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… left to ourselves we lapse into a kind of collusion with entropy, acquiescing in the general belief that things may be getting worse but that there’s nothing much we can do about them.

N. T. Wright, in Surprised by Hope

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For a person of faith it is never the case that can do nothing when matters are getting worse.

Why would I say that?  I say this because if one is a Christian one has a mission and that mission is the mission of Christ … to live in a manner that announces, witnesses the Good News of the reign of God.  And that Good News is that God is present and faithful … that God remains present in all times and circumstances.

In this, we can always have hope and certainty that God and Good prevail … and we always have the task of witnessing that reality … and all the more so when evil is present and on the rise.  And today we see this evil so present in culture and the godlessness of ideology in politics today, and in the errant conduct of many prey on others and promote decline of person and society.

For a Christian – doing nothing in the face of evil and self-destruction is NEVER acceptable.  We are a people of hope … of public witness, and courage.  Act we can and act we must.

Shalom.

 

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Took a Day Off Yesterday – Needed the Rest

The work of human thought should withstand the test of brutal naked reality.  If it cannot, it is worthless.

Czeslaw Milosz, in The Captive Mind

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Thinking itself is not sufficient except that one seeks and seizes the truth that stands in front of them.

You may judge a society by its capacity to see truth – especially when it is unpleasant.  Those who accommodate truth as it is presented are the strongest and wisest among us.

Most truths have been recorded in the recorded works of human history.  But do we teach them?  Not particularly.

Too often today, people try to create their own lives and their own “truths.”

In many instances the repeat of untruths are designed to attain the status of a trusted truth of the ages.  In weak and decaying cultures those repeated untruths are accepted or adopted and in the doing the culture and nature of human experience is fundamentally changed and the culture declines.  The more untruths that are given the hallowed status of truth the more rapid the decline accelerates.  In such a time only the brave speak of truth.

Yes, I am living through such an accelerating time.  The plunge is astonishing in its speed, depravity, chaos and destruction.

The way of truth is like a wide road.  It is not difficult to know it.  The evil is only that men will not seek it.

Mengzi, 372-289 B.C.

Shalom.

Joseph Campbell reacquaints Christians with the aura of meanings that hover about the religious incidents and stories of the New Testament.  As in treating Jewish history, it is in this aura – that is, in the connotations that by their nature blossom out of metaphors – that the deepest significance of the stories of Jesus’ life and work are to be found.

Many elements of the Bible seem lifeless and unbelievable because they have been regarded as historical facts instead of metaphorical representations of spiritual reality.

Robert Kennedy, Ph.D. in the Introduction to Thou Art That

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Census and almanacs, polls and quantification, ideologies and mere personal opinion or advocacy of one’s fetishes and fancies dominate dialogue today – that is, dialogue from radio, to the television, the internet, the college classroom, graduate schooling, to news print and newspaper editorial boards and political discourse (such as it is).

The point as to the above?  We know little and routinely misinform. Gibberish and nonsense pervades and too often prevails.  Chaos and decline follows – at enormous costs.

The problem is simply this – we understand nothing of depth in our ancient stories and the record of human history.  Hence, we live poorly, in a shallow way – in ignorance and without meaning.  Yet, we proceed unchecked, without pause as if all is well and what is said is true.  Yes, we drive with ears plugged and eyes closed.  Disaster tumbles out effortlessly – the byproduct is toxic … deadly.

Absent spiritual development – we are doomed to fail … and the absence of spiritual growth at high levels of authority produce greater problems than can be imagined.

Shalom.

 

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.

Aristotle

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Throwing money at institutional “education” has set us back in that last five or six decades.  Yes, education of the mind and not the heart presents us with not whole people but slivers of indoctrination – in our case … with small-mined ideologues, life un-examined.

The heart.  The heart.  The heart.  We are more than a brain – which is but a secondary organ.  People survive brain injuries, no one survives without a heart.

Wonder why you see the sights and hear the sounds you hear in contemporary media and culture?  We have poured dubious ideas into college students but little to reveal what Aristotle knew 300 years before Christ.

Great damage is done by those who have not done the work of understanding who they are and what the purpose of a lived life is.  When we neglect the mystery and truths about mortal life, when we ignore what has been complied on this subject in the last 2500 years and in many cultures all along that time line – we are far less “educated” than we reckon.

Such is the cause of the nonsense we see daily … of the foolishness and hostility of those who vie to lead this nation, influence others, advocate all manner of mischief.

Best you see where we are and how we have missed the mark very substantially.  And better yet – best we are to listen critically and discount all those whose sing-song rhetoric does not witness in the speaker wisdom of a life fully lived and the humility and calm that such experience generates.

Shalom.

 

Communism … if adopted, would utterly destroy the rights, property, and possessions of all men, and even society itself.

Pope Pius IX, in Qui Pluribus, 1846

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Democrat-Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released her Green New Deal yesterday.

It is an unmitigated disaster.  No wait, it is a colossal disaster – a gigantic monument to foolishness and immaturity.  Sadly, it is for Miss Ocasio-Cortez an extraordinary public humiliation of the worse kind – a public document that is utterly laughable without intending to be laughed at.  It is Monty Python comical except that it strips her bare – presents her quite unfavorably … and in that only is she a sympathetic figure.

I offer only a few “gems” from this badly written “resolution,” to wit – she boasts the total elimination of all airplanes and their replacement with high-speed trains (woe, to those training across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe).  She promises the rebuilding/refurbishing or replacing of all buildings in the United States in order to meet “Green” standards, and guaranteed income to those who refuse to work.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez ambitious resolution shows her not as a socialist but rather as a Communist for what is proposes as she says over and over is “massive” – i.e., the complete takeover of American industry and economy by the central government.  Bye-bye liberty, bye-bye freedom, bye-bye private property, bye-bye economic prosperity, bye-bye independence and Constitutional protection of the sovereign citizen … hello poverty, chaos, national ruin and de facto servitude.

Astonishingly many, many Democrats in Congress have endorsed this Resolution – all the present Democrat candidates for President included.  Yes, that is the present day  mess that is the once healthy opposition Party and liberalism.

As a final note, I admit I am uncomfortable with the public embarrassment Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has brought to herself … but I understand how this has happened.  Having reviewed her public biography one sees that she is an ambitious person who has fluttered from one personal project to another like a butterfly – never staying with one grand proposition or another to see it through.  (I often saw this in the middle class college-educated Leftists community activists I encountered in Boston in the late 1960’s … lotta’ show but not much go.)

Here is one such Ocasio-Cortez project that seems to have held no success beyond its naming and apparent abandonment: Ms. Ocasio-Cortez “founded” a book publishing enterprise that appears to have been (like other grand ideas) still-born … that is, its web-site lists no books nor sign of life.  Alas – this is what we see in the Green New Deal – a figment of one’s imagination, a moon shot without a launch pad, a rocket, fuel, an astronaut or technical competence … Alas this is the Democrat Left today … 

Shalom.

“Once we go down the path of abstraction we’re taking moral risks, psychological risks.  We become drunk on ourselves – full of ourselves.”

Walker Percy (as reported in Robert Coles, M.D.’s book The Secular Mind)

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” … becoming drunk on ourselves – full of ourselves.”  It sounds like an abstraction itself but what if it is descriptive of us, of who we are – and who our “leaders” think they are?  And worse yet, what if those leaders act on this drunken misconception?

Walker Percy (himself a Catholic convert, medical doctor and extraordinary novelist) went on to say this to Coles: “Thomas Aquinas … worked his mind hard so he could understand God’s intentions.  But today, even our theologians aren’t interested in God … ”

Percy continued “a lot of folks believe in their beliefs, they believe in their ideas, they believe in themselves, and maybe they believe in someone’s politics or some social cause … ”

Centered in the head (in abstraction) creates moral and psychological risk.

Ironically, we have come to see Percy’s observations rooted in all manner of people who know little of God, history, great literature, psychology, philosophy, or moral theology who careen thither and yon in the public square like characters from a Monty Python movie telling us: “a wall is immoral,” “suspend the ‘presumed innocence’ in all “he said, she said” allocations, infanticide – once murder – is now hunky-dory … etc.

Moral and psychological risk indeed … add risk of social chaos and a rise in instability, suicide, mental illness, random violence, addictions, idleness and overwhelming discontent.

Former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote of the concrete manifestation of the moral risk to which Percy referred in his presentation entitled “Mullahs of the West: Judges as Moral Arbiters” in which he was rightly highly critical of the present expectation that judges will act as “moral arbiters.”

Says the Justice: ” … there is no reason to believe that law-trained professionals can discern (the right answers to moral questions) more readily than, say medical doctors or engineers or ethicists or even the fabled Joe Six-Pack.” Yet, I add in concert with Justice Scalia this is precisely what activists judges and Leftist politicians and policy makers do today.

So this is where we are on many fronts – abortion pursuant to rape becomes “choice,” which becomes killing a child on the eve of or after the child’s birth.

Liberals have led us to the moral and psychological wasteland that Walker Percy and his colleague (Doctor, writer and psychiatrist) Robert Coles saw so clearly four or five decades ago.

Now that you might see, what will you do?

Shalom.

 

Underlying most arguments against the free markets is a lack of belief in freedom itself.

Milton Friedman

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It really is amazing to see a once wealthy, stable, free market Venezuela today in ruins under socialism and to see Democrats in this country looking to create a socialist utopia here in the United States.

Think about it.  In socialist Venezuela those who govern are rich as can be … and everyone else in the country cannot find food to eat.  Make no mistake socialism makes the small class who govern very, very privileged and very, very wealthy … socialism enhances the power of those who govern while impoverishing everyone else and stripping them of freedom. 

One would think that this avoidable tragedy just might inform the Democrat Left and their brethren in mass media … but then again the “pie-in-the-sky” legions of day-dreamers never learned from Communist Cuba, Communist Russia, the national socialism of Hitler’s Germany .. and besides their advocacy of socialism is intended to place them in power so that might live very well while others grovel and claw for food.

History shows us that socialism manufactures economic destruction, corruption, poverty, starvation, totalitarian government and loss of freedom.

It is hard NOT to recognize that socialism is a failure and that those who pursue it (as Friedman says) are opposed to freedom. Venezuela provides no greater illustration of the destruction that socialism brings … and no greater proof that those pushing this in the United States should be rejected out-of-hand.

Finally, those who reject freedom never seem to be particularly faithful.  That too ought to be a clue – a warning, a signal that nothing good can come of their daydreams and desires.

Shalom

Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.

Lao-tzu

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In politics and in the visual-image culture we have – gaining the approval of others is a common and prominent goal.

When you think about it – this is an invitation to deception … it inevitably has one mask who they are and what they think.  In this, discourse is false – a charade … words are abused, images shaped and the individual contorted.

In politics, as in advertising, we are purposely deceived.  Campaigns for political office are quite the same as ad campaigns for hair coloring, soap, a snappy new auto, etc. – all nonsense.

Tragically the sleepy guardians of truth – the news media – has long ago abandoned ship.  They, too, reflect and protect the phony image of their choice.

Deep down inside the approval-people are shallow.

This would all be fine if the consequences were only that of a farcical French comedy but alas we live in a dangerous world where others aspire our death and destruction and where real, finite material measures like national debt and national security exist.

So now we come to reports of Cuban troops and secret police in Venezuela in violation of international law – along with Russian, Chinese, Turkish and terrorist presence, and the decade long neglect of our military (particularly during Mr. Obama’s occupation of the Oval Office) and the inexcusable billions of dollars give-away to Iran authored by Misters Obama and Kerry.

The point?  Conforming one’s life to approval makes you a prisoner to what is untrue, false and hence destructive and befuddled.  In contrast, a person who is confident and competent is one who seeks not the approval of others but their trust and respect.

Since the Presidency of Ronald Reagan fewer and fewer public figures have earned our trust and respect.  Approval never trumps candor and competence and is but an opaque screen designed to deceive for personal gain.

Shalom.

 

Adultery is injustice.  He who commits adultery fails in his commitment.  He does injury to the sign of the covenant which the marriage bond is, transgresses the rights of the other spouse, undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based.  He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents’ stable union.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2382

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When one dishonors the marriage by committing adultery – one: (a) shows his or her lack of integrity, (b) violates our covenant with God as reflected in the covenant of  marriage, (c) abuses one’s spouse and bestows on the spouse a grave injustice, (d) undermines for all the sacred institution of marriage, (e) damages the culture at-large, and (f) undermines the morality, virtue and welfare of children and others.

Each party in an adulterous relationship is responsible for the damage that is done by such behavior.  Each diminishes themselves in a deeply significant and serious manner.  Each party to the adultery establishes that they are to be neither trusted nor held in esteem.

The next presidential election will be a referendum on the moral state of this culture, national government and this nation.  I say this because we have a series of very dubious positions held in the areas of sexuality, family, abortion, equal application of the law applied parties holding privileged positions for whom the law seems not to have applied.

The present climate necessitates that we ask ourselves is this candidate a person to be trusted?

On the Democratic side we have a candidate who seems to have falsified her heritage by claiming a status as a Native American that she does not possess in order to secure a position at an American university.

Another women candidate seems to have committed adultery with a married man (and notable womanizer) who enjoyed a political status that allowed him to advantage his adulterous partner by helping her receive several lucrative positions in state government.

So the question might be: can you trust someone who falsifies their background to secure a position she does not deserve, or trust an adulterous woman who used her adultery to parley a few choice jobs at taxpayer expense?  Stated another way do you want to led by people lacking in character, morality, honesty and virtue?  

Have we not enough examples of poor behavior and are we now in a critical place where we need people of virtue in positions of leadership?

For what it worth, I have found in my lifetime that those who cannot be trusted are seldom bright or trustworthy … succumbing to acts of distrust they lack good character and strength sufficient to warrant positions of leadership in any venue.

Shalom

Interesting – Isn’t it interesting that today’s woman can wrap herself in the “Me Too” movement and at the same time can excuse or overlook a woman’s (or their own) adultery notwithstanding that being a partner to adultery itself is a painful betrayal to another woman who stands by as an innocent.  This sisterhood thing only goes so far … you put in on and you take it off.  No honor or consistency there.

For some reason the post for January 23, 2019 appears under the Title Heading of the Blog and is identified thus Firm in Courage and Faith.

Difficult winter weather demands a great deal of attention when you live on a ridge in a sparsely populated area.  My mornings and some part of the afternoon are taken up with winter in the wilderness.  Hence my postings are often done in the mid-to-late afternoon … but they are done daily as they have been dating back to 2011.  Now in year eight.  Tally ho.

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Many of our young are uprooted.  They no longer believe in the traditions of their parents and grandparents, and they have not found anything to replace them.  Spiritual leaders need to address this very real issue … They have not been able to translate the deepest values of their traditions, perhaps because they themselves have not fully understood or experienced them.  (Emphasis added.)

Thich Nhat Hanh, in Living Buddha, Living Christ

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If our children are lost it is because we have failed them.  The elders have disappeared.  In their place are un-accomplished cosmetic, confused figures who thirst for power, notoriety, fame, wealth, celebrity, fulfillment of their own (and hence) selfish desires.

You cannot call these figures anything less than misinformed, ignorant, craven, selfish, wrong and destructive – the least accomplished of an over-indulged and over-educated generation.  Their failure is plain in themselves and in the lives of young people – from teen years to their 20’s and beyond.

Many of our children are aimless, impractical and rootless.  They know neither history nor themselves.  Tradition is a stranger to them – they are cut off from their past and many exist without ambition and initiative – in a sea of ease, affluence and institutions that cater to them and expect little of them.  Such softness breeds contempt and challengers none to excel, to exceed the hardships and errors that all life brings.

The young now threaten our collapse.  We own this bitter harvest.

Those who do not know the past know neither the present nor the future.  These young men and women like their priests and elders fail to acquire the experience of human experience.  In this: all is immediate or not at all.  Nothing is past, nothing is tomorrow.  All is now or a vague dream with no concrete avenue nor action to realize its accualization.

We have left them without a map, a charter, without access to wisdom and with but avant guard failed “isms” of the Left – pipe dreams with dissipating smoke soon dissolved into failure.  In high station we have a Jelly Bean Cleric and the Sex Scandal Band.

In the dock stand the men and women slightly younger than me.  “Our body ourselves” has failed as well it would and our children are lost … the shame is on us.  But no one takes the blame.  Honor is not in them.  And down we go.

Shalom.

 

 

 

 

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