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Today’s blog is dedicated to women and my Mother, Jackie Sylvester, and so many great women I have been blessed to know.

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The woman was made out of a rib out of the side of Adam … of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected and, near to his heart to be loved.

 Matthew Henry, in Exposition of Genesis

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My mother raised me by herself.  My father deserted the family when I was an infant.  My mother literally saved my life.  She placed me first and held me accountable – never failing to offer opportunity, correction, encouragement, support, love or her sacrifice for my benefit.

Through the grace of God I recognized this very early on in my life.  Accordingly, I never gave her reason to worry about me.  We were a team – we were one together.

My job was to not make her job any harder – and to protect her and support her and love her.

I love her to this day and think about her everyday.  She has been dead now 21 years – yet, I’ve not lived without her in each of my days all those years because anything good I have done, or thought, or do today is in some manner derived from her selfless dedication to me as a woman and a Mom.

Perhaps you can guess, I have enormous affection and respect for women.  No man proceeds to a good life without a woman’s guidance and instruction, love and assistance.

I loathe men who disadvantage women, hurt them and treat them poorly.  I adore the strength and manner of women, their wisdom, their courage, and their heart.

That said, I reject “identity politics” which shamelessly divides woman from man and in doing so rebels against God and nature.  In “identity politics,” like so much of what the godless Left promotes, we devalue truth and inflict needless damage on this life that we are given.

In “identity politics” we are made to be far, far less than we are, and who God has made us to be.

Shame, shame, shame – turn your back on those who divide us – they are wrong, miserably and hatefully wrong.  They bring evil to what is a great good.

Two bound together are stronger than one alone.  It is idiocy to divide what God has made as one.

Shalom.

 

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Moral values, and a culture and a religion, maintaining these values are far better than laws and regulations.

Swami Sivananda

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Noted Indian philosopher and wise man, Swami Sivananda has it right.  Laws alone are not our completion, our fulfillment – nor the source of our power and identity.

The truth is those with humility have the greatest strength.  They stand without fear in the face of terror and death, for they know eternity and that it awaits those who believe.

If you were to read of the history of Western Civilization and its unique formation and evolution over centuries, you would see and know of something to marvel.  You would see your blessings and take comfort – indeed you would seek to preserve what we have.

But alas we have many among us who attack what we have, disparage religion, attempt to deny God, and deconstruct marriage, gender, nature, the institutions that provide protection for each sovereign citizen and for those who live their religion in their every day, … those who adhere to a moral code.

The destructive actions I see today give me great concern.  Attacking what we have is an act that insures our dissolution – a destruction that cannot be easily re-assembled.

Those who destroy our historic gifts pave the way for an ugly totalitarianism, a loss of freedom and meaning.  This is a very, very dangerous course – rejecting sacred gifts always is.

What are you doing to preserve our blessings?

Shalom.

Postscript – We have been poorly served by the education establishment (colleges and universities included) and our political and media figures insofar as we have not familiarized our sons and daughters with the treasure that is Western Civilization.

Please pray for those in the Florida Panhandle and others in the area that they might avoid personal injury and significant loss as a consequence of Hurricane Michael.

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… the active life is essential to every Christian …

The active life is the participation of the Christian in the Church’s mission on earth, whether it means bringing to (others) the message of the Gospels, or administering the sacraments, or performing works of mercy, or cooperating in the world-wide efforts for the spiritual renewal of society and the establishment of that peace and order without which the human race cannot achieve its destiny.  (Emphasis added.)

  Thomas Merton, in Life and Holiness

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Every baptised Christian is called out of darkness – called to live as and for Christ.  In this comes “the most mysterious aspect” of Christian life: living in grace – living in “light of God in us … transforming us” … making us the children of God so we are His instruments of peace and good in our culture and in this life on earth.

This is the nature of the active life of each Christian.  Nothing ought precede this orientation to our life – for this is the most fundamental identity a Christian possesses – and it is for us the source of our happiness, strength, wisdom, purpose, meaning and value.

Think about it.  What are you doing to further the spiritual renewal of our society?

What are you doing in response to the increasing violence of radical mobs and the irresponsible Senators, Congresswomen and wealthy benefactors who encourage hostile behavior or those who excuse it in newspapers, magazines, network and cable “news” programs?

Spiritual renewal of society … and you.  Think about it.

Shalom.

The moment you have a self at all, there is the possibility of putting yourself first – wanting to be the centre – wanting to be God …

C. S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity

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Lewis writes here about corruption – an individual’s corruption – a vital element in human history, an issue each human must face in his or her life, a critical factor in understanding corruption in culture … in those around you – particularly among those holding or seeking power and the legions of advocates for this or that which promotes or demands simply their selfish desires without regard to anyone else.  In politics and culture today, we have many such errant narcissistic individuals and groups all more or less nihilists.

Make no mistake – the foundation of corruption is the individual desire to be his or her own God.  Yes, such thinking is insane and produces discord, division and conflict.

Yes, thinking one is one’s own God is frankly – living a colossal LIE.   You doubt this?  Think abortion as mere “choice,” or Holy Matrimony as same-sex “marriage,” or slavery as acceptable, or division by race, or multiple “genders.”  These are manifestations of men and women acting as God.

As Lewis so correctly says this “hopeless event” of human as God: it is men and women “invent(ing) some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God.”

We like to think of ourselves as smart, intelligent, an educated society.  Yet, the thinking and conduct such as described here (and so clearly visible among political-social-sexual “activists,” pundants, college professors and their ill-schooled products of nonsense, ideologies and hubris – as well as entertainers, celebrities, the media and some who would be “clerics,” and lawyers with grossly little intellectual depth or range or insight, among others) – simply puts the lie to our brilliance, and the opinions of a whole range of people whose godlessness defines their ignorance, establishes their uselessness.

Yep, God versus godlessness.  Sanity versus insanity.  Truth versus gibberish.

Shalom.

 

What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies.

1 Cor 15:35

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I like this sentence.  Why?  Because in our life we sow many things by what we do.  Our work, our kindness, our missteps, our sacrifices, how we endure any suffering that comes our way – in these things we sow seeds.  Yet our lives and each of us personally is not the story, not the meaning of our existence – rather when we live and recede from our self-importance then we are known, then we are alive and in the full.

Think about it, when we decrease God increases.  When we are less, God is more.  In this we die to our egos, to our self-importance.  In that dying we are born.  Born to who we are – mortal beings with an eternal frontier that awaits.

Dying to self is living to the full.  Anonymity exceeds celebrity.  Our being and meaning is sacred and eternal – far more than merely mortal and earthly.

Shalom.

When all else fails, there is always delusion.

Conan O’Brien

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I learned a long, long time ago and very early in life that there are many around us who merely adapt to the common realm of the culture or make the fatal mistake of deciding that they will create their own reality.

The number of the latter group have mushroomed in my lifetime.  I suppose that is so because when you are in an affluent country and you live far better than most people in the world in almost all material respects, you think you are “special,” – the author of your destiny.  Of course, add-in mass communication culture and the digital world and people can appear to live out there “special” nature and this is where delusion breeds absurdity.

We have today and yesterday a real exquisite example of delusion breeding absurdity.  It comes to us in the form of: (a) Professor Ford who has leveled a damaging allegation against the prospective next appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court – and (b) her lawyers.

You see the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has set aside next Monday to allow the Professor (accompanied by counsel) to appear before it with the prospective next appointee and his counsel to and testify under oath.  The accused nominee has agreed to appear whenever the Committee desires.  The accuser, Professor Ford, through her counsel first indicated she desired to give her testimony but then said that she will not do so until the F.B.I. has done an investigation as to the alleged incident three-plus decades ago.  This is where the delusion and absurdity come in:

  • the F.B.I is not the proper body with jurisdiction,
  • the alleged incident is under the jurisdiction of the Montgomery Country, Maryland, police and prosecutors where the transgression is said to have occurred and the Professor is still entitled to file a complaint and indeed must file a complaint if she wishes justice to be done
  • additionally, lawyers working for the Professor take this odd position, to wit: the Professor’s allegation must be taken to be true and that she has no burden or obligation to appear to establish the veracity of her assertions – that is, that what she says to the nominee’s detriment must be thought to be true no matter the denial by the accused
  • … this is Alice in Wonderland logic – first the sentence and then the trial …
  • the Professor and her lawyers take this position: the presumption of innocence and the right to trial and the right to confront one’s accuser be damned
  • you can only conclude that the Professor and her legal handlers have no regard for the law and the established institutions and practices designed to protect the innocent while also allowing the aggreived to pursue their claims of injury.  How ironic – – – injustice utilized to sink a nominee to the High Court and permanently injure his reputation.  Injustice preferred to justice preserved.

If there is an explanation as to how one can think in this manner, it seems to emerge from radical feminism.  What do I mean?  Feminism promotes the idea that the body is political and that as such all things contrary to that view may be discounted, ignored, diminished, destroyed, etc. – because nothing is more important than a woman’s body – nothing – not justice, nor faith, nor the soul, nor fairness, nor another’s reputation and good name, nor a child in being or in utero, – nothing.

The problem created when the body alone reigns is that people discard logic, law, thinking and let thinking emanate in and from a body part, or the body itself.  Such a disposition allows delusion to become absurdity.

Yes, there are bigger things in the world than a body part which, in itself, does not define who we are.  We are far more than that – a sacred soul, for example.

Shalom.

 

 

 

… signs … Jesus … performed … have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Jn 20: 30,31

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Believing or not believing.  Belief in God or belief in nothing.  Theism or nihilism.  We face this proposition more directly today than we have probably in our history.

I have a very dear childhood friend.  He was my closest friend growing up.  We were like brothers – did so many things together.  Shared the same classes and teachers throughout school.  I was like a family member in his home.  His mother treated me like one of her children.  She and my mother were best of friends.

My friend is now in a nursing home.  He is frail.  Spends a good deal of time in bed.  As a child he was bright, friendly, a reader – social, trusted, quite capable.  In his late adolescence he seemed to be at odds with institutions and authority – but more to the point he began to lose interest in the world around him.  He seemed to make a wilful decision to reject this or that – his skepticism began to grow.  His actions seemed to say: life is worthless – this view and his skepticism grew as he aged.

He drank consistently throughout his life beginning when he was a teenager.  His initial adult working life seemed consistent with his abilities.  He had a modest political life and was elected to his local School Board.  His two children were successful.  He seemed at odds with his wife and she with him most of their married life.  She too was a negative person.

His negativity continued to grow – his work history declined as his cynicism strengthened.  He suffered from seizures.  Eventually his downward work trajectory ended when he worked himself out of a janitor’s job, being fired from a government position despite his union membership.  A very hard act to accomplish.  He burned bridges at work and with family members.  He scoffed at religion and those who tried to help him.

If I have to point to one thing that explains my friend’s decline it is this: he became a cynic – lived as a nihilist.  He lived as if to say very loudly – life has no meaning.  Nothing  met his approval – all was more or less rejected.  He lived as if to deny his own existence and existence itself.  

I see his attitude in our culture and politics today.  Those who reject national borders sound like him.  The lapses with the Vatican as to sex abuse, denying law, morality and the Canons of the Church reflect his disposition. The upheaval in sexual mores, in families, in lawless urban enclaves seem to say: “belief in good” no longer holds.   The corruption at the federal bureaucratic level says much the same thing – truth and honesty are not honored in practice.  Drug addictions, suicides, random violence and corporate men preying on women employees – but more indications of decline and decay, amoral behavior – signs of depravity and reasons for serious concern.

All this to say but one simple thing: I do not hear much said about nihilism and the denial of values, morals, conduct – rather, too often, I see others advocating decline and decay – angry people attacking structures and codes of conduct that hold us together and provide a basis for community, peace and prosperity … life itself.

Theism or Nihilism.  Believe in something or believe in nothing.  God or nothing at all.

Shalom.

Christianity (is) not … a matter of getting … ideas straight but rather of getting (one’s) life straight.

Robert Barron, in The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path

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Ultimately people want to live well, have peace, experience love, be free of troubles, worries, sickness and injustice, be able to laugh, enjoy friendship, and realize the value of their own good work.

Life is about “getting life straight.”  And that is a faith matter.

Yet, in the course of my lifetime, I have seen interest in faith (particularly Christianity) decline and, in the void that is created, I have seen people seek meaning in ideology and satisfaction the prosperity that has come to us mid-last century in a free market economy with peace at hand.

However as to ideology, I am most troubled.

Ideology is a body of ideas reflecting the “perceived” needs of an individual, group, class or culture.  Needs, mind you, of this mortal existence.

Unlike faith, it is earth-bound and reflects the desires of a class of individuals.  Its goal is not the realization of a full life but rather it is smaller than that – it seeks only the self-authored, contemporary desires of a group – often pursued with force so to impose a narrow and self-interested view of life on all others.  Apropos, politics, propaganda and public tantrums are three of their favorite coercive tools.

Ideologues, you see, care only that their views (which comfort them) be forced on others – never time-tested and never challenged.  Totally accepted as totalitarians demand.

Imagine living with someone who, exposed to an idea, assumes (because they like the idea and feel empowered by it) to make of that idea their world view and the “thing” that  governs their world as they experience it – as if this idea is the prism through which all experiences are, and must be, filtered.

I guarantee that living with such a person is close to living in North Korea or a re-education gulag.  This is where we are today as to ideology – in its public and private hues and noises.

Convince a potential ideologue a hammer is a “hat” and that person will spend the rest of life trying to fit that hammer to their head and expect you to do the same.  Yes, they will abandon all reason in favor of foolishness.  Me?  I’ll take faith – you can keep the hammer.

Shalom.

 

 

REMEMBER SEPTEMBER 11th

… we all have to be “crucified with Christ,” suspended in a moral suffering equivalent to veritable crucifixion.

C. G. Jung, M.D., in Psychology and Alchemy, Collected Works 12

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Is there ever a time or a life in which one did not experience a moral challenge, a struggle with temptation, the experience of betrayal or witness depravity?  No.  This is life as a mortal … this is life in the world.

Make no mistake – we live in a Crucifying Time.  But who does not.  Yes, there come times when the incidence of evil is more obvious and more heinous … but all time brings us moral struggle and one form or another of treacherous rebellion and evil dressed in “justification” and maybe even brazenly not even disguised.

Now how can that be?  Well, we are people.  Imperfect, easily tempted.  Many live in their ego and its demands and ill-formed sense of “entitlement” and superiority.

The Crucifixion (it is said) “is the central image of the Western psyche.”  It is surely the case that it conveys the “juxtaposition” of what is human and what is divine.  In these times one is offered Christ once again – plainly so.  In darkness, you know, Light is brightest.  We live in such a time.

In a “crucifixion time,” – what do you see?  What do you know?  Who are you?  What do you do?  With whom do you reside?  With God or the godless?

Shalom.

 

Where love reigns, there is no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking.  One but the shadow (i.e., the opposite side) of the other.

Carl Jung, M.D. in “On the Psychology of the Unconscious,” Collected Works 7

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When you look out on the landscape of culture today, it good to have some familiarity with those like Carl Jung who have made a concentrated and sustained life effort to understand the nature of human existence and the path to a healthy and meaningful life and culture.

I supplement the above with these additional quotes from Dr. Jung:

Man is not only governed by the sex instinct; there are other instincts as well … in biology you can see the nutritional instinct is just as important as the sex instinct … in … civilized societies the power drive plays a much greater role than sex … (Dialogue with C. G. Jung, ed. by Richard Evans)

It takes much energy to be in love.  In America, you give so many opportunities both to men and women that they do not save any of their vital force for loving. (Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, ed. by Wm. McGuire and R.C. F. Hall)

These passages make one think of those in power, of the feminist movement that seems driven by the desire for political power and some of their female disciples who seem narrowly focused and limited developmentally as a result – and, of course, these words bring to mind numerous male counter parts.  Yes, it makes me think that power has its GREAT price and that power seekers often have little fullness or balance and as such are very likely NOT the people that you would want to have power and surely not influence over you, your children, others and this nation.

I dare say politics today shows us that far too many people in power (especially those who live their entire adult life in politics and public office and high level government executive positions) seem to be rather unbalanced and possessed by myopic views, narrow insights, and little to no wisdom.

Jung and others, like the late father of comparative mythology Joseph Campbell, are truly a treasure when it comes to explaining how we are, what we see, what we are living and understanding the disorder we experience in today’s exclusively secular culture.  Both Campbell and Jung can impart valuable insight which opens one up to the truths so obviously presented in religious narrative over the ages – an area by the way of which we have grown pathetically ignorant … and done so at enormous and unnecessary cost.

Time to put down the “smart” phone and the i-pad and put the tattoo money to some good books with insights that can shape and save your life and Western culture.

Shalom.

 

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