By Charlie Johnston
Today begins our CORAC fundraising drive that will carry through February 11 – both the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes and the beginning of my walking pilgrimage some 11 years ago now.
I spent some of last week going through the archives from this site over the last year and a half. It is quite astonishing how far we have come at CORAC in the past 12 months. A year ago at this time, we were still getting our feet on the ground, getting technical and administrative things in place. Of course, we were only five months old at the time. In the year since then, hundreds of people have taken our free homeopathy classes. I have put in a small cache of critical medical supplies, which we have distributed on an emergency basis when the need is identified. Shoot, on Christmas Eve I got an emergency call from a small religious order in crisis and we got the needed supplies out to them the next day. We have put together a national ham radio network – and do a simple broadcast each week to prepare the system if needed. We focus on ham radios because the government cannot shut them down as it can the internet and cellular service. Our prayer teams have expanded to include acting as ambassadors for CORAC. Our sustainability committee focuses on home and frontier skills to help people both survive and thrive where they are at should a crisis arise, up to and including a complete breakdown.
We have several critical priorities for the coming year. One of the things I am looking at is to get an economic clearing house in place to help people connect with companies and small businesses that are committed to faith, family and freedom along with us. There are several entities that are busy mounting “alternative economies.” I am not looking to compete with them, rather to ally with them and serve as a clearing house where people can easily go to find such companies to buy from or work for. Frankly, I suspect that huge dislocations are liable to be coming before the end of the year. Already, some food markets in the northeast have started posting signs encouraging shoppers not to buy more than they normally would, even though many critical items are not there to begin with because of the increasing damage to the supply chain. We need to get people able to fend for themselves – and that is always much easier when they are working collaboratively with others who are doing the same.
I also want to get people to start thinking in an analog fashion again in our digital world. Even in the area of communications, while digital technologies are very precise and clear, they are something of a hothouse plant – much more vulnerable to the elements than the much hardier (but less precise) analog technologies. You need to have some paper maps and know how to read them, to be able to communicate in cursive writing, to have hard copies of critical documents and information rather than mere digital access, to have a woodburning backup to your heating and cooking systems. If, miraculously, everything smoothed out and all was okay again, these types of preparation would do no harm to anyone and just serve as a redundancy. If, on the other hand, things continue on the road to collapse, these types of skills and preparations could well be the key to survival. Again, as I have since I started writing, I strongly discourage you from going full “survivalist;” rather I want you to make prudent preparations that you can afford. Regaining “analog” skills that have atrophied in our modern digital society costs little – and will be useful whatever happens. For me, learning new skills and keeping my loaded backpack close at hand will remain the only preparations I make.
For all the legal, technical, administrative and web costs, we manage on about $11,000 per month. We need to keep it going even as we expand the services we work together to provide. Won’t you join us in making the most generous donation you can? I know, I know, like every other institution, we depend on our donors to keep going – and so have to make a new push every few months. Hey, you guys are smart. If you know you are supportive of CORAC, you might figure out how much you can give for the year and divide it up into parcels to be spread throughout the year – on a quarterly basis, say, or, heaven love you, on a monthly basis.
I regret that our last appeal got a bit muddled because of my rather serious bout with Covid. Though I still have some minor challenges on that front, I also now have super-duper-califragilistic immunity, so I do not expect such an interruption again. Meantime, for all you wonderful monthly donors, I will make arrangements to get the CORAC Rosaries into the mail to you over the next month. Thank you for your patience.
As I perused the archives of the last year and a half, several things jumped out at me. On the issue of Covid and the Covid shots, if you were reading this site regularly, you got information that has held up over time. That is because here, we actually follow the science and the data, rather than following anyone’s cheap or panicked narrative. Last week, a fellow who has known me for decades told me that I was the most “scientific” person he ever knew – and that he knew it decades ago. As science is not my strong suit and something I have to work at to get right, I was rather startled and told him so. He replied that what he meant was that, in everything, I never just chose a narrative to follow and then cherry-pick data to support it, but always amass data and evidence – then follow where that leads boldly and candidly. It was a nice compliment – and his explanation describes well what I have tried to make my method throughout my life. Read through the archives of the last year and a half to see that I was very accurately describing where we were heading both with Covid and politically all along. That is important to give you confidence as we go forward that here, at least, you are getting factual information – and analysis that plays out well historically.
A couple of other rules I use in developing analysis. If an “expert” seeks to counter contrary arguments against him by silencing his opponent, he is not an expert at all, but a mere propagandist. Truth will stand the test of examination; propaganda will not. So I dismiss out of hand ANYONE whose primary tactic is to silence opposing views. That is pretty much our whole government and media complex now. It is utterly bizarre to me that a cohort of 20-somethings who have little training in anything (what the great Rush Limbaugh used to call “young skulls full of mush”) have suddenly become the arbiters of what is accurate and what is misinformation in our society. My friends, truth will stand the test of examination – and if you are not willing to undergo that test, you are not interested in truth, only seizing power on the cheap.
It was on December 23, 2020 when I first publicly said I thought it likely the Covid shots would become the greatest medical disaster in history. Right now, athletes in their prime who have taken the shot are dropping dead at the rate of two or three a week – and public health officials are saying it is just a coincidence. In heavily vaccinated Scotland, scientists are disturbed to find data suggesting that the more shots people have had, the more likely they are to get Covid. The heavily vaccinated country of Israel is one of the worst Covid hotspots in the world right now. Fortunately, despite the panic porn so beloved by the media and public officials, Covid is not the Black Plague. I certainly encourage you to check and double-check every piece of information you get, for the biggest purveyors of misinformation have been our media and public health officials. A method I have used a lot over my lifetime is to look at the historical record of entities that present information for accuracy. Those who have taken pains to get it right usually will continue to do so. (That is part of why I encourage you to read the archives of this site from the past year and a half). Even in those cases, though, you need to spot check to make sure the standards remain high.
Last year, a few days after the protest rally in D.C. on Jan. 6, I caught a whole lot of flack (including from more than a few conservatives) for this piece I wrote. It has held up quite well, I think. It is utterly bizarre to me that what was a genuinely “mostly peaceful” protest – in which a tiny sliver of the crowd got way too rowdy is being condemned as an “insurrection” while the violent riots of the 20’s are still being treated as righteous protests. Wayne Allyn Root has gotten to the heart of the political battle in America right now. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Sunday that members of the fraudulent House J-6 Committee could go to jail for their flagrant abuses of basic civil rights. We have a lot of wood to chop.
While perusing the archives I came upon this piece, entitled “Living Springs,” that I published on Dec. 15, 2020. I like it and think it a good way to spiritually gird your loins. I abhor the misinformation and gaslighting that is constantly coming from the dying establishment as it frantically tries to hold on to power, but I deeply dislike the actual misinformation that comes from people who, if they were dedicated to truth and accuracy, would be my allies. If I hear one more person say that there is no such thing as Covid, I may scream. (Of course, I have done that frequently from the privacy of my own room). A child often tells tales that, while false, do reflect his actual fears. Put away childish things. An adult should not glom onto every cockamamie thing they hear that attacks something they really know to be bad or evil: that does not serve to further discredit the evil, but only to discredit the person making false claims. “Test all things; hold fast to what is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21. I reprint Living Springs below, in hopes it may help us all to gird our loins for the trials ahead:
By Charlie Johnston
For many years I puzzled over the enigma of Judas Iscariot. Why would he betray Christ and then hang himself when Christ was given up to the power of corrupted men? None of the forced pious explanations satisfied me. When I am contemplating a story from the Bible, I like to immerse myself in the story, to try to see it as the people there saw it, to find the internal logic that motivates the participants in each drama. When I was a kid, I liked to follow mountain streams up to their source. Contemplating the Bible in this manner is similar. For every tale, there is a coherent, internal logic that brings the lesson into crisper relief. Sometimes the point is not what we initially think it is. Of course, Scripture is like a precious stone with many facets. I don’t think we ever see them all, and so when someone says they know what a particular passage means, they actually have grasped a single facet of it. Scripture is rich, dense and deep. But there is always a fundamental internal logic to a story if we look at the characters as real people and contemplate it.
Finally, just after I was received into the Church, I contemplated an explanation that satisfied my objections – and brightly illuminated the story for me in a way I had not previously thought of. I think Judas firmly believed that Jesus was the Messiah. All of Israel had expected the Messiah to be a warrior king, including Judas. After traipsing around the desert for three years, I think Judas lost patience and decided to force Jesus’ hand. He thought that if he put Jesus in a desperate situation, it would force Him to reveal His mighty power. Things did not go the way Judas expected. When he saw Jesus handed over to the authorities to face the judgment of men, Judas despaired over two things. First, he had betrayed innocent blood – and since Jesus did not reveal His mighty power immediately, Judas stopped believing He was the Messiah. I don’t think Judas’ great sin was the betrayal of Jesus. Rather, I think it was threefold. First, he sought to supplant whatever Jesus’ plan was with his own. Second, He could not conceive of Jesus having a fundamentally different plan than his own. Finally, he despaired when his plan did not come to fruition as he had intended it. The fundamental sin was that Judas never had any real faith in Jesus except to be the strong instrument to carry out Judas’ plan – which he thought was the only possible plan. He didn’t wait long enough to see that Christ’s power extended even over death.
For over 40 years, my method of analysis has not been dependent on a particular scenario, whether dealing with temporal or spiritual things. I long ago lost the illusion that I can ever know what, precisely, is going to happen. Rather, I deal in contingencies. After getting intimately familiar with the lay of the land, I come up with potential scenarios and go into an “if-then” sequence for each of them. On critical matters, I usually come up with about a dozen potential scenarios in my mind. When dealing with a specific client, I will give two or three main potential scenarios and how to address them. In addressing them, I generally give the probable benefits and shortfalls of each approach, along with my recommended approach (and I candidly address the probable benefits and shortfalls of that one, too). Even with this method, a good 30-40 percent of the time the reality is significantly different from what I expected. Yet the effort in putting it together this way both prepares me better for the unexpected and prevents me from becoming wedded to a particular scenario. I am occasionally wrong in my expectations, but I am rarely ambushed by the unexpected. A big part of what my clients have most valued about me is that, whatever happens, I almost always have a ready approach. Sounds like a know-it-all, doesn’t it? But the reality is that a know-it-all could never do this, for they are too vested in believing in their own superior knowledge to plan for contingencies. They already know what is going to happen, so why bother with so much labor to prepare for things they know are not going to happen. One of the best things that ever happened to me was my candid abandonment of the illusion that I already knew what was actually contingent and, thus, could only be known by God. It doesn’t stop me from devising strategy and tactics, but keeps me from getting vested in any. It is a way to develop strong muscles that are also supple. And it helps prevent me from committing the sin of Judas.
People ask me sometimes if I am still receiving messages – and if so, why I do not reveal them. Even when I was speaking openly about such things, I said that it was only until the heavy sequence of events began, for when that happened, it was no longer time for me to tickle the ears with messages, but time to act – to humbly acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around us. What we think we know will avail us little; it is what we do under God that will be decisive. The fact is I have never seen my mission as propounding messages, though for a time it was necessary. I have always believed my mission is to help hearten people that we can make our stand under God, no matter how difficult things seemed, and become heralds of the great renewal to come with the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. To defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful. I actually hated speaking of prophetic things. I much preferred giving good, but very fallible, counsel. Wisdom is its own justification – and if the counsel I gave was wise, it would find fertile ground because of that. I did not want to become one of the chorus of those who compel people by claiming a special pipeline to God. My message has always been that God is close to YOU – and accessible to you when you devote yourselves to acknowledging Him, taking the next right step and being a sign of hope. I can offer counsel, but I cannot be anyone’s guru – and too many seekers who put emphasis on such things are looking for a way to escape their humble moral responsibility for the choices they make before God. The primary (actually the only) reason that I spoke publicly about such spiritual things was that, by telling you true of what was to come and what it would look like, it would build credibility for when I told you that this was not the end – a message that would be critical when all the institutions we counted on had collapsed and all was in chaos and confusion. Even that, I did fumblingly. Oh, I got the landscape right – a global civil war fought on cultural lines and a collapse marked by the complete loss of confidence in our vital mediating institutions. But I fumbled on the timing and the details of how it would come about. That, too, was a blessing, for it helped prepare each of you who, like me, will be wrong about many things, to accept your errors, take responsibility for them, and forge ahead anyway. I have had both public and private direction from my Archbishop – and that, too, has been a blessing. On occasion, I have chafed a bit, but his occasional direction has been wise and well-considered. I am thankful for the fidelity and charity of Archbishop Aquila.
Knowing that I am going to be wrong about some things, but not knowing which, I am largely open to competing theories on what must come. If someone offers wise words and good counsel, whether they are the same as mine or not, I generally leave them here without comment. There are only a few things I get prickly about. I strongly reject any notion that this is the end. I get very sensitive to anything that would beguile people into thinking that they will not have to make their stand and both publicly and boldly declare themselves. I fear that is the sort of false hope that could lead many to despair or destruction. The fundamental things I live by are: “Be not afraid. God calls all men to salvation,” and “Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you.” I know people want more, but that is sufficient – the things I have developed over decades. Contemplate those deeply in light of the Lord and you have all you need to find your path forward – and I don’t see why you should have it any easier than I have all these years. But no, my interior life has not changed in any significant way.
It is not just in what I have said and written that I have tried to keep faith and prepare. In the late 90’s I told my Priests that my understanding was that if I accepted my mission, I would be quickly plunged into a prolonged period of intense suffering to prepare me for the vicissitudes that would come later. Whether it was imagination or not, just a few months after accepting it fully, I was plunged into five years of intense strife and struggle. I do not like to discuss it, but perhaps someday I will have to. (I would prefer that, on that, in the end one of the three witnesses who were there for the duration describe it). It took me once to the brink of despair. Sometimes, when things seemed too tough to bear, I would ask for relief and then catch myself, asking rather that God give me strength to bear it and more. It ended with my life-threatening neurological injury. I have not had a minute without significant pain since 9:03 a.m. Central Time on Good Friday in 2003. That was when something broke in me – and I could feel it when it happened. It was two months before I was able to receive the surgery that restored fluid to my spinal cord – and by that time, I was told that the best-case scenario would be that I would be, at least, partially paralyzed on my right side. Months after the surgery, wondering how long it would be until the pain subsided, my neurologist told me it might never subside – that his tests showed I should not be able to walk at all, so my system had unusual resilience but the pain might be a constant feature. So it has been. One of my Priests prayed intensely that I be healed of the pain. I asked him to stop. I noted I could still walk and do things – and the pain served as a sort of integrated hair shirt that I could always offer up for others and in penance for my own sins. The only thing I really hate about it is how easily I am fatigued. I don’t like to speak of the details of it, but it may come in handy sometime. If many are suffering, I may be able to hearten them with my own sufferings and how one can endure and even find joy in the midst of them – and I chose it.
There were many blessings from my pilgrimage, walking across the country. I left with $50 in my pocket and a laptop in my backpack on which I could write little pieces for a content studio at libraries on my way and get paid $15 a piece for them on a cash card. That and the generosity of the people I met along the way was mainly how I financed my walk. It occurred to me during that pilgrimage that, if the time came when some people were displaced from their homes, I could speak comfort to them as a fellow traveler who chose extended homelessness when it was not necessary – and that they, too, can both survive and thrive.
For a full decade I have lived poverty – and often like to joke that I got fat in the process. When people lose much of the material things they have, I can assure them as a fellow traveler that the only reliable wealth any of us have is God, our family, and our friends.
If times get hard enough that I have to offer these reassurances, I will not be speaking as one who has lived great comfort to the poor and benighted. Rather, I will be talking as a brother who has long walked in the shoes they are in – and assure them all the more that they can endure and thrive under God.
If you come to me to find the detailed plan on how everything will unfold, I am not your guy. If you come to me in hopes that I will tell you that the scenario you have devised in your mind is the only possible one, I am not your guy. If you come to me in hopes that I can fortify you in your search for what God wants from you and for credible assurance that God has not and will never abandon His people, I may have something for you.
For almost all of my life, I have imagined my path as similar to a spring bursting forth at the top of a mountain, determined to find its way to the bottom and form a clear pool of refreshing water. Along my path, I will encounter many obstacles – sticks, rocks, dirt and dead leaves. I can go through all of them. Occasionally I will encounter an obstacle so big and solid that I can’t go through it. On those, I will well up against it and go around it. But I WILL find my way to the bottom to form that clear pool. And when I get there, I know I will realize that all those obstacles actually purified me on my way, filtering out the impurities and dirt that clung to me at the beginning. I may die a complete failure, but if I do, I won’t know it in this world, for I will press on to the end of my way. I pray – and I have been encouraging all of you these last eight years – that you do the same.
Find me on Gab at Charliej373 or at the CORAC group.
The Corps of Renewal and Charity (CORAC)
18208 Preston Rd., Ste. D9-552
Dallas, Texas 75252