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“Now then, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine, and  you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”  (Emphasis added.)

Ex 19: 5, 6

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Thus God spoke to Moses.  His words return to us.  Putting them to test today cannot but give you pause.

Have we obeyed God?  Have we kept His covenant?  Do we look like a nation of priests and a holy nation?  It would be hard to say “yes” to these questions.

Today we welcome a harlot as a center of attention in a story involving her accepting a large financial payment for not talking about a sexual encounter a dozen years ago with a prominent man.  Abortions are more welcome than unborn children.  Judges reign who have been adulterers and married three times.  A former President accepted a cash “gift” for pardoning a fugitive billionaire.  An F.B.I. director and his colleagues lie and unlawfully leak information in pursuit of destroying a political figure they do not like.  A candidate for high office has her multiple misdeeds ignored.  A select prosecutor hires a staff with adulterers and others who have convicted people while withholding information that would have proved their innocence.  The prosecutor himself put four men in jail for a long time who were subsequently freed because of their innocence.

These are not the acts of holy men and women, nor are they in conformity with God’s covenant.  Shame.

But how long will you let those in authority who act in your name cast you aside, impose on you their sinful deeds?  Do you not aspire to something better?

Shalom.

Oh Goody.  A national coffee shop chain is requiring all its employees to spend a day in race sensitivity training and former Attorney General Eric Holder (a lawyer with no special training in psychology, cultural criticism, history, religion, theology, sociology, etc.) will be the instructor.

Now I’m no expert on racism, but I’d bet it is reasonable to define a racist as one who thinks constantly about race and racial division.  That said, the public Mr. Holder seems fixated on race and racial division.  Is this the best one can do?  How about working on seeing all people as (surprise) just people?  God’s children?

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Chores galore, so a late day posting.  As the fire burns and we await a glimpse of Spring and an end to rain, wind and cold.

“We are Nihilists, Mr. Lebowski.  We believe in nothing.”

The Big Lebowski (Coen Bros. Film, 1998)

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Just as it was recorded in the brilliant Coen Brothers movie and much as Jeff Lebowski and his pals could not comprehend the goings-on around them in the Los Angeles of German nihilists, porn stars and money men, fat-cat political donors, goofball female artists, Hispanic bowling competitors with child sexual abuse records and antagonistic Malibu police, we too are puzzled by what we see in America of 2018.

What is one to make with a collapse of sexual boundaries where female teachers have sex with this underage male students, parents accost their children, coaches transgress, Mommy is a man and Daddy is a women, and a third grader gets to decide if they are a boy or girl?

Frankly, we are way off base and no one can understand how we got here because few pay any attention to intellectual history and hence know how foundational ideas held through the centuries can be attacked, discredited, pushed aside and trampled upon – along with those who believe in them.  We can’t see our own situation of decay today.  

Look we live in a Weimar atmosphere of Interwar Germany in the shadow of Nietzsche (Heidegger, Weber, Freud et al) and do not know it.  Yes, we live in the shadow of “God is Dead” and where Good and Evil have been denounced and abandoned so one need carry neither shame nor guilt nor know distress.

Yes, we live with belief in decadent acts as evidence of autonomy, freedom, creativity and “equality” where the abnormal is normal and tradition is a casualty – much as faith is.

Indeed since the traditionalists are the Middle Class – they are easily scorned, forgotten, cursed as “a basket of deplorables,” discounted and left to die.  Such is the nature of nihilism in the upper class, the academy, the arts, the “news” media, and social networks.

Yes, those who claim “leadership” (like the Nihilists in The Big Lebowski) are decadent, corrupt, mentally deficient, and spiritually, emotionally, socially vacant.  You know the type – living off “public elections” for life – never a private dollar earned for a day’s work yet possess the astonishing notion that they: (a) are special, (b) know something, (c) ought to be listened to and held in high esteem!!!

So what makes us under the shadow of the corrupt Weimar period?  Like them – we have denied tradition, we act as if life and nature are indifferent to Good and Evil.  Like the Weimar citizens, we discount the idea of living an examined life; we court ignorance, self-indulgence, decadence, and inflated egos, and despise democracy in favor of Leftist intolerance and its impending Leftist fascism.

This Dear Friends is Weimar American Style 2018.

Shalom.

Former Supreme Court Justice Stevens.  Former Justice Stevens (98) thinks it is time to repeal the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (the right of bear arms).

I offer two comments.  One, easy for him to say he’s 98.  Second, do you suppose the threat of government tyranny is lessened?  I do not.  Cases in point: the inexcusable behavior and failure of the FBI and local police and state and county agencies in the Parkland school shooting.  The IRS and their treatment of Conservatives.  The incompetence of the Justice Department in the Ted Stevens case, and Fast and Furious.  Their inexcusable protection of Hillary and Bill Clinton and their handlers on the missing emails and dreadful misuse of Top Secret material, use of an unsecured server, the tarmac meeting with Loretta Lynch, the Clinton Foundation, Uranium-One, and the access of the FISA process and “unmasking” of people for political effect.  And then there is the disgusting behavior as to Benghazi and the unceasing killing of unborn children.

Hey, Judge – this ain’t your Mama’s federal government!!!

We are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through us, and the appeal that we make in Christ’s name is: be reconciled to God.  (Emphasis added.)

Cor 5:20

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St. Paul’s words fit us to a tee today.  This is precisely the core of the problem we face in America and particularly in Washington, D.C. and national politics.

We have forsaken Christ in favor of self and power and greed.  In place of Christ: we have collusion, Commies, incompetence and corruption.  Forget the swamp – we have a cesspool.

Think about it: lobbyists, lawyers, politicos and their hacks and handlers, lots of money, career politicians, dishonesty, duplicity, a partisan press and clueless media, fools running the Justice Department, FBI, intelligence agencies, in the State Department – and past Presidents asleep at the switch, and investigations that are at best “selective.”

So where are the Christians?  Their voices?  Who is to set the standard of decency?  Honesty?  Service?

Yes, there are some Members of the Congress who stand tall.  I think of Mr. Nunes of California, Mr. Goudy of South Carolina – and there are others – more in the House of Representatives than in the Senate.  But is there not a place and time for Christians to speak up publically?

Remember, America is a country which (unique in history) built a free nation on the relationship between faith and liberty.  Religion and its presence … hence, religious freedom is vital to our individual liberty and national prosperity and character.

Believers must speak when the conditions require.

Frankly we are failing our ancestors who built this Great Nation and we are failing the God who made us and entrusted us with this land and this Nation’s mission.  Shame on us.

What will you do?

Shalom.

 

Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.

Edmund Burke

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We have ourselves today a sordid, corrupt mess … the worse we have ever had.

Yep, it ain’t often that members of the “governing class” on the Left pursue a silent coup in concert with their mindless media cohorts.  But, here we are.

Bill and Hillary Clinton, Hillary’s minions, Bill’s bidders, the cabal of career functionaries at the top of the FBI and at the “Justice” Department, the loose nuts and bolts at the State Department, those involved with the corrupt “sale” of American uranium to Russia, the political parasites that populate D.C., the blue-suited “law firms” and phony “communication” companies who “clean up” the dirty tactics (those whose speciality is papering over pigs and declaring them snow-white unicorns), the “unmaskers” attached to Mr. Obama, the likes of Comey and company, the lightweight Lefties in the House and Senate … Some Mess!

It would all be a madcap Punch-and-Judy farce, if it did not threaten this nation and its people and our liberty – our security, our safety, our survival.

We are nearly this stage: heads must roll.  The corruption brings us to this point.

Yep, the arch of corruption turns against the evil-doers when the public recognizes that they do not wish to be swindled and lied-to by the likes of these obvious misfits and creeps.  Yes-siree, that’s when the crowd assembles and the penalty is levied.

Who would have thought this might be the case?  Some Mess!

Shalom.

… there is no real teacher who in practice does not believe in the existence of the soul …

Allan Bloom, in The Closing of the American Mind

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If you want to understand what has gone wrong in America you need understand that higher education (and now elementary and secondary education as well) proceeds without regard for the soul – nay, it repudiates the existence of the soul … and this proposition alone explains the hostility and idiocy of the American Left as it emerges in politics, media, entertainment, the press, the academy and even among religious institutions.

The question of course comes: can a society hold itself together without regard for the soul and all the harm that comes from its exclusion?

Look around, the evidence is quite clear – and the answer followers.  The answer is “No.”

You think I am wrong?  Look at families or shall I say the fragments of family.  The protection of child sacrifice.  The presence of sexual assault, child abuse, gang murders, mass shootings, avarice and greed, foul language, intergenerational public dependence, addictions, pornography, adulteries, public corruption as it emerges in our high offices – among the law-keepers and those charged with keeping us safe.

Look too at the greed of ex-Presidents and their spouses who must glorify themselves while filling their pockets with money and and their lives with fine possessions.  Contrast that with President Truman who carried his own luggage to the train station when he departed from the White House.

There is nary a moment in the news that does not say to us: we are soulless.

Universities are sadly and tragically disordered and corrupted.  Things must change.  Those who preach moral disorder must be ignored, challenged, discredited.  We have gone in the wrong direction for some time – and the destruction is widespread.

The restoration of belief and faith, and morality, and virtue, honesty and honor, and community, and fellowship, and family, and religious worship, and humility, and sacrifice, mutual and self-respect, civility and individuality responsibility is essential and immediate.

… there is no real human being who in practice does not believe in the existence of the soul …

Shalom.

Observation – When some men and women in the U.S. Congress sat on their fannies as others stood in shared respect of mothers and fathers whose teenage daughters were murdered by violent teen gang members –  we see the soulless … and we saw this in the recent State of the Union Address.  Shameful.

No one can govern who is soulless.  Pay no attention to the soulless except to rebuke them.

Nothing appeals to intellectuals more than to think they represent ‘the people.’  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Paul Johnson

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Therein lies the identification of our present historic moment in time – and the foundational explanation of Donald Trump’s election as President.

In short, the elites reside “aloft” – above the common folk, the workers, the hourly wage and the part-timer, the displaced miner and factory worker, the retail clerk, the Walmart shopper, the truck driver, the firefighter and the police officer, the Sunday churchgoers, the folks who do the fighting and dying like their Daddy and Uncles did.

You see in the last five decades we have flourished economically but the “big money” went to the elites, the celebrities, the media types, tenured university professors at privileged colleges, and the political class and lobbyists, to the mavens of social networks and internet commerce, to expensive cities, ritzy suburbs and exclusive enclaves in Malibu, Long Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Naples, Chevy Chase, Potomac and Bethesda and such … but not to the common folks who do all the “heavy lifting” and die before they age.

Recently I heard a Yale Professor and Nobel Prize winner in economics tell an interviewer (without any hesitation) that President Trump had some nerve going to Davos for a gathering of the international elites to discuss world economics.  His justification for his comment was this: Mr. Trump is a “popularist,” a nationalist, one who favors national borders – the things at this self-selective collection of the super wealthy, world political figures, bankers, financiers, globalists, liberals and social activists simply reject and despise.

Well now, don’t they know better than those of us who live closer to the ground and deal (unlike them) with the battle of survival every single day – day after day, morning to night.

Imagine the ignorance these elites possess, the self-deception and pridefulness multiplied in this small hot-house of arrogant “we know better than you do” yahoos.  Whence we hear those not in attendance are a “basket of deplorables” – not good enough for elites but sufficient for cannon-fodder, wage slavery and permanent dependence.  Atrocious!

This is central to our troubles today.  The lesser among us are invisible and thus expendable.  You can’t miss what you can’t see.  They don’t see us.  We are chattel at best to these sequestered elites.

Today we have a divide that threatens our demise.

This is our historical moment.  Those who would lead must know who comprises the ones that might follow.

The Christian who might lead knows those who struggle the most, has come from them, lives with them, has acquired their suffering and fears and their strength and courage as well.  Elites who live “aloft” can offer nothing but error and division … and if unchecked the death of what we once have known and been.

Think about it.  Who among us shows you that they know who you are?

Shalom.

Postscript – We grant too much authority to people who have gone to college – especially to the once “elite” colleges.  There is no magic to getting a college degree.

It is life experience that teaches and distinguishes a person.  What have they done?  What trials have they faced?  How did they respond?  What did they learn?  How vast and varied is their experience?  Have they maintained healthy relationships over time?  What insights can they share?  Are they wise?  Patient?  Stable?  Invariable?  Do they inspire confidence?

 

The power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind; the same freedom which extended vices …

Edward Gibson, in The History of the Decline of the and Fall of the Roman Empire

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Vices.  The decline and fall of people and nations.  So it is.

Today we see evidence of corruption – in Hollywood, in government, in politics, in Washington, D.C., in the news media, in academia, in individuals and among groups.

Corruption is corrosive.  It destroys.

Yesterday we learned from news reports that there appears to have been some things very irregular about approval of our Nation’s sale of uranium to a company with Russian participation and that the sale has profound risks and potentially dangerous consequences to America’s security and survival.

It was reported that beginning in 2009 FBI had an on-going investigation of Russian criminal behavior (involving bribery, extortion, money laundering and blackmail) intended to secure access to American uranium used in nuclear weapon production.

We also learned from the reports that the investigation utilized a source with first hand knowledge of the Russian criminal behavior and access to evidence and documents about the crimes.  Again from the reports, it is alleged that that Russia used  “kickbacks” to further their crimes.  It is reported through leaked government emails belonging to  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that she was aware of the investigation, as was (as to the reports) Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller and then U.S. Attorney Rob Rosenstein (now at the Justice Department).  The reports presume that President Obama knew of the investigation, given that he would eventually have to approve the transaction if it was recommended by the government panel with authority to do so.

We know that Ms. Clinton and Mr. Holder were on the panel that approved the sale.

It is reported that the FBI was not permitted to inform the Congress of their investigation and the concerns that it raised about Russia’s criminal conduct.

It is reported that the Clinton Family Foundation received a donation from nine shareholders in the company (Uranium One) that served to present Russian interests in the transaction and that their “contribution” to the Clinton foundation totaled (as reported) $145 million, and that “the donation” was paid before Ms. Clinton voted (along with other members of the panel, Mr. Holder included) to approve the sale – later approved by President Obama.

We are also told that Mr. Clinton received a $500,000 speaking fee from a Russian organization around the time the transaction was pending or approved.

The appearance of corruption emerges from this news.  It is troubling to say the least.  Ironically while Democrats were looking for President Trump’s collusion with the Russians they may have been better served by looking in the mirror or at their own Party’s government officials.

We might say: it is not pride that goeth before the Fall but vices … vices which attach risk to each of us – particularly because it is reported that some uranium has been shipped from the U.S. to unknown locations. 

How might others do such a thing?  Money is a fair answer.  But in Washington power enters the transaction and, among Leftists in government hostility toward the nation might be a factor.  Hard to imagine anything else.

Reminds me of this from Ernest Hemingway in For Whom the Bells Toll – “He did not care for lying at first … Then later he had come to like it.  It was part of being an insider …”

Shalom.

As to all who are lost, the goal is their restoration and salvation.

Jung felt that the pursuit of wholeness was essential for redressing the split between the conscious and the unconscious.  Although the differentiation … is a natural part of psychiatric development, a total break between the two realms can cause psychic problems.

Curtis D. Smith, Ph.D., in Jung’s Quest for Wholeness

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Dr. Smith, a Jungian psychologist whose focus is human development and the history of religion, goes on to quote Carl Jung, M.D., who said the “more powerful and independent consciousness becomes, and with it conscious will” the less well and whole we are. In this state, psychic problems follow.

Why do I bring this up?

Well it is quite simple.  I hear from people quite often that they see and encounter people whose actions seem disordered, selfish, troubled, and without concern for others, irrational.  Indeed, Jung is talking about this very issue – about people who are “unconscious” – cut off from their whole being.

Dr. Jung is talking about human wholeness – the unification of the whole human person – the person’s full human development (intellectual, social, emotional, interpersonal, spiritual, etc.) as the object of our creation and existence; and I am concerned that culture can either advance or impede this development.  Further (having studied the relationship between faith and exclusionary secular culture) I see that we produce an abundance of unhealthy, even disintegrated individuals, and that unnecessary chaos, conflict, suffering, division and isolation abound.  May I reference Harvey Weinstein and the legions of married female teachers engaged in sexual conduct with their underage students as “a for instance.”

Consistent with Jung, when man becomes the exclusive focus of man the individual self becomes all important and man’s reason is cultivated at the cost of the unconscious aspects of his being.  Said another way, when man is focused exclusively on man his psyche (soul) is forgotten and problems manifest.

Yes, in our secularized culture we have become one-dimensional, trapped in self and materiality but devoid of a metaphysical intelligence (and spiritual maturity) and hence fall short of the capacity for a full range of experience and human development.  Frankly, we are not well.  We are fragmented at best – lack the capacity for introspection, self-examination, intimacy, and the ability to receive others.  To the contrary, we objectify others and cannot fully comprehend the bizarre actions (even tragedies) that surround us.

Case in point: we are mystified by the actions of Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock.  His autopsy shows no brain damage to explain his rampage and the authorities can find no particular motive, personal social footprint or provocation for his actions.

Unable to see as other than diminished secularists, they ignore the Unibomber in explaining Mr. Paddock.  They do not recall the Unibomber’s rage arouse from his parents who demanded he forsake other people and things, from childhood on, in favor of constant study.  His parents made him a slave of his intellect.

Yes, in a single fit of rage as a teenager he screamed this to them: “You never let me have a friend!”

It is hard to imagine a more chilling indictment of one’s parents nor a more dreadful, socially starved existence.  He, like Paddock, was a greatly diminished person, one far from wholeness – asocial, isolated, alone.

The neglect of our God-given fullness is the cause of the serious disorder among the godless from top to bottom of the social strata.  We are devoted to self and self alone – and far less well for it.

If we continue in this way, our suffering and murderous chaos, abhorrent interpersonal behavior, group violence, corruption and cover-up, and our isolation one from another will continue us on a destructive, evil path.

When God is neglected, the soul cannot be well.  We prove this daily.

Shalom.

The shadow of the Enlightenment’s failure to replace God with reason has engulfed the West and plunged us into a new Dark Age.

Rod Dreher, in The Benedict Option

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It is abundantly clear to many who have studied America and the West from varied areas of expertise: historical, psychological, political, philosophical, theological, sociological, literary, psychiatric and such that we have attempted to anchor ourselves to the importance of self over God and that this is an unmitigated catastrophe.

Stated another way, we have foolishly trusted that reason alone (the individual – singularly and in the aggregate) can form a coherent, thoughtful, just, compassionate, kind and moral community.

Looking around each day, it seems impossible to believe that such a misguided and arrogant orientation has done anything but make us far worse off, weaker, more chaotic – yes, dramatically sicker, more fragmented, untruthful, corrupt, addicted, suicidal, crippled, angry, ugly, disoriented and violently anti-social.

Yet astonishingly few in the public eye recognize this – discuss it –largely because they are part of the whole sick mess and frequently doing quite well … that they are captives of this mess sitting at the top of its rubbish heap.

Look at the accurate snapshot of Washington today: the closed circle that is the Washington elite who cannot yield to the popular election of a President who is NOT one of them and who would DARE to pursue a course of action that disturbs the benefits of their cozy corrupt culture.

What you see today in Washington is the clear identity of the privileged political class that seeks not to do the will of the voter but rather preserve its own “status” in a very lucrative and easy gig.  Hey, it beats working!

Some of us who have lived broadly in our six or seven decades can tell you that the population at-large is quite different, far less civil or sane than it once was. Indeed, it is far sicker.

A lawyer I know recently recounted how a member of the Bar lost his license to practice because he drugged his underage client in order to sexually assault her.

From work, to family, to community, politics, primary and university education, etc. – in all quarters (particularly in major cities – Washington included) we regularly see evidence of the Dark Ages … yet do not stand against it.

Hell of a situation to behold.  Pitchfork, anyone?

Shalom.

The Russian Fixation – Interesting to watch the Democrat Left “Russian Fixation.”  They go way back in colluding with the Russians – Stalin, no less.

Remember Yalta and how FDR sold out Poland and Eastern Europe at Yalta – gave the Communists control over post-war Eastern Europe.  Shameful.

During the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi occupiers, the U.S. did nothing to help the brave Polish people, and the Red Army sat still East of Warsaw until the Nazis could put down the uprising.  Talk about collusion!

Let’s not forget the New Deal was full of Lefties.

“today’s longing for any, even the most illusory, certainty …”

“The question tortures today many people: how does one believe … “

“The only thing to be regretted without qualification is for man to be perfectly adapted to totalitarian society … Hence we should all be sick in some way.  We should all feel despair …”

Czeslaw Milosz, in his letters to Thomas Merton

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A longing for certainty.  The very capacity to believe.  Totalitarian despair.

Milosz, living in Communist occupied Poland identifies some of what a large number of Americans experience today, and his words help explain the fundamental divide in our society and the nihilism that accompanies today’s popular culture.

As to certainty, the only certainty we possess is hope, and that comes from faith.  Yet, faith is under attack, dismissed by our elites, academics, “entertainers,” media, politicians, judges, bureaucrats, and others.

Yes, religion, a cornerstone of America, is dismissed by those who have dominated culture, commerce and national governance.

Belief.  Without religion, there is no belief.  The starting point for believing arises in and from religious experience.  Without belief, there is despair.  Without religion, totalitarians prosper and despair and its consequences thicken as death lays hold in many, premature and violent forms.

This is our present snapshot.  This is the recent electoral result.  This is England leaving the European Union and Solidarity chasing the Communists from Poland.

Certainty.  Hope.  Faith.  Religion.  Believing.  Freedom.  The desire for these produced the rejection of those at the top of popular cultural, political power, commerce and finance, in the media, in entertainment.

We have seen this statement in the recent election: “No” to the totalitarian conformity of political “correctness” and its indoctrination.  The root of this rejection is a thirst for hope and the certainty of belief, for independence, dignity, purpose and meaning, for moral order and freedom to be as God made us to be.

The godless always overplay their hand and engage childish fits when their unearned comfort is disturbed.

Shalom.

Addendum – Barack Obama says “history” will be Castro’s final judge. Wrong again, Sir.  God does the final judging.

This pretty much tells you all you need to know about the Left and modern liberalism and the wayward places their thinking gets you when they are in power. 

Thinking of history as our judge, not God, is so Leftist, so material, so temporal, so small, so narrow, and so hopeless.  Out, out dark spot!

And how about Hillary and Co. joining the “recount” brigade!  Trump holds out an olive branch of “no more investigation” and true to form Hillary takes the branch and claims the tree and all the land coast to coast that it stands on.  Liberals never could spell “grateful.”  A jackass is the perfect symbol for these people.

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