Finding Our Footing

IslamAttackby Mark O’Brien   9/11/14
In his book, The Life of Reason, George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it.” Thirteen years after September 11, 2001, the matter is not whether we remember our past — but what we do with the memory.

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon marked the end of our innocence — or at least our insular naïveté — at least for a little while. We became citizens of the world’s vulnerability for the first time in nearly 60 years. We found grief and hope in the stories of loss and survival, happenstance and heroism, frailty and courage. We were served notice to take care of our own, while we can — at home, in the workplace, and in the world. We were taught the brutal actuality of a terrorist attack that claimed thousands of lives, destroyed billions of dollars in property, and wreaked havoc with our systems of transportation and communication, expectation and faith.

Though it’s popular for us to think and be told otherwise, we continue to face a realization equally brutal, disarmingly real, and politically contentious: The continuing conflicts in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, and Afghanistan notwithstanding — with our southern borders open and nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran looming — such an attack could happen again. It can happen here. It did happen here.

The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger. (George W. Bush, September 11, 2001)

Should this be cause for morbid apprehension or constant alarm? Clearly not. We won’t permit it. Even if the threat of another 9/11 warranted such edgy anticipation, we will not abide long-term interruption of our traditional distractions. We will not relinquish our gullibility for political promises. We will not be kept from the comfort of our daily routines, from the trivialities of our partisan quibbling, from our preoccupations with celebrity, notoriety, and the pursuit of things material and superficial. We’re Americans. We’ve earned the right to indulge ourselves in any way we see fit, thank you very much. Because we’re pragmatists, we’ll keep an eye on CNN, the newspaper headlines, and our RSS feeds. Because we’re idealists, we won’t do so at the expense of American Idol, Real HousewivesSurvivor, and Dancing With The Stars.

In remembering the past, two seemingly unrelated but beautifully American questions obtain. The first was asked on Monday, September 10, 2001. At a benefit performance by the jazz pianist Marcus Roberts, a questioner asked, “What is jazz?” Marcus answered readily and succinctly, “Jazz is the history of a people expressing itself through adversity. It’s about living on the edge and maintaining sure footing.”

The second question has been asked repeatedly since the day that followed. America was attacked by religious fundamentalist terrorists (of course, we can’t call them that anymore). In the aftermath of that attack — especially in light of the wars in the Middle East and Eastern Europe and the controversies they perpetuate — we continue to ask, “What do we do now?” The second answer is the same as the first, as ready and succinct: We express ourselves through adversity. We live on the edge and maintain our footing.

Woman: Well, doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?
Benjamin Franklin: A republic, madame, if you can keep it. (1787)

We do this by recognizing the luxury to which we’ve become accustomed in the United States:

  • That our right to be opinionated sarcastic, cynical, petty, superficial, materialistic, and unreflective — and to manifest all other evidence of our philosophical ennui — is an absolute luxury.
  • That our right to fritter our attention on form over substance, on the peccadilloes and proselytizing of entertainers, on the purchasing patterns of consumers, on the past weekend’s box-office receipts, and on all other evidence of our societal boredom is an absolute luxury.
  • That our right to create the demand that begets the supply of infomercials for Bowflexes, Butt Blasters, Thigh Rockers, Ab Rollers, and all other evidence of our capacity for self-absorption is an absolute luxury.
  • That our right to agonize over the isms that appear to divide us is an absolute luxury.
  • That the right to have a country free and open enough to make the attack of 9/11 possible is an absolute luxury.

Thirteen years after that attack — in between the latest political side-swipes and stock-market reports, as politicians dither and dodge over the very fate of the Republic in this burgeoning presidential election season, promising that crushing debts and climbing deficits constitute riches for us all — we maintain our footing through faith in the resolve that never leaves Americans. As we exercise our luxurious indulgences, we remain watchful over those with whom we work and share life every day.

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry. (George Eliot, Felix Holt, 1866)

Mindful of the past, we combine our idealistic conviction — as Americans, we believe we will prevail — with our pragmatic understanding that even idealism needs a Plan B. With neither morbid apprehension nor undue alarm, we maintain our footing through the shared though unstated conviction that — should the need arise again, as it did on 9/11 — we will do what otherwise opinionated, sarcastic, cynical, petty, superficial, gullible, materialistic, unreflective, bored, self-absorbed, divided, and free Americans do:

  • We will come together in strength and determination to protect those rights and that freedom.
  • We will instantly abandon our self-absorption to extend every healing hand to every hand harmed in any way by this consequence of our determination to live freely.
  • We will instantly forget our boredom, reflecting only on those who need whatever help we can give, literally — be it blood, sweat, cash, comfort, or hope.
  • We will instantly swap materialism for materials, sending equipment, food, clothing, and whatever else is needed on the front lines of the most immediate battle in this newly declared war.
  • We will drop our luxurious pettiness to stand united and prepare ourselves for the sacrifices we will be asked to make in protecting our rights and our freedom.
  • We will turn on our televisions and see citizens of every stripe, age, persuasion, and profession calling themselves Americans.
  • We will save the energy it takes to be sarcastic and cynical because we know it will be needed later. While the illusions of peace might incline us to squander that energy on ourselves, we dare not cheat our fellow Americans should they need it.

Nations grown corrupt
Love bondage more than liberty;
Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty.
(John Milton)

In the words of L.P. Hartley, “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” September 11, 2001, proved the future will be equally foreign. They do things differently, quite unpredictably, and sometimes brutally there. They did something equally unpredictable and brutal here. Though politicians bid us to forget, we will remember. But we will remember in our own way.

Go ahead and call us opinionated, sarcastic, cynical, petty, superficial, gullible, materialistic, unreflective, bored, self-absorbed, divided. We are. We’ve earned every one of the absolute rights we have to be so — and to work out our problems in our own way and time. We’re free. As a free people, we express ourselves through adversity, just as we expressed ourselves through the adversity visited on us from the skies on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

And we will maintain our footing. We will. We do. We’re Americans.

If you doubt, test us.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. (Benjamin Franklin, 1759)


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47 Responses to Finding Our Footing

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    It’s odd that an essay devoted to “remembering” doesn’t remember who it was who attacked us. Not one mention of Islam. It might have been a heavy storm that knocked over the Twin Towers.

    • Misanthropette says:

      Perhaps you ought to have him stay after school and write on the blackboard 500 times, “Muslims attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.”

    • Glenn (the lesser) says:

      Yes, I noticed that too. I first took note when I read “America was attacked by religious fundamentalist terrorists (of course, we can’t call them that anymore).” and thought – why that’s exactly what we’re supposed to call them. What we’re not supposed to call them is precisely what they are – Islamic terrorists (note: not Islamic fundamentalist terrorists – as that would be redundant).

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Of course it can’t happen again. Just ask Nick Gillespie, Chris Matthews (who really needs a trip to Matteawan; too bad they closed it down), etc.: ISIS is no threat to the US, so we don’t need to do anything about them.

    Another nice Franklin quote, which I have on a t-shirt: “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Freedom is a well-armed lamb.”

  3. Misanthropette says:

    “…we maintain our footing through faith in the resolve that never leaves Americans.”

    Or, faith in the Faith which results in that resolve.

  4. Glenn Fairman says:

    I appreciate the boilerplate of the: “we’re just regular Joes with hearts of gold, when the chips are down — we’ll come a runnin'” meme. And yet, a lot of us are just self-indulgent little turds who ejaculate to football highlights and wouldn’t turn the TV off for the Second Coming of Christ.

    With that said, if you cannot come out and name your enemy, but must resort to the abstraction of “terrorist” which has the same opaque connotation as “sea monsters attacked us,” then why remember? Yeah, we’re smart. But every kid on the playground knows who the bad guys are, even though they may be afraid to point them out to an authority. Is the author neglecting to point out our enemies? I don’t know if this is just an oversight or a symptom of something more troubling. Better we stop focusing on stroking our national character and get busy with the business of defending ourselves and the world from the business of child rapers and white slavers who crucify and behead in the name of the Holy One. There is power in naming that name. That name, sir, is ISLAM…..

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Holy Toledo. Remind me to never cross you up. That was the Rocky Balboa equivalent of a knock-out punch. I think the author may have had this ghost-written by Jeb Bush. Just a guess. I pointed out to the author at the time of the submission what I thought was a fatal flaw. But he wished for it to proceed unchanged. And we are a forum for the interchange of ideas. But, golly, I do believe that if we are to “Remember 9/11” it is inherent that we remember that the Towers were not tipped over by little old ladies vacationing from Denmark.

      Perhaps some of us haven’t quite yet “found our footing.”

    • Misanthropette says:

      Actually, no, we won’t come running any longer. As a member of the newly disenfranchised, let me give a shout out to my millions of homies. Holla back!

      While I deeply respect the U.S. military, I don’t trust this president, which is sound based on six years of observance and listening. I don’t trust his advisors, his supporters or his donors. I don’t trust anyone in Congress including the current crop of pufftas parading as “senators”. Functionally impotent isn’t what most of us envision in a “senator” or a bicameral body. Grrrrrrrrrr!

      So let them declare/not declare wars on whomever they choose. What would happen if the puffta class had to fight for their own survival? I am salivating at that thought.

  5. Glenn Fairman says:

    The piece was very well written and I don’t make it a habit of jumping on other writers. God knows I get roughed up all the time. But something just didn’t sit well. Perhaps it was the absence of red meat…….

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Your point is central: If you can’t name the enemy then that’s a very large problem. It smacks of multiculturalism, “sensitivity,” and all the other PC bullcrap that has helped facilitate the problem.

      Islam is not a “religion of peace.” It is a Nazi-like political-religious movement that has been at war with the rest of civilization since its inception. I can’t blame any one author for adding more to the watered-down meme surrounding this day. But we would do well to wake up and face facts.

      This day has been turned into a squalid quasi-religious day where we find all kinds of ways to navel-gaze. Even a local (and worthy) 9/11 memorial is pretty much namby-pamby in regards to the “remembering” aspect. Not one mention of who or what we are fighting. It remains unspoken, and thus we remain confused and weak.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a commentor over at NRO at the end of this Daniel Pipes article who knows how to parse the situation:

    Let’s just put it this way; if tens of thousands of Presbyterians were running off to Scotland to rape, pillage, blow things up and slit throats, and if the remaining Presbyterians here in the States, instead of being horrified by the actions of their co-religionists, and denouncing them in the public square, offered excuses for them, and sent them money, all while declaring that Presbyterianism was the “Protestantism of Peace”, would any noteworthy politician not call them a bunch of dangerous loons?

    But, of course, Presbyterians don’t behave that way. There aren’t “radical Presbyterians”, offering a “corrupt version” of Presbyterianism. There aren’t “Presbyterianists” running rape rings in small English cities. There aren’t Presbyterian Holy Scriptures that call for the faithful to cleave the heads off of Baptists.

    Only Islam seems to be so easily “corrupted”, “hijacked”, or “perverted”. Maybe, that’s because it is corrupt and perverted to begin with.

    This is the lesson we must take from 9/11.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Bill Maher made similar points in a colloquy with Charlie Rose. Those addicted to “moral equivalence” like to compare Christian fundamentalists to Muslim fundamentalists — but Maher pointed out that there are no Christians to speak of who believe in punishing apostates or stoning adulterers or such; whereas large majorities of Muslims in many countries (such as Egypt) support all these excesses of sharia law. Apparently Maher, like Pim Fortuyn but unlike most US liberals, realizes the implications of the religion of Submission for the libertine lifestyle.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a good comment by Tin Man over at NRO:

    Muslims have been at war with themselves since Islam began, and the only time there is peace between them is when there is a chance to attack or undermine the West; when that’s done, they get back to warring on each other. America should not be arming any Muslim factions. We should have learned that lesson after the arms that Russia supplied the mujahadeen in Afghanistan were later turned against Russian troops. Mr. Obama secretly armed the “moderate” Syrian rebels, and they evolved into ISIS. The Saudis, our “allies for oil,” teach their children that America is the great satan. Islam is at war with the West, and has been since before the Crusades. To prevail, we must first recognize Islam itself as a threat to our way of life. Mr. Obama, who has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, stated last night that ISIL is “not Islamic;” yet most of the world’s Muslims, while differing on methodology, embrace the goal of the Islamic State, to have shariah law governing the world. That would include you.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Pretty much the only times Muslims have been peaceful is when they have been subjugated by others. They certainly understand force, the Esperanto of mankind.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Evil and deception skulks within our midst. The same turd who said “ISIS is not Islam” belongs to the same evil impulse that said Lee Harvey Oswald – a clear Marxist – didn’t kill Kennedy. It was the “climate of right wing hate” that killed him.

        If you, out there somewhere, are a “Progressive” and you think you are the cat’s meow in terms of moral vision because you hug homosexuals on command, remember that you are aiding and abetting a vast evil within our civilization…both the Left and the Left’s embrace of evil Islam.

        I believe it was KurtNY at NRO who noted that whenever Muslims exceed 2 to 3% of the population, they darken the a nation with their Islamo-Nazi ideology. And I’ve read before that the only time Islam can be called a “religion of peace” is when they are in the extreme minority and have to play nice.

        Islam is an inherently evil influence on mankind.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          The religion of Submission is always a detriment to freedom wherever it appears. There have been a number of articles about the situation in Winooski, Vermont, where a Muslim vegan woman complained about a diner that advertised its bacon. Similar complaints about even mentioning bacon in school have turned up in Spain, and probably elsewhere. In Vermont, the diner cravenly gave in immediately, and a town official praised the town’s “diversity” and lied that this was all about veganism (which actually wouldn’t make it any better) rather than Islam — even though the woman had identified herself as a Muslim and objected on their behalf.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            When talking about Islam, I just can’t help going old-school biblical. Imagine that Glenn, Deana, Patricia, Jerry, and others, are right. There is a God (a good god) in heaven and earth, to some extent, is a battleground between good and evil. Well, if the Devil is active in world affairs, he’s in Islam. That “angel” who talked to the nut-job, Mohammed, was an angel alright…of the devil.

            Islam is not just wrong because they are “intolerant” and sometimes more than a little violent. There is something extra twisted going on with that movement.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Any woman who likes Islam should be asked if she agrees that the proper punishment for rape is stoning the victim. Under sharia law, that’s what happens. (Islam is a great religion for rapists. For decent people, not so much.)

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Do you think that Mohammed was, perhaps, a drug addict or alcoholic.

              • Glenn Fairman says:

                Read my piece in the archives “The Schizophrenics Recitation” The hadiths tell of tales where he manifested symptoms that approximated epileptic seizures, paranoid schizophrenia, extreme cruelty and vengefulness. The jews made light of him and this aroused his wrath, eventually culminating in the elimination of the 3 indigenous jewish tribes.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                LOL. Smart ass.

              • Misanthropette says:

                @Glenn, so are you suggesting Mohammed exhibited the traits of the average progressive Democrat? 😉

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Well, Misanthropette, the Democrats (like the Nazis) certainly are friendlier to the followers of Mohammed than those of Jesus, so it makes sense that they like the iniquities of Mohammed. They certainly don’t like his moral commands.

            • Rosalys says:

              I’ve been saying that all along, that Allah is Satan. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…

              It really sticks in my craw when people who call themselves Christian defend Islam. Like my friend who has a Muslim friend, who says she worships the same god as we do except for the little point of denying that Jesus Christ is God. Well excuse me! Isn’t that little point kind of a really, really big one? I pray for my friend with fear and trembling because I’m beginning to wonder just how much of a Christian is she?

        • Misanthropette says:

          I believe it was KurtNY at NRO who noted that whenever Muslims exceed 2 to 3% of the population, they darken the a nation with their Islamo-Nazi ideology.

          As Exhibit 1, I offer Dearborn, Michigan. Sharia is the de facto norm there. Muslims are a majority, as they are in other communities on the East Coast and Midwest. Where are the feminists? The hawks? The Rights’ pimps? Forgive the graphic language, but I believe if we’re going to call a thing what it is, let’s be 1) honest and 2) forceful in our descriptions.

    • Misanthropette says:

      And yet, we continue to import muslims who then duplicate “19 Kids and Counting”. Why don’t they get reality shows like “Sharia Sisters” or “The Real Housewives of Dearborn”? Granted, it would present some challenges in filming through hijabs and burquas, but….LOL.

      I can no longer fathom this irrational obsession with immigrants and immigration which has replaced Social Security as the third rail of politics. First, not all immigrants are created equal. Second, most Americans do not accurately view the role of immigration in our past or our present. Chalk that up to the Third; propagandists have successfully rewritten the Bill of Rights to include immigration as one of the guaranteed rights not explicitly set forth.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Let people really SEE what sharia law means for women, such as stoning rape victims to death for complaining. Even a femocrat may find that disgusting.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    You mean like, the pope?

    Misanthropette, I don’t think the Pope is Satan. I do think the Pope, by tradition, takes on a bit more than any earthly man should. Bishop of Rome? Absolutely. Special conduit to God? Doubtful. One thing the Protestants got right (and many things they got wrong) is the idea that man does not need a middleman between himself (or herself) and God….that is, if God is real and the entire point isn’t just a fancy sort of politics with incense and stained glass thrown on top.

    Do we need facilitators, teachers, and moral guidance? Absolutely. But that’s quite different from owning the franchise of God.

    I’m not anti-Catholic, but it should be noted that Catholicism, especially today, has somewhat lost its mind. It cannot find a rationale for human beings to be free, and to be morally responsible. The reigning paradigm is “social justice” which is such a open-ended bit of hogwash that you could drive a statist truck through it…as politicians frequently do.

    What’s this got to do with the topic at hand? Very little other than “finding our footing” might include doing a fair critique of some of the reigning mindsets that have allowed us to play footsie with evil, including the Catholic predisposition to socialism, including this Pope. Other than that, I don’t have a problem with Popes, per se. Many of them are quite thoughtful and decent men, as was Pope John Paul II.

    • Misanthropette says:

      Beg pardon, you misunderstood me. Rosalys wrote, “It really sticks in my craw when people who call themselves Christian defend Islam,” to which I replied specifically. In case you hadn’t noticed, this vicar of Christ has repeatedly made visits to Lampedusa in order to exhort the Italian authorities to permit more muslim immigrants into that country. Whilst they pillage and intimidate the villagers, the pope makes their case for them. After all, they’re simply fleeing poverty. That was Pope Frances’ first official visit. It wasn’t to comfort Coptic Christians, or Syrian Christians, or to plead the case of Assyrians in Iraq. Forgive me. I expect more from the head of a major religion and I don’t like to be disappointed. Good God in heaven, I’m beginning to sound like Alice’s Queen of Hearts! Off with their heads!

      Of course there are good Catholics. And a very few popes, certainly not the number venerated by Catholics, are enlightened men of Christ. There are even some great Catholics, but my experience has taught me most of them sit in the pews, not in the Vatican.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I wish I could compile a compendium of the things I’ve said about this new Pope who I think is less a Catholic and more of a new-age Marxist in his ideology. He’s a good man…with bad ideas. He may be Satan’s fool at times, but not Satan himself, although I suppose such a distinction is beside the point.

        I think Christendom should stand for Truth. And I don’t think it does any good to try to pretend that Islam is anything but what it is. I don’t believe in splitting the baby in half just to make everybody happy. It kills the baby and at least one side, rather than being made happy, just expects more split babies.

        A few of those comments can be found here, in my comment here, here, and particularly here.

        • Glenn (the lesser) says:

          Joseph Ratzinger is an enigma. A complex man who has seemingly changed from his young turk role in VC2 when he and Rahner led the reformers to victory to a more conservative traditionalist only a short time later and then again to a more inclusive position, almost to the point of perennialism. One need only to read Ratzinger to know the depth of the man and I admit I’m not equipped to plumb his depth. For a look inside the man I recommend “Credo for Today: What Christians Believe”.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Marxism undermines Christianity to its core. Christianity could, in its simplest terms be described as:

            Divine Person A says to moral person b “Be good, or else.”

            We can, of course, argue about what is “Good,” about the characteristics of good (inherently objective or also relative to the situation and requiring good judgment). But the point is to be Good.

            Note, there is no commandment to “be equal,” nor is there one to “be not poor.” In fact, the opposite vibe runs through Christianity wherein poverty is often a virtue, a way to hold in balance the things of real and lasting importance.

            “Social Justice” and the various Marxian-Christian creeds turn that on its head. God isn’t needed at all, for the church (or Church) becomes little more than a glorified welfare agency, administering to the body only, but not the soul (for to administer to the soul is much more controversial because it requires talking about right and wrong, guilt and innocence, responsibility and virtue).

            In this age of consumer wish-fulfillment where our entire economy is so situated to meet every perceived need or desire, it’s perhaps not surprising the Christianity has chucked faith and gone to God as Welfare Daddy. But if there is a God, does anyone suppose he’s little more than the glorified director of the DMV?

            • Glenn Fairman says:

              Christianity in a nutshell says: Be thou holy, as I am holy. But as thou cannot, I shall make a way for thee……….

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                That sounds good to me. The point being that “holy” is a factor of personal conduct rather than the redistribution of wealth. “Holy” is more of a moral question than an economic one.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Pope Benedict seemed to have a reasonable awareness of the flaws of Islam. I do recall that he was criticized fiercely for pointing out that Islam relied primarily on force to gain “conversions”.

        • Rosalys says:

          They call him “the people’s Pope” which should raise a red flag right there! “The people’s” anything is more often than not a buzz word for Marxist.

      • Rosalys says:

        “After all, they’re simply fleeing poverty.”

        There is a brand of Christianity, i.e. the social justice/liberation theology wing of the Church, for which the first and last governing principal is “minister to the poor!” It’s the mantra which is meant to struck down all opposition and end all argument – much like ” it’s for the children” works for the modern statist. Nothing else matters. Nothing else comes into play. What about discernment? There seems to be shocking lack of discernment among the (so called) followers of Christ today. Yes, we are called to have compassion for the poor, the sick, the hungry; but if a man is hungry because he refuses to work that’s a whole ‘nother thing than the man who is hungry because he can’t find work. Hunger is a great motivator and God can use it to bring bring a man to repentance.

        And so one can nowadays feel righteously compassionate and holy by giving a pass to an enemy of Christ just because he is poor? This is where discernment should come into play. There may indeed be times where one should, in Christian love, give a helping hand to a Muslim as a witness to the love and forgiveness offered by Christ through His sacrifice. There are also many more times when the “shepherds” are to be leading the flock “to lie down in green pastures” and “beside the still waters.” Too many of today’s shepherds are leading the sheep to slaughter. And a pope who is inviting the followers of Allah (Satan) to dwell among the Christians, just because they are poor, is slaughtering his sheep!

        • Misanthropette says:

          And yet, this pope has made it clear that he wants a poor church for poor people? Can you explain to me what that means? Shall we give him all of our material possessions, income and assets as a pledge of faith? Or, does he not want “the rich”, meaning the West as members of his church? It’s confusion all around. Jesus didn’t offer salvation only to the poor, and I believe voluntarily poverty is one result of virtue. It isn’t the only result.

          I do not believe in papal authority or infallibility, therefore I do not follow that man but recognize the very great influence he has over Christians. I do believe that Pascal’s observation, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” is correct. This pope doesn’t appear to understand at all the deep spiritual needs of the age, only the material ones.

          • Glenn (the lesser) says:

            The difference between Matthew’s and Luke’s recording of Jesus’ sermon on the mount is illustrative of the confusion of the attitude we’re to have toward the poor. When Matthew adds the words “in spirit” to “blessed are the poor” it qualifies the message to mean those who humble themselves and know they are in spiritual need. Without that qualification it can be misunderstood to mean any and all materialistically poor. However, taken in context there is little doubt Jesus meant poor in spirit.

            Is that what Pope Benedict means? I’m not sure. We are called to be charitable, including helping those with immediate physical needs. But we are also told to lead none astray and that our righteous works must be in the name of God lest all our righteousness be as filthy rags. Ministering to the poor must always be done in the context of leading them to the one true God. Period.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          There is a brand of Christianity, i.e. the social justice/liberation theology wing of the Church, for which the first and last governing principal is “minister to the poor!” It’s the mantra which is meant to struck down all opposition and end all argument – much like ” it’s for the children” works for the modern statist.

          Rosalys, one of the reasons I started this site was to feature clear thinkers – those who stubbornly held to the truth. The above, and the rest of what you said, seems to me to be the heart of Christianity. What you said is profound, but it didn’t used to be. It used to be a fairly common thought.

          That just shows you how much Cultural Marxism has taken over the culture, including the Christian parts of the culture. When I say, in my own clumsy way, that I’m not a believer, and it hardly matters, I mean it’s because too many of those who claim to be Christian are simply following the political/social teachings of Cultural Marxism, not Christ. To join their club is arguable to get further away from the true essence of Christianity than I am now. It would be to regress.

          I hope you will consider writing many articles on this subject. There are those among us who are burdened with the task of being leaders, in whatever capacity we have. You show signs of being one of those leaders. I’d like to put you at the front end of this site where you could gain a larger notice.

          But I realize that people are often squeamish when it comes to attacking fellow Christians. And yet, what you’d be attacking is not simply someone’s slightly different understanding, or difference emphasis on various tenets. It’s clear now, for instance (as Misanthropette said) that “This pope doesn’t appear to understand at all the deep spiritual needs of the age, only the material ones.” And that’s not to pick on Catholics, for Catholics have absolutely no monopoly in this regard.

          Discernment is lacking in all areas of our culture. It is the opposite of, and result of, the general dumbing-down of our culture. We hope to smarten it up here a bit while avoiding the sins of intellectualism and mere pissing contests, as tends to water-down so many other places. Tell it like it is sister! At least consider it. What you might think is common knowledge is not so common anymore.

          • Rosalys says:

            OOPS! That should have been strike, not struck!

            Brad, thank you. You are very kind.

            “When I say, in my own clumsy way, that I’m not a believer, and it hardly matters, I mean it’s because too many of those who claim to be Christian are simply following the political/social teachings of Cultural Marxism, not Christ.”

            Christianity is antithetical to Marxism. The true Church (not the Roman Catholic church, but the community of all believers whatever the denomination) is a buffer against the lies of the left and has been recognized as such by the left for a long, long time – which is why they took the slow, incremental, Progressive track of infiltration, infection, and destruction which has produced the mushy, wishy-washy, “nice,” pansy “Christian” mask worn by downright Evil.

            Stop looking at other Christians. Not everyone who calls himself a Christian, is. Even true Christians disagree and all of us are wrong about something. But one thing that no Christian can be wrong about is the fact that he is a sinner in need of a salvation that only the Lord could and has delivered to them that believe. Look to Christ and follow Him. When we follow Him we will find ourselves in the company of others like minded and will travel along together.

            You’re very close, Brad.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              …which is why they took the slow, incremental, Progressive track of infiltration, infection, and destruction which has produced the mushy, wishy-washy, “nice,” pansy “Christian” mask worn by downright Evil.

              Wonderfully stated, and somewhat Fairmanesque, if I do say so. I shall look soon for a full-length article from you in my in-box…on whatever subject you wish. 😀 No pressure. Take your time.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              That incremental approach based on infiltration is also their method of political subversion, going back at least to the Fabian Society in England. The Overton window is a key aspect of modern liberalism. But we must also remember that it can work both ways. This is why the slippery slope analogy isn’t always right (though unfortunately it usually is).

          • Timothy Lane says:

            The crucial error of the “social justice”/”social gospel” Christians is that they fail to remember that charity is a voluntary act. Forced charity is not charity at all. Note that Ebenezer Scrooge reminded the charitable solicitors that he paid a good bit of tax money to help the poor (e.g., the workhouses).

        • Glenn Fairman says:

          The heart of the Christian ethos is the ransoming of humanity out of the wreckage of a broken world. It is not the redemption of a governmental regime or a temporal ideology that will turn the hearts of children to their fathers and vice versa. It does not begin with a materialist redistribution from which a transformation can then begin to work its carnal magic. It has always concerned itself with lost sheep and the heart transplant that is necessary to procure Sons of God for His Kingdom.

          Although morality is a prime component of the faith, it is not central in an ephemeral sense. The Pharisees could follow rules like no others, yet they were aliens to the Gospel. The Church is not an exclusive club for the care and feeding of ego, but a hospital for the Master’s resuscitation of human wreckage —of people who have been shattered by the world and by some mystery of grace, not originating from within them, have somehow managed to crawl their way through its doors. But the building itself is the effect, not the cause. If we pat ourselves on the backs and treat our salvation any more than the ineffable gift that it is, then we have missed the central point of the Cross.

          To review: Christianity is not a political project, a mutual admiration society, or a Rotary Club meeting where men lift themselves up by the quality of their good works. The cart cannot stand prior to the horse, or the work will be in vain. This attitude of genuine humility must flow from the God-given perception that we are as chaff without His touch. The Cross is the alpha and omega of the Christian’s focus, and only through this divine prism can we look out upon the earth and perceive the authentic condition of our poverty. If Christianity be difficult, it is because like all truth it contains images that we cannot bear to gaze upon in the mirror of eternity. The Cross may be free, but it requires the greatest expenditure you will ever pay: your entire self. Until we come to this understanding, we are just playing religious games.

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