A tit for tat, a gerbil on a wheel or just life in middle school…

The cry against the idea of moral retribution reveals several deep-lying misconceptions.
These have to do with the holiness of God, the nature of man,
the gravity of sin and the awesome wonder of the love of God as expressed in redemption.
Whoever understands these even imperfectly will take God’s side forever,
and whatever He may do they will cry with the voice out of the altar,
“Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments”
(Revelation 16:7).
Perhaps Moody’s word about this is as wise as any that has ever been uttered.
He said, “No man should preach on hell until he can do it with tears in his eyes.”

A. W. Tozer


(a final look at my old den during the NFL playoffs / Julie Cook / 2020)

Our days are numbered in this house of ours—this is the week of the BIG move.

It’s funny, when your world is changing and turned upside down, for whatever reason,
we humans tend to want to cling desperately to anything and everything that generates
a sense of routine…a sense of that which we know, a sense of the familiar
a sense of normalcy.
A routine of sorts.

Life, in most of our collective arenas, is a far cry from “normal”

So for me I’m trying to find that balance–on a personal level, spiritual
level and even on an average citizen level.

This move has been long and drawn out for all sorts of reasons.
We’re leaving a house that is in better shape than to the house where we are going.
So there will be work.

Yet it has seemed that God has opened every door along this journey—and so there is a reason.

Yet while we’ve been packing, sorting, culling, tossing…
for me to still try and cook a decent meal— manning the kitchen,
albeit with just a remaining skillet, a cooktop and oven—
just give me a plastic fork and it’s all good.

It keeps me grounded, sane and from having a meltdown from overt change.
Because change has been on overdrive since March has it not???…
and if the truth be told, the change madness has running
rampant for the past four years—thank you politicians, news media and now China.

Being able to throw out a post or two, on some sort of regular regime, also helps me.
I told you a long time ago, I blog because I’m a retired educator.
This teacher still needs to “teach”, to share, to observe…

There is a calming peace found in regime and rhythms.

Yet this Nation of ours seems to be running on the opposite end of ‘peace’,
rhythm and rhyme.

I managed to play a bit of catch up in my WP reader yesterday and caught a post written by
our friend Pastor Jim, aka slimjim, from over on The Domain For Truth.

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2021/01/09/wicked-is-the-doctrine-of-regeneration-through-chaos/

The title of his post reached out and grabbed me by the collar..

Wicked is the Doctrine of Regeneration through Chaos

Jim’s post began with these words,

In physics energy diminishes with resistance such as friction.
But it doesn’t always work that way with politics.
Instead one extreme act provoke an equal and possibly more extreme act.
Human sinful nature doesn’t want an eye for an eye; rather some is tempted to outdo the other side.
Wicked is the doctrine of regeneration by chaos and even more wicked is this doctrine put into practice.
No one side of the political and religious and socioeconomic spectrum has a monopoly of craziness.
Everyone has a “vote” of what they say and do. For example saying stolen election
lead to the opposite side saying stolen election or worst.
Saying burning the system down will lead some to burn things down.
But others might want to burn down what the other side think is important too.
One side over run police station and have occupy zone of areas that are not theirs.
So some from the other opposite side overrun the Capitol;
but what further extreme reaction will be done next by those who disagree and
are displeased with this?

I tend to have that sort of Rorschach test reaction.
You know, it’s that “quick what do you see??”
But in the case of reading a title to certain posts, I have that
‘quick, what comes to mind?’ sort of thought.

When reading Jim’s title to his post, I thought of the idiocy of a tit for tat.
You know…that childish back and forth business.
Adults might know it as the bravado of posturing.
As in an “I can do anything you can do better…I can do anything better than you…
yes I can, no you can’t…”
And on and on it goes.

Think of a gerbil on it’s spinning wheel—running around and around and going nowhere.
That is pretty much what we are witnessing.
A matter of we hate you, NO, we hate you more.

Sigh

And that’s when it dawned on me…we are living life in a perpetual state of middle school.

I will be without the internet within a day or two and not totally certain when I’ll be reconnected
in our new location…I’ll have my phone but won’t be posting from the phone as I don’t have
that much patience. I will be checking in however.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body,
whether good or bad.

2 Corinthians 5:10

So much change yet so much anticipation…

There is a rich parallel between farming soil and spiritual soil.
It’s no accident that one of the most important virtues of the Christian life is humility,
a word that stems from the Latin word “humus”, meaning “earth”, or literally, “on the ground.”
Humility is a virtue required of men and women alike,
and truly the one virtue all the saints hold in common.

Carrie Gress and Noelle Mering
from Theology of Home II: The Spiritual Art of Homemaking


(early January 2020 / the sun comes up over the ocean / Julie Cook)

I took the above picture almost exactly a year ago to the day.
It was early January 2020…

2020.

Let that soak in.

A year, that before it would blessedly come to a close, we would all eventually grow to loath.

Yet on this particular morning in January of 2020, it was just a quiet walk along the beach.
Life was life.
Peace was found in the rhythmic sounds of an undulating surf that simply
was breathing in and out.

We had yet to hear of words such as Wuhan, COVID, Coronavirus, pandemic,
lockdown, masks, George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, riots, protests, CHAZ, socialism,
radicalism…
words that would soon come washing over us like a callous Tsunami.

There was however already the nauseating media circus over an impeachment proceeding…
but had we not all basically grown somewhat numb to the media’s OCD obsession over
all things Trump?

And who could have known that a year ago, when life seemed typical and average…we would find
ourselves, a year later, yearning and pleading for things to be just that…
simply typical and average?

I learned a long time ago to be cautious about wishing one’s life away.

On a collective whole, we have all grown to hate the year 2020.

Oh there are some who had joy throughout the year, but we haven’t
heard much about that joy or the positive milestones nor of the blessings.
Rather we have been inundated with the negative, the darkness, the isolation
and the death.

And so the collective thought is for a good riddance to 2020.
Yet in that good riddance, we must be both willing and open
for welcoming in a new and unknown.

So my prayer on this new day of this new and unknown year is appropriately
from the Book of Psalms…sung prayers.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.

Psalm 143:8

A Happy NEW year to us all!

“If you would suffer with patience, the adversities and miseries of this life,
be a man of prayer.
If you would obtain courage and strength to conquer the temptations of the enemy,
be a man of prayer.
If you would mortify your own will with all its inclinations and appetites,
be a man of prayer.
If you would know the wiles of Satan and unmask his deceits,
be a man of prayer.
If you would live in joy and walk pleasantly in the ways of penance,
be a man of prayer.
If you would banish from your soul the troublesome flies of vain thoughts and cares,
be a man of prayer.
If you would nourish your soul with the very sap of devotion,
and keep it always full of good thoughts and good desires,
be a man of prayer.
If you would strengthen and keep up your courage in the ways of God, be a man of prayer.
In fine, if you would uproot all vices from your soul and plant all virtues in their place,
be a man of prayer.
It is in prayer that we receive the unction and grace of the Holy Ghost, who teaches all things.”

St. Bonaventure, p. 25-26
An Excerpt From
The Ways of Mental Prayer

East to West, West to East…and a very Merry Christmas to all!

The journey of the wise men took them from the east to the west…
and that’s the journey that Christianity took.
It started in Israel and it moves to Rome, the capital of the world.

Dr. Edmund Mazza
from Rediscovering Christmas


(ode to my world / Julie Cook / 2020)

Is that a bunch of presents, all tied up with a bow?
Oh.
No.
No, it’s not.
Wait, where’s the tree???
Is there a tree??

Yes, it’s in the basement, ready to be loaded on a truck.

What you’re seeing is just a small snippet of boxes and bubble wrapped pieces all
from a home ready for moving.

Who moves during a pandemic?
Obviously, we do.

This will be our last Christmas in a house that has witnessed 21 of our 37 Christmases.
Yet we’re off to see the Mayor and Sherrif for Christmas…so the cats will have to
carry on Christmas day without us.

The catnip is locked up!

The quote I used today by Dr. Mazza is somewhat technically true.
Things did seem to travel from east to west.

I somehow think that our Orthodox brethren might be able to agree on that eastern part—
as when we think of the east…we think ‘Eastern’ Orthodox…
However, they might dispute that notion of Rome being the capital of the world as
that capital kind of moved, at some point in ancient time, to Constantinople
(modern-day Istanbul)–

And of course it did sort of move back Rome’s way before it began heading off west again, spiraling, splintering and dividing– but I digress…
So we’ll just leave that footnote to be argued by the theologians and historians.

And so here I am in the west, preparing to move to the east.
Perhaps a bit backward…however by going east, I might just be heading back homeward.

Things are beginning to look barren and sparse.

Before:

After:

So as I live amongst the boxes and now travel over to share a magical time with both
the Mayor and Sheriff–
just know that I wish each of you a joyous, safe, healthy, and blessed Christmas!!!

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be
taken of the entire Roman world.
(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria).
And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,
to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
He went there to register with Mary,
who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,
because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is the Messiah, the Lord.
This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened,
which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby,
who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread
the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things
they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

Luke 2:1-20

bring back our sons…a sad, frustrating and familiar plea

“Stop killing our children, bring back our children,”
Amrata Hamza mother of an abducted child, taken at the hands of the Islamic
Terrorist organization Boko Haram


(The mother of Muhammad Bello, one the students who was abducted by gunmen,
reacts in Kankara, Nigeria, on Monday. (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters))

Well it appears that in these days of all-consuming news of all things election and or pandemic…
somehow I missed a most tragic story out of Nigeria.
It’s a story that actually took place nearly three weeks ago.

A deja vu sort of tale.
As I wrote a post 6 years ago about a very similar incident.

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/bring-back-our-girls/

It seems that there has been another mass kidnapping of kids from a private boarding school
in Nigeria at the hands of the notorious Islamic group Boko Haram.

A massive group of armed gunmen stormed a school in the northern section of the country
and took over 600 boys as prisoner…or captives or whatever it is one calls the taking of
so many kids.
A mass kidnapping.

Here are excerpts from the story that I read on Fox…

A Nigerian woman whose only son is among the more than 330 boys still missing
after being kidnapped from their school in the northern Katsina state last week pleaded
for their return in a protest Tuesday,
as the jihadist rebel group Boko Haram reportedly claimed responsibility for the mass abduction.

Hundreds of gunmen with assault rifles on Friday surrounded the Government Science Secondary School (GSSS),
an all-boys boarding school in the town of Kankara,
firing at police before rounding up students and forcing them to march through the heavily
forested region in separated groups, witnesses have said.

The Daily Nigerian said Tuesday it received an audio message from Boko Haram
leader Abubakar Shekau saying that his group abducted the schoolboys because
Western education is against the tenets of Islam.

“Stop killing our children, bring back our children,”
Amrata Hamza, whose only son was abducted, told local broadcaster CLIQQ TV during a protest
organized Tuesday. “I don’t know the condition of my son.
I’m speechless.
I can’t talk, I have not drank water since I arrived in Kankara.
There is much sunlight, I know our children are thirsty,
they are hungry. Please help us bring back our children.”

The Nigerian government said a joint rescue operation was launched Saturday by state police,
air force, and army after the military engaged in gunfights with bandits after locating
their hideout in the Zango/Paula forest.
Many of the initial 600 male students taken from the school escaped their captors,
but more than 330 remained unaccounted for as of Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

This latest episode comes six years after Boko Haram kidnapped more than 270 schoolgirls
from their dormitory at the Government Secondary School in Chibok in northeastern Borno State
in April 2014.
First Lady Michelle Obama spotlighted the issue at the time with the hashtag
#BringBackOurGirls.

About 100 of the girls are still missing.
Boko Haram said at the time that it wanted to stop women from attending schools.
The recent incident at the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara,
is the worst attack on a boys’ school since February 2014,
when 59 boys were killed during a Boko Haram attack on the Federal Government College
Buni Yadi in Yobe state.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/nigeria-boys-school-kidnapping-boko-haram

These are the types of stories that should outrage us as a global family but instead,
everyone is more focused on the election circus taking place in the US.
As well as whether or not it will be safe to take this hurried up and rushed vaccine
in order to stem the tide of a raging pandemic.

And what of the millions upon millions of dollars that have been poured into the elections–
elections on the national level as well as state level.
Money poured into campaingns by the likes of silcon valley, tech oligarchs,
leftist liberals…all the while children suffer, families suffer.
Suffering locally as well as globally.

Protecting children is, as adults, our responsibility.
It matters not that if it is at the local level of responsibility or
that of a global responsiblilty.
Children are our heart, soul and future.

No full term aboritions.
No abortions, period.
No sex trafficking.
No child prostituion.
No abuse.
No kidnapings.

Only our protection, love and guidence.

Let us pray for those boys as well as for their aching families.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones.
For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Matthew 18:10

culling memories

What is a man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness
of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to man.
All things are connected.
This we know.
Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth.
Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Chief Seattle


(purging a now 32 year old son’s baby clothes)

Spending today in the attic, sorting, and yes purging boxes of clothes that
should have been purged long ago…
this mother of an only child, who is trying to part with each and everything that was worn or played
with by this only child, was finding it painfully difficult.
Pulling out each piece of small, often stained, clothing…
past moments frozen in time, came racing viscerally back to the forefront of
my heart’s consciousness.

The small flannel footed pj’s worn by a young boy who was afraid of the night–
stealing himself from his own bed, standing silently by his mother on her side of her bed
waiting until she finally opened her eyes in order to lift the young boy,
placing him in a place of safety…nestled between his sleeping dad and now wide awake mom.

Night after night for nearly four years, this young boy was fearful…
until his grandfather bought him bunkbeds.

Found was a Christening outfit, a first Christmas onesie, a first Easter two piece,
a pair of Teenage mutant Nija Turtle sandals worn as part of an early Halloween costume…
the crochet teddy bear onesie…

Pieces of 30 some odd years ago that seem just like yesterday.

Sigh.

Maybe it’s this year, this surreal year of 2020…
Maybe it’s the packing up and moving one’s life after so many years.
Maybe it’s the time of year of all things Advent and Christmas.

A watchful time…a time of waiting for what is coming.

So much is coming.

Are we ready?
Are you ready?

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it.
The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.
Another book was opened, which is the book of life.
The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
The sea gave up the dead that were in it,
and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was
judged according to what they had done.
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
The lake of fire is the second death.
Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown
into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15

cancel Christmas, bah humbug!

“If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’
on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of
holly through his heart. He should!”

Ebeneezer Scrooge


(Alistair Sim as Scrooge)

So I’m currently up to my elbows in bubble wrap…as we continue the overwhelming task of
packing up the house for a move in mid-January.

But despite my current state of distraction, I have managed to hear, read and see the growing
crescendo of rumblings being offered up by various governmental leadership, on both sides of the pond,
all talking about “canceling” Christmas.

Canceling Christmas?

Hummmmm…

Well it seems that I am not the only one who has heard of these latest
COVID restrictions being mulled over by the various politicians both far and near.

Mandated—-

There shall be no collective gatherings—or so they say.

No family get-togethers.
No Midnight mass.
No live nativities.
No shared meals.
No singing.
No caroling.
No parties.
No worship.

So instead of mistletoe and Christmas pageants, there are to be fines, warrants,
and arrests for anyone choosing to defy the Draconian proclamations.
Woe be unto anyone who wants to live out a life full of the depth of holiday cheer
and Christian Joy.

It seems that our friend the Wee Flea, the Pastor David Roberston, hailing
these days from the land down under, has written his latest post about this very notion–
the idea of canceling Christmas.

David even offered up a bit of a history lesson—
Did you know that Christmas was once actually illegal in England?…

“After all was it not Cromwell who banned Christmas?
Not quite…

On 19 December 1643, the English Parliament passed a law encouraging its citizens to treat
the mid-winter period ‘with the more solemn humiliation because it may call to
remembrance our sins, and the sins of our forefathers, who have turned this feast,
pretending the memory of Christ, into an extreme forgetfulness of him,
by giving liberty to carnal and sensual delights’.
From then until 1660, Christmas was actually illegal in England.
In Scotland we banned it from 1640 until 1686.
In fact Christmas was not a public holiday in Scotland until 1958 (unlike New Year) –
Boxing Day in 1974.
We can’t blame Cromwell for that.

I have grown to love Christmas as a great time to reflect upon the incarnation
and to communicate the Gospel.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see –
hail the incarnate Deity.
Yet I also loathe the commercialism, excess and
‘carnal and sensual delights’. Excessive drunkenness,
as well as the declining popularity of the church,
meant that the tradition of midnight Christmas carols, was already becoming less.
Who knows, but Covid may have killed it off?
In St Peter’s in Dundee I introduced a carol service and a Christmas day service –
both were great opportunities for outreach and fellowship.
I suspect McCheyne would not have approved.

But what about this year?
In Sydney, we are debating about whether we can go ahead with outdoor carol services
and get over the ridiculous ban on singing.
In the UK and the US, I suspect the Covid hysteria will be ongoing and
just when they need some Christmas cheer they will be reduced to what
the Scottish Government is calling a ‘digital Christmas’.
It won’t be long before the daily message from politicians includes the
sickly message that Santa is not banned.

But perhaps we can give a different message?
Perhaps churches can ‘reset’ so that we turn Christmas to what it should be –
a celebration of the incarnate God. At a time when churches are being urged
to be less incarnational we can proclaim the one who did not come ‘digitally’,
nor did he die or rise ‘spiritually’.
He came in the flesh.
Pleased as man with man to dwell.
A real baby, with real tears (crying he did make),
in a real world where an unknown number of baby boys were killed in an attempt to get him.
Real angels…real shepherds….a real star…and real glory.
In a world that is governed by misery and fear, we can bring
‘good news of great joy for all the people’.

We should be singing like the angels in the public square…
we should be proclaiming Christ from the rooftops, in our pulpits
and on our digital platforms.
We should be looking at creative ways to engage church,
children and community with the Gospel.
Perhaps some will not be permitted to bring people to church –
but is there any reason why we cannot go out –
by whatever means possible – and, like the angels, take the good news of
‘glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men on whom his favour rests’?
Instead of churches seeing Christmas as an exhausting burden of endless services,
perhaps we can find a more sustainable way to use this
time to proclaim and glorify Christ.
Maybe even Cromwell would approve of that.

Have Yourself A Merry Cromwellian Christmas – AP

And so I now think about Christmas.

I think about the secular vs the spiritual of Christmas.

I think about what it means to keep Christmas in our hearts.

And so, as Tiny Tim said, “A Merry Christmas to us all;
God bless us, every one!”

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me,
the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience
as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God,
be honor and glory forever and ever.
Amen.

Timothy 1:15-17

Yes, God bless us each and everyone!!!

police state

The treatment of churches during the Covid 19 scare has ranged from the
unreasonable and illogical to the illegal.

Dr. Gavin Ashenden


(A book store in Padua, Itlay (Padova) / Julie Cook / 2014)

When I was in high school enduring my tenure during those required lit classes,
be it American lit or British Lit, we had to read such books as 1984, A Brave New World,
Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, The Crucible, The Scarlet Letter… ad infinitum.

And I made no bones about it, I hated each and every one of those books.
I was known for being a vocal student so I’m sure my teachers just loved hearing me
complain.

Dark, ominous, surreal…stories that showcased the devolvement of humankind…
that of the more sinister, twisted, demented, malevolent, cruel, sadistic…
tales that spoke of hopelessness…worlds without the Hope of Salvation.

During my teens, during those heady days of the mid-’70s, tales of the surreal
left me uncomfortable if not frustrated.

During those days, I was actively involved in my local EYC, my Episcopal youth group,
as well as the non-denominational Young Life Christian organization.
My lens was that of the Born Again, Charismatic, Jesus Freak movements.
I was focused on Hope springing from despair…not despair spawning deeper despair.

And yet oddly I preferred books such as The Catcher the Rye, The Old Man and the Sea,
A Farewell to Arms, The Red Badge of Courage…
but if the truth be told–
I actually loved what we had to read in my Sociology and Russian History classes—
classes where I read the likes of Solzhenitsyn, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky.
Truthful books that examined humankind by authors who held to the knowledge of a
God greater than man.

So if I had discontent with my Lit. classes from way back in the day,
just imagine my discontent with our current world.
A world that is more like the sad world portrayed in those books we read in lit class.

A world that is fulfilling a prohpesy of the twisted, sinister, demented, malevolent,
cruel, sadistic and hopeless that men from a different time period foretold
in what was thought to be a far and distant future.

This little trip down memory lane came racing to my conciousness yesterday
after reading Dr. Ashenden’s lastest post.
His was a tale about a surreal police state and today’s Chruch…
both of which are caught up in life during a pandemic.

Life precariously and frigtheningly imitiating fiction…

Christians are being harassed in churches by police who did not know the law.

the strange times in which we live

If someone had said 20 years ago that Christians in this country,
which prides itself on its religious freedoms,
would soon have to gather in secret
for fear of being arrested or charged with ruinous fines,
they would not have been believed.

Dr. Gavin Ashenden


(areil shot of a Christmas pyramid / Julie Cook / 2013)

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found,
call ye upon him while he is near:

Isaiah 55:6

Reading this line from Isaiah yesterday I was struck by some of the wording…
as in ‘hit on the head’ sort of struck.

It was the use of the words ‘may be found’ and ‘while he is near’…
meaning, there is no guarantee that He will always be able to be found
nor that He will always be near.

Whoa.

So in turn, this must mean that there will be a time when what we take for granted will
no longer be around…
As in no longer available.
No longer an option.

I read this particular verse after I had read Dr. Gavin Ashenden’s
latest post.
A post that any Christian reading would find unsettling.
A post entitled “the turning of Christians into criminals.

The turning of Christians into criminals…

Dr. Ashenden was writing about a problem that he is currently witnessing taking place in the UK…
He writes about a current problem that is taking place in an area we’d normally take for granted.
The problem is the conducting of church worship and religious services.
Activities that normally would never be an issue but then again this year happens to be
anything but a normal year—and so everything and anything seems to be an issue.

And since there is a pandemic, there is thus a glitch.

Activities we take for granted such as exercising our religious freedoms, are
now a problem during a pandemic.
Or might the pandemic be a rouse; more of an excuse for those enemies of the
Faith to flex an intolerant muscle?

Dr. Ashenden’s lamentations might as well have been written about our lives
as worshipers here in the States.

The signs are very troubling on both sides of the pond in that there is very
little that seems to be separating us and that of our leadership’s approach to this pandemic.
In a word…shut them down…but by all means, keep Walmart up and running.

The good doctor notes:
“In an increasingly fluid situation,
where the church is coming under more and more destructive pressure,
every Christian ought to say to the Lord,
‘What would you like me to do in this situation?’,
and I want to recognise that some Christians will find that their role is
quiet and passive and prayerful and anonymous.
Other Christians on the other end of the scale may find themselves called to martyrdom.

“One of the things that has become clearer to me is that whilst this virus
is obviously a morally neutral biological phenomenon,
it has become the instrument for evil, if evil is expressed in terms of
attacks on the worship of Christ and the integrity and the
conscience of Christians as disciples of Christ.
And that’s certainly the situation we are facing now.”

If someone had said 20 years ago that Christians in this country,
which prides itself on its religious freedoms, would soon have to gather in secret
for fear of being arrested or charged with ruinous fines, they would not have been believed.
In deciding on this legal action, the courts have the opportunity
to avert this crisis, shun the path taken by the Marxist tyrannies of the past,
and bring this country back in step with hard-won, centuries-old traditions of liberty.

After reading Dr. Ashenden’s post, I next turned to read Mel Wild’s latest offering
over on his site, In My Father’s House

https://melwild.wordpress.com/2020/11/30/subterfuge-conspiracy-theories-and-myths-that-may-be-true/

Now whereas Mel’s post is more or less examining the madness known as “this election”,
he actually has some very similar feelings akin to Dr. Ashenden’s regarding this pandemic…
a pandemic that seems to be very much “an instrument for evil”
Evil on a multitude of levels.

“We may even be led to believe that this pandemic was an accident,
that it has nothing to do with other things we’ve endured in 2020—-
the George Floyd protests-turned-endless-riots,
Marxist BLM demands to defund the police, BLM and Antifa thugs terrorizing citizens,
looting and burning down some of our cities,
the economic lockdowns which severely damaged small businesses but greatly benefited
the corporate and big tech oligarchs,

and even the election chaos that’s still being uncovered right now.”

“Is this all just a coincidence?
Are these events unrelated?
Maybe so, but some experts say, no.
They say all it’s all very much connected.”

Mel does conclude however on a positive note of hope…
“Now, the good news! While it can be very discouraging when we see the
overwhelming evil that’s been perpetrated against our country,
I want to encourage you not to lose heart.
Not only has Christ already won the ultimate epic battle,
but we’re not done with the ideological and political battles either.
We must stay strong and put our hope in God, not political outcomes.

The script over this year has not been fully written, and many things are still in play.
This election is far from over. There are still many legal battles and surprises yet to come.
This all could just be a prelude to something unexpected and wonderful!”

And so I am brought back to where I began this little observational post, back to Isaiah.

I believe it would behoove all of us, no more importantly so than now,
in these odd times in which we find ourselves living,
to know that we must seek God—as in seeking Him now while He can still be found and
call upon Him by all means while He is still near to hear…
because sooner rather than later, He will have moved on…taking many with Him,
but sadly leaving many behind.

For you see it’s a choice on our part.
We follow Him or we don’t.
There is no time for capitulation and no time to kneel before the State.

Seek and call…now, while the time remains…

Have you ever seen such a terrible sight…

“I have no desire to suffer twice, in reality and then in retrospect.”
Sophocles


(The very unhappy Mayor and Sheriff with a wary poor Santa)

Have you ever seen such a terrible sight…
…as two miserable Christmas tykes?
(think three blind mice tune)

Given that this year is 2020…
and since we’ve now all learned the hard way, all too often, that if it can go wrong, it will…
my daughter in law got on the ball early and found a most wonderful photographer,
along with his trusty sidekick Santa, for both the Mayor and Sherrif to visit.

And given that none of us really know what visiting Santa will look like this year,
she went ahead and booked a time slot a few weeks back.

I think this Santa / photographer duo was smart in getting a jump start on the season…
what with a global pandemic and the perils of social distancing and, Heavens forbid,
a “shut down” of Santa—and so for our small clan, it was full-on HO HO HO time!

It was time to throw caution to the wind…
Forget Halloween.
Forget Thanksgiving.
Forget Black Friday (yes, please forget Black Friday oh ye consumer-driven)
Heck, forget Labor day…

Santa Claus is coming to town…or so we hope!

Yet despite all the best-laid plans…
The Mayor and Sheriff just weren’t having it.
And Santa was feeling the pain.

However, like many of us this year, I think they each finally resigned themselves that
this too shall pass…or so we hope!

Kudos to both this Santa and photographer…
I heard there had been a set of infant triplets just before our
‘oh so happy’ duo that were absolutely horrified over the whole prospect of visiting Santa!

Yep, this too shall pass

For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.

Isaiah 65:17

**(all photos copyrighted)

call me a rebel working with the saints

“I rebel; therefore I exist.”
Albert Camus

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel,
and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

George Orwell, 1984


(James Dean, from Rebel Without a Cause)

I read a great post yesterday over on Mel Wild’s site, In My Father’s House, and wanted to share.
It was posted on Halloween and Mel notes that since it was Halloween, ‘why not share our
favorite horror story of 2020—COVID 19 lockdowns.’

I want to share his words because, despite our current election diversion, we may have
missed the fact that most of Europe is currently going back under pandemic lockdowns.
And given the results of our election come Tuesday, we might be headed back down the same
dismal path.

But we are being told that it is all in the name of science you know.
But what is that science really?

So is it a bad thing to want to stop the spread of a pandemic?

Of course not… but the trouble that is found in this train of thinking, which is
supposedly based on “expert recommendations”, is that we must examine who
these experts are, we must determine who they work for and we must exhaust all
our options rather than jump straight to putting the final nail in the coffin.

Despite my rule-following, conservative, law-abiding demeanor, I have been known to harbor
a bit of a rebellious thread.

So when “the” government and the powers that ‘want to be’ are clamoring that we must
suppress the people in order to suppress a virus, I begin to wonder what is
the real angle…
what is the drive to this suppression?

So I find Mel’s post quite enlightening.
Mel bases this latest post on the words of Thomas Woods,
Senior Fellow at Mises Institute and New York Times bestselling author of 12 books.

Mel states that…as Woods put it recently,
the COVID shutdowns around the world have proven that the cure is actually worse than the problem
in more ways than one, which of course is a controversial thing to say,
but it’s hard to argue with the evidence.
I personally have been frustrated by the continued politicization of lockdowns in the name
of preventing the spread of the virus.
On that note, here’s a recent email Woods sent out about how these lockdowns
have failed to stop the virus around the world.
(Trigger warning: Woods’s views are quite libertarian and not politically correct!):

“With Massachusetts seeing a rise in “cases,”
I saw someone on Twitter lamenting that he and his fellow Massachusetts residents
had “dropped the ball.”

Notice that this person cannot admit that the voodoo doesn’t work.
It’s always because the peasants didn’t comply enough.

If you stupid people would just obey us, this thing would go away!

I understand why progressives might be attracted to this way of thinking:

(1) They hold a superstitious belief in the powers of the state —
so if the state says it can wipe out a virus, who’s to say it can’t?

(2) It involves “experts” dictating to the stupid rubes,
which is their preferred model of governance.

(3) It allows them to ridicule the working-class people they despise — why,
if only these backward hicks would “follow the science,” we’d be out of this thing already!

But let’s face facts:

Lockdowns only delay the inevitable, and they leave wreckage in their wake.
(And forget about masks: as I’ve shown before,
mask mandates have no discernible effect on the spread of the virus.
If they were as effective as people say — e.g.,
if we’d just wear masks for six weeks, we’d be out of this! —
there should be some obvious effect on the charts, but there just isn’t.
Believe me, I wish masks could solve the problem so I could get the rest of my life back.)

And what is the point of indefinitely depriving ourselves of what makes life worth living,
so we can live in an antisocial dystopia?
What are we staying alive for then?
So we can sit at home and stare at the wall?

There are other concerns in the world apart from COVID-19.
Incredible that this should have to be said.

Even some of the elderly are starting to say:
I’m at the end of my life, and you want me to spend my final months and years
like a vegetable?
What’s the point?

Meanwhile, vastly more deaths are being caused elsewhere by the policy.
Oxford’s Sunetra Gupta just published a column in the Daily Mail arguing that
the response to the virus has been worse than the virus itself.

Even the New York Times noted that excess deaths from TB, HIV, and malaria
caused as a direct result of the lockdowns will exceed two million.

I could go on and on about the collateral deaths,
but I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now.

As Professor Gupta puts it, “Lockdown is a luxury of the affluent;
something that can be afforded only in wealthy countries —
and even then, only by the better-off households in those countries.”

By the way, Prof. Gupta describes her politics as “left-wing,”
and is aghast that people think she’s part of a right-wing conspiracy
because she opposes barbaric lockdowns.

Mel finishes out his post with these words:
As we observe a day that celebrates fear,
let’s think about how we’ve been continually indoctrinated by the politically-motivated
fearmongers during this pandemic in an election year.
Let’s think for ourselves and do own research.
Again, let’s be safe and use common sense with regard to protecting our vulnerable,
but let’s also not give into fear and stop living our lives.
We need to safely open up our country and get back to living again.

Here is the link to the full post–Mel includes a video of Thomas Wood
addressing this concern

https://melwild.wordpress.com/2020/10/31/halloween-covid-dystopia/

And since today is All Saints Day, I am reminded of those souls who have
gone before us–those who we proclaim as saints—
They are saints because in actuality they were rebels.
They fought the status quo, tyrannical powers, and heresies
all in the name of God, fighting His good fight and giving their lives
by speaking Truth when Truth was unacceptable.
They lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew…
and may God help us to be one too…

I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
words by Lesbia Scott 1929

I sing a song of the saints of God,
patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died
for the Lord they loved and knew.

And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
and one was a shepherdess on the green:
they were all of them saints of God, and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.

2 They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,
and God’s love made them strong;
and they followed the right, for Jesus’ sake,
the whole of their good lives long.

And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
and one was slain by a fierce wild beast:
and there’s not any reason, no, not the least,
why I shouldn’t be one too.

3 They lived not only in ages past;
there are hundreds of thousands still;
the world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus’ will.

You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,
in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;
for the saints of God are just folk like me,
and I mean to be one too.