The following paintings are representative of the early summer landscape that enfolds me here in western Hungary.
Gyula Zorkóczy (1873 - 1932) was not a visionary nor a virtuoso, but he did possess a wholesome talent for capturing the essence of Hungarian landscapes.
The following paintings are representative of the early summer landscape that enfolds me here in western Hungary.
In an earlier post, I explained my recent practice of classifying Christians into two distinct groups:
The standard practice of labeling Christians as progressive, liberal, radical, conservative, traditional, or whatever has been rendered obsolete. As far as I'm concerned, the successful global totalitarian coup of 2020 has cleaved Christians into two distinct camps: System Christians and Non-System Christians.
I then proceeded to outline System Christianity in the following manner:
System Christians aim to work within the institutional, organizational, and bureaucratic frameworks the System offers because they are convinced "good works" can only be achieved through such means.
System Christians believe the divine mission of Christianity is somehow wedded to the System and that Christianity possesses the power to transform the System into an earthly kingdom of God. System Christians yearn to secure a place at the global governing table of public-private partnership in order to help manifest this vision (presuming they honestly believe in the vision).
System Christians outsource their thinking entirely to the System and its latest flavor of leftism. Thus, any input they offer the System rarely, if ever, rises above the level of echoing or parroting the System's output; more specifically, the trending and topical talking points, platitudes, and plans surrounding issues such as climate change, anti-racism, equity/equality, reformed capitalism, mass migration, etc.
. . . System Christians do not believe in "rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caeser's, and unto God the things that are God's". In their minds, it is far more lucrative and efficient to render God and the things that are God's unto the System.
That last line above sums up System Christian well. All System Christians put the System before God. For some, the System has become a god.
The big problem with System Christians is quite obvious - the System they follow is directly and purposively opposed to God.
An even bigger problem among System Christians is that most appear incapable or unwilling to discern that the System with which their churches are aligned is in fact directly and purposively opposed to God. Put another way, that the System itself has become Satanic in its motivations and objectives.
This utter lack of discernment is especially prevalent among the laity/worshipers, who tend to regard their churches' support of System agenda issues such as birdemic lockdown measures, climate change, and anti-racism as something inherently respectable and good.
Bruce Charlton has referred to the three issues noted above as Satanic Litmus Tests. The birdemic measures, climate change, and anti-racism may "sound" or "appear" virtuous, even Good, but they are anything but, as Dr. Charlton succinctly explains:
If you support any or all of these; you are objectively on-the-side of the mainstream, global, totalitarian Leftist Establishment: which is the side of Satan against God. And obviously, therefore, you are anti-Christian - despite whatever you may believe or assert.
In a follow-up post, he added:
I think it is worth reiterating that what these Tests do is detect and identify those who are objectively on the side of Satan in the current spiritual war.
The question of whether you are (overall) a nice person, or what is regarded as a 'good' person is irrelevant; whether you are a pious and observant church member is a separate issue; whether you live by Christian ethics to a higher degree than many or most people makes no difference at all.
If you fail the litmus tests you are working-for Satan's triumph in this world, you are aiding his agenda - know it or not, like it or not, deny it or not.
This ought to be very obvious to you, since the evidence is truly colossal and indeed overwhelming - and the fact that is not obvious to you shows the depth of your unrepented sin.
William Wildblood later expanded upon the spiritual dimensions of the Litmus Tests in a post of his own:
. . . However, there is a greater point beyond whether any of these things actually have any truth in them or not or whether there is some truth but we are presented with a very one-sided picture. The real point is that the remedies proposed for these supposed material evils are Trojan horses which are used to bring about profound spiritual evils. This is what really matters and what a person of spiritual discernment should able to see. The evils of the virus, of racism and of climate change (real or unreal) are as nothing besides the evils of the proposed solutions to them. Shall I define these evils? Outwardly, it's a simple matter of totalitarianism and humanity reduced to controlled servitude. Inwardly, it is the closing tight shut of the door to spiritual freedom and truth. It is the absolute enforcement of materialism.
If you care about freedom and truth and beauty and real goodness you are now on a collision course with the worldly powers. You can no longer be a passively good, decent, nice sort of person because if you are you will sooner or later be sucked into what is a kind of de facto Satanism. I realise that might seem a shocking thing to say but the reality is, or is becoming, that if you don't actively stand for God then you are against him, and there is, or soon will be, no neutral ground.
So, the biggest problem with System Christians and System Christianity in general is failed Litmus Tests. Nearly all Christian churches closed for the birdemic. Failuire one. Many support the climate change agenda. Failure two. And a few have vocally supported the anti-racism agenda. Failure number three.
True-believing System Christians outright reject the Litmus Tests as ridiculous, absurd, and uncharitable; but what about Christians who believe church to be important and attend System churches, but are able to discern the spiritual evils of failed Litmus Tests within their denominations?
Should they quit church altogether? Protest? Aim to reform the institution from within?
I don't have definitive answers to those questions. Each discerning Christian must figure out these things out for himself or herself.
Having said that, I think the practice of system distancing can be quite useful if you attend a System church.
In my case, I distance myself from all the "system" aspects and Litmus Test issues my particular church promulgates, and I refuse to support or obey these aspects.
For example, if my priest says anything positive about the birdemic measures, I silently tell myself that what he is saying is wrong and evil, and I repent my involvement in that aspect of the church, however indirect or "coerced" my involvement that aspect actually is (e.g. wearing a mask during the service).
At the same time, I remind myself that I attend church for its remaining (but increasingly dwindling) Divine and Good aspects. I hope and pray my attendance and participation might help strengthen these Divine and Good aspects.
And that's about as far as I have gotten with system distancing within a System church at the moment.
Note added: To gain some insight into what a Christian Litmus Test failure at the institutional level looks like in real time, I highly recommend reading William James Tychonievich's most recent post, which describes the one-sided partnership the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has struck up with NAACP. William's post is also an example of spiritual discernment.
Additional note added: I increasingly feel that the System aspects within the church I attend will become too overwhelming for me to contend with, and I increasingly feel that I will stop attending services altogether at some point in the near future. I also must add that I believe Divine Wisdom is at play in the current convergence of churches - God's way of communicating that the true future of Christianity is not reliant upon church as we currently know it.
I would nominate this song - purely for its title.
A few days ago I ruffled some feathers by criticizing an American bishop's plea for Catholics to return to Mass now that the dreaded birdemic plague appears to be waning. The overall intent of the cursory remarks I added to the bishop's message in the post was to draw attention to the manipulative rhetorical ploys the bishop employed in his appeals to draw the faithful back to Mass.
My overarching point was that the bishop and the Church remain officially aligned with the birdemic narrative. As such, they continue to believe their decision to close churches and deny Mass to hundreds of millions was totally justified. Put another way, the Catholic Church - and practically all other Christian denominations - remain firmly convinced that they did the right thing for the right reasons. They feel no need to reflect upon or perhaps reassess their decision, and they certainly do not think they have anything to repent.
I happen to think the opposite.
I hold the opposite view because I am convinced that the birdemic is an Evil Lie. Moreover, I believe in the primacy of the spiritual - in putting God and spiritual considerations first. By denying Mass and other sacraments such as last rites at the behest of the secular global diktat of none are safe until all are safe, the Catholic Church (and other Christian denominations) essentially demonstrated that they believe in the primacy of the material - in putting the world and material considerations first.
Of course, not everyone agrees with my standpoint on this matter. A Catholic blogger - whom I won't bother mentioning by name or linking to because I have zero interest in directing any traffic toward him or his blog - was curious to know if I possessed any special competence or qualifications to support my view:
What is Francis's special competence in stating that Birdemic is not a legitimate reason to close down the Churches. Is he a microbiologist, epidemiologist, practicing clinician. Or is he just some guy with an opinion?
Ah, the old "What makes you an authority?" line.
The blogger's comment reveals much. For starters, he basically admits that he considers the birdemic to have been a perfectly legitimate reason to close down the churches.
Furthermore, he would only be open to reconsidering his position if I possessed some kind special medical or scientific competence through which I might be able to prove my assertions and, perhaps, persuade him to reconsider his own views concerning church closures and the birdemic.
Otherwise, I'm just "some guy with an opinion." Not to be taken seriously. Easily dismissed.
I must add that said blogger is himself a practicing family physician, which means he possesses the sort of special competence he demands of me in order to make my "opinion" worth considering.
Sounds reasonable, right? Sure, until you consider the veritable armies of microbiologists, epidemiologists, practicing clinicians, and other medical professionals who have distorted, twisted, warped, slanted, manipulated, falsified, misreported, misrepresented, slanted, and skewed the birdemic to no end, to say nothing of the untold hundreds of thousands who buckled, cratered, submitted, capitulated, deferred, conformed, and complied to the birdemic narrative for a variety of reasons, foremost among them - expediency.
Sorry, but when it comes to the "trust the experts" angle and the birdemic, you can count me out.
However, for the sake of argument, let's pretend I did possess some kind of special competence. Say I was a world-renowned epidemiologist who could prove the birdemic was not a legitimate reason to close the churches. Do you think it would make a shred of difference to the Catholic blogger? He seems to imply that it would, but I strongly doubt it. I get the sense he would listen to my ironclad proof, nod his head thoughtfully, and then write me off as a crank or a quack.
Because at its core, the birdemic is not about science or medicine or church doctrine. At its core, the birdemic marks the epicenter of things coming to a point. More specifically, the birdemic is about being able to spiritually discern good and evil and making the right choices in light of this discernment.
To the Catholic blogger noted above, I'm just a "guy with an opinion". On top of that, said blogger believes my opinion to be wrong. In his qualified opinion - and remember, he is a doctor - the birdemic was a legitimate reason to close churches. Not only that, there was nothing particular special about the church closures - it was just a common sense precaution against a global health threat. And he should know because he's a doctor. Hence, Catholic blogger dismisses my "opinion" as wrong because I'm just "some guy". Fair enough; said Catholic blogger can think whatever he wants about me, but my opinion about church closures during the birdemic is not an opinion, but discernment, and I don't think that this discernment can be flippantly dismissed.
As far as I'm concerned, churches the world over failed miserably when they closed their doors due to the birdemic. I will go even as far as to say most churches actively and willingly made the wrong choice. And churchgoers who passively and obediently follow their churches in this regard are also making the wrong choice.
People can reject this as my "opinion", but I do not regard my standpoint on this issue to be mere opinion. For me, it's discernment - discernment based on my understanding of God and Creation - that is, on my understanding of the fundamental nature of reality and of our current spiritual war.
My discernment is not perfect. I sometimes misjudge. I do get things wrong. When I do, I acknowledge the fact, repent, and attempt to right my course. That is part of my spiritual learning.
But the whole point of the point is that it makes discernment easier. The line separating good from evil has rarely, if ever, been clearer. That doesn't mean that discernment is always easy or that our judgments are always correct, but it does mean that spiritual discernment can no longer be considered a passive, optional activity. Like it or not, we have all been put in the position where we must choose - and those choices are based on our ability to effectively discern.
In this regard, we are all our own spiritual authorities. The possibility of outsourcing discernment to an external church authority is closing before us. When it comes to matters of religion and spirit, we no longer have the luxury to simply believe what we are told to believe and do what we are told to do. We must make our own judgments about these matters, and these judgments must emanate from our innermost selves and our active and willing alignment with God and Creation.
In this sense, spiritual discernment is the most important special competence we can possess in this time and place. Unlike other special competences, we can't and don't need to obtain PhDs to become experts at exercising spiritual discernment. All the resources we need are already within us, but we have to access these resources to make discernment work.
And this is something all Christians, regardless of denomination, simply must do.
All the special competences and skills the world can offer will do you very little good if you turn your back on the basic and necessary skill of spiritual discernment.
Which is exactly what the Catholic blogger so skeptical of my "opinion" appears to have done when it comes to the birdemic.
An interesting choice of subject for the Hungarian painter Hirémy-Hirschl, who was a Jewish convert to Christianity.
Heavily symbolic in its composition, the painting depicts the final steps of the Wandering Jew, a mythical figure cursed to walk the earth in exile until the Second Coming as punishment for taunting Jesus on the road to the Crucifixion.
Fatigued and forlorn, Ahasuerus shuffles through a bleak and icy polar landscape that marks the end of his ceaseless wanderings. He is escorted by the Angel of Hope to his right and a Grim Reaper-like representation of death to his left. The nude female symbolizes the death of humanity - the seeming tragedy reinforced by the inapposite presence of crows in flying over the lifeless figure.
However, crows are more than merely a symbol of death; they also illustrate a point of transformation from the physical world to the spiritual world. Ahasuerus has a choice to make. What will he ultimately choose?
It's a shame that so few of Hirémy-Hirschl's paintings have survived. The ones that have demonstrate exceptional visionary quality.
Warning: The following post is severely critical of System Christianity, more specifically, the Catholic Church. If you are a true believing System Christian of any denomination or a Catholic who still maintains some sense of loyalty to the Church (despite everything), you'd be better off skipping this post and continuing along on your self-chosen road to damnation.
No, I'm not kidding. If you continue to follow any of these people, regardless of denomination, you are actively and willingly choosing your own damnation.
Fifteen months after it unceremoniously slammed its doors on the faces of its congregations worldwide so that it could surrender whatever shred of spiritual authority it may have possessed, System Christianity is thrilled to announce that it is back in business! Yes, churches around the globe closed their doors to subserviently obey the global totalitarian diktat of none are safe until all are safe, but that's all done now - so why not come back?
The following appeal to return to church is brought to you by the Catholic Church's own Jordan Peterson - Bishop Robert Barron (snarky comments in italics added by me):
The past fifteen months have been a time of crisis and deep challenge for our country, and they have been a particular trial for the Catholics. During this terrible COVID period, many of us have been compelled to fast from attendance at Mass and the reception of the Eucharist.
To be sure, numerous Masses and Eucharistic para-liturgies have been made available online, and thank God for these. But Catholics know in their bones that such virtual presentations are absolutely no substitute for the real thing. Now that the doors of our churches are commencing to open wide, I would like to urge every Catholic reading these words: Come back to Mass!
Why is the Mass of such central importance? The Second Vatican Council eloquently teaches that the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life”—which is to say, that from which authentic Christianity comes and toward which it tends. It is the alpha and the omega of the spiritual life, both the path and the goal of Christian discipleship.
The Church Fathers consistently taught that the Eucharist is sustenance for eternal life.
They meant that in the measure that we internalize the Body and Blood of Jesus, we are readied for life with him in the next world.
Thomas Aquinas said that all of the other sacraments contain the virtus Christi (the power of Christ) but that the Eucharist contains ipse Christus (Christ himself)—and this would help to explain why St. Thomas could never make it through the Mass without shedding copious tears.
It is precisely at the Mass that we are privileged to receive this incomparable gift. It is precisely at the Mass that we take in this indispensable sustenance. Without it, we starve to death spiritually.
If I might broaden the scope a bit, I would like to suggest that the Mass is, in its totality, the privileged point of encounter with Jesus Christ.
During the Liturgy of the Word, we hear not simply human words crafted by poetic geniuses, but rather the words of the Word. In the readings, and especially in the Gospel, it is Christ who speaks to us. In our responses, we speak back to him, entering into conversation with the second person of the Trinity. Then, in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the same Jesus who has spoken his heart to us offers his Body and Blood for us to consume. There is simply, this side of heaven, no more intimate communion possible with the risen Lord.
I realize that many Catholics during this COVID period have become accustomed to the ease of attending Mass virtually from the comfort of their own homes and without the inconvenience of busy parking lots, crying children, and crowded pews.
But a key feature of the Mass is precisely our coming together as a community.
As we speak, pray, sing, and respond together, we realize our identity as the Mystical Body of Jesus. During the liturgy, the priest functions in persona Christi (in the very person of Christ), and the baptized in attendance join themselves symbolically to Christ the head and together offer worship to the Father.
There is an exchange between priest and people at Mass that is crucially important though often overlooked. Just before the prayer over the gifts, the priest says, “Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father,” and the people respond, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.” At that moment, head and members consciously join together to make the perfect sacrifice to the Father. The point is that this cannot happen when we are scattered in our homes and sitting in front of computer screens.
If I might signal the importance of the Mass in a more negative manner, the Church has consistently taught that baptized Catholics are morally obligated to attend Mass on Sunday and that the conscious missing of Mass, in the absence of a valid excuse, is mortally sinful.
I understand that this language makes many people today uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t, for it is perfectly congruent with everything we have said about the Mass to this point.
If the Eucharistic liturgy is, in fact, the source and summit of the Christian life, the privileged encounter with Jesus Christ, the moment when the Mystical Body most fully expresses itself, the setting for the reception of the bread of heaven—then we are indeed putting ourselves, spiritually speaking, in mortal danger when we actively stay away from it.
Just as a physician might observe that you are endangering your life by eating fatty foods, smoking, and refraining from exercise, so a doctor of the soul will tell you that abstaining from the Mass is compromising your spiritual health.
Of course, as I suggested above, it has always been the law of the Church that an individual may decide to miss Mass for legitimate prudential reasons—and this certainly obtains during these waning days of the pandemic.
But come back to Mass! And might I suggest that you bring someone with you, someone who has been away too long or has perhaps been lulled into complacency during COVID?
Let your own Eucharistic hunger awaken an evangelical impulse in you. Bring in people from the highways and byways; invite your co-workers and family members; wake up the kids on Sunday morning; turn off your computers. Come back to Mass!
So, I still attend Mass, but I do not consider it essential to my Christianity. Put another way, I do not believe attending Mass is essential to my salvation or communication with God. My attendance is not an endorsement of the Church's hierarchy, actions, or decisions, but rather a form of support for and involvement in the small community in which I live.
In this sense, Mass in my village transcends church's hierarchy, agenda, and idiot priests. For example, the priest who manages the village church has never uttered a word about the closures or his long months of inaccessibility, but he routinely chides people for not returning to church and happily instructs everyone of their moral and spiritual responsibility to get vaccinated. At the same time, people in my village helped and supported each other throughout the church closures and continue to do so today without any input or aid from the priest.
The overall point is not whether you attend Mass or any church service, but whether or not you are able to discern that organized, institutional Christianity is on the wrong path and has willingly chosen to subjugate itself to the global totalitarian agenda. Blindly following and obeying any church in the present time will surely lead one further away from rather than closer to God.
I've spent the last few days working in my yard and helping my father renovate the house he bought in the village. During this time, I barely gave any thought to the birdemic, or the 2020 global coup, or the peck, or any other Satanic evil. Yes, my father talked about these things a little here and there as we knocked out walls and gutted his kitchen, but we spent far more time speaking about other, better things.
Today just before sunset I spent about an hour watering the vegetable garden, fruit trees, and rose bushes on my property. The cuckoo who frequents the poplars by the old mill near my house filled the air with his calls. The blackbird who usually perches in my plum tree followed me around the yard, opportunistically hopping around in search of worms and grubs in the spots I had already watered. Laying upon a pile of old roof tiles on the opposite side of the garden, my cat eagerly eyed the blackbird, but was too comfortable and lazy to give it chase.
As I watched the sun sink toward the horizon, I found myself wondering how different the world would be if the birdemic had never made the news. I came to the swift conclusion that most people probably would not have noticed anything strange or different about their lives. I certainly wouldn't have because if the birdemic had not made the news there would have been nothing strange or different about my life.
Before the birdemic broke in Hungary, I described the "irrational hysteria" taking hold of the West as a "non-crisis crisis" and a "crisis that shouldn't be crisis" and even went as far as to say that the whole thing shouldn't have even made the news.
More than a year later, I stand by that remark. Based on the statistics I've followed and the experiences I have gathered living through sixteen months of a seemingly endless "crisis", the birdemic never should have made the news. Full stop.
But the birdemic did make the news. Not only did it make the news, but it has been the news for well over a year now, which brings me to the conclusion that the news is all the birdemic ever was, and news is all it will ever be.
There is no birdemic without the news - only cuckoos, blackbirds, lazy cats, gardens overgrown with weeds, and sunsets that melt into the horizon like butter.
Those things are still there. They have always been there. And they don't need the news to make them real or give them life.
The gentleman who runs Dark Brightness has posted an interesting meme at his site.
The meme works for me personally because it contains what many refer to as a "truth bomb."
The fact that the truth bomber is Bruce Charlton only makes the meme work that much more.
To top it all off, the meme features a portrait of St. Eustace carrying a flag emblazoned with the symbol of the crucifix perched between the antlers of a stag, (see header at top of blog or link above).
An interesting and meaningful amalgam of words, images, and symbols.
The medium-sized vegetable garden I had envisioned in early spring has become far bigger than originally planned. After my wife and I planted the potatoes, tomatoes, squash, pumpkin, and beets, we realized we did not have enough room for the peas, onions, peppers, herbs, and watermelon - so, I ended up extending the garden by about fifty square meters.
On the upside, this means I have less lawn to cut. On the downside, I have another fifty square meters of weeds to pull. Though I'm still new to gardening, I've become a total pro when it comes to fine art of growing weeds, to the point that I spend most of my time gathering in the bountiful harvest of unwanted vegetation.
I'll get the hang of this one day. At least I hope I will.
Effective weeding tips that do not involve spraying the garden with Agent Orange are welcome!
The Freedom of Information Act is a peculiar thing. Some sought after documents and emails never get released. Others get dumped on the public seemingly out of nowhere and without anyone asking for them.
As far as I can tell, the Establishment is currently engaged in lively game of "throw the faithful servants under the bus" as it attempts to re-calibrate the birdemic narrative. The objective is simple - restore the public's faith in the System as a force for good.
How? By hanging a few System apparatchiks out to dry:
Any sudden media blitz that overtly criticizes, scrutinizes, re-evaluates, or condemns a System apparatchik should be treated with caution and suspicion. More often than not, all such media campaigns do is offer false beacons of hope.
When the System hangs one of its own out to dry, it does so primarily to maintain or rebuild the public's trust in the System itself.
When the System puts one of its own in a difficult or vulnerable situation, it is working to persuade the public that, despite everything, the System remains a force for good - that it is and will actively deal with its corrupt and reprehensible elements whenever and wherever it happens to find them.
These sorts of campaigns - broadcast far and wide and splashed across the System's ubiquitous media - are meant to instill a sense of justice being served. They are meant to comfort. They are meant to re-cajole complacency.
Don't be taken in. The System is evil irrespective of who it throws under the bus.
Blog and Comments
Blog posts tend to be spontaneous, unpolished, first draft entries ranging from the insightful and periodically profound to the poorly-argued and occasionally disparaging.
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f er en c ber g er (at) h otm ail (dot) co m
Blogs/Sites I Read
Bruce Charlton's Notions
Meeting the Masters
From The Narrow Desert
Synlogos ✞ Aggregator
New World Island
New World Island YouTube
Fourth Gospel Blog