Category Archives: Wisdom

THE OUTRIGHT FOOL

Modern man sees himself as a natural cynic and skeptic when it comes to all Higher Potential – be that Higher Potential Divine, or in himself, or concerning mankind as a whole.

He thinks this makes him appear sophisticated and urbane and much like a very worldly modern intellectual. And, of course, it does.

It also makes him an outright fool.

from Human Effort

DIVERSITY IS NOT NECESSARILY AN EVIL, BUT, OF COURSE, BY VERY DEFINITION IT DIVIDES UNION

Does Diversity Really Unite Us? Citizenship and Immigration

Edward J. Erler
Co-Author, The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration


Edward J. ErlerEdward J. Erler is professor emeritus of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. He earned his B.A. from San Jose State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has published numerous articles on constitutional topics in journals such as Interpretation, the Notre Dame Journal of Law, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the California Advisory Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-2006 and served on the California Constitutional Revision Commission in 1996. He is the author of The American Polity and co-author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration.


The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 11, 2018, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Colorado Springs.

President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy for illegal border crossers has provoked a hysterical reaction from Democrats, establishment Republicans, the progressive-liberal media, Hollywood radicals, and the deep state. What particularly motivated the ire of these Trump-haters was the fact that the zero-tolerance policy would require the separation of parents and children at the border. The hysteria was, of course, completely insincere and fabricated, given that the policy of separating children and parents was nothing new—it had been a policy of the Obama and Bush administrations as well.

Furthermore, where is the compassion for the thousands of American children who are separated from their parents every year as a result of arrests and convictions for non-violent crimes? Many of those arrested are single mothers whose infants become wards of the government until their mothers complete their sentences. No hysteria or effusive compassion is elicited by these separations, confirming that the object of the hysteria surrounding illegal border crossers is to force open borders on the nation under the guise of compassion for children.

President Trump’s preferred solution for ending the influx of illegal immigrants and providing border security is a wall; it is also the preferred solution of the American people. Zero tolerance is an interim policy that—if enforced—will help deter illegal crossers. The hysteria provoked by zero tolerance could have been predicted, but its magnitude and sheer insanity are almost breathtaking. Some prominent constitutional scholars have gone so far as to argue that the government has no constitutional authority to control the border. And this, which seems almost beyond hysteria, from the elite intellectual class that should be most immune to hysteria!

In the meantime, a Federal District Court judge in Southern California has discovered a substantive due process right guaranteeing the right to “family integrity” lurking in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and has ordered all children reunited with their illegal immigrant parents. Obviously the judge expects the parents to be released from incarceration to join their children, but the Trump administration seems determined to keep parents and children together in detention centers until legal proceedings determine their fate.

More than a century ago, the Supreme Court announced what was considered the settled sense of the matter when it remarked: “It is an accepted maxim of international law . . . and essential to self-preservation, to forbid the entrance of foreigners within [a sovereign nation’s] dominions, or to admit them only in such cases and upon such conditions as it may see fit to prescribe.” This view was reaffirmed in the recent Supreme Court decision, handed down on June 26, that upheld Trump’s travel ban on foreign nationals from eight countries, six of which have majority Muslim populations.

Part of the complaint against the ban was that it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because Trump had displayed “animus” against Muslims in speeches before and after the 2016 election. The plaintiffs argued that the national security reasons for the ban were merely pretexts for Trump’s thinly disguised contempt for the Muslim religion. Although the Court agreed that individual injury could be alleged under the Establishment Clause, the travel ban on its face was neutral with respect to religion, and it was therefore possible to decide the issue on statutory rather than constitutional grounds.

The dissenting opinion in this case would have invalidated the ban on constitutional grounds, based on the idea that the President’s campaign statements and those of his advisers proved that animus against Islam was the real and pervasive motivation for the travel ban. Had this dissenting opinion prevailed, it would have created an anomaly in constitutional jurisprudence. Conceding that the plain language of the travel ban was neutral and therefore constitutional, what rendered the travel ban unconstitutional was Trump’s purported display of animus in his public speeches. If signed by any president other than Trump, there would therefore be no constitutional objections. In other words, in the minds of the dissenters, psychoanalysis of Trump’s motives held greater constitutional significance than the intent of the law expressed in its plain language.

In any case, the majority opinion held that “by its plain language” the Immigration and Naturalization Act “grants the President broad discretion to suspend the entry of aliens into the United States. The President lawfully exercised that discretion based on his findings . . . that entry of the covered aliens would be detrimental to the national interest.” Few limits have ever been placed on the President’s broad authority to act under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, especially when national security and foreign relations are involved.

***

In the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump appealed to the importance of citizens and borders. In other words, Trump took his stand on behalf of the nation-state and citizenship against the idea of a homogeneous world-state populated by “universal persons.” In appealing directly to the people, Trump succeeded in defeating both political parties, the media, political professionals, pollsters, academics, and the bureaucratic class. All these groups formed part of the bi-partisan cartel that had represented the entrenched interests of the Washington establishment for many years. Although defeated in the election, the cartel has not given up. It is fighting a desperate battle to maintain its power.

Historically, constitutional government has been found only in the nation-state, where the people share a common good and are dedicated to the same principles and purposes. The homogeneous world-state—the European Union on a global scale—will not be a constitutional democracy; it will be the administration of “universal personhood” without the inconvenience of having to rely on the consent of the governed. It will be government by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, much like the burgeoning administrative state that is today expanding its reach and magnifying its power in the United States. “Universal persons” will not be citizens; they will be clients or subjects. Rights will be superfluous because the collective welfare of the community—determined by the bureaucrats—will have superseded the rights of individuals.

Progressive liberalism no longer views self-preservation as a rational goal of the nation-state. Rather, it insists that self-preservation and national security must be subordinate to openness and diversity. America’s immigration policies, we are told, should demonstrate our commitment to diversity because an important part of the American character is openness, and our commitment to diversity is an affirmation of “who we are as Americans.” If this carries a risk to our security, it is a small price to pay. Indeed, the willing assumption of risk adds authenticity to our commitment.

In support of all this, we are asked to believe something incredible: that the American character is defined only by its unlimited acceptance of diversity. A defined American character—devotion to republican principles, republican virtue, the habits and manners of free citizens, self-reliance—would in that case be impermissibly exclusive, and thus impermissibly American. The homogeneous world-state recognizes only openness, devotion to diversity, and acceptance as virtues. It must therefore condemn exclusivity as its greatest vice. It is the nation-state that insists on exclusive citizenship and immigration policies that impose various kinds of restrictions.

Our progressive politicians and opinion leaders proclaim their commitment to diversity almost daily, chanting the same refrain: “Diversity is our strength.” This is the gospel according to political correctness. But how does diversity strengthen us? Is it a force for unity and cohesiveness? Or is it a source of division and contention? Does it promote the common good and the friendship that rests at the heart of citizenship? Or does it promote racial and ethnic division and something resembling the tribalism that prevents most of the world from making constitutional government a success? When is the last time we heard anyone in Washington talk about the common good? We are used to hearing talk about the various stakeholders and group interests, but not much about what the nation has in common.

This should not be surprising. Greater diversity means inevitably that we have less in common, and the more we encourage diversity the less we honor the common good. Any honest and clear-sighted observer should be able to see that diversity is a solvent that dissolves the unity and cohesiveness of a nation—and we should not be deceived into believing that its proponents do not understand the full impact of their advocacy!

Diversity, of course, marches under the banner of tolerance, but is a bastion of intolerance. It enforces its ideological liberalism with an iron fist that is driven by political correctness, the most ingenious (and insidious) device for suppressing freedom of speech and political dissent ever invented.

Political correctness could have been stopped dead in its tracks over three decades ago, but Republicans refused to kill it when they had the opportunity. In the presidential election campaign of 1980, Ronald Reagan promised to end affirmative action with the stroke of a pen by rescinding the executive order, issued by Lyndon Johnson, that created it. This promise was warmly received by the electorate in that election. But President Reagan failed to deliver his promised repeal. Too many Republicans had become convinced that they could use affirmative action to their advantage—that the largesse associated with racial class entitlements would attract minorities to the Republican Party. By signing on to this regime of political correctness, Republicans were never able to mount an effective opposition to its seemingly irresistible advance.

Today, any Republican charged or implicated with racism—however tendentious, outrageous, implausible, exaggerated, or false the charge or implication may be—will quickly surrender, often preemptively. This applies equally to other violations of political correctness: homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and a host of other so-called irrational prejudices. After all, there is no rational defense against an “irrational fear,” which presumably is what the “phobias” are. Republicans have rendered themselves defenseless against political correctness, and the establishment wing of the party doesn’t seem overly concerned, as they frequently join the chorus of Democrats in denouncing Trump’s violations of political correctness. Only President Trump seems undeterred by the tyrannous threat that rests at the core of political correctness.

***

In addition to the Affirmative Action Executive Order in 1965, there were other actions taken during the Great Society that were meant to transform America. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was sound legislation, authorized by the Fourteenth Amendment and designed to abolish racial discrimination in employment. But the administrative agencies, with the full cooperation of the courts, quickly transformed its laudable goals into mandates that required racial discrimination to achieve racial proportionality in hiring and promotion.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 similarly sought to ban racial discrimination in voting. It too was transmogrified into an act that required racial discrimination in order to achieve proportional results in elections. Proportional results were touted by a palpable fiction as the only reliable evidence of free and fair elections.

The Immigration Act of 1965 was a kind of affirmative action plan to provide remedies for those races or ethnic groups that had been discriminated against in the past. Caucasian immigrants from European nations had been given preference in past years; now it was time to diversify the immigrant population by changing the focus to Third World nations, primarily nations in Latin America and Asia. The goal, as some scholars have slowly come to realize, was to diversify the demographic composition of the American population from majority white to a majority of people of color. There was also some anticipation that those coming from these Third World countries were more likely to need the ministrations of the welfare state and therefore more likely to be captured by the Democratic Party, the party promoting the welfare state.

White middle-class Americans in the 1960s and 70s were often referred to as selfish because their principal interests were improving their own lives, educating their own children, and contributing to their own communities. They showed no inclination to support diversity and the kind of authentic commitment to the new openness that was being advocated by progressive-liberalism. They stood as a constant roadblock to the administrative state, stubbornly resisting higher taxes, increased immigration, and expansion of the welfare state. Once they were no longer a majority, they would be powerless to resist. Demographers say that sometime around 2040 is the day of reckoning when whites will no longer be a majority and will sometime thereafter have to endure the fate they have inflicted on others for so many years. This radical demographic change will be due almost entirely to the immigration reform that was put into motion by the Immigration Act of 1965.

Of course, it is entirely a fiction that the American political system has produced monolithic white majorities that rule at the expense of so-called “discrete and insular minorities.” Whites as a class have never constituted a majority faction in the nation, and the Constitution was explicitly written to prevent such majorities from forming. The fact that, among a host of other considerations, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed by a supposed “monolithic white majority” to promote the equal protection rights of minorities belies the idea that it was a majority faction ruling in its own racial class interest.

***

President George W. Bush, no less than President Obama, was an advocate of a “borderless world.” A supporter of amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, he frequently stated that “family values don’t stop at the border” and embraced the idea that “universal values” transcend a nation’s sovereignty. He called himself a “compassionate conservative,” and said on several occasions that we should be more compassionate to our less fortunate neighbors to the south.

President Reagan used this same kind of rhetoric when he signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which provided amnesty for three million illegal aliens. This was touted by Reagan as a way of “humanely” dealing with the issue of illegal immigration. In his signing statement, he said the Act “is both generous to the alien and fair to the countless thousands of people throughout the world who seek legally to come to America.” The Act was supposed to be a one-time-only amnesty in exchange for stronger border control, but only the most naive in Washington believed that the promise of border control would be honored. In fact, illegal immigration continued unabated. The Act also fueled expectations—even demands—for additional amnesties, and delays in implementing new amnesties have been proffered as evidence by immigration activists (including Jeb Bush) that the American people lack compassion.

Any clear-thinking observer, however, can see that compassion is not a sound basis either for foreign policy or immigration policy. Compassion is more likely to lead to contempt than gratitude in both policy areas. The failure of the 1986 amnesty should be a clear reminder of the useful Machiavellian adage that in the world of realpolitik it is better to be feared than loved. Fear is more likely to engender respect, whereas love or compassion is more likely to be regarded as a contemptible sign of weakness. In 1984 Reagan received 37 percent of the Hispanic vote, but after the 1986 amnesty George H.W. Bush received a significantly lower 30 percent. Granted, Bush was no Reagan, but such ingratitude seemed to puzzle Republicans.

Republicans and Democrats alike are reluctant to consider serious measures to control illegal immigration. Republicans want to continue the steady supply of cheap and exploitable labor, and Democrats want future voters. Republicans are thinking only in the short term—they are not thinking politically. Democrats always think politically. President Trump wants to stop chain migration and the diversity lottery. Those who win in the diversity lottery also begin chain migration, as do all legal immigrants. Since 2005, more than nine million foreign nationals have arrived in the U.S. by chain migration, and when they become voting citizens, in all likelihood, two-thirds of them will vote Democrat. Trump knows how to think politically!

***

Birthright citizenship contributes to a borderless world. Any woman who comes to the United States as a legal or illegal alien and gives birth confers the boon of American citizenship on her child. In these instances, America has no control over who becomes a citizen. Constitutional law experts say it is a settled issue that the Constitution adopted the English common law of birthright citizenship. William Blackstone is cited as the authority for this proposition, having written the authoritative Commentaries on the Laws of England—a work that was well known to our nation’s Founders. What the proponents of birthright citizenship seem to ignore is that Blackstone always refers to “birthright subjects” and “birthright subjectship,” never mentioning citizens or citizenship in his four volume work. Under the common law, anyone born under the protection of the king owed “perpetual allegiance” to the king in return. Blackstone freely admitted that birthright subjectship was an inheritance from the feudal system, which defined the relations of master and servant. Under the English common law there were no citizens—only subjects.

The Declaration of Independence, however, proclaims that the American people “are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown.” Thus, it is clear that the American people rejected the common law as a basis for citizenship. What is substituted in place of “perpetual allegiance” to a king is “the consent of the governed,” with the clear implication that no individual can be ruled without his consent. Consent—not the accident of birth—is the basis for American citizenship.

James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration and the Constitution and later a member of the Supreme Court, perfectly expressed the matter when he wrote: “In America there are citizens, but no subjects.” Is it plausible—is it even remotely credible—that the Founders, after fighting a revolutionary war to reject the feudal relic of “perpetual allegiance,” would have adopted that same feudal relic as the ground of citizenship for the new American regime?

The American people can, of course, consent to allow others to join the compact that created the American nation, but they have the sovereign right to specify the terms and conditions for granting entry and the qualifications for citizenship. Presumably the qualifications for entry and naturalization will be whether those who wish to enter demonstrate a capacity to adopt the habits, manners, independence, and self-reliance of republican citizens and devotion to the principles that unite the American people. Furthermore, it would be unreasonable not to expect that potential immigrants should possess useful skills that will ensure that they will not become victims of the welfare state.

Immigration policies should serve the interests of the American people and of the nation—they should not be viewed as acts of charity to the world. Putting America first is a rational goal. It is the essence of sovereignty. And the sovereign nation-state is the only home of citizenship—as it is the only home of constitutional government.

THE HEATLESS SUN

THE HEATLESS SUN (As a follow Up to the Ghostless Machine)

Francis is, by the way, and in my opinion the single worst pope I have seen in my lifetime. He might as well be a secular Western European politician or an American progressive liberal professor of religion.

He is no Man of Miracle and High Ambition, as was John Paul, or even a Man of High yet Humble Mind, as was Benedict.

Rather he is a devoted apparatchik and zealous liberal agent of that queer modern fusion known as political-religion – posing as a pope.

On the other hand he must be extremely comforting to the “modern Christian,” be he Catholic or Protestant. You know, the one who believes nothing (terrified of the very idea of miracles, or that they might stain themselves by being involved in one) and wants desperately to share that state of eternally mundane miasma with everyone, so that like a good Socialist Christian all are equally moderate in soullessness.

He is, after all, precisely what they are… how could they not be enthralled?

Pascal’s Fire & 8 Minutes Till Darkness

I had a long late breakfast this morning with a Catholic friend, a native of Baton Rouge who now lives in New England, but is in town visiting his family. When we sat down at the restaurant, I mentioned to him that I had seen this tweet from a very solid Catholic priest friend:

Fr. Matt Fish@matthewjfish

Gospel today: can we please stop talking about sharing the loaves? Instead: mountains and theophanies, new Moses, Passover meal, new Exodus, anticipation of eschatological banquet, sacrifice of the lamb, kingship of Jesus, miracle vs sign, all acceptable alternatives.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

To which I had responded (on Twitter) by quoting part of Blaise Pascal’s note at the end of a late-night mystical vision in 1654. Here is the entire quote from Pascal, for whom this vision occasioned a deeper conversion:

FIRE.

GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob
not of the philosophers and of the learned.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
GOD of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your GOD will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.
He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Grandeur of the human soul.
Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have departed from him:
They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.
My God, will you leave me?
Let me not be separated from him forever.
This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.
Let me never be separated from him.
He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth.
May I not forget your words. Amen.

My friend shook his head, smiling sardonically. “I had the ‘miracle of sharing’ homily at mass this morning!” he said. He was angry about it.

This is a sad old joke for Catholics. When the Gospel reading is the story of Christ feeding the multitude with just a few loaves and fishes, some Catholic priests (like, um, this guy) are in the habit of downplaying the supernatural core of the event, and saying that the real miracle here was the “miracle of sharing” — the idea that the generosity Christ inspired in people’s hearts is what that story is about. The Catholic blogger Amy Welborn once wrote about this phenomenon (which some Protestants have had to endure too); the unnamed acquaintance in her story is me. I was still Catholic then, and had been at mass that day in St. Francisville, when I heard the priest give that lame homily. When I politely confronted him about it after mass, he pulled me out of his way.

The “Miracle Of Sharing” is shorthand among certain orthodox Catholics as a symbol for the desacralization of the faith by priests who don’t really believe in it, not as Pascal’s fire. My friend this morning said that listening to that lazy homily this morning at mass, with the meaning of the Cardinal McCarrick scandal weighing heavily on his mind, infuriated him. I blog here about our ensuing conversation with his permission, though I’m not going to name him.

“You remember how you had on your blog a couple of weeks ago that stuff about the final pagan generation?” he said.

He was referring to this post about how pagan Roman elites in the fourth century complacently believed that the old religion was going to endure. Even though the ground itself had shifted under their feet throughout the century, as Christian conversions continued throughout the Empire, they didn’t see what was happening around them. All the outward forms of pagan religion — the temples, the shrines, the public celebrations — were still more or less in place, even though the inner light of pagan belief was fast dimming. Then suddenly, paganism was gone. Historian Edward Watts, author of 2015’s The Final Pagan Generationwrites about how these elites turned out to have been the last people educated and formed intellectually in classical pagan culture. They did not recognize what was happening to their civilization. It had always been pagan, and always would be, they thought … until suddenly, it wasn’t anymore, and never was again.

Anyway, my friend said this morning that he agrees with me that Christians today — he was talking about his fellow Catholics in particular, but nodded when I said this is true of all Christians in the West — are like the Final Pagan Generation.

“It takes eight minutes for light to reach earth from the sun,” he said. “If the sun stopped exploding, if it went dark, it would be eight minutes before we knew it. I feel like we’re  living in that eight minutes now, about the faith.”

He explained that from what he sees around him, the Catholic faith is pretty much a dead letter. My friend is a deeply convinced believer, but the corruption in the clergy and in the episcopate has left him reeling. We’ve been friends for a while, and I know that he’s been undeceived for years about the real state of things in the Church. But the Cardinal McCarrick thing seems to have been a breaking point for him. He’s filled with disgust and anger at the Catholic bishops, doubting now how many of them have faith at all. How can you believe in Jesus Christ but facilitate so much corruption, sexual and otherwise? he said.

My friend is no Puritan. But he has hit a wall, and he has hit it hard. The “miracle of sharing” sermon stood out to him as a symbol of the total spiritual mediocrity of the Church in our time and place. The house is burning down around them, and sentimental priests can’t stop talking about that warm feeling in their hearts.

“They think they’re giving us mercy, but they’re not,” said my friend, who has suffered some serious setbacks in his own life in the past couple of years. “I’m desperate for mercy. I need it so much in my life. The hard truths that the Church teaches, that’s real mercy, not this fake stuff. Those truths give me what I need to bear up to all these trials. To live sacrificially when the world says the easy thing would be to give up.”

“To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever looked up to a priest as a spiritual father,” he continued. “I guess I had to learn a long time ago not to expect anything from them other than giving out the Sacrament.”

“Where I live, the Church is over. It’s done,” he said. “I was at mass a few weeks ago, and looked around, and my family were the only people there under 70. Nobody else is coming.”

It’s true that New England used to be the most Catholic part of the United States. Now it is one of the most secular. My friend says that when the grey hairs start to die off, very few believers will be around to replace them. And yet, there’s little sense of urgency in the Church there, he says — at least not the kind of urgency inspiring the clergy and the laity to search for Pascal’s Fire. They’re just content to fade into the mist.

It’s different in south Louisiana, he said — but this is little consolation. He grew up in this place, immersed in Catholic culture. “I feel like living in New England puts me ten to fifteen years ahead of y’all down here,” he said. “What we’re living through up north is coming here, but nobody seems to understand that.”

Far too many people in the South take comfort in the generally Christian culture here, said my friend. He wants me to understand that he’d take that over the spiritual desolation he’s living and raising his Catholic family in now, but it’s still a very serious problem, because it breeds complacency. Everybody’s happy sending their kids to Catholic school, going to mass on Sunday, hearing about the Miracle of Sharing, and consoling themselves that it’s all going pretty well now, and always will.

Meanwhile, he said, the faith is dying in the hearts of the middle-aged and the young.

“I don’t think it’s going to be the kind of thing where it just gradually declines,” he said. “I think it’s going to be more like one of these things where people just stop showing up. It’s going to be abrupt. Nobody’s going to see it coming, but when it happens, they’re not going to be surprised, either.”

Of course I told him that this is not just a Catholic experience, but a general Christian experience today. It plays out differently among Evangelicals, for example, but it’s there. If it weren’t, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism wouldn’t be the true American religion. An Evangelical pastor friend told me recently over the desperation among so many Evangelicals, always looking for the Next Big Thing — praise bands! smoke machines! — to keep emotions high and the troops rallied, and to keep people from noticing that the churches have been hollowed out from within.

None of this is new with me, of course. My Catholic breakfast friend and I talk about this kind of thing whenever we see each other. What made today’s conversation stand out to me was the power of his “eight minutes to darkness” metaphor — that, and his visceral post-McCarrick anger at the hierarchy and clergy of his own Church. To emphasize: it’s not only about toleration, even encouragement, of sexual sin and corruption, but satisfaction with spiritual “mediocrity” (his word) general in the Catholic Church today. That last one is an accusation that could accurately and justly be leveled at nearly all of us Christians, Catholic and otherwise.

We Christians are living out the Eight Minutes Till Darkness. If we are going to have the ability to see clearly when the lights go out, we are going to have to start tending Pascal’s fire in our own hearts, our own families, our own Christian schools, and our own religious communities. This is what the Benedict Option is about. This, I think, is why people like my older Millennial friend visiting from New England, as well as young Catholics in Europe, are so enthusiastic about the Benedict Option: because they already live in once-Christian lands across which the shadow of night has fallen.

For American Catholics, the McCarrick affair is an apocalypse in the strict sense of the word — that is, an unveiling. Believe it or not, this can be a blessing. It’s better to know the truth, and to go forward undeceived, than to operate under false pretenses. As angry as my Catholic friend is about this corruption, and as little confidence as he has in the bishops and the clergy, he is still committed to the Catholic faith. Now he has to figure out where to go from here, as a husband and a father and a soldier who salutes the uniform of the officer class, but has little to no faith in their ability to lead.

I don’t want to leave you on an anti-clerical note. It’s understandable, given all the news about clerical corruption, and besides, nobody wants to be taken advantage of by bishops who say “we are one body, one body in Christ” as a way of leaning on the laity to pay off the debts the clergy have incurred for molesting children and (in the case of bishops) tolerating it for decades. However, it would be self-serving for the laity to blame the clergy entirely. I’m thinking as I write this of a very fine young Orthodox priest I know who is in a difficult position. He did not tell me this, but someone who knows him passed on to me that no matter what he has done to try to engage his fairly large congregation with actual Orthodoxy (as distinct from ethnic-festival Orthodoxy), they resist and try to shut him down. They don’t want to be bothered with it. They’re fine with Miracle Of Sharing™ Christianity.

A Mainline Protestant friend of mine’s father got mad at his pastor once, for what I was told was good reason. After that, though, the man fell into the habit of finding fault with every pastor the church had. It wasn’t that the old man was always wrong, I was given to understand, but that the old man (who wasn’t old at all when this started) did not compensate for the clergy’s failing by either finding another church, or redoubling his own spiritual disciplines. Instead, he griped about church, and stopped going; his wife went along with it. He told himself and his family that he didn’t need to go to a church building and listen to boring sermons to find God. So he quit going to church, though he told himself that if the clergy would ever get its act together, he might start coming again.

For decades this went on. The old man finally died. I’m told that today, you will find none of that old man’s descendants in that church. Would things have been different for that family had the old man and his wife met the crisis of clerical mediocrity differently, instead of lazily blaming the institution for all their own failings? Maybe, maybe not. But at least their kids and grandkids would have had a better shot at holding onto the faith. In that family, the eight minutes till darkness passed a while back. In my friend’s late father, I very much see the attitude that my own late, Christian but non-churchgoing father had: believing that the faith would always be here because it always had been here, and that the church was like a public utility: always there to make sure that the lights would come on.

He was wrong. It’s going to be like that for all of us, if we don’t kindle Pascal’s fire, and seek the face of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

UPDATE: Well, whaddaya know, here’s what Pope Francis said today about the Loaves & Fishes reading Gospel reading:

Then, at the end of the account, when all were satiated, Jesus asked His disciples to gather the pieces left over, so that nothing would be wasted. And I would like to propose to you this phrase of Jesus: “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost” (v. 12). I think of people who are hungry and how much leftover food we throw away . . . Let each one of us think: the food that’s left over at lunch, at dinner, where does it go? In my home, what’s done with this leftover food? Is it thrown out? No. If you have this habit, I give you advice: talk with your grandparents who lived after the War and ask them what they did with leftover food. Never throw away leftover food. It’s re-heated or given to someone who can eat it, who is in need. Never throw away leftover food. This is advice but also an examination of conscience: what is done at home with leftover food?

Let us pray to the Virgin Mary, so that in the world programs dedicated to development, to supplies, to solidarity prevail and not those of hatred, of armaments and of war.

That’s the end of his six-minute homily, but it gives you the gist. If you want to listen to the whole thing, it starts shortly after the 3:00 mark, and the concluding passage above begins about 8:30:

THE GHOSTLESS MACHINE

THE GHOSTLESS MACHINE

Christianity, especially Ancient and Medieval Christianity is awash in the supernatural and in spirituality. And in a far more potent and real form than that of any historical branch of paganism. That’s one reason it replaced paganism, and worldwide.

It is the modern Christian who has castrated Christianity of all its inherent force and power to fix obsessively upon the much smaller issues of politics, culture, entertainment, society, and materialism.

As a matter of fact it is very hard to see where society ends and the church or Christianity begin. It is like a sow who has birthed a fat piglet. Place either upon the plate as cooked ham and without further information you’d be hard pressed to identify the source.

The trouble with modern Christianity in this sense (and there are almost countless problems with modern Christianity) is not that Christianity is not a far more viable and valid form of spirituality than paganism, it is that modern Christianity has no spirituality any longer, just as it has no magic, miracle, or salvific force. Not in the West anyway.

And that began (the abolition of miracles, spirituality, the Mysteries, etc.), rightly or wrongly with the Protestant Revolution. And some things concerning the Protestant Reform should have definitely happened and some things should have never happened at all. But still they did.

And as a result Christianity is now but shadow of itself and a mere machine without a Ghost, Holy or otherwise. Or should I just say it is little more than a mere cultural artefact and a religion Wholly Without a Ghost…

I recently visited the website of a popular company that sells products like deodorant and toothpaste with natural ingredients. Curious to learn more about the business, I visited their blog which was purportedly about the latest trends in health and wellness.

What greeted me was not what I expected. Rather than tips on exercise or healthy eating, the blog featured stories about the healing power of crystals and the benefits of tarot card reading. This was at once surprising and unsurprising, for new age and occult practices, in all their various forms, are experiencing a major resurgence, especially among millennials. But from a company that sells toothpaste?

It is no exaggeration to say that, despite the best efforts of the New Atheists, our culture is more awash in spirituality than ever before. One can hardly go anywhere today without seeing products, articles, and popular gurus encouraging practices like yoga, meditation, reiki—and now, tarot and crystals—as essential to a healthy lifestyle. In the realm of entertainment, hugely popular series like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones all draw on themes of magic and the supernatural.

What are we to make of this ?

Heresy…or Hunger

From a Christian perspective, many of these trends are undoubtedly suspect or downright heretical. And yet, we should think carefully before issuing anathemas, for while misguided, many of our culture’s flirtations with the occult really betray a deep hunger for the supernatural.

Theologian Alexander Schmemann once said, “To condemn a heresy is relatively easy. What is much more difficult is to detect the question it implies, and to give this question an adequate answer.” He was right. As Catholics, we are often in such a rush to point out what is wrong with neo-pagan practices that we miss the deeper questions they imply. And we certainly fail to give them a satisfying answer.

The truth is, our culture is starving for the supernatural. My generation has been raised to believe that we are nothing more than accidentally advanced apes on an unusually lucky space rock floating in a meaningless sea of nothingness in a universe that could care less whether we lived or died. It is despair inducing in the highest degree. Moreover, we have been told, nearly since infancy, that science has answered nearly all questions of existence, and if any remain unanswered, they will be resolved quite soon. For every question, there is an answer, even before you ask it. Existence is thus no longer wonderfully strange and awe-inspiring, but mundane and prosaic.

As a result, young adults today are desperate for an encounter with authentic mystery. Things like astrology and crystals are attractive because they are strange and defy the scientific-materialist paradigm. There are certainly explanations for how they work, but they require a level of faith. And despite what the pompous atheists claim, we want to have faith in something we can’t fully explain. We are fundamentally religious beings, and we instinctively know there is more to the world than meets the eye. We are hungry for magic and mystery and will embrace the first thing, rightly or wrongly, that offers it.

The Failure of Christianity

Now, you  may be reading this and thinking that Christianity, especially Catholicism, believes and proclaims the existence of supernatural realities, so why abandon it for neo-pagan practices? Wouldn’t their hunger for the supernatural be satisfied at their local parish?

Yes and no. Yes, because the supernatural mysteries taught by the Church do exist. No, because in practice we so often deny them.

We claim to believe in angels and archangels and a host of saints who join us in worship. Yet, we strip our churches bare and make them into beige-carpeted business centers, rather than holy temples.

We claim to believe that each Mass is a miracle that brings God bodily to dwell among us. Yet we make our liturgy a comfortable affair, eliminating anything that is difficult, disorienting, awe-inspiring, ancient, or mysterious. We sing cheesy ditties, hold hands, and pass out the greatest mystery of all, the Holy Eucharist, like a snack in a cafeteria.

We claim our priests have supernatural powers to consecrate, bless, and preach. Yet we water-down or change their sacred formulas, eliminate their rituals, and distribute their duties to laymen as often as possible.

We claim to believe in the Almighty, the Creator of all before whom the burning spirits veil their faces, yet we insist on dragging him down to our level to accommodate our needs and sins. We say we believe in supernatural mystery, but we do all in our power to destroy it at every turn.

If lex orandi, lex credendi is true, then we simply do not believe what we say we believe.

Christian Secularists

To be perfectly honest, we have failed to offer an encounter with mystery for some time now. The mass abandonment of the faith by young people is not so much a sign of their wickedness as an indictment of our own practical unbelief.

As Catholics, we long ago turned the faith into an intellectual game devoid of mysticism, priding ourselves on our clear philosophy and well articulated theological frameworks. But the letter without the spirit, philosophical theology without mystical encounter, kills. It is a head without a heart, and it cannot give life.

When the world walked away—tired of textbook answers and hungry for the Transcendent Mystery—we became not lessworldly but more worldly. We embraced modern, secular modernity, stripping our faith of nearly everything supernatural, and we lost any credibility we had left.

The truth is, most of us live like complete secularists the vast majority of the time. We claim to believe in supernatural realities, but compartmentalize them to one hour, one day per week—and perhaps not even that. Heaven is always somewhere out there, and never really upsets my daily existence. We aren’t taken seriously by modern men and women hungry for the supernatural because we don’t believe in the supernatural, despite what we say.

The Answer

I have been critical to this point because it upsets me to see countless Catholics practically deny the supernatural realities of our faith with banal liturgies and disrespect or even disdain for the holiest things of our religion, and then see the same Catholics criticizing the errors of wayward neo-pagan youth. Until we take our own faith seriously, no one else will.

But I don’t simply want to criticize; I want to offer a solution. The answer is not difficult to discern. It is simply this: Emphasize the supernatural reality of our faith at every turn, recover those traditions which preserve and honor this reality, and thus offer an encounter with what one theologian termed the mysterium tremendum et fascinans—the Great and Awesome Mystery—which is Almighty God.

For everywhere the Holy Eucharist is treated with awesome and painstaking reverence, everywhere buildings still appear to be and are treated like temples, everywhere saints are still venerated and angels called upon, everywhere priests are honored as the supernaturally-endowed mediators that they are, everywhere miracles are still believed in and occur, the faith is growing. And it is almost always young people who flock to such places.

If we want to be a viable alternative to neo-paganism, we need to embrace once again the supernatural traditions of our faith. Our sacred language. Our ancient and venerable rites and formulas. Our “superstitious” Catholic practices. Our symbols. Our mystical traditions of prayer. We don’t need only more catechesis, as if ideas alone could save us. We need more mystery, more transcendence, more ritual, more magic, for lack of a better word.

Every Catholic must become a mystic, in the sense that we live like the supernatural is as real as the air we breathe—because it is. Then, and only then, will we be able to speak authentically to a world hungry for the divine.

MODERN MAN AND THE TRAINABLE PIG

The only thing easier to subvert and influence with bad habits and instruction than a modern man is a trainable pig.

Then again you gotta work at training a pig. All you’ve got to do with a modern man is just drop him in the center of his supposed “culture” and most of them will reflexively absorb by osmosis every low social custom they come can possibly come into contact with.

Modern man is hardly known for his strength of mind and soul. He is, however, very well known for how easy he is to corrupt, pervert, and manipulate.

GIVING UP, GAINING, AND BEING REBORN (as a REAL HUMAN BEING) AGAIN

GIVING UP, GAINING, AND BEING REBORN (as a REAL HUMAN BEING) AGAIN

 

Over the past few years and up until recently (within the past few weeks) I have given up a number of things. As a result I have gained immensely in numerous other ways and, to be honest, I feel as if I have been reborn as a kid (teenager to my early twenties). Psychologically that is. And in my worldview and in my mental and behavioral outlook upon Life (and Death) and upon many other things as well – such as Work and Achievement and Enterprise and Industry.

Physically I am approaching 55 years old but the vast majority of the time I feel (in my body and how I can use it) like I’m about 30 years old.

Here are some of the things I have given up and what I have gained as a result:

Video games (gave them up years and years ago), haven’t missed them at all, they were a huge time-suck. Gain: Productive use of my time and an absolute revulsion for escapist entertainment. Feeling of being a kid again. To replace that kind of passive, escapist entertainment I took up real recreations again, including, but not limited to playing wargames and RPGs and board games with real people.

Cell Phone: as my family and friends will tell you I only use it for emergency and business communications. Or to take pics if I am vadding. I am untrackable otherwise and never turn it on. My wife and kids and even friends spent years trying to convince me to get one. But I’ve never liked the God-damned thing. (It is one of those pieces of modern technology that I can honestly hear God saying, “ah, that’s a real piece of infiltrating demonic shit son, and will only lessen your ability to truly Live, not enhance it. Burn the damned thing.” I can easily hear Christ saying that too, as an off-hand remark.) It has always revolted me. The idea of being traceable is also disgusting and unmanly to me. Nevertheless I keep it to please my wife and kids and for security reasons. Gain: Not using it or activating it means I always enjoy the Real World far more. I observe closely and easily all that goes on around mem as is my natural inclination. I haven’t had an auto-accident in over thirty years. Though I have avoided many. Time means nothing to me. I go where I wanna go and do what I wanna do. I talk constantly to strangers when travelling, often engage in and initiate conversations, or am engaged in or others initiate conversations with me. Nobody will bother talking to ya, nor do you bother meeting new people if you have a fucking phone stuck to your face all of the time or you’re so damned rude you think it more important than the actual people you’re in the company of. I don’t care for those shitheads and most others don’t either. Who would?

Eating: I gave up eating (doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy my food, just don’t need much of it) any more than I really need to in order to sustain myself and to grow myself or repair damage during training. Gain: less weight, leaner, more muscle, better health, more energy, easy to fast.

Sugar: aside from chocolate (usually semi-sweet form) I take in none. Gain: Better energy, rarely tired (I can go to bed at midnight or one, arise at five or six AM and be good all day. Better health, hormone, and metabolic regulation. Rarely sick, injuries don’t bother me nearly as much as they used too. Rare pain unless I over-exert myself clearing land or training or boxing. Quicker recovery.

Soda: Gain: same as above for sugar. No advantages of any kind for sodas or processed sugar.

Bread: Gain: same as above. Occasionally I’ll eat flatbread or unleavened bread or antique breads.

Coffee: I drink this still, but very rarely now. Gain: better energy and metabolic self-regulation.

Junk Food: gave that shit up a long time ago. Gain: rarely sick, not fat, good diet and nutrition, take no meds of any kind (you’d be surprised how this shocks modern doctors and nurses and surgeons), good energy, train easily, little to no exhaustion, no desire to eat it. Taking in eating as a whole (diet, sugar, soda, bread, less consumption) my body is far better off, my mind is clear and alert, my concentration is superb, I dream and recall my dreams better, and my attitude is positive, optimistic, and happy.

Politics: gave this up about a six months or so ago. Aside from the necessary evils of my political duties (to thwart this world becoming a modern liberal, socialistic, Islamic, communistic, impoverished, tyrannical hellhole) I could give a shit less about politics and take no notice of it. Gain: nothing but positive, especially on my outlook and optimism. Also I got out of that modern, effeminate, unmanly, pussified habit of just talking about problems and politics ad infinitum (instead of acting on them) as if “consciousness raising” or “internet awareness” were some kind or form of valid problem solving. What a self-deluding, unmanly pussy pursuit. It is the political and social equivalent of modern Christians who say, “I’ll pray,” but never left their hands or can’t be bothered to actually do anything.  So I’m glad to be shed of that shit.

TV: gave up watching TV. Sent back DirectTV receiver and don’t watch local channels (haven’t done that for decades) and eliminated Netflix, etc. Gain: Don’t miss it. At all. Time I would have spent on that shit now goes to far more important things (like traveling, spending time with family, clearing land, my Work and Career, new start-ups, making submissions, networking, exploring, vadding, hanging out with friends, etc.) I also now spend a lot of time with my kids, cuddling and showing affection to my wife, more sex with her, etc. My self-education program flourishes. I stargaze more. My language acquisition programs have improved and advanced. Very much like being a kid again when I never watched TV. I was always far too busy doing things, learning things, having fun, and enjoying myself instead.

News: I gave up watching all TV news some time back. Gain: Happy, optimistic, not bothered by modern bullshit, not obsessed by disaster, doom, or politics (next to criminal and terrorist activity and entertainment and crack-whoring the lowest of all forms of human enterprise). Far less distraction.

Introversion: gave up any idea at all that I am a natural introvert. Yes, when it comes to Work I prefer to work alone, and always have, and likely to some degree always will. But with the kids now in college and having a free hand to maneuver my extroverted side has reasserted itself vigorously. So I have gone back to being what is my natural and true inclination, an Ambivert.  When working I am still basically an introvert, but when out in public or otherwise I am very much an extrovert, as my wife and kids can tell you. Gain: Immense.

Worrying About Money, or giving a shit about it: gave this up maybe two or three years ago. Something like that. Gain: better marriage, better family, increases in income, more time on Work and Career, easier money and time management, more saving and investments, more entrepreneurialism. Instead of giving a shit about money I now just say to myself: “what are my real momentary and monetary priorities, and knowing those I’ll get the money and constantly (over time) increase my income and Wealth.” If it is not really a priority then I don’t care one way or another. I am neither enslaved by lack of money, nor impressed by having it. And I feel more and more, even absolutely confident, that I will become incredibly wealthy over time. But I don’t give a shit for money other than what I can use it to do. (Build things, advance my career, take care of others, start businesses, invest, do charity and philanthropy, engage in science – do important things in the world.) Aside from what it allows me to do I am completely Stoic and entirely unconcerned about money. And I Sleep like a baby.

Professional Sports: I gave up watching professional sports decades ago, (almost three decades now) and college sports not long after that (reminds me far too much of pro sports).  To me they are merely vastly overpaid, spoiled, self-absorbed entertainers, and also they tend to be primarily urbanized Europeans in their mindsets (probably the result of nearly all pro-sport teams being located in big and degenerate cities, big city people never really understand just how naturally corrupting their urbanized environments and mindsets make them, but the corruption is deep even if rarely realized). I do not admire or respect most professional athletes and as far as their thin and anemic contributions to society I rank those right up there with other professional entertainers. Which means I don’t rank them very high at all. Not as a profession anyway, individuals vary, of course. I do not consider most to be manly in their natures at all. When a damned professional football game or team takes ten minutes to run a single play because of time outs and clock delays and men have to reset in huddle for an interminable time period lest they break a real sweat (or anything else) then to me that is the very height of pussydom and unmanliness, not sport. And there is nothing “professional” about that. That is the very opposite of professional when it comes to sport – which should be a test not only of skill, strength and of power, but of endurance, speed, toughness, reflexes, drive, determination, and exhaustion, and the effort to overcome weakness.  It isn’t any of those things anymore, it is an effeminate attempt to appear impressive yet preserve and coddle and overcompensate “assets” for purposes of entertainment. Also I won’t even bother to mention the effeminate nature of the politics that now also infect all professional and collegiate sports top to bottom. But I will say this, the modern politics of professional sports is the result of the decades long slide into effeminacy, over-concern with money and profit, and the obsession with appearance, not performance – or in other words, the effeminacy and unprofessionalism is not the result of the politics. That’s just a late stage symptom (and hopefully a terminal one). First came the decline in the full range of athleticism, then came the resulting political corruption, not the other way around. So instead I indulge myself in personal and amateur athletics – climbing, hiking in pack, weight-lifting, running (a little, not so much after I broke my wrist), boxing, exploring, outdoor activities, clearing land, using my axes and hatchets, etc. I will however watch little league baseball, or kids play soccer, rugby, football, baseball, etc. Because they are enjoying it just as sport, and as fun, and because they aren’t clogged and cluttered with endless rules and endorsements. Gain: great advantages to my own health, no time, money, or effort wasted on these meaningless distractions, and far better uses of my recreational activities.

Social Media and most of the Internet: aside from business purposes or aside from the fact of someone mentioning me on social media (don’t wanna be rude) or something truly important happening I don’t comment on it, respond to it, give a shit about it or use it. Social media might take two minutes out of my day, usually just to scan and make sure distant family and friends are okay. Many days, sometimes weeks go by, and I don’t bother to look at it. Also I am now far more naturally skeptical or anything and everything I see on the internet nowadays and many things tend to amuse rather than bother me. Gain: how do I list them, or how many can I possibly name? All that pointless, wasted time is now free for me to do as I wish, want, desire, or need. To spend on far more important things. And most everything in life is far, far more important. (Looking back upon it objectively now one of the worst sins of the baby-boomers was laying the groundwork for whole generations growing up on this bullshit and thinking it normal. Pathetic. Even bathetic. I hope one day when you kids grow past this pointless shit, and give it up too, you will forgive us… we really did a number on you. Not to mention ourselves.)

Other Things I have Gained as a Complimentary Result of my Revolt against all this Modern Bullshit: I spend more time with God, more time improving myself, I have more time to practice Christian Theurgy, more time for charity and philanthropic work, I spend more time praying and in meditation, more time at philosophy, and languages, more time writing (poetry, novels, articles, short stories, songs), more time learning music and playing guitar and piano, have more time for physical training, more time for inventing, I have gone back to the practice of Raja Yoga, more time playing wargames and gaming with people (RPGs etc.), more time with family, more time travelling, more time making new friends (in person, not on internet), more time outdoors and in nature, more time to pursue my more obscure interests and experiments, and I could probably go on and on in this vein.

In short, I haven’t lost a thing. Instead by giving up all of that otherwise unimportant, petty, modern shit and by fully enjoying the naturally resulting Gains thereof I am living like my ancestors, ancient ancestors, and a like Real Human Being again.
About bloody time…

I NOW USE SOCIAL MEDIA ENTIRELY DIFFERENTLY: THE PERSONAL ABDICATION AGE

I now use social media entirely differently than I did before after just a two week haitus (from my previous methods).

1. I now no longer make any comments on social media at all unless it is extremely important that I do so or it is for professional reasons. (Following basically the Elon Musk method of employing social media).

2. I no longer give a shit for commenting on social media about political matters, and politics is 90 to 95% of the cesspool of social media, and possibly 75 to 80% of the overall sepsis that is the modern internet. (Along with inane comments about sports and music and film and pop-culture. When you really look at it entirely objectively and logically it is a wretchedly hollow and empty landscape of little inherent value.) No wonder modern man (for whom I have little respect anyway) is so fucking pathetically stupid, not to mention willingly ignorant and uneducated on most all other matters, that being the apex of his thoughts, aspirations, achievements, and modern philosophies, and that being the outside orbital limits of his intelligence.

Yes, I still understand and always will that politics is a necessary and degenerate evil, that if not exercised properly allows and condones a passive and juvenile acceptance of evil, but the internet is not the place to exercise even a modest level of force or reform.  So when I must be politically active I do so in a  place and forum and among those people and groups that can actually accomplish something of true merit. For I am not a modern man to either ridiculously believe that man will be “saved” by anything as temporal or moronic or self-deluding as politics, nor am I a modern man who believes that mere “awareness” leads to anything of actual use at all. Especially the interminable and effeminate “awareness raising of modern man.”

If it takes you more than a short period of time to come to understand the nature of a given problem, and you must pass year after year in an effort of “awareness raising” then you are either an outright fool or the problem is something far different than you currently imagine. And that problem is you.

The actual Truth is that “awareness raising” is simply the habitual and shameless socialized pussy tactic of modern men to hide their effeminate and innate (or well-trained) personal cowardice, and to conceal their stubborn self-refusal to act.

Same for this modern movement of “let’s just all live in peace and harmony” no matter how the other people truly behave and act. Yes, a man should live in peace and harmony with others in most things, but where evil flourishes you do not accommodate, you eliminate. Harmony is for consonant and tonal musical accompaniment in major keys, not for the passive accommodation of real wrong in the real world in human societies.

There is no such thing as an actual good to be achieved by accommodating evil, or by endless awareness raising. Neither is Real, in the sense of having any relation to a worthwhile Reality. Both are the bathetic social constructs of a deeply sick society, and of a corrupt and bovinely herdish culture.

Men act. They do not debate endlessly or post without end about their intentions. Real Men set to work, not to ceaseless talk, nor do they dwell upon the same problem incessantly and forever.

(I offer you the effeminate and dishonorable/unmanly disaster that is Western Europe as but one blatantly obvious example of this factual point.)

If a problem is easy to solve then they simply solve it, case closed. If the problem is currently insoluble then they set it aside until such time as they can effectively act against it. If a problem is serious enough to pose a real threat then they act instantly to kill it. Problem solved.

The internet and social media is not currently geared towards either Manhood or Problem-Solving, it is geared towards effeminate indecision and inactivity and the unnatural problem amplification this can only surely intensify.

3. If I have something really important to say or do or build or create then I seek publishers or agents or allies or investors or partners with whom to act and to pursue profit, not internet and social media buddies with whom to commiserate or endlessly review the same problems no one is bothering to resolve. Again, action is what counts in life. Not endless chatter. This is how you actually achieve in life, and social media is not a real accomplishment, and the modern internet is not a conducive field of worthwhile activity. It is rather primarily a liability and a time-use profit cost, and/or a method of self-distraction disguised as supposedly sophisticated communications that are likewise camouflaged as real social interaction.

It is primarily (incessant) mental masturbation and near eternal social escape and evasion. The Bread and Circuses of the “Information Age.” And I use that term sardonically, of course, – it should actually be called “The Personal Abdication Age” or the “Age of Intentional Individual Impotence.”

(I also now have some real and good inkling of why the “personalities” of so many people on-line are so crudely and incompletely developed. They have used technology and the internet as an artificial and poor substitute for actual personality and psychological development. You know, the kinds of things you sued to have to do in Real Life.)

4. I use social media almost exclusively now for professional reasons, to promote my work, to make profitable contacts, or to make useful and interesting discoveries (similar to how I used it in the early days, on message-boards). Otherwise it tends to revolt me just to think on it.

5. I do scan social media approximately once a week to assure my more distant friends and family (and even pleasant acquaintances) are safe and thriving and if they need support in some way (encouragement, prayer, or charitable assistance) then I give it, or if I can go visit them in person (isn’t that an incredibly radical concept?), then I do so. Otherwise I keep my mouth shut and my effort and attention on actual activity. Not on mere commentary.

In these ways I can limit my entire social media time and presence to about ten minutes per week and often to under five minutes a week.

As for my Real Social Life – it thrives. I explore every week now, travel a great deal (often, though not always, with my wife), meet new people and engage in real conversations regularly, am again joining organizations and groups of like-minded and like-acting individuals, can allow my extroverted side free rein (and reign) again, and am just generally enjoying the hell out of myself. (It definitely helps that both my children are now in college and are likewise thriving, so I am again free to maneuver without anchor or hindrance, you might say).

I can foresee no reason to ever again return to my misguided and juvenile previous use of social media, and I encourage everyone to abandon it as much as possible or even altogether, or at least to radically reform how you use and employ it.

You will never again regain the time you ineffectively and effeminately and profitlessly pissed away on social media.

But you can halt that pointless habit right now, and replace it with far, far better… like a Real Social Life. Or a Real Life of almost any kind.

WHAT I’LL DO TODAY

WHAT I’LL DO TODAY

On Maundy Thursday I like to remember and to pray for the dearly departed. Family members I have lost, friends who have died or been killed, even pets I miss.

To pray for their souls and that they thrive. Wherever they are and whatever they are doing. It’s a personal thing but it always seems appropriate to me on the Thursday of Mysteries and to commemorate the Last Supper.

Also, I’m gonna take Communion later today. With my family.

Have a Holy and productive Thursday of Mysteries folks!

AS LOW AND AS BLACK AS HELL

AS LOW AND AS BLACK AS HELL

The real problem with this world is not that the United States of America is too bright a beacon of too high a morality, for often we are far darker than we ever should be. (Take abortion as but one hideous and pagan example.)

No, the real problem is not that America is too bright a moral beacon to endure the sight of, or too high a citadel to scale, the real problem is that almost invariably, and no matter the circumstance, the rest of the world is as low and as black as hell.

THE FALL ITSELF

“…the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
to reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”

 

 

Most people think that Paradise Lost is first and foremost the tale of the Fall of Man and the loss of his Paradise on Earth.

In Truth Paradise Lost is first and foremost the tale of how Lucifer forever lost Heaven, Earth, Paradise,  and eventually even hell to become a mere romantic hero, a fool, a failure, and a ruin of his former Self. All because he mistook license for Liberty, revolt for Responsibility, fervor for Freedom, and wrong for Wisdom.

For the Fall of Man was but a worldly incident of a Fall Unmade by a Better and far more Universal Man.

The Fall from Heaven was a universal fall, the unmaking of a being that chose the smallest and most puny thing over the greatest and the most everlasting. In other words, such a fall is the very Fall Itself.

 

DEMOCRACIES AND THE REAL REPUBLIC

DEMOCRACIES AND THE REAL REPUBLIC

In a democracy (especially a socialistic one) the general idea is that every man ought to be free enough to be able to do precisely as he will any time he chooses, be that for good or for ill.

In a Republic (especially a Christian one) the general principle ought to be that every man should be trained from birth to will himself to do only what is Good, Just, and Wise.

If you don’t understand the difference between these two radically different concepts and modes of governance (the one commanded by mere herds of mortal men, the other of the True Self) then it is probably because you have never been seriously or long trained in what is Good, Just, and Wise, or because you have made such an idolatrous fetish of liberty at all costs that what is Good, Just, and Wise has no real prime meaning or influence upon you.

from Political Cause

A FAR GREATER INTEREST

A FAR GREATER INTEREST

I have a far, far greater interest in becoming a Hero, a Genius, and a Saint than I will ever have in being a hippie and protester, an academic or intellectual, or a modern Christian.

For the Hero is memorable and necessary, the Genius is original and useful, and the Saint is, ultimately, the one and only kind of Indispensable Man (or woman).

By contrast the hippie is, far more often than not, an utterly naïve fool, the protestor usually self-absorbed, the academic regularly specious, the intellectual mostly inutile, and the contemporary Christian of the West is, of course, an entirely modern invention.

And a rather bathetic invention at that…

from Human Effort

THE PHILOSOPHICAL SPHERE AND THE COHERENCE OF THE UNIVERSE

THE PHILOSOPHICAL SPHERE AND THE COHERENCE OF THE UNIVERSE

 

I have been rather intensely studying the book Advanced Wizardry by Loricus ben Abechai since I first got it about a year or so ago. The book deals with actual “magic” and “wizardry” though, like me, he has a radically different idea of what both are compared to popular notions of the same. (He is, for instance, I strongly suspect, a Christian Khabbalist as he speaks often and loftily of “The Logos” and many other such mystical Christian terms, and Jewish terms, and relates them all to magic.)

Anyway in the sections I am now reading he has been speaking about the creation of the Wizard’s personal “Philosophical Sphere.” A notion I have never before encountered in any book of magic (certainly not as he means it) even a Medieval or ancient or neo-Platonic one. Though the idea is certainly based upon Jacob Bohme’s idea of the Philosophical Sphere. Now a blog is hardly the place to discuss such ideas or terms because they are quite complex and well beyond what is usually discussed here. And I had to read and re-read what he was saying over and again before it really sank in, the full implications, that is to say. For the man’s original language seems to be Spanish and even though the book is in English the translations are sometimes spotty at best.

But essentially I’ll summarize the idea as best I can:

The Philosophical Sphere is what results when the Wizard transforms or transmutes the Tree of Life into a Sphere whose circumference of immediate effect and power (dunamis) obviously extends about ten feet in diameter in all directions from the Wizard but whose real diameter is infinite and which encompasses everything and so it’s circumference is also eternal. In other words, and this is not exaggeration, the Wizard attempts to create a pocket universe in the form of a Sphere over which he exercises control similar to the way God exercises control over all of existence. This Sphere is not, however, anti-scientific at all, as ben Abechai stresses, because the Sphere cannot create matter or energy out of nothing. Rather it accelerates and interconnects the rate at which things move from Ideal Form or Thought-Form to actual matter and physical substance. What is Real and what Occurs is not altered in the sense of “creation” (only God can truly create) but rather the rate at which things “materialize” into useful (read Practical) and acceptable (read Good, or Beneficial, as opposed to bad or malignant) forms is altered and greatly sped up (or malignant processes can be slowed or possibly even stopped).

In others words things do not moves from Idea or Concept or Conception through the normal and complicated process of materialization to finally appear as either perceptible energy or useful matter, but rather move straight from Concept or Idea or “Logos” to “thing” (object, material). It is the process and speed that is altered by the Philosophical Sphere.

This is indeed a highly brilliant magical concept as it mimics, on the part of the Wizard, the method by which God creates, except of course that God can create literally from nothing whereas the Wizard cannot, but what the Wizard can do is alter the rate from Spiritual Concept to Physical Reality. As the very term implies there is a corresponding necessary set of actions and training required to study and employ the ways in which God behaves (to the Christian this would be “Imitating Christ”) for Philosophy itself means “Love of Wisdom.”

At first though I did not fully grasp what he was saying until he used the term “coherent” for how the Sphere works in conjunction with God, the Wizard, and the surrounding or “outer universe.” Then I realized that he literally meant “Co-Herent,” not as the term is typically used to mean integrity and orderly (though those meanings are also necessarily implied) but both “Inherent and Exherent – or explicit” and that the Sphere exists both within the Universe and within God and the Wizard simultaneously causing all three (points or positions) to fuse together as an inseparable element or Loci. (It just occured to me that the sphere is also a Loci for the Logos!)

Therefore the Sphere is “Coherent” just as it is “Coeval” in the way it can manipulate matter and energy and ben Abechai goes on even further to say that the sphere is in fact, in this sense, the only True or Real Universe (to the Wizard) even though it is a “pocket universe.”

(I am using a sci-fi term because modern men can easily get this idea whereas a “Coherent World or Universe separate from but essential to and within the outer world and in which God and the Wizard operate in tandem” is a term that would be more Medieval and Ancient in concept, and more accurate, as much as words can actually describe such concepts, but would not be easily understand by many modern men. Though I do not think ben Abechai means pocket universe as modern men understand the term, but as a truly independent universe or world within the mind and soul of the Wizard that is capable or transmuting and transforming, or rewriting the world in which all other things exist. The best parallel I can think of is The Kingdom of God idea expressed by Christ and I suspect ben Abechai may mean this precisely. Or something very closely parallel. An invisible but nonetheless very real “pocket universe” seeking to impinge it’s self upon the world around us. Though in actuality, as ben Abechai says, this would in fact be the “True Universe” seeking to supplant or replace the unreal or untrue one.)

The real trick is, of course, the Creation of a properly functioning and constructed Philosophical Sphere, no mean trick as it is literally a curved in upon itself or Spherically transformed Tree of Life.

But if it could be done then it could be an incredible, and incredibly useful feat. Ben Abechai calls this (the Sphere) the “Chief or Primary Tool or Instrument of the Wizard” upon which all the failure or success of his other operations and works as a Wizard entirely depend. So, once all of the necessary preparations and studies are made on my part I shall attempt the creation of my own Philosophical Sphere. (Though i very much suspect that I have been doing this for most of my life now, just maybe mostly sub-consciously in many ways, rather than fully consciously.)

As an example of what I mean another odd or coincidental thing (if you believe in coincidence) in my studies of this book is the fact that my personal motto is “Deus Ordere, et facere ego verite.” Meaning, God Orders and I make Real. (Well, that is the easiest and most common translation I use anyway).

I have had this motto for most of my life, though i only put it in this final form about two decades ago.

In any case I was looking through the suggested method ben Abechai recommends for the creation of my own Philosophical Sphere and ran across this declaration/statement, “In Nomine Tuo Ordo Deum Factum Lumine Est.”

Interesting, eh?

Well, I have other Work to do. I highly recommend ben Abechai’s book, Advanced Wizardry. It was expensive, and it had to be individually printed, but it is without doubt the very best single book on “magic” I have read to date.

Have a good day folks.

THE TERMS OF THE ACTION

Words are the materiel of the mind and the swords of the soul.
Yet let the Wise-Man beware. Only the simple-minded fool and the utterly naive wordsmith could ever assume mere words must shape the world to high outcomes.
A good and proper word is a sharp blade in the hands of a capable and clever man, but action is the arm that wields such a weapon.

 

from Human Effort

OUT OF YOUR GREAT CESSPOOLS

OUT OF YOUR GREAT CESSPOOLS

Out of the “great cities and sprawling urban centers” arise most of the plagues, wholly avoidable disasters, entirely degenerate ideas, unnecessary wars, vapid cultures, weird religions and pathetic self-worshiping idols, bizarre theories, corrupt societies, criminal enterprises, ridiculous examples of fanatical human behavior, tyrannical governments, and mindless, violent herds and mobs that have ever most destructively afflicted the entire Race of Man.

It has always been this way, it will always be that way.

Individually and in small groups man is a wonder, a marvel, a charitable and just being, courageous, productive and capable, clean, pious, truthful, hard-working, often wise and perhaps even, on occasion, a true genius. Just a little lower than the angels, but often even far more humble.

Collectively and in large numbers he is naive, a patsy and a dupe, a tribalist, a socially warped and serfish coward, self-indulgent and self-destructive, degenerate, arrogant, criminalistic, easily manipulated, lazy, a fool, and very often something of an animal. Lower than a beast, for sure, but more desperate and diseased than a virus.

MAN AND WOMAN

A husband and a father should be the Christ and the priest of his own household. A wife and a mother should be the Holy Spirit and the wise woman of her own household.

  *   *   *

A Woman wants a Friend for a Mate; a Man wants a Mate who is a Friend. Figure this out and your marriage will flourish.

  *   *   *

When and where men and women willing sacrifice for the good of the other Love increases and grows great.

  *   *   *

If more people would let God impregnate their hearts then surely far fewer would abort their own offspring. Or their own souls.

from On Man and Woman

 

THE EXCELLENCE OF GOOD DAYS

Spent some of the day playing Skyrim. Just to Vad in my mind and imagination a little. Spent some of the day lifting weights and hiking. Spent some of the day working on the following non-fiction books: The Paths of the Great Man, The Roman Way, and Lifelong Endeavours.
 
Got to work on my Two Week Physical Training Program, to shift around and better organize my files, to finish a children’s story and to do a little bit of work on my new sci-fi short story, The War for Women.
 
Even started a note and sketch book on how I’m going to design The Vadder.
 
Thus it’s been an excellent day. Cold outside for my hike and working out, but otherwise superb.
 
As a matter of fact, starting on Thursday, the kids went away (or one was already at college, the other took a trip) so the wife and I got to spend an excellent couple of days in each other’s presence, relaxing, enjoying each other’s company and enjoying each other physically and sexually.
 
I wasn’t up for our anniversary earlier this month because the wife finally gave me her cold and it struck about the day of our anniversary. But it wasn’t bad and it didn’t last long or do much so this weekend we made up for it.
 
Things are going pretty well for us all and I am extremely optimistic about 2017.
 
I hope the same for you.
 
Now I think I’m gonna go relax a while, read a novel, and if I can track one down listen to a radio play.
 
If not I’ve been listening to an audio book called the Heart and the Fist which I’ve been enjoying immensely. The author and I have a lot in common in our outlook and many of our experiences. I recommend the book.
 
Evening folks.
 

YOUR WOUNDS AND WEAKNESSES

Do not let your wounds and weaknesses long colour your capabilities and capacities.

from Human Effort

 

THE AVOWED DEMOCRAT

THE AVOWED DEMOCRAT

The avowed democrat (he who wishes to be ruled by nothing more than the “will of the masses”) is so lowly a creature that he is matched in his abject cowardice and absolute illogic by no other being alive than he who willingly lives under the rule of the sole tyrant. But in either case, whether he clamors to be ruled by the unchecked tyranny of the masses, or to be ruled by the unrestrained tyranny of the individual, he is certainly a pathetic coward, demonstrably an outright idiot, and most truly a puny fool.

from Political Cause

A BROTHERHOOD OF TIME

A BROTHERHOOD OF TIME

Had a great Veterans Day in the company of a man whose friendship between us runs back a little over 40 years.

Some people you can have a great friendship with in a relatively short period of time. I am glad of those. But in other cases, rare cases, a friendship that has seasoned over an entire lifetime (or nearly so) is deep in a peculiar and particular way that is completely irreplaceable.

The things we have seen, the joys we have known, the fun we have had, the hardships endured, the mutual commiserations, together and alone, they go back a very long time indeed.

In some cases there is a bond far deeper than blood.

A Brotherhood of Time.

And I know you said you were ready to move on, but thank you again for your military service. Our conversations yesterday (on shop and on many other things) reminded me that without men like you, in peace and in war, our nation would have lain vulnerable to many, many threats.

I know also that you think you lost much, and you did, and I wish I could return those things to you. But you gained much for others and I for one have not forgotten it.

And in the big scheme of things I think God will return it to you as well. Maybe not in this world, but it will be returned, and blessed, and multiplied.

I love you man. Safe travels home…

By the way you old bastard, I still owe you a meal. What you did last night, well, that just made us even again…

CONCEIT AND COWARDICE

Most modern people spend their entire lives terrified of being seriously hurt and eventually killed. But once you realize that at some point (if not often) you will certainly be seriously hurt, and that one day, without fail, you will eventually be killed (by something or someone), then being terrified is a rather ridiculous conceit. Not to mention an extremely cowardly one.

from Lessons Learned

CHAOTIC NEUTRAL VERSUS NEUTRAL EVIL

Personally speaking (as to his nature and personality) Trump is Chaotic Neutral.

But realistically speaking (as to her Actual Nature) Clinton is Neutral Evil…

A GOOD SEX LIFE

 

The Secrets to a Healthy Sex Life: Advice from Legendary Bodybuilder Joe Weider

By Brett & Kate McKay on Oct 16, 2016 09:12 pm
weider

Editor’s note: As one of the fathers of modern bodybuilding, Joe Weider founded the International Federation of Bodybuilders, created the Mr./Ms. Olympia contests, and published numerous fitness magazines. He also developed several weight training programs in the 1950s, many of which were available by mail-order. Weider was interested in helping his clients build the whole man, and along with the booklets on bodily development he sent out to subscribers, he sometimes included pamphlets on how to strengthen other aspects of their lives like dating and career.

Below you’ll find one of these pamphlets on the “Secrets of a Healthy Sex Life.” (It has been condensed from the original, but the ellipses do not indicate cuts — that was just Weider’s writing style.) While some of the advice may read as old-fashioned, much of it is quite sound and deserves to be circulated — if only to propagate the delightfully amusing phrase “barbell widow.”

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My Dear Student:

You have faithfully followed my bodybuilding courses and I am sure that you have developed a strong, well-knit physique; one with which I know you are highly pleased and greatly impressed.

And having studied the personal success courses which I have sent you week by week, I also know that you have achieved an equally notable improvement in your personality. I’m sure that you feel emotionally stronger and more secure, and that others have noticed this continuing expansion of your more-powerful personality.

Gradually, progressively, surely, you have become a well-integrated individual…a man of confidence who lacks fear; a man of leadership who accepts high challenge; a man who knows that success in life will henceforth be assured.

And now you have come to the point when the last unfoldment of your personality must be as well-served and as diligently worked for as any other phase of your physical and personal development: achieving a happy and healthy sex life and the winning of the girl of your dreams.

How to prepare for this life…how to practice it and build toward it is most important, for if you have a thorough knowledge of what is good and bad in it you will reap the riches of a bountiful life. Without such knowledge — just to drift along without understanding and appreciation of it — can be personally and physically disastrous.

In previous lessons I have urged you to always be selective. To size up things in their proper light; to judge men shrewdly; to calculate risks; and to make your first decision the right decision.

This selective principle will serve you well in whatever you do; and it is particularly important to utilize it in the choice of the girls you go with; the girl you may ultimately fall in love with and court; the girl that may eventually be your mate for life.

Common Sense and Sexual Maturity

The two most important factors in achieving a healthy, happy sex life — a life that is an integral part of a happy marriage — are common sense and sexual maturity.

Let’s not mince words. A healthy sex life and a happy married life are indivisible. To be happily married means that you enjoy a healthful, happy sex relationship. To have a healthful sex life before marriage or without marriage is a doubtful thing, for promiscuous sexual relations with girls of easy virtue is scarcely rewarding in view of the dangers involved.

Both you and your bride-to-be should go to the altar free of possible contamination from social diseases, free from sexual entanglements, free to start fresh and clean upon a wonderfully rewarding life. Therefore, it is wiser to sublimate your sexual impulses by concentrating more strongly on sports, studies, exercise, outings and hobbies. This is easily done and you will go to your bride honestly and openly…proud that you have strongly resisted sexual temptations, and glad that you can start this thrilling journey into a new life without regret, recrimination, and remorse.

Since choosing the right girl is so vitally important, let’s speak of the common sense approach before discussing the equally vital factor of achieving a healthy, happy sex life.

1. Do You and She “Speak the Same Language”?

Is she sports-minded? You’re a bodybuilder and therefore you have a love of the bodybuilder’s way of life. Has she? Does she like sports…play them…talk of them intelligently? Has she a trim, beautifully-contoured figure? Does she like working out with you? If not, does she understand just how important your workouts are to you? Would she frown on your having your own home gym?

2. Would She Weep as a “Barbell Widow”?

Would your wife be jealous of the time you spend on workouts? If she doesn’t take to the idea of your having your own home gym, would she resent your going to a professional gym?

One of our famous California bodybuilders got married recently. Although training had been a vital part of his life, nevertheless, he gave up bodybuilding at his bride’s insistence because she strongly objected to his leaving her for even an hour!

He’s doing all the giving in this marriage…she’s doing all the taking. This isn’t sharing…it’s bondage. How long will this marriage last? A few months, perhaps, but then how much longer could it last?

3. How About Outside Interests?

Does your bride-to-be share your other interests? Does she like good music, fine paintings…can she speak in a well-informed way about the theater, films, photography? Does she like to go on outings…picnics, as you perhaps do?

If not, then too soon each of you will begin to go your separate ways. When this happens, much of the reason for marriage is negated. What should be the “common bond” now becomes the “secret life”. Marriage means sharing and if there is nothing to share, then marriage is marriage in name only.

4. And the Patter of Little Feet?

You’ll be wanting children…will she? What kind of mother will she make? Will she bear healthy, sturdy children because you are both strong and healthy? Will she be strong enough to cope with children, to care for them through each day without tiring? Will she maintain her calm, unruffled disposition even though the children are throwing mud-pies, messing the floor, creating childish mayhem? Will she fret, lose patience often, and become a nagging wife?

5. And Her Appearance?

Will she be always well-groomed in and out of the house? Or will she turn out to be “just a wife,” careless and frumpy now that she has “landed her man”?

6. Will She Dissipate?

Does she dissipate a bit too much now…smoke a little too much, drink, perhaps? If anything destroys a woman’s appearance it’s nicotine-stained fingers, cigarette breath, and the angular appearance of the lips as a cigarette habitually dangles from the corner of her mouth.

And alcohol? Make sure that she can control her drinking habits otherwise you will have a psychotic complex on your hands…instead of a real love.

7. Is She Too Critical?

Does she respect her friends or does she continually find fault with them? In this, beware! In such cases this means that she is a bit abnormal, for when one tears another apart with criticism, it generally means that she is unhappy herself…possibly it is this that drives her to drink.

Sexual Maturity

Sex does not exist in married life for itself alone. It smoothes the rough edges, giving marriage beautiful contours, and puts the radiance of eternal youth in both your lives. And it makes you more human, more tolerant, more charitable and a more reliable person in whom everyone instinctively trusts.

An ability to really enjoy mature sexual love is a growth into the maturity of life itself. It gives you such added poise and a wonderful awareness of self that you can’t help communicating to others.

Badly-controlled sex life or what’s worse, extra-marital sexual experiences, are the death of marriage. Because inconsideration of your wife’s safety and health, not to mention the transference of social diseases to your children or children-to-be, causes negligence in manners, it will not be long before neither she nor you can have the slightest respect for each other…nor respect for the conventions of marriage. To cause your wife to suffer indignities, crudities of sex, and contraction of syphilis or gonorrhea because of your promiscuous extra-marital sex flights, is a crime as terrible as murder. For murder it frequently is…slow death from disease or a broken-heart.

Ignorance and Unrealism: The Enemies of Marriage

Now anyone should have no difficulty in developing a satisfactory sex technique. It’s a natural thing…don’t be embarrassed or shy or self-conscious about experimenting with it…this is one of the joys of conjugal love. Besides, libraries are full of books on the subject, and it is touched upon at many points in these courses which you have been studying.

Ideal sexual relations seldom “happen.” They must be experimented with, nurtured, planned and worked for. Just because you are a strong, virile bodybuilder doesn’t mean that you can excite an inspired sexual response from your wife. You must realize that emotional love and spiritual love are quite as important to the sex act as sex technique itself.

Woman is forever woman and to achieve a climactic and whole-hearted sexual response from her can be achieved only through a whole-hearted regard and respect from you. Never cause her to lose her sincerity, her sense of dignity, and character. Give her respect and love as well as passion.

Never Take Marriage for Granted

Marriage to the end of your lives must not be taken for granted. Always try to keep romance alive. Here are some pointers you should remember in this respect.

1. Do not become dowdy, careless, mentally dull, or conversationally boring. Keep well informed on current topics and speak of them interestingly. Don’t let your world be confined to eight hours in the office, a couple of hours reading and relaxing, then off to bed for the night. Do something different each day…take a new turning around another corner and see how the rest of us live. Keep your ideas fresh and your memory green.

2. Do not be inattentive, or unappreciative if she does something especially for you…if she buys a new dress or hat, or has a new hairdo. Remark on it, and favorably, with obvious relish.

3. Be a good provider. Don’t stint on having good food and plenty of it. As your purse will allow, take her out to dinner often, to a different place each time. Introduce her to foods of many nations. Experiment with her in matters like this. Always let her know that such nights “on the town” are an especial pleasure for you because she is with you. Be proud to show your wife off to others.

4. Be gallant…keep your good manners and good breeding on exhibition all the time. Never treat her one bit less gallantly and considerately than when you were courting her. How she’ll love you for this!

5. As the cycles of life proceed, and as each of you finds a touch of grey in your hair, consider these changing conditions with understanding, tenderness and the realization that each period of your life has had its own special reward. Remind yourself that God planned it that way, and those who follow God’s plan receive marvelous blessings.

6. You will be wise throughout your married life to become interested in affairs of the church. Learn to pray together, even as you share your joys and disappointments together. Draw together as spiritually close as you can. This is a bond that no one can break and it is the highest form of pure conjugal love.

7. Keep well-groomed. Always be immaculately dressed and careful with your personal hygiene. Always take a shower before retiring and be sure to apply a good deodorant under your arms and on other areas where perspiration collects.

8. Be sure to shave very closely before being intimate with her. After all, she wants a caress, not an abrasion. And a pleasantly-scented lotion will go far in eliciting a warm and loving response from her…an eagerness to enter into idyllic love play as enthusiastic as yours.

9. Wear clean pajamas each night…and be sure that you have a variety of patterns in pajamas. You would not expect her to retire in a worn nightgown with cold cream daubed over her face…hence you should make yourself just as attractive as she.

Don’t ever think, “Well, she married me, so she must love me!” This is negative thinking. Put the power of positive thinking to work. Make that sentence read, “I’m going to make myself so physically appealing that my wife will love me to pieces!”

There is a psychological factor to consider when your or her appearance is neglected. You may both become so disenchanted with the sex act that it will become a bore, and when it becomes a bore the danger of sexual impotency is imminent.

Keep this in mind: Keep well-groomed…both of you. Keep your bodies firm and strong by exercising regularly…both of you. Keep your weight normalized by eating a sound, healthful diet of proper caloric content for the amount of energy you expend. Keep your sexual activity always at a peak of high enthusiasm. Keep your interest glowing in the world around you. Then you’ll have a happier married life as the years go by.

It is then that you’ll know that the girl you fell in love with was the wisest and only choice you could have made for a wife. Be selective…make this first decision the right decision.

Given faith in the future, and measure of common sense and mutual respect, any normal couple can win marital happiness and achieve a solid and lasting union. May I wish this most transcendental blessing to you.

Your Friend and Instructor,

Joe Weider

“Trainer of Champions”

The post The Secrets to a Healthy Sex Life: Advice from Legendary Bodybuilder Joe Weider appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO DO WRONG

EVERY SINGLE LIBERTY AND RIGHT

Every single Liberty you enjoy is composed of a set of high moral duties for which you are directly accountable. Otherwise you possess merely a license to do wrong rather than the freedom and opportunity to do what is best and true.

Every single Right you have been granted by God is composed of high responsibilities for which you are personally answerable. Otherwise you do not possess a Right; you are merely the human agent of self-indulgent recklessness and selfish wrong-doing.

God, the Good, and the Truth are the natural Masters of your Liberties and your Rights, not merely your own desires and wishes. License is not a Liberty, and you have no Right to do wrong. Do not be deceived by those who would make a petty self-god of your Rights and Liberties. They were granted you as a great opportunity, they were not promised you without consequence. Your Rights and Liberties are not inexhaustible, and you will be held accountable for both.

Your Liberties and your Rights end at the stony shoreline of evil and indulgence. If you take alien ship beyond that safe point then you do so entirely at your own cost and at your own peril. Your Liberties and your Rights will always ultimately sink upon the seas of self-deception.

The Wise Man fully understands this and therefore he both fears God and he is judicious and responsible in the exercise of his Liberties and his Rights.

He is also entirely unwilling to both unfairly strip the natural Liberties and Rights from another, or equally egregiously, to tell another that they naturally possess unlimited and unchecked Liberties and Rights.

Because no one ever has nor ever will possess such unreal things.

HESIOD, ON STRIFE

He was right you know. Very, very Right.

So, after all, there was not one kind of Strife alone, but all over the earth there are two. As for the one, a man would praise her when he came to understand her; but the other is blameworthy: and they are wholly different in nature. For one fosters evil war and battle, being cruel: [15] her no man loves; but perforce, through the will of the deathless gods, men pay harsh Strife her honor due. But the other is the elder daughter of dark Night, and the son of Cronos who sits above and dwells in the aether, set her in the roots of the earth: and she is far kinder to men. [20] She stirs up even the shiftless to toil; for a man grows eager to work when he considers his neighbor, a rich man who hastens to plough and plant and put his house in good order; and neighbor vies with his neighbor as he hurries after wealth. This Strife is wholesome for men. [25] And potter is angry with potter, and craftsman with craftsman, and beggar is jealous of beggar, and minstrel of minstrel. Perses, lay up these things in your heart, and do not let that Strife who delights in mischief hold your heart back from work, while you peep and peer and listen to the wrangles of the court-house. [30] Little concern has he with quarrels and courts who has not a year’s victuals laid up betimes, even that which the earth bears, Demeter’s grain. When you have got plenty of that, you can raise disputes and strive to get another’s goods. But you shall have no second chance [35] to deal so again: nay, let us settle our dispute here with true judgement which is of Zeus and is perfect. For we had already divided our inheritance, but you seized the greater share and carried it off, greatly swelling the glory of our bribe-swallowing lords who love to judge such a cause as this. [40] Fools! They know not how much more the half is than the whole, nor what great advantage there is in mallow and asphodel.

THE BEST THING

The best thing about my Lord (Jesus Christ) is that within himself He skillfully unites what is best in mortal Man, with the Perfection of Immortal God, that he patiently and favorably expects the same of me, despite being acutely aware of my many limitations, and yet He will not blithely excuse my faults, but rather demands of me that I conquer them without pretense or procrastination.

I instinctively understand a Man of exacting and energetic expectations, and I well appreciate a God of grace and gentle forbearance. It is a combination of Extreme Wisdom and Divine Consideration.

A MAN SHOULD BE A MAN AND A THING TO ADMIRE

Brett | October 10, 2016

A Man’s Life

A Eulogy for My Grandfather, William D. Hurst

grandpa_3

Editor’s Note: Last week my grandfather, who was my last living grandparent and a big inspiration in my starting the Art of Manliness, died. He was someone who I can happily say made me feel bad about myself, and of which people exclaim, “They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.” 

I was asked to give the eulogy at his funeral this weekend, and wanted to share it here on the site in honor of his legacy. I did add one story to this article that my uncle recounted. 

_________________________

William (Bill) Daly Hurst passed away on September 29, 2016, just six days shy of his 101st birthday.

And what a life he lived.

My grandfather has always loomed large in my imagination. Even though we were separated by hundreds of miles and sometimes went years without seeing each other, Grandpa’s presence has always been with me. He was an icon for me and almost a kind of institutional figure — an embodiment of the values of the Greatest Generation. In fact, he’s been a big part of the inspiration behind the ideal of manhood that I write about on the Art of Manliness. He was both a good man and good at being a man.

As I look back on his life, three characteristics of my grandpa stick out to me that I hope to emulate: his dedication to service, his unyielding curiosity, and his humility.

As a third-generation U.S. Forester, Grandpa was born into a legacy of service — a commitment to protecting and managing our country’s natural resources.

It started in 1905 when William Hurst (Grandpa’s grandfather) was appointed assistant ranger on the Dixie Forest Reserve in Utah. Three months later, he became a forest supervisor. Gifford Pinchot — the first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, appointed by Theodore Roosevelt — sent him two full pages of instructions, the most specific being, “As soon as you can get to it, please look up desirable rooms for an office. A full set of blank forms, office equipment, and furniture have been requested to be sent you.” Supervisor Hurst made a formal reply: “I will endeavor to magnify the trust reposed in me and shall discharge the duties imposed upon me in a dignified manner without fear or favor.” This was William Hurst’s rule until he resigned in 1913 as supervisor of the Beaver and Fillmore National Forests, and it was a rule my grandfather followed during his tenure in the Forest Service.

wmdhurst1916-2

My grandpa at 9 months old. His family nickname was Snooks.

William M. Hurst (my grandpa’s father) started as Assistant Ranger in the service in 1910 in Panguitch, Utah. He was a District Forest Ranger when my grandfather, William D. Hurst, was born on October 5, 1915, in Parowan, Utah.

Think about that for a minute. My grandpa was born a year into the First World War. In his memoir he recounts his memory as a three-year-old of people banging pots and pans and whooping in the streets on Armistice Day. My grandpa was what blogger Jason Kottke calls a “human wormhole.” His long life and the amount of history he saw firsthand provide an embodied reminder of just how connected we are to the past. When I gave my grandfather a hug, I was hugging a man that was hugged by his grandparents who were born during the Civil War. That idea really puts time in perspective for me.

Grandpa was raised in Panguitch, Utah, and graduated as student body president and co-valedictorian of his class at Garfield County High School in 1934. He attended Utah State Agricultural College and graduated with a B.S. in Forestry and Range Management in 1938. During the summer months of his college years, Grandpa worked as a sheepherder, where he accumulated some pretty cool stories. In his memoirs he describes in explicit detail how to castrate sheep; the methodology wasjust as Mike Rowe famously explained it: a sharp knife and your teeth.

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Grandpa’s first day working for the U.S. Forest Service.

During the summer of 1937, he worked for the United States Forest Service as an Administrative Guard in the Stansbury Mountains near Grantsville, Utah. After graduation, he took a permanent assignment with the Forest Service in the same location, thus becoming a third-generation forester in Utah, after his father and grandfather.

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Bill and Dolly Hurst.

In Grantsville, he met his sweetheart, Emma (Dolly) Johanson. Grandma worked as phone operator and Grandpa came into town one day to make a phone call. He was immediately smitten and I’m sure started finding reasons to make more phone calls. They were engaged in 1940 and married March 19, 1941.

In 1942, Grandpa became the District Ranger of the Manila Ranger District on the Ashley National Forest.

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Like millions of men from his generation, Grandpa answered the call to serve and fight for his country during World War II. He served in the Army, training for the invasion of Japan, and then spent one year in that country as part of the occupation forces in 1946.

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Grandpa riding a horse while serving in the Army in Japan during WWII. 1946.

Grandpa was 31 years old when he began his military service, making him much older than many of the soldiers in his platoon. That earned him the nickname “Pops,” but he took pride in the fact that he could out-hustle and outwork men ten years his junior. After the war, Grandpa continued his service in the U.S. Army Reserves, obtaining the rank of first lieutenant.

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Staff at the Ashley National Forest where Bill Hurst served as supervisor from 1950 to 1955. Grandpa’s in the middle holding his hat.

After leaving the military, he became the Staff Officer of the Cache National Forest in Utah. He served as Forest Supervisor on the Ashley National Forest from 1950 to 1955, before going to the Washington office as one of the Assistant Chiefs in Range Management. Grandpa then served as Chief of Range & Wildlife Management of the Intermountain Region from 1957 to 1962. He was the Deputy Regional Forester for the Intermountain Region as well. In 1966, Grandpa was appointed Regional Forester for the Southwestern Region, where he remained until he retired in 1976.

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Bill Hurst served as Regional Forester of the Southwest Region from 1966 to 1976. He’s in the middle.

During his appointment as Regional Forester of the Southwestern Region, Grandpa brought not only a keen mind and almost 30 years’ experience, but also a pride in the history and traditions of the Forest Service and a genuine concern for the well-being of the forests and the people who used them. He imparted a level of professionalism to his region that still remains today.

As a Regional Forester, Grandpa didn’t have an ideological axe to grind nor did he have political ambitions within the Forest Service. He just strived to follow his own grandfather’s rule to “discharge the duties imposed upon me in a dignified manner without fear or favor.” Grandpa was a pragmatist. He just wanted things to work and work well for everyone. And that often meant trying to find a middle ground among multiple parties who all had conflicting interests — ranchers, farmers, timber companies, indigenous people, and environmentalists just to name a few. And he was able to walk this line for the most part thanks to his curiosity and humility. He talked to people, asked questions without prejudice or preconceived notions, and researched on his own. But more importantly, Grandpa took action and found solutions and compromises that could prevent gridlock and keep things moving forward. (Note: For those of you interested, Utah State University has digitized diaries, reports, etc. from my grandpa’s career as a forester.)

Grandpa retired from the Forest Service in 1976 and spent his retirement at his home at Bosque Farms — a small ranch in New Mexico. Here he provided idyllic summers and Thanksgivings for his grandchildren, full of swimming and horseback riding. For me, Bosque Farms is where my most cherished memories of Grandpa, and of my childhood, exist.

Bosque Farms was a Garden of Eden. But time eventually drove us all out of this Western paradise. Grandpa got too old to manage the place by himself, and we all got older and busy with our adult lives. But Bosque Farms is a place I still long for. Every now and then, memories of spending time with Grandpa on the ranch hit me like a tidal wave.

I miss the smell of coffee and hotcakes in the morning and the smell of pinyon wood burning in the living room fireplace. I miss the smell of the barn on a clear, crisp Thanksgiving morning.

But most of all I miss Grandpa leading me around the corral on a horse, patiently and lovingly telling me how to guide my noble steed.

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Pictures of me and Grandpa at various times at Bosque Farms, New Mexico. Still have that hat Grandpa gave me.

It’s a painful yearning to return home. The Greeks called this nostalgia. While my heart aches for that time, it’s a good ache. I’m glad I have those memories and I’m indebted to Grandpa for giving them to me.

Even in retirement, Grandpa continued his dedication to service. If there was a club or organization dedicated to service, he belonged to it. He was a charter member and past president of the Society for Range Management where he continued his work in conserving and managing our country’s natural resources. He was also a member of the Lion’s Club, Rotary, the Society of American Foresters, and the Wilderness Trail Riders of Prineville, Oregon.

Grandpa was active in Scouting and was awarded the Silver Beaver for distinguished service. He was also the grateful recipient of Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow award, the Jim Bridger Award for conservation achievement, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Utah State University, as well as the 2004 Frederic G. Renner Award from the Society of Range Management — the most prestigious award given by the society.

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Grandpa and my Aunt Kathy.

Grandpa’s service wasn’t only to the public and his community but to his large and ever-growing family as well. Grandpa was always looking out for us and made frequent trips to visit all of his grandkids during retirement. He even drove by himself from Albuquerque to Tulsa when he was 90 years old to come to my wedding. Kate’s grandma thought he was crazy, but Grandpa didn’t think much of it.

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Grandpa and Grandma Hurst with their five children.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Dolly, and two sisters and brothers-in-law, Margaret and Ralph Tingey and Katherine and Vernon Barney of Panguitch, Utah. He leaves behind his five children and their spouses, nineteen grandchildren, thirty-four great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Grandpa’s entire life was dedicated to service — to his country, to his community, and to his family. If he could help in some way, he was there.

Whether in work or play, Grandpa also stayed curious. It’s one of the most refreshing and vital things about him. He was always reading books to learn more and taking notes in the pocket notebook he kept in the breast pocket of his shirts.

My uncle recounts a story of this note-taking practice: When my grandpa was 90, my uncle found him reading a book, but stopping every now and then to write in his pocket notebook. When my uncle asked Grandpa what he was doing, he said, “I’m writing down the words I don’t know the definition of so I can look them up later.” When my uncle asked him why he was doing that, Grandpa responded matter-of-factly: “To improve my vocabulary, of course.” Ninety years old, and my grandfather was still trying to enrich his treasury of knowledge.

Another example of Grandpa’s curiosity in action can be seen in his retirement, when one of his old phonograph players broke. He learned how to fix it (this was before the internet, mind you), which led to a small side hustle in retirement repairing phonograph players for others. He did the same with antique buggies. He became a self-taught expert on repairing and restoring them, and people started paying him to fix up theirs.

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Grandpa was always happiest out in the mountains somewhere on a horse.

Grandpa traveled extensively throughout his life within the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, in addition to China, Panama, Russia, and the U.K., though he was happiest riding his horse or mule on adventures through the mountains of the West from New Mexico to Oregon.

But what I loved most about Grandpa’s curiosity was his genuine interest in others. He wasn’t jaded or cynical about people at all. He sincerely thought every person — no matter their walk of life — had something interesting to say. Grandpa could go anywhere and have a friend because he could make one instantly. As a kid, this interest in others could get kind of annoying. I knew going on quick errands with Grandpa would often result in me standing around waiting for thirty minutes while he talked to complete strangers, sharing stories with them, peppering them with questions, and intently listening while interspersing the conversations with his characteristic chuckle and “Well, I’ll be damned!” or “Well, that’s a hell of a thing!” And he meant it! He was always genuinely surprised by and interested in the things people would share. Like Will Rogers, Grandpa “Never met a man he didn’t like.”

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Finally, Grandpa didn’t take himself too seriously. He took his work very seriously, but never himself. There was never an air of self-importance about him. Because of his humility, I sometimes forget about his accomplishments and the amount of influence he has had in public affairs, particularly when it comes to conservation. Grandpa was too busy being useful to worry about being important.

What I’ve spoken of are just the highlights of Grandpa’s earthly sojourn.

Like I said at the beginning…what a life.

He’s been an inspiration to me, and can serve as a pattern for all of us seeking to live the good life.

We will miss Grandpa, but I’m thankful for the example of service, curiosity, and humility that he gave us. I’m looking forward to seeing him again one day, and until then I hope we all will do our best to live up to his legacy.

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Bill Hurst’s grandsons were his pallbearers at his funeral. We all wore one of Grandpa’s iconic bolo ties in honor of him. Those of us who had cowboy boots also, sported those. My cousin, Tom Hughes, shared this thought about the experience: “My grandfather, Bill Hurst, died last week, 6 days shy of his 101st birthday. As I and my cousins, the pallbearers, stood in a semi-circle, looking at his flag-draped coffin in the back of the hearse, we said almost nothing. We just stood there for several minutes until the funeral director came out, found us standing there, and told us we could get in our cars. I don’t believe there has ever been group of boys–now men–who more loved, admired and revered their grandfather than those of us standing there, wearing his bolo ties. And I know his granddaughters feel the same way. Pity there weren’t more bolo ties for them.”

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When my grandpa was 9 years old he encountered a tassel-eared squirrel on the Kaibab Plateau in Southern Utah, an area that’s 20 by 40 miles wide. It was the Kaibab Squirrel — a species not found anywhere else in the world. Since that time, Grandpa took a keen interest in this little critter and strove to protect it in his position as Regional Forester. Nearing his 100th birthday, Grandpa, along with some friends and family, formed the “Friends of the Kaibab Squirrel,” a group dedicated to educating federal and state agencies and citizens about this unique animal, so that pragmatic steps can be taken to prevent population decline. Should you like to honor my grandfather at his passing, you can support Friends of the Kaibab Squirrel bypurchasing a lapel pin. Proceeds go to FKS.

THE DNA OF GOD?

This article interested me for the ideas presented. For I have long believed that human DNA is simply an expression of Divine DNA in an imperfect form that could be rearranged and made as God originally intended, through both the agency of Christ and through human effort (for it also requires the effort and desire of the individual so involved).

I am still unresolved on the issue of whether this Divine DNA pattern already exists within us and must simply be recombined into a pattern and form that matches that of Christ, or if Christ’s DNA (pattern), for lack of a better term, must replace ours because ours has become so corrupted or mutated that at least some bad strands must be excised and thereafter entirely replaced (a sort of genetic “transplant” – again for lack of a better term).

A divine fusion takes place when Holy Spirit meets your human spirit.
A divine fusion takes place when Holy Spirit meets your human spirit. (Flickr )

Understanding the new creation reality is so vital to an overcoming Christian life. If you don’t know who you really are, you can never experience the fullness of abundant life in Christ.

We’ve heard it preached our entire Christian lives, “You are a new creation! Old things have passed away and all things have become new!” But do we really understand what this means? When we come to Christ, does God just make us better versions of ourselves? Or does something much more profound happen?

A Divine Fusion Takes Place

Recently God gave me a vision of what happens to us at salvation and it radically altered the way I see myself. I saw the moment God encountered Mary in Luke 1:31-35 telling her she would bear the Christ Child. I saw the person of the Holy Spirit overshadow her. I saw Mary’s DNA and the Holy Spirit’s DNA. I saw them intertwine and become one, creating Jesus in her womb, fully God and fully man.

Then the vision shifted to me. I saw myself at salvation. I saw the Holy Spirit overshadow me and fill me. My body became the temple of the Holy Spirit. I also saw my spirit man’s DNA and the Holy Spirit’s DNA. I saw them intertwine and become one.

I saw the Holy Spirit wrap around my human spirit like two DNA strands coming together as one, just like when the DNA from a father and mother mix together to form a new baby. It looked like the Double Helix. As the Holy Spirit wrapped around my human spirit, they fused together, becoming one and forming a brand new creation. This fusion of Holy Spirit and my human spirit formed Christ in me!

Heavenly DNA—Divine Nature

1 Corinthians 6:17 declares, “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him” (MEV). This revelation was in Scripture the whole time! I became one spirit with the Holy Spirit and I now have a new holy, divine nature.

This is Christ in me, the hope of glory (Col 1:27, 2 Pet 1:4). Divine DNA from God was fused into my human spirit causing me to become a partaker of God’s divine nature! I was truly a brand new creation. As Holy Spirit became one with my human spirit, I was “born again” and Christ was formed inside of me. I was much more than a better version of myself. I was something brand new!

When you receive Christ as your Savior and the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside of you, He actually fuses Himself together with your spirit. You become one with God! You have His divine nature inside of you. You are a brand new creation, with new desires and a new life. Your core identity is completely transformed. Christ’s very nature and identity is now completely formed in your spirit. It’s a glorious transformation! This is why you are holy, righteous and clean!

I have so much more to teach you on this amazing subject. I have just put together a teaching series called Divine DNA—New Creation Reality. I think it’s one of the most important teachings I have ever done. Having divine DNA in your spirit has so many effects on your life as you become transformed in your spirit, soul and body.

I encourage you with all my heart to sow this teaching into your mind and heart today and learn who you really are! Once you know who you are, the devil will never be able to lie to you again and you will walk in power, victory and freedom.

EVERYTHING YOU DO

Everything you do in life should be a simultaneous, active, and fearless advance of what is best and what is good, and an outright and unflinching revolt against evil and wrongdoing. Simultaneous, active, and fearless. Not unrelated, separate, passive, and safe.
from Divine Sophia

CHARACTER AND DUTY

Manvotional: The Character of a Soldier

Editor’s note: The following excerpt was included in FM 21-13, an Army field manual published in 1952. While it outlines the character of a good soldier, the qualities mentioned represent the kind of character all men should strive for.

FM 21-13
THE SOLDIER’S GUIDE

Section VII. THE CHARACTER OF A SOLDIER
The Things You Are

When we say that a man has “good character,” we mean that he has many strong qualities and virtues that, added together, make him a man whom we like, respect, and trust. One definition of character, therefore, is this: The sum of the qualities that make a person what he is.

It’s not easy to tell you exactly what qualities and virtues you must have to be a good soldier, but perhaps you can understand better what is meant by a “soldier’s character” if you consider some of the qualities that all of our good soldiers have had. These qualities include honesty, courage, self-control, decency, and conviction of purpose. This is by no means a complete list, but those are the qualities that most good soldiers possess. Let’s talk about them.

You must be honest because there is absolutely no room in our military world for dishonesty, half-truth, or any other shade in-between. When the outcome of a battle could rest on the truth of your report, your word must be your bond. In private life, one can avoid or make allowance for those who have trouble telling the truth. But in the Army, soldiers depend on each other too much to accept anything but complete honesty. All good soldiers understand the need for truthfulness and shun those who lie.

As a soldier, you may be called on to be courageous in many ways. In battle, you may have to keep moving forward in the face of heavy enemy fire. Lives of other men may depend on this kind of courage. Battle plans are based on it. Then, in addition to courage in battle, you need courage to admit your own failures. You may need still another kind of courage to ask your fellow soldiers to keep going when they have nearly reached the limit of their endurance.

In any talk of courage, however, it is important that you know the difference between real courage and foolhardiness. Taking unnecessary risks is stupid and often endangers the lives of others. Being courageous doesn’t mean that you won’t be afraid at the same time. Fear in battle is natural, and some of our best soldiers have been those who have been afraid, but who went ahead into battle, even with a shaking hand and pounding heart.

Soldiers who have displayed this kind of courage were able to do so because of another quality, self-control. As a soldier, you will be living and working closely with other soldiers. You will be leading a highly disciplined life. Good self-control makes this discipline easier. It will also help you avoid temptations that may plague you — temptations to dodge your duty, to indulge in immorality, or to use your power unfairly. Sometimes you may be the law itself, and only your sense of right and self-control will stand between you and your abuse of power as a soldier.

Self-control is “inner discipline.” You were not born with it, but all good soldiers have acquired it through the years by checking their tempers and desires, and by “counting 10” before they acted.

Another quality that all good soldiers have is decency. This means personal habits that make it easier for others to live and work with you. Your honesty, courage, and self-control will strongly affect your companions, but in addition, it is important that you give them the same consideration that you’d like them to give you. This means respecting their property and views, keeping yourself clean in body and speech, and accepting others for what they are – not for the color of their skins, or where they came from.

All these qualities are important parts of a good soldier’s character, but the quality that all of our great soldiers have had – the quality that gave meaning to all of their other virtues – is conviction of purpose. This means that these soldiers fought well and were able to endure the hardships of war because they were convinced that what they were doing was right.

Admittedly, this quality isn’t easy to have. Many combat veterans will tell you that they were never quite sure why they were fighting. Some say that they fought to save themselves. Others say that they fought for the men around them, or because they hated the enemy. There is never any single reason why men fight.

Our truly great soldiers, however, have fought for our country because they believed that our freedoms and way of life were worth the sacrifice. You probably know the story of Sergeant York. When he first entered the Army in World War I, he was troubled because his training and his conscience told him “Thou shalt not kill.” After a long struggle with his conscience, however, he realized that fighting the enemy was just, because that enemy would have enslaved the world if they could. When he realized this, he became one of our greatest heroes, because he was convinced that it was right for men to remain free.

These are some of the main qualities that make up the character of a good soldier. Nobody can give you these qualities. You have to get them yourself by hard work. But at least you know what the qualities are and if you don’t have all of them, you have a goal that is worth reaching.

MANLY MARRIAGE

Podcast #239: Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts

If you’re a man on the precipice of marriage or have marriage as a life goal, one worry you likely have is “Will my marriage last?”

While divorce rates have been decreasing since they reached their peak in the late 1970s and early ’80s, there’s still a perception out there that marriage is just a crapshoot — a game of Russian roulette — and that the odds favor you ending up in a family court, or at best in a sad and loveless relationship. 

My guest today argues that doesn’t have to be your fate as long as you take a proactive approach to marriage. With some thought and intentionality, you can help ensure that you have a happy, loving, fulfilling relationship that lasts until death do you part. His name is Les Parrott and he’s a clinical psychologist specializing in marriage and family. He, along with his wife Leslie, who’s also a marriage therapist, have written a book to help couples prepare themselves for matrimonial commitment. It’s called Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before — And After — You Marry

Today on the show, Les and I discuss how a man can know if he’s personally ready for marriage, the myths people have about marriage that set them up for disappointment, and the conversations you should be having with your future spouse to help ensure you have a happy life together. While the conversation is geared towards soon-to-be-marrieds and newlyweds, even if you’ve been married for a couple decades, you’re going to find some useful advice and insights in this show.

Show Highlights

  • How to know if you’re ready for marriage
  • Why self-awareness is paramount for a successful relationship
  • The five attitudes towards marriage Millennials have
  • The effectiveness of pre-marital counseling in helping stave off divorce
  • What happy marriages look like
  • The expectations people have coming into marriage that can set them up for failure
  • The unspoken rules and unconscious roles in a marriage
  • The three factors that contribute to lasting love
  • How love changes as a relationship progresses and how to nurture it through the years
  • Why marriages are their strongest after 25+ years
  • How to cultivate passion in a long-term relationship
  • The saboteurs of marriage
  • The different needs of men and women in a relationship
  • Why conflict is good for a relationship and how to have a “good fight”
  • What couples who have been married for awhile, but are experiencing marital problems, can do to solve them

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

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Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts is filled with research-backed insights and actionable steps that about-to-be married or newlywed couples can use to make sure their marriage starts off on the right foot. Even if you’ve been married for a few years, you’re going to find the book useful. Also, consider taking the Parrotts’ SYMBIS Assessment with your spouse for further insights about your marriage. 

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

CHARISMA AS WONDER AND WEAPON

John Potts

is a professor of media at Macquarie University in Australia. He is interested in culture and technology, digital media, media history, contemporary arts, and intellectual history. His latest book is The New Time and Space (2015). 

What is charisma? 

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Mixed blessings. Photo by Paolo Sarteschi/Flickr

Charisma is easier to recognise than to define. Newspaper and magazine articles consistently identify charismatic leaders – such as John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, Barack Obama – but those same articles rarely describe exactly what charisma is. It is often debated whether charisma is necessary for a ‘transformational’ leader, while shelves of self-help books optimistically promise to impart the ‘secrets’ of charisma. Other people hold that charisma cannot be ‘unlocked’ or ‘discovered’ at all because it is innate and present only in the rarest of individuals. So, to ask anew, just what is charisma?

Charisma’s origins are found in the letters of Paul the Apostle, written from around 50 AD. This is the first written use of the word ‘charisma’, derived from the Greek ‘charis’ (grace). For Paul, charisma meant ‘the gift of God’s grace’ or ‘spiritual gift’. In Paul’s letters to the fledgling Christian communities spread around the Roman empire, he wrote of the ‘charismata’ or spiritual gifts available to each member of the community. He identified nine charismata, including prophecy, healing, speaking in tongues, interpreting that speech, teaching, and service – a range of gifts both supernatural and pragmatic.

For Paul, charisma was a mystical notion: the gifts were thought to alight on each individual without the need for church authority or institution. And there was no charisma of leadership: the interlocking charismata were meant to serve the community without the need for an imposed leader. By the fourth century, however, the Church had largely suppressed the notion of charisma deriving directly from the Holy Spirit. Conveniently, in its place was a hierarchy of Church leadership, with bishops at the top, interpreting the fixed religious laws inscribed in the newly authorised Bible. Charisma survived only in heretical outposts, such as prophets claiming direct inspiration without the mediations of bishop or scripture. Such heresies were forcibly repressed by the Church.

The idea of charisma then lay largely dormant for centuries. Only in the writings of the 20th-century German sociologist Max Weber was it reborn. In fact, we owe the contemporary meaning of ‘charisma’ to Weber, who took Paul’s religious idea and secularised it, placing charisma within a sociology of authority and leadership. For Weber, there were three types of authority: the rational-legal, the traditional, and the charismatic. Weber saw the charismatic form of authority as the revolutionary, even unstable, antidote to the ‘iron cage’ of rationalisation found in the contemporary ‘disenchanted’ world. He held that there was something heroic about the charismatic leader, who galvanised followers with great feats or with the ‘charisma of rhetoric’ found in inspiring speeches.

Weber defined charisma as ‘a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is considered extraordinary and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities’. He traced charismatic leadership through history, in the person of great military or religious leaders – and also held out the hope that charismatic leadership would continue to emerge, even in the highly regulated bureaucracies of the modern world.

Weber died in 1920, and did not live to see the application of his idea to contemporary politics and culture. Perhaps that’s a good thing, since the first political leaders to be described as charismatic were Mussolini and Hitler. For many European intellectuals, this created the sense that charismatic authority had a sinister dimension. That same dark side of charismatic leadership long remained: 1960s cult leaders such as Charles Manson, with their spellbinding hold on followers, were readily termed charismatic. By this point, Weber’s works had been translated, so that ‘charisma’ was popular in the English-speaking world from about the 1950s.

The first politicians that the media identified as charismatic in a positive, rather than demagogic, sense were JFK, and his brother Robert F Kennedy. After the 1960s, ‘charisma’ moved more into mainstream usage as it was applied to outstanding individuals other than political leaders: the late Muhammad Ali, for instance, was perhaps the most charismatic of all.

Today, charisma is used to describe a range of individuals: politicians, celebrities, business leaders. We understand charisma as a special, innate quality that sets certain individuals apart and draws others to them. It is considered a rare, specially endowed quality: in US politics, for instance, Bill Clinton was thought to have a charismatic presence, as is Obama – but nobody else in recent political memory earns the accolade. In business, Steve Jobs is the archetypal charismatic leader: visionary, driven, but also volatile and unstable. And in celebrity culture, charisma is regarded as a sign of rare authenticity when much of the entertainment industry is devoted to the plastic manufacture of fame in the manner of Idols or The Voice. Charisma cannot be created by reality TV.

Is charisma even desirable in contemporary politicians? The political biographer David Barnett has called charisma ‘one of the most dangerous concepts in a democracy that you can find’. Charismatic leaders can inspire followers with soaring rhetoric – which can also prove divisive and damaging to a party’s (or a nation’s) fortunes. Political parties are generally content with popular, unthreatening, folksy leaders who appeal to ordinary people. In Australia, Paul Keating was a charismatic, visionary prime minister, but also a schismatic leader who alienated much of the Labor Party’s traditional ‘heartland’ with his perceived arrogance. His successor, John Howard, was universally regarded as charisma-free, but his very ordinariness turned out to be his greatest asset: it was a reassuring rather than threatening style of leadership. Meanwhile in Italy, Silvio Berlusconi was a populist leader whose tenure as prime minister was deleterious for democracy. The charismatic leader might be thrilling, even captivating, but the success of that leader might not leave a political party, or a democracy, in a healthy state.

‘Charisma’, as an idea, spans 2,000 years. Is there a link between contemporary charisma – considered a special form of authority – and the religious charisma of Paul’s time? It lies in the notion of innateness, of the gift. Paul said that no bishop or Church required the blessing of charisma: it simply lighted on the individual, as a spiritual gift. Charisma today is enigmatic, an unknown or X factor, somehow irreducible. Nobody knows why rare individuals are blessed with charisma: it remains, as ever, a mysterious gift.

THE NATURAL PARANOIA OF THE POLICE

THE NATURAL PARANOIA OF THE POLICE – YOU’RE NOT GETTING THE TAILLIGHT OR THE WAY THE STOP WENT DOWN

 

I don’t suspect that either “side” (of the political argument anyway) is getting the taillight or the stop. So let me explain something that probably most of you aren’t understanding then. At least not a lot of you.

Yes, it’s possible the woman made up the story of the taillight, but equally possible, if not far more so, that is simply the reason the officer gave for the stop. That, if the kid was a suspect, you give a fake reason for stopping them in order to throw the guy off his guard and not arouse suspicion.

Rarely would you stop a guy, especially if you spot that there is a woman and a kid in the car, and say to them, “Excuse me sir, but you fit the profile and so does this vehicle involved in a recently committed crime. Mind if I talk to you for a minute so we can see if you are the actual perp?”

Game is over at that point. You can likely expect trouble. I mean who the hell does that? Yes, the black humorist in me would like to see it tried sometime but not around anyone else.

And yeah, the cop lied to you in a semi-believable way or a way he can fake later, “Yeah, well, from what I saw the light wasn’t functioning.” Big deal, he’s trying to defuse or cover or prevent a far more dangerous or even potentially deadly situation. Which I’ll get to in a minute.

What I would have said and done, had I been the officer, was this,

“Excuse me, sir or madam (whoever is driving, I’d have to rewatch the video but notice he approached the boy in either case) and I don’t know if you are aware of this or not but your license tag is missing. It’s possible it either fell off or was stolen. No, don’t get out of your car. I just want to know, do you know your license tag number or can you recite it for me?”

I’ve used that ploy myself to great effect and it confuses people and distracts them. Setting their mind to a task that occupies them. But then again I’m fifty something years old and this cop was apparently a rather young guy with 3 or 4 years on the force and his partner about the same. You can’t blame a man for being inexperienced. That alone is not a crime. Though sometimes it can be a disaster.

But in either case the cop likely used the broken taillight as a ploy for the stop. Then everything else went down.

I have no problem with the stop. Or the ploy, if that’s what the cop did and I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that’s what he did. That’s not my complaint with this entire incident.

My complaint is with everything that follows.

Some of you are gonna think I’m anti-cop and some of you are gonna think I’m racist and so the hell what?

I’m not interested in either, I’m not either, and I don’t give a fuck what you think. None of that is germane. I am interested in solutions.

Let me tell you how I would have likely handled this and how most old timers would have handled this and without a shot being fired (unless the kid pulled a gun and started shooting, which you cannot control).

I would have told them both, “Your license tag is missing.” To occupy them. Then I would have filmed them all good with my body cam (an advantage of modern technology). If the guy informed me he had a gun and a permit I would have said, “Good, just wait on that please. No hurry.”

Seeing there was a kid (in case I hadn’t before) and a woman I’d have likely said, “You have a child in the car, you don’t want anything to happen to that child or to be stopped again. Do you?”

“No.”

“No, of course not. No one wants to endanger a child.”

“Do you two live together?”

Yes, or no.

“What are your addresses? Do you live nearby?” Get them without arousing suspicion and knowing they might or might not be true. But remember you still have the licenses and you still have the tags. Even if they don’t know that.

“Okay, go straight home and get this car and your child (even if it ain’t his kid you want him thinking that way about the kid) off the road. Someone else could pull you over.” (Remember you could be aware that there is a call out for the vehicle or the suspect, but they don’t necessarily know that.) “I’m gonna give you a warning ticket about the tag and if another officer pulls you over between here and home then show it to them. That will clear you, but go straight home, okay? Will you promise me that until we can recover your tag?”

Then I would have all I need for alter advantageous action and I’d send them on their way. I might even shadow them home but more than likely I’d just call it in and let everyone know what I did and for someone else to pick them up along the way or near their home(s). Once I could be sure the boy was safely separated from the child and woman then I could isolate and interrogate him and either verify or disprove he was the actual suspect.

Will they check their license tag on getting home? Maybe. If the boy does and he knows he’s a suspect then he might take off. Likely alone. Which is what you want. (Not necessarily policy wise, but practically and realistically.) If he has been properly shadowed or picked up he won’t get far and you won’t have to wait for long to pick him up at an advantage to you, and at a disadvantage to him. If he’s not the real suspect then you’ll just confuse him and the girl. No harm done. And again you can wait, observe, and possibly eliminate him as a suspect.

Either way your real effort is to get them separated. If he’s a suspect and isolated then the danger to everyone else is eliminated, if he is not a suspect then you either make up a story “It really looked like your tag was gone,” or you level with the guy. And apologize. And let him know why, “you fit a suspect description and so did your vehicle, but we’ve either been able to clear you or we caught the real suspect. I wanted you to know that because this could have gotten dangerous for you. And for us. I’m very glad it didn’t and hope this never happens again to you.” Then shake his hand.

Most of the time that satisfies most people. Even endears you to a few. Sometimes someone will file a complaint. But, and I don’t wanna sound syndical here but you know exactly what I mean, that beats the hell out of the paperwork and complaints you’ll receive for a shooting or for getting shot.

Point is, you don’t have to solve every possible criminal problem or engage every criminal suspect at first encounter unless of course you or someone else has found them in the commission of a crime. Or the suspect suddenly draws his own weapon and starts firing. Things you can’t control anyway.

Danger is not your real job as a police officer, it’s a perk (black humor again), and shooting and getting shot is not your real job as a cop, avoiding or deescalating danger and avoiding shooting and getting shot, and thereby resolving crime as peacefully as possible – that’s your real job. (Is that always possible, no, sadly, you understand real people too, but that is your aim and most of the time it can be done if you are craftier than the criminal or the public, and you should be craftier than both. Oh few people will say that out loud, because of modern political pussification, but it’s true. You want to be far smarter than either the criminals or the public to both defeat and destroy crime and to guard society, sometimes even from itself, without endangering the innocent.)

Now a lot of people will say by way of objection, “Well, our resources are already stretched too thin and we can’t afford to wait and to isolate.”

Of course you can. Don’t be absurd. Waiting and isolating is a hell of a lot cheaper and safer for everyone, including you (in the vast majority of cases) than facing lawsuits and riots and potshots at your fellow officers and mass murders attacks (I am not saying any of these things are actually justified, I am saying you likely will face them, and you know that if you are really honest with yourselves) and possibly getting civilians involved in a shooting. Shooting is the very last thing you want to do if you can possibly help it, but nowadays if an old woman with a knife is running around screaming, you just shoot her.

For God’s sake, think on that and think on how your grandfathers would have handled that.

You don’t, returning to the subject matter at hand, escalate a potentially dangerous situation around a woman and child. Even assuming you have a right to fire (and being a suspect does not make a man guilty and having a firearm – unless you are a convicted felon – is legal for everyone else or should be under our Constitution) bullets can hit bones or metal or other material and spin away and hit the woman or kid, or in a rush you can just plain miss.

And suspicion does not give you a right to fire.

And after you do fire and have severely injured a guy you immediately disarm him, clear the child and woman, and render assistance. You do not stand there with your weapon continually aimed at the guy as he bleeds out and dies.

There are lots of ways this could have been handled. Most all would have ended safely for everyone.

Now was this stop racism? Very, very unlikely that most any situation like this is racism. That’s ridiculous. It’s paranoia, is what it actually is. If it was racism or “systemic racism” then cops would be shooting sixty year old back guys and black women and little black kids, or whatever. They aren’t. They tend to shoot young black males because that is who is usually proven dangerous. After all young black males kill far more young black males than most cops ever will. (And you gotta be honest about that too.) But cops are paranoid of young black males precisely because, primarily in big city/heavily urban areas, they kill each other so often. Add that, to a cop’s already natural sense of paranoia and danger, not only abides for all, it multiplies and thrives.

And that’s fine and I get that, paranoia has on more than one occasion saved my ass. But paranoia and inexperience and the idea that you must be in a rush to resolve every dangerous or potentially dangerous situation has a bad side as well.

If you ask me, by studying this situation carefully, you can see how modern police training is going badly awry. Your training is all fucked up. Especially big city training. Well, most big city training anyway.

You gotta start being honest about that. Primarily, urban police officers, I mean.

You gotta start acting beyond your training and incorporating your own experience to your actions and reactions and listening to what your older officers and old timers do/did in tough situations, and listen to their stories.

You gotta stop being in such a rush and yeah, I know, if your superiors second guess you and think you have fucked up by letting a suspect walk (for the moment) they will give you hell and maybe even screw with your career. I know all of that shit. Your job sucks.

And yeah, I know you’re not racist, you’re paranoid. You’re stuck in a system, and an environment (just like most young decent blacks kids are) where the usual suspect and the usual perp of violent crime (and the usual victim) is a young black boy. That’s just Reality. So if you’re a cop, especially in certain areas, and you’re not paranoid, then you’re a fool.

But don’t let paranoia rule you (easier said than done, I know), don’t be in a rush, rely upon your training but don’t be hamstrung by it, add to it your experience and the experience of those around you, and remember a lot of problems, even those that seem immediately dangerous aren’t really if they are handled right. And given some time, thought, and pre-calculation.

(It sure as hell wouldn’t hurt for you to write down all of the tricks you’ve employed over time that worked out well, and all of the things you’ve done that haven’t worked and review those with yourself and your fellow officers from time to time. Screw policy when necessary, write down and think about and review what actually works. Lessons Learned. Keep your own records and notes on your own best techniques and the best techniques of those who do best.)

And remember that if you see a woman and a kid, assuming your suspect hasn’t already pulled a gun then he’s just a suspect and a lot of things can wait until the situation is to your advantage, and to the woman and kid’s advantage, not the suspect’s advantage.

And you owe people who are not criminals (especially when they are in or around potentially dangerous situations) respect even when they give you a hard time, and many will for reasons that have nothing to do with you. Most people are driven by their emotions at least some of the time. Everyone is from time to time. You know that better than most. You see it constantly.

And so for God’s sake be careful out there. I mean that in all of these potential senses, careful for yourself, careful of others, and careful for others. All are equally important but not all have to be serviced immediately and sometimes it is just plain better to wait, to observe, to qualify, and to understand before acting.

And for you civilians out there, especially you middle class blacks (and whites and others) who have lived basically sheltered lives but for whom the police may still be paranoid of you, they are paranoid by nature and as a result of the job (keeps them alive), not racist.

(At least not racist in the way you think at all. They are practical racists, if that is the real term or expresses the real idea. I know no one wants to hear that, even cops because they are not racists or bear ill-will against a race-group but they have “attached danger to the idea of young black males” primarily young black urban males because they have seen so many dangerous young black urban males. To that one group they are, rightfully or wrongly, extra-paranoid. You can call that racism if you like, I don’t, it should have its own term, and maybe I should devise one, but it’s not race-hatred, it’s an extra-heightened sense of danger and paranoia around a particular group of young black males born of experience, particularly those who live in certain areas.)

Nevertheless, and all of that being true, a police officer cannot rely upon suspicion and paranoia as a tool of interaction in working with the public. A police officer owes you respect especially if you are not engaged in crime or have no record. But cops have a heightened sense of suspicion and danger. Often to them suspect = convict or dangerous individual because they have seen it so much.

I wish there was a way I could magically wave a wand and resolve these situations for everyone involved or make everyone understand the other better.

But I can’t.

But I can say this, we can all do lot better. Cops, civilians, society, black, white, you name it. And we should all do lot better.

And criminals, for God’s sake, stop doing the shit you do.

There’s no future in it for you or anyone else. Without you being idiots and fools most of this shit would never happen. That’s the real answer to the vast majority of this mess.

Criminals, find and pursue a better way. You’re the real and by far the most prominent and dangerous problem.

Do I actually expect that? For criminals to suddenly grow a conscience and to change?

What the hell am I? Some kind of naïve modern man?

Not likely. But still, it’s what ought to be done.

 

Woman films shocking aftermath of police officer shooting her partner.

Warning: this post contains graphic footage. 

A shocking video shared live on Facebook by an African American woman whose partner was just shot four times by police has rocked the United States.

Having been pulled over for a broken tail light on Wednesday, Philandro Castile informed the police officer that he had a weapon in the car and a licence to carry before reaching for his wallet.

It was then that the officer opened fire, shooting Castile four times.

Castile’s partner, Diamond Reynolds and her four year old daughter watched on helplessly.

philandro castilePhilandro Castile in his last moments. Source: Diamond Reynolds / Youtube.

Within moments of Castile being shot, Reynolds began filming, live-streaming what was happening to Facebook, speaking to the camera and police officer intermittently.

“He let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” Reynolds said to the camera.

Reynold’s four year old daughter offers comfort to her mother. Post continues… 

Play Video

Diamond Reynolds films Philando Castile.

Castile can be seen slumped between the front seats, his white t-shirt soaked with blood, his breathing slowing between cries of pain.

“I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand off it,” the St. Anthony police officer can be heard saying to Reynolds.

Following the arrival of more officers, Reynolds’ confronting footage continues, with her being forced to drop to the ground at one point.

The shooting of Castile comes following the death of Alton Sterling, another African American man shot dead by police in Baton Rouge on Tuesday.

philandro castileDiamond Reynolds speaking to press following the shooting. Source: Youtube

“Please don’t tell me this, Lord. Please, Jesus, don’t tell me that he’s gone,” she said. “Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir,” Reynolds says frantically. “He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”

Later, as Reynolds and her daughter are being loaded into a police vehicle, she again cries, “Please Jesus, no. Please no. Please no, don’t let him be gone.”

From out of shot, Reynolds daughter  can be heard saying, “it’s okay, I’m right here with you.”

Castile was pronounced dead at at Hennepin County Medical Center. He had no criminal record and was said to be well respected by co-workers and friends.

MOST WATCHED

THIS CAN BE DONE – AGAIN

READ THIS POST CAREFULLY – BECAUSE THIS CAN BE DONE, AGAIN

 

Every situation is dependent upon the circumstances encountered. That is true both of the cop, and the citizen. But read this carefully because there are actual solutions in this post to most (not all, but the vast majority) of deadly and potentially incidents between police and citizens in both directions.

And yes, I wish very much to return to these days. That was the way you actually did it. I saw countless examples of precisely this kind of police work growing up. Hell, I helped with this kind of police work and I had this kind of police work meted out to me on a couple of occasions. But I never forgot it, or what it meant, or what it actually required.

But it will take cops brave enough and self-disciplined enough to understand their true duty and function and citizens patient enough and self-disciplined enough to understand their duties and obligations to everyone else.

But this can be done. Again. These days can return. They should return.

(And truthfully, it is done already in most cases, you just don’t see that because most cases go smoothly and so are rarely mentioned and almost never displayed, and that maybe be to our real detriment, that body cams and other cams are not more often used by the media, the police, by citizens, and society to show how you do this right so people would have better examples of Right versus wrong. But my point is we could do this in most every case if more people understood, and far more importantly, practiced principles like these. But you have to have really brave, self-sacrificial cops and you have to have a self-disciplined, not self indulgent society. But this shouldn’t be just nostalgia, it should be Standard. But we all have to want that Higher Standard, and then make it so.)

(I have edited out the name and photograph and most IDing information for privacy on this blog post, but the story still retains the essence of what my friend said. This was my friend’s step father, but I knew dozens just like him. Like I said, there are solutions in this story.)

____________________________________________________

My Step-Father,  was a Police Officer, first for several years in a city environment and then 25 years a small town. He never discharged his weapon, in the line of Duty, although he did take a bullet while on the Philadelphia police force…

My Dad often was called upon to diffuse domestic disturbances and instances where veterans were having psychotic episodes. He would always leave his gun & baton in his patrol car, choosing instead to carry his 4 D-cell battery flashlight, which was less of a threat, yet an effective weapon, if needed…

He could ONLY do this, because he had complete Faith in his Lord & Savior, years of experience and advanced military & law enforcement combat training.

My Step-Father exuded love & confidence, while commanding respect. He was a rare exception… Unfortunately, most Police Officers are human to a fault and subject to the same errors, prejudices, fears and struggles as the rest of us. The BIG difference is that they have a thankless job, with many unhappy endings, in which they are often hated and forced into situations that you & I would have no answer for!

The ability of a Police Officer to uphold the authority of his position is contingent upon society’s willingness to submit to the authority of the position…

I’m sad about these situations of violence & abuse on both sides. I’m sadder that obedience to and respect for Authority is being replaced by provocation!

AS I SUSPECTED…

Yeah, I had him pegged early on as either ex-military or former SWAT. So I was right on that part too. Guy knew exactly what he was doing. The attack was too well executed and planned and staged and possibly even coordinated. His defensive positioning and site preparation must have been impressive to employ the robot with an explosive. It probably wasn’t just to kill him but to trigger potential IEDS, prepared bombs, booby traps, and excess ammo as well.  Plus until the actually got into his nest they could not have known/verified he was actually alone.
Then the robot could also do a post explosion assessment/sweep for traps and additional suspects prior to human penetration.
Yeah, that makes a lot more sense now. The robot and the explosives. Bad all the way around, but I get the logic. Especially if they had prior Intel from the negotiations or profile/personnel/background research.

We’ll have to see about any other suspects.

There is one other possibility too, which might sound crazy but I’ve seen crazier.

 

Dallas shooting kills five police officers; suspected attacker was Army veteran

 

See link for maps and videos

By Tim Madigan, William Wan and Mark Berman July 8 at 2:53 PM
Here’s what we know so far about the Dallas shooting Play Video1:57
DALLAS — Five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others wounded Thursday night when sniper fire turned a peaceful protest over recent police shootings into a scene of chaos and terror.

The gunfire was followed by a standoff that lasted for hours with a suspect who told authorities “he was upset about the recent police shootings” and “said he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. The gunman was killed when police detonated a bomb-equipped robot.

After the bloodshed — the deadliest single day for law enforcement officers since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks — authorities said one attacker was dead, three potential suspects were in custody and police were still investigating who may have been involved in the attack.

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“We are heartbroken,” Brown said during a news conference Friday. “There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city.”

The eruption of violence at around 9 p.m. occurred during a calm protest over recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, with similar demonstrations occurring in cities across the country. As a barrage of gunfire ripped through the air, demonstrators and police officers alike scrambled. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told CBS News that in addition to the police officers, two other people were wounded by gunfire, though their conditions were not immediately known.

[What we know about the attack on police in Dallas]

‘Somebody’s armed to the teeth’: Social videos show shooting in Dallas Play Video2:37
Police have not officially released the identity of the attacker who said he was upset by police shootings, but a senior U.S. law enforcement official familiar with the probe identified him as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, who is believed to be from the Dallas area. Johnson did not appear to have any ties to international terrorism, the official said.

Johnson deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army from November 2013 through July 2014 and was in the Army Reserve from 2009 until last year. Army records show that Johnson, whose home was listed as Mesquite, Tex., had served with an engineering brigade before he was sent to Afghanistan. He did not have a combat job and was listed as a carpentry and masonry specialist.

There are no immediate indications that the attack was related to terrorism, international or domestic, according to a second federal law enforcement official, who asked not to be identified discussing an ongoing probe.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said Friday that federal officials including the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were working with local law enforcement to help investigate the attack.

“This has been a week of profound grief and heartbreak and loss,” Lynch said. Noting that the attack in Dallas happened during a protest sparked by police shootings, she added: “After the events of this week, Americans across our country are feeling a sense of helplessness, uncertainty and fear … but the answer must not be violence.”

[Man falsely connected to the shooting by Dallas police is now getting ‘thousands’ of death threats]

The slain police included four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer. While police said they were killed by “snipers” perched atop “elevated positions” and initially said there were two snipers, it was unclear Friday how many attackers were involved.

For hours after the assault, police were locked in a standoff with Johnson after he was cornered on the second floor of a building downtown. Police exchanged gunfire with him and negotiated with him, but those discussions broke down, Brown said.

In those conversations, Brown said the suspect told police that “he was upset about Black Lives Matter” and angered by the police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota that dominated national news this week after officers in both places fatally shot black men. He also said he was not involved with any groups and acted alone, the police chief said.

Authorities currently believe that he was the lone shooter, although have not completely ruled out the involvement of others, said Philip Kingston, a Dallas City Councilman who represents the downtown district. “The shooter’s own statement apparently was that he had acted alone,” Kingston said around midday on Friday.

During the standoff, Johnson also told authorities that “the end is coming” and spoke about bombs being placed downtown, though no explosives had been found by Friday.

[Dallas police Chief David Brown lost his son, former partner and brother to violence]

Ultimately, Brown said police had no other option but to place an explosive device on their bomb robot and send it to the suspect, who was killed when the bomb detonated.

During remarks at a prayer vigil on Friday afternoon, Brown said that “this was a well-planned, well-thought-out evil tragedy by these suspects,” adding: “And we won’t rest until we bring everyone involved to justice.”

Names of the slain officers began to emerge Friday, beginning with Brent Thompson, a 43-year-old transit police officer and Patrick Zamarripa, a 32-year-old police officer who served three tours in Iraq with the U.S. military.

The Dallas transit agency identified three of its officers who were injured but are expected to survive.

“As you can imagine, our hearts are broken,” the agency said in a statement. “We are grateful to report the three other DART police officers shot during the protest are expected to recover from their injuries.”

These three officers were named as Omar Cannon, 44; Misty McBride, 32; and Jesus Retana, 39. Tela Strickland, McBride’s 14-year-old cousin, reacted with “shock” to news that her relative was shot in the stomach and shoulder.

“I am so tired of seeing shootings in the news,” she told The Post. “When you see your own family in the news, it’s heartbreaking.”

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DART grieving the loss of Ofc Brent Thompson, 43, killed during Thurs protest. First DART officer killed in line of duty. Joined DART 2009.
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Even as people were still trying to hide or shelter in place after the gunfire, videos began to circulate on social media showing some of the bloodshed.

One video showed a person with an assault-style rifle shoot a police officer in the back at point-blank range. In the footage, a gunman is seen running up behind an officer moving behind a pillar and firing at his back. The officer is seen falling to the ground. It is unclear if the officer survived.

Eyewitness video: Dallas gunman shoots police officer Play Video1:47
Brown had said during one briefing that he was not sure if there were more suspects at large. On Friday, Brown said he would not go into any detail on other suspects until authorities get further into their investigation.

“We’re not expanding on who and how many,” he said. “We’re going to keep these suspects guessing.”

[Killings and racial tensions commingle with divided and divisive politics]

At one point, Brown had said he believed four suspects were “working together with rifles triangulated at elevated positions at different points in the downtown area” where the march was taking place.

“Suspects like this just have to be right once … to snipe at officers from elevated position and ambush them from secret positions,” Brown said Friday. He added that despite the danger, officers “with no chance to protect themselves … put themselves in harm’s way to make sure citizens can get to a safe place.”

Two possible suspects were seen climbing into a black Mercedes with a camouflage bag before speeding off, police said. They were apprehended in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. A third possible suspect, a woman, was taken into custody near a garage where the attacker who exchanged gunfire with police wound up.

Brown said it was unclear if any of the suspects were somehow connected to the protest. He added that detectives were investigating that possibility.

“All I know is this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” he said.

[Police nationwide order officers to ride in pairs after Dallas police ambush]

On Friday, Rawlings, the mayor, said that he believed the country had to honestly confront racial discrimination.

“We will not shy away from the very real fact that we as city, as a state, as a nation are struggling with racial issues,” he said during a prayer vigil.

After the shooting in Dallas, police officers and agencies across the country offered their condolences and took steps to protect their officers.

Police chiefs in Washington, Los Angeles County, Boston, Nassau County and St. Louis also had instructed their patrol officers to pair up, as did officials in Las Vegas, where two officers were gunned down in an ambush while eating lunch in 2014, and New York, where two officers were killed in another ambush that same year.

Terry Cunningham, the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the chief of police in Wellesley, Mass., said Friday, that officers nationwide “really are going to have to have vigilance. Any traffic stop, at any time, can be deadly. I don’t know what this means. I don’t know if this means more violence perpetrated toward law enforcement as a result of this.”

Officials in Tennessee said Friday that they believed a man who opened fire on a parkway there before exchanging gunshots with police may have been prompted by concerns over encounters involving police and black Americans.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that Lakeem Keon Scott, 37, the suspected shooter in that case, had killed one woman driving in her car, wounded two other people and shot a Bristol, Tenn., police officer in the leg before officers shot and wounded him.

“Preliminarily, the investigation reveals Scott may have targeted individuals and officers after being troubled by recent incidents involving African-Americans and law enforcement officers in other parts of the country,” the agency said in a statement. They added that there was no current safety threat to the area and that the investigation suggested that Scott had worked alone.

[Minn. governor says race played role in fatal police shooting during traffic stop]

The mass shooting in Dallas comes amid intense scrutiny of police officers and how they use deadly force, an issue that returned to prominence in the news this week after videos circulated of a fatal shooting in Baton Rouge, La., and the aftermath of another in Minnesota. On Tuesday morning, Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge; less than 48 hours later, Philando Castile was fatally shot by an officer in Minnesota.

President Obama, who after arriving in Warsaw discussed how troubling the events in Minnesota and Louisiana were, spoke about the Dallas attack and said there was “no possible justification” for the shooting in the city.

“I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events,” Obama said.

He called on Americans to “profess our profound gratitude to the men and women in blue” and to remember the victims in particular.

“Today, our focus is on the victims and their families,” Obama said. “They are heartbroken, and the entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, which is a tight-knit family, feels this loss to their core.”

Officials across the country expressed their grief for those killed in Dallas.

“I mourn for the officers shot while doing their sacred duty to protect peaceful protesters, for their families [and] all who serve with them,” Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, wrote in a message on Twitter. Her likely Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, called the shooting “a coordinated, premeditated assault on the men and women who keep us safe.”

Amidst protests, police heroics

Stories of heroism emerged along with tales of horror. Several people said officers helped save them, including one man who said an officer pushed him out of the way as shooting began. Bystanders captured footage of cops dragging fallen comrades out of the line of fire. Cameras also captured police officers choking back tears for their fallen colleagues. One officer appeared to brace himself against his SUV as grief overcame him.

“So many stories of great courage,” Brown said.

Dallas Police respond after shots were fired at a Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Dallas on Thursday, July 7, 2016. Dallas protestors rallied in the aftermath of the killing of Alton Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge, La. and Philando Castile, who was killed by police less than 48 hours later in Minnesota. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)
Rawlings said it was “a heartbreaking morning” and called for unity.

“We as a city, we as a country, must come together and lock arms and heal the wounds we all feel,” he said.

As in other cities across the country, protesters gathered in downtown Dallas just before 7 p.m. for a march from Belo Garden Park to the Old Red Courthouse.

For nearly two hours, hundreds of demonstrators had marched through Dallas, at one point passing near a memorial plaza marking the site of President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination in the city.

[Dallas witness: ‘Everybody seemed happy. And then, all of a sudden — the shots rang out.’]

Stanley Brown, 19, was near El Centro, a community college in downtown, when the shooting began.

“You could hear the bullets whizzing by our car and hitting the buildings. A bullet missed our car by six feet,” he said. “We pulled into a garage and got out of our car, and the bullets started hitting the walls of the garage.”

Brown ran around the corner of a building to take cover, only to see a gunman running up the street.

“He was ducking and dodging, and when police approached, he ducked into El Centro,” he said.

He saw a SWAT team rush the college building, enabling five people to escape.

“An officer looked back at us and yelled that it was a terrorist attack,” he said.

Lynn Mays said he was standing on Lamar Street when the shooting began.

“All of a sudden we started hearing gunshots out of nowhere,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “At first we couldn’t identify it because we weren’t expecting it, then we started hearing more, rapid fire. One police officer who was standing there pushed me out the way because it was coming our direction…. Next thing you know we heard ‘officer down.’”

Undercover and uniformed police officers started running around the corner and “froze,” Mays said. “Police officers started shooting in one direction, and whoever was shooting started shooting back.

“And that’s where the war began.”

Wan and Berman reported from Washington. Greg Jaffe in Warsaw and Michael E. Miller, Travis M. Andrews, Adam Goldman, Katie Mettler, Ben Guarino, Mary Hui, Tom Jackman, Peter Hermann and Thomas Gibbons-Neff in Washington contributed to this report.

Dallas
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The Post’s database of fatal police shootings

The Dallas sniper attack was the deadliest event for police since 9/11

SPOOKED

SPOOKED

If you are a young black male and you don’t understand that police are sometimes spooked by you, especially if you live in a high crime, urban area, then you aren’t thinking this out very far. Now as a black kid or man is that necessarily your fault? If you are law abiding and peaceful and doing the best you can, then no, it is not your fault. But at the moment anyway, it is the way it is. And no one can argue the way things actually are. You might not like it, and in this case you shouldn’t like it, but you can’t argue it’s not true.
If you are a police officer and you don’t understand that a lot of young black males (or others) are sometimes spooked by you, especially if you react to them with automatic suspicion or an assumption of guilt, then you aren’t thinking this out very far. Now as a cop is this your fault? If you are a good cop and doing the best you can, then no, it is not your fault. But at this moment, anyway, this is the way it is. And no one can argue the way things actually are. You might not like it, and in this case you shouldn’t like it, but you can’t argue it’s not true.
Everyone is spooked. Sometimes for entirely legitimate reasons and sometimes for assumptively dubious and entirely erroneous reasons. And when people are spooked, then rightly or wrongly, bad things tend to happen. People react instead of carefully observe, people are triggered by instinct rather than reason, people’s emotions become actively paramount rather than their common sense. The result of those habits are often very bad (certainly stupid and unnecessary), even murderous things.
But no one but criminals and terrorists and very bad men will benefit if young law abiding citizens and young men and the police are spooked of each other, and are reflexively hostile towards and automatically dubious of each other.
What’s the answer? Hell, I wish I could tell you the answer. The one that will work in every case. But no answer will work in every case. That’s just not real life. Not the way real people are. People are people. They will at times revert to their worst instincts or their most illogical and counter-productive habits. Or even to bad or incomplete or misguided training.
However I can tell you this much: When you are angry at each other, and vengeful towards each other, and automatically suspicious of each other, and spooked by each other then no real good can come of that. And no solutions either. Sometimes though, just really thinking and dwelling on the problem can give you an understanding of how to start.
However I can tell you what ought to be happening. What ought to be happening is that young black men, the law abiding and decent and good ones should be working with the police to take down criminals and thugs and terrorists in their own neighborhoods and to straighten out those neighborhoods for everyone else. (Including for the benefit and safety of their own children and women.) What ought to be happening is that cops should not to be automatically suspicious of all young black men who live in a dangerous area (and yes, they have every right to own personal firearms and maybe even more reason than most – because, well, think about it, they live in a bad or violent or high crime neighborhood) and instead the police ought to be conscripting the young, decent, good ones as allies and informants and friends to help clean up bad neighborhoods. (And good cops cannot stand beside or defend bad ones, or even wrong ones.) There should be an alliance and a true friendship and a partnership between citizen and police, but that has to run in both directions at once and respect and protection and cooperation and trust has to also run in both directions at once, and keep running in both directions at all times and as much as humanly possible.
Now I fully understand human beings and their true natures. I’m not fooled by how things will have to go or will go, or are even likely to go. And I’m not gonna try and deceive you with a bunch of feel good, talk-show, pop-psychology, fairy dust and glitterized bullshit. Mistakes will be made and will continue to be made. That’s human nature. Humans are imperfect. But no one should defend wrongdoing in either direction and over time the mistakes should become fewer and fewer, and even less and less egregious.
But this shit has got to stop people. My nation is already entirely fucked up enough as it is. Manslaughter and mass murder and unending suspicion and chaos and innocents being slaughtered and riots in cities and snipers on rooftops and kids shot dead out of suspicion is not the way. We’ve nowhere else to go from here but straight down to hell.
Being spooked all of the time will make spooks of far too many of us. Dead men in a dying land.It is a false hope to live as ghosts in a ghostland, to be half-men in a dead land, when we could be a Great Thing in a Great Land.
We should all be living and thriving and growing and developing, and at and about worthwhile, profitable enterprises.
What we’re doing right now ain’t working, and it can’t work. And, in the end, because it cannot hope to succeed, for anyone, it will have to be abandoned anyway. Or to stubborn self-ruin we go.
I hate even mentioning shit like this because I despise politics being interjected into life and death matters and matter of Right and Wrong. Right and Wrong should always stand on it’s own because, well hell, it’s fucking Right and Wrong. If you don’t get that then I can’t help you. Truth is you should never have to interject race or class or sex or any other far lesser considerations into Right and Wrong. But my wife is black, and my kids are half-black, and a lot of my good friends are black. And I grew up around cops and I’ve worked crime and tracked murders and rapists and thieves (and I know exactly how it works, I’m not in the least naïve or misguided about how criminals and terrorists are) and a lot of my good friends are cops and God-damnit it all to hell this ain’t fucking working.
I’m sitting here about to cry just thinking about all of the totally useless, murderous, violent shit I’ve seen over the years and I don’t fucking cry. And I keep thinking, Christ in Heaven, damn this mindless, habitual shit, don’t they ever, ever, ever fucking get it? How useless this shit is? How utterly unnecessary most of it is!!?
And if they don’t get it by now then what will it actually take?
Look, I’m under no illusion that most criminals are not gonna get what I’m saying. Nor are they gonna care. But by God, why can’t the rest of us? Get it?
So start now. For God’s sake. For your own sakes… Start doing things differently. Start treating each other differently. What in the fuck do any of us have to lose if we all do this differently?
Otherwise this shit is all you’re gonna have and this cycle of idiocy and death is all you’re going to have to hand down to your children and grandchildren.
You’ve already bankrupted them. Do you want to hand them down this useless shit too?
So man the fuck up already people, throw in together, and stop being so bucking spooked when you don’t need to be. And stop giving out reasons for others to be spooked by you too.
Because what we’re doing right now can’t possibly work over time.
And we’re running the hell out of it.
Pray for your nation folks. Pray for your own understanding. But just as importantly, if not more so, start doing things differently.
This shit is all on us. The solution will be on us too.
Or the doom and the fucking damnation will be.
And I for one have had a fucking nuff of the doom and the damnation.
I want to see things they way they ought to be. I want to see all men behaving as they should.
For God’s sake, for your own sakes, don’t you?

HOMELAND

All of these people died in faith without receiving the promises, but they saw the promises from a distance and welcomed them. They confessed that they were strangers and immigrants on earth.  

People who say this kind of thing make it clear that they are looking for a homeland.

 

If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return to it.  But at this point in time, they are longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one.

Therefore, God isn’t ashamed to be called their God—he has prepared a habitation for them.

YOUR CHOICE

Now once Solomon finished building the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and everything else he wanted to accomplish,  the Lord appeared to him a second time in the same way he had appeared to him at Gibeon.

The Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your cry to me. I have set apart this temple that you built, to put my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.  

solomon-temple

As for you, if you walk before me just as your father David did, with complete dedication and honesty, and if you do all that I have commanded, and keep my regulations and case laws,  then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, just as I promised your father David, ‘You will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’

However, if you or your sons turn away from following me and don’t observe the commands and regulations that I gave you, and go to serve other gods, and worship them,  then I will remove Israel from the land I gave them and I will reject the temple that I dedicated for my name. Israel will become a joke, insulted by everyone.  

Everyone who passes by this temple, so lofty now, will be shocked and will whistle, wondering, Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and this temple?

The answer will come: Because they deserted the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt’s land. They embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them. That is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.”

STILL TO COME

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward. For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

 For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth?

But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

POWER OVER THE WORLD OF DEATH

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, 
“Fear not; I am the First and the Last,  and the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the Keys of Death and power over the World of Death.
 Write therefore the things which thou sawest, and the things which are, and the things which shall come to pass hereafter…”

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