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… taking ownership when things go wrong requires extraordinary humility and courage … (Emphasis added.)

Jocko Willink, in Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win

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Look around today.  Listen to the daily news.  Adults realize that in life “things go wrong.”  Some might say – things go wrong daily, perpetually.  Would anyone expect less from imperfect people?  No.  Not unless one was delusional.  And, yes – some people are delusional.

Learning requires taking ownership for our actions and inactions that produce error and failure.  Doing so requires humility and courage and is the mark of a leader.   

Looking at the daily news suggests we have a shortage of leaders.

When you find yourself in chaos and recognize that those who speak to the moment look neither humble nor courageous, you realize that you are called to fill that void – you are called to lead – to manifest that humility and courage, to take responsibility, to candidly identify and speak of errors that must be corrected, to call others out.

Today we are far from seeing daily examples of leadership. The messes in the Parkland, Florida school shooting, at the FBI and Justice Department, in the Obama Presidency and within the intelligence community are sufficient evidence that we have a leadership problem – because we have a maturity problem, a character problem, a faith problem, an honesty problem, a courage problem, a humility problem.

What are we to do?  We must call those out who fail to lead.  Identify failure.  Rid ourselves of those who fail to own their errors.  Realize valor is our mission.  Separate from the indigenous failures among us and lead as you are called to do.

Courage.  Humility.  Onward.

Begin with your family, then your workplace and community.  Keep the company of the humble, the courageous – and speak the truth.

Better the company of the few, the best – than reside with lost souls.



The two worlds, the divine and the human, can be pictured only as distinct from each other – different as life and death, as day and night.  The hero ventures out of the land we know into darkness … his return is described as coming out of that yonder zone.  Nevertheless – the two kingdoms are actually one.  The realm of the gods is a forgotten dimension of the world we know … the exploration of that dimension … is the whole sense of the deed of the hero.

Joseph Campbell, in The Hero of a Thousand Faces

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Easter approaches.  But do we think of Christ the Hero who joins again the divine and the human in “the two kingdoms that are actually one?”

Yes, this is the time for our unification of the divine with the human – a reminder that we live in but one kingdom – whole and divine … that we are made whole and divine!

I am often struck at how it is that we live as if there is no recorded human story over all these years of human existence and how in our ignorance we miss the obvious truth and significance of the essential and repeated stories of the Hero, the sacrifice – the rule of the Divine over all from Age to Age.

Our Easter celebration occurs in many forms in varied cultures, religious narratives and ancient stories – making it all the more True, and making us in our ignorance all the more in need of wisdom and sight that is not blinded by our badly mistaken assessment of our own importance.

In our political life we are trapped in the daily event – unable to connect history’s dots.  We live so superficially – and listen to the most inane dribble day to day.  In this small frame of mind we fumble about, pontificate, content to be doomsayers, hopeless, foolishly assertive grand problem-solvers, faithless.

Shortly after the above passage Campbell questions the Hero who returns, thus: “Why attempt to make plausible, or even interesting, to men and women consumed with passion, the experience of heavenly bliss?”  He notes it is just as easy to “commit the whole community to the devil.” Yet, he notes for the Hero comes “the work of representing eternity in time, and perceiving in time eternity.”

Christ descended into darkness for three days and arose and, then, returned to us so we might know eternity in time, and time in eternity.  But are we governed daily by the Hero’s selfless deed?

In Easter we meet reality.  But do we live this reality?  That is the critical, life-changing, life-saving question.  That is what you face at Easter – that one and only eternal question – that which governs mortal life and time, and eternity.


Hillary Kills Feminism.  Well, the poor-as-church-mouse Miss Hillary is at it again.  Traveling in India she tells us that she lost the election because White Women were directed by their husbands, male bosses and sons to vote for Donald Trump.

There you have it – the end of Feminism!  After years of listening to feminist nonsense and their howling at the moon – Feminism has achieved this one amazing thing: the White Women among their ranks now do what their husbands, male bosses and sons command!  Guess that puts an end to that “Cause.”  Take a bow, Ladies.

With Feminism dead, can gender studies be far behind?

Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one …

C. S. Lewis, in The Screwtape Letters

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Battles between good and evil are won on the margins.  This is a lesson few Americans seem to understand.  Good compromising with its opposite is no victory … it is a lost …

Compromised moral structures result in the disappearance of morals and the institution of corrupt practices – and corrupt lifestyles. In this the abnormal becomes normative.

Look around, the Liberals and the Left have brought us six decades of gradual roads moving us to the destruction of the family, marriage, childhood, virtue, truth, decency, community, intimacy, imagination, honor, sacrifice, morality and meaning.  It their places: the bacchanal – anything goes, self and pursuit of pleasure is king!

But make no mistake – the battle is won or loss on the margins.  Accept same-sex marriage and holy matrimony is lost.  Accept abortion on demand and motherhood is lost – and euthanasia is right behind – hastened by homicide, suicide and drug addictions.

To fight and win on the margin one must address the son who is using drugs or living a dangerous lifestyle.  Yes, when evil is in play – one speaks up and stands for what is good, and right – what is healthy and moral and elevates the human person, preserves their soul.  Remain quiet and compliant and you can kiss your culture goodbye while saying “Hello” to Hell.

This is where we are today.



He who does not cry out the truth when he knows the truth becomes the accomplish of the liars and the falsifiers.

Victor Serge, in From Lenin to Stalin

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It surprises me that few among us dare to think that Donald Trump and his supporters are the only force pushing back on the radical Left, the Marxists, anarchists, nihilists – those who reject this country and wish its destruction.

It doesn’t take much knowledge of history or superior intellect to see what is right in from of us today.  Alas, we are short on truth-tellers and long on liars and falsifiers.

Have we learned nothing of the mass murders of Lenin, Stalin, Mao et al?  Do we forget that Nazism was National Socialism?  Are we not forewarned?

The stakes are rather high and today we are in very significant times.



The more we are adjusted to reality, the better our lives work.  But we can live in a world of reality only if we have a taste for mystery.  For the reality of the situation is that our knowledge is like a little raft bobbing up and down in a sea of ignorance, in an ocean of mystery.  (Emphasis added.)

M. Scott Peck, M.D., in Further Along the Road Less Traveled

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We know less than we think and far less than can be known.  Absent that understanding – humility is rare.

In mass communication culture we are presented with endless talking heads – male and female … most with a B.A. from some once-elite college, or (God help us) a communication degree from some third or fourth-rate place.  These people never utter these words: “So-and-so wrote a remarkable book on X and it says …. ”

Yes, we listen to non-readers with no significant and examined life experience, and crappy educations at mediocre institutions at best.

Imagine if people had as a baseline this: “Gee, life is a mystery … I best respect how little I know, how limited my knowledge and intellect is, how unfamiliar I am with the classics, with mythology, with religion and religious narrative, history, psychology, philosophy, the 20th century …”

The words of wisdom are the words of those who are experienced and humbled my life, by the mystery that it is.

Alas, we have the C minus-minus students telling us things that made no sense and are frequently simply wrong, uninformed, idiotic.  That’s news and public discourse now!!!

God help us all.

If it gets any worse, I’ll get my news from squirrels.  At least they have not been to some overpriced loony-bin of a college where left-wing pabulum is dished out for four mundane and tedious years.


Postscript – Hollywood and the media establish one significant “take it to the bank” truth and it is this: there is absolutely no correlation between wealth and intelligence, or between wealth and character, virtue, wisdom, common sense and decency.   As for courage, wealth and courage parted company a long, long time ago.


… we must grow up.  We can only go forward through the desert of life, making our way painfully over parched and barren ground into increasingly deeper levels of consciousness.

M. Scott Peck, M.D., in Further Along the Road Less Traveled

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Dr. Peck, an esteemed psychiatrist, makes this point at the beginning of his book on life’s journey and he makes it in reference to the Genesis story of Adam and Eve and their partaking of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

His foundational point (a common notion as to Adam and Eve’s action taken against God’s instruction) is that the action they took marked the beginning of consciousness Adam and Eve (and humans at-large).

In making this point, Dr. Peck is highlighting that once man hastens off on his own actions he is decidedly self-conscious and in a sense separated from the perfect union with His Creator, creation itself and other people.

Hence the above quote makes this sensible observation: man must grow in health and stability and do so on a barren, challenging terrain in search of understanding himself, others, and the Divine.

We might say – once we assert our own autonomy, we then must come to a greater consciousness to know our wholeness as human beings.  In short, to be healthy and full: grow we must.  Without this growth – no peace, no union with others – rather: discontent and loneliness.

I leave you with a challenging question: when you look around do you see those who grow or do you see those who resist growth?  And then there is this question: of those who grow and those who resist growth, who looks the happier?  More content?  Wiser?  

I suggest to you that the ongoing challenge for human beings to grow and this is a challenge honored often in the breach.

To this I add an observation: growth is painful and people avoid pain.  Addictions, ideologies, suicides, adulteries, acts of betrayal and such give us evidence of people avoiding growth.  On this point others have noted that evil is presented by those who intentionally reject growth and are so fervent in doing is that they care not at all who they might be hurt in the process of their errant existence.  I am sure we have all been injured by these people.



North Korea, Nukes and Elites – North Korea seeks our President’s attention to talk about denuclearization,  Why?  One reason – the hash embargos against North Korea have put that nation on the verge of having no money, no fuel and no food.  Another reason, President Trump made it clear that North Korea provocations would be met with decisive force.  What is the difference between Trump and his people and the elites some of whom have occupied the White House and positions in foreign affairs?  It is this: balls.

Growing up in privilege is no match for growing up on the wrong side of the tracks.  That is the difference between hand-to-hand combat as a child and the cushy prep school life followed by Yale or Harvard, Princeton, etc.  The former breeds leaders and the latter breeds know-it-alls and “snowflakes.”


March 9, 2018 Edition will be a later afternoon edition.  Early rehab workout and a number of morning errands.


Seven Years Ago Today I Began Spirlaw with the Technical Help of My Son – Now a Ph.D. in AI/Neural Systems with a Speciality of Machine Learning.

The Young Man is far smarter than his Dad.

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Father, without you we can do nothing.  By your Spirit help us to know what is right and to be eager in doing your will.  (Emphasis added.)

Concluding Prayer in the Morning Prayer for Thursday of Lent

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Friends, I give you the opportunity for quiet reflection.  Take time to sit and let these words wash over you.

Having read a great deal of history in the course of a long life and three advanced degrees, I am resigned to the words in Scripture that seem to tell us that as humans we are prone to rebellion.

May it be less so from now to the end of time.

I pray that each of us will be eager to do God’s will.


Postscript.  In Spirlaw I realize God’s intentions for me.  My task is to attempt a daily witness.  We live in hard times insofar as our culture seems to house an animus toward faith.  Sometimes my zeal may exceed your taste … but I am just an imperfect being.  I hope to do something useful and good more than something harmful.  For my failures, I ask your forgiveness. 

Please Pray for the comfort of Marty Gerra and his family in the passing of his brother Ralph Gerra, and for the repose of Ralph’s soul.   Thank you.


Most of the time, we are lost in the past or carried away by future projects or concerns.  When we are mindful, touching deeply the present moment, we can see and listen deeply …

Thich Nhat Hanh, in Living Buddha, Living Christ

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Today with all its fury, demands, confusion, transgressions, noise, deceit, foolishness and injuries has a way of capturing us.  But we need not be locked into its mischief and destruction.  Indeed it is quite unhealthy for us to be captured by all the chaos and malfeasance, the untruths and disorder.

‘Tis much wiser and far healthier to be mindful.  To focus on our interior.  Seeking quiet and listening to it gives rest, understanding – transcendence, yes, liberation.

In the fury of today, do you hear your breathing?  Most would answer, “No.”  To them I say: “You are NOT mindful.  You have been captured by chaos.  You are forfeiting your life – cheating yourself out of the life you have been given.  Making yourself sick.  Settling for far less than you have been given.”

Cistercian monk Thomas Merton had an affinity for the existential writer Albert Camus.  He saw in Camus “a man who … loves the world yet stands apart from it with a critical objectivity which refuses to become involved in its transient fashions and its more manifest absurdities.”  (Thomas Merton, in Contemplation in a World in Action).

So many are captured by the chaos.  The digital world, much like the organs of mass “communication” (or shall we say “miscommunication“) that sow chaos and confusion – reduce us drastically from whole to but fragments.

Better to hear your breath.  Be mindful.  Stand apart.  Maintain critical objectivity – you can dismiss most of what is going on around you … there are so few healthy voices after all.



We are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through us, and the appeal that we make in Christ’s name is: be reconciled to God.  (Emphasis added.)

Cor 5:20

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St. Paul’s words fit us to a tee today.  This is precisely the core of the problem we face in America and particularly in Washington, D.C. and national politics.

We have forsaken Christ in favor of self and power and greed.  In place of Christ: we have collusion, Commies, incompetence and corruption.  Forget the swamp – we have a cesspool.

Think about it: lobbyists, lawyers, politicos and their hacks and handlers, lots of money, career politicians, dishonesty, duplicity, a partisan press and clueless media, fools running the Justice Department, FBI, intelligence agencies, in the State Department – and past Presidents asleep at the switch, and investigations that are at best “selective.”

So where are the Christians?  Their voices?  Who is to set the standard of decency?  Honesty?  Service?

Yes, there are some Members of the Congress who stand tall.  I think of Mr. Nunes of California, Mr. Goudy of South Carolina – and there are others – more in the House of Representatives than in the Senate.  But is there not a place and time for Christians to speak up publically?

Remember, America is a country which (unique in history) built a free nation on the relationship between faith and liberty.  Religion and its presence … hence, religious freedom is vital to our individual liberty and national prosperity and character.

Believers must speak when the conditions require.

Frankly we are failing our ancestors who built this Great Nation and we are failing the God who made us and entrusted us with this land and this Nation’s mission.  Shame on us.

What will you do?




Nothing appeals to intellectuals more than the feeling that they represent ‘the people.’  Noting, as a rule, is further from the truth.

Paul Johnson

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Historian Paul Johnson’s words are worth thinking about today because we are in a period where the elites (intellectuals, included) are in the wane, losing their hold (thank God) on the population.

Yes, we live in a populist period whereby those who have held power for decades have moved substantially away from the greater population of common people.

The elites have been undone by a number of factors – they are too visible in mass communication culture, they have advocated a variant of Marxist ideas – especially as to social policy, they have become extreme – and proven themselves weak in matters of national security – and their gross affluence, hyper-political disposition, determination to build large government given to control all aspects for life from the cradle to the grave, and their tolerance of corruption and government incompetence and creation division among people has put them on the block.

They have created their own problems – and people really don’t like them or their ideas – indeed for good reasons.

Their story is one of pride, privilege, exclusion and destruction.

We are in a state of correction.  At best we might rid ourselves of elite governance and their failed ideas.  Our swing back to the middle might well be aided by Scripture as guide.

I offer one such guide: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Matt 23:12).  Yes, people before privilege!

Memo to the elites: forget the “selfies” – you ain’t that special.




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