And the sheep were silent…

“The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision.
It is a silent acquiescence to evil.
The Tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction,
while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

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(a sheep farm outside of Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Where does one begin…
Where does one look when attempting to sort it all out?
From whence has it come?
What was the root cause?
What was the catalyst?
How did it ever come to this?

Standing in the center of the raging maelstrom
Silent and dumbfounded…
Only a remaining handful are left to sort it out.

As the majority silently chooses to ignore it…

We choose to turn our heads.
We refuse to call truth by its name.
While hoping it all just goes away.

We don’t want to get labeled.
We don’t want to lose our businesses, our jobs, our positions.
We don’t want to be taken to court.
We don’t want to be disliked, unliked or disconnected.
We don’t want to be shamed…

All the while we are being told we’d best accept things or otherwise shut-up.
We are told to get on board or get out.
We are vilified,
We are hated
We are deemed ignorant.
We are considered backwards.
We are called all manner of vile names
We are stalked by the shadows…

That is unless we recant, we back down, we reconsider,
we change our minds, we accept the once unacceptable…
as the bitter taste is no less palatable, yet we swallow for survival.

And it is because of one thing and one thing only…
We carry the name Christian or Jew.
We support the cross, we support Israel and we hold the word of God as just that…
The Truth.

Yet even under that banner there are those who toil
at rewriting and altering ancient words and law in order to
“modernize” them.
“God didn’t mean that, He actually meant this instead….”
As we don’t like thinking about sin and Hell, so let’s
just throw the blanket out covering everyone…as in
it is all indeed good…because we are all about feeling good.

We stand before the manger feeling all warm and fuzzy,
as we look upon that peaceful nurturing scene of Mother and Child…
All the while we throw up our Christmas trees as the media screams at us,
telling us what we must have and actually need under those trees
in order to be forever happy…
never mind what we really need or want….

…simply to love and be loved….
as in forever…

We want our God to be all loving, all caring, all good, all giving
all about us….
He loves everyone no matter what, right?
He tolerates everything right?
He accepts us no matter what right?

Cause if that’s not right, we don’t want Him.

Cause and effect.

Have we forgotten?

For every cause, there is an opposite reaction or effect.
Up, down
push, pull
lift, drop,
climb, fall….

Yet we decide that the law of physics will not apply to us.

We will live as we choose, with a God who we demand will
abide by our choices and our will…or else…
We will simply rewrite Him…

…or deem Him ill suited, outdated, or better yet…
the product of mere myths…

We deem marriage is not just between man and woman.
We decide boys can be girls and girls can be boys.
There is no separation, no division, no balance…
We don’t like results so we kick and scream until we get the results we like.
We don’t like the flag so we burn it.,
We don’t like religion so we ignore it,
We don’t like those over there cause
we are paranoid and think they don’t like us over here….

We are so busy being us and loving us…as in me, myself and I…
that we are failing to see what is happening all around us.

We are so afraid of offending anyone and everyone that we can’t call terrorists what they are.
We can’t admit that radical Islam wants to annihilate us so we instead invite
them to all come live with us.
We bend everything about us…
until we break, all in the name of acceptance and equality.

And yet we still just don’t get it.
We can’t see it.
We don’t want to admit it….
We’d rather just stare at the crib feeling all warm and fuzzy…
as we forget that the road to Bethlehem, and it’s inviting manger, leads directly
to the Via Dolorosa…

Cause and effect.

Birth and death
Life or not…

If we claim to be Christian or Jew.
If we believe in morality as a guiding principle.
If we believe in cause and effect
If we believe that God is God and we are not…

Now is our moment to be silent no more….

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(a sheep being sheared at a sheep farm outside of Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”
Acts 18:9-10

Do not…compromise

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–
the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings,
without milestones, without signposts,…
Your affectionate uncle,
Screwtape.”

― C.S. Lewis,
The Screwtape Letters

Right is right even if no one is doing it;
wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.

St Augustine of Hippo

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile–
hoping it will eat him last.

Sir Winston Churchill

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(a youthful Winston Churchill in his WWI uniform)

Give and take…you were taught since being a child
Bend a little,
give a little…
Give more,
take less.

Compromise…

Yet in that unabashed revelry of our growing concession and settling…
we have deemed that everything and all, even the vast Creator himself…
should now bow down to each petty whim and want…

Never mind that the God of both Heaven and earth laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
(Psalm 119:4)

Never mind that the time has come when people no longer
live with sound teachings and doctrine…

Instead, to suit their own desires,
they gather around them great numbers of teachers who will say what their
itching ears long to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the Truth, turning rather to the side of all falsehood.

However we must remember to keep our head about us in all situations…
We will endure hardships…
but we must strive to do the work of the One who teaches the Truth
(2 Timothy 4:3-5)

For many deceivers have gone out into the world,
those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh.
Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.
Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for,
but may win a full reward.
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ,
does not have God.
Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching,
do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,
for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

2 John 1:7-11

after the storm

“But, my dear, if you should be caught out in the storm!”
“Why, I don’t know but I should like it! What harm could it do? I’m not soluble in water – rain won’t melt me away! I think upon the whole I rather prefer being caught in the storm. . .”

― E.D.E.N. Southworth, Capitola’s Peril

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(evening sky images / Carroll Co , Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

Driving home Sunday evening, after a torrential rain storm had wreaked havoc for almost two solid hours, there descended on the sodden and wind shattered earth the most delightful sense of serenity and calm. All was now contently wrapped in the quiet cozy hushed whispers which seem to follow such temper tantrums of angry storm systems.

The rays of a setting sun, doing their best to penetrate the parting clouds, were diffused by a myriad of water droplets acting like a million tiny prisms bending and refracting the sun’s light into a vivid display of spectacular color.

Grainy images sadly cannot capture the vast beauty of an evening sky that seems to stretch out as far and as endless as the heavens allow, yet it is all I have to offer—this small token of the world seemingly at peace. . .

Pretty little red thing

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“Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.”
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No, this is not mine. I saw it parked on the side of the road in Bend, Oregon and thought secretly how I wished it was mine.

Now don’t get me wrong—I do not want a motorcycle. They scare me… or rather I should say that I’m scared for them…for all that unbridled lack of being surrounded by vehicle, there is that much more unprotected…and if you’ve been on any interstate within the limits of a major metropolitan city, those are not friendly roads…

My husband bought a motorcycle shortly after we were married. It was just one of those things I suppose. There was no dissuasion. No sign indicating he was even thinking about wanting one. He simply comes home from work one day, not in the vehicle he left in, but rather on the back of a black motorcycle. Thankfully he had not sold his truck, merely left it where he’d bought the bike. I wasn’t mad. It was his money, his choice…I was just a little disappointed that I had had no clue.

May it be known however, that we owned that motorcycle for all of one week. As his parents lived up the street from us, and he, even though in his mid 30’s, did not want them to know he’d bought a motorcycle, we would have to turn off the motor, coasting past their house—always trying to appear incognito. As I would sit behind him holding on for dear life, I would silently shake my head thinking how this charade was pretty stupid. Then there was the trip on the interstate to visit a friend in a neighboring state. After coming home late at night on the wide open interstate, in the dark, with the tractor trailer trucks zooming all around us, with me praying like nobody’s business, he sold the bike the following morning.

But I always wondered why he bought it. Was it an impulse? Are not most things like suddenly coming home one day from work with a motorcycle impulsive? Is it a guy thing? Women, for all the talk of being impulsive, women think about such purchases, they ruminate over such, courting the idea if you will…toying with it in their mind…imagining seeing themselves on and with a “bike”….decisions as to color and matching helmet and clothing are big…such a purchase with a woman is more premeditated as there are just simply too many determining factors to wade through….”will I use it for work or just for fun? Will it be bad for my hair? What will I do when it rains? Does it make me look fat?”…..on and on we go.

But this little beauty—she’s a real cutie. Perfect for maneuvering in and out of tight spots–or so I would imagine. After spending time in Italy a few years back, I saw so many woman on vespas of their own. Woman dressed to the nines, going to and from work, weaving and darting in and out of the horrendous chaos known as Rome’s traffic. If they can do it, why can’t I? Or is that a European gene that this southern United States girl simply does not possess? I’m not terribly coordinated. Would that be a problem?

Vespa does translate to wasp–as these little cuties do their fair share of darting and buzzing to and fro—and after sitting in a Taxi within Rome’s labyrinth of streets, I can see how a vespa can equate to being a wasp. Suddenly, out of no where, a vespa would appear right beside us where there was not another lane. The traffic light just turned red, we stop but the vespas shoot out like angry wasps in hot pursuit of an assumed assailant–just waiting to inflict a painful sting–just daring anyone to say..”hey that’s a red light back there….”

But my hair. I would have such a time with helmet hair. I wouldn’t be able to go somewhere, taking off the helmet and going about normal business, I’d look a fright. Short hair is not conducive to hats and helmets being removed…not like long hair that can still come across as flowing luxuriously in the wind—no, short hair is flattened and matted to one’s head….pleading to have the hat or helmet put immediately back on the now squashed hair. That would be a problem.

And then there’s the whole interstate thing—you know what a bug looks like on a windshield after being hit by a vehicle traveling 70 to 80 mph??? That is not something I would like to experience.
And what happens when it does rain or turns cold? I’d be a moving popsicle or a drowned rat….can’t get too much done looking like either a popsicle or a wet rat. And where in the world would I put my groceries or goodies from a shopping adventure?! Certainly not in some little basket on the front of the bike—-no, I need a trunk or at least a backseat.

All of this was running through my head that afternoon as I suddenly stopped on the street in Bend, Oregon to snap the picture of this cute little red thing….telling my husband “now, that’s what I want!!” He turns and looks at me, states, “yeah, and you’d get killed on it too” turns back and continues walking up the street. I linger a bit longer, imaging myself sitting on it and driving it—ooooo. Then I snap back to reality, tell myself, he’s right, and turn back to the sidewalk, only to go scooting off in order to catch up with him… leaving that cute little red thing behind me waiting for its rightful owner.