Blessed Ascension Day

See, the Lord Ascends in Triumph

He has raised our human nature
On the clouds to God’s right hand;
There we sit in heav’nly places,
There with Him in glory stand.
Jesus reigns, adored by angels;
By our mighty Lord’s ascension
We by faith behold our own.

Author: Christopher Wordsworth, 1807-85 (verse 5)

A People without a memory …

A people without a memory is a people without a history, and a people without a history is a people without an identity: if we do not know where we came from, then we cannot know where we are now, nor where we are going.”

p. 12, The Pastor, Readings From The Patristic Period, by Philip L. Culbertson, Arthur Bradford Shippee, ed.

“To understand today is to understand the hippie”

I decided to write a little while being snowed in today. For you sensitive and easily offended people, it is a safe article to read, but keep in mind, this article is for conversation, so calm down, be a little tolerant and accepting please! …. ūüėČ

After reading books like The Fourth Turning, by William Strauss and Neil Howe, books on the hippie generation and books and articles of the events that have taken place during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, I am convinced that the events taking place today are not all that complicated to understand.

This generation has the strong marks and characteristics of the hippy generation. Since we live in a very individualistic society, history, tradition and culture are not very important. It really is about the “me” culture. ¬†(Good book is¬†‚ÄúGeneration Me, Why today‚Äôs Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled and More Miserable Than Ever Before,‚ÄĚ by Jean M. Twenge)

Hippies were against a certain authority that expected unity, accountability, and conformity. The hippies confessed that we are all equal, that is to say, “equality without distinction.” Not only did it advance the use of such expressions as “You should not judge,” and “You respect my opinion and I will respect yours,” for fear of criticism, lack of acceptance or being judged¬†but also propagated an idea that there was no distinction between a man and a woman and all authority was, almost, well, evil, subversive or oppressive. ¬†Thus it cultivated a sexually free culture, where the institution of marriage itself was minimized and sexual satisfaction and gratification became the norm. ¬†The degradation of human life became even more pronounced when this society legalized the murder of the unborn children. Thus we witnessed a growing loss of the institution of marriage and the family and thus morals. ¬† All these things were compromised in the name of what? Equality, equal rights?

When the moral fabric of the smallest unit of society (family) begins to fall apart, we should expect chaos, violence, and the loss of dignity of human life. History is my witness.  (my Facebook post 12.15.2012)

One can read such good books as¬†De la d√©mocratie en Am√©rique, by Alexis de Tocqueville (good English translations is called, “Democracy in America” which was written in two volumes, the first in¬†1835 and the second in 1840) where he warns us that the fall of American democracy is when the majority rules the minority (namely the majority takes the minor groups freedoms away by laws, et al) and where there is a decline of the moral fabric of the American society.

Society has two fundamental concerns in its existence:

1. A stable economy (not only financially but a stable society with good order and ethics)

2. A future population (Pro-life, pro-children, thus pro-marriage and family)

History does not appear to be too important to this generation. I wonder if this society is aware of what happened to other societies that had moved in this direction. ¬†As Marcus Tullius Cicero said,¬†“Not to know what happened before you were born is to remain forever a child.” ¬†That is to say, not to know your history, you are simply subject to the whims and language of your present society and you are like the “frog in the pot.” This is not fundamentally a religious issue today as some believe but a secular one that impacts my religious freedom.

Classically, a healthy understanding of authority was to preserve unity within society.  Again, a classical notion of equality was that everyone had equal value and worth with dignity and respect to the sanctity of life. But this equality was not, unlike the hippie notion, to take away distinction between persons (those who had authority and those who did not) and gender.  Again, classically speaking, those who bore authority were seen to hold a position of servitude otherwise it became abusive in some way to those of whom he or she leads.

What I think is ironic is when these liberals in our culture think they are preserving or striving towards freedom and equality (two very different words by the way) by imposing and creating laws upon society. ¬†Soon these laws would interfere with the freedoms promised by the Constitution; that is, free speech and freedom of one’s philosophy or religion.

I read a book called, “The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson,” by David N. Mayer. I had a conversation with someone who held the position that it was important to make laws or ordinances to support or protect his liberal agenda. ¬†I pointed out that his argument would some day infringe upon his own freedoms and interest as it would inhibit the freedom of speech and influence within a society; by making either a civil ordinance or law that protects only his personal interest, one limits our constitutional freedom of speech and opportunities of influence and controls my language and how I am allowed to speak.

I worked with a public high school principal while I was a pastor at my first church. ¬†He told me when a student comes to him who felt verbally abused, no matter how credible it was or not, he had to fill out seven pages of reports and then have interviews with the perspective people involved. ¬†¬†In 1984 I read the novel, ¬†“1984” by George Orwell. For those who read this book get my point. ¬†Will the movements in our day going to result in a¬†“negative utopia”? ¬†Just because we make a law does not mean we have solved anything.¬†Perhaps Plato was right in his Socratic dialog, the Republic, that the answer to societal problems is education and teaching virtue and values, and in this case, not by making laws.

Thomas Jefferson supported the freedom of organizations or institutions (including businesses) to influence a certain moral within society and not legislate morality by law otherwise it might interfere with one’s individual philosophical or religious freedom. ¬†Law was to preserve order within society and preserve the maximum freedom to the individual as long as it did not work against a good order within society.

I think it is important for me to mention that I agree with the hippies on some issues, there was no doubt abuse of authority in some arenas and there was a loss of dignity of human beings in certain aspects of their society during their day. ¬†I really enjoyed growing up in the 60’s and 70’s! There was structure within society, namely the traditional family, but at the same time a growing sense of freedom and a relaxed environment.

I think it is interesting that in a supposed tolerant society is not very tolerant to people’s convictions or beliefs unless we conform to their own principles and propositions. Also, in a very liberal society I think it is interesting how private people have become. ¬†No more open conversations because one is always worried using the wrong word, about offense or being judged, yes, it is about me, truth remains subjective, and the conversation ends and the conformity to the liberal agenda is expected. ¬†Perhaps the real hippies of the 60’s and 70’s need to be called upon again in our day in the same spirit but perhaps with a different message.

– Just some thoughts

Being nostalgic ain’t all bad!

Boy ScoutsThere is a point where the youth need to learn to grow up and take on responsibility and that adults need to learn what it means to be youthful again in order to rejuvenate life and regain a sense of imagination as a child. –Curate

Growing up, while being a Boy Scout, I learned leadership, patriotism, how the government worked, what it meant to be an American, I learned to be a responsible citizen, respect, honor, skills that pertained to survival, both in the woods and in the city.

I learned how to survive in the deep woods and through various storms. ¬†I slept in the snow under the stars in the winter while remaining toasty warm, even in 40 degrees below zero (wind chill). I learned about astronomy, signs and tracks in nature. I’ve done lake but also white water canoeing even in class IV rivers, climbed cliffs, hiked many, many miles in one day, orienteering, learned how to work and plan with others in a patrol and troop, set up camp, swim, tie knots, use knife, axe, bow and arrow and even the respect and use of a gun.

Also learned first aid and CPR, and learned how to use different formations of cloth to take care of a broken bone or a quick bleed. ¬†I learned how to respect nature and above all, one another. ¬†Well the list goes on … not all troops are good troops. ¬†When I joined Troop 12 after my Arrow of Light, I joined a troop with a great history, but this troop had dwindled down to about 9 scouts when I arrived as a new member. When I became SPL (Senior Patrol Leader), the head boy of the troop, I read an old version of a Patrol Leaders Handbook¬†you see on the left side of the picture¬†above and sought the guidance of my brother (an experienced Scouter and Eagle Scout) and in one year we went from about 9 Scouts to about 30 Scouts. ¬†The secret is effective leadership skills and investing in the people around you.

I think it is interesting, that after being involved with a number of organizations in my youth, how in adulthood, the simplicity and imagination become lost in the array of a disillusioned society. So many things replace the fundamentals of life. ¬†In some way, I think this is what James Bond, “Skyfall” was all about. ¬†(I grew up watching James Bond movies)

In the olden days, youth organizations were fun events but also many youth groups were to prepare the youth for adulthood. ¬†I met with an adult church group when I was in the parish and handed out some high school yearbooks from the 50’s. ¬†I asked them to look at the class pictures in the yearbooks and asked them what the youth already looked like, and they said they look like adults. ¬†I said, yes, there was the idea that society prepares their youth for adulthood. This rarely happens today, my opinion anyway.

Not only that, I noticed how many youth do not interact with adults.  The question might be is how will our traditions be passed down or how will the interaction and respect with others practiced or developed by our youth?

Today it is about the individual, not family; it is about the now, not culture, history or tradition; it is not about values, beliefs or morals, it is about gratification and survival. It is my opinion, and I am right you see!

Hopefully Boy Scouts hold out a little longer against a growing “socialistic” (politically speaking) culture ….

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.” – Henry David Thoreau (Walden)

Just watched again, “Young T√∂rless” by Volker Schl√∂ndorff”

I watched Young T√∂rless awhile back and just watched it again. ¬†It’s in German but with subtitles for those of you who do not know the German language. ¬†When I first watched it, I didn’t think it was that good of a movie. ¬†But watching it again and watching a commentary on the movie, I appreciate the movie a little more than before. ¬†The movie depicts a power struggle, in this case, among students. The dynamics of this movie became intriguing but different than movies such as the “Lord of the Flies” or other similar movies.

There are two leaders, one who represents the ideologue, who spoke in spiritual or religious ways about being privileged and the like. He had a side kick, someone who executed his orders.  Then they needed someone to be against, a victim if you will.

There was a guy who was somewhat of an observer of events, and when things went too far, he became an accomplice to the events that have taken place simply by being an observer.

One can easily see this scenario having been played out in history or even our own day.  I believe it is a mistake simply to see this movie merely about a victim of society.  It is important to see the whole matrix of events and their interplay.

It may not be worth to go out of your way to watch this movie. ¬†It was interesting none the less. ¬†This movie was made in 1966, depicting a boarding school in the early 1900’s. I however have a lot to say about the dynamics we see in this movie for our own day.

I will be reading the book called, “The Confusions of¬†T√∂rless” by Robert Musil

"Young Törless," a movie by Volker Schlöndorff

“Young T√∂rless,” a movie by Volker Schl√∂ndorff

Don’t Worry about Tomorrow

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:31-34 (ESV)

Carpe diem, qua minimum credula postero.

Seize today, and put as little trust as
you can in tomorrow.


“Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die”

Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die:

Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches;

feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you

and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

Proverbs 30:7-9

“That you may contribute a verse”

¬†“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman,¬†‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless–of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’¬†Answer. That you are here–that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

Tom Schulman
from “Dead Poets Society”


Marriage and Celibacy

“Marriage is not a good,

but it is a good in comparison with fornication.”

-Saint Augustine


 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.  I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.  But if they cannot exercise self- control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

–¬†I Cor. 7:6-9