Thursday, November 16, 2017

Juan Williams Ups U.S. Constitution over God

The Fox News Channel show, The Five, on November 15, 2017 opened with the Alabama Roy Moore story. Why not? Almost fifty percent of the show focused on this story.

But what was interesting to me was an all-so-brief comment (hopefully a slip-of-the-tongue) by co-host Juan Williams, a Democrat and an Episcopalian. If I had not been listening closely I would have missed it.

At about the 15 minute mark Williams said:

"... You apparently have, according to the polls, ... a very close race [in Alabama] in which Evangelicals in the state really like Roy Moore and the fact that he [Roy Moore] puts God above all, including our [United States] Constitution, which rankles me ..."

To be rankled means to be annoyed or to be resentful. 

Really? Is Juan Williams's Christian faith subservient to the United States Constitution? For him, it sounded so.

This statement by Mr. Williams is a perfect example of how "mainstream" American Christianity has descended to, and has become beholden to, secularism. Mainstream Christianity strives to become relevant to society instead of being the life-giving counter-culture.

Who would believe, for example, that "Christian" clergy would celebrate abortion clinics? Last week several did so. There are clergy who suggest and preach that abortion is a "gift from God." What an abomination!

Christ is life, not death.

The large cultural problem is that well-meaning church-goers are not thinking about their actions and/or do not know the Gospel. The secular environment will always win out when Christians dilute their faith intentionally (called Christian Progressivism), or by outright ignorance of the Gospel.

The United States of America was/is a gift from God, but our nation is being abused by direct attack from progressives, and from Christian ignorance and compliance to the forces of secularism.

I pray that Juan Williams misspoke.


WENjr 16Nov2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Alabama Political Conundrum

The Alabama Political Conundrum
(Actually, there is no conundrum)


Subject Person
          Former Chief Justice of Alabama Roy Moore
          Republican Candidate for the United States Senate

What Do We Know?
·        Anything can happen, politically, between today and December 12, 2017 (special election day in Alabama)
·        Allegations of sexual misconduct have been made against Moore
·        The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives has affirmed the credibility of the allegations against Moore
·        The Major Leader of the United States Senate has declared Moore unfit to serve in the United States Senate
o   If Moore is elected, the Majority Leader says expulsion from the United States Senate will be a priority
·        Republican Candidate Roy Moore has not been convicted of sexual misconduct in a court of law
o   This does not matter within America’s reigning plausibility structure

Alabama Democratic Voters
·        Will vote for their candidate for the United States Senate on December 12, 2017
·        Will stick together
·        Are a minority in the Alabama electorate

Alabama Republican Voters
·        Would be wrong to avoid voting on December 12, 2017
·        Would be wrong to “write in” another Republican name on December 12, 2017
·        Should vote for the Republican candidate regardless of prevailing circumstances

Alabama Independent Voters
·        Will vote how they feel/believe on December 12, 2017
·        Are an unknown quantifiable voting block currently

The Significant Differences Between Alabama’s Political Parties
·        Republicans are the majority party
·        Democrats are the minority party
·        Republican Party is generally pro-life
·        Democrat Party endorses
o   Abortion
o   Multi-gender identities
o   Other progressive social movements (socialism, et al)

Knowing All of the Above
·        Republican voters in Alabama can elect the Democratic candidate by
o   Staying away from the polls on December 12, 2017 or by
o   Writing in another Republican name on the ballot

Summary
·        The Majority Leader of the Senate of the United States has already stated that he would expel an unfit member
o   The Majortity Leader of the Senate of the United States is a Republican
·        The Governor of the State of Alabama is a Republican
·        The Alabama Statehouse is Republican-dominated
·        If Alabama Republicans should vote Republican on December 12, 2017, then under most scenarios a Republican Senator from Alabama, and not a Democrat, would continue to hold that seat.

Disclaimer: I am not a Democrat

WENjr 15Nov2017

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Remembrance

Anamnesis
(Remembrance)

Eat this
And drink this, too.
I am true bliss.
I love you.

Do you recall
Who I am?
My love never small,
I am love. I, the Lamb.

My Father knows you.
He promised after the flood
That all He slew
Be redeemed by the Blood.

Remember me and 
Know I have always remembered you.
I know every grain of sand,
And everyone through and through.

Come to me
All you who fear.
Come and see
How my love is so near.

So, drink this cup.
Swallow Me all.
My body in you, sup.
Our love. We entrall.




Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tuesday, October, 17, 2017

To my blog readers,

I would like to announce that my publishing unit, ARCHDEACON BOOKS, today published the latest book by the Rev. Dr. Mark Allen Quay. It is titled EXPLORING SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

Currently on Amazon and soon on the other online retailers, the book can be found here.

We have many excellent writers at Archdeacon Books and I would suggest that you visit our Facebook page @ArchdeaconBooks.

Best,
Woody++

Monday, September 4, 2017

Books Written by Woody Norman

Today is Labor Day, September 4, 2017

Books written by Woody Norman through August, 2017.
Click link here and purchase one or all of my books.

COMING SOON
A biography of an Alabama industry builder will be published in late 4Q2017 (in final steps now).

Also in late 4Q2017 a memoir of my USMC (1962-1966) experiences will be published in softcover book format.

I am partnering with another writer on a new biography projected to be published in about 12 months from now.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Reconciliation

Reconciliation

Considering current temperaments,
Has reconciliation a chance?
Is there a place for benevolence
Or will belligerence be the stance?

An examination of hate
Is now in order.
Not a time to be blate
Not a time to stand at the border.

Someone must make
The first move
For the sake
Of calm to improve.

With malice toward none,
With charity for all,
The Great Man who won,
Made the first Reconciliation call.

And, it was General Grant at Appomattox Courthouse who
(Received the Confederate sons
And the surrendered Lee too)
Released the southern boys with their guns.

One hundred years later
General Lee’s amnesty oath was found.
The House and Senate sought the greater,
Higher ground.

Gerald Ford, the President concurred,
Lee’s citizenship was restored.
This action should not be obscured,
But observed as a burial of the sword.

And then there was Mother Emanuel
 On that June night in Charleston
When nine worshipers in an instant knew well
They would die from a small gun.

Afterwards, the brothers and sisters
Of Mother Emanuel prayed and embraced
God’s love. Not as resistors
But with forgiveness, that evil deed they erased.

To forgive and to reconcile is not an
Impossible task to achieve.
Sometimes difficult and complicated to plan,
It still requires the first step to believe.

August 18, 2017


Thursday, August 17, 2017

In Preparation Thereof

In Preparation Thereof

The word “secular” is a misnomer,
Its meaning now held hostage
By a spiritless sarcoma
Bearing empty postage.

It thinks it’s on solid ground
Making objective truth blurry.
The Seculars’ journey is unsound
Eventually discovered as simply temporary.

Too arrogant to acknowledge its source,
Indignant to those who challenge.
Secularism is intent on utilizing force
On those who courageously infringe.

Secular’s source, believe or not, is the Messiah,
Though that history has been banned.
Secular considers Christ its pariah
Impeding their movement as planned.

In the dark shadow looming
The secular does not apprehend
Or even suspect its downward grooming
By the spirit of the Prophet to upend.

It is only a matter of time
Not if,
That the killer spirit sublime
Appears as a western Berber tiff.

Now when it comes to pass
That the secular has killed its mother,
And its people are suppressed en masse,
No need for the Prophet to bother.

So then, the passing of the torch
From the secular to the Arab book
Was never intended to scorch
Or taint how western society was to look.

Secularism is an unprincipled thought
Necessarily chronicled as unending change.
No objective permanence can be imagined or taught.
It made Christianity unwanted and strange.

So, in preparation thereof,
Mr. & Mrs. Secular West,
At separation from your un-Godly glove,
Offer your neck at your captor’s behest.

August 17, 2017


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Foedus Meridianam Damnatio Memoriae


Foedus Meridianam Damnatio Memoriae

Forget them,
They say.
They’re phlegm.
Let’s slay!

The zeitgeist of the day,
Is the disturbed intestine
Put into play
Instead of mental spine.

How can one forget
Something one says never occurred?
There could never have been a threat
To cause today’s emotions so stirred.

The sins of the South
Portrayed, only a ploy,
Having a run-off of the mouth
As justification to destroy.

The question of the hour
Is to query what lies on the left.
The truth is in their quest of power
Ending our freedom via theft.

Their cry is not about justice,
Neither freedom nor equality.
They say, “Just trust us”
To establish a new polity.

Republic and Democracy
To be destroyed anon,
Replaced by no theocracy
But socialistic concentration.

O, Say Can You See
By the Dawn’s Early Light,
That such a vacuous plea
Brings only darkness and blight?

August 16, 2017


Monumental Perfection

Monumental Perfection

America is perfect!
No need for transformation.
Nothing to detect,
No need for past connection.

How did America become so pure?
How do citizens know it is true
That their perceived grandeur
Just is, and without hew?

A denial of specific history
Or of any history, is their first order,
Propagated by a political consistory
Of self-righteousness hoarders.

 Destruction is the name
Of the game some politicos play
To engender shame
On a certain heritage of today.

Their logic is skewed
When making that accusation.
Their argument appears shrewd
But is actually a history castration.

Without history,
Is there a basis for reform?
Without knowing life’s groaning story
Can a nation calm its storm?

There is no road to perfection
Without a life and its past.
History is the avenue for reflection,
Perfecting transformation en masse.

August 16, 2017


Monday, August 14, 2017

Monumental History


Monumental History

Does history matter?
If not, erase it.
Does history flatter?
If not, make fit.

Both choices are false,
For history takes its course
In an inexorable waltz,
A dance then in force.

Many hate the past.
It, on occasion, requires attention.
Others asked
Why provoke with hostile dissention?

Is there anything civil
About destroying a monument?
Hatred discourse is drivel
Lacking nuance, eloquence.

If physical destruction becomes the new norm
For banning history,
Stampeding fools will swarm
Ignorantly. An intellectual sophistry.

Such a new norm would thus require
That any form of history be purged
Even by fire,
And our past will be submerged.

Right, indifferent, or wrong,
Guidance is grounded in history,
Otherwise, haters of the past will prolong
Understanding life’s mystery.

August 14, 2017



Monday, July 31, 2017

The True Love Triangle


Love is not love if directed solely toward oneself
Because love does not live alone.
Self-directed love is something else.
But see, it is an appeal, a cry, a groan.

Love is not romance,
A human invention
Bereft of life’s supernatural dance
With Love’s divine intention.

Love lives between persons
Both in giving and in sacrifice.
Love’s continuing exchanges rehearse in
Life’s deepest relational device.

True love participates in creation.
The coupling of God with mankind
Births many a new nation,
Beloveds He had in mind.

All persons born
Are loved by their Creator.
This love to celebrate not mourn
Because His embrace is greater.

Before the beginning of time
The eternal Father never alone,
With Holy Wisdom shared Love sublime.
Holy Spirit in completion made it known.

Without eternal Trinitarian Love,
Life and relationships never could blossom.
All on earth is from above,
Making true Love awesome.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

In Praise of Hymns

Guest blogger Jenny N. Sullivan is a novelist, author of English literature text books, developer of a Catholic catechism alphabet for children, and an essayist.


In Praise of Hymns

            A happy Catholic now, I grew up a happy Methodist, sometimes singing in the children’s choir. I can still feel that anticipation, standing in line behind the altar, waiting for the processional hymn to begin. We processed through a back panel of the altar, a hidden door, and filled the rows of the choir loft. The adult choir in burgundy robes lined up on the left hand side behind the pulpit. They faced the children’s choir in our waist-length half-robes of white on the right hand side where Mrs. Glover, seated behind the organ, played “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty./ Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.” About half way through the service, if it were the Sunday out of the month that the children got to sing the “anthem,” we stood on cue and waited for the musical introduction. Mrs. Glover had to leave the organ and go over to the piano, which always accompanied our choral offerings.  Glancing alternately from our sheet music to Mrs. Glover every few seconds, we sang:

This is my Father’s world,
And to my list’ning ears
All nature sings and round me rings
The music of the spheres.

That hymn went on to assure me that all was well:

This is my Father’s world.
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and tree of skies and seas,
His hands the wonders wrought.

           The Methodist hymns of my childhood catechized me.  They taught me to rest in Him, the only thing, as St. Augustine tells us, we can do to cure our restlessness since we were made for God. Singing those hymns at church, even when I wasn’t in the choir, made me know that I was a part of something big with scores of other people around me holding forth in song while simultaneously I was nurtured in a private, interior, personal moment with God, with Christ. My little voice was joyfully acknowledging to Him that I understood what the church music was telling me. I understood “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Such a huge blessing for me in my childhood were these hymns. Every child should be so fortunate.

            Out of bashfulness, I did not go to church regularly until I was seven or eight, maybe nine. My mother did not force me to accompany her and my older brother and sister, four and six years older. I don’t know what went into that decision, but we have Sunday photos of me in my shorts standing between my sister in her pretty, filmy Sunday best and my brother in his crisp shirt and trousers.  I stayed home with my father who spent Sunday mornings with Bishop Fulton Sheen and Lawrence E. Spivak, Life is Worth Living followed by Meet the Press.

My first memory of regular church attendance accompanied my preparation for baptism. My sister took me to my lessons, on Saturdays I think. She was the good big sister, indeed the self-sacrificing big sister. Once I made that transition to church, wearing a pink dress with a white pinafore for my Sunday baptism, I was all in. And whether it was church service or Sunday school, singing was major.
           
Everything seemed good while hymns were being sung. Jasper, a girl of perhaps twelve or thirteen at the time, could, amazingly, rock that piano in Sunday school assembly with any hymn that any kid requested, which we were encouraged to do. Certain winning hymns were requested nearly every Sunday. As I recall, “Blessed Assurance” was the first request every Sunday for a long stretch of Sundays. The tune is rousing, and the message obviously appealed to the junior high crowd: “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine. / O what a foretaste of glory divine.” Sort of sums up what life is all about. The lyrics keep that whole personal thing going too. Jesus is “mine,” not only “ours” (although that is true too), but “mine.” Since He is “mine,” I get a “foretaste of glory divine.” That reality is of course why the line has to begin with “O.”

So many lines demand an “O.” “O for a thousand tongues to sing/ My great redeemer’s praise” or “O God our help in ages past,/  Our hope for years to come” or “O holy night” or “O come let us adore him.” Never is the “O” more called for than in the wailing of “O, o, o, o, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. / Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” I sure hope you are hearing these melodies in your head. If you are Protestant, I suspect you are. If you are Catholic, you have seen some of these wonderful songs creep into our hymnal as well. They are just too good not to hear and too catechetical not to use.

            Any seeker of  faith, of truth cannot help but love the simple way the old Baltimore Catechism began, how it summed up for children the meaning of life with a simple question and answer. “Why do I exist? To know, love, and serve God in this life and enjoy Him in the next.” As a little Methodist girl, I did not know the Baltimore Catechism, of course. But I got the same message from the hymns. One such hymn certainly helped me to know who God is.  He is “Jesus, lover of my soul.” What an exquisite definition of God. The God of the universe is the one who loves my soul. That was an important piece of information for me to have as a child. It is important for any child, for any person. That hymn did more. It modelled for me how to behave with the one who is the lover of my soul: “Let me to thy bosom fly,” the lyric prayerfully continues.  This hymn was teaching me how to know God, to do what the Catechism says I was born to do.

            At home, whenever a Billy Graham revival was on TV, we had to watch, at least long enough for Mama to hear George Beverly Shea sing “How Great Thou Art.” We even bought the sheet music so that Mama or my brother or my sister could play that one on the piano. (It wasn’t in the hymnal.) Lyrics stay with a person just as prayers and poems do, and that is good. Catholics learn the “Hail Mary,” the “Our Father,” and the “Angelus,” and that is good. Methodists, this little Methodist girl anyway, learned the lyrics of many hymns and has found them on the tip of her tongue whenever the moment has called for them.

            The Baltimore Catechism says that in addition to knowing God, we are to love God. One hymn that rings in my head, even breaking through the tinnitus, served as a practical manual for loving God and told us, as we sang, that we should

Take time to be holy.
Speak oft with the Lord.
Abide in him always
And feed on his word.
Make friends of God’s children.
Help those who are weak.
Forgetting in nothing,
His blessing to seek.

If you are not a Protestant of a certain age, you may be unaware of what a common denominator hymns were at one time in American culture. I remember sitting on the glider on the porch of one of my little Baptist girlfriends and singing hymns to while away a summer afternoon. I remember teaching hymns to a little girl down the street too young to read the lyrics. On a few occasions my mother, siblings and I even sang hymns around the piano. Why, I can even remember once, early in my career in a new city, having a colleague from another part of the country stop by the house to bring me something and ask what I was doing. I admitted, “Actually, I had the Methodist Hymnal out, and I was singing!” He laughed and said, “Don’t tell me,” and began to sing, “There is a fountain filled with blood/ Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins” as dramatically as the words demand. Although he was having a good time teasing me about singing alone in my living room, we finished the hymn together.

The Baltimore Catechism also tells children, in its simple answer to the question of why we exist, that we are to serve God. So many hymns taught me that to serve God was to tell the good news of the gospel. One man in our adult choir, Dickie Zimmerman, had a voice that boomed over all the others. He tried to blend in, but his voice wouldn’t allow it, and nobody minded. He was lovely to listen to. After he died, the absence of his voice was shocking to the ear. Everyone noticed. How could we not? A part of his service to God and to us was that voice, so convicting, especially in masculine hymns like “Rise up o men of God. / Have done with lesser things. / Give heart and mind and soul and strength/To serve the king of kings.” He served the King. A gentler hymn, from my Catholic experience, written in 1981 by Daniel O’Donnell, says the same thing in a quieter way.

Here I am, Lord.
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord
If you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

And so my catechesis continues. But as everyone knows, Catholics don’t sing as enthusiastically at Mass as Protestants did when I was a child and do now in their services, I suppose. Despite the beautiful ancient music of the Catholic Church, despite the explosion of engaging contemporary liturgical music after Vatican II, and despite the incorporation of many of my beloved Protestant hymns and spirituals into the new Catholic hymnals, we don’t sing out. Yet, I have observed that there is one time when the singing is stronger than usual, in my parish anyway. That time is when the liturgical calendar calls for Marian songs. The veneration of Mary is something many Protestants do not seem to understand easily, and so it causes many of them concern.  Put simply, she is a special way to Jesus. God gave Mary the same free will that He gave to Eve, but Mary said “yes” to the will of God, and so salvation came into the world.  At the wedding at Cana, she told the attendants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Pretty good advice. Mary’s obedience to God, her strength, and her beauty touch the Catholic heart in a deep way. We Protestant converts may sing all the hymns, but when Marian hymns are called for, even the cradle Catholics join in: “Gentle woman, quiet light,/ Morning star so strong and bright,/ Gentle Mother, peaceful dove, / Teach us wisdom, teach us love.”

The Methodist church taught me to know, love, and serve God and now so does the Catechism.  The little Baltimore Catechism goes on to explain that while we exist “to know love, and serve God in this life,” we exist also to “enjoy Him in the next.” Enjoy him in the next. The evening before my mother died, I was saying goodbye to her in the nursing home. I kissed her, I prayed with her, and I sang to her. Bedridden with a stroke for five and a half years, she was silent and her body was wasting, but her gaze was strong and inviting, her smile sweet and gentle. I sang for her a hymn we had both become acquainted with only recently through a woman who conducted worship services at the nursing home for her own mother and for the other residents. The song was written by Gloria and Bill Gaither of the singing TV Gaither family. Because it is the last hymn that she heard, I think of it as her capstone hymn, one that says it all, an anthem to the power and beauty of the God she knew and loved and served in this life and who, please God, she is enjoying in the next. If you do not know it, listen to it on YouTube, but have a tissue at the ready.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
There’s just something about that name.
Master, Savior, Jesus,
Like the fragrance after the rain.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Let all heaven and earth proclaim.
Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away,
But there’s something about that name.


                                                                                           Jenny N. Sullivan


Monday, June 19, 2017

My Father, the Vegetable Farmer


My Father, the Vegetable Farmer

            Come April my dad was out in the back yard turning over his vegetable plot, a perfect rectangle positioned between the patio and the garage. The hose to the well he had drilled was conveniently hanging just outside the garage, and he was religious about proper watering.  His lawn chairs were positioned just inside the open garage door where he sat to rest, to smoke, to savor a bit of Four Roses, and to “receive.” Once that garage door went up in the early morning, everyone in the neighborhood knew that Doc “was receiving.”
            Geezers, young fellows, and little children came and went all day long. They got cokes and watermelon and cheese if they liked but mainly talk. I believe they came for the talk. Once Dad was rested enough to get back to his garden, often his visitors did not leave. They did not even get up from their lawn chairs. They watched Doc till or weed or water. The little kids, of course, wanted to help, to dig with the shovel or set the seedlings in. The men wanted to advise or compliment as appropriate.
Sometimes Dad and another fellow would disappear for an hour or so and come back with fertilizer. When the circus was in town, they would go and ask for elephant manure and bring home buckets-full. Dad would find someone in the family, usually me it seemed, and thrust the bucket in my face. “Smell that. We’ll have some good tomatoes this year.” He loved to watch me cringe and turn my head. What would he do now that Ringling Brother got rid of their elephants and then even had to close down.
            Dad loved dirt and talked about his dirt all season long. He was so proud of the soil he gave to his vegetables to grow in. It was black and loamy and luscious. All summer long it fed his tomatoes and peppers, summer squash and zucchini, cucumbers and occasional radishes. And all summer long they fed us.
What he did not grow, he bought from the farmers’ market. Our farmers’ market back then was not the sophisticated affair that many farmers’ markets are today. A permanent semi-circle of shelters, a roof and a table, gave the sellers some shade through their hot day. All of the sellers were very small farmers, some even backyard farmers, who came to town each Saturday.
            Dad was a frequent enough customer that folks knew him, and he knew which growers had the best value for the price in his opinion. They did not know each other’s names, but they spoke with the familiarity of people who get together once a week. At the farmer’s market, Dad wanted corn, kale, collards, or mustard greens, and watermelon or peaches.
            Summer was tomato sandwiches on lightly toasted white bread with salt, pepper and mayonnaise for lunch, cucumbers every night for supper, summer squash fried down with heaps of onions and lots of black pepper every Sunday dinner along with some of those greens from the market and maybe a peach cobbler for dessert. We enjoyed zucchini bread when Mama felt like baking, which was often. And there was watermelon in the backyard, cold from the refrigerator Dad kept in the garage for entertaining when he was receiving.
            We did eat protein. But in the summer meat seemed merely a compliment to the vegetables, except for pork. Dad would drive into North Carolina with a friend for pork that the farmer made available from the poor pig on that very day. And Dad fished for spot and croaker or bought them from the men who brought their boats in at Harrison’s Pier. Summer pork and fish out of the bay have almost nothing in common with a pot roast in winter. They are more like ripe tomatoes fresh off the vine.
            Mama took care of the flowers and of food in the winter. But food in the summer was my Dad’s. It was not his responsibility but his great enthusiasm. When spring arrived, he donned his warm-weather uniform, a horizontal striped tank top, plaid Bermuda shorts, and bare feet. He died on April 23, 1991. It was sudden and merciful. His heart played out as he tried to rise from his bed, and he was gone. He had already turned over his vegetable garden. I flew down to Norfolk that morning when I got the call, cried with and tried to console my mother, took care of some of the funeral business, what Emily Dickenson calls “the solemnest of industries enacted upon earth,” and then went out back for a quiet moment alone. There in the soft dirt of Dad’s vegetable garden, in his beloved dirt, were his footprints, probably from the day before. Mama set in the plants he had bought and bravely harvested his vegetables that year.


Jenny Sullivan
Father's Day 2017