Just Let Me -- G -- Indoctrinate You!

Friday, January 18, 2019

It's a Glorious Day to Read Good Things Thing

Dear America,

"All literature
 --- stories most obviously -- 
centers on some conflict, rupture, or lack.  
Literature is birthed
 from our fallenness: 
without the fall, there would be no story."  
Karen Swallow Prior

oof and ain't that the truth; just peruse anyone's diary, right?  

[For a perfect example, simply go back to the beginning of this day in the life of an American girl...975 blogs chiefly centered upon our fallenness as a nation, as a people, as a culture....as a neighbor, co-worker, or friend...the list goes on and on.]

Prior immediately quotes a Jacques Ellul, from his discovery illuminated in The Humiliation of the Word, adding, "Only desire speaks...Satisfaction is silence." 

The Humiliation of the Word:  "Jacques Ellul for the first time intertwines sociological analysis with theological discussion in this provocative examination of how reality (which is visual) has superseded truth (which is verbal) in modern times. / After delineating in basic terms the distinction between truth and reality, the verbal and visual, Ellul explores the biblical-theological basis for this distinction. He examines the biblical emphasis on the word (both the divine Word and human words which witness to the divine truth) and the biblical critique of idolatry (which is, of course, visual). He goes on to delineate the ways in which the visual dominates modern life and to examine the correlate of this exaltation — the devaluation of the word..."   See more at Amazon

In elementary terms, I guess this might explain what is going on in our world today...true satisfaction, an enigma in modern day life, gives way to the constant call of our wants, our needs, our ambitions, our desires to have more of something, whatever that may be.

This is bringing to mind something that caught my attention for all of thirty minutes, last Sunday; an episode of Andy Stanley, How to Get What You Really Want, beginning with posing a basic question, just this:  what do you want? 

Appealing to the narcissist inside, we always want to do what we want to do...and for the most part, we are all guilty of this to some degree (of course, some days are better than others).  But sometimes, as Andy points out, when we get what it is we think we truly want, it turns out to be a disappointment; it turns out to be something different and nothing like what we thought; and sometimes what we want today, prevents us from securely planning for the proverbial tomorrow.

Andy says that most of us don't get what we really, really want, because we have not seriously pondered the answer, or even spent the time and careful consideration simply wondering how we get to that answer.  And promptly points us in the direction of the Bible, Book of James, for the proper insight:  "...You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives." (James 4:2-3)  

Our wants tend to be only what we think we want, on the surface, in the visual realm.

BUT  -- listen to this --- "Lurking in the shadows, just outside your peripheral vision, of what we want, is what we value...  what is important, what is really, really important,"  according to Andy, with the help of James, brother of Jesus...

If we don't get to what we truly value -- in our hearts and minds and in our prayers --  we will never get what we truly want (also known as, that which God wants FOR US the most).

What do we value?  How do we discover it?  How do we keep it safe and sound?

All of this ties very nicely into the new book I'm reading, On Reading Well, alongside it's companion for today, The Humiliation of the Word.  This blending of reading more of the virtuous, and less of the less-than, seems to begin with an obvious place to start:  with reading more of The Bible.  

"Visions of the good life 
presented in the world's best literature 
can be agents for cultivating 
knowledge of and desire for the good and, 
unlike visions sustained 
by sentimentality or self-deception, 
the true."  
Just another sound point;  
still reading, and re-reading, 
from the Introduction, On Reading Well.

Prior adds, "So while reading for virtue means, in part, reading about virtue, in a deeper, less obvious way reading literature well is a way to practice virtue."

Isn't this really what God wants for us most days, to practice our faith....to put in practice our greater, good-er side....to pay more attention to the things we truly value and multiply the wealth of living a virtuous life by however many number of occupants there are on earth?

And maybe it's because I am fresh off the viewing of the movie, ROMA, that my emotions are more raw, or perhaps even melancholy, than my natural vibrancy.  But I tell you this:  life, itself, is valuable; it's not to be missed.  "Nothing is worth more than this day," right?

Time, is so freaking valuable; especially when we weigh past times -- of histories and legacies and societies and ages of long ago --  against the present day.  And with that --  it just so happens to be the crib notes version of precisely how our founders laid America's foundation; thereby, masterminding a republic like no other.

America's Constitution, our Declaration of Independence  -- more good reading material -- speak to a long list of invaluable virtues to know and love:  from prudence to justice, from courage to temperance, from diligence to humility.  In order to create a more perfect union, we, the people, are REQUIRED to pay attention to what we value, and not only that --  secure it! promoting the proper education, moral duty, and virtuous character of each new generation.  

The thing is, how do we continue to do that, if our focus is virtually consumed day in and day out by the proliferation of immediate gratification, selfish pleasures, a certain self-centeredness and vanity, and for all intents and purposes, glorifying the visual, temporal, immoral, and fallenness -- in other words, preoccupied with the less than virtuous reading all the live long day --  rather than upon the things, the literature, the wisdom, the Word,  that will actually truly satisfy our human nature like nothing else on earth?   How?   So true the humiliation of the Word...

Of course, of the fallenness, it surely gives us a whole lot of material to write about -- there is that.  It's a glorious day to read good things, and nothing else, isn't it?

There is such great power in societies, large and small; and yet, challenging all civilizations at the birth of each new generation, is the capacity to hold to what is true, what is of value, providing, ultimately, a life fulfilled and satisfied for all to come.  It is surely a pursuit of happiness worth every breath, if we recognize that which is truly important -- seen and unseen --  and nothing else.

That is my wish for today.

Make it a Good Day, G

Friday, January 11, 2019

It's About Building a Nation of Character Thing

Dear America,

"In a world where thrushes sing 
and willow trees are golden
 in the spring, 
boredom should have been 
included among 
the seven deadly sins."  
Elizabeth Gouge, writer

oh to be bored in America these days...one would have to have their head in the sand, paying absolutely no attention to the coming and going of quite the cast of characters leading the political and cultural and moral narratives -- and there are aplenty.

This girl -- is just beginning a new book, a Christmas present:  On Reading Well, by Karen Swallow Prior, who is, per her bio, "an award-winning professor of English at Liberty University...a research fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, a senior fellow with Liberty University's Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, a senior fellow with the Trinity Forum, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States."

I'm only a few pages into her introduction.
She does say to take it  s  l  o  w,  so....
...so I'm taking her at her word.  And I just love how she critiques the act of reading too quickly right off the bat, saying, "speed-reading gives you two things that should never mix:  superficial knowledge and overconfidence."

...which just so happens to bring me --  ever so gracefully, I might add --  to something mentioned only in passing just yesterday my candid opinion awaits, of the post written by  Leslie Marshall upon the democratic socialist darling, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also recognized as "AOC."

Marshall marching lock step with the AOC must have its day.

so let me give you a minute to read it....
da da dada da da da, da! da dada da da da

and take your time.

da da dada da da da, da! da dada da da da

Returning to Prior's introduction On Reading Well -- she weaves together Aristotle's Poetics, and insights of Aristotle's Poetics by Paul Taylor, highlighting this passage about "a well-crafted plot, the element of literature that Aristotle identifies as the most important," saying -- "[Aristotle's Poetics] centers on the fact that the individual actions of characters follow with probability or necessity from a combination of three factors:  the characters' humanity, their individual personalities, and their involvement in the circumstances depicted in the plot."  "In other words," says Prior, "plot reveals character.  And the act of judging the character of a character shapes the reader's own character."

"the act of judging the character of a character shapes the reader's own character." wow.

So if the things we spend our precious time reading truly shapes us -- fiction and non-fiction alike --what is this modern world actually doing to us, as a people, as a community, as a country?

What we read and how we respond, react, and experience the things we read has dramatically changed -- now, more often than not, it's upon electronic devises and less upon the pages of real books; now, more often than not, it's through websites and news-feeds and less upon the pages of real literature.  And it is all comes at a lightning pace, all the live long day.   It's a rush of emotion, hastily judging this or that, and printed for the entire world to see within seconds, creating a world wide web of material, opening to a thread of responses in an instant. One after another.  Who has time to read anything else, right?

We read.
We write.
We feed our curiosity through Google or Bing.
We read some more.
We write some more.

But I digress.

My first response to Marshall's Ode to the AOC, Alex from the Bronx, goes something like this:

um, Alexandria created her own image, taking advantage of her wealth of superficial knowledge mixed with a supersize level of over confidence, all by herself, Leslie.

Might I add, she's a big girl, too.

She knew exactly what she was getting into -- opening herself up to the public, freely sharing her ideological dreams to effect change, and manufacturing a certain political prowess simply by asserting her young, enthusiastic, spirit in combination with riding upon the energy and coattails of another gimmick in government  --  widely recognized as a movement, in and of itself,  following the political ambitions of a party of one, Bernie Sanders.

Neither one speaks to the true character of American government --  that being, America, the exception; America, the first of its kind -- let alone the foundation laid by our founders of good character, men of great knowledge of civilizations long ago, who ultimately created a political system which resoundingly relied upon a society of virtuous, educated, patriotic, and compassionate people, to keep and care for America, generation after generation.

"Our world was built on the solid pillars of three great civilizations:  Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome.  The first taught us to pray; the second, to think; and the third, to govern.  Yet, as strong as they are, these pillars require our respectful study, contemplation, and defense, if they are to continue bearing the tremendous weight of the West.  Absent this attention, we will continue to witness our ongoing decay and eventual collapse."  this being said by a local book guy...Maxwell House of Books is coming to mind, but that is all I remember.   oops, my bad.  Must read    more     s  l  o  w l  y and take better notes.

It's like, Alexandria -- seriously?  Socialism -- the politics you choose to preach -- is nothing more than "a philosophy of failure, with the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.   It's inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."  which is simply something once said by Winston Churchill

To change America, a republic, into whatever Utopian dream you believe will come of transforming our government by policies that will surely make the American people more dependent upon government in their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, the more the American people will suffer.

You frequently question America's moral character, judging this or that -- guess what?  What's unquestionably immoral is our level of national debt!  The growing liabilities --the twenty trillion dollars in debt itself, the interest on our debt, our long list of entitlements and unfunded liabilities that we cannot afford...including social security...and heaven forbid we add Universal Healthcare for all, for all these things are essentially burying us; this simply personifies the kind of immorality that no nation can survive.

And Leslie -- Leslie, Leslie, Leslie -- this title...

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez deserves to be praised, not constantly criticized

Why does this sound so whiny?

Honestly, I'm not sure what the AOC "deserves"....At first glance on this -- not sure she actually DESERVES any of this fame thus far.  Albeit, she campaigned hard.  She got plenty of support from her neighborhood.  She is attractive and well-versed on slogans and rhetoric.  But let's get real, shall we?  This social-justice democrat, found hopping aboard the universal take down train against Trump, the pretty little liar of a package that she is -- even if it's out of ignorance, dominated the campaign and won the day all without a shred of experience, without a trace of paying her dues whether in business or politics, and as it would appear, only accomplishing such a feat, at such a young age, on gimmicks and an abundance of free publicity.  

She IS like the bright new shiny thing, right, Claire (and fellow democrat);  see also, AOC, stunt girl goes to Washington.

No.  To weave a little wisdom from On Reading Well -- Alexandria, in full character, personifies the two things that should not mix...a wee bit of superficial knowledge with a whole lot of overconfidence.  That idea is worth repeating over and over.

Yes, fair is fair in politics -- all character assessment comes via the experience, knowledge, education, well-read or not, of the character back reading between the lines, outside of the lines, and even going so far, as erasing lines.  It's all part and parcel of the game of politics.  We American people read, we write, we see with our own two eyes,  and we critique everything.

I mean, let's take a look at the 99% of negative coverage from the mainstream media, and liberal cable outlets, against this sitting president --  then, and only then,  can we fairly talk about what is fair.   eh?

Oh Leslie -- and this part --

"One of my favorite songs is by Don Henley, “How bad do you want it?” The refrain says, “How bad do you want it? Not bad enough.” Crowley didn’t want it bad enough, didn’t fight hard enough, didn’t work hard enough. AOC did. And this I know from personal experience. I was the youngest person to be syndicated on national radio back in 1992, and many thought I must have done something less than legitimate to get there. Trust me, I got there on nothing but hard work and merit."

um, how do you really know, for sure, what gave you the start on the syndicated radio program...

Just maybe -- circa '92 -- radio channels were just looking for something different, maybe needing more women represented...and then gave you a chance?  Maybe it had nothing to do with your age or experience, but you were just there.  Given that, from what I see and according to your own resume, you entered radio in 1988 -- by '92, you were only four years in on this career.  That isn't a long time.  Maybe it's just me, but maybe it wasn't from all your hard work -- no matter how young and talented you may have been at the time, that led you to the opportunity....but more like a lucky break, or good timing, having very little to do with the merits?  It's been done before, you know.  YOU would not be the first, or the last ...see also AOC...just sayin'.  [like, Hollywood is full of lucky breaks...everyone loves the newest, shiniest face...]  

Now, of course, Leslie -- to be fair, and perfectly clear -- it could also be said, that you survived all these years, remaining in radio, and now on T.V., because you HAVE worked HARD and DESERVE it based on the merits and the wealth of experience under your belt.

anywho, Back to the AOC --
she is fair game.  

It is so PC to disagree, and speak freely...this makes me crazy dizzy....suddenly I can't see straight.  
It's kinda what we do in America....we read, we write, we speak our mind.  
And then we read some more, write some more, speak some more, and so on. 
What an entertaining lot we are.

The thing is -- you know what they say about hard work -- it builds character.
That I would like to see, in all of us.

So to the L and to the A:
get over it
stop whining
put on your big girl pants, to the both of you. [BTW...nobody forced the AOC to wear that suit retailing for 3 grand....now did they...you wear it, you open yourself up to criticism for whatever reason.  See also Melania.]

So thank you, girls, for being my muse(s) on the day...and that goes to you, too, Karen Swallow Prior...can't wait to read the rest of the story.

At the end of the day, there is nothing I would like more than to spend more time  On Reading Well;
and my hope for you, is to want to do the same.

Just think of the Nation of Character that we may one day build, in it's entirety, if we show more devotion to reading slow while reading well.  amen to that.

the end.

Make it a Good Day, G

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

It's Just a Good Start Thing

Dear America,


just taking a few baby steps this morning...now nearly afternoon... as this girl ever so slowly resurfaces.......re-entering the blogosphere for the very first time in 2019; so here's our first quote to accompany us:  "Everyday is great -- it's a day extra."  [Jake LaMotta, boxer]

it's also the Day After the president's Oval Office address.  ooh rah 
must say -- he sounded a wee bit more mature  in this new year, if I'm not mistaken.  teehee

Talking about reaching maturity, whether individually or collectively, this girl is feeling sorta nostalgic on this rather bright and sunny Southern California day; so, on a whim,  a hit on the Day After, above, will link you to my very first blog! This being blog #974... from the serious to nonsensical, suffice it to say, this girl has covered a lot of ground over the last decade; just sayin'.

But oh to God be the Glory that I have lasted this long.  Day in and Day out, altogether it makes 2019 something of a celebratory year.  Traditionally, when referring to years of marriage, the anniversary is marked with gifts of tin or aluminum -- recognizing the resiliency and steadfastness required to make it thus far. So, to put this in perspective -- if this blog keeps producing 'til July 23rd -- I will have surpassed my marital devotion by a whole six months.   Now there's a new years resolution to write home about, eh?

So, on that note, and without any further dilly dilly or dally, let me link you to a wonderful breakdown of the president's Oval Office debut (you do know it was his first Oval Office address....right?)  This comes from my favorite group of patriots, @The Patriot Post; and it comes with a whole lot of common sense coming from Mark Alexander, himself, founder of The Patriot Post:

The Humanitarian and Security Crisis on Our Border
A full analysis of Donald Trump's Oval Office address, as well as the Demo rebuttal

and if you have time, read Mark Thiessen's account, via Fox News: "Trump started the shutdown but Democrats are about to own it"

I do want to talk about the AOC, bouncing off a post from Leslie Marshall...but it will have to wait for it's own day.  It will need all of a day, and maybe then some; what a hoot. happy   new     year   to    me.

Maybe the world needs to be reminded about the way the real world works, and more important, how sometimes it doesn't -- as in, leading us into world wars, and other things that are not good.  For more on that, and giving you a third good read on the first day back in 2019:  READ THIS from IMPRIMIS -- Do We Need a Country Anymore?  by Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College.

THIS is what I like to call, just a good start.

happy new year
happy first blog #1
happy first Oval Office address
happy reading
happy United States of America
happy 2019 in every way
happy first day back blog #974

the end.

Make it a Good Day, G