Not too long ago nor too far away

“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too.
Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action:
you liberate a city by destroying it.
Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will
solemnly vote against their own interests.”

Gore Vidal

“Political correctness is going to kill American liberalism if it
is not fought to the death by people like me for the dangers
it represents to free speech, to the exchange of ideas,
to openheartedness, or to the spirit of art itself.
Political correctness has a stranglehold on academia,
on feminism, and on the media.
It is a form of both madness and maggotry.”

Pat Conroy, My Reading Life

Not too long ago nor too far away…there was once a high school teacher.

Now for the purpose of this story, we should note that this teacher was
actually older…that being toward the end of her career verses
being at the beginning…for she was but a mere babe when she began
teaching…this story takes place long past that baby beginning.

So let’s put this teacher, say, at about the age of 50.

She had taught at the same school going on for nearly three decades,
which made her a bit of an institution within an institution.

Still viable and loved but just older and wiser.

During her years spent at this school, this teacher had watched as pay phones
and office phones gave way to cell phones. Radios become iPods, and paper
books become ebooks. Chalk boards became smart boards.
She was there for the first computers and eventually retired as each student
had a digital notebook.

This teacher had pretty much seen it all.

One day, this teacher’s school, a school which prided itself on always being
above the curve, as in always being cutting edge,
began to implement what they proclaimed as a paradigm shift—
a new and improved way of thinking.

Let’s note that this started a good 10 years prior to end of
our story…starting when this teacher was, say, in her 40s.

As time passed, change began to accelerate exponentially.

A 6 class period day transitioned to a 4 x 4 block schedule.

Teachers were made to participate in focus groups during their
planning periods, as well as on workdays.
They were given books to read.
Think book club a la pedagogy.

Speakers were brought in to offer new ways of looking at education.

Oddly it all became a bit more precise as well as peculiar.

White teachers were suddenly being told that they were no longer relating
well to their black students.
This was a reason as to why there was growing resentment from the black students
toward the white teachers.

The resentment had not been readily realized…not until the teachers were told
it was happening. We don’t even know if the kids were privy to said resentment.

White teachers were told they must begin to discipline their black students
differently.
They were told that they must try multiple means of confronting discipline
issues before ever writing a student up for an offense.
Sometimes those students who were written up for an offense were simply
sent back to class with no real cause and effect.
Much to the frustration of the teacher.
The teacher then looked rather unsupported by her superiors.

Teachers were told to be mindful of what they said and how they said it.

Students began to feel empowered over their teachers.
And thus lies much of the problem.

Respect suddenly went out the window.

Most of this new thinking was coming from Black colleagues and
administrators yet embraced by many white administrators.

White female teachers were told by black administrators that young black
male students had little to no respect for them and therefore the
white female teachers needed to work extra hard at getting through to
these young boys.

One day a speaker was brought in on one particular workday for a bit of role playing.
He had all the teachers line up along a straight line.
He would ask a question, and depending on each individual teacher’s response
to the question, they were to either step forward or backward.

Did your grandparents go to college? 2 steps forward if so; two steps back if not.
Were you raised in a two parent household? 2 steps forward if so; two steps back if not.
Did your mother work outside of the home? 2 steps backwards if so; 2 steps forward if not.
Did you have your own car in high school? 2 steps forward if so; 2 steps back if not.
Did you have to work you way through school? 2 steps back if yes, 2 steps forward in no.
Did you attend summer camp? 2 steps forward if yes, 2 steps back if not.

On and on went the questions.
And so I think you’re probably figuring out where all of this was going.
By the end of the questioning, the original straight line was now vastly staggered —
those out front were not considered so much winners as much as they were
considered “privileged”—or is that labeled as privileged?

Hummm…privileged…now where have we heard about being privileged?

As time passed and toward the end of this teacher’s career,
there was a weekend workshop that everyone was encouraged to attend.
It was a conference on racial thinking within our schools.

Now remember, this story is not a current story but rather a story that took
place almost ten years back…long before CRT right?

Well…maybe not exactly.

This older teacher had a younger colleague who was also a dear friend.
The older teacher was white, married and a mom.
The younger teacher was black, not married and overweight.
Yet both of these ladies were friends both in and out of school.
Thick as thieves.

They worked well together and often created or spearheaded new initiatives
within the school.
Initiatives with a Christian focus as each woman was a committed Christian.

The younger teacher had actually gone to this same school when she was in high school
as she had grown up in this same community. Her parents were well known and
well respected professionals in this community.

The younger teacher was very smart and opted to go back to school in search
of her doctorate.
She chose Woman’s Studies—of course she did.

She had an Asian woman chair who was her doctoral mentor.
This particular academic was a self proclaimed feminist…
she noted that her “partner” who was a man, was her lesser.

The older teacher began to notice a significant change in her younger friend.
There was an anger that came bubbling to the surface.
She constantly fussed and cussed the good ol white boy system
of administration in the school system.

She fussed and cussed and greatly disparaged a friend and colleague’s
husband who was a police officer—a white police officer who she feared
might pull over her young black nephew.

Why fret in this small town community unless one was fed the notion of fear
by others…

Now back to the workshop on racial thought.

This younger teacher attended this particular conference,
the older teacher did not.

At the end of the weekend the older teacher called her younger friend, asking
how the conference went.
The younger teacher began a small tirade.
She fussed that several administrators did not attend.
She fussed that a young white male teacher stood up taking
umbrage with the presenter– all the while she maligned said young
white male teacher and yes, colleague.

She disparaged the administrators who actually did attend, sitting stone faced
with arms folded or so she raged.

Come Monday this younger teacher came by the older teacher’s classroom and
simply blew up–
she blew up and turned on her older white friend…for no real reason…
but turned as the older teacher simply was sitting there and was deemed
to be representative of all that was wrong with life and education.

The older teacher was blindsided and distraught when her young friend
stormed off.

What had she done??

Nothing.

Nothing but to represent some sort of imagined injustice.

The older teacher was crushed.
Hurt by someone she felt she no longer knew.

The young teacher remained defiant.

The older teacher retired a year later.

So now back to this blog post…

About a week ago I read a marvelous post by our friend Mel Wild regarding
Critical Race Theory—the new hot button topic in our educational system.
Here is a link to his post:

https://melwild.wordpress.com/2021/07/01/pulling-back-the-curtain-on-critical-race-theory/

I realized after reading Mel’s post that I had actually witnessed CRT creeping into
our schools years ago.

I commented on his post and Mel responded:

Yeah, it’s been the proverbial frog slowly being cooked in the kettle since the 1970s from the radical left. They were very shrewd, slowing taking over all our cultural instititions over the last five decades, especially in indoctrinating our children.

The idea of “white privilege” actually came from guilty white academics!
The term was popularized by Peggy McIntosh,
feminist activist and women’s studies scholar
who wrote a paper called “White Privilege and Male Privilege:
A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences
Through Work in Women’s Studies” in 1988.

Now, these social sciences radicals are trying say that math is racist!
“2 + 2 = 4” is part of white supremacy, etc..
This is not only stupidly insane but dangerous.
Not to mention, it actually disempowers people of color and makes
them the left’s slaves because they will not longer be able to
function on their own in the marketplace.
This is NOT compassionate.
It’s evil.
Not only that, we will cease to function as a society
if we fully embrace this nonsense.
If we survive at all, our society will become feudal,
where the intellectuals and globalist plutocrats rule over
miseducated peasant masses.
But, apparently,
that’s what some of them want.
The rest are the indoctrinated sheeple.

Next, Citizen Tom has also offered a similar post:

https://familyallianceonline.org/2021/07/08/crt-challenge-racist-teaching/

If, as a parent, you think CRT is a liberating sort of mindset that your child
needs to be exposed to, you are sadly mistaken.
CRT is a form of deep divide and Marxism at its best.

It will drive a dangerous wedge between our students and teachers.

All the while, how we teach children will never be the same.
Go back and read your history lessons…our global history.
Go back to Germany following WWI and read the impetus for
the likes of an Adolph Hitler…read of a Valdimr Lenin, a Karl Marx,
a Leon Trotsky, a Joseph Stalin, a Fredrich Engles, a Mao Zedong…
read about what happened on the opposite end…what happened with McCarthyism…read about J Edgar Hoover and paranoia…
read what happens when certain people learn how to manipulate others.
Then read about folks like George Soros, Bill Gates and those who
think they are the wise ones while you and I are considered the goats
who simply need a herder…

And then pray my friend—pray very hard!

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant,
abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal,
not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
Avoid such people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Prophets, St Matthias and the kneeling of the Church to Isalm


(“Saint Matthias” | Serra Brothers workshop)

Tuesday was the feast day of St Matthias–May 14th on the Gregorian calendar…
the calendar most of the world now follows.
However, our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters follow the Julian calendar
and so their commemoration of the feast day is August 9th.

But for our purposes today, for those of us who adhere to the Gregorian calendar,
we’ll just stick with May 14th.

St Matthias was the disciple that, following the death and Resurrection of Jesus,
and then that of his Ascension was voted on by Peter and the others to fill the void left
by the betrayal and subsequent suicide of Judas Iscariot.
(Acts 1:15-26)

It was the replacing of one who betrayed with one who remained faithful.
It was also a fulfilling of prophecy.

May 14th was also a day that I actually had time to catch the latest youtube episode of
Anglican Unscripted with US host Kevin Kallsen and our favorite rouge Anglican priest,
Bishop Gavin Ashenden.

Our dear friend actually started the segment by mentioning that their day’s discussion
was to be quite timely given the fact that it was the feast day of St Matthias.

After watching the episode, I understood the nod to the significance of St Matthias.
That being the replacing of betrayal with dedicated devotion.

A devotion that, in the face of severe trial and grave threat to life,
never wavered–one iota.

Those in the US, other than disheartened Episcopalians and Anglicans such as myself,
may not understand nor be interested in what a former British Anglican bishop has to say.
They may wonder why I continually reference the man.

So for those of you who wonder who in the heck I keep talking about, quoting or referencing,
in a Wikipedia and from his own bio nutshell, here is who is he is…
“Gavin Roy Pelham Ashenden (born 1954)
is a British Anglican clergyman.
He was a Chaplain to the Queen from 2008 until his resignation in 2017.
He was ordained in the Church of England, but left it in 2017.
That year was consecrated a missionary bishop by the Christian Episcopal Church,
a continuing Anglican jurisdiction outside of the Anglican Communion.”
On the Feast of St Michael and All Angels 2017,
the Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church announced that Dr. Ashenden
had been consecrated as a Missionary bishop to the UK and Europe.

But there is more to the man than a quick bio—

Bishop Ashenden knows music and its history, he has a law degree, he studied psychology
and theology, he is an accomplished and deeply published author, he has been a teacher,
preacher and even smuggler—smuggling Bibles into the communist Soviet Union.
He has served in small parishes and he has served a Queen.

He is keenly knowledgable about history be it the history of religions, governments or law.

In other words, he is a man who knows his stuff.

Yet because he knows “his” stuff, why should any of that matter to you, you might now be asking.

Well, because my friend, if you are one who considers themselves a Christian, as well as a member
of the Judaeo/ Christian democratic Western Civilization, Bishop Ashenden paints a grave yet
painfully honest picture of your very world…a truth that you need to familiarize yourself with
before you are caught like so many will be, blindsided.

Would I call Bishop Ashenden a prophet?

Perhaps.
Perhaps I would.

I do know that much of the modern-day world wonders why we have not heard from the
likes of such prophets like those from the days of old.

Those wizened voices who rose up most often from obscurity,
bending the ears of kings and warriors alike by foretelling things that were to be.
Those men who dreamed dreams and shared visions.

Not like a Nostradamus mind you, but more like a Jeremiah, Obadiah or an Isaiah,
or even a John The Baptizer.

I know I’ve been guilty of lamenting ‘where are the prophets?’
Where are those voices of Truth…?

But as I’ve pondered such a notion…it has dawned on me that the prophets are indeed
alive and well…they are found the world over and rest in the voices of men and women who
speak the Truth about Jesus Christ…His life, His teachings, His death, and His resurrection.

They are the ones who do not bend the Truth for convenience sake.
They are not the appeasers or the pleasers of an egocentric society or a materialistic world.

They are the men and women who literally die each and every day for their faith because their
trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ and in Christ alone.

They do not care about social norms, culturalisms, objectivism, convenience, or popularity.
They do not care what a world gone mad thinks of them.

They are not afraid.
For those who speak Truth are never afraid.

During Tuesday’s segment, host Kevin Kallsen made mention that he had seen on a
recent Yahoo News interview freshman Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib,
who happens to be a practicing Muslim, state that the notion of the Holocaust gives her
“a calming feeling.”

Are you kidding???
Holocaust and clam used within the same sentence???

And yet Congress, along with mainstream media, has basically all ignored such a statement.

Who in their right mind has any sort of sense of calm or peace whenever thinking of the Shoah,
in other words, the Holocaust???

I’ve looked into the back story a bit and it appears that some feel her words were taken
out of context…but, I don’t agree.

And so as the segment’s conversation continues,
the good Bishop actually takes a closer look at Islam and that of the Chruch’s odd embrace
of a religion that has always stated that living
in harmony with the followers of the Cross will never be tolerated.

Bishop Ashenden notes that Mohammed’s Islam has, for the better part of 60 years,
been taught by theologians to be one of the three legs of the Abrahamic religions…
with the other two legs being that of Christianity and Judaism.
However our dear friend staunchly, and without hesitation, states that that thought
is absolutely not the truth.

Mohammed borrowed the Biblical characters such as Noah, Mary, and even Jesus,
in order to give credence to “his” religion.

And he denied that Jesus ever rose from the dead.

The good Bishop states that “Mohammed is nothing more than a dictator who demands submission.”
whereas Jesus Christ offers himself as a sacrifice.

Islam is not a cousin of our faith but on the contrary…runs counter to Christianity.

The troubling thing, however, is that we are today witnessing a global Chruch who wants to
appear friendly, accepting and even embracing of Islam.
Going so far as to inviting Muslim neighbors into a Chruch’s sanctuary in order to celebrate
the ending of Eid by covering up the crosses in order not to offend.

Is not covering the cross on the altar of the Chruch a turning of one’s back to Christ and all
He stands for in our faith?
Is that not a betrayal of convenience?

To follow Jesus means that we are not to be ashamed nor disassociate ourselves–ever.

Bishop Ashenden reminds us that we know more about Hell from Jesus than from anyone else Biblically.
He shares that Jesus was and is very specific about consequences…
So much so that He tells us that to deny Him, results in the opposite of Paradise…
it results in Hell.

Yet so many of us will argue that we are a polite society.
We don’t want to rock the boat.
We want to accommodate and be neighborly and friendly.

But to what extent?
At what cost?

Do we opt to turn a blind eye, ignoring public servants who speak positively about
egregious atrocities such as the Holocaust?

Do we rewrite God’s word so that His words now fit better into our current day and times?

Do we cover up and hide the key representative symbol of our faith,
thinking that others of differing faiths may find it offensive?

Evil is alive and well…yet no one likes to admit such let alone think about such.

Bishop Ashenden tells us that Christianity, and only Christianity, offers a defense against Evil.
Jesus cleanses the human heart of such Evil.
Yet the fingerprints of Satan are very much visible within and across the global collective Church.

Truth is being turned upside down as there is not enough regard for the truth in our
social culture.

And yet we are reminded…
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life…the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life…
(John 14:6)

Do not compromise.
Do not be ashamed.
Do not hide.
Do not deny.
Do not pretend.

punctuating the ordinary

“On the single strand of wire strung to bring our house electricity,
grackles and starlings neatly punctuated an invisible sentence.”

―John Updike


(grackles on the line / Julie Cook / 2014)

I imagine it happens to all of us at some point or other…
and it’s always out of the blue…

It catches us totally off guard— when we least expect it.

Suddenly a lump is forming in our throat as we find the words catching, cracking and breaking as we can barely whisper along.

And just when we frustratingly focus on the fact that no sound seems to be
coming from a voice attempting to speak, stinging tears now form in our
eyes, rendering us both mute and almost blind…

Mute and blind with raw emotion.

We blink hard and swallow hard…as we hear our brain pleading “not here, not now….”

Maybe we’re just sitting on the couch…
Maybe we’re walking down the aisle at the grocery store pushing a cart full of
paper towels and cat food…
Maybe we’re sitting in the middle of traffic, stuck…
Maybe we’re sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting….

It doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing…it happens…
and it happens when it wants to…never mind what we want.
And there is always some sort of trigger…
as the ordinariness of life is punctured like an over inflated tire…
our breath begins to release as we are helpless to hold it in….

It comes suddenly out of the blue..
Out of nowhere…and there it is…
A familiar sound, a familiar tune, a familiar voice…more oldie then goldie…

For me this time, it was Wichita Lineman and it wasn’t even Glen Campbell
singing the song but rather someone else…

Yet it mattered not—it was still that same melodious memory drifting in on
the passage of time… swirling down on the currents until settling sweetly, yet
painfully, in the recall of memory.

My mother loved Glen Campbell.

What woman in those heady days of the late 60’s didn’t?

Dashing boyish good looks…dimples, perfect hair, sculpted nose,
laced with a velvety voice.
He wasn’t Country, he wasn’t Gospel, he wasn’t Pop…
he was simply the complete package.

I can remember sitting with mother in 1969 on that old tweed couch
watching the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour—
This was a time when children could actually watch television without fear of hearing
or seeing things that children shouldn’t really see or hear emanating
from a television….

The line is iconic…
“and I need you more than want you….
and I want you for all time….
for the Wichita lineman is still on the line…”

…as heart tugging violins finish out the notes….

About two years ago, give or take,
Glen Campbell and his current wife (I say current because he had had four marriages
with one in particular making for tabloid drama) gave what was to be Glen’s
last public interview.

Glen Campbell was suffering from Alzheimers.
A disease that actually claimed his life earlier this year.

The selfish disease was robbing his family of the husband and father they loved
while robbing a man of the one person he’d known best his entire life…
that being himself.

He was asked about singing and his songs— what song had he loved the most….

A question I would think somewhat difficult for any musician / singer,
who had had such long careers, to answer—
As songs and melodies ebb and flow with the times—
Because it’s hard to compare what was a career starter with what came about
during one’s peak moment throughout such a lengthy career…

But he answered quickly and at first very effortlessly…
“it’s really the best line of all time in a song you know…. isn’t it???”
as he then turned to his wife with that lost look of one battling with a
memory-robbing illness, when he sadly and poignantly realized he didn’t
remember now what line he was talking about.

His wife offered a small airy couple of notes with the first word, which allowed
Glen’s mind to grab hold as he finished the stanza himself in beautiful A cappella
fashion.

And it is an iconic line.
A beautiful line.
A line that has for me, over time, changed it’s meaning.

Songs, lyrics and melodies all have that effect on us.

So much so that I think I’ve written about this before—and about this very same
song for most likely the very same reason—

It simply caught me off guard.

It reached out through the abyss of time grabbing hold of my arm while pulling
me to a bittersweet place I don’t often like to go.

The hot tears formed as I attempted to utter those familiar words….but I couldn’t.

I couldn’t even speak the words because they had stuck in my throat…
as they achingly cracked coming from my mouth without sound…

And then slowly…the recesses of a memory came into focus,
I was seeing the one who had first loved that song long before I had.
She had her own personal reasons, her own personal recollections…

Things that, at the time, were unbeknownst to me.
Something that caused an overwhelming sense of melancholy…
Something that had left her with words which had no sound,
something that had left her eyes wet with warm tears…

I had no way of knowing then…no way of understanding…
for I had not lived yet what she had lived…

Yet sweetly and even oddly in that bittersweet moment of hearing that single song
with that most iconic simple lyric, I actually understood what she had known
all those many years ago…as warm tears filled my eyes and the words coming
from my mouth had no sound…I was transported one day closer to understanding
the woman I had lost so long ago…

Let this be written for a future generation,
that a people not yet created may praise the Lord:
“The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high,
from heaven he viewed the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners
and release those condemned to death.”
So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion
and his praise in Jerusalem
when the peoples and the kingdoms
assemble to worship the Lord.

Psalm 102:18-22