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“God resisteth the proud.”

Ja 6: 6

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The costs of pride are substantial.  The prideful are not careful.  They become lax and costly mistakes follow.  The prideful in leadership pave the way for a nation’s demise.

When those in leadership positions are prideful you can expect giant mistakes that are costly to all who are subject to their actions.  Yes, pride leads to lawlessness.

We see the obvious destructive consequences of prideful, partisan Leftist bureaucrats in the fiasco that has been the government handling of the Hillary Clinton national security breach, and we see it in the lawless “weaponizing” for the law enforcement and national security apparatus of the federal government against candidate and now President Donald Trump.  Yes, pride can excuse those who put us to risk, destroy the innocent, the rule of law, liberty and a nation.

How can pride be so costly?

Pride robs God of the glory due Him.  Pride makes of God – an exile, an enemy.  It creates a vast distance between God and the human being.  In that distance grace disappears.

The prideful are isolates from God, others and self.  They destroy community.

As leaders, the prideful make us strangers or enemies to one another.  Nothing destroys a person or a nation like pride.  It is toxic; it is corrosive.  It divides.  It kills the soul and the person.  It stokes the fire of envy and hatred.

And pride’s remedy?  The humble recognition that God is the author of all that is good – and we are merely recipients (not the source) of all the good that we might do, or that we might experience.

For a guide to daily humility and a protection from the evil that is pride, I offer this from St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 4:7) –

” … whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” 

Individually, and in the aggregate, we MUST humbly return to God, or we shall perish by our own hand.

Shalom.

 

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… I’ve brought a big bat, I’m ready you see.

Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me.

Dr. Seuss

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I often encounter people who have legitimate concerns about those who make it their business to drive a hard Left agenda.  In some instances the concerned party wonders out loud what can be done to forestall these arrogant people and their destructive ideas.

I offer this: SPEAK up – confront them, be prepared to tell them why they are wrong and what damage and division they cause.  Put them down each and every time they act like they know best and push their views on you.

You see, you can’t let people with little to offer but large egos and bad ideas think they are entitled to force their views and plans on the rest of us, or this great country at the expense of our religious beliefs, morality, interests, intelligence, personal dignity and autonomy.

Yes, tell them to “button it up.” Recommend they take a long walk of a short pier.

We are far too cordial and too nice and civil with people and groups who attempt to impose their ideas on us.

A little of Dr. Seuss might do you well.  Give it a try.  Stand tall and make it clear that you will not be a compliant target of views which are injurious, wrong or destructive.  Case in point, President Trump didn’t get the North Korean’s attention by acting like the apologizing Mr. Obama.

“Tolerance” is not evidenced by silent compliance.  There is no freedom in being bullied into a position by a vocal minority.  Civility abandoned is best cured when it becomes clear that one’s dignity and freedom will not be thwarted in the course of public discourse.  Isn’t that the point of Dr. Seuss’ clever words?

Shalom.

“The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.  But you do not believe, because you are not my sheep.”

Jn 10: 25, 26

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These are the words Jesus spoke to Jews in Jerusalem at the Temple.  Let’s put them in today’s context.

Yesterday a young man in Toronto drove a van down the sidewalk and killed ten people and seriously injured more.  A few days ago in Nashville, Tennessee, a young man entered a restaurant early in the morning and shot and killed four patrons and injured others.  Each young man had a history of mental health problems.

These two incidents are reminders of the Parkland, Florida, school shootings that took the lives of 17 students.  That young man also has a history of mental illness.  In that case, the public authorities totally failed to address the needs of that very troubled young man.

” … you do not believe, because you are not my sheep …”

The success of Alcoholics Anonymous is dependent on recognition of the existence of God (“a higher power’) and on our limitations to address our problems as if we are that “higher power.”

It seems to me that the constant signs of our neglect of those in need and the violent actions of those who (in their deranged state) randomly kill innocent people is an indication of our neglect of our own spiritual needs.  

I think too of the two lesbian women who adopted six foster care children and retained custody of those children while having had run afoul of child welfare officials in three states.  As you recall these two women drove a vehicle (with the children in it) off a California cliff to their collective deaths 100 feet below.

We are a troubled nation because we have forsaken belief … because we have neglected our full health, our need for spiritual sustenance.

Indeed we live like we are each a god unto our self.  We are, in this regard, absolutely NOT helped by all the discontented “special pleaders” in politics and particularly the angry godless voices on the Left who create division and disorder and their counterparts in the Democrat Party in the U.S. Congress, the federal bureaucracy and in state and local government.  Yes, godless voices breed sickness and hostility.

Let’s be honest, we awake each day to read or hear about one or more horrific accounts of murder, child abuse, infanticide, abhorrent sexual assaults, or some form of human deprivation that is beyond our imagination or understanding … and we see day after day the utter failure of authorities to do much of anything about these matters.

You know I recall the hubris of Mr. Obama who boasted about fundamentally transforming America and that no one seemed ever to ask in what form this change might take, nor did anyone dare to say to him: “Hey, pal, you’re NOT God and you have accomplished nothing thus far in your life.”

The point to be made?  Man is not God.  Heck, we are not now even clearly showing that we are the Shepherd’s sheep.

Might be time to believe again.  But do we have it in us to be humble as we once were?

Shalom.

Warped Self-interest – No Democrat Senators on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State.  They did so largely to deprive President Trump the person he wanted in that position.

Mr. Pompeo, a former Congressman and Director of the C.I.A., graduated first in his class at West Point and first in his class at Harvard Law School.  He has had both a successful military career and an excellent business career in which he started (as I recall) two successful businesses.

When you think that we have had recently both Hillary Clinton and John Kerry as Secretary of State (neither of them who achieved any particular success in their lifetime), it shows you that Democrats always put their own interests before the interests of the Nation and its people.  Shameful.

A School Shooting in Maryland – Another Bomb in Texas

… the most important and most astonishing phenomenon of our time, and all the more astonishing in being almost unnoticed: there is now an entirely new language of good and evil, originating in an attempt to get “beyond good and evil” preventing us from talking with any conviction about good and evil anymore.

Alan Bloom, in The Closing of the American Mind

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So writes Bloom in 1987.

But what is his point?  What explains this comment?

Bloom’s view is that in place of “good and evil” we have adopted value relativism and that this is a fundamental change since Christianity took the Greeks and Romans away from paganism.

As Bloom rightly says this shift to relativism meant one “was no longer able to understand themselves as they once had.”  With this, Americans no longer believe that America (or any political expression that cherishes this Nation) is true or has value.  Yes, despite history, “American exceptionalism” is dismissed – and now attacked, as are those who adopt and express that view.

The above view is widespread in the Democrat Party and its components ranks (Leftists, Feminists, those with a racial view of existence, and others focused on the primacy of power and large government in control of all things and people – cradle to grave).

Yet, the value relativism of 1987 is now (thanks to the “sexual revolution”) morphed into value idiosyncratic – each person gets to be his or her own god and governor – an autonomous entity beyond the reach of the law (think: sanctuary cities, abortion upon demand and “same-sex marriage,” etc.).

Yes, now a distortion of the idea of equality argues that anyone can do as they want regardless of the conduct’s effect on others or the community at large.

In such a setting – guilt, shame, virtues, concern of others go out the door.  In their place: me – me – me, pleasure, fickle desire and more.  Now as to transgression and self-destruction all are equal, nothing is prohibited.

The beliefs long-held, and which held society together, have been discredited – shoved aside …leaving: disenchantment, the death of merit.

What you are seeing is a nation and civilization being disassembled without shame or responsibility – indeed our sickness is so common that the Hillarys and Baracks are pleased to proceed as if this is “progress” …

Few notice that without reference to good and evil – students shoot and kill their classmates in school, and others feel free to send package bombs hither and yon.

Shalom.

P.S. – Does anyone know where the “Clock Boy” is?  The Left thought him “charming.”

Nothing appeals to intellectuals more than the feeling that they represent ‘the people.’  Noting, as a rule, is further from the truth.

Paul Johnson

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Historian Paul Johnson’s words are worth thinking about today because we are in a period where the elites (intellectuals, included) are in the wane, losing their hold (thank God) on the population.

Yes, we live in a populist period whereby those who have held power for decades have moved substantially away from the greater population of common people.

The elites have been undone by a number of factors – they are too visible in mass communication culture, they have advocated a variant of Marxist ideas – especially as to social policy, they have become extreme – and proven themselves weak in matters of national security – and their gross affluence, hyper-political disposition, determination to build large government given to control all aspects for life from the cradle to the grave, and their tolerance of corruption and government incompetence and creation division among people has put them on the block.

They have created their own problems – and people really don’t like them or their ideas – indeed for good reasons.

Their story is one of pride, privilege, exclusion and destruction.

We are in a state of correction.  At best we might rid ourselves of elite governance and their failed ideas.  Our swing back to the middle might well be aided by Scripture as guide.

I offer one such guide: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Matt 23:12).  Yes, people before privilege!

Memo to the elites: forget the “selfies” – you ain’t that special.

Shalom.

 

… in every society where the distinction of ranks has been completely established, there have been always two different schemes or systems of morality current at the same time; … one may be called the strict or austere; the other the liberal, or, if you will, the loose system.  The former is … admired and revered by the common people; the latter is commonly … esteemed and adopted by … people of fashion.

Adam Smith, in The Wealth of Nations

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There you have it.  The common folks live by an austere morality – one that adheres to common understandings of what is good and reflects a system of belief, their faith.  In contrast, the elites live a lax system of morality – one in which they do what pleasures or advantages them regardless of the consequences to them, others or the society at large.

This is precisely the dynamic we experience here in the United States and the West today.  Make no mistake – lacking faith, the elites also lack courage – but selfishness they have in spades – always ready to assert their views no matter the obvious destruction they yield.  Indeed, they ruin life for the vast populace without a whimper or pause.  They lack conscience – although they “moralize” and relentlessly hurl acquisitions like “racists,” “sexists,” “bigot” etc. at those who dare to oppose their idiocy.

By elites, who do we mean?  Those at the top of the economic ladder (especially in social media and in the hi-tech industry), those in positions of political power, and those in academia, the celebrity class in Hollywood, in entertainment and media.

And those of the common weal?  The workers, homemakers, the middle class which the Left has abandoned completely – preferring to know them in passing as “a basket of deplorables.”

This is the cultural divide we now suffer.  At no time in American history has the fight between the “privileged” and the “common folk” been so apparent or meant so much.

In this collision much is at stake.  Our identity is at risk.  Will we be a sick or healthy society?  A fatherless-nation?  Will family survive?  Will drug addiction be common and accepted?  Will we continue “social engineering” to meet the fancy of sexual fetish, Marxist social theory and ideology, racial prejudice and gender division?  Will godlessness prevail over religious belief?  Will amorality win?

It is a daily source of both disgust and amazement that all the talk of our present problems hardly ever contains anything that resembles an informed comment.  One listens and thinks immediately: those talking have not paused for a moment to learn anything – they are, as a consequence, only adding to our collective ignorance when they open their mouths.  Yes, the elites are ill-formed, poorly educated and virtually always wrong.

If you wish to comprehend how an unsuspected individual like Donald Trump managed to get elected, you need only know this: the divide between the populace and the elites is real, it is close to its burning point and it has been forming from the 1960’s to the present.

People are knee deep in the horse-hockey of the Democrat Left and they don’t like it.

Finally, you might note that Adam Smith centuries ago laid out the basic conflict between the privileged and the populace – and we now see its explosive nature.  A little reading and real learning goes a long way in making sense of the chaos and insanity that visits us now.

Shalom.

Postscript – If you wonder why no one among the elites who violates law or ethical codes ever gets held responsible, the answer is simple.  Elites control the legal and political structure.  They protect one another.  All those not among the elites are dismissed out of hand, except that they are to be used for the advantage of elites.

Back after a Knee Replacement

I find the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.  (Emphasis added.)  

Steve Maraboli, in Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

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This is a real gem that Steve Maraboli gives us.  It is a keeper.

Look around at our culture and politics – people are always trying to change.  They lobby for us to be as they are – often without any introspection as to who they themselves are.  This is really quite arrogant – ignorant – utterly unwelcoming and ridiculously foolish – destructive even.

I have been in the hospital from Monday (this week) to Wednesday (of the same week) to have my second total knee replacement.  Frankly, it was a very special experience from beginning to end.  I had the extraordinary pleasure of having remarkable men and women attending to me.  Many were from the Caribbean and African countries, one or two from India and several from the U.S.  Absolutely beautiful people – inside and out.  Loving, kind, pleasant, warm-hearted, and good at what they do.

It was interesting that more than a few cozyed up to me for conversation – excellent conversation – the type you have with a good next-door neighbor.  We talked about living at a spiritual depth, finding out how you might do the best for others with the skills you possess, having patience, aspirations, child-rearing, aging, the wonderful gifts women have, and retirement.

Such symmetry.  Those who helped me, gave me a chance to help them.  There is hardly anything that is so satisfying as helping one another.  These people were friends and I was made the richer for their friendship.  Strangely, some remembered me from my first knee replacement one year ago in February 2017.

The content of these conversations was just as Maraboli said: a help in which others are revealed to themselves.   Isn’t that the best we can do?  Isn’t that a blessing?  How fortunate we are!  People – just people, God’s children … not divided by gender, race, religion, ethnicity and such.  Sacred beings.

Shalom.

 

 

Nothing appeals to intellectuals more than to think they represent ‘the people.’  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Paul Johnson

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Therein lies the identification of our present historic moment in time – and the foundational explanation of Donald Trump’s election as President.

In short, the elites reside “aloft” – above the common folk, the workers, the hourly wage and the part-timer, the displaced miner and factory worker, the retail clerk, the Walmart shopper, the truck driver, the firefighter and the police officer, the Sunday churchgoers, the folks who do the fighting and dying like their Daddy and Uncles did.

You see in the last five decades we have flourished economically but the “big money” went to the elites, the celebrities, the media types, tenured university professors at privileged colleges, and the political class and lobbyists, to the mavens of social networks and internet commerce, to expensive cities, ritzy suburbs and exclusive enclaves in Malibu, Long Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Naples, Chevy Chase, Potomac and Bethesda and such … but not to the common folks who do all the “heavy lifting” and die before they age.

Recently I heard a Yale Professor and Nobel Prize winner in economics tell an interviewer (without any hesitation) that President Trump had some nerve going to Davos for a gathering of the international elites to discuss world economics.  His justification for his comment was this: Mr. Trump is a “popularist,” a nationalist, one who favors national borders – the things at this self-selective collection of the super wealthy, world political figures, bankers, financiers, globalists, liberals and social activists simply reject and despise.

Well now, don’t they know better than those of us who live closer to the ground and deal (unlike them) with the battle of survival every single day – day after day, morning to night.

Imagine the ignorance these elites possess, the self-deception and pridefulness multiplied in this small hot-house of arrogant “we know better than you do” yahoos.  Whence we hear those not in attendance are a “basket of deplorables” – not good enough for elites but sufficient for cannon-fodder, wage slavery and permanent dependence.  Atrocious!

This is central to our troubles today.  The lesser among us are invisible and thus expendable.  You can’t miss what you can’t see.  They don’t see us.  We are chattel at best to these sequestered elites.

Today we have a divide that threatens our demise.

This is our historical moment.  Those who would lead must know who comprises the ones that might follow.

The Christian who might lead knows those who struggle the most, has come from them, lives with them, has acquired their suffering and fears and their strength and courage as well.  Elites who live “aloft” can offer nothing but error and division … and if unchecked the death of what we once have known and been.

Think about it.  Who among us shows you that they know who you are?

Shalom.

Postscript – We grant too much authority to people who have gone to college – especially to the once “elite” colleges.  There is no magic to getting a college degree.

It is life experience that teaches and distinguishes a person.  What have they done?  What trials have they faced?  How did they respond?  What did they learn?  How vast and varied is their experience?  Have they maintained healthy relationships over time?  What insights can they share?  Are they wise?  Patient?  Stable?  Invariable?  Do they inspire confidence?

 

Frequently people who seek power are not as strong as they might wish to appear.  Many people who desperately hunger for power are weak.  They seek power positions to compensate for their own fragility and vulnerability.  A weak person in power can never be generous with power because they see questions or alternative possibilities as threatening their own supremacy or dominance.  (Emphasis added.)

John O’Donoghue, in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

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Celtic wisdom – valuable insight.  People do not change over the centuries.  What they have been, they are.

Three Lessons:

  • Those who seek power are often lacking.
  • They seek power to compensate.
  • Too insecure and fragile, they do not share power – seeing others and alternative ideas as a threat to them.

This is as old or older than the biblical Herod who feared an infant child.

These three simple lessons tell you about the American Left and their clinging to a derivative Marxist ideology today.  They dread opposition to their ideas.  They demand conformity to their views.  Their claims of “tolerance” manifest themselves in intolerance.  When faced with losing power they hatch extraordinary schemes to discredit and destroy those not like them.  They govern by division.  They see others as a “basket of deplorables.”  They show their fragility and insecurity in their arrogance.

As to weakness and fragility.  Think of both the Clintons.  Do they not fit this Celtic framework?  No place in life outside of politics.  Lacking in other accomplishments.  Mr. Clinton from a difficult childhood with a troubled mother.  His womanizing.  Mrs. Clinton seemingly needing to embellish on her modest history – claiming she was named Hillary after Edmund Hillary who conquered Mt. Everest even through Sir Edmund did so five years after her birth.  Insecurity.

And then there is Mr. Obama and his disordered family life.  Despite a Harvard Law degree, a lack of accomplish before his election.  His overreaching sense of his genius.  His “we are the people – we have been waiting for” sense of super-importance … and his lack of presidential accomplishment.

Those who seem lacking seek to establish themselves in power, celebrity, status, wealth and control.

Applying ancient wisdom to life can make obscure things visible and explicable.  If Celtic lore works – would not religious narrative do the same?

Shalom.

 

” … the greatest enemy of the Gospel is ideology.  Ideology is a man-made format of how the world ought to work, and Christians instead believe(d) in the revealing truth of Scripture.”  (Emphasis added.)

Charles Colson

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Human beings since the beginning of time have wanted to proclaim their own divinity.  We do this no less today than we always have.

Think about government and politics today.  We place confidence in government in a manner that thwarts our reliance on God and diminishes the growth and development of our faith.

When we vest trust and need in government and politics we undermine our faith in God, reduce the scope of our human, psychological and spiritual existence and our wisdom, certitude and contentment.

The limits of human institutions has been recorded in the New and Old Testament.  We are less able to perfect the world than we think.  Yes, our ego is not a path to omnipotence but rather often a display of our limitations and our need of God.

Our political party on the Left does just that: having no relationship with God and relying on the (dubious) “genius” of man and woman – it stubbornly sells what does NOT WORK, namely: man’s reliance on man to the exclusion of God.  Frankly the failures of the Left are visible in history and in the world – now and for years prior to today.

The trust in man, politics, ideology and government is a primary source of our many present problems and divisions.  Only a fool would continue to advocate further self-centered reliance on man and man alone.  It is time to humbly admit our estrangement from God and take responsibility for many follies that this behavior has produced.

Vesting confidence in government as we do is vesting confidence in man and woman and that is one of the primary ways this nation draws away from God and advances secular existence to the exclusion of our relationship with God and the contentment and stability that faith produces.

Shalom.

 

 

 

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