The Ballad of the Ordinary Man, Part 1 Reprised

Yellow brick road

(Beckita is right that the last two weeks have been frantically busy for me. I start here by reprising the First Installment of the Ballad. It was published last April – and re-reading it, seemed incredibly apropos for the day before election in America-CJ)

By Charlie Johnston

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore

To effectively analyze where we are – as a nation, world or culture – the first thing one must firmly be clear on is the difference between a principle and a policy. A principle is a defining statement of what you believe and what you seek to accomplish. A policy is simply the means you choose to get there. Thus, if you live in Chicago and intend to move to San Antonio, getting to San Antonio is your principle. How you get there and what route you take are your policies. You can refine it further. Why do you want to move to San Antonio? If it is to achieve a better life, economically, culturally or religiously, then THAT is your principle and moving to San Antonio is your policy to achieve it. These things can be refined until you reach a point where you can refine no further. That is a first thing, or first principle.

However vigorous a policy dispute may be, when men are largely agreed on foundational principles, there is little danger the dispute will degenerate into serious conflict and strife. Even if you lose the debate, men agreed on foundational principles will revisit the issue if the policies chosen prove ill-suited to accomplish the principle. On the other hand, disputes over fundamental principles, however mild they start, carry within them the seeds of serious conflict, even up to armed conflict. Since the disputes look largely the same in early stages, it is critical to discriminate well between policy and principle disputes – for the consequences of each are vastly different. The ill-informed may look at a significant dispute over principles and say, ah, I have seen plenty of disputes in my life and this is no different. That is why things such as the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and the rise of German fascism take so many otherwise sophisticated observers by surprise. Since a foundational dispute looks similar to a mere policy dispute, they think it is all the same thing. It is not.

The most foundational statements of American principles are found in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution. The bulk of the Declaration is devoted to an explanation of why this drastic step was necessary. The bulk of the Constitution is devoted to setting up foundational rules of what was permitted and what forbidden in the pursuit of the foundational goals. It is the load-bearing framework set on top of the foundation.

The founders focused intensely on the question of systems of government. Most were disgusted with European models. European societies were largely stratified, offering little hope of advancement to those who were not born into the upper strata, so they were stagnant societies. They were oppressive, sometimes to many classes, but almost always to those at the lowest levels. They were corrupt. Bureaucracies were formed to administer all manner of public welfare – but had become self-serving cesspools that did little for the public welfare but much to protect their own privileged sinecures. They were subject to periodic bouts of significant unrest – because that was largely the only way lower classes could get any consideration for the redress of grievances.

The founders were determined to set up a system based on the consent of the governed, where the people themselves would be sovereign. While there was some genius involved, the founders were NOT phenomenal geniuses. Rather, they were men of above average intelligence who were entirely focused on the problem of self-governance. Their true genius lay in their absolute refusal to abide cant or sloganeering. They confronted all problems directly and honestly. A system based on the consent of the governed meant a democracy of some sort. Yet the history of democracy was a bleak, violent and forbidding one. Few democracies survived more than a few decades before succumbing violently to their inherent instability. Democracies were prone to factionalism run amok, degenerating into the “war of all against all,” in Thomas Hobbes’ memorable phrase. Simply establishing the right to vote did not secure liberty. In fact, it almost guaranteed a ruthless “tyranny of the majority,” a problem with democracy first acknowledged by the ancient Greeks but never solved until the American colonists grappled honestly with it. A common thought (though its origin is obscure) was that “democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

In the recurring modern debate over gun rights, advocates of strict gun control always couch their arguments in saving lives – without ever examining the actual effects their proposed policies actually have. It is a deadly form of virtue signaling. Similarly, in the Obamacare debate, their argument was that “everyone deserves health care,” without a serious examination of the declines in quality, access and innovation that plagued all centrally run systems (not to mention the implicit – and sometimes explicit – rationing that took place in these second-rate systems). The American founders were having none of that. They confronted the problems inherent to democracies and self-government rigorously, developing approaches that did not just sound good to weepy sentimentalists (“every man deserves to be free!”), but actually had a chance of working. There were no pathological altruists among the founders, determined to show they cared regardless of results, but only hard-eyed realists determined to acknowledge and solve the real problems inherent in developing a workable system of liberty, opportunity, and self-governance for all.

Working from the framework of natural law, primarily as expressed by John Locke, which posits that men are endowed by their creator with certain rights that pre-exist the formation of the state, the founders sought, first, to secure those rights. (One does not have to believe in God to believe in natural law: one can substitute the word ‘nature’ for the word ‘creator.’ But even the deist and agnostic founders believed that a devotion to religion and traditional morality were the firmest foundation on which to secure these rights.) Rights were not just any good a people could come up with that they thought all should be guaranteed. A right had to be possessed by the very nature of a man, whether or not there was a state to secure it. In fact, in the founders’ formulation, the very legitimacy of a state was largely dependent on its vigorous defense of those rights that all men have by nature. Since government was not author of any right, it could neither grant nor revoke them; only secure them to justify its own existence. A state might decide some good it wanted to grant should be guaranteed to all, but that could never be a right – only an entitlement. Entitlements were dangerous things, for government can only grant us a good by taking some coercive power over us. The founders, well acquainted with human nature, knew that what started with the necessary taking of coercive power to grant some good soon saw the good become an afterthought and the seizure of power the animating principle. They did not want a government that did “good” for us, but a government that stuck to the most minimally necessary things while keeping out of our way as we did good for ourselves – and in concert through voluntary associations with each other.

The first thing they did was establish a minimalist government. Rather than laying out restraints on what the federal government could do, they allowed it to do nothing without specific authorization from the Constitution. The states were where most governmental action would take place – and this would both prevent dangerous centralization of power and provide “laboratories of democracy,” where different states could try different approaches to problems in which other states – and the whole nation – would learn from their successes and failures. Beyond that, they divided executive, legislative and judicial authority in three different co-equal branches that, it was hoped, would police each other and prevent power from centralizing. Thomas Jefferson feared they had failed to build sufficient accountability into the judiciary, giving unreviewable lifetime appointments. Knowing that people who have power tend to work restlessly to grasp more to themselves, he feared the judiciary would eventually become an oligarchic council claiming supremacy over the other branches. Defenders said that the legislature had the power both of impeachment and to remove specific items from the jurisdiction of the courts to counter such abuse – but Jefferson thought these were not sufficient safeguards.

Many delegates to the Constitutional Convention – and later the states – were not satisfied that allowing the federal government only specifically enumerated powers was sufficient to protect liberty. They feared that governmental authorities would eventually pervert the clear language of the Constitution to mean something else, even the exact opposite, of what was written. This led to the adoption of the Bill of Rights, which specifically enumerated some rights which the federal government was forbidden from transgressing. Since it was the Supreme law of the land, it allowed the federal government to protect citizens against any encroachment by the states against actual rights. Some of the key rights, and why they were considered foundational include:

1)     Freedom of Speech – The founders were rigorists on this. In societies that constrained freedom of conscience, revolutionary pressures would build until there was an explosion of violence. If free speech was guaranteed, no matter how hateful or offensive, it could be countered with more effective and persuasive speech, without the danger of letting violent pressures build to a point of explosion. This was key to preventing the periodic violent strife that afflicted oppressive societies. The founders knew all too well, from painful experience, what the banning of “hate speech” would do to society – so they protected both it – and their society – from the violence that grows around suppressing conscience.

2)     Freedom of Religion – At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, three states had established churches that people were taxed to support. (Several others had such laws on the books, but did not enforce taxes for them). This amendment had the support of those states – in fact, they insisted on it. The reason was that the First Amendment was not to create a wall of separation between church and state, but to forever remove such matters from the jurisdiction of the federal government. It was a matter for the states, alone. The only requirement the federal government was allowed was to ban any religious test as a qualification to hold public office. Obviously, this amendment has been completely turned on its head. The reality is that when you hear about a First Amendment religious case, it does not turn on the First Amendment at all, but on the Fourteenth Amendment, which banned slavery. The language of that amendment was used by crafty federal jurists to assert regulatory power over religious matters that the First Amendment forbids. You often hear about Jefferson’s private letter to Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut in 1802 which he says the First Amendment was designed to build a “wall of separation between church and state.” Now for context and the rest of the story: by state, he meant the federal government, as was clearly understood at that time. In his second Inaugural Address three years later, he said, “In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General Government. I have therefore undertaken on no occasion to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it, but have left them, as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of the church or state authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies.”

3)     The Right to Bear Arms – This amendment was not adopted so people could go hunting. It was adopted to prevent the rise of an oppressive government. The founders knew that all governments tend to amass power and become increasingly oppressive. It is the historical nature of the beast. They were, by no means, convinced that they had definitively solved the problem, so they embedded this to make sure that the people had recourse if the government sought to run and ruin their daily lives. Jefferson was so fearful of incipient tyranny that he thought there would need to be a revolution every generation or two to correct course. The right to bear arms was adopted to facilitate that and discourage hungry officials and bureaucrats.

The founders embedded many principles, based on their suspicion of the irredeemable ambitions of government to impose its will on citizens rather than secure their liberty. They banned ex post facto laws, knowing these are only a partisan tool. (Ex post facto laws are used to prosecute people for things that were NOT a crime when they were done). Their response to corruption was to acknowledge that wherever there was money or power, corruption would follow. So rather than prescribe carefully crafted rules which would centralize prosecutorial power, they depended on competing levels of government in which it would be to the advantage of the ambitious to ferret out the corruption of a rival agency. By simultaneously keeping the central government small, they figured corruption could never be massive or centralized.

They injected non-democratic elements of stability into the process, so that a mobocracy didn’t tear itself apart. There was no traditional reason for a bicameral legislature, as in many European countries, because there was not the division between commoners and nobility. BUT, the founders underlined the importance and sovereignty of the states with the creation of the Senate, in which each state, regardless of how populous, would have two senators – to be chosen by the states rather than directly. The House was to be the people’s populist chamber, the Senate to represent the interest of the individual states. When, in 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment was adopted mandating direct election of Senators, it diminished the importance of the states while eroding one of the protections against instablility embedded in the Constitution. The Electoral College was a master stroke, emphasizing the sovereign authority of the states while preventing the “tyranny of the majority” by offering resistance to regional urban coalitions that could overwhelm rural areas AND suppressing electoral mischief by forcing conspirators to fight in as many elections as there were states rather than a single, national election. I absolutely loathe the ignorance of moderns who, without bothering to find why it was set up in the first place, reject the Electoral College as an anachronism, rather than a bulwark of liberty. When I was doing radio, I once set aside an entire day where people could call in and say whatever they wanted about the electoral college…BUT…they must first give me a short synopsis of why the founders adopted it. I have little patience for loud voices who haven’t taken the time to find out what they are talking about. Sadly, no caller cleared that simple hurdle that day. A decade ago, in response to an initiative in Illinois, I wrote this somewhat humorous piece explaining a few things.

I mentioned earlier Jefferson’s belief that a new revolution would be needed every generation or two to refresh the tree of liberty. Few of the founders were confident they had solved the problems of governments, generally, and self-government, specifically. In a letter to a military brigade in 1798, John Adams wrote that, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” When asked near the end of the Constitutional Convention what sort of government they had come up with, Benjamin Franklin replied, “A Republic – if you can keep it.” Knowing what an unprecedented effort they had made, what uncharted waters they were navigating, the founders did, indeed, give us a “living” Constitution – but not in the way leftists maintain. They gave us the amendment process, in which we could make any changes we wanted, provided we could rally sufficient support to overcome the procedural hurdles. They did this to prevent individuals from re-interpreting it to mean whatever they want over transient and ephemeral fads.

Europeans smugly expected the United States to collapse quickly – for self-governing democracies had ever been volatile machines of self-immolation – high ideal quickly succumbing to the factional war of all against all or the tyranny of the majority, then degenerating into chaos, and finally being re-stabilized by a dictatorship. In 1831, a young Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, came to America to find why this society had not already collapsed. His observations astounded him. Though the Americans made almost no government provisions for public welfare, it was handled more effectively, comprehensively, and cheaply than the most regimented European systems – all through the power of voluntary associations. Americans mainly required that government leave them alone and stay out of their way. It was astonishing, and yet it worked. In 1835 he published the first of his two-volume “Democracy in America.” It is a clear, easy read, bursting with the vitality of an author who has had a world-shifting epiphany. It is still the best, simplest, yet comprehensive exploration of the philosophical underpinnings and practical application of American democracy ever written. I have avoided extensive notes and links here, to avoid all but the necessary pedantry to establish what we were supposed to be. To check my accuracy, read de Tocqueville, the Federalist Papers, and the transcripts of the debates at the Constitutional Convention.

The point is that the dividing points are now matters of principle, not of policy. This is not a debate over whether to finance an initiative with excise or consumption taxes, after which, even the most impassioned opponents can kick back, regroup and fight the good fight the next time. A substantial minority (God help us if it were actually a majority) has decided that free speech, freedom of religion, and the right of self-defense are actually the problems. They want to fine, jail and shut down any who disagree with them, thinking if they can just muscle everyone, peace and love will follow. God is enemy number one; conservatives merely a distant second. The rule of law is just an arcane language whose proper use is to impose your will on others, not a system by which all live and are judged by the same rules. Thus, accusations of Republican jaywalking are investigated with hot pokers and the rack while accusations of Democratic sedition, murder, rape and robbery are investigated with the comfy chair and the fluffy pillow. Secretary of State nominees are judged by their commitment to LGBT and transgender fantasies – right-think as opposed to wrong-think. A religious test for holding office IS established: if you are a traditional Christian or Jew, prepare for the hot pokers and the rack. California has already functionally seceded from the union, thumbing its nose at legitimate federal law, while eagerly seeking to pass legislation to ban the sale of religious books and punishing expressions of wrong-think. (It is morbidly amusing to me to see California eagerly adopting these clearly fascist policies while simultaneously denouncing fascism).

It is a form of identity politics. The founders believed America would thrive by making rational decisions, prudently considered. The anti-God left does not believe in prudence: they believe that the consequences of prudence are actually immutable, innate characteristics. Thus, a leftist does not consider himself smart because he studies hard, uses rigorous logic, and is prudent in his conclusions; he is ‘smart’ for the same reasons he has blond hair or brown eyes – he was born that way and no work is required. This type of thinking is as deadly to institutions as it is to individuals. Few remember that Detroit was once one of the wealthiest, most well-run cities in America. For those over 55 years old, Detroit had that reputation in your lifetime. Back in the early 60s Detroit took a hard, left turn. By 1968, the city was looking pretty shaky – but Detroiters scoffed. After all, they were Detroit, the wealthiest, best-run city in the country. Nothing could go wrong. By the mid-70s, Detroit was clearly tanking – and large-scale flight from the city by people who lived by prudence and consequences was well underway. Now, the only thing that prevents Detroit from being Venezuela is that it is in the United States and is surrounded by a large safety net. California today is 1968 Detroit. Arrogantly doing self-destructive things and arguing that it can never catch up to them because they are California, they have got five years before they make Detroit look like a paradise.

As bad as all these things are, they are not the cause of our troubles, they are merely symptoms of it – the inflamed pustules that are the visible signs of the sickness within. They are the consequences of neglecting first things, foundational principles. The anti-God left neither understands nor cares why we adopted those principles in the first place – and now oppose them in their mad rush for a regimented society to relieve their never-ending, grinding misery and self-imposed victimhood. Their joyless formula for a just society is as miscast as prescribing arsenic for a headache: it will hasten their own demise. But our defenses are battered. The officials on the right are not up to the challenge. Not one in 50 understands what we were designed to be or, more importantly, why. Rather than relegate government to its rightful minimalist status, they think to better manage the unmanageable leviathan we have created. Massive bureaucracies never help (except occasionally in the very short-term) to alleviate problems. They become self-perpetuating bloated monstrosities, focused on protecting their own interests by regulating the little fellows. Officials do not tackle real problems or real criminals: that is dangerous. Instead, they make a thousand irrelevant rules on what size soft drink you can have and what pronouns you can legally use in talking of others – and ruthlessly enforce these rules to give the illusion that they are doing something without having to grapple with the sort of people that might be dangerous to them. It is why officials fight so hard to regulate the gun rights of law abiding citizens while defending actual dangerous criminals.

In Europe, leaders no longer have the wit to even take their own side in a fight. British authorities cover up large-scale systematic Muslim child sexual exploitation in the name of tolerance. Germany opens the floodgates to non-vetted immigrants from terrorist countries – and then tells women where not to go to avoid being raped by some of those immigrants. The Jihadists didn’t even have to build their own Trojan Horse: Angela Merkel and the European Union built it for them, then pulled it into the continent for them. England not only refuses to treat sick children, but invokes laws to prevent the parents of such children from taking them out of a hospital to get treatment elsewhere – so a newly barbaric Great Britain has made hospitals under the National Health Service into death camps for some of its most vulnerable citizens. Only Hungary and Poland seem determined to defend their own culture.

You want to see a preview of the times we are in? Read the history of the Russian revolution and the first few decades following it. To take a shorter road, read Boris Pasternak’s marvelous, but jarring novel, “Dr. Zhivago.” It traces, in little scenes brought together in herky-jerky fashion like an old-time kinetoscope, the transition from early idealism, to deep suffering and starvation, to murderous coercion, to a full-time artificiality in every waking moment that made the Soviet Union so grey and joyless – and where even the most thoughtful men had to pretend to the joyless grey fanaticism lest they be denounced to the gulag or death. My Lord, even as Russia recovers erratically from its errors of a century ago, the rest of the western world has been fully infected with the disease – and the fever reaches crisis.

I was still in high school when I began seriously studying societies on the border of catastrophic collapse. How to tell when a society is just going through normal conflicts that afflict all nations from when it faces existential, foundational failures? The early symptoms of both are usually very similar. It is a subject that has fascinated me my whole life. I noticed that in almost all such societies, there was a notable decline in the work ethic, focus and morality of elite classes, sometimes as early as a century and a half before catastrophe. As intellectual rigor and concepts of duty and honor gave way to intellectual pretensions and slovenliness, elites got more abusive towards their “subjects.” Elite classes became more preening about their “obvious” superiority to the unwashed masses. Self-examination and humility were replaced by triumphalist self-congratulation and frivolity. Collapse inevitably came with the degeneration of the elite, surprising near all it came to. In the 80s I realized that, in America anyway, we had a trump card that no other society I had studied did – and it was due to the original principles of self-government we adopted. We had a great middle class that, though cowed by elite pretensions, had not and was not abandoning foundational principles of faith, family, and freedom. In no other society had there been such a large, consequential class. There were the elites – and then the subjects who either went down with them or burned their own society down in affronted revolutionary rage at decades or centuries of insult and oppression. I realized that, in America, at least, though it would take massive and sustained outrages to set the fuse of the ordinary man off, once it was lit, we had a real chance of quenching the fires of revolutionary rage because of the traditional, residual, perhaps even vestigial, virtue of the ordinary man which could come roaring back to life under the right provocation. The key would be to exhort people to hold fast to those verities while re-asserting their rights rather than to burn everything down in rage.

Now we are at the precipice. Those on the left who say there is no compromise to be had this time, that one side must win and the other lose, are right. We cannot depend on officials. Too many still think they can manage the dysfunction that has beset our society – and try to talk themselves out of a mugging by leftists who have become a street gang of brownshirts. The hour of the ordinary man has come round. If our society is to be resurrected, it will come once again firmly planted in God, devoted to faith, family and freedom – resolutely refusing to participate, enable, or be cowed by the lunatic rantings of the violent oppressive left, but will act without malice towards those who will once more respect the principles of Western Civilization. Government of the people, for the people and by the people shall not perish from the earth, but will return to its proper role of leaving us alone except to safeguard our rights under God – and tolerance will be extended to all who extend real tolerance. We will once again laugh together, argue together, and love together without trying to leverage ourselves into victimhood.

We are not strangers in a strange land: we are natives in a land that has become estranged from us. It is the hour of the ordinary man – and we are called to restore our native land to its just place under God.

Ave Maria, Stella Maris!

 

171 thoughts on “The Ballad of the Ordinary Man, Part 1 Reprised

  1. Perfect post, Charlie! It’s been since April that Part One came to us and reviewing Parts One and Two as a lead up to Part Three makes excellent sense. Thank you. On another note, I have never in my life felt such strong anticipation for any election as I’m feeling in these days. I would imagine that’s a common feeling from BOTH sides of the divide.

    Liked by 12 people

  2. Charlie, I find it interesting how the same approach as in this article for our government has now also come forth for the Church since this article was originally written. It is the exact same problem, and the exact same need for the ordinary men and women of our society to set things right, whether it is in the secular realm or the religious and spiritual realm. At last all things converge.

    Liked by 17 people

    1. As I was re-reading it, that struck me, too, Steve. More than any other piece, the Ballad has developed in a mysterious way for me…growing almost organically. I wrote and started to put up a Part III months ago, but I felt profoundly it was not ripe, yet. I am doing the writing, but the pieces themselves are setting the pace. Kind of interesting.

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          1. A word of caution though, Chris called us to be like children in openness, faith, simplicity, humility, and TRUST, no where a call to childishness or the other childesh shortcomings permitted. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us and protect us, lead us to holiness and truth.

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    1. I have listened to this twice now. I have my marching orders. HUMILITY. I have often asked God, what do you want me to do? How can I best serve you? Politics, Public Life? Nope. He always says, You are doing it, by being at home, being a mother, raising holy kids, loving them, supporting my husbands ministry. It is precisely in the ordinary life that we will do the greatest good.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Charlie, a bit off topic but…

    If you have ever read Denninger you are familiar with Bill Still and his reports.

    Well, he was at his polling station and this report is of his vision of warring angels above it.

    I thought the faithful here would enjoy it.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. Thanks Timothy. I don’t know Derringer or Bill Still (maybe there are others here in Oz who do) but I do recognize Bill’s reaction in this clip. I have also noticed that along with the uptick in worldly reactions there is a corresponding uptick in the passion involved in the spiritual response, especially when praying the Rosary.

      Being born way after Fatima I have always prayed after the ‘Glory Be’ the ‘O My Jesus, forgive us our sins…’ prayer – an addition given only in 1917 to the three children visionaries. Then in the Year of the Rosary 2003/2004 Pope St John Paul II added a meditated form of the Luminous Mysteries. which many happily included. Off my own bat I began praying in private the ‘Flame of Love’ Hail Mary when I learnt of it. And after each decade as given by Blessed Mother to the Fatima children I now ask for St Joseph’s intercession, pray the Lady of All Nations prayer and more recently, most earnestly pray the Prayer to St Michael the Archangel.

      I apologize to St Dominic for I can hear him saying “What has she done to my simple prayer?” because the Blessed Virgin had said to him:

      “Wonder not that you have obtained so little fruit by your labors, you have spent them on barren soil, not yet watered with the dew of Divine grace. When God willed to renew the face of the earth, He began by sending down on it the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation. Therefore preach my Psalter composed of 150 Angelic Salutations and 15 Our Fathers, and you will obtain an abundant harvest.”

      Nothing about any add-ons!!

      However I would humbly submit to the dear saint that this urgency is a natural response to the increased ferocity on the battleground – and I probably don’t need to ask, but would he please accompany us from Heaven.

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  4. Charlie–WOW. If anything, I’m overeducated having gone thru academe to gain a BS, MS, and PhD, and then Law School on top of that (having earlier been a HS drop out who then appreciated schooling afterwards), and this “Ballad” is the best description and explanation I ever read for our nation’s founding principles, the Declaration of Independence and its Constitution, and why our tripartite government was formed, not to dominate its citizens with government power, but to enable its citizens to live free from ever ever-threatening government power over the individual, upon whom God blessed with inalienable rights.

    If anyone has ties to Hillsdale College, and Charlie agrees, it could be used by them as an introduction to the courses they give on the Constitution.

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    And now an aside about Creation and the role of God. I had driven myself into studying the NDE literature when I decided to write a refutation of Stephen Hawking’s position that quantum mechanics was sufficient to explain Creation, without any resort to a God who does not exist. I intuited that Hawking rejected God, because he was susceptible to drawing an inference that any almighty creator would have to have disliked him, given his awful infliction. Was just in Costco and browsed their books. Hawking has a posthumous new book, “Brief Answers to the Big Questions, ” and Chap 1. Is there a God?

    Bingo. Early in the chapter he mentions that, if he accepted that there were God, then he would have to accept that he must have done something to irritate God to have been born with his awful disease.
    He goes on to assert that the Universe simple simply erupted into existence from nothingness by scientifically discernable natural law. Too bad for his life that he did not get into the NDE literature where many tell that they learned that they came here having accepted specific afflictions to boost there education in life– a hard life lived well does more for spiritual development than an easy life, granting that I do not know anyone who has had any kind of “easy life.”

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    1. Could you please elaborate on the NDE literature, what it is and where to find? Is that thought of accepting afflictions something the church stated? I’m interested because I read the book Embracing Hope years ago, and the author claimed to have a near death experience and said that she was told the same about some embracing afflictions in advance. I always remember that. It had nothing to do with church. I don’t think she was Catholic? Not sure. Can’t remember. Charlie said he knew her. Just curious now.

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      1. “Embracing suffering” has been a hallmark of Catholic teaching for millenia. It’s what Catholics today call “redemptive suffering” — the idea that you can accept your sufferings as gifts from G_D, and offer them back to him in reparation for your sins and the sins of others.

        Protestants tend to reject this, because they preach the empty tomb, not Christ on the Cross. If we have already been saved by the empty tomb, there is no need to accept sufferings, and in fact, the result is to treat suffering as evil.

        In Scripture, you’ll see that 3 out of 4 Gospel writers agree that Jesus did not carry the cross to Calvary. He was so weakened by His torture, the Romans pulled some poor schmuck from the crowd, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross for Jesus. Likewise, when we are pulled from the crowd to survive a horrific auto crash, or our finances fail, or other hardship befall us, we can emulate Simon and use this suffering to help Jesus carry His cross

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  5. Not sure if this is the place to reply. But just need to say, in all TRUTH, that circumstances are no longer “unexpected”_ or “circumstantial”. What needs to be expressed, is my admission of the offescences. And that I do, with all my heart, the
    Know, please, that I am a soul lot,… yet searching in these dark days.

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  6. The parable of the weeds (Matt 13:24-43) may give a small insight as to why everything is allowed to go bad before God fixes things “as in the days of Noah”, “as in the days of Lot”; there seems to be a repeating pattern here, maybe to teach each surviving generation of the previous generation’s evils.

    What we’re living now is to be a teachable lesson for the next generation that makes the cut…

    That’s my thoughts for tonight.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It just seems to me that the “forgetting of lessons won and taught by previous generations” window is continuously narrowing. When the young have no clue to the abuses of communism, socialism, when they are willing to suppress free speech, when they don’t have a clue as to what recently has unfolded in Venezuela, or the suppression of the Church as well as Islam in China or the establishment of vast reeducation camps in China, I do fear for this country. When they have no clue as to Judeo-Christian principles, have never read the Constitution or have no idea as to the enormous sacrifices to maintain our freedom, I worry. When they think Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Peron, Chavez, Maduro and Marx are worthy of imitation, I prayer for us all. Its only been 72 years since the end of WWII, and already so many cannot define it in any measurable terms. Anti-semitism is back and rampant in Europe. Brown shirted thugs of 1930’s Germany and even the violent masked faces of the KKK are back in the neckerchief covered faces of ANTIFA. When babies are vilified and science is ignored in order to define them as not worthy of rights and many do not even blink, I cringe. It is a world I do not recognize.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Well said, you are correct. I’m not much for details, but I try to do my share by inspiring others to think about the short comments & thoughts I offer at times. I know I’ve done good when others benefit from my modest offerings by participating in the thought processes.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. Hi everyone, today it was the last day of my Novena for US midterm elections.
    I can’t vote, of course, but I will keep my fingers crossed and continue to lift prayers for America till I go to bed. It’s 6 p.m. here. I probably will know the outcome of the vote tomorrow.
    Hoping to have good news…
    Lilia from Italy

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Lilia the press in Italy will probably tell you that President Trump lost, but he did not. They will tell you this because they don’t understand how the Legislative Branch operates. The Senate has increased its Republican majority representation. The second part of the Legislative Branch is the House, It has flipped to the Democrats a/k/a the Left. But, and this is a huge but, because any bill has to pass the Senate to get to the President’s desk for signature, the Democrat power is limited. Any house bill can easily be killed in the Senate. Bills in the Senate, go to the House for mark ups, revisions, but then back to the Senate for passage and visa versa. Even with impeachment of the president -this is always started in the House where they can impeach but impeachment must be convicted in the Senate. President Trump is not likely to get convicted on made up charges in the Senate. This is exactly what happened to Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton remained president to the end of his term. So too will President Trump and some think it will help him get re elected. But we still are a far cry from the Christian America we once were and need to be. The prayers to heaven need to continue.

      Liked by 7 people

  8. Asking all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, the Church Suffering, And the Saints, the Church Triumphant, to Storm Heaven for a PRO-LIFE Victory in California!! Amen.

    Liked by 12 people

  9. I’ve never heard “Stars & Stripes Forever” played by anything but a Band/Orchestra but here is the late & Great guitarist, Chet Atkins. It seems that a bunch of folks on the Net have dug up Ol’ JP Sousa today … HullyGee!!! …. I wonder why …. lot’s of Praying Goin’ on Out-There too ;-):

    GOD SAVE THE REPUBLIC & ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 9 people

  10. My frustration JACKHHILLER with scientists “refutation” of a God as Creator surprises me in that the “genius” behind the mechansms doesn’t convince these scientists that there IS a God! The lack of belief in sin is more the reason they ignore such stark evidence as this feeds the premise there is no God and therefore the consequence of sin that produces the suffering in life.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Charlie, my favorite words in this treatise are “minimalist government”, and the rest of that paragraph! Some of the most valuable lessons I ever learned came from my father, not college or any other part of my education. He was a 30 yr. military officer with a masters in international relations. After the military he was asked to run for political office, but declined. He taught me about states’ rights, decentralized government, and on and on. He would be horrified by what we hear today! Charlie, you and he could have talked for hours! Oh, we have lost so much, but I hang on with my reliance on Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and all of Heaven!

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Your mention of “identity politics” reminded me of the novel “Adjustment Day” by Chuck Palahniuk. He’s the same guy who wrote “Fight Club”. Whereas “Fight Club” was a reaction against the “Sensitive New-Age Guy” that was the model of being a man in the ’90s, “Adjustment Day” takes Identity Politics to its logical conclusion. Very worthwhile reading.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Today’s readingfrom the Liturgy of the Hours… don’t despair.

        Catholic Study Bible

        1 Maccabees 3:1-26

        1 Then Judas his son, who was called Maccabeus, took command in his place.

        2 All his brothers and all who had joined his father helped him; they gladly fought for Israel.

        3 He extended the glory of his people. Like a giant he put on his breastplate; he girded on his armor of war and waged battles, protecting the host by his sword.

        4 He was like a lion in his deeds, like a lion’s cub roaring for prey.

        5 He searched out and pursued the lawless; he burned those who troubled his people.

        6 Lawless men shrank back for fear of him; all the evildoers were confounded; and deliverance prospered by his hand.

        7 He embittered many kings, but he made Jacob glad by his deeds, and his memory is blessed for ever.

        8 He went through the cities of Judah; he destroyed the ungodly out of the land; thus he turned away wrath from Israel.

        9 He was renowned to the ends of the earth; he gathered in those who were perishing.

        10 But Apollonius gathered together Gentiles and a large force from Samaria to fight against Israel.

        11 When Judas learned of it, he went out to meet him, and he defeated and killed him. Many were wounded and fell, and the rest fled.

        12 Then they seized their spoils; and Judas took the sword of Apollonius, and used it in battle the rest of his life.

        13 Now when Seron, the commander of the Syrian army, heard that Judas had gathered a large company, including a body of faithful men who stayed with him and went out to battle,
        14 he said, “I will make a name for myself and win honor in the kingdom. I will make war on Judas and his companions, who scorn the king’s command.”

        15 And again a strong army of ungodly men went up with him to help him, to take vengeance on the sons of Israel.

        16 When he approached the ascent of Beth-horon, Judas went out to meet him with a small company.

        17 But when they saw the army coming to meet them, they said to Judas, “How can we, few as we are, fight against so great and strong a multitude? And we are faint, for we have eaten nothing today.”

        18 Judas replied, “It is easy for many to be hemmed in by few, for in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between saving by many or by few.

        19 It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends, but strength comes from Heaven.

        20 They come against us in great pride and lawlessness to destroy us and our wives and our children, and to despoil us;

        21 but we fight for our lives and our laws.

        22 He himself will crush them before us; as for you, do not be afraid of them.”

        23 When he finished speaking, he rushed suddenly against Seron and his army, and they were crushed before him.

        24 They pursued them down the descent of Beth-horon to the plain; eight hundred of them fell, and the rest fled into the land of the Philistines.

        25 Then Judas and his brothers began to be feared, and terror fell upon the Gentiles round about them.

        26 His fame reached the king, and the Gentiles talked of the battles of Judas.

        Liked by 11 people

  13. To all here: I am back home, still recovering, but a thousand times better than before. Thanks for all the prayers and support. I really felt like I was surrounded by a blanket of prayer and grace through the whole ordeal.

    I have had time to watch the news and think about the election. While the left took control of the House, by God’s grace the Senate still stands as a buffer between the rule of law and the fanaticism of the mob. This is working exactly as the Founders intended it to work over two hundred years ago.
    The large number of contests where the winner was ahead by only a few per cent shows how divided we are. There will be more prayer and work to do.

    Thanks again. My prayers for you all.

    JT

    Liked by 10 people

      1. It’s like we have 2 Americas now. But when we are put to the test, we become one. Harvey. Rita. Katrina. 9-11. I just hope that we don’t have to be tested anymore to be convicted of how each one of us is just as human as the next person, sans politic, sans what-have-you. My ardent prayer is for everyone to take the next right step, acknowledge God, and be a source of hope for the neighbor.

        Liked by 3 people

  14. Dear Steppers,
    Ongoing prayers for all at all times. Also have been praying to Make America Holy Again. These really are times that try men’s souls and yet, we were born for this.
    Have prayed daily the Lady of All Nations prayer that we “may be preserved from degeneration, disaster and war.” Not going to stop now! Was sad that Oregon went the way it always has, very pro-abortion. 😢
    So glad to read, JT, that you are doing better. Thanks be to God!
    Also thanking God for my own healing: back to walking and daycare of grandkids (although much less) and basically dealing with the regular signs & symptoms of aging. Last week was my 70th birthday and we – husband, kids & grandkids – celebrated for 3 days. Still, hard to believe…70? How did that happen? 😄 Thanks to you all who also pray for us all, this is a wonderfully prayerful group. THANK-YOU CHARLIE, for bringing us all together to “acknowledge God, be a sign of hope and take the next right step.”
    God bless us, every one!
    katey in Oregon 🙏🏼✝️💟

    Liked by 13 people

    1. katey, good to hear you are on the mend and back to some usual activities, especially with your dear grandchildren! There was not much to look forward to, and/or celebrate here in Illinois either. On the wider scale, I am encouraged and hopeful! Cheers to the BIG picture.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Happy Birthday, Katey. Since I turned 70 in August, I feel as if I am starting over. God’s plan for me is my present focus and I pray that I follow through with the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and the love and guidance of Our Lady. That is also my prayer for you. God bless you!

      Liked by 3 people

  15. Well rats!! I know we’re all sad to lose the House, but silver linings are that (1) it was a ripple not a wave, (2) consistent with the average losses for an incumbent president so definitely not a strong repudiation of Trump and (3) could vastly help in 2020. They wouldn’t have been able to get much done with such a divided House even if we had held the majority. So now they Ds may help by overplaying their hand with investigations. Assuming Trump survives that at least no one can say “you had all 3 branches and got nothing done” when he’s seeking re-election.

    Mick, thought of your crew watching the returns last night. I can’t find the other thread now, but to respond…we are great…chaotic as usual, but doing well thanks be to God. My husband agrees with yours (both on predictions and marrying a crazy woman). 🤣

    Blessings all!

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Ha, Irish! I burst into laughter when I read about your husband’s agreeing with mine. They sure are gluttons for punishment, those guys of ours. 🙂

      Yeah, we were up until way past midnight watching the returns. My biggest “silver lining” from last night is this: if we had to lose one chamber of Congress, the House was the better one. If we’d kept the House but lost the Senate, not one more of Trump’s judicial nominees would be confirmed after January. I’m still hoping that Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Stephen Breyer will retire in the next year or so. If that happens, Trump can nominate another rock-ribbed conservative to the Supreme Court. With the number of not-Flake, not-Collins, not-Murkowski GOP senators that we’ll have, it would hopefully be a smooth and quick confirmation. But if we’d lost the Senate, any Trump SCOTUS nomination would be DOA.

      So, thanks to the good Lord that we lost the House rather than the Senate. 🙂

      Liked by 9 people

  16. Really good stuff Charlie . Thank you for being you
    This is a very good video series that goes into depth the intentions of our founders and many of the ways our Constitution has been skirted . I believe it is good information . 6 videos to watch ,so yes a little long ,but well worth i believe.

    Like

  17. Our God is an Awesome God!
    I can’t believe the grace within the election results.
    A stronger Senate, a President that appears to be playing 3D chess
    The dems, by His Grace, have been placed in a box canyon,
    to choose good or rebellious evil, on stage
    and they can’t seem help themselves.

    It’s kind of like watching all the pool-table balls fall into their pockets with well placed shots.

    We must pray that God’s grace descends upon them, and they choose God.

    Liked by 9 people

      1. I’m not sure I’d call it up-beat. All those well-placed shots still seem to be leading us into a larger conflict. The left has the opportunity to shine again or not, but they appear to be choosing ‘not’, and that will get ugly.

        Liked by 4 people

  18. Articles that may be of interest:

    MILINET: Articles for Christiansv- 8 Nov

    ISRAEL: BIPARTISAN GROUP OF CONGRESSMEN SLAM ISRAEL OVER BILL TO SEIZE CHURCH LAND

    https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Bipartisan-group-of-congressmen-slam-Israel-over-bill-to-seize-Church-land-571305

    Pakistani Christian woman freed after blasphemy death sentence reversed

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-blasphemy/pakistani-christian-woman-freed-after-blasphemy-death-sentence-reversed-idUSKCN1NC2VJ

    I no longer look at abuse stories as negative These stories will keep the Cold Anger of The Faithful stoked even as more damage is done ;-( The Evil MUST be rooted out so the Renewal may occur! Let’s PRAY that this ShinDig in Baltimore next week actually produces “desired outcomes” with The Faithful there in large numbers to demonstrate to “The Shepherds” that Enough is ENOUGH!!

    DC priest arrested on charges of child sexual abuse
    https://wtop.com/dc/2018/11/dc-priest-arrested-on-charges-of-child-sexual-abuse/

    79 kidnapped Cameroon students freed, says church official
    https://www.apnews.com/edd1363688524e76843e886c6ffce0aa

    Emanuela Orlandi speculation swirls as more bones found at Vatican embassy
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/nov/6/emanuela-orlandi-speculation-swirls-more-bones-fou/

    Farrakhan under renewed fire for leading ‘Death to America’ chant in Iran
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/nov/6/farrakhan-under-fire-death-america-chant-iran/

    Sinead O’Connor never wants to be around white people again: ‘They are disgusting’
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/nov/6/sinead-oconnor-now-known-shuhada-davitt-never-want/

    and ……I’ve thought and said for years that when the Left’s Rrent-a-Mobs attack Producer Class neighborhoods that Civil War II would turn Hot!

    DC Antifa Publishes Home Addresses of Tucker Carlson and His Brother — As Well As Ann Coulter…
    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2018/11/dc-antifa-publishes-home-addresses-of-tucker-carlson-and-his-brother-as-well-as-ann-coulter-neil-patel-and-sean-hannity/

    No Blue Wave, Yet Troubles Are Ahead
    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/no-blue-wave-yet-troubles-are-ahead

    The Divide That Runs Through America Is Religious
    ttps://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/the-divide-that-runs-through-america-is-religious

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 7 people

  19. At one point I thought it looked like the Democrats would not gain the house or senate and they would react in violence. Now I see that prayer has averted that and we have an even better overall outcome that will result in their being contained more effectively and safer for the country as we progress toward the intensification of the storm. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide and protect us, lead us to all holiness and truth as we travel on to the triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. And let us keep up our prayers and not let up now that the election is over for the need for renewal is as great as ever and the Orcs are still roaming about as we could see in California today..

      Liked by 4 people

  20. One of the first insights into what makes Donald Trump tick came in the confirmation testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of Rex Tillerson to become Secretary of State.

    Tillerson was questioned about how Trump was going to conduct foreign policy particularly with thorny adversaries like Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

    It was during that testimony that I first became aware of the word “Relationships” with respect to how Trump views the world and conducts his business. Think about how many times Trump uses terms like “I have a great relationship with ….. [fill in the blank]”.

    Management of Relationships is the key to understanding what Trump is doing.

    Tillerson explained it all as if he had been schooled by Trump himself.

    Trump operates in a “Spectrum of Relationships”. Everybody in the world occupies a slot on the spectrum. You, me, Vladimir Putin, President Xi, Jim Acosta, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Mad Dog Mattis, Rex Tillerson, The Tea Party, The Religious Right, The Media, …… everybody on planet Earth.

    Trump is a master of managing relationships. He can “work with” or do deals with the whole Spectrum. In particular, Trump can do deals with his Competitors, Opponents, Adversaries and with his Enemies. Repeat: Trump can do a deal with his Enemies. He has done it all his life. He can do a deal with the Saudis. He can do a deal with the Iranians. He can do a deal with the Russians.

    What does this Spectrum of Relationships look like?

    Simplified the slotting along the line might look something like:

    Non-entity (falling below the spectrum entirely) …. acquaintance ….. Friend …. Family …. Associate …
    Customer … Employee… Ally … Partner … Competitor … Adversary … Enemy…….

    This is a nuanced Spectrum of Relationships which Trump manages brilliantly. What is confounding to many who don’t understand Trump’s cool, bloodless, methodical management of this Spectrum is that slotting or placement along the Spectrum changes from moment to moment. ALL SLOTTINGS ARE TEMPORARY. See Rex Tillerson.

    Perhaps the most spectacular example of how you and me and everybody can be flipped and flopped along Trump’s Spectrum of Relationships is North Korea and Kim Jong Un. Trump flipped him from a very poor relationship to a “Great Relationship”. It was a process. So now Kim Jong Un has gone from an Enemy to Potential Partner slotting on the Spectrum.

    Key to understanding is the sure and certain knowledge that Kim Jong Un can be flipped back to an Enemy slotting in a blink of Trump’s eye.

    Trump is managing that relationship like playing a fiddle.

    It is through the Spectrum of Relationships that Trump views and interacts with the world. With you. With me. With his base. With his political opponents. With his political friends and allies.

    Shock comes when one thinks one has a permanent place on the Spectrum. See Jeff Sessions. Sessions had a slotting somewhere between Ally and Partner and he has now flipped way down on the Spectrum where you and I are placed ….. Non-entity. A long fall. BUT he could be elevated back to something like Employee. Thus it goes. You can think of example after example after example of individuals and institutions that have been flipped and flopped and reslotted along the Spectrum to their total astonishment.

    Now comes the Democrats in the House of Representatives. Now comes Nancy Pelosi.

    The Democrats and Nancy Pelosi are about to be flipped and flopped on Donald Trump’s Spectrum of Relationships from Political Enemy to something like Political Partner. Both are circling one another preparing for managing their new Relationship.

    This newly born temporary Relationship may entail some shocking realignment for some people and groups and institutions who think they have a PERMANENT slotting on the Spectrum. Bi-Partisanhip entails moving toward the middle in COMPROMISE and offending those on the extremes.

    That is going to be the case for both Trump and Pelosi. For the Marxist Atheist Left and the Conservative Constitutional Right. For Antifa and for the Tea Party. For the Godless and the God fearing.

    My money is on Donald Trump. One of the least understood aspect of viewing the world through a Spectrum of Relationships is the slotting of one’s Enemy. In Trump’s world HE determines who is and who is not going to occupy the Enemy slot. Very useful. He PICKS who is to be the Enemy or the Adversary or the Competitor or the Partner or the Friend relationship. Picking your Enemy is perhaps the most powerful application in Relationship Management.

    Perhaps the most shocked man in the world is young Kim Jong Un.

    See Saul Alinsky.

    Pelosi knows that being an Enemy of Donald Trump is not an easy assignment. Trump manages his Enemies brilliantly. She should be wary of this curious endorsement of her as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. He has offered her a new slotting on the Spectrum. She also is making Bi-Partisan noises. Why? Because Pelosi is foxy. She KNOWS what happens to Trump’s “Enemies”. They are outmaneuvered, out foxed and over matched.

    Trump is offering her the candy already:

    “Let’s make a deal. I’m willing to re-slot and shock and disappoint and BETRAY my “base” who think they have a permanent RELATIONSHIP with me to GET THINGS DONE. Are you willing to play Nancy? Or do you want me to intensify that Political Enemy slotting on you and your tenuous Democrat hold on the House? Are you willing to re-slot and shock and disappoint and BETRAY your “base” to GET THINGS DONE? WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIPS WOULD YOU LIKE? I am offering you a “Great Relationship”. How would you have it?”

    Trump is a world class Chess player. He is offering Pelosi her choice of White or Black.

    What is Trump’s price for a GREAT RELATIONSHIP slotting along his Spectrum with him which he is offering the Nancy Pelosi led Democrat majority in the House? The Wall. His opening offer is going to be DACA for the Wall.

    Shall we play a nice game of Chess?

    What is the greatest Relationship any of us has to manage? It is the one with God. As long as we are alive God gives us leave through Free Will to choose our own slotting along God’s Spectrum of Relationships. WE can choose to be God’s Friend, Ally, Family. Or not. We can choose another slotting altogether. Frighteningly, we see many choosing the Enemy slotting. Of their own volition!

    Where do we want to be slotted along the Divine Spectrum of Relationship with God?

    Think about a God who, unlike Donald Trump, allows US to decide that critical slotting all during our lives right up to the moment of our death. A permanent self determined slotting.

    Relationships…. it is the key to understanding a whole lot of things.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. STEd, this is quite insightful. I had not thought of it this way. However, having this now in front of me, I would like to point out that your 2-dimensional spectrum would improve (at least in my eyes LOL) if expanded to at least 3 dimensions. Trump is quite capable of having a private version of the spectrum which changes probably slowly and a negotiating spectrum (your spectrum) along which he asks the person to site themselves by word and deed, and possibly another dimension on which he sites a person in the eyes of the public or other players sometimes with and sometimes without the agreement of the person he is asking to site themselves, in order to sculpt the person and shift him via pressure or to shape the *perception* of the person in others’ eyes in order to shift or sculpt third parties for an entirely different purpose.

      Trump is that capable. And God is even more capable than Trump. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Are we to conclude by your words that Trump is NOT to be trusted? And that perhaps he could become a dictator in the event of any unrest?

      Ultimately, we have to put all our trust in God.

      I was wondering if there are more Big Reveals ( masks off) to be had or is everything revealed in order to make our official choice.

      Thank you for your insight.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You ask a couple of interesting questions.

        With respect to President Trump I think it is imperative to understand how his mind works going forward from here.

        Trump first and foremost is a real estate developer guy. Big League. Those people have a culture all their own. It’s a small circle. It is competitive. It is ruthless. They are marked by huge egos. Demanding. Particular. Detailed. Fine print guys. They make a deal with you and they expect delivery on every single teeny tiny detail jot and tittle. Down to the shade of the grey paint on the back door of the project. They are suspicious. They hate it when you try to get over on them. If you try to shade them or take advantage of them in the smallest least significant detail you will be dragged into court. I don’t think they like each other much. A lot of yelling, screaming, insulting and fist pounding during negotiations. Drama. Lots and lots of Drama and play acting. Fake outrage. False emotions. They are in a rough business and they do business together. They have temporary relationships and partnerships and associations surrounding The Deal. When The Deal is accomplished or falls apart or never gets off the ground they go their separate ways to develop other deals. They love their business.

        Real Estate Development on a Big League level ain’t beanbag. It’s kind of nasty. Inhabited by kind of nasty people. You probably wouldn’t feel comfortable inviting them over for dinner. You certainly wouldn’t “trust” them.

        This is how Donald Trump views the world IMO.

        ….. And that perhaps he could become a dictator in the event of any unrest? …..

        Well, that’s what they said about Lincoln.

        Recall that Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus.

        Trump knows about LEVERAGE and how to use it to his best advantage. You can think of his use of leverage as President.

        He is a decisive man. He will act decisively and quickly if he thinks he has an opportunity that can be exploited or to defend himself. He can also let “the deal” ripen and mature over time. Real Estate deals do not often happen over night. Interesting combination in a man …. Patience combined with Decisiveness.

        ….. I was wondering if there are more Big Reveals ( masks off) to be had or is everything revealed in order to make our official choice. …..

        I’d defer to Charlie’s insight on this one. IMO a lot has been revealed already. Shockingly really. But I do believe that more is to come. Is everything revealed IN ORDER TO MAKE OUR CHOICE?

        Jesus cautioned his closest disciples not to reveal his true Divine nature which he SLOWLY revealed to them over time and which they had a very hard time understanding to the public at large. Why? Because He knew that many if not most, if not all would reject him. That there was not at that time SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE ON THE TABLE for the average people to form the correct conclusions and make a correct decision about Jesus as Messiah and Savior. Jesus was concerned that if pressed too early without all the evidence they needed available to them to make the critical decision about him they would reject him making a catastrophically wrong “choice”.

        What evidence was missing? What evidence was required to be presented to the average men and women in the street to lead them to making the right “choice”?

        The crucifixion, death, and resurrection. The last spectacular undeniable piece of evidence.

        Personally, I think more shocking revelations are in store for all of us …. evidence … undeniable evidence … before the average man in the street can make that final choice that is before us. It is a time for choosing. IMO, the world is being prepared in a shocking, undeniable way. I don’t know what the final piece of evidence is going to be. It is just my sense that we are not there yet.

        Liked by 2 people

  21. Humbly asking everyone here at ASOH to Please stop and PRAY for the victims and Officer Helus who lost their lives this morning at midnight at Borderline in Thousand Oaks, CA just 15 minutes from Oxnard where I live. Prayers also for their loved ones left behind including the shooters mom. LORD have Mercy. CHRIST have Mercy. LORD have Mercy.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Joining with the many who are praying for the repose of the souls who died in this violence. Praying, too, for all involved to know Christ’s healing power with a special prayer for His Peace within you, Anna, as this occurred so close to where you live.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. CrewDog, those are indeed some concerning and unpleasant headlining issues and I am praying for our conversion and restoration.

      In real time today, I have been heartened to see people on social media helping to find loved ones displaced due to raging fires in Northern California. A conservative personality who has been blacklisted by Hollywood and censored by Twitter, James Woods has been instrumental in using his Twitter platform reach of almost two followers to locate and reunite families using a hashtag he created for the ongoing disaster. Thanks be to God for all who have been assisted, and I am praying for all who are still reported as missing.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. This reply is shown here but also to Jayman and Http,
      I awoke this am feeling agitated, angry at our fellow brother and sisters in promoting akl that is wring in the world. I prayed for God to show me how to react when confronted by these rebellious people and today’s First Reading in the Liturgy of the Hours spoke to me:

      Catholic Study Bible

      1 Peter 2:1-17

      1 So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander.

      2 Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation;
      3 for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

      4 Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious;
      5 and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

      6 For it stands in scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

      7 To you therefore who believe, he is precious, but for those who do not believe, “The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner,”
      8 and “A stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall”; for they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

      9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

      10 Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy.

      11 Beloved, I beseech you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against your soul.

      12 Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that in case they speak against you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

      13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,
      14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right.

      15 For it is God’s will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

      16 Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.

      17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

      *******
      I read on and this quote speaks to our task at hand:
      1 Peter 2:20-23

      20 For what credit is it, if when you do wrong and are beaten for it you take it patiently? But if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God’s approval.

      21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

      22 He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips.

      23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I thought this piece (below) had a some worthwhile nuggets revealed after a bit of sifting. One such: “We found that of all the events that could make for a great day at work, the most important was making progress on meaningful work –– even a small step forward.” A bit of TNRS from the realm of psychology.

        ‘Course I’m no fan of the NYT… a bit of bile and disdain rising at the mere mention of them… and what’s up with including the article under the “Your Money” section… yeah, I’m being a bit ironical. Can’t help the fact that I’m wired for and practiced at finding the good, even in the most unlikely of places, and leveraging it for that NRS. Spoiler alert: I ain’t changin’.

        Liked by 3 people

          1. Yes, B, and at the simple mention of “classroom” I had the immediate image of lunchtime. Bologna sandwich, chips, and that chilled cartoon of milk. Chocolate milk on Fridays. “You are what you eat,” it’s been said. I’ve also heard it said, “you are what you think.” Maybe more so.

            Nope, “I ain’t changin'” when it comes to grabbing a sturdy hand hold, but I may feel less inclined to the occasional use of irony as I mellow with age.

            Liked by 2 people

        1. Interesting article Two points from this excerpt:
          “Also, perhaps the very fact that we tend to praise our children when they’re young — too much and for too many meaningless things, I would argue — means they don’t get the opportunity to build up a resilience when they do receive negative feedback.
          Professor Baumeister said: “If criticism was more common, we might be more accepting of it.”

          1. If you grew up in a big family, parents didn’t have time to give meaningless praise.
          2. If you grew up in a big family, siblings kept you humble; thus as an adult, you’re not decimated by constructive criticism, therefore, less likely to become a snowflake.

          Liked by 3 people

      2. Today, this morning, I have prayed for advice, for God to guide me in how I manage my sense of protectionism and to do His will regarding maintaining of the peace. (no longer my sworn duty)

        Antifa and other like anarchists infuriate me. Their latest episode protesting in front of a fox news correspondent home. {I thought a good and proper way to deal with these thugs is a point blank use of a pump action shotgun}

        I have prayed (still praying) to allow God to take ownership of my will and cement His Word in my Heart. The reading today, as well as todays Homily have struck a delightful cord. I celebrated this Feast of St. John Lateran church, (the Pope’s church) Mother of all Church’s, older than St. Peter’s Basilica at St. Clements Church Saratoga Springs, NY Home of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, aka the Redemptorists. Today is their Founding day, 286 years ago, year 1732. Unfortunately, they are departing Saratoga in a few months and the Albany Diocese takes over.

        Anyhow, during the homily, the celebrating Priest spoke of the answer to my prayer. He gave an example seemingly tuned to my thinking… in your face, straight to the point and blunt.

        He stated if an event occurred whereupon a Human life would be saved but the destruction of the Basilica of St John Lateran would take place, Human life has priority.

        I have pondered this topic for the past week or so regarding our USA Constitution: Life, Liberty, Property (pursuit of happiness). If we hold our Constitution literally, the abortion, euthanasia issue goes away. Also, the death penalty.

        Today’s daytime midmorning reading (Divine office)

        Catholic Study Bible

        1 Corinthians 3:16-17

        16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

        17 If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are.

        Liked by 2 people

  22. Dem’s are flat-out stealing the senate races in Florida and Arizona and are trying to do so in the Gov’s race in Ga. In the county next to mine, one of the major metropolitan centers in my state, they “found” 22,000 absentee ballots that mistakenly weren’t counted on election day. This resulted in 3 local races being flipped — 2 from Republican to Dem and the third is a non-partisan in which the incumbent was flipped for the challenger. You can guess which way that non-partisan leans. When I worked in politics, I experienced obvious signs of organized election fraud — and then I was accused on the state senate floor of intimidating voters at the polling place in which I was serving as a poll inspector. If you knew me you would all laugh. I literally stand 5 ft 6 and have the mean streak of a toy poodle. It’s so infuriating to see this happening. It is becoming harder to not despair.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Yup J-92 & Gang,

      We, of course, have Voter Fraud in this huge nation of 330 Million …. but The Usual Suspects claim that there is none worth mentioning …. just as you can believe their “only” 11 Million Illegal Aliens … the same # they have been touting for over 20 years!
      I know that massive Democrat Party Voter Fraud is ongoing for only ONE simple reason: If there was significant GOP Fraud, ABCNNBCBS-NPR/NYT/WashPo would be howling in angst 24/7. Instead we hear “Crickets”.
      Trump is the ONLY GOP Guy in Generations that has the “Backbone” to Fight and he is/has been obstructed by The DC Swamp Dwellers & their masters in the global media every step of the way.

      https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2018/11/08/florida-official-overseeing-vote-count-destroyed-ballots-accused-of-not-removing-dead-voters-from-rolls/

      GOD SAVE THE REPUBLIC & ALL HERE!!

      Liked by 7 people

    2. Watching these things deteriorate when you’ve had personal experience in this kind of deception must be very hard, jayman. Thank God this will end. Praying for you to be imbued anew in Christ’s Peace as we continue to traverse these wicked waters.

      Liked by 6 people

  23. Ok, this is over the top. This is from LifeSite News

    Fr. James Martin: Pope appoints ‘gay-friendly’ bishops, cardinals to change Church on LGBT

    Catholic, Homosexuality, James Martin, Joseph Tobin, Pope Francis

    Tell Pope Francis to remove Fr. Martin as an adviser to the Vatican! Sign the petition here

    WASHINGTON, D.C., November 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Vatican consultant and homosexual activist priest Fr. James Martin stated at a recent conference that Pope Francis has gone out of his way to appoint “gay-friendly” bishops and cardinals in the Catholic Church.

    Speaking at the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice 2018 in Washington D.C. on Saturday evening, the Jesuit priest and America magazine editor-at-large told students that “things are changing” in the Church regarding homosexuality under Francis’ watch.

    “…Just look at what has happened in the last five years–since Pope Francis has been elected,” he said.

    “First of all, Pope Francis’s comments about LGBT people like ‘Who am I to judge’. His five most famous words were in response to questions about gay people, right? He’s the first pope to use the word ‘gay’, you know, in a sentence,” Martin continued.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. HTTP, the damaging activity and influence of Fr. Martin trails back to the irresponsibility of his superiors, those from his Jesuit Order and those bishops who have and continue to allow him to peddle his sexual heresies in their diocese. (edited the previous sentence to make sense) But take heart! There are so many more bishops and priests who are doing great work. Some of them are rising as leaders to spearhead the reform and rescue of governance in the Church. Our beloved Msgr Pope is one such leader and writes of beginning the reform in his new piece, A Cry of the Heart to Our Bishops: Please Restore Order to the Church!, found here.

      Here’s a wonderful interview to raise your spirit. Please notice how respectful is Msgr. Pope while not shying, in the least, from speaking truth. You’ll also hear him mention the problems with Fr. Martin without actually naming him.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Bekita, we should beware that the article by Fr. John Sullins that is mentioned by Msgr. Pope that was conducted by the Ruth Institute is not all that good or much of a “landmark” study. In fact we should be cautious of the paradoxical conclusion that is reached by Fr. Sullins because of his study. He concluded, “I would certainly not recommend that we remove all homosexuals from the priesthood…The reason for that is: the abuse is not necessarily related to someone’s sexual orientation.”
        ALL THE WHILE SULLINS REPORTED:

        “My findings showed that the increase or decrease in the percent of male victims correlated almost perfectly (.98) with the increase or decrease of homosexual men in the priesthood.”

        AND THAT:

        “What I say in the paper is that when homosexual men were represented in the priesthood at about the same rate as they were in the population, there was no measurable problem of child sex abuse. It was only when you had a preponderance of homosexual men.

        When you get up to 16 percent of priests that are homosexual, and you’ve got eight times the proportion of homosexuals as you do in the general population, it’s as if the priesthood becomes a particularly welcoming and enabling and encouraging population for homosexual activity and behavior.”

        BUT HERE IS THE CLINCHER FROM THE STUDY:

        “From 1965 to 1995 an average of at least one in five priests ordained annually were homosexual.”

        As most of the readers at ASOH probably know, this figure is actually low when compared to the reports of priests and former seminarians like those interviewed in Michael Rose’s book, Goodbye, Good Men. In some places the numbers are closer to one in every two priests ordained annually.

        Reading between the lines of this report and its author’s conclusions leads me to believe that the same damning failure to follow Church teaching regarding ordination of homosexuals will be the outcome of this study ie it’s just fine and dandy to ordain homosexuals to the priesthood AS LONG AS THEY ARE CHASTE. Wrong, wrong, WRONG.

        The article at the link below is a solid discussion of the direct connection between sin and spiritual blindness. In fact the author states, “[t]here is this almost matter-of-fact reference in Michael E. Giesler’s relatively recent Guidebook for Confessors: ‘Lust can lead to spiritual blindness and even denial of the faith, since it often affects a person’s power to reason and to see the truth about other people and things.’”

        http://catholicism.org/ad-rem-no-328.html?mc_cid=f114af8328&mc_eid=91dcdb6ad8

        I will say about the EWTN interview posted above that unlike The Ruth Institute’s “landmark” study, Msgr. Pope’s final message to the laity to keep in contact with our bishops and NOT GIVE UP is very heartening.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Interesting article by Brother Andre Marie, III. Thanks for sharing it. His piece is consonant with one of the major areas Msgr. Pope mentioned which much be addressed to restore order in the Church: preaching and teaching the moral truths of the faith.

          As to Msgr’s advice to the bishops to read the Fr. Paul Sullins’ report from the Ruth Institute, I trust Msgr’s thinking because he says it’s a fine sociological analysis – he doesn’t speak about agreeing or disagreeing with recommendations – but he DOES set the analysis in the context of clearly saying the problem we have in clerical sexual abuse IS about homosexuality in the priesthood. While we may disagree with Fr. Sullins’ conclusion that we not remove all homosexuals from the priesthood, care must be taken not to dismiss his entire report after analyzing the data of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. To get over-focused on the troubling conclusion of Fr. Sullins and miss the greater work which Msgr. Pope is accomplishing would be a loss. Here’s a priest who is using his widespread influence to call the Church’s clergy to reform as he publicly and courageously states that we have problems in the episcopacy and priestly ranks. He calls his brother clergy to reform by acknowledging the homosexuality problem in the priesthood and to step up, or continue, with clear preaching and teaching of the moral truths of our faith and to no longer allowing dissent to go unchecked. These are such tremendous next right steps which are a sign of hope, I do believe. May God bless and make fruitful the ongoing work of Msgr. Charles Pope.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Bekita, I apologize for seeming to “dis” Msgr. Pope; that was not my intent. Rather, I was trying to point out that we laity should have caution when listening for where Fr. Sullins’ well-done study may lead. Again, in re-reading my comment–and thank you for posting it–I actually commended Msgr. Pope and only cautioned in regards to the conclusions reached by the author of the study and not Msgr. Pope’s recommendation for the bishops to read it. On further thought, however, will not the conclusion of the author of the study carry weight with the bishops who might read it? That seems reasonable to me.

            I give you credit for understanding the fine line that clergy like Msgr. Pope walk when they make true but hard observations. I want to be equally understanding. In your opinion, why did he not come right out and identify Father James Martin by name? That truly seems cowardly to me. Notice I did NOT call him a coward. I said that to not name Father James Martin by name seems cowardly. Also, because so many listeners already know who he meant, to not name the name seems to me to weaken Msgr. Pope’s position.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. No worries, III. I think the bishops who are doing good work will not be fooled so easily in these days. You know, I also think everyone knew exactly who Msgr. Pope was referring to when he mentioned the trouble Fr. Martin is causing. I perceived Msgr. to be forthright in his comments, yet, also deeply pained by what has become of the clergy who have done such damage. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to, as you say, walk the fine line of naming truth without resorting to harsh treatment of the problem clerics. As you can tell, I admire Msgr.’s knowledge, style of saying the hard things, wisdom, humility, and courage. He caused me to pause several weeks ago when he wrote about the good things he had experienced under Cardinal Wuerl who was the local ordinary in his diocese. God bless you, III.

              Liked by 1 person

  24. It comes to me very clearly, Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the light.” Therefore any who deny the obvious truth are also denying Christ, any who are not open to the truth, are not open to Christ, any who are not seeking the truth, are not seeking Christ. Some twenty years ago when the priestly sexual abuse first came out in the open, it was clear that most of those abused were post pubescent males and therefore it was homosexual in nature. Our pastor was willing to admit this to me in private conversation. However, when he called a meeting for the parish on the subject in which he had invited a county social official who claimed it was pedophile in nature, he changed his position. I felt betrayed but we never spoke about it again before he left about a year later. This became the overall church position and most seem to refuse to accept the truth ever since even to this day.

    Liked by 5 people

  25. Trump and Twitter.

    I am praying for President Donald Trump. I pray he does not read the comments made in reply to his twitter posts. The vile and anger demonstrated is beyond nauseating. I feel it is evil incarnate. The lies, outright lies by supposedly documented users rattle my core. The hatred exhibited…. I had to immediately cease reading, close my eyes and pray to God.

    I so wish and pray for the days of my childhood where we kept the front door open (unlocked) with no worry in the world as our visiting neighbor strolled thru to us (from the house) in the back yard.

    Liked by 9 people

  26. I am a quiet member here,I appreciate your helpful comments and much hope in this storm and I pray for all of you daily in the Sacred Heart novena. . I would like to ask for prayers for a new Strong ,good bishop to be placed in Saginaw MI. The recent bishop has passed on. It is a very liberal diocese with many closed churches and talk of lay people leading mass prayers in some places because of lack of priests. The odds are against a change ,but maybe with prayer,! I would like to scream out! , but I’m trying to be nice.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Welcome to commenting, Elina! 🙂

      I will pray for a good bishop for the Saginaw diocese. You and I are “neighbors,” as I live in the diocese of Lansing. We have been blessed with a wonderful bishop here; but I have lived in places (like the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under Cardinal Mahoney… yikes!) that were awful, so I really feel for you and your situation. God bless your diocese, and may he provide you with a good shepherd.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Joining in prayer, Elina, for your intention, your diocese and for you. Thanks for bringing this intention to our prayers. My diocese is also awaiting a new bishop and we, too, are hoping and praying for a good, strong and holy one.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Praying for your diocese, Elina. Pray for mine, too–Memphis. We’ve been in a horrible mess for years. Decades with a liberal Shepherd who really didn’t shepherd us at all, but let his liberal “posse” run amok. Replaced by an orthodox Bishop whom we had for 2 years and who appears to have crumbled and melted down. He was just removed by our Pope– a terrifically dramatic and rare move. Our collective heads are spinning in disbelief and confusion. Please God, Thy Will be done for our humble Diocese of Memphis.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Kim, did you see Bishop Holley on the World Over a few weeks ago? What an interesting interview that was. If you missed it, I can share a link to it or you can look on You Tube where episodes are posted. Another curious development concerning two other bishops and the Holy See has shown up in many reports. Fr. Z discussed these developments at his site this week, found here. As ever, along with our friends here, praying for our Church.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Yes, Beckita, I did see Bishop Holley’s interview on EWTN. You can imagine it was the talk of the town! You can also imagine, I’m sure, that confusion abounds here in Memphis. There is such a stark division here between the “conservative ” minded Catholics and the “liberals”—just like in the political realm and our Church at large. We soldier on! Thanks for the link.

          Liked by 3 people

  27. This past Tuesday here in Massachusetts the voters has the opportunity to overturn our state’s transgender law that allows men who think they are woman, regardless of whether they had sex change surgery, to use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. Our Cardinal was silent, the Massachusetts Council of Catholic Bishops was silent, and our Churches were silent. The transgender law was upheld by 68% of the voters. Basically 7 out of 10 people in Massachusetts are fine with men going into women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. I don’t even know what to say.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Bill, it’s so sad and unbelievable…it just makes you shake your head, and wonder “what are they thinking?”
      I live in California, so I can relate. ☹️ I am looking forward to the return of grace filled sanity.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Aside from being absolutely wrong, this situation baffles me.

      Obviously, the male has never had to wait in long lines to use the toliet. Why would any sane person want to stand in a long line while their bladders burst? Usually it is the other way around with a woman doing an odd dance begging their friend to “just guard the door” so I can go. I have always questioned why there aren’t twice as many bathrooms for women than men. This is a case of gender inequality I would definitely support.

      Liked by 4 people

    3. Wow Bill so sorry to hear that this law was upheld by 68%…….what really makes me agast is that none of the clergy spoke up! I’m not surprised, just disgusted. When will our Shepherds fight the wolves?

      Liked by 5 people

      1. When they ask God in Prayer for the Holy Spirit to Bless them with Courage. The Apostles were afraid until the Holy Spirit desended upon them.
        An experience that made me feel really ashamed of my lack of courage,- causing me to pray for courage. It was tested later and (with trust in spiritual help} I was able to do what I never even considered to do. Too many now lack in courage.

        Liked by 4 people

    4. People aren’t really thinking, they are programmed to think in a politically correct way . . . they don’t think “gee, this could be a possible safety issue”, they think “It isn’t nice to exclude people”, and that’s as far as they think, because they can’t imagine how policy like that might directly affect them. What they are programmed to imagine is a fictional transgender guy weeping sad tears near a woman’s bathroom . . .wishing with all his heart he could go in there to fulfill his dream and complete his identity. So, fine, whatever. Guess I just can’t let my daughter into any bathroom by herself ever. Check that off among the other freedoms we’ve lost. The House is run by the Dems . . . honestly, this is a perfect storm for a culture war. The culture, now, is the lever of power left to the dems and it will be strengthened by the control of the House . . . not because they can change some of the “big stuff”, like as if they had control over the senate and the presidency too, but they will be able to make a lot of noise and use the media to keep up the conflict between the two emerging world views. Policy makers on the small scale are going to be emboldened and start pushing their agendas. Think shops and school boards and regulators and things like that. On the larger scale, well, I have someone like Governor Cuomo (thanks NYC) who will pursue his dream of micromanaging everyone until they are all just as miserable as he is. Both laws that people vote on in ignorance with little imagination and the little regulations and policy changes made here and there will continue like this until normal faithful people are forced to live teeny and constrained lives . . . so we have to continue to push back. We will need courage, because we’re not going to look like “nice” people! We’re going to look like a bunch of selfish jerks to the world. We’re going to look like intolerant backwards idiots to everyone, including many in the Church who should have had our back. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We know what the truth is. We know what true charity and mercy is. We know what true freedom is. We will all be called to witness, one way or another.

      Liked by 7 people

    1. Thanks for bringing this here, HTTP. This story has been showing up everywhere online and I hadn’t taken the time to view it as it is a long, albeit worthwhile and precious witness. All glory to our loving God Who continues to reach out to us in ways such as in this man’s sharing of his experiences. For anyone else who may not yet have taken the opportunity to view this, I highly recommend it. It is refreshment in the Storm!

      Liked by 4 people

    2. http, I have seen this and was truly and wonderfully amazed and inspired by his witness. Thank you for sharing it here. I was hoping to go back and write a summary about it to share here. Now I can simply encourage others to take the time to watch, listen, and learn. ❤

      Liked by 5 people

  28. Massachusetts was always very liberal but a lingering cultural Catholicism somewhat kept its excesses in check. That ended when the clergy scandals rocked the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002 and Boston became the epicenter for clergy abuse. Whatever moral authority the Church formerly possessed, it shriveled up and died. It is my opinion that as a direct result of the abuse scandal, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on May 17, 2004 ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, that to prohibit same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Massachusetts became only the 6th jurisdiction in the world at that time to allow same-sex marriage. Once same-sex marriage gained a legal foothold in Massachusetts, its legalization spread to other states, with the courts even overturning popular referendums that declared marriage to be solely between one man and one woman.

    The Church is called to be Holy — it is one of the four marks by which the Church is recognizable. If we can’t be holy, we can’t be shocked when the world doesn’t embrace holiness and goes off the rails.

    How often is the importance of holiness, prayer, or Scripture reading proclaimed from the pulpit? How often do we hear about the unsurpassable gift of the Holy Eucharist? If we don’t proclaim the Truth about Christ Crucified, people fall for the anti-intellectual lies of the secular “elite”. Those who embrace the Truth have their consciences, reasoning and discernment strengthened. It’s so sad to see many Christians fall for celebrities and intellectuals who have dulled consciences, the inability to reason and who lack the capacity to discern reality.

    Be that as it may, I have faith that Lord will prevail, heal His Church and, as a result, bring new sheep into His sheepfold. Praise be to the Risen Lord!

    Liked by 7 people

  29. 100 Years on and we seem to have learned little ;-( Let us Pray that The Lord returns very soon as Humankind can’t survive another century like this past one ;-(

    MILINET: Veteran’s Day – 11 Nov 2018
    =============================
    Honoring veterans on Veterans Day–Scott S Powell
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/nov/8/honoring-veterans-on-veterans-day/

    Right up to Armistice Day, US clout in WWI kept increasing
    https://www.apnews.com/0df2e5Right up to Armistice Day, US clout in WWI kept increasing 58f52a4f27822927e6030938e9

    Horror of the trenches never looked so real: Grim reality of WW1 is brought to life in 100 colourised images to mark centenary of guns falling silent
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6357959/Grim-reality-WW1-brought-life-100-colourised-images-mark-centenary.html

    When World War I ended–Victor Davis Hanson
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/nov/7/when-world-war-i-ended/

    A century on from WW1, 100 years of work remains to clear munitions
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ww1-century-bombs/a-century-on-from-ww1-100-years-of-work-remains-to-clear-munitions-idUSKCN1N40TS

    WHAT WE OWE THE VIETNAM VETERANS WHO STAYED–DAVID BARNO AND NORA BENSAHEL
    https://warontherocks.com/2018/11/what-we-owe-the-vietnam-veterans-who-stayed/?

    On Veterans Day, an open letter to my children on appreciating American patriots–Van Hipp
    https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/van-hipp-on-veterans-day-an-open-letter-to-my-children-on-appreciating-american-patriots

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 7 people

  30. Please keep California in your prayers, we once again are experiencing massive wild fires. At least 23 people have died in the Northern California “Camp” Fire. One of my dearest friends son lost everything, many people have…Thank you.

    Liked by 5 people

  31. Charlie, wanted to put a bug in your ear about a book I’m reading, “COUP D’ETAT: A Practical Handbook” by Edward N. Luttwak. It’s the revised edition — originally published in 1968, he revised it in 2016. The biggest difference he can see between the coups before 1968 and 2016 is the role of corruption, both in terms of justification and in terms of rewards after. Since 1968 there have been so MANY former colonies that are now independent states that were not prepared for statehood, which is why we’ve seen an uptick not only in coups, but coups where the coup leaders have profited from their actions.

    Sometimes his politics come through (as when he calls Edward Snowden the world’s most patriotic traitor), but by and large his conclusions are fact-based and based on 50 years of studying how governments are overthrown both from within and without. So far I haven’t read anything that causes me any worry about the US; but then, I’m only about half-way through the book.

    Liked by 1 person

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