Not what they appear to be…

Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many;
the intelligence of few perceives what has been carefully hidden
in the recesses of the mind.

Phaedrus


(thinkstock)

I can vividly remember, years ago one evening we were watching the evening news…
This was during a more innocent time…a time when I still believed the news was news…
It wasn’t biased, not false, not politized, nor polarized…
Peter Jennings was reporting a story about a rather odd yet obscure figure.
An ingénue sort of an individual–but in this case, the figure in question was male.

He appeared to be like some tall and lanky yet benign sort of goat herder.

There was some film footage of him walking amongst a rocky terrain complete with staff in hand.
He wore a robe-like covering with some sort of religious drape or scarf along with a
tribal hat which was covering a greying head with a long greying beard to match.

He seemed harmless enough but watching him, I had a distinct disturbing feeling.
There was something about this “goat herder” that I found very very troubling.
Little did we know then that this news story was the first blip on the radar.

Bill Clinton was the current president of the day.
This was a blip on his radar…a blip he allowed to simply pass him by.

This seemingly innocuous man was actually Osama bin Laden and he was just
making a name for himself on the Western airwaves.

Little did I know that evening, all those years ago while simply
watching the evening news, that there would be a 9/11 thanks to this “goat herder”.
Nor did I know, or any of us know, that there would an onslaught of dominos
falling one over another—
all heinous acts carried out under the banner of Allahu akbar.

And so, over the years, much like when I first saw that image of Bin Laden,
there has been another man who seems innocent enough at first glance but has
given me that same sense of foreboding…
his name is George Soros.

I’ve written about him before starting back in 2016.
Here are four links to four posts featuring Mr. Soros.

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/should-we-go-or-should-we-stay/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2019/07/07/we-live-in-both-dark-and-light/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/this-is-what-should-keep-you-up-at-night/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2020/05/18/why-do-important-people-scare-me/

Once again I’ve caught another recent article featuring the likes of Mr. Soros.

It’s an article written by Robby Starbuck who is a Cuban-American producer and director.

The article is about how George Soros wants to remake America.

Why Aren’t We Allowed To Talk About George Soros’s Plan To Remake America?

According to Mr. Starbuck,
Since 2015, George Soros has pumped tens of millions of dollars into local races in Texas, Colorado,
California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, and New York, as well as swing states.

Since 2015, George Soros has been executing a plan to reshape the country through
local district attorney elections by pumping unprecedented amounts of money into races
that typically only see candidates spend in the low five figures.

Here’s why he has an interest in these local races. Soros is exploiting the reality
that all politics are local in some way. To transform America,
you have to transform the way towns and cities operate.

Mr. Soros is Hungarian by birth and whose family were non-practicing Jews.
The family fled Hungry during Nazi occupation by obtaining false papers, changing the family
name from Schwartz to Soros and claiming they were Christians.

From everything that I’ve read, I still can’t understand Soros’ divide and conquer mentality.
But one thing I have discovered is that if you criticize Mr. Soros, you are considered
antisemitic.
An unspoken hands-off perimeter has been put up around this very enigmatic man.

Why criticizing a non-practicing Jew is considered antisemitic is beyond my soul.

Mr. Starbuck surmises that “the left’s assumption that questioning someone’s political
spending is equivalent to questioning his dignity as a person is itself a deeply
bigoted assumption, designed solely to silence dissent and shut down debate.”

Mr. Soros is a golden calf to the Left and I suspect it has everything to do with both
his money and his power.

Mr. Starbuck notes that Soros has spent an unbelievable amount of money on the campaigns of
progressive left DA’s across the country.
The assumption is that if you can alter the leaders of the law, you
can alter the cities themselves, if you can alter the cities, you
can alter the states, if you can alter the states you can alter the Nation.

Starbuck explains:
Buying Prosecutors Who Are Soft on Crime
Since 2015, Soros has pumped tens of millions of dollars into local races in Texas,
Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, and New York, as well as swing states
such as Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Arizona.
In 2016, Soros spent $2,000,000 on a single sheriff race in Maricopa County, Arizona,
helping the leftist candidate, Paul Penzone, win.

In Philadelphia, Soros spent an insane $1,700,000 to elect Larry Krasner DA.
Soros has also given millions of dollars in grants to candidates in other states.
These enormous contributions have a correspondingly enormous impact.

Although his efforts haven’t been universally successful,
the vast majority of Soros-backed candidates have won with Soros donations
pushing them across the finish line.
Here are just a few examples:

$2,000,000 to fund Kim Foxx in her Cook County (Chicago, Ill.) re-election bid.
$1,400,000 to fund Aramis Ayala’s campaign to become state’s attorney of Orlando, Fla.
$1,150,000 to fund Jake Lilly’s run to become DA of Jefferson and Gilpin County (Denver) in Colorado.
$958,000 to fund Joe Gonzales’s run to become DA of Bexar County (San Antonio, Texas).
$650,000 to fund Jose Garza in his Travis County (Austin, Texas) re-election bid.
$750,000 to fund Joe Kimok in his Broward County, Fla. state’s attorney race.
$583,000 to fund Kim Ogg’s run to become Harris County (Houston, Texas) DA.
$583,000 to fund Parisa Dehghani-Tafti in her race to be Arlington County (Va.) commonwealth’s attorney.
$500,000 to fund Jody Owen’s run to become Hinds County, Miss. (Jackson) DA.
$406,000 to fund James E. Stewart’s run to become Caddo Parish, La. (Shreveport) DA.
$392,000 to fund Steve T. Descano’s bid to become Fairfax County (Va.) commonwealth’s attorney.
$275,000 to fund Diana Becton’s bid to remain as Contra Costa County, Calif. DA.
$147,000 to fund Darius Pattillo in his run to become Harris County, Ga. DA.
$116,000 to fund Kim Gardner’s re-election bid as St. Louis circuit attorney.
$107,000 to fund Raul Torrez bid to become Benalillo County (Albuquerque, N.M.) DA.
$89,000 to fund Scott Colom’s bid to become DA of Lowndes County, Miss.
That’s just a partial list, but it surely corroborates Gingrich’s point that Soros
“paid for” the outcomes of those elections, notwithstanding Harf’s unsubstantiated denial.
In 2018 The Los Angeles Times reported that Soros spent $2,700,000 on California DA races alone,
and another $16 million on 17 DA races in other states.

So my question is why would a billionaire businessman and supposed philanthropist spend billions
of dollars to alter campaigns all across the country?

Could all that money not be better spent on say feeding hungry children worldwide?

Starbuck also wonders as to why the big-spending and seems to have an idea.

“That leap from remaking our justice system to remaking America may seem like a long jump to some,
but law and order is the core of America’s existence.
Without law and order, you don’t have a country.”

And thus I wonder, are we not witnessing a nationwide cry from our liberal progressive left
to defund the police…a cry to throw out the law, throw out the order,
throw out the rules…all for a seismic shift in what might soon to be considered a
“former” America?

And so for a nation to have no order, no law, no rule…one is left with only one thing–
anarchy.

I will piggyback off of this thought of a downward spiral tomorrow with
more of a prophetical Spiritual take…but just remember that if you remain silent,
if you know what is taking place is wrong, but opt to say nothing, choosing to ignore
what is happening by looking the other way…the life you think you know and love will not
always be there.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/19/why-arent-we-allowed-to-talk-about-george-soross-plan-to-remake-america/

You still don’t get it??

“Thus Heaven I’ve forfeited,
I know it full well…
My soul, once true to God, is chosen for Hell.”

Karl Marx, The Pale Maiden

I received this latest email from The Catholic Company yesterday regarding an interesting
new read about Karl Marx…Can a Catholic Be a Socialist?

My disclaimer is that I have not read the book, but I did find the promo most interesting,
as well as distressingly telling.
Or perhaps that is actually more foreboding than anything else.

Plus I can readily answer that question…NO!!! No, a Catholic, nay any Christian, cannot be
both a practicing believer as well as a Socialist…plain and simple.

A Christian cannot serve two masters and Marx and his love of isms consists of a myriad of
evil-minded masters.

Marx seems to be all the rage these days as everyone seems to be flirting with all
things “ism”—
Be it Communism, Socialism, or even fascism.

Ism is as ism does…

So this is not necessarily a plug for a new book…because I’ve not read the book…
but it is a plug against all things Marxist…

Marxism is and will always be anti-Christian.
It is in actuality anti-human being
It is totally anti independent thinker.

Plain and simple–it is anti-everything you hold dear.

If you think otherwise, you are lying to yourself.

Marx is not pro-life.
He is not pro-democracy.
He is not pro independent business.
He is not pro independent voter.

Everyone should be aware of the immense
evil produced by Karl Marx when he wrote his
devilish Communist Manifesto two centuries ago.

No other theory in all of history has led
to the death of so many innocent people.

Claiming the lives of over a hundred million people
in the 20th century alone, it comes as no surprise that
the dark origin of Communism lies in Hell itself.

And yet—some people are defending Marx today.

They believe that his system of government
has never been implemented correctly.
They say he was a benevolent hero who dreamed
of equality, peace, and happiness.

The truth is far more sinister.

The alcoholic, violent, drug-addicted Karl Marx
was absolutely fascinated with the devil and
penned some downright devilish things.

Well before he was writing
about the hell of communism,
he was writing about Hell.

Marx’s terrible philosophy is making a
comeback not only on college campuses
and talk shows, but even among Catholics
who are well-meaning—and confused.

And communism isn’t the only concern.

Some people think that socialism could
be the answer to greed and other ills.

They argue that it’s the best way to obey
Christ’s command to help the poor.

“Let’s give socialism a fresh chance,” they say.
“A democratic socialism this time, friendly to
religion and ordered to the common good as
the Church says the economy should be.”

They forget that socialism
is not friendly to religion.

In Can a Catholic Be a Socialist?
Trent Horn and Catherine R. Pakaluk
refute the belief in “Catholic Socialism.”

Drawing on Catholic social teaching,
Scripture, history, and basic economic
reality, they show us why Catholicism (as I will add all of Christianity)
and socialism are utterly incompatible.

It’s a fascinating read.

http://enews.catholiccompany.com/q/Hu0WrJ_aRW-f-l3bmuQtNBRPkAHN45S-gR6maxHFnhKHSVBQuFunO3dz8

Quid est veritas?

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.
In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.
Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate

(John 18:37-38)


(Ecce Homo /”Behold the Man”/ Antonio Ciseri / 1871)

I decided yesterday to take a quick look back, curious as to past posts where
I’ve written about “truth.”
There were 24 pages of posts in which the word and thoughts about truth were woven
within the body of a post and there were 14 separate posts that had the word “truth”
as the title or within the title.

Obviously, it is an ongoing thought.

I mentioned this to IB yesterday as a comment to her post
https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2020/08/07/you-have-to-kill-the-bad-guys/

you know IB–the bottom line to all of our posts regarding this madness comes down
to one common single thread—that being Truth.

Amen, Julie.
I think I feel the need to just keep repeating the Truth
over and over again because the world has gone quite mad.
We’re in real danger of losing it and so we have to speak it back into existence.
I love how Jesus says “I am the Truth the way and the life.”
Good news, because now we got something to hang onto. 🙂

Yesterday I shared about reading a new book by Erik Larson, The Splendid and the Vile
A Saga of Chruchill, Family and The Defiance During the Blitz

At the end of yesterday’s post, I whittled it down to the basis of one
simple lament—

“All were willing to stand up rather than kneel to fascism.

And the sad irony today, these 75 years later, is that Western Civilization
now seeks to embrace fascism, socialism, Marxism…ideologies she once
vehemently stood ardently against…
all the while vying to defend her dear democracy.

So what happened in the time span of 75 years?

I suppose we’ll begin to look at this question in the coming days…”

And so I begin looking back…

And I want to start with The Truth…

The Truth.
Quid est veritas?
What is the Truth?
And what part does that Truth play in where we are today?

One thing I know, we are afraid of the truth.

We burn it.


(Burning Bibles in Portland / Denison Forum /Activists burned a stack of Bibles
in front of the federal courthouse in Portland Friday night.
A statue of Jesus was beheaded recently at a Miami church.)

“I would put myself in the attitude to look in the eye an abstract truth,
and I cannot. I blench and withdraw on this side and on that.
I seem to know what he meant who said, No man can see God face to face and live.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

antithesis gone mad meets brute facts

Seventy-five years after the end of the Second World War,
Winston Churchill has once again come under attack.
This time, however, the crowds are not made up of young fanatics wearing armbands
with swastikas and parading through the streets of Berlin.
Today, mobs of young fanatics believing that they are the antithesis
of the Nazis parade through the streets of London denouncing Churchill as a racist.

David Freeman

I’m currently reading a great book by Erik Larson—The Splendid and the Vile
A saga of Chruchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz.

The reviews were predominantly positive but I also read the negative as I
do like to see if there is balance.
In this case, the predominantly positives fully overrode the negatives.

I’ve read books by Erik Larson before–one of the best was
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin

I even featured that book a few years back with a post.

I admit, that as of late, my morale has been flagging a bit.
In great part due to my sheer dismay over the current civil strife plaguing
our Western Civilization…and in particular, that being here at home.

Pandemic pandamonium isn’t helping— but if the truth be told,
I really think that the utter political lunacy, the unprecedented vehemence
directed toward a sitting president, the disrespect, news turned into twisted emotionalism,
a blatant disregard for human life, the endless bald-faced lies,
the push toward politically correct cover-ups,
the frightening lack of law and order, the march toward the cliff
of Marxism and socialism lead by an ignorant populace…

It is like I told Kathy yesterday—it is as if we are currently living
in what was once a draconian futuristic novel.

So what time is this in which we live when groups that on the surface say
they support black lives but when in reality they are a violent
Marxist organization bent on violence, hate, and death.

What time is this when support for a proposition called a Green New deal is actually
a thinly veiled cover for all-out socialism?

When Hitler began his insatiable gobbling up of Europe…there was initially dismay,
there was skepticism, and there was disbelief.

But all of that quickly changed when the tanks rolled into sovereign nation after nation…
and as the bombs began to explode across villages, towns, and cities.

Those of us who know our history, are well aware that Great Britain went it alone
against Hitler’s raging Nazi machine for years before the United States joined the war.
Our President simply wished them well…year after year after year…despite the desperate
pleading for help from their Prime Minister.

Yet this small island nation stayed the course, dug in her heels, and braced itself against
what appeared to be impossible odds.

She thankfully had a stubborn and resolute leader.
One who, just months prior, had been maligned, ridiculed, and certainly
not taken seriously.

And just when things indeed turned dire, she also had citizens who were willing
to sacrifice–doing what was needed to be done in order to make their nation as
prepared as possible.

All were willing to stand up rather than kneel to fascism.

And the sad irony today, these 75 years later, is that Western Civilization
now seeks to embrace fascism, socialism, Marxism…ideologies she once
vehemently stood ardently against…
all the while vying to defend her dear democracy.

So what happened in the time span of 75 years?

I suppose we’ll begin to look at this question in the coming days…

‘United wishes and goodwill cannot overcome brute facts,’
Churchill wrote in his War Memoirs.
‘Truth is incontrovertible.
Panic may resent it.
Ignorance may deride it.
Malice may distort it.
But there it is.’

mad I say… so made I could spit

“Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do.
Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom.
I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic:
I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.”

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy


(a vintage 1960 Humpty Dumpty stuffed animal via ebay)

When I was growing up, rather than actually curse, my dad would always say “spit”
or “I’m so mad I could spit”

As a youngster, I certainly didn’t know spit was a substitute for a “bad” word and
I always wondered how mad one needed to be in order to spit.

And despite being a tomboy, I was too lady-like to ever spit!

But all these years later, I get it.
And like my dad, I’m so mad right now, I could spit”!!!

You see that picture of a vintage 1960 Humpty Dumpty?
Well, I had one just like it.

Actually, I had several– as my Humpties were each loved to death.
The last one consisted of just the beige insert, the Humpty exterior had long since
worn away…Humpty was with me from the time my parents brought me
home from the adoption agency to the time I got married.
There may have been two total as my mom did her best sowing and patching
the worn love.

My last Humpty has lived in a box at the top of the closest now for nearly 40 years—
add 20 more to his age, and we have an antique beige lump in a box.

But that beige lump absorbed more tears over the years and sadly a few angry
pulls and punches than anything or anyone ever close to me.

He was my constant companion and dearest confidant.

The Mayor is becoming a lot like me in that regard.

She has about 4 or 5 who are bed partners, soul soothers, and best friends.

Here we see a not so gentile sleeper with two stalwart sleeping buddies…
Bobobo (aka Vamparina) and Sky from Paw Patrol–missing is BeBe
(a tiny rabbit rattle, Big Bebe, a stuffed fawn along with Chase the Police Dog
from Paw Patrol.

If you aren’t familiar with Paw Patrol—it’s a cartoon on Nick Jr.
A cartoon that The Mayor and Sherrif both love.

According to its on-line information page, the show is about:
A group of six rescue dogs, led by a tech-savvy boy named Ryder,
has adventures in “PAW Patrol.”
The heroic pups, who believe “no job is too big, no pup is too small,”
work together to protect the community.
Among the members of the group are firedog Marshall, police pup Chase,
and fearless Skye.
All of the animals have special skills, gadgets, and vehicles that help them
on their rescue missions.
Whether rescuing a kitten or saving a train from a rockslide,
the PAW Patrol is always up for the challenge while also making sure
there’s time for a game or a laugh.

You can see Sky is sleeping by the Mayor’s side, but Chase is her favorite…
a police dog German Shepherd pup.

Here we see the day Chase came home to the Mayor and Sherrif from the store:

So I now want to know why a young child’s cartoon show, that first aired in 2013, has
now come under scrutiny and into the crosshairs of the cancel culture??!!

Could it be that there is a “police” dog on the show???

There is a builder safety dog, a fireman dog, a water safety dog, an air safety dog
a road safety dog and of course the police dog.

Yet according to an article on Fox News, here is a quote from a twitter troll
regarding the police character dog on this tiny tot cartoon:

“Euthanize the police dog,” one user said.
Others wrote “defund the paw patrol” and “All dogs go to heaven,
except the class traitors in the Paw Patrol.”

Other’s noted
“As the protests against racist police violence enter their third week,
the charges are mounting against fictional cops, too.
Even big-hearted cartoon police dogs —
or maybe especially big-hearted cartoon police dogs —
are on notice,” Amanda Hess wrote.

“The effort to publicize police brutality also means banishing
the good-cop archetype, which reigns on both television and in viral videos
of the protests themselves,” she continued.
“‘Paw Patrol’ seems harmless enough, and that’s the point:
The movement rests on understanding that cops do plenty of harm.”

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/paw-patrol-denies-canceled-mcenany-white-house-briefing

The rumor circling on-line is that that Nickeloden has canceled the show
but is now denying such actions.

But the mere fact that idiotic adults are out there attacking a cute cartoon geared
toward our smallest members of our community of humankind has left me oh so mad.

So mad that I could spit!

I would think that we as a communtiy would want our young children to see our first
responders being portrayed in positive roles.
Roles of helpers, rescuers, and those who help us when bad things happen.

We want our kids to trust them if ever the need should arise that they must
step in when we can’t help our kids.

For crying outloud—when will enough be enough???

Maybe when they burn down Portland?
Maybe when our Democracy is traded in for pure anarchy.
Maybe when we all die during a pandemic
Maybe when Jesus comes back.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

I’m trying Lord, I’m trying…..

The future of Hagia Sophia should be very troubling to Christians…

Turkey to cover Hagia Sophia’s Christian icons during prayers
Governing party’s statement comes days after Ankara turned the iconic monument
from a museum into a mosque.

Al Jazeera


(The Deësis mosaic, Hagia Sophia upon its restoration)

This past week’s news story regarding Turkey’s Hagia Sophia was buried under the
weight of a global pandemic and the continuing Western civil unrest…
but this story is no less troubling despite being shrouded by the current events
of seemingly more pressing issues.
This is a story that is most ominous to not only art historians, or to Byzantium historians,
but it should be, in particular, troubling to all of Christendom.

But first, let’s take a look back to the Basilica’s inception…

On Jan. 13, 532, riots broke out in Constantinople,
the capital of the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire.
(The city of Rome itself had long since become a backwater and had finally been conquered by barbarians.
The residents of the Empire still called themselves “Romans,” though, and their capital city was
officially known as “New Rome.”)
Within a week, tens of thousands of residents were dead and nearly half of the city
had been burned or otherwise destroyed, including the foremost church of the empire,
the Hagia Sophia (“Holy Wisdom”).

(Desert News)

Historic fate struck again centuries later:
Tuesday, May 29, 1453 the ancient dream of Islam to capture Constantinople,
which originated with Muhammad, the founder of the religion was achieved by his namesake,
Mehmed II.
After allowing his troops to sack the city and terrorize the people,
killing them or capturing them to ransom or sell as slaves,
the Ottoman Sultan ordered the destruction of the city to seize.
He entered the city on horseback and rode through the doors of Hagia Sophia.
He could not travel on foot because the church was full of dead people and the floor
was covered in blood and gore. Islamic troops were in the process of smashing the icons
and stripping them of any valuables they could find.
The silver chalices, candlesticks, gospel covers and other things used in the liturgy
were taken and broken up. Priests and nuns were tortured in search for hidden treasure.
Running out of precious things
(It had been a very long time since Hagia Sophia had any treasures of value).
frenzied looting even extended to hacking at the marble ambo,
sanctuary screen and the altar-ciborium.
The ignorant soldiers believed they were made of precious stones.
Mehmed II ordered a stop to the destruction of Hagia Sophia
and declared that it was his personal property.
Next he dismounted from his horse, climbed onto the great altar and
recited a Muslim prayer converting Hagia Sophia into a Muslim mosque.
Eleven hundred years of Hagia Sophia as a Christian church ended.

(pallasweb.com)
https://www.pallasweb.com/deesis/history.html


(shutterstock)

Hagia Sophia, Turkish Ayasofya, Latin Sancta Sophia,
also called Church of the Holy Wisdom or Church of the Divine Wisdom,
cathedral built at Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey)
in the 6th century CE (532–537) under the direction of the
Byzantine emperor Justinian I.
By general consensus, it is the most important Byzantine structure and one
of the world’s great monuments.

The Hagia Sophia was built in the remarkably short time of about six years,
being completed in 537 CE. Unusual for the period in which it was built,
the names of the building’s architects—Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus—-
are well known, as is their familiarity with mechanics and mathematics.
The Hagia Sophia combines a longitudinal basilica and a centralized building
in a wholly original manner, with a huge 32-metre (105-foot)
main dome supported on pendentives and two semidomes, one on either side of the longitudinal axis.
In plan the building is almost square. There are three aisles separated by columns
with galleries above and great marble piers rising up to support the dome.
The walls above the galleries and the base of the dome are pierced by windows,
which in the glare of daylight obscure the supports and give the impression
that the canopy floats on air.

The original church on the site of the Hagia Sophia is said to have been ordered to be built
by Constantine I in 325 on the foundations of a pagan temple.
His son, Constantius II, consecrated it in 360.
It was damaged in 404 by a fire that erupted during a riot following the second banishment
of St. John Chrysostom, then patriarch of Constantinople.
It was rebuilt and enlarged by the Roman emperor Constans I.
The restored building was rededicated in 415 by Theodosius II.
The church was burned again in the Nika insurrection of January 532,
a circumstance that gave Justinian I an opportunity to envision a splendid replacement.

The structure now standing is essentially the 6th-century edifice,
although an earthquake caused a partial collapse of the dome in 558
(restored 562) and there were two further partial collapses,
after which it was rebuilt to a smaller scale and the whole church reinforced from the outside.
It was restored again in the mid-14th century. For more than a millennium, it was the
Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
It was looted in 1204 by the Venetians and the Crusaders on the Fourth Crusade.

After the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453,
Mehmed II had it repurposed as a mosque, with the addition of a wooden minaret
(on the exterior, a tower used for the summons to prayer),
a great chandelier, a mihrab (niche indicating the direction of Mecca),
and a minbar (pulpit). Either he or his son Bayezid II erected the red minaret
that stands on the southeast corner of the structure.
The original wooden minaret did not survive.
Bayezid II erected the narrow white minaret on the northeast side of the mosque.
The two identical minarets on the western side were likely commissioned by
Selim II or Murad III and built by renowned Ottoman architect Sinan in the 1500s.

In 1934 Turkish Pres. Kemal Atatürk secularized the building,
and in 1935 it was made into a museum.
Art historians consider the building’s beautiful mosaics to be the main source of knowledge
about the state of mosaic art in the time shortly after the end of the Iconoclastic Controversy
in the 8th and 9th centuries.

The Hagia Sophia is a component of a UNESCO World Heritage site called the
Historic Areas of Istanbul (designated 1985), which includes that city’s other
major historic buildings and locations.

(britanica.com)

And yet once again, the fate of the Basilica Hagia Sophia turned Mosque, turned Museum
turns once again…this turn, however, becomes a great detriment to both
Christians and historians—

The UNESCO World Heritage treasure and long desecrated Christian Bascillica will
once again become a mosque…
a place that will not be welcoming to anyone other than Muslim worshipers.

Turkey’s Islamist Dream Finally Becomes a Reality
The Hagia Sophia has been designated as a mosque again,
its status as a museum viewed for decades as a seal on the country’s spirit.

(NY Times)

According to an article in the New York Times, this past week,
the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, issued a decree ordering the Hagia Sophia,
a majestic 65,000-square-foot stone structure from the sixth century in Istanbul,
to be opened for Muslim prayers.
The same day, a top Turkish court had revoked the 1934 decree by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,
the founder of the Turkish republic, which had turned it into a museum.

The Hagia Sophia was built as a cathedral and converted into a mosque, and then a museum.
It has for centuries been the object of fierce civilizational rivalry between the Ottoman
and Orthodox worlds.

The reconversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque was an old dream of Turkey’s Islamists.
In the Islamist political tradition of President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party,
Ataturk’s experiment in secular republican government was a foreign imposition on Turkey,
and the Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum a seal on the country’s spirit.

After making the announcement, according to one report,
Mr. Erdogan was so shaken with emotion that he did not sleep until first light the next morning.
What he thought of as an era of humiliation had ended.

Various authorities of the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches voiced their indignation,
and the pope (Pope Francis) expressed “profound sadness.”
The governments of the European Union and the United States muttered their regrets.
There are also Christian extremists who care deeply about the Hagia Sophia and its symbolism.
These sentiments make the decision all the more exciting to many Turks.

So a warning dear Christian brothers and sisters…
While our Western Chruchs have shuttered their doors over the growing concerns of COVID 19…
while the protests and riots grow in scope and go largely ignored by governmental leadership…
Christian voices from our ancient past are also being shuttered and silenced.

As long as the faithful remain silent, the wolves will continue to devour the flock.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Matthew 7:15
English Standard Version

visiting the well alone is the only way

When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.
Benjamin Franklin


(the original well used by Jacob, the famous Samaritan Well, currently located in the West Bank)

Every now and then, when it is most needed, God reminds us, well let’s make that He reminds me,
He is indeed still there and still in charge.

I don’t know about you but I have just felt so beat down as of late.

Wear a mask…
Don’t tell me to wear a mask…
Things are bad…
Things aren’t so bad…
Have school…
Don’t have school…
We hate Trump…
We love Trump.
Black lives matter…
No lives can matter…
Riots, looting, kneeling, anthems, flags…

Abortions, yes.
Abortions, no.

Hashtag (#) LGBTQ, transgender, asexual, bisexual, anything sexual…

Kill the Christians…
Hate the Jews…
Love everyone…but just don’t love those or those…

Watch the news.
Don’t watch the news.

Leave the house…
don’t leave the house…

It is simply overwhelming.

It is depressing, maddening, frustrating, and confusing.

I’ve told you before how great the series The Chosen is.
That crowd-funded production about the life of Christ.

It has brought the Gospels to life…to such a personal level…a real level.

The first season of episodes is out and now they are waiting to have
season two funded.

I cannot wait.

It is not a movie or a television show—it comes from an App or on the computer.

The final episode of season 1 is the tale of the Samaritan woman at the well.

First of all, I did not realize the significance of the well itself.
The well in the Book of John is the purported well of Jacob.
A seemingly dry site that Jacob knew would bear water…
God had led him to the sight.
God lead him here 730 years before the birth of Christ.
And it’s been bearing water ever since…
despite now being enshrined within an Orthodox Chruch.

I’ve read the Bible.
I’ve heard the stories.
I’ve seen various Biblical films and film productions about the life of Jesus—
none of which has moved me on such a deep and visceral level as this
story has as in The Chosen.

This Jesus…he is the one who I yearn to meet.
He is so real, so approachable…so unlike all previous depictions.

It also makes the various Biblical stories seem more relatable, more emotional,
more real.

Here is the Biblical story according to the NIV version from the Book of John:

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more
disciples than John— although in fact, it was not Jesus who baptized,
but his disciples.
So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

Now he had to go through Samaria.
So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob
had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey,
sat down by the well.
It was about noon.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,
“Will you give me a drink?”
(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.
How can you ask me for a drink?”
(For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink,
you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.
Where can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us the well and drank from it himself,
as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.
The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.
What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain,
but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know;
we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father
in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming.
When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman.
But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.
Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

John 4:1-30

If I could figure out how to share this particular episode from The Chosen here
on this blog, I would— but instead, I found on Youtube the added bonus feature from the episode
with the director and a Rabbi recounting the importance of this encounter between
a Jew and a Samaritan.
A man and a woman.
A Messiah and a broken soul.

The Chosen offers backstories to its characters.
They are an educated guess into what might have been…
based on what is known.
This is what makes these individuals so relatable…so much more so than the
stories from the Gospels.

The woman was scorned by her community for her lifestyle.
She was not welcome to visit the well in the cool morning hours with the other women of the
village…she had to go alone in the heat of the day.

She was a Samaritan…Jews considered this particular Jewish sect, a subgroup that was
less than…traitors of sorts.

Within her own community, she was an outcast living a depressing, empty
and sinful existence.

The deck was stacked against her when running into this Jewish man at the well.

Had she been with the other women, there would have never been the encounter.
She had to be alone.

Thus I realize that Jesus must come to us not when we are in the company of our friends
or surrounded by a crowd…he must come to us when we are alone, vulnerable,
and not distracted.
He needs our full attention.

It is to be a one on one encounter.

If you haven’t seen the episodes of The Chosen—I implore you to find them.
If you don’t know Jesus…if you find him sterile and benign, if you
mock him or simply disbelieve…watch just one episode…
I know you will view this Jesus of Nazareth much differently than ever before.

Shepherds—please, lead your flocks

I am like the sick sheep that strays from the rest of the flock. Unless
the Good Shepherd takes me on His shoulders and carries me back to His fold,
my steps will falter, and in the very effort of rising, my feet will give way.

St. Jerome


(sheep farm, Killarny Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Firstly—- I read the following July 4th post written by our freind and
most knowledgeable Christian sister IB.

As I read it, I felt warm tears falling down my cheeks.

I too have most recently deeply felt her words.
A sense of pleading that our Chruch leadership does what they are entrusted to do…
that being to lead their flocks—come hell or high water.
Not cower in the corner of current ideologies…

A day later, I read a post by our dear friend and former Anglican Bishop, Gavin Ashenden..
A post that mirrored IB’s thoughts and words but simply written from across the pond.

I’ve cut and copied both posts here.
I hope their words will touch your spirit.

We Aren’t going to “Get Our Freedom Back…”

So listen, I don’t want to sound uncharacteristically somber and serious,
nor do I want people to think I’m a total conspiratress.
I am you know, I do love a good conspiracy theory.
The problem being this isn’t a “theory,” it’s simply common sense.
So, I just want to say, those who are waiting patiently for things to “get back to normal,”
it ain’t happening. It ain’t going to happen.

Those who seem to believe if we just comply enough, just cooperate enough,
just do everything they say, (wear your mask you idiot,
so we can all open back up again) it ain’t going to happen.

If you’re waiting for covid 19 to go away, it ain’t going to happen either.
We could get down to no cases anywhere and there’s another “pandemic” right around
the corner waiting for us.
The media is already on it.

Government and public health officials are already trying to say we’re going to have
to wear masks for years, certainly until we get a mandatory vaccine.
Besides, flu season is coming this fall…

Never in the history of ever has anyone in government voluntarily relinquished
power over others that they have managed to attain.
The only way to get our freedom back is to stop playing the game,
stop the charades, and stop buying into the fear.
We have to say “no,” and we have to say it somewhat collectively.
None of this can continue without our consent.

I’m pleading with Christians who are just sitting there quietly accepting
a ban on singing in church. C’mon on people, some part of you knows this is not okay.
The power of life and death is in our tongues, it says that in the Bible.
If we believe those words, if the singing we do actually means something,
then we have to realize that shutting down churches, mandating we all wear masks,
and telling us it’s too dangerous to sing our praises, are all huge red flags.

I’m pleading with everyone who has ever felt the “benevolent” hand of government,
anyone who still carries trauma from those experiences.
C’mon people, we all know what this is.
It smells just like history trying to repeat itself.
It’s a power play.

We flattened the curve!
Heck, we shut down unused field hospitals and laid people off from our hospitals.
We did not get our freedom back.
We shut our businesses down, we bought the hand sanitizer,
we put on the masks, and we stayed home and we still did not get our freedom back.
It ain’t going to happen. Freedom once taken is not something you just “get” back.
There will be no passively sitting around and waiting for our freedom to be politely
returned to us once we’ve met all the requirements.

We met the requirements. So they just moved the goalposts.
They will continue to do so.

We aren’t going to “get” our freedom back, like it will just be passively
and nicely returned to us based on our compliance. That is a big lie, a total deception,
and has never happened anywhere, in the history of ever. Frankly,
I’m a bit embarrassed people still believe that. Not even God Himself,
and He is Holy, just, and perfect, just “gives” us freedom.
He may open the door to our prison, tear down the walls, and coax us out,
but even then we have to walk out under our own steam.
Or crawl.
Whatever works.
The point being, it is extremely rare we ever get anything without first opening
our hand and reaching out for it.

Jan 22, 2020, is when all of this began in my state.
We are going on seven months now! 7 months. A quarantine is for the sick,
not the healthy, and it should last about two weeks.
To quarantine the healthy is simply tyranny.

Such notions often put me at odds with friends, family,
even some churches. The problem being, I know I’m right,
I know that everything I see points in the direction I am observing.
We get our freedom back when we stop voluntarily consenting to hand it over.
That easy, that simple.

Happy Independence Day!
https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/we-arent-going-to-get-our-freedom-back/

The State, freedom of conscience, and civil disobedience.

The state and the Church have a history in our country.
The relationship status might read “it’s complicated”.
It ranges from the conversion and Christianization of the state to the deepest antipathy
of the State and its persecution of the Church.

Even when Christian, the Church has had to challenge the state.
Becket took on Henry 2nd and won. It cost him his life, but he won.

Thomas More took on Henry 8th. It cost him his life.
While he won the moral argument he lost the legal and political one.

The narrative in this country is of course set in the far wider and more
complex contest for a system of values fought in a variety of states
with a variety of aspects of the Church.

Glancing from the dynamics of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar,
through the Maccabees up to Bonhoeffer and Hitler, Solzhenitsyn and Stalin,
the contest for setting the values by which human beings live,
across states and cultures, defines one of the most powerful narratives in human history.

The pendulum swings from benign to malign.

In our day we are moving with some speed towards the malign.
Any reading of 20C history demonstrates a three-cornered fight between
two totalitarian ambitions, Marxism and Fascism, and Christianity.
All three make absolutist claims on humanity that are irreconcilable.
The anaemic relativism of our decaying culture in the West disguises
the sharp and brutal quality of the contest.

Christians are rightly wary that the in 21st C there is no reason for thinking
that the contest has been suspended. Fascism’s toll of Christians (and Jews)
in Germany and Spain was horrendous but dwarfed by the toll wreaked
by the Soviet Union and Marxist China.

In each period of attrition, the sign that the struggle to the death
had begun was the control of Churches and worship by the authorities.

The beginning of this century has exposed the oncoming depth and intensity
of a cultural revolution of values that are inimical to the faith in the west
and suddenly out of nowhere, for medical rather than political reasons,
the state suddenly closes the churches and prohibits worship.

There are three patterns of Christian response.
The first is the highly secularized and spiritually incompetent one, which says,
“places don’t matter; your private thoughts are everything,
corporate worship is overrated.
We are not worrying about the implications for a weakened church losing financial
and philosophical traction becoming ever more bankrupt in both.
There is nothing to see here, move on, don’t fuss.”

The second response, more literate historically but still
underdeveloped spiritually says “yes it’s a terrible sign that that the churches
have been down unilaterally. Yes, it looks authoritarian and apocalyptic,
but check out the facts. It was a pandemic.
It was medicine and science, not politics.
Calm down.
Nothing to worry about.”

The third group is more inclined to the view,
“if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck,
it may well be a duck”.
There is no value free science; everything has a political dimension;
more importantly, everything has a spiritual temperature,
character and metaphysical flavour or dynamic.
Whether there was intentionality or not, the state took upon itself the right
to close churches, prohibit worship, and deny the autonomy of personal
choice and informed conscience. And although this was a temporary measure (it seems)
it set a precedent which should have been exposed, challenged and repudiated.”

This is not the place to argue that the science on singing, water droplets
and infection is contested, as is the nature of the virus itself.
But it is the place to make common cause with Lord Sumtion and vociferously claim
that civil liberties require us to make a distinction between those who want to withdraw
from public life in order to protect themselves in a situation that is scientifically
and medically ambiguous, and those who chose to take certain risks congruent with a
personal value system and the dictates of their conscience.

It is the place to say that Christians do not recognise the power or authority of
the state to prohibit gathering for worship in ways that are not
medically or scientifically lethal or antisocial.

It is the place for insisting that the bar that state has to cross to
outlaw worship, close churches and outrage Christian conscience is considerably
perhaps impossibly higher than the secular state recognises.

It is, therefore, a legal and moral duty for the Church to challenge
the jurisprudential and ethical authority of the state to have set a precedent
in the authoritarian closing of churches and prohibition of worship.

It is for this reason that Christian Concern and a number of Church leaders
(amongst whom I am the least) have issued a challenge to the government by means
of judicial review to test the legality of this programme of church closure.

Further, if the legal challenge should be lost, many of us believe that Christians
could argue that we had a moral and ethical duty to refuse to acknowledge
the legitimacy of unjust law that not only acted as a threat to civil rights
and liberties that our forebears fought so hard to defend, but also struck
at the heart of our religious, spiritual and moral allegiance and identity.
https://ashenden.org/2020/07/06/the-state-closure-of-churches-and-civil-disobedience/

the demonic narrative does not claim that all lives matter

So the religious soul finds in the heart of Jesus a secure refuge against the
wiles and attacks of Satan, and a delightful retreat.
But we must not rest merely at the entrance to the hole in the rock,
we must penetrate its depths. At the mouth of the deep hollow,
at the mouth of the wound in his side we shall, indeed, find the precious blood which has redeemed us.
This blood pleads for us and demands mercy for us. But the religious soul must not stay at the entrance.
When she has heard, and understood, the voice of the divine blood,
she must hasten to the very source from which it springs,
into the very innermost sanctuary of the heart of Jesus.
There she will find light, peace, and ineffable consolations.

St Anthony of Padua


(Satan from the movie The Passion of the Christ)

Do you remember the scene in the movie The Passion of the Christ when
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane praying—-agonizing over what is to happen….
just before he is betrayed?
Do you remember seeing that rather androgynous and soulless figure shadowing Jesus
throughout most of the movie…that figure being Satan?

In the garden, as Jesus is in engaged in anguished prayer with his Father, the snake slithers
ever closer toward Jesus…coming within striking range of his foot…
that is until Jesus, suddenly resolute and committed to the role he is about to play,
slams his foot down upon the head of the snake—crushing it.
Just as he knows he will do the same when he descends into Hell in order to free all of
mankind from eternal damnation.


(Image from the movie The Passion when Jesus slams his foot down upon the serpent in the Garden of Gethsemane)

Powerful stuff.
As so it should be.
That’s because it is powerful.
God is powerful–all-powerful.

I think it’s safe in saying that we all know that my time for the last three years or so
has not been much my own.
Between illnesses, deaths, births, retirements and now what with pandemics and the demise
of society as we all know it…I’m just lucky to come up for air.

You may recall that I use to often post segments from Anglican Unscripted—
an Anglican weekly televised ministry.

The segments featured my favorite rogue Anglican Bishop Gavin Ashenden…former
Bishop to the Queen and former bishop in the Chruch of England.

The good Bishop left the Church of England over the ever-growing and blatant liberalism
of the Chruch as she and her leadership are quickly turning from the word of God.

He landed for a time in the greater Anglican Church here in the US, which is the church body
that split away from the American Episcopal Chruch over the same growing liberal issues
and divide.

You may have missed it but Dr. Ashenden officially left the Anglican fold altogether
late last year, as he has been fully accepted into the Catechism of the Catholic fold.

A move I greatly applaud.

So Anglican Unscripted now has a sister ministry, Catholic Unscripted..featuring
none other than Gavin Ashenden.

Over the weekend, I finally had the opportunity of watching the latest episode of Catholic Unscripted–
an episode that dealt with much of what is currently taking place here in the US and now spreading
like wildfire throughout the UK…
That of riots, violence, cries of racism, moves to defund the police, Black lives matter, Antifa,
radicalism, the destruction of statues on both sides of the pond, and at the heart of it all…
is this destructive movements of identity politics and cultural marxism.

In this particular segment, Dr. Ashenden is joined by Dr. Jules Gomes—
another brilliant and now former rouge priest.
In the episode, the two men explore the notion of a demonic movent taking place throughout
much of our Western Society.
As Christians, we should understand this.
Remember, our ancient foe prowls like a lion,
waiting in the shadows in order to devour us. (1 Peter 5:8)

Each man notes that most of those in our society, the majority being those who are
under the age of 40, have no real solid sense of identity.
Yet whereas Christians find their identity as the children of God…
and thus we as Christians are charged by God with living responsibly with and for our neighbors.

Unfortunately, it appears that that is not how most of those 40 and younger see their role.

There is a powerful and frightening movement now taking place globally,
one that is bent on the destruction of the nuclear family, the sexual identity of a man and a woman,
law, order, civility, and the annihilation of our Judaeo Christian foundation.

Dr. Gomes explains that as Christians, our identity and value are to be found in the power of Love–
and not in the love of power.
It is in this love of power that organizations such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter now find
their sole source of strength.

The segment is about 35 minutes long.
And if you care anything about what is now taking place all around you, whether you are
a believer or not–a Catholic, Protestant, or Jew…
I encourage you to take the time to watch, listen, as well as learn, what these two gentlemen
are sharing regarding this evergrowing crisis and what many are deeming a coming
civil war of sorts.

Blessedly, Dr. Ashenden does not leave us feeling isolated or defeated as he reminds us all
that we have been made in the image of God.
“That we are deeply loved and He considers us utterly precious.
He comes looking for us and it is there that we find our
true identity.”

See what kind of love the Father has given to us,
that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 3:1

Catholic Unscripted 11. “All lives matter. From Floyd to Rowling. Reflecting on Marxism & racism.”