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The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.

Vaclav Havel

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Salvation.  The heart + reflection + meekness + responsibility.  So observes Vaclav Havel.

Don’t see much of this around Washington these days.  Salvation is a word rarely heard since we began barring God from public conversation.  We can thank the marshmallow middle and the strident Left for that basic act of dislocation – as to the latter their inevitable preference for error.

Heart, reflection, meekness, responsibility.  Little of this here today.  Heartless is more the form.  Reflection, like thoughts of salvation, appears permanently shelved in favor of the instant news cycle where comments issue as frequently as pulse beats as politicos and “talking heads” tommy-gun out the “latest inside scoop” replete with “unnamed sources” (a delightful name for twins today, by the way).

Meekness, my God!  None of that here.  Washington is more a mob at Filene’s Basement tearing the bargain “name brand” apparel from one another in a melee resembling Wrestle-Mania gone mad.  Meekness, it seems, is too orderly and vulnerable for Washington today.  Gone is the obvious power of a calm and measured voice.

It follows there are few signs of responsibility – at least among the those who daily carp and complain, and report and exploit.

We could use some Vaclav Havel.  Inmates running an asylum never works well.

Shalom.

Footnote – Vaclav Havel is among the most interesting figures of the late last century and early 21st century.  A writer, philosopher, political dissident and politician who served as the last President of Czechoslovakia (1989-1902) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1903-2003).  A widely-esteemed and admired man or faith, courage, talent, heart, thoughtfulness, insight, humility, service and responsibility.  Don’t you wish we had such a presence here today. ‘Tis time to tell the children to be quiet.

… the Almighty will not pervert justice …

Job 34:12

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The Comey matter has generated a whole lot of conversation which reflects a broad ignorance among the politicos, media personalities and commentators (lawyers included).

Well aside from the inane partisanship among the Democrat Left, assessment of Mr. Comey’s worth is simply summed up in Job and the applicable quote above. To wit: Comey perverted justice.

You see, an investigator does not have the power to make the decision as to whether a person is or is not prosecuted, nor does he serve as a jury determining a person’s innocence or guilt.

Lest we exclude Ms. Loretta Lynch (the Attorney General) from her unforgivable behavior in meeting privately with the husband (Bill Clinton) of a person (his wife, Hillary Clinton) while his wife is the subject of a very serious FBI investigation – Ms. Lynch might well be reminded that she, too, in her inexplicable airport runway meeting served to pervert justice.

Neither Mr. Comey (head of the FBI) nor Ms. Lynch (the Attorney General of the United States) displayed any rudimentary regard for justice nor any evidence of the simple requirements of their ethical duties as lawyers.

Far beyond the obvious breach of legal ethics and of their respective, defined roles as judicial officers – both Mr. Comey and Ms. Lynch remind us that a bright, well-educated person might be expected to grasp the concept which Job pronounces – that is: that justice is to be cherished not perverted.  Alas, neither were up to the task.

Sadly the mish-mash of frantic, idiotic public comments about Mr. Comey’s lawful dismissal by President Trump just underscores the worthlessness of listening to the news media, politicians, and self-claimed legal wizards on virtually any matter they care to mention.

Voices of the uninformed are many these days.  Talk though they may – they have not much of value to say.  Best find truth in what can be trusted.  Scripture will do very nicely.  To wit: Job works just fine in sorting out Mr. Comey’s dismissal and Ms. Lynch’s poor judgment.

Shalom.

Start each day with a task completed.

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This simple piece of advice is from a Navy Seal’s list of things to do or remember, his prompts to keep him aimed at excellence.

Why would it be important to complete a task at the start of each day?  Because it builds the experience of achievement, of accomplishment and imparts the message and habit that “you do,” you have a goal and you achieve that goal.  As such it sets the day up for other tasks to be faced and finished.

I was, soon enough, as a child living in public housing with my mother. Work was in short supply and money was too.

We lived in a small apartment.  But it was clean and orderly and we were as well. Our living quarters were swept, dusted, organized.  We ate breakfast each morning. I was never late for school.  My clothes were clean and pressed.  I had a shower each day.  I did not miss school.  My homework was done, my reading assignments too.  I had a routine. My mother knew where I was and when to expect me to be home.  I knew where she was and we were both reliable to do and be as we were expected.

Before my feet hit the pavement each day – there were tasks done and tasks to come.

I was the first in my family to attend college – not as a brilliant student – but as a person who applied myself to the task.  The first also to become a military officer, attend law school, enter the professions, and pursue graduate study in both American foreign policy and theology.

In the course of my life I brought my mother a house, a car and a small business.

Start each day with a completed task.  Make it more than one and that is all the better. Accomplishment comes from habit.  Good habits breed achievement. But more to the point – completed tasks build toughness, confidence, fortitude.

Life is a sacred gift.  You are the biblical servant given a talant (coin) by your Master.  Your coin is life.  Use it.  Multiply the gift of life my attending to tasks, completing them – making each small thing a task well done.  Live fully … and the right way.  Achievement follows.

Shalom.

Afterthought – In a nation of dependents, have we not diminished people – made those created for full life consigned to far less, too brokenness and perpetual discontent?

Frankly, this is the godless manner of the Democrat Left.  They breed victimhood so they might reign over dependents and stay in power.

Think about it, President Obama was so proud to have grown “the dependent class.” Seems pretty sick to me.  I prefer life to bondage.  How about you? 

To know eternity is enlightenment, and not to recognize eternity brings disorder and evil.  Knowing eternity makes one comprehensive; comprehension makes one broadminded; breadth of vision brings nobility; nobility is like heaven.  (Emphasis added.)

Lao-tse, in Tao Teh King

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Last night I watched a conversation between Tucker Carlson and a clean water “activist.” In this experience I was reminded once again (as I often am in virtually any televised news or interview program) how narrow and limited we are, how we have no familiarity with any of the multitude of sources of wisdom (like that cited above) that are part of the treasured record of human history.

In short, we are ignorant of the human story and in this loss of story, we have lost both self and sanity.

The “activist” (i.e, one who draws a stipend to advance the idiotic ideology of a particular point of view and those who possess it like one might seize The Holy Grail) postured as a sneering, hostile, anti-social, narrow-minded lout who (as these types always play to this character) could neither answer direct questions asked for fear of conceding that an opposite point of view to their position might exist, nor concede in conversation that there is a greater complexity to the issue that they are paid to advance.

Forget dialogue.  Forget conversation.  The Left does not allow that freedom. Small-minded as they are, they are, of course, tolerant of all things except tolerance.

The activist today stymies discussion.  They are the N.M.L.W.B. – the “narrow-minded Left Wing Bigot” from “central casting” – a dime a dozen and worth even less.

They are, it seems, always lawyers … and true to the “profession,” they open their mouth only to establish that there is a vast difference between “an education” and a fully developed, stable, insightful, wise, social and discerning person.

Having seen this sort of conversation over and over, it is hard not to conclude that mass communication in present day secularized culture is not worth a person’s attention. It is, sadly, too often merely the display of the sickness, arrogance, stupidity, hostility of some half-baked, none-to-bright mini-Marxist spewing the simpleton-mantra of some “party” line as if their view was indeed critically examined or contained a sliver of truth or value.

When you think about it – Who needs these hand puppets?

Frankly, when a sense of story is lost, nothing but insanity follows.  Such chatter will, in time, blunt the senses and leave one wondering where these “crazies” came from … only to find out they are hatched by Liberals, tutored in early and secondary education, and bolstered at places like Harvard and Yale.

Beware of the “crazies.”  Listen at your own risk.

Shalom.

… by the 1990’s, the decline of family-run newspapers and the rise of corporate media empires had converted American journalism into just another profit center where the only thing that mattered was will it sell, and will it outsell our competitors?  Scare stories, exaggeration, trumped up conflict, and sexual scandal, all cut up into tiny digestible pieces, were often more profitable. (Emphasis added.)

Jonathan Haidt, in The Pursuit of Happiness

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Let’s face it, the print press and mass news media has radically and fundamentally changed in the last 20-30 years and it has morphed into something quite akin to what psychologist Haidt describes.  The space between tabloid and daily news has narrowed or been extinguished – and make no mistake, the vaunted press and mass media outlets DO NOT write stories about this story.

Unnamed sources.  Leaks.  Receiving national security documents and writing about them without ever releasing their exact wording.  Allegations that suggest, but do not prove, wrongdoing – personal, private, and transactional.  Character assassination.  Secretly collaborating with one candidate and Party to the exclusion of others without ever so much as a reprimand once the collusion is discovered. This is the press today!

Does this not put President Trump’s comments on “fake” news in proper perspective.

Having practiced law for a good long time, I can tell you that no one squeals louder than one whose mischief is plainly and openly identified. There is, you can safely deduce, not an excess of humility among the population and less so among those who consider themselves “special” and “important.”  Enter the press.

Make no mistake, democracy is weakened in direct proportion to the ethical decline in journalism and the news media.

I am often disgusted when I realize that despite a cadre of talking heads and newsmen and women, we rarely see anything reported put in historical perspective so that we might glean from yesterday a greater understanding of what we see and experience today.

What do I mean?

Language matters and the news media traffics in language. Yet, we do not recall that England faced a similar moment in the first half of the 20th century.

Men like Chesterton, T.S. Eliot and C.S. Lewis wrote and spoke loudly in opposition to degradation of the English language and the resultant decline and degradation of the nation’s social order.

As Chesterton said – others were long on words, but short on thought.  His view – those who speak were light on mental labor, “too indolent to think …”

C.S. Lewis saw popular language in 20th century England as deceptive and morally degenerative in its use.  He saw “concrete realities … obscured by abstract words.” He mimics his colleague George Orwell who saw that “language can … corrupt thought.”

What is the bottom line for today?  The press and news media deal in language. Language shapes thoughts. The press and news media ain’t what they used to be.  Times have changed.  Few ideas or truths reside in tabloid journalism.

Shalom.

… imagery can be interpreted as … psychological; for it is possible to observe, in the earliest stages of the development of the infant, symptoms of a dawning “mythology” of a state beyond the vicissitudes of time.

Joseph Campbell, in The Hero of a Thousand Faces

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I remember one of my first lectures when I entered a year of monastic life in the mountains of Colorado.  The speaker, an experienced Catholic priest, told us this: never lose touch with imagination.

Imagery.  Campbell tells us infants show signs of having a natural state of mind that exceeds the “vicissitudes of time” – that is, that accesses the mystery of life that has been recorded by varied humans, in varied cultures over the entire stretch of human history.

Oh, if that natural state were present in America and Western Culture today!  But alas, we are secularized and our ignorance is displayed in ideologies that bring us to ruin – personal and collective.

I get emails today from friends I have known over the years and with whom I have retained kind relationship.  The ones I refer to are in a twitter, a panic – turned to fear and frantic language; to wit:” Trump is a liar and those who support him are fascists, crazy, demonic, etc.”

Mind you, these are emails from people with college degrees who have cash in hand and have done well financially.  I note that they lack the state of being that brings them beyond the vicissitudes of time.  They have been sufficiently secularized, their imagination crushed and their range of experience boiled down to less than that of an infant.

These are brittle and sadly limited people.  Fear grips them.  Panic is near, and hatred within reach.  Resentment and anger has replaced calm and optimism.

When the Catholic Mass is said and the Body and Blood of Christ is consecrated the priest says “Et Verbum caro factum est.”  (And the Word was made flesh.)  This is the experience of apotheosis – an exaltation to divine rank … making what seems but one thing, yet another more glorious than our mere human perception thought it to be.  Imagination.  

We have lost the capacity to imagine, to access and experience what is Divine, Eternal, Real, beyond the vicissitudes of time.  We have been dumbed-down and where hope was once known hatred, panic, anger, antagonism has taken its place.

By the way, I sadly count those who offer attacks in emails as casualties of secularism and dismiss their “views” accordingly. Education notwithstanding they are lost … lost to the mystery, converted to all that is material, now – lost to Truth and the long yesterday of the human story.

We live very poorly today in the West… and one wonders if those who wish our death and destruction live closer to imagination than we do?   At the same time it seems the case that some among us, without imagination, pose a danger all their own.

Shalom.

A little autobiography sometimes helps.  

In this short story I make this point: our life journey comes to us.  We do not invite its content, and we surely do not design it.  As I have said before we are recipients.  We receive life without having petitioned or plead for it.  To live it fully we must learn from all that comes our way.  This is especially true with hardships.  They must be faced, experienced in truth and integrated wholly.  It is absolutely indispensable that the events of our life be fully taken in – and this question always asked: what am I to learn from this?  Rest assured that there is no hardship that does not, when it is faced, grow us in wisdom, understanding, insight, character and confidence.

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Estrangement has both color and sound.

Bobby Sylvester

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His small hand reached for the doorknob and turned it slowly so as not to wake her.  Still not old enough for school.  Toe to top, his fair-haired head barely surpassed the keyhole.

Gently and quietly he opened the door just enough so he might enter.

There she was: his Mom in sleep – the shades drawn, a darkened room in midday. A child only, he knew his mother was ill and that she found sleep preferable to day.

Young as he was he met estrangement without knowing its name.  His Mom was sick, and love was stifled and inert.

Remembering years later, his heart knew the color estrangement.  It was the color of drawn shades – a dark and light-less room that turned all things gray and black … Its sound was the sound of nothing, a near-dead silence.

When trauma meets a child’s eyes, either the sorrow grows to wisdom, or fleeing the arrow that it might not pierce his heart he is wounded all the same and in his failed flight his exile is certain and confirmed.  In flight he will not know love – neither in its absence nor presence. In this a sentence too painful to await a natural death.

Shalom.

After three centuries of tension and confrontation with the Roman imperial, the counter-cultural sect mutated into the agent of settled government and preserved the Graeco-Roman civilization in the West when that government collapsed.  (Emphasis added.)

Diarmaid MacCulloch, in Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

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We can thank Christianity for our survival and the growth of Western Civilization – of which America is a vital part.  Yet, yahoos abound who would dismiss this inconvenient fact and dismantle both the United States and the West.

Frankly, it is a virtual certainty that few in this wayward cabal have spent any time thinking about Christianity’s place in Western or world history.  They are without regard for the destruction they invite and the jeopardy they create.

Think of this when the next law suit is filed against The Little Sisters of the Poor, or the next judicial wizard abolishes marriage or family or childhood or what-have-you.  And when some celebrity or insignificant “junior mint” advocates a borderless nation, or elevates the status of gender-confusion or disorder.  Or when the distasteful movement-of-the-day or dubious intellectual witnesses intolerance while preaching tolerance.

Yes, ask yourself:  Do these individuals have the vaguest knowledge of anything but their own ideologically inspired childish jingle and infirmed demand?

It seems at present we give way too much attention to the mindless and uninformed.

Think about it.

Shalom.

Footnote – Looks like “the free speech movement” ended at UC-Berkeley last night.  The fascist Left rioted, set fire, threw things, broke up a public lecture, trashed buildings and broke into ATM’s.  Bye, bye freedom of speech at Berkeley. So much for Leftist faculties, tolerance, “diversity,” freedom, equality, law, etc.

Thinking about America and a New Presidency

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Putin … views the current American political leadership class as utterly decadent and unworthy of traditional diplomatic norms and boundaries … (Emphasis added.)

The Democrats … hate conservatives or non-leftists.  They don’t like half the people of the country they seek to control!  They look at that half with disdain and disrespect.

Peggy Noonan, in The Wall Street Journal, October 15-16, 2016

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Barack Obama is releasing terrorist combatants and commuted the 35 year sentence of American soldier Bradley Manning who exposed military secrets to the grave detriment of America’s safety and national security.

This, of course, follows Mr. Obama’s display of weakness in Syria when he threatened retaliation if Syria used chemical weapons on its own people – and, despite his words – did nothing.

The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens in his August 23, 2016, article “The New Dictators’ Club” describes how Mr. Obama succeeded in creating the circumstances for Russia, Iran and China to expand their power while he did nothing.

His Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, of course did her part by equipping a Russian “company” to acquire significant holdings of American uranium needed for nuclear weapons while collecting donations to her family Foundation from those involved in the transaction.

The Obama-Clinton’s idiocy of the “Arab Spring” disaster, added to Syria and the uranium deal, the release of terrorists, and the freeing of Mr. Manning makes the point that Barack Obama has given ample reason for others to treat us with contempt and invited their collusion and aggression.

Too many of the Ivy educated “leaders” never learned the basic lessons of life and one is the simple school yard lesson that “bullies take what you let them take and to prevent this you must knock them on their backside and beat some sense into them.”  The sense?  Yes, this:” don’t screw with me or you will get far worse than you’ve been given already.”

But alas, we are “governed” by those who have never been in a fight in their life.  They have badly wounded this nation.

At the beginning of the movie American Sniper, Chris Kyle’s father tells his two young boys that God made three kinds of people: sheep, sheep dogs and wolves and that it is the sheep dogs who protect the sheep from the wolves.

We haven’t been electing sheep dogs, and the wolves are having their way.  That’s got to end.

Shalom.

Footnote – You want to know how decadent this culture has become under the “elites,” Left and the Democrats?  We now report on the news that Mr. Bradley Manning (confused, self-mutilating young man) is now Chelsea Manning. Language matters.  A twist here and there and we lose our way; lying has its very expensive costs.  Tower of Babel, anyone? Yes, the Left has succeeded in making us contemptible.  Why do you put up with this?  Sheep or sheep dog?

   

 

“Man instinctively regards himself as a wanderer and wayfarer, and it is second nature for him to go on a pilgrimage in search of a privileged and holy place, a center and source of indefectible life … his heart seeks to return to a mystical source, a place of ‘origin,’ the ‘home’ where the ancestors came from, the mountain where the ancient fathers were in direct communication, the place of the creation of the world, paradise itself, with its sacred tree of life.”

Thomas Merton, in “From Pilgrimage to Crusade”

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Merton made a significant breakthrough when he could see life as a journey, a pilgrimage to God – and see this as a part of every human being’s makeup, precisely how we are made, and made to long for that which is omnipotent, beyond us, everlasting, supernatural … for God.

This was where Merton came to know God in the acts of the ancient Irish monks whose desire for God had them float off to sea, “abandoning themselves to wind and current, in hope of being led to the place of solitude which God himself would pick for them.”

This is the attitude of the Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem and the journey of their older siblings, the Jewish people, who seek the remnant of the Temple and Jerusalem – their promised place.

This alone makes the acts of outgoing President Obama, and his very junior associates: hideous, ignorant and offensive.  They show in their acts either a disregard for what is sacred to Jew and Christian, or an utter disdain for it.

It would seem that Mr. Obama and his underlings do not now a place of theophany is common to believers.

Perhaps, they tell us that they do not and cannot believe or care not for those who might.  In such a thought is this:indication of the lesser human being – one without wisdom and grace, understanding and compassion … depth, emotional maturity and insight.

” … pilgrimage is a symbolic acting out of an inner journey … the interpolation of … meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage … History would show the fatality and doom that would attend on the external pilgrimage with no interior spiritual integration, a divisive and disintegrated wandering.”  

Thomas Merton

We have suffered ignorance of eight years.  Now we see in our President’s disregard for Jew and Christian alike in his out-going support of a U.N. Resolution aimed at de-legitimizing a sacred reality shared by Jew and those of Christ.

… lacking interior spiritual integration – fatality and doom are now gambled for us by the insensitive and uninformed.  This: too great a price for us to pay.

Alas, we have to restore order lest the heaven rain down blood and gentle women weep for all that is lost.

Shalom.

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