the responsibilities we have

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.
A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship,
and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

St. Basil the Great


(gull, Rosemary Beach, Fl / Julie Cook / 2019)

“Scattered about the entire earth, your mother the Church is tormented by the assaults of error.
She is also afflicted by the laziness and indifference of so many of the children she carries
around in her bosom as well as by the sight of so many of her members growing cold,
while she becomes less able to help her little ones.
Who then will give her the necessary help she cries for if not her children and other members to
whose number you belong?”
Saint Augustine, p. 90
An Excerpt From
Augustine Day by Day

new left, not so new-raison d’etre

“But society cannot be indiscriminate where the pacification of existence,
where freedom and happiness themselves are at stake: here, certain things cannot be said,
certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed,
certain behaviour cannot be permitted without making tolerance an instrument
for the continuation of servitude.”

Herbert Marcuse

As we revisit our friend Melvin Tinker and his book
“That Hideous Strength: How The West Was Lost
The Cancer of Cultural Marxism in the Church, the World and The Gospel of Change”
,
we pick up where we last left off…reviewing some of the writings of the likes of individuals
such as Herbert Marcuse.

Who was Herbert Marcuse you ask?

He was a German-born American philosopher, sociologist, and Political Theorist.

Marcuse was a key figure in the Frankfurt Shcool of Critical thinking.

According to Tinker–
“In 1923 a week-long symposium was organized by Felix Weil in Frankfurt,
Germany in which they laid out a vision for a Marxist think-tank and
research centre.
The original name for the centre was the Institue for Marxism (Institut fur Marxismus),
but a more innocent sounding title was subsequently given,
The Institute for Social Research (Institut fur Sozialforschung).
Since that time the ISR has usually been known simply as the Frankfurt School.”

Besides his time spent in the Frankfurt School, Marcuse also spent time working for the
US government in the Office of Strategic Services which was a precursor to the CIA.

But what is actually more relevant and crucial to us today regarding Marcuse,
as we witness a sinister surge in this new cultural Marxism grabbing hold of
our Western Civilization, is that Marcuse is known as the ‘father of the New Left’.

The New Left…??

Perhaps The New Left is an oxymoron—not new at all.

Have we not been inundated with all things of the New Left ever since the midterms?
Does the new darling of that New Left Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ring a bell?
So perhaps we’re actually discerning that this “new” left isn’t so new after all…

Tinker responds to Marcuse’s opening quote —
Notice all those ‘cannots’?
Who do you think they are applied to?
Mainly people like Christians.
This is a new totalitarian-tolerance while all the time masquerading as a new freedom.
As such the new tolerance must extinguish the old tolerance and those people and
institutions which traditionally expouse it such as the church.
Furthermore, for neo-Marxism to have a raison d’etre
there must be repressed groups which need liberating,
People are required to see themselves as victims of the liberal society of which they are a part.

PC or not PC? That is the question
It is cultural Marxism which lies behind the all-pervading political correctness of our age.
Those of both the political right and left acknowledge this.
Pat Buchanan of the right wrote, ‘Political Correctness is cultural Marxism, a regime to punish dissent
and to stigmatize social heresy as the Inquisition, punished religious heresy. Its trademark is intolerance.’

Similarly from the more liberal publication Newsweek:
PC is, strictly speaking, a totalitarian philosophy …
Politically, PC is Marxist in origin…There are…
some who recognize the tyranny of PC but see it only as a transitional phase,
which will no longer be necessary once the virtues of tolerance are internalized.
Does that sound familiar? Its the dictatorship of the proletariat.

In 1930 Max Horkheimer became the director of the ISR which is when neo-Marxism was
launched in earnest.
Horkheimer was convinced that the major obstacle to the spread of Marxism was traditional
Western culture with its Judeo-Christian heritage.
Here there developed a revisionist neo-Marxist interpretation of Western culture under the rubric,
Critical Theory, the goal of which according to William S. Lind ‘was not truth but praxis,
or revolutionary action: bringing the current society and culture down through unremitting,
destructive criticism.’
Truth, according to this view, was locked into its own particular point in history and so was
historically relative (of course that would apply to Critical Theory itself
a fact which was conveniently overlooked).

unremitting destructive criticism…” along with ‘facts that are conveniently overlooked‘.
With the New Left’s biggest obstacle being Western Culture and its Judeo-Christian heritage…??

If you think that none of this is relevant or affects you, your life, your routines, your beliefs…
you best think again.

No, this New Left is really not so new at all—
yet it continues on relentlessly, with a growing fevered pitch,
to desperately turn your world upside down.
To de-establish the established.
To neuter the bedrock of Western Civilization…that being
her Judeo-Christian foundation.

And there is no one who is more giddy about this revved-up assault
then that of our old ancient foe.

Split
Divide
Eliminate
Conquer

You and I will soon have two choices, that is if those two choices aren’t already standing before us…
Stand firm in our faith…
or…
appease and apologize…
and in turn, lose our souls.

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and
following their own evil desires.
They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?
Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was
formed out of water and by water.
By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.
By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire,
being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years,
and a thousand years are like a day.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.
He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.
The heavens will disappear with a roar;
the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?
You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.
That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth,
the home of righteousness.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this,
make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation,
just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters.
His letters contain some things that are hard to understand,
which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this,
be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from
your secure position.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and forever!
Amen.

2 Peter 3:3-18:1

tribalism and wise predictions

How do we call a liberal?
You know, someone very profoundly once said many years ago that if fascism ever comes to America,
it will come in the name of liberalism.”
“And what is fascism?”
“Fascism is private ownership, private enterprise, but total government control and regulation.
Well, isn’t this the liberal philosophy?”

Ronald Reagan in a 1975 60 Minute’s Interview, 6 years before becoming president


(image from the 1963 movie Lord of the Flies based on the 1954 novel of the same name by William Golding)

I really dislike the new word that is being used to describe life here in the US.

It’s actually an old word and is certainly considered a real word…

It’s not some sort of new-age mishmash word that has taken on a viral
life of its own while earning a new slot in our English Language dictionary—
not some sort of trendy cultural word that is more urban slang than a word rooted
deep in the history of a highly evolved speaking people.

It is, however, a word whose definition is actually being used correctly, sadly,
given our current life’s mania.

It’s a word that we use to use to define a particular past when defining an indigenous people.
A word defining a people who are not the same as us but rather, in some sense, less than…
less than compared to their more highly evolved counterparts.

There is a sense of barbarism linked to this word.

The word is tribalism.

And it means what the noun aspect of the word says…
a tribe or group of people who adhere to a similar social grouping and thinking.

tribe noun
\ ˈtrīb \
Definition of tribe
1a : a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with slaves, dependents,
or adopted strangers
b : a political division of the Roman people originally representing one of the three original tribes of ancient Rome

According to Wikipedia, Tribalism is the state of being organized by, or advocating for,
tribes or tribal lifestyles. Human evolution has primarily occurred in small groups, as opposed to mass societies,
and humans naturally maintain a social network.
In popular culture, tribalism may also refer to a way of thinking or behaving in which people are loyal
to their social group above all else, or, derogatorily,
a type of discrimination or animosity based upon group differences.

Go to any warm sunny beach resort or cities such as Nashville or New Orleans and
you’re likely to run into a Bride’s tribe…

A soon to be bride and her bridesmaids enjoying a little bachelorette or hen destination party.
They’ll be the ones flocking about town in a showy, loud and often intoxicated state with a
very “tribal” vibe—they’ll all be wearing matching shirts emblazoned with the words “Bride’s Tribe.”

Fun social gatherings aside, tribalism, however, reminds me of those who are basically a primitive
type of people. A people living an almost ‘Lord of the Flies’ existence.
A survival of the fittest type mentality with a kill or be killed motto being held high and true.

Tribalism is a word that is now being used to define life in the US.

The notion is that we are a splintering people who are all about our individual tribes and or groups.
Those being like-minded groups.

So why does Nazism come to mind?
A growing national mindset that is intolerable of both Jews and Christians?

Groups that don’t care one iota for the other groups.

A divisive mindset of it’s us against them.

It’s a word that makes me actually quite sad and even depressed as it is a word that denotes
a regression rather than a progression.
As in a regression of moving backwards rather than progressing forward…
as in devolving rather than evolving…
as in going to the bad rather than going toward the good.

Yet within this notion of tribalism, I know of one who is almost giddy over such a divisiveness.
Satan’s strategic plan is the militaristic idea of divide and conquer.

Scoff if you like, but the net is drawing tight and Satan is very busy.

God is on the move.
Our world and lives are changing.
Time is of the essence.
And so as worrisome as the idea of tribalism is, there is something much greater taking place.

And so it was with much interest that I read the recent observation by Newt Gingrich
regarding the 2020 election.

An event that most of us are already dreading.

Dreading so much that I’ve actually been looking for some far-flung island out in the middle of nowhere…
a place that is without any sort of communication with the outside world.

Yet no matter how much I dread it, another election will come…

And mark my words, tribalism will play a tremendous role.

So I offer you some words of wisdom from a man who is always on point with his observations…

As you listen to the liberal media, the Never Trumpers and the left-wing Trump haters chatter on
about President Trump’s current situation, remember these two numbers — 35 and 49.

The first number was President Ronald Reagan’s approval in January 1983.
The second number was the number of states Reagan carried 22 months later.

I am not predicting President Trump will carry 49 states.
This is a different environment, and the tribalism that divides the country is deeper than it was 36 years ago.

President Trump’s resilience,
despite two straight years of the most negative media coverage of any president since Lincoln
(at least 90 percent negative according to studies by the Media Research Center that analyzed nightly broadcasts)
is a sign that he has a devoted base that will stick with him.
The most recent unemployment applications are the lowest since November 1969
(when there were a lot fewer Americans at work).
There are powerful initiatives underway to continue to increase American jobs and economic growth.

The left will do for Trump what it did for President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,
and what it is currently doing for Prime Minister Theresa May
(who is surviving because the alternative is so terrible).
A few more proposals for 70 percent tax rates, sanctuary states,
tax paid health care for everyone including illegal immigrants, open borders, anti-Semitism,
and anti-Israeli hostility, and the Democrats will begin driving away everyone but the hard left.
California Governor Gavin Newsom’s wildly left-wing ideas are going to be a striking
contrast to President Trump’s comparatively mainstream views
(Newsom was mayor of San Francisco and is carrying its leftist ideology to the entire state).
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may set a new standard for willful ignorance
by a non-Hollywood personality.
There is a point where smiling while saying things that are factually false
simply doesn’t sustain a national movement.

The energy in the Democratic Party is entirely on the left, and as Hillary Clinton discovered,
the nominating process is going to drive the Democratic candidates to get as nutty as necessary
to please the new generation of radical bigots.

The media’s new enthusiasm for third-party billionaires (Starbucks anyone?)
is a big help to Trump’s re-election.
Any third-party candidate will divide the anti-Trump vote and have no effect on the pro-Trump vote.
The White House should encourage every would-be third-party leader.
The more the merrier from the Trump perspective.

The Never Trump Republicans will get a lot of media and will be socially celebrated by the Washington,
New York, and Hollywood crowds.
They will do Sunday shows, be invited to speak at establishment events,
and have paid staff egging them on (so they can continue to get paid).
The Never Trump candidates will also be crushed by President Trump in Republican primaries.

Trump, like Reagan, learns and thinks a lot more than his detractors acknowledge.

In fact, President Trump has been much tougher on Russia than President Obama ever dreamed of being.
From sanctions to the military buildup of NATO, to rebuilding missile defenses and forward
positioning in the Balkans, to offensive weapons for Ukraine,
the president has been tougher, not softer.
Yet, the left’s innuendos and attacks continue to paint Trump,
as The New York Times hysterically put it, as a potential Russian agent.

The Mueller investigation will eventually be put in perspective and will lead to serious reforms
to limit the threat of an out-of-control deep state in the Justice Department.

The American people will gradually realize that this whole effort has been a political hoax
to smear the president, which has weakened the country and undermined the rule of law.

The hard left will go into the summer of 2020 chanting hatred and believing everything bad about Trump.
They will represent about 40 percent of the country.
The hardcore Trump supporters will go into the summer of 2020 amazed at how much their leader
has achieved despite unending news media, Democratic hostility, and splits in the GOP.
They will make up 45 percent of the country.

The 15 percent who will have been repelled by the left’s craziness and turned off by President Trump’s
style will enter the summer of 2020 wishing they had a better choice.
In the end, they will have to gamble on the least dangerous and least bad future.
When that happened in 2016, they broke overwhelmingly for Trump over Clinton,
and the late deciders made him president.

There will be three big things helping Trump in 2020:

1.The Trump administration’s accomplishments will be real
(a future column will outline the wave of breakthroughs in our lives that will start
being felt in the next 18 months).

2.The hysteria and dishonesty of the investigations and their irrelevancy in terms of Trump as president
will be obvious, and only the left will pay them any attention.

3.Breakthroughs like criminal justice reform, a cure for sickle cell disease, better education through parental choice, the best African American employment rate in history,
and the like will lead to Republican breakthroughs with minorities
(as happened surprisingly in both Florida and Georgia against Democratic African American candidates for governor –
in both states the margin of victory was African Americans voting Republican).

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/newt-gingrich-democrats-and-never-trumpers-will-put-trump-back-in-the-white-house-in-2020-heres-why

foreshadowing

The letter to the Hebrews was written to confirm the early Jewish Christians in their faith in Jesus,
the Messiah-Savior. The writer takes a recurring theme that Jesus Christ is better because He is superior.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate Word from God!

This is a reassuring, strengthening message to us in our day.
Hebrews lets us know that while our Christian faith surely was foreshadowed in and grew out of Judaism,
it was not and is not dependent on Judaism. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ,
spoken while He was here on earth, still speak to us with spiritual authority.
At one time He reminded His disciples that new wine must never be put in old, unelastic wineskins.
The parable was patent:
the old religious forms and traditions could never contain the new wine He was introducing.

A.W. Tozer


(sun halo / Rosemary Beach, FL / Julie Cook / 2019)

We had taken off these past few days for a little R and R.

The small adventure was actually a Christmas gift from my husband that was planned for late January…
because who doesn’t need a little R and R in January?

Well… maybe those who live in the Southern Hemisphere don’t need a break because they’re already enjoying
their “summer” while those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are bearing up under our winter.

Our trip destination wasn’t any warmer than home…in fact, we arrived just before
a massive storm.
Storms ushering in frigid air and gusting winds.
But the scenery was not my same scenery and that was welcomed.

Something about the lingering grey, brown and barren that leads to sensory deprivation…

I was still suffering (as it continues to linger) from my allergic reaction to the lethal antibiotic
along with a full-blown case of the winter crud…
I was certainly not keen on traversing far from the comfort of my own bed or couch while
feeling so bad.
But plans were plans and any spare time that’s been set aside needs to be utilized…
or so said that look on my husband’s face.
It was his gift and he didn’t want it to go for naught.

One thing I will agree upon is the fact that a change of pace is always good for a winter-weary
soul, despite any and all protests to the contrary.
And Lord knows, I was indeed full of protests.
However, it was just for a couple of days…short and sweet…and surely, I could manage a few days.

And so  in hindsight, after our having arrived back home, I will confess that the change-up in routine was
actually welcomed although warmer sunnier weather would have been ideal.

Saturday afternoon while actually being outside enjoying the fact that the sun was truly trying
to make her presence known, my husband and I, looking skyward at the ever elusive and coquettish sun,
we both noticed an odd phenomenon…
there was a halo around the sun.

I told my husband that a halo around the sun means snow within 3 days.
Kind of like a halo around the moon meaning rain within 3 days…
or when the cows lay down…

“Hummmm”

We hadn’t even made it home from our 4-hour car jaunt this morning when both our phones began
sounding simultaneous warnings—in stereo from both the Weather Channel and Atlanta’s news…
“A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for your location”
with a prediction of upward of 2 or more inches of snow…

Hummmm

So I suppose we’ll see by Tuesday whether this sun halo was on to something…

Nature has a marvelous way of offering hints as to what will be.

Why then should we find it surprising that the God of all creation would so choose to use
His vast creation to, in turn, offer us His children hints of what is to be…

And in case you hadn’t noticed, God is certainly on the move…

Everywhere around us we are experiencing a great new wave of humanity’s interest in
spiritism and devil worship. I must take this as one of the signs that God’s age of grace and mercy
is approaching the end point. It tells us that the time may be near when God proclaims,
“I have seen enough of mankind’s sin and rebellion. It is time for the trumpets of judgment to sound!”
If we are willing to add the appeals from the Book of Revelation to the weight of the other Scriptures,
we discover God saying to us that the earth on which we live is not self-explanatory and certainly
not self-sufficient.
Although the earth on which we spin is largely populated by a rebel race, it had a divine origin.
Now God is about to enforce His claim upon it and judge those who are usurpers.
He is saying that there is another and better world, another Kingdom,
that is always keeping an eye on the world we inhabit!

(A Tozer Devotional https://www.cmalliance.org/devotions/tozer?id=181)

consider the lowly

Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.
Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands give me delight.
Your statutes are always righteous;
give me understanding that I may live.

Psalm 119:141-144


(the lowly sea cucumber, aka the lollyfish / Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2019)

In the pecking order of the sea, I would imagine that a sea cucumber would be pretty much the lowest
of the low.
More slug than fish.
More bottom dweller than swimmer.
Living life on the ocean floor filtering out all the residue from one’s fellow creatures…

Wash up on the beach and you might be mistaken as the excrement from something else.

Not a glamours creature by any means.

We would never consider ourselves to be anything like a sea cucumber.
Lowly and ugly.
A bottom dweller.

But the introduction of sin has made man much lower than that of even a poor sea cucumber.

Pride may cloud the eye of man but sin clouds the sight of man from the eye of God …

“…the hyphenated sins of the human spirit.
They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their
subtlety and their power. To be specific, the self-sins are these: self-righteousness, self-pity,
self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them.
They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention
till the light of God is focused upon them. The grosser manifestations of these sins, egotism,
exhibitionism, self-promotion, are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders even in circles of
impeccable orthodoxy. They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people,
to become identified with the gospel.
I trust it is not a cynical observation to say that they appear these days to be a requisite for
popularity in some sections of the Church visible.
Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common
as to excite little notice.”

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Sinfulness masking itself as self-promotion… or even worse…
masking itself as the seemingly self-righteous promoting of Christ when in actuality it is
an act that is merely self-serving…
an act that consists of self-promotion at the expense of Christ himself.
Merely using Christ as a tool for our own sense of selfishness, ego, and pride.

A sinful nature that makes us lowly…

And yet, it is in that lowliness where our hope is to be found and where it rests. …
hope in the lowliness of an open and admited humility…

Only in God is my soul at rest
In Him comes my salvation
He only is my Rock
My strength and my salvation

My stronghold my Savior
I shall not be afraid at all
My stronghold my Savior
I shall not be moved

Only in God is found safety
When the enemy pursues me
Only in God is found glory
When I am found meek and found lowly

My stronghold my Savior
I shall not be afraid at all
My stronghold my Savior
I shall not be moved

Only in God is my soul at rest
In Him comes my salvation

Lyrics by John Michael Talbot based upon Psalm 62

Where do we rest?

“We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place for those who love us.”
St. Bernard of Clairvaux


(Rosemary Beach, Julie Cook / 2019)

“Since all our love for God is ultimately a response to His love for us, we can never
love Him in the same way He loves us, namely, gratuitously.
Since we are fundamentally dependent on God and in His debt for our creation and redemption,
our love is always owed to Him, a duty, a response to His love.
But we can love our neighbor in the same way that He loves us,
gratuitously—not because of anything the neighbor has done for us or because of anything that we owe him,
but simply because love has been freely given to us.
We thereby greatly please the Father.
God the Father tells Catherine [of Siena]:
This is why I have put you among your neighbors:
so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me—that is,
love them without any concern for thanks and without looking for any profit for yourself.
And whatever you do for them I will consider done for me.”

Ralph Martin, p. 261
An Excerpt From
Fulfillment of all Desire

What does love look like…

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others.
It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.
That is what love looks like.”

– St. Augustine


(a lone gull bears up under the cold storms of January / Julie Cook / 2019)

“Not to try to live in interior silence is equivalent to giving up the effort to lead a
truly Christian life.
The Christian life is a life of faith, lived in the invisible for what is invisible.
Anyone who is not in constant contact with the invisible world runs the risk of remaining always
on the threshold of a true Christian life…
Solitude is the stronghold of the strong.
Strength is an active virtue, and our power of keeping silence marks the level of our capacity for action.
‘Without this interior cell, we would be incapable of doing great things,
either for ourselves or for others.'”

Raoul Plus, S.J., p. 40-1
An Excerpt From
How to Pray Always