Thursday, September 18, 2014

On the Seven (Eight) Deadly Sins

Here is my entire series on the Seven Deadly Sins (aka Seven Capital Vices).


Pride, the Queen Mother

Vainglory, the First Prince

Anger/Wrath, the Righter of Wrongs

Gluttony, a Plate Too Far

Sloth, the "Nothing" Vice

Envy, the Vice Devoid of Pleasure

Lust, the Tyrant

Covetousness, the Treasure Hunter

God bless!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fortitude Revisited

THIS was one of my favorite essays to write.

Here it is in audiovisual form... read by a trained and certified Disneyland Cast Member!

(Watch in full-screen mode!)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Inoculation and Resistance

Warning:  This is a call to arms.  Passivity is not allowed after reading this.

It is everywhere around us... can't get away.  Up is down, right is left, wrong is right, right is... no longer right (but certainly not "wrong," because there is no such thing anymore).  We are being drowned in a hellish nihilistic and deconstructionist tsunami.

Have we fallen Through the Looking Glass?  Are we now in a Brave New World?  How else to explain that things once considered common decency are now regarded as hopelessly out of date ideas, or worse?  Orwell's 1984 is upon us and Newspeak is the way of the world.  Family values are out and "freedom" is in-- that is, the kind of freedom that wears the yoke of political correctness and group-think.

Media exploitation of sex and violence has reached absurd levels of obscenity.  It has become a race to to the bottom to see who can deliver the most disgusting and disturbing content to the willing consumers.  The average American child now witnesses thousands of violent murders in media before being able to get a drivers license.  Television and movies have made cold-blooded murders just another part of the landscape of the "art." Video games are now incredibly and unthinkably violent, to an absurd degree that most non-gaming adults would be shocked at.

Women are for one thing and one thing only in these games.  "I don't care if you're 12, I'll still rape you!"  So shouts a college-aged boy to little girl in the video game "Grand Theft Auto."  One of the rare females in the game that is not a sex object is summarily sucked into a jet engine turbine.  The game also tells the player that most women "love it" when you crush their sternum during sex.  This is a great and ever-so-wholesome way for our young teenage boys to be developing, don't you think?

But wait, there's more!  The current version of "Grand Theft Auto" (V) begins with an extended round of cop killing and goes on to slaughtering American soldiers with grenades and conducting gruesome torture sessions for the fun of it.  Here is an FAQ page that answers the burning question "Where is the best spot for cop killing?"  In fact, you can watch the game's depiction of police officers burning to death here (for an added thrill, read a couple of the comments... this is what we are reaping).

~~  "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."  --Kurt Vonnegut  ~~

There is ample evidence of the harmful effects of these "games" - most especially on the still developing adolescent and pre-adolescent brain.  Busily absent parents are only too happy to buy Johnny the latest game because, after all, the other kids all have it and it will assuage that guilt that bubbles beneath the surface.  Thus, we find our children conditioned and trained in things previous generations could never imagine.

This average child also sees untold sexual scenes while watching ABC's "Family" channel, among others.  Much of the sexual content being blasted at children is of the same-sex variety.  Oh, sorry, I mean LGBTQQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Intersex)... wouldn't want to leave out anyone.  After all, about two percent of humans fall into this LGBTQQI category (1.6 percent actually "gay"), so we should definitely press a full-scale war to ensure that every person in the world accepts and glorifies this "lifestyle," right?  Wait- what about the two percent of Americans who have this proclivity?  Shouldn't we also rearrange our society to glorify and accommodate them?  Guess not.

I read a lot.  A lot.  I also write and think a lot.  In my estimation, no one has yet put their finger on the issue as surely and accurately as William Staneski in this amazing column, written almost six years ago.  He writes of the "drumbeat" that "keeps the masses in line, anesthetized enough to not make an issue of it. Fed a constant diet of sex, drugs, poisonous pop culture, materialistic trinkets, and unkeepable promises of security provided by huge leftist government, ever more globalist in nature, the masses are... told there is no truth..."  This is one of those few things that I can truly say I wish I had written.  Please take a few minutes to read it here.

No doubt about it, we are not in Kansas anymore.  Western society has reached levels of decadence that would make the ancient Romans blush.  How did this happen?  Simply put, we opened Pandora's box (it was actually a jar) and all the evils of the world were released.  It seems to us that it has occurred very quickly, and that is somewhat the case, but not the whole case.

There have always been forces that sought to erase the "civil society" rules that all civilizations need in order to continue and to thrive.  The greater a civilization, the more people lean toward egalitarianism.  Our Founders knew of this and were very worried about it.  They never proclaimed "equality" to be something a government should concern itself with, because they knew (and wrote) that we are all born equal, but not guaranteed to have equal outcomes in our lives.  The Utopian seeks to make sure everything is "fair" and "equal," thereby ironically ensuring that things will be neither.

What it all really leads to is the cancer of political correctness.  Although the left is more to blame for it, this cancer transcends "normal" politics and seeks to control all sides of the debate.  This supreme law of political correctness says that no one and no action can be judged as being wrong, and no one can say or do anything that might offend anyone else (thus codifying and continuing the great and choking irony of the Utopian vision).  Only the State can be correct, and the State must work to ensure that the unfortunate "protected" class is empowered.

Can there be a bigger irony than a culture that proclaims that it is offensive for anyone to say that people should not do patently offensive things in public?  We offend the offenders by saying they are offensive.  The State's answer is that all actions (that is, all State approved actions) are equal and no action is offensive, except an action that seeks to halt offensive actions.  Got it?

Now that we're properly admired this problem, what the heck are we to do about this?  Resist!

The only possible answer is for people to rise up and challenge political correctness whenever they find it (and it is impossible to not find).  Enough truly is enough.  Our society is crumbling at an alarming rate.  We are allowing things to happen, simply because the drumbeat of political correctness says that we must.  It is institutionalized insanity and it is killing us all... so, no more!

We don't stand for Newspeak nonsense.  We don't help Hollywood kill us by consuming their toxic product (seriously, television is a pure cesspool now).  We behave the way our right reason tells us to behave.  We call evil evil and we look it in the eye.  For parents, especially, we no longer abdicate our parental responsibility and authority to Hollywood and to the power of the State run school system.

If people take a personal stand... if we decide that we are no longer going to feed this cancer (which we do by not standing up to it), then we still have a chance.  Each of us faces examples of decadence and political correctness virtually every day-- and so the opportunity to engage the enemy is there for us.  To not take up this gauntlet is to give aid and comfort to the other side.

~~  "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."  --Edmund Burke  ~~

Finally, as if we need any more motivation beyond what is happening to our children and our society, we would do well to keep in mind that the Good Lord clearly warned us about such things.  Bottom line: we've strayed far from how He told us to conduct ourselves, and look at what we're reaping.

Oh, and if you think all this is a new problem... think again:

"Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."

--Romans 1:28-32

Actually, you should take a minute and read the rest of that part of Romans (1: 18-32) - here it is.

All right, folks, we have our perspective and we know what we have to do.  See you on the battlefield!

God bless!


Sunday, September 14, 2014


Kind hearts are the gardens,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the blossoms,
Kind deeds are the fruits.
(19th century rhyme used in primary schools)

The vast majority of people are kind.  Yep.  I know you may disagree with this statement at first, but give it a minute.  See- now you are thinking it may be true, right?  Especially if you use yourself as a measure.  You consider yourself to  be kind, do you not?  Well, are you always demonstrably kind in all situations?  Yeah... neither am I.  This does not make us unkind in fact; only unkind in practice.  It's a shame, too, because there are countless chances for us to practice it each and every day.

~~ "Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness."  --Seneca  ~~

We all experience a good amount of kindness, and some smaller amount of unkindness in our daily lives (exact amounts may vary, see store for details).  We are ourselves guilty of dishing out both at any given time, depending upon our mood and the circumstances around us.  What we all give and receive far, far more than kindness or direct unkindness is something we don't often take the time to consider: indifference.

While it takes some amount of effort to be directly kind or directly unkind, it takes no effort at all to be indifferent.  Apathy is a huge part of the problem with our modern way of life.  Think about it: even though we know ourselves to be kind, we fail to practice it.  What does that actually mean?  It means that we are not kind, which can be as bad as being unkind.  Kindness requires action in order to go from an abstract notion of ourselves to a manifest reality.

~~ "Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible."  --Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama  ~~

Let's get right to the Golden Rule.  It feels very good when someone is kind to us; and it feels quite awful when someone is unkind to us.  We experience neither of these when someone is simply thinking kind thoughts of us.  By the way, we also don't feel very good when we perceive someone's apathy and indifference toward us.  If we can just keep this simple truth in mind, it will really and truly help us to practice kindness more often.

As a child, I realized that I had the power to make people happy by being kind to them.  All the more am I to blame, then, when I do not wield that power.  I have tried, especially in the past few years, to make a concentrated effort to insert my kindness in other people's lives whenever I can.  As you are fully aware, it feels very good to do that-- even if you do not get kindness back.  Just the knowledge that we gave something so precious to someone else (even if they do not deserve it) should be enough for any of us.

~~ "Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."  --Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta  ~~

If this is starting to sound a little on the sappy side, that's okay... because it is!  That is the whole point of the exercise: to get in touch with that sappy part of us that wants to connect with our fellow human and make their day a little bit better.  I speak from experience when I say that a dark day can be made brighter by a simple (and usually, sadly, unexpected) act of kindness.  Maya Angelou said it so well by exhorting us to "be a rainbow in someone else's cloud."

There are, of course, plenty of people who conflate kindness with weakness.  This is especially true when some bleeding heart like me starts talking about giving kindness to people who don't deserve it.  To this, I will say that kindness is much like forgiveness.  Who among us really deserves either?  That is the entire point of it all.  We are flawed, imperfect beings who are in this life together.  Our number one goal should be to help one another along-- even those who are not seemingly worthy of our help.  No, especially those.

~~  "A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love."  --Saint Basil the Great  ~~

So, are you with me?  We'll start to make our own little corner of the world a bit kinder.  Forget "random" acts of kindness-- let's do "sustained" acts of kindness... then watch what happens.  Yes, I realize how naive and idealistic that may sound, but underneath that, there is a profound truth.  Our world did not become so coarse and inhuman overnight.  It took a long, slow series of "progressive" happenings to bring us to this.  The solution is not going to come from some central planning board... it is going to come from a long, slow series of acts of kindness, charity, and love.

We will fix the world this way, and only this way.  It is the ultimate antidote to the disease that is plaguing humanity: simple human decency.  A saying that goes back to Mark Twain (or even farther back) says that kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.  We all know it when it happens.  We all recognize its value to the human psyche.  That's how we do it.

We will:  Smile more- and mean it.  Laugh with people more.  Buy someone a coffee.  Hold open a door.  Actually listen to someone.  Volunteer for something worthwhile.  Refuse to take the bait when someone is fishing for an argument.  Surprise someone with something good.  Etcetera!

We'll be kind to everyone, even those who are unkind and rude to us-- not because they are nice to us but because we are nice.  We won't wait for someone to be friendly to us.  Instead, we'll show them how it's done.  We'll love someone who doesn't deserve it (as we ourselves often do not deserve it).  We'll start with our circle of friends and family, and then we'll branch out to strangers and finally to those we dislike.  We have to do it now, because there really is no guarantee of tomorrow.

~~ "You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."  --Ralph Waldo Emerson  ~~

Start keeping score on yourself.  Count how many times a day you go out of your way to be demonstrably kind to someone.  Not just when it's easy or convenient... but even when it is not.  By doing this, we lose nothing and we gain everything... including eternity.

"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."  -Romans, 13: 8-10

Amen and God bless y'all!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never, Ever...

As the world burns, we cannot forget what they did to us on this day.  Symbolically, and in a real and concrete way, this is the day that best illustrates the war that we are in (even if some refuse to admit it).

This date is burned into my mind and literally tattooed on my body.  Forgetting is not an option.

web counter
web counter