Comfort from Psalm 37

At this point I wouldn’t put anything past the scoundrels in the bowels of power. I’ve felt like a deer caught in the headlights for the past two years. It’s all that I can do to try to keep up with the Machiavellian manipulations. Never in my 68 years have I been so consistently distraught by the developments in world politics. I no longer trust the authorities to which I should owe obedience. The stress has been overwhelming at times, and the anger can eat at one from the inside out. Thank God for the mystery of confession and absolution. Last night, I took rare comfort in Psalm 37, (or Ps. 36, depending on how you count), which I quote in its entirety:

37 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.

18 The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

28 For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

Biden Boasts, but Taiwan May Fall

“Both China and Russia perceive that the United States is a nation in decline and use that view as a pretext for advancing their authoritarian models and executing their global ambitions,” Berrier said. (See the link below.)

It is likely that Communist China is preparing for an invasion of Taiwan at the opportune moment. Why? They have already coöpted Hong Kong, betraying the assurances that they gave that colony when it was repatriated in 1997. The United States under Pres. Trump and now Pres. Biden has not been able to forestall that effort. Now, all eyes are on Ukraine. It is clear to all observers who can think objectively that the strategic areas of Ukraine, i.e., the Donbas and the Black Sea Coast, will fall to the Russians. Perhaps the whole country will fall into Russian hands. That is despite the fact that the United States is throwing wads of created cash at Ukraine’s defense. The United States will lose, and Ukraine will lose big, and all of our government’s efforts will be for nought.

Taiwan is situated awfully close to mainland Red China

Chairman Xi and his junta are not stupid. They see that the dominant power, Russia, will advance and win in Ukraine, even though the Great United States is backing the home team. Encouraged by the gains of the new ally, it’s only a matter of time before China advances on the island nation of Taiwan to force it into subservience to their autocratic grasp. In the face of this, our senile stuffed shirt of a president has promised that the United States will defend Taiwan if it is attacked by China. Swell. I predict that this will be the third great defeat of the doomed Biden regime. First was Afghanistan. Second will be Ukraine. Third may be Taiwan. God help the democrats of that island! Would to God that that man’s election had never been certified. The world would be a safer place under Pres. Trump. We will have to admit that he would have been more effective in defending Taiwan. God, help the world.

The Validity of a Priest’s Ordination

The Church lives in a time unsettled by the ultra vires actions of that rascal Bartholomew of Constantinople and by the Russian incursion into Ukraine. Recently, a former Catholic seminarian has converted to Orthodoxy and has some specific questions about the validity of the sacraments performed by a priest who finds himself a member of a local Church which has fallen into schism for various reasons. This was my response to this convert:

“Please allow me to toss in my two cents as a former Anglican priest who used to consider his ordination to be valid by virtue of the Branch Theory. I have put that behind me and am now a lay convert to Orthodoxy like you.

“I would like to say two things: 1. The Western approach to the sacraments is based on the validity conferred on the priest via the Apostolic Succession, as is the Eastern approach. Without the ministrations of a validly ordained priest, there are no efficacious sacraments. 

“However, we must remind ourselves that the Western approach is highly rationalistic and legalistic, whereas the Eastern approach is mystical and holistic. In the West, proof of a cleric’s spot on the apostolic genealogy is the ticket to his ability to celebrate valid sacraments. In other words, if the bishop who ordained you was properly consecrated, then your ordination is valid forever, no matter what. That is true in the East, as well, but the East demands one further criterion for validity, i.e., obedience to the Apostolic Tradition in addition to Apostolic Succession. 

“As the others have suggested, a priest’s ordination may be valid, but if he is not in right relationship with his bishop, or if a bishop is not in right relationship with his synod or fellow bishops of other local (read: national) churches, the Eucharist that he confects and the other mysteries (read: sacraments) that he serves (read: celebrates or officiates) are called into doubt, or are rendered graceless outright. That is, for all intents and purposes, they are null and void. Whatever grace that the communicants at his liturgies may receive regardless of this fact are, one must suppose, due to their personal faith, but not due to the objective invalidity of the mystery itself (read: sacrament).

“Having said all that, I’ll posit my second point: 2. Unless you put out of your mind the highly rationalistic mentality of the Thomist West, you will not be able to “loosen your belt”, shall we say, and open your heart to understand the mind of the East. God will impute his grace upon those whom he will impute it, regardless of the strict adherence to the rules of valid ordination, regular elements, set form, and right intention.

An inspiring life of a saint

“Elder Arsenie of Paparocioc, a Romanian monk priest who was persecuted terribly during the 20th century is one example. When Fr. Arsenie was imprisoned, he would take water and a morsel of bread and celebrate the Eucharist for himself and his fellow captives. He admitted that he didn’t know if it was “the real thing”, but he did what he could in his circumstances to pray to God and to administer God’s grace in the hope that it was effectual unto salvation for the poor souls. Certainly his actions were taken in extremis and God only knows if there was any validity to them, but it seemed to strengthen his faith and that of his comrades. Of course, the exception does not disprove the rule, but I hope you’ll get my point.

“All that I am trying to say, however feebly, is that we who have been tutored in the rationalistic Western tradition have a good deal of “unlearning” to do before our Eastern catechism can settle in and take root. God works primarily inside the box, but he certainly is not confined by the dimensions of the box and is free to work outside of it.

“On the other hand, those clerics who consider themselves to have obtained some grace that they are free to dispense and manipulate without the strictures imposed upon them by the discipline of the Church are sadly mistaken, for the grace is not theirs to clutch, but rather is bequeathed upon them by the Church for the sake of the building up of the Church according to the Church’s discipline. He who would be first within the Church must become the servant of all.

“I don’t know if that helps, but there it is for what it’s worth.”

NPR’s Miss Extremist

NPR has a new hire, who will be the subject of this post. Here’s the biographical note from NPR’s website: “Odette Yousef is a National Security correspondent focusing on extremism.

“In her reporting, Yousef aims to explore how extremist ideas break into the mainstream, how individuals are radicalized and efforts to counter that. Before joining NPR in August of 2021, Yousef spent twelve years reporting for member station WBEZ in Chicago, where she was most recently part of the Race, Class and Identity team. While there, she was reporter and host for Season 3 of WBEZ’s investigative podcast, Motive. The podcast, which won a 2021 national Edward R. Murrow award, explores the emergence and spread of the neo-Nazi skinhead movement in the U.S. and its connections to the far right extremism of today. Yousef was also part of a team that won a 2016 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Continuing Coverage, and she received a 2018 Studs Terkel Community Media Award. Prior to joining WBEZ, Yousef reported at WABE in Atlanta. Born and raised in the Boston area, Yousef received a Bachelor of Arts in economics and East Asian studies from Harvard University. She is based in Chicago.”

Odette Yousef

Yousef checks many of the proverbial boxes. Racial minority? Check. Woman? Check. Blue city girl? Check. Gig at liberal NPR? Check and double check. She must be a bundle of grievances. You already know where this is going.

This will sound paradoxical, but it seems that for the Western political mind, change is the immutable virtue. It’s taken for granted that change is a good thing. Pres. Barry Obama ran with the slogan “Change We Can Believe In”. I drove past a campaign poster today. It read, “Vote for Change”. It seems that the only sort of change that is bad these days is “climate change”, which must be combatted, or so they say.

Yours truly

NPR itself has certainly changed over the years. When I returned stateside 28 years ago, I used to enjoy listening to NPR radio. I appreciated the thorough reporting. Although it was a bit left of center, the nuanced views were offered without that annoying commercial interruption. Nowadays, I turn on NPR while driving, but find that the content is one leftist agenda item after another. You know the drill. They promote sexual proclivities, racial angst, women’s desires, on and on. It gets to be so irritating that, often within seconds, I just turn it off. I have to turn it off to keep my blood pressure down. This is National Public Radio, i.e. the leftwing organ of the airwaves supported in part by your tax dollars. How strange is that? The federal government provides 8%, and state and local governments contribute another 4% of NPR’s budget. You would think that with that much public support the news reportage would be “fair and balanced”. Think again.

Ms. Yousef again

Dr. Nicholas Stamatakis at the Greek weblog Helleniscope has drawn our attention to a recent story done by NPR. The reporter was Mary Louise Kelly, a name that is familiar to longtime NPR listeners. The research for the piece, however, had been done and the article had been written by the new reporter that you see above and below: Odette Yousef. Ms. Yousef is the new “National Security Correspondent on Extremism” for NPR. She has done investigative work for Chicago’s WBEZ radio station for many years. The podcast for that station was the award-winning Motive, a series that looks into the “neo-Nazi skinhead movement in the U.S. and its connections to the far right extremism.” One can see how the podcast might be a tad biased from the start.

One might also ask whether Miss Extremism has looked into far-left extremist groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter. I’ve gone through the last three years of Ms. Yousef’s Twitter feed. Not a mention. She has been living in Chicago, which in the summer of 2020, was plagued day after day with violence in the streets caused by those who took advantage of George Floyd’s killing to make a statement. Regardless, she posted nothing about the leftist extremists who perpetrated those crimes. It seems that they got a pass from the young lady since their cause wasn’t the evil bugaboo of white supremacy. Indeed, a perusal of Ms. Yousef’s Twitter shows that every cause that she supports is a textbook leftwing cause. She was particularly keen to report on the Charlottesville protest on August 12th of 2017 and the January 6, 2021 protest at the U.S. Capitol in Washington which was precipitated by so-called Trumpist “election deniers”. I get the impression that Ms. Yousef, who appears to be a Middle Eastern “person of color” has a typical liberal grudge against white people in general and white men in particular. In another universe, one might call that racism, but in our universe that sort of antiracist racism is cool.

The night life in Chicago

Having teed that up, I’ll posit that you can how see that Ms. National Security Correspondent for National Public Radio is on the prowl for stories that unearth the white supremacists out there. Few and far between, you say? Well now, luckily for her, Vladimir Putin’s army has advanced on Ukraine and the whole civilized world seems to have designated Russia a pariah state. Russia is overwhelmingly white, of course, as is Ukraine. There must be some connection there to neo-Nazis skinheads. They’re run-of-the-mill white supremacists, aren’t they? Yeah, but it wouldn’t be politically correct to find the low-hanging fruit of the REAL neo-Nazis in the Right Sector and the Azov Battalion of Ukraine, so Ms. Yousef has been forced to forage elsewhere. At a time when NPR has decided along with the other mainstream corporate media stations to support Ukraine, its terribly inconvenient to report on Ukrainian neo-Nazis. There’s a chance that there are some of them in the Ukrainian Orthodox parishes in the U. S. But, it would be politically incorrect to go snooping for neo-Nazis in the parishes of immigrants of the victim nation, now wouldn’t it.

So, what does Yousef do? She finds a link between Russia and ROCOR in the United States to see if she can sniff out white supremacism in that little denomination. After all, it carries the name Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. “Of course, that’s where I’m bound to find white supremacy and skinhead racism!” she must have exclaimed to herself. “Let’s discredit both Russia and the Orthodox Church in one single shot.” As you will see in her article, she found anecdotal evidence of far-right white political extremism and anti-black racism to dish up to suspecting readers. Using individual incidents to make a general case is something that I would call yellow journalism. Wouldn’t you? Yousef’s unimaginative presupposition is that since Vladimir Putin is a Christian ruler – almost a king -who supports traditional values like Church and Country. Anyone who sympathizes with Russia’s side in the war has got to be a bigot. Well, it takes one to know one. Yousef’s piece is a cheap shot against a Church that is worried about both Russians and Ukrainians back home and is praying for both sides during this terrible military conflict. I’m a member of a ROCOR parish and we have an even mix of Ukrainian and Russian families, along with Americans of unrelated ethnicity who have no skin in the game. All of us worship together and fellowship together. We just love each other, regardless of family origin. Maybe Ms. Yousef would like to come and interview us for a more objective view of the situation.

But, no. There is an agenda for the “liberal” reporter to pursue, and anecdotal evidence must be found to support the agenda. So she finds a link between one excommunicated Orthodox Christian to a rightwing group. And she listens to the opinion of an Orthodox woman who married a black man decades ago but now feels uncomfortable in an Orthodox parish. Both cases are unfortunate, but unless Ms. Yousef can find a dominate trend in ROCOR that proves the obligatory hypothesis that believers are overwhelmingly white racists or pro-Putin apologists, there is no compelling story here. There is only conjecture – damning conjecture against a little denomination of Orthodox Christians who are active in their parishes only to worship God and work out their own salvation. Who knows? It’s likely that Ms. Yousef found many sources whose testimonies didn’t gibe with her story, so she left them out. After all, the agenda must come first. She’s willing to stretch the story to label innocent parishioners as white nationalists and tie them to Vladimir Putin. It’s called a “twofer”. If Ms. Yousef were a lawyer, one might call here an ambulance chaser. Call this author disgusted.

Get a Clue, Warmongers!

Our own United States Federal Government and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have been itching for this proxy war with Russia for a very long time. They have encroached on the Russian sphere of influence by increments over the last thirty years since the end of the Cold War. They have infiltrated the Ukrainian nation, triggered the Maidan Coup d’eta, and ignored the Minsk Agreements. They have armed the corrupt Ukrainian government and backed the slaughter of 14,000 Ukrainians, most of whom are ethnic Russians in the southeastern Donbas.

It is no wonder that Mr. Putin decided that he had finally had enough. He had threatened several times to invade Ukraine and put an end to the shenanigans. He even offered one last time to refrain from invading if Ukraine’s government would simply promise to be a neutral country and not join NATO. Zelensky relayed the offer to his patrons in Washington, but he was instructed to turn it down. We can only surmise that it was our own commander-in-chief Joseph Biden who was responsible for the snub. If so, then this war between Russia and Ukraine is HIS fault – not because of a negligence that stems from senility, but rather because it was Biden’s plan all along to cause a war. And then to blame it all on Mr. Putin. And to stir up the American people to support the ravaging of a country with a corrupt government…just like our own! Who knows how far this war will escalate in the near term?

Volodimir Zelensky welcomes Nancy Pelosi.

What a monstrous betrayal! They say that our president is willing to fight the Russians to the last Ukrainian. Now Blinken, Austin, Pelosi and Schiff (I have a Freudian problem with the spelling of old Adam’s name, I find him so distasteful.) have all been to Kiev to cheer Zelensky on. And then there is that spiteful woman, Victoria Nuland. They say that they will support Ukraine until the fighting is done and victory is won. Even some Republicans agree with them. Biden and the cynical warmongers of both American political parties now have blood on their hands. May God have mercy on their souls on the day of reckoning!

Do those idiots really believe that Ukraine stands a chance to win this war, even with help from the West? Don’t they realize that the more they escalate this war, the more Ukrainians they will be sending to their deaths? Don’t forget the possibility of Russia’s using a nuclear weapon. The longer this goes on, the more likely it will become that Russia will expand its original designs on Ukraine. They will likely take all of the Donbas and the Black Sea Coast and attach it to the Russian Federation.

Truly there is no medicine for stupidity! One would think that a “peace-loving” Democrat congressman or president would get a clue. These people truly are an ever-advancing disaster.