Not too long ago nor too far away

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

Gore Vidal

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

Pat Conroy, My Reading Life

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

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

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

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

Still viable and loved but just older and wiser.

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

This teacher had pretty much seen it all.

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

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

As time passed, change began to accelerate exponentially.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Respect suddenly went out the window.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well…maybe not exactly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now back to the workshop on racial thought.

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

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

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

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

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

What had she done??

Nothing.

Nothing but to represent some sort of imagined injustice.

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

The young teacher remained defiant.

The older teacher retired a year later.

So now back to this blog post…

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

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

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

I commented on his post and Mel responded:

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

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

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

Next, Citizen Tom has also offered a similar post:

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

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

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

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

And then pray my friend—pray very hard!

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

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Sometimes change can be painfully slow

“Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy


(The Holloway Family)

I wanted to offer an update regarding my friend Stephanie’s husband, the Carrollton Police Officer
that was shot during a high speed chase in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Rob was shot in the head by a 22 year old young man.
His 26 year old cousin was driving at speeds upwards of 111 mph.

When pursued by law enforcement, the two boys began firing upon each and every law enforcement
vehicle that attempted to intervene in stopping them.

They hit Sgt Rob Holloway in the head.

Rob is the husband of a longtime colleague of mine from school.

Yesterday, my former principal text me the latest condition regarding Rob after he was life flighted
to Atlanta’s Grady Hospital Trauma Center.

The bullet remained lodged in Rob’s brain and could not be removed–
rather the surgeons had to remove part of the the right lobe of the brain.

Miraculously, by yesterday morning, Rob was talking, albeit through a morphine haze.
He asked for a sweet tea and was able to sallow his meds by mouth.

Rob is moving both hands and feet.

Brain scans are looking very positive.

We all continue to pray for Rob, Stephanie and their only child, Grady, a senior in high school.

But here is my angst in all of this.

Rob has been a police officer since 2008.

He had risen to the rank of sargent.
He was always so good to check my husband’s jewelry business in the wee hours, always
leaving a note that in the middle of the night, all was well.

He was thoughtful to this small business owner and we, in turn, were greatly appreciative.

His wife, when we worked together, was a devoted teacher who has since
moved on to being an active school administrator…
Their only child is a high school senior.

They have lived life by trusting God.

They are what we say in the South, “good people”

And yet, because of his profession as law enforcement, Rob is pigeon holed.
He is placed, by our current culture, into an ambiguous position…
a possible pariah against all mankind…
all because he simply wanted to protect and defend…

Contrary to popular belief, support for our law enforcement is not equivalent
to something racist…
despite what our current presidential administration claims to believe….the majority
of our law enforcement and first responders aim to serve the betterment of their
fellow human beings.

We have got to hold on to that and support our first responders.

Thank you all who have offered prayers of healing and hope…
There is a go fund me page for Rob Holloway set up by the wives of
local Carroll, Co. Georgia law enforcement wives.

One day, maybe, this madness will end.

monkeys throwing nuts

“The Destiny of Man is to unite, not to divide.
If you keep on dividing you end up as a collection of monkeys throwing nuts
at each other out of separate trees.”

T.H. White, The Once and Future King


(Born in the USA album cover)

Long ago and far away, I was once a ripe and tender 25 year old teacher.

This was about my third year teaching and I was teaching high school art,
art history and science of all things…
(they were shy a science teacher that year and I was the lucky one tapped to take that on)

Always having a deep and abiding love for all things Renaissance Art,
I got the bright idea that I should take a group of students and adults on an educational tour
of the art capital’s of Europe for a few weeks during summer break. We would go to the great museums
and the architecturally rich historic treasures of about 7 countries.

Great ideas do not always turn out so great…but that’s a different story
for another day.

I’ve written about this bright idea before and won’t bore us today over the tales of
my first and last major trip of responsibility with teenagers abroad—
however there is one moment that I vividly recall and
it seems rather applicable to share given our current divisional crisis taking place
in this nation of ours.

Did you catch the Super Bowl Sunday evening?
Maybe you saw the new Jeep commercial featuring Bruce Springsteen?

But before I go on with that thought, let me back up to the tale of that 25 year old teacher.

When I took that group of folks, both young and old on that trip,
I was newly married and found myself rather homesick half way into the trip.
Probably just homesick for a lot of reasons.

We had made it to Venice and our tour guide took us that evening to a disco as he
thought the kids would love to see an Italian style disco.

I was just ho-hum about it all until the DJ began playing the song Born In the USA.
One of the hallmark songs by “the Boss.”
Springsteen was the epitome of Americana.
Or so it seemed back in those heady day’s of the early 1980’s.

Hearing his song blaring throughout the disco, we all immediately took to the dance floor,
those in our group who were in their 60’s along with my young teen charges.
All singing united, gleefully proud to be Americans.

Yet sadly over the years, musicians, actors and entertainers have become more and more vocal
regarding their political leanings—going so far as to expressing vehemence for
anyone who takes a different view of things from their own.

It has become a ‘my view or no view’ mentality within much of the entertainment community.
So much so that even going all the way back to the election of George W. Bush,
many an entertainer, etc, was loudly proclaiming,
practically threatening, the decision to move from the US should Bush win.

Well, he won and yet they all seemed to stay.

Flash forward to this last election…there was once again a rising crescendo of those folks
singing the same old song…”I’m out of here if “he” wins!—this time, he meaning Trump.

Bruce Springsteen announced during the previous election that if Trump won,
the Boss would be moving to Australia.

Well, the election turned out in the Boss’s favor—so he could stay in the US, making his
big US dollars.

And so now Mr. Springsteen has the audacity to star in, as well as narrate, a Jeep ad—
an ad for a vehicle that screams Americana…it was an ad that oozed with the notion
that we may now all be able to be united…because we all know that liberal democrats unite
while conservative republicans obviously divide.

So… it really doesn’t seem that the Boss truly represents us as Americans…
Sadly, he has drawn a line in the sand and half of this country, it appears, is on the other side of his line…
his line and the line of most of our Nation’s leadership, entertainers, and sports figures
has smugly excluded one half of these ‘united’ states…

Something sounds quite divisive about all this new unity….

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be
no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

1 Corinthians 1:10

“Objective evidence is irrelevant”

Christians are now being punished for what others think
David Roberston

Yesterday I shared a post by our friend Gavin Ashenden–his post was about mob rule
and the cancel culture.
It was a post which highlighted the cancel culture attacking J.K. Rowling and her
defense of biological sex.

Despite Rowling being an ardent feminist, the mob has cared not…
all because in the mind of the mob,
biological sex does not exist and don’t you or anyone else dare to say otherwise.

Dr. Ashenden noted that in today’s topsy turvy society, truth is considered to be anathema,
an abomination…and because truth is perceived as hurtful and in turn hateful,
it is something that must now be canceled because the mob will not tolerate it.

So let that sink in…this current culture of ours will not tolerate truth—
because truth runs contrary to the mob’s own beliefs.

Truth has become the foremost casualty in this insidious culture war of ours.

And so I found it more than coincidental that yesterday, a day following Dr, Ashenden’s post,
our now down-under friend David Roberston wrote a column for Christianity Today based
on this very notion of the mob, truth, personal thought, and the lack of tollerance

The story focused on the firing of a young, UK Christian teacher, Kristie Higgs
for something, she had posted on her personal Facebook page.

She wrote the post using her maiden name and did not mention anything about being a teacher
herself, nor anything about the school where she worked but rather she wrote a post as a mother
who was concerned about what her young son was being taught in his school.

According to David’s article, “She was concerned about her nine-year-old son being taught
that gender is just a social construct and you can change your gender if you wish.
She objected to the mandatory Religious and Sex Education,
which the government had determined was to be taught to children as young as four.
She argued, correctly, that it was brainwashing.”

“She was concerned about the impact of transgender ideology being taught to young children –
a concern which is more than justified by the evidence becoming available which describes
the harm that is being caused to children.

But an anonymous complainant went to the headteacher and described her posts as
“homophobic and prejudiced to the LGBT community”.
The headteacher is then reported to have asked the complainant to find more offensive posts.
Kristie was subsequently investigated, suspended and fired.
The panel which investigated her, said her views were “pro-Nazi”
and she was told to “keep your religion out of it” when she tried to defend herself.

According to the tribunal, her dismissal
“was the result of a genuine belief on the part of the school that she had committed
gross misconduct”.
Kristie was not dismissed for her beliefs but rather because of the beliefs of the school.
I have a genuine belief that the tribunal was being irrational, discriminatory and prejudiced
by the criteria the tribunal uses,
so that means they should find themselves guilty! Unless my belief is irrelevant,
that is, and only some beliefs count.

It gets worse. The tribunal states that Mrs Higgs was found guilty of posting items
on Facebook that “might reasonably lead people who read her posts to conclude that she
was homophobic and transphobic”.
Yet that same tribunal admitted that Mrs Higgs was not transphobic or homophobic,
nor did they state that the posts themselves were transphobic or homophobic –
just that some people might think they were, and thus they would cause upset.

That is why this ruling is so important. If this judgement is allowed to stand,
it will mean two things. Firstly, the whole standard of law will now be changed.
Guilt is now determined not upon evidence but simply upon the faith and feelings
of the prosecuting party! Based on an anonymous complaint, a tribunal decided that
a private post (which was not available to the public) was sufficient grounds
for an employee to be fired. This means that anyone who finds what someone says
to be potentially upsetting or offensive, now has the ability to get them fired.
Objective evidence is irrelevant. (my bold text)

Except it does not mean that.
It does not mean that ANYONE who finds something offensive can get someone else fired.
It just means that only certain approved and protected groups have the ability to use
the law to enforce their views.
I suspect that the school would not have fired a teacher who posted a message
that I would find offensive about Christianity. If this judgement stands,
we will have lost the principle of ‘all are equal before the law’.

In the Brave New Britain, some are now more equal than others and a society
is emerging where pluralism is disappearing and along with it, freedom of religion,
freedom of speech and freedom of thought. State approved indoctrination within the schools
is now going to be backed up by the law, which in effect bans all other points of view.

It is ironic that Mrs Higgs was accused of holding Nazi-like beliefs by a school
which is using Nazi-like authoritarian methods (kangaroo courts, anonymous complainants,
transgression of state ideology) to impose its own exclusive ideology.

David rounds out his piece with a similar lament which we read yesterday by Dr. Ashenden…
the real help in this mad mad world of ours is going to have to come from the Chruch.

But what of this Chruch of ours—this global community of believers?

“The church needs to be united on this and I realise how difficult that
is when so many churches have sold out to progressive ideology.
It speaks volumes that Steve Chalke, in light of this case,
not only warned that churches who do not accept this ideology face prosecution,
but also suggested that even expressing pastoral concern or praying for people with
gender confusion or unwanted same-sex attraction was “psychologically abusive”.
In these times of moral confusion,
those of us who love the Lord and want to stand on his word need to stick together.

Christians Are Now Being Punished For What Others Think – CT

How do you know?

“Jesus Christ came not to condemn you but to save you, knowing your name,
knowing all about you, knowing your weight right now,
knowing your age, knowing what you do, knowing where you live,
knowing what you ate for supper and what you will eat for breakfast,
where you will sleep tonight, how much your clothing cost,
who your parents were.
He knows you individually as though there were not another person in the entire world.
He died for you as certainly as if you had been the only lost one.
He knows the worst about you and is the One who loves you the most.
If you are out of the fold and away from God, put your name in the words of John 3:16 and say,
“Lord, it is I. I’m the cause and reason why Thou didst on earth come to die.”
That kind of positive, personal faith and a personal Redeemer is what saves you.
If you will just rush in there, you do not have to know all the theology and all the right words.
You can say, “I am the one He came to die for.” Write it down in your heart and say,
“Jesus, this is me—Thee and me,” as though there were no others.
Have that kind of personalized belief in a personal Lord and Savior.”

A.W. Tozer,
And He Dwelt Among Us: Teachings from the Gospel of John


(Rosemary Beach, Fl /Julie Cook /2020)

Yesterday I was musing over the thought of knowing one’s calling.

Knowing that I, you, me, us… were doing what we were meant to be doing.

With the question being…are you, me, we simply going through the motions or are
we feeling that we are where God has always intended us to be?

I am almost 61 years old and I have never ever been certain of my calling.

Over the years, I’ve shared this thought many times before.
I’ve never been good at hearing God’s words…His whispers.

A sledgehammer might be helpful.
Yet He remains the true gentleman.

I became a teacher…but I never felt that that was hands down my “calling”
I became a wife and later a mother…was that my calling?

I’ve been a teacher.
A caregiver.
A wife.
A daughter.
A mother.
A grandmother.

Where has been the peace in knowing that I was indeed doing what God had called me to do?

Yet there is now a swirling maelstrom that is taking us all by storm.

Pandemics, civil unrest, mob rule, racial strife, lawlessness, violence, anti-Christian rhetoric,
persecution…

And so I know, now is the time.

This is the calling.

More concerning this calling tomorrow.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling
to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness,
with patience, bearing with one another in love,
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:1-3

Bitterness

Between the uprightness of my conscience and the hardness of my lot,
I know not how either to show respect to my feelings or to the times.
The bitterness of my mind urges me at all hazards to speak what I think,
whereas the necessity of the times prompts me, however unbecomingly,
to keep silence.
Good God!
Which way shall I turn myself?

Thomas Becket


(5 o’clock somewhere / Julie Cook / 2020)

Way back in the early ’80s, I was but a young naive, early twenty-something art teacher.

As an art educator, I thought it was my duty, meaning I had the bright idea,
that I should create a European adventure in order to take my students upon—
one that would focus on the great art capitals of Europe.

Ahhhhh…

Note to self…when you are mid-twenties…don’t take teens on a trip…
especially out of the country.

And don’t do it when terrorism was actually becoming a thing
and there was no such things as cell phones.

That will be another story for another day.

However, for now, I want to share one little story.

At that time, as a young art teacher, who had recently been a young student myself,
I had a deep love and fascination with all things Italian.

I had minored in Art History with a focus on the Italian Renaissance.
Italy was, to me, the mecca of the art world.
And to truly appreciate such, I had immersed myself in all things Italian.

As a kid, I always loved Italian food, albeit 1960’s Americana Italian.
As an adopted kid, I just knew my true roots were Italian.

Was I not the secret love child of Sophia Loren???

Yet sadly that all actually proved to be a Scotch / Irish and English background,
but I digress.

So when our little adventure finally brought us to Italian soil, I had the
bright idea that I would, by gosh, treat myself to a quintessential Italian drink…
Campari.

That glistening brilliant red Italian liqueur.
I had seen all the famous advertisement posters… Campari was THE
Italian drink…

I remember marching up to a bar at a disco we had taken to kids to enjoy
and boldly telling the bartender I would like a Campari on the rocks.

Oh I felt so Sophia Lorenesque—-waiting on Dean Martin to come croon me a sweet Italian
love song.

I was so excited, so full of expectation…that was all until I brought that glass to my
expectant lips and took a big swallow.

There are no words for the nano-moments following.

It was a swallow followed by a quick spitting out what remained in my mouth.

Oh my great heavens above, I had just ingested kerosene!!!

A fire was now coursing down my throat as the bitter taste of poison cloyingly
coated my mouth.

If not some sublime red delightful liquid, what in the heck was Campari!!!?????

Oh, what my naivete and immature taste did not understand of aperitifs and digestifs
and more importantly bitters.

A story I now recall fondly as I’ve actually acquired quite the taste for Campari–
albeit mixed with a bit of lime and prosecco.
In more of a spritz verses that of a hardcore sipper.

And all this talk of bitters brings me full circle to our lives today.

For we are living during some bitter days.

A shadowy Spector seems to be waiting on each of us with some sort of sadistic
bated breath.

We are finding ourselves isolated, dislocated and as if living in some strange foreign land.

Our world has been literally turned upside down.

And how ironic that we should find ourselves in the midst of one of the holiest times
in all of Christendom—the week leading to Good Friday…and eventually Easter.

A time of jubilation followed by humility, betrayal, torture, and eventually death…

It is a bitter time.
A time of gall and bile.
A time of blood and vomit.

Not a pretty picture.
Not a picture of sweet little bunnies and precious little lambs.

This is a time of reality.

A time of life, lies, deceit, and death.

And how odd that our world now is actually walking the same sacred
walk we Christians have walked now for nearly 2000 years…
the Via Dolorosa…

A painful and difficult journey.

Yet what we followers of Christ already know…
the ending is not nearly as tragic as the world would have us believe.

Victory, in the end, is truly ours.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning,
nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

I witnessed a crime…

Crime is the price society pays for abandoning character.
James Q. Wilson


(courtesy Publix produce images)

First, let me preface this tale with a small disclaimer…I hate going to the grocery store
on a Saturday.

This tale, however, begins because of my having been gone most of last week,
and half the week prior, and thus my pantry was in great need of re-stocking.

Despite feeling that I should don a surgical mask due to my grandmother crud,
I went on, mask free, lest I send coronavirus shock waves through our small city.

I headed off, much to my chagrin, to my local grocery store of choice.

As I turned onto the drive leading to the parking lot, I noticed a group of about 7
teenage girls. They were walking along the sidewalk and I thought they might veer off,
crossing over in front of me–
crossing over to our city’s greenbelt walking-path near the grocery store
which leads back to our high school—

But no, they continued on the sidewalk up towards the grocery store.

This was not exactly an area of town to be out strolling…
because it is congested and a high traffic area.
Plus it was a cold blustery day.

I continued on my way to the parking lot, figuring the girls were probably walking to the
nearby McDonald’s.

The always enduring high school teacher, who lives forever deep within me,
always wonders when I see a flock of kids, out and about, simply walking where
kids would not normally be walking.
It’s something akin to a teacher’s eyes in the back of his/ her head.
Always watching, always knowing.

I parked, gathered my bags and made my way inside, grabbing a cart.

I started toward the produce section when I saw the same set of teens walking
rather quickly towards me, out from the store towards the door.

“Boy, that was fast,” I thought.
In and out they were as in I had no idea they had even been heading to the grocery store.

They had no bags, no cart, no nothing.

Yet as they rapidly passed by me and the fruit section,
the gal on the tail end of the entourage reached out and grabbed a peach.
She held it tight in a clenched fist while looking back to see if she had been seen.

And yes, she had…she had been seen.

I had seen and she saw that I had seen.

So I did the only thing I thought to do without causing some sort of ruckus—
I simply gave her the death stare of any high school teacher who had just
spied poor behavior.

Part of me wanted to loudly holler out for the young woman to put the fruit back
as I wondered what else had been picked up as they were walking with quite the
quickstep to the exit.

So here are the obvious facts to this little incident…
I am a 60-year-old white woman.
The group of 7 girls consisted of black teens.

Now those two little facts alone should just be obvious observations…
yet they are enough for most of today’s hypersensitive politically correct,
progressive liberal lot to accuse me of racism, as well as something
I’ve just learned about today, “white fragility.”

Yet the only facts are:
I am white and old.
They were black and young.

And from those two obvious facts…our culture will race to pull all sorts of accusations
out of the air.

I later told a friend about what I had seen at the grocery store and her response
was that it was sad they wanted something healthy and probably didn’t have any fresh
food at home.

The rolling of my eyes set in.

Well, I can certainly tell you that the nicked pinched peach was an afterthought while
our culprit was simply passing by an open bin. There was no focused intent on taking a
piece of fruit.
It was just sitting there and she was passing by and simply slipped a hand down to
grab one as in, “oh, let me grab that as I make my way out the door’.

And might I add that any peach sitting out this time of year would be an imported
rock-hard poor excuse for a fruit…not even palatable.

My response to my friend was not to make some sort of liberal excuse for stealing.
Because that was what it was…stealing. It would be the sort of excuse we’d hear
from our progressive left…an excuse for doing wrong.

So okay…to be fair…

I suppose we all recall the days of our own youth…
days of reckless abandon when we too nicked and pocketed something seemingly harmless
like a piece of fruit, a yard ornament, a street sign, a glass from a restaruant…etc.

Yet sadly today, what we now readily give a pass to is, none the less, blatant stealing.

It is always hoped that we will each grow up and mature…learning, knowing and realizing
right from wrong.
Right from wrong as well as learning that the notion of taking what is not ours
is one of those top 10 commandments—as in “DO NOT…”

It is hoped that we grow to have remorse for our past wrongs while we work toward
living a life that is better than…a life of positive morality.
A life of setting wrongs right.

Yet unfortunately, the idea of what was once perceived as wrong is now
perfectly ok…and we make excuses as to why it is now right rather
than wrong.

We have made excuses our demigods…excuses for every ill that befalls
our culture.

We could once justify wrongs as right in those life and death situations.
Situations of war, or of need vs want, or of the necessity of life vs death…

Yet did that make them any more right than wrong?

Probably not…but the taking of some bread or milk lest a child starve
was deemed justifiable…the assassination attempt of a tyrant like Hitler
was justifiable to the pacifist Christian pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer because
the taking of the one life would spare the hundreds of thousands he was annihilating.

However, we now have created the notion of excusing and justifying behavior that is
obviously wrong for simply every day lives…and this notion has been long percolating.
We’ve made an art of turning wrongs into rights and defending such to the hilt.

Our culture no longer desires to call a wrong, wrong.
Rather we make excuses.
We make sad pathetic excuses for needs not being met.

It is a want versus need mentality.

There are excuses for poverty.
Excuses for inabilities.
Excuses for limitations.
Excuses over race.

Had the girls not been racing toward the exit, I could have offered to buy her the fruit.

But then we’d both have been acknowledging what she had done…
and the reality is, she didn’t want acknowledging.

So this little incident brought my thoughts back to an article I had just read earlier
in the day on The Federalist.

How ‘White Fragility’ Theory Turns Classrooms Into Race-Charged Power Struggles
White fragility theory is counterproductive and divisive.
White teachers should not be discounted, bullied, or shut down during anti-bias trainings in schools.

An article that, as a former educator, I could readily relate to…
For I saw this indoctrination coming down the pike nearly two decades ago.

The article focused on a recent talk given by academic and author, Dr. Robin DiAngelo
to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education in Atlanta.

She’s written a book and is a bit of a self-proclaimed expert on “White fragility”

Huh?
Who knew, but it seems that white fragility is indeed a thing.

Her book focuses on “why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism.”

The answer, she says, is “white fragility,” defined as “a state in which even a
minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.”
This “racial stress” is the direct result of “implicit bias,”
which runs so strong in white people that it is a core reason racism persists in America.
This claim is based on a worldview, advanced by an increasingly influential field
called Whiteness Studies, that racism is inseparable from the reign of Whiteness.

What is Whiteness?
It is hard to say, but the basic idea is that all the institutions of society
are “white”—made by white people, ruled by white people,
and kept in place by white people to make sure that white people continue to benefit from “white privilege.”
These institutions are infected by white supremacy,
a result of the long arc of racism in American history.
Whiteness works through implicit bias, which refers to a whole range of unconscious behaviors,
speech, and beliefs that keep white supremacy in place.

Needless to say, I think this sort of thinking is nothing but a bunch of crap.
This sort of mindset leads to only more trouble.
It leads to a deeper misunderstanding.
And even a greater and much wider divide.

But then, I’m white… so…yeah, of course, I would think that.
Or so would say, Dr. DiAngelo.

And therein lies both the rub and the irony.

Let us dare not speak of racism directed toward whites or disdain and vehemence directed
towards Christians or toward pro-life supporters, or towards traditional marriage proponents,
or towards conservatives or towards anything or anyone who embraces traditional values…
especially towards issues of morality…issues of right vs wrong…

Because in this brave new world of which we now created and find ourselves living…
it is a world where wrong is now right and right is most certainly wrong…

There is no true biology.
No boy or girl.
No girl or boy.

There is no God
There is no Savior
There is only the State

We have created an excuse for each and everything…
along with more and more reasons as to why we must dislike and mistrust one another…
We must quiet each and every last one who dares to disagree with the new state’s mindset.

But Believers know that this is Satan’s plan.

To divide and conquer.

We must never forget…the battle may be raging, but the war is already lost.
So let us not be on the wrong side of the winning vs the losing when
it is all finally said and done.
And that will require a constant need to shout the Truth while the
chosen ones attempt to silence anyone who dares to utter such a Truth.

Hate, wrongs, mistrust, division, disdain, oppression…lose each and every time.

Here’s the link to the article.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/28/how-white-fragility-theory-turns-classrooms-into-race-charged-power-struggles/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=01ad0a3f38-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-01ad0a3f38-84149832

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James 4:17

A time for yearning…

“If you learn everything except Christ, you learn nothing.
If you learn nothing except Christ, you learn everything.”

St. Bonaventure


(Independant Presbyterian Church steeple / Savannah, GA / Julie Cook / 2019)

I must say that I have a small regret…

My regret is that of time…but who doesn’t regret time right?

Sometimes we might think we have enough or even too much, but if the truth be told,
we never have nearly enough.

I use to be able to catch a youtube or video blog post of Anglican Unscripted.
I use to listen to the podcasts of our friend the Wee Flea, Pastor David Roberston…
as well as our favorite across the pond rogue bishop, Bishop Gavin Ashenden.

But first, the Mayor came on the scene.
Next, my better half retired.
And then, the Sherrif came on board.
Suddenly there was no more time….well, no more time for me to do those
things I use to do with time before my new time needers all arrived.

Now I am certainly not complaining mind you…as this use of time
is a good use…exhausting, but good.

It’s just that when I had time to do so, I would
listen/watch and take copious notes of the teachings by our two Christian Scholarly friends.
I would craft posts featuring the teachings of these most knowledgable individuals.
I learned and, in turn, wanted to share the learning…that’s a teacher thing and it matters
not if we retire…sharing knowledge is what we do.

So I was very excited the other day when I actually carved out some unexpected quiet
and surprisingly alone time in order to listen to a podcast offered by one of my
favorite publications, the UK publication The Spectator.

Happily, I got to listen, almost uninterrupted,
to an interview by Damian Thompson with Bishop Gavin Ashenden—
who by the way is a recent convert to Catholicism.
The interview focused on the Chruch of England and its current dangerous walk toward socialism.

Now for those of you who think you don’t have a dog in the fight over anything Catholic,
Anglican, Chruch of England or Episcopalian…or even Socialism…
may I quickly remind you that many of our Nation’s current politicians are touting
all things Socialism while Socialism currently creeps its ugly way into our
Nation’s political narrative.

Think Bernie, AOC and the Progressive left…

I think the good Bishop gives a sound foundation as to why all Christians
must be very wary of this most troubling dalliance of the Chruch of England.

The podcast is about 20 minutes and is well worth the time, if you are fortunate to
find some…time.

“Just before Christmas, Dr. Gavin Ashenden, a former Chaplain to the Queen,
converted to Catholicism. But that’s not the main subject of my interview with him in
the first Holy Smoke episode of 2020. In it,
he deplores the Church of England’s surrender to secularism under Archbishop Justin Welby,
who won’t enjoy his former colleague’s assessment of his talents.

Dr. Ashenden may not be Anglican any more,
but he does think that the Established Church has a historic mission –
and that its ‘middle managers’ have betrayed it in favour of ‘soft socialism’.
To which I reply that Pope Francis is busy hoisting the white flag,
or perhaps a red one, on the other side of the Tiber.
At which point our conversation takes an unexpected turn. Don’t miss it!”

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2020/01/holy-smoke-podcast-has-the-church-of-england-surrendered-to-soft-socialism/

detach from worldly things

“Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things.
Do your utmost to banish darkness from your mind and come to understand what true,
selfless piety is.
Through confession, endeavor to purify your heart of anything which may still taint it.
Enliven your faith, which is essential to understand and achieve piety.”

St. John Bosco


(St John Bosco)

There is so much more that I’d like to write about John Bosco, this educator/saint,
but again time is not on my side.

Hopefully, I will do so, God willing, as time allows.

But until then, I’ve included a brief biography of this man from Turin, Italy below.

This past school year was a very trying time for my daughter-n-law.
And that is putting it mildly.

Here she was, a new young first-time mother of a young child learning to manage
motherhood and her work…as work was anything but easy.

She had taught school in the public sector for several years, earning the reputation
as a stellar educator.

This past year, due to moving and making home in Atlanta, she made the move to a parochial school.

Initially, the hire seemed to be a God-send.
The woman who hired her, the then acting principal, was moved by my daughter-n-law’s record as
an educator as well as her exceptional interview.

Yet as fate would have it, this woman retired only to be replaced by an interim principal.

To say that the replacement was a bully and difficult would be an understatement.

As a veteran educator of 31 years, when I had the opportunity to meet her fellow colleagues
at her baby shower, I was struck at how miserable this staff actually was.

The entire staff hated this bullying tyrant acting principal—several vowed to quit,
many long-time veterans were fearful their contracts would not be renewed.
All the while this sadistic man seemed to have a laser of extreme hatred,
focused on his co-teacher, our daughter-n-law.

I was fretful because as our daughter-n-law was very pregnant, I was more than aware of
what outward stress internalized could possibly do to an unborn child.

We were all on pins and needles as our hands felt tied.

Frustrated and anxious summed up the winter months.

At the end of February, our son and daughter-n-law bought a new rug.
I was there the day they brought the rug home.
As we unrolled the rug, we found what first appeared to be a half dollar rolled up
inside the rug.

Upon further inspection it was a St John Bosco medal.

Hummmm…

We are not a Catholic family so my son and daughter-n-law were a bit perplexed
and unaware of who this man was.

My quasi-Catholic self knew good and well about St. John Bosco.

“Abby”, I exclaimed, “don’t you see…this is St John Bosco…he is more or less
the patron saint for educators…”
“It is a sign…God sees and He knows of your troubles…you’ve got to trust”

I had no doubt after this “coincidence” that God was at work.
Because in my world there are no coincidence but rather only the
workings of the Holy Spirit.

It’s is a long story that I will save, but circumstances grew to such a level that this
hateful man actually painted himself into a corner.
Word was issued, via e-mail, during Spring Break that this principal had been relieved of his duties
and would not be returning.

It was an answered prayer not only for our family, but also for entire school staff.

God hears, God sees, and God knows…

It is us, His often lost and clueless children, who so often need reminding.

St. John Bosco reminded our small family…

Saint John Bosco’s Story

John Bosco’s theory of education could well be used in today’s schools. It was a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin. He advocated frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite the spiritual life with one’s work, study and play.

Encouraged during his youth in Turin to become a priest so he could work with young boys, John was ordained in 1841. His service to young people started when he met a poor orphan in Turin, and instructed him in preparation for receiving Holy Communion. He then gathered young apprentices and taught them catechism.

After serving as chaplain in a hospice for working girls, Don Bosco opened the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales for boys. Several wealthy and powerful patrons contributed money, enabling him to provide two workshops for the boys, shoemaking and tailoring.

By 1856, the institution had grown to 150 boys and had added a printing press for publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. John’s interest in vocational education and publishing justify him as patron of young apprentices and Catholic publishers.

John’s preaching fame spread and by 1850 he had trained his own helpers because of difficulties in retaining young priests. In 1854, he and his followers informally banded together, inspired by Saint Francis de Sales.

With Pope Pius IX’s encouragement, John gathered 17 men and founded the Salesians in 1859. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organized a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.

Saint John Bosco

Prophets, St Matthias and the kneeling of the Church to Isalm


(“Saint Matthias” | Serra Brothers workshop)

Tuesday was the feast day of St Matthias–May 14th on the Gregorian calendar…
the calendar most of the world now follows.
However, our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters follow the Julian calendar
and so their commemoration of the feast day is August 9th.

But for our purposes today, for those of us who adhere to the Gregorian calendar,
we’ll just stick with May 14th.

St Matthias was the disciple that, following the death and Resurrection of Jesus,
and then that of his Ascension was voted on by Peter and the others to fill the void left
by the betrayal and subsequent suicide of Judas Iscariot.
(Acts 1:15-26)

It was the replacing of one who betrayed with one who remained faithful.
It was also a fulfilling of prophecy.

May 14th was also a day that I actually had time to catch the latest youtube episode of
Anglican Unscripted with US host Kevin Kallsen and our favorite rouge Anglican priest,
Bishop Gavin Ashenden.

Our dear friend actually started the segment by mentioning that their day’s discussion
was to be quite timely given the fact that it was the feast day of St Matthias.

After watching the episode, I understood the nod to the significance of St Matthias.
That being the replacing of betrayal with dedicated devotion.

A devotion that, in the face of severe trial and grave threat to life,
never wavered–one iota.

Those in the US, other than disheartened Episcopalians and Anglicans such as myself,
may not understand nor be interested in what a former British Anglican bishop has to say.
They may wonder why I continually reference the man.

So for those of you who wonder who in the heck I keep talking about, quoting or referencing,
in a Wikipedia and from his own bio nutshell, here is who is he is…
“Gavin Roy Pelham Ashenden (born 1954)
is a British Anglican clergyman.
He was a Chaplain to the Queen from 2008 until his resignation in 2017.
He was ordained in the Church of England, but left it in 2017.
That year was consecrated a missionary bishop by the Christian Episcopal Church,
a continuing Anglican jurisdiction outside of the Anglican Communion.”
On the Feast of St Michael and All Angels 2017,
the Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church announced that Dr. Ashenden
had been consecrated as a Missionary bishop to the UK and Europe.

But there is more to the man than a quick bio—

Bishop Ashenden knows music and its history, he has a law degree, he studied psychology
and theology, he is an accomplished and deeply published author, he has been a teacher,
preacher and even smuggler—smuggling Bibles into the communist Soviet Union.
He has served in small parishes and he has served a Queen.

He is keenly knowledgable about history be it the history of religions, governments or law.

In other words, he is a man who knows his stuff.

Yet because he knows “his” stuff, why should any of that matter to you, you might now be asking.

Well, because my friend, if you are one who considers themselves a Christian, as well as a member
of the Judaeo/ Christian democratic Western Civilization, Bishop Ashenden paints a grave yet
painfully honest picture of your very world…a truth that you need to familiarize yourself with
before you are caught like so many will be, blindsided.

Would I call Bishop Ashenden a prophet?

Perhaps.
Perhaps I would.

I do know that much of the modern-day world wonders why we have not heard from the
likes of such prophets like those from the days of old.

Those wizened voices who rose up most often from obscurity,
bending the ears of kings and warriors alike by foretelling things that were to be.
Those men who dreamed dreams and shared visions.

Not like a Nostradamus mind you, but more like a Jeremiah, Obadiah or an Isaiah,
or even a John The Baptizer.

I know I’ve been guilty of lamenting ‘where are the prophets?’
Where are those voices of Truth…?

But as I’ve pondered such a notion…it has dawned on me that the prophets are indeed
alive and well…they are found the world over and rest in the voices of men and women who
speak the Truth about Jesus Christ…His life, His teachings, His death, and His resurrection.

They are the ones who do not bend the Truth for convenience sake.
They are not the appeasers or the pleasers of an egocentric society or a materialistic world.

They are the men and women who literally die each and every day for their faith because their
trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ and in Christ alone.

They do not care about social norms, culturalisms, objectivism, convenience, or popularity.
They do not care what a world gone mad thinks of them.

They are not afraid.
For those who speak Truth are never afraid.

During Tuesday’s segment, host Kevin Kallsen made mention that he had seen on a
recent Yahoo News interview freshman Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib,
who happens to be a practicing Muslim, state that the notion of the Holocaust gives her
“a calming feeling.”

Are you kidding???
Holocaust and clam used within the same sentence???

And yet Congress, along with mainstream media, has basically all ignored such a statement.

Who in their right mind has any sort of sense of calm or peace whenever thinking of the Shoah,
in other words, the Holocaust???

I’ve looked into the back story a bit and it appears that some feel her words were taken
out of context…but, I don’t agree.

And so as the segment’s conversation continues,
the good Bishop actually takes a closer look at Islam and that of the Chruch’s odd embrace
of a religion that has always stated that living
in harmony with the followers of the Cross will never be tolerated.

Bishop Ashenden notes that Mohammed’s Islam has, for the better part of 60 years,
been taught by theologians to be one of the three legs of the Abrahamic religions…
with the other two legs being that of Christianity and Judaism.
However our dear friend staunchly, and without hesitation, states that that thought
is absolutely not the truth.

Mohammed borrowed the Biblical characters such as Noah, Mary, and even Jesus,
in order to give credence to “his” religion.

And he denied that Jesus ever rose from the dead.

The good Bishop states that “Mohammed is nothing more than a dictator who demands submission.”
whereas Jesus Christ offers himself as a sacrifice.

Islam is not a cousin of our faith but on the contrary…runs counter to Christianity.

The troubling thing, however, is that we are today witnessing a global Chruch who wants to
appear friendly, accepting and even embracing of Islam.
Going so far as to inviting Muslim neighbors into a Chruch’s sanctuary in order to celebrate
the ending of Eid by covering up the crosses in order not to offend.

Is not covering the cross on the altar of the Chruch a turning of one’s back to Christ and all
He stands for in our faith?
Is that not a betrayal of convenience?

To follow Jesus means that we are not to be ashamed nor disassociate ourselves–ever.

Bishop Ashenden reminds us that we know more about Hell from Jesus than from anyone else Biblically.
He shares that Jesus was and is very specific about consequences…
So much so that He tells us that to deny Him, results in the opposite of Paradise…
it results in Hell.

Yet so many of us will argue that we are a polite society.
We don’t want to rock the boat.
We want to accommodate and be neighborly and friendly.

But to what extent?
At what cost?

Do we opt to turn a blind eye, ignoring public servants who speak positively about
egregious atrocities such as the Holocaust?

Do we rewrite God’s word so that His words now fit better into our current day and times?

Do we cover up and hide the key representative symbol of our faith,
thinking that others of differing faiths may find it offensive?

Evil is alive and well…yet no one likes to admit such let alone think about such.

Bishop Ashenden tells us that Christianity, and only Christianity, offers a defense against Evil.
Jesus cleanses the human heart of such Evil.
Yet the fingerprints of Satan are very much visible within and across the global collective Church.

Truth is being turned upside down as there is not enough regard for the truth in our
social culture.

And yet we are reminded…
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life…the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life…
(John 14:6)

Do not compromise.
Do not be ashamed.
Do not hide.
Do not deny.
Do not pretend.