Friday Five – Volume 83

Friday Five-Mere Observations

“The longer I live, the more I have the feeling like God looks down, like when you’ve just bitten into a vanilla ice cream cone, you just get the feeling God’s going, ‘Yes! He enjoys it, and I made his taste buds and I made vanilla and he’s putting it together and he’s experiencing what I created him to experience.’ ” ― Rich Mullins

— 1 —

Lately as I’ve stood in line at any coffee shop or restaurant I’ve made it a point to look around at my fellow line dwellers. By my unofficial count over 70% stand slouched over with their gaze held in check by their smartphone. No commentary here other than to say if I was going to start over with my career I’d consider becoming a chiropractor.

Ok…just one comment (by proxy):

cartoon_cone of shame

— 2 —

“Don’t wish to be like the gilded weather-cock on top of a great building: however much it shines, and however high it stands, it adds nothing to the solidity of the building. Rather be like an old stone block hidden in the foundations, underground, where no one can see you: because of you the house will not fall.” – St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way #590

Too many preening cocks taking selfies today. A house built upon sand will not stand. We need more foundational stones. Therein lies the path of humility.

Along those lines…

Today’s America is drunk with the intoxicating effects of materialism, worshipping Mammon as a god that gives her what she thinks she wants. In her addiction to consumerism and her idolization of gadgets, she is forgetting her duty to God. Indeed, she has forgotten the true God she is called to serve in favour of mere “godgets,” the trinket deities of trivia and trash.

In order to truly serve their nation, true Americans must fearlessly criticize her for her waywardness. More importantly, we must evangelize her, bringing her to the fullness of faith in the God under Whom she owes her existence. Only when America kneels before her true God will she become truly civilized; only when she kneels will she become the land of the free and the home of the brave; only when she kneels will American faith and culture become part of the faith and culture of Christendom; only when she kneels, will she rise. – Joseph Pearce, Beauteous Truth, p.42

As I said last week this book is proving to be a great read.

— 3 —

One of the most obvious lessons of the past several weeks has been the exposing of feminist groups in America as being nothing more than political shills whose sole aim is fundraising for the purpose of electing Democratic party candidates. In their eyes the greatest evil on earth is Hobby Lobby.

But I’m a man so what I think doesn’t count. Kate Bryan, however, is a woman. And she  points out the obvious in this piece.

The feminist movement has completely failed women if when women need them most, they are nowhere to be found. The Islamic State’s genocide is the real “War on Women”, yet so-called “feminists” and so-called “feminist organizations” have remained silent.

If these women and their organizations truly cared about women and their well-being, they would have spoken out on this issue from the beginning. According to their actions, these organizations don’t truly care about women, they only care about boosting their profits.

She said it, not me. Forgive my treading to this ground but one of the things that grates my teeth the most is the hypocrisy of those women I know who espouse these views and drum up sympathy for them only to shirk their so-called beliefs when the rubber hits the road.

— 4 —

Ok, so I grumbled and groused a bit in the first three installments. Now for a 180.

I read Sam Guzman’s piece The Quietness of Good the other day and it brought to mind something I’d written after a retreat in the fall of 2012. First from Sam:

Yes, good is very much present. In fact, it is everywhere—it is simply very quiet and very humble. Being, existence itself, is the first good, from which all other gifts flow. But goodness is seen in so much else—in a hearty meal, in a smile, in a kind word, in the sacrifice of a parent for a child, in blue skies on a Spring day, or Sandhill cranes gliding silently overhead.

But while this goodness surrounds us, it is hardly ever noticed. Very often we completely ignore it while we complain about this or that.

And that is the very problem. We have grown so cold to the ocean of goodness in which we swim, in which we live and move and have our being, that we no longer notice it. We never notice it, that is, until it is gone—like a fish does not notice water until he is taken out of it. In short, we do not see goodness because it is the rule. We only notice suffering because it is the exception.

Yep. Guilty of that, I am. Right up there ^^^ in this very blog in fact. More Sam:

It is our solemn duty to open our eyes to this radiance of being. To do so, we must outgrow our petulant discontent and melancholy grumbling by cleansing the lenses of our soul to see the goodness that our Infernal Enemy is trying his very best to drown out. Most of all, we must be grateful.

For the simple truth is that we can never be grateful enough. We can never be fully aware of just how good things really are. If we were, this knowledge would crush us under the weight of its glory. But we can learn to sense the silent presence of goodness through thanksgiving.

In my 2012 piece The Beauty of Creation I wrote about the First Principle of St. Ignatius from The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I strained to capture my meditations on this principle from my bench seat near some trees at the base of a South Dakota prairie hill.

Life really is that simple, and we do far too often allow ourselves to be distracted by the things that truly do not matter. The second paragraph of The First Principle is a mini-principle of its own: a principle of simplification. It is a call for us to make use of and enjoy God’s creation, but not get so distracted in the things that don’t matter that we neglect or ignore the things that do. Yeah, that’d be me. Guilty as charged. Since returning from my retreat I’ve made a conscious effort to not become like so many of those I see walking downtown each day, noses buried in a 4 inch screen. We miss so much, no wonder we become so jaded. No wonder we no longer praise.

Yeah, no wonder. And that’s the problem. We’ve simply forgotten. Fortunately He hasn’t forgotten us.

A reminder from myself that I’ve still got work to do on this point.

— 5 —

To further illustrate that concept regarding God’s love affair with his creation throughout time I’ll cite one of the few things I’ve read in a combox that wasn’t dreck. Many people have an understandably difficult time reconciling the God of the Old Testament with the Son, Jesus Christ, in the New Testament. I get that, and until I dug deeper into Holy Scripture and the concept of salvation history through reading, studying and prayer I struggled as well. As “MarcAlcan” writes in a comment on this piece on frustrations in prayer we are often only seeing a smaller picture.

___________

(quoting a previous commenter) “The Old Testament God is not someone I want to hang out with.”

Only because you have a deficient knowledge of the Old Testament.

I think your knowledge of the OT would be like the way this letter has been mangled:

Dear Son, I ….. don’t want to spend time ….with …. you because I … shower you with …. all the evil that has been besetting you these past few days. I want to pour ….. into your heart … hatred and anger …

When the full letter reads like this:

Dear Son, I have been thinking a lot about you these past few days and though you don’t want to spend time with me, I would like to spend time with you because I want to shower you with blessings and remove all the evil that has been besetting you these past few days. I want to pour out my love into your heart that you may experience joy and not be filled with hatred and anger anymore.

___________

At the top I posted a favorite quote of mine by the late Rich Mullins. Another is:

Folks, God knew you at your worst before He ever sent Christ to die for you. And the good news of Christianity is not that Christ came into the world to make good little boys and girls. Christ came into the world to take away the sins that you’ve allowed to come between you and God. It’s sad to me to believe—to look out there and see—when you’re driving down the road and you see people who are afraid, you see people who are angry, and you go, “If only you knew how crazy about you God was! God already loved you, if only you knew!”

Amen.

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4 thoughts on “Friday Five – Volume 83

  1. I wonder about my own lack of patience when I see people on their phones. I’m not so phone addicted, but I love to have on my ipod when I’m walking somewhere, and when I get home, I’m at the computer. So though mine are more frequently used on occasions when I am solo, I do think I also use them as a distraction from silence. I need to get happier in silence, reflection, and just breathing perhaps. Without dance music or a podcast in the background. 🙂
    Paige

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    • I’ve done the same thing while standing in line or even walking through the skywalks to and from the office (though I’ve stopped doing that). I only get frustrated really by those who are also walking face down and I have to watch out if they suddenly come to a stop in front of me or are walking towards me…literally. It’s easy to get absorbed in whatever is on the screen before us. I’m starting to appreciate the silence more I suppose. Thanks for stopping by Paige. Where is your next adventure taking place? You’re everywhere it seems. 🙂

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      • Jeff,
        Sorry I’ve been remiss about commenting and such lately. I’m going from place to place in Europe this Fall. It’s a good time to collect photos and stories for the blog.
        If people are coming at you with the phone you could just scream really, really loudly. 🙂 That might help. (Or it might land you on youtube.)
        Paige

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      • No apologies necessary Paige. You are one busy girl and I appreciate the time you are able to catch up with us all now and then.

        I’ve considered the screaming approach but yeah…youtube. :\

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