“You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much
at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty,
but at the love with which we do them.”
St. Therese of Lisieux
(a rogue dahlia / Julie Cook / 2022)
Reading the following quote by Cardinal, now saint, Newman I must admit that I
was pieced by his words.
My heart was pricked as my thoughts now raced.
The quote took on more than just mere words once uttered by a now deceased man.
These words were suddenly very pointed and direct—not abstract nor random.
I found myself overwhelmed…
however, I must admit, I find myself rather overwhelmed as of late most days…
both in positive and negative ways…
yet this time the sense of being overwhelmed was different.
For these particular words, on this particular day, left me overwhelmed in a
most welcomed way.
I found myself amazed, awed and greatly humbled by the fact that everything
within my life—
every big and every minute thing…
those intentional and unintentional movements of all my comings and goings…
that of the time being ticked off of my day’s ins and outs,
those of all my years in and years out…
That of my birth, my in between and that of my death…
all seen and long known by One and only One…
Yet “sin excepted”
The sin is mine, not His.
And yet His is still the knowledge…knowledge of even the sin…
Those known and unknown sins, those seen and those unseen sins…
those past, those present and those sins yet to be.
Even our very sins are known.
The actions and reactions…all known.
All seen by the one Omnipotent Creator.
Yet whereas everything is precisely ordained…the sin is not.
However He knows even of our poorer choices…the good and yes, even the bad
long before we choose. Long before we even have the choice.
He knows of those reactions…be they good or be they bad…long before
we even think to act or react.
And even in that most difficult notion of our fallen nature, I find peace.
Peace that He sees what was and that which is just as He knows what will be…
even when we ourselves have neither knowledge nor clue of what we will do
in the next 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 years…
We think we know.
We think we have an inkling of our own comings and goings..
and yet truly, we do not.
But what I do know, and I know with all certainty, is that God will continue
to bring good from bad….inspite of me and that of which I know and do not know.
And it is in that one fact that I find much rest and assurance.
“O my God, you and you alone are all wise and all knowing!
You know, you have determined everything that will happen to us from first to last.
You have ordered things in the wisest way,
and you know what will be my lot year by year until I die.
You know how long I have to live.
You know how I shall die.
You have precisely ordained everything, sin excepted.
Every event of my life is the best for me that it could be,
for it comes from you.
You bring me on year by year, by your wonderful Providence,
from youth to age, with the most perfect wisdom,
and with the most perfect love.”
St. John Henry Cardinal Newman, p. 103
The problem with racism as the new thought-crime is that it’s not really about race,
or skin colour, it’s about power using colour.
When I look at someone, I see character not colour.
Dr. Gavin Ashenden
A page from Moses Harris’s The Natural System of Colors. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
As a high school art teacher, I always taught a color theory unit to my Art I classes
before letting everyone jump right into using color…be it colored pencils, pastels, paints, etc.
Color was much more complicated than just grabbing some paint and a brush…
and my anxious charges needed to understand such.
We would explore the whole physiology of how our eyes and brain see color and perceive color.
We talked about prisms, refraction and the bending of light.
We would talk about what it meant to be color blind…as several of my students were color
blind and how’d we’d work with that.
We even had blind students come to talk to those of us who could see about
how they actually perceived color.
We studied Joseph Albers, the father of color theory.
We talked about warm /hot colors, cool/cold colors, monochromatic colors,
Even beginning with the simple word, chroma.
We studied the effects that color played in our psychological wellbeing and
how colors could actually affect our emotions.
And so yes, color is much more nuanced than simply consisting of primary and secondary colors.
I would place three cups of clear water on a desk.
Next, I would use food coloring and drop in enough drops to have a solid red cup
of water, a solid blue cup of water, and a solid yellow cup of water—our primary colors.
I would then put three empty cups on the table.
I would pour equal proportions of yellow and red into a cup to make orange,
blue and red to make purple, then blue, and yellow to make green–our secondary colors
I’d next pull out a new empty cup and pour a bit of each of the second set of colored water cups
into the last empty cup—coming up with a muddy brown yucky color what is known
Something that happens when a bunch of colors are blended into one.
I’d explain that sometimes when we’d paint and mess up a color we were going for,
we would unintentionally make things worse when we kept trying to add more and more
different colors thinking we could ‘fix it’…less is more I would implore…
And so when I was reading Dr. Gavin Ashenden’s latest post, Resisting Group Think,
this whole business of color theory came racing back to my thoughts.
Our dear friend from across the pond is just about as baffled as I am
with the new intense obsession, our culture is now having with color.
But rather than paint, our culture is obsessed with skin…
and the color of that skin.
And that obsession with skin color has a dubious name…Racism.
Dr. Ashenden notes that…“racism morphed.
It moved from doing something to thinking something, and then much much worse,
it became someone thinking you thought something.
This summer everyone is guilty, if the new anti-racist posters are true:
“silence is violence.”
But I have three reasons for not believing in racism as people now accuse one another.
It’s not easy to tell what race someone is; there is a sliding scale of skin colour;
and there is a better, healthier way of describing why some people don’t like some other people.
The races are mixed for most of us. Last year I was bought a DNA kit for a birthday present.
It turns out I am roughly 30% Anglo-Saxon’ 30% Celt; and 20% Jewish
(with a bit of Russian thrown in -!) God forbid one racial bit of me should ever fall out
with one of the other bits. Does the Celt in me deserve reparations from my Anglo-Saxon
Don’t even start with the Jewish persecution stuff, the massacre in York in 1190,
the mass expulsion in 1290 by Edward 1st. Luther? Hitler?
And I’m white. But I have never thought of myself as white. This skin tone stuff is
equally confusing and on a sliding scale of pigment.
Megan Markle looks white to me. My more remote Aryan ancestors came from India.
When I look at someone, I see character not colour.
The problem with racism as the new thought-crime is that it’s not really about race,
or skin colour, it’s about power using colour.
It’s the imposing of the American cultural crisis on the rest of the world,
which has different cultural issues. It seems to be about transferring power
from ‘white’ (whatever that is) to black (whatever that is).
The worst thing about the new racism is that it uses a prism through which everything
and everyone are assessed through the lens of power.
This new language of power-relations replaces one moral world with another.
It changes our worth from what we do, and replaces it with what group we belong to.
We face a crossroads in morals and culture, and the new racism is
the tool used to shift the direction.
We are losing a simple and direct morality which invited you to love your neighbour
as yourself, and held you accountable if you failed or refused; we are replacing it
with thought-crime, collective guilt, censorship and the re-writing of history.
And so we see that today’s culture indeed uses a prism in which to see…
but rather than bending light waves to see color…this prism bends peoples perceptions
to that of power and control.
I’m beginning to wonder if being color blind might not be the way we need to proceed…
yet we know that we have tied so much baggage to our ideas of societal color that we will
never be able to offload such a burden that we have created.
Unfortunately, I will never look at a color wheel the same, ever again.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number,
from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,
standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes,
with palm branches in their hands,
“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought,
but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
“Life can only be understood backwards;
but it must be lived forwards.”
Are you old enough to remember the 1968 number 1 billboard hit song
“In the year 2525”?
I hated it then and I think I hate it even more now.
It was a futuristic sort of song…dismal and depressing.
A song that told the tale of the world as we know it growing more and more separate
from that of mankind…to the point that mankind is basically eliminated.
As in no longer necessary.
It was a song that became a number one hit on both sides of the pond but it was
a one-hit-wonder for its artists.
It was a song written by a pop-rock duo of Denny Zager and Rick Evans.
According to Wikipedia the basic gist of the song is: “In the Year 2525” opens with an introductory verse explaining that if mankind
has survived to that point, he would witness the subsequent events in the song.
Subsequent verses pick up the story at 1,010-year intervals from 3535 to 6565.
In each succeeding millennium, life becomes increasingly sedentary and automated:
thoughts are pre-programmed into pills for people to consume,
machines take over all work, resulting in eyes, teeth, and limbs losing their purposes,
and marriage becomes obsolete since children are conceived in test tubes.
Then the pattern as well as the music changes, going up a half step in the key of the song
(chromatic modulation), after two stanzas, first from A-flat minor, to A minor.
For the final three millennia, now in B flat minor, the tone of the song turns apocalyptic:
the year 7510 marks the date by which the Second Coming will have happened,
and the Last Judgment occurs one millennium later.
By 9595, with the song now in B minor, the Earth becomes completely depleted of resources,
potentially resulting in the death of all life.
The song ends in the year 10,000.
By that time, man has become extinct.
But the song notes that in another solar system (or universe),
the scenarios told in the song may still be playing out,
as the beginning of the song repeats and the recording fades out.
The overriding theme, of a world doomed by its passive acquiescence to and overdependence
on its own overdone technologies, struck a resonant chord in millions of people around
the world in the late 1960s.
The song was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart during the Apollo 11 moon landing.
As a near 10-year-old in 1968, the song, although playing on all the radios,
had an ominous and monotone feel that actually frightened me.
How such a depressing song could rise to the top of the music charts was beyond my
comprehension…but then again, it was 1968 and 1969 and life in the US, as well as
most of the world, was quite precarious.
We had the Vietnam War, a civil rights movement, a summer of love, hippies,
an angry women’s lib movement, free love, free sex, the pill, burning bras,
a moon landing along with all sorts of protests left and right.
So wouldn’t you know it…out of the blue, those stupid lyrics popped into my head
I suppose it’s because I’m feeling some hidden residual 1968 angst stemming from
a futuristic song titled ‘in the year 2525’ all coming into focus in the year 2020.
Maybe it’s some odd form of PTSD percolating to the surface from being a preteen
during the tumultuous late ’60s.
2020 seems to be pulling upon those hidden memories
and thus far, it certainly isn’t proving to be the greatest of years.
I have made a mental note of how many conversations I’ve had over the past month–
be it with friends, folks at the grocery store, the post office, the dry cleaners,
family members, the doctor’s office, blog friends, etc—conversations that have each
concluded with folks lamenting aloud that we are living in our final days.
As in…this must be the end of time and are we currently in the thick of it…
Yet I know what Scripture tells us…we will not know the day nor time..
like a thief in the night…He will come…unannounced.
In 2015, I went to Ireland–it was to be the last adventure with my aunt—a sad
truth that at the time, neither of us could have seen or known.
The trip which was just another in a list of adventures actually became more
of a pilgrimage.
God spoke very clearly to me during that tirp.
I’ve written about that before.
It just so happened that during that trip,
I became aware of an obscure 12th-century Irish archbishop and later saint,
I love a good historical mystery—don’t you?
It seems that St. Malachy was a bit of a prophet regarding the seat of Peter.
According to Irish Central, In 1139, then Archbishop Malachy went to Rome from Ireland
to give an account of his affairs.
While there he received a strange vision about the future that included the name of every pope,
112 in all from his time, who would rule until the end of time.
We are now at the last prophecy.
The prediction in full is: “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there
will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations,
after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will
judge the people.
During the trip, while in County Donegal, the original home to my aunt’s grandparents,
I had wandered into a small shop where an obscure little book caught my attention.
Prophecies of St Malachy & Columbkille
I already knew a great deal about St Columba (Columbkille) who hailed from
County Donegal and spent his life evangelizing the pagan Celtic lands of both
Ireland and Scotland, but Malachy was new to me.
Intrigued, I bought the book.
And so I ask you…
Is the global Church not under dire persecution?
Has the seat of Peter not been hated through the ages by
both Believer and nonbeliever?
Are Malachy’s words mere coincidence?
I don’t know.
Only time will tell.
So recently, at a low moment following the fresh riots in Atlanta and months of pandemic lockdown,
I sent an almost desperate email to a dear friend in Ireland.
This friend is a fierce Believer who I know hears very clearly the spoken word of God–
something I myself often struggle to hear.
I asked him what might God be telling us during these such trying times.
He waited quite some time before sending a response as he wanted
to hear clearly a true answer to my question.
His response was a balm to my soul…
I don’t think he’ll mind me sharing a portion of his reply…
“God is in control.
We are down to the bare bones.
Your faith is being tested.
God says I AM THAT I AM—this has been known since before time–
since before you were born.
While God did not create the situation, He is control of it.
I know that’s hard to believe when you are in the thick of it but you need to think back
on all the times you personally have known [that] God has moved in your life.
This is it Julie it is your maker and He wants you to tune out of this world
and focus on Him.
Not an easy thing to do but He is there amid all the chaos and lies and anger
God sent his only son for you and me and all who would believe.
His love knows no bounds.
He is in control for you and your family– for me and my family– He will not let you down.
I know He has not failed me, even though I fail constantly.’
Keep the faith.
Know that God, Jesus the Holy Spirit are always with you and your family…”
So yes, these are depressing and frightening times…much like that stupid song.
And yes, the Chruch is in turmoil…as well as conveniently shuttered when
her flock needs her most…
Are we truly in the end times…?
I can’t say.
It feels like it but then again, previous generations have felt much the same
as we feel now.
But in the end, one truth remains…God is still God and I am not.
“Do your little bit of good where you are;
it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
Bishop Desmond Tutu
(small hands reach out to oneanother /Julie Cook / 2020)
In a world gone mad…
writhing in the throes of the pain, anger, and hate…
I want kindness.
I want kindness over the mob’s desire for retribution.
I want kindness over the mob’s desire for retaliation.
I want kindness over the mob’s desire for contrition.
I want kindness over the mob’s desire for revenge.
I want kindness over the mob’s demands for lawlessness.
I want kindness over the mob’s desire for destruction.
I want life and not the taking of life.
Kindness is the first step to healing.
Kindness is the first step toward change.
Kindness is not weak.
Kindness is not passive.
Kindness requires courage.
Kindness requires action.
Kindness is not reactive.
Kindness is proactive.
Kindness takes more effort than anger or hate—
Anger and hate are reactionary…kindness is control and thought-filled.
Kindness is the path less traveled
but it is the only path that will lead to both healing and eventual resolution.
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return,
and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High,
for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
“It is very strange that the years teach us patience –
that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.”
Elizabeth Taylor (née Coles)
(full moon / 2018 / Julie Cook)
Sorrowful at dusk, I wandered outside to mindlessly water the plants.
The sun had set and the moon was rising in the evening sky.
There was a quiet to this little world of mine.
A stark contrast to those teeming cities across this reeling nation caught in turmoil.
It was not yet night but rater twilight…and the rising moon caught my eye…
It wasn’t yet a full moon, but the light cast was illuminated through a humid and hazy sky–
casting an ethereal thin glowing shimmer…all veiled through a typical southern night sky.
I looked up, and despite not yet being a full moon, I suddenly felt very small.
Overwhelmed by a seemingly small glowing skewed orb in a steamy southern night’s sky,
oddly, I found a peace in the sense of being small.
I suddenly yearned to be small…
I relished in feeling minute.
For to be small meant that I was not the center of this, or better yet,
I was not, am not, the proverbial center of the universe or even my universe.
And maybe that is really my hope…my hope, my wish, my prayer…
that my fellow countrymen would and could see that they too should yearn to be small.
That the terrorists, the rioters, the looters, the arsonists, the criminals could see
that they are not as big as they imagine nor as grand as their egos dictate.
And so I say to one and all, yearn to be small.
Egos, our egos, are not small.
They vie for power and control.
They vie to be front and center.
An ego is much like a black hole in that it gobbles up everything in its path.
It feeds upon everything and everyone that happens within its sights.
Death, the loss of life, the destruction of property are all of little consequence–
as the ego fails to acknowledge the reality.
The ego lies.
He is the father of all lies.
The ego is too self-absorbed to see anything other than itself or of its wants and needs.
The ego yearns to be fed.
It must be fed in order to survive and thrive.
Our lives are being consumed by egos.
And they don’t care who stands in the way.
We can either succumb to the lies of an ego, or we can be bold while
daring to be small.
May we yearn, nay dare, to be small.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;
believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms.
If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and will take you to myself,
that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
“Pan again!” said Dr. Bull irritably.
“You seem to think Pan is everything.”
“So he is,” said the Professor, “in Greek.
He means everything.”
“Don’t forget,” said the Secretary, looking down,
“that he also means Panic.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare
Bears and Bulls.
If you’re not hiding under a rock, of which I suspect many of us just might be doing during
these precarious days…but if you’re not under a rock, then you have most certainly heard
the dire alarm bells sounding…
Our stock market, the global markets, has/have all taken a downward turn.
Make that more like a free for all free fall…
Thank you very much Covid-19.
Wall Street has heard of your unrelenting spreading nature and turned
itself into a bear market practically overnight.
A bear market is not what we want.
A bear market drops like a rock.
A bull market, on the other hand, is good for our investments, our 401K’s,
our retirement savings…
According to thebalance.com, the average length of a bear market is 367 days.
Conventional wisdom says it usually lasts 18 months.
Between 1900 and 2008, bear markets occurred 32 times with an average duration of 367 days.
They happened once every three years.
Yet as my dad would always say…the market has to always correct itself…
it’s an ebb and flow sort of rhythm.
Ups and downs will each come and go..having their own day in the sun.
Personally, I like rhythm…
on the other hand, I don’t like getting pushed off a cliff and falling with no parachute.
But this was coming from a man who survived Prohibition, the Depression, a World war,
a Police action as a reservist and that infamous Summer of Love…while trying to shield
He was stoic in the face of panic.
Hence that Greatest Generation…
But then he could also be quite the Eeyore.
So who’s to say…
Amid all the Henny penny, the sky is falling mayhem taking place, there is still
news taking place.
I caught a recent little hissy fit offered by our favorite congressional darling, AOC.
That favorite fab four member—
It seems as if AOC became riled up because people were being just oh so racist and bigoted
for not going to Chinese restaurants due to fears over Covid19, aka coronavirus.
I don’t think we’re any more likely to “catch” the virus by eating Chinese food than we
are if we eat Italian food…
but try telling a panicked populace…try telling them that its ok to eat Chinese,
Italian, Korean, Iranian foods…
Panic does not “do” reason.
AOC doesn’t get the notion of a panicked populace.
She wants to control the populace.
The populace is to bow to her commnad.
That’s what socialists want to do.
She doesn’t get panic.
You can’t control panic.
A politician can’t be God.
Despite their desire.
And if you think a Saint can beat covid19, try telling all the St. Patrick revelers.
Savannah, Georgia—one of our Nation’s largest St. Patrick day celebrations,
has canceled it’s St.Patrick’s Day celebration over the Covid19 pandemic.
The globally scary word of Bubonic Plague…
Get ready to slap the bells around the necks of the infected.
When was a pandemic used a political weapon?
As in NOW.
What better way can a defeated party defeat a booming president that they hate?
So yes, the stock market will plummet, our economy will slow and the panic will rise.
Icelandic volcanoes have come and gone, hampering global travel.
Terrorists have hampered global travel.
Now Covid19 hampers global travel.
This too will pass.
Our sporting events are being canceled.
Our large gatherings and celebrations are being canceled.
Schools are shuttering their doors.
Our normally free and carefree lives are suddenly being impeded…
Americans don’t like being impeded.
We are a nation of coming and going as we please.
Yet reality is what it is…
The real question is…will Americans come together as one Nation or will
she remain as a divided dual nation?
In the meantime, I’m finding that the consuming of bitters is both medicinal as well
as most applicable…for these are indeed bitter days…
despite the fact these bitters come from Italy…
(the Drink Shop)
Oh, and will the last person to leave to wherever it is we are either leaving or going…be that
a mandated or self-imposed quarantine, please turn out the lights….
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
“Today one may pluck out one’s very heart and not find it.”
― Franz Kafka
(the first of the season / Julie Cook / 2017)
Simplistic seasonal changes give way to the reaping of small harvests…
As the western world reels from another chaotic and senseless attack.
Caustic comedians are wallowing in sanctimonious apologies
while casting wide nets of blame blanketing the very ones they mock.
As a fallen candidate joins the fray with the same empty mantra…
“Not my fault….”
Madness and hatred are the offerings on tap
while unsuspecting berries ripen on the bush
There’s an old nemesis who seems to be enjoying renewed friction
while the media and press proclaim the sky is falling.
As the dividing line between right and left becomes impossible to bridge.
There’s something comforting in the mindless gathering of ripening fruit
Something seemingly mundane yet blessedly sane…
as the world spins wildly out of control….
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.
“Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for
the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience,
so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ
may be ashamed of their slander.
For it is better, if it is God’s will,
to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
1 Peter 3:13-17
The measure of a life,
is not its duration,
but its donation.
Corrie Ten Boom
(everything is so early this year—blooming cherry trees and the visiting honey bees/
Julie Cook / 2017)
We are a measuring people…
we just seem to love to measure…
It’s as if we’ve been measuring ever since the dawn of Creation.
We measure everything….
Just as we measure…
We measure both life and death…as well as the distance separating the two.
This whole concept of numbers, benchmarks, averages and time seems to be of the
utmost importance to us.
Measuring allows us the satisfaction of knowing if we’ve actually been successful,
having accomplished a certain task, goal or desire.
It also gives us some sense, some idea, as to how far we still need to go in order to
reach a set goal, desire or postion.
Measuring and its results makes us feel in control.
And it is certainly paramount when considering such endeavors such as construction,
tailoring, manufacturing, producing, building, mending…
It is in such that both precision and measurement walk hand in hand.
Meaning… we can’t have one without the other.
Anything other then precise leads to skewed, crooked, awkward, flawed
as well as imperfection…
as we’ve learned to equate measurement with both precision and perfection…
as well as with safety.
Yet no matter how precise we try to be, no matter how perfect, how accurate…
we continue making mistakes.
And our mistakes can have catastrophic results…
leaving us not in the place we prefer…
that of being knowledgable and in control…
we find ourselves as helpless victims of our own failures and errors.
Wishing to hide, lest anyone know it was upon our mistake of flawed measuring
which resulted in disaster….
Yet we simply, and often flippantly, chalk that up to human nature…
for we are indeed an imperfect lot…
despite our best attempts to measure…along with precision, perfection,
accuracy and control…
we misread, mismeasure and miscalculate…
Yet in our busyness of measuring, we have become accustomed to measuring
not only the abstract…
but we are very comfortable measuring ourselves…
We measure our self worth and our sense of well being…
With our benchmark being anything and everyone other than ourselves…
We constantly gauge our level of satisfaction by how others measure up to us and
how we measure up to others…
Are we happier than…
Are we more successful than…
Are we better off than…
Are we more financially secure than…
Are we healthier than…
Are we prettier than…
Are we thinner than…
Are we younger looking than…
Are we more comfortable than…
Are we further along than…
Are we more popular than…
Our question must therefore remain…what is it that we measure?
And what shall we be measured by…
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,
but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,
in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
‘You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or capacity.
‘You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin;
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt.
(ephah: a Hebrew dry measurement / hin: a Hebrew liquid measurement)
“The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards
the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself hath ordained.”
President George Washington
April 30, 1789
First Inaugural Address
When we are no longer able to change a situation,
we are challenged to change ourselves.
(painting by Rembrandt Peale 1830)
As human beings,
we are conditioned to understand that…
to live is to change.
We have discovered most often through the angst of struggle,
that if change is inevitable,
then may we be the masters of such change…
May we control it,
and stop it…
as only we see fit…
For we have both resisted as well as orchestrated change.
Yet in the arrogance of control,
we have seen, time and time again,
that the stonewall to change,
the one thing America cannot, nor can ever force change upon,
is the Creator of all that is.
So in her growing egotistical frustration, this nation
has chosen to forgo the need for a Creator…
vying, rather, to be her own creator…
And the actions of her folly will be her undoing….
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face,
and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin
and heal their land
2 Chronicles 7:14
“The recovery of moral control and the return of spiritual order have
now become the indispensable conditions of human survival.
Christianity is the soul of Western civilization…
When the soul is gone, the body putrefies”
1947 Gifford Lectures at Edinburgh University
(coneflowers / Julie Cook / 2016)
two words that appear to send shivers up and down the spines of most 21st century individuals.
Moral seems to be a word that is out of step and out of time…
It is a word most modern day individuals don’t like to talk about or be reminded of…
as our culture embraces anything and everything other than moral.
Moral is equated with old school, back in the day, a puritanical society, buzz kills,
oh so passé, so not 21st century, limiting, no longer applicable, and simply put…
absolutely no fun.
Control is also a word our society seems to have a difficult time wrapping its mind and action around.
As control is just so…well, controlling.
And who in this modern world of our wants to be controlled??
No one, that’s who…
As to be controlled has all sorts of negative connotations…
And Lord knows, every sort of special interest group out there has spent its lifetime breaking out of anything to do with control or being controlled.
In 2012, Os Guinness identified a present-day mind-set that springs from what he called “a soft though decadent nihilism that devours tradition, destroys social cohesion, cheapens cultural standards, hollows moral convictions and in the years to come will produce its own dark harvest of social consequences.”
(except from God and Churchill / Jonathan Sandys & Wallace Henley /
Os Guinness, A Free People’s Suicide )
Turn on any television, watch any recent movie, listen to any current music, read any of the latest magazines, share in the caustic tweets of the latest rants and rages…
and it is becomes crystal clear that our society has allowed, and is currently allowing…
dare we say, encourages the decline if not the death, of any and all moral control.
For it seems as if our society is suffering from a terrible case of a strange ailment …
And it should be noted that we have actually been quite sickly with this curious malady for quite sometime…
and if the truth be truly told, this illness of ours may actually be near fatal…
a cultural isolationism,
to name but a few of our more obvious ills of isms…
We have embraced these ism illnesses of ours with a frightening zeal,
relishing and basking in each and every last ailment…all before eagerly setting
our sights on new and more alluring decadently and oddly satiating ills…
In order to reverse this current obsession of the illnesses that plague us…
In order to reign in the current wild ride on the guaranteed collision course
with our own demise…
It would behoove all of us to reconsider two small words…
The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber,
because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.
So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness,
not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ,
and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.