That memorable phrase from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade can perhaps be no more relevant than it is in this day.
Like many others, I watched Donald Trump’s recent speech (in which he announced that he’s running in 2024) and like many others- I didn’t see that it contributed to making the day “one of the most important days in the history of our Country” like he mentioned. Personally, I thought it was one of his better speeches because it briefly and pointedly addressed many key problems in our country.
...except there was no mention of God.
I’ve been saying for some time now (to a mostly-empty room) that this is a time that goes far beyond Red vs. Blue; it is a fight for the planet as well as the country- and it is a fight between Good versus Evil. Rarely is anyone within earshot convinced, which I find to be remarkable, because how else would one frame the argument that we should be able to kill a baby up to the day of its birth? What type of person allows the promiscuity of a woman to be placed higher than a life? In what context is teaching youngsters how to put a dollar bill into a drag queen’s thong appropriate? In what universe, exactly, do we need to teach grammar school children about sexuality, and support changing their gender without a parent’s consent, or even knowledge?
I beg that these times represent that of the most open and flagrant abominations in our history, and the most open attack on the family, the person, and the soul that we have seen in some time. These attacks are by no means the first, but in our times they are the most open and aggressive.
And nothing- NOTHING- will save this country aside from repentance and a turning back towards the faith and morals of our Founding Fathers.
Now, I understand freedom of religion and such, BUT there was an assumption of a basic set of morals, honor, and integrity, that I find sorely lacking today. I’m fairly certain that Ben Franklin didn’t think that he needed to consider the local library’s drag queen story hour when he was considering the future of the country….
In short: I wish the best for President Trump, but I believe that whatever anointing he had in the past- unless he shifts towards repentance, though he may win (doubtful!), the country will continue to lose, and with that- the world.
God will not bless the murder and mutilation of children.
Well, today is Election Day (chuckle), and watching the Twitter feed I can't help but think that it's quite honestly for nothing- that we're witnessing two sides of one coin, to be spent by its holder as he chooses.
"<GASP> You're Un-American! This is what makes our democracy great! What- you're just going to complain, and not vote?!?"
First of all: the United States is a constitutional republic. Search engines are your friend.
Secondly: I am absolutely voting; that's never in question.
Color me snarky, but did we not JUST witness (and can prove, if I have my facts straight) voter fraud in the 2020 election? ...and what, exactly, was the result of that? Some states may have changed voter laws since then- and that is great; however, are we not going to fix the crimes of the past, especially when we have truths as easy as "dead people voted" and "there are more votes than registered voters"?
It's not rocket science, people.
I believe that this country WILL see a short-lived rise in patriotism and pride, but the problem is far deeper than a senseless mayor or a corrupt governor; it is that these problems are widespread, and speaks to the state of our hearts and souls. Keep in mind that we DID have conservatives in charge at a few points in history- yet here we are. What does that tell you?
It tells me that the natural state of man is that of sin and evil. Hmm, where have we heard that before....
This country- despite a person's best effort to prove the contrary- was founded on godly principles which are facing extinction today. I know that I've said this before, but when we chase God out of every public building, venue, and motto- what else do we expect to happen? It is a given that the Christian fights an uphill battle, but I think that we're seeing what happens when that Christian stops fighting, stops paying attention, and gets lulled to sleep by prosperity. We have stopped paying attention to what is being taught to our children, trusting that they will be attended to properly. We have become isolated by technology and the daily grind, and have stopped appreciating the joy and benefits of small communities and businesses. And we have stopped holding businesses and government accountable.
Why? Laziness, greed, becoming too attached to this world- you name it. The bottom line is that we have lost our focus on godly matters, while the enemy has not. They understand who God is, and how He operates, and have used their god to lull the people into a false sense of security, and keep them focused on themselves, their possessions, and their little lives. They have ceased to look up, and look to the spiritual first, rather than the material.
What we need are the Sons of Thunder, the strong and vocal men who protect their families and their principles, and the women who, as their ezer kenegdo (look that up, too. You may be surprised at what it means), complete the perfect godly family unit. We need to believe, and to witness to others what we believe. We need to stand strong, shed light, and defeat evil where it is, every day and at every opportunity.
How Will We Survive?
I know- sounds a bit dramatic, but I’m supposed to be an author, remember? Unfortunately this entry isn’t going to be poetic, entertaining, or generally very creative because I’m trying to get this out to someone relatively quickly.
I wanted to spend a few minutes jotting down some thoughts related to a couple of conversations that I had today about the future of the country. I have a path in mind, and ironically I believe that I received a confirmation of the timing of this, because immediately after I left the conversation my favorite podcaster outlined what he believed he should be doing to prepare for a possible disaster in the near future.
Please keep in mind that these points are from my perspective as a Believer, and are therefore drawn from my own worldview, which may be very different from yours- and that’s fine. Just keep this in mind if I say some things that are a little “out there” or outlandish.
Now to the point.
I fear that, even if our country receives a momentary respite after the November 2022 elections, things are going to get much worse. I believe that our inevitable downhill spiral will continue, and that now is the time to go back to the simpler times and establish more interpersonal connections and community. To these ends:
These are just a few basic things, and most of them center around others. If something should happen, there is no good that will come of being alone; as much as I, myself, hate to admit it- we need others. I believe that we’re heading into a battle that is way beyond Red versus Blue; I can feel it, and if you’re a Believer- you should be able to, also. Honestly, everything is going to end up for the good of the Believers, because God does win, but it doesn’t do anyone any good if we stand around waiting for Him to save us.
I have previously mentioned that I have a heart for the suffering of veterans, and the abuse and indoctrination of children. I have not directly addressed these here but by surrounding yourself with like-minded, watchful, and generally aware individuals- these problems will diminish.
It has been said that we exist right here and now on purpose, and for exactly this time.
Don’t let God down.
It seems like I’ve written about this before, and if I did- “oh well.” It seems pressing enough, and present enough, to warrant some attention.
I’ve been advocating attention to our country’s present condition for a while now, and am mostly met with blank stares or a rapid loss of attention (is that what people mean by “cognitive dissonance” I wonder?). I’m particularly fond of the case of the direct question, followed very closely by the person’s attention being drawn away by their smartphone, usually while I’m still answering their question. Is that rude? Am I really that boring? You can be the judge if you have read my book.
I see things that are clearly jeopardizing the existence of the US as we know it, yet no one seems to care. More importantly- at least to someone who wouldn’t be interested in politics per se- I see things that directly jeopardize our children, to the point of them being in physical danger, yet I still hear crickets in response. People are too busy going to a soccer game, watching TV, or doing just about anything other than paying attention to their surroundings, and that leads me to the question-
Where are the men?
Traditionally I would expect men to be, at the very least, somewhat like I am; I’m not the most “manly” fellow by many stretches of the imagination, so if I, as a man, react to something- I would expect the more manly man to do at least the same. But nothing. For example: I just had a discussion with a small group of coworkers about the latest abomination of the drag queen “family friendly” events being held in the presence of children, and the inappropriate books available to them at an increasingly young age. No one heard anything about these things, which was disturbing for many reasons, but more importantly I received almost no gut reaction from the men- nothing- and they have daughters. Not an eyebrow raised, or a change in blood to the cheeks- nothing. And I most definitely didn’t have any follow-up conversations that included proving what I have said, or where these events have occured.
Where are the men?
Where are the men who react immediately, and sometimes violently, to anything that threatens the safety of their people? Where are the heroes, regardless of their physical stature? Where are the fighters? I’m fond of the phrase, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” And so I ask- where are these people?
Oh, I’d LOVE to engage in a discussion about the latest “toxic masculinity” and feminism; that’ll undoubtedly be the subject of a later post, but not today. I try to keep these entries manageable, in small portions for easy digestion and better focus, because too many topics can result in nothing learned.
And with that I’ll say “enough” and stop writing.
Think on this. Then go do something about it.
I had hoped to accomplish so much more with blogging and spreading awareness and discussion of my work, but life has had other plans for me this summer. A new dog, an engaging hobby, and a drive to prepare for this country’s uncertain future have taken up my normal “thinking time.” I’m hoping that, with the shortening of the days, I’ll have more down time to focus on writing.
...not that this entry would really be considered “writing” per se; it’s more like a Jeremiah-esque rant and revelation, or rather a confirmation of my suspicions, and not for the better.
I finally got involved with my local community and attended a local political town committee meeting or two. The first one was comprised of only the chairperson and myself, but the second one was attended by almost ten people, which was encouraging. I don’t want to get into the specifics of the meeting to preserve the privacy of the group’s discussion, which will unfortunately make this writing less dramatic and perhaps less effective, but that’s OK; I need to get back on this writing bicycle, rusty or not.
What I found both enlightening and discouraging was that my suspicions about what is happening in the country were essentially confirmed at the meeting; I sincerely believe that we have allowed the country to fall into the state it is in by our own inactivity, apathy, and laziness. I heard all sorts of excuses for not attending school meetings. I heard balking at venturing into a political race or position because it didn’t pay well enough (or not at all). I watched as other members complained about what they believed were illegal activities, but when I asked what they, specifically, did about it- crickets.
I believe that my membership in this committee may be short.
Towards the end of the meeting I stood to get my coat, and said (more or less), “I fear for this country, and if we are all banking on the next election to bring about change- did we not just have an election that everyone knew was a landslide, and how did that turn out, exactly? I stopped my daily conspiracy theory doses of hopium and am tired; I want to DO something. I dislike politics, and fear that, should the country still exist next year- we’ll all gather again at some point to continue to complain about our numbers, and the system- and do nothing about it. I am planning on visiting a local church to see how the pastor is leading the people, and frankly think that effort may be better invested in that community and its work, because all of my effort here may produce a vote or two, but that will fade away; however, if I can help affect a soul- that change is lasting.”
I’m not sure how well that went over, but I honestly don’t care. God has recently led me to do things that have been outside of my norm, and I know that if I obey, there will be no failure. I just need to have the wisdom to understand what I need to do, and the courage and faith to do it.
The moral of this story? I feel that there is an element of “it’s time to awaken the lions and stop wasting time on the sheep” (I think I just butchered a perfectly good saying there). I’ve spent a good amount of time explaining things to many people who just don’t see things- or want to see them- and I think I’ve had about enough of doing that.
It’s time to gather the lions.
I had previously mentioned that the title of The Long, Slow Summer Sun was almost Fur and Phoenix, and in a previous blog post I talked about the reasons behind some of that title.
Now for the rest of the story.
Alongside the wolf, I’ve always been a fan of the story of the phoenix (though I honestly don’t know the whole story!). Be it that I’m a tad dramatic, or have that overactive imagination, what have you- I love the idea of the phoenix’s rebirth through the flames and pain of its own death. Like most people, I have been through my share of pain and suffering, and I feel that I can identify with the phoenix. I have had some pretty amazing revelations in the past (if you remember the sock or the field from the book...though the sock story is just a little corny, I freely admit), and have been reborn within the past decade, though not in the religious sense, which took place decades ago. Life had changed dramatically for me, and I am forever grateful that I have been given the chance to truly live. I think that this rebirth is far from over, but I know I am on this path, and hope that I can finish the journey complete and whole.
Strangely enough, the phoenix has relevance if the title is interpreted as referring to different people, and eerily-prophetic significance now in light of my fiery-haired mate (the word "shieldmaiden" also comes to mind) . I naturally had no way of knowing or predicting this angle when I named the book originally, but it is absolutely apropos today, and given that you’ll also find such references in the book- Fur and Phoenix is even more fitting than before.
Maybe in time there will be a sequel, or new edition of that title.
Food for thought.
I have previously mentioned that, in the introduction to The Long, Slow, Summer Sun, the title of the book was almost Fur and Phoenix, and for a number of reasons. I think that “Fur and Phoenix” could almost be a chapter in its own right, the more that I think about it, but I’ll try to keep this brief (as if that could happen).
I’ve always fancied that, if I had to choose an animal to represent me- it would be a wolf. There are many character traits of the wolf that I appreciate, and there’s no need to elaborate on them; that animal “just fits.” Ironically, the “lone wolf” that is popular is somewhat of a misnomer or misunderstood. The wolf is technically a pack animal, and I learned that usually when one breaks away from the pack, it is to establish a new family and territory, NOT to go off alone forever. That’s one part of the wolf image that I have always misinterpreted, but no matter. In a sense it is still doing its own thing, with which I can identify.
Something that appeals to me on a much deeper level than the “normal” attributes, however, is a parable that I read once. It’s a common story:
Now THAT, I can sink my teeth into!
I try to get people to think and feel through many of my stories and poems, to break out of what is a normal set of “canned life responses” and really just sit and reflect on things (whether I am successful yet remains to be seen). This story always elicits that response from me- especially the last line; I get goosebumps almost every time I read it.
So, there you have it- a partially-misunderstood and romanticized image, and a parable.
To be continued....
The United States is in turmoil- there’s no doubt about it. There’s a battle that is raging, and it is far from the traditional Left vs. Right; there’s an epic battle for the soul of the country, a true battle of Good versus Evil which goes beyond the single (yet profound) issue of a gun or a baby.
“It’s going to be biblical,” so they say. And it is exactly that.
Yes, I follow some news (but not the mainstream media that comes to mind), and I’m aware of the US Supreme Court’s returning the issue of abortion back to the states. You’ll notice that I didn’t rage on with phrases like THEY MADE IT ILLEGAL and such, like I’m sure you’ve heard all over the media. That’s because the abortion decision has been deferred to the states, so essentially if you have a pooling of pro-choice voters in a state, you’ll have experienced virtually no changes once the vote comes around. Just vote for it, and that’s that.
That said: I was deeply affected like many others, but instead of pitching a fit and screaming like a literal demon incarnate like I’ve seen on the media, I shed a quiet tear, of both sorrow for the lost lives over the past 50 years, and of a profound gratitude that it is over, at least for a brief period. It seems that our country is beginning to turn back to its roots, at least in part, and the “life” in “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” also applies to the unborn.
I suppose the whole “my body, my choice” element of this emotional issue revolves around a couple of things: when it is that one considers a human life’s beginning, and then the way it is phrased (which likely will result from how the first is addressed).
If human life begins at birth, then whatever is going on inside a woman’s body during pregnancy is considered a “growth” or “cluster of cells” or whatever it is convenient to call it. It is the woman’s body, and therefore her prerogative to eliminate any growths, cysts- what have you. The developing human life inside the mother is nothing more than that (remember the statement, “It rubs the lotion on its skin,” from Silence of the Lambs? Yea- same thing. A lack of humanity to distance the murderer.)
The problem begins when someone identifies the humanity of the cyst, or dares to propose that human life begins at conception, or at the very least when that life is detectable; it then becomes problematic to kill it, because it is then recognizable as being too similar to the joyous bundle in the cute blanket...after it is cleaned up at birth.
I had a discussion recently with a coworker about this very thing- she was content being vague about it- you know, the “it’s a procedure” line (it rubs the lotion on its skin). When I said, “Oh, it’s no longer the Law of the Land to rip apart a baby in the womb,” she didn’t like that very much. “Well, I don’t look at it like that,” she said. Of course you don’t: it’s more convenient and less inhumane or murderous to look at it your way.
I suppose that it’s pretty obvious where I stand, here. And that’s supposed to be OK, but I know that in this world, it’s not. No matter. I may lose some popularity, or I may gain some new friends. Either way, I will always stay true to myself and my faith. It was never meant to be a popularity contest, and I'll never pander to society.
I will leave you with this. It’s from Psalm 139.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
I posted a quote from a poem in my book today on Twitter, and it got me thinking about what I wrote, and what it means to me. The poem makes me a little sad for lost opportunities and frankly a little desperate, in a way, to try to make some sort of difference in the world. The snippet reads:
"Who will remain in years to come, eyes squeezed shut, desperately hunting for the color of your eyes in the slides of the mind, as time fades the ink of memory?"
I think that this old poem has played a part in driving me to complete The Long, Slow Summer Sun, as well as contributing to a sense of restlessness and unease with just living the "normal" way. You know: work, beer, sports on TV, Netflix- wash, rinse, repeat. When I finished my degree recently I was a little shell-shocked in a sense- no more studying, writing, researching, etc. I could live like others if I wanted to, but really can't. There is always something to be learning or researching. It's just my way.
So as I sit by the window writing this and enjoying an absolutely amazing Spring breeze and sunset, I don't know what's going to happen, or how much of a difference in the world my book will make. Does it matter? I'm not sure; I'm not sure that the sum total of my effect on the planet should be judged by the dissemination of my work, though in one sense that would almost have to be more than my physical presence's effect on my immediate area.
Who knows? Something to ponder.
In the Introduction of The Long, Slow Summer Sun I mentioned that the book was supposed to be called Fur and Phoenix and it came very close to being called that in the end. I changed the title in the final weeks of the project because I thought that it would be a little odd, considering no one would understand the meaning.
Maybe that would have contributed to more curious reader interaction? (Oh no- here goes the Post Published Second Guessing.)
Ok I'm back now.
Why would I have chosen such an odd title for a collection of (seemingly) random ramblings? I have many reasons for favoring Fur and Phoenix, and I'll begin with the easiest reason for someone who knows me and has been around recently: there are elements in the book that revolve around me and "my person." She has been present throughout the pages of the book, though I'll not divulge where and to what extent (because that adds to the romance and the mystery of it- no?), and it seemed fitting that the title include us and our tale in some way.
So the point: why the title? I thought of leaving the reader the task of figuring it out, but after sitting on that thought for a minute or two, I could see that it could potentially lead to the wandering of an overactive imagination (with potentially unsavory results), so I'll say that Fur and Phoenix should be interpreted in the same way as Beauty and the Beast. Ironically the beast in the latter title is fairly accurate since I've often likened my own character to a wolf, and I am a bit of a hairy guy.
And my mate is a fiery princess, and has hair to match her personality.