revisiting a 6 year old post (Turning Point)

What most of all hinders heavenly consolation is that you are too slow in
turning yourself to prayer.

Thomas a Kempis


(detail of a pinecone / Julie Cook / 2014)

** I made a terrible mistake last evening…I watched the news.
It was Fox, who since the election, I’ve just kind of cut ties with,
just as I’ve cut ties with all major news outlets…
I am more than disheartened with the “conservative” news program’s seemingly
feeble attempts to stand up against the growing national oppression of our freedom
of speech and thought…
yet sadly, they fall woefully short…and still….I watched.

I was quickly reminded as to why I now avoid all news.
It is sickening.
It was a startling reminder that we are living George Orwell’s 1984.
We are living Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
Maybe we are even living in the midst of the Book of Revelation…

And if that’s the case, things really are scary, but thankfully in that
most frightening of thoughts, there remains hope for those of
us with weary souls because we know Our Redeemer will reign supreme
and this nightmare will end.

We are living in the midst of a massive Spiritual battle..
a battle of light vs darkness.

A place where Americans view one another as their own worst enemy.
Free speech and thought as not free or even allowed.
We have forgotten our past, our history, our ideals…
We have become our own worst enemy.
And it all began when we turned our back on God.

So as I watched, I felt sick to my stomach.

And since we are living life in the Twilight Zone…
I decided to cast my thoughts backwards…tumbling back in time.
I went back 6 years ago…6 years ago to a time that was pre-Trump.
It was life during Obama’s reign.
And oddly what I wrote those 6 years ago did not speak of calm, peace and a kumbiya existence–
but rather it was a shadow of things to come…it’s just that we had no idea of knowing
how bad it would all become…

Here is that 6 year old post….

As a tale-end Baby Boomer and child of the Cold War, the Soviet Union, the USSR,
The Federation of the Russian Republic or simply Mother Russia,
has always been an uncomfortable shadow over my shoulder,
just as it has for most everyone my age and older.
The enigma known as Russia, who most graciously hosted the world last February
for the Winter Olympics only to turn around and shock us all a few months
following with the “invasion” of Ukraine, has remained a conundrum for the free world
since the Russian Revolution of 1917 which gave way to birth of Communism.

When I was in high school, which seems to be many lifetimes ago,
I had the good fortune of taking a Russian History course—with the most memorable
experience being of my introduction to the writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
I had the good fortune of reading several of his books…
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Gulag Archipelago and Cancer Ward.

Now all these many years later I find myself drawn back to the writings
and words of Solzhenitsyn,
of which I find more prophetic than I had ever imagined.

For those of you unfamiliar with Solzhenitsyn, in a nutshell,
he was a Russian soldier (WWII), Gulag prisoner (for nearly 10 years),
writer and novelist, historian, Soviet dissident,
Nobel Prize recipient and finally, again, Russian citizen.

As a life long member of the Russian Orthodox Church,
Solzhenitsyn was guided by a deeply spiritual moral compass.
He was a very loud and vocal opponent of Totalitarianism,
of which expedited his forced exile from the Soviet Union,
yet he could also be equally critical of the West and its obsession with Capitalism,
Consumerism and Materialism. All of which reminds me of the chastisement the West
often received from Pope John Paul II,
as well as Mother Teresa—as perhaps those who have suffered more grievously under
the Socialist and ultra Nationalistic Regime of the Nazis and then that of
the Communist Soviets, have perhaps a clearer perspective of our
often blind view of what we consider to be “the good life”

I am poignantly reminded of Solzhenitsyn, his words and wisdom as well wise counsel
and rebukes of those who have witnessed first hand the sinister wiles
and atrocities of Evil, particularly during this time of year as it seems
the world always appears to crescendo to a heightened sense of madness–just
as the holidays come into focus. I don’t know why that is except that
as the world seems to not only witness an abundance of joy and goodwill,
there seems to be an equal measure of evil and chaos.
Perhaps it is because Christians are drawn to the birth of the Savior and Jews
begin the celebration of the miracle of light and the rededication to the Second Temple–
a time of a tremendous pull of people toward God—as it seems Evil
must have its share of the pie by unleashing its part of unimaginable
pain and suffering in order to create some sort of sadistic counter balance.

Perhaps our senses are on hyper drive this time of year as we keenly
feel the highs of Joy and Wonder along with the bottomless pit of despair
and suffering as they each roll in to one. These thoughts reverberate
in my mind just as Sydney, Australia was held hostage Monday
by a radical Islamist madman leaving 3 individuals, including the gunman, dead.
Then on Tuesday, Pakistan witnessed an unimaginable attack on a school
leaving 132 children and 9 adult staff members dead all at the hands of the Taliban.

We currently have a menacing cyber attack taking place at Sony as North Korea
is suspected to be retaliating to the release of a tongue and cheek movie
which sadly mocks an attempted assassination of an, albeit, unhinged world leader.
Sometimes I think we, those of us in the West with our often sophomoric
entertainment industry, have lost our sense of what is considered off limits or
morally wrong when it comes to the exploitation of movie making and entertainment–
but I suppose a moral compass would be needed in the first place in order to be
reminded of such. . .

We have just marked the tragic anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre
as we continue reading headline after headline of local, national and global tragedies.
Just as the world tries to come together in some sort of unity marking two
very sacred holy times of the year as well as the secular merry making
of Santa, Papa Noel and Kris Kringle’s arrival.

In reading Solzhenitsyn’s book Warning to the West,
which is actually a brief composite and compendium of the texts to three
separate addresses made in the US in the late 1970’s,
it is startlingly frightening noting the parallels of then verses now.
I am keenly reminded of the relevance of Solzhenitsyn’s words which were uttered
almost 40 years ago as they could very well be spoken on the world stage today
regarding today’s global state. I will leave you with a few pieces of his
excerpted texts in order to ponder and ruminate the relevance and warnings
which echo across our prosaic landscape as we wrestle to make sense of the
tragic events which continue to unfold before our very eyes this holiday season. . .

“Is it possible or impossible to transmit the experience of those who have
suffered to those who have yet to suffer?
Can one part of humanity learn from the bitter experience of another or can it not?
Is it possible or impossible to warn someone of danger?
How many witnesses have been sent to the West in the last sixty years?
How may waves of immigrants? How many millions of persons? They are all here.
You meet them every day. You know who they are: if not by their spiritual disorientation,
their grief, their melancholy, then you can distinguish them by their
accents or their external appearance. Coming from different countries,
without consulting with one another, they have brought out exactly the same experience;
They tell you exactly the same thing: they warn you of what is now taking
place and of what has taken place in the past.
But the proud skyscrapers stand on, jut into the sky, and say:
It will never happen here. This will never come to us.
It is not possible here.”

“In addition to the grave political situation in the world today,
we are also witnessing the emergence of a crisis of unknown nature, one completely new,
and entirely non-political.
We are approaching a major turning point in world history, the the history of civilization.
It has already been noted by specialists in various areas.
I could compare it only with the turning from the Middle Ages to the modern era,
a shift in our civilization. It is a juncture at which settled concepts
suddenly become hazy, lose their precise contours, at which our familiar and commonly
used words lose their meaning, become empty shells, and methods which have been reliable
for many centuries no longer work. It’s the sort of turning point where the
hierarchy of values which we have generated, and which we use to determine
what is important to us and what causes our hearts to beat is starting
to rock and may collapse.
These two crises, the political crisis of today’s world and the oncoming spiritual crisis,
are occurring at the same time. It is our generation that will have to confront them.
The leadership of your country,
which is entering the third century of existence as a nation will perhaps
have to bear a burden greater than ever before in American history.
Your leaders will need profound intuition, spiritual foresight,
high qualities of mind and soul.
May God granted that in those times you will have at the helm personalities
as great as those who rested your country . . .”

(excepts taken from a speech delivered in New York July 9, 1975,
at a luncheon given by the AFL-CIO)

21 comments on “revisiting a 6 year old post (Turning Point)

  1. bcparkison says:

    There is nothing new under the sun so we need to trust every thing is working for our good.
    If every thing I’m reading is true we are living in an ungodly play this needs to end .

  2. Lisa V says:

    Interesting, isn’t it? I guess there really is nothing new under the sun. Perhaps it’s in how it is delivered. I find weird comfort in the fact that this has all been seen and done before and probably will be done again. I think the biggest difference over the years is the delivery of information now with the 24 hour news cycle. It makes me wonder, was it always this way but we were never privy to the information, or have, in fact, the ones that hold the keys to the delivery changed? I’m starting to think it’s always been this way, even back to Caesar.

    • Journalism was once considered a noble profession— I think you recently noted that fact— now it’s become tawdry and lurid— the spreading of lies dressed up as truth— like pigs wearing lipstick—

      • Lisa V says:

        Agreed. Even in my high school journalism class (where I wrote for the school newspaper), the teacher made very clear the difference between an “editorial” and a “news article.” I don’t think today’s journalists know the difference.

  3. […] revisiting a 6 year old post (Turning Point) […]

  4. Wonders never cease 🙏🏻🍪😘🐛

  5. Good post, Julie! Long ago I used to be a news junkie, back in the day when they were the most trusted face on TV and people would gather around to discuss world events. Watching the 6 o’clock news seems like so long ago. another dimension. I haven’t watched the news for years, and I’m very particular about what tiny bit of pseudo-journalism I do choose to read.

    There’s a wryly humorous saying, “those of you who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it and those of us who do learn history are doomed to stand by and watch helplessly while it repeats.”

    On the bright side, there is nothing new under the sun. Nothing is “unprecedented,” nothing happens that God hasn’t already seen, and He is there already in the midst of the mess.

  6. Citizen Tom says:

    Reblogged this on Citizen Tom and commented:
    As one commenter on Julie’s post observed, quoting an often used phrase from the Book of Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun. So, we don’t have to predict the future, we just have to remember and learn from the past.

    • thank you Tom—no…there is nothing new…just new to our dulled senses.
      The past is indeed a determined teacher…sadly she is often ignored or arrogantly yet naively rebuffed.
      It is my belief that one only gets so many chances to turn around…until there are no chances left. How many more chances do we have?
      I don’t know.
      But I fear we are running out of time.

      • Citizen Tom says:

        @Julie

        Running out of time? No. Remember Romans 8:28. Our Lord has already won.

      • I think Tom…when I speak of time running out, I think of those we do not know and have not heard…or perhaps they have heard yet opt not to know…not to know with a vengeance. There is a heaviness for my fellow man…a heaviness regarding unnecessary anger and suffering.
        A frustration.
        A burden of the heart.
        And it is in part because of that burden that I blog.
        And a frustration when the arrogant and haughty sneer.
        But God tells me not to fret over those sneers…
        time is of the essence and I feel the need to express that essence—

      • Citizen Tom says:

        @Julie

        Good enough reason.

  7. boudicaus says:

    Reblogged this on boudica.us and commented:
    H/T Citizen Ton

  8. SLIMJIM says:

    So relevant for today

  9. Dawn Marie says:

    What goes around comes around and around and around. When WILL we learn??

    I watched Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words PBS documentary (which was recently booted from the Amazon platform of course!) It is not only a well done documentary but a poignant reminder of how little has changed except in its capacity to grow ever more boldful. To look back at that moment in time and the Circus of his conformation proceedings – it is NO WONDER the “powers to be” wish to stifle the exposure. How telling the man who ran the proceedings….how telling for today. Oh, if man would instead grow wiser instead of just old – what a more just world we would dwell in. 💔

    • I had heard that his documentary was “canceled” — I am about to blow a gasket over all this stupid “canceling” business.
      Truth is truth—and it will always, eventually, rise to the top!!!

      • Dawn Marie says:

        Yes, Amazon pulled it but it can be found through other streaming devices. We streamed it through Apple. If/when you see it – there is NO DOUBT WHY the left want it cancelled. It’s brilliant.

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