From our turkeys to yours…..
A most blessed and peace-filled Thanksgiving!
The Mayor and the Sheriff wish you all happiness…
In a speech to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2011, Benedict XVI
“The essence of the crisis of the Chruch in Europe is the crisis of faith.
If we find no answer to this…then all other reforms will remain ineffective.”
The Day is Far Spent / Cardinal Sarah
When Joseph Ratzinger speaks about a “crisis of faith”,
we should understand that he is not talking in the first place about an
intellectual or theological problem in the academic sense of the word.
He means a “living faith”, a faith that imbues and transforms life.
“If faith does not take on new life, deep conviction and real strength
from the encounter with Jesus Christ,” Benedict XVI added that day,
“then all other reforms will remain ineffective.”
This loss of the sense of faith is the deep root of the crisis of civilization
that we are experiencing.
As in the first centuries of Christianity, when the Roman Empire
was collapsing, all human institutions today sem to be on the
path of decadence.
Reflections between people, whether political, social, economic, or cultural,
are becoming difficult.
In losing the sense of God, we have undermined the foundation of all
human civilization and opened the door to totalitarian barbarity.
Human beings, separated from God, are reduced to a single dimension—
and this reduction itself is one of the fundamental causes of the various forms
of totalitarianism that have had tragic consequences in the past century,
as well as the crisis of values that we see in the current situation.
By obscuring the reference to God the ethical horizon has also been obscured,
to leave room for relativism and for an ambiguous conception of
freedom which, instead of being liberating, ends by blinding
human beings to idols.
The temptation that Jesus faced in the wilderness before his public ministry
vividly symbolize which “idols” entice human beings when they do not
go beyond themselves.
Were God to lose his centrality man would lose his rightful place,
he would no longer fit into creation, into relations with others
Pope Benedict XVI
Nov 14, 2012
The life of a Christian is to be different than the life of the unbeliever.
Like all human beings, Christians need certain things of this world to live,
but Jesus calls us to be primarily occupied with living for the kingdom.
If we do this, He promises that the things we need for life on this earth
will be given as well.
from Fulfillment of All Desire
I may have mentioned this before but my husband is an avid outdoorsman.
He’s been this way ever since he was a young boy.
Such is the predisposition of anyone having grown up in a more rural
area of the state.
And despite my having been born to a city a dwelling family, I too love the outdoors.
Now my husband has hunted and fished his whole life—
and I must say that one of the more colorful seasons of hunting is that of turkey hunting.
The other morning we were outside on the back deck, grabbing our first cup of coffee
for the day, when I heard that unmistakeable wobbling echoing from deep within the woods…
If you’ve never heard a real turkey gobbling–do a quick youtube search in order to hear
that worbbly gobbling because it really is quite humorously unique.
Being the ever-ready hunter, my husband had his turkey call mouthpiece within arms reach.
With a glint in his eye and turkey call ready to pop in his mouth, he tells
me to “listen and watch”…
My husband then proceeded to make that lovely musical sound for any and
all male turkeys…that chirping sound of a female hen looking for amore.
Sure enough—there was an echoing return, a gobbling that was louder—
and I could tell the sound was closing in.
My husband “putted” again (that’s what you call a female’s response).
The responding male, or tom turkey, was now louder and much closer.
Turkeys crack me up.
They aren’t the smartest birds in the wild.
The male gobbler, or tom, will literally come in running, puffed up, tail unfurled,
strutting his stuff, in an attempt to look as attractive as possible
for his “lady”, when he hears the call.
Sadly however during hunting season, that ‘lady’ is often a hunter looking
to put a turkey dinner on the table.
And so it is with this thought of calling in turkeys that my thoughts have turned toward
Washington D.C as our capital seems to be rife with its fair share of turkeys…
both toms and hens.
A rafter of turkeys—with a rafter being what we call a flock of turkeys.
Washington is plumb full.
It’s kind of how I feel when I see a certain youthful and prideful politician wag her finger at
the camera all the while extolling the issues as to why the opposition dislikes her.
Despite being a female, this particular politician puffs up for the camera much
like a tom turkey, with a most youthful and prideful zeal, much like that of
the tom turkey—
all the while acting more like a jake…a jake being a young male turkey who
lacks that old tom wizened wisdom.
She’s too young and too inexperienced to understand what makes wisdom what it is…
She falls prey to what she has perceived as real but in actuality is false.
Something that an old and wiser turkey would know to be false.
The older birds are not lured in as readily to an initial call as
are those younger more eogtistical birds.
Falsehoods such as a farce of some far fetched expensive new Green Deal—
or that of polarizing Socialism.
She has temper tantrums, screaming as loud as possible, popping her head back and forth
in an effort to silence what is Truth…a display indicative of a younger,
more inexperienced turkey.
The Henny Penny, the sky is falling lunacy that now besieges us…
The world will end in 12 years.
The Republicans amended the constitution to end FDR’s run.
The methane resulting from a cow’s excessive flatulence will kill us.
On and on she rants…puffing up ever grander and larger while feeling her oats
in hopes of luring in the unexpected.
But what of the other turkeys…what of those who now demand that convicted felons
should be allowed to vote–when a key component to breaking the law is to lose that
same right to vote…
a repercussion, a consequence, of not following the rules…
Yet turkeys find repercussions passe…
Just like allowing illegal aliens the right to vote in a country of which they are not citizens..
May the dead now recast their votes.
Or what of all the chatter over reparations?
What of those turkeys…turkeys who puff up all feathery for those unseen voters promising that
slave owners and businesses that profited from such, albeit it now 200 years past, must
repay those of some sort of slave heritage…
How might that ever work???
Turkey’s don’t care care how things work… not as long as they look puffy and pretty
for those luring calls
And what all turkeys must remember…someone is always patiently waiting
in the wings, waiting on having a naive turkey over for dinner.
Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him, actions are weighed.
1 Samuel l2:3
“Life itself, without faith, would have been worthless to them. It would be mere existence–
an existence more lowly than that of the animals, for animals are perfect in and of themselves, but humans are imperfect;
their aim for perfection requires divine assistance.”
Martin Mosebach author of the book The 21: A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs
My friends at Plough Publishing have gifted me with another tantalizing
book for perusal and review.
Well, my publishing friend actually was offering several books for sharing but I requested the hard copy of
but one book—
It is the story of those murdered and martyred Egyptian Copts on a Libyan seaside in 2015,
at the hands of ISIS—a story that continues to haunt me.
And it seems that I am not alone in feeling haunted by the memory of this heinous act.
The German author, Martin Mosebach is haunted as well.
Obviously, in order to delve into the story, Mr. Mosebach watched the full video of the beheadings
that was still floating around out there somewhere in cyberspace…that odd juxtaposition of
both space and time where nothing seems to die despite any and all humans involved either eventually
or having long since died.
At the time, as well as now, I did not nor do I care to watch such.
There have been many highly publicized videoed beheadings…
all carried out in the name of Allah by ISIS over past 5 or 6 years, but I have not watched them.
And yet oddly millions have been drawn to watching as if having bought a ticket to some macabre
Hollywood blockbuster…mesmerized by the unthinkable…
The unthinkable of one human being ending the life of another human being–
A life that is literally being held in the hands of an executioner…
or better put, a life’s head pulled up by the hair, all in order to sever the neck and eventually
the head more readily from its body.
Mosebach notes in his book how the original ISIS video actually cut away from what became an extended
as well as messy time the executioners were having in literally cutting the heads from the bodies…
not neat and quick as say the swift effortless job of a guillotine.
And it was very apparent that for the sake of the video’s shock value and propaganda,
the executioners desperately needed, as well as wanted, to look as professional, in control
and as efficient as possible.
A messy beheading can give the impression of being amateurish and ISIS wants nothing
to do with appearing amateurish or not being in complete control—as that feeds into their
desire to always appear large and in charge.
After watching the video and studying the odd camera image of the captors marching their
prisoners to the shoreline while appearing as black-clad giants
next to their captives who were wearing the unmistakable orange jumpsuits reminiscent of the Islamic
prisoners at Gitanomao, as each captive appeared small and less than–
Mosebach was moved by the posturing of the captors mirrored by the near emotionless
and oddly resigned yet the serene sense of their captives.
Prayers could be seen and heard flowing from the lips of the captives as well as the offered
praise for Jesus Christ despite knowing their fate was soon to be grisly.
There were no cries for mercy or of fear …but only controlled prayers to Jesus.
Early in the book Mosebach wonders aloud whether or not martyrdom and Christianity must
always go hand in hand…as he inquisitively muses
“as long as there are Christians there will also be martyrs?”
Mosebach knew that he must make his way to Egypt to visit the
homes and families of these martyred men.
And that he desperately needed to know more about the Copts and the Coptic faith.
The Copts are as old as Christianity itself–for they are some of the earliest known followers
of the Christian faith. Coptic actually means Egyptian—so these are Egyptian Christians.
They originated in the city of Alexandria and claim the author of the book of Mark,
that being John Mark, as their founder and first ‘bishop.’
Long before there was a Latin West or Eastern faith, long before there was
an East and West spilt in the faith, there were the Copts.
According to gotquestions.com,
Prior to the “Great” East/West Schism of A.D. 1054,
the Coptics were separated from the rest by the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451.
The council met to discuss the Incarnation of Christ and declared that Christ was
“one hypostasis in two natures” (i.e., one person who shares two distinct natures).
This became standard orthodoxy for Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic,
and Protestant churches from then on Coptic understanding is that Christ is one nature from two natures:
“the Logos Incarnate.”
In this understanding, Christ is from, not in, two natures: full humanity and full divinity.
Some in the Coptic Orthodox Church believe that their position was misunderstood at
the Council of Chalcedon and take great pains to ensure that they are not seen as Monophysitic
(denying the two natures of Christ), but rather “Miaphysitic”
(believing in one composite/conjoined nature from two).
Some believe that perhaps the council understood the church correctly,
but wanted to exile the church for its refusal to take part in politics or due to the rivalry
between the bishops of Alexandria and Rome.
To this day, 95 percent of Christians in Alexandria are members of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
It is interesting to note that when the Coptics were under the rule of the Roman Empire,
they suffered severe persecution and death for their steadfast faith and beliefs in Christ while
refusing to worship emperors. However, by A.D. 641,
yet another tribulation began when the Arab conquest took place,
overthrowing the Romans’ rule in Egypt and, at first, relieving the Coptic Church from persecution.
What appeared to be their liberty and freedom became yet again bondage.
The societal strength and control of the Arabs caused the Coptics to endure a major language and
culture change as well as confront the Islamic faith. Unfortunately,
over the centuries, Christianity lost foothold and most Coptics converted to Islam.
I am only to page 26 in the story and Mosebach has not yet traveled to Egypt—
so I am hopeful to read a story rich in history, Faith, resilience, forgiveness and above all Hope—
Hope despite the choking backdrop of Evil.
Some of his words prick the skin.
I find it difficult reading the words written by those who are not Americans…
those who write about America and our politics…
words about our leaders, our actions, our lack of action,
our complications in world affairs…
because like most Americans, I like to think our hearts are in the right place but I also know that
our National actions and reactions are deeply complicated by our politics.
Actions and reactions that fail not only our hearts and our people but fail those of our world.
I think as Americans we tend to feel a responsibility, albeit it a false responsibility, to
make the world a better place and to be the quintessential Superman for those in need.
We sometimes fail…we fail others and we fail ourselves.
So it does hurt reading the words of those who keenly notice.
But as they say, the truth can often hurt.
Throughout his quest, while seeking truth and information, Mosebach is moved by what he
actually does find…
that being a deeply sincere forgiveness found in the hearts of the Copts.
A century’s long-oppressed people who can find the capacity to truly forgive those
who have brutally killed their own families.
Unlike those of the Islamic State who seek misguided bloody, torturous and grisly revenge…
the Copts literally embrace the words of Christ…to forgive one’s enemies, no matter what.
For it is in forgiveness that we find our true liberation and hope.
Their faith goes beyond what we think of Christianity in the West.
That of an ever-growing, feel good wannabe that is polarizing and lukewarm at best.
The Copts seem to understand that our Faith transcends this earth.
Life on this earth is a blink of an eye that matters not…what matters is Christ and Christ alone.
Nothing more, nothing less.
I’ll offer more as I progress as time allows but for now, I will leave us with the
words of Mr. Mosebach…
Much as the brutal nature of their deaths and the firmness,
even stubbornness with which they confessed their faith seem to match one another in context,
we find their fate equally eerie.
Hasn’t the Western world, with its openness toward discussion and dialogue,
long since overcome such life-threatening opposites?
We live in an era of strict religious privatization and want to see it
subjected to secular law.
Society seems to have reached a consensus to reject proselytizing and religious zeal.
Hadn’t all that put an end to the merciless, all-or-nothings alternatives or believe or leave,
renounce your faith or die?
Here is a link to Christianity Today and a story about the Copts and forgiveness.
“There is so much in the world for us if we only have the eyes to see it,
and the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it ourselves-
so much in men and women, so much in art and literature,
so much everywhere in which to delight, and for which to be thankful for.”
“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies;
but the thankful heart will find, in every hour,
some heavenly blessings.”
Henry Ward Beecher
As we gather together around this table of ours, to offer up our grateful hearts…
I am keenly, poignantly and even sadly aware as I take notice as to who is not
physically with us this year at our table….
Yet despite our losses and our sufferings, we continue to offer up our thankfulness
and gratitude to our Heavenly Father for all that was,
for all that is and for all that will be…
For it is from Grace that we have each received so very much…
that which far exceeds what we have ever deserved….
May each of you, despite life’s current circumstance, find time to whisper or shout
your words of thanks…..
for each of us, despite this current moment in time, can indeed find
something in which to be grateful…..
Blessings and Peace to all who read these words….
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
For His lovingkindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion)
Be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns
and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
giving thanks always for all things in the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.
“Atheists don’t fly planes into buildings” –
it was a point delivered with all the certainty of a man who feels he has
just delivered a killer blow to his opponent who was in this case,
His ‘point’ repeated thousands of times on atheist and secularist
websites and social media (from whence he had gathered this bon mot)
was greeted with rapturous applause by those who shared his faith.
‘Neither do Presbyterians…nor Baptists…nor Catholics…nor Anglicans…
not even Charismatics…and in fact neither do the majority of Muslims”.
But for the simplistic worldview of the Atheist Fundamentalist this point is missed.
In their world they put together two and two and make 25.”
The flea is on fire…
or so it seems in his latest installment of the book review
The Strange Death of Europe by Douglas Murray.
(and may I note that in my past writings regarding Mr. Murray, I think I have inadvertently referred to him as
as “David” rather than Douglas—too many Davids on the brain I fear…
so I have gone back and corrected those previous errors)
I have yet to order my copy…and maybe it has something to do with
my latest book purge taking place at home, but I have every intention of
ordering a copy…as I feel as if the good pastor
has pulled out such tantalizing nuggets, whetting my appetite,
that I can barely wait to begin reading.
For the Wee Flea, with obviously the help of Mr. Murray,
has sounded the alarm as he is acting as that lone voice in the desert.
This part 3 review deals more in the way of the views of the Muslim world and Islam
as through the eyes of Europe—but like I said the other day, why stop at just
Europe…because this book speaks as much to those of us here in the US
as it does to our friends across the pond.
In this latest review, I have actually pulled more of the fiery flea’s words
than I have Mr. Murray’s as Pastor Robertson is spot on in his observations.
“It seems to me that there are those who are so obsessed with hating the Christian background of their own culture that they are willing to ignore or distort the
teachings of Islam –
solely as a means to attack their real hatred.
Or perhaps even worse –
there are those who have such a hatred for the Jews that they are willing to
excuse and even endorse the ideology that wants to wipe them out.
What does Murray argue about Islam?
Firstly he points out that the liberal elites are so determined to show that their
belief that Islam is compatible with Western civilization that they will do
their utmost to promote what amounts to a re-writing of history and a distortion
as serious as those who want to portray all Islam as barbaric.
And they combine this understanding of Muslims as the new oppressed people
(and themselves of course as the Social Justice Warriors/Saviours of the Oppressed)
with their hatred of their own Christian traditions,
by building up the former and demeaning the latter.”
We might consider the fact that here in the US, we are currently reeling, caught in
in the very throws of much of the same mentality,
as we are now witnessing those here in this country who are desperately
trying to rewrite our history as they try, albeit in vain,
to whitewash our past into something that never even existed…
as if erasing the bad will now make everything perfectly good and somewhat of a nonexistent utopia
Add to that our own influx of immigrants, those who are here illegally, as well as
the hundreds if not thousands of foreign nationals who, since before 9/11,
have come into this country from the Middle East, as officials now admit,
that there are countless individuals here who have simply fallen off the radar
and basically have “disappeared into the crowd” as our various agencies
have failed to keep track and account of such individuals.
So no longer are we the proverbial melting pot, but rather we are
a dangerous and angry boiling pot…waiting simply to boil over.
“In fact such is the fear of Islam, or of being accused of being Islamaphobic
that our liberal elites are even prepared to change our whole culture for the sake of accommodating their fears.
“In September 2015 officials in Bavaria began to warn local parents to ensure their daughters did not wear any revealing clothing in public. ‘Revealing tops and blouses, shirts and shorts or mini skirts could lead to misunderstandings’, one letter to locals warned. In some Bavarian towns, including Mering, police warned parents not to allow their children to go outside alone. Local women were advised not to walk to the railway station unaccompanied.”
Mr Murray Page 196
Pastor Robertson continues…
“Even worse than that officials and politicians are sometimes too scared to face
up to the implications of what is going on.
The Rotherham case is the worst example we have of this.
Over 1500 girls were abused because they were white girls and their abusers
considered themselves to be immune of prosecution because of the authorities fear
of being accused of being Islamaphobic and racist.”
And just in case you don’t grasp the serious concerns over the progressive
secular liberal leanings within this current culture of ours, the good pastor,
reminds one and all about the dangers in the rise of such a demigod mentality.
“Secular Liberalism cannot help itself.
It so believes itself to be ‘god’ that anyone who goes against its doctrines
will be banned –
in this respect questioning Islam is on a par with questioning
Same Sex Marriage which itself is seen as being on a par with racism,
The white Middle-Class guilt complex leads us down some very strange paths!
One of which is that there will shortly come a time when my even writing an
article like this could be considered a ‘hate crime’.
Robertson continues “Murray pointed out in an article in The Spectator that the “popular al-Jazeera star and leading cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi when he said:”
‘Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers.’
They fail to grasp one of the most essential differences between Christianity and Islam is that Islam is a political system as well as a faith.
Lastly from a Christian perspective I return to the question of what the Lord of history is doing in permitting this ‘death of Europe’.
It could be that it is a judgment – after all Turkey was once the stronghold of Christianity, then North Africa –
and look where the church is now in those countries.
Southern Africa, China and South America will probably be the growth areas for the church in the 21st Century.
“But Europe can still be resurrected….”
Pastor Robertson does leave us with a slight ray of hope.
He muses that perhaps there is still hope for Europe,
as that same hope applies to us here in the US.
He ends his review with the notion that perhaps the influx of Muslims
is but an opportunity to the Faithful to press on in their witness of
the salvation from Jesus Christ…in turn leaving the family of Christian
believers to be the final hope found in the lost sea of mass immigration.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
“I cry, I cry and I cry again…the religion of Christ, the true faith,
has fallen so low that it is an object of scorn not only to the devil
but to the Jews and Saracens and pagans…
these keep their law, as they believe it;
but we, intoxicated with the world, have deserted our law.”
Pope Gregory VII
Healing and miracles have been a mystery to men of all times.
To some, the phenomenon is frightening, while others find it exhilarating.
Christ Pantocrator / Hagia Sophia / Istanbul,Turkey)
“Our nation will not know healing in any measure through the work of mutual shaming.
There is no life to be found in it, only anger, depression
and the continued darkening of our culture.
Only light gives life.
Creating is difficult, careful work.
Destruction is easy – child’s play.
Forgive those who do not deserve it.
Forgive before they ask.
Forgive as though it is Judgment Day and your own soul will be held to the scrutiny
you extend to others.
You won’t lose anything through forgiveness.
In holding onto the shame of others you will only increase your own.
Set your prisoners free.
No more shame slaves.”
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slowest now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fading
And the first one now will later be last
Cause the times they are a-changing
Lyrics by Bob Dylan
Normally at this late inning in the game, I would be up to my elbows in flour, giblets,
and sweet potatoes…franticly watching the clock tick off the precious seconds of time…
time until it was…
But not this year.
Not this year, at all.
No sweet potatoes.
No festive deserts.
No dressing (as in what we southerners call stuffing that’s not stuffed)
I’ve been cooking Thanksgiving, or at least the bulk and better part of it, ever since I was
a junior in high school…
Because that was the year my great aunt died in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning
and my mom, as her only living nearby relative, had to drop apron and
mixing bowls in mid mix…with Turkey quickly slammed in the oven,
as she practically threw me the basting bulb,
while shouting over her shoulder as she dashed out the door…
“BASTE EVERY 20 MINUTES TILL DONE…”
I think I was still mumbling questions when, like a bat out of hell, my mother with the car
slammed in reverse, barreled out of the driveway,
racing off to a distant nursing home leaving me in a puff of confused exhaust fumes….
still holding a forlorn basting bulb.
Did I mention that on this now discombobulated Thanksgiving it was also the Thanksgiving
that our pet parrot, the one we had rescued a couple of years earlier,
after a brief cold, had decided to also give up the ghost on this Thanksgiving morning?
So needless to say that this was not to be like any Thanksgiving that I would be able to,
in my youthful naive memory, recall.
Yet might I add that the turkey, by shear pluck, turned out really quite lovely.
And so I’ve been cooking ever since…
Oh I started out somewhat slowly, with but a few components of the feast left to my expertise,
eventually becoming the full Master of Ceremonies…
as those were the heady days and weeks of plotting, researching, planning,
buying and preparing…
The aromas leaving all in their wake salivating….
It was to be the stuff of legends….
Until this year.
Yet had I not seen it coming?
Slowly and methodically coming my way…
Despite my not wanting to acknowledge it…
it was hell-bent on coming.
My husband, over the past couple of years would gently, if not a bit too tactlessly,
remind me that the time was coming…
that the day and time would eventually come….
Our numbers were now diminishing at a far greater rate than they were multiplying…
As those we have loved and have known…have come and now have sadly faded…
in other words, the family has shrunk.
My husband’s side and now mine…
lost to the annuals of time.
The time when Dad would be too old to come to us…
The time when our son would be too old to stay…as he would now have to divide his time…
and the time I would be too old to manage it all…on my own….
Don’t you hate it when husbands seem to actually know it all…
or perhaps more accurately can suddenly, after 34 years, find the gift of verbalization…
As in verbalizing what we try so desperately to deny…
Whenever did they become ones to verbalize…?
When you least want it, that’s when….
And so it is…
No linens have been pressed.
No grandmother’s silver polished.
No burgeoning refrigerator bursting at the seams.
No massive turkeys sitting in brine as basting bulbs have long since been discarded.
For we will become one of “those people…”
The people I use to turn my nose up to who would go out to eat on Thanksgiving.
The people who make other people have to work and miss time with their families
because they were having to cook and service “those people”……
We will eat out and then take plates to dad, my stepmother and the caregiver.
As our son travels to in-laws as my in-laws are now longer…
Aunts, uncles, nieces, grandparents, parents, brothers have all since departed…
leaving but us…left to find solace in our memories of times now past…
So Bob Dylan was right all along…
for the times, they are a-changing…
you should know that going out to eat was not my idea.
It was my husband’s…
The same husband who, after 34 years of marriage,
has suddenly gained the gift of verbalization.
He has also gained the gift of thoughtfulness….
as in he has felt sorry for me these past several most trying months
and he has decided it is time for me to become one of “those people”
and I am actually both grateful as well as thankful….
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
George S. Patton
Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.
Our God, Our Help In Ages Past
We’re all just holding on aren’t we…
seemingly by that proverbial thread.
We look all around us at the escalating global madness…
and we are mystified, even stupefied…
and growing more and more terrified by the day.
We find ourselves hunkering down, covering our heads, expecting the worst…
Or maybe we simply jam our fingers in our ears, dashing about chattering so loudly hoping
to drown out this frightening reality.
“We are living in a stressful age that New York Times columnist
Roger Cohen calls a “time of unraveling…Cohen imagines a future conversation
about the grim situations of the present and writes…
“It was a time of unraveling…a time of beheadings…a time of aggression…a time of breakup…
a time of weakness…a time of hatred…a time of fever…a time of disorientation” in which the “fabric of society frayed.”
(God and Churchill / Jonathan Sandys & Wallace Henley)
Our political conventions are bordering on the edge of the surreal..
mirroring that of a traveling side show or a two bit circus.
The candidates vie for our votes…
Yet they prefer busing themselves by trading the ugly tit for tat verbiage of hate,
lies and insults.
As the average citizen is left wondering…where have real leaders gone….
Our world is ailing with unrest….and withers under evil’s oppression.
Today, in a quiet suburb of the French city of Rouen, an 85 year old priest, Father Jaques Hamel, was viciously and savagely murdered during the midst of morning Mass.
He was attacked by two young masked men.
The young assailants took four nuns and parishioners hostage using them as human shields.
These attackers forced Fr Hamel to kneel before the altar as they shouted a tirade in Arabic followed with Allahu Akbar, all before slitting Fr Hamel’s throat in front of terrified parishioners…
all the while filming the entire apalling spectacle.
They were later killed by police.
ISIS has claimed responsibility.
Germans continues reeling while trying to make sense out of the latest terror attacks that have rocked their nation. The stories continue making back to back to back headlines.
First an ax wielding young man attacks passengers on a train in Wuerzburg, Germany…
Next a gunman kills 9 at a shopping mall in Munich.
Thirdly, another young man, yesterday, injures 15 outside of a bar, as he proceeds to blow himself up…
The leading newspaper in Turkey ran a front page story yesterday claiming that President Erdogan is now blaming the United States for last week’s failed coup as word circulates that he was actually to blame for orchestrating the whole debacle…which has now given way for his sweeping crackdowns within a country balancing between a tenuous democracy and a Muslim dictatorship.
All of this world drama, as the UK continues to figure out what their voting to leave the EU will actually mean…
Our world has been turned upside down…with Truth, Morality, and The Sacred each becoming a resulting victim.
Indeed the world is unraveling at an alarming rate…
So many of these headlines are simply overwhelming, leaving us all with a sense of loss,
worry and dread…
Fear gleefully now marches far and wide around our globe…as we look to placate our troubles…
We mustn’t lose our hope…
No matter how daunting such the task.
For we may just actually find our comfort and our peace
hidden in the smallest of beings…
Imagine the humble butterfly…
A delicate creature if ever there was one.
Its wings thiner then tissue paper, covered in a dazzling array of fine and colorful powder.
No match for rain nor tempest storm….
And yet they somehow manage to survive.
At the first sign of a change in the weather…
As clouds thicken and skies darken as the winds begin to shift…
the butterfly knows to seek shelter…
For even a single raindrop can kill a butterfly.
Even the resulting dip in temperatures, following in the the storm’s aftermath,
is life threatening because butterflies need the heat of the sun in order to feed, mate and thrive.
Butterflies instinctively know the importance of seeking shelter and holding on during a storm.
It’s a matter of living and dying.
Its time we each look to the One who offers us our shelter from the storm…
To the One who offers us life in the face of all that is dying….
For He is indeed our shelter from the storm….
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging
“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”
“He is fond of enigmas, of conundrums, of hieroglyphics; exhibiting in his solutions of each a degree of acumen which appears to the ordinary apprehension preternatural. His results, brought about by the very soul and essence of method, have, in truth, the whole air of intuition.”
Edgar Allen Poe
“We live in dangerous times…”
And yet what individual, throughout the course of humankind, has not waxed the same morose sentiment?
Has not our history on this planet been steeped in danger…albeit it primarily of our own making?
Today is no different than of perilous ages past.
Having read several articles in recent weeks, with the latest being today while perusing the BBC, as well as The Guardian, I have noted with rising alarm the palpable fear amongst many French Jews, most recently of those living in the southern port city of Marseille—France’s 2nd largest city that has the second largest French Jewish population after Paris.
In recent years many of France’s cities have seen a wave of rising violence, with many of the incidents directed toward French Jews. Marseille is the latest city in a long list of cities to witness attacks directed at her Jewish population with the most recent being carried out by a machete wielding 15 year old Kurdish Muslim boy against a male Jewish teacher. The boy, who succeeded in slashing the man’s back and arms, when apprehended lamented his shame in having failed at killing the teacher but was proud of his attempt. A student with good grades and a stable family who had come to France 5 years ago with his family from Turkey proclaimed that he had acted in the name of Allah and IS.
Such recent attacks have prompted French Jewish leaders to issue warnings to those men who choose to wear the traditional kippa, otherwise known as a skullcap. A telltale distinct indication of a more devout Jew.
France lives with the painful memory of the dark days of WWII when a compliant French government agreed to the Nazi “request” of rounding up and deporting her Jewish population–who were to be “interred” at “detention centers” (aka death camps) in Germany and Poland. More than 75,000 Jews were shipped out of France.
Victims of Hitler’s final solution.
It is with both troubled hearts and minds that leading Rabbis are making the request of the hiding of one’s identity as a means of safety and actual survival… as such warnings bring back the traumatic memories of events from those terribly troubling days of the Holocaust.
With insanity seemingly having returned, as once again Jews must hide being jewish.
see the full articles here:
I don’t know whether to be mad and angry or simply resigned and sad.
I know that at times, throughout some of my travels within this world of ours, I have found myself dropping the cross that I wear around my neck, never one to take it off, down into my shirt as to discreetly conceal the fact that I am a Christian as the area I may be finding myself is known for being “hostile” towards Christians.
Yet I question myself as to why do I find it necessary to hide the fact that I am a Christian.
Just as the Marseille Jews now believe it is a matter of safety and survival to hide the fact that they are indeed Jews.
Do I want to live in a world where I have to hide those small things of my faith that speak to my devotion…?
Be it a necklace, a head covering, a skullcap, a prayer rope…
I find it a bit ironic that Muslim women, who by French Law have been banned from wearing the burqa, the full head and face covering, are currently being defiant by wearing them anyway.
When in Paris just shortly after this law went into effect, I can remember almost coming unglued passing Muslim women on the street who were defying the law by blatantly wearing the full covering. Being a stickler for the law, I was mad at the blatant show of defiance and disrespect for the law, as well as the country of France, with the thought that if you want to live by Muslim law, live in a Muslim country.
It should be noted that the law is indeed a safety issue as terrorists, even males, have been known to hide underneath the cloak hiding suicide bombs.
In our western society we are accustomed to seeing the faces of those people who we pass on the street, sit alongside on the tram as well as conduct daily business with. Those who hide their entire face could be hiding so much more than simply adhering to strict Muslim law by not being visible in public.
Muslim women may still cover their heads and bodies, all but their faces.
Yet many continue to take a defiant stance to the law, with oddly little to no repercussions.
Muslim defiance verses Jewish and Christian fear….hummmmm
As a Christian I am keenly aware of my historical relationship to the Jewish people.
My Savior just so happens to have been a very devout Jew who some historians even believe to have been of the more Orthodox branch, a Hasidic Jew.
I for one have never blamed Jews, as some throughout history erroneously have, for having been complicit in Jesus’s death. I find that to be a ridiculous thought as such is clearly steeped in ignorance of the history and time period.
I am also very aware of God’s special bond with the Jewish people. The Jews are indeed God’s chosen as is the land of Israel.
I am merely a child by adoption and Grace.
I am also an ardent believer that God has stated that He will show no favor to those who do not honor his children or the land of their ancestors.
All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish.
Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.
For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
I am therefore torn with this whole idea of being bold in one’s faith as opposed to being safe by hiding any visible signs or identification…
Should not my life be a reflection and witness to that very faith?
Wearing a cross around my neck, small and not large and gaudy as has become sadly the fashion trend in the hiphop culture, but rather a small tangible bond, as well as a symbol, of being marked as Christ’s…
Yet I can understand parents worries as they send their children off to school or simply out in public wondering whether or not they will be targeted for wearing the kippa or a cross? Will they be victimized for praying the rosary or reading a bible?
Here in the States there has been the occasional story of the business or governmental agencies that have banned all employees from wearing any religious symbols…a cross or star of David…
Sadly as this country of mine wrestles with itself over separating itself from any reminder of faith…
Where is the honoring in that I wonder…..
Yes, we are sadly living in troubling times and those of us who wish to profess or save our faith are indeed in a bit of a conundrum….
“The lost enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded.”