Yuba City, California – In the ‘90s there was a craze for what were called Magic Eye images. These were sheets of chaotic computer-generated patterns. When looked at the right way, a vivid, three-dimensional image unrelated to the pattern would jump out at you. Once you saw it, you could not not see it. My kids and I loved these images. We would pick up books of them at Cracker Barrel. We would show them to friends, some of whom would labor for a long time to get the image to pop up. A few unfortunate friends could never get the image to pop for them – and thought that we were making it up. Except when you gave the image to random people and asked them to write down what they saw when it popped, all wrote the same thing down. You could not see it by looking intensely at every detail of the pattern. Actually, the more you relaxed your vision, the more likely you were to see it. Some made it pop by crossing and then uncrossing their eyes. Quite a few only saw it as they gave up and started to look away. If you don’t relax your focus, you will never see it. The image atop this article is a Magic Eye image – and a very appropriate one. I am debating internally whether to tell you what it is at the end of the column or just wait for some trusty commenter to get it first.
In the world and in the Church today there is a lot of senseless chaos. But a pattern is emerging – or perhaps more the shadow of a pattern. When I try to relax my focus to see a Magic Eye image, there is often a moment where it kind of blurs and I can feel the 3-D image about to emerge. Sometimes it does right away, but sometimes it slips away and I have to start over. Have you noticed that the elites of both the world and the Church are separating themselves from ordinary people more and more? Last week, Pope Francis was a featured speaker at the Clinton Global Initiative, where he hectored us about climate change while delicately avoiding the subject of abortion – one of the Clintons’ priorities. The elites are not so much talking to us as they are talking to each other, reassuring each other that they are the smartest and prettiest people in the world. Since the world increasingly rejects their self-image, they increasingly reject the average people of the world. They are isolating themselves, retreating to high places where they can worship their idols unmolested by the populist rabble. They seek to rule us by dictate from those high places.
One of the oldest strategic rules of battle is to isolate those you seek to defeat. It is much easier when they are all together, but separate from the larger populace. It is striking to me that the elites are retreating into what they think are safe places. I guess they figure they have enough power that segregating themselves from the body of the populace they would rule is not dangerous.
I wonder, though. Is God prompting them to isolate that they may all be gathered together when the wrath to come strikes? Are they retreating because they just can’t bear being near people who are not like them? Is their arrogance and hubris so great that they just don’t want any contact with those they seek to rule? Do they view us with the instinctive disgust with which they would view a garden of slugs? Does any of it matter? The fact is they are isolating themselves from regular people – and have absolute contempt for the idea that God could strike out with wrath over sins that cry out to heaven.
I think I’m onto something. They can laugh, but I think they would be well advised to beware the wrath to come, for God is NOT mocked.
If that is how it unfolds, a lot of good, faithful people are going to be threatened by the violence of the storm. But the rules will be different. Those who seek to save themselves by the ingenuity of their own minds will endanger themselves, even get swept up for at least a time. It is by adopting a radical dependence on God, then focusing on the next right step that one can walk fearlessly through trials when the wrath of God reveals itself. Even then, you’re going to get rained on and occasionally lose your footing. I think we are about to take a walk through the valley of death. There is no preparation that will get you through that except complete trust and reliance on God – the next right step.
The elites of this world think they are pacifying the masses. I think they will be shocked as they assure each other of “peace, peace” that their assurances are followed by sudden destruction. Let your faith be pure as beeswax; let it be as sacrificial as lamb’s blood – then walk with humble confidence before the Lord.
You can’t see the developing pattern if you are looking intently at every detail. That will, in fact, prevent you from seeing it. You have to relax. When you get it right, it will pop into focus out of the swirling chaos.
Last week Democrats won a special election in a heavily Republican-leaning Statehouse district in New Hampshire. Now, that state has the tiniest statehouse districts in the country. Only about 3,000 total votes were cast, so it could be a true outlier rather than a bellweather. BUT Democrats have been practically sweeping special elections this year across the country.
Many Republicans, listening to the siren song of the polls, argue there is nothing to worry about. Others nervously think that abortion is killing us.
It is a fact that we have let the left aggressively seize the narrative on abortion with lies and scare tactics since Roe was overturned. Democrats call any restriction on when an abortion can be performed a “ban.” They lie that no one supports late-term abortions…yet seven states offer no restrictions at all while another 17 only mount the fig leaf of the mother’s health (if the standard is just “health” rather than “physical health,” states interpret that to mean for any reason – including that the woman feels depressed). We have to take back the narrative.
Now it could be that Dems are doing so well despite terrible messaging because there is something we aren’t seeing. It could be that the Dem fraud machine has gotten so proficient they can take whatever they want. If it is the former, the GOP is doing little to figure out what is going on – just whistling past the graveyard. If it is the latter, the GOP seems determined to pretend like vote fraud is the quaint thing it was in the 1960’s – and can only be successful when a race is close. Denial is not a strategy – except to Republican leaders.
It could be that the general populace has lost any concern for family and liberty as well as faith. Just keep a gov’t check coming and enable our licentiousness. If that is the case, we have a collapse ahead of us far more epic than that of the Roman empire.
The left is aggressive and tireless. The political right lacks all conviction and is presumptuous. Do you see why I insist that there is no political solution to this situation? This is the hour of the ordinary man. If we don’t each step up in our homes and neighborhoods great, indeed, will be the fall of the once-great nation of America.
I am not near as convinced as I once was that Tyler, Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland is going to be deposed by a Vatican gone rogue from Christ and the Magisterium. The complaints from Rome have all been political rather than substantive. Ousting someone in a fit of political pique is a good way to get excommunicated from the Church Triumphant.
But while orthodox Bishops in this country have never given Bp. Strickland his due for his fidelity and restraint under difficult circumstances, he is suddenly a rallying point for orthodox Bishiops throughout the world. Abp. Vigano, Abp. Schneider, and Cdl. Muller have all very publicly rallied to his cause. I hear rumblings that more prominent names are in the offing. The Vatican thought to rid itself of this “meddlesome Priest” and suddenly finds all eyes on it.
Understand, leftist activists – both in and out of the Church – are trying to walk a tight line, piling offense on top of offense but desperately wanting to avoid an open, large-scale revolt. I think they miscalculated on this one and know it. Now they have a tiger by the tail and are not sure how to back off and save face.
God bless Bp. Strickland. He has both a gas pedal and a set of brakes – and knows how to use each to great affect. He boldly proclaims the Gospel with fidelity whatever anyone else says, but lives obedience without agreeing to immolate himself. I said at the start of all this that this persecution marked Bp. Strickland for prominent leadership in the renewed Church to come. It tickles me to see that bold, prudent leadership is already manifesting itself. He is a hero for our times and, I think, a saint in the making.
The first time I ever saw Saguaro Cactus I was traveling along the southern border of Arizona. I was shocked, for they were a sorry-looking sight. Tattered and rotting, they looked like bedraggled survivors of Cold Harbor (the bloodiest battle of the Civil War) slouching back to camp. Coming down to Phoenix from Flagstaff, I was delighted to see nothing but robust, healthy specimens who looked eager to get in the game. As I got closer to Phoenix, there were a few wounded veterans, but they were still fit and ready for service. I don’t know why I am so delighted to find that the Saguaro Cactus is doing just fine. Do not drive along the Arizona-Mexico border, though, except at Halloween. The cactus down there are downright spooky.
Flagstaff is a fascinating place. For a good 30 miles all around it, it is more like a midwestern town than the vast desert that surrounds it. I saw meadows that would do the best Wisconsin dairy towns proud. And it gets a lot of snow each year, to boot. If Flagstaff were hidden, I suspect there would be a phalanx of sincere scientists ponderously explaining that it did not exist and could not exist. With its proximity to the Grand Canyon, I have come to think of the Flagstaff area as the place where the desert pauses to catch its breath.
It was great visiting with MP in the Phoenix area. He had a lively group of people gathered for a talk. I think we may end up getting a regional coordinator out of that meeting to take some pressure off of him. Here’s a secret about MP you didn’t know: he makes the best potato salad I have ever tasted. He’s the man who keeps all of our systems running smoothly, fending off cyber attacks with aplomb – and cooking to boot.
I spoke in Las Vegas for the third time ever. I asked the folks that our LV major domo, Margie Wong, assembled, how often it rains in Las Vegas. They said very rarely. Hmmm…it has rained every time I have spoken there. Maybe a good CORAC fundraising tool would be to get the city fathers to pay to have me come when a drought is on – and to have me stay away when things are normal to avoid the flash-flooding that always accompanies rain in this desert city.
We are gearing up to do another Seven7questions podcast. If you have something you would like to be addressed, just send it in to Seven7questions@gmail.com.
I have a piece I am working on about abortion that I think important. After that, it is time to run again the three-part series on the Rules of Regency.
Okay, I have decided I am not going to tell you what is in the Magic Eye image atop this article. Instead, the first commenter to get it right will get a free membership to CORAC. (Okay, yeah, all the memberships at CORAC are free – but it is still a great value!)
If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.
Find me on Twitter at @JohnstonPilgrim