Archive for April 2015

PUSH BACK WITH ADAM, BERNADETTE, AND CHRISTINE

April 30, 2015

I want to continue on with my last remark:  “Language is a participation in the truth.”  Language, here, informally includes vocabulary and the rules of grammar of your spoken and written language.

Starting, then, with vocabulary and the meaning of words.   For those of you who understand the   uses  of Newspeak,  the following story is a double-plus ungood.   Okay?

So this would be   ++ungood —
A  Push-Back  Love Story:

The Push-Back part:

WORDS MEAN THINGS.    When societies change, sometimes the meanings of some words change.   But when there is an agenda to change the society from without,  then words are given new meanings.

That process can actually, effectively change a society — in some instances, especially when the society is (1)  unaware of the agenda,  and (2) is relatively uncaring about the implications of those changes.

That’s not hard to understand  and  it’s not hard to illustrate.

 Let me present you with some vocabulary words, in bold letters,  here in the Love Story part:

mr mrs

Once there was a male human and a female human.

Then a Courtship developed.  They met,  they got to know each other,  they fell in Love.

They Married.

A short time later,  they were expecting a Baby.

Then it was found out that the Mother was Carrying three Babies. 

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On the ultrasound it was discovered that there will be one Son and two Daughters.  They were so Happy.

They named them Adam,  Bernadette, and Christine, and they could hardly wait to meet  them.   Young new parents,  young new human beings.
Then, even though it was too early  — 22 weeks after the pregnancy started — some pains started;  the pains became regular; then they went to their hospital. 

And Christine

The Babies lived —
    I mean they were loved and known and cherished and baptized ….

              —  The Babies lived for four short hours.
    And the parents say they were so glad to have met their Children, and they look forward to the day when they will be together again.

You can see the very short video they made of their experience here:

(I hope that still works.   Or you could try to YouTube Search the names of the children.)

The story speaks for itself; and  I’ve tried to keep my own editorializing out of it.   It’s a sweet story,  but let’s go back to some seriousness —

 “When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress, and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.”            (Frederic Bastiat,  French economist)

—  and I’ll let you make the connections.

Words have meanings.   All those words in the story above that are in bold have meanings that are now under attack.   Certain special interest groups want to change the meaning of man, woman,   marriage,  baby,  family . . . for their advantage.  Language is a participation in truth (truth: the correlation of the mind with external reality) — but if words have no objective meaning,  then all discourse ceases.    Only the politically powerful prevails.      If we don’t push back,  we lose.
(Prayers lifted up for Mr. and Mrs.  T.    May God comfort you.    Pray for us, Little Ones.)

PUSH BACK WITH TRUTH

April 28, 2015

I am, along with many of you, watching the developments in Baltimore.      I am in awe of  watching two groups of people right now, and both will be effective because they are looking at the truth of the matter before them.

I’ve never “interrupted” my own posting before, but I must.  I can’t rest until I do.  Nobody has objected.  Nobody questioned or criticized.   But I do.  I protest.      Naming these two groups gives them, perhaps, more credit than I want to imply.    Though I agree with some of their public statements which the media allows us to hear,   I know these groups well enough to know I can’t endorse them as a whole.   .    This is promising.  I haven’t seen any posturing or grandstanding as I do coming from the political leaders and the lawyers.   I know only that they seem refreshingly focused on what is actually in front of them.   Promising.

The second  “awesome”  group  are the mothers    …some of them, judge which ones for yourself.    Listen to them, if you care about children.   They speak truth,  not sociological or psychological nonsense.   Nevertheless,  they are speaking from intimate experience with the realities of a fallen, crumbled civilization.    Their good words are merely bandages for the wounds of the tragic results of rejecting civilized life.   

They are pushing back with truth.    Truth, to be sure,  but vestiges of truth;  glimpses of truth.

Having trouble sitting in front of the computer again tonight  (EMF,RF seems especially strong . . .and painful )  — but I want to keep this Push Back thing moving along:

I used the word “truth” a lot here.   Quid est veritas? as Pontius Pilate asked.    Well,  there is an answer.  It’s not a complicated question;  there is not a complicated answer.  But you can’t solve real problems if you can’t find truth and you can’t recognize it,

Here it is:   Truth is the adequation of the mind with external reality.

Or using the other word:  Truth is the correlation of the mind with external reality.

The mind includes the intellect because what informs your mind about external reality are your five senses.   It starts there with what is.   Then your intellect works on that information.    If your intellect strays from that external information,  then you are straying from Truth.

External reality is not a product of our imaginations.   We don’t somehow create external reality.  You didn’t have to be born and the external reality will go on without you when you die.

You can talk about truth when you correlate the faculties of your mind with that external reality.

Language is a participation in truth —

—  more about language next time.

“3RD SUNDAY” — PASSIVE ACTION AND ACTIVE ACTION

April 27, 2015

This could be called A Tale of Two Popes, one giving us a pathway of Passive Action and the other giving us a pathway to Active Action.     Neither is talking about weakness or aggression.

Both are talking about being faithful to the teachings of Jesus.

Jesus teachingOn this Third Sunday After Easter,  we are given the words of the first leader of the Church (somewhat paraphrased):   “Be good,  do well, live lives of good moral character.  Then those who speak against you as evildoers,  may see your good works and glorify God because of you.”     And later: “. . . by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
On one level, that is easy to understand.   If there are those who are criticizing your Christian faith,  and even (as in this country) they are angrily,  loudly,  shouting accusations and threats against you because you are a follower of Christ,  then be sure to be a good person,  do good things, and eventually they will see they have no reason to oppose you.

Okay.  Being a person of good moral character is my business –  my duty to work that out before God.   As a teacher,  I can help others to understand those words and maybe give some good ideas about how to “become good”  and to “do well,”  etc.

It takes an awful lot of intelligence and courage to accomplish that!    It’s not  weakness in the face of opposition, , but a Passive type of endeavor in the face of today’s aggressive moral corruption.  It’s an indirect and  passive type of push-back  but only one-half of an effective defense.

The other half was very well stated a few centuries later:

not to opposeThis is Active Action;  these are some things we can do in  the face of growing bigotry against Christians and the existence of Christophobia.

We can oppose error wherever it is found.

We can defend truth, knowing that asserting the truth is not aggression

We can, by good argument and by good deeds,  “confound” evil men and their actions.

Truth.    Error.    I will “push back”  with  definitions of truth and error next time.   The Reading today from Peter and the quotation from Pope Felix III  is enough to think about for now.

PUSH BACK: DON’T LOSE THE “THE”

April 24, 2015

It is axiomatic that Verbal Engineering Precedes Social Engineering.    It’s generally applied to a society that doesn’t know it’s being engineered.

So in this series of Push-Backs  I bring to you a seemingly trivial example:

smokey and girlThat’s an early poster promoting Smokey The Bear.     As in Smokey THE Bear.   I was a child her age, sitting at my desk with about 40 other children in my classroom,  our desks arranged in neat rows,  all attentive to the story of the little bear cub that was found alive after a big forest fire somewhere out west.  He was rescued and named Smokey,  and was used to instill the idea of campfire safety in the woods.

We each received a small,  two-inch long figure of a little bear that looks just like the one in the poster.  It was so realistic!   Its fur was fuzzy, and it stood up easily on our desktops.    When I took it home, I promptly found a pink satin ribbon and wrapped it around its neck.  (I was a little girl, after all.  I don’t know what the boys did with theirs.)    I still have that little bear figure with its pink ribbon somewhere in a box of “old stuff” in my basement!

smokey posterSmokey The Bear was the poster “child”  for safety in the woods.   He was in posters like this,  and in public service announcements on the radio and on television,  and he was even featured in that important children’s “window to the world” called the Mickey Mouse Club.     He became a small entry into our common cultural literacy.

smokey comivSure,  I was a comic book reader back then too.    Smokey The Bear  had his own comic book stories.

Now, fast-forward to the present   —   and after the takeover of the American political system, culture, and religions.   There is an American nation in name only, and we are living – with our eyes closed –  on the memory of what existed before, a memory of “what we ought to be.”   That’s only  possible because that American nation was such a great force that we are still able to benefit from the momentum of what used to exist.

Although we can no longer keep up the pretenses.  More and more things, such as our economy or such as the integrity of our cultural characteristics and moral fiber  are very obviously breaking down to the point of near disintegration.

The current face of our “transformation”

transformation

Push-back is serious business,  but one which those with the memory of America are doing only feebly.

As a university-trained historian (unpaid and amateur, now, to be sure),  I can identify several ways which this foreign element has successfully taken over and transformed us into another kind of nation.    You can research the changes if you want.  You could start with   Congressional testimony on the official Congressional Record of people like Bella Dodd and Manning Johnson   ( a woman and a black man —  if you’d like to be political correct).    Their testimonies detail the infiltration of what was then called the communist party into all aspects of American life, politics,  culture, media, and religion.   They detail their methods and their assignments to Congress.   Their testimony has been verified.      If you’re interested,  it’s out there for you to read.

I only want to emphasize one of those methods in this post:  Verbal  Engineering Precedes Social Engineering.  

Add that method to this process:  Cut off the people of a nation from their past.    Remove evidence of their common heritage.   As a public schoolteacher in the 1970’s  I witnessed this being done, and done to my very own dear classrooms,  usually via “new textbooks.”

It’s often done  by removing knowledge of American heroes — and good pedagogy knows that children need heroes  and not anti-heroes;  children have an innate need at certain stages of their lives for genuine heroes.   The method of the enemies of America removed traditional heroes and replaced them with people of their own kind.

I was there, for instance, at the very first “earth day” which was an attempt to install a new “holiday”   into our culture.    I had to take my children out of class,  organize them on the playground with other classes —  not quite sure what all happened next but it involved balloons and holding hands and singing “I’d like to buy the world a home. . . .”   which soon became in the children’s memories:  ‘I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company. . . .”        What we were teaching them is “thinking good thoughts and feeling nice emotions accomplish good goals.    In other words,  good social attitudes make good citizens.

Be good.   Be cooperative.   And the hard work of managing a country will be done by those in charge.    Just cooperate, willingly,  with good attitudes and good intentions.

(I won’t get into the very criminal and immoral Ira Einhorn who was there at the beginning, and who may or may not have been the “founder”  of this new holiday.   You can look him up;  you’ll find many apologetics  for this man in an attempt to rehabilitate the purposes of earth day.)

That new earth day attempt is just one small example of replacing old holidays and heroes with new holidays, new goals,  new people to look up to.     There was NO push-back, or no effective push-back, and those children – who are now nearing 50 years old –  have lost much of their own cultural heritage.   From what I’ve observed the past seems to be a large “blank” space, but  skillfully  reinterpreted by our new Rulers.

Which brings me back to the methods of keeping this breach between our past and our present:   Verbal engineering:   Today we have an imitation Smokey The Bear for children.   He has a new name “smokey bear.”    The message is similar,   but today he has a slow-speaking, half-asleep, old man’s voice,   and he has lost his “the.”    And our children and grandchildren are cut  off from the true original.

(I understand there is Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck — but just try talking to your kids about Rudolph Red-Nosed Reindeer.     Frosty Snowman.   Jack Giant Killer.  )

Again,  a very trivial example of a very serious process that’s going on:  Cut the people off from their heritage,  make it sound different somehow  — and then you can “transform”  them into a new  political identity.

Anyone ask your permission first?

THE ‘REAL’ CYCLOTRON

April 22, 2015

atom prettyI don’t know what I had expected.         A plane ticket to Fermi in northeastern Illinois?   A plane ticket to Switzerland to see the LHC?
ticketI’ve written this post before tonight in four different ways,  and the one thing they all had in common was coming back down to reality, and learning to be happy with just  “real life”  in my own backyard.  The MSU Cyclotron Building:
msu good builidngAnd there were some pretty interesting things to see after all.   Come,  take the tour with me:

I found the building, but couldn’t find a place to park, nor any signs telling me where to  enter.   I drove slowly around the building a couple times, finally  zig zagging into a place where I probably shouldn’t have been since my radio suddenly blasted out   extremely loud static.   I took that as a  “No Parking” and  drove out of there.

Then, once parked,  I had to ask at an information booth how to get into the building….
SAMSUNG     . . . and they told me to follow the footprints.”   Aw, geeee.   I had come for some adult physics.
SAMSUNGFirst we had to sit down and listen to the rules.   There weren’t too many, but the most memorable rule was “Whatever you do,  DON’T  ever press a red button!”   The young man said there were many red buttons all over, on doors, in halls, on tables, everywhere!  And they weren’t protected from curious fingers.

(There were several children on this tour, and on this point I identified with every one of them.  The most compelling question as we moved around was “What does that red button do?  How could I find out?  What would happen if…”    Oh, yes,  I understood how it feels to be told not to do something – with no explanation why.)

And this is also where I had my first MAJOR disappointment.   We were told that we could not actually SEE the cyclotrons because … they… were …  ON.    They were in use.  And we were told “You wouldn’t want to be near one when it’s in use. (Oh, yeah?)

(I’m still settling down after that bit of news.)

So here is where we began our tour.    I can at least show you what I saw:
SAMSUNGKeep in mind, I was usually in motion, usually falling behind because I was taking a lot of photos.  If he ever took a head count,  he’d usually be one less.    Me.     (I was looking at all the red buttons.)
Signs everywhere:
SAMSUNGSigns you don’t see every day.  “No radioactive material beyond this point.”   And apparently we humans in the tour were no threat, we could go past “this point.”

The building was very large with a maze of hallways, doors opening to rooms of all sizes with unrecognizable equipment and unintelligible instructions.  The entire building was noisy with vacuum pumps,  motors running,  fans, and many other loud unidentifiable noises.    And somewhere up there,  the young man’s voice . . .

Our guide did his best to explain what this mess of tubes and wires were for.
SAMSUNGAnother tangle of wires.   Well, probably a pretty expensive and important tangle of wires:
SAMSUNGHere is a work station that I thought was interesting.  Young physicists have open notebooks, charts, pencils, and little things on the table that they’re using.  A physicist at work:
SAMSUNGI wandered down a hallway and peeked into an open area: SAMSUNGSaw something very, very cold: SAMSUNGAnd then an ironic sign:    “Pure water   Don’t Drink”   —
SAMSUNGIf the water’s pure — then don’t drink it!

The important work going on here on this particular campus is the smashing of nuclei.   A nucleus is at the center of an atom, as in this cartoon diagram:
NucleusA smaller particle,  often an electron, is speeded up with the use of a rapidly alternating electrical current set perpendicular to a very strong magnetic field.  The high speed particle is then suddenly redirected into somebody’s  atom, say a carbon atom with 6 protons and 6 neutrons — or 6 reds and 6 blues in that diagram.

Here is a photograph of the resulting smash-up.
nucleus smashingAn “atom smasher” – right?   Then they see what other element has resulted and then study all that.

Here is an important sign:
SAMSUNGOur guide told us that he has to treat us as though we all have Pacemakers because there are areas of very serious strong magnetism.   Even though the magnetic fields were behind heavily reinforced doors,  there was still that Blue Light to warn you away,  in the upper left there:
SAMSUNG(Don’t touch  red buttons.  Don’t go near blue lights . . . .)

Now here is something interesting.  The young man was explaining to us what this equipment was used for,  when all of a sudden he stopped and did a genuine double-take.   He said,  “I was just here an hour ago and that wasn’t like that.”  Fortunately he kept talking to himself so we could hear what he was thinking.
SAMSUNGSee those three blue circles with silver bolts in the middle?   There is supposed to be a fourth one at the top,  but it looks white.  It was being covered in a thick layer of frost!   As he pointed out the “steam,”   (that blurry blue area)  which was frosty air escaping from the tubing, he was slowly backing  away.     I do believe he was genuinely alarmed.

Well, that became fun too.  He had kept telling us about the “five-foot thick doors,”  and now it became necessary to use one of them!   Here is  our door rising up from the floor.
SAMSUNGAnd if you’re interested in how  you move a five-foot door,   here is the button panel.   Press the (black)  button and the door moves upwards, into place.    Some in the tour group took turns doing it. . . .

SAMSUNGOnward to a giant vacuum machine.

SAMSUNGThey had very loud vacuum pumps going in that round gray tank, attempting to remove …  everything, so when they insert the gases they want, there will be no contamination from anything in the room.    This would be vital to you  if  you were a  physicist.

Don’t want to weary you, my readers, but here is the very most important thing that must be working well if you do any meaningful work here:
SAMSUNGThe Detector was halfway up in a open cylinder shaped room two stories up and two stories down:
SAMSUNG
You can see the round magnetic ring that is activated at times, down below on the floor.

Here we all are, listening to an explanation of another kind of detector,  the MoNa…     (The MoNa has quite a large Web  presence.)

SAMSUNGThe back of the MoNa itself:
SAMSUNGTubes, wires, and cylinders,  all connected in series.

And more –

SAMSUNGTreat her with respect.  People come from all over the world to use this famous Neutron Detector:
SAMSUNGThis is a map of the world, with green marking out the countries which have sent their physicists here, here to use this equipment we were looking at with pretty fair incomprehension.

One room had banks of screens,  40 something in all.    Here’s part of  it —
SAMSUNGThey are monitors that help you set up your experiment, dialing in the parameters of your experiment, and talking directly to the cyclotron.
SAMSUNG
In one of those screens you can see a grey box, which is an actual black and white real-time photo of what was going on inside the real cyclotron just then.    All of a sudden someone noticed a small red diagonal line appearing at the center.  THAT  was a particle being sent through the cyclotron.  Right then!  

That set my imagination aflame.   There was a teenage boy next to me at the glass window.  We were each madly taking photographs of these screens – and then we made eye contact and smiled, recognizing the interest in each other, realizing that taking these photographs was a bit meaningless but the closest we were going to come to the action at this time.

airline in sunsetThat young boy just may make it to Switzerland some day.

I’ll be content to learn from the screens on my own Internet connection —
SAMSUNG —    Where I’ll be able to watch the realtime graphs of the intensity levels of the voltage going through the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.   Measured in Gigavolts!!!!!!

I’ll be fine here,  “just in my own backyard.”

THE GOOD SHEPHERD: Philosophy 101

April 19, 2015

Today in Christendom is Good Shepherd Sunday.    We join with our ancestors for hundreds and hundreds  of years in learning more deeply why Our Lord is likened to a Shepherd and why we are likened to sheep.

Good  shepherd

Looking forward,  we join today with future generations who will also learn and contemplate Christ the Good Shepherd.   We will teach our children — and observe how they instinctively understand this analogy.

The Shepherd cares for the sheep and does everything in their best interest.  The sheep,  little ones and  older ones,  follow His lead because they trust Him to know best.    They keep their eye on their shepherd,  they go to him for their needs, and we can even  imagine the sheep bear affection towards their shepherd.

This alone is worthy of a lifetime of meditation.

As we become adults and grow older,   it’s a good thing to focus on that very word which children, in their childlike innocence, seem to understand so well:   “Good.”     The tiniest toddler understands:  “Good boy!”    “Good girl.”

And what does it mean when we call the Son of God, our Good Shepherd   “good”?      Wise men with greater intellects than I have said that  God is good, and that the very definition of “good”  is named God,  and that God is Goodness itself.   Fundamentally,  what is good?   God is that which is Goodness.

Do you have a problem with God?    Imagine a “better God” – one that is so good that He is infinitely good —  That is God.    You’ve heard a lot of enemies of God speak about Him.   So can you imagine an even better God than what they say there is?    Then that is the real God.

You can go on and on like this;  keep imagining a God who is even more good,  and even more good than that.    You may go on into Infinity, and then begin to approach the Goodness of the One God Most High — Who is Goodness itself.

“God  is  Good.”   And God is the source and origin of all goodness that comes into man’s thinking.

But is He “real”?        Long before Christianity came about,  The Greeks understood that something that is actually really in existence is greater than the thought of it.   

Christian philosophy adds a kind of definition of God:    “God is that than which no greater can be conceived.”    

So when you say God is Good, and have an idea what that means,  still greater is the real God,  for He actually exists. 

And in His Goodness,   He is actually Good to us as individuals.   

Good shepherd and you

He is our Shepherd,   one sheep at a time.

A child can understand this.

PUSH BACK MY PUSH BACK

April 19, 2015

Just a little “push back” from me to my post yesterday.     I love science.  Meteorology.   Astronomy.    And the Creator of it all.    So that would be “the heavens,  the high heavens,  and Highest Heaven,”  if you’re into  a graphical schema, or the geography of it all.

So I want to balance the “unspeakable”   (literally) in the last post,   with the “normal.”

SAMSUNG

Normal clouds.   Normal  puffball patterns.

Half the sky was decorated with these little puffballs.     Quite interesting.

At the edges were these common wind-driven stripes:

SAMSUNGAlso interesting.

I love saving pictures of clouds.    Might be genetic!     I have a cousin who also loves clouds.   I think we both have folders on our computers labeled  “Clouds.”

I attribute my interest to the mesmerizing effect of Koyaanisqatsi;  but that was a long time ago when such visual special effects were new and “Western Guilt”  was still a new and imposing concept.

So we have plenty of interesting beauty in the natural world to impress us;

That’s what most of the clouds are:  interesting and harmless.

SCIENCE SUNDAY: NO PUSH BACK ALLOWED

April 18, 2015

Look up!

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Just in time.     I am a curious person.

SAMSUNG

I am officially registered for our local Big Ten University tour of their Cyclotron!     Can’t wait!    (Not sure who wrote the substandard English title of the Registration form,   but I’m sure they’re better at smashing atoms than using the English language.)      I’m under strict orders to “ask a lot of questions, take a lot of pictures.”   Orders from Son who can’t be there tomorrow.

I’m interested in such things because those skies in the photo above are becoming more and more troublesome.    It was another display of super-secret science when I went out on errands this past week.   Above me, over the mall parking lot –

SAMSUNG

We had a clear blue sky in the morning with the weatherman affirming that we’d have “clear skies all day.”    Then the cloud layer was laid down.     And then the scalar waves applied to the clouds.

I drove on to another store and got out in their parking lot:

 

SAMSUNG

In no time at all,  deep patterns formed in the thick clouds –

SAMSUNG

I’m quite sure you realize the “wind”  doesn’t blow in all directions at one time, jamming thick chemical clouds together, willy-nilly.     Not the wind,   a deliberate pattern that manifests certain wave strengths.

Doesn’t matter.   This is one fact of current life that we are not allowed to ask about.     There will be no push back from citizens, under any flag.

One is not allowed to ask questions in matters of science.   Science belongs to our Rulers.

I drove home, got out of the car and looked up.   There was an “addition” to the sky above me:

SAMSUNG

The wave patterns were there,  but now there was a black track across the sky.   A close-up:

SAMSUNG

You can see the finer wave pattern better there.   And the length of it was curved:

SAMSUNG

The black track was either a rent in the chemical clouds or it was the shadow of a new  chemical trail laid down  just above the clouds.

You are supposed to say  “contrail”  as though these were water vapor clouds.   You know,  the kind that come out of an airplane and disappear in about 20 seconds?     You are supposed to say they are made of water vapor,  not the heavy metals,  aluminum, cadmium,  boron, and other stuff that have been collected and analyzed from these kinds of clouds –  the kind of metals that create a matrix for easier  dissemination of communication waves … and other kinds of waves.

Just a contrail up there.    Move along.  Nothing to see here.    No push back allowed.

(You might ask Dr. Edward Teller about the clouds up above.    He published openly about them.   And there are actual patents granted by our government . . .    oh, never mind.)

As I said up above,   One is not allowed to ask questions in matters of science.    But  I’m going to ask questions tomorrow by the Cyclotron.

Atom smasher

Just have to find an atom smasher who will talk to me.

 

PUSH-BACK: WHAT’S AT STAKE

April 18, 2015

Pardon my absence;  I’ve had a health setback…brief, I hope.    However, if it seems like this is rambling, it’s only because there’s too much information, and this issue has been on my mind for a couple of years — or, in reality,  it began in 1970;  but I’ll start in the present time.

Or maybe not the present….but the 20th century.    Ugh.     Here:

Einstein's warning
I find myself saying out loud once in a while that I despair for our civilization.  I don’t think we’ll get it back,  because the momentum is a downward trajectory that is gaining speed.  And though you may not use the word despair,  I think most of my readers will at least have “some fears” for the future too and maybe wonder what can be done.

In today’s highly politically-charged world,  when we are hoping our leaders will keep society safe and come up with solutions for our problems and complaints,  we can take  Einstein’s warning a step further:

“When the authorities are irresolute,  it is not the people who gain,  it is a small group of radicals who take over.”

As a last resort, it’s up to us.   if the authorities are irresolute,  perhaps  — maybe —  it would help if we are not.  I think that’s what our Founding Fathers meant when they said “The price of Freedom is constant Vigilance.”

What’s at stake is everything we Americans have taken for granted and we have lost, we are losing,  and we will lose.     So these next few posts will be about some things we haven’t been very “vigilant”  about, with maybe some everyday matters in between.

Meanwhile:  “Read Albert Einstein’s  quotation ten times before bed and come back here again to see what he meant.”

(Because it’s not just for Americans,  it’s for everyone who counts on civilization that was formed by and benefits from historical Christendom.)

Push Back: N-N-OOOOOO-OH!

April 14, 2015

 

They’re pretty:

pod lily

But that big fat  No!  up there in the title was Hubbie’s response to my plea for adding “just a few”  lily pads to our pond.     That kind of  “no”  was a total push back to the idea of lily pads in our pond,   pretty flowers or not.

I didn’t want to start this week’s Spruce Tunnel’s musings about push back, so I took some early morning photos of the pond today,  just to delay . . .

SAMSUNGSome of those “algae pads”  look like lily pads,  and there were some reddish brown leaves that had landed here and there, almost looking like flowers on the pads.

SAMSUNGClosing in on one area, I was delighted to see the first big goldfish of the season.    It was actually quite reddish, a sign of good health,  good nutrition…. or, in other words lots of algae and junk to eat —  which reminded me of a big problem.   The pond takes a lot of work to keep clean and debris free.  Too much algae is not a good sign.

And although that “No!”  resounds down through the years,  Hubbie was right.   Lily pads multiply like crazy and it would have been a constant chore – another pond chore — to keep them in the one tiny little corner that I had envisioned.

The fish were having a great time swimming fast from one “algae pad” to another.

SAMSUNGSo,  I’m glad now there was that big “push-back”  to my plans for turning “just a tiny part”  of our pond into a lily pad field.    It’s saved me a lot of   hard work, undoing a bad decision.

Even though I had planned to delay starting this week’s hard writing about some necessary push backs.   I guess my pond photos are leading me right into it.   Some push backs are necessary.

pod lily no

There are NO lily pads like these within 50 miles from my pond!     (probably)

 

QUASIMODO SUNDAY AND THOMAS

April 12, 2015

Today is  Quasimodo Sunday. *   The Lesson is:    Things don’t have to be complicated — unless you cherish your doubts and want to remain there, in your doubts.

“As newborn babes,  (Quasimodo geniti),  desire the rational/sincere/without false complexity . . .  milk  . . . ”  of the Word of God, which is so new to you “newbies” in the Christian Faith.

The disciples of Jesus were “new” to the Christian faith, so to speak.  It had “just happened” !

Uppper RoomThomas wasn’t there on Easter with the rest of the disciples who were surprised by the entrance of their Risen Lord into the Room where they were meeting, in secret, still hiding from authorities.  He appeared there among them.   But Thomas wasn’t there.

But one week later,   on the eighth day after that Appearance,   (an Octave of days) —  the disciples were again gathered in that “Upper Room” and this time Thomas was with them,  still rather disbelieving what his friends were telling them.

thomas in white

(The reasons for our doubts are complicated.   Well,  Thomas didn’t see Jesus,  so how can he know for sure. . . ?    And  Thomas had just  been through a traumatic past week,  knowing that his Rabbi,  Master, and Lord,  had just been crucified.   A person sometimes gets used to bad circumstances and the finality of a death.   There is almost a sense of “safety”  in wallowing in sadness and uncertainty.    No more changes! **)

Thomas can believe that Jesus was their superior,  their Lord,  he almost believed Jesus was the Son of God, with almighty power over life and death;  but,  no. . .    If that were true, too much would have to follow.  Too much would have to change in Thomas’s life.   Forget it.   “My friends, we were all disciples together,  but I don’t believe what you’re telling me.”   “Unless I see what you tell me you saw,  unless I see the scars and holes from the nails and from the lance — no,   I won’t believe just because you’re telling me.”

And then the Risen Jesus appeared to them again, in that locked Room.

thomas Again Jesus bids them “Peace.”    And, as though He had been overhearing Thomas’s  previous words,  he immediately said to Thomas:  “Here.  Put your fingers here in my  hands and put your hand here,   into my side.”

“Feel the nail holes,  reach into the large hole in my side. ”

And don’t be unbelieving.   This is not a rebuke to Thomas,  but a loving condescension.    You are having trouble believing?  You want physical proof?   Here  you are.      Don’t remain in your doubts.

Thomas’s response?     Now he knows,   Jesus is not just their Beloved Master,  their Lord,  but as Thomas said:  “My Lord and my God.

It was a good answer.     Then Jesus turned to the future:   Blessed are those who don’t have the opportunity you have,  yet still move on into belief.     Well, that would be us,  today.

We can’t have the experience of touching the Resurrected flesh of  Jesus,  but we don’t have to be weighted down and held back by our doubts either.  “Put your hand into my side.”   Not just “take a look.”    Go into.    We can pause and let our minds go deeper into this story;  we can let go of our doubts and reservations.      Just simply,  like newborn babes,   receive the “milk.”   And be “Blessed,”  as He said.

Bar Cross in middle

Sundays are often named for the first word or two in the Introit – that first short prayer which calls out to Christians, uniting them for that day in a common thought.    So the Introit starts with the word “Quasimodo” and is defined as above:  “In the manner of…”

**    “Safety” in clinging to sorrow:  Be gentle with your friends who are experiencing bad times and doubts.    It takes time to get used to the possibility of Good News.   It takes time to receive encouragement.   That’s human nature.    That’s the lesson of St. Thomas.

NAME YOUR ENEMY

April 12, 2015

 

Remember Heathcliff?  The alley cat that pretty much finds his own way to get what he wants.

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The fish aren’t too happy.

Another danger they can’t quite comprehend — until they do:

 

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(But Pete Rose is a good guy.    Where’s the danger from Pete Rose?)

“A Rose by any other name .. . would still smell as sweet.”     (Or:  “What’s in a name . . ?  That which we call a rose, by any other name,  would smell as sweet”.)

Unfortunately for the fish,  Shakespeare was speaking of flowers and girlfriends.

In the real world there are real enemies.    Not everyone wants to be our friend, and  it’s not always our fault.     Sometimes the enemy is on the rise and just wants to move on ahead, right over our dead bodies.

And if we can’t call the enemy by its real name,  all we’re going to have left is a bunch of stems with the flowers petals hacked off.

 

 

 

LIGHTING MASTER – It’s Personal

April 9, 2015

And the winner is:
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I wrote last time how important it is to  take advantage of each day in Easter Week.   So today was not “just another Thursday,”  it was Easter Thursday, and there was an unexpected mingling of my everyday life with the Easter Thursday Reading.

Today we read of Mary Magdalene who was first of the close circle of disciples to see their Resurrected Lord.

From further away:

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light bulb 50x53Jesus seemed distant from her,  just another man,  until He spoke her name:  “Mary.”      That was personal –  and the light dawned upon her, as we say.

I’m struck, this year,  by her first word upon recognizing Jesus:  “Master!”

Master!

mary m at the tomb
Her Master – her maestro – her teacher  –  her exalted Lord and Master.

She had  searched for the dead body of Jesus – (as so many do today:   “who was the historical-jesus?”)    in order to do a routine duty;   but she found the actual Living Lord when she accepted His personal touch.

Last time I wrote that everyday “historical” life sometimes intrudes on our attempt to keep Easter Week, and I’ve had another busy day now, accomplished a lot of errands, a lot of study,  searched for a lighting fixture to replace a broken one,   I’m fending off a fever, I got creative in the kitchen and developed a way to make a good  pepperjack and creamy clam soup.   Whew!

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Now this evening I have time to realize that one of my endeavors helps me understand Mary’s quest.    How funny,  I was literally searching for light.   Lighting, to be exact:

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Or  how about this simple design in a golden . . .

SAMSUNG(This is NOT easy!)

How about a square?

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It looked just like a black hanging room decoration until I remembered the lady said if I come to a light that isn’t turned on,  just pull the price tag.   So I did.   Lovely effect.

But not for my space.

Maybe.
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Maybe not.

It was hard to walk around in that store.   In the first place,  everything you wanted to see was up high, over your head.  That doesn’t help your feet.  I kept reaching out for a railing somewhere, because I couldn’t take my eyes off all the beautiful lighting fixtures.

Oh, yeah.   Price tags.     Really?!!  —

SAMSUNGFunny thing,  that price tag was attached to the one that looked most like the one I already have.   (It had come with the house.)

The one I like will have to appeal to me personally.   Classic?  Beautiful?   Unique?   I still like that circular one in the first photo —  looks like a three-dimensional model of an atom  —   scientific.

Sorry.  You can’t help.    It needs to be a personal appeal,  which Jesus knew right well when He called out to Mary Magdalene.    And as He calls to each of us, by name.    We’ll know.   We’ll respond according to our Free Will and according to our love.

Love is very personal.

TWO DAYS FROM EASTER

April 7, 2015

Two days past Easter and, oh, how long ago it seems!   It could fade quickly from our memories.

This is my favorite picture for this time of the year:

emmaus Last week was “Holy Week”  and this week is “Easter Week”  and today is Easter Tuesday.   Tuesday in Easter Week.   The Church, in her wisdom, knowing human beings,  has appointed this time of the year to reflect on the implications of the Resurrection of Christ,  because there are so many,  and it would be easy to just let Easter . . .   fade quickly from our memories.

So we have lessons and Readings, sermons and teachings, all from this time of Jesus’ life,  from His Resurrection to His Ascension.    So important is this week that the Church commemorates no saints at all this week.    Otherwise the consequences of Easter would be diluted and . . .  fade quickly from our memories.

The picture above depicts Jesus with two followers walking along a road which will lead them to the village called Emmaus.   These two followers had left Jerusalem early  without realizing what had just happened, so Jesus came to them and began to unveil the meaning of the Scriptures to them,  teaching them what the Cross and the Resurrection was all about.     We contemplate this on Easter Monday.   We try to delve deeper into this so that the Resurrection doesn’t . . . fade quickly from our memories.

Now today, on Easter Tuesday,  Jesus appears to his closest disciples and affirms that He has risen indeed,  body and soul,  as they say,   and He’s not a ghost.     It’s just a small event that we read about today,  but there are a lot of things to think about there,  lest the reality of the Resurrection . . .   fades quickly from our memories.

Two days past Easter I had a very busy day today, very productive, very frustrating,  very tiring.    Got a car into the repair shop and arranged a ride home.   Did the monthly bill-paying.  Took care of one-fourth of next year’s taxes.   Arranged,  then postponed,  then rearranged  lunch with a friend.  Did my class scheduling.  Practiced my recorder for tomorrow’s  “performance.”   Enjoyed way too much yard work.    Visited and worked alongside Son, and managed to keep him fed throughout the day.    

Easter seems very, very far in the past.   It would be so easy to forget

But I’m reminded that this is still Easter Week.   Each day of this Week presents rich, full, deep events that offer great opportunity to learn what this whole “Easter holiday” is all about.   Time to learn what I need to know so it doesn’t just . . . fade quickly from my memory.

Sysiphus-300x171

I’m only human.

EASTER, AS HE SAID

April 4, 2015

easter words

Celebrate!    Resurrexit, sicut dixit.   (Just as He said He would.)  *

easter

Celebrate!     It isn’t that Jesus “came back to life again.”   He didn’t.    Would that be something to celebrate?    Living here forever in this world?

But He resurrected into  New Life, which is far better than getting more life on this world.    Those who follow Him and share in His Life,  right up into and through  death, will also receive this  New kind of Life.

That’s something to celebrate!  It’s what He wants for us.  If He’s happy,  I’m happy.

Allow celebration to come into you, any way you can.   

easter bunny

  “I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No man taketh it away from me: but I lay it down of myself, . . .  and I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again.”   (John 10)    And:   “Behold, I make all things new.”  (Rev. 21)   And:  “If anyone is in Christ,  he is a New Creation.”  (II Corinthians 5:17)

 

THE HANDS OF GOOD FRIDAY

April 3, 2015

hand drawing

The hands were strong, kind, and gentle.   Giving  to people whatever they needed:

(Ask and you shall receive…)

hands
Hands that healed by their touch.
hand healing 2

Hands that offered the Bread of Life:

hand breaking bread

Hands that received the nails:

Hand Jesus nailed

And then at Tenebrae,   we experience the reason for those nails with  silence,  quiet prayers,  psalms,  and mournful melodies from an ancient culture,  and deepening darkness.  

 church dark cr

And the conclusion, in a darkened church, with even the last tiny candle snuffed out, the growing sound of a large stone being slowly rolled into place . . . and the drum roll increases until a loud Thud of a big drum —   the tomb is entirely sealed now, and those sacred hands are cold and still.

THE JUDGE, UP THERE

April 3, 2015

 

It’s Good Friday.  There is much to say,  but there is too much to say, so I make only one point today.

Judge kneeling before

Who is it up there symbolized in  history by the rough coverings,  torn off of animals, covering the sinful humans who must leave Paradise?   Death and blood. . .

… Who was symbolized in  that one dark and spooky night, full of dread and horror,  in which Abraham prepared the pathway for God to approach, a pathway made of the blood and death of animals…

…Who was symbolized by the bloody doorposts and lintels of the Israelites before their hurried escape from enslavement in “Egypt…”

…Whose justice was symbolized by the death of David’s son, to atone for his sinful behavior, and to cut off that pathway into the future…

…Whose sorrow was symbolized by the dreadful mourning of His own people who will one day in the future recognize the Piercing Lances in the prophet’s vision . . .

Judge with halo

And so many more hints throughout history, clues to Who is up there on the Cross.

It is He,  the Word,  present in  the creation of the World,  the Word which caused the world to exist.   Our rejection of that Word is what caused all the blood and sorrow and  and death throughout history . . .   It is His world which we try to wrench away from Him.

And so on the Cross today is Our Judge.

Judge golden
The Cross is the judgment for all the things we would rather believe in than His Word;  and  a judgment upon all the things that we have done that are unlike His Word, and so will be condemned forever.

This is what His mother  came to understand when she was told that “a sword shall pierce thy soul also,  that the thoughts of many hearts shall be revealed.”   

sword

The thoughts of our hearts, judged, at this event that we commemorate today.

Judge as of oldHis just judgment rests upon the Cross.

 

LITTLE HUDEA

April 1, 2015

This is Hudea.    Little Hudea.

Little Girl raises hands

She is about 4 years old.    She knows what she’s supposed to do when someone pulls a gun on her.

Only it’s really, really scary.

Because she has seen many guns pointed at people she knows. The Daddies shout and run around and look very afraid.  The Mommies cry and try to pull their children close to them.  And some people fall down and get very, very hurt.

This is the only world she knows.   She has seen the Islamic forces overpower her village on their way to conquering the whole world to turn it into an Islamic caliphate.

They are being successful in Hudea’s area of the world.  They are being successful in Europe and America by using other very clever and subtle means.

No one is doing what ought to be done to eradicate this barbarian army.

children under gun

And that’s why Little Hudea held up her tiny little arms when she thought a gun was being pointed at her.

Only it wasn’t a gun that day in her refugee camp.   It was a journalist with a camera, taking a picture of her camp,  with telephoto lens.

green

From the UPI/BBC story:   “At first such a photo was thought to be staged, but now, the BBC has tracked down the photographer, Osman Sagirli, who recounted how he had taken the image of the four-year-old girl, Hudea, at the Atmeh refugee camp in Syria in December last year. . . .”

From Hilaire Belloc,  Anglo-French writer  (I’ve written of this before):    Belloc was asked in the early 1930s, when the world was first becoming aware of the rise of Hitler’s National Socialism,  what is the greatest threat facing the civilized world in this century;   this is his famous reply –  “Will not perhaps the temporal power of Islam return and with it the menace of an armed Mohammedan world, which will shake off the domination of Europeans – still nominally Christian – and reappear as the prime enemy of our civilization?”     

If we are defeated,  if little children like Hudea are destroyed, I believe it will be because of the meaning of those three words:   “still nominally Christian.”       Nominal  Christians fight over who has to bake a cake for whom,  while the world they live in is being destroyed by others.

And it’s Hudea’s world.   And my grandson’s world.