From the Vortex of the Swirling Gyre

By Charlie Johnston

Whatever happened to cabooses? I noticed while driving in the Midwest that I almost never see cabooses at the end of a freight train anymore. There is always only the last car in a train. When I was a kid, I saw cabooses at the end of almost every freight train. Maybe someone who works with trains can tell us. I miss the little red caboose behind the track. It gave order and a proper close to a passing train. Whatever happened to them?


Is there a single time in the history of the world when the faction that censored people, burned books, and punished others for wrongthink were ever the heroes of the era? Ever?

Oh, I know the cancel culture warriors maintain that there is a unique moral imperative in their crusade and that normal people pose a unique danger to the world. But every faction in history that has institutionalized these tactics has claimed some transcendent moral high ground to justify their brutal oppression of opponents. Sometimes the opponents were almost as brutal as the oppressors, sometimes they were almost entirely innocent. Equally consistent is that all oppressors claim that they are the real victims of the people they oppress – and their brutalized prey are actually the aggressors. Even that icon of evil brutality, Adolf Hitler, claimed that innocent Germans were the victims of bloodthirsty Jews as he sent those Jews to the gas chambers.

The story is depressingly the same throughout history. A willful class of aggressive “idealists” declares whatever constitutes their ignorant enthusiasms to be enlightenment, then uses that as justification to intimidate, persecute and then seek to destroy their opponents – who actually pose no threat to the larger society; only an impediment to the willful class’ ambitions of seizure of absolute power. During the interim stages of the assault, much of the victim class cannot believe that their former neighbors and even friends mean them harm. Sometimes the victims don’t wake up until it is too late; at others, they rouse themselves to defense in the nick of time.

The oppressors sometimes burn themselves out quickly. At other times, they can hold power for decades, even as they hollow out the society they have highjacked and occupied. But even when they crush the victims, oppressors are always doomed to ultimate failure. That is because they don’t know how to build or grow anything. They survive by brutality and pitting others against each other. They only know how to break and destroy what they don’t like; not how to build anything they do like. Eventually, even when they have won, their barrenness, the infertility of their rhetoric, becomes apparent even to most of those they duped – and they fall, often to the outraged defensive violence of people who will be oppressed no longer.

Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kamal Harris and their allies in cancel culture are at the peak of their power but, even now, it is a rickety and uncertain contraption. When a future generation writes the history of this era, Obama, Pelosi and Harris will be among the parade of villains, not the heroes, of this story. Because not once in the history of the world have the people who censor other people, burn books, and punish opponents for wrongthink ever emerged as the hero of the story, no matter how high-flown the spurious idealism they spout. By their tactics you shall know them.


I am fond of Professor Daniel O’Connor. We have some significant areas of disagreement, but he has struck me since I first met him as a young man who wants to chart the most right course he can find and follow it faithfully. He is usually more interested in trying to get it right than trying to prove whatever he thought last week is right. To that end, he is both humble and bold – humble in what he knows he is not sure of, respecting the conscience of others, and bold in proclaiming what he believes. A few days ago, O’Connor knocked it out of the park with his piece, “There are no Aliens” – and in a way that showcased his virtues. It brought to mind portions of my extended meditation on the Book of Job, which I reprint here from time to time and do so anew at the bottom.

Demonic entities are opportunistic. They will take whatever form a culture suspends its disbelief on in order to deceive the faithful and destroy the unsteady. In centuries past, many sightings of fairies, leprechauns, sprites and pixies were reported. People were inclined to suspect such things existed, so demonic entities (which DO exist) obliged them and appeared in forms the people of the time found congenial. People have now largely dismissed such things as fantasy. That is why no serious reports of sightings occur anymore. Ah, but many people do suspect that aliens exist – so demonic entities have abandoned the forms of fairies, leprechauns, sprites and pixies and adopted the form of aliens to deceive us. As O’Connor marvelously explains, it may be the most dangerous such deception of all – with even many high-ranking churchmen using the deception to justify a potential overthrow of Church doctrine.


We begin our Lenten Fundraising campaign for CORAC today with a message and video emailed out to the members of CORAC. I will link to it on Friday.


And now, back to Job (or to the meditation I wrote back in 1998 on the Book)…

Since God’s interaction with each person is so intimately personal, how do we encounter Him properly and help others to do so? However interesting it might be for a finger to explain its function to a foot, it won’t be terribly helpful in teaching the foot to walk. One of the best answers to this question is to be found in the most misunderstood and misinterpreted book of the Bible; the Old Testament Book of Job.

There is good reason why many skim over – or skip entirely – the Book of Job. It turns the nostrums of traditional piety upside down. As it opens we are introduced to Job, a just and pious man who is blessed in all his affairs. He is prosperous, healthy and has a big, joyful family. In fact, Job is so notable for his good-natured righteousness that God boasts of him before the heavenly host. Hearing this, the satan appears before the throne and tells God that the only reason Job is so faithful is because God has given him such abundant blessings. Satan proposes a wager: if God will let him afflict Job, the man will curse God to His face. Though the Anti-Gambling Coalition would surely disapprove, God takes the bet anyway.

Disaster after disaster befalls Job. His crops are ruined, his livestock perish, his children are killed, his health is afflicted and his life becomes an almost unbearable misery. It is idiomatic to speak of the patience of Job; even Jesus comments on it. But if patience is understood to mean meek acceptance of whatever comes, that most assuredly does not describe our Job. There are 42 chapters in the book. By Chapter Three Job is in full dudgeon. He complains of God, complains to God, insists he has done nothing to deserve this, and demands that God appear before him to explain.

In the course of his bitter complaints Job is visited by three traditionally pious friends (a fourth pops up briefly near the end) who come to defend God, urge Job to repent of his complaints and to confess to the sins that have caused these disasters to befall him. But Job is adamant. He insists that if God would agree to stand with him before an independent tribunal where both presented their case without intimidation, his own righteousness would be confirmed.

The two most commonly quoted verses of Job are at 13:15 and 19:25. The former is quoted as, “Slay me though he might, I will wait for him; I will defend my conduct before him,” (NAM) and, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him,” (KJV). The latter reads, “…I know that my Vindicator lives…” (NAM) or, “…I know that my redeemer liveth…” (KJV). Though both are beautiful expressions of faith, what is notable about them is the contrast they present to Job’s usual litany of complaints and demands. For those who would make Job into a meekly pious, long-suffering man, they are about the only useful quotes in the whole book.

Rarely is any of Chapter III quoted. In his opening complaint, Job goes into a lengthy curse of the day he was born. He comes perilously close to cursing creation, itself, in the process – which would be blasphemy. Even so, the two quotes cited earlier are consistent with Job’s main argument, even if not in the way that many would like them to be. Job does not argue that God is unjust, though he skirts close to that argument frequently; his argument is that his own treatment is unjust. Job demands, often quite stridently, that God appear to him and explain; yet he remains faithful that if he could obtain this he would ultimately receive justice from the Almighty.

His friends, on the other hand, insist that God’s justice is always immediate. So if Job suffers, he must have sinned grievously.

Astonishingly, God does exactly what Job demands. At the beginning of Chapter 38 God comes roaring out of the whirlwind to answer Job. For the next four chapters God takes Job through all of creation; the heavens, the earth, the seas, the sky, the animals, the darkness and the light. At each step, God asks Job what he knows of such things, what he can command. The Almighty is not gentle about his questioning of Job. Dripping with sarcasm, He taunts and mocks the man, showing him how small he is and how little he knows.

After four chapters of God roaring at and apparently browbeating him, Job submits. “I put my hand over my mouth…I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know,” (Job 40:4, 42:3 NAM). It is at this point that many commentators who are candid about Job’s impassioned dissent lose their way. Though God appears, He does not seem to answer Job’s questions, only to roar at and intimidate him. Observers who admire Job’s courage and passion in challenging God lament that, in the end, he buckles before God’s power rather than persisting in his demand for answers. Though trying to approach the book honestly these commentators are as limited as Job’s ‘pious’ friends.

God certainly roars at Job, but He does much more than that. He spends fully four chapters showing Job every aspect of creation. Think about that. God did not just come out of the whirlwind to Job; He took Job back into the whirlwind with Him.

I love contemplating what it was Job saw that caused him to put his hand over his mouth and dispute with God no more. Imagine that God showed Job our world, sparkling blue and green like some impossibly rare and precious gem, glittering with life and light. Then God shows Job the entire universe. Think of Job’s wonder at the billions of stars, comets, quarks and planets all pulsing and whirring, a symphony of light and rhythm. Then the stunning realization that our world amounts to less than a grain of sand in the ocean of this staggering abundance. Most stunning of all, God shows Job that this vast universe is merely the support system for our little speck. Every passing comet, every collapsing black hole, every bursting supernova, every moon, every planet in the most distant galaxy is designed to maintain the dynamic tension which keeps our world ticking. Utterly amazing that in the grand physical scheme of things we are less than a speck – and yet are the very reason for that grand scheme. We are God’s beloved.

Zooming back to Earth, Job is shown how all the animals and plants, the land and sea, winds and waters, fire and ice in striving with each other maintain the vitality of life. He sees more than this, though.

Standing with God outside of time, that remorseless captor from whom no man has robbed even a minute, every moment of Job’s life is present to him; his birth, his death, his sufferings and his restoration. Watch with Job as he considers this divine terrarium contained in time and space.

Though He constrains Himself against compelling our will, God manages the divine economy so that every event, every chance encounter calls us to Him. Here is a child of great purity born to parents given to licentiousness. There a child of great courage is given to parents who are rootless. An arrogant rake named Augustine is born to Monica, a woman of astonishing purity, persistence and fortitude. Bathed in the grace of decades of her prayers, Augustine ends by becoming one of God’s most fruitful servants. How often are parents sanctified through their children and children through their parents! There are saints with great sins on their consciences. In them, it merely opens up new channels of grace as their remorse gives them a larger spirit and a tender empathy for other sinners. There are great sinners who only have a small virtue, but grab hold of that lifeline and follow it back to God. Many people are inspired to find their path to salvation through an encounter with one who suffers with dignity. Ah, but many others are seduced by the transient glitter of vanity and power, fooled by the false luster of what is only paper and paste compared to what God intends for us.

Job sees great natural catastrophes – and a flood of divine grace pouring forth just before the catastrophe hits. For a time even enemies recollect their common humanity and pull together in solidarity with each other. Many are saved through this. But there are those who loot and exploit their fellows, unaware that they tear a piece of their humanity away from their soul in the process. God weeps over it. There are untimely deaths which seem tragic. But most are souls in their final state of grace. It is God’s mercy which plucks them before they can fall into perdition. In God’s economy every event is a potential new channel of grace opening up.

Job does not see God punishing anyone; He is far too busy trying to save them. A little temporal or physical suffering is often applied to help heal a soul. But souls can only be damaged by their owners’ free choice. Certainly, the satan busies himself trying to undo God’s grace, encouraging souls to maim themselves by chasing after sex, money and power at the expense of those around them. With every step away from God it becomes harder for a soul to hear and respond to His call. God not only calls each of us to salvation; He calls us a thousand times a day in little whispers. The Lord of Hosts suffers intensely over each of His children who so maim their souls that they begin to lose the capacity to respond to Him. Everything leads to eternity. In eternity, outside of God, there is only agony and isolation.

Job sees that, in temporal time and space, the greatest conquests and the greatest accomplishments are less than a puff of smoke on a windy day. The only thing that matters – the only thing – is the witness we live with those we encounter and, especially, with those given into our care. Everything in this bubble is always passing away. Those who anchor themselves in temporal things will perish with those temporal things. All that counts is to help others to choose life, the life that is when all this passes away.

Job sees great souls whose purity and love unite them with God. Even greater souls manifest their love of God through their love of and tender care for their neighbors. But the greatest souls are those who embrace what little sorrows and sufferings come their way in penance for themselves and as an offering for those who do no penance. Everyone wants the consolation of God, but these are the souls who console God. Their willing participation in His sorrows opens up profound channels of grace through which many otherwise unreachable souls are recalled to God, to life.

This is some of what I see when I enter into the whirlwind with Job. He does not put his hand over his mouth in servile fear, but in awe and with gratitude. Though he can’t understand all he sees, he discovers a bit of the magnitude of God’s love for us. And he takes new joy in knowing that his sufferings, too, make him a participant in God’s redeeming grace for us.

As Job’s tale comes to a close God does what may be the most astonishing thing of all. In what should (but somehow does not) send a chill of terror up the spine of every religious scold in history, God turns furiously on Job’s ‘pious’ friends. “You have not spoken rightly of me as has my servant Job,” He tells them. The Almighty is so angry He refuses to hear their prayers for forgiveness. Instead, He directs them to go to Job and ask him to pray for them, for He will hear and accept Job’s prayer on their behalf. These are the very people who have spent the entire book defending God while Job has been busy raging at and challenging Him. What are we to make of this?

Perhaps the friends were not defending God at all. Perhaps all they were defending was their preconceived notion of God or what they thought He should be. Even worse, if what they said had been true, it would have meant that God truly is unjust. They said God only afflicts those who have sinned grievously. But Job spoke truly in defending his righteousness. For all his histrionics, Job never accused God of being unjust. In fact, Job seemed quite confident that if God would only appear to him justice would follow. God did come to him and gave him even more than what he expected. Job had, indeed, been the one who spoke rightly of God. God always responds to the honest heart. Job was certainly noisy in complaining of his pain and discontent. His questions were less requests than demands. But he was candid and entirely sincere. And God came.

Whatever your beliefs, you would certainly like to know if God is. Go ahead. Acknowledge where the shoe of faith pinches – or even if it does not fit at all. Then ask whatever you can with sincerity. You shall receive.

152 thoughts on “From the Vortex of the Swirling Gyre

  1. Now they are openly calling for the replacement of Christianity in America in our schools.
    “The religious narrative is even more disturbing. Cuauhtin developed a related “mandala” claiming that white Christians committed “theocide” against indigenous tribes, killing their gods and replacing them with Christianity.
    ….the displacement of the Christian god, which is said to be an extension of white supremacist oppression, and the restoration of the indigenous gods to their rightful place in the social justice cosmology. It is, in a philosophical sense, a revenge of the gods.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Why don’t we all go home to our countries of origin? That would be an excellent start to demographically rebalancing the USA. For those of us with parents from different countries, such as an Italian father and an Irish mother, you’d spend the first 6 months in Italy and then the rest of the year in Eire.

      For those with a greater division in parentage, then you could divide each year by pro-rating your ancestry. For instance, you might have to spend 4 months in Mozambique, 7 months in Serbia, 2 weeks in Togo, finishing the year with a fortnight in Finland.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You know, HTTP, about five years ago when I read that Yellowstone’s Volcano may erupt as a super volcano, I said to Father that that would be great if we were just covered in ash and could do the “Beam me up Scottie” rise to Heaven. He said: “That’s the lazy way.” 🙂 Onward CORAC soldiers.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. JESUS = GOOD NEWS .. 😉

    Bee Whisperer

    The “Investigation” of 6 Jan DC Unpleasantness has gone to Full Cover-Up Mode … what FringeLeft Politico reports as “Most Complicated Investigation” = Most Corrupt/Fraudulent Investigation!

    I’m convinced that Fort Pelosi is all about Hysteria, Deception, Distraction …. & part of “Investigation” Cover-Up …. & manifest Democrat Malfeasance.

    US National Guard Association denounces extension of troop presence in DC.

    HullyGee!! ChinaDiFi chimes in On-Cue!
    Got to take ARs from ALL those elusive & awful Trump Deplorables and City Burning/Looting/Vandalizing White Supremacists …. Right!?


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the bee whisperer!! That was so awesome, illustrating the way God wants us to live in harmony with His creation. I’m kind of a softy for bees. I keep thinking “new Heavens and a new Earth”, if that’s the correct quote 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I loved it too, Annie. Saw it last evening at Citizen Free Press and I shared it with Father who was mesmerized in watching the bee whisperer. About three years ago, he dealt with some carpenter bees – maybe a thousand – who had made a home under our front porch. I loved how the young woman referred to them as “gentle bees.” Amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. From Desmond Birch:


    Charlie, the opening of this article speaks of the general class of ‘misanthropes’ or ‘idealists’ who pop up in human history – who are ready and willing to throw man and reasonable civilization under the bus – in order to achieve their ideal state of things.

    I found that understanding quite interesting in that my new book already has an entire chapter on ‘Eutopianism’. Therein we take a walk down memory lane of carnage wrought on mankind by such eutopians/idealists, in our contemporary case, socialist counter-culture maniacs.

    I. I also draw a distinction within the list of the ‘Usual Suspects’ of idealists, between –
    A. The true believers who do the most damage through their naivete and/or stupidity, (commonly referred to as “useful idiots”,) and
    B. The opportunists who claim to really believe all the propaganda peddled by idealists – BUT –
    1. who know it is all ludicrous vis-à-vis the welfare of the common man, yet,
    2. recognize and utilize the ideals and propaganda as a ladder to rise to personal power.

    II. It is not always easy to tell the difference between them. But there is one rule of thumb I’ve found which usually tells the tale as far as the difference between the two: On their rise to power have they treated their co-criminal colleagues with respect and consideration? OR, have they clawed their way up over the careers, lives and bodies of their confreres?

    It makes for a most interesting study on the weaknesses within our fallen human nature.

    All my love in Christ

    p.s. liked the article

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good stuff, Desmond. I think the thing to understand about the modern pagan left is that they are like rabid feral dogs: they are perfectly content to savage a common enemy – but they always have to have something to savage. If there is no common enemy to savage, they turn on each other. They can’t do otherwise, for they have no clue how to build anything up, only to tear down. Yes, there is some strategy in the ripping of Andrew Cuomo after lionizing him – they want to do it on “me too” grounds rather than on the 15,000 people he killed in nursing homes, because five or six other Democratic governors did the same thing. They want to make him a scapegoat on other grounds to try to hide the murderous incompetence and malice of others in their pack. But if there had been no such imperative, they would have been ripping and clawing at someone on their side. Ask Robespierre, Trotsky or the thousands of other allies and friends of totalitarians who went to their executions wondering how they became targets of the terror they helped launch. Simple: Christ gives life and totalitarians give death – even while talking about “compassion.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, I agree-however I’ve personally witnessed many occasions over the years, of two different kinds of liberals and socialists, a) those who backed up/supported a troubled colleague when it would have been to their personal advantage to throw him or her to the wolves. b) those who threw a confrer under the bus – even when there were common enemies aplenty. In my experience, type b’s are usually one of those who are in the fight for personal power, and not out of idealism. Based upon almost 60 years of watching type B’s – I have an opinion which kind the sitting VP of the USA. Everyone is free to opine as to which that might be.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh, we just agreed vehemently this time, Dez. Most of those executed and purged from the ranks of the authoritarian mob are the useful idiots – or the useful scapegoats. Sadly, the type A’s usually mindlessly savage the people they were lionizing a few months back because the malicious powers that are running things tell them to – and the mindless mob believes everything the power-mad tell them – until they are on the block.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Here’s what I got to say about the “aliens”:
    We’re probably a better generation to try & understand the extra-Biblical narratives in context of our current knowledge, “Nothing is new under the sun…”. Genetic alteration of DNA before our generation was mostly unknown & impossible save for radiation & so called “magic”. What we could do with our technology, the devil & his fallen angels could already do better than us before Noah’s flood. God had to flood & destroy the world because “flesh had become corrupted”, and a experiment was done by these fallen ones that manufactured giants (Gen 6) & abomonations before & after Noah’s flood. This was done by the fallen angels to try & prevent the birth of Jesus Christ, because he had to be born of a pure & uncorrupted bloodline going back to Adam. The descendants of the serpent will be at war with the descendants of the woman is perhaps more than a figure of speech… The so called globalist elite claim to be superior by blood “the chosen bloodline” they believe themselves to be genetically superior, they are no doubt genetic abomonations (vessels) that make it easier for demons to influence & possess…

    This is about the best takeaway of the extra-Biblical narratives that Genesis & other books hint at that I will emphasize, and lets just leave the rest of it as mythology that lacked the knowlege & vocabulary to properly explain those events at the time those books were written.

    If there’s a “mark of the beast”, it’s a good bet it’s s genetic alteration that cuts people off from the Holy Spirit & his saving grace. This 5G technology seems to be a precusor to replace God’s Holy Spirit with the devil’s wireless digital spirit through the internet. I know it sounds all crazy, but it’s what our globalist elite technocracy is trying to do.

    If this is the truth, it certainly qualifies as being stranger than fiction…


    1. Al, pondering the Genesis 6 reading is best done by referring to the writings of solid Scripture scholars. It’s just too easy to go down all kinds of rabbit holes with this. And the “mark of the beast” has been sensationalized – to the nth degree – in these times. I think Charlie has the more reasonable take on it. Here are two excerpts from TNRS:

      “I have long said I believe the mark of the beast to be subservience to an ideology. Would that there were not so much evidence to support me these days. Increasingly, if you are Christian and insist on living it as if you actually believe it – rather than treat it as a quaint cultural remnant, you are the target of government, rogue judges, and people who are not content to have their deviancy tolerated, but insist that all must applaud it.”

      “But as God warns, satan busies himself deceiving. The spirit of anti-Christ is rampant in the world and is profoundly seductive because he deceives people that they are actually doing good. Gay marriage is all the rage today. Oppose it publicly and you will be denounced as a hater and, too often, even lose your job. I have written before that the mark of the beast is most likely an ideology – received in the hand in the form of a book or a pamphlet or in the forehead as a system of belief – and that without it the time will come when you may neither buy nor sell, to participate in ordinary commerce. In America, Christian business owners are being sued and fined for declining to cater to overtly homosexual celebrations. The health care law requires all businesses to provide for birth control and abortion, regardless of any Christian belief. Hobby Lobby is just one employer that has rolled the dice that this will be found unconstitutional while preparing to shut its doors if it is not. In parts of the western world, Christian pastors are being fined or even jailed for preaching authentic Christian doctrine on homosexuality. Even so, many Christians, even orthodox ones, in weariness or in the false hope of not being ‘discriminatory’ are dropping their opposition to homosexual unions or maintaining what they think is a prudent silence.”

      And here we are…


      1. I certainly hope you’re right, still, this doesn’t negate the fact the devil wants genetically disfigure the image of God in man & woman as we see this technology emerge. The “rabbit holes” we need to avoid are of the imagination, stick to facts and leave the rest. People complaining of these demonic alien abductions complain of being experimented on, this is nothing new according to various passages througout the Bible, and in other sources like Jubilees & Enoch. Still, our greatest pitfall is the imagination, our generation is begining to understand how technologies like crisper and retroviruses can do it.

        A hyper-vigilance against a mark of the beast has fusterated & delayed the efforts for the globalists to microchip & genetically modify humanity, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing, as would of already gone down those roads if were ignorant. Will this system be implemented durring a time that people in danger of starving because they can’t buy or sell will give loyalty out of desperation? We’re getting dangerously close to that, I pray the prayers of the faithful are enough to defeat this evil plot.


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