“The sky is falling…the sky is falling…”

Chicken Little

Well, I agree, to a point. It all depends on what is above you when you look up. Perhaps you are in an area where things are falling out of the sky, so to speak. I feel like it most days. I cringe when I think of the money flying out of our account for various things. It’s mind-blowing. Our senators meeting overnight to enact/approve Red Flag Laws for weapons. The insanity of that is bad guys don’t jump through government hoops to get licensed firearms. They get them off the streets. Illegally. Us regular people go through rigorous background checks already. And it’s not the combat vets you need to worry about – it’s these young men hopped up on psychotropic meds who are marginalized and seeing a shrink, who are mostly responsible for these shootings. So many rabbit holes about that entire subject! And the news media pumping out more fear mongering for everyone to chew on. It’s become comical when you watch those montages of programmed news spew the exact same words on stations across the country. Verbatim. It’s an eye-opener…

Verbatim News

I’ve become increasingly tense about everything. Will we have this life, this country, in the next 20 years? Where will the USA be? What will the USA become? Do we have the luxury of the next 20 years, or is it much shorter? 5-10 years? That long? Around and around I go. At night, it is the worst. Going to bed stresses me out because I KNOW I will toss and turn and take forever to get to sleep. I have tried it all – meditating, praying, no Kindle or TV an hour before bed (right?!?), taking melatonin. I’ve tried Benadryl and Tylenol. I now drink Golden Milk every night and it does seem to help. (I know it is helping my blood sugar, for sure). And I feel like this big thing is pressing down on me, and worrying me, all day long, intensifying at night. The dark makes everything worse. Up here, darkness takes so long to happen and it doesn’t stay long.

Today’s Light Hours

I try to just let it all go by the wayside. I focus on getting my sheets clean that my lovely puppy peed on this weekend while we camped. I try to come up with nice meal plans for my husband. I focus on my grandson’s baseball tournament coming up, or my middle son’s recent job interview and our youngest son getting enough work hours. There are things up close and personal I can focus my time on. I can let the rest of the country sort of fade from constant thought. I can opt to trust in God’s plan for everything and all of us and trust in my faith to carry me through. I can’t worry about the details. I can’t worry that the sky might be falling on my country, and that this world could be on the cusp of massive change. I can listen for my washer to ping to let me know the bedding is completed; figure out why the dogs are barking; try to keep the house below 80 inside without A/C (Alaskan homes don’t have air conditioning). On and on I could go. But why do I continually come back to the falling skies???

Anxiety – give it to God

Over and over, I have to remind myself I do not walk alone. God and His promises walk beside me. My husband walks next to me and I know beyond any doubt, he was God’s plan for my life. I absolutely love the life we have together and each moment of these empty nest days warms my heart. I cannot imagine my life without him in it. And I am blessed with amazing children, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren, and some amazing friends. I know I am blessed. My heart soars when I think of everyone in my life, and when I look outside and see the land where I live. Totally blessed. The big “but” is next…lol. But I worry. Daily. Obsessively I think. And I am desperately trying to rein it in – again.

Do Not Fear

Once again I choose to cast my worries onto God. He spent 3 agonizing hours suffering on the cross for me – for my sins – for my doubts – for my worries. He paid the price – for me. I can do nothing to repay Him except to believe in Him and to love Him above all else. God makes no demands on us. He requires nothing from us. Just full acceptance. And in this age and in this chaos, the peace He offers is undeniable.

My peace I leave with you..

The sky may fall. Our culture may collapse. The world as we know may cease to be structured as we know it. We may loose our land, our homes, our families. We may lose our own lives. But we will never lose God, because He loved us first.

Believe

..”and here we are…”

I have chosen to view my increasingly naked scalp as just another leg in my 65-year journey, to date. As that awful saying goes, “It is what it is.” The back of my head is showing more and more, but there are some baby hairs. They are white, so my scalp looks naked, even with hair. When I was an infant, my hair was snow white. In fact, it looked sort of pink because my scalp showed through it. My mom used to use Caro Syrup to glue a bow onto my head so people knew I was (a) a girl, and (b) not bald. LOL. Perhaps my scalp/hair has come full circle. I have done a lot to my hair over the years. Some experiments worked out, a lot did not. I fell asleep in college with one of those hats on where you pulled the hair through and colored it in sections. I was adding blonder highlights. My roommate came home and woke me up because all she could see was “clear” hair. I was devoid of all color. We rushed to her mom, who worked at a local drug store in the cosmetics department (and actually knew her stuff) and she calmed me down and got pure color for me to add to my hair, in stages. It took all night. But I was a normal blonde by the end of it! I’ve been lots of shades of brunette. My favorite was “cedar red brown.” Dark brown with red highlights. Loved it. It was gorgeous in the sunlight. Now two of my granddaughters have red-toned hair! I also have a brunette and a golden blonde, and a light blonde granddaughter (5 in total) with a tow-headed grandson. I love the rainbow of genetics! I also love curly hair because mine is so not curly. It hardly holds a curl. I used to sleep in sponge rollers in high school. But by the time my first class started, it was straight. I gave up. LOL. But as an adult I have had several perms. My plan is to get my hair back and lightly wave it, with some purple for spice. You only go around once – may as well have fun. My boys do not like my hair permed. But they are all grown up with their own wives. I figure I can do what I want now! My husband is so patient. God bless that man. He says he doesn’t care, so long as I am happy with it. So blessed. Been together 39 years and married for 37 of them. He is my rock.

Ed and Jan @ MatSu Glacier, Alaska 2021

Yeah, I have lost 70% of that hair up there in that photo from last summer! LOL. Oh well, onward and upward…

As I was looking back at photos, and noticing my hair (how vain is that??) I also noticed clothing trends. I have never been a salacious dresser. I never wanted to bring attention to myself. If I have a lower-cut blouse, I wear a tank top underneath, to cover any cleavage. My mom had a mastectomy and she had these little inserts that hooked around her bra straps to hide her scars. I thought those were an awesome invention. And today in my newsfeed I was horrified to see photos of the new “Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition for the US” who Bydan nominated. He/she wears skirts and heels and has a list of preferred pronouns. He/she even posted a video about their preferences. And he/she now has the national stage. Ugh. And I come back to why??? Why???

Pronoun Person

There are a lot of photos of this person floating around the internet today and I am sick to my stomach. Since when did so much pornographic material make its way onto our newsfeeds, and it is deemed allowable? There are shots of them in various costumes doing various things that used to be unheard of, and certainly behind closed doors. My brain cannot unsee that, now. It is forever burned into my memories. And I feel assaulted. Reactionary? Maybe. But when did this become ok? I remember how TV got raunchy with the soap operas. And movies…there were some that crossed the line from soft-porn to mainstream and somehow we lost that line. I was recently blown away when I watched a program on Netflix and there was blatant sex, naked breasts and behinds, and every other word started with “F”!!! I could barely stomach it. How did this happen?? America??? Where have our standards dropped to now?

The works of the flesh are manifest , and they are fornication and uncleanness…and things like these. As to these things I am forewarning you the same way as I did forewarn you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the God’s kingdom.

Galations 5:19-21

Let fornication and uncleanness of every sort or greediness not even be mentioned among you.

Ephesians 5:3

Deaden, therefore, your body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite.

Colossians 3:5

We are afraid to impose our Biblical standards of faith and morals upon society at large. Why? They are certainly imposing their views upon us. Once upon a time, actors and plays were looked upon as lower class or dirty. The people would not normally be seen with them outside of a performance. In many countries (Japan and China among them) actors’ troupes were also a form of sexual slavery and the females were kept in bondage and used to curry favor with nobles, to allow performances in their regions. In fact, acting was considered to be below women (to protect their reputations) and most of the parts were acted by men in women’s attire (gee, I wonder what that did for male role models??). The females in the troupes were there to service men – clean the costumes, feed them on the road, and take care of all their sexual needs. They were not equal to the men. Even in the early days of film, actors were hosted at events as oddities. The idea of them being celebrities did not happen until the 40s and 50s. And now? Actors, who pretend for a living, are considered experts on everything from health care to climate change to politics and abortion. They pretend for a living. Remember? They get paid to act. So much of what we see is just a performance. Want to go down some rabbit holes? Look into actors and what price so many have paid for the fame they love so much!!

The Bible

As most of us know, the media is not our friend. It does not treat us with honesty. It is constantly spewing images at us that do not build the Kingdom of God. When I was a child in the 50s, you could not show a married couple sleeping in the same bed on TV or the movie screen. I love Lucy was one of my favorite shows. But it was also advant guarde in the way in which it showed two new images to the American audience: (1) Lucy was pregnant on TV. The first woman who was not block-filmed to hide their pregnancy (2) the bedroom. Their separate beds gradually moved closer and closer until they were next to each other. Separate blankets and sheets but they were next to each other. And that opened the flood gates for more and more that was then deemed “allowable” in our living rooms. Lucy Ricardo and the actress who played her were both staunchly left and all about women’s rights. Nothing was a mistake on that show. And oh so many others. We let it in, little by little, until it became an ugly beast. And now it is everywhere in almost everything. “Sex sells,” as the saying goes.

Pyrex Ad 1950s

There is so much being done to desensitize us. The lyrics in songs, the ads we see, the shows we watch, the books we read. I have recently gone through my kindle and deleted so many books that I realized were not building me up towards the Kingdom of God, but were rather taking me away from my faith. As I looked for books to read that were fun, but clean, I realized I had to change my parameters and read only YA, or Young Adult. Most of those don’t even have bad words, let alone detailed sex scenes or violence. Each of us has to decide what we will allow into our minds, into our homes, and into our lives. The Lord was pretty strong about pornography and licentiousness.

The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not from the Father, but is from the world.

1John 2:16

If you ever want to see a map of where our culture is headed, just read up on the end of the culture of Rome. You know the saying, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned”? Well, Nero was fiddling around alright. He sent soldiers to burn out the Christian communities from Rome. Deep in the city, fires were started to run the Christians out of town. Nero was losing his numbers in the stadiums. Sacrificing the Christians to the lions wasn’t holding its charm. The people were tired of the deeply imbedded caste system and were tired of their overlords. Nero was a sick and evil man. He was from a long line of them. But pushing the Christians out, burning down half of Rome, did not have the desired effect. Many things caused the collapse of Rome and Roman culture worldwide. Nero and his debased lifestyle and his evil ways were a part of it, for sure. And if we look around us, we have stadiums filled with eager fans. Have you researched the prices for seats at the upcoming Super Bowl? It is blatantly disgusting. While people are out of work and suffering under stupid mandates, apparently it is ok in CA to cram 1000s of people into a stadium, as long as they pay the right price. What price are you willing to pay? The purity of your daughter? The lost childhood of your grandchildren? The closed doors of your Church? The evil in our capital??

My husband and I are watching the series, “The Hunger Games,” over again. In light of our current world, that series is almost prescient – like a forewarning (see Galations 5:19-21 again) we have been given about what our elites are planning for us. Maybe I see danger in every dark corner. Maybe I love conspiracy theories. Maybe I just took my blinders off and when I did, I did not like what I saw.

It is time…

Perhaps we need to put our money behind what we believe. Watch out who you spend your hard-earned dollars supporting. So many companies are bad from the ground up. The recent brew-ha-ha (however you spell that) with Joe Rogan and Spotify got really interesting when it was revealed the CEO of Spotify is on the board of Moderna – yeah; the same company that makes all those vaccines. No wonder they want someone like Joe silenced. But there are so many out there spewing facts and truth, that the narrative is slowly crumbling. Our dollars do make a difference. We can opt to fund things like the Trucker movement that is now worldwide. We can put our money to support the pro-life movement. We can stop shopping at the big box stores and support local businesses. We can support local farmers and eat local (we recently bought 1/2 cow from a local farmer! We know the meat will be good and we know where it comes from. No franken-meat for us!) We can influence for the good. We can outlast and out speak the evil in this world. Less that 3% of the population is aberrant insofar as Christian morals and principles are concerned. That means that 97% of the world believes in Christian values. And those statistics hold up in the USA!! Why do we allow the small minority to run our world? Our Country? Our towns and cities?

Evil is here. We see it more and more every day. We believe in Godly principles. We pray. We call ourselves Christians, and yet, here we are.

What is next? It is up to us!

“Be kind to one another…”

be kind

That quote is from the book of Ephesians, in the Bible. The above art is by Ramon Lo. It felt right, somehow. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph 4:32  I chose the art because even though it has these lovely swirls in it, I also saw it as being said in the midst of explosions. And quite rightly so, in the wake of all the violence we saw this weekend. Unfortunately, it was not just in Paris, but also in Beruit, Kenya, Lebanon… on and on it goes. The common thread? ISIS. Muslims.

I read the most fantastic article today. It appealed to me because it was full of history. I think it should be mandatory! “Christianity & Islam: Are We at War?” by Father Mitch Pacwa SJ (shared online by http://www.stmarkbeaman.org). It was full of information and perspective. I highly recommend it. I learned so much. And it fed my desire to write this all out.

I was chastised for putting up a meme on Facebook recently, by a friend. It made me think, and I am still thinking, and pondering the comment. The meme was posted by a site called, “Dysfunctional Vets.” Dysfunctional Vets Meme

I don’t particularly like violence. I abhor war, because I know up close and personal what being at war can do to a person. So I do not advocate violence. But as a country, a culture, a world, how do we stop a violent people? A people whose agenda requires them to obliterate their enemy? If one of theirs comes to know Christ and coverts, it is required that they be killed, and all those who allowed them to covert be killed. They do not consider Christians or Jews to be “of the book.” The article I mentioned above does a fantastic job of explaining all of the differences in the sects within the Muslim belief system. It is also very important to know that the Muslim faith has no “governing board,” no “ultimate authority” on what you have to believe and what you don’t. It is up to each independent believer to decide for themselves. So when they spout, “We are not a violent religion,” what they are saying is the particular Imam they follow, and the particular verses they believe in, do not espouse violence. But at least half of those who follow Mohammed are violent. And that is who is bombing, beheading, raping, killing, stealing, destroying… throughout the world. So how do we thwart this violence? Because I am fairly certain they will not stop until all of those who are not “of the book” are removed. And they do not believe in living side-by-side. They do not espouse co-existing. It is their way or death. And if you think they will allow a country to be Christian, to attend Christian Churches, have Christian artwork, books (including the Bible) under Muslim Sharia Law, you are kidding yourself. Ask someone in Syria… ask why they are fleeing by the millions.

The Syrian refugees who are trying to escape, the families ravaged by war, the Christians who flee because they know to stay means execution – those are the refugees I would help. Those are the people I would welcome. But has anyone looked at who is coming in?Have you watched in Germany? Switzerland? France? Have you seen the demographics of the refugees storming the borders in Europe? If you can peek through the political correctness and main-stream-media hype, you will see the vast majority are men and boys. Now, sit back and ask yourself why that is. I am not suggesting they are all militant jihadists. (But that does bear pondering over). What I am suggesting is that they do not bring their wives or daughters because women don’t count for much in their culture. They take care of their goats better than their daughters. A wife is disposable, tradable, and definitely replaceable. From what was once a matriarchal society to what the Islamic countries have now become, insofar as the rights of women and girls, it makes you sick to your stomach (especially to me, because I am a woman and a Christian).

In one town in Germany, home to about 100 people, they’ve had 1000s of refugees arrive.(Here’s one link: http://www.wnd.com/2015/10/german-town-of-100-must-take-1000-syrian-migrants/). It’s wreaking havoc as people across Europe try to deal with all these refugees. And Obama wants us to do the same here. And frankly, it scares me. We can barely manage to care for our own. We have homeless veterans who are not cared for. We have the mentally ill who are left to roam the streets. Runaway teens, drug users, the homeless for whom we do not care. We have joblessness already. How are we expected to take in more people, with no discernible job skills, into our already-broken and overloaded system? As a former welfare office manager, I can attest to how we are not ready to care for refugees. We can’t care for the people born here, or already living here. And we are a country that keeps raising its debt ceiling, printing worthless money, and hasn’t had a balanced budget in recent memory. I only wish the government would allow us citizens to balance our private debts and checkbook like they do!! This is a country that devalues human life so much, it is perfectly legal to kill unborn and recently-born children. How are we to care for these refugees? Who will care for them? Will you? Your church?Will you willingly house them? Feed them? Clothe them? What about that disabled veteran who fought for us over in the Middle East, who has to live on the streets or in shelters? Are you caring for him? If not, how can you expect to care for the hundreds of thousands of refugees Obama wants to allow in? Is your city, your town, your neighborhood ready?

“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 4-6

I know my friend was surprised by the meme about violence. Because I am generally a Philippians 4 person. I really am. But historically, we have battled with these sorts of zealots before. Many times. As the parent of a veteran, my hackles rise when I am expected to bring in people to care for, when we don’t care for our vets, let alone people who have no discernible skill sets or ways to support themselves. There is so much deeply imbedded in how we divvy out our benefits; costs and Federal requirements no one has a clue about. Did you know that if a certain percentage of the population speaks a specific language, and English is not the primary language spoken in the home, the state requires that all documentation be provided in their own language? That each public entity serving that populace must hire workers who speak that language and are part of that demographic? That banks, landowners who rent, service agencies (even car dealerships, etc) have all documentation available in that language? And it is based on the most current census numbers. Except when the Federal Government sends in hundreds of thousands of refugees from Arabic-only speaking countries. Do you realize the expense incurred for having to translate everything into the various Arabic dialects? And having to hire Arab speakers at all government agencies? Banks? Doctor’s offices? Hospitals? On and on the burden goes.

No, I do not advocate violence. I truly do not. But quite often it is the sole way evil can be stopped. We’ve done it before. Read history. And do the other half of the Muslim believers, those who are bombing places like Paris, expect an outcome wherein they take over? Well, yes; yes they do. They actually think that by bombing, breeding, and otherwise infiltrating the Western World, they will take it over and the Muslim belief system and Sharia Law will rule the world. How do we thwart that, and stop it in its tracks? (Read some history on Vlad the Impaler).

I'll see you

I tend towards being a prepper, and even though we haven’t prepped much, we still believe the ideas are pretty good. Living where we do, it makes lots of sense just from a natural disaster point of view, let alone civil and/or international unrest. It may be necessary with weather, earthquakes, and now violence. And I do favor open-carry laws, and definitely defend the 2nd Amendment. I do not believe we need a national registry for gun owners, or that the government should come and take our weapons from us (look what happened in Paris, a gun-free zone). And I heartily support our troops who are serving and all those who have served before. (Thank you for your service). I do not want to harm the already-harmed refugee families fleeing the enemy – Islam in its ugliest forms. Most especially Christians fleeing from Islamic terrorism. But how do we fix this? Our country’s landscape will forever be changed with this many refugees coming in, all at once. It will no longer be Apple Pie and the American Way. It just won’t be able to remain what we all have loved.

151116-eiffel-tower-red-white-blue-1240p_6eac43f24b6e3c7448aef4c6cfb525a9.nbcnews-fp-1200-800

This weekend, I watched the TV coverage of the Paris attacks and I wept. Why? Because this world is nothing like the world I was born into, or even what it was 15-20 years ago. I cried because I lived through VietNam. The entire saga of the Middle East, historically, and in my time, the Hostage Crisis during the 1972 Olympics clear through to when Operation Desert Storm began in earnest, up to and including lives lost this week. We have a long history in the Middle East. They are against every thing we believe in and stand for. And I cried this weekend because I realized my 16-year-old was too young to remember 9/11 – this was his first view of an Islamic attack on a free people. He only watches YouTube videos from 9/11. I cried because I have no certainty for his future without bloodshed. And when I thought of my little grandbabies, I wept even more. What is the world we will leave to them? What will the world become, my country become, in the next 5-10 years? Will we recover from Obama? We will stop this modern Horde? Can we bring this world, this country, our culture back? I am doubtful. Historically, they were referred to as the Muslim Horde clear back to 710 AD.  [There’s a great article I tried to cite, but for some reason it didn’t let me.  The link is this: http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/medieval/articles/muslimhorde.aspx  The article was written by Robert C. Daniels (I recommend it highly, too!)]. Hordes tended to come “en masse” and obliterate their enemies. It has been repeated over and over again, throughout history, back to Mohammed himself (570 AD – 632 AD).

view-overlooking-helena

I still think we need to be a Christian people and that we desperately need to cling to the tenets of our faith. But we also need to be prepared to defend our faith, our freedoms, our culture, our way of life. Because if the sects of the Muslim faith who are perpetrating all these atrocities are allowed to continue unchecked, this world, as you and I know it, will no longer exist. Yes, pray for France, for Paris. But also pray for Beruit, Kenya, Lebanon, the entire Middle East… and our free world. Because I firmly believe these people “of the book” are determined that all those of us not “of the book” need to be exterminated. I don’t see a peaceful option out of this. I am so tired of the nice guys being trampled upon. But to my faith, I hungrily cling, as a man in a parched desert seeks water, “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

heart-inspiration-life-love-peace-favim-com-223945

“Rejoice with the man whom you envy…”

“You will be able to check envy if you rejoice with the man whom you envy whenever he rejoices, and grieve whenever he grieves.”

St. Maximos the Confessor

Troy PalomaluNo, that is not St. Maximos, the Confessor! It is a photo of a Pittsburgh Steeler football player, Troy Palomalu.  He had this quote on his Facebook page the day of the NFL playoff games.  I thought it was rather insightful and wanted to share it.

I have been contemplating the role sports play in our lives, especially in light of the impending Superbowl game.  So many people in the world barely understand American football, let alone bother with the players.  For our house, we all love football.  My husband is an avid Denver Broncos fan, and I have been a Kansas City Chiefs fan since I can remember, and recently fell in love with the Seattle Seahawks, as well as other Seattle teams.  My oldest son has labeled me a “bandwagon” fan and accuses me of leaving my team.  He often says it in such a way, that it is, rather hurtful, even if said in fun and teasing.  In fact, for Christmas, my daughter-in-law (his wife) made me a reversible blanket; one side is red with Chiefs’ logos all over it; the other side is blue with Seahawks’ logos all over it.  She told me, “That way, whoever is playing, you can show that side.”  It was pretty funny; even if it was teasing me (and I love it – it’s so warm and cuddly!).  Right now, the Broncos blanket hangs over my husband’s recliner, and the Seahawks’ side of my blanket shows atop of the couch where I sit.  All that being said, a Bronco-Seahawks Super Bowl should be interesting!

But the reason I am bringing all this up is that emotions have become very taut and strong over this.  There was an interview with a defensive player that went viral, because he spoke rather conceitedly about his talents and lambasted a player from the opposing team.  The loosing team is now accusing the ref’s of all sorts of mis-calls, saying the game was robbed from them.  It has created furor online and in the media.  Major media outlets are abuzz!  But why is that?  Why do we even care?  Why do we pay attention to it?

When we lived in the greater Seattle area, the Churches lamented sports’ seasons because the pews would be empty if a “big game” was on TV or being played in town.  If the sun was out, people were outside and not in Church.  The first snowfall, no one was in Church but out skiing or enjoying other winter sports.  Almost any excuse to not attend Church.  Lots of quotes about, “My church is nature,” or “I pray better outdoors.”  Pretty lame excuses to my way of thinking.  The Church we were married in, in Colorado, had windows all across the back and they would open the drapery if the snow was falling or it was a good view of the Rocky Mountains.  In Seattle, the local RC parish had an adoration chapel that was largely glass. It was very pretty.  But there was no sense of “church” or being in a place of worship…it was just greenery and trees, flowers and wildlife.  Yes, those are things of God, but they are not, to my way of thinking, God’s temple. Below is a photo of just the upper walls and ceiling of a Church in Russia.  That is a Church!

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA FEDERATION - JUNE 29:Interior of Church Savior on Spilled Blood . Picture takes in Saint-Petersburg, inside Church Savior on Spilled Blood   on June 29, 2012.Troy was quoting St. Maximos the Confessor to show that he was rejoicing with his fellow football players, and not envying them or wanting to take their glory from them, but rather, to share it with them.  We all grieve when players are injured, regardless of the team they play for.  No one wants to truly, and honestly, see someone hurt.  But why all the emphasis on sports teams and/or players?  And why the heightened emotion regarding all they do and what they do, how they do it, and who wins?  What is being adored here?

There is an old saying, “Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it.” (Edmund Burke).  When I look at football stadiums, when I see crowds devolving into maniacs of sound and even witness fighting in the stands (I recall one soccer stadium actually falling apart and partially collapsing on the fans, as a result of fighting by the self-same fans) I am drawn back in time, back to the era of the Roman Gladiator.  The Roman Coliseum was developed to enhance the viewing pleasure of the Caesars in power.  They would hold all sorts of contests of skill and strength, and often to the death.  These forums were also the scene of untold horror for those who had lost favor with the ruling classes.  These coliseums existed throughout the Roman empire.  Some were small, some were very large, but all held the Senatorial crowds in thrall of the events carried on there.  Eventually, these stadiums became the scene of the torture and death of Christians, who refused the Gods of Rome and devoutly gave their lives for Christ and His Church. When you look at the historical events held in coliseums around the world, you cannot but note the similarities.  Our football, baseball, soccer, hockey, basketball players (and all the other popular sports) are held in the same esteem and fame as the gladiators were.  We root for them; we bet on their talent and the outcome of their “contests;” we fete them at banquets and we foist honors upon them (Hall of Fame, Super Bowl Champs, etc).  We hold events where all the people can come and watch one team, or one player, defeat another.  And the crowds that attend these things are boisterous and unruly, much like the Senatorial crowds at the coliseums in ancient Rome.  Because of the expense of attending these events, it has also become a rich-man’s (or at the very least, upper middle class man’s) event, just as in Rome when only the Senatorial classes could attend.  Even baseball games!  I remember days of getting into Angel Stadium (newly constructed) for $5 and having a hot dog and beer (bad college student that I was) sitting in the nose-bleed seats during a weekday afternoon.  My roommate and I would take our books and study up there, all alone, watching some baseball.  But no more.  A hot dog and beer can cost you $25 or more, let alone the cost of admission.  And where does this leave our culture? Where are our values?

Worth Christ dying forOne of the hardest things for me is to be able to just enjoy watching a sport without the vehemence of others ruining it; of having to be careful of what I say, what I post on my Facebook wall, or how I approach the fact that the team I’ve been rooting for has won.  Because the temperature got pretty darn hot in regards to these playoffs.  The vehemence is what has surprised me.  Trust me, it has nothing to do with having the Seahawks make the Super Bowl.  I truly believe the Broncos will win and I am not usually rooting for the Championship team, so am not accustomed to “backing the winning horse.”  I just enjoyed watching the games.  I can honestly walk away from it because I have security; I know sports and whomever is playing does not enervate my life.  My life is not lived for sports.  It is lived for salvation in Christ.  I love God first, my family second.  I am not even sure where a team would make the list of who I love, if at all.  It is ENTERTAINMENT only.  And not my sole source of entertainment, nor my major source of entertainment.  And even as I type this, I know of people that I could not talk with about any of this because they are so angry, so upset.  On the surface, all is fine. But if the subject would be brought up, the power behind their emotions is a little frightening; the quickness of turning to anger and hotly contesting the entire issue! I am frightened for the confrontation (another instance where silence, as espoused by Elder Thaddeus, gets me through the rough stuff) and so I avoid it at all costs.  And my fear is for their soul, because they are living without the guidance of a life of faith.  They love their families; they love their country; they pay taxes and are decent folks.  But they do not live for Christ.  They have no faith.  And so, sports teams, celebrities, and reality TV has supplanted, and become, their God.

If we are listening to, or paying attention to history, we should all be a little afraid.  At the very least, we should be aware.  Our culture in comparison to Roman culture, and its demise, are eerily similar.  The patterns of despots is also similar.  The way our culture aggrandizes things our parents and grandparents would have abhorred is, in itself, frightening.  Yes, these things happened in darkened rooms and behind closed doors.  However, it was not on jumbo-trons or on big-screen TVs in homes for all to watch. It was not common for young people to adore sports figures and not know basic facts about God.  It was not common for families to steer their children away from vocations to the priesthood or convent life; it was an honor to have at least one child choose a vocation.   It was common for entire families, every Sunday, to attend Church – as a family.  Young people lived at home until they got married.  Young people expected to be poor and have lean years before success, not moving into homes their parents took decades to own.  People took their duty as citizens seriously – they were educated about issues and candidates and they voted.  What is happening?  Why are we so apart from our Christian roots and why have we walked away from our faith?

Abba Agathon

As Abba Agathon warns us, no other labor is as difficult as prayer.  The enemy knows this and is on the prowl for our souls.  Right now, our abhorrent attention the the things of this world has colored our attention to the things of God.  We have friends who have been married for 9 or 10 years.  They have 6 children in their home, all under the age of 12.  They are foster parents, right now caring for two who are definitely a challenge.  They were both married before, outside of Church, and in some difficult situations.  But the thing they wanted the most in life was to share the Eucharist together.  And so they have spent months regularizing their marriage in the eyes of the Church and this weekend, they will have a crowning, with all their children, family, and friends around them.  Why do I mention this? Because it is something bright, something positive, something Godly in a world going haywire.  Two people want to stand next to one another, in a Godly marriage, and receive Christ in Holy Communion.  And guess what?  They have no clue what teams are playing who, who is in what sort of bowl, and they are deliriously happy! They are letting God rule their lives, outside of the rhythm of this crazy world.  And I am so glad to be a witness to it.

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So today, today I resolve to carry on in silence and not tempt the tempers by bringing up sports!  Today I resolve to pray for those who have lost their way and for those struggling to make their way.  I always taught my children to be “sticks in the river, standing strong against the current.”  I want to stand strong for my faith, to share how I feel and what I believe in a soft, gentle, loving way.  I want all of us to love God first, because if we can order things properly in our lives, we can all then enjoy these sporting entertainments, and keep them where they belong.  And they belong in context to a life lived in faith.  And then perhaps we can all live more according to how St. Maximos encourages to live, “You will be able to check envy if you rejoice with the man whom you envy whenever he rejoices, and grieve whenever he grieves.”

St. Maximos the ConfessorSt. Maximos the Confessor