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… those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Mt 23:20

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Make no mistake there are distinct, substantive differences between our two major parties.

Do not be deceived the last electoral result highlighted the very real difference between the common citizen and the elites: those with power, money, status – the intellectual and celebrity class, globalists, the media, the perpetual Washington insiders whose class status is far different from Mom and Dad in small town U.S.A. , and between the ideologues, “special pleaders,” and mere citizen taxpayers.

Frankly, the privileged class lost and the most politically-focused of them (the Left and the Washington wags who are used to being “important”) are offended and not taking their bite of humble pie very well.  Yes, their obstruction and rhetoric is destructive – having gone beyond civil debate.  Actually, their behavior mimics the Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature who fled their state and hid from their official duties so as to thwart the election of Republican Governor Scott Walker.

Like all actions people take, the angry objection to the voters choice of President tells us about those who are upset.  One thing it says is this: politics and power is a high priority for them – probably too important for their and our wellbeing as a nation.  Make no mistake a subset is NOT greater than the whole.  No one is more important than the nation.

It is always hard to speak to your Brother and Sister when they must be reproached – but speak we must – speak calmly, in a soft voice, as a friend, with authority and care. Reconciliation is the goal and it must always be.

Losses are difficult for many.  Those of us who have lived modestly and, in my case, on the “wrong side of the tracks” amid the very serious conflicts one can encounter – we are used to life’s ups and downs.  We learned long ago that no one wins all the time and that it is the losses which actually teach us the best lessons, impart the greatest truth and wisdom.

The one thing that we need now is a calm conversation with those who are most displaced by their perceived loss.  For civility to return, maturity must be cultivated and in this instance it means those hurt must listen to the voices of those who care for their welfare and that of this nation.  Yelling, fighting, anger will only inflame and put much at risk … including each of us.

Remember the opposite of love is not hate – but rather: indifference.  We cannot afford to draw battle lines, engage in nasty and dishonest behavior, retribution, character assassination, or violence.   Honest, calm conversation is the need.  An end to extreme language that excites ideologues and flames the fire … it must cease today, now.

I hope we are all to the task.  It is the humble who are exalted.  They are strongest who life has humbled.  Make no mistake – in the end the humble remain standing while the prideful fall. 

Shalom.

Postscript – I am always amazed that the “talking heads” on T.V. and many elected officials talk and talk without ever citing an authority – the words of someone whose insight and wisdom they share.  You have to conclude that they are talking through their hats, haven’t cracked a book since the 3rd grade.

You wonder: why would I listen to these people?  They really do not warrant my time.  They do not.  Happy landings.

 

In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.

Czeslaw Milosz

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Czeslaw Milosz’s observations of life in totalitarian societies are spot on.

Yesterday’s testimony by former F.B.I. Director James Comey suggests we are closer to totalitarian society than we have ever been.

How can I say this?

Well, we had an F.B.I. Director who admits to leaking self-serving personal views of a privileged conversation with the President of the United States to the press through an Ivy League law professor at that!  As they say in my hometown of Boston: there is no honor among thieves, they’re just as dishonorable as the rest of us.

But the leaking was not the worst of it.  Mr. Comey admitted that he conformed willingly to the benign characterization Attorney General Loretta Lynch (another career government lawyer) imposed on him regarding the Hillary Clinton email/computer server/national security breaches when her friend Ms. Clinton was under criminal investigation at the F.B.I.

So our F.B.I. Director “took a dive” upon Democrat command but was, as he testified, afraid to meet with President Trump privately or to inform the President that he was uncomfortable with discussing any ongoing F.B.I. matters … and he was unwilling to tell the public at-large that Mr. Trump was not under investigation!

While there is more that could be said, suffice it to say that we saw the presence of corruption at top levels of the federal government … and at the very top levels of the legal profession.  This is very alarming.

In addition, now that we know President Trump was not the subject of any examination of the alleged Russian hacking attempts during the last electoral cycle and we also know that Democrats in the House and Senate knew that the President was NEVER a subject of an investigation YET THEY CONTINUED PROMOTING THE NARRATIVE THAT HE WAS, implying that he was in cahoots with Vladimir Putin and that Mr. Trump “stole” the election from Hillary Clinton with the benefit of Russian hacking and support.

If, as Milosz says, truth is a pistol shot … Mr. Comey and friends, and the House and Senate Democrats never fired a shot.  I guess truth is not “their thing” – slander, lying, character assassination to overturn an election result and secure political power apparently is.

And let us not forget the media and the press – biased as they are – full of “unnamed sources” and untruths.  No Milsoz gunshots there.

The conduct of the lawyers involved, the Justice Department, F.B.I., Democrats in the Congress, of the press, reporters and media commentators was disgraceful … and very harmful to this nation.

Let’s me plain: totalitarian societies rest on lies – big lies, little lies, daily lies, foundational lies and the silence that surrounds them.

The Left and the liberals in this nation have increasingly succumbed to untruths since the explosive late 1960’s.  This is very alarming.

Mr. Comey and company provide a troubling indication of decline, loss of virtue and of liberty.

No wonder common Americans rejected Ms. Clinton and the Democrats, and the “established” Republican politicians in favor of an inexperienced political novice now under constant attack.

Shalom.

 

Technical knowledge is not enough.  One must transform techniques so that the art becomes artless art, growing out of the unconscious.

D. T. Suzuki, in Zen and Japanese Culture

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How do you fully live?  Yes, how do you access and activate the unconscious – awaken the essence of the human legacy?  Same question really.

He met the conformity of culture as structured by man but never conceded its control over his breathing, his heartbeat, his life here – as it preceded him and stretched into eternity.

He always had one foot outside the box.  His wry comments and independent judgment kept him free and gave him a sharper vision than most.  He saw behind the silk scene – people, after all, were not clever in concealing their shallow and predictable motives.

He was not often fooled.

Having access to the unconscious, getting to know it in detail made his life art – artless art, a movie from birth to mortal death … and then the everlasting sequel, a seat above in the presence of a warm May sun.

He was never much for formulas.  A blank canvas was more his comfort. Something to write on, to scribble freehand what came to heart, mind, wrist and hand.  Free flowing.

Operating on the margin of the box – turning the rules into sources of amusement and dismemberment so to say: “You do not have me yet.”  Life in the present structures as a game of escape and evasion, lest he suffocate, dry up and become weak and brittle.

Victory.  Life as artless art in all its ease, in each breath, in listening, hearing and seeing.

The experience of experience in its full range – from joy to sorrow and back again, never a dark day in triumph over the warmth of the sun reflected in the others, the friends, the children, love, laughter, kindness, the beauty, the quiet, the memories, the experience in yesterday and today.

… artless art …

Shalom.

God works in history, therefore a contemplative who has no sense of history, no sense of historic responsibility … is not fully a Christian contemplative: he is gazing at God as a static essence … But we are face to face with the Lord of history and with Christ the King … light of the world … We must confront Him the awful paradoxes of our day …

Thomas Merton

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If there is one (and there is) central failure that puts us in the conflict, and confusion, and chaos … and danger and division, that we face today it is our failure to know and serve God as the Lord of History.

All of the immorality, hostility, bitterness, rancor, hatred and rank stupidity can be assigned to that one failure.

Likewise, the destructive behaviors we witness in special pleaders of unwise causes are the product of God’s exile, and in that absence – the geometric ignorance and needless destruction it produces.

Yesterday, I watched an episode of The Ozzie and Harriet Show and one of The Rockford Files.  The former from the 1950’s and the latter from the 1960’s.  Each was a delight. Each well-written, and nicely acted. Each told an engaging story – the former in a family context, the latter in a detective format.

In the former we saw truths about husbands and wives, men and women, family, brothers, neighbors, boys and girls and human nature.  It was fun to watch. Truth told in a gentle and amusing manner.  It was nice TV … it sat a tone, was believable – represented a reality that was and could be: a relaxed and kindly family environment.

In the latter, we had a “who done it” yarn with the focus being the work of a not-so-successful, and unflappable private detective whose status-life was that of living in a trailer parked on asphalt adjoining a stretch of California beach.

Our hero detective was an anti-hero – an earnest man (yet not beyond employing a street-smart trick now and again) who was resigned to the riff-raff of life without losing his kind and understanding nature.  He was, indeed, an everyman with the wonderful grace to live life as it presented – without scorning what he saw.

Yes, in the 50’s and the early 60’s we effortlessly lived with God the Lord of History and in so doing, we were not out-of-control, frantic, required to “get-our-own-way.”  We were then, sublime, without anxiety or fits anger, public or otherwise … better yet there was no need for intolerant crusaders.  Social justice had yet to emerge to anoint any and all mediocre C-minus-minus people into obnoxious “know-it-all” crusaders.  In short, looking back you see that when God is recognized as the Lord of History … our life is easier and our relationships much more pleasant.

I’ll pass on the very unfunny bores of late night TV, and the likes of Chuckie Schumer and the talking heads of CNN, MSNBC, et al, the vacuous celebrities who have opinions about all manner of things never thoroughly considered, and on the minor leaguers of The Times, The Post etc.

Today we are so dumb and uninformed we don’t realize life (properly considered and experienced) is so much easier … death-defying anxiety and hostility is not mandatory.

Try thinking of God as essential – as the Lord of History … ignore those who speak as if God is either dead or indifferent to us … Such people are as common as a penny and just as valuable.

Shalom.

… the Almighty will not pervert justice …

Job 34:12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shalom.

Christ is with those of humble mind, not with those who exalt themselves over his flock.  (Emphasis added.)

St. Clement of Rome, in Epistle to Corinthians

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.

Carl Jung, M.D.

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Barack Obama was honored recently for his Profile in Courage.  Strange award for this former President to receive, not that awards are to be taken seriously these days … recall if you will the Nobel Peace Prize given to a man who accomplished exactly nothing for peace prior to its presentation.

Ironically, Mr. Obama is the subject today of an exhaustive biography by historian David Garrow who formally produced an acclaimed biography of Martin Luther King. “Ironically?” Yes, because “progressive” Democrat Garrow emerges from his 1000 page Obama biography to identify Mr. Obama as a hollow man, one who was cold, impersonal, and concerned most about himself.

There is, to be sure, little or nothing of either humility or authenticity about Garrow’s subject conveyed in this biography.  Garrow’s assessment is not flattering, but it is revealing, and for some it will be confirming.

The “progressive” Garrow registers disappointment that Mr. Obama so easily abandoned his once professed “progressive” politics and now favors $400,000 speaking engagements and the company of billionaires.  Unlike, Mr. Garrow – I am not surprised by this for I have been to the carnival as a young lad … and it so captures flim-flam.

Yet, when a public “progressive” turns on another as Mr. Garrow does, it delivers a significant message.

The message?  Politics is, especially among the Left, still about status and wealth and public adulation.

Many on the Left utilize politics so that they might “be somebody” – their ideas are often only a vehicle to get somewhere closer to the image they wish to acquire for themselves. Afterall, Mr. Obama and courage?  How does one square that picture?  Where is humility?  How does authenticity attend that ceremony?

For some time now I have seen in public figures people who seem to have ignored the sentiment expressed by Carl Jung above.  Isn’t life about becoming a full and complete person – coming to know the humility of an honest view of yourself and your life, so you might live comfortably in your own story, rather than spending a lifetime scheming to create an image of yourself that you desire?  Such a life is, and must be, hollow.

Lacking authenticity today, we seem too often to lack political leadership.

Ironically, like him or not, Mr. Trump in a very peculiar way is likely closer to “what you see is what you get” – that: a gross measure of authenticity when its opposite is so common.

Life deals us some strange cards, doesn’t it.

Shalom.

It is not that I’m so smart.  But I stay with the questions much longer.

Albert Einstein

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Staying with questions.  Yes.

Who among us has this staying-power?  There are such people and we see them today.  I think of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster as examples.

Each of these men answer questions with an economy of words, plainly and when they do they make sense, they teach and demonstrate their intellect and evidence that they have stayed with “questions much longer.”

That said is it not the question to ask ourselves can we distinguish between those who have stayed with questions and those who have not?

In Washington, Hollywood, the media, academia and politics we have a surplus of people who are “breezy” thinkers … the superficial who run with the unexamined view.

But can you as one stuck in a mass communication culture distinguish the thoughtful speaker from the superficial one?

Democracy does poorly when we cannot separate the insightful from those who think not and speak too often.

Ideologues, by the way, are indeed adverse to staying with questions.  Their preference is the unexamined point of view over the hard task of honest inquiry.

Shalom.

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about those things.  (Emphasis added.)

Phil 4:8

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This is from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians.  It speaks of virtue.

We are not a healthy society, not a virtuous society.  Yes, there are virtuous people.  You can see them in the military men who occupy positions in the present administration of President Trump.  One thinks of General Mattis, General Kelly, General McMaster.

Sadly one does not see it in critical places like universities, in the Church leadership, in the Congress, in the Judiciary.  Without virtue we will  perish.  If there is one thing that we need and must insist upon it is: virtue.

Truth.  Honor.  Justice.  Love.  Grace.  Excellence.  Purity.  These are the things we lack within the culture and in critical institutions.

When it is lacking, those who fail in this regard need our scorn, and surely not our silence nor our support.

We must stand for these virtues.  Accept nothing less of leaders and one another. Those who lack virtue must be called out, held accountable, dismissed from public life and possession of any position of authority.

When those such as Hillary Clinton go unpunished for breaches of national security and laws governing national security, we lose self-respect.  Likewise when others are unpunished for unlawful use of the IRS to thwart the legitimate political interests of American citizens, we lose self-respect.  And when the former President’s national security advisor lies and appears to escape punishment for using classified surveillance material for political purposes, we lose self-respect.  In these unpunished things – virtue is denied and the esteem and authority due America is lost.

A critical part of our present ills, a part that can spell our doom, is the lost of virtue.

There is no greater problem we face than this.  We had better place this at the top of our tasks – the restoration of virtue must be our national priority lest we destroy ourselves.

Shalom.

Fraud of the First Order – Barack Hussein Obama, “the self-righteous one,” with yet another “speech” for $400,000.00.  Two incredible things about this: (1) it shows what a fraud he and the Democrat Party is, and (2) it is unimaginable that anyone would think that this guy has anything to say that is worth their attention, let alone their money.

Wonder if Chris Matthews and the MSNBC crew still get chills when they think of Mr. O?

Here’s some advice: stay alive.

Suzanne Collins, in The Hunger Games

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Well, Russian bombers buzzing the coast of Alaska.  The President of Venezuela suspending the nation’s highest Court and its legislature.  The Middle East in turmoil. Daily domestic stories of sporadic killings committed here and there by one or another of our lost and disordered soul (of which we have an unnecessary surplus).

Plenty of insanity to dampen one’s optimism and rile one’s disposition.

Perhaps, some humor offered as “good advice” is due.  I do my duty.

I offer two, quite obviously, helpful insights for you.  One, social media and newspapers adhere to a simple marketing plan to gain readers and it is this: when you write for fools you are assured a large audience.  Two, when dining in a North Korean restaurant never ask for a doggie bag.

As to number one, I add – my “audience,” such as it is, is miniscule and highly distinguished – yes, people of impeccable taste … well, okay – idle individuals with spare time.

Hope today you find something amusing amid the wide, contemporary range of the very disturbing.  Laughter staves off the crying, and the need for heavy meds or multiple marinis.

My “secret” strategy – stay away from the maddening crowd as encountered in any form – face to face, via media, ads, cities, major highways and interstates, subways, public transportation, airplanes, airports, live sporting events, concerts, theatres, affluent suburbs and “wealthy neighborhoods” and urban war zones, etc. and discount anything that “talking heads” and academics say on television.

Shalom.

Parting Observation – Aaron Hernandez, a former star NFL football player, lost his father when he was a teenager and hung himself yesterday in a cell where he was serving time for murder.  My father deserted me and my mother when I was an infant. By the grace of God and the sacrifice, strength and love of my mother, the presence of members of her extended family and some dear friends and their families, I am alive today.  Go figure.

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.

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