“That proves you are unusual,” returned the Scarecrow;
“and I am convinced that the only people worthy of consideration
in this world are the unusual ones. For the common
folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.”
L. Frank Baum, The Land of Oz
(a fallen persimmon / Julie Cook / 2021)
Yesterday I thought I had an entire post dedicated to my trappings through the woods
while sharing my excitement over knowing fall was soon at hand because of all
the persimmons I found ripening on the trees….
I thought I had written that we all knew it’s getting to be fall when I was out
I also thought I had written about how we just needed to forget about life’s madness
for just a bit while we simply enjoyed a brief respite out of doors,
albeit for just a minute or two.
I had a bunch of different pictures of persimmons that I’d uploaded to the post
that I wanted to share.
And so this morning, just like every morning, I grabbed my phone since
I use my WP app in order to publish my posts as I grab my coffee,
and so I thought after it showed “published” I was good to go.
It wasn’t until I finally sat down this afternoon
(yesterday if you’re reading this today) and pulled up the blog that I
saw the bulk of the post was MIA.
The post looking at me was not the post I last saw last night…
Not the post that I had saved in order to publish the following day.
It was woefully incomplete…
Where’d what I’d written and uploaded go??
Well, who the heck knows.
So ode to the WP gremlins.
And so today, I had decided that I wanted to write a scathing post
about what our past great military brass—leaders such as Washington,
Grant, Nimitz, Bradley, Pershing, Patton, McArthur, Eisenhower,
Powell, and even ‘Stormen’ Norman…what would these men who were tried
in the fires of the horrors of war think?…
What would these men think about the likes of what we’re
stuck with today????—
Stuck with a set of currently woke, painfully politically correct,
inept, blind and deaf, treasonous military leaders???!!!!
Can anyone say following the correct chain of command?
Can anyone say court-martial???
Can anyone say treason???
Can anyone say sleeping with the enemy??
So instead of that needed post…we’ll just go back to persimmons.
Persimmons harken to a gentler life…
No treason found thankfully in a persimmon.
(***all images are various ripening persimmons/ Julie Cook / 2021)
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
“The demand for equality has two sources; one of them is among the noblest,
the other is the basest, of human emotions. The noble source is the desire for fair play.
But the other source is the hatred of superiority.
At the present moment it would be very unrealistic to overlook the importance of the latter.”
(a roped off area where a sea turtle has laid her eggs / Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2020)
Life is hard and it is certainly not always ever fair…
And yet we humans seem to be trying oh so hard to keep things as equitable, even, fair,
as well as level, as far as our conscious demands…
That is until we are stymied…
Stymied not so much by our fellow man or menacing mob, but rather stymied by
the likes of someone much more powerful…that being Mother Nature.
We can scream at one another about fairness, justice, injustice, and unfairness all we want.
We can make other men kneel at our sword and cower to our words and demands.
We can threaten, harass, harangue, and even inflict harm all in the name of making
others bend to our will for a purported notion of justice or fairness.
Yet in the end, it really isn’t any of us who will have the final say.
We had made plans long ago to come down to the Gulf this week…
our plans were long before a string of storms began advancing.
But such is any planned trip to a beach during this time of year.
The Gulf’s latest intruder is named Sally.
Unfortunately, I left my transfer cable for my camera at home so all of my
pictures from my camera will have to wait to be uploaded onto my computer when I get home…
I did, however, manage to get a few pictures using my phone.
This is the time of year when the sea turtles come to shore in order to lay their eggs.
There are beach volunteers who will mark and rope off the areas where a turtle nest
Sea turtles, their nests, eggs, as well as hatchlings, are all protected.
Walking the shoreline yesterday evening, only hours before the storm would advance
as it has today causing massive erosion, we saw several roped-off nesting sites.
Some of the sites were far enough away from the battering surf but there was one
directly in the surf.
Poor turtle, I thought, her hard efforts, her nest, her offspring,
will most likely be in vain.
Had the weather been calm, the nesting site would probably have faired well but
I knew given the storm, there would be no site remaining the following day.
This was what we found this morning—a single staub jutting out of the surf
where yesterday there were four well marked and roped staubs.
And as we walked later in the day, as the gulls and plovers roamed what sand
was not underwater, we found a lone egg.
Cracked and dented.
(a lone turtle egg / Julie Cook / 2020)
And so as I ponder Mother Nature…her fickled ways with both life and death–
my prayers are with our neighbors to the West…those who are living in the midst of
hell on earth as wildfires ravage Oregon, Washington, and California—
just as I think and pray for yet another Gulf area that will be hit by yet another hurricane.
We may think we can bend man, or woman, to make him or her do as we please…
but in the end, it will be Mother Nature,
her and her alone, who will always have the final decisive say.
And yet…in actuality,
it just might be what we do in the wake of her decisions that will make the more
lasting difference on humanity…be that for good or be that for bad.
She plays her hand and then we must respond.
Maybe she just wants to divert our attention from ourselves for just a brief respite.
By my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth, mankind,
and the animals that are on the face of the earth, and I give it to whomever I see fit.
Believers ought to be distinguished not only by their place,
but by their way of life. They ought to be obvious not only by the gift,
but also by the new life. He should be distinguishable by everything—
by his walk, by his look, by his clothes, by his voice.
St. John Chrysostom
from A Year with the Church Fathers
(a Bible sits on a table in the waiting room of a doctor’s office / Julie Cook / 2020)
This is a week spent running from a myriad of doctor’s offices and the hospital for tests…
Schedules have just worked out making this a full packed week.
So this morning, on my first stop of the day, I was sitting in the brand new
waiting room for my general practitioner.
They’ve just recently moved into a brand new, state of the arts,
fancy schmancy medical complex that sits across the street from our city’s hospital.
You know how waiting rooms can be.
Someone is always talking on their phone when they shouldn’t be.
There’s coughing, sneezing along with some idle chit chat amongst the fellow waiters.
I had not brought a book and my eyes were tired of squinting at my phone so I
opted to survey my surroundings.
I spied the table sitting across from me to see if there might be a magazine of interest
but then I thought better about picking anything up because the flu was running
rampant around the room.
I’ve been lucky thus far and didn’t want to chance things so I dug out some paper
from my purse to scratch off a list for the grocery store.
Yet before I could even start writing, my eye caught a Bible sitting rather prominently
on the table across from me as I immediately inwardly smiled.
I know that my doctor is an ardent Christian.
So I started thinking.
So many people, the rabid nonbelievers amongst us, rattle sabers when they catch a hint
of Christianity out and about in plain view. They protest the outward symbols of
the Chrisitan faith, claiming it is some sort of infringement of their civil rights.
Yet here in plain sight sat the foundation of our faith.
And what an appropriate place for a book of hope to be found since this is often the
place of bad news and burdened individuals.
Throughout the day, as I traversed from one appointment to another, I was constantly
reminded of the fiasco taking place in Washington…be it from a television in a waiting room
or news alerts on my phone…I knew a three-ring circus was filling our lives.
It is so easy for me to fuss and cuss the idiocy taking place from both sides of the aisle
as these people, this body of governmental leadership, has put the running of our Nation’s
business on permanent hold as they wage a petty battle among themselves.
And for what?
And so looking at the Bible sitting on that table, I got to thinking that I actually had
an opportunity. I could either fuss, cuss and lament about our Governmental leadership,
or lack thereof, or I could do something much more important—
I could pray.
Here are two of the prayers found in the Book of Common Prayer
offered for our Government and President.
May we pray for God’s Mercy and Grace…
18. For our Country
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our
heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove
ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will.
Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and
pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion;
from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend
our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes
brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue
with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust
the authority of government, that there may be justice and
peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we
may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness,
and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail;
all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
19. For the President of the United States and all in Civil
O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We
commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided
by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant
to the President of the United States, the Governor of this
State (or Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom
and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the
love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful
of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus
Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the
Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
Late last evening, while watching Clemson finishing out on top over Ohio State
in a battle in the Fiesta Bowl, a breaking news alert popped up on my phone…
The initial report was that there had been a stabbing outside of a synagogue
in New York.
“Oh Lord,” I thought out loud, “not again!”
As the facts started to come in more clearly, the attack had actually happened
inside the home of a Rabbi who lived next door to a Synagogue in Monsey, New York.
Reports were that a man had entered the home, where Hasidic members of a synagogue
had gathered prior to going to celebrate the 7th night of Hanukkah,
and began hacking people with a machete.
The news headline read: New York Jews continue Hanukkah celebrations after stabbing at
rabbi’s home that left 5 wounded
The story explained that Five people were stabbed at a rabbi’s home in New York during a Hanukkah celebration
on Saturday night —
but that didn’t stop worshippers from continuing their prayers at a synagogue next door.
Soon after the attack in the suburb of Monsey, located just 35 miles north of New York City
in Rockland County, Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg and his followers gathered at the adjacent synagogue,
which the rabbi leads, and sang together in prayer.
The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council for the Hudson Valley tweeted a video of Rottenberg
and his followers continuing their celebration of the seventh night of Hannukah.
“The grace of God did not end and his mercy did not leave us,”
they sang, according to a translation of their song posted online.
The following day, I ran across a post shared by a fellow blogger…
The post seemed more than ironically timely as it addressed an alarming concern…
The concern being that there is a troubling rise in growing antisemitism while being
mirrored by a simultaneous decline in Holocaust memory.
Meaning—attacks on Jews is on the rise while the history of the Holocaust
Fading as many young people have little to no grasp of the darker side of
Just considering the almost rabid fascination by youthful generations with socialism
then this should not be terribly surprising—but terrible it is.
Here is the post along with a link to the full article.
A Growing Monster
December 29, 2019
by Anna Waldherr
A Europe-wide CNN poll in November 2018 found a rise in anti-Semitism and a
decline in Holocaust memory .
Anti-Semitic incidents in Germany rose by almost 10% in 2018, to a 10 year high .
In December 2018, a Greek Holocaust Memorial was desecrated for the fourth time .
In January 2019 a synagogue was vandalized in the Bulgarian capitol Sofia .
In June 2019 planned construction on the site of mass graves dating to the
Holocaust came to light in the Ukraine .
By July 2019 anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom had spiked .
A video showing West Ham soccer fans singing an anti-Semitic fight song about
rival club Tottenham Hotspur (which has a largely Jewish fan base) was posted to Twitter.
There is a monster growing in Europe. Anti-Semitism has increased substantially since
the 2015 immigration crisis .
France reported a 74% increase in violence against Jews.
“An alarming pattern of anti-Semitism is spreading across Europe,
from France to Germany to Sweden and elsewhere on the continent…
Antisemitism is not, and cannot, remain just a Jewish problem.
This is an issue that affects all Europeans, and Western society as a whole.”
Then if things weren’t troubling enough, a story broke Sunday morning about a
gunman walking into a church outside of Fort Worth, Texas and killing parishioners.
The gunman entered the church during communion and opened fire with a shotgun,
killing two and critically wounding another before being fatally shot by
Texas church shooting leaves 2 dead, witness says gunman opened fire during communion
When Evil attacks our Spiritual foundation, we have always struggled to understand.
Yet here’s the thing, Evil is not something to be analyzed or neatly understood.
It does not play by the rules.
The fallen light-bearer is now the father of darkness.
Rules do not apply to Satan or to the Evils he relishes upon this realm we call home.
And yet the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, went on a news talk show Sunday
morning and tried to blame life in Washington and the hate that is seemingly
generated there, on the latest spate of attacks on Jews in his city and state.
Because we all know that when we have no answers, we blame Trump.
But Trump is not Satan…contrary to popular belief.
Persecution against both Christians and Jews has been with us throughout the ages,
yet there is an alarming uptick taking place across the globe.
Physical persecution to emotional and psychological persecution.
Might time be of the essence for both Light and Dark?
Faith, belief, God, Jesus, love, kindness, forgiveness, the family, honor,
righteousness…these are all components of our true essence…the piece
of the Divine which continues to reside in our souls.
And each and every one of those components is an enemy of the Darkness.
I read today that many Jews are now afraid to wear anything that
symbolizes their faith in fear of being attacked.
This while many Christians are being told that, at places such as work and
school, they are not allowed to have a Bible on their desk or to wear
a cross or other religious symbols.
As the shadows grow long, remain steadfast…
for your God will not be moved by man nor darkness.
You will be hated by everyone because of me,
but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
“I still have the shoes I wore to work that day.
The soles are melted and they’re caked in ash.
I keep them in a shoebox with the word “deliverance” written all around it.
They’re kind of like my ark, a reminder of God’s presence and the life I owe to him.”
Stanley Praimnath, 9/11 survivor
It was a day ripe with a cloudless clear blue sky.
The kind of deep blue sky that beckons one to look up..
to look up and far beyond…
It was the second week of September.
Labor day was behind us and fall-break was over a month away.
But there was something about this day, this bright blue day,
that made me stop and pause.
Since it was just before the end of my planning period, I had walked over to our vocational
wing in order to pick up some copies I had run off for my upcoming class.
On the walk over between the two buildings, I caught myself looking up.
Looking up and noting the brilliance of such a beautiful cloudless blue sky.
It was still very summer-like in Georgia despite the calendar reading September 11th…
I walked back into the main building just as the bell was ringing for class change.
I reached the door to my classroom in order to monitor the hallway as the kids
traversed up and down, in and out.
One of my colleagues, a coach who also taught Social Studies down the hall from me,
suddenly came sprinting by my room stopping long enough to tell me to turn on my
television because “we were under attack!”
I can remember asking him to repeat what he had just told me.
“We’re under attack, they’ve attacked New York and now they’re attacking Washington!”
As the kids were filtering in, I ran to turn on the television because
I really wasn’t comprehending what I had just heard.
As everyone began to trickle in, we gathered around the wall-mounted television
just staring at the images taking place in New York.
I remember hearing one of my girls announcing to no one in particular that her dad was
currently on a plane to New York…she needed to call her mom.
Needless to say, the day’s work and lessons were long over before they even began
as we were now in the midst of a tragic moment of our Nation’s indelible history.
That cloudless blue September sky changed our lives that day.
It changed our entire world, forever.
My colleague and friend who had stopped to tell me the tragic news would not live to see
the end of the next school year.
He was unaware that on that most fateful of days, the cancer that was multiplying inside of him,
was insidiously at work.
So much was changing, so much had changed.
It seems almost surreal, but today we have generations who were born well after
the fateful day of change…they are actually unaware that we were, that we are,
Simple names of states.
Simple names of things and places.
Yet all these years later, nothing remains simple about them.
Nearly 3000 lives were lost that day.
Many more lives were damaged.
Since that fateful day, many more lives have been lost due to the caustic air
inhaled as responders toiled to find the ashes of remains hiding in between the ashes of debris.
And then a war ensued.
And thus more lives have been lost and damaged.
Yet some people have the audacity to claim that the terribleness of that day was simply our own fault.
Some people think it really matters not that we should even take pause to remember.
Some people think it’s no big deal.
And yet on that day, lives ended.
Dreams were broken.
Hearts were broken.
And so yes, it is a big deal.
It was a horrific day of what seemed like a day of unending change…
and thus, in turn, we are now bound to forever remember…
Because the important thing today is that we must never forget why we have changed
and why all of those broken and shattered lives still matter.
Because if we do forget…if we allow our memories to fade…
then the pain, the suffering, the hurt that was felt by so many,
can and will actually return…
Such sweeping and tremendous pain mustn’t be allowed to ever return…
And so on this 11th day of September, we collectively gather to remember…
as we continue with our healing…
vowing that this will never happen again.
Our country is strong:
These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat.
But they have failed. Our country is strong.
A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.”
Former President George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001.
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
(Cades Cove, wild turkeys /Julie Cook/ 2015)
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.
(a tom turkey’s tail / Julie Cook / 2014)
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.
(a poor tom turkey who was looking for love in all the wrong places / Julie Cook / 2014)
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
Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible.
It wears us out by multiplying distractions and beats us down by destroying our solitude,
where otherwise we might drink and renew our strength before going out to face the world again.
Aiden Wilson Tozer
(one of my local bunnies, not distracted by my presence / Julie Cook / 2018)
We are a people of distraction.
“Oh no we’re not” you counter.
“People of distraction have ADD or some other affliction that keeps them
And whereas that is partially true, I’m here to remind all of us that yes,
we are indeed a people of distraction.
This revelation began to dawn on me last evening when I caught the tail end of the evening news–
although I’ve actually been aware of it for many years it’s just taken the latest idiocy
racing around the country to actually bring this little problem of ours into full focus.
It seems there was some sort of sudden national obsession over the sounding of a word…
‘Was it Laurel or was it Yanny?’
I don’t “do” FaceBook, thank the Lord, so I happily don’t catch a lot of this trending
buzzy mess bombarding the masses out there.
This is where I joyfully exclaim, much like Viva La France, yet rather
more accurately “ignorance is bliss!!”
But right there, on the closing segment of the national evening news was some sort of
nonsense about the ‘heard pronunciation’ of a word…or more accurately a name.
It was such a to-do that it even became fodder on Capitol Hill.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan actually closed-out the day’s session on the same note as
that of national news by telling all present what word he had actually heard.
You guys don’t have more pressing issues to contend with than the latest viral buzz
The following morning I went to get my hair cut.
I sat in the chair as the gal who cuts my hair got to work, yet there was a buzz in the room.
And the buzz was not the noisy din of hairdryers—it was more of that same nonsense
I heard the evening before…
“Do you hear Laurel or Yanny??
This as each person in the salon had an opinion.
I just sat there listening and looking back and forth.
Next, they quickly moved on to that craze a few years back over the color of a dress
that had also made the viral rounds—” was it blue, black, gold…??”
“and oh, what about those sneakers…pink, grey or white…??”
I couldn’t believe my ears.
All around me grown men and women were chattering about the colors of images of
dresses and shoes as well as the sounds of names all racing around the internet.
I was somewhat dumbfounded as the conversations all truly bordered on, dare I say it,
Hawaii is about to blow.
Half of the country hates the president and the other half that likes him.
North Korea is threatening everyone all over again.
Russia keeps buzzing our jets.
The American Embassy is finally in Jeruselum after a 23-year stall.
Great Britain and every news outlet is going bonkers over an impending wedding
(another copious wasted amount of time).
And everyone else is abuzz over sounds and colors on the internet????
Why am I reminded of the Israelites when Moses went up the mountain??
Throw in a golden calf and suddenly the Great I Am is all but a faded memory…
Our lives on this earth are short in comparison to most of Creation…our length
of time is not guaranteed.
And yet we fill this precious time and these precious days with mindless and idol frivolity.
When all is said and done, I don’t think a dress, a shoe or even a name will
And it might just behoove us to remember who loves the fact that we are
so easily distracted…
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.
What is your life?
You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes
Be sober-minded; be watchful.
Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.
Arthur Conan Doyle
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
( two images, one ostrich up close and personal and a female mallard both courtesy the web)
“Faith and Christian witness are presently confronted by such great challenges that only by working together will we be able effectively to serve the human family and enable the light of Christ to reach every dark corner of our hearts and of our world. May the journey of reconciliation and peace between our communities continue to draw us closer, so that, prompted by the Holy Spirit, we may bring life to all, and bring it in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).
I would now like to turn to my native tongue to express feelings of profound sorrow. Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: “Jesus, help me!”. They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. You, my brother, in your words referred to what is happening in the land of Jesus. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers and sisters who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians.”
This is an excerpt, courtesy of Vatican Archives, taken from an address given by Pope Francis earlier this week when meeting with members from the (Reformed) Church of Scotland. The Pope ventured away from the agenda at hand in order to offer his concern, outrage, and prayers regarding the beheading of the 21 Coptic Christians at the hands of ISIS.
Before the World could catch its collective breath, ISIS once again carried out another egregious and malicious act of terror and murder this week by publicly taunting then burning alive 45 men from a western town in Iraq—this while the Obama Administration readied themselves to host a summit discussing “extremism”. . .
The definition of extremism, according to Merriam Webster is: advocacy of extreme measures or views : radicalism
The definition of terrorism, according to Merriam Webster is: the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal
The White House has, as has other Western European leaders, yet to acknowledge what the Pope so painfully stated Monday, that the killing of the 21 Copts was an act of violence against Christians.
The White House is also having a rather difficult time calling the violent acts of barbarism what they are—sadistic, callous cold murder carried out by the whims of Islamic Terrorists. They are Islamic and they are terrorists and they wage a jihad in the quest of a Caliphate in the name of Mohammed and Allah. . .
Yet this is not to say that the “Islamic terrorists” speak for or are representational of the Islamic Faithful. The concern however is that other Muslim Nations and Muslim leaders and Muslims in general have merely tried to ignore and distance themselves from the “extremists”. . .With some quietly agreeing that Western Society is indeed partly, if not fully, to blame for the current crises. Unfortunately however the insidious ooze of hate and radicalism is seeping into corners thought to be once off limits and even impenetrable. It appears as if it is in bad form for Muslims to rile against their Muslim kin as it is better to ignore and hope the ugliness will simply go away. . .
A holy war—an oxymoron if ever there was such a thing. A word phrase of extreme opposites in one spoken breath.
Is there such a thing as a “holy war?”—
Yes—but it is of a Divine nature, as the Heavenly Host wages war against Satan and all that is evil and full of darkness. It is what transpired as Jesus descended into Hell, only to rise victorious 3 days later. Yet Satan continues to walk this earth and still works to wield his madness as we remain in the crosshairs, as the earth remains under his dominion—the battle wages, yet the war has been won. . .
And yet it sadly becomes ingrained in the twisted minds of modern man that he can carry out such a “holy war”
The White House urges calm, reminding us not to jump to conclusions or God forbid we insult anyone.
We find ourselves drowning in a sea of political correctness as people are having their heads cut off and are burned alive in cages. We preen and strut in our technological 21st century modernism and pinnacle of civility all the while as thousands of people are tortured and murdered by means of medieval madness–all in the name of a radical religion, hate or simply both. . .the question remains seemingly unanswered.
Why do I feel it is just me who finds this all so terribly troubling? Especially the comment made by ISIS following the beheading of the Coptic Christians that they, ISIS, would now carry their “war” all the way to Rome.
We can choose, like many Muslims, to ignore the current actions of a group of marauding thugs, as it is, who are “over there”. . . We can sit around a large table and talk about if we just create jobs then we could nip this extremism in the bud.
We can choose to ignore the fact that the very Judeo / Christian foundation that has been the basis of our existence for centuries is truly threatened—that there are those who wish to see it destroyed.
It would be one thing if this was what various leaders, early on, considered to be just a rag tag group of thugs rattling sabers. . .Rather what we are witnessing has startlingly emerged to be a large and spreading cohesive, and well orchestrated, growing group of “radicals” hoping to achieve their Caliphate or that which is actually known as a governing body with direct descending political and religions powers from Mohammed himself. The ideas such as creating jobs for disenfranchised youth around the globe and maintaining overt politically correct terminology in hopes that no one will take offense to our growing alarm or concern will sadly not do one single thing to stop this growing threat to our very way of life.
Two things—may we be mindful that if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck–therefore we may conclude that it is indeed a duck. . .
Also. . . may we never be caught with our heads buried in the sand. . .