Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Kardiac Kids are back

In a year that will go down as the year in which Nick Saban of Alabama threw his headset when he was 21 points ahead, there has been quite a sleeper emerging in the old, broken down town of Cleveland.

While the press continued to prop up LeBron James no matter what his record, and continued to beat the drums for the much hated New England Patriots; in a year where a sub-par quarterback embraced the Social Warrior Left and then fizzled into obscurity, a franchise that last year many were thinking might be ready to fold just lost it's last game of the season.

What's so big about this?  It's Cleveland.  The long-suffering Browns.  When its owners moved to Baltimore in the 1990s, Cleveland fans did the unthinkable and fought to keep the  name Browns in Cleveland.  A new team was formed.  But forming new NFL teams from scratch isn't easy.  And it has struggled for years, leading up to the last two years that saw wins going the way of the dodo bird. 

After a season without a single win, Cleveland earned the right for top pick in the draft and decided on dark horse breakout star Baker Mayfield.  Mayfield himself fought his way to the top, being overlooked by colleges and having to be a walk-on and prove himself as he went.  This put a massive chip on his shoulder, one that he demonstrated in full when Oklahoma beat Ohio State in the Horseshoe, and Mayfield gleefully planted a symbolic spear in the middle of OSU's field.

At first, it looked as bleak as ever.  Cleveland's coach, Hue Jackson, declared that Mayfield would not start this year, come hell or high water.  He was going to stick with their quarterback Tyrod Taylor no matter what.   That no matter what saw the usual Cleveland tendency to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory every week.   No matter how strong the lead, we knew that by the time it was over, Cleveland would lose.  And lose they did.

Then came an unfortunate turn of events.  Taylor was injured, and there was no capable backup ready, so Jackson begrudgingly put Mayfield out on the field.  He swore it was temporary, and Mayfield would be back on the bench where he belonged.  And at first, it didn't seem as if Mayfield had much of a chance.  Then something strange began to happen.  Yes, they continued to lose, but for the first time in years, we were giving teams a run for their money.  Games were tied, or almost won.  Games were down to the wire or going into Overtime.  And apart from obvious coaching decisions, it looked as if the team was coalescing around Mayfield.

Then the Brown's management did something it hasn't in years: it made a smart decision.  After losing games through obvious bad coaching that Mayfield could have won, Jackson was fired and replaced by assistant coach Greg Williams.   And then, magic.  Cleveland began to win.  And win decisively.  When they lost, they often gave teams a run for their money.  When they won, they did it decisively.  And it was all due to Mayfield.  Not since Joe 'Cool' Montana controlled the field in the 80s at San Francisco has a quarterback seemed so much in control of a game.

In the game tonight, against Baltimore (Cleveland's nemeses deluxe), things looked ugly at first.  Baltimore was ahead by 20, and it didn't look like Cleveland could beat its defense, or stop its unbeatable run.  But then, it did what it's done since Mayfield took over and Williams stepped into the coaching stand.  Cleveland came back.  Mayfield made one impossible pass after another, becoming the all time record holder for Rookie touchdown passes, despite being at a three game handicap. 

Yes, they lost.  Yes, it ended with a Mayfield interception.  Yes, Baltimore still had that terrifying offense.  But Cleveland, with Mayfield and Williams, made it a game to remember.  And they showed, after a year of ups and downs, bad coaching at first, bad decisions at first, and general chaos, that next year they will be the team to watch.  So much so, if you type Kardiac Kids in Google today, the first thing up wasn't Cleveland's famous 1980s season, but the game against Baltimore today.

So in tribute to the possibility that Cleveland is back, the edge of your seat thrills, and the thought that we might be looking at the beginning of one of the great ones in the finest tradition of Montana, or Manning or Drew Brees, I thought I would link to this blast from the past.  The first 'sports novelty song' of that era and one that foresaw the fusion of sports and celebrity culture that would hit its high point with Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods (something the sports media has been lusting for all these years):

Also, since it's Christmastime and the timing itself just couldn't be better, I couldn't resist.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

When White became the new Jew

Or the new Black.  Yes, read this.  It is not a satire piece.  It is not The Onion, or Babylon Bee.  It is real.  A woman's march is canceled because there are too many Whites in it.  Whites are now to the Left what Jews were to Nazis, or Blacks to the KKK.  That so many who feel this are as white as a JCPenney sheet sale is irrelevant.  That only compounds the evil, for those whites who insist White means 'those other White types' will likely be willing to endure any evil visited against others who are white just to prove their fealty to the Left. 

Throughout the ages, things such as racism against Blacks evolved over many centuries.  It took generations and generations to see these things develop.  By the time confronting such evils was overdue, those who were immersed in such bigotry had generations of cultural conditioning behind them.

But today, we're seeing new bigotries emerge overnight.  In a matter of decades, the Left is teaching people to hate this or that demographic in ways that took some civilizations centuries to learn.  In my own lifetime, I've seen such bigotry germinate and bear fruit so fast that it is barely comprehensible.  And as a result, it will be far less forgivable. 

For those of old did not have previous generations and eras to learn from.  They were often illiterate, uneducated, and unaware of the flow of history. Today?  When people are more literate, more educated and more informed than any time in history?  Perhaps it goes to show that education is not the final answer.  It certainly goes to show that education alone won't prevent people from doing all the evil done in the past. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Massacre of the Innocents and the New Prolife Movement

In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are no more.

Today is, in Western Circles, the day set aside to remind people that Christmas was never meant to be only a Hallmark moment. It is the day to remember Herod's order that the newly born of Bethlehem must be murdered. 

In recent years, this has become a time to mourn our modern culture of infanticide.  Like human slavery, euphemistically called Human Trafficking, abortion is merely infanticide with medical muscles.  It reminds us that warning against losing the Christian West's civilization could mean a throwback to pagan barbarism is lost on the hearing today.  The fact is, an increasing number of Western citizens appear to want to go back to an age of pagan barbarism, complete with infanticide, matricide, patricide, human sacrifice - as long as it means Hollywood versions of pagan sexuality is thrown into the mix.

Hence why the concern that we are moving to a post-justice, post-reconciliation era where guilt and innocence no longer matter is also falling on deaf ears.  The point isn't that we have blind and gullible sheep wandering after the next Cool Thing, unaware of the side effects that come with their goals.  They want those side effects.  They have determined that a world of eliminating the unwanted and those who threaten one's own fiscal reality that, as often as not, involves endless debauchery, greed and narcissism is a world worth having.

And it's this movement that the so called New Prolife Christians have allied with.  It is the same that those who use such terms as Social Justice, or Seamless Garment, now slavishly follow.  So while a decade ago, you could find so many across ol'St. Blogs using this day to lament the modern era of infanticide, today those who have posted on this are practically none.

A few who cling to the old ways have done so.  But so many who proudly call themselves New Prolife have posted nothing at all.  Or they have deflected to this or that political policy regarding immigration or healthcare or such.  Anything but dealing with the topic at hand.  Granted I couldn't search for everyone who goes by NPL, but of those I know who do, there was deafening silence.

When Christ was born into the world, the Roman Empire had only recently stepped into the fray in the regions around Jerusalem.  Rome was now the ruling authority, the dominant political reality.  Despite a history of bravely facing up to those who would challenge the Jewish faith, a great many residents of Judea by now seemed tired of the fighting.  Increasingly, Jews were learning that when in Rome, do as the Romans.  Some resisted, even violently.  But many sought ways to either preserve the Faith at Rome's pleasure, or just go full blown Greek and be no different than the Gentile Roman down the street, or just do what it takes to get by.  When Herod, a puppet of Rome, ordered this massacre, it was done in line with the prevailing culture of the day. Though those immediately impacted would no doubt be weeping along with Rachel, most had come to accept that this was the way of things now that Rome was in town.

Some things never change.  The silence of New Prolife Christians where abortion is concerned, or the desperate attempt to deflect to ludicrous and flawed notions of abortion being men's fault, or capitalists fault, or anyone else's fault, just shows that, deep down, they darn well know what they are doing. More to the point, those who have said nothing at all reveal themselves the most.  For the best way to see guilt is to note silence where outward opinions once would have been.  Bring up adultery, even as a joke, to someone sleeping around behind his spouse's back, and watch the eyes drop and look away.  Today, many who strut like peacocks under the self-proclaimed title 'New and Whole Prolife' have looked away. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Turn from the world and seek the Star

I've often said that the classic picture of the magi (usually three), walking across the deserts sands at nighttime, following the star of Bethlehem, is one of my favorite images of the Christian Faith.  It speaks to something in me, deep down.  That yearning, that knowing that for all the bells and whistles that the world rings out, there is something beyond that they miss.  There is something beyond it all that every human being is seeking.  

I pray those of us who claim faith in the one at the end of that journey will keep our hearts on the prize, and that somehow the rest of the world will begin to look to that which we have found. May we be worthy of the call to help guide them to what we say is the most important discovery one can make in this brief lifetime. 

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Attention Conservatives

If you don't want Americans, especially younger ones, to reject conservatism, then stop living up to as many negative stereotypes as possible.  To start with, stop trying to act as if Old Man Potter from It's a Wonderful Life or Gordon Gekko from Wall Street, or, worse, Ebeneezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, are really the good guys. Stop coming in to say George Bailey's life still stinks because he doesn't have a huge home, expensive car, and massive bank account. 

In short, stop acting like the acquisition of financial gain is the source and summit of a meaningful life.  Stop acting as if the lusting for material wealth to the exclusion of all other priorities is what life is all about.  Stop acting as if what liberals say about conservatism being for the greedy and money obsessed and Mammon worshiper is actually onto something. 

Every year, you see things like this, whereby we're told that it's the money, stupid.  What's life?  What's friends?  What's the joy of a close family?  What's walking the extra mile?  What are these things if you don't have a crap ton of money in the bank?  Are kids or Christmas good?  Sure!  But only if you can squeeze that extra dollar out of them somehow!

Geeesh.  The point of this particular piece seemed to be that in light of the growing number of young'uns who are warming to a socialized economic model, despite what a logical appraisal of socialism should warrant, an obviously harsh message railing against greed and wealth might not be the best message.

Perhaps.  But did it ever dawn on conservatives that when conservatives write that a man's life isn't about family, friends, or helping others, but it's about the size of his home, car and bank account, you're falling into the very type of world that most people will ultimately rail against.  Yes, there are those who will become successful because that's all they care about.  But most people - God included - seem to think there are other things that are every bit as valuable.

What's more,  young people who see things like this article are apt to conclude that even if we might make more money following such a conservative message, in the end, we might end up more like Old Man Potter than George Bailey.  And if all conservatives can say is that they are wrong, and it's better to be Potter than Bailey if you just compare their bank accounts, I have a feeling we're in for a long, slow road down to the very socialism that conservatives are trying to avoid.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Democrats as enemies of Christianity

For your Christmas prayers, the Democratic Party is fast becoming open in its hatred of the Christian Faith and those who dare belong to its ministries.  In the footsteps of CAIR endorsed Bernie Sanders' statement, we are reminded that to be a member in good standing of certain traditional Christian traditions or ministries could preclude you from public service.

This is, of course, quite predictable.  The Left has long been supported and driven by forces sympathetic to an old Soviet style communism.  There is no room for religious - if any - freedom in their new land.  They'll suffer Islamic freedom, mostly out of fear, but also out of hopes for a mutual alliance against the common enemy.

In the meantime, they continue promising Americans endless debauchery, decadence, narcissism, and of course the broadened right to eliminate any unwanted humans that get in the way of their libidos.  The assurance is that if the government seems to be crushing rights and liberties, it will only be those other schmucks over there who it impacts.  After all, didn't you get gobs of trophies even when you lost and weren't you allowed to take tests over and over until you passed?  Obviously you're awesome.  It's only those other loser Americans who will lose their rights and liberties.

No, the modern Left - Marxist based and Bolshevik inspired -is fast revealing itself as the prime tool that Satan is using to attack Christ's Church.

If you think this is harsh, imagine a politician saying anything similar about Judaism, Atheism, Islam or any other belief system.  Yes, part of it is the radical, Nazi-like feminism that was once a caricature of radical anti-male feminism that is now mainstream feminism, but it's target is increasingly and only the Church. 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

White people cannot use those drinking fountains

You might as well say that when you say white people can't model a sweater featuring a Black Panther movie image.  Same racism.  Same segregation.  Same mentality.  And like the racism and segregation of the early 20th century, completely endorsed by our elites and leaders and beautiful people who get all the awards and invites to all the best parties. 

Millennial America.  Showing that if you proudly ignore history, you will most assuredly repeat it.

The passive aggressive Mark Shea

Heh.  I saw this headline about Trump going 'all passive aggressive' on Ann Coulter.  Passive Aggressive?  That's a common insult today, especially on the Internet.  Believe it or not, it's an actual disorder and can be diagnosed.  Anyone with counseling training, however, knows you never - ever - diagnose anyone based on Social Media.  It might be possible to diagnose them if you can compare their real lives to what they do on Social Media.  But you need more than that parallel universe of unreality called the Internet to make a proper diagnosis.

But it's not really a diagnoses when used in most social media contexts. It's a petty insult, one of the more common types.  It reminds me of when boys used to call each other 'girl' as an insult back in the day.  Imagine that. 

Nonetheless, I was interested to see what Huffpost thought warranted the 'PA' label.  So I read the pithy little piece.  Apparently, per HP's keen diagnostic acumen, Trump blocking or unfollowing Coulter is what gets the Passive Aggressive label. 

Given the speed with which Mark Shea bans people, you have to admit there's some irony.   Projection possibly?  Again, he banned me after only a couple weeks just because I posted one of his own comments about George Soros being a supporter of murdering babies.  The post I pasted the old comment on was one Mark had written strongly suggesting that anyone who criticizes Soros does so because they love Hitler and hate Jews.  Because other readers commented on my little paste job before Mark could delete it is most likely why he threw his fit and banned me.

But I had to chuckle.  Mark's favorite insult to me, who doesn't ban anyone, and yet according to HP (which Mark has been known to reference as a valid news source), his favorite response to people is sign of passive aggression. They're wrong of course, as is Mark, but I had to laugh.  One reason among ten million why neither Huffpost, nor Mark Shea, should be listened to about anything under the sun if you're interested in truth.

Why we're Orthodox

Because for all of the myriad problems and scandals and upheaval across the Orthodox world, the one thing they aren't doing is throwing the Gospel itself under the bus.  Yes, there are some within the Orthodox Church pushing to apostatize for the modern, post-Christian global Left.  As of now at least, most of the leadership makes it crystal clear those doing so speak outside of the bounds of the Church's teachings.

Compare this to a priest who dared suggest suicide isn't always a great assurance for salvation, or Bishop Barron, on a talk interview with Ben Shapiro, letting the world know that it's being a good person following your  conscience that bringeth salvation, since it's all about love (All You Need is Love after all).

And what did the priest in our church talk about Sunday?  He talked about how God is a loving God and God's love covers all things, and that's why the Church is about love.  However, if one rejects God or lives in unrepentant sin, then that love of God becomes an all-consuming fire.  Because God is love, but God is also a just God and sin is incompatible with the holiness of God.  That second part is almost never spoken about on any side of the Tiber, and hasn't been mentioned in many moons in the parishes I've attended.

Now, as for the priest and the funeral, I'll admit there might have been a better way or time to say what he said.  And the Church might have even reprimanded him and pointed that out, and informed the parents of the Church's teaching while understanding the difficult time they were in.  But hell no.  The priest is thrown under the bus.  The Church might as well say, "What's wrong with you!  We're not here to proclaim Truth!  We're here to make all the people who matter like us!"

It's what the editors at America, The Jesuit Review said about Brett Kavanaugh after all.  It matters not whether he is guilty or innocent.  It's just that really important people will be upset if he's confirmed, and we'd rather an innocent man have his life destroyed than see that happen!

Likewise, I'll give Fr. Barron a bit of a pass since it isn't easy to actually speak the Truth on another person's talk show when the world is watching, and the Truth has already been declared incompatible with serving in high office in the US.  But sadly, it's not just this or that case, or this or that individual.

I think now we are going to see just how in bed with the world much of the Christian leadership has been all these years.  As the World becomes more openly aggressive, hostile and antithetical to everything the Gospel ever preached, we'll see just how much of the Gospel we were wrong about, needs modified, compromised or just plain abandoned.  Or so will say those who are used to being Christian and Worldly for 6.5 days a week.

Again, going back to what a fellow who works with youth said a few weeks back.  When asking why so many young  people are just abandoning the Faith, one of youngsters gave the most devastating answer I've ever heard: 'Because we don't think most people in the churches really believe any of it anymore.'  As long as we act like the Gospel is something we'd rather not talk about, don't be surprised that a growing number of people aren't interested in learning about it either.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Albert Mohler is wrong

Not that there weren't slave owners who founded Southern Seminary, or that the Southern Baptist Convention was founded in the institution of slavery in America.  He's wrong to bother going back and beating that dead horse.  It's only purpose now is to tear down the US, the Western Tradition and the Christian Faith.  One need only read the comments in Rod Dreher's piece praising Dr. Mohler to see that any hope that modern populations of leftists, non-Christians, non-Americans and non-Europeans are going to throw their hands up and convert to Christ because of the humble repentance of our forefathers' sins should by now be dashed on the rocks of reality.

Forgiveness, humility, reconciliation, praying for the persecutor and loving the enemy are distinctions of Christianity.  Others see those qualities with various degrees of value.   Some do value them, when qualified.  Others scoff.  Many want their pound of flesh.  Read Marx and try to find much emphasis on forgiveness and you'll have your work cut out for you.  Given that Marx is wildly influential today. it shouldn't shock us that forgiveness is not high on the priority list.  In fact, it's antithetical to that phenomenon known as identity politics.

Yes, people say we should repent because of the Old Testament, when generations rose up and bemoaned the sins of their fathers.  First, we've done that in spades.  If we're waiting until every American has dug up every person who harbored any type of racist or bigoted attitudes and calls them out, we'll have plenty of time to wait.  Second, it's not really morally courageous to drag the sins of the past out before us.  Third, as I said above, it is not based on any notions of forgiveness or reconciliation through Jesus.  To tack those goals onto a tirade against our racist past might just as well be tacking the stats card for a Pokemon game onto such a tirade.  Those outside of the Faith see no value in it, don't believe in it, and see us as chumps doing their dirty work.  Finally, it's far more courageous to call out our own personal sins, rather than the sins of those long deceased.

Yes, slavery existed here, as it did throughout most of human history around the world, and does today in numbers that make many slave owning societies of the past seem trivial by comparison.  It's euphemistically called Human Trafficking, but it's merely one more manifestation of the old slave sin.  Many of us benefit quite well from the modern slave trade.  Racism?  Sure it existed.  It was the excuse, not the basis, for slavery aimed at American Indians or Africans.  They weren't racists that decided to own slaves to slake their racist lust.  They developed their racist attitudes to justify the unjustifiable.  Just as we're developing the most heinous and idiotic ideals to justify the inexcusable today.

Do I mean we shouldn't study the past, learn from the failings and sins of the past, and even admit to the shortcomings or outright moral affronts of our own heritage?  No. I'm not a millennial.  Even if other cultures don't make a habit of it, I think, like confession is good for the individual soul, so this is a healthy practice for a society.  But only if the purpose is to learn in order not to repeat those sins today.  Given that we are elevating new forms of racism, sexism, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, censorship, and basic witch hunt and lynch mob mentalities fully endorsed by our media, pop culture, political leaders, and even religious leaders, I don't think the lessons are being learned. At best, I don't think the thrice-daily emphasis on the sins of our past are being dredged up to learn anything at all.  At worst, it's being done to deflect from the clear and obvious sins and evils being endorsed now.

This is why I realize that the Church is heading into a long, dark tunnel of its history. I think the Church - Protestant, Catholic and even Orthodox - is on the cusp of being about as wrong as it ever has in its love, illustrious life.  Just this rush out to declare the history of our church as racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted, evil and wrong as if it will do anything but ensure a continued vocation of suffering for Jesus on six figures is laughably naive at best.  It certainly isn't swelling the numbers, or, for that matter, stemming the growing tide against the Gospel.  How long must we fail before we learn?  That, my friends, remains to be seen.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Today is a day to remember

A symbol of what America rebounded from
That day that should have lived in Infamy.  Here are some old postsHere is a nice plug for the best movie on the subject, even if it's not Hollywood entertaining.  We won't get into the spate of stories showing that millennials increasingly know nothing of this day.  There is not enough time to spend on what millennials don't know.  Some, no doubt, break that mold.  But as an old millennial troll named Andre used to demonstrate on my blog, for millennials any appeal to history will likely fall on deaf ears.  There simply isn't a reason to look at anyone in the past who didn't have the good sense to be as awesome as they are today.  Despite a staggering lack of evidence for why today is as awesome as everyone insists.

Pray for the generation of that terrible day on a Sunday December morning all those years ago. We saw the last examples of their character during the Bush funeral and the much under-reported salute of Bob Dole to his former comrade in arms.  As Rush Limbaugh said so well, it wasn't an example of how politics used to be.  It was an example of how people used to be. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Banned from Mark Shea's platform for heresy, lies and sin - again!

Mark Shea, from Mark's blog, in a different age and time
Yep.  Mark lifted his universal bans a few weeks ago.  So initially I was just going to post a few one off warnings to Mark to pull up from the trajectory to hell that his apologetics appears to be on.  Then I decided, to atone for my many sins, I would read his blog every day and comment at least once a day through Advent.  At that point, I would wish a polite adios and offer a prayer for him to wake up in time.  I didn't comment every day, but did visit.

Now granted, I knew what I was getting into.  Mark resorts almost daily to lies and false accusation, calumny and defamation of character, spreading false rumors, character assassination, name calling, personal attacks, or similar things that apparently have made him quite a big name in Catholic apologetics circles.

So Mark posted a typical post emphasizing the rise of anti-Semitism, but exclusively that which is on the Right.  Included in this was labeling several he apparently doesn't like as closet Nazis with their own brand of anti-Semitism.  He's done that before, accusing this or that Catholic or Christian of being Nazi.  The Left has long used the old 'be liberal or be evil' tactic, and it's worked like a charm.  Mark and others across the Catholic blogs seem happy to use the same effective tactic.   That anti-Semitism is on the rise is doubted by nobody.  Hate crimes in general are on the rise.  And obviously, to any sane person who keeps up with the times beyond Left wing rags, the anti-Semitism is well beyond the borders of right wing neo-Nazi white supremacists.

Nonetheless, Mark naturally focused only on that Jew-bashing that could be used to subsequently bash opponents of the political Left and its narratives and policies. Included in the post was the usual 'opponents of George Soros only hate him because he's Jewish - thus Nazi!'  So I decided it might be worthwhile to see one of Mark's older posts on the subject:

Yep.  Banned.  Not even a chance to point out that perhaps others deserve the same consideration he's given himself on the subject.  Not a chance to rebuke Mark's false suggestion that I somehow defend anti-Jewish rhetoric.  The number of times my name has been dragged through the mud on Mark's blog being beyond count, but likely more than has ever happened in my life: among Orthodox, Protestant or non-Christians combined.  FWIW, if you ban someone for merely posting one of your own posts, that should set off bells and whistles right there.

But Mark has become like a mindless thrall of the political left.  Any deviation from the left, per Mark's rhetoric, proves your own brand of evil.  On Mark's pages, one's relationship to Christ comes across as some dashed off afterthought.  Sure, it's borderline heresy.  But Mark can hardly be blamed.  Increasingly across the Catholic Church, it's one's fealty to particular policies regarding immigration, global warming and the economy that defines one's righteousness and even pathway to heaven.  Actually living a chaste life or one in obedience to traditional Church teaching, or being charitable and giving to the poor, or even one's relationship to Christ, looks increasingly irrelevant.

Like a growing number today, whether by design or by accident, Mark acts as if it is fealty to the modern way that matters.  And like most, especially inclined as Mark is to his own brand of rhetorical flourish, failure to fall into Mark's circle of acceptance damns you.

I saw similar behavior to this in some more radical Protestant fundamentalist, independent churches back in the day.  But usually not this extreme.  That beyond the lies, sin and heresy of his own posts and comments, his combox is a bastion for racism, evil, murder, wishing death, abortion (including late term), witch hunts, sexual debauchery, heresy, blaspheme, tyranny, slander, anti-Christian and anti-Catholic rhetoric, merely reminds you of what was no doubt behind many who proudly goosestepped behind the ones who got invited to the best parties in Germany in the 1930s.  For example, lest you think I exaggerate, a smattering of comments from only a couple posts in a couple days:

When I called out Mark on his failure to reprimand the fellow who wished a gun rights activist's children would be murdered by cops, you'll note the limp-wristed 'ah come on now, stop with the whole I want children murdered thing - or I'll do something!'  Compare that to outright banning someone for merely posting one of Mark's own posts (you'll note that even after pushing back against Mark's criticism of wishing the children murdered, the commenter was allowed to post again).

Sure, Protestants had their Fred Phelps*.  But you know what?  Anyone who was anyone stepped as far away as humanly possible from him, and practically beat each other up to get to the microphone to condemn him.  But then, Phelps spewed hatred against the designs of the popular culture.  Mark's is right along with the designs of the popular culture.  Perhaps that's why he can say or do anything, or excuse or advocate anything, and he still gets accolades from the leaders and clergy and prominent voices of the Church.

Again, the problem is not - repeat, NOT - Mark.  It is that such a flagrant display of near blasphemy, heresy and sin is generated by someone not only popular, but one who is increasing his own profile among Catholics, Catholic leaders and even clergy and Catholic ministries.

Yes, in fairness, Mark seldom presents himself this way in public.  In an ironic twist, he almost personifies Social Media era passive aggression, in which face to face he swoons over people and insists he's just Mark and everyone just love Jesus and let's be friends.  He then slinks back to the protection of his computer screen and lobs his endless slander and lies and minimizing the manifold sins of the Left through any means necessary.   So there is a chance - a chance mind you - that not everyone knows of his alter ego.  Nonetheless, many do, and even make excuses for him.  And don't forget Catholic bishops who have moved aggressively against various Catholic ministries or spokesmen for far less, but for far more traditional perspectives.  This strongly suggests that, once again, there are those in the Church poised to ally with a grave and intrinsic power of Satanic evil rather than give up suffering for Jesus on upper middle class incomes at the best awards assemblies.

As my oldest son, who remains Catholic, once said, "The Catholic Church has taken some long naps in its history, and right now it is in the middle off one of its longest."  I fear he is right.

Oh, and lest you think I'm too harsh with the whole 'heresy, lies and sin' thing, I give you:

In other words, we came here to trash Jew hatred (which apparently means only those on the right who, per Mark, hate Jews - other examples being noticeably absent).  Do you disagree on abortion?  Do you support abortion?  It matters not what your reasons are.  Aborting babies is just one of those things we'll have to respectfully agree to disagree over.  But opposing Republican political and economic policies?  Now that is something over which we can come together as allies!  I give you the New Prolife Movement Seamless Garment in action and its take on what the teaching of the Church really should be about.

*BTW, this is not to suggest that Phelps was guilty of everything Mark engages in.  His issues are merely well known, and one of the closest comparisons I have from outside of the Catholic world.

Monday, December 3, 2018

How I know the Church is not ready for the coming storm

To atone for my many sins, I've committed myself to visiting Mark Shea's blog until the end of Advent.  I was just going to go and throw out a one-off comment then leave for good, now that he has undone the myriad bans he imposed on people.  But since I can comment, I'll do penance in the comboxes one last time.  That's fitting, because Mark's was the first blog I ever commented on.  Also, since I'm free to comment there, I won't talk trash here.  In the future I may speak to the importance of Mark Shea and why his particular trajectory matters to my family.  But for now, I want to point out something that jumped out at me.

This seems trivial.  But it is not.  And if it was just Mark, it would be no big deal.  But it has become common across the Christian Faith, and across all traditions: Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox.  This particular example seems small, but it points to the larger problem.  And what is this trivial little example?  Why, this:
Just as the prophets had warned, Judah and the monarchy descended from David were smashed to atoms in punishment for their infidelity to God, starting around 597 BCE. But that was not the end of the story, because God also promised they would be restored to their homeland.
From this piece.  The piece itself isn't bad, and I almost commented, hoping to encourage Mark to stick to these subjects, rather than the world of politics that has polluted his media pages.  But what's the big deal?  Read it again.  What jumps out at you?

What jumped out of me was B.C.E.  Now that's a designation that I believe came from Jewish scholars many moons ago.  It means 'Before Common Era' (or, for AD, it's changed to CE, Common Era). They simply weren't going to use the designated BC/AD across the Western/Christian world.  No references to Jesus for them, they picked their own designation.  It's not really intellectually honest, since the reference point is still Jesus.  But if it makes them happy, so be it.  By the late 80s, however, following the increased sensitivities emerging in America due to the sins of the past where slavery or the Holocaust are concerned, there was a growing push to rethink the very existence of this Christian society that had sinned so much.

Soon, by the late 80s and early 90s, it was becoming common for scholars across the board to drop BC/AD and go to BCE/CE.  By the mid 90s, some liberal Christians were following suit.  By the early 00s, you began having more than just hard line liberal Christians using BCE/CE, especially in academic works that were aimed at mixed audiences.

But Mark is a Catholic apologist publishing this piece in a Catholic publication for Catholic audiences.  He's not alone.  I caught this being used about a year ago in a small book about the history of the Bible.  A book written for Christians within a Christian context, deliberately avoiding calendar designations that refer to Christ. 

That's surrender folks.  That's giving up.  That's literally saying we'll hide it under all the bushels you want. Those who demand such self-censorship from Christians, of course, have no problem proclaiming their own beliefs, their faith, their values, their morals, their demands on others.  Christians alone are told to put Jesus in the closet and keep Him there. And more and more, Christians are complying with the demand.

As long as that attitude continues, don't expect the Church to stand up against the tidal winds that will define much of the coming storm.  If we can't even use a traditional dating mechanism that references Jesus because we fear offending people who have no care about offending us, then do we think we'll stand when actual persecution comes? 

This comes from a comment written on Rod Dreher's website:
Some sort of sub rosa maintenance of your Christian values and world view will simply not be possible in the long term, any more than the worshipers of Zeus could function as Rome became more and more overtly Christianized. When all the apparatus of the modern techno-information state is applied against you (and more importantly your children), nothing will be able to withstand such pressure. And it needn’t be camps and gulags. In fact, it almost certainly won’t be so over. It’ll be something far more insidious, subtle, and effective. A constant pressure, an inevitable squeezing, making life more and more difficult, more and more impossible, unless one stops offering pinches of incense to the old gods, and embraces the new.Persecution? You will beg for something as sweet as persecution.
Christians will pray for mere persecution once the crap hits the fan.  Because what will destroy the faithful is the same thing that has been destroying it for generations.  Not gulags or death camps or gladiatorial arenas.  But the steady drumbeat of '!Aw you meanies, don't be too Christian, that's offensive or we won't like you!'  And it's been working like a charm. 

Right now, we don't dare even say Before Christ in terms of a referenced date.  My money is on the persecutors on this one.  It will be generations, and likely a mere seed of the billions who call themselves Christians today, to replant the Faith and watch it begin again.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

RIP George H. W. Bush

I'm only seeing the first stories, and won't have time to verify or comment or learn the details.  If true,  and it appears it is, then prayers to his family and loved ones, and that God welcome him into His loving embrace. 

I'll comment more later.  I have several obligations I must tend to today.  Pax

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Age of Hubris and Madness

I fear that will be our generation's legacy.  An era that accomplished nothing, believed anything, and discarded everything.   It's not that some fantasy writer is insisting Tolkien was racist toward Orcs that is the madness.  It's that his level of lunacy is standard today. You can't watch the news for a day without hearing something as ludicrous. 

It's not that scientists are complaining about the moral objections to genetically tampering with embryos.  If they objected morally, there would be light at the end of the tunnel.  But it's that they merely insist we're not there yet.  We'll be there someday, and then it will all be awesome to tamper with human nature in the lab!  Bonus if you're aware of the fact that the same 'build a better human' mentality we're seeing is the same that underlay the Nazi philosophies of the day. That's for those people who get that the Nazis weren't just one dimensional cardboard cutout monsters who inexplicably popped up in the 1930s and make good foil for Indiana Jones.  Those who realize that will also realize that it's one thing to pretend you're a Nazi in Charleston, it's another thing to act like a Nazi in the laboratory.

But such is the age of Madness in which we live.  It's likely most younger people know nothing of it, since they've been encouraged to know nothing of it by the forces now pushing the madness into the cultural mainstream.  If there are questions about the wisdom of our modern actions, we rest on the rather unsubstantiated claim that we're simply that much better than anyone who ever came before us.  Was it bad when they did it?  Sure, that was then.  Ancient history.  Back when the world was filled with losers who were stupid and wrong and the cause of all suffering in the world.   But this time we'll do it right!  Was it wrong to say blacks can be judged simply because they're black?  Why of course!  But this time, we know it's absolutely right to judge white people because they're white!  How do we know it's right to say that now?  Because it's us!  And we got trophies when we lost and were able to take tests over and over again until we passed.  That's how awesome we are!

And so it continues. Where it will go?  I have no idea.  But I'm betting it won't go well.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

There is no reason this music should sound like a Plymouth Thanksgiving

And yet it does:

Such was the genius of Vince Guaraldi.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

From a 1636 Thanksgiving held at Plymouth Colony:
"In ye Meetinghouse, beginning some halfe an hour before nine & continued untill after twelve aclocke, ye day beeing very cold, beginning wt a short prayer, then a psalme sang, then more large in prayer, after that an other Psalme, & then the Word taught, after that prayer - & then a psalme…" and then was followed by dinner, "…the poorer sort beeing invited of the richer."
May the Lord protect his Faithful from the coming storm, help preserve the heritage of the Church and its workings in the world, and help us to maintain perseverance and humility in the face of so many temptations to forget all we have to be thankful for.

On a lighter note, I could watch this every year:

The thought that we would have a president who was unaware of the Butterball Hotline always brought a smile.

Happy Thanksgiving all.  Will be back at divers and sundry times, but will spend the next couple days with family, Church, friends and all that God has blessed us with, including a wonderful country the likes of which the world has never seen.  May we remember that, too, before it's too late.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

So much to do and say, but so little time.  Alas.  Suffice to say you can ignore anyone to the Left when they speak of Thanksgiving.  Leftist Christians, including Catholics, count there, too.  As I said, even among non-leftist Catholics, there has been a tendency to trash talk the Pilgrims.  Add to that the left's pathological hatred of anything in the Christian West, and it gets ugly.  And wrong.  Ironically, the Orthodox, who hold no brief of the United States in general (or all of Western culture), seem to give high fives and cheers to those Plymouth Puritans.

Here, good old Prager U. helps us remember what did and didn't happen, the parts left out, and what it was really all about.

I find it ironic, especially for Catholics, that so many will focus on the puritans and their puritanical ways (watch out we don't conflate puritanism with Victorianism some centuries later).  After all, in an age of rampant sex sins, sex crimes, sexting, child molestation, not to mention the depression, suicide, drug addiction and basic nihilism that his sweeping our nation, to take time out to begrudge the pilgrims their restrained ways is a bit like Hitler on his last day in the bunker screaming, "Dammit, I said wienerschnitzel!"

As I said, I don't intend to keep pounding the drums about the gathering clouds of racism, evil, tyranny, blasphemy, heresy and everything else besetting us, nor the idiocy and cowardice of those Christians who can't wait to embrace it in order to keep their positions of privilege at the latest Hollywood parties.  But the reaming that this wonderful holiday receives, a holiday that when remembered correctly could be worth so many lessons for an age in desperate need of horse sense, is still worth the shout out.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Why I've stopped with the issue blogging

A recap.  Yep.  Because the truth of her claims is irrelevant - Sexism!  It's madness and insanity to cover error and agendas.  No sense wasting time with it.  I post it merely as a reminder for those who were wondering.  You can't fight this sort of thing with anything but prayer and fasting.  Reason, reality and common sense have long lost their ability to curb the momentum. 

Rather, for upcoming events, I'll likely post on Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims, family fun and all the upcoming festivities through Advent and that Season of all Seasons.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Veterans Day

So this last weekend, the three boys all had days off, as did my wife.  One boy had to work on Saturday and Sunday, but on Monday he was off.  That gave us the rare chance to all get together and enjoy some old time family jaunts.  My Mom was with my sister, and we put the pooch in the kennel, and off we went.  

Given the constraints, and the weather, we did only a few things this weekend, but it was nice having the boys back together.  It's not easy, BTW.  Perhaps the most difficult thing I've done is figure out how to keep the focus on our youngest and build traditions with him when the older boys are seldom around.  He still wants to do the old things they always did, but it's just not practical anymore.  We can squeeze a few things in here and there.  But on the whole, without him feeling severed from the older three, it's been a challenge to make sure he has his share of new memories. 
So when the chance presents itself, the older boys have done their best to be there for him, and for that I thank them.  To seize the moment, and it being both an important Veterans Day as well as Catholic Martinmas, we decided to hit two separate but relevant spots.  The last we do in order to keep the bridge between our oldest who remains Catholic and the rest who went to the Orthodox.  I still keep one foot in the Catholic yard, praying and hoping. 

One stop was the National Shrine to Our Lady of Consolation that is only about an hour and a half or so away from where we live.  Sadly, it was bitterly cold and owing to some vandalism a few years back, the gates were closed to the great outdoor altar.  We could get there by foot, but hadn't planned on it since last time we were there you could simply drive straight in.  We made it back to the actual sanctuary for prayers and quiet time.  It's always a sight to behold.

Then we went to the local cemetery to do our annual cleaning off of the headstones and paying our respects.  Again, due to Global Warming, it was much colder than usual.  That made it tough, especially since a couple of us have been fending off colds.  But we made sure to get our time in.  Then while cooking my signature homemade chili, we played games and watched some war movies.  Patton is always a safe bet.  Then with homemade apple strudel and snacks, we all hunkered down for an evening viewing of AMC's The Lost Battalion.  

My boys made an interesting observation.  The made for television movie, clearly influenced by Saving Private Ryan, and released alongside HBO's Band of Brothers, seems to have been revised in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.  Watching closely, they noticed a couple scenes that seemed out of place, like those scenes added at the end of The Empire Strikes Back where Luke only talks of Vader as Father when he's by himself.  

The added scenes of The Lost Battalion seemed to be those that not only were cheering on America's grit and determination, but especially giving kudos to those 'New York gangsters' and their ability to overcome anything; the emphasis being on New York especially.  I said it wouldn't surprise me if they did that.  There was, in the wake of the attacks, an upsurge in patriotism and unity.  My boys said, to them, there is the Wake of 9/11 and Post-9/11.  The Wake of 9/11 is what they imagine when America came together, albeit briefly.  And I assure them it was very briefly.  Then there is Post-9/11, when the Left realized they couldn't let something like the attacks stop them in their desire to burn the American Experiment to the ground and rebuild it in a Leftist/Marxist/post-Christian image. 

So there you have it.  Tributes, devotions, fun and games and even history lessons reflected upon.  Not bad for boys who are so busy.  And as they said, we have it to God and the Veterans to give thanks for our ability to so freely plan such things to begin with.  I think they get it.  

How 'November in Ohio' can you get?

It went from frost on the pumpkins to straight out snow

A cold and blustery walk to the outdoor altar

A long view of the altar

They were laughing about how cold it was

Inside the Basilica - it takes your breath away

The game stays up, and when they can get together we make it a few more turns 
At the cemetery, reflecting on those who gave that last full measure of devotion

We didn't have much of a 'ghost run' this year, so decided to stop by the old haunt

An almost symbolic picture, as the oldest slowly turn away while the youngest looks on

RIP Stan Lee

I would be remiss not to jump in and send out thoughts and prayers to Mr. Lee and his family.  Just as Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings dominated the cultural setting in which my three older boys grew up as children, so Marvel Comics has dominated their teen years, and the world of my youngest. 

I'm not a fan, personally.  I think modern comics sort of fit that modernist notion of 'whatever - if you've painted yourself into a corner, just paint away the corner' attitude that there are no rules, just winning in the end.  I'm usually not given to comics in general, FWIW.

Nonetheless, I can't deny the massive cultural impact that Mr. Lee and his creations, especially when marketed in a new 'Mega-Universe' film model, had on the American public.  Given what is out there, I figured there was much worse that my boys could like.  And since it provided them with the requisite connection to their own peer groups and generation, the service Marvel performed is appreciated.

After all, my boys have, through us, grown up on old movies, old books and literature, and even old TV Shows.  They're as likely to watch Andy Griffith or Casablanca as they are the latest Marvel movie.  The result? In his College Composition class, my 19 year old said that only two others in his class knew who Robert Frost was.  The rest either had never heard of him, or couldn't connect him with anything he wrote. I consider that the result of the household in which my boys were raised.

But Marvel became that link to their own generation.  It's nice that they enjoyed Gone With the Wind, or had read (or tried to read) War and Peace.  It's nice that they prefer old television to the bilge out there today.  But they can't be completely disconnected, and I understand that.  Whether it was Minecraft, or YouTube, or Marvel, I realized they needed to be able to talk the lingo of their peers.  And Marvel was, in the end, a more or less harmless bridge that could connect them, and do so rather nicely.

So thank you Mr. Lee.  You brought enjoyment to endless millions, and seemed able to laugh at yourself in the process. Not a bad character trait.  May God bless you and keep you, and give strength and that peace that passes all understanding. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Why Veterans Day


It puts me in mind of this:

When I reflect on today's up and coming generation, I can't help but think that never has a generation with such a high opinion of itself accomplished so little for which to think high of itself.  Perhaps reflecting on those who made possible our freedom to be what little we've become would inspire us to become more.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thank you Veterans

As I said, I'm not shutting the blog down for good.  I'm merely backing off.  Certainly from the polemics and the politics and barking against the obvious.  What I will do is post occasional thoughts when I get around to it.  Or tributes.  Or memorials.  Or pictures of the family.  Or things like that.  An only diary so to speak.  

For today, on this 100th anniversary of World War I - that some call the first stage of WWII - I send out a special thanks to veterans from that war (including my own two grandfathers).  But I also remember all veterans, living and deceased, whose sacrifice and service have made my precious liberty possible.   

Here are some links from Veterans Days of the past.  Here, here, here, here, here and here.

Monday, November 5, 2018

The time has come for me to say sayonara

Das ist das Ende.  Das Ende.  So said Alfred Jodl in the move Patton, when he realized all hope was lost.  For me, I don't think all hope is lost.  I do think, however, that I've done my part.  Last month saw this blog getting more visits than ever before.  Most importantly, it exceeded anything I had at Patheos.  For me, that was important.  Much of the visiting at Patheos was just the trolls like Andre, or Paul B, who came back over and over again for no moral purpose, initially generating page views, but toward the end driving them away.  To be able break my views at Patheos with bona fide visits, albeit owing to some link ups to other websites, was far more satisfying.

So that's nice.  But it's also enough.  I look back at some of the posts I wrote from years gone by and notice that I've been saying the same thing, with minor tweaks, the whole time. And though I was hardly alone in my observations, it wasn't as common then as it is among some today to admit the obvious: what we're seeing is the seeds of those old Communist infiltrators finally bearing fruit.  After generations of seizing the press, education, goverment, and even religion, we are beginning to reject things once understood as true, fact, common sense, logical, moral and basic 'squares aren't round' models of reality.  And we're doing it to embrace the unthinkable, the unholy, the ungodly, the all out brainless idiocy most would once have rejected outright only a few years ago.  Just like the Bolsheviks of old would want.

As such, more and more are saying what I saw: this is a deliberate attempt to attack the Church of Jesus Christ, and a purposeful desire to overthrow the American experiment and the Christian West and replace it with a weary impersonation of Marxism fused with the age old dream of a one world order.  As my sons said, it's as if they stopped teaching Orwell as a cautionary tale and began teaching it as a blueprint.

Now, more and more of those who might not like Trump, but get Trump - and Brexit, and any other backlash against this discount Communism - admit what is happening.  And, quite frankly, they're saying it better than me. Whether in the realm of politics, or how it is impacting the Christian Faith, they're unpacking the historic mess we now find ourselves in.  Take this.  Yep. It touches on something I've been working on for a while, ever since I became Orthodox.   The realization that our problems didn't start with Obama, Bush, Reagan, the Beatles, WWII, Wilson, Roosevelt, the Civil War, Jim Crow, the Founding Fathers, the Enlightenment, or even the Renaissance.  Somehow, the Church began conceding to a new, less traditional Christian model of reality while gallant knights rode forth from their turreted castles.  What we've watch develop over the centuries - slowly at first, but picking up lightning speed - has been a concession to a non-Christian model of reality.  It has been compromise, acquiesce, retreat or when those fail, all out surrender.

Because this new religion - this 'Leftist' revolution - is becoming so congealed and plain, it's senseless for someone like me to keep pointing out the obvious.  There is no liberal trinity.  There is no Hollywood and the press and the Democrats.  They are all just part of a new, revolutionary movement.  It is an evangelistic movement that seeks to convert all faiths to its doctrines.  It seeks to destroy the Christian West and America, the Christian Faith and its followers.  It has all but made those designs clear. What can I do but point out what is plain to see?  Others are doing that; others whose voices are heard by far more than me.  And because it is more obvious than ever, they are able to speak plainly and eloquently to a problem we had best wake up to before it's too late, if it isn't already.

Does that mean I'm done with the blog?  No.  Does it mean I'll never post another thought or picture? No.  I'll still post.  But the reason for having the blog, advised by a Catholic priest back in 2010 who at the time thought I would inevitably find a way into ministering within the Catholic tradition, is no more.  Whether as a topical blog or one used to hone my writings skills, the world for me in which I started this blog has long passed.  I believe my ministry days are behind me.  Right now, my ministry is to my children, preparing them for what is coming around the corner, taking care of my Mom, and being the best I can be, finding work from home if possible, and just keeping things together.

Fact is, blogging takes time.  Sorting through the headlines, checking  other websites, verifying the sources (ahem), going to different blogs to see what's happening - that's no small hunk out of the day.  Even if my editing only consists of 'spellcheck and publish', it can still accumulate the hours.  Again, because others are saying what I've noticed for years, and there's really no vocational end game for me sitting here and doing this, I just can't see the benefits outweighing the effort.  Plus, despite page views soaring to all time heights, the comments on the blog itself never really materialized.  While being trolled on Patheos became a fat waste of time, comments in general were always the best part of blogging - it's where you make sure you're not barking at trucks or might find out you're missing something.  It's often where you see things that help unpack your initial observations.  While a few regulars have always stopped by to comment, or send me emails, it's simply not balancing the hours that are increasingly needed elsewhere.  I'm sure they can continue reaching out to me via email or Facebook or other outlets, as I can them.

So going forward, I'll keep this to post fun things, bizarre things, things that catch my eye.  Or just hobbies or fun family stuff when I get around to it.  Sort of an online diary you might say, with posting by the month more than the day (or even week).  Sometimes I'll post my own reflections.  This month is the 100th anniversary of the end to that War to end all Wars that you've heard so little about, and that's worth a post right there.  It also will be time for the second most hated people in America - the pilgrims.  I might even link to the shock I had when I discovered so much hostility towards them from so many Catholics - many who were then stunned to discover the same hatred for the pilgrims was aimed at the quite Catholic Christopher Columbus just the same.  Then comes Christmas!  Who knows what I'll write about then - or I might be having too much fun in the real world to write at all!  And then the New Year, more school, bills and jobs, and contemplating more The Benedict Option of Rod Dreher and how absolutely true it is.

So that will be that.  I'll no longer take my cues from the latest propaganda headlines or other blogs reflecting on what is so obvious.  I might comment at their blogs, letting them do the heavy lifting (like old times before I started this blog).  I might link to them.  But when it comes to posting anything, it will just be me, the family, my thoughts, and my personal reflections on my own life and pilgrimage from now on - unless something catastrophic should happen in the world.  No more click bait.

The world is going where it will, and it's obvious we don't even know what is happening, but that the forces dedicated to propaganda and agenda advancement tell us.  Whenever I talk to people from other countries who are experiencing the world outside of our media, I'm reminded of how ill-informed we really are.  The world as painted by modern media and culture is likely as far from reality as we can imagine.  And our schools are no better.  My boys have adopted a 'keep your head down' approach in college, and I don't blame them.  In some ways, that's where I'm going.  It's time to go and find that path God would have for us; for me.  Whatever it is, I'm sure it doesn't include constantly pouring over the latest headlines that only remind me how little the end result will have to do with God in the first place.  No, my time will be spent focusing on God, even if so much of the world is stumbling over itself to get to the wide gate.

So I'll see everyone around.  I will post, on occasion.  When the spirit moves me, as they say.  Till then, TTFN, and God bless all.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Better not be stingy

Or your nightmares will come true!  So this year came and went.  Autumn has always been a fun time for us, though as the boys grown and move on, it takes on a different feel.  Plus it's a little tougher since our youngest still wants to do things with them.  That means we rely on one or two times in a month where the older two can come around and do things with the family.  Since they both work and are going to school full time, that's about how much time they can spare.  Our third son is not going to school yet, but is involved in the Police Explorers program to help training now in preparation for the police academy when he's old enough.  

In addition to the constraints on time, we had very uncooperative weather.  It began at the beginning of October when, for the fourth year in a row, the temperatures skyrocketed to the 90s on the Saturday I had tickets for a game, only to go back down a day or two later.  Then it stayed warmer than normal until near the middle of the month.  Then it plummeted to cooler temps and stayed there.  

This was followed by the last two weeks, out of which  all but a couple days were filled with rain and wet conditions.  That blocked our fabled 'Ghost Runs' that we've done for years.  It also made our usual forays into pumpkin picking and cider purchasing quick in and out affairs.  

On Halloween proper, our oldest two weren't really available.  In this case it was mostly class schedules.  Last year they were able to pull strings and due to schedule fortunes make it around.  This year they were only able to show up at divers times, or after the trick or treating had mostly run its course.  Despite the weather, we were packed this year.  So everyone did see some trick or treaters.  But it was a patchwork event at best.  They older ones stayed and capped off the season with the Halloween Haunts (which kicks things off).  Some cider and pumpkin seeds and of course enjoying the leftover candy rounded things out.  We explained to our youngest that this is how it will be.  He said he knows, but hopes to enjoy having them around while he can.

Up to the old apple orchard for fresh apples and cider, the location of my first ever field trip in kindergarten
Went by the old school.  Much of it has changed, but the old football field looks about the same.  Memories. 

Because of ongoing, sustained and relentless rain, didn't have much of a 'Ghost Run' this year.  Here, just stopped by to see
if the old shed behind the mausoleum had moved again.  It had. Go figure. 

The cemetery of many a ghost run.  This time it was too rainy and, in an odd twist, too crowded.  

We stopped to get pumpkins (too late for a good selection).   Our youngest learned that sometimes you grow up, and old things that were fun eventually cease to be enjoyable. 

My trees in full splendor.  I found these when I was a pastor.  I would come here to get away from things before business meetings - the closet things to marine style combat one can experience without being in the military. 

The boys, laughing far too much around a cemetery - even at Halloween time.

A broader view of 'the trees.'  No matter what the weather, they never cease to put on a display

Again, because of never ending rain, we only dove by and couldn't get out. 

We often get out and walk up the steps to the top of the hill.  There's always something about a hill rise and the horizon. 

Mom got into the carving act - or at least drawing the face.  It was beyond my skill, however. 

The face she drew.  We decided not to try, but to set it as is as the centerpiece for our Trick or Treating table

Our eighteen year old's pumpkin.  Something about it looked wrong. 

This was the inside.  That's probably the cleanest pumpkin I've ever seen.  That's him.

My youngest drew this, and carved it himself.  And did so with a surprise. 

This was our youngest's on the back side.  Somehow it worked.  And he is officially the youngest to carve his own pumpkin - the result of being the youngest surrounded by older brothers. 

My oldest's.  I did the carving, he drew the face.  He's always kept it geometrical. 

My second oldest drew it.  As designs go, I liked it.  Somehow, it looked a bit 'Charlie Brownie.'  

This was our pumpkin together.  It was simple, quick and sufficed.

The table, ready for the hordes of little ghouls and ghosts and goblins

A fall display, with additions from my eighteen year old. 

His playmate decided to go out with him for old time's sake.  No single pictures.  Everyone needed under the umbrella.

A stack of turnips this year, once again being quite the conversation piece

The turnpis were courtesy of our second oldest.  I like the effect. 

A wider look, with the best decorating that days of ongoing, relentless rain would allow.

For some reason, our street became the center-point for people coming from all around.  Perhaps it has to do with our reputation for handing out candy by the handful. 

In the later part of Trick or Treating time; crowds were dwindling, but rain continued unabated. 

Only about a half hour didn't have rain, mostly toward the end.  Our oldest made sure they were here
after class/work for the youngest. 

Inside again, because it started raining!  Out of every year our youngest could walk about, it has rained on Halloween but once - and that was last year when it was almost arctic cold!