seeds of disconnect

Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering
end up disconnecting our suffering from God’s suffering for us.
The way out of our loss and hurt is in and through.

Henri Nouwen


(seeds emerge from the head of a sunflower / Julie Cook / 2021)

So an odd thing happened last week here in my little corner of bogland…
I had written two posts tipping a hat towards the Texas abortion law.

So before we press on…here is a little personal disclosure.

I am adopted—in turn, I am not a fan of abortion.
Plain and simple.

For you see, I was a afforded life and not a death sentence.
I may not have been “planned on” nor wanted…
however I was offered a chance
with someone else who did want me.

Therefore I believe in life and not death.

So you can fuss and cuss with me all day long, I’m not budging.
Life begins at conception…the current prolife laws are stating
that life begins at the detection of a heartbeat…hence the title
of many of these laws—the heartbeat bill—if there’s a heartbeat,
there is in turn life..
If you abort that heartbeat, you are killing a life.

Pretty straight forward.

Oh yeah, I’m also a Christian…I believe God is the Creator of all life.

So there you go…now let’s get on with this tale.

So it was from my second post–the one regarding abortion,
Texas, liberties and ideologies— a post mind you,
that was really just an excerpt from a book
by professor, theologian and author, Peter Kreeft—
How To Destroy Western Civilization And Other Ideas From The Cultural Abyss
when the trouble began.

The title of my post was “The elephant named “sex” sitting in the living room”
Kreeft was writing about religious liberty being attacked in the
name of sexual liberty and since I totally concurred,
I opted to simply copy two pages of his book as my post.

So 47 comments were generated from that post.

Some of those were obviously my responses to those offering their 2 cents.
Some cents are good cents…some cents made no sense.

So there was this gal who is known as House of Hearts who commented
and commented—with much disdain I might add—
Here we go—

House of Hearts:
“What’s happened in Tx is a travesty, the Supreme Court has
failed in its responsibility.
It’s time to add additional judges to SCOTUS and stop the filibuster.
Placing a bounty ($10,000) on your neighbors heads is fascist and unconstitutional.
Women are not the only one’s who will suffer.

My response:
I respect your thoughts–I wonder however,
if SCOTUS had rendered a decision that was more inline with your
thoughts on this issue, I doubt you would be demanding to
“pack the bench” —and as for filibusters, they are indeed a bit
of an oddity within our legislative branch.

And so here it comes…

HoH:
It’s time to take action against the ruthless far right.
Are you one the “no mandates, my body my choice”
but when it’s someone else’s body it is also your choice?
Indeed we must stand up against the corruption of
Trumpism that has infiltrated the highest court of the land.

Me:
I’ve had both vaccines—plus Covid despite doing everything I was told—
I’m not going to demand that someone else get the shot if they don’t feel
it’s best for their life’s circumstance—
I am not an anti vaccine person as I and my child had every vaccine
one is to get —however that being said,
no one knows what the long term effects might be of these shots
as the issue of fertility for younger girls who get
the shot is an a huge question .
I think Trump did very good things for the economy and did put US interests first.
I think Biden is a very weak man and totally handled the
pulling out of Afghanistan terribly wrong—
his poor planning cost the lives of 13 servicemen and women
and he simply left 90 billion dollars of taxpayer
funded military equipment behind for all
US enemies to have at their disposal…
there are correct exists and wrong exits—
he opted for the wrong one—
And as a person who was adopted as well as a
Christian who knows that I am the created and not the Creator ,
abortion is not something I can ever support—
I do equate it to murder of the unborn.
I respect your opinions and that you disagree —
I hope you will respect mine.

HoH:
I don’t correspond with Trumpers.

Wait, when did I say I was a Trumper???
And what does Trump have to do with my post???

Me:
That is unfortunate as you may miss an opportunity to share ideas

HoH:
I can tell you are completely brainwashed and a hopeless case.

Me:
I think when I accepted Christ around the age of 10,
it’s been a roller coaster, but I’ve never been the same—
brainwashed, no— servant of Christ yes—
it does not mean I agree with everything about Trump in the least bit—
but I believe in Our Nation’s republic and our constitution—
a democratic freedom— that has come at a great cost to many
who have defended it for over 200 years— I call that patriotism

HoH:
Trump is not now nor ever has been a patriot.
He has nearly destroyed our country ,
has no respect for the Constitution nor does his constituents.
He is a criminal , he is using misguided people like you.
I have nothing more to say to you.

Me:
Again, I appreciate your opinion— at 62, college educated,
31 year veteran educator and life lived with the school of hard knocks—
I wouldn’t call that misguided, more like wizened knowledge

HoH:
Masters degree in nursing. Common sense and quick to detect
the brainwashed

Me:
Also I never said I was a Trumper but that he did a marvelous
with the economy and I like that he put US interests first

HoH:
He’s a fascist,a bully, a misogynist ,
a fool who think he can “grab ‘em by the …..”.
I don’t get how a “Christian” can stand the sight of him.

Me:
Can’t say I agree with the false name calling

HoH:
Haha! You are a Trumper. Come on now, spill it.

Spill what I’m thinking…??!!

Me:
I wonder how Trump got into my post regarding sex and abortion

HoH:
Before I tell you what’s going on with you and that you are not the
solution but the problem I’ll end this discussion now.

Me:
Thank you for being a nurse

HoH:
Speaking for medical personnel we are fed up with religious nuts,
deniers of science, listening to Fox and filling hospitals to overflowing.
Even compassion has its limits when heart attack victims are being
sent away for lack of ICU beds.

Me:
I can only imagine —
hence my having been vaccinated back in March

Then blessedly came the voice of reason from Citizen Tom
The calvary so to speak:

@House of Heart

The debate over abortion is neither simple nor straightforward. Is about a woman’s control over her body? No. Whatever an unborn child may be, that child’s body is its own, not it’s mother’s. The issue is whether an unborn child has rights and is entitled to the protection of the state.

Instead of addressing those issues,
you have engaged in hysterical name calling.
You shamed yourself with such behavior.

HoH:
Citizen Tom, watch your mouth.
You have shamed yourself.
If you think it’s ok for the state of Tx to put a bounty on a woman’s
head you should join the Taliban. The sorry thing is
The GOP’s concern for the unborn ends at its birth.
They are the first to withhold social programs for the needy,
medical care for mom and baby. Shame on you.
Your body your choice, woman’s body your choice.
You’ve sickened me.

Whoa, really??? “watch your mouth”, “you sicken me”
what kind of person tosses civil discourse out the window and immediately
jumps to the mud?????

Me:
Shame on you for your anger and disdain…
As well as for your tightly closed heart

Citizen Tom:
@House of Heart

More name calling. Instead of debating, you are trying to justify your irrational rage with lies. No one put a bounty on “a woman’s head” as you put it. Look at who can be sued and why.

It is calling abortion wrong you resent. You are in a rage that anyone would call abortion murder. So, you make up stuff to justify yourself.

HoH:
This blog is in spam now.

Huh…seem’s my little blog just fell in a rubbish pile, who knew?
Her words of “action” actually got me tickled.
I thought I heard the stomping of a defiant angry little foot..

Citizen Tom:
@House of Heart

You remind me a child who takes her ball and runs home because
her playmates won’t let her win.

Then our wise friend Oneta added:
You are sooo right.
The un-Godly always want to be sanctioned by the Godly.
Somehow that eases the conscience. Everybody is doing it.
God wouldn’t send Mother Teresa to hell so let’s force Mother Teresa
to validate us. Fine example: The issue of have a third restroom
for transgenders.
No.
That might cause them some offence.
Great post, Julie.

And then Oneta brought it home…

I see House of Heart responded to you six times after she said
she doesn’t correspond with Trumpers.
Funny!!
This is your blog; doesn’t she know it is a sign of being a good hostess
for you to respond to all comments.
People who accuse those of us who believe in adoption instead of
abortion should check some stats.
See who takes care of the living babies who are not wanted.
I know you are deeply troubled by her sending you to spam.

Now that you’ve weeded through a rambling conversation between several folks
all before one of them decided to take all their marbles home,
storming off in the midsts of a temper tantrum…
I wonder when did this younger generation, these lovely millennials and
the younger generations of whatever letter or moniker we’re currently on,
missed out of what it means to be able to have civil discourse with another
human being?

How and when did they miss out on the art of agreeing to disagree??

When did name calling become the go-to when faced with issues that produce
frustration or challenge?
Instead of working through the challenges, doing our homework and
due diligence when it comes to issues of debate, we’ve simply allowed
ourselves to become debased in our use of knowledge–we have
regressed to more animalistic reactionary antics then to
using our brains.

Plus, we have moved into a post Christian society.
God has been relegated to the annals of overinflated human hubris

History seems to suggest that humans have always looked for someone
to blame for the current ills du jour.
For much of history, those who were blamed were the Chosen of God, the Jews.
Now we throw in their Western Civilization kin, the members of Christendom.
The children of The Book…

The godless blame the Godly—and even worse, some who claim Godliness,
have turned on their own.

Today’s sacrificial lambs now abound in the realm of an ideological world war.
Socialism, wokeness, self inflation, atheism, cancel culture…
each vie for prominence while the Christians and the Jews,
those pillars of Western Civilization, are deemed expendable.

I don’t think I’m ready to quit the fight to right this
tipping ship.

Keep speaking up oh righteous ones of the One True God…

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.
On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring
and tossing of the sea.
People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world,
for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with
power and great glory.
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads,
because your redemption is drawing near.”

Luke 31:25-28
.

old made new

The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become –
because He made us.
He invented us.
He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be…
It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality,
that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”

C.S. Lewis


(a green chameleon perches amongst the shrubs / Julie Cook / 2021)

At our previous home, we always had a small menagerie of critters that
called our home and yard, their home and yard…

This new house is no different–it’s just that some of the residents are,
well, different.

A post regarding these new residents will be a post for another day….
for today’s thoughts come from my having spotted a chameleon who was
in the process of literally losing his or her skin—
sloughing off the old for the new.


(a chameleon shedding / Julie Cook / 2021)

Maybe I knew this little fact about lizards shedding…
maybe I’d forgotten…
I certainly knew it about snakes and cicadas shedding…
but I’d never given much thoughts about lizards doing the same.

We have a group of skinks and chameleons who call our back patio theirs.
As in they were here before us.

The chameleons gravitate from green to brown depending on their
whims…or more aptly…depending on where they opt to traverse or
spend their time.. be it on the furniture or in the bushes.

Amazing how God gave such creatures the gift of change depending
upon their circumstance.

So imagine my surprise, or more aptly my shock, when I went to sit down
on a chair situated on the patio, and suddenly spied two chameleons chasing
one another on the chair…with one of the two looking pretty rough.
As in a bad hair, or make that skin, day,

Upon closer inspection, I realized the smaller of the two lizards was
shedding its winter coat, readying itself for a glorious spring and summer.
As well as hoping to look its best in order to snag a would be mate.

I think we humans feel much the same following our winter
hibernations…especially this year…
This past year having been a full length marathon hibernation…
Meaning it’s past time to let go of the old and become fresh and new.

I really like Mr. Lewis’s thoughts offered at the start of this post–
the thought that God invented all the different persons we are to become
throughout our lifetime–both good and bad actually.

I’ve never quite thought of it like that before.

Life without knowing our true nature as a child of God can
leave us quite dull and heavy.
And so as we advance in our relationship with the triune God,
we shed and shed….we shed off our old worn-out selves
as each shedding gives way to a newer creature…
allowing us to become lighter and much more fresh.

The shedding isn’t pretty to watch and is rather uncomfortable
to endure— think itchy and irritating and even perhaps
somewhat embarrassing…but the shedding, as unsightly as it is,
is necessary none the less.

And so during each season of our lives, as we gravitate to and closer
to our oneness with the One who gave Himself up on our behalf—
our God, Creator and Savior has seen us both before and after each of these
sloughing-off of layers.
Always loving us before, during and after we emerge into
our true and intended likeness of God’s original intention
for us, His created…

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live,
but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

God does not judge as man judges…

“The school of Christ is the school of love.
In the last day, when the general examination takes place …
Love will be the whole syllabus.”

St. Robert Bellarmine


(after the rain/ Julie Cook / 2021)


(after the rain / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Set free from human judgment, we should count as true only what God sees
in us, what he knows, and what he judges.
God does not judge as man does.
Man sees only the countenance, only the exterior.
God penetrates to the depths of our hearts.
God does not change as man does.
His judgment is in no way inconstant.
He is the only one upon whom we should rely.
How happy we are then, and how peaceful!
We are no longer dazzled by appearances, or stirred up by opinions;
we are united to the truth and depend upon it alone.
I am praised, blamed, treated with indifference, disdained, ignored,
or forgotten; none of this can touch me.
I will be no less than I am.
Men and women want to play at being a creator.
They want to give me existence in their opinion,
but this existence that they want to give me is nothingness.
It is an illusion, a shadow, an appearance, that is, at bottom, nothingness.
What is this shadow, always following me, behind me, at my side?
Is it me, or something that belongs to me?
No.
Yet does not this shadow seem to move with me?
No matter: it is not me. So it is with the judgements of men:
they would follow me everywhere, paint me, sketch me,
make me move according to their whim, and, in the end, give me some sort of existence…
but I am disabused of this error.
I am content with a hidden life.
How peaceful it is!
Whether I truly live this Christian life of which St. Paul speaks,
I do not know, nor can I know with certainty. But I hope that I do,
and I trust in God’s goodness to help me.”

Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, p. 99-101
An Excerpt From
Meditations for Lent

Does our anxiety separation grow exponentially with age?

“The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out of an inner journey.
The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage.
One can have one without the other. It is best to have both.”

Thomas Merton


(the unhappy traveling Mayor when a loved one leaves the car and she does not / Julie Cook/ 2021)

Recently it’s been hard to ignore, but both the Mayor and Sheriff have developed
a bit of separation anxiety when one of their loved ones gets out of the car
in order to run an errand.

I tend to be the lucky one left behind to sit with the unconsolable two
while their mom or dad runs in to a store.

What started out as a content and happy journey of riding in the car
has slowly morphed into the understanding that a loved one is leaving
while they are being left behind.

And so this latest toddler developmental drama has gotten me thinking.

Our past year, meaning both yours and mine, has been anything but pleasant.
To say it’s been trying is simply putting it mildly.

Anxiety ridden?
Yes.

We’ve been forced to mask up, sanitize until our skin cracks, be vigilant against
an unseen enemy, line up for a questionable shot, forced to become TP hoarders…

We’ve put education on the back burner, we’ve worked and lived in isolation,
we’ve balanced home and work all within the home, we’ve stayed put, stayed apart,
watched helplessly as our government has turned on us, wondered who we are as a nation,
struggled to find new ways to reinvent ourselves, labored to balance our physical
and mental health, locked down life as we knew it, missed out on our favorite activities…
etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

I think the worst has been the separation.
Physically, mentally and emotionally.

It has been thrust upon us… and the jury is still out as to whether it
has been the right choice.
Chances are, when we look back, we will know it was indeed wrong.

Our seniors have been left alone in their Assisted Living facilities…
often falling ill and even dying alone…as family has not been allowed to visit.

Funerals have come and gone without the attendance of the typical respect of attending mourners.

Schools have shuttered their doors, leaving kids to “learn” remotely, alone.

The very nature of our beings, the social creatures that we are, has been stripped from us.

It has just over a year when this madness began.

This virus that has disrupted the globe, originated in Wuhan, China…

I don’t know a single person who has ever blamed the Asian community for any of this…
The CCP, the Communist Chinese Party is who is to blame…not the Asian people.

So for our news media, and even some governmental leadership, to spin that there is
a surge in crimes against Asian Americans carried out by white suprematists…
what we know as those majority of Trump voters who are simply white conservatives,
is blatantly egregious and a glaring lie.

A disturbed man in Atlanta went on a killing spree this past week, killing 8 people,
near and around Atlanta’s metro area.
His victims were all associated with Asian Spas as either customers or workers.
He claims a sexual addiction made him do such.
Shades of Flip Wilson claiming “the devil made him do it”

And that is what it is…the devil.
The Evil One who reigns supreme.

The young man is an unbalanced “nut job” and not a serial killer of Asian people.
He is not a minion of Donald Trump, contrary to what the news and certain leaders
would have us believe…
all because the former president told us that this current virus is from China.
Of which it is.

Our media and leaders are lying to us by creating ghost scapegoats where no
scapegoats are to be found.

Our journey this year has been hard enough.
If we begin being sucked into believing lies,
the year suddenly becomes heavier and even much more difficult.

Our separation from the Father of all creation is at the root of all our angst.

We have turned our vision from the greater to that of the lesser.
We have turned away from our Creator and turned rather to the mortal man.
Allowing man to become our greater god.
A small god who will always disappoint.

This journey has just become even more miserable…all because of our separation…
Separation from one another but more importantly, the separation from our God.

I think the Mayor and Sheriff are on their way to true knowledge.
When the very one who you put your entire life into their hands leaves you…
it is indeed dire.

Our opting to separate from our God our Father is becoming life ending.

In order to continue this difficult journey…we need God.
And if you find yourself laughing at such a thought or mocking this little proclamation of mine…
you just tell me how you want to keep moving forward if you don’t have Grace to
help you keep going…
Good luck with that.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:6-9

O mortal

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


(a blue heron caught trapsing through the woods on a my husband’s trail cam / 2020)

When I read my ‘daily verse’ Friday morning,
a new verse for each new day that I receive each morning,
I read Friday’s verse, over my phone, early while still rather bleary-eyed.
BAM
it was like being stung by a hornet from out of the blue.
An electric shock ran through my entire being.
I simply put my phone down…staying silent for quite some time, stung by
what I had just read.

O mortal.
What does the Lord require of you?

Talk about a wave of real humility washing over me.
And that’s when it hit me.

We are each, indeed, mere mortals.
And we are here to do the work of The Creator…
not the work of man…

And so when have you heard that on the news..

We are the created, not the Creator.

How do I behave toward my neighbor?
How toward my brothers?
If I except a single one, it is not Jesus Christ I consider in them.
If I love them, it is merely so that I may be liked and considered,
or because their character suits mine. Let us each one see Jesus Christ in his neighbor.

St. Claude de la Colombière
from The Spiritual Direction of Claude de la Colombière

enough people…enough is enough

It is not enough for us to restrain from doing evil,
unless we shall also do good.

St. Jerome


(Kayla Mueller before being kidnapped by ISIS)


(Kayla in ISIS captivity)

In February of 2015, 4 long years ago, I wrote two posts about the abducted American
aid worker Kayla Mueller.

I wrote about her again in 2016 when her ISIS abductors finally killed her.

You can say what you want.

You can say that she was foolish for going into such a volatile area.
You can blame what happened to her on her own choice and actions.
You can blame President Trump…becuase you always blame President Trump.
Because don’t we blame President Trump on all our ills?

But President Trump was not president when Kayla was abducted.

President Trump was not president when ISIS emailed Kayla’s parents demanding a ransom.

President Trump was not president when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi personally tortured
and raped Kayla over and over again.

Put yourself in the shoes of Kayla’s parents, her brother, her grandparents.

What and how would you feel knowing your daughter was being so utterly abused
and your own government was not there for you and you were helpless to stop the days,
the weeks and the months of her cruel abuse?

How could you live as a loving parent?
How could you sleep at night knowing your daughter was in constant harm?
This was your child…your baby girl and you were helpless to rescue her.

How could you go on day in and day out, knowing your beautiful, loving and selfless
daughter/granddaughter/sister was being tortured and repeatedly raped by a man of
pure evil because she was the American aid worker in the lot?
The other kidnapped workers all noted that it was Kayla who took the brunt of the
torture and rape because she was an American and they were not.

And so now you’re saying that I’m simply basing my words on emotion.
I’m playing on emotions…

And you’re right, I am.

Why?

Because it is emotional.

It is emotional because a young woman who went to help take care of displaced children
was, in turn, kidnapped, tortured, raped and killed…all because she was an American.

The man who personally took pleasure in her mutilation and sexual abuse was,
this past weekend, trapped in a tunnel…hemmed in by American troops and so in turn,
did what any coward would do, he blew himself up rather than being captured.

Only a coward tortures a young girl and uses her for his twisted sexual pleasures.
Only a coward blows himself up.

Hitler blew his brains out.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up.

The man who took sadistic pleasure from abusing a young American girl cowardly
blew himself up…just like a man who called for the deaths of countless men, woman, and children
because they were Jews, or Catholics or handicapped, hid in a bunker and blew his brains out.

Evil seems to always self implode when it is cornered.

So Americans should perhaps feel some sense of justification in the news that another
member of evil’s clan is gone.

And yet Congress is up in arms because they didn’t know about the covert military operation.
A ballpark booed a President, chanting “lock him up” …
The Speaker of the House announces that she will call for an impeachment vote this week.

However, in all of this upside-down madness, there are two grieving parents who have thanked
that very same president for finally bringing some sense of justice to the
cruel treatment of their daughter.

No one can bring back their daughter
No one can give back the sense of innocence their daughter once possessed and in turn
lost at the hands of evil.

But at least these two tormented parents now know that someone in the leadership
of their government, our government, remembered their daughter…
someone acknowledged their neverending nightmare and has worked to bring those
responsible to justice.

This is what I wrote back in 2015:
“Kayla had gone to Syria, working with the humanitarian organization Hayata Destek,
Support To Life, in order to help the refugee orphaned children in Syria whose lives
had been displaced and shattered by the ongoing fighting.
Kayla conducted art therapy projects with the kids,
as children can often express themselves in drawings when words cannot be found.
She noted that when the children asked her” where was her world”
–then telling them, they asked why had her people not come to help them…
her response was simply to cry along with and for the children.

This is what I wrote in 2016:

Tuesday night, after having spent much of the day glued to the news and having grieved
along with Kayla’s family, having noted that she was the same age as my son,
having wrestled with the position of the United States in such matters as hostages and war,
I found myself settling in for the evening reading over the Bonhoeffer book that
I have previously mentioned…of my meditating On The Word by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
translated by David McI. Gracie.

The evenings reading was based on Psalm 34:19
A Sermon on the Suffering of the Righteous
It was a meditation that Bonhoeffer had actually written down and mailed to his dear friend
Eberhard Bethge while Bonhoeffer was a prisoner in Tegel Prison near Berlin—the
first of three different prisons before his subsequent execution.
Bonhoeffer had already been held by the Nazi’s for over a year,
his future uncertain. He had just become engaged prior to his arrest,
and with it now being over a year away from those he loved, the confinement was
wearing on his soul.

Once again, as the created and not being the Creator,
there are those events in life that we simply will never truly understand no matter
how hard we try. We can write them off as this or that,
we can grow bitter and cold or simply empty and numb but there are those moments
when we will find ourselves at a loss for words, a loss of understanding.
It will be there, in the midst of the suffering and sorrow, that we will meet God. . .

I want to offer the following excerpt of the meditation as I find its
subject most timely and most enlightening…
(the translator has chosen to mix up the use of the feminine and masculine pronoun)

Psalm 34:19
The righteous person must suffer many things;
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

1 Peter 3:9
Repay not evil with evil or railing with railing,
but rather bless, and know that you are called to this,
so that you should inherit the blessing.

The righteous person suffers in this world in a way that the unrighteous
person does not.
The righteous person suffers because of many things that for others
seem only natural and unavoidable.
The righteous person suffers because of unrighteousness,
because of the senselessness and absurdity of events in the world.
She suffers because of the destruction of the divine order of marriage and the family.
She suffers not only because it means privation for her,
but because she recognizes something ungodly in it.

The world says: that is how it is, always will be, and must be.
The righteous person says: It ought not to be so; it is against God.
This is how one recognizes the righteous person, by her suffering in just this way.
She brings, as it were, the sensorium of God into the world;
hence, she suffers as God suffers in this world.
“But the Lord delivers him.”

God’s deliverance is not to be found in every experience of human suffering.
But in the suffering of the righteous God’s hope is always there,
because he (the righteous person) is suffering with God.
God is always present with him. The righteous person knows that God allows him to suffer so,
in order that he may learn to love God for God’s own sake.
In suffering, the righteous person finds God. That is his deliverance.
Find God in your separation and you will find deliverance!
The answer of the righteous person to the sufferings that the world causes
her is to bless.

That was the answer of God to the world that nailed Christ to the cross: blessing.
God does repay like with like, and neither should the righteous person.
No condemning, no railing, but blessing.

The world would have no hope if this were not so.
The world lives and has its future by means of the blessing of God and of
the righteous person.
Blessing means laying one’s hands upon something and saying:
You belong to God in spite of all. It is in this way that we respond to the world
that causes us such suffering. We do not forsake it, cast it out,
despise or condemn it. Instead, we recall it to God, we give it hope,
we lay our hands upon it and say: God’s blessing come to you;
may God renew you; be blessed, you dear God-created world,
for you belong to your creator and redeemer.
We have received God’s blessing in our happiness and in our suffering.
And whoever has been blessed herself cannot help but pass this blessing on to the next one;
yes, wherever she is, she must be herself a blessing.
The renewal of the world, which seems so impossible,
becomes possible in the blessing of God.
As Jesus ascended to heaven, “he lifted up his hands and blessed” his followers.
We hear him speak to us in this hour: “The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Amen

So enough!

Enough of this stupidy that is tearing our nation apart.
Enough of the ignorance and stupidity.

The problem is not President Trump.

Our trouble goes much deeper than that of a single man.
No single man can cause so much divisiveness.

329 million people, give or take a few, cannot be toppled by one single man.
So there is something else going on.

But you’re too proud, to selfish to see it any other way.

It’s time you get over yourself.
Your paranoia.
Your false accusations.
Your inflammatory reactionary foolishness.

It’s time we get back to being a unified United States…because if we don’t…
it will indeed be too late.

Stop to think about the grieving families who have lost loved ones to terrorism…
But you can’t because you’re too busy complaining and blaming a man who really
wasn’t on the scene when this craziness began.

May our prayers and support remain with families like the Muellers.
And all those who we have buried because of terrorism.
Terrorism that was ramping up long before President Trump was president.

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/song-for-the-innocents/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/innocence-and-sorrow/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/onward-christian-soldier/

honey and locust… or would that be grasshoppers?

“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth;
and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word,
to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God,
men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”

Pope St. John Paul II


(a locust passing by / Julie Cook / 2015)

Sometimes I just think it would be best if I found some hollowed-out tree, ditched
all the trappings of this life and opted to survive off of honey and locust.

Think John the Baptist.

The voice of the one crying out in the wilderness.
The man who lived in the desert eating only honey and locust while preaching about the
repentance of man…

So in my case, maybe we should make those grasshoppers because grasshoppers are more prevalent
in my neck of the woods.
But if the truth be told, I could easily do honey all day long, grasshoppers, however,
are things that I’m just not so certain about.

But this little reflection is not about eating bugs or living in
a hollowed-out tree—
but rather this post is about ridding oneself of all the trappings of a distracting world.

Giving to God all that I am and all that I have…which is simply me and me alone.

Because isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?
What we’re supposed to be about?

So maybe this IS a post about living in a hollowed-out tree, or in a cave or in a hut
or in the desert…

It’s about giving all and crying out.

It’s much like having a St. Francis moment.

Stripping down naked in the town square, tossing off all the fine clothing given
by one’s well to do parent and opting instead to offer the only thing one truly has that
is his or her own…that being one’s unclad naked self.


(St. Francis’ renunciation of worldly things / Giotto /1295 /Bascillica of San Francesco Assisi, Italy)

Yet Life gets complicated.

Our culture and society have both grown caustically complicated.

We can get so caught up in the minutia of living.
We tend to worry about things that are totally trivial in the grand scope of what is
truly worthy of concern…

We fret over silly little things like matching appliances, buying name brand purses, shoes, and cars.
We want a house in that oh so special neighborhood while putting our kids in the best of the best schools…
We live on our phones, on Facebook, on twitter on Instagram…
We have become the masters of making nothingness into life-altering concerns and thoughts.

The proverbial mountain verses the molehill.

Throw in the daily constant fixation with our toxic political sludge…
and well, we are all living a life of perpetual distraction— and if the truth be told,
it is a life of heaviness and negativity.

What then do we have left to give God?
What remains?

Maybe having a St. Francis moment is in order for us all.
Throwing off the trappings of this world and giving to God what it is at the heart of the matter—
that being ourselves and ourselves alone…
ourselves with nothing covering us or allowing us to hide behind…no distractions.

Just us.

Just us making Him our focus..the focus of what truly only matters.
Because in the end…nothing else in this world does matter…
Everything and everyone will eventually die and or pass away.

So only Him and us…

Creator and created…

“We live in a fallen world.
We must, therefore, work out our destiny under the conditions created by sin.
Did we but realize this truth, we would accept each of life’s trying changes in the same spirit
in which we accept the penance from the confessor.
Were we truly convinced that our hope of pardon, and consequently our salvation,
depends upon repentance, we would willingly undergo all the sufferings of life’s warfare.”

John A. Kane, p. 81
An Excerpt From
How to Make a Good Confession

the rocks will cry out

“In order for the inner man to be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit,
the children of God must discharge their responsibility.
They need to yield specifically to the Lord, forsake every doubtful aspect in their life,
be willing to obey fully God’s will, and believe through prayer that
He will flood their spirit with His power.”

Watchman Nee


(Anchorage Daily News image of the latest damge from this past week’s earhtquake)

Remember yesterday how I shared that Twitter was attempting to ban both
The Anglican Bishop, Gavin Ashenden
(well, they already did try with Gavin but I believe he’s been “reinstated”)
as well as the Scottish pastor David Robertson…??

And remember how I offered not only the link to David’s open letter to Twitter but I
shared this quote…part of David’s ending response in his letter…??

“Meanwhile I will continue to use your platform to undermine your hateful
and irrational ideology.
And I will do it by using logic and love – the love of the Logos.
We don’t need Twitter (or Facebook, or government or the media) to be able to speak of Christ.
And you will never silence us.
Though you kill us the very rocks would cry out!

And it was that very last line that has stayed with me as I’ve ruminated over those words
since I read it…
“Though you kill us the very rocks would cry out.”

“the very rocks would cry out”…is a nod to the verse in Luke 19:40 when Jesus,
at what we now refer to as Holy Week, was entering into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey
while those around him laid palms at his feet, hailing him as a king…
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Well, the Pharisees rebuked these adulations…
they found such to be ill-fitting even sacrilegious telling Jesus to silence “his” people…
However, it was the response by Jesus that was so telling…
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

I’ve thought a great deal about that line since having read it yesterday…
and of course, I’ve thought about it every time I’ve either read it or heard it.

Imagine that visual image.

Stones, rocks, boulders all crying out…crying out the greatness of the Lord.

Does not our earth already cry out with groanings that are so deep and beyond our understanding?
Cries which surpass our comprehension?

Such as the image above of the Highway in Alaska?

A road buckles, as the earth opens up with audible groans and physical cries.

Does the earth not open up…leaving us like frightened children,
looking for help which is beyond us?

Of course we call such opening up and such “crying out” merely plate tectonics.

Yet do we not, when those plates slide and collide, causing devastation to the surface,
do we not cry out in fear?
Do we not cry out to be delivered from that which we cannot control?

So who are we to say that the rocks are not currently crying out.
That the earth is not yielding to her Creator?

And so as we enter into this new year of the Chruch calendar, with the beginning of Advent,
we are reminded, once again, that all of creation slumbers in darkness awaiting
the light of Salvation…

Perhaps it would behoove us to listen to the earth and her cries…as the earth might be
more aware of the coming of the Redeemer than we are ourselves.

You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens,
and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it,
the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything,
and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

Nehemiah 9:6

Seize us oh Lord

“You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You.
Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back.
Kindle and seize us.
Be our fire and our sweetness.
Let us love.
Let us run.”

St. Augustine


(flower stall / Zurich, Switzerland /Julie Cook / 2018)

“When you sit down to eat, pray.
When you eat bread, do so thanking Him for being so generous to you.
If you drink wine,
be mindful of Him who has given it to you for your pleasure and as a relief in sickness.
When you dress, thank Him for His kindness in providing you with clothes.
When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars,
throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who in His wisdom has arranged things in this way.
Similarly, when the sun goes down and when it rises,
when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God,
who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know,
love and praise their Creator.”

St. Basil the Great

The Creator

“To argue that God is “trying His best” to save all mankind,
but that the majority of men will not let Him save them,
is to insist that the will of the Creator is impotent,
and that the will of the creature is omnipotent.”

Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God


(Le Mont-Saint-Michel / Normandy, France / Julie Cook / 2018)

“Now, may our God be our hope.
He Who made all things is better than all things.
He Who made all beautiful things is more beautiful than all of them.
He Who made all mighty things is more mighty than all of them.
He Who made all great things is greater than all of them.
Learn to love the Creator in His creature, and the maker in what He has made.”

Saint Augustine, p. 136
An Excerpt From
Augustine Day by Day


(a view of the “chruch on the rock” at low tide / Julie Cook / 2018)