I was reading from The Life of The Mary, The Mother of Jesus, The Theotokos. It is about 600 pages long. Outside of the bible, where does all that information come from you may ask? Well, tradition.

We can’t have that you may say. But the bible itself says the following:

From the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “Stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught.”

This must have been very important to Paul as he met Jesus after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, but he was not witness to all the acts before that, the entirety of the Gospels. How did he learn at a time when there was no bible and few letters in circulation? Through word of mouth, through tradition.

I bring this up because as we find ourselves in the middle of the Holiday season, it reminds me of the importance of traditions, coming together, the passing down of knowledge. Very little of what you see on the internet or in the news reflects your own actual day, your own personal life. It is a detachment. It is through traditions that we have historically passed down the things important to us about life, faith, politics, etc.

How well do we do that anymore? In my opinion, horribly. Think of how many families don’t have frequent family meals, don’t play games together, etc. What is being passed on? Well, not much except bad examples of family and tradition.

How can we stand fast and hold traditions if they are not taught?

We just did our annual Christmas Tree hunt at Cruise In Trees, a family tree farm near us. All my children were there, and my sister-in-law and her family joined us for the third year. We got a great picture in front of the tree we were about to cut down, and I put it on Instagram. It was soon one of my most popular posts. Why? Young and old, single or big family, we all crave the love and security of traditions.

Now, there are plenty of people wanting to teach you, your family, and friends new traditions. And if you let them, they will be the voice in your head. But is that what you want, others to create and define your traditions, your beliefs?

Who will be the voice in your head?

November 25, 2020

Flourishing In Prayer

Today we are wrapping up a short week of peace before the Thanksgiving holiday.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 directs us to “Pray without ceasing”.

Ilias the Presbyter warns us of what happens when it is something other than prayer that we do without ceasing.

“If the intellect has become so closely attached to worldly thoughts through its inveterate involvement with them, how intimate would it not become with prayer if it prayed unceasingly? For, it is said, the intellect will flourish in whatever it makes its constant occupation.”

Inveterate: having a particular habit, activity, or interest that is long-established and unlikely to change.

What changes can you make in order to learn to pray without ceasing? What will control your thoughts and ultimately your actions - worldly things, or spiritual things?

More today from the Philokalia, Volume 3, and St. Peter of Damascus. The kingdom of heaven is right here, and the simple things in life can lead you to it.

"How witless we are when, for the sake of things that are paltry and transient, we do not aspire to receive great and eternal blessings. We reject what is good and pursue the opposite. What can be simpler than giving a glass of cold water or a piece of bread, or than refraining from one’s own desires and petty thoughts? Yet through such things the kingdom of heaven is offers up to us, by the grace of Him who said: “Behold, the kingdom of heaven is within you” Luke 17:21. For, as St. John of Damascus say, the kingdom of heaven is not far away, not outside us, but within us. Simply choose to overcome the passions, and you will possess it within you because you live accordance with God’s will."

Simple things like telling stories to my kids, and sitting alone with my wife are where I'm reminded the Kingdom of heaven is never far.

We are kicking off this Thanksgiving week with a reminder to stay in the moment. With so much chaos, it is probably a good idea to focus on the things that matter: family, friends, faith, and gratefulness.

How do we learn the patience to truly focus? The Philokalia gives us some direction:

“We should realize that God’s grace is disciplining us, teaching us to be humble and to recognize whence we receive our strength and knowledge, “so that we should rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9

And if that doesn't work, try playing a little UNO! It worked for me yesterday, thanks to my daughter, Mercy!

November 20, 2020

CS Lewis and The Freeborn Mind

In 1958 CS Lewis wrote an essay titled, “Willing Slaves of the Welfare State”.

Reading through it, I realized just how prophetic it was for the current round of curfews, lock-downs, and restrictions hitting us across the country. We discuss in full in today's podcast, but a few excerpts from the essay to entice!

"I believe a man is happier, and happy in a richer way, if he has "the freeborn mind." But I doubt whether he can have this without economic independence, which the new society is abolishing. "

"The question about progress has become the question whether we can discover any way of submitting to the worldwide paternalism of a technocracy without losing all personal privacy and independence. Is there any possibility of getting the super Welfare State’s honey and avoiding the sting?"

"The modern state exists not to protect our rights but to do us good or make us good—anyway, to do something to us or to make us something. Hence the new name 'leaders' for those who were once 'rulers.' We are less their subjects than their wards, pupils, or domestic animals. There is nothing left of which we can say to them, 'Mind your own business.' Our whole lives are their business."

The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, announced a bevy of broad covid lock-downs across the state Monday afternoon. In addition, he announced he was considering a curfew. That is a right, a curfew. Who did he announce was one of the inspirations for this curfew? None other than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. That is correct, an edict of a king. Our founders are vomiting in their graves.

Considering this craziness, I thought back to our founders and the Sons of Liberty, with their motto, "No taxation without representation." I considered California's one-party rule and what they would think of Newsom's edicts. It was all tar and feathers.

November 16, 2020

Upside Down, And Getting Worse

Who would have thought that the ultimate act of rebellion would be buying the biggest Thanksgiving Turkey you can, one that just shouts, "We are having a huge Thanksgiving dinner and there is nothing you can do about it!"

Of course, how American that Thanksgiving might be the moment we all scream, "I've had enough."

November 12, 2020

Hillsong and The Prodigal Son

We’ve learned more about the affair of Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz. He met his paramour Ranin, a designer, in a park. He introduced himself as a sports agent. He wouldn’t give her his last name, and she was okay with that. They were sleeping together before she got forceful enough to learn his last name which led to her finding out his real story. When she did, the affair continued. It only stop because they got caught.

Of course as we examine this fall, we must remember the prodigal, the fallen son, who is ultimately welcomed back with open arms. It seems like our entire world today is a sort of prodigal, how far have we strayed from the roots of our country, the roots of our faith. And what is the path home?

Today, in a barrage of raw truth, we examine the recent firing of Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz due to infidelity, voter fraud, and the irony of pastors in tuxedos standing next to their wives who flaunt their fake breasts as they speak of humility and grace.

Join us, you'll have fun!

November 5, 2020

They Will Lie, And Be Proud

20 years ago at Pendleton Maximum Security Prison. These kids have no morals, no values, no honor. They don’t care if they die young, they have nothing to live for except their desires.

It scared me, because I saw this in all of society, not just in gangs. It was in our schools, in the middle class, all of it encouraged by the elite class who wanted to reap the rewards of an "ends justifies the means" society.

Today, we are seeing the consequences in full living color.

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