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Solo piano on a Sunday afternoon.  Fitting for one of many decades – when Dear Ones are lost to mortal time yet linger in the clouds, and the sky, and the sun and shadows, and the open fields and spring breeze, in the green of it all and in the silence broken only by singular notes of the soloist at play.  

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Books are a storehouses of human ideas.  The three great religions which come from the Middle East centre their practice on a sacred book and indeed are frequently known as Religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Diarmaid MacCullough, in Christianity the First Three Thousand Years

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Our faith is a faith of ideas – ideas that led to Western Civilization, its structures, its culture, its law, the nation state, our respect for individual liberty and for freedom and democracy, trade and the free market, prosperity, greatness in education, in the arts and science, and in human existence itself as it flourished.

MacCullough reminds us the the early centuries of Christianity were spent wrestling with difficult questions, with the understandings of Graeco-Roman philosophy and Judaism.  Further, he reminds us that social and political history is derived from ideas that appear in Judaism and Christianity and in our Greek and Roman forbearers.

The truth of the matter is that social and political history is dominated by theology.  But alas this is something that we scantly recall today.  Now we have those in authority who have no earthly idea of what the Oxford Professor MacCullogh knows so well as one of the world’s leading figures on the history of Christianity.

Now we have among us childish people who wish to tear down what centuries have produced – tear down without an inkling of knowledge of the past as it generously protects us today in our institutions, attitudes, structures, default settings, common language and long-accepted ideas.

Today the ideologues on the Left and the upstart dolts in the appropriately named “genreation x” desire a scorched earth and the destruction of common and critical institutions and relationships such as between man and woman, mother and child, husband and wife, adult and child, as to biological identity and what have you.

Ignorant destruction is NOT a pretty thing.  And its sweeps can occur in far shorter a time than it took to create what will be destroyed. 

Let’s be very plain – those who pursue radical ideas – who advance radical and immediate fundamental change disclose to us that they are not smart enough to manage even the simplest tasks or intellectual activity.  If you doubt this, I recall two simple statements of our most recent past President who boasted that he would “fundamentally change America” and welcomed himself on the public stage by saying “We are the people we have been waiting for.”  Only a man with no accomplishments in his life can lay claim to such nonsense … as in “I’ve done nothing to date – but will undo what many people before me have done at great price … ”

Yes, turn your back on Christianity, and on old white men, and history and free markets and our Constitution, on the liberties it protects, and on this Representative Federalist System of autonomous states and individual freedom and expect barbarism and tribal conflict amid the unjustified destruction and chaos that befalls the anger and ignorance we see and hear now.

Some are odds with who we are and what good its conveys.  Beware.

Shalom.

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March 19, 2019 – My Mother’s Birthday.

  My mother saved my life.  Without her I would have been lost.  She always put me first but always insisted that I live humbly, that I do what was right and good.  A petite lady of strength and faith, I owe my life to her.

Thank you Mom, for all you did for me!

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You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell …

Numbers 35:34

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These are God’s words to Moses.

Today some among us freely defile this land with their words, their hatred, their division.  In this, they show godlessness.  They express hate.  Their words are the words of racism.  They express hatred of White men.  They defile those who were indispensable in the founding of this nation.  In this they dishonor themselves.

Criticisms come from many who have served self, not others.

Among these critics and malcontents are those who wish to radically alter this country.  We see them in Leftist candidates for public office.  Their number includes young upstarts who know little and have done less.  We even hear now from one who came to us from a failed Marxist-Muslim state.  Her bigoted words defile.  They tell us she deserves only contempt.

No one comes to our house to set it aflame.  For God dwells here among us and our children deserve the blessings of this land – a free, safe, lawful and prosperous nation among many failed and corrupted countries.

Shame on the malcontents.  The door to our house swings both ways.  They are welcome to leave by the same door they entered.  Should they leave, they will not be missed.

This land is for the grateful and the faithful – those who wish to be good neighbors to one another, work hard, abide by the law, respect us and take pride in who we are and what we have built.

Shalom.

“And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14

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When Jesus appeared among the Jewish people it had been centuries since a Prophet had appeared to them.  Yes, the Son of the Father appeared not just to reassure the Jewish people of God’s covenant with them but to offer a new covenant and a new life.

Why do I mention this today?  I mention it because of the recent public focus on the anti-Jewish rhetoric of a leftist Muslim female member of the U.S. House of Representatives which went without correction or reprimand.  And you might say – “Well so what?”

Well here is the “so what” – apparently the Members of the U.S. Congress do not comprehend the glory of God in the presence of His begotten Son.

I respond additionally that we, as Christians, are deeply connected to our Jewish brothers and sisters and any anti-Jewish attack is an attack on Christians as well.

We are, you remember, a Judeo-Christian culture.  Our Nation’s Founders were religious men and women who valued faith and the individual protection of religious freedom.

It is quite disturbing that our Representatives lacked the will to specifically address their colleague’s hateful and destructive anti-Jewish discourse.

It makes me realize that those who represent us do not take faith, religious freedom, our Judeo-Christian heritage and the shameful recent history of the Holocaust seriously.  I add that such callousness is a danger to Jews, to Christians, to our great Country, and to Western Civilization.

What a disgrace at the onset of Lent!

Christians should be deeply concerned and recognize that it is their responsibility to be a vocal public presence as to the seeds of hatred and bigotry that Members of our government planted this week in our sacred history and its soil.

Yes, we have witnessed a Lenten Disgrace offered up by a godless U.S. Congress.

Shalom.

Postscript – If you are so inclined please share with others be they Christian or Jew.  Stand together we must.  

 

 “… a myth is not a lie.  A mythology is an organization of symbolic images and narratives, metaphorical of the possibilities of human experience and the fulfillment of a culture at a given time.”  (Emphasis added.)

Joseph Campbell, in Thou Art That

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This is an excerpt from an exchange the comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell had with a young radio interviewer who insisted a myth is a lie.

As Campbell tells the story since his host seemed not to comprehend what a metaphor was he asked the young, snappy, “educated” radio host to give him an example of a metaphor.  The host resisted but eventually responded, “My friend John runs very fast.  People say he runs like a deer.  There’s a metaphor.” To which Campbell replied, “That is not a metaphor.  The metaphor is John is a deer.”  The interviewer shot back, “That is a lie.”  And Campbell said, “No, that is a metaphor.” 

I look around and see a fake American Indian Princess running  to become the President of the United States, and a female adulterous fornicator doing the same  … and Senator Spartacus – a 49-year-old man with the same aim who has never been married or raised a family who seems to be a religious bigot, a Virginia Governor and Attorney General who dressed in “Black face” and a Virginia Lt. Governor who has been accused by two competent adult women to have sexually assaulted them.  And, then we have the fanciful, young up-start, done-nothing socialist Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and the 70 Congressional Co-Sponsors of her insanely zany Green New Deal proposal … and I ask myself: “How the hell did we get here with these loons?”

Surely part of the answer is contained in the Campbell “metaphor” story.

We have lots of very poorly formed and poorly educated people in positions of authority.  They are, like the radio host Campbell encountered, none-too-bright, and dangerously unrestrained in the exercise of their ignorance.

Yes, these people are in public forums – on television and radio, in the print media and among the technological and Hollywood elites and a good majority of politicians – yes, we are surrounded by nut-cases each of whom has an erroneous collection of “popular” but wrong-headed views – like the world is not “fair” and it must be, or inequality exists and it mustn’t.  These people are the snappy (but ignorant) radio interviewer.

Across a broad spectrum – these people and their childish views have become far to politely welcome.  Yes, they lead us down the dumb road of the un-examined foolishness of the Left, the “progressive,” the socialist, the Communist.

It seems to me we are more than adequately warned that there are many wrong-headed people among us with limited ability and preposterous ambitions.  Who among you wishes to allow any one of them to loose their pathology on you and the innocent children of this country?  A myth is NOT a lie.

Shalom.

A sane person in an insane society must appear insane.

Kurt Vonnegut, in Welcome to the Monkey House

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An insightful and very good and funny guy I grew up with in Boston called to today and amid the multitude of laughs he asked me: “What can we do to rid ourselves of the insanity in Washington?”

The last time we talked he asked me what I thought of term limits?  I responded I was for them and he asked what about two terms in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate?  My answer, “No I’m thinking more like 36 hours and then you’re out.”

After a hearty laugh he asked – “Why 36 hours?”  I responded “Clown Car Rule.”  “What?” he asked.  “Ya, you’ve been to the circus and seen the small clown car with a dozen clowns who climb out.”  “Ya,” my pal says.  I explain, “They never let those twelve drive the car coast to coast.  The Congress is a clown car.  Few hours and you’re out – can’t cause much trouble that way.”

Now I add this: Members of Congress ought to be issued large rubber feet, red bulbous noses and seltzer spray bottles.  Yep, look at these people – one guy wears his glasses in the tip of his nose and thinks this is normal, another guy has a grotesque hair-plug job, another has a brother who is an Orthodox Jew living and Israel and he is surprised that his family of origin is Jewish!  Good gosh!  Then you got a phalanx of angry women who make ‘war” on men – all men.  Now there are religious bigots piping up.  And you got the “free everything” people … absurd, ridiculous … and the Socialists who have never held a job in the private economy!  Loons – the insane thinking the sane are insane.

So today my pal asks – “How do we fix this Washington mess?”  My response?  “You can’t.  The culture is sick – you replace one screwball and there is another … an endless supply … Tell you what, we’d be better off if we closed universities for a decade – we might then begin to see people return to a somewhat even keel … maybe … after all, life is counter-intuitive – less ‘education’ smarter people.”

That’s what Washington looks like these days.  Lotta’ whack-jobs running loose.

Shalom.

In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.

Czeslaw Milosz

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Democracy imposes a burden on its citizens.  The burden – to speak truth when what is false is said.  Ah, but this requires knowledge and courage.  While courage is perpetually in short supply, now knowledge is rarer yet.

Yes, the measure of our over-funded education system is failure, misinformation, ideology not free thought but special Leftist nonsense, softness, the destruction of language and belief, gutless “administrators,” the devaluing of education itself – and the long ago desertion of moral reasoning, virtue, honor or consistency.

Last year I asked my Ph.D. son what he wanted for schooling for his two young children.  He answered – “a place where they would not lose their interest in learning.”

That just about nails the problem.  A serious one at that.

You wonder why elected officials run about pedaling “socialism?”  Because they do not know what it is nor its inevitable thirst for total control and hence its inclination for the communist gulag, its hostility to human freedom, humans, religion and God.

At the present time, one is wisest who turns a deft ear to the “young, unlearned and inexperience socialists.”  And one is bravest who speaks truth in a room of silence.

Shalom.

 

Snow time in the mountains.  Lots of extra work.  Nasty weather coming my way.  A late post as a result.  Life is an adventure.  The wood burning stove is lovely, warm, relaxing just like the classical music.  Pretty quiet here.

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The Stoics defined philosophy as ‘striving after wisdom’ and wisdom in turn as ‘the knowledge of things divine and human.

Introduction to Marcus Aurelius Meditations (Penguin Book, Ltd.)

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Another day.  Another sign of religious bigotry.  It seems that a prominent homosexual advocacy group is airing its anti-Christian and anti-religious freedom disposition once again.

The recent complaint is that Vice President Pence’s wife teaches at an Evangelical school which stands by its religious beliefs that sexual intimacy is to be saved for marriage and that Holy Matrimony is between a man and a woman.

The objection is that the School holds to its religious tenets and that they are not the secular views projected by, at least, some homosexuals – as opposed to homosexuals per se.

Religious bigotry.  It is getting to be quite public.

I offer a suggestion for you should you need an orientation to this issue of religious bigotry.  If you encounter those who attack the basic tenets of your religious beliefs and particularly if you are a Christian and if you are a Catholic or Evangelical – simply ask the person who advocates something that violates your beliefs if they can explain to you what is the relationship between pre-Christian Stoics and early Christians or Christianity at-large.

Why would you ask such a thing?  To determine if the person critical of your faith and its canons has sufficient knowledge to offer an opinion on your faith and its articles of belief.  Further, the point is to establish that you have NO need to listen to someone ignorant of your faith, its history, its precursors and the historical evolution of Christian thought and beliefs that have provided the foundations of Western Civilization and America – its federal representative democracy and its remarkable Constitution.

Make no mistake – religious bigotry can destroy what we have in America and the West.  It is best that you stand by your beliefs and dissuade others that attacking religious belief is very dangerous.  Know what you believe and stand up for these things.

Religious bigotry is a serious matter.  We have seen the results of religious bigotry in the death camps of Nazi Germany.  We best not yield to such bigotry.

Shalom.

Postscript – It is always best to respect one another and one another’s beliefs.  Likewise it is better to build relationships with others and make of us a kind and supportive community fortified by faith.  Attacks on another’s religious beliefs are destructive.  So too is diminishing others whose views and choices are not ones you might make.

 

My soul, give praise to the Lord; I will praise the Lord all by days … Put no trust in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no help.  Take their breath, they return to clay and their plans that day come to nothing.

Psalm 146

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It is disheartening and quite alarming that Members of the U.S. Senate challenge the religion of nominees for the federal court or other assignments in the government.

Mind you it is only a nominee’s Catholicism or Christianity that is targeted, that is criticized.  Recently, a prospective federal judge was challenged by two female members of the Congress because he was a member of the Catholic Knights of Columbus – a Catholic men’s group devoted to charitable giving.

There is nothing to say about this conduct but that it is disgusting and utterly and completely contrary to our heritage and the U.S. Constitution.  Only ignorant and bigoted people have such a view … and there is NO place in public life for such bigoted people.

By the way a number of these bigots have been women … utterly shameful.  Toxic femininity I guess.  What’s next?  Women in Klan robes burning Crosses?

We simply have to do far better than this.

Shalom.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.  In your compassion blot out my offense.  Oh wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.

Psalm 51

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This from Morning Prayer – Psalm 51 is most useful reading.  It speaks honestly of our imperfection, our capacity for sin.  More importantly it speaks to us truthfully.

It acknowledges that we fail and that sinful conduct is an offense committed against God.  This, of course, is a humbling truth.  To admit our own shortcomings, however, is essential to identifying with precision who we are and who God is.

We are merely human; while God is Perfection – and we are imperfection.

The Psalm reminds us that God desires our growth and humility and the strength to admit our failures and our sinful conduct.  In this disposition, we come to know God and in our humility acquire wisdom and the avenue to communion with others who are made just as imperfect as we are (without exception).

Progress in a well-lived life has much to do with knowing our limitations and faults and admitting them.  Such admissions anchor us in the reality of being human and the reality of a Loving God who prizes our honesty and humility.  You see, in admitting our humble humanity we order ourselves to a relationship with Our Creator.  In this, life becomes easier and good arises naturally from our modest acts and thoughts.

So I end with this, also from Psalm 51:

Oh rescue me, God, my helper, and my tongue will ring out your goodness. Oh Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise.

God desires our goodness emerge from within us.  Civil society depends on this as does our human flourishing.

Shalom.

Postscript – Yesterday, a newly elected female member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a Muslim and Leftist from Detroit, Michigan, choose to celebrate her being seated in the Congress by dropping a crude phrase (to wit: “Mother-F”) in reference to a member of the opposing Party.  What a classless presence in celebration of “democracy!”

This is what we have that is offered as leadership material by the Democrat Left – a coarse and vulgar person with a surplus of hatred, hostility and ignorance.  Thus saith the Democrat Left.  How sweet!!!  Does she actually eat with this mouth and kiss her children with same???

Psalm 51, Friends, Psalm 51.

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their life style.  That is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable.

Brennan Manning

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There are many around us who profess Christ but do not act like Christ.  That circumstance is as old as dirt itself.  But what effect does it have on us?

Do we simply forfeit our belief, and on what basis?  Do we conclude that if the man next to me says he is a Christian but does not act thus – are we to abandon our beliefs?  Does this in any reasonable manner justify the rejection of Christ, his denial?

That hardly seems justifiable.

I am from a hard background – one where hardships and injustices, rejections and betrayals, and where deaths, poverty and bigotry were common.  None of those things made me apt to divorce myself from Christ or Christianity.  Perhaps this was simply because hardship made me and others in my family and community tougher – more independent, more loyal to one another and our professed beliefs.

I spent a good deal of time at the University of Notre Dame and in vowed religious life.  I can tell you without any hesitancy – I saw in both religious life and life at Notre Dame that many among each cohort did not live as one might reasonably expect those who professed Christ as their Savior – as the Son of God – might live.  Yet their failures only deepened my resolve to live as Christ would desire me to live.  I concluded from this one simple truth – many who claim Christ are neither faithful enough nor strong enough to commit to a life of faith, a life growing in relationship to Christ.

I guess my hard knocks life in Boston made me one hard dude when it came to living my beliefs … indeed I became more committed the more my faith was attacked and the more the principals in the faith showed their failure to abide by their faith.  About the only thing these episodes showed me is this: I was tougher and they were weaker.

In this regard I think of this historic quotation to encourage you: “Damn the torpedoes – full speed ahead!”

Shalom.

 

 

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