The Ballad of the Ordinary Man – Part One, A Strange Land

By Charlie Johnston

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore

To effectively analyze where we are – as a nation, world or culture – the first thing one must firmly be clear on is the difference between a principle and a policy. A principle is a defining statement of what you believe and what you seek to accomplish. A policy is simply the means you choose to get there. Thus, if you live in Chicago and intend to move to San Antonio, getting to San Antonio is your principle. How you get there and what route you take are your policies. You can refine it further. Why do you want to move to San Antonio? If it is to achieve a better life, economically, culturally or religiously, then THAT is your principle and moving to San Antonio is your policy to achieve it. These things can be refined until you reach a point where you can refine no further. That is a first thing, or first principle.

However vigorous a policy dispute may be, when men are largely agreed on foundational principles, there is little danger the dispute will degenerate into serious conflict and strife. Even if you lose the debate, men agreed on foundational principles will revisit the issue if the policies chosen prove ill-suited to accomplish the principle. On the other hand, disputes over fundamental principles, however mild they start, carry within them the seeds of serious conflict, even up to armed conflict. Since the disputes look largely the same in early stages, it is critical to discriminate well between policy and principle disputes – for the consequences of each are vastly different. The ill-informed may look at a significant dispute over principles and say, ah, I have seen plenty of disputes in my life and this is no different. That is why things such as the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and the rise of German fascism take so many otherwise sophisticated observers by surprise. Since a foundational dispute looks similar to a mere policy dispute, they think it is all the same thing. It is not.

The most foundational statements of American principles are found in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution. The bulk of the Declaration is devoted to an explanation of why this drastic step was necessary. The bulk of the Constitution is devoted to setting up foundational rules of what was permitted and what forbidden in the pursuit of the foundational goals. It is the load-bearing framework set on top of the foundation.

The founders focused intensely on the question of systems of government. Most were disgusted with European models. European societies were largely stratified, offering little hope of advancement to those who were not born into the upper strata, so they were stagnant societies. They were oppressive, sometimes to many classes, but almost always to those at the lowest levels. They were corrupt. Bureaucracies were formed to administer all manner of public welfare – but had become self-serving cesspools that did little for the public welfare but much to protect their own privileged sinecures. They were subject to periodic bouts of significant unrest – because that was largely the only way lower classes could get any consideration for the redress of grievances.

The founders were determined to set up a system based on the consent of the governed, where the people themselves would be sovereign. While there was some genius involved, the founders were NOT phenomenal geniuses. Rather, they were men of above average intelligence who were entirely focused on the problem of self-governance. Their true genius lay in their absolute refusal to abide cant or sloganeering. They confronted all problems directly and honestly. A system based on the consent of the governed meant a democracy of some sort. Yet the history of democracy was a bleak, violent and forbidding one. Few democracies survived more than a few decades before succumbing violently to their inherent instability. Democracies were prone to factionalism run amok, degenerating into the “war of all against all,” in Thomas Hobbes’ memorable phrase. Simply establishing the right to vote did not secure liberty. In fact, it almost guaranteed a ruthless “tyranny of the majority,” a problem with democracy first acknowledged by the ancient Greeks but never solved until the American colonists grappled honestly with it. A common thought (though its origin is obscure) was that “democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

In the recurring modern debate over gun rights, advocates of strict gun control always couch their arguments in saving lives – without ever examining the actual effects their proposed policies actually have. It is a deadly form of virtue signaling. Similarly, in the Obamacare debate, their argument was that “everyone deserves health care,” without a serious examination of the declines in quality, access and innovation that plagued all centrally run systems (not to mention the implicit – and sometimes explicit – rationing that took place in these second-rate systems). The American founders were having none of that. They confronted the problems inherent to democracies and self-government rigorously, developing approaches that did not just sound good to weepy sentimentalists (“every man deserves to be free!”), but actually had a chance of working. There were no pathological altruists among the founders, determined to show they cared regardless of results, but only hard-eyed realists determined to acknowledge and solve the real problems inherent in developing a workable system of liberty, opportunity, and self-governance for all.

Working from the framework of natural law, primarily as expressed by John Locke, which posits that men are endowed by their creator with certain rights that pre-exist the formation of the state, the founders sought, first, to secure those rights. (One does not have to believe in God to believe in natural law: one can substitute the word ‘nature’ for the word ‘creator.’ But even the deist and agnostic founders believed that a devotion to religion and traditional morality were the firmest foundation on which to secure these rights.) Rights were not just any good a people could come up with that they thought all should be guaranteed. A right had to be possessed by the very nature of a man, whether or not there was a state to secure it. In fact, in the founders’ formulation, the very legitimacy of a state was largely dependent on its vigorous defense of those rights that all men have by nature. Since government was not author of any right, it could neither grant nor revoke them; only secure them to justify its own existence. A state might decide some good it wanted to grant should be guaranteed to all, but that could never be a right – only an entitlement. Entitlements were dangerous things, for government can only grant us a good by taking some coercive power over us. The founders, well acquainted with human nature, knew that what started with the necessary taking of coercive power to grant some good soon saw the good become an afterthought and the seizure of power the animating principle. They did not want a government that did “good” for us, but a government that stuck to the most minimally necessary things while keeping out of our way as we did good for ourselves – and in concert through voluntary associations with each other.

The first thing they did was establish a minimalist government. Rather than laying out restraints on what the federal government could do, they allowed it to do nothing without specific authorization from the Constitution. The states were where most governmental action would take place – and this would both prevent dangerous centralization of power and provide “laboratories of democracy,” where different states could try different approaches to problems in which other states – and the whole nation – would learn from their successes and failures. Beyond that, they divided executive, legislative and judicial authority in three different co-equal branches that, it was hoped, would police each other and prevent power from centralizing. Thomas Jefferson feared they had failed to build sufficient accountability into the judiciary, giving unreviewable lifetime appointments. Knowing that people who have power tend to work restlessly to grasp more to themselves, he feared the judiciary would eventually become an oligarchic council claiming supremacy over the other branches. Defenders said that the legislature had the power both of impeachment and to remove specific items from the jurisdiction of the courts to counter such abuse – but Jefferson thought these were not sufficient safeguards.

Many delegates to the Constitutional Convention – and later the states – were not satisfied that allowing the federal government only specifically enumerated powers was sufficient to protect liberty. They feared that governmental authorities would eventually pervert the clear language of the Constitution to mean something else, even the exact opposite, of what was written. This led to the adoption of the Bill of Rights, which specifically enumerated some rights which the federal government was forbidden from transgressing. Since it was the Supreme law of the land, it allowed the federal government to protect citizens against any encroachment by the states against actual rights. Some of the key rights, and why they were considered foundational include:

1)     Freedom of Speech – The founders were rigorists on this. In societies that constrained freedom of conscience, revolutionary pressures would build until there was an explosion of violence. If free speech was guaranteed, no matter how hateful or offensive, it could be countered with more effective and persuasive speech, without the danger of letting violent pressures build to a point of explosion. This was key to preventing the periodic violent strife that afflicted oppressive societies. The founders knew all too well, from painful experience, what the banning of “hate speech” would do to society – so they protected both it – and their society – from the violence that grows around suppressing conscience.

2)     Freedom of Religion – At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, three states had established churches that people were taxed to support. (Several others had such laws on the books, but did not enforce taxes for them). This amendment had the support of those states – in fact, they insisted on it. The reason was that the First Amendment was not to create a wall of separation between church and state, but to forever remove such matters from the jurisdiction of the federal government. It was a matter for the states, alone. The only requirement the federal government was allowed was to ban any religious test as a qualification to hold public office. Obviously, this amendment has been completely turned on its head. The reality is that when you hear about a First Amendment religious case, it does not turn on the First Amendment at all, but on the Fourteenth Amendment, which banned slavery. The language of that amendment was used by crafty federal jurists to assert regulatory power over religious matters that the First Amendment forbids. You often hear about Jefferson’s private letter to Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut in 1802 which he says the First Amendment was designed to build a “wall of separation between church and state.” Now for context and the rest of the story: by state, he meant the federal government, as was clearly understood at that time. In his second Inaugural Address three years later, he said, “In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General Government. I have therefore undertaken on no occasion to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it, but have left them, as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of the church or state authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies.”

3)     The Right to Bear Arms – This amendment was not adopted so people could go hunting. It was adopted to prevent the rise of an oppressive government. The founders knew that all governments tend to amass power and become increasingly oppressive. It is the historical nature of the beast. They were, by no means, convinced that they had definitively solved the problem, so they embedded this to make sure that the people had recourse if the government sought to run and ruin their daily lives. Jefferson was so fearful of incipient tyranny that he thought there would need to be a revolution every generation or two to correct course. The right to bear arms was adopted to facilitate that and discourage hungry officials and bureaucrats.

The founders embedded many principles, based on their suspicion of the irredeemable ambitions of government to impose its will on citizens rather than secure their liberty. They banned ex post facto laws, knowing these are only a partisan tool. (Ex post facto laws are used to prosecute people for things that were NOT a crime when they were done). Their response to corruption was to acknowledge that wherever there was money or power, corruption would follow. So rather than prescribe carefully crafted rules which would centralize prosecutorial power, they depended on competing levels of government in which it would be to the advantage of the ambitious to ferret out the corruption of a rival agency. By simultaneously keeping the central government small, they figured corruption could never be massive or centralized.

They injected non-democratic elements of stability into the process, so that a mobocracy didn’t tear itself apart. There was no traditional reason for a bicameral legislature, as in many European countries, because there was not the division between commoners and nobility. BUT, the founders underlined the importance and sovereignty of the states with the creation of the Senate, in which each state, regardless of how populous, would have two senators – to be chosen by the states rather than directly. The House was to be the people’s populist chamber, the Senate to represent the interest of the individual states. When, in 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment was adopted mandating direct election of Senators, it diminished the importance of the states while eroding one of the protections against instablility embedded in the Constitution. The Electoral College was a master stroke, emphasizing the sovereign authority of the states while preventing the “tyranny of the majority” by offering resistance to regional urban coalitions that could overwhelm rural areas AND suppressing electoral mischief by forcing conspirators to fight in as many elections as there were states rather than a single, national election. I absolutely loathe the ignorance of moderns who, without bothering to find why it was set up in the first place, reject the Electoral College as an anachronism, rather than a bulwark of liberty. When I was doing radio, I once set aside an entire day where people could call in and say whatever they wanted about the electoral college…BUT…they must first give me a short synopsis of why the founders adopted it. I have little patience for loud voices who haven’t taken the time to find out what they are talking about. Sadly, no caller cleared that simple hurdle that day. A decade ago, in response to an initiative in Illinois, I wrote this somewhat humorous piece explaining a few things.

I mentioned earlier Jefferson’s belief that a new revolution would be needed every generation or two to refresh the tree of liberty. Few of the founders were confident they had solved the problems of governments, generally, and self-government, specifically. In a letter to a military brigade in 1798, John Adams wrote that, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” When asked near the end of the Constitutional Convention what sort of government they had come up with, Benjamin Franklin replied, “A Republic – if you can keep it.” Knowing what an unprecedented effort they had made, what uncharted waters they were navigating, the founders did, indeed, give us a “living” Constitution – but not in the way leftists maintain. They gave us the amendment process, in which we could make any changes we wanted, provided we could rally sufficient support to overcome the procedural hurdles. They did this to prevent individuals from re-interpreting it to mean whatever they want over transient and ephemeral fads.

Europeans smugly expected the United States to collapse quickly – for self-governing democracies had ever been volatile machines of self-immolation – high ideal quickly succumbing to the factional war of all against all or the tyranny of the majority, then degenerating into chaos, and finally being re-stabilized by a dictatorship. In 1831, a young Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, came to America to find why this society had not already collapsed. His observations astounded him. Though the Americans made almost no government provisions for public welfare, it was handled more effectively, comprehensively, and cheaply than the most regimented European systems – all through the power of voluntary associations. Americans mainly required that government leave them alone and stay out of their way. It was astonishing, and yet it worked. In 1835 he published the first of his two-volume “Democracy in America.” It is a clear, easy read, bursting with the vitality of an author who has had a world-shifting epiphany. It is still the best, simplest, yet comprehensive exploration of the philosophical underpinnings and practical application of American democracy ever written. I have avoided extensive notes and links here, to avoid all but the necessary pedantry to establish what we were supposed to be. To check my accuracy, read de Tocqueville, the Federalist Papers, and the transcripts of the debates at the Constitutional Convention.

The point is that the dividing points are now matters of principle, not of policy. This is not a debate over whether to finance an initiative with excise or consumption taxes, after which, even the most impassioned opponents can kick back, regroup and fight the good fight the next time. A substantial minority (God help us if it were actually a majority) has decided that free speech, freedom of religion, and the right of self-defense are actually the problems. They want to fine, jail and shut down any who disagree with them, thinking if they can just muscle everyone, peace and love will follow. God is enemy number one; conservatives merely a distant second. The rule of law is just an arcane language whose proper use is to impose your will on others, not a system by which all live and are judged by the same rules. Thus, accusations of Republican jaywalking are investigated with hot pokers and the rack while accusations of Democratic sedition, murder, rape and robbery are investigated with the comfy chair and the fluffy pillow. Secretary of State nominees are judged by their commitment to LGBT and transgender fantasies – right-think as opposed to wrong-think. A religious test for holding office IS established: if you are a traditional Christian or Jew, prepare for the hot pokers and the rack. California has already functionally seceded from the union, thumbing its nose at legitimate federal law, while eagerly seeking to pass legislation to ban the sale of religious books and punishing expressions of wrong-think. (It is morbidly amusing to me to see California eagerly adopting these clearly fascist policies while simultaneously denouncing fascism).

It is a form of identity politics. The founders believed America would thrive by making rational decisions, prudently considered. The anti-God left does not believe in prudence: they believe that the consequences of prudence are actually immutable, innate characteristics. Thus, a leftist does not consider himself smart because he studies hard, uses rigorous logic, and is prudent in his conclusions; he is ‘smart’ for the same reasons he has blond hair or brown eyes – he was born that way and no work is required. This type of thinking is as deadly to institutions as it is to individuals. Few remember that Detroit was once one of the wealthiest, most well-run cities in America. For those over 55 years old, Detroit had that reputation in your lifetime. Back in the early 60s Detroit took a hard, left turn. By 1968, the city was looking pretty shaky – but Detroiters scoffed. After all, they were Detroit, the wealthiest, best-run city in the country. Nothing could go wrong. By the mid-70s, Detroit was clearly tanking – and large-scale flight from the city by people who lived by prudence and consequences was well underway. Now, the only thing that prevents Detroit from being Venezuela is that it is in the United States and is surrounded by a large safety net. California today is 1968 Detroit. Arrogantly doing self-destructive things and arguing that it can never catch up to them because they are California, they have got five years before they make Detroit look like a paradise.

As bad as all these things are, they are not the cause of our troubles, they are merely symptoms of it – the inflamed pustules that are the visible signs of the sickness within. They are the consequences of neglecting first things, foundational principles. The anti-God left neither understands nor cares why we adopted those principles in the first place – and now oppose them in their mad rush for a regimented society to relieve their never-ending, grinding misery and self-imposed victimhood. Their joyless formula for a just society is as miscast as prescribing arsenic for a headache: it will hasten their own demise. But our defenses are battered. The officials on the right are not up to the challenge. Not one in 50 understands what we were designed to be or, more importantly, why. Rather than relegate government to its rightful minimalist status, they think to better manage the unmanageable leviathan we have created. Massive bureaucracies never help (except occasionally in the very short-term) to alleviate problems. They become self-perpetuating bloated monstrosities, focused on protecting their own interests by regulating the little fellows. Officials do not tackle real problems or real criminals: that is dangerous. Instead, they make a thousand irrelevant rules on what size soft drink you can have and what pronouns you can legally use in talking of others – and ruthlessly enforce these rules to give the illusion that they are doing something without having to grapple with the sort of people that might be dangerous to them. It is why officials fight so hard to regulate the gun rights of law abiding citizens while defending actual dangerous criminals.

In Europe, leaders no longer have the wit to even take their own side in a fight. British authorities cover up large-scale systematic Muslim child sexual exploitation in the name of tolerance. Germany opens the floodgates to non-vetted immigrants from terrorist countries – and then tells women where not to go to avoid being raped by some of those immigrants. The Jihadists didn’t even have to build their own Trojan Horse: Angela Merkel and the European Union built it for them, then pulled it into the continent for them. England not only refuses to treat sick children, but invokes laws to prevent the parents of such children from taking them out of a hospital to get treatment elsewhere – so a newly barbaric Great Britain has made hospitals under the National Health Service into death camps for some of its most vulnerable citizens. Only Hungary and Poland seem determined to defend their own culture.

You want to see a preview of the times we are in? Read the history of the Russian revolution and the first few decades following it. To take a shorter road, read Boris Pasternak’s marvelous, but jarring novel, “Dr. Zhivago.” It traces, in little scenes brought together in herky-jerky fashion like an old-time kinetoscope, the transition from early idealism, to deep suffering and starvation, to murderous coercion, to a full-time artificiality in every waking moment that made the Soviet Union so grey and joyless – and where even the most thoughtful men had to pretend to the joyless grey fanaticism lest they be denounced to the gulag or death. My Lord, even as Russia recovers erratically from its errors of a century ago, the rest of the western world has been fully infected with the disease – and the fever reaches crisis.

I was still in high school when I began seriously studying societies on the border of catastrophic collapse. How to tell when a society is just going through normal conflicts that afflict all nations from when it faces existential, foundational failures? The early symptoms of both are usually very similar. It is a subject that has fascinated me my whole life. I noticed that in almost all such societies, there was a notable decline in the work ethic, focus and morality of elite classes, sometimes as early as a century and a half before catastrophe. As intellectual rigor and concepts of duty and honor gave way to intellectual pretensions and slovenliness, elites got more abusive towards their “subjects.” Elite classes became more preening about their “obvious” superiority to the unwashed masses. Self-examination and humility were replaced by triumphalist self-congratulation and frivolity. Collapse inevitably came with the degeneration of the elite, surprising near all it came to. In the 80s I realized that, in America anyway, we had a trump card that no other society I had studied did – and it was due to the original principles of self-government we adopted. We had a great middle class that, though cowed by elite pretensions, had not and was not abandoning foundational principles of faith, family, and freedom. In no other society had there been such a large, consequential class. There were the elites – and then the subjects who either went down with them or burned their own society down in affronted revolutionary rage at decades or centuries of insult and oppression. I realized that, in America, at least, though it would take massive and sustained outrages to set the fuse of the ordinary man off, once it was lit, we had a real chance of quenching the fires of revolutionary rage because of the traditional, residual, perhaps even vestigial, virtue of the ordinary man which could come roaring back to life under the right provocation. The key would be to exhort people to hold fast to those verities while re-asserting their rights rather than to burn everything down in rage.

Now we are at the precipice. Those on the left who say there is no compromise to be had this time, that one side must win and the other lose, are right. We cannot depend on officials. Too many still think they can manage the dysfunction that has beset our society – and try to talk themselves out of a mugging by leftists who have become a street gang of brownshirts. The hour of the ordinary man has come round. If our society is to be resurrected, it will come once again firmly planted in God, devoted to faith, family and freedom – resolutely refusing to participate, enable, or be cowed by the lunatic rantings of the violent oppressive left, but will act without malice towards those who will once more respect the principles of Western Civilization. Government of the people, for the people and by the people shall not perish from the earth, but will return to its proper role of leaving us alone except to safeguard our rights under God – and tolerance will be extended to all who extend real tolerance. We will once again laugh together, argue together, and love together without trying to leverage ourselves into victimhood.

We are not strangers in a strange land: we are natives in a land that has become estranged from us. It is the hour of the ordinary man – and we are called to restore our native land to its just place under God.

Ave Maria, Stella Maris!


(Part II, not as technical, will be on “The Fellowship of True Believers.”)







205 thoughts on “The Ballad of the Ordinary Man – Part One, A Strange Land

  1. WOW! No wonder this gem took a while to fashion. Thank you, Charlie, for this magnificent review of who and what we are meant to be as people of this once great country. In all the ills you point to, this is real: “… and the fever reaches crisis…” In the face of this, hope is alive as you express in the paragraph beginning with “Now we are at the precipice.”

    Pondering much, lately, about the Will of God and human free will, particularly, in light of the major work ahead of us as we co-create with Him “…to restore our native land to its just place under God.” It is a sobering time of both danger and opportunity, a time to continue praying much as well as a time to continue honing an ever deepening intimacy in relationship with God. From such as this, thoughts will rise concerning how best to contribute toward building a Culture of Life rooted in a Civilization of Love.

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      1. Good to”see” you back!
        I was inspired by you when I heard you on Charlie’s podcast. I pray you recovery will be complete.
        Peace to you, Sister.

        Liked by 9 people

        1. Thank you, Tired Old Cop ~ and also with you. I’m on the mend, making progress day by day, noticing many of the unexpected blessings that have come as a result of the accident. God bless and keep you, friends.

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    1. There’s much to consider here, starting with the image at the top: a screen grab of Moses (Charleston Heston) and the people at the edge of the Red Sea when it was just beginning to part. They still had not received the 10 Commandments (principles) and they still had 40 years in the desert (policies and correctives based on principles) ahead of them before they were ready to settle in the Promised Land.

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      1. I once had my photo taken with Charlton Heston. He endorsed one of my candidates and came out to do a fundraising event for us. Alas, I lost the portrait photo in a house fire. I would love to have that one back!

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      2. Indeed,definitely much to consider. I too regarded the image of the red sea parting after I had read it once through. Then I read the caption under the picture “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” but with a dramatic Charlton Heston voice in my head and I couldn’t stop smiling, don’t know if Charlie intended that.

        Liked by 6 people

  2. I’ve had people say to me that they deplore the divisiveness of our public debates. My reply has been to say that this division is both unfortunate and vitally necessary, that we are finally bringing up foundational principles and choosing whether to cleave to those principles or abandon them for a tyranny of mediocrity and intellectual grey goo leading to darkness.

    It is time to be *fierce* in our defense of our foundational principles. Each of us will choose how we will be fierce in that defense, but we must always remember that we must not betray our foundational principles by using methods that are not consistent with those principles. The end does not justify the means. The means *are* the end in daily practice. And we here all know that we are forever shown only our next right step.

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      1. Hi MP, Jacki and I have just received some “rock” sold prayers. They will go on our fire place mantle below a picture of the Holy Family where we also keep two pix for EM along with a carved olive wood figure from Bethlahem of the Holy family. We are very grateful and much blessed!

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    1. As always, Steve, you are right on target. Thank you for all you do for us with Charlie, Beckita, Mick, and all the others from whom I learn so much.

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    2. MP, I considered saying “steadfast” but that doesn’t quite catch what I am trying to get across. If one can be fierce while remaining on a path of next right steps, then I think the reining in that you are looking for is built into how you conduct yourself in every moment. Fierceness brings in the deep-seated motivation to take no nonsense from anyone unprincipled. Many of us have been steadfast in our principles for years, yet we almost lost everything anyway out of a kind of passivity. Some leaning forward is needed, I think, and fierceness in our next right steps carries some of that, not just in our approach to others but also to keep ourselves fiercely dedicated in our own efforts.

      Having said all that, I’m aware that “steadfast” may actually turn out to be the better word. 🙂

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      1. MP and SteveBC, thanks for this exchange of thoughts. WOW, SteveBC. What a critical refinement of thought! I choose *fierce steadfastness* for myself to reflect the antidote to passivity.

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      2. SBC, when I made that observation and bounced it against my experience, it was with the understanding that ‘fiece’ can also mean “showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity,” as well as “having an intense or ferocious intensity.” Sorta the difference between the Lucky Charms Leprechaun, and the Fighting Irish Leprechaun. One grins, one doesn’t… and has his dukes up to boot. On self-reflection, there’s no colorful rainbow of fluffy marshmallows when I tend to fierceness. I don’t have a magic shillelagh either, so will just have to stick with ‘steadfast.’ I’m still chucking at Anne’s “fairy floss.” Had to look it up. That’s cotton candy to you non-Aussies.

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          1. Bing, bing, bing! Woo Hoo! When I can’t sleep at night, I just lie there and pray Hail Mary’s over and over and offer each one for a soul in purgatory. Eventually, I fall asleep. I often wonder if some of these souls are watching and cheering me on to not fall asleep. What did I get myself into?

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            1. Sweet support for the holy souls, Doug. Knowing you, it’s freely given… no strings attached. Knowing the holy souls, they’re responding to your care with powerhouse intercession in return… a mother lode of binganzas! 🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵

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              1. Hmmm. I help them out. They in turn help me out. That sounds like a good win, win proposition to me. Ok. Worth the sleepless nights. Praise be to God!

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            2. “…if some of these souls are watching and cheering me on to not fall asleep” .

              I have often thought this. I usually wake at 0300 hrs and pray a chaplet of Divine Mercy (along with Singapore in the summer and Thailand in the Winter {their time 3PM}) I have noticed as I pray:

              “Eternal Father, I offer the most precious Blood of thy Divine Son Jesus, in union with all the masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family”

              …I usually do not get much sleep. I find myself, awaking in prayer, reciting the above.

              Of late: “Jesus, I trust in you”

              “What did I get myself into?”

              Yep, they’re worse than playing fetch with a golden retriever

              Liked by 1 person

        1. MP, you are very funny on the misspellings! Beckita and MP, I’m wondering if there is something like “steadfast ferocity” that can turn what might degenerate into rage into white-hot righteous anger.

          Charlie has talked about this phenomenon in his own experience. Perhaps I’m trying to get my own take on what he may have meant. I’m not normally a ferocious person. Most of the time when I get angry, it’s just anger, call it red anger, and I usually regret it later and apologize for it. However, every now and then I can get a touch of righteous anger. It can get lost if I don’t (if you will) “squeeze” down on it to focus it like a laser. As you say, MP, it can be a devastating weapon when used without such care, an indiscriminate wasting. As Charlie says, though, when properly focused and applied, it can work powerful wonders.

          I was of the opinion early on here that Jesus was never truly angry, but Charlie rightfully corrected me on that. If we are to follow Jesus in all things, learning how to use something like steadfast ferocity properly to protect against depredations is both necessary and impossible to get precisely correct. It’s a tool we cannot always assume we will never need to pick up.

          As I think about this, I’m wondering if the Time of Judgment by God could be considered a time of God acting with perfectly steadfast ferocity. Everyone judged perfectly correctly and no quarter given. Hmmm, I’ll have to think about that for a while.

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          1. Yes, SBC, looking to the Gospels ought to be one of the first places we turn. Jesus did get angry, although that’s just a sliver. Love is always the first and final word –– and everything in between.

            I understand Charlie’s mission as he sees it.

            Charlie, you’ve taken great pains to lay it bare and share what you believe will benefit others for the greater glory of Gd. I get it and say, “good job” (so far).

            That said, SBC et al, it’s not a one-size-fits-all set of marching orders. We gotta be us, and to be unusually clear, I’ve been a bit startled how some of this family dialog shifted gears so quickly, so seamlessly, from following the example of Christ (all the way to the summit), to a sort of kingdom-building at best, lock-n-load-sound-the-charge thing at worst. Oh, I get a little worked up about things too, but have to pull back and ask myself, “do I even know Him?” And with regard to His anger, I have to look at myself in the mirror first.

            How much he suffered for me. How much I owe Him. How much it’s all Him, and I’ve really got nothing.

            Oh, stripped down of all the complex layers (of my own making), the simple strategy that I originally found so compelling here comes back into focus. And it is just that: simple. As simple as Jesus summing up the Law. Surely we ought to be able to apply it as simply, but we’re… well, the usual gang, fretting in the boat as the storm threatens to wreck us… with Jesus asleep up front.

            O.K., the storm gets a little frightening, but I can’t imagine any place I’d rather be than right here in the boat with Jesus and the rest of the gang. Jesus is in the boat… ready to calm the ferocious storm, just as soon as we stop relying on ourselves.

            Jesus is in the boat.

            Liked by 4 people

            1. Well, MP, when people face and begin coming to grips with a great and terrible effort that requires them to enter unknown territory, they go through a lot of things. Some can paralyze themselves weepily wishing it away or by deciding to do nothing – at least for a while. When they do face it directly, then their mind starts working out how it will be – and mentally trying on different roles to see how those roles fit them. You can get a sort of nervous bravado (which is MUCH healthier than false bravado) in which they are really encouraging themselves to face the new unknown rather than shrink from it. Some roles fit, some don’t – and people discard those that don’t. It happens in many things – a fresh soldier on the eve of battle, an athlete on the eve of a consequential game, even (maybe especially) adolescents on the threshold of adulthood. Shoot, for a year before I went out on my pilgrimage, I restlessly, mentally rehearsed how it was going to be. Of course, it was very different from all of my mental scenarios – but all those scenarios helped focus my determination and overcome my fear of something starkly new and unknown.

              When I first started the website five years ago I emphasized that people needed to think about things that had been unthinkable previously – and seriously consider how to deal with them from a moral and active perspective – without nice-sounding formulas. I am grateful for some of the musings – including the martial ones – for the reality is that, when push comes to shove, people’s fundamental personality will assert itself in unique ways as they confront a reality unprecedented to them. All of the musings will end up being quite different from the reality of how they behave – but they will have been useful dress rehearsals – a real sort of ‘girding their loins.’

              I have had most of my life to contemplate this. Most here have had a few years. But that they are, shows that they are turning their face toward it with resolve rather than overpowering fear or denial. We will all still be working out the kinks until we are fully in the midst of it – and our next right steps will be much better for having deeply considering what those steps should look like. I have worried far more about those people who convince themselves that nothing will be required of them at all, that God will do it all for them, then I have about those who, however awkwardly, rehearse how they should act consistent with the dignity of a child of God, in extreme circumstances. The former WILL ultimately act – but mostly in panic or fury because they refused to contemplate that God actually requires them to do and face great challenges.

              It’s ironic that what worries you is something I have tried to get people to the threshold of…so that they consider these as realities rather than mere abstractions they can wave away with pious platitudes. The apostles were not an impressive bunch the night before the crucifixion – so much so that Jesus started to get irritated. But then, He decided to let them sleep – affectionately considering that fact but also knowing their time would come – and they would rise to the occasion when it did. The din you speak of is simply people gearing themselves up to rise to the occasion – to go way outside their comfort zone AND do it consistent with the honor of children of God.

              Liked by 8 people

              1. Well, I wouldn’t presume that it’s worry, or that I wave away these realities as mere abstractions with pious platitudes and false bravado. I say, “steady,” and have been consistent about it. Frankly, I find it ironic that you find that ironic. I suppose we just soldier on as we discern best.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Oh no, MP, I surely did not mean to insult you or suggest you are mouthing pious platitudes…not at all. In fact, your misgivings are part of the discernment process we all are going through together – and are well-stated and thoughtful. What I was trying to convey, I guess badly this time, is that if we are doing it right, we SHOULD have concerns about where we are coming from right now – because we are walking in uncharted territory. It is critical to how we refine ourselves to become troops for the Lord. We really are NOT in Kansas anymore – and great caution is necessary to make sure we are not squandering the time we have nor rushing in thoughtlessly. I guess what I was really getting at is that I have been looking forward to the mindset now showing through – of those exploring how action must be and of those emphasizing steadiness in the face of provocation. It is the mindset of people fully engaged with the reality we face.

                  I like dynamic tension between people of good will…I think it refines thought and action better than just about anything else. But I would hate to think I have come across as putting a damper on one of the most thoughtful commenters here. Forgive me.

                  Liked by 5 people

                  1. No offense taken. Better to have these conversations over a good potato salad and finish it with a pie, than have them on the fly here, where the e-din presents it’s own particular challenges.

                    There’s one of my favorite scenes in “The Mission,” where they’re making their way up river and up the falls. Rodrigo (played by Robert De Niro) insists on dragging a large bunch of netting (as penance) containing all his armor and weapons. Fielding (played by Liam Neeson), apparently thinks the penance is sufficient at one point, takes out a machete, and cuts the bundle loose. Well, it sure looked extremely cumbersome and dangerous. Rodrigo just retrieves it, ties the ropes to his person again, and continues on his way. Father Gabriel (played by Jeremy Irons) later tries to explain to Fielding that the penance wasn’t sufficient yet to Rodrigo.

                    Seems like we can all see a little bit of ourselves in all those characters at different times.

                    Now that I’m thinking about it, I just might watch that movie yet again tonight. It’s simply brilliant.

                    Liked by 3 people

                2. MP, I agree with Charlie that I’m finding my way through this. I’m deciding that you are right that everyone will have their own approach, so I’m opening to the idea that steadfast ferocity is not for everyone here. Each must choose for themselves, as you have.

                  What I do know is that I have experienced events which worked out for me and others because of the approach I took, which was a kind of steadfast ferocity, a honed and focused determination to call others when they were hurting people. I once called a man driving a pickup truck full of temporary dance floor panels to pull over. I won’t go into the details, but as he drove across the Golden Gate bridge, the winds picked up two panels which hit a Mercedes and my car (a foot higher and I would have been decapitated). I felt an absolutely ferocious determination to stop this man, a guy I knew had no clue that this was happening. When I did succeed in getting him over (and it was a serious effort for me and my car), he was *stunned* to think he had almost killed two people. I may have saved future lives because I refused to let him go on. I will soundly bet that he rigorously tied down his panels from that day on.

                  I sure hope I will not be called on to do anything like that again, but if I am so called on, I hope I can maintain my moral equilibrium even as I ferociously defend those before me. And I firmly believe that this needs to be an approach that is vouched for, so that others here will consider it when it is appropriate for them and for their situation, and that they will have some idea of how to maintain *their* moral equilibrium in the midst of their crisis.

                  If that doesn’t work for you, I’m more than willing to agree this is not for everyone. You are right on that, and I appreciate your thoughtful comments. 🙂

                  Liked by 4 people

                  1. “When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.”
                    [Matt 10:19)
                    I think there is a certain genius behind this passage concerning our present situation and it has nothing to do with not exercising prudence in understanding the times we are in or the complexities that they will challenge us to. The above passage helps us usage a power unknown to us in times like these. The Next Right Step gives us a course to take but God gives us the victory by His presence when we trust Him by our faith walk, honed every day, to be our refuge at this hour.
                    Charlie gives us tools for the journey as any “expert” gives advice to his pupils still amatures in this field. But along with this advice comes the power of David, Gideon’s 300, of the Isrealites in Jerico. These are the histories of those who trusted in the Lord as we do now. To “gird your loin” is to trust in His power before us and not in our own. We are girding ourselves against our own weaknesses first by prayer, faithfulness and trust so we don’t end up getting in our own way made straight by our God.

                    Liked by 5 people

            1. MP, I doubt I even need to say this, but I love the way you see things and I think very much in the way you do concerning being steadfast and being a bit wary of anger! I hear you loud and clear and now…because of what has happened with my Granddaughter and the satanist art teacher, I can hear Charlie very loud and clear as well! I am quite dense at times and slow to get it!
              I have had an extremely painful day today ,and I chose to remain steadfast and STAND my ground against this evil- but unfortunately.. it ended being in a way I did not foresee, I am now no longer speaking to my daughter because I’m too radical…
              People think I am a crazy, they say I over-react, they say many things…but then at the most painful moment in all of this FORTITUDE rose up in me and this is where I am standing and I will not back down. This teacher, and now those running the school, are wrong and he is a SERIOUS danger to the kids. I can do nothing physically to deal with this situation- and its a good thing I can’t- my first instinct is to go to the school and knock that man into next year..even as I pray for his conversion! I would end up in the hospital because I’m a little old lady! And then probably jail..WELL-so be it, I’m willing- but can’t do it! No wonder Pope Francis said what he did about people sometimes needing a good pop in the nose!😅 I am this angered at what that man is trying to do to the kids- and the school has decided to keep him on… God help them.
              This is not going to end well. My granddaughter was punished, they removed her from the class along with one other child (they are close friends) because their mothers demanded it (all the rest of the parents ignore this and left their kids in the class.) They separated the 2 girls so they could not have fun and so they would not “appear” to be rewarding them- as if this has anything to do with the kids!
              I spent most of today trying to pray for all involved- but I am so unsettled by people ignoring this and instead focusing on me being the radical loon, taking their fear and anger out on me..that I have cut off talking to them so they put their focus where it needs to be! I don’t care what they think of me-and I am standing against this the only way I can for now- alone, with Jesus, in prayer! He knows my heart!
              It seems I’ve gone full-circle, but I am hearing clearly that though we all see things in different ways- we all want God and His Will. We want God!!!

              Liked by 4 people

                1. Thank you, Katey! 🙂 I did talk with my daughter late last night and she’s decided to fight this all the way. Her husband and daughter are with her, and now more parents in the school are joining in!
                  Thank God, I’m so relieved.✝🙏🌷

                  Liked by 4 people

                  1. Dear Snowy, may the Lord raise up an army to fight with you and all others fighting the evil around us! It brings tears to my eyes that you have gone through this, but so happy to hear that other parents are joining in to support.

                    Liked by 3 people

                    1. Amen, and thank you, Annie! This battle is being fought on many, many levels! May Our Lord, Our Lady, all of Heaven and St. Michael help us all in this battle and banish the Evil One!

                      Liked by 1 person

                2. I have some great news! I just received a call from my daughter this morning and people are now contacting her and thanking her for opening this door and paving the way- she had feared persecution!
                  People are seeing and waking up…and they are acting on it! The Lord is so good! He knows exactly how to encourage each of us- and get the job done!
                  The principal and superintendent are working out a new art program- one that will be closely monitored for the remainder of this school year- but she (thank You, Lord) has decided her daughter will not go back into this class and the principal and superintendent are fine with this and are putting together a program for the kids who do not wish to be in this class for the remainder of the school year.
                  This teacher will not be returning next year!
                  My daughter is now receiving phone calls and responses on social media from people not only with children in this school but other schools in the area, and who not only know about this man but are standing against him and have been trying to deal with him for quite a while now- but were getting nowhere! This is bigger than we knew.
                  People are now so encouraged by her stand, they are also taking stands against other issues that need changing. 🙂 When she called this morning she was so happy and so peaceful- all of this, the pain, confusion and fear she had to deal with to take her stand was well worth it..she knows now and she plans to keep going! 🙂

                  Liked by 4 people

                  1. Awesome update, Snowy. What great NRSteps you all have taken in responding to this scenario. With the bedrock of prayer that has backed you up, all Glory to God for His grace and your fortitude!

                    Liked by 4 people

                  2. At the end of the school year, that classroom should be ‘swept’ in more ways than one:
                    spritz holy water, blessed salt in every corner, while singing the Divine Praises; and for good measure leave a St. Benedict medal incognito. If it’s ok with your daughter, give your gr.daughter a blessed miraculous medal to wear.
                    Stepping on toes is sometimes unavoidable, have had to do it with our own kids re classroom sex ed and when our (catholic) trip had planned not to take the kids to Sunday mass, until enough parents spoke up.
                    Glad to hear of the tide turning there, but stay alert.
                    Tomorrow some schools are observing a day of silence for the LGBT. May St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Thomas Aquinas intercede for all students from pre-school to grad school.

                    Liked by 4 people

                    1. Marie, 🙂 amen! 🤗💕
                      My daughter was approached by an Evangelical woman while in the the thick of this-she is one of the staff (!) and they hugged and decided they would cleanse the room using Holy water, Blessed Salt, and many Prayers! That wonderful woman was already singing praises and when she was finished, she turned to the Superintendent and he was smiling- we found out he is Catholic! The Lord’s got this one! I can’t stop smiling!!! 😍 This whole thing is a miracle!

                      Liked by 6 people

                  3. Snowy, what fantastic news; praise God! You and your daughter rock: you for raising a warrior, and her for not being afraid to “Joan Up,”

                    Liked by 5 people

                    1. Yes Mick, Praise God! I cannot believe how quickly He moved on this- AND the courage He gave my daughter! He opened so many doors and so many people are movin’ and groovin’ and doing what needs doing. All I did was pray, encourage her…and act like a brick wall lol!

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                3. Hi Snowy. Doing the right thing and standing for truth can be a lonely road at times. I imagine how lonely Jesus felt when he walked to Calvery. Oh how I wish to console him by bringing souls to him! Oh how we, as humanity choose to destroy ourselves!

                  Liked by 4 people

              1. Hang in there, Snowy. There are prayers going up from far and wide (including the Monks of Mount Tabor). Oh, how much others hurl insults in vain, hoping to get out of what they have wrought for themselves by blaming others for their misery. Most of today’s shrieking will eventually silence, but the relentless will see their insults reach Heaven –– only to have them recoil on their own heads! Oh, no anger of mine or yours is a match for Justice Who Has Eternity to punish unrepentant evildoers.

                Liked by 4 people

                1. Thank you so much for these prayers MP- and thank you all of you! Your prayers are very powerful and God is very good! I cannot believe how fast this is moving..and how little time it takes the Lord to clean up the messes…WOW!
                  God bless ALL of you wonderful people! 💗🔥

                  Liked by 3 people

                1. Sheralyn, I couldn’t find your comment about praying for California- but i just heard on Varney-Fox News, Duncan Hunter- (R Congressman-Cali) said the tide is definitely turning! and blew out laughing because even the illegals that are already here do not want anymore illegals coming in taking their jobs! What a fiasco- even Varney’s cracking up! 😄🤭😅

                  Liked by 3 people

                  1. I certainly hope so Snowy. California is a beautiful state, it has just been co-opted by Liberalism and political correctness. I recently saw on the news (might have even been linked here) where parents in Orange County CA are unable to opt out of a Sex Ed curriculum, but hey, they said you were free to give your kids your opinion at home. Ridiculous! Just like the craziness in the UK regarding little Alphie Evans. May God’s Kingdom come and come quickly. FYI Snowy, I’m a former Minnesotan.

                    Liked by 3 people

            2. Aaaah! That is a big BING! Hmmm. I like studying “big bing” theory. It is how prayer mushroomed from a singularity point that started a long time ago when the universe began.

              Liked by 5 people

  3. This Ballad of the Ordinary Man post is quite an erudite and worthy history and civics lesson, Charlie!

    The photo below, which is really a combination of three fine art photos I took, is called “Not in Kansas.” Definitely prefer living in color over living in a joyless grey world! (Hopefully I got the html code right so it will post correctly …)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Why would you like this post? The photo I intended to post didn’t get posted … Or, maybe that’s why you like it? 🙂


  4. Fantastic! Thank you. This post is a welcome departure from the herded groupthink that political philosophy has become. We need to return to deep, consequential thought instead of allowing ourselves to be mired in the simple-minded vanities.

    It reminds me of years ago when I was a political staffer. I was asked to attend political party night for a high school mock government camp called Boy’s State. Each small “city state” group were assigned one Republican and one Democrat to speak to the kids and sort of debate.

    As we were waiting to be assigned our group, the Republicans mostly talked amongst ourselves to pass the time. Each of the Dems spent that time pouring over these multi-page dosiers that the Democratic Party provided them.

    When debate time came, I very easily spoke off-the cuff of the big-picture ideals of conservatism: freedom, small government, hard work, inalienable rights. It’s all just common sense stuff.

    My counterpart spent his time combing through the minutiae of anecdotal failings and individual victimhoods in order to make his case for bloated bureaucracy and nanny state policies.

    I spoke from the heart. He spoke from the dossier.

    That’s when it struck me that their only effective strategy was to draw me away from the common principles I shared with the majority of the students. He was forcing me into the muck to defend these things he found offensive.

    It’s an effective strategy that we on the right get caught up in way too frequently.

    Charlie, your post today reminded me why I used to like politics. Maybe someday I will like it again.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. I think the Dems wouldn’t even read this piece, they’d get stuck arguing how unfair that it’s not called the Ballad of the Ordinary Person!

      Liked by 7 people

  5. Thank you Charlie! Very tightly, thoroughly explained. Gutsy writing, not fairy floss so my brain is getting a workout!!!
    Now I am eager for part two!

    Liked by 9 people

  6. Okay, my first attempt to post the photo didn’t work … I used to always grab the code from a certain forum, but the forum is apparently no longer available. So here’s Take Two of my previous post (and someone can delete the first one if you like) … and if this doesn’t work, can SteveBC maybe help? Thanks … 🙂

    This Ballad of the Ordinary Man post is quite an erudite and worthy history and civics lesson, Charlie!

    The photo below, which is really a combination of three fine art photos I took, is called “Not in Kansas.” Definitely prefer living in color over living in a joyless grey world! (Hopefully I got the html code right so it will post correctly …)

    Liked by 11 people

  7. Charlie, this is really great! When I first started reading I thought, oh no, this is going to fly right over my head- so I had to read it twice… and should probably read again at least 5 more times. I have never read anything so jam-packed with info, and the way you stitched it all together is amazing.
    Homeschooling parents could use this!
    I loved your ending-“We are not strangers in a strange land: we are natives in a land that has become estranged from us. It is the hour of the ordinary man – and we are called to restore our native land to its just place under God.” Thirty or so years ago I received the words “stranger in a strange land” in a writing, and now I see these same words here 🙂 But you took it a whole huge step further..and now I understand it!! Love it!

    Liked by 16 people

    1. I am so glad, Snowy. I felt like I was struggling to fit 100 lbs. into a five-lb. sack…and was determined to make this very complicated stuff clear. It is why it took me so long. It is foundational to the next two pieces. If the foundation is not sound, the structure will not stand. You hearten me that it hit its mark. God bless.

      Liked by 12 people

      1. Charlie, after reflecting and praying, I see reading this made my heart break for this beautiful Country, for what it should be, needs to be, and can be again. It truly gave me hope. I have felt so heartbroken for so long now, watching the insanity of so many desperately trying to destroy such a beautiful gift. And I did not even realise this until after reading this amazing piece.
        America is special and our world needs America to be and to do what God wills for the good of all people. I pray with all of my heart that God will spare us and give us the chance to, as you say,”to restore our native land to its just place under God.”

        Liked by 12 people

      2. Wow Charlie, thanks for working so hard on this. What a good read! I was never very good with fully understanding politics but this ordinary woman actually understood most of your piece all the way through the first time! Of course that is once I got past reading the first paragraph five times about the difference of principle vs. policy. Reading this I felt like I was taking an Introduction to the New Messed Up American Politics 101 course. I can only pray that there won’t be any subsequent courses that I’m going to have to take, although I AM very much looking forward to reading part two.

        Our prayers WILL make America great again! Mother Mary, pray for us! St. Michael, defend us!

        Liked by 3 people

    2. As homeschooling parents of 7 soon to be 8, we are always on the lookout for new material, as we are always teaching our kids about American history and how great America is even with the upheavals of today.

      Liked by 7 people

  8. Gaah! Well, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the first installment. So wiped out from the day, I’ll have to take my time with the second read at sunrise tomorrow. I suspect I’ll need a large pot of coffee too.

    Liked by 11 people

  9. During the eighteenth century the Kingdom of France was able to assist the American colonial states, it cost France it’s very existence through the murder of Louis XVI & the Paris revolt giving rise to Napoleon, leftism, & eventually Marxism. More than half of the territory of the lower fortyeight states along with eastern Canada are French soil. For this reason there is a perpetual bond which imparts the blessings (& chastisements) bestowed upon the Kingdom of France to the holders of these territories. Draw your battle lines along the Rocky Mountain ranges in the west to hold off China & Appalachia in the east, hold fast to the former New Netherland territory & to the whole of Quebec but discard all the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Draw your battle lines along the Rocky Mountain ranges in the west to hold off China & Appalachia in the east, hold fast to the former New Netherland territory & to the whole of Quebec but discard all the rest.”

      Disgard all the rest? I don’t think so. I could continue on and add a few suitable insults but it would divert our attention from our discussion of being a God-fearing people.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. I agree, Sean. Discard nothing and stand for all our brothers. I’ve made it clear how much contempt I have for California and its officials – but I have many, many faithful friends there (and actually all across this great country) I will neither discard nor abandon any of them. We are the Army of the Lord, called to reclaim this great land together, counting not the odds, but knowing that in God, with our fortitude and faith, lies the battle.

        Liked by 10 people

        1. My brother lives in CA and I share all of the TNRS and ASOH posts with him. I often feel like he is trapped behind enemy lines! He and so many of his faithful friends are the true resistance!

          Liked by 4 people

          1. I too have relatives that live in CA. And they do feel trapped by the policies of Jerry Brown. But on the other hand, look at what @15 counties and cities in Southern California have done. They stood up as citizens, voted in their town councils to join in the USA suite of the Jerry Brown government’s sanctuary cities and the releasing of convicted felon illegal immigrants into neighborhoods including MS-13 gang members. Northern CA towns and counties are now in contact with those Southern CA counties and towns learning the blueprint of their actions. THE ORDINARY MAN FOUND OUT THAT HE/SHE DOES HAVE A VOICE.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Yes, Bill, that is definitely what it feels like: being “trapped behind enemy lines”! How this state has changed in 50 or so years is terribly sad. Some of us shake our heads and wonder how this all happened. The frog in the cold water apparently! I’m glad to hear about the march, and some cities taking part in the rosary along the coast on another date. I will join in prayer on May 12 also.

            Liked by 5 people

        2. Thank you Charlie and Sean, living in California can be difficult, because of our leadership. I would say that the system is pretty “rigged” here, if it is anywhere. There are a great many wonderful, faithful people who call our fair state home. Please don’t give up on us…also, thank you Charlie for your visits with us here, they have been a blessing.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. Have been and will continue praying for you all in California, sheralyn. Thank God for you and all the faithful and faith-filled folks who are light in CA’s darkness so permeated with promoting some of the most outrageous, anti-God agendas in our country.

            Liked by 3 people

          2. Sheralyn80, I think CA is finding their Ordinary Man voice is the town and city councils by joining the USA lawsuit against Jerry Brown’s sanctuary cities. Keep praying.

            Liked by 4 people

          3. There’s always hope for California, Sheralyn, especially now that the Storm is well underway. Just look at its history of Catholic missionaries with cities named after Saints, not to mention the large numbers of Hispanics and Filipinos living there. I found this cool tidbit online:

            “There are also cities in California that are more obscure references to saints. The biggest and best known example is “Los Angeles” (“the Angels” in English), which was originally (1781) called “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciúncula River” – so it was technically named after Saint Mary.

            “Similarly, the city of Merced is named after the Merced River, which was originally (1806) called the “River of Our Lady of Mercy”

            OUR LADY, Queen of the Angels and Mother of Mercy, pray for California! 🌞🇺🇸

            Liked by 3 people

        3. I would use the same word to describe my feelings for California….contempt. I often say, “They can have it.”
          It’s a gorgeous state that I know well: Sacto, LA (Edwards AFB), and San Diego. Lived in ‘em all. My complaints were probably more about the traffic, taxes, cost of living, overcrowding, nasty water, polluted brown air, and the filth that covers San Fran. Now that I’m outta there, it’s their politics that really irks me, especially as they thumb their noses at the federal government (all of a sudden) and the rule of law, not to mention all those activist judges (the stench from the bench), as well as the disregard for the decent half of their citizens as they appease non-citizens. They took something beautiful and really effed it all up.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. If you discard the rest it will force the enemy to overextend their resources to come after you thus allowing you to use the natural defensive elements on the continent much in the same manner a castle uses the exterior walls when the invader has already broken through the moat thenceforth granting to your forces the ability to use your resources far more effectively for a later victory. To attempt to maintain those areas against beyond the walls you will be the one overextended & lose all. Better to cede some territories & retake them later.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Extraordinary piece Charlie! But, do you really think the “ordinary man” is up to the task? I’ve found people, especially ordinary people are just too comfortable in their lives…completely focused on worldly desires. Most have lost, or never had the motivation to reason, or even contemplation of matters deeper than…what to have for dinner, or where to go for vacation this year.

    The left has removed their mask and I don’t believe there is any going back…they are not going to change without great and terrible circumstances. That has been evident all through history with every group who embraces evil.

    While we were blindly enjoying our lives the left has normalized mass murder, sexual perversion, Marxism, atheism, and dumbing down of the ordinary man. At this point they have won, we can only win by taking back those ideals of our Forefathers. I doubt we can do it by elections alone. As you infer above our judicial system has been corrupted and in many cases supports (ironically) illegal leftist causes, creating a separate government in a sense whereby “laws” are created by one or a handful of judges, nothing democratic about that.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. JohnMcFarm, if you get a chance, watch (or read) the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J R R Tolkien. We are men of hope and no evil will not win this battle. The left is already starting to implode and the “common man” is finally waking up. Hang in there. Frodo lives!

      Liked by 10 people

      1. Lord of the Rings is an excellent book/movie for our times. Every time I watch the movie or read the book I get something more out of it. The “Book of Lost Tales” by Tolkien really fills in the gaps.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. John, I do believe it. I was made for these times – and so were you…and so with all the ordinary men who God will use to show He is the source of life and light and laughter. Without Him there is only darkness and misery. I think often of how deadly demoralized the French were, after almost 100 years of war in which it seemed a certainty that France would be annihilated. Then Joan of Arc came – and they were filled with new hope and new resolve – and almost overnight all were convinced that France could never be defeated. It was the new heart in them, ignited by God, Himself, through His plain servant…and they all become joyful servants. Now is the time of choosing…people must choose where they stand. The vainglorious and the schemers, those who admire their own intellect, shrewdness and strength, have held sway for too long – and these experts and anointed have made a complete botch of things. Now it pleases God to take the everyday, the ordinary man and show that it is in Him that all victory comes.

      “I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill…”-Ecclesiastes 9:11. The Lord will show what He will do with the plain, the forgotten, the unsung heroes who live for their faith and family each day – and He will accomplish through them what the vainglorious elite have utterly failed at. You remember what caused me to first speak to you of my actual situation back in 2012? You were terribly disheartened – and I could not bear to see such disheartenment in one I so admired, so I took a chance and told you of my peculiar call. Did it not give you new heart to carry on a while longer? God is doing this for all those who will call on Him now…calling them to set their hearts on Him alone or die trying – and then will come the victory and the renewal under the mantle of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.

      Yes, I believe with every fiber of my being that the ordinary men and women throughout this country and throughout this world will answer the call and we will see a new birth of liberty, a new birth of joy, a new birth of justice under God throughout God’s great earth.

      Liked by 25 people

      1. I’m with Beckita here Charlie.
        You fulfilled a proponent with this later comment I felt was missing in your post. I, of course, believed you would probably fully reveal all this in the ensuing two part, so I was no too worried.

        Liked by 5 people

        1. Phillip Frank, I totally agree with your comment… and so I reflected on what Charlie wrote, and I know a few people have mentioned it here already, but what he wrote was for all Ordinary Men to consume… see, we are Ordinary, yes, but we are TNRS’ers and ASOH’ers….. nothing ordinary these days about people from around the world coming together and encouraging, challenging, enriching, and blessing each other like we all do! Seriously, you have all made me more aware each day of my Christian family and pedigree! That’s what we are, and Charlie’s response to JohnMcFarm will help most of us peak our heads out of our catacomb and whisper, call, or even shout to the Ordinary Man out side to get their attention to open their eyes.

          Charlie minted and forged this writing as another arrow in our quiver, a sword tucked in the sheath… to hold in our minds and our hearts as we hold our Rosary and Holy Scripture in our hands!

          Liked by 5 people

      2. This comment is as good as your article, Charlie! 🙂

        We’ve all seen how a sudden change in a ball game or an election contest can suddenly alter literally everyone’s feelings and shift momentum from one side to the other. We are looking for something to catalyze everyone. Do you not think that Trump’s election was one such moment for quite a few people? Could we soon see the publication of news so shocking that we turn another corner? Many people sit in the center until an event electrifies them. Even you, JohnMcFarm, may find yourself on your feet and cheering soon. I certainly hope so.

        Liked by 9 people

  11. Charlie,
    This is so well written that I will definitely be sharing it with my “leftist” relatives and hopefully rattle their cages.😉 Who knows, they might be enlightened?🙏 Looking forward to the next installment! God bless & stay safe.

    Liked by 7 people

  12. Charlie, love all of the content, and especially how you wrote it so anyone who is American, or knows of our principles can read this and relate to some or all of it. I am past worrying about offending anyone so I am sharing across all communication lines I have; this is a piece that can be share in public school Civics class (well, for at least a day before CNN foo foo’ed it), and our kids would learn more than most current text books would share…

    Your line that spoke to me directly, “…hold fast to those verities while re-asserting their rights rather than to burn everything down in rage.”, is crisp and telling. This IS how we’ll take America back under our Mother’s mantle. I haven’t seen or heard more of my friends praying for positive change before now. I would wager that many couldn’t tell you what they feel- that anxious “have to do something, but what?” feeling… however, many are praying (some secretly), and every bit helps us put coal in that engine to keep our train going. I know many would take up arms to defend what we have and are losing, but I pray your line holds for the middle-class faithful who need to step up!

    Living in Michigan and not being 55, I hear many stories about Detroit’s hay day and it being the epicenter of the area…. though there is a revival ongoing downtown, the suburbs close and the communities just a mile from downtown are in such a sad state still. I work with some who commute to Lansing from Detroit and in talking to them, they care so much for their city and work so hard to bring it back. Those ordinary men and women will do it there, because they are some who I know pray for it happen. Your ballad is a wake up call Charlie… thank you so much for sharing!

    God bless us all!

    Liked by 8 people

  13. Charlie,
    This needs to get into the hands of every authentic educator left in our country (not many these days). Flood the high schools through colleges with this work! I hybrid-homeschool my children. I just printed this out, Guess what I am going to discuss with my highschooler tomorrow? She is currently studying ancient history and Plato. Your work adds greatly to what she has been learning about human nature, principles and governing!

    Thank you for speaking truth with such clarity and conviction!

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Thank you dms. Your last line jumped out at me: I pray every day that I will boldly proclaim the kingdom with clarity and conviction (or sometimes with power and conviction), that I may inspire many to new hope and new resolve. Kinda cool your last sign tells me my prayers are being attended to.

      Liked by 11 people

  14. Wonderful job, great crash course in the fundamentals of the founding of this country! I’ve studied the rise and fall of communist societies and I can say that liberalism is absolutely the spirit of communism. The central idea is antithesis to Christianity . . . that human history is a tale of human liberation through a self driving evolutionary understanding of our power. Liberation Theology took this up too, it’s nonsense. For such, humanity is ever changing, evolving, moving from the simplistic to the complicated as we uncover our potential. This is the heart of Communism: constant revolution because of constant evolution. The problem is that it’s a lie, all of these ‘noble’ utopian ideas about peace and togetherness, steering the masses towards a perceived evolutionary eventuality . . . which also happens to conveniently provide loads of power and wealth to a barbaric few . . . it always always ends in unbelievable misery. As Christians, we know something that can stop this hurricane of nonsense . . .we know who we are, truly. Communism is a giant lie about the fundamental nature of humanity. We are the truth that stands in the face of that lie. That sounds great on paper, but it’s a lot of work to. I have often been irritated by people holding political office . . .I keep thinking, sheesh, I could do their jobs better because I can do two things it seems no one is bothering to do anymore: stick to well founded and fully understood principles . . . and read. My role in life is first with my family, though. So . . . guess I won’t be a benevolent dictator any time soon :), but I believe that there are others out there who are starting to see that you don’t have to be uniquely brilliant or part of the established political class in order to do a decent job of keeping this country together and on the right track to providing liberty to all . . . that perhaps there are many out there who have awakened to the danger of these times and are ready to seize an opportunity when it comes. I live in a very liberal area in NY, don’t let the liberal nature of where you happen to live get you down. The liberal people here are right now simply much louder than the conservative voices. Where I live, we’ve gotten used to not playing certain radio stations too loud when driving by the weekly protesters, we don’t put on tons of bumper stickers that peg us as Catholic Conservative . . . it’s not that we’re weak, it’s that we have OTHER interests to protect. My husband and I are not young, single people who can risk the kinds of risks one might be taking by making ourselves a target. It is dangerous now. We have a family. We have to fly under the radar for now, but we will not lie. We do witness, but we do not provoke, we protect but we do not seek aggression. I believe that there are a lot of people who are really more conservative at heart than liberal, but just accept the agenda because it really feels that all we can do is keep flying under the radar and just mind our own affairs and keep trying to live our lives as well as can be allowed. It’s getting so intrusive, though, that people are waking up. Like in that movie The Truman Show where the guy’s boat suddenly hits a wall in the ocean . . .we’ve reached a point where it’s just suddenly obvious that we’re being hemmed in and we’re not really as free as we should be. I believe that if called upon, these people would come out of the woodwork and we just might be astonished at the numbers of those who were hidden sparks this whole time. We want real freedom, not the funny kind of freedom offered by liberal ideology, which is ‘freedom’ through control. We want freedom through security. It’s the difference between a parent who chains up their kids so as to control their every movement so that the child is ‘good’ and a parent who provides a secure home where a child is FREE to become a good child. That’s what we should be after in our policy-making. We must be a nation that is free to put ourselves under God.

    Liked by 15 people

  15. Managed to get the coffee on and take another crack at this material as the sun came up, but made the mistake of scanning the Drudge headlines first. Oh… I see Bernie (who by all accounts hasn’t worked an honest job in his life) is back, promising Federal jobs to all… and it went downhill from there.

    Most of me wants to give it a big eye-roll, but part of me wants to turn guys like this, and his ilk, to ash. The latter inclination is what scares me, thus I’m trying to stick with ‘steadfast.’

    Bottomline: I think this is going to take a tremendous amount of honest work, patience and endurance to restore real order.

    When I was a kid, my dad used to rouse us for yard weeding once the season hit. None of us liked weeding. I was convinced it was a little silly, since we were surrounded by woods. Just seemed like a natural extension of the woods to me. “Course the weeds grew like crazy, taking over the drive, walkways, etc., until it became clear that an orderly yard was… in order.

    So a great army of my siblings and I headed out to the yard, grumbling and what not. Some managed to expend more energy avoiding work than what would have been expended actually working. The younger ones played. One by one, the head count diminished until a couple of the older ones remained scattered in the yard.

    We used to eventually get it done, but only because our neighbors and friends used to come and help. The neighbors, because they took pity on us. The friends, because we usually had other plans for our Saturday, and they wanted to liberate us from the yard so we could enjoy those other pursuits.

    Oh, and my dad and ma were great at clean-up. My dad seemed to get some particular joy from pulling weeds, and my ma would just get it done while singing. Really, she just looked for any excuse to be with her kids.

    Very well written Part I, Charlie. Starts to give some shape to the Ballad, and I’m still thinking of it as a ‘pivotal’ work.

    Liked by 10 people

  16. Charlie, question: Would you liken this struggle we are in to the Maccabean Revolt described in the Old Testament?

    The reason I ask is that I recall that the Maccabees were fighting, not only a war against an invading anti-God culture but, also a civil war against their own people who had acquiesced to the tyranny.

    This has been on my heart for years because I see the struggle in the everyday battles. I have trained spiritually for the clash of principles, especially from young people too entranced by technology to look up at the world around them and engage in the fight for their own future. (Last week, a young man was killed just a block from the church where I work. When I spoke to the teens about it, they just shrugged their shoulders.) At World Youth Day in Poland, Pope Francis urged the youth to “get off the couch” and engage a culture that needs them. He is the Pope we need right now. It’s my belief that all the controversies that arise because of what he said or didn’t say, makes us examine our own hearts and our own understanding, shaking us out of our complacencies, too.

    I pray that this clash of principles will not end in violence but I am still “all in.” Thanks for such a well-put-together piece. Perhaps “The Summa” of the Ordinary Man?

    Liked by 11 people

  17. Charlie, thanks for this very meaningful and rich piece. I shall have to re-read it to grasp everything.
    In the meantime, since you mentioned it, I ask everyone to say a prayer, so that little Alfie Evans can be transferred to Bambino Gesù Hospital.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Thanks for mentioning Alfie, Lilia. He and his plight have received wdiespread coverage here in the US with requests for prayer. Great news this morning found here. It took a loooooong time. Nevertheless, it’s good news.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. This is bigger than just sweet baby Alfie…’s about everything Charlie has written about. Alder Hey Hospital consists of “organ brokers”…….there is a huge cover-up going on. God is at work shedding the light on this evil corruption which slithers throughout the world. The UK and the USA are cupable for taking parental rights away and producing a Nanny Govt. The culture of death is taking its last gasp. Baby Alfie, an innocent, will once again triumph for the Glory of God. Is not the darkness throughout the world, coming into the light of the day?

        Liked by 6 people

  18. Charlie,
    Awhile back, ok several years back, you stated that you planned on retiring from “storm duty” July 4th 2018 because you didn’t get rebuked by your Angel for that date. Is this still your plan? Or maybe your Angel didn’t rebuke for it then because he new it would be really obvious that you couldn’t retire by that date.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. About a year ago, I friend of mine who is in some authority in the faith, asked me how I knew I could retire on July 5. I explained the situation and that my angel had not rebuked me for that. He then said, “But he didn’t actually SAY you could?” The question startled me. I started hemming and hawing and trying to find a way out – and he laughed and said I wanted to believe it so bad I didn’t ask the right question. I will retire when I die. Hopefully, that won’t be July 5 of this year.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. Your plight Charlie reminds me of Cardinal Ratzinger’s desire to “retire” after PJPll pontificate ended. Alas, he was elected pope himself and the rest is history. I guess we are all waiting on the “fat lady”in life for when our personal history finally ends.

        Liked by 7 people

  19. Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Luke 24.

    I often wonder what would have become of Peter if he had stood. Perhaps there was some point in learning his own insufficiency, asking forgiveness, and returning to the battle wiser and more merciful. After all he had just been given the keys to winnow us.

    “where even the most thoughtful men had to pretend to the joyless grey fanaticism lest they be denounced to the gulag or death.”

    Scariest line I’ve read in a long time. We will all be tested.

    Lord help us to abhore the grey lifestyle, and give us humility to return to the battle stronger, as Peter did.

    Liked by 11 people

  20. Hi Charlie – excellent article. Do you have any thoughts or comments on Charlie Kirk from Turning Point USA. I recently heard about him while watching Mark Levin “Life Liberty & Levin”. I feel he is a sign of hope for not only the young, but for all of us. A true American and Future Leader of this country.

    God Bless

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hanson’s line “Mueller’s legal army presses on, even as it leaves its own wounded on the battlefield, as resignations, reassignments, and retirements for improper conduct decimate the Obama-era FBI and DOJ hierarchies.” made me think how God works in mysterious ways and how the Mueller investigation might probably be the ulitmate undoing of the whole Godless left.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Indeed, Frank. While I will continue to respect that we’re here without Charlie expressing public prophetic utterances and we’re moving onward in submission to God’s Plan as his willing servants, however He may desire to use any one of us, I continue to read – what I consider to be – knowledgeable, insightful writers of our times. And I find what you told your wife, Frank, to ring true, again and again. It began four days after President Trump’s inauguration with Dennis Praeger’s piece, America’s Second Civil War. My Goodness! It was as if Mr. Praeger was a TNRSer. As authentic news continues to be reported, I echo your statement – with a slight adaptation, for we have only been publicly exposed to it on the TNRS website since its inception 5 years ago, but Charlie was saying these things more than twenty years ago to his spiritual directors as he sought their counsel and submitted himself to Holy Mother Church. How true it is: This is exactly what Charlie Johnston has been saying for more than twenty years.

        PS For those interested in the erudite background of Victor Davis Hanson, here’s a link to his own website.

        Liked by 7 people

  21. My goodness, Charlie!! When you say you are working on something ‘meaty’ you really mean it. Any teacher reading this could make it into a term’s work program. I am going to have to read it a few times to take it all in but I could not agree more with your stance – although I am not nearly that erudite. Thanks so very much for your continuing posts. Your take on issues is always spot on. God bless and keep you safe. One cannot help but wonder at the target on your back, which must becoming more and more visible to the rabid left. I pray for your safety.

    Liked by 5 people

  22. The below came in my MILINET News e-mail today and all tell me that we are still a long way from “Dawn”. I’ll say again that the USA is more divided, and dangerously so, than 1860 ….. and BoobLand USA is at The Mall …. and Foreign Bad Actors abound:

    “Revolution and Worse to Come” – Victor Davis Hanson

    “7 Forces Driving America Toward Civil War”

    “Are There Any Adults Left in Washington, D.C.?”–Brian C. Joondeph

    “Calexit gets go-ahead to start collecting signatures”

    “Crisis as One-Fourth of Fighter Pilot Jobs Not Filled, Watchdog Finds”

    “NRA sets fundraising record, mostly from small donors”


    Liked by 10 people

  23. Nice work. I think this very well captures what is happening in our culture and is an excellent reminder to focus on first principles, which is easy to forget when you are constantly in reactive mode being drowned in Talk News jabbering, ignorant headlines and Facebook memes.

    What i find interesting is what happens when you actually sit down and talk to people who start out by parroting media talking points. When you start asking deeper questions and making reasonable points, they start quickly rethinking the talking points and seem surprised at themselves that they hadn’t thought about it before.

    A few examples. I like talking to Europeans about gun issues when i’m over there. They start by talking about “saving lives”, but then I bring up practical matters like what would actually happen with the 300 million existing guns if you suddenly outlawed them. It wouldn’t be millions of sedate people lining up to hand over their weapons. I bring up the reason for the original law, and the fact that banning guns won’t magically cure our violent culture. People quickly say yeah maybe it’s not so easy.

    On immigration, people start out by talking about racism and fairness etc. Then you ask them to really think about what the social and economic consequences would be if we just opened the borders. They usually say, well it probably wouldn’t be a happy result.

    When people say that hate speech should be banned, they are never able to define what it even is.

    Even gender ideology, people start out with the party line that we should be “free” to define our identities. Then i will ask them what their reaction would be if i demanded that they address me as a 5′ black woman (i’m a 6′ white guy). They typically say well you aren’t a black woman. So i respond “says you.” The “born that way” crowd can’t actually explain how that is possible when current science says that virtually everything about us is a combination of nature, nurture, culture, etc.

    It seems daunting but truth prevails in the end. The challenge is to stand your ground, be reasonable in the face of hysteria, be firm yet humble and don’t wilt under the “shame” that progressive idealogues attempt to foist on you. It’s really hard to do, but I pray for the strength to be able to because more often than we expect it actually works.

    Liked by 11 people

      1. When I’m on the internet I use 2 different browsers.

        1. Firefox when I’m working on our websites because it has a ton of website developer tools.

        2. Google Chrome for browsing the internet and political news sites.

        For Chrome you can get an “Image Off” Addon that remembers which website you want to have images off on and which ones you don’t. This addon is great for YouTube, when everything and anything shows up on the right hand sidebar.

        You can also get for Chrome a profanity filter here:

        People, especially men, need to guard there eye’s and mind on the internet. Many website’s have pictures of half naked women all over in ad’s. Why even put oneself into a possible place of temptation, leave the images off. The pages load faster too.

        Liked by 6 people

      1. I recommend watching “War of the Vendee” by Navis Pictures.
        I recommend watching the trailer and the movie clip.

        Quote: “This is the largely unknown story of the valiant, six year struggle of the people of a small section of western France, to restore their Holy Religion and their King.”

        In other words, the story is about the uprising of the Ordinary People, who were sick of persecution from the elites.

        Liked by 4 people

  24. Latest Medjugore message

    Latest Medjugorje Message, April 25, 2018 [O]
    Marija during an apparition

    “Dear children! Today I am calling you to live your new life with Jesus. May the Risen One give you strength to always be strong in the trials of life and to be faithful and persevering in prayer; because Jesus saved you by His wounds and by His Resurrection gave you new life.

    Pray, little children, and do not lose hope. May joy and peace be in your hearts and witness the joy that you are mine. I am with you and love you all with my motherly love. Thank you for having responded to my call. ”

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Thank you Sean! I used to read the OLoM message(s) on the day they were given and wait for the next one. Lately I’ve been reading the current message(s) daily until the next one is received. ❤

      Liked by 5 people

  25. Charlie,

    What a wonderful analysis of what we are facing and why. I am still trying to wrap my mind around all of this. The problem of Principles vs Policy.

    Seems to me that one of the things we are going to have to “disenthrall” ourselves of is the temptation to kick the can down the road with the answer many politicians offer as a salve: “We agree on the principles with our opponents but we disagree on the tactics of how to achieve the goal.”

    The reality in these days is that we disagree profoundly on the Principles. It’s a delusion to think otherwise.

    One of the problems that is becoming more acute as each day goes by is something that Fr Richard Heilman calls The Loss of The Sense of Divinity and the Supernatural. This is a recurring theme.

    Heilman argues that the loss of the sense of the Divine and the Surpernatural begins with the loss of something he calls Fear of The Lord.

    “What is Fear of the Lord? According to Fr. John Hardon, Fear of the Lord …

    “… inspires a person with profound respect for the majesty of God. Its corresponding effects are protection from sin through dread of offending the Lord, and a strong confidence in the power of His help. The fear of the Lord is not servile but filial. It is based on the selfless love of God, whom it shrinks from offending. Whereas in servile fear the evil dreaded is punishment; in filial fear it is the fear of doing anything contrary to the will of God.”

    As I wrote in an earlier article, I’ve come to understand that over the past 50 years we have, by and large, removed the very gateway into the Divine Life. I happen to agree with Pope St. Gregory the Great who, wanting to capture the spiritual dynamism of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, posited the following order:

    “Through the fear of the Lord, we rise to piety, from piety then to knowledge, from knowledge we derive strength, from strength counsel, with counsel we move toward understanding, and with intelligence toward wisdom and thus, by the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, there opens to us at the end of the ascent the entrance to the life of Heaven” (“Homiliae in Hiezechihelem Prophetam,” II 7,7).

    As you can see, the entry point is “Fear of the Lord (or Awe and Wonder).”

    The restoration of the sense of the Divine and Supernatural in society seems to be an opportunity for The Ordinary Man to make a stand and a place from which to commence a counter attack.

    The Mass seems a good place to start. Even at Mass we seem to have lost the Sense of the Divine and the Supernatural. I heard a priest bemoan the common practice of people shuffling up to receive communion and kind of a dreary exchange: “Body of Christ. Amen” “Body of Christ. Amen” “Body of Christ. Amen”.

    If we realized what was happening we, like Peter, James and John on Mt. Tabor, should be falling flat on our faces in the presence of the Transformed Divine Jesus and the Supernatural Moses and Elijah.

    We recently saw this article entitled “Government is Replacing Religion, According to Researchers”

    The disturbing assertion:

    “They concluded that “religiosity” wanes as people get more help from government programs. They think that people replace spiritual help from God with tangible help from the government.

    Researchers call it an exchange model of religion: If people can get what they need from the government (be it health care, education or welfare) they’re less likely to turn to a divine power for help, according to the theory.

    I am not convinced that the researchers were measuring what they thought they were measuring. Going to church and participating in a religious community is not so clearly a deeply religious experience for all attendees. Community and social ties are likely the main reason most people gravitate towards religion.

    People abandon the God that provides them with a community for a “god” that provides them with “free” stuff. The government is much easier to satisfy. You don’t have to be polite and grateful to your neighbors when they help you. The government obscures where the help really comes from, and leaves people with a sense of entitlement.”

    If this isn’t Loss of The Sense of Divinity and the Supernatural what is?

    I heard a priest say that the second largest religious denomination in America is: Fallen away Catholics. That is a scandal if true.

    This suggests the Next Right Step might begin with the foundational principle that there is a God. And we impart that TRUTh to our own families and never shrink from that belief in our church, our community and our work place.

    The long march back to foundational principles may in fact be a reconsideration of Fear of The Lord.

    Liked by 15 people

    1. I love this comment and your quotes, Ed! So true, all of it. “Profound respect for the majesty of God”; this is an awesome description of what “fear of the Lord” really means, and of what we have lost. I’ll never forget my childhood memories of going into the empty church to pray by myself. It was dark, but beautiful, quiet, peaceful, candles lit, the tabernacle front and center of course! Even at that young age, I could feel the presence of God. Before and after Mass there was no talking, imagine that! To me what we have lost is summed up in one word, reverence, and how I miss it.

      Liked by 10 people

    2. Good points. The researchers seem to be assuming the purely social or natural definition of religion, the same one Zuckerberg assumed when he talked about facebook “replacing” religion. This is also exactly what Ratzinger was referring to when he said that a religion which is only a charity or political organization must and will die. The government or some related entity will always replace a religion based on the natural, because it is just another invention of man that subordinates itself to the state (eventually). State, facebook etc can never replace the spiritual aim of the Catholic faith , the person of Christ. People inherently know this, so they try to fill the gap with New Age spiritualities, which are just impoverished forms that are somewhat compatible with the State and never challenge it. The enemy of State power is a legitimate Christianity that demands allegiance to an idea greater than it and provides what the State can’t

      Liked by 2 people

      1. In the main, LJ, I agree with you, but I’d like to add a couple thoughts. The Statists make Christianity into an Enemy of the State, but it is not actually an enemy. Christianity enables the State to be harnessed for the benefit of the citizens. From the point of view of our Founding Fathers, Christianity was not an enemy of the State they were trying to build but the way to rein it in, to make it a campfire instead of a wildfire.

        To create a State that aids the citizens of that State, there needs to be a way to dedicate that State to a higher purpose. So: God creates unalienable rights, and the State exists as the means the citizens use to protect those rights. God and the Christianity He created here on Earth tame the State.

        Statists do not wish to destroy the State. They wish to turn it to (harness it to) their purposes. For that to occur, they must persuade everyone else that the Yoke that controls the State is bad or evil, and that means making it clear that Christianity and its God are an enemy, The Enemy. Enemies are to be destroyed.

        Which when it comes right down to it means that at the heart of the Statists’ effort is the belief/teaching that Good can only be done if God is removed from human existence.

        Liked by 2 people

  26. Clint Eastwood refers to them as “the common man” with the same meaning as “the ordinary man”:

    Here’s an interview of the three young men who played themselves in this movie:

    Liked by 7 people

  27. I’m close to the age of 80. Over the course of my life, I have witnessed a big decline in the morals of our country. My parents never locked the front door of our house, nor on our one car. There was a much keener sense of morality and awareness of what was right and wrong. People just lived that way. We had a strong devotion to our flag and expected our politicians to be upright and honest for the welfare of all citizens. Today many people are confused about what’s right and what’s wrong. Everyone has a good argument for their side. One side can’t convince the other. When I was young, the 10 Commandments were a guideline for living justly. Many of my protestant friends believed in the same truths as Catholics did. We knew what was right and what was wrong. Not any more. The devil is alive and well and is causing chaos in the Church and around the world big time. We don’t need any more investigations into crookedness because it doesn’t appear that justice will be served anyway. We need to live by God’s truth and justice. We need our Church to get us back on track. This is one big impossible situation!! We need many, many prayer warriors and many, many rosaries, and keep trusting Jesus. We shall overcome. Keep trusting Jesus. As St. Peter said…..where else can we go? Charlie, we need you in Washington !!!!

    Liked by 15 people

    1. I think we need to get back to a norm of larger families, where family life was truly a crucible and parents looked to ministers and priests to help them cope with their young emperors. Siblings don’t appease, ever, but with guidance they eventually learn how to get along. That crucible is a true blessing and is where the first battle against barbarism takes place.

      Liked by 7 people

  28. As my husband says, you eat an elephant one bite at a time and so I have been devouring this piece. If you can get me to understand politics, you’ve accomplished something. It’s not usually an area of interest for me but has become one because of the times we are in. Bite by bite this piece feeds my understanding. Honestly Charlie, I am praying that your influence goes well beyond ASOH. All of America needs to understand this.

    Liked by 8 people

  29. When 9/11 happened, my husband and I were Youth Ministers. First we made sure our young children knew and prayed to their level of understanding. Then we revised our agenda and set out to explain, counsel, console and minister to our youth at our weekly meeting. The reaction we got was shocking; “why is everyone still talking about this”, “I’m so sick of hearing about it”, “I was hoping to get away from the subject”…just wow. Of course age was a huge factor, but only a few admitted that their parents even discussed it with them! How could you not!?!

    The world is increasingly concerned with unimportant things. They are distracted by fluff and want to communicate only in “sound bites”. I agree with Judy and Kris…I never considered myself political but there is so much injustice, and there are so many important things NOT being done that I have to know and speak truth to my circle of influence. If I don’t know what I believe and why, I feel complicit and part of the problem! We have an acronym we use in our family…OFG – Opportunity For Grace. We live in a very progressive and liberal part of the country and so often my kids tell me “when I spoke up about this issue, my friends say they had never heard that fact or perspective or doctrine before.” My son was even nicknamed “Father Tim” by his religion teacher! Our kids now know that Mom and Dad are thirsting for truth…like water in the dessert…religious truth, political truth, moral truth. We cannot get enough! They forgo music in the car so Mom can listen to catholic radio, we all share the insights from reading and knowing wise people and we discuss what we watch to wring out any discernible nuggets from movies or TV. We are so grateful for the fullness of truth in the Catholic faith and for wise, faithful people who share what they learn (your name here). Glug-glug.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. You go, MM3. If you run out of water in the desert in these parts, you can always count on the cholla cactus with it’s ‘jumping’ pads and nasty barbs. Just take a long stick, knock some pads off, and carefully burn the vicious barbs off with your handy lighter. Then you can safely slice it open to squeeze the water out and filter it into your canteen. Or, you can just squeeze it into thirsty mouths. ‘Course by the sound of it, you’re already aware of this desert survival tip.

      Liked by 6 people

  30. I so miss talking to everyone here. I am still around, reading and praying with all of you. Wish I had time to spend reading and responding more often but life calls! May God keep you all safely in His arms. <3~juls

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  31. Charlie, I was anxious to read your latest post, but when it arrived its length prevented me from starting — it’s finals week so all reading-and-thinking energy is going into my studies. But this morning I brewed some coffee and had my iPad read it to me in her sweet, sexy voice.

    At the risk of sounding intellectually lazy (which I am), all I can say is hear, hear! I liked the part about:

    * The Wolves and a Sheep. (clever illustration of mob-rule and the 2nd Amendment.)
    * Jefferson and the Judiciary. (how insightful he was)
    * Volunteerism and Public Welfare. (versus govt welfare)
    * Thank you for reading de Tocqueville, the Federalist Papers, and Constitutional Convention debates for me. (they’re on my list, but I may never get to them)
    * Hot Pokers and the Rack.
    * Yes, it is morbidly amusing to watch California self-destruct. (you make your bed…)
    * Yes, our defenses on the Right are battered.
    * Merkel, the EU, and the NHS.
    * Brown-shirts and the Ordinary Man.
    * Our trump card.

    Thanks for the piece. And I look forward to the next, Mr Toto!

    P.S. I just reached my 10-year anniversary since my confirmation into the Faith!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I was going to add: while the deep rifts between ideologies in our polarized nation is clear as black and white, I cannot envision us descending into chaos and civil war like Russia and France did centuries back. (I trust your assessment completely, Charlie…it’s just that I can’t see it yet). I regard the left as weak and impotent, hateful and very frustrated. All they really have (besides their judges) is loud and numerous bullhorns plus fuming rhetoric to try to incite their pawns to “bring it all down.” Will yelling rebels provide enough of a catalyst to break our country apart and ruin everything for everybody?

      Liked by 5 people

  32. Here’s an update (which was included in a group email) from our reader/commenter, Bill, on the priest, Fr. Wagner, for whom we’ve been praying: “I received a message from Vito Wagner, Fr. Michael’s brother, about some important information that the family would like you to know. Due to the drastic decline of Michael’s condition, the family has decided that it is best to remove life supports from him tomorrow, Friday, April 27th at 3:00 pm. I am struck that this is the hour of the Lord’s death and as many of you know, Michael’s favorite prayer was the Divine Mercy.”

    May the Lord welcome this beloved priest into his True Home where we ask Fr. Michael to intercede for us as we continue making the transition through our purification. May Fr. Michael’s family, both biological and spiritual, be consoled in their mourning.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Also included in the news was a note from a deacon who will lead the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy at the Sacred Heart Church today at 3 pm. Bill just wrote that he’ll go to the Chaplet and pray the Chaplet for Fr. Wagner in our name, as Bill said: “for the entire sign of hope group.”

      Thank you, Bill.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. I will set a reminder to say it as I work today as well. We’ll have another intercessor for us to ask for help and prayers from, so let’s help Fr. Wagner out that his path to Heaven is the shortest possible it can be!

        Liked by 6 people

  33. Holy Smokes can sure write so well!!! I like reading your thoughts….often poetic. Always true! Been reading lately about the different dwelling places in Heaven…I’ve been thinking as of late there might be a TNRS abode in that great heaven God provides for us adopted sons & daughters…now isn’t that a nice thought. .& Charlie, you will be sitting in our midst😇

    Liked by 4 people

  34. Charlie, this piece is brilliant. What a gift you have been given. I forward this to my non relgious brothere and many of his friends. They have a convervative leaning and the response was favorable. I hope it opens the door to see the correlation between how this country became great and the faith that was behind this greatness. Thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

  35. The ever incisive and insightful Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a great piece concerning the core issues surrounding the treatment of the parents of wee Alfie, who died in the early hours of this day. Father succinctly addresses the heart of the matters which directly connect to the themes about which Charlie has written, thereby preparing us and inviting us into discussions about the story of God’s Plan unfolding – with each one’s prayers, stories, schema and views, leading us to refine our thinking and to open within us new possibilities for acting with courage, in ordinary ways, yet, with holy boldness. You won’t want to miss Fr. Dwight’s piece.

    The Ballad of the Ordinary Man may well be sung throughout history, an extraordinary recounting of the untold tales of people rising on a foundation of acknowledging God via relying completely on Him in faith, hope and love… thereby guided and inspired to NRSteps while He makes of each of us an irreplaceable beacon of hope infused with faith and love.

    Fr. Dwight’s closing in his article:
    “The totalitarianism we are facing in our age is one that is completely different from communism and fascism. They wear business suits, not SS uniforms. They control the world with laptops and apps, not machine guns and tanks. They persecute with lawsuits not the Gulag. They will manipulate and control with their ideologies and propaganda, but it is done through game shows, reality TV, the broadcast news and the respectable BBC.

    That is what Alfie’s Evans unlocked. This is what Alfie’s Army was really about, and that is what the Trump win was really about and that is what Brexit was really about.

    It is about the rising rage of the ordinary folks, and the folks on the top of the heap would do well to listen and channel that rage because the more they try to suppress it the greater it will become.”

    Liked by 4 people

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