Now What?

Last week, the Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, outlined, in The Federalist, her ideas of the problems that the election highlighted with the Republican Party and conservatism in America generally. If you believe or hope that there is a road back for the United States this is a very good plan, as I would expect from the best Governor in the US. Here’s what I can share of it, do follow the link and read it all.

Our country has changed. We have failed to educate generations of our children about what makes America unique. Few, if any of them, have been taught the history of our decades-long fight to defeat communism. Meanwhile, the left’s indoctrination takes place every day with kids all across America from the time they walk into a school at age 5 to the time they graduate college at 22.

Republicans have not been disciplined enough to do the hard work. The American people need us to fight for them on a daily basis, not just 30 to 60 days before an election.

Our party has some serious work ahead of us. We are going to have to sit down and collectively answer a very simple question: Why does America need Republicans?

The answer to that is very simple: 2020.

Last year, we saw governments all across the country shut down people’s lives. American citizens could not go to church, run their business, or send their children to school.

COVID didn’t crush the economy. Government crushed the economy. And then, just as quickly, government turned around and held itself out as the savior. Frankly, the Treasury Department can’t print money fast enough to keep up with Congress’ Christmas list.

What is so troubling is that by April, we knew that there was a specific vulnerable population that we needed to protect from COVID-19. But we also knew that the vast majority of people would recover from this virus with no serious difficulty. Despite this, very few changed course.

In 2020, despite the virus, if you wanted to riot, loot, and burn buildings down, the government either stood idly by while you did that, or worse, tacitly encouraged the destruction.

Government didn’t punish the violent criminals. But it did everything it could to punish those Americans who simply tried to defend themselves, their families, their livelihoods, and their property.

What we lived in 2020 is the left’s vision for America. […]

The American Dream is possible because of the principles that we Republicans stand for; the same principles that are under vigorous attack by the other side. We believe in certain ideals and institutions, which have served as an inspiration to people all over the world. Those people hold liberty dear in their hearts. That’s why people all across the globe have uprooted their lives to come to America. And it’s why, today, Americans across the country are flocking to South Dakota.

If you think about it, that’s America’s true diversity. It’s a diversity grounded in the pursuit of truth and the virtuous life, where we will be known by the content of our character and our hard work.

We must go into this battle for freedom with our eyes wide open, educated to the tactics the radical left will use, and yet totally pure in our motives. This isn’t about us. It’s about our children and their future. It’s about the example that we set for them. We have one shot to preserve for our children “the last best hope of man on earth.” If we fail, at least they will know that we did all that we could to hold on to it.

GovernorNoem’s vision of America is very similar to mine and to millions of us across the fruited plain. That vision is unarguably under attack from a competing vision mostly from the coasts and including Washington, that owes much more to Lenin, Marx, Mao, Castro, and Maduro than it does to Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and Washington. Right now we are losing, that doesn’t mean we’ll lose, but if we keep letting the idiotic cowardly GOP run things we’ll be telling our grandchildren what it was like in the United States where Men (and Women) were free. Kurt Schlichter has some things to say in Townhall as well, and he’s far from wrong.

You know they hate you, right? Really and truly, and they want you silenced, disenfranchised, and dead if necessary. That woman the federal cop shot on video in the Capitol, capped for trespassing, was expendable and so are you. Now, one might be accused of “whataboutism” for this next part, but whataboutism is a moral necessity that highlights the lies that form the foundation of our garbage Establishment, and therefore it must be constantly and loudly practiced. What about all those people killed on video whose deaths sparked riots? Now, the initial read on the shooting seems bad, but being the wacky nonconformist rebel I am, I’ll wait until all the facts are in to make a final judgment and just say at present that the shooting looks questionable. But no one will ask the questions. The cop will be cleared and will never, ever be charged, and even if President Biden’s* U.S. Attorney in the forthcoming State of D.C. were to file charges (LOL, sometimes I even make myself laugh), let’s just say I put the chances of a D.C. jury convicting at about O.J. level.

A Harlot’s Way: 4 Bethany

Hebrew has too few names, as poor Luke has been finding. I have, as I know others have been feeding him snippets as memories come to me. It seems there is a real desire among those coming fresh to the faith to know more about Jesus, even if all we really need to know is known – that he is the Messiah and our bridge to salvation. I understand it, and Luke is an angel to put himself to the task. I know that Mother Mary has told him much that was known formerly only to a few of us. There, though, is the problem, that name – Mary.

I have suggested to Luke that he should solve his problem by referring to us by our place of residence or birth. Mother Mary, or Miriam as I first knew her, is not a problem – there is one of her. But all those other Marys, I am sure that one day someone will confuse us all. It’s to be hoped that Mary of Bethany never gets confused with me, it would be unfair on the poor creature. She is the sweetest of women and as fond of Jesus as any of us, and, unlike some, didn’t mind showing it because she knew it would never be misinterpreted – except by Peter – but then his capacity to get things wrong should never be underestimated.

Just in case anyone imagined that when Paul calls us “saints” it meant what you might imagine, that last barb of mine shows otherwise. I know Paul means well, of course he does, he says so loudly and often. He’s now as earnest for Jesus as he used to be about persecuting his followers. But he never met him in the flesh, never walked with him, ate with him, or talked the sun down the sky with him, and I sometimes think he feels it, not least when that other bull-headed apostle, Peter, rubs it in when trying to prove a point. Paul is a good deal smarter than Peter, but, as Peter is apt to remind us all when he feels threatened, “Jesus chose me first.” I have been known to remind Peter that he also chose me and that since the “first shall be last” it behooves both of us to bear it in mind. I am told that that scowl he shoots at me at such times crosses over into a “who does she think she is?” in private. He could, of course, try that line on me – but he doesn’t. I am quicker with my brain and tongue than he is. But if it makes him feel secure, let it be is what I say. Anyway, all that happens if I make such noises is that he and Paul suddenly close ranks and start muttering about women knowing their place and not teaching men. As though anyone except Jesus could teach two men who know everything anything! To listen to the pair of them, you’d not imagine that Jesus was surrounded by women as he preached, funded by us so that he and the others could live, or that women like myself and Junia were active in spreading the word. The Way is not the synagogue. Jesus did not segregate women, neither did he treat us the way any rabbi would or does. I can see that Peter and Paul would like to revert, and that’s one reason I support Luke’s project. Dear Theophilus has done a splendid job of providing the scribes and the papyrus, and I am glad that he and Luke like my idea of using codices rather than papyrus scrolls. The latter are cumbersome if you are traveling about, and Paul has already adopted the fashion for those letters of his telling his churches to buck their ideas up. Dear Paul. I’d like to like him, but much as I admire (and help fund) his work, he is often his own worst enemy, which isn’t the best idea when his manner provides a ready supply of the same.

It was a good job he was not there at Simon the Leper’s, though no doubt it is one of the things Peter will have raised with him. I remain unrepentant, but having started, should say more lest I lose the thread. The light fades earlier here than back home, and I need more papyrus, but that can await the morrow.

It was not long after Jesus had brought Mary of Bethany’s brother, Lazarus, back from the dead. Normally when passing through Bethany he would have stopped at Martha and Mary’s, but Simon, who had also been cured by Jesus, invited him – and the others – for supper. As I had been with Martha and Mary earlier, I thought I’d go over to see if there was anything I could do.

Whether it was Simon’s long absence from the norms of social life because of his illness, or whether it was his natural pharisaical sense of superiority, either way, the first thing I noticed was that Jesus’ feet were still dirty. It wasn’t the sort of thing which worried him, but it did me, so I went back to Martha and Mary’s and asked if they still had that oil which I had left there to be sold to support the ministry. They handed me the alabaster flask without asking what I intended to do with it, though I think dear Mary knew.

Jesus smiled when he saw me. I suddenly felt a chill. For some time he had been talking about what would happen when he went to Jerusalem next week, and on more than one occasion, Peter had remonstrated with him. On a sudden, it came to me. Jesus was telling us that he would have to die for our sins, that was what he had been telling us in his usual oracular manner, he was going to die.

That thought hit me as I knelt to begin to wash his feet before I anointed them with the nard. He looked at me and quietly nodded; he knew that I knew. The tears flowed. The others looked at me. Simon, who had neither forgiven nor forgotten my past, remonstrated with Jesus, asking with incredulity if he knew who I was. As my tears fell on Jesus’ feet, I used my skirts to wipe them, and then, as my skirts were damp, I unbraided my hair and used it to wipe his feet. If that upset Simon, the host with the least, as I called him, then what I did next upset both Peter and Judas.

Taking the phial of nard, I poured it onto his poor aching feet, and, with my accustomed skill, massaged it in so that he got the full benefit. Peter was indignant, but that was as nothing compared to Judas, who started banging on about how much money it could have raised for the poor. I couldn’t be bothered to point out that it was my nard, my money which supported him, and my business what I did with it. As it happened, I didn’t need to. Jesus told Simon a story about the nature of forgiveness and told Peter and Judas that I was anointing his body for burial. That shut them up, though I know it added to Peter’s irritation with all the talk about Jesus dying. Poor old Peter, he really only got it afterward – hence, no doubt, his defensiveness with me.

It was a bitter-sweet moment. Jesus knew, and I knew, that the next time I touched him, he would be dead. I had faith that he would do what he had always said he would do, and show that death had no dominion. I did not know what that meant, but I believed. That, as I told Paul on more than one occasion, is the definition of faith.

 

Hmmm …

Either I should have my head examined or I need to get out more. Some perverse mood came over me and I wound up cleaning out my desk. Well, 3/4 of it, anyway (the last quarter will happen later this morning). It had gotten so bad, this big desk of mine, that I was stacking stuff on top of it because I couldn’t stuff any more stuff inside of it. I have bankers boxes to house the stuff, which means I can make a nice, orderly stack of stuff, all neatly labeled and which will, of course, sit around and gather dust but that’s another article, I’m sure.

I have a big executive desk with a left side return. The return holds two drawers – the small ‘pen’ drawer and a large file drawer beneath it. This is the drawer I use for bank statements, insurance papers, certificates and titles, and all that sort of thing for the running of the household. I removed six years of bank statements (yes, you read that correctly – six years), several years of income tax returns, and about a gazillion checkbook stubs. Now all neatly filed in banker boxes.

Yesterday I tackled the ‘me’ drawer on the right-hand side of the desk. It was quite a revelation. I removed, literally, at least two reams of paper – Bible color sheets, art projects, hints and ideas, lesson plans, and other stuff that remained from when I taught Sunday school. Cleared out tons of paper having to do with when I was going to seminary to become a deaconess (in my denomination it is a non-ordained position) but did hold back on some of the histories and the Church Fathers and the major heresies from centuries ago. Modern heresies are far too numerous to even contend with … but I digress.

Then I opened a file that was titled GOD. I had forgotten that was in there. Cleaning out the drawer slowed to a stop. I pulled out each piece of paper and read it. A large Mountain Dew and a pack of cigarettes later, I sat back and wondered at myself. Where did that woman go? The one who collected sayings and verses and discourses and apologetics and deep thoughts by brilliant minds across the ages and book titles and recommendations to myself on authors to research. Where did she go?

I remember when I was writing the essays that eventually became my book – the Holy Spirit sat on the desk here while I typed; He gave me the inspiration for a lot of the essays; He directed me to the correct sources for information. We got so close, He and I. To those I spoke really personal things to, I laughed and said I didn’t have ghostwriter, that the Holy Ghost had an Audre writer.

I want that woman back. I need her in my life. I used to wake in the morning with hymn verses running through my head. Jesus was the first thing in the morning, the last thing at night, and a constant friend throughout the days. I think what happened was I stopped looking. Stopped looking for God in all things. Stopped seeing Jesus as the goal and example. Stopped needing the Holy Spirit – my Comforter and Teacher.

I didn’t throw away one piece of paper in the GOD file. They are all neatly standing in that file, ready for me to begin looking again, searching again, yearning again. I can feel the pull towards it now. I won’t forget about that file again.

I Don’t Need Proof

Do you know how you’ll think of something and all of a sudden you see that thing all around you? You never noticed it before but now it’s so ‘in your face’ that you can’t ignore it? The same thing happened to me today.

There I was, minding my own business, just scootin’ around YouTube and it jumped out at me. Shroud of Turin videos all over the place. Why? I’m a strong believer in the ‘Holy Spirit’ moments. When He wants you to do something, or say something, He slaps ya upside your head to get your attention. Ok; maybe I’m the only He has to slap. Anyway …

I watched some videos I had seen before and for the most part, enjoyed them again. Then I remembered a fairly recent news headline to the effect that because it could not be scientifically disproved to be the burial cloth of Christ, it had to be assumed that it is. I haven’t been able to come up with the right collection of keywords to find that particular article, I did find this. It is a long read but well worth the time invested. One thing stands out to me – this paragraph from under the heading “Image formation versus work of an artist”: “These findings support the idea that the image on the Shroud was made by a sudden flash of high-energy radiation.  They also refute the possibility of forgery, since lasers were obviously not available in medieval times.” (my emphasis)

Before I share a couple of videos with you, I would be greatly remiss if I did not share this – “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” King James Version (KJV) John 20:29. I believed long, long before I ever heard of the Shroud of Turin.

The first video I hope you will watch is this:

It is long (or feels like it is!) but if you listen carefully and follow the information, you will understand two things at once. The flash of light/radiation came from Inside the Body and the Shroud shows Movement of the Body at the time of the flash. It is because the flash came from within the body itself, not an exterior cause, that we are able to see the back of the figure as well as the front of the figure. This just staggers the imagination. It did put into perspective something that I had heard on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network – better known as the Roman Catholic channel). I once heard a priest on the channel refer to Jesus as having ‘raised Himself’ from the dead. This video completely changed my mind as to what the priest had said. I had always believed that God raised Jesus from the dead and of course, He did – but as Jesus is with God, in God, and is God, one can say the Jesus raised Himself from the dead.

And now, the last video. It’s as short as the other is long. It is moving in a deep, personal way.

Finally, let me say, I don’t need proof. I know my Redeemer lives.

 

Christ is Risen

That’s the importance of the day. Jesus the Christ is risen from the dead.

A few words on some of the symbolism, The term Easter comes from the old Anglo Saxon goddess of spring, although the only real mention is from the Venerable Bede. The egg being proscribed during Lent was offered in abundance at Easter and is an obvious metaphor for rebirth. There is some evidence for a hare hunt being traditional on Good Friday but, it’s a fairly obvious sign of “go forth, be fruitful, and multiply” anyway.

We have been talking this week about Jesus the leader, and his unflinching dedication to the death to his mission. On Easter, this mission is revealed. It finally becomes obvious that His mission (at this time, anyway) is not of the Earth and its princelings. It is instead a Kingdom of souls.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

And so we come to the crux of the matter. The triumph over original sin and death itself. For if you believe in the Christ and his message you will have eternal life. This is what set Christianity apart, the doctrine of grace. For if you truly repent of your sins, and attempt to live properly, you will be saved. Not by your works, especially not by your wars and killing on behalf of your faith, valid  and just though they may be,  but by your faith and your faith alone. For you serve the King of Kings.

And as we know, the Christ is still leading the mission to save the souls of all God‘s children. It is up to us to follow the greatest leader in history or not as we choose. We would do well to remember that our God is a fearsome God but, he is also a just God. We shall be judged entirely on our merits as earthly things fall away from us. So be of good cheer for the Father never burdens his people with burdens they cannot, with his help, bear.

As we celebrate the first sunrise after the defeat of darkness, Hail the King Triumphant for this is the day of His victory.

In response to an Easter post of mine, which was long ago, but seems like yesterday, Jessica commented that

I live in the UK, a particularly secular part of a secularising Continent; America has more of a sense of what this day means to mankind, and long may that be the case. For all the effects of the culture wars, America still has more Christians than anywhere outside of China, and Christianity is still vital. The shining city on the hill is no secular vision.

That is true, in my judgment, I have read the most vile attacks on Christians in Britain that I can imagine, and yet, in both our countries our governments have this bleak year closed our churches, leaving us to celebrate the happiest day of the year essentially alone. This too will in time pass, especially if we the people insist it does, and I see that happening. But that leaves us, in any case, with this:

“The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Washington and Westminster come far behind.

The other day, my old friend Chalcedon had cause to print the General Confession from The Book of Common Prayer.

ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father;
We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep.
We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.
We have offended against thy holy laws.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;
And we have done those things which we ought not to have done;
And there is no health in us.
But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders.
Spare thou them, O God, who confess their faults.
Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

In that, we can see how we caused Good Friday but we can also see God’s response, made gloriously evident to the world today.

The Peace of the Lord be with you all.

 

To Gethsemane

jesus-in-gethsemane

And so, it is Maundy Thursday. Tonight it all comes together, the Last Supper, where that hard belief, that we consume the Real Presence, has sifted more than a few, then the faithlessness of all the Disciples, and the Betrayal of Jesus. This Holy Week, many are lamenting that we won’t be celebrating publically, as I do. But remember that the High Priest is with us wherever 3 or 4 gather in his name and that includes our family dinner table. It is a time for the basics and that includes remembering our Lord. In any case, in 2013 Jessica wrote about the evening, I think it one of her best, and more one of the best articles on Maunday Thursday I have read, so here it is, again.

There they had been, camping out as they usually did. We don’t get much of a sense of the daily life of Jesus as He and His disciples tramped the roads of Judea, but the Gospel narratives give us some insight. They settled down for the night in Gethsemane. They’d had a good evening, and only one person at that supper knew why Judas had left early. We get a sense of companionship, and we can grasp something of the feeling of love which Jesus inspired in those close to Him. They were calm and rested, so much so that when Jesus asked them to watch with Him, they fell asleep. Like us all, they had no idea that their world was about to be torn apart – and that the world and history would be changed forever.

How small a series of events came together that evening as they camped in Gethsemane. The Jewish High Priest had enough. The events of what we call Palm Sunday had warned him that the ever volatile population of Jerusalem might be roused to rebellion – and he knew what the consequences of that would be. Within a generation of the crucifixion Caiaphas’ fears had come to pass, and in AD 70 the Temple would be destroyed and thousands of Jews killed or dispersed; it is easy to dismiss Caiaphas, but he was, by his lights, doing his duty. How often do men of power think it better than one man should die than thousands suffer?

Judas had clearly had enough. Though the Synoptic Gospels tell us he betrayed Jesus for silver, John gives us the clue that it was Mary’s use of expensive oil to anoint Jesus’ feet which pushed him over the edge. It might, of course, be, as John said, that he had been tipping into the till and helping himself to money, but his taking offence was clear enough evidence of what type of man he was.  He was a zealot, a puritan – how dare Jesus allow people to waste oil which could have been spent to help the poor. He, Judas, knew what was right, and he had lost patience with Jesus.

Simon Peter was headstrong, and didn’t always get it right. After supper, when Jesus had said He was going to wash the feet of the disciples, Peter protested and said He wouldn’t allow it. But when Jesus told him that if he didn’t, he couldn’t be with Him, Peter didn’t ask for an explanation, he told Jesus he wanted to be washed all over.

Caiaphas and Judas reasoned their way through to a conclusion based on their own insights, and they saw, as we all do, only so far. Peter also reasoned his way to what seemed to him a sensible conclusion, but the love he felt for Jesus opened his heart and he saw further than he had with his intellect. Jesus warned him that he had been handed over to Satan to be ‘sifted’. Peter declared he never would deny Jesus – but Christ knew what was coming.

As the disciples slept and the Romans and the Jewish guard came closer, the silence of that dark night was broken only by the anguish of Jesus. His time had come.

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