Why do we do what we do?


(Ian Charleson, playing Eric Liddell, leads the cast on the sands of St. Andrews)

Is it just me or does it seem that our news headlines have recently been inundated
with the stories about the struggles of our Nation’s younger athletic phenoms.

And in struggles I don’t mean physical ailments or injuries but rather
mental health struggles.

Earlier this year, twenty three year old tennis great Naomi Osaka
withdrew from playing in the Wimbledon Open due to anxiety, depression
and stress…

Isn’t that pretty much the life of training and competing for athletes?
Anxiety?
Stress?
Depression from the agony of defeat??

And then just yesterday, gymnastics superstar Simone Biles withdrew from
Olympic Competition due, also, to “mental health” issues.

Recently I watched several of the Olympic Gymnastic events and noticed that,
for the girl’s US team, there just wasn’t that usual spunk, no joie de vive.
The camaraderie and banter, along with the hugs and smiles, appeared to be
few and far between…
And yes I remember there’s a pandemic but this goes beyond that.

The familiar unity, the smiles, the group support did not seem as apparent
with this Olympic girl’s squad as it has in the past.
Not until Simone withdrew and an apparent invisible weight lifted from
her shoulders.

Maybe it’s just me but I’ve sensed more trepidation.
and heaviness then I have a typical competitive team energy.

Of course there should always be those serious game faces,
but there’s just not that emblematic team embrace as with teams prior.

Compare this year’s girl’s team to the men’s team.

This year’s men’s squad has seemed to be working as a cohesive unit of solidarity
despite working as individuals as well as a team unit….
but the girls…
well something has just seemed off with both team and individuals.

The aged stoic in me, who I might add has never ever competed at such
a level as an Olympian but who had always participated in team sports
while growing up say’s ‘suck it up buttercup, this is the Olympics’

Biles was at least seen laughing and cutting up after she “quit” and
thus the pressure was gone…or so it seemed.

And yet a more reflective part of me looks at what we as a society
do to our athletes by putting them up on platforms of worship.
Our expectations, the media’s obsession and the constant buzzing in the
ear and mind from all things Social Media are all heavy weights placed on kids
who push and push and push, year after year after year to be…the best of the best
at all costs.

Yet what of the competitive, the win at any cost athletes?
Think Tom Brady, Michael Phelps et el.

But costs for what???

So at first, I thought I wanted to write a post about things based on
snowflakes, coddeledness, spoiled, whining, golden calves…but rather…
something else popped into my head.

Growing up in the Episcopal Church the Hymn Jerusalem was and remains
a favorite of mine.
Hauntingly beautiful.
And yet despite it being a true English hymn and considered a quasi British National
Anthem…it moves my heart.

The hymn is based on a poem by William Blake and according to Wikipedia…

“And did those feet in ancient time” is a poem by William Blake
from the preface to his epic Milton:
A Poem in Two Books, one of a collection of writings known as the Prophetic Books.
The date of 1804 on the title page is probably when the plates were begun,
but the poem was printed c. 1808.[1]
Today it is best known as the hymn “Jerusalem”,
with music written by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916.
The famous orchestration was written by Sir Edward Elgar.

The poem was supposedly inspired by the apocryphal story that a young Jesus,
accompanied by Joseph of Arimathea, a tin merchant,
travelled to what is now England and visited Glastonbury
during his unknown years.
[2] Most scholars reject the historical authenticity of this story
out of hand, and according to British folklore scholar
A. W. Smith, “there was little reason to believe that an oral
tradition concerning a visit made by Jesus to Britain existed
before the early part
of the twentieth century”.[3]
The poem’s theme is linked to the Book of Revelation
(3:12 and 21:2) describing a Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes
a New Jerusalem.
Churches in general, and the Church of England in particular,
have long used Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven,
a place of universal love and peace.[a]

In the most common interpretation of the poem,
Blake implies that a visit by Jesus would briefly create heaven in England,
in contrast to the “dark Satanic Mills” of the Industrial Revolution.
Blake’s poem asks four questions rather than asserting the historical
truth of Christ’s visit.
Thus the poem merely wonders if there had been a divine visit,
when there was briefly heaven in England.[4][5]
The second verse is interpreted as an exhortation to create an ideal
society in England, whether or not there was a divine visit.[6][7]

So my mind drifted to one of my most favorite movies…Chariots of Fire.

The movie, the soundtrack…each became an integral part of me.
I went to showing after showing and I eventually bought the CD…
sans video cassette.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the movie, the story…
is a true tale.

The movie came out in 1981 but the true tale reaches back to the early 20th century.

Again…here is what Wikipedia has to share about the plot…

In 1919, Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) enters the University of Cambridge,
where he experiences anti-Semitism from the staff,
but enjoys participating in the Gilbert and Sullivan club.
He becomes the first person ever to complete the Trinity Great Court Run,
running around the college courtyard in the time it takes for the clock to strike 12,
and achieves an undefeated string of victories in various national
running competitions.
Although focused on his running, he falls in love with Sybil (Alice Krige),
a leading Gilbert and Sullivan soprano.

Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), born in China of Scottish missionary parents,
is in Scotland.
His devout sister Jennie (Cheryl Campbell) disapproves of Liddell’s plans
to pursue competitive running, but Liddell sees running as a way
of glorifying God before returning to China to work as a missionary.

When they first race against each other, Liddell beats Abrahams.
Abrahams takes it poorly, but Sam Mussabini (Ian Holm),
a professional trainer whom he had approached earlier, offers to take him on
to improve his technique.
This attracts criticism from the Cambridge college masters
(John Gielgud and Lindsay Anderson), who allege it is not gentlemanly
for an amateur to “play the tradesman” by employing a professional coach.
Abrahams dismisses this concern, interpreting it as cover for
anti-Semitic and class-based prejudice.

When Liddell accidentally misses a church prayer meeting because of his running,
his sister Jennie upbraids him and accuses him of no longer caring about God.
Eric tells her that though he intends to return eventually to the China mission,
he feels divinely inspired when running, and that not to run would be to
dishonour God, saying “I believe that God made me for a purpose.
But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

(bold is mine)

The two athletes, after years of training and racing, are accepted
to represent Great Britain in the 1924 Olympics in Paris.
Also accepted are Abrahams’ Cambridge friends,
Lord Andrew Lindsay (Nigel Havers), Aubrey Montague (Nicholas Farrell),
and Henry Stallard (Daniel Gerroll).

While boarding the boat to France for the Olympics,
Liddell discovers the heats for his 100-metre race will be on a Sunday.
He refuses to run the race, despite strong pressure from the Prince of Wales
and the British Olympic Committee, because his Christian convictions
prevent him from running on the Lord’s Day.

A solution is found thanks to Liddell’s teammate Lindsay,
who, having already won a silver medal in the 400 metres hurdles,
offers to give his place in the 400-metre race on the following
Thursday to Liddell, who gratefully accepts.
Liddell’s religious convictions in the face of national athletic pride
make headlines around the world.

Liddell delivers a sermon at the Paris Church of Scotland that Sunday,
and quotes from Isaiah 40, ending with “But they that wait
upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Abrahams is badly beaten by the heavily favoured United States runners
in the 200 metre race. He knows his last chance for a medal will be the 100 metres.
He competes in the race, and wins. His coach Sam Mussabini,
who was barred from the stadium, is overcome that the years of dedication
and training have paid off with an Olympic gold medal.
Now Abrahams can get on with his life and reunite with his girlfriend Sybil,
whom he had neglected for the sake of running.

Before Liddell’s race, the American coach remarks dismissively to his
runners that Liddell has little chance of doing well in his now, far longer,
400 metre race. But one of the American runners, Jackson Scholz,
hands Liddell a note of support, quoting 1 Samuel 2:30
“He that honors Me I will honor”.
Liddell defeats the American favourites and wins the gold medal.

The British team returns home triumphant.
As the film ends, onscreen text explains that Abrahams married Sybil
and became the elder statesman of British athletics.
Liddell went on to missionary work in China.
All of Scotland mourned his death in 1945 in Japanese-occupied China.

And so as I reflect upon our young American athletes who are having a difficult
time with their various world stages, I remember Chariots of Fire.
A tale of two very different men competing for two very different reasons…
yet they compete because they knew they must.

One competes to honor God, the other competes to honor his people, his heritage.
Each man driven to and by honor of something so much greater than themselves.

I watched as the American Gymnasts, who had won silver, went over to
congratulate their Russian competitors who won Gold.

So why do we do what we do?

a little slide of hand…


(27 Feb 1926, Sat The Richmond Item (Richmond, Indiana) Newspapers.com)

I caught a rather interesting story yesterday offered on Newspapers.com regarding
the great escape artist, Harry Houdini.

I thought I might offer the story here as it makes for a nice
diversion from our current headlines.
It offers a snippet of interesting history while touching
on the political climate of Houdini’s time.

For a little bit of background on Houdini, for those unfamiliar with
this early 20th century entertainer, I did a little digging.

According to Wikipedia, Houdini, whose birth name was Erik Weisz
and whose father was a Rabbi, was born in Hungry in 1874.
The family immigrated to the US in 1878, calling Wisconsin home before
eventually moving to New York.

As a young boy, Erich (the family adopted the German spelling upon
immigrating to the US) developed a love running cross country
as well as becoming a trapeze artist.

Young Erich would go on to become a professional magician,
changing his name to Harry Houdini after the French magician
Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdinthe.

Houdini would eventually become America’s favorite escape artist,
illusionist, stunt performer and mysteriarch.
He was a Vaudeville favorite and eventually performed globally.

Contrary to popular belief, Houdini did not die from a stunt gone awry,
but rather from peritonitis from a ruptured appendix at the age of 52.

It is speculated that the ruptured appendix may have originated from
a man who had come to Houdini’s dressing room prior to a performance and
repeatedly hit Houdini in the abdomen.

Houdini often boasted that he had an extreme tolerance to being hit
in the abdomen.
This curious man took Houdini at his word by repeatedly hitting him.
Houdini abruptly had the man stop, explaining that he had not
braced himself appropriately for the blows.

Within a few days of the hitting incident and having suffered severe pain
since the man’s punches, Houdini began running a fever.
He was taken to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with a
ruptured appendix.

To add to the mystique of Houdini,
he was known to be a practicing Freemason.

Fast foward to the roaring ’20’s.

America, as well as much of Europe, had become fascinated with
all things of the supernatural.
Mystics, fortune tellers, snake oil doctors, Mediums and seances had become all
the rage.

Intriguing entertainment and fun parlor tricks yet there was
something much more alarming and even deeper than mere entertainment.

Many people longed to reconnect with those loved one who had “passed
over to the other side.”
Those who had lost loved ones who were sorely pressed to hear from
those lost loved ones—longing to hear from them just one more time
would cling to every word offered by a “Medium”—a person who
could connect to the nonliving.

Houdini, who prided himself on his professionalism, was hard pressed
to expose those who were profiting off the emotions of the bereft—
as well as those who were casting a doubtful light on Houdini’s craft.

Houdini boldly brought this issue before Congress as he wanted to have
a federal law created against those working under the guise as mediums
while profiting falsely from the emotions of those who were hurting…

As part of Houdini’s crusade against fraudulent mediums,
two congressmen (Senator Royal S. Copeland and Representative Sol Bloom)
sponsored an amendment to a Washington DC law that would essentially
ban fortune telling in DC.
The proposal was met with stiff resistance from the spiritualist community,
who charged that it would infringe on their right to religious freedom.

Houdini had hired a small army of ‘detectives’ working to uncover the
imposters and hucksters.
One of his most ardent ‘detectives’ was a 34 year old named Rose Mackenberg.

And so during the congressional hearing “the biggest bombshell of
the hearing—at least as far as the news media was concerned—
was dropped by Mackenberg herself.

Prior to the May hearings,
Houdini had sent his undercover investigators, including Mackenberg,
to visit suspected phony mediums in DC and gather evidence against them.
During her testimony, Mackenberg alleged that two spiritualists
had independently divulged that a number of their clients
were U.S. senators, and she even went so far as to reveal the names of
four of those senators while on the stand.

But most shocking of all, Mackenberg testified that one of the mediums,
Jane Coates, had boasted that seances had been held in the White House,
with President Coolidge and his family present.”

So it seems that maybe we should have exorcized the White House years ago
and maybe we wouldn’t be having the problems we’re having today…
but of course I digress…

Here is a link to the story…it makes for some interesting reading…
enjoy the diversion…

https://blog.newspapers.com/astonishing-adventures-of-houdinis-favorite-detective/

The art of how to or how not…

The God of all mercy teaches us that our vocation is to learn to love
and also to be able to love after the image and in imitation
of the Most Holy Trinity.
Christ, therefore, is situated at the heart of marital and family life,
in other words, at the heart of the gestures and the attitudes of
the husband toward his wife, and vice versa,
of the father and the mother of the family toward their children—
which you seek to put into practice in trust and in truth.

Robert Cardinal Sarah
From his book Couples, Awaken Your Love!


(the Mayor struggling with the art of the fondue / Julie Cook / 2021)

In yesterday’s post, I noted that I had not kept up with the news during our
small family’s recent little getaway.
A smart and delightful choice I might add.

And thus, upon our return home, I foolishly thought that I needed to play
a bit of catch-up.

So of course there was the story about the plane full of smug, arrogant
and really stupid Democrats who thought they were running away from Texas,
setting their sights on being liberated in Washington D.C.

But what it really was…was a plane full of super-spreaders of Covid.
So why do we vote for such people…??
I digress.

And then there was and is the continuing migrant story…
but where do we start with that one???
Covid, welfare, gangs, sex trafficking, drugs…
Simply not enough time.

Then there was the typical story of hostility in The House between
Dems and Republicans.
A bipartisan panel to look into that House infiltration fiasco…
HA..bipartisan…that’s a good one!
But what’s new???

And of course there was the story about Dr. Fauci proclaiming that we
all need to mask up again…vaccine or not.
But maybe it’s more about the haves and the have nots.

Yet Dr. Fauci now wants us to mask our toddlers…
wee ones who will be heading to pre-school and or daycare.
So hear me now as I channel my best Charlton Heston voice…
NOT ON MY WATCH–NOT MY GRANDCHILDREN!
And no, NO SHOTS for toddlers.
We simply don’t know enough.
Perhaps that shall be one of my many mountains to perish upon.

And once again, there was the continuing story about CRT.
That idiotic ideology which I referenced yesterday.
How to teach about not being a racist…
Lets set people apart, teach them about shame, teach them about resentment,
teach them about angst and anger—those are some really powerful
kumbiya thoughts…right????
Eyes rolling.

And now there’s this latest story about the White House promoting the
Abolitionist Teaching Network whose desire is to “disrupt whiteness”…

What in the heck is that all about???

So let me backup to where we really need to be with this whole
education thing.

If you want to go backwards, which it seems the woke folks are bent on…
let’s go back to what actually worked back in the beginning…

God.
Prayer.
The Ten Commandments.
Faith.
Family.

That pretty much covers all of this lunacy in a nutshell!
Go back to those particular key components and all this fiasco will
finally be righted.

Righted only if those 5 things fall back into their original place…
then and only then will we ever have some sense of normalcy and peace….
otherwise it’s Katie bar the door—
all Hell is about to break loose and I mean hell with a big H…
as in literally.

Love, by its essence, involves a leap into the unknown, a death to oneself,
because genuine love is a love that loves to the end.
And to love to the end means to die for those whom you love.

Robert Cardinal Sarah
From his book Couples, Awaken Your Love!

we just don’t seem to get it…

“You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds…
What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.”

St. Thomas More


(the Sheriff trying to get the hang of a crab net / Julie Cook / 2021)

So upon my return from being away 7 days, I did what most stupid
gullible, people do..
I felt compelled to see what had been newsworthy in my absence…
what was news worthy.

Ohhhhh, what a loaded idea that would be…

There were just so many stories…
so much so that I’m having a difficult time focusing on that one
news story that needs to be showcased.

Well firstly, I did catch a nauseating story about how Mademoiselle Squad member
seems to think we need to include reading, writing and race theory within our
preschool curriculums…

Hummmm….

Ok, so here is your favorite retired educator’s take on this latest banter
of idiocy…

It seems that those self-proclaimed wizards behind the mirror have
deemed that we need to be teaching our most wee and impressionable children
Critical Race Theory–or so they say??!!

Teaching propaganda in our public schools.

Hummmm….

Teaching wee children how not to be racists…

Wait, what exactly is a racist??

According to Merriam…a racist is: a belief that race is a fundamental
determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences
produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Hummm…

Wait, I thought brown, black, yellow and white were all created equal
and precious in His sight….

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,
there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

So might we note that we adults are having an incredible challenge
with crime.

Forget race…crime has taken the forefront of our lives.

We are killing one another at such a rapid pace that we are unable
to keep count.

There is an exponentially critical spike in violent crimes…
in particular that of murder.

Mlle Squad member wants to educate our wee ones on how not to be racist but
we adults are busy killing the innocents.

Hummm…

This Nation of ours just had a one year old shot in a convenient store
in Philly this past weekend.

That is unacceptable yet Mlle Squad member seems to think teaching CRT is
just that in a nutshell, critical.
Forget murder…forget hate…forget rage…

More later…

“Finally—and this is perhaps the most difficult aspect of what
concerns the practice of conformity to the will of God—
we should desire virtue itself and the degrees of grace only insofar
as God wishes to give them, and not desire more.
Our whole ambition should be to attain the degree of perfection
that has been appointed for us, since it has not been given to everybody
to reach the same height.
It is obvious that however well we may correspond with the graces given us,
we can never equal the humility, charity and other virtues of the Blessed Virgin.
And who can even presume to imagine that he can reach the same heights
as the Apostles?
Who can equal St. John the Baptist whom Christ called the greatest
of the children of men? Or St. Joseph to whom God entrusted His Son?
In this we must as in all else submit to the will of God.
He must be able to say of us, My will is in them;
it rules and governs everything.
So when we hear or read that God in a short time has brought some souls
to a very high degree of perfection and shown them signal favors,
enlightened their understanding and imbued their hearts with His love,
we should repress any desire to be treated likewise so as not to fall short
in pure love of conformity to His Will.
We should even unite ourselves still more closely to His Will by saying,
‘I praise Thee, O Lord, and bless Thee for deigning to show Thyself with
so great love and familiarity to the souls Thou has chosen …'”

Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure, p. 75-76
An Excerpt From
Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence

Not too long ago nor too far away

“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too.
Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action:
you liberate a city by destroying it.
Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will
solemnly vote against their own interests.”

Gore Vidal

“Political correctness is going to kill American liberalism if it
is not fought to the death by people like me for the dangers
it represents to free speech, to the exchange of ideas,
to openheartedness, or to the spirit of art itself.
Political correctness has a stranglehold on academia,
on feminism, and on the media.
It is a form of both madness and maggotry.”

Pat Conroy, My Reading Life

Not too long ago nor too far away…there was once a high school teacher.

Now for the purpose of this story, we should note that this teacher was
actually older…that being toward the end of her career verses
being at the beginning…for she was but a mere babe when she began
teaching…this story takes place long past that baby beginning.

So let’s put this teacher, say, at about the age of 50.

She had taught at the same school going on for nearly three decades,
which made her a bit of an institution within an institution.

Still viable and loved but just older and wiser.

During her years spent at this school, this teacher had watched as pay phones
and office phones gave way to cell phones. Radios become iPods, and paper
books become ebooks. Chalk boards became smart boards.
She was there for the first computers and eventually retired as each student
had a digital notebook.

This teacher had pretty much seen it all.

One day, this teacher’s school, a school which prided itself on always being
above the curve, as in always being cutting edge,
began to implement what they proclaimed as a paradigm shift—
a new and improved way of thinking.

Let’s note that this started a good 10 years prior to end of
our story…starting when this teacher was, say, in her 40s.

As time passed, change began to accelerate exponentially.

A 6 class period day transitioned to a 4 x 4 block schedule.

Teachers were made to participate in focus groups during their
planning periods, as well as on workdays.
They were given books to read.
Think book club a la pedagogy.

Speakers were brought in to offer new ways of looking at education.

Oddly it all became a bit more precise as well as peculiar.

White teachers were suddenly being told that they were no longer relating
well to their black students.
This was a reason as to why there was growing resentment from the black students
toward the white teachers.

The resentment had not been readily realized…not until the teachers were told
it was happening. We don’t even know if the kids were privy to said resentment.

White teachers were told they must begin to discipline their black students
differently.
They were told that they must try multiple means of confronting discipline
issues before ever writing a student up for an offense.
Sometimes those students who were written up for an offense were simply
sent back to class with no real cause and effect.
Much to the frustration of the teacher.
The teacher then looked rather unsupported by her superiors.

Teachers were told to be mindful of what they said and how they said it.

Students began to feel empowered over their teachers.
And thus lies much of the problem.

Respect suddenly went out the window.

Most of this new thinking was coming from Black colleagues and
administrators yet embraced by many white administrators.

White female teachers were told by black administrators that young black
male students had little to no respect for them and therefore the
white female teachers needed to work extra hard at getting through to
these young boys.

One day a speaker was brought in on one particular workday for a bit of role playing.
He had all the teachers line up along a straight line.
He would ask a question, and depending on each individual teacher’s response
to the question, they were to either step forward or backward.

Did your grandparents go to college? 2 steps forward if so; two steps back if not.
Were you raised in a two parent household? 2 steps forward if so; two steps back if not.
Did your mother work outside of the home? 2 steps backwards if so; 2 steps forward if not.
Did you have your own car in high school? 2 steps forward if so; 2 steps back if not.
Did you have to work you way through school? 2 steps back if yes, 2 steps forward in no.
Did you attend summer camp? 2 steps forward if yes, 2 steps back if not.

On and on went the questions.
And so I think you’re probably figuring out where all of this was going.
By the end of the questioning, the original straight line was now vastly staggered —
those out front were not considered so much winners as much as they were
considered “privileged”—or is that labeled as privileged?

Hummm…privileged…now where have we heard about being privileged?

As time passed and toward the end of this teacher’s career,
there was a weekend workshop that everyone was encouraged to attend.
It was a conference on racial thinking within our schools.

Now remember, this story is not a current story but rather a story that took
place almost ten years back…long before CRT right?

Well…maybe not exactly.

This older teacher had a younger colleague who was also a dear friend.
The older teacher was white, married and a mom.
The younger teacher was black, not married and overweight.
Yet both of these ladies were friends both in and out of school.
Thick as thieves.

They worked well together and often created or spearheaded new initiatives
within the school.
Initiatives with a Christian focus as each woman was a committed Christian.

The younger teacher had actually gone to this same school when she was in high school
as she had grown up in this same community. Her parents were well known and
well respected professionals in this community.

The younger teacher was very smart and opted to go back to school in search
of her doctorate.
She chose Woman’s Studies—of course she did.

She had an Asian woman chair who was her doctoral mentor.
This particular academic was a self proclaimed feminist…
she noted that her “partner” who was a man, was her lesser.

The older teacher began to notice a significant change in her younger friend.
There was an anger that came bubbling to the surface.
She constantly fussed and cussed the good ol white boy system
of administration in the school system.

She fussed and cussed and greatly disparaged a friend and colleague’s
husband who was a police officer—a white police officer who she feared
might pull over her young black nephew.

Why fret in this small town community unless one was fed the notion of fear
by others…

Now back to the workshop on racial thought.

This younger teacher attended this particular conference,
the older teacher did not.

At the end of the weekend the older teacher called her younger friend, asking
how the conference went.
The younger teacher began a small tirade.
She fussed that several administrators did not attend.
She fussed that a young white male teacher stood up taking
umbrage with the presenter– all the while she maligned said young
white male teacher and yes, colleague.

She disparaged the administrators who actually did attend, sitting stone faced
with arms folded or so she raged.

Come Monday this younger teacher came by the older teacher’s classroom and
simply blew up–
she blew up and turned on her older white friend…for no real reason…
but turned as the older teacher simply was sitting there and was deemed
to be representative of all that was wrong with life and education.

The older teacher was blindsided and distraught when her young friend
stormed off.

What had she done??

Nothing.

Nothing but to represent some sort of imagined injustice.

The older teacher was crushed.
Hurt by someone she felt she no longer knew.

The young teacher remained defiant.

The older teacher retired a year later.

So now back to this blog post…

About a week ago I read a marvelous post by our friend Mel Wild regarding
Critical Race Theory—the new hot button topic in our educational system.
Here is a link to his post:

https://melwild.wordpress.com/2021/07/01/pulling-back-the-curtain-on-critical-race-theory/

I realized after reading Mel’s post that I had actually witnessed CRT creeping into
our schools years ago.

I commented on his post and Mel responded:

Yeah, it’s been the proverbial frog slowly being cooked in the kettle since the 1970s from the radical left. They were very shrewd, slowing taking over all our cultural instititions over the last five decades, especially in indoctrinating our children.

The idea of “white privilege” actually came from guilty white academics!
The term was popularized by Peggy McIntosh,
feminist activist and women’s studies scholar
who wrote a paper called “White Privilege and Male Privilege:
A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences
Through Work in Women’s Studies” in 1988.

Now, these social sciences radicals are trying say that math is racist!
“2 + 2 = 4” is part of white supremacy, etc..
This is not only stupidly insane but dangerous.
Not to mention, it actually disempowers people of color and makes
them the left’s slaves because they will not longer be able to
function on their own in the marketplace.
This is NOT compassionate.
It’s evil.
Not only that, we will cease to function as a society
if we fully embrace this nonsense.
If we survive at all, our society will become feudal,
where the intellectuals and globalist plutocrats rule over
miseducated peasant masses.
But, apparently,
that’s what some of them want.
The rest are the indoctrinated sheeple.

Next, Citizen Tom has also offered a similar post:

https://familyallianceonline.org/2021/07/08/crt-challenge-racist-teaching/

If, as a parent, you think CRT is a liberating sort of mindset that your child
needs to be exposed to, you are sadly mistaken.
CRT is a form of deep divide and Marxism at its best.

It will drive a dangerous wedge between our students and teachers.

All the while, how we teach children will never be the same.
Go back and read your history lessons…our global history.
Go back to Germany following WWI and read the impetus for
the likes of an Adolph Hitler…read of a Valdimr Lenin, a Karl Marx,
a Leon Trotsky, a Joseph Stalin, a Fredrich Engles, a Mao Zedong…
read about what happened on the opposite end…what happened with McCarthyism…read about J Edgar Hoover and paranoia…
read what happens when certain people learn how to manipulate others.
Then read about folks like George Soros, Bill Gates and those who
think they are the wise ones while you and I are considered the goats
who simply need a herder…

And then pray my friend—pray very hard!

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant,
abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal,
not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
Avoid such people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

conspiracy, good practice or a dark path slippery slope


(Sutjeska, Tjentište, Bosnia and Herzegovina via the web)

So I did it again, I watched a bit of the news.

I caught the tail end of a story about the Biden Administration’s
desire to head out, hitting the asphalt, in order to go door to door
checking to see who has and who hasn’t gotten their COVID vaccine.

Hummmm…

Let it be known, I didn’t grow up like my parents did who spent their youthful
summers, back in the 30’s and 40’s living under a veil of fear…
fear not so much from a raging world war across an ocean but rather fear
of disease…
as in polio and tuberculosis.

Both diseases—viral and bacterial were running rampant when my parents
were young.
People were told to avoid crowds—
Summer’s, in the South back in those days, were pre air conditioning days—
Since it was hot, sticky and steamy,
everyone wanted to duck into a theater to watch a movie or head
to one of the many community pools.
Places where all types of humanity collided together.

Both places where folks were told to avoid yet beckoned for one and all.

But I can tell you, both my parents threw caution to the wind.
Dad loved his Buck Rodgers and Mother loved to swim.
Even in the big city, kids could pretty much come and go with
nary a thought as to safety.
Kids ran free—walking or riding a bike to wherever they wanted to go.

Yet the fear of contracting polio or TB was real…
especially after a 39 year old husband and father in New York
went to bed one evening with a slight fever and then
woke up in the morning and was unable to move his legs.

That 39 year old husband and father was Franklin Roosevelt.
He had somehow contracted polio.
And the rest is history.

And might we note that my grandfather, who I never met, died in 1940 from
Tuberculosis.

So I understand the reality of worry and fear regarding “catching”
a debilitating “bug.”

And so as vaccines were formulated, eventually we all began to be
‘vaccinated’.

And so as a child, I can remember receiving my polio sugar cube…a real sugar
cube doused with the vaccine.
At my elementary school, we lined up in our various grades,
wending our way to the Nurses clinic to receive our dosed sugar cube.

And blessedly with time and diligence, polio was eventually eradicated.

And so I am perplexed as to how I feel about the Biden Administration
wanting to go door to door to “check on” whether a vaccine has been
embraced or not…

I really don’t like the idea of our Government knocking on doors
checking on folks medical privacy—hence why we have HIPA—a health
privacy protection component that keeps our medical info just that…
our own.

But now…that is not so much the case.

So how do I feel about Big Government knocking on our doors
inquiring as to wether we have been vaccinated or not…and if that
answer is not, what will they then do or say????
I don’t know…but I think I’m feeling very uneasy.

I read a blog post yesterday that piqued my interest.

It was actually a re-blog from another person…
a person who thought the idea of the Big G, as in Big Government, knocking
on our doors and demanding to know whether we’d been vaccinated or not
was a reason that average citizens should be concerned.

This notion of ‘knowing’ reminds me of census takers….
those folks who are hired by the Big G government to inquire as to our income,
household numbers, etc…

How old are you?
Who is the head of your household?
What is the highest level of education reached within your household?
Can you read?
Can you write?
What is your gender?
What is your income?
Do you rent or own your home?
Etc.

Now the question is going to be, ‘are you vaccinated?’
And if your answer is no…what will that look like?

Here is a link to a copy of that post:

https://leohohmann.com/2021/07/07/what-should-you-do-when-federal-agents-arrive-at-your-door-with-questions-about-your-personal-health-decisions/

And here is an excerpt along with a look at a very interesting book–
a book I immediately ordered once I saw it:

What should you do when federal agents arrive at your
door with questions about your personal health decisions?

Below is an excerpt from a review of Black’s book by the
Alliance for Human Research Protection.

“A question that had eluded historians for decades was how
did the Nazis obtain lists of Jews – not only in Germany but
throughout Europe—whom they rapidly rounded up for deportation
and ultimately for extermination?
Black pursued this question until he found the answer:
IBM and its German subsidiary which custom-designed,
named after Herman Hollerith, who founded IBM in 1896 as
a census tabulating company.

“But when IBM Germany formed its philosophical and technologic
alliance with Nazi Germany, census and registration took on a new mission.
IBM Germany invented the racial census—listing not just religious affiliation,
but bloodline going back generations. This was the Nazi data lust.
Not just to count the Jews—but to identify them.

“People and asset registration was only one of the many uses
Nazi Germany found for high-speed data sorters.
Food allocation was organized around databases,
allowing Germany to starve the Jews. Slave labor was identified,
tracked, and managed largely through [IBM] punch cards.”

Interestingly, the IBM of today is also involved in the creation
of digital health passports, partnering with vaccine-maker
Moderna in New York’s Excelsior Pass, which is being required
for anyone attending sporting events or other large-venue events
in New York.

Microsoft is likewise partnering with the city of Los Angeles
schools and Anthem Health to implement the Daily Pass QR Health Portal
that will track every student in that district under the premise of
“protecting” people from COVID.

“The voluntary ‘health passes’ now being rolled out are just
the tip of the iceberg. Before long, they will become mandatory,
at which point unvaccinated individuals will be effectively excluded
from society,” writes Dr. Joseph Mercola in his article IBM Partners
with Moderna for COVID Reset.

As I was reading this post, I was intrigued by this book
regarding IBM and Nazi Germany.
How DID the Germans know the names and locations of all the Jews??

I always wondered how they knew such without the type of technology we
possess today.

And of all organizations…it was IBM who gave up those names
and information.
It was a business that was first charged with, of all things,
census information.

The Nazis knew because IBM had documented households…
their ethnicity, their income, their religion, their family members…

So how do I feel about the Big G government coming to my door inquiring as
to whether or not we’ve been vaccinated….?
I don’t know.
I’be been vaccinated but do I want Big G to be privy to such???
Again, I don’t know.
What will the repercussion be if a household opts not to answer…
what if they actually refuse to answer yay or nay?

What of personal choice?

A dangerously slippery slope…

But Peter and the apostles answered,
“We must obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:29

Celebrate our Nation’s day of Independence

“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom,
can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”
“…Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty,
may acquire fresh Property:
But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom,
can never be restored.

John Adams


(Julie Cook / 2018)

Notice how I use the phrase “celebrate our Nation’s day of Independence.
Not the day for privileged white people, not the BLM day,
not the vaccinated people’s day…but the day for the entire Nation—
as she celebrates her Independence…
As in all Americans…

May it always be…

I’ll be back in a few days after the Mayor and Sheriff head home….

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.
It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same,
or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and
our children’s children what it was once like in the
United States where men were free.”

Ronald Reagen

Fall from Grace…(a re-post, sort of)

So I’ve obviously decided to stroll a bit down memory lane recently,
doing so again today by pulling some thoughts from past posts—
this one comes from Veteran’s Day 2017—and yet it remains very relevant
for today as we ready to celebrate our Nation’s birthday…

“Freedom has been elevated to a total eclipse of a person’s obligations,
to a freedom from any obligation.

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

“After the Western ideal of unlimited freedom….
here is the true Christian definition of freedom.
Freedom is self-restriction!
Restriction of the self for the sake of others!”

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn


(Washington with troops at Valley Forge / Adam Asar)

In his book A Pope and A President, Paul Kengor recalls the admonishment of a young senator from Massachusetts to a college audience….

“In 1955…Senator Kennedy told Assumption College that the Communists had a ‘fear’
of Christianity and allowed ‘no room for God.’

In a passage that could have been spoken by President Ronald Reagan
thirty years later, Kennedy said that Communists sought
‘to make the worship of the State the ultimate objective of life’
and could not ‘permit a higher loyalty, a faith in God,
a belief in a religion that elevates the individual, acknowledges his
true value, and teaches him devotion and responsibility to something
beyond the here and now.

As president, Kennedy candidly warned America of its “atheistic foe,” the
fanaticism and fury” of communions, and the “communist conspiracy” that
“represents a final enslavement.”
“The enemy is the communist system itself—implacable, insatiable, unceasing
in its drive for world domination,” Declared Kennedy.
“This [is] a struggle for supremacy between two conflicting ideologies”
freedom under God versus ruthless, goddess tyranny.”

“Years later President Reagan went to the home of Senator Ted Kennedy…
where he spoke at an endowment fundraiser for the John F. Kennedy Presidential
Library. On hand were Jackie and her two grown children.
Reagan commended JFK for his shrewdness in recognizing the enemy:
“He understood the tension between good and evil in the history of man;
understood, indeed,
that much of the history of man can be seen in the constant working out
of that tension.”

Reagan noted that Kennedy knew that the United States had adversaries,
real adversaries,and they weren’t about to be put off by soft reason and
good intentions.
He tried always to be strong with them and shrewd.”

And so it’s hard for me, in this very surreal 21st century of ours,
to imagine that there were once two presidents serving roughly 20 years apart—
men from two very different parties, two very different men, who each understood
what exactly was this nation’s collective enemy.

These two very different men who, despite being decades apart in their service to
their nation as well as being nearly 30 years apart in age…men who were each of
different ideologies, could actually collectively agree at that juncture in time
on a single threat.
Something that we see today which has become more satirical farce
rather than serious consideration.

And not only did these two very different presidents understand who the
collective enemy was…they also deeply understood the connection between a nation
who rested under God’s dominion verses a nation resting under the dominion of man.

Imagine today the party of Kennedy speaking about an “atheistic foe”…
Or referring to an adversarial nation as having “no room for God”
as well as those who have a fear of a Christian nation—
Imagine that a leader of the party of Kennedy would actually claim the United States
to be a “God fearing, Christian nation”
That there would be those who would speak of godlessness when referring to
oppressive regimes.

Imagine the party of Reagan, in turn, speaking words of agreement…

Oh how far we have fallen from who we once were.

When did it happen?

When did we think it necessary to scorn and scoff the notion of being
collectively under the yoke of an Omnipotent Creator?
When did we decide that we were free of any obligations other than to our own
selfish individual whims and agendas?

When did we decide there was no real good nor evil…
rather just the altar of individual humanism?

And what is the irony that the words of a one time Soviet dissident
would remind us, those of us who have lived in and with “freedom” most of our
lives, that our’s is a precious gift…one that we have been entrusted with
to cherish and maintain…as blood has been spilled and lives have been lost
all in the name of this very “freedom.”

It has mattered not whether we were black nor white,
male or female, freeman or enslaved individual…we toiled
through wars with others as well as wars with ourselves
so that ultimately ALL men and women living under our one flag
could and would be free.

And so I look around and wonder now—why is there such divisiveness?
Why is there such strife?
We have all fought too hard and too long to believe the lies
of those whose desire it is to destroy our way of life.

And I say that as I speak of those within our own Nation.

It would behoove us as individuals as well as a Nation to
recall, as well as honor, the selfless sacrifices made by those
men and women who, since those early days when we were but a collection
of bedraggled colonies…
a people, who down through the decades, understood exactly who
the enemy always was and that we as human beings have been called
to a greater good…

These selfless brave men and these women who have served and continue to serve
our Nation have often offered the ultimate sacrifice of both lives and limbs,
all for a Nation that now is at war with itself…having lost her way.

May their service never have been in vain.
And may we always hold our freedom from tyranny dear…

“…it would have seemed quite impossible, in America,
that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose,
simply for the satisfaction of his whims.
Subsequently, however, all such limitations were eroded everywhere in in the west;
a total emancipation occurred from the moral heritage of Christ
ian
centuries with the great reserve of mercy and sacrifice.”
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

My heart shall become your heart (a re-post)

****I read a marvelous post yesterday over on Mel Wild’s site, In My Father’s House.
Here’s a link to the post:
https://melwild.wordpress.com/2021/06/29/compassion-more-than-all-our-doing/

Mel spoke about compassion—the compassion of Christ…
In his post, Mel examined the latest episode of The Chosen…the same episode
I had also discussed earlier in the week regarding Mary’s falling backwards…

As the storyline played out, we saw how Mary felt that Jesus would
never give her a second chance, not after she turned away from Him and that initial healing.
How could He?
He’d healed her once and here she’d turned away from that healing
and fell back into her old familiar and damaging ways.

But in that encounter between Savior and sinner, we see a deep
and unending compassion.

That touched a deep chord with me.

Falling and failing, over and over…
and yet we are only met, time and time again, with three simple words.
“I forgive you”

Here is a post I offered back in 2014.
7 years have passed…much has happened in my life
and in the life of our country in those past 7 years.

Yet the same need and desire remains….

“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time,
so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work.
I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!!
I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman,
but to KILL IT! No half measures will do.
I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there;
rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me,
the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams.
Turn them ALL over to me,
give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image.
Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself.
My will, shall become your will.
My heart, shall become your heart.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


(Orchid / Julie Cook / 2014)

Oh that this strong request of yours could only be answered with a swift response of “yes.”
That I could and would whole heartedly shout at the top of my lungs
YES!!
YES!
I will give you myself.
All of myself.
I shall hold nothing back.
I am yours.
Yes, take all of me.

Yet, this demand of yours, this most intimate demand from the purest essence of Love,
is meet by my hesitation, my doubts, my frozen in time inability to immediately scream “yes.”
I hesitate.
Why?
I stumble over the words.
I hold back.

You reassure me.
You make me a promise
You have proven the promise.
And yet, I balk.
The “I” must be broken
Why can’t I let go?
Why won’t the “I” let go?
Am I afraid of being broken?
Being broken by you would be so much better than remaining whole as the captive of “I”
Still I find the words unable to slip from my mouth.

You sense my hesitation.
You see my reluctance.
You take my hand.
Suddenly, within that single touch, there is a cosmic explosion which shakes the very foundation of my world.
At the very moment you touch me, there is something so overpowering, something so beautiful which takes places.
I have never felt this before.
A connection
A oneness
It’s as if the brokeness, which I never fully comprehended, is immediately made whole.

And just as quickly as our hands meet, I pull away.
I look away.
It’s all too much.
I can’t.
If you honestly knew, knew everything, you’d walk away
You should walk away.
Others are better than I.
Others have not done the things I have done.
The things I am ashamed for you to discover.
You really don’t want me.
You really don’t know me
You really don’t know. . .

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not,
for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.

(Isaiah 43:1-28)

The love song plays out,
You reveal everything I’ve hidden.
I am ashamed and want to turn away.
Yet you continue watching.
There is only acceptance in your eyes.
Pieces of a broken heart lay scattered on the floor.
You pick up the pieces, putting them back together,
handing me the final piece.

Again, You extend your hand.
You whisper my name.
“My heart shall become your heart” you whisper ever so gently–
“You will be mine and I will be yours” for all of eternity
Love lies bare and open between us.
“Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!
(Song of Solomon 4:1)
I hear those words flowing from your heart.
A heart that has broken for me.
“Yes”
“Yes”
The word now slowly falling from my mouth.
Take me as I am and make me yours.
All that was is suddenly no more.
I will give you my heart…
I want nothing more than for my heart to now become your heart…
as the last piece of the puzzle is finally put back in place.

Winners and losers

Winners embrace hard work.
They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win.
Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment.
And that’s the difference.

Lou Holtz


(Hammer throw: DeAnna Price (263-6), Brooke Andersen (255-0),
Gwendolyn Berry (241-2) )

Quick…
Who won the gold medal in this week’s US Track and Field trials
for the women’s hammer throw???

Yeah…
I thought so…you didn’t know.
And I confess, I didn’t either.

But chances are both you and I knew who came in 3rd.

And that is the real shame here.

We knew who came in 3rd because she created a stink.
A national televised stink.
All because she had to put her rear on her shoulder when hearing the
National Anthem being played.

Why is that you ask?
Well, it seems she’s an ‘activist athlete.’

Yeah, I didn’t know it was a thing either.

She’s not a fan of our patriotism.
She’s not a fan of our flag nor of our Nation’s anthem nor of our
Nation in general.

And yet she wants to represent said Nation…
the same Nation she’s not so much a fan
of in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
Go figure.

Once upon a time I ran high school track, I was a captain of our team
and later, once I was teaching, I was a high school girl’s track coach.

I understand sports and I understand training and I understand
being on and being part of a team.

Team is bigger than self.
What one represents is greater than self and sometimes,
it’s even greater than team.

Self is all about just that, self.
It’s a ‘look at me’ mentality.
It’s a ‘I’m going to use this platform to express my personal agenda.”
Personal agendas on a team tend to make things really crowded.

But you know what…folks don’t care so much about an athlete’s personal agenda
as much as they care about that athlete’s individual ability and skills.

Recently, I was watching a show about college sports.

A sportscaster was waxing poetic over the allure that college sports
seems to hold over those who follow it.
That of both students and fans.

The sportscaster was focusing on college football since that was what
the program was about, college football.

He spoke in terms of a religious sort of draw that college sports holds
over folks.

Be that good or bad, I got it.
I understood what he was talking about.

He explained that we all need and want something greater than ourselves
in order to bring us together…we yearn for something to unify us.
That’s an underlying human desire.

In an increasingly secular society, this sportscaster noted that
college sports often fills that bill.

As society moves further away from its religious roots, it seeks
something else to fill that void…something tangible to cling to.

And so again, for good or bad, our sport teams draw us in.

They unite us in ways that other things can’t.
We find ourselves having a common focus with a common goal.

It matters not our color, gender or creed, nor of our bank account
degree, GPA or political affiliation…
our team is our unifying focus.

We get behind said team in solidarity as we cheer it on.
We pine when it loses and we may even cuss it, but when it wins,
we win.

We don our school colors, we carry our flags, we sing our school’s song.
We lock arms with complete strangers as we chant our team to victory.
And we cry upon one another’s shoulders when we lose.

We feel the same way about our Olympians.
They are the best of our best.
They are the pride of our Nation
And in turn they unify our Nation.
They help us to forget the bad in the country and in the world.
They give us all something greater than our worries and misery
they give us a new focus and something we can cheer for.

It’s as if we can forget the reality around us for two weeks every four years.
(two years if when we count both Summer and Winter Olympics)
We band together while we huddle around a television at home, school, at work,
or in a bar.

It is that famous thrill of victory and that painful agony of defeat
all of which we viscerally and collectively feel…together.

So when an athlete opts to veer away from the focus of the game,
we have a hard time getting on board.
Our focus is of the timing, the height, the length, the speed, the execution,
the millisecond of time that separates gold from silver, or bronze from
loss.

We try desperately to will our athletes on to victory.
In part because they represent each one of us.
Theirs are our own vicarious goals and hopes.

So I have very little patience with an athlete who opts to use an athletic
platform as a political platform—in the the most recent case, it
was a literal matter of a podium.

There is a time and a place.
Standing on a podium is not the place for one’s personal agenda..
it is not the time for a raised fist or a turned back.

It is a time of respect.
Respect for something much greater than self.

It is a time for a nation to celebrate and not a time for one to snub
that very nation nor the very people who have cheered said athlete on to
that platform.

Winners or losers—I suppose we all choose.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world—-our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that
Jesus is the Son of God?

1 John 5:4-5