“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?
(Orin’s belt constelation)
Stepping out into a mild early April night…
Knowing that the world has gone mad,
I look up, wondering where you are.
Craziness awaits inside and out while I search the night sky.
I quickly search through the vast darkness.
Are you there…somewhere beyond those stars?
those three aligned stars that have always guided those who
have journeyed through the night.
Desperately and viscerally filled with pain, I long to see your face…just one more time.
to hear your voice…
to relish in your wisdom…
to rest in your embrace.
Can you look down, seeing me, looking up?
Oh for the comfort found in the cadence of your melodious voice…
Your soothing words as I wade my way through this mindfield that is now our world.
A strange new world that I do not care for.
I did not ask for this…but I know you did not ask for your own path.
We share a common bond…adoption.
Lost before we felt found.
Each struggling to make our own way.
You painfully watched my own struggle, knowing that I had to go on my own.
I still struggle and somehow there is comfort in that struggle because
I know you know.
Your had your own battles.
You fought through a world war.
Your heart broke watching your own children fall…
and you unselfishly added me to that fold.
You helped to guide a major southern city through her Civil Rights angst.
You met dignitaries along with the homeless, treating each one as the same.
And despite all the power players and demands, you remained my polestar…my guiding light.
Always pointing me toward which direction I should go.
And yet oddly now, I too have become a Polestar…
A signpost pointing others to their own direction.
Yet in all of this, I wonder… how am I to know which way is right?
How did you know?
You trusted in something, in someone, so much greater than yourself.
You always knew.
You listened and you fought your way through the brambles and vines
that vied to entangle you.
You knew I would and could do the same.
The world is now so odd.
Not like anything we’ve ever known.
And yet there remains the signpost…pointing the way.
I hear your confidence and clarity.
Just as I see it when glancing in the night sky..
It’s somewhere just past Orion’s belt…
(Julie and her Godpoppa August 1983)
“He was there alone with himself, collected, tranquil, adoring,
comparing the serenity of his heart with the serenity of the skies,
moved in the darkness by the visible splendors of the constellations,
and the invisible splendor of God, opening his soul to the thoughts which fall from the Unknown.
In such moments, offering up his heart at the hour when the flowers of night inhale their perfume,
lighted like a lamp in the center of the starry night,
expanding his soul in ecstasy in the midst of the universal radiance of creation,
he could not himself perhaps have told what was passing in his own mind;
he felt something depart from him, and something descend upon him,
mysterious interchanges of the depths of the soul with the depths of the universe.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
To such consciousness, man is the touchstone in judging
everything on earth-—imperfect man, who is never free of pride,
self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects.
We are now experiencing the consequences of mistakes which had not
been noticed at the beginning of the journey.
On the way from the Renaissance to our days, we have enriched our
experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity
which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility
(image courtesy the web)
In 1970 Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Noble Prize for Literature.
At the time, the Soviet State viewed Solzhenitsyn and his writings as both controversial and
threatening to the Communist State.
Thus Solzhenitsyn was prohibited from leaving the country in order to receive his award.
It wasn’t until four years later in 1974, after he was expelled from the USSR for treason,
only to find a new life in the United States, that Solzhenitsyn finally officially received
his award in person.
At the time the Swedish Academy noted that it was due to ‘the “ethical force” with which
he pursued the traditions of the Russian people,‘
which helped to lead the jury to bestow such an honor upon the Russian writer.
Even today, more than 100 years following Solzhenitsyn’s birth, he remains rather
an enigmatic personality.
In fact, Solzhenitsyn continues to be a controversial figure in both modern-day Russia along
with her alter ego the former Soviet Republic, as well as in the democratic West—
as he was vocally critical of both governing ideologies.
Yet I’ve often written about the importance of Solzhenitsyn and his prophetic words which remain
brilliantly relevant for those of us traversing this precarious 21st century.
In 1978 Solzhenitsyn had been invited to deliver the commencement speech at Harvard.
According to the Solzhenitsyn Center, “Solzhenitsyn’s June 8, 1978,
commencement address at Harvard was the most controversial and commented-upon
public speech he delivered during his twenty-year exile in the West,
for he critiqued the spiritual crisis of both East and West.
Solzhenitsyn is not without controversy as he was critical of both East and West…
and perhaps more so of the West as he saw in the West wasted hope.
But far from being inspired by hostility to the West,
Solzhenitsyn refuses to break faith with a civilization still capable of
drawing intellectual and spiritual sustenance from
“the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their rich reserves of mercy
Dialetika.org adds that “in that speech,
he criticizes the two central contending systems during the Cold War:
Communism and Western Capitalism.
His argument centers on what he calls “despiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness.”
The problem, according to Solzhenitsyn, lies in the predominance of these forces
at the base of all modern societies.
To such consciousness, man is the touchstone in judging everything on earth —
imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity,
and dozens of other defects.
We are now experiencing the consequences of mistakes which had not been noticed
at the beginning of the journey.
On the way from the Renaissance to our days, we have enriched our experience,
but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain
our passions and our irresponsibility.”
If anyone knows the evils of Socialism, Communism, regimes run by the oh-so
sacred ‘state’, and a life lived in a labor death camp for voicing free-thinking and thought,
it is Solzhenitsyn.
In his award-winning book The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn’s non-fictional
and auto-biographical investigation into the survival of life inside a gulag,
a Soviet forced labor camp,
Peruvian Nobel laureate, Mario Vargas Llosa noted that through this book,
Solzhenitsyn is “the man who described hell to us.”
Solzhenitsyn’s words remain as a polestar…acting as both a warning and a guide—
Words that continue to warn and remind us about what it means for mankind to lose
his/ her humanness. Words that warn about the loss of morality.
Words that warn about man becoming his own god while both forgoing and failing to yield
to a power greater than his own.
It would behoove this Nation of ours to recall the words of Solzhenitsyn.
His observations and warnings over our own arrogance and smugness especially
as we find ourselves moving into the final steps towards our November election.
With a swarth of Democratic contenders dangerously courting and even embracing
all things Socialism, Americans must never forget the suffering of those who
lived through the nightmares produced by previous nations who also
courted and embraced Socialism.
Should we even wonder why a senator and his wife would opt for a honeymoon in the
USSR? Not Russia but Communist Soviet Union long before its fall?
Should we wonder if a young congresswoman really understands the concept between
democracy vs socialism and how each system effectively or ineffectively governs when
she says things like…“When we talk about the word ‘socialism,’
I think what it really means is just democratic participation in our economic dignity
and our economic, social, and racial dignity.
It is about direct representation and people actually having power and stake over
their economic and social wellness, at the end of the day.
Should we be concerned when a US congresswoman questions that radical Isalm
is to blame for the attacks on 9/11 and simply thinks that “some people did
Should we wonder when certain candidates promise to pay for everyone to go to college
while forgiving all existing student loans with money that simply doesn’t exist?
What when homelessness runs amuck? What of major US cities becoming dens for
crime and blatant drug abuse and where streets are considered unsafe both night and day?
What of free healthcare for all—who actually pays for free?
The list goes on and on…
So before you consider a dangerous dance with Green New Deals and the
new Socialistic state…you might want to recall the wisdom of those who actually
lived in, under and through such notions and saw them for what they really are
both dangerous and eventually destructive…
You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them.
But when you’ve robbed a man of everything he’s no longer in your power —
he’s free again.
Here also is security for the welfare and renown of a commonwealth;
for no state is perfectly established and preserved otherwise than on the
foundation and by the bond of faith and of firm concord,
when the highest and truest common good, namely, God, is loved by all,
and men love each other in Him without dissimulation,
because they love one another for His sake from whom they cannot disguise
the real character of their love
(poor example of spontaneous note taking / Julie Cook / 2018)
it happened that before I could elaborate on last week’s video offering
by the Scottish pastor David Robertson..that being a video posting from his
Wee Flea Blog and the SOLAS conference talk given in 2010—
during the course of the weekend here came another posting.
It seems our Wee Flea friend is faster at offering tasty morsels than I am at
digesting them and then in turn sharing the nourishment of the morsel with you…..
This time the posting is from a 2013 SOLAS conference which focuses on education
and the poor.
Very powerful, sobering and collar grabbing kind of stuff.
And well, you didn’t think a retired educator, a Christian retired educator,
one who taught for 31 years in the secular public educational system of the
United States could actually pass over such a tempting morsel without stopping
to take it all in did you??
Despite this latest SOLAS (remember Gaelic for Light) offering running for
nearly an hour…I couldn’t let it pass without giving it my undivided attention.
During last week’s video offering, I wrote down two quotes of David’s…
“When you remove Christianity from a country, [its] education declines”
“Secularism doesn’t educate you—it dumbs you down.”
I was struck by both of those statements.
And as I am also a faithful reader of Citizen Tom’s blog (https://citizentom.com)
as Tom often points out the dire and dismal state of the educational system in the
United States, I knew these two statements were indeed onto something….
And before I could properly digest and share my copious note taking from the previous
posting, here came this latest posting over the weekend.
My weekend was such that I had to put off watching this particular video until
this Monday morning when I could carve out an hour’s time…
in order to properly sort things out.
Yet on top of just watching the video, came the sorting of the notes and then the
turning around and offering to you a proper post regarding David’s talk…
So now picture me holding my hands to my head in a bit of a tizzy while visions of the
National Football Championship dance dizzily around my head…
There are homemade cookies and homemade pizza preparations to get underway all
for this evening’s big game festivities…..GO DAWGS…while my head was still
swirling with what I’d gleaned from David’s talk.
(well, I wrote this before the big game obviously—now, we won’t talk about it)
But back to the SOLAS clip….
Do yourself another favor—carve out the time to watch this.
Especially if you are a teacher, have children or grandchildren who attend schools
or are simply worried about our youth and their future…..
You should note however when watching the video that there is one huge difference
between the educational system in Scotland verses the educational system
in the United States.
The educational system in Scotland is considered a state Christian System by law
verses our very separate and secular school system in the US.
But the message remains the same—as there is a growing gap between rich and poor
in educational opportunities in both of our nations.
David noted an example….
The more affluent families can easily afford after school and out of school tutors.
Whereas a finer tutor, say in London, might fetch 400 pounds an hour—
such a tutor in Dundee, Scotland might command only 15 pounds an hour—
but no matter, as both kids, be it from London or Dundee, those who can afford a
tutor already have a step up the ladder from those disadvantaged kids from lower
income families who can’t afford any sort of tutor….
If you’ve never heard of Thomas Guthrie, it’s worth clicking on the following link for
a bit of background on a man whose life has played a rich part of the
educational system in Scotland other than that of John Knox himself who boldly
stated that “wherever there is a church, there shall be a school.”
Guthrie (1803-1873), a man who studied to become a doctor but became, upon graduating college, a minister instead held as his mission statement…
regarding those he ministered to in Scotland, that education was essential to saving
the less fortunate from a life of ignorance, squalor, disease, idleness and poverty.
He saw that education and learning were the keys to opening doors and turning away
from the vicious cycles of hunger, alcoholism, crime and poverty that was rife
within the families of the poor and disadvantaged…
Guthrie therefore petitioned Parliament to make compulsory education mandatory
in order to help save the children and future children from an assumed destiny
Yet Guthrie maintained that such an education had to have Christianity as its root.
How else would morality anchor itself within society.
As we bewildered watch the secular movement today creating its “social engineering”
of the masses.
The physical threshold of each school Guthrie founded was to be fashioned with the
carving of an open Bible with the motto written, “Search the Scriptures”
Yet David notes that there will always be secular resistance as the secular world
pushes ever closer to ultimately having a society without God.
However David holds firm to the notion that without Christianity,
we will destroy Education….
***and in turn destroy our civilization…
(*** my 2 cents)
And David presents this polestar thought with laser precision in this talk.
David admonishes us all…those of us who confess the Faith of Jesus Christ…
that as Christians it is our moral obligation that we should be making education
and our schools a top priority…be it here in the States or there in Scotland.
Yet I don’t see that happening here anytime soon.
He reminds each of us not to simply leave it to the schools to educate our kids
as to what is a Christian worldview—but it is up to us…us being the ones who need
to chiefly see to that responsibility.
And I dare say, that most of us have grown rather complacent here in the States.
The upper tier pay exorbitant yearly fees to upper crust schools for a
private education, that even though some of the private institutions claim a church denomination’s backing…as I dare ask is that a worldly looking denomination???
Leaving everyone else to the charge of the state and federally funded school
systems—schools, many of which, are woefully lacking and are stymied in
their ability to lay a moralistic foundation…due greatly in part to the fact that
we have erased our Christian heritage from the very system our founding fathers state
as being an important component to the fledgling new nation’s growth and development.
Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.