giving way at the seams

“It is normal to give away a little of one’s life in order
not to lose it all.”

Albert Camus

(a persimmon caught in the middle of the woods in a rather messy web / Julie Cook / 2017)

Just when I thought life had become nutty enough,
what with our latest troubles over petty things like a war of words between a sitting president of the United States and our nation’s professional athletes,
I am resoundingly reassured that we are not alone.

For I am comforted in knowing that there are other nations out there battling
their own levels of crazy.

They say misery loves company…
I say bring an extra bag of chips as we get the party started….

Yesterday’s post had not been what I had intended to write.
Yet I felt deeply compelled to share the role model example, as well as the bravery,
of Steeler’s player Alejandro Villanueva.

I say bravery because Villanueva made a conscious decision to honor the flag and anthem while his coach, Mike Tomlin with input from his players, had decided
that his team would forgo the National Anthem in hopes of just missing the whole crazy divisive issue.

Yet I would imagine Villanueva, a former Army Captain, West Point Grad and
Afghanistan war veteran, and his coach had had a discussion prior to
the game and the anthem.
With that whole discussion most likely revolving around how Villanueva felt a bound duty
to both honor and salute a flag and a Nation that he has served in active duty and now serves as a role model the playing field.

Villanueva is a man who completely understands commands and orders…so I imagine there
was discussion over Villanueva’s need and desire to break ranks as it were with
his beloved Coach and team.

As we now read that Villanueva had not intended to be as noticeable as a “standout”
Sunday as he was…fearing he may have inadvertently thrown his teammates under
life’s proverbial bus.


(Miami Herald)

Men and women have died defending our Flag…as her ensuing anthem is a reflection
not of inequality or bias but rather of blood shed for democratic triumph…
A notion now a couple of centuries old…

Soldiers understand that probably better than most of us.
I doubt any of The Steelers feel as if they were thrown under any bus by a man who
chose to put his own life on the line for his fellow Americans.

I was tremendously touched by the comments offered on my post Monday regarding that
brave act by that brave man.

It seems I am not alone in feeling that US Capt. Villanueva
made the greatest one-man showing on Sunday despite that not being his desire
nor mission–yet selfless patriotism has a way of always coming to the surface.

So just when I thought our lives couldn’t become any more surreal than they
already are, I watched Monday morning the latest edition of Anglican Unscripted
featuring the Anglican cleric, The Reverend Gavin Ashenden.

And then, if that weren’t enough, I followed that up with the solid reading from the
latest offerings by the Scottish Pastor David Robertson on his Wee Flea Blog.

Firstly I will share a brief bit of what Reverend Ashenden has had to share regarding
some recent happenings on his side of the pond.

It seems that the Church of England has either totally lost its mind or has
totally gone the way of the ‘All Ensuing Cultural War Express’….

Recently a fashion show featuring the symbols, dress and attitude of all things Satanic
was permited to take place in of all places an Anglican Church located in London.

Just when I was pretty well convinced the we had totally lost our minds on this side
of the pond, it seems as if our cousins abroad have totally lost theirs.

When on earth does a catwalk featuring those decorated and dressed in Satan inspired garb,
complete with a Christian altar as a backdrop, make any sort of sense at all?

You might need to read that again….

When on earth does a catwalk featuring those decorated and dressed in Satan inspired garb,
complete with a Christian altar as a backdrop, make any sort of sense at all?

It doesn’t!


(St Andrew’s Anglican Church allowing a Satanic inspired fashion show to take place in the sanctuary)

Rev. Ashenden pointedly reminds his listeners that if there be
any Christian among us who has the Holy Spirit residing in his or her soul…
of which would be a good many of the faithful, he or she would assuredly have felt a tremendous amount of consternation over having seen such a spectacle….

I know I did when I watched a few snippets of the “show.”

Rev. Ashenden proceeds to explain that there is a battle on this earth that
is a a battle of both Good and Evil and it is very much alive and very much real.
And if any of us foolishly think otherwise, then we are in store for a very frightful awakening.

Imagine Satan’s glee—his very own fashion show, featuring some of his best inspired
fashion, taking place in a House of God…

Oh the irony found in that one notion alone…

The good Vicar goes on to note that the Church of England has now obviously
succumb to its struggles with the secular culture as it is now very much
“coming apart at the seams”

Anglican Unscripted – Satanic & Masonic fashion in the C of E.

Next our dear friend the Scottish Pastor David Robertson shares his own observations
from the same side of the pond…

He takes a look at a variety of ills plaguing both the EU and the UK even venturing to
the land down under.


(am I the only one who sees a problem with this image from an Australian college campus?? Last I checked, no one was recommending burning homosexuals but apparently it’s ok
to burn a church)

Australia is now locked in a death roll regarding same sex marriages.

The good pastor notes “Well, they did warn us it would happen.
They said they did not want a referendum on same sex marriage because of
the hatred it would allow to be displayed.
They were right.
The Australian referendum debate has turned really nasty – not as some feared
with people taking the opportunity to express their homophobic hatred,
but rather because of those who are all into ‘love and tolerance’
being full of hatred and intolerance towards any who would dare to
disagree with them.

Pastor Robertson lastly offered a small step back in time.
He offered a “story of the week”


(Nixon and Kissinger in the Oval Office)

Story of the week –
I loved this story about Nixon.
Kissinger’s account from Woodward and Bernstein The Final Days.

“The president was drinking.
He said he was resigning.
It would be better for everyone.
They talk quietly – history, resignation decision,
foreign affairs.
Then Nixon said he wasn’t sure he would be able to resign.
Could he be the first president to quit office?
Kissinger responded by listing the president’s contributions,
especially in diplomacy.

‘Will history treat me more kindly than my contemporaries?’

“Certainly, definitely,” Kissinger said. “When this was all over,
the president would be remembered for the peace he had achieved.”
The president broke down and sobbed…How had a simple burglary,
a breaking and entering, done all this?

“Kissinger kept trying to turn the conversation back to all the good things.
Nixon wouldn’t hear of it. He was hysterical.
‘Henry, ‘he said, ‘you are not a very orthodox Jew,
and I am not an orthodox Quaker, but we need to pray.’

Nixon got down on his knees.
Kissinger felt he had no alternative but to kneel down too..
The president prayed out loud, asking for help, rest, peace and love.
How could a president and a country be torn apart by such small things?
Kissinger thought he had finished but the president did not rise.
He was weeping…
‘What have I done?
What has happened?
‘Kissinger touched the president, and then…
tried to bring rest and peace to the man who was curled on the carpet
like a child.
Kissinger again tried to reassure him…
Finally the president struggled to his feet.
He sat back in his chair.
The storm had passed.
He had another drink”

I for one did find forgiveness for President Nixon as I have opted to remember
the good works that Nixon actually did accomplish while in office….and there were many
such works.

LED 10 – Far Right in Germany – The EU – World Running out of Sand – Transgender Study banned – Australian SSM Intolerance – Catalonia and Kurdistan – Reality is a Social Constuct – Britons on the Toilet – A Tale of Nixon and Kissinger

And so I will leave us today with these current events now swirling in our heads as
we continue stepping ever so gingerly through the minefield of this world we
call our own…

May God have mercy upon our souls….

“Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
Who knows? He may turn and relent
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the Lord your God.

Joel 2:12-14

what do we learn

Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking.
Mahatma Gandhi

“That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended –
civilizations are built up –
excellent institutions devised;
but each time something goes wrong.
Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and the cruel people to the top
and it all slides back into misery and ruin.”

C.S. Lewis

“It is not often that nations learn from the past,
even rarer that they draw the correct conclusions from it.”

Henry Kissinger

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( WWI German soldiers, in gas masks, ready to throw a potato masher grenade at the French troops in the opposite trenches)

It is said that if left unchecked, the past is but doomed to repeat itself.

Learning from one’s mistakes is always the best teacher,
always providing the best sorts of lessons to be learned…that is,
as long as one actually learns.

It seems that human beings are simply hell bent on pushing that proverbial envelope.
Yet we are smart enough to push just far enough without plunging ourselves over the cliff into the great abyss of no return.

Our global relationships are fickle at best.
Allies, turned foes, turned allies, turned foes…
as the never ending merry go round runs around and around.
It just seems to be a part of our nature as trust and distrust dance a dangerous waltz.

Ever since that fateful day when brother killed brother,
the children of Adam have never been able to wash the blood of the innocents off of their hands.

Over this past weekend, we Americans marked Memorial Day.
A day set aside to honor our Military Personnel.
It was a day created following the Civil War, the bloodiest war fought on American soil—
the war that pitted brother against brother.

It was a day in which we told ourselves we would never forget the lives lost during the fighting and during the battles. A day set aside yearly to remind us of the sacrifices made as well as of those gallant ideals and principles that divided a Nation—
And we told ourselves that no matter the reasons nor the victors…it was to be a day we would pay tribute to the lives lost, on both sides…a day in which we would pay our respects…

As our time as a Nation has continued, we have continually found ourselves entangled in countless other clashes, conflicts and wars.
Each time as the dust settles and the bombs cease, this Nation is called upon to remember…

Yet with all our celebrations, our cookouts, our ballgames
and our quiet solemn observations over this past long weekend,
we probably failed to notice that there was another tribute taking place…

This “other” day of remembrance was held in Verdun, France.
A poignant ceremony was held to mark a long ago and now mostly forgotten battle.
A battle that is simply kept deep within the books of global conflicts.

It was known as The Battle of Verdun.

The tale of this battle is as black and monstrous as they come.
It was a battle that pitted modern day allies against one another, fighting until the very death.

The Battle of Verdun, fought throughout the entire year of 1916, is known as the longest battle waged. Deadly, frustrating, endless trench warfare.
It is a battle with some of the most staggering numbers of casutalites and fatalities for any single battle.
700,000 soldiers from both France and Germany were either killed, wounded or never found as the fighting wore on for eleven long months–
The battlefield covered not even 6 square miles of land.

As the fighting wore on, it no longer remained a strategically feasible fight but became a battle of nationalistic pride. Who could outlast the other…

During the course of fighting, 9 surrounding villages were destroyed as a nation’s landscape was forever altered. It is said that the villages died for France.
Historians note that the battle was eventually wrested from Germany,
giving France the bittersweet victory.

Two years later, in 1918, Germany was finally defeated, offically ending WWI…
Yet silently a stage was now set as a foreboding darkness sat ominously upon a not too distant horizon…as lessons would quickly be forgotten…

This past weekend German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined France’s president, Francois Hollande, marking the 100th anniversary of The Battle of Verdun.
These once sworn enemies, on more than one occasion, came together on May 29, 2016 in solidarity, now as allies and friends, in order to remember what once was a very dark time in both their shared history.

Days such as Memorial Day, VE Day, VJ day, Decoration Day, Armistice Day, the 4th of July…specific days set aside yearly, or even those spontaneous moments, results of humanity’s gratitude…
serve to teach us…
they remind us of our past struggles and sacrifices as well as of our past differences…differences in ideologies and goals.
They teach us that the freedom to live and to do, a freedom we often take for granted, more often than not comes at a tremendous cost…a cost, that as a generation passes, is likely to be quickly forgotten.
These days serve to teach the surviving generations that working hard as well as together—that the deadly mistakes of the past do not always have to be repeated, as long as we are willing to learn….

French President Francois Hollande, left, holds an umbrella as he walks beside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a German cemetery in Consenvoye, northeastern France, Sunday May 29, 2016, during a remembrance ceremony to mark the centenary of the battle of Verdun. Hollande and Merkel are marking 100 years since the 10-month Battle of Verdun, which killed 163,000 French and 143,000 German soldiers and wounded hundreds of thousands. (Jean Christophe Verhaegen/Pool Photo via AP)

French President Francois Hollande, left, holds an umbrella as he walks beside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a German cemetery in Consenvoye, northeastern France, Sunday May 29, 2016, during a remembrance ceremony to mark the centenary of the battle of Verdun. Hollande and Merkel are marking 100 years since the 10-month Battle of Verdun, which killed 163,000 French and 143,000 German soldiers and wounded hundreds of thousands. (Jean Christophe Verhaegen/Pool Photo via AP)

Please click on the link in order to see more regarding the past weekend’s ceremony.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36407564