“It is not enough that we do our best;
sometimes we must do what is required.”
―Winston S. Churchill
I have never lived through a world war, although I have lived through wars.
I have not lived during a pandemic, although I have experienced illnesses.
I have not physically wandered through a wilderness, though I have known
the loneliness of the wilderness.
I have not experienced a physical death, but I have known the loss and isolation of death.
I do, however, know paradox because we are currently living in such an anomaly.
Our current situation is not typical nor is it one that we can fully comprehend.
On some levels, life remains as we know it.
On others, not so much.
I still find great frustration in the cars I see driving constantly on the roads.
I am frustrated that we are told one thing and most choose to ignore the mandates.
The consequences of ignorance puts us all at great peril and risk.
Yet what of economics and loss?
What is the correct wisdom?
Stay in and isolated or open up and encourage commerce?
And I greatly enjoyed the speech offered yesterday by The Queen of England.
Whereas the Queen gives her usual Christmas greeting to her Commonwealth,
this particular speech was one of only a handful that she has delivered to her Nation
during times of grief or need.
I respect her words of wisdom and resolve, in part because I know she has lived in
times that I have not.
She has maintained, now for her 93 years, a resolve that some would find harsh
while others would find stalwart and actually comforting.
I am of the latter thinking…
A few highlights—
“While we have faced challenges before, this one is different.”
“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,”
And, those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any,
that the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet, good-humored resolve,
and of fellow feeling still characterize this country.”
“The pride in who we are is not part of our past.
It defines our present and our future.
“We will succeed, and that success will belong to every one of us,” she concluded.
“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return.
We will be with our friends again.
We will be with our families again.
We will meet again. But for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.”
I’m old enough to remember that as a little girl, I had my very own pair of little
white gloves that I was to wear each Sunday when we attended Church, because
that is what was done back then.
It was a time when men dressed nicely in their finest suits and women wore nice dresses
hose and heels.
A more refined and truly polite time that was not as casual and crass as we are today.
Some may say how stuffy and fussy it all was but at the time,
it was all I knew and now with hindsight, I rather like it.
As a child, I was also expected to wear my gloves to other nice events that we, as a family,
might be attending…be it dinner out to a nice restaurant or even when in the 6th grade,
we all took ballroom dancing lessons…
White gloves were a must for any young lady no matter your social class.
Yet no matter the occasion, gloves were always to be worn when attending anything
with my grandmother Nany.
Nany was my dad’s mother and she minced no words when it came to presenting oneself
out in public.
I think that’s why it is to this day I won’t leave the house without makeup
and or looking somewhat put together…
I might have on jeans and a ball cap, but my face will “be made up” by gosh!
I also think that’s why dad was more slouchy, especially as he got older…
never one to care much about his appearance, I would often have to get him
to change clothes before we went out.
His brother, my uncle, never owned a pair of jeans and rarely do I remember
him without a tie, but my dad, on the other hand, was happy in jeans,
a wrinkled dress shirt, an ancient cardigan with or without moth holes,
and always white socks.
Nany taught me to always put my ‘best face forward’…meaning—being presentable
no matter the situation…
I find that there is a great deal of wisdom in that.
So when it came time for me to enter the workforce, I spent my entire teaching career,
despite being a high school art teacher, ‘dressed for success.’
And I use to instill that same mindset within my students—dress the part,
and the part will be yours…
I also remember Nany always having a purse hooked to her arm…
never ever a shoulder bag or tote, but a purse only…
one to be worn in the crook of the arm.
Much like we see the Queen do.
I’ve never thought anything of the Queen and her constant companion…her purse,
because the Queen is of a certain era much like my grandmother despite the fact that the
queen is more the age of my only remaining living aunt–well into her 90’s
Many folks have often wondered as to why the Queen needs to even carry a purse
otherwise known as a handbag.
I’ve heard tell that the Queen actually carries what most women of a
certain time period carries…
lipstick, a small mirror, a few throat lozenges, a pen, a note pad, her reading glasses…
But I’ve also heard tell that the purse doubles as a bit of a secret messenger.
As in a sly little spy.
From House Beautiful
Lucky for Queen Elizabeth II, she has no need for house keys.
And we bet you would never catch her running around her house (um, palace)
looking for her misplaced cellphone. Which begs the question:
What does she keep in those famous Launer purses she carries around every day anyway?
Well, royal biographer, Sally Bedell Smith, got the scoop.
Back in 2012, Smith revealed that the Queen always keeps a mirror, lipstick,
a pen, some mint lozenges and reading glasses on hand.
And on Sundays she brings a few small bills “precisely folded” to give as a church donation.
But apparently her purse is more often used as a way to send signals
to her staff than anything else.
“It would be very worrying if you were talking to the Queen and saw the handbag
move from one hand to the other,” royal historian Hugo Vickers told PEOPLE.
You see, this is a signal the Queen uses to indicate to her staff that
she’s ready to wrap up her current conversation.
However, you might not even know it’s happening – they’re that discreet.
“It would be done very nicely,” Vickers says.
“Someone would come along and say,
‘Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you.'”
Other cues Queen Elizabeth uses?
According to the Telegraph, if she puts her handbag on the table at dinner,
it means she wants the event to end in the next five minutes.
And if she puts her bag on the floor, it shows she’s not enjoying the conversation
and wants to be rescued by her lady-in-waiting.
But Vickers says the most dramatic gesture of all is spinning her ring,
which tells her staff she needs to be rescued immediately.
Fingers crossed this never happens to us!
So when I look at this picture taken over the weekend of Her Majesty sitting amongst
the NATO World leaders, of whom she had hosted at a reception for at Buckingham Palace,
I am imagining that under those black gloves, the Queen is spinning her
wedding ring off her finger…as in will someone please rescue me from
It seems that during the reception, several world leaders, the prime ministers of Canada,
Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, along with Princess Anne, the Queen’s daughter,
all didn’t realize that there just happened to be a live mic near them recording their conversations.
They were enjoying drinks and jokes.
Why am I reminded of a fraternity party?
Their conversation was that of jocularity, jokes and laughing…
laughing at the expense of another world leader not present in the group
nor who was privy to the group’s jokes…
that member being the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
(US New and World Report)
(International Business Times)
Once the footage was made public and began making the viral rounds on all things social media,
The President, the brunt of the jokes, was understandably both hurt and mad.
Some will say he had it coming.
Some will say it simply shows his low esteem amongst his leadership peers.
Some will say what’s the big deal…
So what does an angry President Trump do—he packs up his things
and leaves the meetings for home ASAP.
For what it’s worth, I have two feelings about this.
My initial reaction would have been much like the President’s—
as in I would have been taking all my marbles, going home both hurt and mad.
I would be feeling like that kid everyone always talks and laughs about behind their back
but suddenly all go quiet when the kid walks up asking what everyone is laughing
However, on the other hand, I would really have liked for the President to have stayed.
To have been the bigger man amongst this group of smug sophomoric immature leaders…
knowing what they had said, he would have stayed—making them the uncomfortable ones,
Standing his ground and in the end, most likely, having the last laugh.
Because if the truth be told, he actually had the last laugh as he got what
he went to get for the US from NATO.
So what might be the one take away from all of this is that there is but one leader
who has it probably more right than all the rest…
that being The Queen.
We never hear of her ever engaging in locker room humor.
She does not get chummy with others, preferring to keep a professional relationship.
She keeps her political opinions to herself.
She is gracious and engaging and is always respectful of her guests,
whether or not she agrees with their views.
And she will never ever do a sit-down interview for all those wagging tongues
(Her children and grandchildren, however, are another story)
And whereas she is not setting national policy nor is she an elected official
voted on by the people for the people, she is a leader none the less…
She sets a standard of how to carry oneself in a public fishbowl
So what might be the real secret to the Queen’s long success in the public eye…?
I think we all know…
it’s the purse.
Because the purse does not lie.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”
Laurence Binyon, For The Fallen
“All we have of freedom, all we use or know –
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.”
I know what you’ll say.
I know you’ll shake your head.
I know your pride will cloud your agreement.
You’ll say I’m wrong…
Or you’ll simply be dismissive…subjecting me to a land of ignorance and deplorables.
But never the less… there are just some things that I believe our cousins from across
the pond get right…so much more so then we do ourselves.
And one of those things is the pausing of the day in order to remember…
A Queen, clad in black, sporting the tri bloom of the red poppy.
A stalwart and determined 93-year-old monarch flanked by wreaths of red poppies.
A usually stiff upper lipped emotionless woman who stops to wipe away a single tear.
All because she remembers.
But the question is, do we?
Perhaps she remembers more clearly because she has lived on the soil where
wars have been fought.
Or that her family has borne the brunt of carrying an ancient Nation during those wars.
Our soil has, on the other hand, been spared.
Other than our own war of division and now a new odd war of terror, our land has remained
basically untainted by world wars.
However, we cannot say the same about our people.
We have sent countless numbers of young men and young women toward the sound of gunfire rather
then holding them tightly in our arms, safely back home.
Some of them returned, some did not.
For those who did and have returned, they have done so changed…
both physically as well as emotionally.
And as long as humans have wars…this sad reality will continue.
(US wounded at Omaha Beach / US Army file)
(image courtesy American Grit)
Call it what you will.
It is a specified day in November, always the 11th, in which the British Commonwealth,
Canada, the European Nations, Australia, New Zealand, The US…
each pause to mark the recalling of the sacrifices made…
sacrifices that were readily and freely offered so that our collective nations might remain free.
Originally it was a day to mark the end of WWI—it was on the 11th hour of the 11th day
of the 11th month that the war ended when the Germans signed the Treaty of Versailles.
Sadly and most ominously little did the world know then that that treaty would actually usher
in a new and even larger horror—only to follow suit not long after…
A more terrible horror than the first…
And so thus the UK, who marked Remembrance Day yesterday on Sunday with the laying of
poppy clad wreaths on tombs, monuments, and graves, now remember two world wars.
Perhaps one of the more poignant moments during yesterday’s ceremony in London was when
the Queen’s wreaths were placed on the Cenotaph.
The Cenotaph is an empty tomb and monument in London that is a physical and tangible reminder that
not all soldiers come home…as many physical remains still lie elsewhere…
on foreign soil, long forgotten.
Buried or merely lost to the decay of time.
And so we Americans will pause today, on this Monday, November the 11th, to offer our
Banks and the Postal services will be closed.
Some schools and businesses will close.
Some communities will have parades.
As a president lays a wreath in Arlington at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
(courtesy Conservative Daily News)
But I fear that this nation of ours will not unite in its remembrance.
It will rather remain divided.
Say what they will about their monarchy, seeing their Queen shed tears during her public
remembrance of those who gave their all will draw the British closer, not further apart.
Our Nation will continue to throw caustic jabs at her President.
Her governmental leadership will continue insulting and publically hating one another.
Some in leadership will continue to cry out, hoping to drown out the somber markings
with their own shouts for socialism and that of antisemitism and progressive liberalism…
All of which are the makings of the unforgiving black hole that only aids to usher in the very
thing we now pause to remember…
that of broken nations, wars and eventual loss.
Her people will continue attacking one another over perceived political wrongs.
There will be little in the way of a national coming together in order to remember.
The bias will be heard and seen throughout the newsfeeds.
And so yes, I believe the United Kingdom, who has her own wealth of woe, as Brexit comes to mind,
does a far better job standing united in order to recall and to remember those that
they have loved and lost.
There are a few lessons this proud nation of ours still needs to learn…
A humbling remembering is one of them…
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
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.
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 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
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…
Do not compromise.
Do not be ashamed.
Do not hide.
Do not deny.
Do not pretend.
“(I’m not online.)
I don’t have a fax.
I don’t go in for any of that stuff.
The typewriter is as far as I went.”
(an old school Roman “truck” or Ape Piaggio–three wheeled truck, Campo di Fiori/ Rome Italy /Julie Cook 2018)
Yes, you have read correctly… I hate technology.
I think I’ve mentioned that little fact before.
“But aren’t you actually using technology as we speak—or is that ‘as we read’???”
you perceptively ask.
“And so if you hate it so much, then why are you using it?” as you counter your own observation?
I’m with Walter Kaylin in his quote from up above…oh for that simple typewriter.
My poor technologically inept husband needed a new computer, a new laptop.
So that is what I surprised him with for Christmas.
But I knew how it would all play out…and I was right on the money.
The new computer has two new and very different USB ports from that of his old computer.
He needed a new i-tunes account, separate from me, finally…as all of our stuff has been
basically merged together as if one account–a huge messy mishmash.
A conundrum that we’ve managed to live with for quite some time because due to
the business, it was kind of okay.
Yet when he closed the business, he lost his old e-mail.
A huge conundrum.
And since no business-related emails can be accessed, despite hours spent on the phone with AT&T…
did I mention how he loathes AT&T or how I now concur??—we’ve had a conundrum.
Not only can’t he get into his old email account (thank you AT&T) he can’t even pull up his
deer trail cam images–and that is more of a crisis than a conundrum…
So today would be the day.
I psyched myself up for what I knew to lay ahead.
I’d sit down after I had taken down all of the outdoor Christmas in hopes of beating these
6 inches of rain they keep warning us about…all in order to create a new I-tunes account,
separate our phones and computers, as well as set up a new g-mail, a new I-tunes,
and finally a new computer.
Yet oddly in the process, I managed to lock myself out of my own computer.
I typed, I typed some more, I pondered, I pulled out my phone, I re-set everything I
could think to re-set but sadly it was to no avail.
I considered throwing my laptop over the back deck.
It was locked up tighter than Dick’s hatband.
Where are those savvy hackers when you really need one???
Hiding out in some dark room in Siberia I suspect.
I groused, I cursed, I wailed…my husband said “here, take mine”… “it’s not that simple” I snapped.
For you see I knew this would happen.
It always happens.
Despite my diligence, despite my best-laid plans, I knew what should have been a 1 2 3 sort
of flow would become an entire day’s nightmare.
My son complains that at his work, they keep hiring people my age who don’t really
“get” technology and so he wastes most of his day teaching “old” folks how to do the job
they were hired to do because it was thought they knew how to do it.
I took offense to that until today…I now understand.
I called Apple.
I spoke with one of their “geniuses” who did not speak fluent English.
I take offense to that notion of genius—
How arrogant of Apple to call their techi gurus geniuses…
…as if they are all that and a bag of chips and I am… but a mere moron.
With no help from Apple, I spent 5, count them, 5 hours figuring all of this out…
the sun rose and the sun set…all while I pecked and panicked.
Finally, blessedly, joyously, I managed to get myself unlocked and my husband free and good to go.
Plus I managed to migrate my old computer info to my own new little laptop.
(You need to be proud Phyllis because I am finally finding my way in the dark without you,
Sue or OP!
FYI, that’s a school thing…sorry)
I regrettably feel this same way everytime it’s time for me to get new glasses.
I go for the vision test, they think they have it all figured out, I get the new glasses
and bam, I can’t see a thing.
It takes visit after visit, retesting, refitting until they finally get my eyes and glasses
And to think, I’m a year over going in for my eye appointment, imagine that…hummmm.
Each year I ponder going “dark” for Lent…meaning cutting myself off from all technology.
If the Queen can cut out all chocolates from her Royal world during the Lenten season,
surely I could go technology free…
Today was just one more step closer to a vote for a true technology blackout!
They don’t have pay phones anymore, do they???
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us,
either by our spoken word or by our letter.
2 Thessalonians 2:15
“This is quite a fight.
Orthodox Christians believe that we are caught up in a very serious struggle between Good and evil,
and evil tries to trick us and hide the good from us;
usually by dressing up something corrupt which pretends to be goodness itself.”
Bishop Gavin Ashenden
“It seems to me that there is ‘a spirit of dizziness’,
not only in the hysteria of the mob culture we live in,
not only amongst the liberal anti-Gospel leaders in the Church (such as Bishop Curry);
but now sadly even amongst good and faithful evangelical leaders,
who seemed to swallow the Bishop’s hook, line and sinker.”
(a curious jackdaw watches from the crumbling walls at The Rock of Cashel,
County Tipperary, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)
I am amazed more and more each day the way in which Satan is at work.
Yet here’s the thing…
most of us don’t like to acknowledge Satan because if we do, we scare ourselves.
Or if we do acknowledge him, we try to make him very small…for that same very reason…
that we tend to scare ourselves with such thoughts.
However we should know, he likes that.
The smaller the better…
An out of sight out of mind sort of approach.
Christians and most folks in general, don’t like being reminded of things
like Satan…that whole ying-yang business of Christianity, faith and a belief in God
countered by an acknowledgment of darkenss, evil, sin and Satan.
For where there is God, there is the polar opposite of God.
But we aren’t keen on the polar opposite of anything other than good, happy
or feel good.
So instead of filling our minds with the negative of bad things,
we prefer to just go about our daily business with little to no thought
of a devil, or evil, or names such as Lucifer or Satan.
That is until something really bad happens, forcing us to take notice…
But then we will, just as abruptly and quickly, turn away as a child with our fingers thrust
in our ears refusing to hear or acknowledge the truth for what it is.
So it is those quiet little day to day advances that Satan takes great pride in…
a stealthy approach to our demise.
I use to always remind my students to be careful about leaving the back door open…
That being the back door of their lives.
I would remind them that Satan does not like to use the front door…
because he does not like to be so obvious nor readily announced.
Rather he prefers using the back door.
A door that is most often overlooked, most often unlocked,
and if the truth be told, left propped open for easy comings and goings.
Elder Paisios, who was a well known Eastern Orthodox ascetic monk who spent the majority of his
life living in a monastery on the holy island of Mt Athos just off the coast of Greece,
once wrote that “The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware,
those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict
them with self-assurance, logic, thinking criticism.
Therefore we should not trust our logical minds.”
And it is indeed along the lines of this spiritual affliction of ours,
or more aptly, this insidious spiritual warfare which is currently besieging Christianity,
that both our friends the Wee Flea, Pastor David Robertson, and our favorite rogue Anglican
bishop have each addressed in separate posts offered in just so many days apart.
In the last 48 hours, both clerics have been asked and have offered a few thoughts regarding
the gala which took place this past weekend in the UK.
And in case you missed it…the gala in question was a small wedding that transpired between
one of the Queen’s grandson’s and an American bi-racial, once divorced, actress.
It has been quite the fodder for the tabloids as well as all things news.
Let all of that sink in.
A British Royal former bad boy playboy and a divorced, bi-racial American actress.
Oh the cultural kumbiya found in such a union! Why then shouldn’t the Archbishop
opt to use a wedding as a commentary for the progressive culture wars?!
And whereas the spectacle itself was enough to send all of the entertainment industry,
Hollywood’s ilk and kin, as well as all things newsy into a royal dither, the Archbishop
of Canterbury had to add his own special touch by inviting an American Episcopal cleric,
an invitation mind you that was unbeknownst to the happy soon to wed couple, to come
participate in the ceremony and whip up the already salivating participants and the news
anchors into a higher level of a spinning tizzy then whence they previously were.
Bishop Ashenden notes that “The dear couple had no idea who was being asked to
preach at their wedding.
It was an idea that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury,
had suggested to them.
They were hardly in a position to know or refuse…
So when Justin Welby suggested Michael Curry as the preacher on this astonishing
world-wide stage, he was also signing up one of the most effective street fighters
for progressive, distorted Christianity who – with great charm and verve –
presents his own preferred version of Jesus to the real one we find in the Gospels.
And yet many folks will have missed the full impact of such a speaker at such an event.
The good bishop reminds us that by having such a speaker as a Bishop Curry this “matters very much.”
Curry spoke of fire, love, slavery, sex and yes, Jesus in a very lively, entertaining and
most animated fashion.
In other words, he was the entertainment.
However entertainment that many mistakenly thought to be great Gospel teaching…
but the problem was that his “teaching” was anything but that of Holy.
Bishop Ashenden observes that “Curry’s Jesus is preoccupied with social Justice and the
celebration of romance and sexual love wherever it finds you.
The real Jesus warned that social justice would never happen in this world,
that heterosexual marriage was to be between a man and a woman,
and that equality had nothing to do with the Kingdom of Heaven.
Curry twists that round and turns it upside down. He says Jesus likes homosexual marriage
and favours the quest for equality that left-wing politicians have made their life’s work.
Curry says wherever you find ‘love’ you have found God.
But when Jesus defines love it sounds very different from Curry.
Love for Jesus starts with honouring and obeying the Father who created us and
renouncing anything that displeases Him and pollutes his holiness.
Jesus warned his followers time and time again against people who would come in
His name and teach different things.
What we have in the Anglican world at the moment is a struggle for the soul of the Church
and a struggle to tell the truth about God and present the real Jesus.
There is a wonderful saying from Orthodox (Eastern) Christianity,
that our aim ought to be ‘to stand before the real God with the real self with our mind
in our heart’.”
And so what we have is just another back door we’ve left open.
The back door to a very worldly and cultural event in which we’ve allowed to become
something it is not…that being a sanctioned and ordained act of God.
And whereas I am not inferring that an Archbishop nor a Bishop are of the devil, I do
believe however that their own personal backdoors have been left wide open as they
work very hard to twist and rewrite the Gospel to suit today’s most progressive
Could we, in our wildest imagination and dreams, think that those who wear collars or
those who stand in pulpits or those who hold bibles could ever be capable of a
distorting, twisting or even changing the very doctrine of our faith,
our beliefs or rewrite the very words of God???
Yet were we not warned that even the devil’s own can easily quote scripture?
“In truth there is only one freedom – the holy freedom of Christ, whereby He freed us from sin,
from evil, from the devil.
It binds us to God. All other freedoms are illusory, false, that is to say, they are all,
in fact, slavery.”
St. Justin Popovich
“We are Christians, and strangers on earth.
Let none of us be frightened;
our native land is not in this world.”
(a surprise flock of deer in the middle of surburn Atlanta / Julie Cook / 2018
talk about strangers in a strange place)
Many years ago my aunt and I were taking an overnight flight from Atlanta to Milan.
This was not our first trip to Italy and I proudly figured that I knew just enough
conversational Italian to get us through any real language barrier.
All would be well I confidently told myself.
Yet in the back of my mind, I knew my aunt.
A panicker if ever there was one.
She knew the word equivalents to hello, yes, no, good-bye and stop.
She depended on me just as a blind person would depend upon a service animal.
I was to be her eyes and ears and mouth while navigating all over Itlay for the
next 3 weeks.
She was simply happy and content being along for the ride.
No thinking, no working, no figuring…just eating, drinking, shopping and seeing.
That was the extent of her comfort level when travelling.
No real thinking—just enjoying…while leaving the details to one more savvy
And in this case, that simply left me…
So what could possibly go wrong?
Arriving early morning in Milan, which was middle of the night Atlanta time,
and having flown for nearly 9 hours in a tin can in the sky with absolutely zero sleep
and limited nutrition…
We deplaned, made our way through the terminal, found our luggage,
then when trying to figure out where the train was located that was to take us into town…
well, I might as well have been hit on the head, suffering from complete amnesia.
Exhaustion was hanging like a thickly spun cobweb in my brain.
Panic was creeping up through my now rapidly and tightly closing throat.
I stood in the middle of the terminal looking around, trying to make sense, trying to translate
signs directing us where we needed to go.
It was as if my brain had gone blank and all that practice of asking in Italian where
the train station was located…as was now gone the time spent memorizing the map of
the airport…it had all instantly, completely and totally left me.
Yet I had to get a hold of myself as I didn’t need my 70-year-old aunt turning into
a wailing Henny Penny.
“GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF” I mentally screamed at myself.
And just as quickly as that sense of panic of a blank brain had engulfed me,
I clamped down on that boiling panic and calmed down… as I casually sauntered over
to the information desk asking the nonplused airport employee if they “parli inglese”
and DOV’È LA STAZIONE CENTRALE?
And no that was not the end of our adventures during that particular trip…
but those are stories for another day…
It does, however, remind me of today’s quote by St Augustine.
A bold reminder that we Christians are strangers on this rather strange planet.
For we are indeed a strange people in a strange land.
Just like my aunt and I when we first arrived in Milan.
Strangers, much out of place, most uncomfortable and seemingly lost in what
was a new strange land.
I am currently grossly far behind reading and listening to both my two favorite
‘across the pond’ clerics, that it isn’t even funny.
This new role of grandmother, dashing around on the fly, with little to no sleep while
being out of pocket from my usual routine and home…
has me terribly out of sync here in blogland.
Yet I did manage to look over Bishop Gavin Ashenden’s latest musings which
actually starts off with a tale about Meghan Markle of all people—
that soon to be bride of Prince Harry.
It seems that Ms Markle has “agreed” to be baptized and subsequently confirmed
into the Anglican Chruch of England…as a gesture of graciousness for her soon to be
Grandmother-n-law who, as Queen, is known as the “Defender of the Faith” and “head”
of the Chruch of England.
The good bishop smells something a bit odious.
Not so much because of Ms Markle herself, who is obviously trying her best to now “fit in” into
her fiancee’s most British world as well as into his family…
but rather odious because of the Chruch of England itself.
As a Christian, I find it a bit odd, awkward and simply wrong that one would want to be
“baptized” as a child of God and in turn confirmed into a church body simply for the sake
of “fitting in”…
Not to mention the notion of a church body that sees such a life-altering decision as a mere
I wonder if Ms Markle actually understands the implications behind what it means to
be Baptized–or as to the requirement of what is required of one who “joins” the church?
I wonder if the Church of England actually understands the life-changing and deeply
mystical experience that resides within the act of Baptism.
When we have a church body baptizing individuals as a means of helping one to fit in
or as a technicality…then I know we as Christians are indeed treading in a strange land.
And here is the dilemma for the Church of England.
A state Church wedded to a state that hates Christian virtue and Christian ethics;
a state that has begun to criminalise Christian witness as hate speech,
where police arrest street preachers and have them thrown in prison at the push of
a SJW’s phone button;
a state that has begun preparations to remove children from their Christian homes
if social workers detect what they improperly label ‘homophobia’ in the parents;
a state where Christian teachers are expelled and sacked if they do not endorse
the secular brainwashing on the fluidity of gender.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
For what can be known about God is plain to them,
because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes,
namely, his eternal power and divine nature,
have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,
in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Democracy requires common ground on which all can stand,
but that ground is sinking beneath our feet, and democracy may be going
down the sinkhole with it.
I grew up in a very large church in a rather large denomination in an
increasingly large city.
The Cathedral of St Philip.
A beautifully large Episcopal, southern Gothic, church reminiscent of something that
should have been found somewhere in the UK rather than Atlanta, Georgia.
The Cathedral is the diocesan seat of the North Georgia chapter
of the Episcopal Church in Georgia.
The Episcopal Church of America, in a nutshell, is a part of the World Wide Anglican Communion and is basically a sibling to the The Church of England.
Many consider the Episcopal and Anglican Churches kissing cousins to the Catholic
Church. And perhaps there is a good bit of truth to that as we are each liturgical
churches that follow a similar service format with very similar
creeds and doctrine.
Yet whereas the cousins are related, they are also different.
The cousins have a pope and we have the Presiding Bishop in American and the
Archbishop of Canterbury in the UK.
It is not my intention to give a history lesson here as I’ve done that in the past.
I don’t want to have a theological discussion as I’ve done that in the past as well.
But what I do want to do is share a bit of sad frustration that just might have
finally found a slight ray of hope.
Have you ever found yourself on a sinking ship?
Probably not, but stay with me for a minute…
It is a ship that is actually on fire.
In the middle of a moonless night out upon a vast body of water.
You know the ship is burning as well as sinking…
plus you know you need to get off ASAP!
Problem is there are no lifeboats, no fire extinguishers…
the water is dark and cold as well as shark infested.
Your options are limited.
Things just aren’t looking too good.
I have felt this way for a good many years now.
Both The Episcopal Church and the Church of England have become that sinking
It’s a long story which I suppose got really going in the late 60’s
and early 70’s.
We may remember that we were coming off a very difficult time in the country.
Vietnam had been a mess, women were burning bras,
demanding equal rights, demanding the right to abortions,
while the youth had enjoyed a “season” of open and free love as we had witnessed
the demand for birth control and open sex.
That was also about the time women were wanting into the priesthood.
Then came the openly gay and practicing clergy.
Then came the approval of same sex marriages within the church.
Ad nauseum it goes.
I’ve spent my life as an ardent Christian and ardent church member who has always
clung to God’s word…as in His word is actually the final word…
As His word has been and will continue to always be that final word….
Yet that Word is basically being chopped to bits by the church…..
while the sinking has been hard.
That is part and parcel as to why I quit attending long ago as
I found it increasingly hard to reconcile myself with leadership of a church body
that made decisions that I believe run counter to the Word of God.
Yet my heart remained with the liturgical church.
I am a person who has always liked, as well as admired, those lone voices among
Being a person who actually yearns for such voices.
Because I believe those voices speak of our hope.
The voices of those who stand alone in the desert while shouting to the moon
and back as to what is Truth.
Those who speak Truth while the entire world is losing its mind and running
like freaking lemmings to the cliff.
Think John the Baptist.
Think the early Christians persecuted by Rome.
Think even Winston Churchill in our more modern times.
Think anyone who has seen the reality of the times and dares to speak up
by saying so.
I’ve just recently happened upon the blog of an Anglican priest who just so
happens to be one of those lone voices.
A single thread of sanity found in the middle of the madness.
His name is Gavin Ashenden and he is the former chaplain to the Queen…
a position he held until he could no longer support the direction in which the
Anglican Church was going…
that being to the cliff with the other lemmings.
Yesterday Father Ashenden posted a column by the a catholic priest, Fr Ed Tomlinson,
which has hit the nail squarely on the head for both these kindred siblings and cousins.
For you see what is happening in the Episcopal and Anglican Churches is just
a reflection of what is actually taking place on a larger stage.
It is a reflection which mirrors what is actually happening in both the
United States and Great Britain as a whole…
as we are currently watching both our Governments capitulate to all things
Politically Correct, those things deemed holy only by man and a blatant
refusal to acknowledge the Christian foundations of Western Civilization.
The ship is on fire, it is sinking fast and those of us who know better,
have got to get off ASAP but there are no lifeboats….
Below are a few key points from Fr. Tomlinson’s column along with a link to the
“Highly political synods shattered Anglicanism’s fragile unity.
Catholics should take note”
“A former Anglican Chaplain to the Queen, the Revd Gavin Ashenden,
is spearheading a revolt in the Church of England Synod over the thorny issue
Anglicans are talking openly about schism.
Catholics the world over should be watching very carefully.”
Anglicanism’s real problem has always been a theological schizophrenia –
the result, perhaps, of it having formed to appease a lusty monarch rather
than to preach a creed with clarity. Ask a hundred Anglicans what
Anglicanism actually is and expect a hundred answers.
The Church of England isn’t, really, one Church at all.
It’s an Erastian umbrella organisation holding together,
by virtue of the Crown, a huge range of competing theologies.
“And it didn’t take long for the liberal lobby, strengthened by trends
in society and over-represented on the bench of bishops,
to realise synod worked in their favour.
Did the Holy Spirit say no to women priests in July’s Synod?
Fret not: table the motion again in February, then repeat ad nauseum,
until the Holy Spirit finally gets the message!”
The second development which disrupted Anglican unity occurred when the
Book of Common Prayer became optional not mandatory.
You are what you pray: lex orandi, lex credendi.
With the shackles removed, parishes started to go their own way.
Today, there is almost no common ground between an evangelical parish
on one side of town and its liberal counterpart on the other.
This represents a massive problem for the Church of England:
how can you bring people together in love when there is zero shared praxis
The situation has become so grave that the Lambeth Conference can no longer be held,
due to deep divisions even at the level of the episcopacy.
So it is that the Revd Gavin Ashenden finds himself embroiled in this final
battle for the soul of modern Anglicanism. He and a few others are making
their last stand against the powerful modernist liberal consensus
that dominated the most recent Synod.
So I am somewhat hopeful when I read the tales that there are a few lone
voices still out there that have yet to be silenced by the masses…voices who
know the truth for what it is….
Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ;
and He will reign forever and ever.”
“No culture in history has ever embraced moral relativism and survived.
Our own culture, therefore, will either
(1) be the first, and disprove history’s clearest lesson,
(2) persist in its relativism and die,
(3) repent of its relativism and live.
There is no other option.”
(my stepmother is so proud of her pumpkin display…)
Relative or relative…
They say that learning the english language is one of the hardest languages to learn…
and maybe that’s because of our penchant to use one word in multiple ways,
with each particular way having it’s own meaning and even distinct pronunciation…
Thankfully however we are not like the French what with all their le and la business…
I never could figure out why one thing had to masculine while something else had to be feminine…
why can’t it just be…neutral…as in just a word…..??
But I digress as I am too weary to rattle on about the English language,
or mes amis à travers l’étang,
or that of the Queen’s, the King’s,
or even the colonies now turned states, english….
And while I’m thinking about it, maybe we should have kept that whole colony notion,
having stayed with that crazy King George…
because that way we wouldn’t be living in the current land of sensory deprivation
with all things in life now being only Hillary or the Donald…
But then the fourth of July wouldn’t be nearly as festive and we’d be dealing
But I’m way too weary for all of that garbage today as well…
Today has just been one of those days…
you know the ones…
you wake up after an awful night of fitful sleep with ‘sleep’ being a relative term
as you only got one hour…
let alone the 7 or 8 or whatever is currently being required
for waking perky and refreshed.
I can’t remember when I last felt perky…
maybe its the inflamed nerves…
It was then a day for relatives…
as in Dad and my stepmother and the day’s current caregiver.
There are days I am strong…as I have to be strong for everybody right now…
But then there are days like today when strength is a relative term…
My stepmother was in a good mood thankfully…but the caregiver was not…
And with my stepmother, each day is a mystery as to who will wake up…
Dr. Jekyll or Mr Hyde…
Upon my arrival, I was happy to see Dr. Jekyll,
who actually wanted me to go buy her a new trashcan…
the kind with the step-on latch to open the top…
And it had to be small and stainless…
After gathering the trashcan, which thankfully she loved…yet tomorrow that could change,
and gathering the groceries and their lunch…
it was time to schlepp things up from the basement all in order for her to
“decorate” for any trick or treaters that may come their way.
My dad is the sole remaining original resident of the cul-de-sac…
as all the other neighbors have sadly faded away.
The quaint neighborhood of 10 houses, that were built in the mid 1950’s, once overflowed with
the sounds of children…
Yet those children, of which I was once one, have all grown up and moved away…
leaving those once joyful sounds of play, sadly now silent.
I am happy however to report that young couples are currently moving back in
with their own band of gleeful little ones who will once again romp up and down
the relatively safe little street…claiming it, just as we had,
as their own tiny little realm of the mighty cul-de-sac.
So today, in giddy anticipation, my stepmother wanted to ready things for a few
hopeful customers for candy come Monday evening…
Yet as is often the case, dealing with those with dementia,
my stepmother was giddy and excited today,
wanting me to buy candy for Halloween….but come Monday,
which in Dad and my stepmom’s limited world, the passage of time is indeed relative,
she may completely forget, by tomorrow, what all the candy is for…
And then there was Dad…
still holding his own but gravely weak and now bleeding a great deal
as the doctors have told us the tumor would ebb and flow.
The tumor is now causing a good bit of pressure so dad feels the urgent urge
to urinate yet with little to nothing to show for the effort…
…and now there is more blood than anything else…
so the constant up and down is taking a toll.
He did however request, that when I went to buy their groceries, that I buy some ice-cream…
and I did…lots and lots of ice-cream.
By the time I was finally on my way home late afternoon,
the caregiver called me,
alarmed that dad is so weak that he almost fell getting in the bathroom…
She wanted to let me know that she was calling the hospice nurse,
who will be out tomorrow morning, sharing the latest worries.
So I will go see what she thinks…
Some days are good,
and some days are not so good…
and that, I suppose, is simply life…
is simply being relative…
So as I was driving home, with hot stinging tears welling up in my eyes…
wondering where my mom was when I needed her…
an old song I use to love a million years ago came flooding into
the forefront of my brain…
into my brain…
that not all things in this life are merely relative…
That there is one thing and one thing only that is totally separate,
independent and irrespective of this innocuous life..
and that would be…
the Lamb of God…
the blessed lamb of God….
The song is The Lamb of God by Twila Paris
and this is a moving You Tube video clip I found reflecting her beautiful song…