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The man said, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Gen 3:12

“I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’re said happen to me.”

Luke 1:38

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First we hear Adam in Eden after eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Next we hear the young Mary responding to the Angel Gabriel who has announced to her that she will bear God’s Holy Child.

Adam did not obey God and tried to avoid responsibility for his disobedience.  Mary, on the contrary, accepted God’s gift to her and to us – she obeyed without reservation.

Obeying God or not obeying God. This is always the singular determinative question in a life – in the life of a Nation also … Yes, in our life and the life of our Nation today.

Is this not the issue we face, the issue that we see before us now?

What do I mean?

There is substantial evidence to suggest that the Clinton Foundation functioned illegally.  Such evidence, complied by interested private citizens with extensive experience in criminal law, tax compliance and finance, has been submitted to the Justice Department.  That done, we shall see if the Justice Department and the federal government is populated by those like Adam or by those like Mary.

Mind you, when material suggests criminal activity may have been pursued by significant high-level government officials (present and/or former) with considerable influence – an investigation must commence lest the public conclude that some are above the law and, given that, our Nation is now not the honorable and law-abiding place it once was.  A conclusion that would then place the common people with the task of restoring what is good to what once was.

Think about it: do we want to destroy a Nation to favor those who, privileged by name and title, are so thoroughly corrupted?

Adam did nothing to endear himself to us by his disobedience and denial of responsibility – while Mary accepted easily the task she was called on to do.

One hopes we are, in this Nation, Mary and not Adam.

Shalom.

 

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There is a widespread sense of loss here, if not always of God, then at least of meaning.

Charles Taylor, in Secular Age

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In the above quote, Professor Taylor is referring to the consequences of secularism on American and Western culture.  His words make me think of the funeral of President Bush yesterday.

The news people covering the funeral of former President George Hebert Walker Bush opined that we have lost our way, lost our manners, our character – that we were not as the former President was, that we are less and longed for the past.  But true to form they attribute that lost was of recent vintage.  Alas, what they lament was not lost between the presidency of the elder Bush and today.  Indeed they conveniently do not remember that Mr. Bush ran on this slogan: “A Kinder Gentler America.”

How wrong they are.  

America has been losing its way, its character since the affluent-post WW II and particularly from the late 1960’s on – and doing so at an accelerating rate – and note: now losing our way means losing America as it has been over its long history.

Indeed, you know you have a nation and leadership that is lost when – government is the referee as to bathroom privileges – when Holy Matrimony is re-defined by a Supreme Court Justice who is after all only a lawyer … which is to say not wise but merely one who is able to read.

I agree only partly with Professor Taylor in his above words.

My view: we do not lose either God or meaning in secularism rather the loss of God which is the principle cost in secularism is the loss of meaning and herein lies the folly of the Left and the Big Government types – man alone, no matter his elective “holy grail,” CANNOT provide meaning to life and death, mortal existence and eternity.  Man is but a speck of sand – insignificant in the long-term and infinite scale that is Creation in the whole – here on, and into the long darkness of endless space.

Our sickness today is this: we vie like absurd circus clowns to force our “genius” on others – same-sex marriage, global warning and the assumption that our “omnipotence” can save the day, nations without borders, the expansion of the rare statistic that is “transgenderism” to a political disposition, and the lie that is “socialism” in history, etc.

God = meaning.  No God = no meaning.

Shalom.

  

The goal of Western religions … is to bring about a relationship between human beings and God, who are not the same.  The typical attitude of the Levant, of the Near East from which our religions come, is the submission of human judgment to that power conceived to be God.  (Emphasis added.)

Joseph Campbell, in Thou Art That

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Having written of good and evil, we might turn to the discord exhibited by a large portion of the population in England, France, Italy, the United States and to a lesser effect in Germany.

What we see in each is a deep distrust of, and serious dissatisfaction with, elites who have governed over the last few decades.

What, one might ask, does this have to do with the above quote?

Western people are a Levant people.  It is foundational to us, our culture and its governing laws and institutions that we are owing ultimately to God alone – not the state or those who govern it.  Simply stated this belief is our identity and the bridge to one another.

When the state becomes too big and too involved in the intimate lives of its people, when it banishes God from the public square, approves of abortion, sees the nuclear family diminished, education become leftist indoctrination, dubious concepts as to marriage and sexuality promoted and forced on others, the freedoms in national Constitutions eroded, borders abandoned, the value national identity discounted, “climate change” adherence demanded of all, and economies decline if favor of globalism – we see the visceral reaction of common citizens – so deep is their belief that God alone is God and government, elites and boisterous advocates are not.

What we see today in France and England and the United States is common people in revolt.  Their anger is with the loss of their identity and all that flows from that identity which is based on a relationship with God not the state.

Secularism, damaging as it can be, has its limits … likewise elites have shown their limits.

What we see in the West is a fundamental shift with the thrust back to a restoration of our basic identity and the order of things.

No doubt the Left and the elites find this a hard pill to swallow.  Such is history.  Much is in play today.

Shalom.

 

… behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife: for the child that has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

Matt 1: 20

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Some ask, why is it that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph separately from Mary?

In religious narrative there are always common, good lessons to be learned – many, in fact.  Here we see that God wishes a commitment from each of us individually.  Yes, God desires that each of us grow in faith and in relationship to Him so that we might be fully grown and have stability and certainty amid life’s chaos, confusion and corruption.

What was true then is no less true now.

Think about the cost imposed when we neglect the Truth of religious narrative.  In doing so, it is really quite shocking that in the present day when there are many in the West who wish to destroy the gift of civilization that we possess –few public figures have the intellect to discuss the precious value that is in Western civilization and the disaster that would be its deconstruction.  Nor, I add are there competent discussions about the rise of China as the global power to replace the United States and its allies as the source of global strength and stability.

Suffice it to say – that lacking faith and quality education, we have ignorance and chaos – leaving us without the personage capable of leadership when we most need it.

Indeed, the election of a non-politician as President reflects the poverty of the “educated elites” and the raw fact that the average citizen sees the problems of the day when the privileged do not.

Could it be that those closer to faith are closer to wisdom and courage?

Shalom.

Dismal Elites – The idiotic statement by Chief Justice John “Short Pants” Roberts just confirms again the foolishness of the privileged “elites.”  The notion that there are not Judges with political portfolios and disposition (nay, bias) is a ridiculous claim for the Justice to make … then again he “thought” that the unconstitutional Obama “Care” mandate was a “tax.”

Lesson to be learned – the elites like to remain part of their herd … ridiculous things are said on behalf of preserving one’s place at the top of the pyramid.  Well, la-di-da!

 

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.

Sleet, snow and a warm fireplace in the mountains – a quiet day of classical music, tidying up and starting the Christmas cards.

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It is tragic to see how blatantly [one] bungles his own life and the lives of others, yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and how he continually feeds it and keeps it going.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Aion (Collected Works, Vol. 9, Part II)

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Jung speaks of the individual, yet what he says is no less true of the aggregate.

Yes, Jung’s words can be applied to us in the aggregate as a body of people, a nation … and frankly ought to be as a means of introspection, self-examination and correction.

Frankly, President Trump’s “drain the swamp” precisely captures the sentiments of the vast voting public who knows we are way off course.  Indeed, the midterm election to the extent that the Trump’s political party gained seats in the Senate and the minority party gained seats in the House by running more middling candidates is an indication that voters realize Washington is a swamp, with swamp creatures and swamp-like behavior.

I write about faith and culture and have a background in law, theology, politics and public policy.  That said I have strung together a handful of tragic “bungles” manifest in today’s culture … things that we are not acknowledging which can lead to tragedy.

Here they are:

  • we are a populace with little knowledge or appreciation of Western Civilization or America’s history and its unique government structure
  • we have departed from a belief in God and the practice of faith – and lost any sense that there is a natural order to things material and spiritual
  • our affluence has bred softness, arrogance and the expectation of entitlement
  • our “elites” are afforded status and attention they do not warrant
  • we have a very poor understanding of the psychological and spiritual development needed to be a healthy, mature human
  • the role of family has declined while dependence on government, immorality, division has increased
  • we are largely ignorant of the U.S. Constitution and abuse it routinely by shaping it to political demand
  • professions like law, news reporting, university teaching and government service have lost their integrity
  • we have neglected our military and allowed our adversaries to gain an advantage on us
  • secularism has dramatically altered for the worse the experience of being human.

Time to look at ourselves honestly and stop bungling ourselves into tragedy … or extinction.

Shalom.

Elites – Look at England.  The British people wish to leave the EU and restore their national sovereignty and their Prime Minister cannot and will not negotiate a break with the EU.  Much like our situation in America – the elites are disconnected from the population, do not recognize the value of the average citizen – rather they scorn them.  This is much the remarkable position of Democrats and life-long swamp denizens.

 

 

The virtue of a man will be a state of character which makes a man good and makes him do his work well.

 Aristotle, in The Nicomachean Ethics

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Doing one’s work well.  Imagine if that was demanded of public officials.  If it were we could get a sense of the virtuous nature of those we pay to “govern” us.  Indeed, perhaps we might conclude from such a test that “we hire those with significant virtue deficits.”

Case in point: the Supervisor of Elections in Broward County, Florida.  The Supervisor is a woman who since her appointment in 2003 has consistently showed her ineptitude.

Illustratively, this former high school teacher and elementary school principal (yes, a life time “government worker”) – lost 58,000 ballots in 2004, left 1,000 votes uncounted in 2012, released elections results before the polls closed in 2016, destroyed 688 ballot boxes that were a subject of interest in litigation in 2016 and failed to report as required by law the total number of votes cast 30 minutes after the polls closed in 2018.

Doing one’s job well – this is not.  Aristotle would duly find virtue lacking.

So what does one do when a culture has an expansive government and a surplus of “government workers” who (thanks to the unionization of these workers) makes firing them virtually impossible … and active management of them utterly unlikely?

Well, another way of asking this question is this – what is one to do with government employees when work is not well done and virtue is absent?

Common sense would seem to suggest that down-sizing the public work force would be obvious in an age where automation and artificial intelligence can be readily employed to supplant those whose are inadequate, were supervision is lacking, and virtue absent.

Look at the calamity on display in Broward County and ask yourself: is this nonsense tolerable any longer???

P.S. – This nitwit in Florida makes $176,000 per year (as reported in the news).

Shalom.

Liberal California – Want to see the face of Democratic Socialism?  Look at the train wreck that is “liberal” California.

The Golden Gate state has piled up debt it cannot address, yields to “environmentalists” and leaves dead trees and uncleared brush to flame and fire with devastating loss of life and property, refuses to build dams to keep their agriculture prosperous, builds a billion dollar high speed train to nowhere, invites drug attics to populate San Francisco, establishes “sanctuary cities” and challenges those who prefer legal immigration.  Not much “good work” or “virtue” there.

Perhaps our future as a nation ought to aim at hard work well done, virtue and much – much smaller government that carries no unsupportable debt.

 

 

Our birth is an invitation to our gifts, a call to immersion in the Absolute, with the possibility of our ultimate transformation through contact with the Divine.  (Emphasis added.)

Wayne Teasdale, in A Monk in the World

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Think for a moment.  Our birth a sacred offering, a call to God and our God-given gifts.  Our birth as the opportunity to be subsumed by God.

Our birth is the ultimate and only way to our full development from physical being to a whole human –  spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, socially, intellectually, and morally  … and to a complete life, one of context and contentment, of peace, understanding and tranquility.

What do we do with this gift?  Abort it before a child’s birth?  Could there be no greater proclamation of our fallen state than to kill an unborn child and fight for the opportunity to do so?  Could there be any greater rejection of God and the sacred gift of life that aborting an unborn child?

Think about what this says of contemporary American life.  Can this be who we wish to be?  Does this not denigrate women and their extraordinary sacred call to carry life within them?

Knowing women to be so special and so critical to men, and children, and family, and morality, and faith, and decency, and this country – I cannot imagine this is what any women would wish to be known by.

God help us all.

Shalom.

Thumping.  The behavior of the Democrats in the last few days suggest that think they may get a trumping – that is, do far short of what they touted they would.  The Blue Wave might be an ocean spray.  Politics.  Strange business.  Lots of propaganda paraded out as truth.  Ummmm … No wonder people are skeptical.

 

Hateful to me even at the gates of Hades is he that hideth one thing in his heart and uttereth another.

Achilles, in Homer’s Iliad

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Who would have thought Homer could have seen the long lines of political partisans, Washington “consultants,” crooked lawyers, “activists,” Lefties, lobbyists, talking media heads, shrinkingand celebrities at the gates of Hell ten centuries before Christ’s birth?

Truly amazing, that fella Homer!

Time to reflect on the state of America and the character of our citizens.

Long about the 1950’s we did live rather well.  Then the 1960’s.  Things went south and the fall continues.

You’d be wise to ask: How did we behave in the 50’s and what might we wish to recover that made us a better people, a happier, more cordial, faithful and pleasant lot?

Shalom.

It is within your power to withdraw yourself wherever you desire.  Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own.  (Emphasis added.)

Marcus Aurelius

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What gives rise to tranquility?  Your tranquility?

If you pause to think about your health and happiness is this not the fundamental question?  I think it is.

Our eyes are the avenue to the brain.  What do you see each moment, each day?  Do you live in an “ordered” realm?  Are your surroundings in chaos, disarray?  If so, how can your eyes not convey this disorder to your brain?  And what of noise?  What do you hear?  Does not noise itself affect tranquility?

Desire tranquility?  Ask yourself what effect the invasion of unwanted ads on the internet have on you?  When you think about it they are intruders – others pushing themselves into your life – ads: from the eyes to the brain.  Do you wish unwelcome intruders into your home whenever they desire to enter?

We live in a culture where intrusion and invasion are common.  Yes, tranquility is denied routinely.  What is one to do?

Wall off these intrusions.  Control your surroundings – have your place of home ordered.  Each thing has a place.  You need not that much.  The less you have the easier it is to know tranquility.  Give no space to the TV talking heads.  You do not know their life – whether it is utter chaos – which it probably is.  Why listen to sick, confused people?  They bring no tranquility – only chaos.  And celebrities?  Ugh!!!

And, problems.  Do you welcome those who bring problems into your life?  To do so does not bring tranquility.

And what about your interior journey?  Have you quietly and diligently examined your life experience and come to know the pluses and minuses of those so important to your development from birth to adulthood?  And what of the losses, betrayals, great disappointments?  Have you faced them honestly and learned what was intended to be learned?  And how about you?  Do you know what triggers your most salient thoughts, reactions, attitudes, convictions?

Finally, can you be silent and alone?  And most importantly, do you have a home in religious narrative?  Do you keep the company of history’s great contemplatives?

When you think about it – tranquility soothes the Spirit and we are all first and foremost spiritual beings.  Tend to that thought and act on it – and you will come to greater tranquility – no more anxiety, no more naked vulnerability to intrusions and the idiocy of the noise and disorder surrounding you.

Shalom.

Postscript – When we see another, do we see a man or a woman or do we see color, age, ethnicity, status, physical attributes?  Can tranquility come from such seeing?

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