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)

Okay, you can’t see the glue right??

“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most
undesirable sentiment.
If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and
address yourself to the task of behaving better next time.
On no account brood over your wrongdoing.
Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.”

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World


(you can’t even tell, I don’t think / Julie Cook / 2019)

Well, guilt is a powerful tool.

At last, my moment of weakness arrived…so I must confess…
I have relented.

I didn’t lie to you.

My intention was certainly a BIG no to this year’s tree…
but…
there were those faces, those words, those insistent voices.

It was one of those things, as I started the day, that I had not even contemplated.
It never crossed my mind that I’d be doing “this” for the remainder of the day,
well past dark.

Yet I had gotten plenty of proddings from those both near and far…
And I suppose it was indeed a sense of something missing, as I’d peer over to an empty
spot that was the ghost space of Christmas trees past, that pushed me this morning.

I marched up to that dreaded closest and pulled out that dreaded tub of
broken angels and tiny little nutcrackers.
Old ornaments of all the Christmases past.

I pulled out my various glues and got comfortable at the kitchen table.

I sorted through survivors and the debris.

I next text my husband’s friend, unbeknownst to my husband, and asked if he could
come by sometime today in order to help my husband haul up ‘that tree’ from the
confines of the basement.

He giddily text back a triumphant “YES!”

Now I know I told you that I did manage to put up the outside lights.
That was an all-day affair on the coldest day of the year thus far.
All by myself.

The neighbors have always guilted me with that as well as they would go into
my husband’s business asking when were the lights going up.

What is it with people and the lights????

I had rationalized that if the outside of my world could appear as if Christmas
was alive and well,
no one would be the wiser to what was missing on the inside.

But yet, there were a few who were the wiser.
And yes…even I was wiser.

Be they here at home or now in their own home, I think it’s the comfort of knowing
“it’s” still there.
That home is still home.
And that all is right in the world of “home” is what truly matters.

“It” is always blessedly there whether we are, or they are, here or not…
It’s that sense that life is as it should be…carrying on as if everything is
forever a constant.

The constant of the happy warm memories of what was.
Forget the bad and painful.
Forget the negative or even the current.

It is to the warmth of fond memories that the heart of a child,
now locked deep inside an adult, runs to.

There is a sense of permanence, of rooting and of anchoring found in those types
of memories.
The true essence of how we came to be who we are…for good or for bad.
For it is of the kinder memories we cling to of how we came to be.
We seem to need them in order to be reminded of them.

And so today became the day that I gave up or rather gave in.

Today, the warmth of Christmas came home…
whether anyone is here to see it or not.

Christmas comes and they will always know.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
Galatians 4:4

“Yes – but parents are ignorant”.

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
Daniel J. Boorstin

Now that I have your attention…
No.
Parents are not ignorant…

But perhaps we best clarify…let’s just say that the majority
of parents out there are bright and utterly competent.

Yet reading the latest post (as in yesterday by now) by our dear friend, the Scottish Pastor David Robertson,
I read that very quote. “Yes – but parents are ignorant”.

It was made by a Scottish Government Minister, spoken to David.

It came about because David challenged this particular Governmental official to allow him
to address a group of Scottish parents as to the whooie (aka crap) that they are being
fed by the Government, the School System and now by even many in “the Church” regarding everything from
gender identification to sexual orientation…
with such indoctrination starting at the ripe old age of 5 and 6.

According to David:“Not just Christians and Muslims, but many other parents who are fed up
of their children being sacrificed to the whims of a progressive establishment who don’t
give a fig for the poor and the weak –
and seem concerned only with protecting their own position.”

And so now it seems that a local (Scottish) Church vicar has come under fire for simply citing
one of David’s articles in this vicar’s weekly column in his church’s news flyer.

A media outlet got wind of the ‘blasphemy’ and in true form, without any sort of true
journalistic investigation, offered up an article damning the vicar for quoting from
an article offered by the Wee Flea blog.

Well.

Since I quote from The Wee Flea all the time, I suppose that makes me persona non grata–
but of course, I am but a retired educator and not a person of the cloth, or of any real importance…
just a person who happens to keep a little blog—- so I think I’m good.

But my point is that not all are…’good’
And perhaps we should use the word ‘safe’ versus good.

Not all who speak the Truth of God’s word, not man’s rewritten version of such
but the true Word, are safe from the mob of progressivism or
safe from the self-appointed PC police.

David offers these kind words to this now wrongly maligned vicar.

“Simply abusing those who assert these views,
rather than having an intelligent and informed discussion is not helpful.
As someone who has faced the Twitter mob when you dare to blaspheme the new authoritarian State doctrines–
I can only empathise with my Anglican brother, praise him for his courageous stand…and stand with him.

Brother – you will win.
Not because you have political power –
but because you belong to the One before whom, one day, every politician will bow –
and give account for what they have done with their power…

Please find David’s article below by clicking on the link below.
Perhaps I should add the disclaimer that…if you are not afraid to click, read or like…
because you are not afraid of The Truth.

Vicar ‘under Investigation’ for Quoting The Wee Flea!

where does the truth go

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
Aldous Huxley


(dried seed pod / Julie Cook / 2018)

So yesterday we took a bit of a diversion, traveling off in a different direction—
one of health, leeches, mutants and Sophia Loren…an odd mix but hey,
somebody has to cover it…
And as there is no new news to report on any of those fronts, it’s best we get back on track,
getting refocused and back to the matter at hand…

Today the issue is that of truth…that which is real and that which is not.

Our dear Bishop Ashenden, in the latest version of Anglican Unscripted,
explains that society is witnessing a new phenomenon which is known as “identity politics—
or rather a “near Marxism identity politics”
of which is the idea of immersing people into a collective identity versus the notion of God
having made each one of us as a unique being whom He holds individually precious…
a being He views as a unique individual, one that has been wonderfully and mysteriously formed.

Yet we are a people who are rapidly becoming “ideologically closed off” one from another…
If we perceive a person to differ from or oppose our ideology, then we choose not to listen.
We’d rather close ourselves off, putting up the barriers and divides of anger and hate.
In essence being unable to love, evangelize or unable to be in communion one with one another—

The notion that folks have allowed their ideologies to be their soul
defining image—and in turn, who now believe that they cannot afford to lose everything
they’ve invested into and with their personalities—in turn leaving an unbridgeable divide.
Thus we are witnessing, when pushed or perceived to be threatened, a volatile
outcome by the uber-aggressive feminists or Marxists or whatever the flavor
of the day may be toward those who refuse to be “immersed” into this new and dangerous
form of identity politics.

It is the notion that folks are no longer listening with their souls but are
rather vetoing such, preferring to yield to “the will to power”
or that being what they have now allowed themselves to become—
which in turn creates a tremendous internal conflict.

And we’re watching this conflict boil over nearly daily and sadly…
We’re watching it boil over even within the church as She wrestles with what she now
accepts and believes falsely as truth…and we’re seeing this from top leadership.
All the while as ideologically motivated human beings continue to find it difficult,
if not impossible, to communicate one with one another.

In his post from over the weekend, the good Bishop tells us that
“Truth has been one of the casualties of the growth of the influence of the
post-modern in our culture. It has been knocked down the hierarchy of values by
different narratives, particularly those that have to do with a redistribution of power.

The whole safeguarding culture, which began as a sensible and responsible response
to decades of irresponsibility, has become inflated into a tool of power itself;
but re-distributive power.
The power that intends to dethrone the old agents of influence in society
(mainly white, Christian, elderly men) and redistribute it to those
perceived as their victims.

There is no doubt at all that people who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of predators
are indeed victims. But the whole dynamic of safeguarding culture has exploded into
something far beyond taking more sensible protective steps to diminish
the opportunities for predators.
It has become a tool of control in itself.
You only have to adduce ‘safeguarding concerns’ in any context within the Church or society
to exercise complete power.
No one can challenge you.

And this shift of re-empowerment of the victims which began easily enough with the egalitarian
insistence of equality of outcomes between the genders in the Church in the face of
both Scripture and tradition, got extended to homosexuality too.
Once again, still in the face of Scripture and tradition, gay pride
(didn’t the pride give just a clue as to the spiritual flavour of the movement?)
and gay rights began to take precedence over the virtues of chastity and continence,
enjoined on all people, straight, bi- or homosexual, outside Christian marriage.

When Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus made a pact with the devil,
he knew what he was doing. But the disaster that befell him as the devil came to claim
his soul in return for the exercise of power that Faustus has enjoyed, undid him.

“The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike,
The devil will come, and Faustus must be damned.
O I’ll leap up to my God! Who pulls me down?
See, see where Christ’s blood streams in the firmament!
One drop would save my soul, half a drop: ah my Christ—
Ah, rend not my heart for naming of my Christ;
Yet will I call on him—O spare me, Lucifer!”

The tragedy for Faustus was that although he had once served Christ,
he had consciously changed masters. He knew what he was doing,
which is why having called on Christ as a reflex,
his final fruitless beseeching is to Lucifer – his real master.

Gavin Ashenden

The questions which now sit plainly before us today are:

What cost are we willing to pay in order to stay the course of following
the Truth found in Christ Jesus…?

Will we capitulate to the growing maelstrom of society and culture?

Will we allow the mass growth of the uber-aggressive feminists and Marxists
to rule the day?
Those who possess closed ideology and refuse to even listen to that which
runs counter to their own manifesto?

Will we bend to a society that has chosen to rewrite God’s Law and Will into a totally
unrecognizable policy of tolerance and acceptance thinly veiled as a mandate of
the people’s will… as such rewriting is at odds with God’s original intent?
That being God’s Word versus man’s word.

There was a time when we knew the enemy of Christianity.

He walked, as he still walks this earth…as Earth remains his dominion.

He came in the form of ruthless empires such as Rome or any other number of bloodthirsty regimes
that have vied for power down through the ages. Empires and regimes which attacked
tortured and persecuted the faithful.

Just as we still witness today those current ruthless powers who hide behind the curtains
of Communism or radical Islam or any other ideology, as well the various forms of dictatorships,
which refuse to accept the rights of human beings to live and worship freely …

Christians knew exactly who the enemy was…just as some still clearly recognize him and it today,
Yet for many of us in the West, our persecutors are not as recognizable or definable as
those often found in the annals of history.

Today our persecutors are actually within the very walls of the places we find sacred and holy.

The time has come that we must carefully choose our Truth—that of God’s or that of man’s.

Anglican Unscripted – Jordan Peterson, Cathy Newman & Justin Welby

Welby’s Will-To-Power:   Pride & Ego- Sanity & Sanctity, in the Saga of George Bell.