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UK out off the EU.

Ought to tell us something.  The average person does not want over-reaching, over-regulating, over-taxing government that rules all aspects of life, destroys national identity while displaying gross incompetence, corruption, arrogance, disdain for its citizens and religion.

Simply stated, many do not believe the career, elected politicians and the self-acclaimed “elites” and reject their Leftist visions of the world.  No, they do not want those who have accomplished nothing in life to give us radical “change.”

The tendency of … modern society and of all its thought and culture is to deny and deride … to make man … afraid of faith and ashamed of it. (Emphasis added.)

Thomas Merton, in Life and Holiness

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Merton says something utterly simple and utterly true: “The first step to living faith is … as it has always been one way or another … a rejection of the standards of thought  … accepted by “others.”

Yes, to live faith in modern dictatorial liberal cultures requires standing apart from what is commonly accepted – commonly and uncritically accepted.

People can be like lemmings.  This is not good.  If wearing a metal bar through one’s skull were popular, the hat industry would go out of business.

Lemmings. They fear being outside the crowd!  Such is the fear of abandonment, the power of social need.  Yet what is liberty, but something each person can claim? What makes life sacred, but that each may live it – free of endless rules and regulation, the grand designs of bureaucrats, know-little career politicians and pin-head academics with political axes to grind.

In the world of exclusive reason – of reliance on reason alone – faith fades and acquiescence grows.

Acquiescence is so much easier than belief – for as Merton says: “faith … demands an interior revolution of one’s whole self and a reorientation of one’s existence in a contrary sense to the orientation taken by mundane prejudice.” (Emphasis added.)

Yes, faith is more demanding.  Acquiescence demands little – just our compliance. Yet, in acquiescence there is no meaning, and one’s life has no resonance.

When God sits at the center of our life and our nation, our meaning and purpose is never in doubt.  Acquiescence, on the other hand, demands you sell out, lose your faith and become a slave to others, to their whim and wilfulness – no matter their error, fooolishness and selfish designs.

The renunciation of soul to fit into social group takes all of you, hollows you out, empties you, leaves you dependent, enslaved, despairing and devoid of substance.

I never minded not belonging.  Never minded making up by own mind, saying what I thought.  What a grace it is to live free – to live in faith!  

I learned early on that when you are poor, you easily risk all – for falling from little to nothing was a short drop and daring to rise from little to more with your soul intact and growing had far the greater upside.  Slave or free?  Give me free everytime.

Those who govern least, govern best! 

You don’t retain yourself by losing faith.

Shalom.

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Memorial Day Weekend, 2016

They have built up the most realistic of political systems in an effort to establish a kingdom not of this world.

Maurice Powicke, in The Legacy of the Middle Ages

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These words are taken from the beginning of Diarmaid MacCulloch’s extraordinary book Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.

MacCulloch, an esteemed Oxford historian, has written a prize-winning book that is “a must read” in times such as these in which the ignorant have become the hostile to a faith which played, and continues to play, a unique and irreplaceable role in shaping and furthering human existence for more than 30 centuries.

Yes, Christianity has built the United States.  Yes, it has built Western Civilization and humanized other quarters of the world.  Yes, it has been, and is, a source of stability and hope especially in dark hours and afflicted decades.

One would do well to think of Christianity and Christ on Memorial Day 2016 and ponder this: Does anyone really think that those who have laid down their lives for others stretching far into years beyond their sacrifice did so for secularism? For Marxism?  For Godlessness?  For abhorrent sexual practices?  For adultery? The gutting of marriage?  For abortion?  For climate change?  For the redistribution of wealth?  The creation of dependence?  For the diminution of excellence, the destruction of virtue, or the banishment of prayer in public places?  Or for the abandonment of liberty, and the development of a totalitarian state where a free democratic Republic stood?  Where the Little Sisters of the Poor could be chased from the public square by the bigotry of the behemoth and corrupted central state?

Lifting from Powicke’s text, I remind you this Memorial Day that Christianity formed “to preserve a treasure, a command to be executed, a promise to be repeated, a mission to be fulfilled.”  

Christianity is “an object of contemplation … the inspiration for right conduct.”  It is “an unfathomable mystery … related to all knowledge.”  It furthers “the exploration of the recesses of the soul.”  It developed the arts and sciences and “constructed theories of the universe.”

Its simple propositions changed the world and human life for the better.

‘Thou shalt love thy God and thy neighbour as thyself.  What profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’ … ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  No one cometh to the Father, save by Me. Take and it; this is my body.’ … ‘Go and preach the Kingdom of God.  Feed my sheep.  Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church.  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.’

Do we really want a President, politicians, a judiciary, rogue bureaucrats, distorted and ignorant special-pleaders or godless violent mobs to erase your history, victimize the faithful, place God in exile?

Yes, this is the issue today, now, in 2016.

It is up to you, and me.

Those who would today destroy Christianity, this nation, and Western Civilization ride on the sacrifices of the faithful.  Enough!

Shalom.

Do your part.  Share this post with others, so they might know and believe.

 

Everything to do with religion, everything it is and asserts, touches the human soul …

Carl Jung, M.D., in Letters, Volume 1: 1906-1950

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Do you wonder how it is that we are lost today?  Adrift.  Confused.  Unhappy. Disoriented. Discontented.

We live more so a soulless existence, days without meaning – in a quandary. We are bound by what is physical and estranged from ourselves, from reality, from what we are: spiritual beings.  And we are misled by those who discount and exile religion, faith, our faith narratives.

If there is one critical source of our discontent it is a loss of faith, and hence a loss of self, of soul.

Yes, many in command are soulless.  In this, we are quite ignorant of human existence. We simply have neglected what we should know from a comprehensive knowledge of human history, its reflection in our nation’s story, and the vital role faith plays in sustaining healthy, insightful, congenial, wise people and cultures.

Jung knew that our psyche corresponded to what we know as divine, the divine images we find in our faith narratives throughout time.

Jung, in writing about archetypes and the collective unconscious, noted: ” … man is not so much interested in objective explanations of the obvious, but he has an imperative need – to assimilate all outer experience to inner, psychic events.”

Yes, the soul matters – living at depth is required if sickness and self-destruction is to be avoided.

Life and all that we experience goes to the soul, to the interior where it has lasting meaning, provides depth of life and understanding, links us with others, allows us to “read” situations better, remain calm when all about us are frantic and fragmented.

And where now is the soulful leader?  The soulful discussion?  Where is the certainty we ought to know?  The confidence we need?  The wise voice?

Anyone who has lost the historical symbols and cannot be satisfied with its substitutes is certainly in a very difficult position today: before him there yawns the void, and he turns away from it in horror.  What is worse, the vacuum gets filled with absurd political and social ideas, which all are distinguished by their spiritual bleakness.  But he cannot get along with these pedantic dogmatisms … (Emphasis added.)

Carl Jung, M.D. in Collected Works

Does this not explain the foolishness of Bernie Sanders, the ranting and superficiality of Mr. Trump?  The utter confusion and dishonesty of Mrs. Clinton? The disengagement and estrangement of the President?  The inertia of elected officials and institutions?  The insanity of those who wish to deconstruct historic and indispensable institutions – from our representative democracy, to marriage and family?

Is it not time to salvage what works, what gives us meaning and houses wisdom and fellowship and healthy relationships, civic order, leadership, confidence, kindness, sanity?

Shalom.

 

His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power.  Through these, he has bestowed on us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine natureafter escaping from corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.  (Emphasis added.)

2 Pet 1:3-4

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Though we now live in daily chaos on a scope that I have never seen in this land, we have been given the gift of sharing in divine nature – a way to escape the corruption that evil brings in endless varieties.

You see numbers of people everywhere, across Christian denominations and among our Jewish brothers and sisters, who manifest uncertainty, concern, confusion, even fear. They see what is happening and they wonder: What can be done?  They wonder what has happened to this nation and those who occupy leadership positions.  Yes, they ask what can be done?

The answer and its execution is quite simple: return to God.  As a Christian, it means return to Jesus and seek and follow the Holy Spirit – our divine guide in the mortal world with Evil at the ready.

Do you wish peace, peace of soul and the fellowship of community, a life of kindness and friendship?  Do you wish to see excellence and live it?  Live in hope?  Know love?  Receive it in all its forms?  And give it easily?  Do you wish a life in which you can trust others and the institutions we need to govern and survive in a hostile and violent world?

Return to God.  Return to Christ.  Live in the company and command of the Holy Spirit. To do so: start by reading Chapter One in The Second Letter of Peter – that is, 2 Pet. 1: 1-11, which is entitled “Exhoration to Christian Virtue.”

There is nothing wrong with this land that cannot be corrected by simply living in virtue. Likewise, there is nothing in this land that can be corrected without Christian virtue.

Shalom.

Please share this post with others.  We are all called to witness.

TOMORROW – The Christian Virtue of Faith.

Snow is falling – light and gentle.  Blizzard to follow.  Expect over 2′ – winds gusting to 40-45 mph.  Over by Sunday morn.  The worse tonight and tomorrow.

The ultimate determinate in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas – a trial of spiritual resolve; the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, and the ideas to which we are dedicated.

President Ronald W. Reagan

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These are the words President Reagan spoke to the Irish National Parliament in June 1984. They are timeless; no less true today as then.

All struggles are spiritual and test our resolve.  They ask: Who are we?  What do we stand for?  What do we honor?  How do we live?

These are the questions in all conflicts we face.  They surface in the fights we must have as a person and a people – individually in life, in a family, in our work, in interaction with others – particularly with those, foreign and domestic, who seek to bully and control us, impose discord, faithless and disordered thinking and evil upon us, enslave us, divide us from who we are, what is good and from God.

No one who lives can avoid combat for no life can be claimed when good is not defended – and a life created by the One who is Good is good and is sacred and must be defended lest God be denied.

Our weapons are our values, our beliefs and the ideas to which we and our ancestors are dedicated.  And yes, resolve is required and in conflicts it is our Spirit that is challenged – and in that God; and, what is good is put to risk.

There are many among us now who are godless but seek control.  Their ideas destroy what is good and faithful.  Yes, we face a test of wills; and yes, we must protect what is sacred.

Oh God, keep us in the Spirit, strengthen our resolve – guide us now and always.

Shalom.

… everything strives towards its own wholeness.

Carl Jung, in Letters. (Vol. 1: 1906-1950)

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Some think of Adam and Eve as eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as the birth of consciousness, a time when the human person begins to explore his nature, nature at-large, life and living.  (Genesis, Chapter 3)

Carl Jung, who took account of religious narratives, took the view (in discussing the structure of the psyche) that the human person could not remain underdeveloped – in an infant state, within the “bosom” of his family, without endangering his psyche and risking neurotic behavior.

If you think about it and look around, there is a logic and truth to this.

Do we not see among us many who stay dependent on their family (even the disordered family) in brokenness, unhappiness, even violence – addiction, crippling dependence, inter-generational poverty, and habitual dysfunction? Indeed, does government not create or add to these things?

Jung would tell us that ” … everything strives towards its own wholeness”  and that the interruption of that journey creates human disorder, sickness.  I add much like we see in social dysfunction of significant segments of the population.

Jung would stress growth and independence of the human person, their full development as human beings as the missing link.

Indeed, Jung also observes that humans are to live in Light and understanding, to come to the point where our conscious existence exceeds the actions of our unconscious impulses and primitive past.

Yet in our culture where god is government, we double down on dependence and make all sorts of excuses for the vast social dysfunction we create and sustain.

We seem to love fictions so long as we might have power and pretend.  So dysfunction we create and foster is always a problem created by group A, or historic event B – but never the consequence of what we collectively and individually do and what we neglect.  The government is never at fault and never self-limiting.  And individuals avoid the pain of growing in exchange for the fiction of pretending and dependence.

A far better way to govern and to live is to endorse the proposition that “… everything strives toward its own wholeness” and each must abide.

Shalom.

One day the last portrait of Rembrant and the last bar of Mozart will have ceased to be … because the last eye and the last ear accessible to their message will have gone.

Oswald Spengler, in The Decline of the West

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If you doubt that we are in decline simply sit in a coffee shop in the morning and listen to people.  Good God!

The incessant chatter resembles nothing so much as chickens pecking on pavement – loudly, without discretion in what is a public place.  No shame. No common sense.  No idea of their ignorance and obvious expend-ability.

Yes, loud people with nothing to say.

Take the guy that talked loudly for thirty minutes, without interruption, about motorcycle wheels.  Or take the obese, excessively loud guy, wearing a tee shirt and a far too small, cheap man’s soft hat which sat on his large head like a parakeet on the board behind of an elephant, whose silence came only when he was stuffing his mouth with cardiac-killing something or other.  He talked as if he was a corporate maven; yet, his words – inflated to match his ample girth.

We are a piggish lot.

Truth is the coffee shop shows you how far we have declined.  What easy pickings we are for the hateful ones who wish to kill unarmed innocents.

Yes, when you stop for coffee you are more vulnerable that you think. Look around.  No one in view could serve in the military; they are, in or out of a conflict, a liability, a danger to you – dead weight.

We are weaker than you think.

Shalom.

Postscript

[I know this post will seem harsh to some of you.  However I tell you this: if you are in a Paris music venue among the people I describe – you are at real risk. Has not the pendulum swung?  Are we not now, in the circumstances we face, responsible to one another?  I say “Yes.”

No more living the life of a self-indulgent Hollywood screw-up.  The game is on and it is here – not overseas.]

Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber.  To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.

Franklin Roosevelt

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These are the words of President Roosevelt less than two years after he initiated welfare programs during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

These are not the words of President Reagan, nor the good sense similarly stated by any number of patriotic, thoughtful, kind and moral conservatives from the 1930’s to the present day.

Indeed, lest you think that this was FDR on a bad day, it might inform you to recall the words of Robert Kennedy decades later as to our national and local government welfare programs:

” … the criticisms of welfare do have a center of truth, and they are confirmed by the evidence.

Recent studies have shown, for example , that higher welfare payments often encourage students to drop out of school, that they encourage families to disintegrate, and that they often lead to life long dependency.”

Alas, the modern liberal and the Democrat Party of the Left is incapable of learning from the icons of liberalism.

Rather, they play to their ideology and their own prejudice and ignorance.  They deny facts and demonize those who dare to disagree with them – skipping over FRD, Robert Kennedy and others. Such is the mindset and foolishness of ideology, and its totalitarian nature, when fact and history are denied.

No one ever prospers when ignorance and prejudice prevail over fact, evidence and common sense.

It takes a humble and wise person to admit their errors.  Those who cannot are not worthy to lead in any fashion.

If there is one major ingredient in our cultural chaos it is this: we have a political party of the Left and a government that has usurped the role of moralist – – – taken this responsibility from religion and the conscience of the individual, sovereign citizen and his or her wrestling match with their faith and what this faith requires of them.

Yes, we have chased religion, the individual free citizen and God from the public stage and government has run amok.  Look only, if you will, at entitlements which promise us national bankruptcy in our lifetime, or the dozens and dozens of programs that fail and waste scads of money in the process.

Think of the consequences of what the government does?

Does not the public distribution of condoms approve promiscuity?  The support of out-of-wedlock births license such births and the poverty that follows?

Lest we be dishonest as to the failures of religion and the Church in this saga: too many clerics have endorsed government as moral decision maker, and too many pastors and their religious institutions have shown their failures, some indeed doing so only after covering them up.

Yes, this shows human failure and corruption – a betrayal of values and virtue, the demands of faith.  Yet, the truth remains that religious narrative is the moral guide, and the individual must confront their conscience and the demands of their religious narrative and its beliefs.

Faith acted on by believers – not politics, policy, programs, judicial decision, laws, rules or regulations – produces a moral culture, a good society.

Confusion as to who plays what role in matters of morality has shown itself to be destructive and to instill inter-generational poverty and widespread, tragic human failure.

In the end, one thing is sure – the zeal of the social justice crew (but a small percentage in any religious tradition) is misplaced and destroys, as FDR said, the spiritual and moral life of a people, and a nation.

Time has long since come in which we are obligated to change our ways and seek for all people – independence and freedom to live and grow in the strength of their individual initiative and their faith recognition that they are made better and more capable, not by politics, programs and government, but by a loving God.

Shalom.

… the shared commitment to safeguard one another’s lives is unnegotiable and only deepens in time.  The willingness to die for another person is a form of love that even religions fail to inspire, and the experience of it changes a person profoundly.  (Emphasis added.)

Sebastian Junger, in War

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Junger is talking about war, combat and life.

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

So says Jesus in the Gospel of John, Chapter 15, verse 13.

This is a cardinal truth, a capital “T” truth.

How is it that the President of France can forcefully and appropriately respond to an act of war on his country in the Paris attacks and our President (and public officials) cannot even accurately name attacks on us, and on our land?

How can one man see an act of war while another denies it?

Note what Sebastian Junger correctly says: “the willingness to die for another is a form of love.” Same as what Jesus says.

What does this tell us?

The man who does not love cannot defend another.  Further, the man who cannot lay down his life for another does not know Christ.

Interestingly, the French President (Francois Hollande) was raised a Catholic. The Truth, you see, does not evaporate that easily, no matter one’s faith trajectory.  We are made in and for Truth.

Frankly, a commitment to fight for another and to die for another is rooted in love of others more than self.

The aloof and egocentric – those whose lives are committed to nothing in particular and surely nothing larger than themselves – will not fight nor die for anyone, let alone others or a value that exceeds self.

These people sooner claim to live for an idea.  They live in the abstract, in fabrications.  They are ideologues – living in the head, not reality as it is in its timeless form.

Ideologues do not live for others.  They live for an image of themselves and the world, not as it is – but rather as they fashion it is and for their egotistical belief that the world and others must conform to them.

Ideologues, after all, live at no greater depth than the ego.

They are surface people whose exterior “cool” is but a buffer, a veneer of no human depth.  They are without spirit.

For them sacrifice is utterly alien, inapplicable – to be avoided, lest they be discomforted, required to grow, denominated to reality – to the harsh reality that life is messy and demanding, and also a glorious experience rendering joy and love, purpose and meaning that exceeds one’s self.

One who does not understand Junger hides.  Those that hide cannot lead.

Life is combat.  It is that simple.

To survive and prosper, ignore the words of those who hide.  Dismiss them. They deceive.  With them you die before your time.

Shalom.

You might want to share this with others.  We are at a crossroads, a gut-check.

Every one knows how to be resigned amid the joys and happiness of prosperity, but to be so amid storms and tempests is peculiar to the children of God.

St. Francis de Sales

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Thought strengthens, the heart grows, courage increases and understanding and wisdom, like compassion, arise when times are difficult.

We have had a prosperous length of time.  Amid plenty we have become careless in our thoughts and habits.  We have succumbed to the errors of the intellect and pride in our limited selves.  And now we see the calamity.

Indeed, in the highest places we see corruption, incompetence, laziness, lying, arrogance and weakness.  We are now so very much who and what we have NOT been made to be.

Yes, we are at a turning point.

We would be wise to recall the words of King David to his son Solomon:

“Only the Lord give you discretion and understanding, and give you charge over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God.  Then you will prosper, if you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances which the Lord commanded Moses of Israel.  Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be dismayed.

1 Chr 22: 12-13

Fear not.  Through adversity is salvation.  Does not Christ show us this?

We are invited to a new life, to reformation, renewal, from death to life, from chaos to contentment, from folly to faith – faith more certain than ever.

If you are dismayed and feel down and defeated, heed what King David said.

Ours is a time from adversity to prosperity, from despair to meaning, from the material and the physical to the Spirit and what is everlasting, immortal.

Where are you now?  Where will you go?  Where will you be?

Shalom.

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