thing that we need and must insist upon it is: virtue.

Truth.  Honor.  Justice.  Love.  Grace.  Excellence.  Purity.  These are the things we lack within the culture and in critical institutions.

When it is lacking, those who fail in this regard need our scorn, and surely not our silence nor our support.

We must stand for these virtues.  Accept nothing less of leaders and one another. Those who lack virtue must be called out, held accountable, dismissed from public life and possession of any position of authority.

When those such as Hillary Clinton go unpunished for breaches of national security and laws governing national security, we lose self-respect.  Likewise when others are unpunished for unlawful use of the IRS to thwart the legitimate political interests of American citizens, we lose self-respect.  And when the former President’s national security advisor lies and appears to escape punishment for using classified surveillance material for political purposes, we lose self-respect.  In these unpunished things – virtue is denied and the esteem and authority due America is lost.

A critical part of our present ills, a part that can spell our doom, is the lost of virtue.

There is no greater problem we face than this.  We had better place this at the top of our tasks – the restoration of virtue must be our national priority lest we destroy ourselves.

Shalom.

Fraud of the First Order – Barack Hussein Obama, “the self-righteous one,” with yet another “speech” for $400,000.00.  Two incredible things about this: (1) it shows what a fraud he and the Democrat Party is, and (2) it is unimaginable that anyone would think that this guy has anything to say that is worth their attention, let alone their money.

Wonder if Chris Matthews and the MSNBC crew still get chills when they think of Mr. O?

THROUGH SOME STRANGE COMPUTER MAGIC TODAY’S POST IS ACCESSED THROUGH “HYPOCRITES … UGH” ON THE ABOVE LINE NEXT TO “WILL”

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When there is no enemy within, the enemies without cannot hurt you.

Winston S. Churchill

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We live in a divided age.  Such is the language, antics and advocacy of “identity politics.”

This helps explain the conflict between globalists and those who champion nation.

Globalists seek to reduce national sovereignty and increase the governance and power of international bodies.  The nationalists like national sovereignty just as it is.  More to the point, nationalists seek to preserve their national identity and the mores of their culture, their religion, history, law, morality, ethos, language and social and political structure. This explains their preference for borders, legal immigration and assimilation.  This also explains the antagonism of globalists to secure borders.

Truth is globalists have been in business since post-W.W. II; yet, there record has not been altogether successful.

Their works have caused injury to ordinary workers and reduced the middle class. Where international trade was thought to forestall armed conflict and develop a civilized discourse among nations, it has not done so.

Indeed, trade is, as one should have expected, not staved off nations seeking their own advantages at the expense of others. Many do all that they can to enrich themselves at the cost to their neighbors.  Where Bill Clinton asserted trade with China would further human rights and political liberty within China – he was profoundly mistaken.

We should have learned the consequences of the move to globalism by now. Sadly those elites who benefit most are less citizens of the land they live in and more members of the international class of the wealthy that have more than one ever needs to sustain a good life.

Frankly, globalism has made some the enemy of the many.  Time to draw us together – all one in the same boat.  Especially so since enemies without are gathering in opposition to us and our Western brothers and sisters.

Shalom.

Preening Judges – Well it seems that the judges of the federal bench in San Francisco, California want to preen for the Left-wing loons, so here is a dandy way to keep them happy and in tune with their “beliefs” (that they wish to dump on the rest of us): let’s simply take all violent illegals we encounter and ship them to San Francisco on the condition that if they stray from the city by the Bay, they will be immediately deported all legal rights having been forfeited on condition of relocating to their new residence.

The California Left-wing lugnuts ought to be happy to welcome those they want others to welcome.

Wisdom is meaningless until your own experience has given it meaning … and there wisdom is the selection of wisdom.

Bergan Evans

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Many time people tell me that their brother, sister, mother, spouse does not seem to understand their plight in life.  The complaint I hear tells of the suffering and estrangement of being unable to experience a connection between those who you know well and for a long time and a person facing significant trials, angst, uncertainty, suffering and pain.

I always remind these people that one of the hardest things to do is to experience the experience of another.

Why is that?

Well, the primary reason is this: people do not examine their own experience in life fully.

Most people ignore the actual event of life.  They live what is easy, pleasant, necessary – but avoid the unpleasant things, challenges, the mystery of their own life and experience.  In that avoidance, one cannot take on another’s plight.  That being the case, two people who know one another – even reside with one another – cannot maintain an intimate connection with one another.  Sad and commonplace, but unnecessary.

The answer?  Live deeply, not on the surface.  Reflect on what is presented to you – whether good or bad, difficult or easy.

We are given a life so it may be fully lived, fully explored and experienced.  If you fall short, you reduce yourself and likely lapse into a smallness that leads to your own disorder … and your ability to befriend and love others, and to be compassionate is put out of reach.

It is easier to say you feel another’s pain, than it is to feel another’s pain.

Shalom.

The rain is falling.  It is welcome after a dry winter.  Yo Yo Ma plays his cello, alone – without accompaniment.  It is as it should be in the quiet of the mountain and the gray of the sky.

# # #

“I never got the last chance to kiss my father goodbye.”

Giselle Cycowicz, Holocaust Survivor

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In 1939 the entire Jewish population of Khurt, Czechoslovakia was deported to Auschwitz-Bikenau.  Giselle Cycowicz was a young girl then.  She is now 89 years old.

Her father, Wolf, was put to hard labor.  Undernourished he was gassed in October 1944. Giselle, her mother and sister survived.

Mrs. Cycowicz has just added her name and the names of her immediate family members to the records maintained at Yad Vashem (“A Memorial and Name”) – an ongoing effort to record the names of those murdered by Nazis in the last century.  Thus far 4.7 million names have been recorded. Sadly, so many are not yet known.

You see in Eastern Europe millions were murdered without record. Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads) simply killed Jews where they were encountered.  In September 1941, at Babi Yar in the Ukraine, 33,000 Jews were assembled, murdered and buried in a mass grave.  The names at this point largely lost to violence and hate.

One wonders how far we are from attitudes which stir up such horror.

I think of the small, cute, seven year old Syrian girl I was interviewed in her refugee camp in Lebanon. She sparkled as sweet children do.  She wished for a school in her camp, and longed to be a teacher.  Optimistic, with dreams still – but fearful of dogs that roamed the camp, wishing to return to Syria when the fighting ended.

I think, too, of our country today – how we have taken in the disease that is “identity politics” that demonizes others so easily – that builds racism by concepts like “white privilege,” and advances division between men and women, scorns religion and blinds us with ideology.

The hatred of the last century casts a large shadow over today.  Our attitude must be cautious lest we stir up the worst instincts in us.

Frankly, wouldn’t we all be far better off if we stood against discourse and deeds which reduce life – all life?

Shalom.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not by yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Eph 2:8-9

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St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, short as it is, describes the plight of a human living in mortal existence in concert with a loving God.  It is a humbling portrait to behold.

In it, St. Paul reminds us that God has bestowed on us every spiritual blessing and that “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we may be holy and blameless before Him.” (Emphasis added.)  Humbling, to say the least.

St. Paul notes that God made known the mystery of His will, “summing up all things in Christ.”  Yes, we have been given a great inheritance “with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession.”

Yet, as St. Paul reminds us before Christ we were “dead in … trespasses and sins;” that prior to Christ we “walked according to the course of this world” … as “sons of disobedience,” that we “lived in the lust of the flesh, indulging in the desires of the flesh and the mind … by nature children of the wrath …”

Yes, St Paul reminds us of our earthly shortcomings and that with Christ we are raised up … that our perfection is by the grace of God not by ourselves.

It humbles me to think, to know that without Christ I am lost and that so often in this mortal life I can lose contact with Christ, that my heart can be troubled and my desire of good can produce objection, frustration poorly expressed.  This I must pray might change.

As a mortal, even our desire for good can be expressed in the ways of mortals, imperfect humans … then, one becomes humbled and must seek both God’s mercy and forgiveness and a restoration of Christ as our foundation.  Man, it seems, cannot avoid missteps – Christ alone is our guide, our anchor, our health and perfection.  Humbling, indeed.

Forgive us our tresspasses even those that are the product of a desire for good.

Living in a manner that reflects our faith, shows Christ in us is our call, our task.

Shalom.

 

… the useless always judge themselves as being important and hide their incompetence behind authority …

Paulo Coelho

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There is truth in what Coelho plainly says.  Think Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry and their “negotiations” with Iran on Iran’s nuclear program (and its quest for nuclear weapons). Their “negotiations” could be best called a “give-away” and generously assigned to incompetence or, less charitably, to something worse.

Think also of the Congress which cannot, it seems, to do much more than increase the national debt and, at the present, in doing so – give us a look (in present day Venezuela) at the pain and chaos that ensues when economies are run very, very irresponsibly.

Then you can recall the reaction of the highly paid Superintendent of Montgomery County (Maryland) Schools who scolded parents for their “xenophobia” (dislike of foreigners) when they complained that two immigrant students (at least one illegally in the country and both in their late teens) were arrested for raping a 14-year-old 9th grade girl in a school bathroom.

There are at present endless, indeed, daily renditions of abject stupidity, or apparent dishonesty emanating from “authority” figures.

Makes you long for smaller and smaller government.  The point: the fewer of them, the less insanity and resulting danger and waste.  Likewise, this sadly applies to courts and particularly to the federal judiciary.  And how can we forget Mr. Comey at the FBI or the endless “special pleaders” advocating one self-serving desire after another, or the legion of “climate-changers” who resemble nothing so much as the loony Leftists whose cause once was unilateral disarmament?

Have we not come to a point where less government is better?

… excel in everything …

2 Cor 8:7

Shalom.

The Breakdown – In my lifetime it seems that we have had a breakdown in the echelon of the elites – those well-trained of the privileged class who benefit from an affluent start in life, education at venerable schools and access to corporate, political, educational, charitable, governmental and professional leadership.

This is hard to fathom except to say we have abandoned religion and faith, morality, honor, dignity and public service – and elevated self, godlessness, indulgence, celebrity, gaudy affluence, fetish and Leftist ideology in their place.  In effect, we have replaced excellence with incompetence and shamelessness.

This, of course, must change.

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; … that they may be perfected in unity … ” (Emphasis added.)

Jn 17: 21, 22

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” … that they may be one … perfected in unity.”  These are the words of Jesus as he lifted his eyes to heaven.

Have you thought what they might mean?

I suppose they could be a plea for unification, for our entry into relationship with the Father in a manner that the Son had that relationship.  In that sense, it could be social in nature.  It could beckon us into a spiritual state as well.

But what does it mean to be “perfected in unity?”  This, I find worthy of reflection … “perfected … in unity.”  Hum …

It occurs to me that, while these words might have several shared meanings, they suggest to me that we are called to perfecting our lives as humans and as spiritual beings – like Christ as human and divine (in that we are God’s children – His intended beings … that as His children we share in His Divinity – each being a sacred vessel.)

Such a thought reminds me of something Carl Jung, M.D. thought, namely: that happiness (i.e., full development) is found in the “unfathomable depths of our own being.” (Emphasis added.)  That is, that a human person is made to know the fullness of their being in matters internal, not external.  Our life is a journey to wholeness and that journey, in the context of Jesus’ words are a level of growth and introspection (perfection) that exposes us to the Divine and the unity that it brings – a unity that is within the human being and, at the same time – beyond mortal existence.

My point is this: we often miss the full range of what we are given in faith. Likewise, having missed this within the confines of religious existence, we live far less well in mortal life.  And finally, this need not be.

In the movie that is life – many miss the picture and its dialogue. Many also do not even know there is a movie.

Shalom.

Think about it – Armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, a terrorist shot French police, killing one and wounding two others.  When will we come to our senses?  Have we reached a point where we finally cease to tolerate others who intend to destroy Western Civilization?  Can we actually appreciate what we have by daring to protect it?

Here’s some advice: stay alive.

Suzanne Collins, in The Hunger Games

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Well, Russian bombers buzzing the coast of Alaska.  The President of Venezuela suspending the nation’s highest Court and its legislature.  The Middle East in turmoil. Daily domestic stories of sporadic killings committed here and there by one or another of our lost and disordered soul (of which we have an unnecessary surplus).

Plenty of insanity to dampen one’s optimism and rile one’s disposition.

Perhaps, some humor offered as “good advice” is due.  I do my duty.

I offer two, quite obviously, helpful insights for you.  One, social media and newspapers adhere to a simple marketing plan to gain readers and it is this: when you write for fools you are assured a large audience.  Two, when dining in a North Korean restaurant never ask for a doggie bag.

As to number one, I add – my “audience,” such as it is, is miniscule and highly distinguished – yes, people of impeccable taste … well, okay – idle individuals with spare time.

Hope today you find something amusing amid the wide, contemporary range of the very disturbing.  Laughter staves off the crying, and the need for heavy meds or multiple marinis.

My “secret” strategy – stay away from the maddening crowd as encountered in any form – face to face, via media, ads, cities, major highways and interstates, subways, public transportation, airplanes, airports, live sporting events, concerts, theatres, affluent suburbs and “wealthy neighborhoods” and urban war zones, etc. and discount anything that “talking heads” and academics say on television.

Shalom.

Parting Observation – Aaron Hernandez, a former star NFL football player, lost his father when he was a teenager and hung himself yesterday in a cell where he was serving time for murder.  My father deserted me and my mother when I was an infant. By the grace of God and the sacrifice, strength and love of my mother, the presence of members of her extended family and some dear friends and their families, I am alive today.  Go figure.

Start each day with a task completed.

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This simple piece of advice is from a Navy Seal’s list of things to do or remember, his prompts to keep him aimed at excellence.

Why would it be important to complete a task at the start of each day?  Because it builds the experience of achievement, of accomplishment and imparts the message and habit that “you do,” you have a goal and you achieve that goal.  As such it sets the day up for other tasks to be faced and finished.

I was, soon enough, as a child living in public housing with my mother. Work was in short supply and money was too.

We lived in a small apartment.  But it was clean and orderly and we were as well. Our living quarters were swept, dusted, organized.  We ate breakfast each morning. I was never late for school.  My clothes were clean and pressed.  I had a shower each day.  I did not miss school.  My homework was done, my reading assignments too.  I had a routine. My mother knew where I was and when to expect me to be home.  I knew where she was and we were both reliable to do and be as we were expected.

Before my feet hit the pavement each day – there were tasks done and tasks to come.

I was the first in my family to attend college – not as a brilliant student – but as a person who applied myself to the task.  The first also to become a military officer, attend law school, enter the professions, and pursue graduate study in both American foreign policy and theology.

In the course of my life I brought my mother a house, a car and a small business.

Start each day with a completed task.  Make it more than one and that is all the better. Accomplishment comes from habit.  Good habits breed achievement. But more to the point – completed tasks build toughness, confidence, fortitude.

Life is a sacred gift.  You are the biblical servant given a talant (coin) by your Master.  Your coin is life.  Use it.  Multiply the gift of life my attending to tasks, completing them – making each small thing a task well done.  Live fully … and the right way.  Achievement follows.

Shalom.

Afterthought – In a nation of dependents, have we not diminished people – made those created for full life consigned to far less, too brokenness and perpetual discontent?

Frankly, this is the godless manner of the Democrat Left.  They breed victimhood so they might reign over dependents and stay in power.

Think about it, President Obama was so proud to have grown “the dependent class.” Seems pretty sick to me.  I prefer life to bondage.  How about you? 

This concludes the last in a series of posts on conversion.  This series has been offered to you so that you might see the manner in which conversion can appear to you in the present day and circumstance.  We are in need of restoration. Politics and the Left have led us astray, created deep division and godlessness, despair.  You can learn from Whittaker Chambers journey.

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… I tried to pray, it was as if the spirit from my boyhood … took my hand and knelt and prayed beside me, so that in the act of seeking oneness with God, I became one with myself(Emphasis added.)

Whittaker Chambers, in Witness

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Chambers had tried to pray as a boy and was unsuccessful.  Yet, when he needed God most – in his most desperate hours, when his world organized around the Communist narrative no longer held, … God guided him to prayer.

As Chambers writes “The secret springs of life, which had been lost so long in the desert of modernityjoined with impulses, broke free and flowed unchecked.” (Emphasis added.)

He records that the two mirages: one, of the Almighty Mind and the other, the Communist political fiction that man has the power to plan and execute human salvation – were illusions which had dragged him into the desert.

His daily prayer, he reports, “tore through (him) … a transformation with the force of a river … (and he) became what (he) was … (as he) ceased to be what he was not.” (Emphasis added.)

Yes, this is conversion!

As Chambers writes “the whole web of the materialist modern mind” fell.  No longer, he writes, did modernity and its rationalism cover “the spirit of man,” thwart “the instinct of his soul for God.”  He saw in this conversion that it was a “myth” to think of “man’s material perfectibility” which, he saw, as the “modern intellectual mood which gives rise to Communism” and, by implication, man’s sick fixation on all things “political.”

In his illumination, Chambers claimed the truth of this axiom:

“Man cannot organize the world for himself without God; without God man can only organize the world against man.” (Emphasis added.)

This Dear Friends is conversion.  This Dear Friends is our state today.  This Dear Friends identifies the nonsensical babble of the transgender crowd, the feminists, the abortionists, the pagans, the anarchists, the Democrat Left, the “progressives,” “the social engineers,” the morally vacuous academics and college administrators, the “open border” fools, those who demand endless “entitlements” and “safe spaces,” those who attack and diminish the place of faith in civic life and discourse, etc.

We have been led into the desert of hyper-political secularism and the idea that the human person can create salvation.

It is time to come to the sacred springs of Truth. Absent that: disintegration and disaster.

Think about this.  It is vitally important for you and this Nation to do so.

Shalom.

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