The object of contemplation is the whole of human reality, which, subjected to perpetual necessities of love and death, is not subjected, however, to the right of perpetual recurrence.

Czeslaw Milosz

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I wonder why people listen to me.  Perhaps it is because I think about the world, human experience in our shared point in time and cumulative history.

That is to say I have made a habit of taking experience in, wondering about what I see, felt, observed and what others encountered and how life speaks to them.

Yes, I spend time in contemplation – hence time with history, incident, my heart and soul, the individual and the aggregate, religious narrative, psychology, story, good writers, others, being alone, in the quiet, listening, in my faith, with my Self, in prayer, consciously with God.

In all of this I think: what do I see?  What is happening?  What registers on the faces, in the actions and in the hearts of others?  What gives authentic joy – makes one blissful … and brings us to sorrow?  What evidence is there of love and its absence?  Contentment and dis-ease?  Stability and disorder?  Tenderness and hostility?  Truth and its opposite?

I have been like this all my life – since a small child … because life presented incidents that questioned my existence, as loved ones died early – and far too often.

Contemplation gave some depth and range – immersed me in life’s events and living itself.  Yes, gave me immersion and perspective that regularly produced laughter and tears, grew understanding and the ability to diminish fear and shrink death to something manageable.

In thinking about life my voice had words that others received.  People actually listened to me and often laughed a legitimate laughter of joy at something I said – as the product of my experience and contemplation.

I was once a child, then young – full of strength enough to collide with life and history’s moments.  In age my heart has grown, laughter multiplied, friends became plentiful, gratitude ever present, love lives inside and leaps between me and others.

In a contemplative life there is neither regret nor blackened heart, eternity is real and close at hand.  Oddly, people listen – receive me and my words.

Shalom.

Whacked-Out.  Want to see how lost we are?  Look at the boorish behavior of the political elites and entertainment “celebrities,” and female teachers engaging sexually with their under-aged students.

Is this not evidence enough that the “sexual revolution” has worn itself out?

No more pampering of the boorish louts and misguided under-developed – children still when well past thirty.  Enough of them and their childish disposition, action and ideas.  They only succeed in making life more chaotic.

Back to normative behavior, people!

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… any satire on the world which degrades life is immoral.

Czeslaw Milosz

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Is it not a strong statement to say that our faith requires that we affirm life because being itself is sacred.

Imagine if the one thing we did always and everyday was to treat life as a sanctity – imagine how that one simple commitment consistently applied would alter favorably our life and the lives of all others.

Denying life in our attitude, in our word and deed undermines our value.  Yet we seem to deny life, degrade what is sacred at the same time we wonder how it is that life is so unpleasant, so difficult, so contentious,

What do you do to degrade life?  What discourse do you tolerate which degrades that sanctity of life – of that which is sacred and closer to God than all else in God’s Creation?

Be not so carefree in undermining the value of life, its holiness and it sanctity.

Shalom.

All efforts based on parliamentary control and free-market economic mechanisms proved useless in quelling the growing polarization in opinion and stance.  Different propositions were put forward, ranging from anarchism to autocratic rule, and for many young people each seemed preferable to the rotten democracy they lived under.

Andrzej Franaszek, in Milosz

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These words describe the deteriorating political climate in Poland in the 1930’s and to some extent the political climate in Europe at the same time.

They so remind me of the extraordinary state of affairs and discontent in the U.S. today.  Partisanship reigns.  One Party houses the extreme Left.  Liberalism embraces nihilism and its echoes ring in the public square, mass media and the courts of law.  Anarchists, while small in number, dressed in black slash and burn.  Foundations fund the voices of Black racism.  We live in uneasy times.

Circumstances have changed.  The once stable America is less a source of certainty than it has been and the world becomes more dangerous.

We tilt Left and morals have been mothballed.  Trusted government institutions have lost their glow.  Public corruption tarnishes democracy.  Religious belief itself is in thin supply.  Education is below the waterline.  It is a troubled time.

History tells us that in such times the best young men mature more quickly … and across the land the wise turn back to faith.  Yes, extreme moments snap us into what is fundamental, personal, sure, uplifting, good and eternal – humanizing, strong, kind, heroic – the only option in dark days.

Beneath the flawless manners of a worldly gentleman he hid his compassion for all that is living.  Some people perhaps could sense it, but it was certainly known, in ways mysterious to us, to the small birds that would perch on his head and hands when he stopped in a park alley.

Czeslaw Milosz, in Goodness

Lord, bring us to our senses – to morality, honesty, kindness, compassion – Make us One.

Shalom.

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart … do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him … He will make your paths straight.

Prov 3: 5, 6

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We have strayed dramatically from God.  Our nation has many among its elites who have gone far astray, who trust only in themselves – who have become corrupted.

In this circumstance we see the challenge posed for those who believe in God by those who are godless and hence pursue their selfish interest – power, and personal gain.  Yes, the questions joined now are good vs. evil, God vs. godlessness, belief vs. unbelief, Truth vs. falsehood.

In too many who occupy leadership positions God is rejected.  It is hard to imagine how it is that one can reject God, a God who is Love.

Think about God who is Love.

It is difficult for humans to imagine a God who loves freely, whose very nature is to love us without fail.  Why is this so?  Because we often love selectively – love only those who comply with our views, love only those who seem to love us as our condition of loving them.  But this is not how God loves.

Through we are sinners, God sends His Son to die for us, so we might believe in Him.

While we love on condition, God loves unconditionally.  But mind you this does not give us permission to lie, cheat, steal, be selfish, be a racist, advance sexual dysfunction and declare it normative, kill the unborn, commit adultery and violent crimes, deny reality, etc.

God loves us so that we might have peace, security, joy, contentment, a level of certainty, courage, meaning and purpose, and full growth.

Having been given love – we must love for to not love is to abandon who we are and who God is.

In the God who is love – all are worthy.  And yes, those whose behavior is rank, dishonest, selfish say: “I do not believe in anything but me.”  We have many of these people in our midst – one cannot yield to them, they must be dismissed, rejected for their ability to destroy is obvious and contrary to God and our welfare.

These naysayers now have greater influence over us and this culture than they warrant.  They are in positions of power, in academia and politics, in mass communication, law, education and entertainment – even in religious entities.

Time to restore God’s place in our life, our culture, our nation and our daily discourse.  Each of us bear this responsibility.

Shalom.

Sickness – Last night on Tucker Carlson’s show I saw yet another Law Professor (Ekow Yankah) spouting off as if a law degree itself made him smart, and wise.

Law degrees make one neither smart nor wise.  If you can read you can become a lawyer.  I know I am a lawyer.

Mr. Yankah was not just spouting off, he was advancing Black racism, yes – judging people by their skin color in just the same way feminists judge people by their gender.  Whither knowledge of moral philosophy, religion, theology, history, humility, good taste and grace?

We have a real problem of granting to lawyers, judges, academics, the media, politicians and (God help us) celebrities and entrepreneurial technologists knowledge and wisdom that they do not possess.  Granting those like Mr. Yankah any public forum is precisely what we ought not to do.  We have ignorance enough – no sense adding more and the division these thinly educated, misguided individuals now bring to us.

 

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Mt 5:8

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John Dunne in The Circle Dance of Time tells of a student who asks a rabbi why it is that men no longer see the face of God.

The rabbi replies that men no longer “stoop so low” – meaning that they no longer subordinate themselves to a superior reality … that our preference for our own autonomy keeps us from knowing God and ironical finding and knowing ourself.

It follows that not knowing self nor God staves off contentment, peace and loving self or another.

If you do not know yourself nor God can you know another or have peace?  Indeed the question arises – Without knowing self or God, can you love at all?  Can you find peace?  Tranquility in mortal existence?

One can justifiably ask: does our autonomy – the priority we place on our rights under the law of man in a culture that disdains faith, relationship with God … does this state of being, this consciousness leave us discontented, quarrelsome, far less than we are made to be … does this emphasis on autonomy insure our unhappiness? 

The loss of God in a mass communication culture where legal rights are extolled accentuates our unhappiness – particularly when all manner of uninformed, sparsely educated voices, ignorant and hostile and divisive ones dominate public discourse?

If we are offered the “pursuit of happiness” in our nation, are we not wiser still to subordinate ourselves to the superior reality of God?  Is it not obvious that our access to happiness requires that we bend to a superior reality.

One nation under God – – – yes or no?

If you wish to understand the chaos, division and hostility that abounds daily in this land – think about what is written here today.

From mass media to politics and mindless homicides – we show our distance from health and happiness.  This need not be.

Shalom.

 

 

Overcoming childhood adversity is a phenomenal struggle … It is heroic, powerful, perilous, often a decade long endeavor, yet one that, over time, can lead to both ordinary and extraordinary success.

Meg Ray, Ph.D.

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I have recently wondered why it is that I get exercised over injustice done to me and even more so to others, innocents and the less powerful.  In fact, I have wondered if my combativeness in this regard was a curse or a blessing, how such a reaction can be so instilled in one.

Dr. Ray, in an article in The Wall Street Journal (“The Secrets of Resilience,” November 11-12, 2017), offered this: people overcome the hardships of early life by being “active problem solvers,” using their native talents and strengths … and relying on the fighter within.

Having faced hardships from a very early age and periodically throughout my life, I realize that having “a fighter within” was essential to an ability to surpass difficulties, make progress in life, achieve more than the problems might otherwise allow.

Overtime, I have come to realize that it was this capacity to fight through problems that was indispensable to my life.  Yet, I notice that so many people shy away from contesting things in life that require question, a challenge … and likewise I notice that many people are fearful of engaging hurdles and injustice.

What if we are called in the gift of our divinely given life to utilize the fight we have within and what does it say about our faith in that divine gift when we avoid employing this particular endowment?

Shalom.

I am not upset that you lie to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.

Friedrich Nietzsche

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Well, The Washington Post reports the allegations of a woman who claims that the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama acted improperly toward her when she was a teen and he was 32 years old.  Yes, they report allegations that are said to address something that happened 40 years ago, despite the fact that the candidate in question has stood for office and been a prominent public figure and Alabama Supreme Court Justice for a number of years.

Washington Democrats, weak-kneed Congressional Republicans and late night T.V. unfunny “funny men” have “called” for the Alabama candidate to withdraw from the upcoming election (one month away) – notwithstanding the accuser’s long silence.

Yes, without any proof that the allegations are true or can be proven true, the candidate is presumed guilty.  The accused has denied the allegations.  The whiff of character assassination is in the air.

Several things come to mine.  One: apropos to the above quote – The Washington Post has nothing to lose – credibility is not their long suit.  Two, they show an elite, Northeast, “I have a college degree from (fill in the name of a once reputable liberal college)” attitude that doesn’t know much about Alabama.  Indeed, the people of Alabama presume that the Eastern Press is not to be believed and cares not one iota about impugning the name, character, reputation of Alabama or anyone from Alabama – because they, The Press, think that they are oh so superior.

Ironically, The Washington Post (all things being equal) is likely to have helped the candidate who is under attack. 

Additionally, I am amused by this: the timing of the “allegation” – silent all these years with voice now given so close to an election of a man who has stood for election multiple times in his state and held office a number of times.  Me thinks one speaks too late.

Then there is the “free pass” given by the press to Democrat luminaries with “spotty conduct.” Jack and Teddy Kennedy come to mind, Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, Barney Frank as well.   And, then there is the press silence that covers the sexual misconduct which seems to characterize Hollywood and “showbiz.”

Finally, this particular news story has the feel and smell of the shameful attempt to destroy U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his Senate confirmation with a “witness” who (like the current woman) had remained silent about the Justice’s alleged conduct for a number of years as well.  Recall, by the way, that the woman making those allegation was represented by Democrat lawyers who were very partisan.

If there is anything to be gleaned from the present episode it is this: some people stoop to low levels in politics and it is always discouraging to see.

Finally, it strikes me that when we stray from religious narrative and its claim to truth, we come to discount the very value of truth.  Moments like this remind me of the importance of dignity, virtue and honor … and their absence.

Shalom.

 

 

 

 

When it comes to faith, “The heart has reasons that reason does not know,” Pascal says.  Those reasons … can become known to the mind … and insight and understanding is what happens when reasons of the heart are known to the mind.

John S. Dunne, in The Circle Dance of Time

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So begins John Dunne’s concise recitation of the human’s natural drive to find life’s meaning.  Yes, the human being has a natural spiritual drive to find beyond the limits of the mind and reason the transcendent nature of this life and the next.

Our present age prompts me to ask: have we diminished this natural quest?  Are we further from fulfillment of our human promise?  Are we less than we are made to be?  Are our addictions, homicides, suicides, broken marriages and disordered lives, mistreatment of unborn children, fractured families, sexual assaults and gross sexual disorientations not an indication that we are less than whole humans in a culture that is far less than well?

Recently Sean Parker, the former President of Facebook, talked publically about how he and others who initially developed Facebook knew that they were developing a product which would be “addictive” to its users – especially to children who used it.  Indeed, we see now suicides among its teens users, use of Facebook to “bully” and attack and exile others.  And, no one held to account for the damage caused, lives lost.

Aside for asking us to what degree is technology harmful as it is presently developed and used … yet, another question emerges and it is this:  Have we lost the capacity to know the reasons of the heart that exceed reason and the mind?  Could we even understand John Dunne or Pascal?

Asking these two questions asks this: do we know the endless stories recorded throughout human history which illuminate the meaning and purpose of this life and beyond?  Do we understand who man is?  Who woman is?  Who the child is?  What a marriage is?  What a family is?  What a community is?  Honor?  Virtue?  Fellowship?  Courage?  Selfless sacrifice is?  Do we experience The Divine?  Imagine eternal existence?

Once we did.  Now one wonders if anyone understands that there is a relationship between Buddha’s victory over the Bo Tree and his consequential view of transcendent reality?  Understand Dante’s vision of the Triune God in the Celestial Rose?  Or know of the foretelling of Christ’s crucifixion in the ancient German story of the pagan Othin who hung on a tree and in this penetrated darkness?

My point?  This: have we lost our way to the reasons of the heart? 

Does a nation of addictive tweeters lose God and in losing God lose the substance of Self … become reduced to mere mortal adjuncts to small machines which capture us and dull life, and impair much of what is human and hence transcendent?

Think about this.  Don’t go gently into that costly dark night.

Shalom.

Postscript – Many among us state this view: technology makes life more complicated not less so.  The machines load more and more functions onto smaller and smaller platforms sold at higher and higher prices.  A phone for $1000.00 dollars.  Progress?  I think not.

I have come to two firm observations.  One, just as the computer did NOT deliver a “paperless” office, technology has not made life easier – rather it has captured the human being and stole his and her time.  Two, life in the country among the cows beats being captured by machines … and it ain’t even close.

The object of life is surely not to have others take your time from you.

 

The proverbs of Solomon … To know wisdom … receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity … fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Prov 1: 1, 2, 3, 7

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We seem to concede a great deal of our living to others, to the structures that surround us.  Perhaps, it is the desire for “easy” living – a “just-add-water” kind of intellectual and personal shortcut.  A shortcut that assumes carelessly, and without thought or examination, that “those in authority” know what they are doing and they act in our best interest.

Living by fantasy or myth?  So it seems.  Indeed, facts appear to incline to the exact opposite proposition than that “those in authority” know best.

In re-reading British Historian Paul Johnson’s 800 page book Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties I am reminded how Johnson reports that the Germany of World War II was prepared by the unexamined actions of state leaders in the late 1800’s and the early years of the twentieth century.  That is to say: government made choices that unwittingly readied their people for a collision course that became the Second World War.

In particular Johnson points out that the ranks of the industrial workers expanded between the late 1800’s and early 1900’s as German industry grew and that the elites and military class resisted sharing power with them so an extensive welfare state was established to placate the population, and that Bismarck manufactured “imaginary foreign threats” that created a unified, subdued German populace – and unwittingly prepared Germany for war.  Yes, Johnson reminds the reader that these fears worked their way into subsequent politicians and leaders who fostered German aggression.

What is my point?  Proverbs were designed to make each person wiser, to cultivate knowledge and good conduct, independent thinking – greater understanding and insight.

The German state Johnson describes was governed in precisely an opposite manner.  It was meant to deceive and reserve all control in the hands of the ruling elites.

Are we not in a very similar situation today?

The Democrat Party of the Left is rigging its primaries, colluding with the Russians to secure outlandish allegations against a political opponent.  While in power they are making insider-deals with Russian oligarchs to provide them access to American uranium while identifying a goodly number of Americans as “a basket of deplorables” and furthering the nuclear development of an Iran that seeks “death to America.”  Mind you, the comfortable Republican elites are more than willing to go-along-to-get-along.

Frankly, it is the above circumstances which explains the last Presidential election result.  Unlike pre-War Germany some in our population know that something is seriously amiss.

Maybe a focus on Proverbs might be in order.  Maybe we have an affirmative duty to acquire the wisdom of Solomon.  Think about it.

Shalom.

Screamers –  When I grew up “screamers” were losers.  This was once again re-inforced when yesterday a handful of Lefties “screamed” in unison because Hillary is not president (nor sane, apparently).  These people can vote.  How sweet.

 

His will is our peace.

Dante, in Divine Comedy

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After recent mass murder in a Texas Church, members of the media (including CNN’s Don Lemon) and minor entertainment “celebrities” snidely suggested that being in Church or praying did nothing to protect the dead or badly wounded victims in this Texas crime.

Unfortunately, today religion, faith are God is placed in question, pushed aside more and more in public discourse.  We have gone from constraining prayer and religious symbols in public places to disdain for people of faith, religion, belief, prayer, praying and God.

So what are we left with?  Dependence on the people in authority who were required by law to notify those who keep the national registry on individuals who are not permitted to purchase firearms – but failed to do their job?  

The perpetrator in the Texas shooting is reported to have served a year in the brig while in the Air Force and received a Dishonorable Discharge, had a history of spousal and child abuse, and escaped from a mental institution – all before this mass killing.

Moving further away from God hardly seems a wise response.  Trusting bureaucrats with the safety of you and your family, likewise, seems “iffy” to say the least.  How is one protected by a law when the law is not followed?

A relationship with God changes hearts.  Faithful citizens capable of protecting themselves and their loved ones doesn’t hurt either.

Shalom.

Ever notice – Ever notice how many disordered people take up our public discourse day after day – half-crazed celebrities, criminals, incompetents here and there, the sexually-obsessed and sexual predators, people with addictions and drunks, serial divorcees, disgruntled millionaire sports figures, egghead college teachers,  corrupt – self-centered politicians … media “talking heads,” political partisans, etc.

Aren’t they all a waste of time.  Do they not lower the level of discourse and darken the day with their habitual foolishness?

The one thing disordered people bring you is: disorder.  Why bother with them?

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