root of the matter

In this Biblical sense, repentance and true obedience go hand in hand. We must “listen” in order to hear the word of repentance.

In this Biblical sense, repentance and true obedience go hand in hand. We must “listen” in order to hear the word of repentance.
C.H. Spurgeon


(root vegetables / beets/ courtesy HGTV )

“I believe that we begin by learning literally to repent and to obey.
The English word “repent” in Scripture translates the Greek word metanoia,
or “change one’s mind (or heart).”
According to our faith, to grow into the fullness of being means an eternity
of such change and growth from the fallen human nature we inherit into
participation in the fullness of God’s own nature.
This was the first call of Christ when He began to preach:
“Repent and believe the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

In this Biblical sense, repentance and true obedience go hand in hand.
We must “listen” in order to hear the word of repentance.

(excerpt from an essay Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery)

Down through the ages a great deal has been written about the will of man—-
along with the concept of obedience and it’s evil twin, disobedience…

It is the age old tug of war…with obedience tugging while disobedience is pulling.

If you have ever dealt with or have lived through a child navigating the waters of the
“terrible twos” then you have a small snapshot into what the will of man is all
about.

There is a constant state of flux between the act of defiance as well as the exertion
of authority— as said little one attempts to chart his or her’s own path.

The problem lies in the lack of acquired experience and hindsight…
both of which the wee one has none of.
Add to that a developing sense of the greater world at large and the
the parent must therefore act as guide helping the small one along the fine line of balancing the tight rope of safety, wisdom and proper choice.

It is not an easy task.

Patience is often exasperated as the wee one hears none of rational thought or
common sense. With experience often stepping in as the better, yet,
harrowing teacher.

And even though we all eventually outgrow this trying and most difficult time of
defiance and growth…we never ever really lose that assertion of the will.

And then slides in the notion of obedience…or it that disobedience.

Obedience and disobedience are each a willed act of choice.

We either choose to obey or we choose to disobey….

And despite the popular thought, there is no in between.

The other day I was in the bank.
I was seated at the desk talking with a banker about a safety deposit box when all
of a sudden a young man bounds into the chair right next to me,
across from the now surprised banker, and loudly proclaims for all to hear–
“you don’t remember me do you?”

When you live in a town the size of mine that has two very large high schools within
a mile radius of one another, with one being a county school while the other being
a city school and you are a retired teacher, the odds are that you, at some point or another, taught half the town….are very good odds.
And I did just so happen to have taught this precocious young man.

Never mind that I was obviously in the midst of a conversation
with a banker, this young man saw me and proceeded to remind me as to why I’m so
happy to be a retired educator….

With the poor banker woman now exasperatingly staring in bewilderment, this young man proceeds to tell me that he is now “living the dream.”

“So you graduated college?” I ask.
He never answered that but said that he now had two kids and a house with some land out
in the country. “The bucolic dream” he continues…

“Oh you got married, who did you marry” I ask.
“Oh we’re not married—but we’ve been together a couple of years….we’re planning
on getting married however…..

He then proceeds to tell me his younger brother is now expecting his first child but
is also not married….but does hope to eventually marry…

Finally just as abruptly as he popped in, this young man pops up out of the chair
and bids me farewell as he makes for the teller since the line is now non existent, allowing me and the now aggravated banker to resume our conversation…

So the standard worldly thought would be “oh isn’t that all nice”
with the rationale being that this couple, all be they not married, they are
somewhat together, while living this “dream” out in the countryside with two kids,
and I’m even assuming a dog…which all sounds great, right?
The proverbial American dream….

Well if you’re of the world, then yeah, this all just sounds really nice…
warm and fuzzy.
Because there’s a rationalizing going on that since these two “kids” love one another
and now have two kids of their own, that all that matters…

But if you are one who lives under the conviction of man’s will while
opting to live a life under God’s will, then this “dream” is just that,
a dream, a facade.

The world would say that I am being judgmental in this assessment.
Old fashioned, right winged, and given long enough, someone would come
up with some sort of idea of racism or that I was just being a Nazi…
hence the lunacy of our times….

But what I see is a falsehood lost in an assumed obedience.
Which in actuality smacks of disobedience.

To live one’s life as one so chooses, going about it as one so chooses
is but to live with one’s own will—living in willfulness.

Many of us have learned, most often the hard way, that to live in
one’s own willfulness is simply waiting for havoc to ensue while
living with the repercussions and fallout.

Our willful choices will always effect many others than ourselves…
Yet we are too caught up in our own little worlds of willfulness to actually realize
that anyone else would or could be effected.

And so to live in obedience, there must be repentance.
For there to be repentance there must be a bending of the will.
For a bending of the will there must be a desire to obey…
and so it goes…

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions
of your former ignorance,

1 Peter 1:14

what they really mean

“Socialists cry ‘Power to the people’,
and raise the clenched fist as they say it.

We all know what they really mean——
power over people, power to the State.”

Margaret Thatcher,
Speech to Conservative Central Council, March 1986

“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning:
just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes,
we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

C.S. Lewis


(a buckeye butterfly enjoys a sunny day / Julie Cook / 2017)

I wonder if anyone really knows what anyone really means anymore.

Our leaders, politicians, statesmen, media personalities, legal eagles, entertainers…
none of them seem to know what they mean anymore…
simply because they’re always apologizing or deferring or deflecting these days.

The headlines splash across our eyes daily with the current mea culpas turned defense…
“I didn’t mean it”
“That’s not what I meant”
“My attorney won’t let me answer that”
“That was just a joke taken the wrong way”
“I didn’t say that”
“That wasn’t me”
“This has all been blown out of proportion”
“You heard wrong”
“You took that out of context”
“The devil made me do it / say it”
“The sky is falling… uh, just kidding….”

It’s all fun and games until there’s a push back, a backlash or a pure revolt….
Then the last laugh is no longer on the targeted but rather is now turned back around
to the one who was attempting to initiate the laughs, or the claims,
or the accusations in the first place.

And within all the mea culpas comes the deferments, the denials, the deflections,
the blind eyes…
as in…
“well, that wasn’t even my idea”
“he, she, it made me do it”
“I have no recollection of that”
“I didn’t do that, say that.. but rather he, she, it did”
“I plead the 5th…the 1st, the 2nd, the 3rd and whatever else I can plead….”
“No habla inglés, or suddenly any other language for that matter…
“Who me?”
“I wasn’t even in the country”

The list is endless.

And hidden within the denials, the confusion, the lies, the excuses
is the anger, the rage and the resentment…
of the “how dare you not think me funny, factual, fair…”
“how dare you not think I wasn’t joking”
“how dare you take what I said / did the wrong way”
“how dare you, be you, who now makes me look bad / feel bad”

Actually it’s all really confusing because not only do we not know what
“they” mean anymore…we’re being told that we no longer know what we mean…
as what we thought we believed and knew to be true…is nothing but an illusion
of what we once knew…

The only meaning that has stood the test of time, the test of man….
despite man’s best attempts to alter it, change it, rewrite it, deny it, ignore it…

God’s word…..

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing to the division of soul and spirit,
of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

Woe be unto those….

“Give not thyself up, then, to fire, lest it invert thee, deaden thee, as for the time it did me.
There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness.”

Herman Melville

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(Glendalough National Park, County Wicklow, Ireland, Julie Cook / 2015)

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about rebellions and revolutions.
About groups shutting down other groups….
About silencing and dismantling..
destroying and eradicating….

I’ve heard a lot about fascists and Nazis
About propaganda and lies
About those new Hitlers and Stalins…
the modern day monsters and dictators…

I’ve witnessed the edicts by those saying who may or may not speak…
Those new selective few who divvy out the rights for only their chosen…
To those who hit and scream…
And those who smash and destroy…

I see the polar opposites of left and right…
The corrects and the wrongs…
I see the guise of extremes that anger now takes…
The zealots from both sides of the same coin…

and quite frankly it all makes me quite very weary.

Oh little man…or perhaps…is it little woman,
whose agenda is merely your own…
Orchestrating and administrating the lives of your proletariat,
hiding behind the falsehoods of rights and freedoms…

Remember that you now stand at the crossroads of time
And your imaginary choices are yours and yours alone
The repercussions exist not only for the misinformed
but for you who have declared yourself your own god….

This is what the Lord says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
I appointed watchmen over you and said,
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
Therefore hear, you nations;
you who are witnesses,
observe what will happen to them.
Hear, you earth:
I am bringing disaster on this people,
the fruit of their schemes,
because they have not listened to my words
and have rejected my law.

Jeremiah 6:16-19

Spiritual man

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

img_1287
(a small framed image of Jesus that my dad has had his entire life sitting on his
dresser from the time he was a young boy until now)

Sitting with my dad who is just shy of 89 and is indeed dying…
who despite my small attempts of diversion when he hangs his head low in despair
and utters a forlorn…
“I’m on my death bed…with this terminal cancer.
I just don’t have much longer….”

As I find myself countering with a rather matter of fact “well Dad,
I suppose we could say that all of us are terminal to some degree or another…”

And it is not my intent to be callous or flippant in my reply but rather to stave off
the black places Dad has always gravitated to.
For you see that not only has Dad been a glass is half empty kind of guy…
his glass has always been nonexistent…
He is A.A. Milne’s character Eeyore come to life

He continues…
“Reckon man just made all this business up about heaven?
How do we really know we go to be with God?
How do we know there really is a God…”

as his warbly voice trails off as his heavy lids flutter over the now glassy tired eyes…

Despite being raised a Southern Baptist, who years ago jumped ship for the
Episcopal Church, and despite serving on the vestry and serving for years as
an usher at church…
Dad has always played the role of doubter…often bordering on the ludicrous.

And always oddly seeming to enjoy drawing my ire when, after watching countless
shows about extra terrestrial life and sweeping galactic space shows,
muses about aliens coming and going verses the foundations of our faith….

He even got caught up in more lunacy after watching a show about the missing
years of Jesus’ growing up…
the what ifs of what happened in those years following a youthful Jesus of 12 being lost
from the family during the pilgrimage for the Passover,
while finally being found in the Temple,
to the next part of the story, years later, as he meets John at the River Jordan….

Dad’s mind wandering to what Jesus did in those 21 yeas in between.
He watched a show that claimed the young boy Jesus took it upon himself to travel to
India to be enlightened during those missing 21 years…
Dad buying hook, line and sinker into the nonsense….

I would get so frustrated wanting to know why in the world he would watch such crazy
farfetched shows…
and for heaven’s sakes…
why on earth would he buy into the foolishness…

And just as easily as I share my disgruntlement over Dad’s willingness to dip deep
into the well of snake oil and falasies,
there are those who are currently reading this post, who in turn are thinking…
“Julie’s dad has a point.”
How do we know?
How does anyone know?

And that’s when I looked at Dad, who is now swiveled and shrinking and racked with pain
in his little hospital bed which has long replaced his regular bed,
as I tell him, “we simply call it faith Dad…”
“Yeah, that’s what John Bruster use to tell me”
John Bruster being Dad’s former parish priest.

“We’ll Dad, it is the foundation of Christianity…
the underpinning as it were…
faith…

Which brings us all back around full circle to the quote by Father Teilhard de Chardin…
that man is indeed a spiritual being.
And he, man, yearns, nay aches, to be connected to that which he seeks.

Many people spend a lifetime seeking to quell the ache.
It is sought so falsely…in so many dark corners of our lives.
Empty and fleeting.
Always grasping for the tangible proof, we run a lifetime into the empty ground of
conjecture while being placated by magic…
wanting, seeking…yet always coming up empty.

It is found in the faith of the God who offered a piece of Himself to be born
into our misery,
Who chose to bear our burdens,
the darkest and most foul reassess of our diseased and blackened minds…
who took upon himself the sickness and brokeness and shortcomings of our bodies…
who faced depravity, deception and falsehoods…
who suffered…
who died and was buried…
Who vanquished hell…
And who rose again…
and is now seated at the right hand of His Father
And who will indeed truly come again…
Who will judge both the living and the dead
And who will welcome us home…

It is that which we claim although our eyes do not see…
For it is in that which we rest our hope in…
our Faith….

“Compel yourselves;
say the prayer;
stop idle talk;
close your mouths to criticism;
place doors and locks against unnecessary words.
Time passes and does not come back,
and woe to us if time goes by without spiritual profit.”

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

altars

“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator
as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“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.”

Augustine of Hippo

dscn0509
(altar tomb in the Rock of Cashel, the Cathedral of St Patrick / Co Tipperary, Ireland/
Julie Cook / 2015)

A thick blanket of smoke hangs heavy in the air.
It’s not the result of burning effigies or burning communities
but rather from the woods of North Carolina and northern Georgia which are on fire…
and the winds have shifted…

The sinking grey smoke is a somber reminder that there is a dangerously severe drought…
and the parched land is now beyond thirsty…

Yet there is more to this current drought than simply a lack of rain…
for there is more that is dry than mere vegetation and brush…
And there is more to this endless thirst than a need for water….

Vehemence and anger are filling the air, accented by vile and profane sentiment.
As the mobs march toward the altars of self indulgence and guile.
Immaturity laced with ignorance stokes the fires of rage as the hate filled
smoke fills the nostrils of a nation.

Self absorption and egocentric worshipers have taken to the streets.
They have taken to their computers and to their phones…their current altars of choice.
All the while they shout vile rhetoric as they stomp their spoiled bored feet.

If you must…
Protest against atrocities,
demonstrate against hunger,
fight against killing…
but not because you’ve simply forgotten, or have never known, how to lose.

Young dismayed parents now publicly lament how are they to console their
confused children who cry in fear from the big bad what ifs of hysteria…
simply because democracy has been at work–once again…

Nay, answer with truth…
the truth that one person lost while another person won…
For that is how this game is played…one person wins while one person loses…

Yet ours is a culture currently obsessed with the win win…
because we’ve grown moralistically soft while deciding everyone should be a winner…
We cannot live with the sad notion of losing…
Never mind old adages of always trying again…

There are those who are falling at the altar of womanly feminism…
which is currently shored up by gender neutrality, resentment and anger.
Marching not for policy or real equality but rather for the notion that
the wrong sex was the victor…as the votes which were cast are ignored….

Tears are being shed not because freedom has been lost
or because lives have been lost,
nor because a nation has lost all hope…
No…
rather tears are flowing because an election was lost…

And now we no longer want to play…
Because reality is simply no longer considered fun.
While we have found ourselves kneeling before all the wrong altars…

Ours are the empty altars of hero worship and of self…
the altars of gadgetry, boredom, appeasement and ignorance.
Altars of fear, anger, hostility, emptiness and divisiveness…

For what or whom has become our idol, our god?
Who or what are those hungry deities which have left us empty, sad,
frustrated, angry and resentful…
as we turn upon one another in the feeding frenzy of resentment?

We have gathered before all the wrong altars for far too long…
These altars have left us shallow and empty while also full of loathing and contempt…
We continue to march without leadership and direction…
lost and wandering…all the while lashing out at those we assume to be our enemy…
never realizing that we are all actually one.
One people…one nation…

And all the while hidden deep within the suffocating smoke of our thirst
lies the only One true proven path in which we need march…

Yet we have decided it’s far easier to wander angrily in the parched darkness
while hiding behind the vitriol sputum which oozes forth from our mouths…
spewing out upon our fellow human beings…

As it seems we’d rather choose…
paranoia to Grace
greed to Offering
ignorane to Enlightenment
darkness to Light
death to Salvation
egregiousness to Gentleness
hate to Love…

May we all fall at the foot of the one true altar,
the cross of Resurrection, Salvation, Hope and Life.

The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son,
whom he gave to us and who was born for us,
should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross.
This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made,
but for our sins.

Francis of Assisi

Do not…compromise

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–
the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings,
without milestones, without signposts,…
Your affectionate uncle,
Screwtape.”

― C.S. Lewis,
The Screwtape Letters

Right is right even if no one is doing it;
wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.

St Augustine of Hippo

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile–
hoping it will eat him last.

Sir Winston Churchill

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(a youthful Winston Churchill in his WWI uniform)

Give and take…you were taught since being a child
Bend a little,
give a little…
Give more,
take less.

Compromise…

Yet in that unabashed revelry of our growing concession and settling…
we have deemed that everything and all, even the vast Creator himself…
should now bow down to each petty whim and want…

Never mind that the God of both Heaven and earth laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
(Psalm 119:4)

Never mind that the time has come when people no longer
live with sound teachings and doctrine…

Instead, to suit their own desires,
they gather around them great numbers of teachers who will say what their
itching ears long to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the Truth, turning rather to the side of all falsehood.

However we must remember to keep our head about us in all situations…
We will endure hardships…
but we must strive to do the work of the One who teaches the Truth
(2 Timothy 4:3-5)

For many deceivers have gone out into the world,
those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh.
Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.
Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for,
but may win a full reward.
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ,
does not have God.
Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching,
do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,
for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

2 John 1:7-11

Hooey and fraud

“They look upon fraud as a greater crime than theft,
and therefore seldom fail to punish it with death;
for they allege, that care and vigilance, with a very common understanding,
may preserve a man’s goods from thieves,
but honesty has no defence against superior cunning; and,
since it is necessary that there should be a perpetual intercourse of buying and selling,
and dealing upon credit, where fraud is permitted and connived at,
or has no law to punish it, the honest dealer is always undone,
and the knave gets the advantage.”

Jonathan Swift

dscn4581
(I suppose this little screech owl is an example of something that is fraudulent,
for he is a bit of an imposter…I saw him at a taxidermy museum
and he was just too cute to pass by without a picture/ Julie Cook / 2016)

I don’t think that I can ever say it enough…

I hate technology.

Yea, yea, I know,
it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread as it makes our lives…
so much easier,
so much more efficient,
so much better…
because we are all so….connected….

hummmm…connected, yes….

And when it works, and works efficiently, it is easy…
maybe a little too easy…
But easy is not today’s point.

I had this little notification thing put on my credit card that when it is used,
I receive a text and an e-amil… as in an alert.
It tells me that my card, ending in blah blah,
was just used at such and such for x amount transaction.

As in monitoring fraudulent activity with the card…
to alert me that the card was used and if it wasn’t used by me,
then it’s time to panic.

So this morning, as I was hurrying to get ready to head over to dad’s,
because today was the day hospice was delivering the hospital bed…
the bed dad is adamant about not allowing in the house…which is a post for another day…
I hear my phone buzz.

“Who in the heck is texting me this early?!”
I grouse as I’m in a race to get dressed.

It’s a text from my credit card folks informing me that my credit card ending in blah blah
was just declined over a $900 purchase for a plane ticket to São Paulo.

Now granted I am greatly in need of getting away.
As in leaving all my troubles behind…
As in going away…
Far far away…
As in my nerves are almost frazzled…

And I will confess to having contemplated being a bit, shall we say, irrational…
As in calling my aunt and telling her to grab her passport….
As in we’re out of here….

Yet I don’t recall being so spontaneous as to buying a one way ticket to São Paulo…
And if the truth be told, I don’t want to go to São Paulo…
Maybe Paris.
Maybe Rome.
But not São Paulo…

So I call the number on the back of my card and get the nicest young man named Austin.
I explain to Austin about the text and the email and São Paulo as he pulls up my account.
Sure enough he sees where there was a declined purchase at South American Airlines for
a one way trip to São Paulo…
Thank God for declined!!

A far cry from the typical purchase of jeans from LL Bean…
which is more along the lines of a typical card purchase for me.

So sweet young Austin shut down my account and will be issuing me a new card.
He checked the last five purchases…
$8 for a book?
check…mine
$49 bucks for some shorts and a shirt?
check–mine
mine,
mine,
and mine…

With nothing anywhere near a $900 for an airline ticket.

And with this latest adventure to the land of fraud,
I started thinking….

Technology is good…in a great many ways…yet it comes with a tremendous price…
both figuratively and literally…
but again, I digress….

It comes with grave responsibility and vigilance…
both of which most folks half heartily observe,
as they are lulled into a false sense of security.

It comes with pin numbers,
passwords,
alerts,
rapid alerts,
magnetic security strips,
retina detection,
finger print scanners,
voice recognition
and chip readers…

all things that lull us into thinking we are safe….

This as I wonder what will be next as the security attached to our technology
works hard to always stay one step ahead of those nefarious individuals who take a
retired school teacher’s credit card number
and attempt to buy a one way ticket to São Paulo.

For you see, I try to be safe.
I try to do what I can to protect my savings and my identity
But if those nefarious folks out there really want something,
no matter what I do, they will find me…
and they will find you too I’m afraid.

Well not unless I call my aunt, telling her to grab her passport,
cause we are taking life off the grid…
but again, I digress…

We do everything in our power to protect our cards, our phones,
our smart, and not so smart, things
Yet what do we do to protect our souls?
Yes, you read correctly, our very souls.

For you see we have been fed a lot of hooey in the past several decades,
with the hooey only getting more slick with time.

We’ve been told that God is actually spelled with a little g.
We’ve been told that there are way better gods out there…
forget all that mumbo jumbo religious business…
that’s so yesterday…

We’ve been told that any god with a big G should be all accepting and all loving…
no holds barred, doesn’t matter what we’re loving or accepting…
“it” must agree…

And while we’re at it…
“it” isn’t always a “he”, “it” may be a she or just an “it”…
cause “it,” whatever “it” is, is ours and we like “it” how we want “it”…
Because we don’t want a god with a big G who isn’t on our same page.

We want gods that keep us connected 24 / 7
gods that allow us to instantly buy tickets to São Paulo, with or without our own money.
We’re told that these are the gods that we need to have,
yet they need us to spend lots of money…
cause more money means better gods.

gods that will make us like the folks we see on TV,
cause we are told being like the folks on TV is to be really cool and great and godlike.

We’ve been told that we don’t need a god with a big G because we can be our own god.

We can make babies in petrie dishes
We can make new animals from old animal DNA
We can make boys girls, and girls boys…
We can travel to the moon and beyond…as in we’ve messed up this planet enough,
time to set our sights elsewhere….
We can buy tickets to São Paulo without ever having to talk
to a person all without money that’s not our own…

We can take people’s money and go the São Paulo to do whatever we want when we get there..
again, kind of god like in our own little g godlike way….

We don’t want a god with rules or one telling us how to live.
We don’t want a god who claims to be a creator, cause, heck, aren’t we creators!

So yea…
fraud….
hooey…
and we’ve got all kinds of trouble…

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

The Resistance

“Resistance is the protest of those who hope,
and hope is the feast of the people who resist”

Jürgen Moltmann

resistenciafrancesabn2l
(archived photo of French Resistance fighters)

If you know anything of the history of World War II, you are most likely familiar with the
role ‘The Resistance’ played in helping to defeat Hitler and his raging Nazi machine.

There were many resistance groups scattered across occupied Europe during those
dark days of Hitler’s unrelenting march toward total European control…

There were those in Rome, working behind the walls of St Peter’s under the watchful eye
of Pope Pius XII…
Just as there were those deep within Germany herself working precariously
within dangerous clandestine shadows to sabotage the Nazi juggernaut…

But the most notable group of partisans were those brave men and women of the French Resistance.
Those everyday citizens who risked everything, which was most often their lives,
as well as the lives of those they loved, all in hopes of undermining Germany’s
control of France and the ever advancing deadly reach westward.

I suppose it is fitting to actually call their actions a true form of guerrilla warfare…
As countless secret codes, messages and Allied information was ferried in and out,
deep from behind and within the enemy lines of the occupied nation.
Explosives, used to blow up bridges and railways, in hopes of cutting supply lines,
were a constant worry for advancing Nazi troops as this secret army of ever hopeful citizens
was key to helping keep hope alive globally…
Hope that all was not truly lost.

Hope…
Alive…

I often feel as if I have become a fighting member of a new resistance movement…
As the growing secularization of Western Civilization marches ever wider,
tightening its grasp and choke hold on the very foundation of our Judaeo Christian faith
and of the very real concept of humanity and morality…

The powers that be, those who work to rewrite Truth, while pointing deadly accusatory
fingers at those who still cling to that Truth,
mark those who remain steadfast in the love and knowledge of the Word of God
and of the Resurrection of His son as…
intolerant, as well as lacking the intelligence to jump on the current trend for
the quickly growing progressive Esprit de Corps.

Backwards fairtalists who live in the dark of Commandments, Covenants and pure make believe
is what we are being labeled as we are met with growing ridicule and condemnation.

We are being sold out by our leaders as they quickly label us as
intolerant, bigoted, xenophobic or simply deplorable ignorant rednecks…
as they try to sell the world a hopeless bag of goods disguised as an
all inclusive pie in the sky…
for they tout that each individual is who they are and whatever that may be
is perfectly great…

Does it matter that you look in the mirror and great and happiness, and contentment
and even satisfaction is not necessarily looking back…?

Our entertainment industry spews out raunchy and lewd innuendos as artistic,
comedic, current and trendy….
while we are mocked for finding it less then humorous…

Our news media has mastered the art of spin in hopes that no one
will be able to really sort fact from fiction…
as we are scorned for attempting to point out the Truth….

Yet Hope does remain…
For the Word of God remains…

For the Word of God cannot,
will not
nor will it ever be silenced…

For in that never-ending Hope is rooted in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ…

May we, who are called to the Resistance continue to fight the good fight
as we each become a member of God’s rebellion against this culture of Death….

The resurrection faith is not proved true by means of historical evidence,
or only in the next world.
It is proved here and now, through the courage for revolt,
the protest against deadly powers, and the self-giving of men and women for the victory of life.
It is impossible to talk convincingly about Christ’s resurrection without
participating in the movement of the Spirit “who descends on all flesh” to quicken it.
This movement of the Spirit is the driving “liberation movement,”
for it is the process whereby the world is recreated.

So resurrection means rebirth out of impotence and indolence to “the living hope.”
And today “living hope” means a passion for life, and a lived protest against death.

Christ’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s rebellion.
That rebellion is still going on in the Spirit of hope, and will be complete when, together with death, “every rule and every authority and power” is at last abolished (I Cor. 15_24)

“I didn’t find Christ, he found me.”

Jürgen Moltmann

how shall you be known?

“A lie is a delusion of the mind, while evil is a delusion of the will.
The sign by which one is distinguished from the other is the judgement of God Himself…
that which He teaches a man is the truth;
that which He leads a man to will is the good.
But whatever contradicts this is entirely false, entirely evil.”

St. Nicholas Cabasilas

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“Watch out for false prophets.

They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

By their fruit you will recognize them.

Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit,
but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
(Matthew 7:15-20)

Where it is important that we should be able to recognize what is true, real and pure…
that which is not a falsehood, a lie, an evil…

Is it not equally as important that others should be able to look at us,
both you and me,
and recognize what drives us, guides us, leads us…?

What do they see?

Can they see what we stand for, what directs us, what motivates us…

Are we a mirror, reflecting the Grace, Mercy and determination of Christ

Or do we cast shadows of obscured light…

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(persimmons / Troup Co, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2016)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness
and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

Romans 1:18

who becomes the enemy?

“If we as Christians do not speak out as authoritative governments grow…
eventually we or our children will be the enemy of the society and the state.
No truly authoritarian government can tolerate those who have a real absolute by which to judge its arbitrary absolutes”

(Francis Schaeffer
How Should We Then Live, 1976)

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(gulls, Santa Rosa Beach, FL / Julie Cook / 2016

While we’ve been busying ourselves with life,
resting in the falsehoods of our comfort…
With steely precision, an insidious force has been set in motion,
casting forth a lie of epic proportion…

It is a growing and troubling lie…a lie now readily held as truth…
Held and spread by those who now claim that you and I, who call ourselves Christian,
are the true enemy of the people.

The world cannot abide by any absolute other than its own fickled whims and wants.
It is the ego of both pride and carnal knowledge that cannot tolerate the Holy Absolute.
That same Holy Absolute to which both you and I hold fast.

And so it now appears that the enemy is closer than we may care to imagine…

“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies.
At the end all his disciples deserted him.
On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers.
For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God.
So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes.
There is his commission, his work.
‘The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies.
And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ;
he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies,
not with the bad people but the devout people.
O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ!
If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared’ (Luther).”

― Dietrich Bonhoeffer