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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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It’s not much of a tail, but I’m sort of attached to it.

A.A. Milne, in Winnie-the-Pooh

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After seven decades on the planet, I have come to prize modesty and see the value of humility.

Most recently I have been reading a history of the last century.  In reading about the Treaty of Versailles which concluded the First World War, anyone with any intellect, a beating heart and (yes) a soul is apt to think of the ruin that followed the Treaty that we might all do better with an anatomy to which a small tail is shamelessly attached.

I say this because human beings today (at least in the Western World) attach far, far too much value to themselves.  Indeed, you see an example of this in the antics of diplomats, self-proclaimed scholars of statecraft, national leaders and heads of countries who were parties to and/or beneficiaries of the Treaty.

What do I mean?  Nations grabbed new territories where they could, – assumed rule over those who spoke not their language but the language of their country of origin or small ethic group.  Worse of all – self-determination (which was the “phrase of the day”) promoted ethnic groups, within new boundaries and those trapped under rulers and parliaments who thought little (or worse) of them, to take to violence to claim their “slice of the pie.”

In short, chaos and brutality followed the interim “peace”and laid (along with the huge problem of reparations) the ground for a second (even more bloody, destructive and demonic) World War.

One wonders if all the geniuses of the day might have been less robust in preparing the world for more slaughter and destruction had they had “a small tail” to which they were modestly but honestly “attracted?”

Aye, yes – we think way too much of ourselves and surely of all the Ivy-educated elites, celebrities, people in media, faces on television, intellectuals, the educated class and the founding techno-monkeys who sit atop piles of cash as the benefactors of asocial dispositions in themselves and many others.

Small tails, people – small tails!  Poverty of the Spirit in plain view. Tails needed.

Shalom.

 

… examine everything carefully, hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

1 Thes 5: 21-22

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God created man and woman to be in close personal relationship with their Creator and with one another.  (Gen 1:27)  We are made to be complimentary to one another.  In such union there is divinity – Holy Matrimony.  Yes, our relationship is sacred and honoring it is our duty and the source of our peace and happiness.  Scared it is.  Political it is not.  Divine it is.  Ideological it is not.

The relationship between men and women is good and it is our duty to retain its goodness.  But among us there are those who would destroy this.  Many radical feminists and others who pursue craven desires seek to divide woman from man.  Too often we are silent and inert when such hatred and division is so near, so clear, overt and hostile.

We are called to good, not silence in the presence of evil.  Woe to those who are silent in the presence to of evil … think of the threat posed to innocents, to children in particular when evil of this sort is left unchallenged – permitted its voice without opposition.

If you wonder that others possess such hatred, think of radical feminist Andrea Dworkin’s words: “I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high heed shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.”

With words like this, is anyone surprised at the conduct of radical feminists women and the Democrat Left and those who counsel hostility?  Did they not show their colors in the Kavanaugh hearings?

Things that are sacred to life and essential to peaceful, free society, fellowship and community are being attacked.

Are we to remain silent and in this muteness hasten further destruction and division?

Shalom.

Postscript – Ms. Dworkin is best remembered for her good work in opposition to pornography – a topic well worth one’s opposition.  Sadly, she passed away in 2005 at age 59.

In a way, her life shows us that violence begets violence.  How well I know this from my own life experience.  Which for me is precisely why it is essential that we address anyone who urges hostility and attacks what is good – particularly what is godly and good.  May she find eternal rest.

 

… do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Emphasis added.)

Isa 41:10

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We are in difficult times.  Men are assumed by some to be the source of evil, a target to be destroyed.

Some among us will do anything to gain power.  Those who lust for power wish to void electoral results.  They prefer their way to the decisions of a free people who have spoken.

Those who lust for power are poor losers.  Their arrogance exceeds fair play and their conduct does not serve them well.  Acting in bad faith, their words ring false.

In fundamental ways this nation is being diminished by some of its people.  We are rightly dismayed by what we see.  The presumption of innocence is replaced as to men or those who believe in God and a presumption of guilt is applied to each.

Yes, those who disagree with those on the Left are presumptively dismissed and discounted, chased from public places, ridiculed and insulted.

In such times one need not fear for our God is an ever-present, just God.  In such times we are called back to God.  These times are for renewing our faith, invigorating our beliefs and carrying those God-inspired beliefs into each day in the way we present ourselves to others, in each transaction, and in our quiet moments and thoughts.

Difficult times renew our faith, restore God as our point of reference.

We are in such times.  Now is a time for strength and renewed confidence.  God gives us opportunity and courage in these challenging moments.  What a blessing that we may live our faith overly and without fear in our most difficult days.

Did not David face his challenge in this way?  So shall we.

When the world around us seems less faithful, those who believe become more faithful … and overtly so.

Shalom.

Take no part in the untruthful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Eph 5:11

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Our Christianity has been attacked more and more aggressively since the 1960’s.  The attackers have used the judiciary and politics, and utilized elementary, secondary, college, graduate and professional education as well as the “entertainment,” media – radio, television, print and the digital – world.  Truth is – the elites who occupy these venues know little of faith and fall far short of being educated – as such, they do inevitably far more destruction and division than one can imagine and they warrant our disregard.  They are largely undiscriminating lemmings – crowd followers.

In the present moment those who attack religion and those with religious beliefs include the Democrat Party, Leftist organizations, anarchists, nihilists, radical gender-feminists, abortionists, Marxists, and those advancing the “normalization” of any and all sexual aberration.

Frankly, the faithful have been docile and not as vocal and active as they might be given the darkness and destruction that the godless promote and perpetuate.

Well, let’s face it – the impetus is on us – those who believe.

Shalom.

 

Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.

Maya Angelou

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Political ideologues are unable to do this.  They never mention love.  They make demands, insist on getting their way.  They go to extremes to divide and make enemies.  They expect all to adjust to them.  They show no evidence of a relationship with God.  On the contrary, you hear in their words only their own confusion and insistence.

It is strange that they can get away with this selfish insistence … but then again maybe that tells us that our culture is more Godless and God-ful.  If so, then we have no more ground to give the ideologue.  No more need to listen to them nor make space for their destructive disposition.  Loving them is expecting more from them, expecting them to change their ways – to be congenial, courteous, thoughtful and adult.

Yes, loving those who are unloving means not validating their nonsense.  Once the foolishness is gone – there is space to love and accept.  But no one who seeks a meal eats what is impure and spoiled.  When the standard is set, the meal can be shared.

Yup, no more ground to give.

“Well, Dear, talk to the tree until the tree listens and changes as you wish – then come back to me and we shall chat anew.”

Shalom.

Surprised.  You might be surprised at how many voice and sources I no longer listen to or pay heed – MSNBC, CNN, PBS, the major news networks, The Washington Post. The New York Times, feminists, Democrats and “social” Democrats, leftists of varied stripes, shapes and sizes to name but a few.  I prefer the clear air of a monastery of one to the open air “nitwitary” of many.

The process which, if not checked, will abolish man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists … The methods may at first differ … But … the means in the long run (are) just the same … ‘Traditional values are to be debunked’ and mankind … cut into some fresh shape at will.

C. S. Lewis, in Abolition of Man

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Perhaps the Professor Ford – Judge Kavanaugh story indicates a significant turning point in the flow of radical politics from the 1960’s to the present.  Perhaps we see in the Kavanaugh episode a significantly outlandish and destructive “overreaching” by the extreme Left.

Years ago Lewis saw what was afoot. The voice of others like Solzhenitsyn and Milosz who fled what Lewis describes are echoing in the public today.  Maybe citizens are now focusing more on the efforts of American Leftists to remake us in their fractured image … and rejecting their dubious project?

Odd as he is, President Trump, signifies something.  He is, as is shown by the pollsters and political professionals who gave him no chance to win the last presidential election, a statement that something has changed here.

Contrary to the popular Left-leaning commentary it may not be that the great-unwashed “deplorables” made a huge mistake – but rather that people have began to repudiate precisely the “re-make” that Lewis identified.  Perhaps what we are seeing in Trump and in the Kavanaugh mishmash is a reaction to the arrogant elites who, without hesitation, desire to shape us to their liking – and perhaps we have said or are starting to say “Get lost.”

Think about it – abortion is no longer coveted by many of the younger people in this country, Catholics are prepared to hold their clerical leadership to account, the cost of education and the product it produces in “the snowflake era” is now seen as a poor investment.  Likewise, perhaps the impermanent policies and practices of President Obama executive orders and fiats being easily dismantled are further evidence of a fundamental shift afoot.

There are a number of such schisms much like these which appear to be a reaction to the excess and the hubris of the educated, celebrity, privileged and governing class.  Think, for example, of the failures in Democrat governments in Chicago, in California and other places where public debt verges on bankruptcy and social order is in disarray.

Could it be that we are seeing tradition reasserted?  Normalcy restored.  Radical propositions put in check?

Think about it.  Be assured – humans are designed to seek what is good and in the long run that instinct prevails – often trigger by the excesses of those who do not promote what common sense knows to be true and good.

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.

 

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