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Ash Wednesday 2018

The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and it must be polished or the luster of it will never appear.

Daniel Defoe

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The soul must be cultivated or the person is diminished and left sickened – his or her deeds false and injurious to self, others, community, culture and nation.

Neglect of the soul breeds discontent, abject ignorance and stupidity.

In American culture today, as in the West at-large, the harvest of discontent, ignorance and stupidity is abundant.  One need only look about – on Outnumbered and CNN for example. Or listen to the quarter-inch intellects on the Left to see the trouble we are in.

We have neglected the soul in favor of selfish special pleadings.  No more clearer is this than in the idiotic manner in which feminists have foolishly elevated the body over the soul and all else that is the human person.

We have built a Tower of Babel from the body parts of one gender as if all of reality relies on but one organ.  Lunacy – plain and simple.

We witness now protracted public discourse on inane subjects bolstered only by this: my genitalia matters more than anything else.

This would be humorous – give rise to a farcical one-act play, but for its destructiveness and absorption of time that could be better spent on larger issues and greater human and communal development.

Tend to the soul – silence for the fools.

Shalom.

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… 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.

The liberally educated person is one who is able to resist the easy and prefered answers, not because they are obstinate but because he knows others are worthy of consideration.

Allan Bloom, in The Closing of the American Mind

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Who killed liberalism?  The Liberals … with the assistance of “education” turned into indoctrination of fruitcake social applications of Marxism.

Enter the nonsense of community-organization, feminism, “homophobia,” race baiters, multiple genders, sexism, white “privilege,” disarmament, socialism, redistribution, environmentalism, central government as omnipotent, etc.  All possessed as if these notions are, individually and collectively, the Holy Grail and justify attack on all ideas that stand in opposition to their point of view.

The question is now can this intolerant crowd once again become Liberals or whether contemporary “liberalism” will, as it now appears, to be converted to fascism and the destruction of our constitutional representative democracy – its tenets, ethos, habit, practice, civility, genius and institutions.  The choice: preservation of freedom vs. its lost.

Ironically, the present circumstances require that one might avoid colleges and universities that dumb us down.  Ditto “social media,” media commentators, traditional sources of news, academics and the Party of the Left.

Much of what you now see as assaults aimed at President Trump by the media, press, modern “liberals,” academics, Democrats, Hollywood, the entertainment world and identity groups is a clash between ill-liberalism and the existing, historic mores of our Nation.  Indeed, such a clash begins with God’s exile.  All form of evil prosper when God is denied.

We live in challenging times.  The question is this: Who are we and who will be?  Go with tradition, what has worked for a long time.  Don’t leave God.  Ride with the Wind.

Shalom.

Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers.  For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb.  Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Emphasis added.)

Ps 37: 1-4

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The application of these words could not be more applicable to today and American secular culture and its politics.

Hollywood female celebrities dress like streetwalkers and adult-age female teachers sexually assault underage male students.  Men in media and entertainment prey on female colleagues and young children, while men in politics and the workplace prey on staff members and associates.

Immoral and destructive ideas are advanced as public policy.  Government is seen as savior and God is shunned, faith dismissed.

We have been given divine guidance.  Turning our back on evil and wrongdoing is our task.  Drawing closer to God in darkened times is our mission.  Rejecting what is bad, impure, immoral, wrong, destructive and those who promote such things is our obligation.

How do you live?  Do you seek what is good?  Do you delight in the Lord and do what is healthy and right?  Or do you conform to the worse things and the ideas of lost souls who advocate what is unhealthy and godless?

Remember, you are a sacred being made for what is good and life-giving.

Shalom.

Mental Toughness – Looking at Tom Brady and his Head Coach you see two people who are mentally tough, determined, disciplined … these are traits accessible to each of us.  But who among us seizes these?  I can tell you this: starting from real deficits, as I did, presented those choices to me early on.  Fortunately I had people around me – my mother, members of my family, and friends who lived by these traits.  Yes, when your back is against the wall – these three things get you through life.  Seize what you are given.  Live despite the obstacles.  Happy sailing.

 

The most paradoxical and at the same time unique and characteristic claim made by Christianity is that in the Resurrection of Christ the Lord from the dead, man has completely conquered death, and that “in Christ” the dead will rise again to enjoy eternal life, in spiritualized and transfigured bodies in a totally new creation … Such a fantastic and humanly impossible belief has been generally left in the background by the liberal Christianity of the 19th and 20th centuries … (Emphasis added.)

Thomas Merton, in The New Man

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Well that pretty much explains the roiling discontent many feel in their souls each day and explains the concern one has for their children and grandchildren – their country, Western Civilization and the exile of God from culture.  That is to say – we no longer carry at our core the above understanding.

The abandonment or loss of this perspective also explains the errant notions that flood our culture: same-sex marriage, Marxism, feminism, racism (expressed even by those who were once its victims), fanciful ideas of multiple genders, liberal intolerance and the like.

Think about it.  Is there any reason for a Believer to adopt any of the popular mantras and divisive dispositions so present in contemporary culture?  No.  There is not.

If one believes that Christ in His resurrection conquered death, there is no need for doubt, discontent or division.  And, yes – Merton is quite right that liberal Christianity have abandoned the unconquerable truth that Christ was Resurrected and as Christians this Resurrection rescues us from all apprehension – furnishes us with certainty, frees us to live fully and in the Spirit.

So in a sense, the unease we see, the hostility and antagonism and their attendant expressions and assertions literally have no place among those who Believe as Christians.

As Merton goes on to say – “Christianity without this fabulous eschatological claim is only a moral system without … spirituality consistency.”  I add only “a moral system” at best; for I have seen in my lifetime the weak idea of “ethics” displace morality as surely as man has replaced God in secular culture.

Ironically, in the age of ethics we get endless rules and regulations of all things and the extraordinary result that those who author the rules and regulations seem never to be held to them.  Out with morality – and corruption flourishes while individual responsibility, freedom, and accountability of the rule-makers seems to disappear.

Without the recognition of the Resurrection we are (as we now show) but a culture inclined to chaos and decline, the loss of freedom and community, and the sickness of godless existence.  Our present trajectory, of course, cannot hold.  We are at a critical moment.

Where are you in your thinking and living?  Best turn to God and the Truth of the Matter.

Shalom.

Frequently people who seek power are not as strong as they might wish to appear.  Many people who desperately hunger for power are weak.  They seek power positions to compensate for their own fragility and vulnerability.  A weak person in power can never be generous with power because they see questions or alternative possibilities as threatening their own supremacy or dominance.  (Emphasis added.)

John O’Donoghue, in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

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Celtic wisdom – valuable insight.  People do not change over the centuries.  What they have been, they are.

Three Lessons:

  • Those who seek power are often lacking.
  • They seek power to compensate.
  • Too insecure and fragile, they do not share power – seeing others and alternative ideas as a threat to them.

This is as old or older than the biblical Herod who feared an infant child.

These three simple lessons tell you about the American Left and their clinging to a derivative Marxist ideology today.  They dread opposition to their ideas.  They demand conformity to their views.  Their claims of “tolerance” manifest themselves in intolerance.  When faced with losing power they hatch extraordinary schemes to discredit and destroy those not like them.  They govern by division.  They see others as a “basket of deplorables.”  They show their fragility and insecurity in their arrogance.

As to weakness and fragility.  Think of both the Clintons.  Do they not fit this Celtic framework?  No place in life outside of politics.  Lacking in other accomplishments.  Mr. Clinton from a difficult childhood with a troubled mother.  His womanizing.  Mrs. Clinton seemingly needing to embellish on her modest history – claiming she was named Hillary after Edmund Hillary who conquered Mt. Everest even through Sir Edmund did so five years after her birth.  Insecurity.

And then there is Mr. Obama and his disordered family life.  Despite a Harvard Law degree, a lack of accomplish before his election.  His overreaching sense of his genius.  His “we are the people – we have been waiting for” sense of super-importance … and his lack of presidential accomplishment.

Those who seem lacking seek to establish themselves in power, celebrity, status, wealth and control.

Applying ancient wisdom to life can make obscure things visible and explicable.  If Celtic lore works – would not religious narrative do the same?

Shalom.

 

… consciousness of (only) the present may lead to an elation based on illusion: the illusion, namely, that we are the culmination of the history of mankind, the fulfilment and the end-product of countless centuries.

Carl Jung, M.D. in “The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man”

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Jung warns us that when we lose track of our place in the long saga of human history we begin to think of ourselves as special and forfeit access to both truth and humility.

It follows, of course, that mistakes and miscalculations escalate when this we lose perspective.  In the present day, by the way, the wise live on the foundation of a humility and reality that is garnered from knowing the nature and course of humans as rendered in the long record of human existence.  There are, as the present world demonstrates, fewer wise men and women than once there were.

Jung makes, by the way, this point – to think more of ourselves than we are entitled is the error of modern man and the action of those misguided elites is a testament to their destitution.  Boy, don’t we see that with the Democrat Left, within the massive federal government, in Hollywood, among celebrities and so many other quarters.

Observes Jung: ” … modern man … is … the worst conceivable disappointment of the hopes of humankind.”

I do not know if I agree with that or not – but I do know that absent knowledge of human history and the truths it establishes, we deny reality, forfeit humility, create our own discontent, multiply both errors and the margin for error.

I know this as well – the Judeo-Christian religious narrative is an invaluable source of knowledge and wisdom and that dismissing this narrative is the single most foolish mistake we make – indeed, this alone accounts for the relatively easy destruction of our nation and the West.

Shalom.

Postscript – If what Jung has said makes sense to you, you’re best play is to be very discreet when it comes to listening to others.  Case in point: Does anyone on CNN make any sense?  Do they (and others) warrant your attention?

Sorry about not posting yesterday.  Christmas tasks, helping my neighbors and a birthday resulted in a full plate.

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(The modern man) has become “unhistorical” in the deepest sense and has estranged himself from the mass of men who live entirely within the bounds of tradition …

To be “unhistorical” is the Promethean sin, and in this sense the modern man lives in sin.

Carl Jung, M.D. in “The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man”

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I have had many conversations with people who notice that the world around them has changed, grown more hostile, more divided – been altered in a fundamental way.

While these people realize the change is led by particular groups and resides in institutions like government, media, politics and universities they cannot put a handle on this, come to comprehend what precisely is the genesis of this adverse, divisive and troublesome development.

They would be wise to read Carl Jung’s essay entitled “The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man.”

Mind you, Jung tells us that the “modern man” is not the average man – but rather he describes the elite members of society.

He is, says Jung, the “man of the immediate present” – one for whom history has disappeared.  He is the man without the past and without its guidance and its wisdom.

He is the man only conscious of himself in the immediate moment – devoid of consistent actions from month to month, whose unconscious state is literally unavailable to him.  He is a man without a spiritual life or vision … a material man with greatly limited vision.

He is a diminished man, a small remnant of a human being – but oh so assertive and sure.  He is a man with the certainty of one who knows little but what he desires in the immediate.  His ideas are as fanciful as they are grandiose.  He is the utopian man – man as his own god.  He is the socialist man, the communist ideologue or depot, the fascist dictator, the totalitarian, the anarchist, the Leftist.

He is the man “above” the mass of others – in his own mind better than others, smarter, destined (he believes) to prevail and to be obeyed.

Today we would say he is the entitled Hillary Clinton, the impractical know-it-all intellectual, op-ed writer with little scale or scope, the celebrity, the TV talking head, the social media mogul, the Leftist in the federal agency or Department, the member of the judiciary or the simpleton with a law degree and a large ego.

He is the very limited person who, regardless of facts, makes decisions that suit his bias and desires.  He is the man who denies reality.  He is the spoiled child subject to tantrums that are rewarded by weak parents.

He is the man of “today’s” culture, of its fads and trends, its avant-garde ideology and loony thoughts of 13 genders and villages that raise children, and borderless countries, emerging racial division, “safe spaces” and political “correctness.”  His followers are the sycophants, and as Jung says: “uprooted human beings.”

The modern man has cast aside the consciousness that comes from knowing the past.  He lacks humility and in this is more destructive and less human than he realizes.  He is the agent of chaos.

Shalom.

Predators – All these disgustings acts of sexual predators (male and female) have an origin.  Stand up Lefties and take a bow for your essential contribution: “The Sexual Revolution!”  You own it.

 

 

Christians … were much more rigorous about matters of sex than the prevailing attitudes in the Roman Empire; they did not forget their founder’s fierce disapproval of divorce … either party in a non-Christian Roman marriage could declare the relationship to be at an end.  Likewise, abortion and the abandonment of unwanted children were accepted as regrettable necessities in Roman society, but like the Jews, the Christians were insistent that these practices were completely unacceptable.  (Emphasis added.)

Diarmaid MacCulloch, in Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

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Oxford Historian MacCulloch lays it right out there for us to read and think about.  He writes here of the early church and their opposition to divorce, abortion, child abandonment.  He shows us the vast difference between the Romans and Roman authorities and Christians, Believers.

While public entities, governments, and politicians have not changed much from those in ancient Rome, Western Culture has departed from its Judeo-Christians.

Look simply at today’s election in Alabama.  One Senate candidate is being accused by women as having shown unwelcome interest in them 40 years ago.  Their accusations are not laid out in detail and none at this point have offered sworn statements regarding their allocations.  Unwilling to say anything about their allegations for four decades – the women now appear on the eve of a Senatorial election to level accusations against the Republican candidate.

Pardon me if I smell a set-up here … but I recall vividly what Democrat Leftists did to Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas with the unsubstantiated claims of Anita Hill that Mr. Thomas uttered odd and suggestive words to her.  You see images of video lynchings are not easily forgotten nor are the craven actions of the Democrat Left who count power and ideology more important than truth.

In contrast the Democrat candidate in Alabama today is plainly pro-abortion and this established fact has no weight in today’s public conversation about sexual mores and mortal behavior.

So we have unsubstantiated allegations vs. established pro-abortion.  One think the we are living as Romans at least in the news rooms and among members of the national news media.

We have regressed since the early days of Christianity.  We no longer see the issues that were quite clear to Jews and Christians 2000 years ago.  Ironically, today’s sexual mess, family deconstruction, pornography, unwed mothers and fatherless families, etc. are the product of the Left’s advocacy and lax morality; and we, regrettably, have been bent to their misshaped ideas, attitudes and policies.

So one concludes two things: one, the early Christians knew better than we as to what constitutes a good, stable and elevated life and, two the Left has worn out its welcome.  They have done enough damage.

Shalom.

 

Knowledge can only be gotten in one way, the way of experience.  There is no other way to know.

Vivekananda, in The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

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A culture does itself harm when it glorifies formal education at the expense of experience, for it is experience that teaches, imparts wisdom, provides confidence, humanizes, teaches you about your adversary, brings you into contact with God.

We are a culture that glorifies education and mistakenly elevates certain once venerable colleges as being magically able to make mere graduates “wisdom figures.”  Ridiculous.  Silly.

Those with wisdom have lived and experienced.  It is in experience that we learn – the greater the challenge the more wisdom we acquire.

Look with care at those on the public stage.  Most of those who appear know little – have no particular expertise, have lived unexamined lives, are far from wisdom and maintain personal lives of chaos and confusion.  They have nothing but foolishness and self-promotion to offer.  They lack insight, are at best trite … not worth your attention.

In contrast, you are far better served by maintaining your spiritual life, coming to know your ancient text and its story.  A Christian’s relationship with God is rich in wisdom and truth – something, incidentally, that those in the public space seem to lack, or willfully neglect.

Your religious narrative and the faith to live what is presented to you are all that is needed to prosper and grow in wisdom and courage.

Shalom.

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