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Any renewal not deeply rooted in the best spiritual tradition is ephemeral …

Carl Jung, M.D., in Collected Works

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Jung knew the importance of seeing the spiritual content of life and life’s events.  We are not so readily inclined.  He derived meaning and understanding from this.  Our inability to do so, leaves us confused and, in the worse cases, destructive of self and others.

It seems to me this is where we are today.  Likewise we have few (if any) commentators who are capable of seeing and discussing the spiritual and psychological elements of our present moment and its fractious nature.

This circumstance makes me think of Mary and Joseph and their newborn child’s flight into Egypt.

You may recall that an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and urged him to flee lest Herod kill the child.  This itself has meaningful value as a simple story.

What we see in this is the fear felt by the ruling authority vested in a rigid status quo – the fear that “change” other than what they offer or demand, however aluminating otherwise, may be costly to their status quo.

Thinking of today – this may well explain the daily hostility we see aimed at President Trump by media, comfortable elites and his political adversaries.  His presence disturbs their psychological comfort, their status, the world as they have come to know it.

It is always wise to ask deeper questions when one sees reactions at that are overt, persistent and hostile.  Such reactions signal that a fundamental cord has been struck, i.e. something important is afoot.

Likewise when ones sees those sworn to serve lawfully acting in a lawless manner – one confirms again – this is a significant moment.  I think, in particular, of the challenges to the U.S. Constitution – another grave sign that fundamental stakes are at play.  And I think of legal guardians acting unlawfully.

More to the point, when the Constitution is easily attacked its opponents tell us they do not realize that this document is as much a spiritual document as it is a political document.

Indeed, seeing only with political eyes produces destructive consequences for the Constitution is by all measure a document that reflects the soul and identity of a free people and their nation.  Damaging it, damages our individual and collective self – our identity and relationship to one another as one people united and free.

So often we miss the spiritual and psychological aspects of life in one’s historical moment.  Such a mistake is always costly and wrought with conflict that could be avoided if we just recalled our larger context – namely, the narratives of our heritage and what they tell us.

Shalom.

 

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… there is no lostness like that which comes to a man when a perfect and certain pattern has dissolved around him.

John Steinbeck

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Steinbeck is talking about change and disintegration – the alteration or elimination of standard and accepted mores, institutions, beliefs and ideas that provide stability, solace and functionality to people and societies.

In my lifetime the idea of “change” has had an unblemished connotation.  Presumed “good,” change seems to go unexamined.  No one looks at it critically – exacts its costs and consequences. In an ancillary and important way – those who push change do not appreciate the value of integration per se.

Too often the elites promote change which benefits them or satisfies some notion as to how “things ought to work” or feeds a particular fetish or aberration.

Barack Obama was committed to “fundamentally” changing America.

Talk about excessive pride!  Tall talk from a fellow who accomplished nothing to speak of in his pre-Presidential years.  Yet, change was his bailiwick.  Oh, Joy!!!  He was saving his genius for us.

This is precisely the practice of the Left.  Yet, who among them references anything from human history that might offer instruction on the perils of unexamined change and the disintegration it can produce?  No one.

If the proponents of change knew anything about the history of religion, one of them might stumble across concepts like canon and creed and the meaning of Catholicity (derived from the Greek adjective katholikosle for “universal,” “whole,” “general”) which introduces us to, not disintegration, but rather integration … in this case change which coalesced a group – joined many together.

In the early centuries of Christianity there were varied understandings and articulation of what Christianity was.  To assemble a coherent understanding of this faith a uniform belief and practice arose from the development of agreed upon sacred texts (a canon) and a creed (a statement of basic beliefs) which united Believers into One Body (the Church, as it existed at that time).

What is my point?  In this we see what integration looks like.  In contrast we see in our present circumstances what disintegration looks like and the toll it takes on community, unity, peace, fellowship, national identity, civility, common understanding and much more.

The divisions which the Left propounds with their endless, small-ball pursuit of identity politics is the exact opposite of the Christian experience from which they appear to have  learned absolutely nothing. 

Yes, Friends – we suffer the disorienting and crippling lostness that Steinbeck mentions.  And the agents of change are the cause of this lostness and the social and national disintegration we are experiencing.

Better we value and care for what we have and seek to keep us One, not divided and lost.

Shalom.

Pray, for all men need the aid of the gods.

Homer, in Odyssey

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There was a time when it was common for men and women to account for the reality of God.  Homer wrote this 800 B.C.

Would that we think this way now.

There is humility and truth in what Homer wrote.  The irony, of course, is this: in our authentic humility we become more, not less – stronger, not weaker.

Alas, how that would change us for the better – improve the public dialogue, this nation and us.

Shalom.

 

 

The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics.  Fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.  (Emphasis added.)

Samuel P . Huntington

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Do not Islam and Marxism display the truth of Professor Huntington’s remarks? Is our national security not, then, contingent upon America and the West knowing who they are and who their rivals are – what is the bedrock of our identity and their identity?

American and Western identity rests on our classical legacy, Christianity, the relationship between church and state, freedom of religious expression, free speech and free elections, the rule of law, civil society and the peaceful transition of political power, free market economics, and our historic national footprint.

When cultures clash, as they do now, one must have a very clear understanding of who one is.

When cultures clash radical variation in basic identity within a society is a luxury that cannot be readily accommodated.  That said, a political party like the Democrat Left whose identity is based on: perpetual radical social and economic “change,” the centralization of cradle to grave power in the federal government, creating conflict through “identity politics” which manufactures angry “victim classes” and enslaved government dependents – compromises the nation’s security.  A state of perpetual internal flux puts in question one’s basic identity – it distracts and creates unnecessary and dangerous discord.

Indeed this is where we are today: division within while those within and without who wish our defeat grow stronger and more intent on our destruction. 

To make matters worse, very few of those who occupy political office have any inkling of the challenge we face and the fundamental question it raises.  The question?  Who exactly are we?

In a clash of cultures not knowing who you are is fatal.

Shalom.

 

 

Bravo!  President Trump in his Speech in Poland raised this critical issue: The West and America are unique and worthy of respect and existence.  The issue is now will the Left and the Marxists be seen for their errors, mistakes and godlessness and will they repent?  

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… philosophers of the Enlightenment sought to use reason alone to establish a new basis for political and social life, one that was separated from the past.  They tried to create a secular morality that any reasonable person could understand and affirm … they extolled the freely choosing individual. (Emphasis added.)

Rod Dreher, in The Benedict Option

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In his book Simply Sane, psychiatrist Gerald May, M.D. tells the story of a heroin addict whose addiction was tied to the frustration he experienced when that he was not as “responsible” as he expected he ought to me.  That is to say, each of life’s frustrations promoted him to seek a way to feel powerful and full, whole and strong.  His route to the experience of autonomy was heroin.  For others, of course, it is alcohol.  For others sex.  Still for others, make-believe – or consumption, or prescription medication, or status, or the stage, showing-off, or wealth … yes, even violence, spousal or child abuse.

So much for the Enlightenment and the notion of the individual’s power, wisdom, discipline – his or her ability to cope with their own poor choices and a world full of others who get to “freely choose” … only to enhance the odds of calamity and disappointment in each individual life.

In Chicago last weekend,  some of those “the freely choosing individuals” managed to “freely choose” to shoot 100 other “free choosers.”

Look around you.  Is it not possible that we have over-estimated people’s capacity for all this self-acclaiming navigation?

Think, Bill Cosby.  He was a “Free Chooser.”  Think about abortion mills, lot of “free choosing” going on there.  How about the federal “genius” who attempted to “rescue” children from a religious cult in Waco, Texas, and managed to burn to death scores of those same children while getting several federal agents killed as well.  Another “free chooser.”  Nitwits beyond imagination.

Don’t you think we have demonstrated the obvious limits of the human person? Are we not worse off for having ushered God out of the spotlight in favor of “freely choosing individual?”

Look about in politics, lots of delusional “free choosers” there?  No shortage of calamity. No a surplus of humble (hence wise and less dangerous) good old people – each skeptical of the omnipotence the Enlightenment (we might call it the “Stupid-ment”) ascribed willing-nilly to the imperfect human being.  Ya, that heroin addict might have been sober and content to expect less of himself and others.  It is, afterall, hard enough just being … just being a human being.

It always strikes me as real idiocy that we do not understand the wisdom and power of humility.  I often gag when I hear the graduation speaker or college prof tell the audience” “go and change the world!” Balderdash.  Wisdom would say: be skeptical of your alleged genius, focus on doing no harm – cherish established wisdom and the traditions which house it.

Shalom.

By the Way: Memo to the Enlightenment Wizards – We now know from brain studies that reason has nothing to do with moral development or initiating moral choice, rather these matters are instinctive.  Yes, the human person is designed to seek good and reason only fortifies the instinct or justifies the errant decision to override what is instinctive. “Freely choosing individual” … my Aunt’s banana!!!

… the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body … your bodies are members of Christ … the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Flee immorality.  Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body … your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you …

1 Cor 6: 13, 17, 18, 19

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In my lifetime, I have endured the so-called “sexual revolution.”  I have seen the damage it does.  I have seen it tarnish womanhood, destroy families, make children the object of sexual predators, the growth of pornography, adulteries, out-of-wedlock births … homes without fathers, mothers with children by different men who have long since departed without any responsibility whatsoever.

I have seen the growth of human trafficking and how the “sexual revolution” has drained meaning from life and debased the human person – child and adult.

We have acted as if there is no God, as if we are the masters of our own body – free to do with it what we wish … and free to use others in precisely the same selfish and coarse way.

This, Dear Friends, is a critical problem – we have turned the pages of history back to pagan times – codifying and protecting child sacrifice, and “redefining” marriages and “gender” without regard to human history, religion, social, psychological, emotional and moral well-being or common sense.

Little attention is paid to the place of sexual expression in the articulation of a country’s moral structure and spiritual development and welfare, its stability and meaning.  Less attention is paid, it seems, to the essential place of sexual expression in Christianity, the development of Western Civilization, and in the individual health, development and contentment of the human person.

The “sexual revolution” has been extraordinarily destructive.  We now see married female teachers with a husband and small children involved sexually with their underaged students – children as young as 12 or 13.  Does anyone really think that this is not a sign of decay?  Do you see where the “sexual revolution” has taken you, your children, your family?

In this present conduct we are destroying self and the nation.  This 4th of July take a real look at this culture and what we mindlessly endure, accept in silence. Is this who you are?  We are?  What you want?  What you want for your children?

Shalom.

Postscript – I recall attending services at a synagogue in South Bend, Indiana, and listening after services to a Rabbi who was both a religious scholar and a lawyer housed at the prestigious Jewish Rabbinical institute in Cincinnati.  The Rabbi’s speciality was the evolution of Jewish family life over the centuries and he offered this: in this view the two most significant events in Jewish history were, one, the destruction of the Temple, and, two – the establishment of monogamy in Jewish marriage.  When you think about the “sexual revolution” – think about that observation.

Remarkable Reception for President Trump in Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis are to be applauded for the warmth and dignity they display.  This could be a significant turning point.  So much for the notion that President Trump is the Devil incarnate.

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… the state threatened to become not only militarily and politically triumphant but psychologically so: the custodial Superego for millions … their Egos an instrument, pure and simple, of the state’s bureaucratic manipulation.

Robert Coles, M.D. in A Secular Mind

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Dr. Coles, an esteemed research psychiatrist, is commenting on Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz’s observations in his book entitled A Captive Mind in which he explores the consequences of (Communist) centralized state power over the individual person.

Doctor Coles ends his book about the secularized mind by focusing on the apparent need for the modern state to secure social and psychological control over its population.  And, Coles focuses on the prospects of neurochemistry and medical science in doing so.

As to the latter point, Coles draws on advances in neuroscience, biology and medicine – particularly on developments in pharmacology – reminding us that Sigmund Freud thought that in time the mind itself might be reduced to simple matter and ministered to (and perhaps altered substantially) by medications. That is to say, that the experience of being human would change rather significantly.

This, by the way, has been a theme expressed over time by a number of people from Orwell, to Huxley, to Stanislaw Witkiewicz and others, and displayed in Phillip Dick’s 1968 movie Blade Runner.

The notion of centralized control over the person leads me to think more critically of the divisions between those who despise Donald Trump and those who voted for him.

In thinking about this I see Trump as an unimportant focus.  It is not he himself that matters but rather the significance of the divide between those who voted for him and those who are clearly threatened by him, and seem to hate him.

It seems to me that the divide is what is important.

That said, I think one can make a reasonable observation that the difference is in part the distinction between those who favor centralized power and those who do not.  In effect, we are talking about those who favor government control over the social and psychological nature of the human person and those who oppose the same.

Illustratively, the Left favors imposing their “views” on others – i.e., forced “tolerance.” Some in the middle ground default to continued growth in government to the extent that sovereignty and national identity and nation itself is devolved to international organizations and competing cultures (i.e., globalists).

In opposition to this, of course, are those who favor less government and preservation of nation, individual freedom and continued American economic prosperity and ethos, and constitutional Federalism.

We have simply stated: globalists vs. nationalists.

So the question today is not Trump but what underpins the divide?  Why his adversaries violently oppose him?  Why the hatred and effort to drive him from office?

My view is that it has to do with a very fundamental question: Will we live in a country where control over the human person expands as the power of the central government and international organizations expands or will we not?

Shalom.

…”schizoid” … means out of touch; avoiding close relationship; the inability to feel.”

Rollo May, M.D., in Love and Will

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Thoughts on Tomahawks.

Well, this is a change.  For eight years we were allergic to use of force; we debased the military.  We drew “lines in the sand” and when they were crossed our inertia said, “Never mind.”  And the substantive message to others was: “you can aggress and we will do nothing.” Yes, we were chumps, easy pickings, inept.

Under President Obama we were a pinata.  Pinata’s do not protect American national security, make us safe, or lead to a stable globe.

One thing that comes to me immediately is: depersonalization.

Think about it: President Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton saw the same pictures of innocent Syrian citizens (including women and children) who had been gassed, but did nothing.

The Left is schizoid.  It talks about people but shows time after time that they really don’t care deeply about people.

Think about it: abortion advocacy, calling Americans “a basket of deplorables,” their constant self-serving, the consistent centralization of power in Washington, the creation of more and more dependents, the pursuit of euthanasia, the intolerance of those who disagree, the foolish straightjacket of political correctness, lying about Benghazi, the implicit dislike of this country, disinterest in protecting our people in Benghazi knowing that this was an at-risk outpost, using the IRS and apparently the intelligence agencies for political purposes, etc.

The schizoid person is the depersonalized person.  This is not Donald Trump.

Think about it.  Trump won an election because he connected with people.  If he does anything he connects with a sizable portion of Americans.

In contrast, the Washington establishment has, unfortunately, become disconnected from the average person – the guy whose work is in steel, coal or manufacturing and has seen his employment disappear.

Today, we live in interesting political times here and in the West.  Nationalism and populism is taking the stage and the Left is shrinking.  Their time is waning, even though they do not realize it.

In nationalism and populism people matter, feeling is in play – understanding others too, likewise defending your citizens, your nation and its interests.  In this, we end the division and depersonalization of the Left.

I for one won’t miss these destructive misfits one lick.

Shalom.

… you wicked and lazy slave … Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness, in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth …”

Mt 25: 26, 30

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… “wicked,” “lazy,” “worthless” …

These are powerful words to use and to aim at another person.  However these are the words of condemnation that Jesus used in telling the story of the master who left for a journey and gave to each of his three servants money (talents) to hold in his absence.

As you may recall, these are the words the master aimed at one of his three servants when he returned and found that the servant never used the money positively, but rather buried it in the ground for fear of losing it.

Much to the master’s displeasure, he had not used what the master gave him.

This is a story about slothfulness – about not using what you have been given. It raises a serious question for us (individually) and for our culture today.  Indeed, it is a measure wisely applied to those who profess to lead us today.

What is slothfulness?  In scripture we see it is rebellion.  The slothful do not serve God in their life.  No, in not serving God they register no gratitude to God for what they have been given (a life in being, for one thing).  Nor do they show obedience to God.  They shun the works God has called them to in this life.  They “do their own thing.”

Sloth is also wastefulness.  These people (and there are many) never use their spiritual gifts to glorify God.  They waste their time, gifts, and life on things that do not further God’s intention.

The slothful are selfish. They serve, not others, but their own desires.  They are lazy, as well, – preferring things that are easy to things that are hard.  These are the people who avoid work, depend wholly on others, take the low road or sit and do nothing, or in working never fully commit themselves to excellence.  These are the people who, while doing little, believe that they know better than others.

In thinking about this parable, I could not help but think about the Democrat Party of the Left here in the United States.  They are chock full of people who never held a private job in their life.  I think of Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, and Senator Charles Schumer.

Schumer, a Harvard Law School grad, never practiced law nor held a job in private industry after his schooling.  Rather as a young man with the gift of a “good education” he entered politics and never left.  He is one of those people who think, without any instructive life experience in the rough and tumble of daily work, that he knows better (always) than anyone else.  These are the slothful people who are perpetually foolish, trivial, loud, self-serving, and wrong. The Democrat Party of the Left attracts these people.  And in building dependents and the Nanny State, they breed slothfulness.

Think about it.  Does in make any sense for you to depend on the judgement of those with no life experience to speak of?  Would it not be better to cast them out to a dark place much as the master in the parable did to the lazy and wicked servant full of inertia and fear?  Have people such as these not done enough damage?

Shalom.

Surgery was a success.  Total knee replacement.  No pain killers needed.  In rehab – things going well.  Learned I have strong bones and a high pain threshold.  Interesting.

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” … the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel, of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Cor 4:4

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Last Monday while in the hospital awaiting a late morning surgery, I was asked several times by nurses if I had fasted as required and each time I was asked when I last ate or drank anything, and I replied “6:50 p.m. on Sunday.”

Just prior to surgery the anaesthetist asked me that same questions.  My response did not vary.

However my friend Marty who drove me to the hospital added, “He had Communion this morning.”  The doctor turned sort of pale.  “When?” he asked.  “About 6 a.m.,” was the reply.  “We have to reschedule to a later time today,” said the Doctor.

I apologized for the inconvenience.  I felt embarrassed.  I felt like an idiot for not thinking of the Communion offering as “food.”  A few hours of humbling silence followed.  I thought, I am a lawyer, how could I not see that issue?

In those hours of waiting I realized that years ago I would have seen the Communion offering as simply a wheat product.  But not now, not now as I routinely live … and believe.

My blindness to wheat was actually a proclamation of the sight of belief that I had acquired … quitely, earnestly over years of my conversion to Catholicism and my many, many days of attending Mass, and all that I experienced in the Mass, in my life and in my faith.

My faith had blossomed.  My sight had replaced the blindness that is of this world.

It is so very funny, strange, special how God delivers us and when He does.

How grateful I am for the sight I have been given.  I was blind and now I see!

Shalom.

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