How do things really work when it comes to truth and lies?

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
(my favorite quote by the Rev. Martin Niemöller)


(Getty image)

I don’t always understand how things work,
especially here at our beloved Word Press.

Take for example one’s “reader”…
In one’s reader, as one happily scrolls down the list of post’s written by those that one
has chosen to follow, WP will have a brief intermission by offering a post or two that “they”
think might pique one’s interest.

Kind of like a commercial or ad…but not…

It’s more like a recommendation of some other sort of post that one would assume would
be perhaps related to a followed post…
or not.

Maybe it’s about a recipe post or maybe a sports post…
Maybe it’s a post relating to the one you’d written earlier with a similar or like subject matter…

Or maybe it’s a post just to get your goat.

A post goading you into clicking, reading while getting you all riled up as you
roll up your sleeves readying to head over to the comment section…
This as your ire is now raised and you’re gunning to set the record straight with the individual
who WP so kindly thought you would enjoy visiting.

So I ask, why were they offering me a Hispanic / Latino-based posting, complete with
Hispanic subtitles (I don’t speak Spanish) along with a black and white photograph of WWII Nazis
with superimposed ICE labels on their backs with the title words boldly professing
“Trump is out to destroy families.”

I’ve not written or read anything about ICE, deportations, immigration, Nazi’s,
Hispanics or Trump today.
Thank goodness.

I did read a post about the book of James and the lesson on how to tame our tounges…
so maybe it was all just a test…hummmm

I felt as if WP was sadistically luring me into jumping into a fracas.

Where were the fun posts about the chocolate cake recipes or the ones with
the day’s funny cat memes??

Yet you should know, I was restrained.
I didn’t click.

I didn’t join in where I would just have just gotten mad and made others mad…
As all of that benefits no one.

And so that was what I was met with when I went to read my friend,
the Wee Flea’s latest posting.
And maybe it was due to the Flea’s words that brought parts of Pandora’s box
screaming my way.

It would be par for the course—

Caustic liberalism countering a conservative Christian view of things…
What’s new?

Tit for tat I suppose…
Equal time for the Ying and Yang of life…
As our society is all about equal…and yet….not really…

Our Wee Flea friend David Robertson was musing about an article which has now appeared in
the Scottish newspaper the Courrier, not one day, but for three days running…
all circling around like buzzards around the same dead story.

It seems that a certain Christian school Chaplin is coming under intense criticism
for being in opposition to Same-Sex Marriage of which, in turn, equates to homophobia
and thus is regarded as being hateful toward the LBGTQI communities.

Is it just me or are we adding new letters to that anachronism daily?

I’m sorry, did being in opposition to or of something have anything to do with hate?
Opposition simply means to oppose…as in not supporting, wanting, or dare we say, liking…
There is nothing there about hate.

I am opposed to black-eyed peas.
I don’t hate them, I just don’t want to cook them or eat them…
But I do cook them, despite my opposition because my husband likes them.

Same thing with banana pudding…I don’t hate it, I’m just opposed to it as my
dessert of choice—I prefer cherry pie instead…
I don’t hate bananas, or Vanilla wafers or meringue…
I’m just opposed to it all being put together as I don’t care for the taste…

You get the point.

David explains in his post that the articles regarding this Chaplin are all actually
quite false and he goes as far as to use the word ‘lie’ when referring to the articles
that have been written.

Never has this Chaplin said anything in the way of hatefulness or ugliness or derogatory
rhetoric toward any member of the aforementioned communities…
but perhaps it is merely his Christian beliefs that hold to the notion that such
aforementioned lifestyles run counter to God’s word.

I happen to agree that they do run counter to God’s word.

I don’t hate those communities, I just think they are choosing to live counter to the
word of God…
This as they do their darndest to convert the general populace into believing that
everything about their choices and lifestyles is all simply great…
Their stance is either ‘who cares what God has to do with anything’ or
‘let’s just rewrite what God has said in order to suit what we want.’

David writes…

But perhaps most chilling is the way that TIE (Time For Inclusive Education)
and the gay activists are prepared to use children to enforce their doctrine.
It is reminiscent of the way that Mao created the Little Red Guards,
in order to ensure that all of society conformed to his dictate.
This Maoist doctrine is precisely what is happening in Scotland today –
and few politicians, journalists or teachers are prepared to challenge it.

The hypocrisy from the politicians, media, and academia is appalling.
Are they demanding that Catholic chaplains should be removed because they are opposed to SSM
(Same-Sex Marriage)?
What about Muslims who are also opposed to SSM?
Should they be removed from public posts or would that be Islamaphobia?
(the third great sin of the secular liberals – the second is, of course, transphobia).

When SSM was passed (in the name of tolerance) we warned that one of the consequences
would be the marginalisation and demonisation of those who upheld the traditional
Christian position – and of course, we were mocked and abused as extremists
for suggesting such a ridiculous idea.
Now that we have vigilante groups of pupils attacking their school chaplain
in the media (who quietly acquiesce in this bullying) apparently, the real extremists are,
according to a local politician,
are those who are opposed to SSM;
a sin which makes you unworthy of public office.
And thus in one quick leap, we have moved as a society from tolerating difference
to equating those who oppose SSM with ISIS!
(One can only hope that the good people of Carnoustie have the sense at the next election
to get rid of a councillor who can spout such intolerant, irrational nonsense).

But what about the Church?

Here is an opportunity for the Church of Scotland to stand up for freedom of speech,
liberty of religion and to support one of its own ministers.
But not a word.
Nothing on their webpage, nothing on their social media and nothing to the press –
(unless of course, you know better).
It has been left to the Free Church and Baptist ministers to offer public support.
That tells you a great deal about the Church of Scotland.
It’s a spineless, gutless, Godless organisation,
which signals its virtue all over its own media,
but cannot even have the gumption or courage to stand up for one of its ministers
who is being pilloried in the press for holding a position which, until last year,
was their official position.

I also speak out because I know they will come for me too.

Already there have been a couple of pathetic attempts to have me removed as
a chaplain at the University of Dundee and I dare not reveal in public which schools
I am involved in (how sad that ‘tolerant, liberal Scotland has been reduced to this).
Because of the internet, there are vigilante groups who see it as their life mission to
cleanse the world of anyone who does not accept their agenda.
Most people can’t be bothered with the hassle and so just give them what they want.
I’m so thankful that Mike (like Israel Folau) has not caved in and is prepared to
stand up for what he (and millions of others) believe.
Lord, have mercy!

Scotland’s Little Pink Guards – The Strange Case of the School Chaplain, Time for Exclusive Education and Mob Rule

Lord have mercy indeed…

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy.
Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:13

we’ve got our work cut out for us…

“In the name of God, stop a moment,
cease your work, look around you.”

Leo Tolstoy


(this little pile of “work” has only multiplied since two weeks ago with a new highend
formula due to the reflux and more meds / Julie Cook / 2018)

When we think of work, we think of, well…work.
That whole 9 to 5, 8 to 4, 7 to 11, 11 to 7 or the on 12 off 12 gig…
As in work.
The daily grind…
A profession…
A career…
A calling…
The thing we do to pay the bills, afford some stuff, have a life…
The proverbial climbing of the ladder…
The thing we do until we either retire or die…or whichever comes first…

The end to our end really…

However, according to Thomas á Kempis,
from his best selling 1418 book The Imitation of Christ
a book that according to Christian History, Sir Thomas More,
England’s famous lord chancellor under Henry VIII
(and subject of the film A Man for All Seasons)
said it was one of the three books everybody ought to own.
Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits,
read a chapter a day from it and regularly gave away copies as gifts.
Methodist founder John Wesley said it was the best summary of the Christian life
he had ever read…

Thomas á Kempis tells us that:
“No one who follows Me will ever walk in darkness (Jn 8:12).
These words of our Lord counsel all to walk in His footsteps.
If you want to see clearly and avoid blindness of heart,
it is His virtues you must imitate. Make it your aim to meditate on the life of Jesus Christ.
Christ’s teachings surpasses that of all the Saints.
But to find this spiritual nourishment you must seek to have the Spirit of Christ.
It is because we lack this Spirit that so often we listen to the Gospel without really hearing it.
Those who fully understand Christ’s words must labor to make their lives conform to His.”

Thomas á Kempis, p.15
An Excerpt From
The Imitation of Christ

And so we are reminded, schooled, scolded, informed…
that in order to have the Spirit of Christ within us, there is much work on our parts to be done.
A sort of work that should be our primary life’s focus rather than that of time clocks,
paychecks, ladders, and promotions…

And whereas that’s all great and grand… as it does help pay the bills…
in the end, when it is all said and done, “those who fully understand Christ’s words
labor to make their lives conform to his…”

“We must imitate Christ’s life and his ways if we are to be truly enlightened
and set free from the darkness of our own hearts.
Let it be the most important thing we do, then, to reflect on the life of Jesus Christ.”

Thomas á Kempis

Righteous Indignation

“Anyone can get angry, but to do this to the right person,
to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive,
and in the right way, that is not for everyone, nor is it easy.”

Aristotle


(a favorite image I’ve used before—Glendalough National Park, Co Wicklow, Ireland / 2015)

“Let anger be guarded against.
But if it cannot be averted, let it be kept within bounds.
For indignation is a terrible incentive to sin.
It disorders the mind to such an extent as to leave no room for reason.
The first thing, therefore, to aim at, if possible,
is to make tranquility of character our natural disposition by constant practice,
by desire for better things, by fixed determination.”

St. Ambrose

Righteous indignation—according to Wikipedia “is typically a reactive emotion of anger over mistreatment, insult, or malice of another. It is akin to what is called the sense of injustice.
In some Christian doctrines, righteous anger is considered the only form of anger which
is not sinful, e.g.,
when Jesus drove the money lenders out of the temple (Gospel of Matthew 21).”

As we find ourselves living in an age of growing and ever-increasing anger and angst…
anger over everything from road rage to cultural collisions,

It would, therefore, behoove all of us to stop and consider from whence comes our
wrath and rage… and to the reasons as to why it is and to where we send it…

Reactionary or purposeful??…
Or even actually necessary…

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice.

Ephesians 4:31

I’m so over it….

We are citizens of our country, and our duty to society is to witness to the moral law,
which is the prerequisite for peace in our life together.

Raymond Cardinal Burke

Also Pope St John Paul II’s Redemptor Hominis is a sort of profession of faith,
calling to mind again that the Church is the Body of Christ,
the Church belongs to Christ and that we are all obedient in his service.

Raymond Cardinal Burke


(Raymond Cardinal Burke / Getty image)

I confess— I’m about so over all of the news…
the real, the fake, the angry, the salacious…
All the Trump this, Trump that…
Clinton, Obama, Comey, Putin, walls, immigration, lawyers, Twitter, swamps…

UGH!!!

I briefly caught one of yesterday’s headlines…
‘Comey says Trump not moral enough to be president….’

Really???

I don’t care if you like the guy or not…and by the way, my jury is still out on his reign,
but saying Trump is not moral enough made me laugh out loud…
This when I recalled the infamous “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…”

Was that morality????!!!!

Thanks to every news outlet during those heady days in the Oval office…every kid out there
got a quick lesson on infamous dresses and DNA evidence…

Morality and Washington go together…well, like oil and water…

No emulsion…no cohesion, not even a simple mixing there…plainly bipolar opposites…

So when I recently read a few quotes by Missouri’s Cardinal Burke, I had to delve a bit further
into who this prelate actually was.

And I must say that I conquer with much of what the good Cardinal has to say.

Moral Law—it’s what we in Western Civilization have always worked hard to separate from
our legal laws—
It’s like trying to separate eggs—they ooze and hold together as if they are one in the same…
Of which they are…

Very rarely do they want to separate cleanly.
And if the truth be told, our legal laws were built upon our moral laws.
Think Judeo / Christian Ten Commandments—
Very much one in the same.

Moral law is indeed a prerequisite for lasting peace and it is our duty as Christians to
do our darndest to live it.

Is it easy?

Nope.

Do we falter?

Yep.

And when we do, boy do we know it…because everyone and their brother reminds us of
our shortcomings…because everyone gets a pass but the Christians.
Not that getting a free pass is what we should ever receive.
It’s not.

The key, rather, is that we of the Christian fold know that we have a Redeemer who lives.

And we know that when we fall, we are offered a hand up…
It’s that whole notion of go and sin no more…

Not to go out and fall right back into our old habits—but rather it is that the old man
has now been defeated and the new man emerges…

And as the good Cardinal reminds us— it is our task to extend, as well as offer,
that same hand up which is steeped in a moral coded standard of compassion and forgiveness,
offered freely, with no stipulation, to the fallen as we stand as the moral compass
pointing the correct direction in this very troubling world.

With the arrival of abortion, society has experienced an increase in violence.
The murder of the smallest and most defenseless human beings is the root of social violence.
Now, some people say that people with serious illnesses or the elderly are useless.
That is truly horrible. You can see the profoundly selfish,
individualistic logic that is behind this view of a human being and his dignity.

Raymond Cardinal Burke

Blessings in the busyness

“One of the most convicting things I have recently come to realize about
Jesus is that He was never, not once, in a hurry.”

Mark Buchanan,
Your God Is Too Safe: Rediscovering the Wonder of a God You Can’t Control


(blooming lilly / Julie Cook / 2018)

It was Sunday evening after a long busy day—
7:30 PM, and I was sitting in my car in the Publix shopping center
in Atlanta near dad’s house, aka my son’s, waiting for my daughter-n-law who
had run in the store.

She had run in to pick up a few items for my son who would be staying behind
while the rest of us hit the road back home to Carrollton.

Ode to the logistics of our lives right now.

We’d spent the day visiting my dad’s side of the family…they all had wanted my
94-year-old aunt to be able to “get to know” her new great, great niece.

My aunt is in a word, a hoot.
She’s never met a stranger.
She is elegant and high class yet one of the funniest people you’d have the
pleasure of spending time with.

She still drives, solo travels, drinks… and yes…smokes regularly.

And has been a widow now for nearly 10 years.

She’s old school Atlanta and old school southern.
But not pretentious whatsoever.

She was my dad’s sister-n-law who had married, what I always said, was the better
of the two brothers.
She married the older and more “normal” of the two—and so we’ll leave it at that.

Growing up, I did feel a bit intimidated by her and their whole side of the family
as my parents were quieter, more subdued and not social whatsoever.
We were a more casual family, more simple and yet more splintered and dysfunctional.

Yet she always went out of her way to make me feel welcomed and a part of their clan
when I’d be sent off for weekends to spend time with my older cousins.

There are only two of my dad’s “people” who remain—his sister-n-law and his first cousin,
both now in their mid 90’s.

Today, it was my cousins and me who are now the grandparents…
Complete with greying hair, extra pounds, wrinkles, pains, and wobbles.

These are the days, these sorts of gatherings, of which are now both few and far between,
which only make me long for day’s long gone…

Yet as I sat in the parking lot of the grocery store, I grabbed my phone and pulled up
the latest homily offering by my favorite rouge Anglican Bishop.

It was a homily offered for the third Sunday after Easter and focused on the
Resurrected body of Christ and the Renewed Mind…

A comfort as I sat in my car, on a chilly, wet Sunday evening,
ruminating over the whats that once were, as I sat pondering those yet unanswerable whats will be…

Death and taxes…

“I earnestly admonish you, therefore, my brothers,
to look after your spiritual well-being
with judicious concern.
Death is certain; life is short and vanishes like smoke.
Fix your minds, then, on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Inflamed with love for us, he came down from heaven to redeem us.
For our sake he endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain.
He himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love.
We, then, are to be patient in adversity.”

St. Francis of Paola

Death and taxes…
nothing is certain in life but those two unpleasantries.

April 15th—the dreaded day of taxes.
(or actually the 17th due to the 15th falling on a weekend)

A day that accountants have longed for while regular citizens have dreaded.
To pay or to be refunded, that is the question…

Yet taxes are nothing new.

We might recall that it was while traveling to Bethlehem, Joseph’s ancestral home,
Mary gave birth to Jesus.
It was a requirement of Roman law that all citizens take part in the counting for the census
in order to meet the tax requirements…
thus the reason why this young couple, with a very pregnant Mary,
was out and about traveling at a rather critical time.

And so history teaches us that taxes are nothing new…
nor is death…
for death is as old as life itself…
As they actually go hand in hand…

Death and taxes—the two givens in life.

St Francis of Paola—
the humble 15th-century monk who founded the equally humble order
of Minim Friars, reminds us, in this morning’s quote, that death is indeed certain.

Yet the notion of death being inevitable… is really nothing more than a given.
If you’ve been born, you will inevitably die.
That’s just how that works.

Yet most of us don’t like being reminded of such.
Just like we don’t like being reminded about taxes,
forms, payments and the deadline for submitting such.

Our humble monk also reminds us of something else equally as important…
that life, as fleeting as it is…. is simply like vanishing smoke.

And just like taxes and death, none of us like to think about fleeting…
those unpleasant things such as taxes, death coupled with our fleeting lives.

However, our friend reassures us that because our time is just that, vanishing as the smoke…
and death is, for better or worse, inevitable…
it is to be our task to fix our sights, our minds and even
our passions upon Jesus and on Jesus alone…
because it is only in Jesus that things such as death and taxes,
and that of pain, sorrow, and suffering…
those earthly fleeting instances which will vanish as the smoke,
are nothing compared to a life with Jesus—of which is truly everlasting…

They seldom reflect on the days of their life,
because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.

Ecclesiastes 5:20

submission, constancy and perseverance

“You must make a sound and firm resolution to submit yourselves totally to His will and,
with a lively and steadfast faith, to receive from Him what you have to do for love of Him.
And in this (whatever may happen) to persevere with constancy to the very end.”

St. Angela Merici


(from bloom to fruit—patiently we wait for the meyer lemon / Julie Cook / 2018)

Reading this morning’s quote by the 16th century Italian Saint, Angela Merici,
I was struck by two things—
First by the notion of submission to Christ…
not merely belief, but submission…
as in the notion that most 21st century women shutter when they hear the word…submit
as in “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority
of another person.” (Merriam-Webster)

Then secondly I was struck by the idea of
both perseverance and constancy.

That stick-to-it-ness business of pushing through the strain and pain with no waffling,
no ups, no downs….just straight through the middle…

After the death of her parents, Angela and her sister were left as orphans.
And sadly shortly thereafter, Angela’s sister also died, leaving her alone to spend her
childhood living between various extended family members.

One day Angela experienced a vision in which she believed that Jesus had told her to create
an order of chaste women who would, in turn, go on to instruct young girls religiously
as well as in areas of general education.

She became the foundress of what would be known as the order of Ursuline nuns,
originating as an order dedicated to offering poor girls an education.
An education rooted in the Catholic faith but coupled by a general education as well.

Girls were not ones to be afforded formal educations, not unless they came from nobility.
So the idea that “poor” girls were to be given such, speaks a great deal to Sister Angela’s
drive and passion.

So as the prime teacher she was, Angela reminds us that we are to commit soundly,
making a solid resolution…being steadfast in and with our love for Jesus—being
constant as we persevere till our very end…as in never ceasing, never stopping…

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Ephesians 6:18