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… the Light has come into the world, and men have chosen darkness rather than Light, for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought by God. (Emphasis added.)

Jn 3: 19, 20, 21

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I have been focusing on the Gospel of John and the teachings that Jesus brings us in it.  I do so for a particular reason and it is this: we in the United States, especially among elites – those of privilege … including the media and entertainment class, lawyers and the judiciary, and university teachers and administrators, have lost contact with God, or have rejected God, religious narrative and Christ and this underlies all of our problems and our deteriorating public discourse and the reduced quality of those serving in public life.

Spirlaw is a blog about faith and culture.  About the intersection between faith and the culture in which we live.  There is no moral guide without faith and religious narrative.

The loss of recognition of faith’s invaluable importance to a healthy culture is crippling, destabilizing.  In its absence all sorts of ideas and wants are pushed forward without a glimmer of depth or understanding.  The subsequent foolishness is and can be both costly and utterly destructive.  We seem to have adequately demonstrated this quite clearly in the last five to six decades.

We are unhealthy, divided, crude and increasingly ignorant and wasteful.

Things have got to change.  We must return to the source of our wisdom and humanity – to faith – knowledge of it and life lived in it.

Look at the above words.  Read them.  Pause to think about them.

Do you see evil in this culture?  Among the most vocal advocates?  Or do you see good? Light?  Is faith banished or welcome?  Is God dismissed or welcome? Is Light manifest?

Or does one hear actors and celebrities, elected officials even – talking hatefully and doing so without hesitation?  Is the media truthful or are they not?

Those who are not truthful are not of the Light.  They destroy and there is no reason to give them ear.

Shalom.

Common Mistake – I recently watched an interesting report on the BBC about suicide among homosexuals.  The claim was made that it is a serious problem and that its cause is the denial of equality.

The common mistake?  Not all matters and forms of human behavior depend on “equality.”

There is far more to a healthy life than “equality.”  It is not the essence of human existence.

Indeed “equality” is invoked by political advocates without any evidence that they have studied the concept.  They use “equality” in an undifferentiated way.   Big mistake.  A mistake of ignorance.

The result in this case is this: neither “equality” nor suicide are understood.

Our ignorance grows seemingly in direct proportion to the growth of educational institutions and budget increases in education.

June 11, 2017

This is the day of Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad.

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There have ever been and will ever be men who … will seek to exempt … parts of their faith from (authority) … to keep their minds floating between liberty and obedience.

Alexander de Tocqueville, in Democracy in America (Volume II)

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In Texas a 19-year-old women with two adorable little girls –  ages one and two – and no husband drove to a house with a 16-year-old boy and remained there for 15 hours (doing who knows what) while leaving her children unattended in the auto.

Having been left in the overheated auto, the children died.

Today stories like this are commonplace.  Between this story and the pathetic behavior the former F.B.I. Director and a host of others (particularly in the Obama administration) and among Democrats in the U.S. Congress and the media – it ought to be obvious that we are a nation in moral crisis.

Likewise, it ought to be obvious that those who voted for Mr. Trump are making a moral statement about the dire condition of this nation and that they are ridiculed and condemned by public figures, Hollywood celebrities and a sundry airheads and ideologues in the media and the press.

Yet, what is our focus?  Foolishness.  Bathroom privileges, hunting for Russians in the electoral process, expansion of the debt ceiling on the way to eventual bankruptcy, the celebration of deviant behavior, etc.

In the face of this there is nary an intelligent thought given to the place of morality in public life and the history of our country.  And, de Tocqueville was correct: we trade our faith and its tenets for the opportunity to live as we wish. Hello, child sacrifice that we call “choice” and codify as “the law of the land.” Shameful.

One wonders were are the men and women in public life with the intellect, analytical skill, wisdom, courage and humanity to recount the truth that without faith, without a prominent and protected place for faith in culture – moral decline and eventual destruction is a certainty?

Our education system (especially the once “elite” colleges, law and graduate schools) produces ignorance and ideologues – those without wisdom, moral strength or worth.

Liberal Christopher Lasch was once asked about the decline in civility, personal industry and self-restraint in America and he explained it quite easily when he said it was the result of the decay of religion in our nation.  Yes, he saw the hazard in exiling God and faith from the center of culture, law and governing.

In a short time in America, our liberal elites and the unchurched mass have undone hundreds of years of wisdom through the pursuit of unbridled freedom to do as they wish … and children ages one and two and the unborn suffer unto death.

Wonderful.  Just wonderful.

Shalom.

We had best pray that those who are lost, might come to their senses and to faith, and for two little children who are now dead.

“How full the days are, full of slow and quiet … Only here do I feel that my life is authentically human.

Thomas Merton

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Merton’s words in a journal entry of November 1964 when he moved into his hermitage – a place to dwell alone surrounded by nature.

In my solitude on the ridge I know what he means.  Never have I felt closer to reality, to God, to the ground of being … or more at peace.

I am away from disorder, chaos … and the flood of bad behavior, routine deceptions and the idiotic chatter – its self-destruction.

I think of ISIS.  North Korea.  The American Left.  The media, the press.  Iran. Russia’s global antics and Europe’s passivity and foolishness.

When good falls victim to evil has not the ground under you shifted?  Is it not wise to seek Eden once again?

In Eden there are no pagans, no herds of selfish people making unwise and suicidal demands.

Merton and the Ridge.

Shalom.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country … To the land that I will show you; and I will make of you a great nation … And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Gen 12: 1, 2, 3

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I sit in the morning fog in God’s green land.  Behind the mist are the pastures and the hills and mountains that I am sure to see when the veil is lifted and the sky is opened. I listen to De Profundis and Palestrina’s Gloria from Missa Papae Marcelli.

The news of the world is troubling.  In this land we wake to stories of overdoses, and of the murder of two young Muslim teenage boys on the eve of their high school graduation, both honor students on their way to college, and of conflicts and hostilities in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.  In our legislature the Party out of power acts like spoiled children, turns to obstruction while problems pile up and division disheartens.  Small groups act like angry pagans demanding this or that.  Racism surfaces among those once its victim.  The morning fog cannot hide the shame of this.

It had been four centuries without a prophet until Jesus emerged.  Four centuries.  Our Jewish brothers and sisters wondered why God was silent.  Then we received The Word, Immanuel – “God with us.”

We have been given the opportunity to become the children of God, to become the great nation that Abraham was called to bring forth.

Children of God and children of Abraham, but how do we act today?  We act as if there was no Abraham, no Jesus and there is no God.

Today we seek to create good through human acts but in place of good is conflict, discontent, selfishness, hatred.  The flesh and the will of man cannot triumph … it is God who perfects man, not man who prefects man.  Like Abraham we must be His vehicle, His instrument.

Like you I see the conflict, the needless hurt, the arrogance of man and woman, the reliance on self as if we are God.  We have credited ourselves with wisdom and power we do not have.

The good and wise man is humble, speaks softly – sees others as his family.

Are you the good and wise man?  Am I?

Shalom.

 

 

Delight in smooth sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts … the utter devotion of the Liberals to sentiment apart from reality … played a definite part in unleashing upon the world … horrors and miseries (World War II).

Winston S. Churchill, in The Gathering Storm

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Wars have their prelude, their component miscues and misadventures, their self-delusions and grand deceits.

One thinks of this now as many troubling signs emerge.

Russia is in Syria propping up a brutal regime, Iran pursues both nuclear weapons and expansion while supporting insurgents in foreign lands, North Korea strives for a nuclear arsenal and European countries seed authority to stateless Brussels bureaucrats while terrorists roam their homeland largely unabated.

In the United States, we enlarge the national debt, fatten the dependent population and the expand the expectations of citizens for more and more national benefits.

Some European nations are beginning to resume required national military service, yet attention turns to “global warming” as if nothing is more important. Fantasies absorb us.

In our once mature and sane representative democracy, college students require pampering and “protection” from free speech while some assault civility and those with whom they disagree.  On campus, hate is protected by cowardly administrators.

In the public square God is unwelcome while obesity looms and one wonders where the next “Greatest Generation” has gone.

As Churchill rightly notices, the antics of the Liberals pave a nasty road to a tragic destination.

Hard to dispute this today.  Indeed, we have lost touch with truth, and consequently, with reality.  But neither truth nor reality have lost touch with us.

At the foundation of moral thinking lie beliefs in statements the truth of which no further reason can be given.

Alasdair MacIntyre, in After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory

When immorality prevails, we have stopped believing … without belief, truth and reality are lost and the storm gathers.

Shalom.

Postscript – An “unfunny”* female “comic” thought it amusing to be photographed holding the “head” of President Donald Trump.  Darling …

It is, thank God, always the case that people “self-report” – tell you who they are. So with this woman we see the Left is quite comfortable with those who behead their enemies. Charming …

(* “unfunny” is a state of being whereby a person does not have a humorous impulse in their body … if you see these people coming, run quickly in the opposite direction … if you encountered them in a social setting, make yourself disappear as soon as possible)

This concludes the last in a series of posts on conversion.  This series has been offered to you so that you might see the manner in which conversion can appear to you in the present day and circumstance.  We are in need of restoration. Politics and the Left have led us astray, created deep division and godlessness, despair.  You can learn from Whittaker Chambers journey.

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… I tried to pray, it was as if the spirit from my boyhood … took my hand and knelt and prayed beside me, so that in the act of seeking oneness with God, I became one with myself(Emphasis added.)

Whittaker Chambers, in Witness

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Chambers had tried to pray as a boy and was unsuccessful.  Yet, when he needed God most – in his most desperate hours, when his world organized around the Communist narrative no longer held, … God guided him to prayer.

As Chambers writes “The secret springs of life, which had been lost so long in the desert of modernityjoined with impulses, broke free and flowed unchecked.” (Emphasis added.)

He records that the two mirages: one, of the Almighty Mind and the other, the Communist political fiction that man has the power to plan and execute human salvation – were illusions which had dragged him into the desert.

His daily prayer, he reports, “tore through (him) … a transformation with the force of a river … (and he) became what (he) was … (as he) ceased to be what he was not.” (Emphasis added.)

Yes, this is conversion!

As Chambers writes “the whole web of the materialist modern mind” fell.  No longer, he writes, did modernity and its rationalism cover “the spirit of man,” thwart “the instinct of his soul for God.”  He saw in this conversion that it was a “myth” to think of “man’s material perfectibility” which, he saw, as the “modern intellectual mood which gives rise to Communism” and, by implication, man’s sick fixation on all things “political.”

In his illumination, Chambers claimed the truth of this axiom:

“Man cannot organize the world for himself without God; without God man can only organize the world against man.” (Emphasis added.)

This Dear Friends is conversion.  This Dear Friends is our state today.  This Dear Friends identifies the nonsensical babble of the transgender crowd, the feminists, the abortionists, the pagans, the anarchists, the Democrat Left, the “progressives,” “the social engineers,” the morally vacuous academics and college administrators, the “open border” fools, those who demand endless “entitlements” and “safe spaces,” those who attack and diminish the place of faith in civic life and discourse, etc.

We have been led into the desert of hyper-political secularism and the idea that the human person can create salvation.

It is time to come to the sacred springs of Truth. Absent that: disintegration and disaster.

Think about this.  It is vitally important for you and this Nation to do so.

Shalom.

Such a wonderful cool spring rain – gentle and quiet.  It pairs with the heart’s beat, easy breathing, the green and flowered forest, the pastures, hills, mountains, and umbrella pale gray sky.  It is a day for collecting thoughts, writing notes to friends, and making a chicken stew while incense burns and floats in the air.

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“How long are you going to keep killing people?” Lady Astor would ask Stalin brightly.  “As long as it is necessary,” he answered …

Whittaker Chambers, in Witness

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When he left his secret Communist espionage ring Whittaker Chambers felt “an uneasiness, an anxiety” which he identified as “spiritual.”  He pondered how and when it was that the “spirit of man” had gained its foothold in him.

He recalled he had wondered, quite involuntarily, what Communism lacked?  Why it was such “a rat’s nest of intrigue and faction?”  Why it housed a “corroding cynicism?”  What “keeps the human level of Communism so low?” Why it had “not produced a single inspired work of the mind” since the Revolution?

Chambers asked, is it God that it lacked?

He reasoned it’s killings and deceits injured the soul.

Yes, without God man’s actions most often attack the soul, and put to danger and trial the “spirit of man,” his essence, his identity – his divine inheritance.  In this is the edge of conversion in man.  

Within each of us is a longing for good, for God.  When this longing is neglected, denied (as it is by ideology and it our present highly secularized culture) man is estranged from himself, his true identity  – and meaning, purpose, intimacy, optimism, and peace are lost.

Today, we are like Chambers – captured by ideology and secularized culture. Combined they breed division and hostility and heighten anxiety, worry and isolation.  It follows the sooner one turns to God, the sooner health and civility is restored, community and fellowship are renewed, and we find peace and meaning – and become whole and one again.

Think critically.  Are you Chambers?  Is your brother or neighbor Chambers?  Your pastor?  Elected official?  Have you lost longtime friends whose lives are narrowed and governed by ideology, secularism, and utopian political nonsense?

In this past century, Mao killed 60 million of his countrymen, Stalin killed 50 million, and Hitler thirty million.  All ideologues.  Each godless.

Think about it.  140 million people killed by political ideologues.

Shalom.

Posting for Thursday, April 13, will be later today.  Have had the pleasure of an unexpected visit.  A little time with an old friend.

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… because it is my habit to think in terms of people first, and their function in life only secondly, I failed to measure accurately how much Hiss’s regard for me had been regard for me as a Communist organizer … Thus my personal feeling for Hiss got in the way of my sober judgment … I nursed the unlikely hope that my break (from the Communist spy network) might have shaken Alger Hiss.  Nothing could have been more unrealistic. (Emphasis added.)

Whittaker Chambers, in Witness

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To understand the cost imposed by those who elevate politics above all else you need only ponder the above words from Whittaker Chambers who, having broken from his role as a Communist spy, went to see his friend and Communist colleague, Alger Hiss, an official at the U.S. State Department and a man (like other high-ranking Soviet spies in the West) from established and elite family origins.

Surely the difference between ideologues and others is this: the ideologues drained themselves of all regard for person – either their own or another’s.

The Left ideologue shows no regard for those outside their circle of belief and a life entirely committed to their political disposition.  They are, shall we say – “without sentiment or feeling – less human – more callous.”

Case in point.  In Whittaker Chambers meeting with Hiss in the latter’s comfortable home, he sits down with Hiss and his wife for a near-Christmas dinner and in the course of the meal Chambers begins to explain his rationale for leaving the espionage ring.

He reminds Hiss of “the Soviet government’s deliberate murder by mass starvation of millions of peasants in the Ukraine and the Kuban,” the multiple acts of Soviet betrayal of others in Germany and Spain, “the gigantic ulcer of corruption and deceit” in Stalin’s regime and his “purging” and murder of “thousands” to secure his totalitarian grip on the Soviet state, its military and secret police.

That done, Chambers records his words had not “made the slightest impression on his host.”

If you wonder what danger is posed by ideologues it is simply this: they forfeit their humanity and any regard for faith (seen as their arch-enemy) in favor of politics, political power, and total control.  They are, like Hiss, Stalin and others, a far cry from those who place faith at the center of their life. They are wilfully depersonalized.  

As to our plight in America, the West and Christendom today – the choice is clear: politics and power or faith lived in its primacy.  Think about it this Easter week.

Perhaps the Whittaker-Hiss encounter will come to mind when you engage the fanciful Leftist who begins to spout their utterly predictable dribble.

Shalom.

One of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?”

Mt 26:14,15

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Part of the Easter story is about betrayal.  Above we have Judas willing to betray Christ.

Coincidently, today we have many in the Democrat Party and in the media fixated, without any significant evidence, on whether or not candidate Donald Trump or his associates colluded with Vladimir Putin in the last presidential election.  Never mind that Democrat operative and Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta has a private, sweetheart deal with two Russian oligarchs and that as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved Russian purchase of a large share of America’s uranium and received (from the purchasers) a very large financial donation to the Clinton Foundation, that – of course – has raised no private or public inquiries or objections.

Betrayal is a constant in international affairs.  Take, for example, this from Whittaker Chambers’ Witness, his extraordinary account of Soviet widespread infiltration into the pre and post-World War II federal government:

… the Communist Party could recruit its agents … by the scores within the Government … they were precisely among the most literate, intellectually eager and energetic … in the nation … (these men and women) were dedicated revolutionists whose primary allegiance was no longer to … country – nor those factors which give a country its binding force: tradition, family, community, soil, religious faith. (Emphasis added.)

Rather makes you wonder if those on the Left who find constant faults with so much in this nation and its history have any inkling of the division they create which favors our adversaries and weakens this Nation.

Think about the damage they have done to family, faith, marriage, race relations, our financial stability (as to the huge national debt accumulated in the Obama years), education, our political discourse, personal relations as to men and women, industry, law and order, etc.

Nary a thought as to how their deeds benefit our avowed adversaries.

Lest you discount betrayal, or think the Left is harmless – one of my Johns Hopkins professors is serving a life sentence in federal prison after spending 30 years spying for Fidel Castro.

Beware of the Judas Factor.

Egyptian Atrocity – ISIS attacked Christians in their church on Palm Sunday. Does anyone doubt that Christians and Western Civilization are active targets today?  Yes, you are a target of opportunity.  Pray for those who suffered great loss in Egypt … and get real.

Shalom.

… fascism … is not a phenomenon of the right … it is, and always has been, a phenomenon of the left.  This fact … is obscured in our time by the equally mistaken belief that fascism and communism are opposites.  In reality they are closely related, historical competitors for the same constituents.  (Emphasis added.)

Jonah Goldberg, in Liberal Fascism

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If we ever needed a moment to put Goldberg’s observation in clear view, we got it yesterday with the details of the arrests of two immigrant young men (at least one who was scheduled to be deported) of a 14-year-old girl in a public high school in affluent, hyper-liberal, “politically correct” Montgomery County, Maryland, the murders committed by a Muslim radical a few paces from the British Parliament in London, and the news that candidate and President-elect Donald Trump and his staff were the subject of surveillance initiated during the last days of Barack Obama’s tenure as President and in concert with Mr. Obama’s curious expansion of the distribution of such information within the government.

Well, what exactly do we see in these three events that explain Mr. Goldberg’s point?

One, the “constituents” Mr. Goldberg refers to are those who seek a totalitarian state which will control its citizens from cradle to grave and, in this, eliminate freedom as we have known it in the United States.

Two, the quest for centralized state control is the unifying theme of those on the Left: the Democrat Party, the “progressives” and Marxists in the U.S. and in the West, and the radical Muslims in the Middle East.

Three, in our present state here and in the West, we see that the Fascist Left seeks to destroy the freedom upon which America and the West has flourished.

Four, the Left, indeed, is at war with America and Western Civilization and wishes to destroy its foundational institutions: family, faith, gender, sexual mores, racial harmony, law and police authority, morality, Constitutional protections afforded a free people, the American genius of sovereign states in a Representative Democracy of three equal branches of federal government and governed by free elections, free market economics, honest and open intellectual inquiry and an independent and free press and media.

Five, to explain why it is that Democrats and Leftist desire the eradication of national borders and the staunch opposition to vetting prospective immigrants to this country is quite simple: this is the Left’s way of waging combat against this Nation.  Yes, dangerous immigrants and immigration at-large are designed to eliminate America as it once existed.  Yes, the export of jobs and industry and open access to America’s national security secrets and wealth (a special thanks are due the Clintons, the old line elites, and Mr. Obama) are much like Mr. Obama’s crushing deficit spending – namely a way the self-loathing Left seeks to destroy our country.  Ditto, the grotesque expansion of the dependent class now reduced to serfdom, government-induced enslavement.

Look Folks, this is where we are.  This is where England and our European allies are.  This is where the (once) Free World is.  We have met the enemy and they are closer than you think.  But, alas, the dialogue has not been joined.  We have not explained what we now have as a life-altering circumstance, and a threat to this Nation and the West.

Shalom.

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