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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.

 

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Your are not entitled to your opinion.  You are entitled to your informed opinion.  No one is entitled to ignorance.  (Emphasis added.)

Harlan Ellison

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These twenty words ought to be labeled across the scene whenever a Washington self-acclaimed pundit is on television sharing their “opinion.”  Likewise it ought to tattooed on the forehead of each and every political journalist and editorial board member of any metropolitan newspaper in the U.S. and on the foreheads of each member of Congress, and D.C. lobbyists, public affairs and “communication” specialists and politically active lawyers.

Why you ask?  We have plenty of “opinions” – which is to say we are deluged by ignorance – a wicked pollution that poisons us all, creates chaos and makes us dumber and utterly uninformed.

Case in point: today I heard a Washington-based journalist interviewed about the recent New York Times article that raised the question of whether President Trump was a Russian “mole” – an agent of a foreign government.

The interviewer began the conversation by asking if said “journalist” believed Alger Hess (of the Whitaker Chambers public saga from the 1950’s) was a Communist.  (Chambers had been in a Communist spy ring with Hess – who subsequently served a federal prison term.)

Well, this Washington journalist “hemmed and hawed” never owning the fact that Hess was a Communist agent just as Chambers was.  Ignorance from one who dares not to give opinion on all sorts of public matters – as if the opinion stands on research, training, extensive experience that might support one’s opinion.  

This is a major problem in American Culture – “opinions” without knowledge are unless, destructive and yet offered freely and entertained as if they have merit.

I have seen so much of this that I have made a habit of searching out the educational backgrounds of these opinionated people.  Invariably they have a B.A. from someplace like Harvard, Oberlin, Yale, Duke or such and no work experience but journalism.

Think about it – one of President Obama’s key foreign policy figures was a young fellow with an undergraduate degree in creating writing … another fellow on the White House economic policy team had a meager undergraduate degree from Yale in economics and nothing more – including seasoned professional experience.

I make a few final points: (1) we are grossly under-served by these people, (2) you would be wise to listen very discreetly to only those who have substantial experience in particular areas and some greater educational training than a B.A. or B.S. from a school that is far past the apex it once occupied.

On one is entitled to peddle ignorance in the public square.

Shalom.

Trump a Russian Mole – Let’s see.  Hillary Clinton presides over a sale of 20 percent of our weapon grade uranium to Russian oligarchs and they subsequently donate $145,000,000 (yes, millions of dollars) to the Clinton “Foundation” and Mr. Trump is hooked up with the Russians … and Ms. Clinton and her hubby are what exactly?

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.

Living in a world of secular time … the older awareness of higher time has receded … the best way to try to grasp the change in time experience is in terms of alternations in our understanding of order …

Charles Taylor, in A Secular Age

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Taylor is making a vital point that is often overlooked and it is this – when cultures change the nature of human experience also changes and, mind you, those changes cannot be considered as always beneficial to humans and their experience as humans.  Indeed, those changes might well accrue to the individual and collective detriment of the human person, their life and community.

To make his point as to secular time and its distinction with time as previously considered he notes that once the idea of a King’s Two Bodies (divine and mortal) was easily accepted and conveyed in some sense as an eternal reality.  Now, Taylor notes, this idea in a secular age is considered odd.

Likewise, he recalls that there was a time in Europe where each year in small villages one day a year the villagers would change titles, duties, attire, roles and authority.  This was Carnival and its disposition implicitly looked at time and order and status differently than we do today.  His point?  Order and time were once seen in ways we do not see either now.  Carnival was a reminder that we are sacred beings in a sacred order.

Well, so what?

Taylor goes on to make the point that today “nations, states and churches” are not seen in the same regard as they once were.  These entities no longer provide the meaning and identity that they once did and no longer connect us to a “Great Chain of Being.”

When cultures change (not always for the better, for sure) ideas like the value of a nation and its citizenship can be changed to a degree that neither borders nor nations or the documents or authorities that provide legal protection to the individual are any longer valued or protected.  This may help explain the seeming insanity of many who discount the worth of America, the nation state, religion, borders, and the privilege of being an American citizen or part of Western Civilization.  Make no mistake the West is in a pickle with elites choosing to honor global organizations and rule over national autonomy.

What to conclude?  Listen carefully to those who purpose “change” for none of those who I have seen have any intellectual, social or psychology depth to suggest that they can improve on what we have.  Rather they seem destined to create chaos on the way to total destruction.  

If you doubt how quickly things can “go South” just look at Venezuela where national poverty and social, economic and spiritual deconstruction have ushered in a dark and dangerous time in a once wealthy and educated society.

When those who advocate change drive with their eyes closed.  Death and damage ensue.

Shalom.

Postscript – When a culture entertains ideas like “one need not have borders” or “aborting a child is a ‘choice” the culture has already changed radically and not for the best. When language has changed so radically that fundamental concepts are challenged in ways that deviate from long standing norms – one has to beware of the cultural deconstruction that is underway.  Yes, we can see the culture and the nation decompose.

The intellectual and moral virtues perfect the human intellect and appetite in proportion to human nature, But the theological virtues do so supernaturally.  (Emphasis added.)

St. Thomas Aquinas, in Summa Theologiae

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When do you ever hear a public figure, or a cleric for that matter, suggest that intellectual and moral virtue (talent, attention or focus) serves only to perfect human nature while theological virtues introduce one to a larger reality – that which goes far deeper than intellect and appetite?  The answer: never.

Public chatter is devoid of depth and, at that, not particularly useful.  Rather it sets a very small frame of reference and excludes so much frontier that its value is less than positive given that fact that it leaves out more than one needs for full human growth and development.

In a word – public discourse does at least as much harm (probably more) than good.

That said – do you not think it is a wise idea to equip yourself with some familiarity with the theological virtues?  Why be less whole and ultimately mistaken by being poorly informed by those in public discourse who are themselves ill-equipped to offer any significant insights worth our attention?

Think about it.

Shalom.

 

 

Rainy Day and it begins with Sonny Criss and Blues in My Head.

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… Christ has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him … he bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you have come to share in the divine nature, and escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. (Emphasis added.)

2 Peter 1: 3-4

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We live in a noisy world.  A whole lot of nonsense spoken and visible – and we are without a filter.  That said, think about what nonsense you take in and the way it alters your state of being, your mood, your perception of the world.

Let’s me frank.  We are exposed to people who speak but know nothing.  People whose words are better ignored for the idiocy they convey.  Too many godless and childish voices and we do virtually nothing to avoid them.

Listen to Peter.  Christ is our screen – yet, we let people talk to us who know not much and surely not Christ.  Why would you let yourself listen to foolishness – to godless nonsense?  Do you let others serve you rancid food?  Of course, not.

Where is your discretion?

If you wish to digest what is good, to hear what is purifying and clean and points to eternity and the good that is freely given to you – then pay attention to Christ, to his disciples – to what is in Holy Scripture and what has good and has withstood the test of time.

Presently there is corruption all around and abundantly so in those with who dominate  public arenas.  Time to be discreet.  Sharpen your hearing and your sight by taking up the habit of reading Morning and Night Prayer (as Catholics we call this prayer of the hours).

Being engaged in a routine of morning and evening prayer orients your eyes and ears to what is good, grows your heart and soul – is an immediate guard to the depths of corruption and inanity that is ever-present in public discourse today.

Be wise.  Be a discrete listener and viewer.  Such discretion leaves the insanity and corruption to others.  You need not be drawn into all this mess for you have been given Christ.  Make this gift your foundation, your orientation to each day and what surrounds you.  Health, happiness and wisdom awaits you.

Shalom.

 

 

Beginning the day with Morning Prayer and Allegri’s Miserere.

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Son of God, you were with the Father in the beginning, and in the fullness of time you became a man, give us a brother’s love of all people.  (Emphasis added.)

From the Intercessions of Morning Prayer for weekdays after Christmas.

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There is nothing that might end our division but being as brother’s to others – that is as Christ would have it.

Think about it.  What if those women who disparage men would see men acting with honor as brother’s and protectors?  Imagine what might happen.

I tell you a story.  For about the last three to four years I have had many wonderful conversations with men and women who are African-Americans.  These exchanges have been pleasant, warm – the kind of encounters one has with a good neighbor.  In each conversation I have said – “I am so sick and tired of people dividing us from one another.”  I have not encountered one person in these conversations who did not agree whole-heartedly with me.

If Christ comes as our brother, is it not necessary that we who claim to be Christians be as brothers to others?

You know the answer.  Let’s live up to our obligation and begin doing so today!

Shalom.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

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We are, it seems, better at discontent than contentment.  This need not be.

Look around – so many assert themselves, make pleas as to a perceived “injustice.”  Mind you each voice of self-promotion of this sort is a voice that divides one from another … for there is no advocacy but that someone is designated as the “oppressor,” the enemy.

I ask you this – if you have the peace of Christ can there be this need for advocacy and self-promotion?  Would angry voices and division ever be necessary?

You know the answer.  Our peace is in Christ.  Yet, we are a quarrelsome breed, always at odds with others.  Look at our public figures, the public “intellectuals,” our news media, celebrities, the legions of advocates – who among us speaks with the voice of Christ?  Who counsels and conveys the certainty we are afforded in the life, death and resurrection of Christ?  Who, despite disappointment and deceit, remains certain as to this life and its outcome?  Who is undeterred by conflict and inequality?

Those who live in Christ live in peace – maintain a stable disposition – are neither chaotic or perpetually angry.  No, they are confident and strong of heart.

We need in this culture today to reduce the conflict, discontent and disorder.  We need men and women who build a life on Christ and faith.  I think particularly of our political figures – Members of Congress and the those whose life have been as permanent fixtures in the federal government.  I see no one in this group who speaks with the confidence and reassurance that witnesses the peace of Christ.  Rather I see, among the elected and particularly among the ideologues, a hostile disposition that knows no comfort.

Having lived a life of hardship, loss and poverty in the midst of combat that such things bring – I can tell you that living in the peace of Christ is the only vehicle that brings one peace, certainty and stability.  Each of the discontented and quarrelsome voices deserve only your rejection – for they know nothing of a life of peace.

Who in their right mind would want to be led by those who are angry and hostile, discontented and not at peace?

Shalom.

The long quiet ride from the Thanksgiving gathering to the isolation of the mountains is now completed.  I am back and I post in the late, mid-afternoon.  I hope this allows for you reflection on our land and nation … and God’s providence.

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I do not know how a man can be an American, even if he is not a Christian, and not catch something with regard to God’s purpose as to this great land.

Phillip Brooks, in National Needs and Remedies

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This is who we have been – a society and political entity that is informed by faith – and particularly by Christianity.  But are we now?  This is the question.

Many proceed as if being faithful is a disqualifier.  Indeed, many have turned against faith and God – act as if such things are passe, an impediment to life and one’s personal ambitions no matter the desire that is pursued.  Power seems a common objective – and notoriety and exorbitant wealth too.

Power, in particular, is pursued regardless of the means used to acquire it.

Let’s be absolutely candid – those on the Left who seek to govern have no regard for our Christian roots, the Constitution and its protection of the common man – and the uniqueness of American Representative Democracy – a state of limited government and the Constitutional protection of the individual from oppressive government.

As you sit in the afterglow of this Thanksgiving – think about what is put at risk by the Leftists in our midst.  Have we come this far so well to discard this land – a Christian blessing?

Shalom.

The wisest woman builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.

Prov 14:1

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Thinking about the coverage and commentary of last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, I am struck by how uninformed and uneducated are the Committee members, their colleagues in the Congress, and members of the media.

Some of us read and think – they seem to do neither.

What do I mean?  Faced with the predictable rage of Gender Feminists no one in the above-named bodies has knowledge of feminism – its history and evolution and the distinction between Equality Feminism and Gender Feminism, nor recognizes the divide between female feminist scholars as to the two feminist cohorts.

People in these bodies do not see, as scholars do, that those pursuing equality are lawful reformists and those on the Gender side seek revolution – an overturning of propositions fundamental to Western Civilization, long-accepted historical norms governing interaction between men and women, our institutions (including family), history, the legal system, federalist form of representative government as well as peaceful co-existence, prosperity, civil discourse, peace and tranquility.

Nor could most (if not all) in the Congress connect Gender Feminism with the founding declaration of the (Marxist) radical S.D.S.’s Port Huron Statement (1968), nor see in Gender Feminism their dedication to the proposition that the source of all evil are men, by which radical women replace “the establishment,” so hated by S.D.S., with the “patriarchy” as the target now to be destroyed.

Who in our esteemed institutions recognizes the Gender Feminists repudiate science as a source of male oppression, and dismiss nature in kind.  Who sees the destructive results of this view?  Who stands in opposition to it?  Who explains its destructive behavior?

Faced with revolutionary nihilists – those in Congress and the media see only women – but have no critique as to what precisely these outraged women represent …

… folly with their own hands tears down the house …  Yep.  That’s what we got.

Alas, this got me thinking: who in the Congress has a Ph.D. in philosophy, psychology, theology, American history, intellectual history or literature?  That is – who has done the work to properly attend to our affairs in this day and Age when revolutionaries are enraged and hateful destructive Marxist predicates govern their actions and complaints?

The answer: only one person in Congress has done any rigorous work likely to provide an understanding as to what is right before us.  That person?  Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska (Harvard and Oxford training and a Yale Ph.D. in American history).

Sasse did a most interesting dissertation on the rise or the secular Left and its counter-balance, the religious Right, in the last part of the 20th century.

Sasse correctly sees the tension as between Unbelievers and Believers that was fueled by Courts and culture – each of which has moved from faith to opposition to it in the last 60 years.

Indeed, Sasse’s dissertation helps one see that the elites (not just Gender Feminists) are at odds with the “bottom-up” supporters of Donald Trump and seek (in a rather pathological manner) both his demise and the silence and compliance of his voters by demonizing them.

In that contribution alone – we can understand a great deal and realize … folly leads to houses being destroyed.  That’s right where we are, sports fans.

Shalom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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