“It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history….
[It is] the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism
on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom
and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”
1982 (in a speech to Britain’s Parliament)
I know that you know that it appears as if I’m always comparing life here in the
US to life in the UK…
And there is a reason for that…and no it’s not simply the fact that I appear to an Anglophile…
I’ve not been to England in over 25 years, so rest assured, there’s no obsession there…
Despite the fact that my DNA doesn’t lie and I just happen to be more ‘British’
then the Queen…my constant comparison’s reach much further than mere DNA.
I think it’s because A. I love our Nation’s history of conception.
From our founding to even much further back…all the way back to the inception of
the Anglo Saxon people.
And B. I feel very strongly about our two nations being kindred spirits…
still joined at the hip despite that whole tea party incident and revolution.
Maybe its because I see us both as mirrored bastions of democracy…
of which probably comes from what I know about our relationship during World War II,
A working tandem of the two chief chess-masters of FDR and Churchill—
all the way to the dismantling of an iron curtain with the power duo of
Reagan and Thatcher.
And so when I read the latest post from our other favorite across the pond cleric,
the Scottish pastor David Roberston, I couldn’t help but see a near-identical situation.
If you’ve kept up with any recent snippet of world news as of late,
then you obviously know that British Prime Minister Teresa May is out and
Boris Johnson is now in.
Brexit is the UK elephant in the room.
It has caused angst and upheaval across the nation,
leaving both friends and family members standing on opposite sides of the fence.
Much like our own support or hatred for our own President.
Throw in immigration and we are eaten up with angst.
And yes, Boris Johnson appears to be the UK’s version of our President Donald Trump.
There even seems to be a bit of a look a like comparison but I think its the hair.
Each man is a little flamboyant, unapologetic and not the most chaste of individuals.
Boris is hated by many and obviously wanted by many more.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
And as many of us here were left wondering, or fretting, over Trump’s election,
wondering if he was to be the man for the job at hand…the man God allowed to fill the bill,
many of our British kith and kin are left wondering the same about Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson is no Winston Churchill and Teresa May was no Margaret Thatcher.
And of course, Trump is no Ronald Reagan.
But Johnson is the man, just as Trump is the man, who God has allowed to fill a void.
For reasons that currently elude our understanding.
US Christians have wrestled with their feelings for Trump now for over two years…
just as UK Christian are now left to wrestle with their own feelings regarding Johnson–
throw in Brexit and they are most likely mentally and emotionally exhausted.
We can certainly emphasize.
David lays out his thoughts about how a Christian is to go about their life
under Boris Johnson in a nice succinct plan.
Something I think Christians here in the US could utilize when considering life
with our own President.
I personally believe Trump is the man in place for a reason.
As perhaps Johnson is for the UK.
I also support our President because I have respect for the office.
Most of our progressive liberals have long forgotten the notion of respect.
And so David offers a post regarding a UK Christian’s response to their
new Prime Minister with the notion of respect being one of the key factors…
I think it would behoove us here in the US to consider the same outline when considering
our feeling for own President…and perhaps we should begin with respect…
Respect – He is God’s servant sent to do us good.
We are to respect and to submit to those in authority over us.
Not because of their character or their godliness – but because of their office.
At the end of the day Boris has a tremendous responsibility for which he will one day
have to give account to God.
Ultimately he is God’s servant – not the peoples.
We must respect him as such.
Respect does not mean that we agree with him, or that we like him,
or that we will do all that he says – especially when he goes against the law of God.
But it does mean that we honour him and seek to help.
I am reminded of the saying that “those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.”
We need to learn.
David Roberston regarding the book The Great Deception: Can the European Union Survive
There is a particular book that our friend the Wee Flea has painstakingly and slowly
been offering tiny tantalizing morsels, chapter synopsizes if you will, to the readers
of his blog ever since the first of the new year.
It is a book that I have not read myself but will most likely add into the queue of my
ever-growing and now burgeoning ‘must reads but haven’t the time” pile.
The Great Deception: Can the European Union Survive by Christopher Booker and Richard North
According to David, This is one of those books that is culture changing.
Written by Christopher Booker and Richard North, it is a detailed,
well-researched and brilliantly argued book about the history of the European Union.
It was first published in 2003 but this updated edition was released in 2016.
“A superb history of the EU and of Britain’s relationship with it…every MP, every senior civil servant,
every journalist with any claim to understanding the current state of the country,
should read it” Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday I would wholeheartedly endorse Hitchens view.
I spend far too much time arguing with politicians and others who have bought into the EU’s myth about itself.
My challenge is very simple. Every one of our lawmakers and opinion formers should read this.
If they can prove it wrong, so be it. I would probably change my mind.
But if it is right in its main thesis then it is a devastating expose of the EU,
and should make every rational person, glad that we voted to get it and should add to
our determination to get out.
So why might I, an American you wonder, be interested in a book that addresses issues
concerning the EU?
Why would I, or should I, ever be interested in not only the EU but that of Brexit?
That whole ‘should she go or should she stay’ fiasco plaguing our friends across the pond?
Do we not have enough troubles here in the States without my having to borrow
any more worries from our neighbors?
Well, I believe that The US and our cousins across the Pond, The UK,
are mirror images of one another… albeit images who literally spell our words a bit
differently, yet mirror images none the less.
We’re cut from, more or less, the same cloth.
So the saying may hold true for each of us…” so goes the UK, so goes the US” and
then “so goes the US, so goes the UK”
Like it or not, agree with me or not, but the two of us have always been the lynchpins
of Western Civilization.
Joined at the proverbial hip for better or for worse or for both.
So I think it behooves all of us to keep a wary eye on Brexit.
Albeit now morphing into some sort of hybrid water-downed version of
it’s original self.
I have been a pro-Brexit person from early on…but that matters neither here nor there as I
have no vote, no say and really no dog in the fight…but yet…I do…we all do.
We have a dog in that fight because what happens to the UK will impact the US tremendously.
That how it is with families—one might be ailing while the other in turn renders comfort and aid.
So why would I favor to go rather than to stay?
Because the EU is not what it was ever intended to be nor will it ever be.
I believe the UK would be a stronger sovereign nation by herself rather than tethered to
And maybe I’ve grown jaded over the decades, but I am no longer really keen on the UN either…
but we’ll save that thought for another day.
So if you ask me, we’re both going to hell in a handbasket.
We’ve lost our way.
We’ve lost our moral compass.
We’ve lost our respect, let alone belief, in our God.
We’ve lost our humility.
We’ve lost our identities.
And we’ve lost those in leadership who were never afraid of leading…
President Trump, I believe has been trying, but our Nation appears to no longer want
strong definitive leadership…
Margaret Thatcher has always been one of my “heroes”–albeit a hero for one who never
lived under her leadership…so I understand that some may question my choice…
but you need to understand that I did live under the leadership of her counterpart…that being Reagan.
And as a team, they were an unformidable team.
Thatcher knew how to lead.
She knew her facts.
She knew her history.
She knew her agenda.
She set her sights.
She kept a level head and she would not back down from a fight that
was fought for the sake of Western Civilization.
And whereas she had many detractors in the UK…
those who did not like or even resented her leadership and or policies…
personally, I have always thought the tandem forces of Thatcher / Reagan was the last great
world leadership team that we have ever seen since that of Churchill and Roosevelt.
So I was keenly interested in David’s take on Thatcher as revealed in the Great Deception.
The link to his full post follows at the end…
The Great Deception Ch. 13 – No! No! No! – 1988-1990
This is a fascinating chapter which gave me a lot of information I did not know –
not least that the EU planned Thatcher’s fall –
and the Tory ‘men in grey suits’ were quite happy to do their bidding.
“I wanted to change the policies, not the leader.
But if that meant the leader had to go, then so it had to be.” Geoffrey Howe.
After her Bruges speech, Prime Minister Thatcher had become the great obstacle to the European
project and so she came under sustained attack – not least from the Euphiles in her own party.
Delors was desperate to get the Euro set up and a European bank.
For that to happen he had to get the Germans on board and especially the Bundesbank.
Much to most people’s surprise they did not block monetary union but merely insisted on certain conditions.
This was because Delors had rigged the committee and skillfully \ flattery and persuasion.
He made them this incredible promise – which is directly relevant to today’s situation.
“There will be a new, Super- Bundesbank at European level,
totally independent of governments and consequently able to exercise a degree of power beyond
the wildest dreams of many heads of government.”
This week as Big Business and the Big Banks are stepping up the pressure on Brexit
(and gleefully being cited as support by so called left-wingers, liberals and greens),
remember that the current EU was set up by them and for them.
Nigel Lawson, the British Chancellor,
tried to promote the ERM and ERU as an agreement between sovereign nations.
He failed to realise (until too late) that the EU’s central purpose was not co-operation but subordination.
This is a failing that most pro-EU UK politicians today refuse to acknowledge.
British Conservative politicians argued that we should go along with the first stage because
we did not ‘want to miss the bus’ and we could ‘change from within’.
Sound familiar?! Thatcher was the only one who really saw the danger and she stood firm. Even when Lawson and Howe threatened to resign she stood firm.
And yet in Madrid she said that the UK would join the ERM
(Exchange Rate Mechanism) but did not specify a date.
Meanwhile Lawson decided to shadow the Deutschmark, so interests rates in Britain soared to 16%.
He resigned. The French Prime Minister Rocard warned “Britain is like a slow ship in a naval convoy.
Sometimes, for the good of all, the last vessel must be abandoned to its tragic destiny”
Meanwhile in November 1989, the Berlin wall fell.
Delors saw this as a great opportunity to promote a federal Europe –
rather than a Europe of independent nation states.
A single currency, a single economic policy, and a single government.
In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait.
And in October of the same year, Thatcher reluctantly announced that Britain would, after all, join the ERM.
Delors by then did not want the UK to join – he just wanted rid of Thatcher.
Britain however joined (much to the delight of Labour, the Lib Dems, the trade Unions, and the CBI) –
only to be forced to a humiliating exit in 1992.
The two main protagonists
Delors saw an opportunity at the GATT talks (world trade) with 125 countries.
Britain which was still the worlds second largest trader at that point,
did not have a seat at these talks.
We were represented by the EU.
The USA wanted a cut in agricultural subsidies.
The EU was totally against.
The EU Council then set a trap for Thatcher.
It refused to discuss GATT and instead focused on monetary union.
“Mrs. Thatcher would be forced into the open; either she would agree, conceding game, set and match…
or, more likely, she would have to refuse, leaving the door open for a strike by her British opponents”
Thatcher then made this famous remark:
“The president of the Commission, Mr. Delors, said at a press conference the other day that he wanted
the European Parliament to be the democratic body of the Community.
He wanted the Commission to be the executive and he wanted the Council of Ministers to be the Senate.
No. No. No.”
Whilst there were many things about Mrs. Thatcher which I disliked and disagreed with when I watch this clip,
I realise that she was streets ahead in terms of leadership and courage than any of today’s leaders.
There is not a chance that Mrs.T would have been pushed around as much as Mrs. May or the ‘we must surrender all’
politicians have been.
Thatcher recognised – too late – that the EU was not about an open market and free trade –
but was and is, in fact, a protectionist bloc.
The Sun summed up the whole situation with their “Up Yours Delors” headline.
And Howe resigned.
Heseltine stood against Thatcher in the leadership election and although he lost it was only by 204 votes to 185.
Heath rang his office shouting “rejoice, rejoice’ and bought his staff champagne.
But Heseltine did not become leader.
Thatcher was replaced by John Major who wanted the UK to be at the heart of Europe.
Given that the EU was about to move towards political and monetary union
it was a forlorn hope.
This whole chapter serves to show the stark contrast with today’s politicians and the leadership
of Mrs Thatcher.
She was prepared to say ‘No, No, No’ to the EU and act upon it.
Our leaders would never say no the EU and instead are prepared to say No, No, No
to the British people and to once again hand over sovereignty to the EU.
“We live in an age when unnecessary things are our
(the sad little cherub birdbath has seen better days / Julie Cook / 2017)
Reflecting back over this past and most chaotic year—chaotic on so many levels….
As it has been chaotic, yes, personally but perhaps the correct word there
would be difficult….
Yet chaotic is what it has been, none the less and more importantly, on
a National and Global level….
thus making it more acute because its a sort of chaotic which affects us all.
It has been a year which has seen its fair share of words and acronyms,
some tried and true, some new and biting…each having left us changed.
Words and letters such as BREXIT, Tweet, Trump, Merkel, May,
Hillary, Russia, Putin, LBTGQ, ISIS, snowflakes, cupcakes, harassment,
sexual, misogynist, tolerance, intolerance, conservative, media, fake news,
liberal, Socialist, Nazi, Communist, accept, Democrats, Homophobic, Republicans, e-mails,
leaks, white supremacist, racist, walls, migrants….
On and on the list has grown….
so perhaps the ending of this particular year is coming none too soon.
It has certainly been perplexing watching the shift in dynamics within our Nation
as well as within the world at large.
It has been disconcerting watching this shift in Culture—
particularly in and with what we thought we knew.
It is maddening to be called “phobic” when one simply disagrees with a sinful
In the latest posting of Anglican Unscripted, Bishop Ashenden was also opining
the same sorts of issues but with a more keen eye on the shift within Christian
Culture and the Church….
The good Bishop notes that there are all sorts of calls emanating from various pulpits,
all the way to Canterbury itself, the ancient seat of the Anglican Church—
Calls are being made for a total acceptance, absolute tolerance and drastic change….
Coupled by the actual accusations towards those who opt not to get on board with the
acceptance, the tolerance and the change….
Actually accusing those who cling to Scriptural Authority as being outdated,
out numbered and flat out wrong.
I can remember when words from various pulpits were words of God, Salvation, Fatih, Sacrifice, Obedience, Jesus, Love, Grace—
not this modern mantra of jumping on the culture train or else…….
Bishop Ashenden notes that it seems as if the majority of the English Clergy,
(and I would include their kissing cousins of the Episcopal Church), are
either outright socialists or of socialist leanings.
While frustratingly the more Orthodox remain silent for fear of reprisals.
As it appears that the majority of both clergy and laity have lost confidence in the Spiritual message of Salvation, that which calls for all humans to repent,
having rather “transferred their allegiance to a political solution.”
Because who wants to be told to repent from a lifestyle that society has
deemed worthy as God has succinctly and resoundingly deemed as sinful?
And what we the Faithful must note….is that within that notion of all things
of a political solution, there is absolutely no call to or for repentance.
And now we look to the paradoxical…
We look to the counter balance to all of the liberal heavy handed hullabaloo
with the story of the ancient Coptic Church in Egypt.
It is a church whose roots are found in St Mark who brought the Gospel to Egypt
during the reign of the Emperor Nero.
A long suffering church body of Believers who have suffered at the hands of Islam
since Muslims invaded their homeland in 641.
Believers who do not adhere to the cultural gods, but rather adhere only to the
Word of the One Almighty and Omnipotent God…
For there is no demand for change, or tolerance of the sinful, or acceptance of
(Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Church of Egypt)
(The Amir Tadros coptic Church in Minya on Sunday.
The building was set ablaze on Aug. 14)
Consider the following comment….
What kind of faith makes people go back to church immediately after that
church was bombed?
What kind of faith makes people chant the Nicene Creed right after their church
What kind of faith makes a community continue liturgy outside because their church
wasn’t yet safe enough to be in?
What kind of faith makes one go on national TV and tell persecutors that they
are loved and forgiven after they just attacked and killed 28 Christians?
The unshakable faith of Christ.
We are in pain.
We are angry.
We have lost many brothers and sisters in Christ, and their blood continues to flow.
But many of us neglect to remember something –
the Coptic Christians remain undefeated.
They continue to grow.
They continue to inspire and strengthen the faith of Christians around the world.
And so will round out these thoughts with the words of the late Orthodox monk and saint,
“[St. Paisios responds to the question: ‘Geronda, what is this joy that I feel?
Can it be that I am not aware of my sinfulness?’]
No, my child!
God gives you a chocolate here and there, in order to give you joy.
For now, it’s chocolates; later, it will be wine —
like the wine they drink in Paradise.
Do you know how sweet is the wine they drink there?
If God sees a little philotimo (*), a bit of good disposition,
He offers His Grace abundantly, and it intoxicates you —
even from this life.
The spiritual delight one receives, and the transformation he feels in his heart
when the Grace of God visits him, cannot be given…
even by the best cardiologist in the world.
When you feel such joy, try to hold on to it for as long as you can.”
(*) – Philotimo, is the spontaneous, self-sacrificing love shown by humble people,
from whom every trace of self has been filtered out,
full of gratitude towards God and their fellow man.
Philotimo comes from a deep, abiding connection with God,
so that one is constantly moved to do and seek that which is good,
right and honorable.
(Although this definition has been repeated many times during these teachings,
the last time was 5 months ago,
I feel it is never too often to remind us of its awesome meaning!)
From Discerning Thoughts
And so we end this year of the humanly chaotic being warned.
For we the faithful are being called.
Called not to be quiet, not to fear reprisals, not to accept that which is wrong
but to hold up to the world the Image of God incarnate in His only begotten son….
His duality is seen in the oldest documented Icon of Christ the Pantocrator.
One side of his face is the Christ who is benevolent, kind and loving,
the other side is of the Christ who sits in judgement….judgement of all mankind.
What those who clamor for all things cultural and accepting have chosen to ignore
that Jesus will indeed sit in judgement.
We are called to repent.
To be repentant.
For in that repentance and in that the turning away from sin is found
the true acceptance of Salvation.
(Christ Pantocrator, the oldest known Icon of Christ, 6th Century AD / St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai)
“Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed
especially desolating and painful,
with particular satisfaction.
Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my seventy-five
years in this world,
everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence,
has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained…
This, of course, is what the Cross signifies.
And it is the Cross, more than anything else, that has called me inexorably to Christ.”
Cartoon Flea Success
Yesterday I found myself reading over the latest blog offering by the Scottish Pastor
who once again, expresses so much more eloquently what I feel…
Thoughts and words I’ve been trying to convey here in my little corner of the blogosphere..
for quite sometime, but seem to fall a bit short of his more marvelous observations.
This latest post is entitled The Fallacy of the Fascist Revival–Hope Not Hate
I was barely through the first paragraph when I heard myself shouting “AMEN”
“My concern is not so much with fascism but with the dumbing down of our society,
including our media and political discourse and what that leads to.”
Personally I have become so perplexed with this new global obsession with what seems
to be some sort of new age fascism….
that I am heart sick that so many Americans are now so deluded as to claim that the
other half of their countrymen are now practicing Nazis…
as they truly have no inkling as to what they are accussing
or claiming others to be practicing…..
I have become so incensed that there are actually so many seemingly educated,
yet truly misinformed individuals,
who are clamoring over such nonsense as to the country being overrun with goose-stepping
brown shirts and that a sitting US president is channeling the essence of an
evil demigod and führer.
I am infuriated that there are those who currently think that anyone with a differing opinion
should now be labeled as a fascist…
all without having a true depth of knowledge of what it is that they are labeling and accusing
others of being…..
All of what this has done, this current fanaticism, is but to cheapen the lives of those
who actually suffered and lived through the reality of all that was throughout the 1930’s-1940’s…
Our friend at the “Wee Flea” notes:
As usual Brendan O’Neill puts it far better than I can.
“The word is now used with an ahistoricism and thoughtlessness that are genuinely alarming.
And among the upper echelons of society, not merely by scruffy protesters or online blowhards.
The Archbishop of Canterbury says Trump is part of the ‘fascist tradition’.
Prince Charles has warned darkly of a return of the atmosphere of the 1930s,
and we all know what that means. ‘Yes, Donald Trump is a fascist’,
says New Republic, a magazine that once considered itself a voice of reason among
the paranoid style of American political life. But everyone’s paranoid now.
Everyone now sees fascists.”
Pastor Robertson continues: “Dumbing down then enables people to become deluded by the delusions.”
“People who are either too lazy, too unthinking, or too self-obsessed with their own delusions,
can’t stand being challenged and so they hate. Even if, in their own eyes,
they are on the side of reason and love they will emote and hate.
In fact its worse than that – its BECAUSE they are on the side of love that they feel
they have the right to hate. And in the age of the internet and social media,
they find it much easier to do this online, than spray painting their neighbours house.”
So not only are we witnessing this new age lunacy here in the US…
that of our modern day fascist witch hunt…
One that I liken to an ill perceived “War of the Worlds” mass pandemonium,
it just so happens that it is sadly more indicative to the growing hysteria
found across our entire Western Civilization…
“This demonisation has frightening consequences.
Someone from Edinburgh sent me this photo of a poster in Edinburgh he passed the
day after he read my article.”
Yet perhaps the most troubling aspect to be found in all of this
is to be found in the messages we are now sending
to our young people….
especially as we are hearing such hateful rhetoric spewing
form the mouths of educators…..
“One of the most disturbing series messages I got was from someone who said they were a
history teacher and described the UK government as a fascist government.
Now imagine you are a child who hears that, and hears about the evil of fascism,
and then reads a poster like this.
It’s beyond irony that those who want to use hate speech legislation to suppress all
views except their own, are so often full of hate.”
Pastor Robertson then poses the question that most sane and rational individuals
now find themselves asking, nay imploring….
“Where is the Hope in all of this?”
And in his question…in this search for some semblance of rationality, sanity…
it is our Hope in which we find our answer…..
“I don’t see it in politics.
And I don’t see it in groups like ‘Hope not Hate’, because they too demonise the other,
in order to justify themselves. It seems as though we are in an endless cycle of blame,
guilt and hatred.
But there is a solution.
There is somewhere where ‘the dividing walls of partition’ are broken down,
where people really do become one and where love, harmony, unity and diversity predominate.
I am of course talking about the church of Jesus Christ.”
“Its not an ideology that brings love and unity—
If you want Love not Hate, then you need to know the One who is Love.”
“The same has happened on this side of the pond when Christians
think that their views on Brexit are essential to the maintenance of the gospel.
Do we not realise how puny and pathetic it is that we play power politics with
our limited knowledge and abilities?
Does it not display a lack of trust in the sovereignty of God?
We are certainly entitled and encouraged as free citizens in a democracy
to have our own political views–
but we are not to make the Kingdom of God dependent on them.
Sometimes the Lord will use a pagan king, like Cyrus,
to fulfill his will.
Sometimes he will convert the Emperor.
But at all times those who are his people need to rely on him to open the door.”
(Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman)
For some odd reason, mainstream media, most political leaders, liberal Hollywood…
the list only grows daily,
are all feeling as if the world, as we know it,
will be coming to an end by week’s end.
And then on the other hand, we have a growing number of the faithful
who believe that the ‘end of time’, once again as we know it,
is to take place,
by week’s end…
as in Jesus will be trumping, no true pun intended, Friday’s inauguration.
And if you’re anything like me, you may actually be hoping for the latter as
I’ve had just about all of the naysaying, whining, grousing, fussing, cussing
and downright vile vitriol sputum flowing out of the mouths of most of this
angst ridden nation of ours that I can stomach.
We have governmental elected officials and leaders who are threatening to boycott
a presidential inauguration.
Shame on you.
We have entertainers who are encouraging defiance and protest before and during
a presidential inauguration.
Shame on you.
We have colleges, state funded mind you, providing “safe places” on their campuses
for their dismayed students to be able to cry and be comforted because
of a presidential inauguration.
Shame on you.
We have fellow Americans threatening other fellow Americans because of a presidential
Shame on you.
We have other country’s warning and threatening us with reprisals, retribution or retaliation
over a presidential inauguration.
Shame on you.
We have the birth of fake news taking place because of a presidential inauguration…
Shame on us all…
It beats all I have ever known in this lifetime of mine.
I don’t think the end will be ending on Friday.
Pretty certain you can take that to the bank.
It’s all just a shame.
A shame that educated adults are behaving so badly
as we wonder why the kids are behaving so badly.
Adults setting examples of immaturity, pettiness, ugliness, hate, tit for tat,
alarmism, rudeness, disrespectfulness…
everything accusatory that was shouted at the president elect for what was claimed that he
was displaying and demonstrating
is now being demonstrated and carried out by those very accusers—
So now it appears that no one is acting any better than the other…
and there’s nary a soul in this Nation who has decided to demonstrate real character by
taking the high road…
A few weeks back I read a wonderful article by a Scottish pastor, David Roberts, reflecting on
a bit of this current obsessing over the idea of the end times…
as it seems everyone on either side of the fence, faithful and not,
are in some sort of rising state of panic….
I offer a link here for the faithful and the non faithful alike….
“Religion died, from various diseases, and humanity died with it.
Or perhaps it is truer to say that humanity died of great possessions,
of modern development, of the pace of modern life and so on –
and religion died as humanity succumbed.”
(Sometimes all we need is just a sliver of Hope…
Deer Lake, Watercolor Resort, Julie Cook / 2016)
There I stood in one of the many long snaking lines at the grocery store early this afternoon.
I don’t care where you are, be it grocery store, the post office or a local fast food joint,
this time of year there will be long snaky lines.
That’s not mentioning the large discount stores, department stores or home improvement
centers where “snaking lines” pales in describing the madness currently taking place
at those spots…
but I digress….
As I made my way to the register and conveyor counter waiting to unload my cart,
only to have my items rung up, paid for, bagged and reloaded into my cart,
I noticed the array of magazines lining the shelves.
From tabloid to self help, from recipes to horoscopes….
There in all her blazing glory was an ever grinning Oprah appearing to levitate over
the Grand Canyon happily proclaiming that one and all should be living their grandest
life possible…as in living it oh so grandly and oh so largely.
“Easy for Oprah to proclaim” I hear my brain grousing.
I could live grand while levitating over the grand canyon rather than standing in
a long snaky, too close to Christmas line waiting to buy kleenex and chicken
if I had a boat load of cash, an entourage of folks
waiting with bated breath to do my bidding
all the while having no where to be or nothing particularly world altering to do.
Once at home, with said chicken and kleenex unloaded for the 3rd time today….
I sat down at the table in order to catch up on a few things.
Like considering addressing the few Christmas cards I just had to gather…
as in the few cards, according to my husband, that are essential that I send out….
With my small world derailing these days, Christmas and its more secular hoopla is
being held to a bare minimum…don’t ask where the tree is yet…I might get around to it.
As there is simply not enough time, energy, me nor joy lurking in my crumbling world.
My eyes wandered to an interesting little news article as I fought off the impending chore…
After reading the interesting little article I decided
I must be living under a rock.
Now mind you, I really don’t mind living under a rock…
as there is often a good bit of peace and solitude under said rock.
It’s when I read about some latest craze or word or trend that seems to have
“social media” or the internet, or the entire world for that matter all ablaze…
that I know I’m contently under my rock.
I really don’t miss hearing about or seeing those things that set popular culture on fire.
Those latest brouhahas in movements, foods, pastimes, clothing, music…
In fact I rather relish being left out of the hype.
Now I suppose that’s an age thing as there was probably a time I would have “died”
had I not been riding the latest band wagon….
So it seems there is this word… “hygge”
It’s a Danish word pronounced either hyue-gar, or hoog-jar or hoo gah…
maybe it depends on where in the country of Denmark you are from…
kind of like a regional dialect sort of thing.
Anywhoo, hygge is a word, or better yet, a state of mind,
that just so happens to be taking the UK by storm…
and it is predicted that very shortly that the very same world altering word
and blissful state of mind, will wildly descend upon life here in the States.
It is a word that describes the approaching, or perhaps better yet, the attacking of life
with a mindset of all things positive…
all the while as one embraces the enjoyment of everyday life experiences.
Hummmm…..a rather oddly familiar concept
Seems that the world altering events of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump has folks
all across this globe in a peculiar dither..
as in the masses are in a state of ‘inability’…a feeding frenzy of inability…
as in an inability to function, to embrace life, or to even appreciate life…
let alone finding the strength to simply enjoy living.
And leave it to the Danes, those same northern folks who have been voted time and time again
by all things travel to be the happiest folks on the planet,
to perfect that very state of happiness into a new global phenomenon….
while all the other poor souls who are still languishing in the events of the past year,
seek some sort of solace from their woes.
Despite this latest feel-good phenom making the most of the empty cultural voids…
this latest and desperately sought after placebo for an ailing populace…
is actually a state of mind that’s been around for quite some time…
Or perhaps, better yet, it’s really more of a command as to how one should actually live…
And as for me…
it is a very timely reminder….
that despite my overwhelmingly imploding small world…
I have long known the secret to a contented life that goes far beyond the
limited understanding of this oh so jaded and self centered world…
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
And that my friends is God, in Christ Jesus, our very own hygge….
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself,
but thinking of yourself less.
(the dried faded viburnum blooms / Julie Cook / 2016)
“Amid the sparkle and the color and music of the day’s celebration
we do well to remember that God’s insertion of himself into human history
was achieved with an almost frightening quietness and humility.
There was no advertisement,
no special privilege;
in fact the entry of God into his own world was almost
J. B. Phillips
Recently reading a blog post by a Scottish minister regarding the ever growing saga
in the UK over Brexit…the UK’s vote for departure from the EU and the UK’s
courts latest counter order to halt all proceedings…
as it is a continuing sickening rollercoaster ride of will it or won’t it stay….
I was struck by the deep similarities of all things political and Governmental in the UK
compared with our own fracas over this Election…
The haves and the have nots of power elites who toil to establish their will,
the movers and shakers who forget who they are actually shaking,
the liberal biased media outlets determined to bend the will of the people,
the votes that don’t seem to count unless they favor the favored one, so revote until it’s right…
More often than not, the average citizen,
make that the average Christian citizen,
who is currently feeling lost in this political melee and
who is actually fearful of what the future might hold in either country,
now needs to hold fast to the one true Sovereign who is indeed sovereign over all…
despite what others would wish for us all to believe….
“We don’t trust in politicians or in judges who think they are sovereign.
The real sovereignty is with the only real Sovereign.
When the result of this court case came out I felt a wee bit depressed –
not so much because of it, but rather because I thought – oh no, here we go again.
But I was speaking at Abertay University that night on Daniel 5
The Writing on the Wall and was greatly struck by the phrase
“he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all
kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes” (v.21).
This trust in the sovereignty of God does not mean that we are political pietists
who don’t care about what happens.
It just means that we have such trust in the Sovereign Lord that we
recognize that we don’t rule and neither
does Trump/Clinton/Blair/Farage/Corbyn/May/Sturgeon or any of the elites.
And so we can respect those in authority and those not in authority.
We can have peace, even when we see things that disturb, anger and perplex us.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 NIV)
Pastor of St Peters Free Church
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,
but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
George S. Patton
Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.
Our God, Our Help In Ages Past
(spicetail swallowtail butterfly hanging on in a rain shower / Julie Cook / 2016)
We’re all just holding on aren’t we…
seemingly by that proverbial thread.
We look all around us at the escalating global madness…
and we are mystified, even stupefied…
and growing more and more terrified by the day.
We find ourselves hunkering down, covering our heads, expecting the worst…
Or maybe we simply jam our fingers in our ears, dashing about chattering so loudly hoping
to drown out this frightening reality.
“We are living in a stressful age that New York Times columnist
Roger Cohen calls a “time of unraveling…Cohen imagines a future conversation
about the grim situations of the present and writes…
“It was a time of unraveling…a time of beheadings…a time of aggression…a time of breakup…
a time of weakness…a time of hatred…a time of fever…a time of disorientation” in which the “fabric of society frayed.”
(God and Churchill / Jonathan Sandys & Wallace Henley)
Our political conventions are bordering on the edge of the surreal..
mirroring that of a traveling side show or a two bit circus.
The candidates vie for our votes…
Yet they prefer busing themselves by trading the ugly tit for tat verbiage of hate,
lies and insults.
As the average citizen is left wondering…where have real leaders gone….
Our world is ailing with unrest….and withers under evil’s oppression.
Today, in a quiet suburb of the French city of Rouen, an 85 year old priest, Father Jaques Hamel, was viciously and savagely murdered during the midst of morning Mass.
He was attacked by two young masked men.
The young assailants took four nuns and parishioners hostage using them as human shields.
These attackers forced Fr Hamel to kneel before the altar as they shouted a tirade in Arabic followed with Allahu Akbar, all before slitting Fr Hamel’s throat in front of terrified parishioners…
all the while filming the entire apalling spectacle.
They were later killed by police.
ISIS has claimed responsibility.
Germans continues reeling while trying to make sense out of the latest terror attacks that have rocked their nation. The stories continue making back to back to back headlines.
First an ax wielding young man attacks passengers on a train in Wuerzburg, Germany…
Next a gunman kills 9 at a shopping mall in Munich.
Thirdly, another young man, yesterday, injures 15 outside of a bar, as he proceeds to blow himself up…
The leading newspaper in Turkey ran a front page story yesterday claiming that President Erdogan is now blaming the United States for last week’s failed coup as word circulates that he was actually to blame for orchestrating the whole debacle…which has now given way for his sweeping crackdowns within a country balancing between a tenuous democracy and a Muslim dictatorship.
All of this world drama, as the UK continues to figure out what their voting to leave the EU will actually mean…
Our world has been turned upside down…with Truth, Morality, and The Sacred each becoming a resulting victim.
Indeed the world is unraveling at an alarming rate…
So many of these headlines are simply overwhelming, leaving us all with a sense of loss,
worry and dread…
Fear gleefully now marches far and wide around our globe…as we look to placate our troubles…
We mustn’t lose our hope…
No matter how daunting such the task.
For we may just actually find our comfort and our peace
hidden in the smallest of beings…
Imagine the humble butterfly…
A delicate creature if ever there was one.
Its wings thiner then tissue paper, covered in a dazzling array of fine and colorful powder.
No match for rain nor tempest storm….
And yet they somehow manage to survive.
At the first sign of a change in the weather…
As clouds thicken and skies darken as the winds begin to shift…
the butterfly knows to seek shelter…
For even a single raindrop can kill a butterfly.
Even the resulting dip in temperatures, following in the the storm’s aftermath,
is life threatening because butterflies need the heat of the sun in order to feed, mate and thrive.
Butterflies instinctively know the importance of seeking shelter and holding on during a storm.
It’s a matter of living and dying.
Its time we each look to the One who offers us our shelter from the storm…
To the One who offers us life in the face of all that is dying….
For He is indeed our shelter from the storm….
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging
“Win without boasting.
Lose without excuse.”
Albert Payson Terhune
“A man who called everyone a damn fool is like a man who damns the weather.
He only shows that he is not adapted to his environment,
not that the environment is wrong.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
(ghost crab who’s given up the ghost / Santa Rosa Beach, FL / Julie Cook / 2016)
We’re not a people accustomed to losing.
We don’t like to lose…
Nobody, that’s who!
We’re a people of winners.
We like winners.
Who doesn’t like a winner…
Nobody, that’s who!
Maybe we’re a little too accustomed to winning.
Maybe we’ve grown to expect it.
Maybe…just maybe…we’ve forgotten how to lose.
We’ve forgotten that in losing there must be graciousness…
Let’s look at a few things…
We love our sports teams.
We want them to win.
Some of us bet on them to win…
as in… betting money…
as in… betting big money.
Losers don’t make us money.
Some of us have been known to do bad things to make our teams win.
We have cheated, lied, twisted reality, conspired with others to do bad things.
We’ve been known to “fix” a game in order to win
We like to win at all costs…
Others of us get into fights when our teams lose.
We decide to fight those whose team beats our team.
We decide to beat the crap out of the opposing winning team’s fans.
We don’t lose well….
Look at our elections…
We like our candidates of choice to win.
We work for our candidates.
We campaign for our candidates.
We yell at other people who don’t support our candidate.
We call those who don’t support our candidates ugly names.
We get into fights with people who don’t support our candidate.
We vote for our candidates.
We get mad when they lose.
We decide not to accept the winner because our candidate should have won.
We contest the voting count.
We demand a re-count.
We demand a re-vote
We make up stories about the winning candidate to make him / her look bad.
We paint a really ugly picture to sway the results.
We lie, pay bad people money…
We want to win at all costs
Look at our primary elections…
There are a lot of people who don’t like a man like Donald Trump
He’s loud, obnoxious, brash, arrogant and troubling to most…
Maybe he’s not “president” material…
Yet he’s been voted into the top position.
He’s the presumptive nominee.
He earned the spot.
But those who don’t want him are mad.
As those who didn’t vote for him are doing and saying all sorts of things to stop him.
They want to ignore the majority of the other people who voted for him.
They want to say that everyone who voted for him is ignorant and racist and just wrong.
When did voting for a person of one’s choice become ignorant, racist and wrong?
We don’t like the voting to not go our way…
Look at the recent vote in Great Britain.
The vote was to exit.
But those who lost the vote are mad.
They’ve decided that those who voted to exit are racist, ignorant, wrong.
It was put to a vote…
stay or go…
Go was chosen…
All those people who voted their choice to go, are now labeled as ignorant, racist and wrong.
We want a re-count.
We want to block the decision.
We don’t want to concede to the majority’s vote.
We want to do everything possible in order to turn the vote around to our vote, our choice.
We no longer believe in choice, or two sides
We will fight and call those who voted against our wishes ugly names.
We won’t accept anyone else’s opinion or right of choice because it is different from our own.
We forget that there are always two sides—
Winning and losing.
And sometimes we just have to live with losing….
Graciousness appears to have died….
But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness,
and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
2 Corinthians 8:7
“And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too.”
(leftovers from the great wedding of two years ago / Julie Cook / 2014)
The votes have been cast and the people have spoken–much to the disbelief of many other people on this planet of ours…
BREXIT has become reality.
And why pray tell, is this yank daring to wade into the fray across the pond, in the land of over there, you may wonder…
Well, as I’ve stated to a few of my British comrades in arms…. that whereas it would appear that as an American I have no dog in the Brexit fight…it is for that very reason, that I am an American and my closet allies are those of the United Kingdom, that on the contrary, I think we all have a dog in the fight—
as do the other EU countries who are now set for divorce.
It is, however, not for me to ever state how I think those in GB should vote, just as I don’t enjoy being told who I should for for president. But as an outside observer, who is keen on this particular observation, as GB’s decisions do have an effect on this land of their first cousins….I have watched, read, waited and now marvel over the outcome.
The world powers-that-be have each waded deeply into the fray’s waters by telling the people of Great Britain how to vote.
With our President sadly leading the pack.
I apologize on his behalf…that an American president should tell the people of the United Kingdom how to vote on a very in-house sort of referendum…it’s not a very proper thing to do to be sure.
When I was a young new teacher, we had a long standing and powerful superintendent who was considered to be an entrenched member of the good ol boy system within our state’s educational, as well as political, systems.
He and I were not on the same sides of a political fence and I greatly resented each time an election would roll around and he’d make the rounds to each school, calling for a faculty meeting, just in order to tell “his” teachers how to vote…and that was to always cast a vote for his “friend.”
Now I could understand if there had been some sound educational reasons as to why we should be voting for his person of choice…
But for this superintendent, it was strictly a party vote of friends voting for friends—and I for one am not keen to vote for someone just because they are in cahoots with the boss…
especially when I don’t think them worthy of my vote…
I think I was also leery of voting for the entrenched politicians who had made a career out of their office.
For we know what they say…”complacency or familiarity breeds contempt”….
maybe that should read “breeds lethargy and corruption…”
Of recent weeks, I’ve read a great deal concerning the global financial powers-that-be bemoaning or gloating, depending on which side of the fence they line their pockets, what a Brexit would do to the global economy. The likes of George Soros, a man who has profited, or make that made a killing, on the downward slopes of markets before (mainly the Bank of England), is set to cash in once again.
And cash in big—but yet no one really knows how big he cashes in as he doesn’t disclose much…
This man parlays deeply and dangerously into American politics as he gives and gives graciously to the Clintons and their campaigns…He plays his hand in global economies and seems to try to muscle the outcomes of elections as well as markets worldwide—all to his benefit—
The rich and powerful trouble me.
Rich and powerful politicians trouble me.
Even our self-centered, anything and everything goes, millennials trouble me.
I have grown tired, vexed and weary of our political leaders telling us what’s good for us when they haven’t brought about any good themselves…
I am tired of those of the younger generations who whine and complain about those who vote for things such as leaving the EU or vote for politicians that don’t cater to the whims of youth, those young ones whose rallying cry is that “they” have stolen, or are in the process of stealing, our future…”
Yet they are either too preoccupied to be bothered with voting or don’t educate themselves on the bigger picture…
And granted the markets have gone tumbling today…
but it’s that analogy I keep hearing—that the markets are so volatile and actually so unstable that if someone sneezes in one section of the world, every other global market quickly reaches for a tissue lest the sneezing becomes a catastrophic epidemic —sending everyone scrambling for cover…
all of which we are seeing today.
That simply just doesn’t seem very secure in the first place…
So votes like Brexit, which send shock waves into the seemingly untouchable circles of the rich and powerful, the young and the unversed,
as well as for those of us of more average stature,
actually offer a bit of fresh air—
that the people–the average people, still matter.
For good or bad, they still can make a difference.
Their voice, for good or bad, can still be heard…
and that the vote of the everyday person does indeed still matter…
I think Brexit is just one more example of the average, dare I say middle aged and older person, being tired of how this world is being run…
So here’s to adjusting our sails…
The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
William Arthur Ward