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There are people alive today who may live to see the effective death of Christianity within our civilization.

Hostile secular nihilism has won the day in our nation’s government, and the culture has turned powerfully against traditional Christians.

American Christians are going to have to come to terms with the brute fact that we live in a culture … in which our beliefs make increasingly little sense (to others).

Rod Dreher, in The Benedict Option

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Dreher’s short, readable book will tell you better than others I have read (and I have read many) what we live today in a culture that is changing/eroding at a rapid and disconcerting clip.  Yes, a book to be read not once but several times – and referred to often.

For parents and grandparents who desire that their children and grandchildren be safe, stable and sane amid the hellish chaos of our disintegrating culture – this is a “must read.”

As the quotes above suggest, we are moving away from religious narrative and the underpinnings of America as it was created by our Founders.  This puts us adrift, at sea without a point of reference … without a necessary backdrop that affords a context in which to endure hardship, evil, death, betrayal, loss, disappointment, etc. – of a mortal life.

Frankly, it is simply impossible to live without an overriding wisdom narrative – and, yet we are abandoning our narrative in the face of pressure and hostility from the godless ones (hostile secular nihilists) up and down the social and political ladder.  Such is the way of pridefulness and ignorance.

The loss of a wisdom narrative leaves each to drift without guidance.  The loss places an impossible burden on the individual to create meaning out of their meager experience.

How foolish to think you can write your own narrative while you live it day by day.  Such behavior ignores the treasured records of human existence passed on for centuries.

The costs of this abandonment for the individual and the culture pile up: suicides, homicides, drug addiction, depression, insanity, aborted children, obesity, alcoholism, broken families, lost love, dependency, racial conflict, disorientation, lethargy, despair, confusion, the absence of hope – confidence and faith, of courage and optimism – intimacy, warmth, peace, laughter – human existence, itself.

As Dreher points out Christians are at a crossroad – Christ or no Christ.

So what is it?  Soul or self?  Death and despair without God, or life with God.

Shalom.

 

“Come let us build us a city, and a tower with it to in the sky, to make a name for ourselves.”

Gen 11:4

This Tower of Babel story is quite an interesting story for its utility and application throughout the ages.

If you recall Babylonian people wanted to build a tower with its top to the sky.  In essence this is a story used to show the pridefulness of people – how they could not come to defer to the dominion of God … their Superior.

How often do people act having “made a name” for themselves or seek to make a name for themselves?  It is quite a frequent event … now and throughout human history.

Think about it, the Babylonians were technically advanced … yet, they did not pursue this tribute to themselves with any sense of God, any reverence for God. They exalted themselves – mankind, their genius.

Pride always derails the prideful. Humility, on the contrary, insures success and contentment.

Shalom.

Our unwillingness to see our own faults and its projections of them on others is the source of most quarrels, and the strongest guarantee that injustice, animosity, and persecution will not easily die out.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Depth Psychology and Self-Knowledge

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A man is married to a woman who has two disordered parents who have neglected their own self-examination like it is fatal and in doing so proceeded, as is too often the case, to wrap themselves in a shell of rigid childish subversion of their faith.  The married woman, it does not surprise, is far from maturity and self-understanding.

Lost to her true self, the maturity and insight that is only secured by knowledge of self, the married woman is lost to others, insecure, controlling, passive aggressive, unable even to accomplish standard household tasks.

Without her redress the marriage and her parenting inflict disorder on her spouse and her children.  This is what Jung is talking about in the above passage.

Unwillingness to see our faults projects disaster, sickness and disorder on others. Make no mistake such people spread disaster and destruction to others – especially their children and those with whom intimate contact is due. Our silence in these matters sows the seeds of evil and unhappiness from generation to generation.

We are made in the imperfect image of God.  But having a faith narrative which tells us this should licence us, with confidence and courage, to come to know our life circumstances and ourselves – warts and beauty marks included.  Alas, too often faith is thin even in church-goers, and illness persists.

What Jung speaks of exists in groups – and is quite lethal, even more destructive there.

I give an example.  The Republicans wish to alter the Obamacare national health fiasco. They see the plan, not the Democrats who created it as the problem.

In sharp contrast, the Democrats oppose the alteration of their coveted shrine to the dubious “genius” of government and themselves and, without waiting for a review of the Republican proposals, they demonize those who wish to alter their prideful and extraordinarily flawed law and its policy.

In the Democrats, and particularly in Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, we have the unwillingness to see their own flaws and the subsequent projection of animosity and personal persecution on others.

Democrats are (and have been for a great long time as is consistent with the political Left) the Party of character assassination and personal attack.

Their identity?  The “devil with the truth” and what might makes sense, is cost effective, withstands independent analysis and evaluation, preserves economic freedom and America’s unique government and Constitutional legacy, does not impose by force a flawed law or policy on citizens and vital institutions, is ignorantly partisan, governs not for all citizens but only for their base donors and supporters.

The Democrats are the married woman in the first illustration.

They spread chaos and disorder because they are stubbornly unwilling to look critically at themselves – finding it far easier to attack others than discharge their duty to know critically who they are and act as mature adults with sufficient self-knowledge to possess humility while causing no harm to others and our precious and unique nation.

They are without a doubt the people and Party of tantrums and destruction.  They make, it follows, poor mates and foster disordered offspring from generation to generation.

Footnote – Let’s be honest – the hideous torture of a mentally impaired White teenager in Chicago by two eighteen year old Black boys and two Black young women (one 24 and a mother) has everything to do with the dismantling of the Black family by the Democrat Left and their policies at the federal level.  This destruction has been going on for decades and now we have fatherless (often amoral) children and behavior like this.  Very sad.  It must change.

Shalom.

“I’m the guy who does his job.  You must be the other guy.”

Sergeant Dignam, in The Departed

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I don’t know if its being from Boston or what, but this and other lines from The Departed, a movie about the Winter Hill Gang and the cops and characters that inhabited “by faire City” and my particular patch in Somerville, just ring so true. They convey a Boston attitude – a unique thing.

Dignam is, in the movie, that police officer who gives you this: sometimes there is not much distance between the hunted and the hunter.  And this, too: life is competitive – do your job.

Here Dignam is responding to a fellow officer who failed to deploy his surveillance apparatus properly so that all aspects of a criminal transaction could be recorded. But the thing that I like about Dignam’s words are: they are real, there is no fluff to them, they are straight at you.  His words tell you that life is life – live it, get it done, wring all the breath out of it – no slacking.  Truth is: living demands all you have – no days off.

Most people, by the way, take off as many days as they can.  Some specialize in taking an entire life off – politics has a bunch of those guys in it.

Want to have some fun?  Take this quote and carry it by day and night and I bet you a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts that you’ll find yourself uttering these words to yourself as you encounter the guy driving the car in front or you, when you meet your kid’s teacher or the school principal, read about some judge’s idiotic decision in a criminal or child custody case, listen to Nancy Pelosi or other air bubbles in politics or the “news” media, or talk on the cell to the person in “customer service,” or listen to another Obama (smartest man in the history of the human race) unsolicited lecture, etc.

We live in a sea with a lot more froth and less ocean than there once was.

“I’m the guy who does his job.  You must be the other guy.”

It is a divine gift to have a life – live it.

Shalom.

She observed that the more education they got, the less they could do.  Their father had gone to a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade and he could do anything.

Flannery O’Connor, in Everything That Rises Must Converge

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Politicians, Popes and public commentators would be wise to be better read.  We suffer gravely that they are not.

Take race for example.

Flannery O’Connor tells a story of a widow mother and her young college-educated son. They are Southerners and White.  She, raised in the segregated South, and he coming of age in the Civil Rights era.  A mother and son – separated by time and experience.

In the story, Julian and his mother are on city bus. He registers a silent contempt for his mother who harbors views of the world rooted in her segregated past.

Without any act on the mother’s part, Julian feels an “evil urge to break her spirit” – to humiliate her, punish her, embarrass her, hurt her.

A college “educated” liberal fellow – he feels superior, better … and bitter.  Yes, his experience has reduced him, more then her experience has reduced her.

In a subtle way he has the opportunity to belittle her, and he does.  In his righteousness he seizes an opportunity to laugh scornfully at her – yes, his sense of justice licenses him to hurt her.  

The product of his education?  Pride, arrogance, narrowness, hostility, anger, hatred, revenge, division, destruction, disregard for others.

All this education and love is lost.  Yes, ignorance takes root and hatred prospers.  Gone is wisdom and the simple ageless truth that love comes before justice.  

The fact of the matter is that Mr. Obama, Mr. Holder, Mr. Sharpton, Rev. Wright and their allies are as Julian.  That which does not rise does not converge.   

Without love – laws, regulations, policies, law suits, legal decisions, demonstrations, “political correctness” cannot prevail.  This a lesson the Left resists relentlessly.  Education, you see. 

Best to spend more time in soul-searching, in prayer and in one’s faith, than expect harmony to come from public lectures, actions or advocacy.

Kindness and consideration of the other is the first and indispensable step. Human problems are solved in the heart, far less so than in the head.

Faith anyone?  Be careful what you casually discard.

Shalom.     

A man’s own character is the arbiter of his fortune.

Publilius Syrus, 42 B.C.

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I am so sick of whining.  Boo-woo-woo.  Poor me.

Colin Kaepernick.  Black biological father, White mother – raised in a White family. A quarterback in the NFL, making a very nice check – far better than most other people will ever make.  A guy with four parental figures – one Black, and he’s protesting about racial injustice.

He ought thank God he had those around him who cared not a wit about race, those who accepted him, housed him and loved him, fed him, gave him a loving and stable home, saw him through high school, helped him grow in his personal life and athletic talents, prepared him to go on to college, and play football at the University of Nevada on scholarship.

He comes off “the ingrate.”

I am so sick of the post-1960’s decades of whining.  Poor-me, poor-me, poor me. Stop it! Grow up!  We can thank the “glass isn’t full” Lefties and liberals for this nonsense.

The whiners think they are the only people who had an uphill slog.  How about the Catholics in Northern Ireland?  The Italians in America?  The Jews in history?

I have a sign to my immediate right as I write this.  It is there everyday.  It says: “No Irish Need Apply.”  It is dated September 11, 1915.  It is a sign that was hoisted in the store windows of Boston merchants.  It was meant to say plainly – we don’t like or want the Irish here.

Do you think the Irish whined?  Hell, no.  They had character.  Guts. Pride. Courage. Determination.  Faith. Toughness.

They called these signs NINA signs (“N” for No, “I” for Irish, “N” for Need, “A” for Apply) and said of them “Twas the same sign that hangs in the gates of hell!”

My father ditched us when I was an infant, my mother and I ended up in public housing, I grew up among poverty and the hard-working Irish and Italians in my neighborhood. There was no whining.  There was character, toughness, fight, determination.  No one sat on their butt and drew a government check.  No, we had more self-respect than that.

Want to build a strong and courageous and faithful people – an invincible nation? Ditch the dole and the Democrats for good and forever.  They specialize in making a slave class of all who submit to them.

As for the three-quarter white Kaepernick?  Well maybe he ought to try being thankful – and he ought to grow up.

Enough of the professional “cry-babies.”  Want to show those who dislike you who you are? Excel. Get off your fanny and make something of yourself.  Has not God made more of you than whining?

You want in on a little “secret?”   If all around me are smarter, more diligent, able, etc. than I am – it makes me better, I improve and “my game” is advanced, too. Liberty is advanced when all participate fully and to their best ability regardless of what others do to stifle our efforts.  And we become happier more contented people and better friends and neighbors, we help one another without any envy.

Shalom.

INDEPENDENCE DAY, 2016

… the power to decide what is good and what is evil does not belong to man, but to God alone … man is certainly free, inasmuch as he can understand and accept God’s commands … he possesses an extremely far-reaching freedom, since he can eat “of every tree in the garden.” But his freedom is not unlimited; it must halt before the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” for it is called to accept the moral law given by God.  In fact, human freedom finds its authentic and complete fulfillment precisely in the acceptance of that law.  God, who alone is good, knows perfectly what is good for man, and by virtue of his very love proposes this good to man in the commandments. (Emphasis added.)

St. John Paul II, in Veritatis Splendor

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Freedom is not without its limits.  It must halt before the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  Yet how are we living in this day?  Are we living within freedom’s limits?

Do our judges know freedom’s limits?  Or our elect?  Or those who clamor for their own passions?  Do they not routinely act as if they are gods?  Woe, that be so.

Who among us asks: Do our laws and state actions adhere to God’s moral commands?  And who dare stand for God?  Who dare say “Halt” to thy neighbor?

Only he is free whose actions conform to God’s law.

One thought ever at the fore –

That in the Divine Ship, the World, breasting Time and Space,

All Peoples of the globe together sail, and sail the same voyage, are bound for the same destination.

Walt Whitman

[A poem found and published after his death in 1892.]

America is a special place.  Yes, it is now unpopular to say so – but it is.  We founded a country with room for God and man, with freedom constrained by moral law.  This, among other things, distinguishes us and makes us necessary so long as we adhere to life and law under God.

Today our commitment to life under God wanes among many.  ‘Tis a time for choosing. The stakes are high.

God Bless America.

Shalom.

God moves in a mysterious way … works His sovereign will .. ye fearful saints, fresh courage take …

William Cowper

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We live in difficult times.

We are beseiged by a large noisy collective of intellectually challenged Lefties in politics, government, in the courts, the media, the near dead news rags, entertainment (such as it is), the Gillian Island lost crew in academia, and the a sundry nitwit “movements” which pepper us with more and more juvenile distractions like transgender bathroom privileges (hardly the issue upon which the axis of the world shifts or the tides fail to rise).  Yes, while national pride and identity fade, borders are lost, security neglected, armies and navies shrunk, waste proliferates and debt grows – the sludge rises and ye saints become fearful.

Take fresh courage.  Know that God works in mysterious ways.

Consider Brexit (England’s prospective exit from the European Union) and Mr. Trump.  Do you see God’s good work afoot?

Let me explain. First, each defines the present difficulties in significant part and rallies patriots.  Sizable numbers of each electorate are angry at those who govern: elected officials, large government, bureaucrats, existing political parties and the closed circle they provide, protect and perpetuate.  And their anger is for good reason.   

While globalism grows, jobs and industries evaporate, communities die and men can no longer find work and support their families.  Worse yet, those who govern engineer this fundamental shift and do nothing to compensate because they have their’s.  No skin off their banana!

People see the government’s failure is fundamental.  They see slow-to-no growth. Stultifying government regulation of all things – cradle to grave.  They see assaults on liberty, on religion and their constitutional rights.  They hear a Supreme Court Justice say that when she hears “morality” mentioned in an appellate argument she hears bigotry. Adios, God – any perverse thing goes.

People have “gotten it in the neck” – they have lost their identity as each nation retreats and as each loses its borders and its history, its pride.  In the U.S. some who would lead are ashamed of the country they claim to serve, the people who live here – its lawful citizens.

The good news: God has called out the errant, the failures in high places, the out-of-touch privileged class who govern for self and self alone.  And He has put on alert those who have been discarded and discounted.  He has gathered the flock and they are disgruntled.

Now is the time for ye fearful saints to take fresh courage.

What has been done must be undone.  And, as always, we must do it.

Afterall – I didn’t see any Yale educated lawyers battle the Red Coats in the American Revolution, nor bureaucrats, regulators, former presidents, congressmen or senators, judges, academics, socialists, communists, agnostics or atheists, or the quaint mavens of sexual appetites and gender fixations, et al doing battle in General Washington’s army.

Fearful saints, take courage.

Shalom. 

“Woe to the world because of scandals!”

Jesus, in Mt 18:7

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[Today I begin a series of posts on evil.  I do so in a time, and in a culture, where those who would lead us in any venue seem unable to offer any coherent thought on the idiocy of the evil we experience daily.  Case in point, an elected political “genius” in a small Rhode Island town ordered the local firefighters to remove the American flag from firetrucks because displaying the flag made the firefighters look like ISIS.]

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The world is populated by good souls and by the godless.

The latter group is composed of unbelievers who are hostile to religion as it challenges their pride, self love, their pursuit for pleasure and lust for power and riches. And it captures those indifferent to religion – ones who prefer apathy to living a full life.  And, of course, it includes the devoted sinner who cherishes their wilful conduct above all other things; and, finally, those who claim religion but prefer an appearance to discipleship.

The exclusionary secular culture belongs in many ways to these godless who, in mass communication, relentlessly project themselves on us in the images, stories, icons, words, maxims, fades, fancies, language, ideologies, hierarchies, structures, systems and politics of the culture.

Such a culture raises up not God but man, the human being – as the rich, the celebrity, the powerful, the selfish, the pleasure-seeker, the fashionable, the exhibitionist, the opiate-addicted “entertainer,” the ideologue, the “educated.”

Such a culture opposes and attacks the faithful and what is good.  It mocks them and belittles them and their beliefs and practices.  It seeks that we conform to their views and fades, fancies and ways of thinking and being.

The courage to resist this rests on our seeing this mortal life as less than eternal life.

Yes, to defeat what we face is to live and see in the light of faith.  Then, we will know our adversaries and their ways and we will not stumble willy-nilly into costly, the spirit-killing compromises, habits and ways of thinking of this secular world.

Think about it.  Where are you at this point, in this culture.  On guard and informed?  Or easy prey?  What do your politics tell you about yourself?  Have you been captured?

Shalom.

Note – This post draws in the work of Adolphie Tanquerey, S.S., D.D. in The Spiritual Life.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of all of them.

Ps 34:19

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Individual people, cultures and nations will find themselves facing adversity – some even caused by their waywardness, pride, corruption and the like.

The wise understand that adversity is required to offer correction.  God uses it to call us back to balance, to health and to faith and humility – and to wisdom, insight, patience and prosperity.

Adversity, properly considered, will strengthen your faith, grow you spiritually. But, for the adversity to end – we must respond – we must ask: what is it that God would have me know in this?

The believer is confident in the face of adversity.  He and she trusts in God and makes the proper adjustment.

Facing adversity brings us closer to the life of Christ and that is a blessing.  Once drawn closer, never distant again.

Many times adversity comes to us in places where we have been somewhat successful.  In those instances we realize that our success did not make us God. Yes, adversity brings us back to earth.

See God in the adversity you encounter.  Take measure of yourself and see what you must learn from the adversity.  In all things trust God and know His goodness in store for you.

Shalom.

Postscript – I have little patience for nitwits like Stephen Hawking.  I saw in the news today that Hawking thinks Donald Trump is a demagogue.   Well isn’t that dandy!  What exactly does he know about governing?  The U.S.?  The gross errors of the American Left?

How about this, Mr. Hawking – “Hillary and Bill Clinton are thoroughly corrupt and Mr. Obama is the least competent of any American President and the only one who actually dislikes America.”

Well, brave Mr. Hawing – try that on for size.  Oh, it doesn’t fit too well.  Then keep your opinions to your self.

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