Tuesday, July 19, 2016

THYME Magazine: Building Bridges

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume XI, Issue XXVII

Building Bridges

One of my favorite scenes in the movie: 'Remember the Titans' is the one where Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell realize that they are indeed brothers. Though they are of different cultures in segregated Virginia, they come together as teammates and develop bonds that are far deeper. The film is one we should perhaps dust off in these difficult days and pause as well at the scene where the team runs at dawn to the battlefields of Gettysburg.Coach Herman Boone speaks:

Anybody know what this place is? This is Gettysburg. This is where they fought the Battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fightin' the same fight that we're still fightin' amongst ourselves today.

This green field right here was painted red, bubblin' with the blood of young boys, smoke and hot lead pourin' right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men:

I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family.'

You listen. And you take a lesson from the dead. If we don't come together, right now, on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed -- just like they were. I don't care if you like each other or not. But you will respect each other. And maybe -- I don't know -- maybe we'll learn to play this game like men."

Indeed, upon learning of the death of the Reverend Honorable Clementa C. Pinckney and eight of his congregation, I read his biography on the church website. I grieved a brother. The man and I held dear the same things. He died loving the people of G-d and building the Unseen Kingdom. Reverend Pinckney and his little circle were co-laborers in my most cherished work.

Surely that would be a brief thought, only to be lost in the onslaught of politicized news to come in the days to follow.

But I had made a fatal miscalculation. I underestimated the G-d that Reverend Pinckney and I serve (the present tense in intentional, for I believe he stands in the Presence of our shared Master today). To know the true greatness of a man, look at his pupils! As the members of the congregation who had just lost loved ones at the hands of a depraved gunman stepped forward to extend forgiveness to him, I recognized the hand of the Divine in their lives.

As thousands lined the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, arms and hands joined,to remember and pray; the Divine was at work! Dr. Henry Blackaby tells us to look for G-d at work and join him in that work. That call is clear today.

The Magic Garden
Magic Garden Morning.

Once, I looked up and I saw Heaven, a world above me brightly shining. My heart cried for wings. I looked around me and saw pain and suffering. The world was grey. I looked down and I saw a child with tear stained cheeks I reached out and grabbed his hand he looked at me and smiled. I saw a flower bloom red and full of life. The child picked the red flower and turned to his mother. She stood alone sad and cold. The child gave the red flower to his mother and her hard face softened I looked and saw a blue rippling stream. The mother saw an old crippled man, who could not move his legs to get a drink. She carried the man to the stream and gave him water to drink. He cried tears of joy. I saw a yellow bird sing. The old crippled man learned the yellow bird’s song and shared it with all he could see and everyone who heard it would feel happy. I saw rainbows shoot across the sky. I went on my way reaching out, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, seeing for the blind, hearing for the deaf, befriending the friendless, singing to bring happiness, and loving the loveless. Then one day I looked back and realized I had wings all along. My wings had been the love reached out to heal others who were broken. My heart burst with joy.

-- Kristina Elaine Greer

A MagicGarden
Rainbows Over the Magic Garden.

Builders and Blessed Peacemakers

There is much news in these days. Not all of it is good, yet I firmly believe that beyond all the distractions there is great reason for hope. We have faced dark and troubling times before, yet we have seen the hand of the Divine work through ordinary people... and history was changed by it. So please join me in praying for the hand of the Divine to "give us wings," as my friend Kristina says, to do His bidding. We can, inspired by the Spirit of G-d, build His Kingdom! Here are some stories to spur us on.

Making a Country Great
[click to read]

In the early 1860’s there were two Americas. There were the Eastern states who would all too soon divide into Union and Confederacy, but then there was California. Although America stretched from “sea to shining sea,” California was isolated from the East by what many considered miles of uninhabitable desert. To get to California, one often took passage on a ship to Panama, made a short trip overland and then boarded another ship for San Francisco. California, in time, could have easily become another country. (Read More)

The Gift Horse
[click to read]

If there was anything that bothered Rupert Zimmerman it was 'impossibility' created solely by bureaucratic convolutions. When the family packed in the car during his youth to visit the extended family in Michigan, they were inevitably faced with the Breezewood Interchange on Interstate Seventy. On Summer road trips the mighty highway's brief diversion to the old Lincoln highway resulted in gargantuan traffic jams, boiling radiators and often as many boiling tempers. Zimmerman's father REFUSED to stop at the roadside businesses who's continual lobbying fended off many a reasonable attempt to build the connection. (Read More)

I am taking several weeks off from publishing THYME as I prepare for some major projects. I am leaving you with this SPECIAL ISSUE which is roughly three times the content of a regular issue.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume XI, Issue XXVI

Battle in the Heavenlies

In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.

In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.

I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;

Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:

His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.

And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.

Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.

And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.

And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.

Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.

And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.

And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.

For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.

Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,

And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.

Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.

But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince. -- Daniel 10

 The Eagle is right,” said the Lord Digory. “The Narnia you’re thinking of . . . was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia, which has always been here and always will be here: just as our own world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan’s real world. You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream.” . . . The new [Narnia] was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant more. I can’t describe it any better than that: if you ever get there, you will know what I mean. It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He . . . cried: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.” -- C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle

Mátyás Corvinus stood before the Master by a still pool. The Master patted the nose of his faithful white horse, his companion in battle and now in Eternal rule. There was peace at last. Indeed those assembled before the Magnificent One had seen much service. They, to a man, would have laughed at the notion so popularized in cartoons of Heaven's inhabitants idly sitting on clouds and playing harps. Even the very young were engaged in adventures! Little Lucy had stepped into this magical world and joined hands with Kris' daughter. It was like they were finally able to step into the painting that they both loved and off they went to pat the noses of magical creatures. The colors were more vivid than Lucy remembered in the little painting and it seemed that your eyes were now able to see more colors (which indeed they were). 

Claudia and Kris followed after their children. It was the best play date ever and there was apparently no time limit. Joe, the old trucker, watched as his beloved granddaughter Kate joined in and then he shook off his adult sensibilities and joined in too! He and Willa even rolled happily down a green hill together. Their love for each other, like the colors of this place, had grown so much deeper! The world was what it should be! The great warriors rejoiced at the restored wonder of all creation! Mátyás Corvinus stood shoulder to shoulder with people like Paul the Apostle, Deborah and contemporaries such as Rupert Zimmerman and the Greenes. Their stories intermingled in the winning of the great war... the war for the destiny of mankind!

Yes, the battle had been won decisively in the Master's Death and Resurrection, but indeed the battle had raged on as Darkness slowly was pushed back and the Nations were taken for the Kingdom of Righteousness. In human time, a Millennium had passed. In Eternity, one saw finally the scope of the Divine's work in history and none of the descriptions or arguments one finds in human writings did it justice. Evil had been banished to the Lake of Fire!

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. --  Hebrews 12:1-3

Here were the 'Great Cloud of Witnesses.' Many were recognizable from Hebrews 11, the hall of Faith, but there were many more added to their number as well. The man Mátyás Corvinus had known as 'Ransom' stood in their company. He was surrounded by many who were part of the Great Story.

A great war that had raged for centuries was now done. Now the great stories became part of the record of Eternal history. The blood and stench of death were gone, but the heroic acts could now be celebrated and remembered. All listened intently to hear the Master's "Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant!" Since Eternity has no limits but books theirs, we can but share a few of the highlights.

The Smiling Boy

There was a wild young man in Seoul, Korea once. His name was Lee Jong-Rak. [1.] He had to flee his rural village because of his wild reputation, but he was apprehended by Divine love and became a follower of the way. Eventually he became a Pastor. He and his wife had a daughter, then a son. The boy was one who you would call severely disabled. His mind never developed and he required constant care. The young Pastor became involved in the routine, clearing his breathing passage and tenderly working with his disabled child. Though there was no hope given by the doctors that he would get any response, eventually the boy learned to smile! The learning of how to smile was quite heroic, and the Master's smile was seen at the telling.

But there is more. The young boy became a man. He never was able to rise from his bed, but his smile inspired this little Pastor to become a rescuer of abandoned babies. In that society, so obsessed with performance and perfection, Mothers of handicapped babies would sometimes simply leave their babies in the streets to die. Pastor, who had been taught by his son to see IMAGO DEI rescued thousands of them, adopting some of the most severe himself.

One of his young charges, abandoned because he was missing some fingers, became a leader in his school. Eventually he became the leader of Korea and he brought about much needed reform and his life inspired a revival of Faith in the Korean people. He bravely took up the cause of the Christians persecuted in the North and his relentless advocacy eventually resulted in the reunification of his country.

In the earliest days of the Christian church, child abandonment was a problem too. Unwanted children were simply cast into the Tiber River in ancient Rome. Understanding the preciousness of human life, the Faithful pulled as many of these young souls as they could from the water and raised them as their own. Pastor Lee Jong-Rak's story was added to thousands more, each of them celebrating the Truth that man is created in the image of G-d according to the Holy Scriptures. Each life is precious. Pastor Lee's son was a teacher of that truth!

The Faithful Mothers

Susanna Wesley was one of 25 children, but she and her husband Samuel had nineteen! Though only eight of them would outlive her, Mrs. Wesley's influence she invested her life in each child and they in turn would bless the world. Her husband left her, but she continued to care for her children and was their main educator. She wrote to her husband:

I am a woman, but I am also the mistress of a large family. And though the superior charge of the souls contained in it lies upon you, yet in your long absence I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust. I am not a man nor a minister, yet as a mother and a mistress I felt I ought to do more than I had yet done. I resolved to begin with my own children; in which I observe the following method: I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty, Wednesday with Nancy, Thursday with Jacky, Friday with Patty, Saturday with Charles."

Her house burned down and she had to send her children away for a time. Her husband was often gone. Though he returned after the initial dispute. She, out of her own devotion to her Creator, began to host Sunday afternoon meetings and was much like the Biblical Priscilla.  She wrote extended commentaries on the Apostles Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments. Human history remembers her sons John and Charles, but here in the halls of Faith, a remembrance is made to a Faithful Mother!

Many more Faithful Mothers' stories were told and remembered. Now their many tears were turned to precious jewels! Their crowns were radiant with the light from them.

The Unseen Encouragers

Then the Master recounted the stories of those who saw and encouraged those around them. These were the stories that often went untold but one must indeed remember that they are foundations to the stories that are told! Here Mátyás would meet the Greenes and 'Queen Lucy' as they stood together with their old friend 'Ransom.' Indeed they shared in the work of encouraging those in their company. Mátyás still wondered when the stories of great battles and mighty kings would be told. To be sure, their stories intermingled with the Great Story too. 

The Mighty Warriors

His attention was fixed on the Master as The Magnificent One began to tell the stories of those who were considered mighty in battle in His Kingdom. Tiny ladies who prayed in obscurity more often than not, THEY were the force that brought focus to the work of the Divine Spirit. In human history few knew their names but in the Great Story each became a beautiful chapter. Their fellow warriors were the mighty servants of the Master and Mátyás saw how those considered 'powerful' in the old world were often nothing more than a tool in the hand of the Master, while such obscure Saints enjoyed true freedom and significance.

Mátyás was thankful that he had discovered this great truth in time and had entered the Great Story as well. Now he saw the company of the Martyrs, those who had chosen death rather than deny the Great Master. There was Stephen and Paul, along with Abdul the Turk and his family. [2.] There were many who had been cruelly murdered by 'the enforcers.' Some were victims of Mátyás' own decree, yet they were now joined with him in admiration of the Magnificent One.

The only signs of the great battle that remained, however, were the scarred hands and feet of the Master. Heaven had reached down in Selfless Love to rescue humankind. Now the choirs of Heaven sang of His mighty and brave adventure. The Story stirred the entire being!, but now it was time to enter into the Great Story of Eternity! Eternity had written itself on every heart present and all eyes looked up to Eternity's Golden Light!

The Magic Garden

One often wondered what you remembered in Heaven and what you forgot. Now it was clear that knowledge had only GROWN. Knowledge of the Magnificent One filled places in your being that you didn't know needed to be filled. Indeed one could remember as but a cloudy dream, things from the past. Earth had been remade in a fiery rebirth. One knew that, but it was rather like the time Rupert Zimmerman (builder of the great bridge) had read the words 'Citizen, Soldier, Educator' on that statue in a college quadrangle. The man so referenced had also lost a leg in battle, but here on the quadrangle there was no smoke, no pain, no blood, only the peaceful light through the trees and the memory of a life that had been lived... no man's life is totally well-lived, but that is the part that remains vivid in the memory. In fact, Mátyás saw this man and Rupert Zimmerman, warrior and bridge builder, strolling together in a deep and animated discussion. Here were two old soldiers who had ultimately found themselves participants in a greater battle... that for the rescue of humankind by the Master.

History was remembered, but the Master of History had made it His Story. There were indeed some who were not here that one had known in the Old Earth. Their lives were not forgotten, but they were remembered in the context of the Magnificent One's patience, "Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Indeed, one was aware of how the Magnificent One had wooed them. The Magnificent One wiped away tears; and His presence so filled you, that somehow you were made whole.

But now something new was about to happen. "Come!" said the voice Mátyás had first heard speak to his heart on the tarmac in Syria. Now on the Hillsides of a New Earth, all were gathered as the Great Jerusalem came down to join the Earth... "as a bride adorned for her Husband."

Behold, I make all things new."

Now that light that had first filtered through the trees was seen to have its origin from within the Great Jerusalem that descended. If you think of the finest feast of celebration you have ever enjoyed, the best family or church picnic on a beautiful day; you will come closer, but nowhere close to the feeling of this time when mankind sat down to enjoy a shared meal with the Magnificent One at the end of the world... or was this the BEGINNING?, yes, I believe that is a more truthful observation; and that, dear reader, is the one I will leave you with



Copyright © 2016, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved


Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume XI, Issue XXV

Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar. As the Will of G-d is in Heaven, even so let it be." -- 1 Maccabees 3:58–60, as quoted in a speech by Sir Winston Churchill

Mátyás Corvinus walked on alone to meet his brothers. He was wearing the purple cloak of a Worldstate ruler and had donned the official sword in its scabbard that signified his status. He walked alone out on the great bridge. The Eastbound span between the islands was showing its age and had been closed indefinitely for 'repairs.' There was no money for repairs so the older bridge and its memorial chapel remained abandoned. Here the ashes of the visionary who built the bridge and his wife were interred and the lives of everyone who had died on the bridge or its approach roads were remembered.

The chapel's glass pipe organ was silent. No one had played it since Pastor Greene's disappearance and this beautiful instrument was all but forgotten as well, for those who loved it were gone. Corvinus walked past the silent memorial and wondered at the genius necessary to join continents. Assembling the people of the world under 'one' government seemed cheap in comparison. As Corvinus had learned the rich stories surrounding the family that built the bridge, he wondered at miracles like inspiring Granddaughters. He thought much less now of rule by intimidation.

He walked alone across the suspension span past the chapel. Descending toward the International Dateline he saw two figures, clothed as he was, alone as they walked toward the line from Little Diomede. The three men greeted each other at the line that marked the 'end of the world.' Mátyás stared at his brothers, standing firmly in yesterday as they in turn stared at him, standing in the day to come. Alexey spoke first: "Hello Brother," he spoke in greeting.

You have joined 'The Way,'" spoke the youngest brother, the spiritual leader of Worldstate. "You know the punishment for doing so, for you have administered it enough times. Prepare to die, for there is no Divine who can save you!"

Three cloaked figures drew their swords on a darkened bridge. Alexey set into his brother, cautiously at first, remembering that Mátyás had always been the superior fencer in their youth together. As they parried, Mátyás said: "It is true that I have found 'the more perfect way.' We have only ruled because the Divine permitted it, and that to an end that He has determined." Alexey attacked harder with the sword. The youngest Corvinus stood back both in courtesy and as a 'spiritual' man. He would not fight.

Blades flashed, moves remembered from childhood were reenacted on the bridge across days. A fast step here, a thrust there. A leap to the wall and a surprise repositioning... a parry... a deadly thrust and death narrowly averted. "You are rusty, my brother," Alexey gasped, as he overexerted himself to meet his brother's strength. Mátyás countered with his own swordplay but spoke to his brothers of the promises of the Divine. His mission was not to kill or survive now, but to bring Redemption to his siblings. They appeared to halt and take it in for a moment here and there, but all too quickly they caught themselves. The battle raged on!

Then there was the moment. Alexey and the youngest brother in unison shouted: "WE REJECT YOUR SO-CALLED DIVINE!" "We want NOTHING to do with this 'Grace' you claim to offer. We will be DAMNED before we bow our knee to this G-d!" And so, the brothers Corvinus unwittingly spoke prophetically of their own end.

Mátyás Corvinus raised his sword straight into the sky, held by both hands, and closed his eyes in the manner of a warrior standing victorious in the face of his own certain death. "Into Your hands I commit my spirit," he whispered as Alexey's swift blade found its mark. The blood of the man who in his own strength and cunning once sought to change the world now ran freely onto the pavement and flowed into today and tomorrow. Too late, the brothers Corvinus would see it joined with the blood of another that flowed into all time.


(to be continued) [click to read]

Copyright © 2016, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved


Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume XI, Issue XXIV

He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future. Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it. The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.
-- Adolph Hitler ( יִמַּח שְׁמו )

Ransom’ was dying. He stood on the green of the college looking across time. It had been almost seven years since the disappearances and he had seen a small but dedicated students come through the institution and then go out to change the world. The latest to depart had been ‘Joe’ and Claudia, who left to pastor a group of Lakota in the ‘Lower 48.’ Claudia was part Lakota herself, so this was for her a return to her roots.

Joe’ had finished his sabbatical year and then become a teacher for a while as their daughter Lucy grew into a young girl. Now she would have playmates and adventures under the open sky. Mrs. Kinsinger went with them, as a mentor and a ‘grandmother’ to Lucy. ‘Ransom’ lovingly closed up the little parsonage house.

There was never any thought of him moving into the place, for ‘Ransom’ it held too many ghosts. Memories flooded the old man every time he walked past it… happy dinners with laughing children present… Macaroni and cheese, and wonderful conversation centered on the Magnificent One and His work! He was often seen walking among the hollyhocks now. The little garden refreshed the old man’s spirit.

He longed to go out once more to encourage the groups. Perhaps he would even pop in on ‘Joe’ and Claudia… no, too risky. He would not endanger their little family as there was always the possibility he would come followed by unwelcome guests!

The Way’ was more centered in Jerusalem now, for Israel still stubbornly resisted the one world government and the one world church, holding fast to a long-standing policy of religious freedom. The groups in CORVINUS, the capital of the world, were unfortunately, to put it mildly, a mess. CORVINUS was a city where not to aspire to power was a great sin and a lot of the city’s raw ambition and cunning were finding their way into the groups. A simple refresher course in the Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit seemed in order. That is why ‘Ransom’ found himself in the bustling city once more.

He had followed the usual circuitous path of travel into the city so as not to allow tracing to Big Diomede but as he presented himself to the oldest group in CORVINUS he realized the trap. Inquiring about old friends there he learned that all had come to some sort of unfortunate end. The people he spoke with now were unfortunately untrained in the basic truths of ‘The Way.’ Not only that, they seemed all too integrated with the decadent culture around them… flowing all too freely in and out of it.

Staying there for a time, he tried to rekindle the fire of interest in spiritual things. The talks in the groups were now more about tolerance for different lifestyles and the need to unite with the Worldstate religion. Too late he realized that he was simply a dangerous element that his present hosts would have to dispose of.

He was placed under house arrest and though he could have visitors he was no longer free to come and go. He had learned the old texts well enough that this came as no surprise to him. Younger members of the groups came quietly to the house and seemed truly eager to learn the Way of the Spirit, but the established leadership of the group now shunned him.

One day he answered his door to find armed ‘enforcers’ there. He was walked through the streets of CORVINUS in their custody. He noticed the cranes as the beautiful Alaskan capital was being fundamentally transformed now. Gargantuan skyscrapers and domes were taking shape around huge paved plazas that had been freshly slashed through the gentle city’s fabric. The designs seemed eerily taken from Albert Speer’s remaking of Berlin in the Twentieth Century. The result was brutally ugly.

Escorted through an oversized doorway into a disturbingly scaled hall, ‘Ransom’ found himself standing before Emperor Alexey Corvinus.

The interrogation was long and unpleasant. The Emperor wanted to know of his brother, of course, and secondly any information that might be used to suppress ‘The Way.’ ‘Ransom’ was tight-lipped and stiffened as Corvinus slapped him and threatened more severe punishment. Corvinus realized this was a man who would not give him the information he wanted… even as he was tortured to the point of death, so he chose to make him a public example.

The most severe punishment in Worldstate was beheading by the enforcers, but CORVINUS now saw himself as the leader of a revived Roman Empire. His younger brother had indeed installed him as a god in the minds of many in the inner circle. Soon the world would cast off all archaic entanglements and stand poised to enter a new millennium of progress. This great leap required the severance of old ties. No, beheading was not enough here. Roman history provided an even crueler and more public form of disposing with enemies of the state. ‘Ransom’ would be the first to taste it as it was reinstated in CORVINUS!


(to be continued) [click to read]

Copyright © 2016, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved


Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume XI, Issue XXIII

People who inspire others are those who see invisible bridges at the end of dead-end streets.” – Charles R. Swindoll

It was an unseasonably beautiful day in early June and the biosphere was opened up to allow the sweet breeze to flow through it. The few remaining residents took the opportunity to wander out and enjoy the blooming tundra. Mister Bultitude had usually stayed in the company but now the old bear lifted his nose. There was change in the air and he started to wander. He somehow found himself walking toward the bridge. The older East-bound section had been closed indefinitely for extensive maintenance but there were no funds so it was simply closed. Power to the security cameras was even turned off. In any case it was not until a toll collector reported a bear wandering up the side of Cape Mountain that anyone saw him at all.

Ransom,’ who did not like confining the great bear, was concerned when he went missing but there was no way everyone could spread out looking for him. A bear doing pretty much anything in Alaska draws little or no suspicion. Humans in a line searching for him would. When the report came over bridge communication channels, ‘Ransom’ smiled. “Perhaps the old boy will follow in the footsteps of his namesake. Perhaps Worldstate is beginning to unravel.” ‘Joe’ was from Virginia, where there are plenty of wild bears. “Its JUNE, perhaps he’ll be like his namesake and find himself a lady bear!”

Ransom’ and ‘Joe’ walked the blooming hillside in the soft breeze. “I wish the great men and women were still with us.” Said ‘Joe.’ “Claudia and I feel so… INADEQUATE… if you know what I mean. Not at all like Dr. Greene… I mean, the torch has been passed to us of necessity but it seems sometimes that we walk in the shadow of giants… you know, we can NEVER be like them!”

We all feel that way,” ‘Ransom’ shot back, “but take the Greenes for example. I KNEW them… LOVED them. I need to tell you the story of their story. Zimmerman’s daughter Elizabeth hired a writer to come up here and write the story of the great bridge. When the manuscript was presented to her she shared it with the Greenes and her Father, the force behind the bridge. Mrs. Greene read her part of the story and didn’t say anything. Elizabeth was a close friend of Mrs. Greene and pressed her for her opinion anyway.

He made my character ‘TOO PERFECT’ the Pastor’s wife lamented. I’d really like to PULVERIZE him. He simply didn’t get it!”

Ransom’ continued; “You see, when the Greenes arrived on Big Diomede they were young and I think… kind of SCARED. They’d Pastored a church in the ‘lower 48’ and it was quite discouraging. I think they were ready to quit but Zimmerman was concerned that his bridge was developing a very unhealthy culture around itself. He knew some history so he decided to infuse some positive influence up here.

So the Greenes decided to give it one more try, but they came up here to a raw construction site. Everyone was of the tough rugged individualist school and they never darkened the door of the church. Mrs. Greene was quite lonely and she would tell you that she had pretty much screamed at the top of her lungs one day that if nothing changed she was headed back to Virginia, where she came from.

But her pain became a portal. As she saw her house rise from the muddy ground inside the biosphere, she looked to the bustling service plaza and saw the loneliness of the ladies working there. She took a job there and befriended a lot of them. She listened to their stories and led many of them to see new hope for their lives. Then she saw the vile trade in human servitude that went on in this lawless frontier and she devised a way to lead some of those girls out of it and into a new life. She had quite a bit of design talent which inspired her to create the little shops under the dormitory. Here the girls created fashions as they allowed the Divine to recreate their very lives.

Compressed into a story it seems so wondrous and complete, but there were missteps and numerous disappointments. Many people didn’t understand her and derided the work she did. That’s hard to believe now but read the full volumes of any history and you’ll find this true. Being a pioneer generally means you will be lonely and misunderstood at times. Perseverance is a wondrous thing, really, and most real success and innovation is simply believing in your mission and staying true to it… even as you walk alone.

By the time Big Diomede became a tourist stop she had many ladies around her who out of their own changed lives were helping her with the open air Bible lessons she taught. But I don’t think anyone really knows how much perseverance it took to get to that point.

She even thought about those of us who would follow her, and rumor has it she painted a little mural somewhere in the parsonage for its next occupants. Have you, perchance, found it… or is that just one of the stories that has grown up around her?” ‘Joe’ shook his head. “You would think with a four-year old in the house we would have scoped out everything.”

A few days later, ‘Joe’ walked into the old parsonage to find his wife in a bit of a panic; “Have you seen Lucy?” she asked, “She’s been gone for about forty minutes. I was busy with some baking and then I realized she wasn’t in the house!” “Have you searched?” ‘Joe’ said in reply. “Of course! I have looked through the whole house, starting with the closets!” “Well,” said ‘Joe,’ I think it is time we think like a four-year old and search again.” They made their way through the house once more and when they got to the little attic bedroom they paused. Here in the half-wall paneling a piece was pushed slightly askew. Claudia crept closer. There was a small shaft of light coming from the crack.

She and ‘Joe’ looked in with amazement. Here was a simple closet in an eve space, but it created a child-sized place. Lucy was talking. They wanted to listen in. “We knew the story,” Claudia whispered, “but I wondered why we never found it.” Lucy sat in the small lighted closet with her stuffed animal ‘luvvies’ in front of a painting. It was a small mural but it filled the back of the closet. “We never found it because we never thought as a child!” Here in what had been, obviously, the first Queen Lucy’s bedroom was a mural that was really more of a magical portal for it depicted the world of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia!

Surveying all, from the clouds at the top of the painting was the majestic Lion, Aslan! There was the great sea, the Dawn Treader making sail and Cair Paravel. Here were green hills and majestic mountains and in the foreground four children greeted a faun carrying an umbrella and a parcel under a street lamp in a snowy wood. “So, Kris Greene really DID leave a painting in the house!” Claudia said softly. “We knew she painted ‘The School of Athens’ at the college but we just sort of forgot about the other story.”

One can only imagine Kris’ little daughter playing here for hours, just like Lucy is doing. It is remarkable! How fortunate is any little girl who is so blessed!” Indeed, Lucy would now spend hours here with her stuffed ‘luvvies,’ taking them with her into this magical world where animals talked.

Kris had other young mothers in the old biosphere,” Claudia said to ‘Joe’ one day. “Lucy needs other children.” Indeed ‘Joe’ was beginning to sense that portals, when you found them, were not something to be guarded, but were meant to be walked through. He and ‘Ransom’ talked about this quite a bit now as it turned out.

Mátyás Corvinus was growing restless too. He had gone out some to encourage the groups but cautiously. It was pretty well established that his status as ‘missing’ was preventing a wholesale crackdown on the followers of ‘The Way.’ “Mátyás, you can do the most good here by taking my place. I am not well. My old life weighs in heavily upon me now and I do not know how long I shall be in this world. I am ready to step into Eternity… dare I say that I am quite looking forward to it! But I do think you most important in what you are doing here. Please, in any case, consider it.”

Mátyás thought of his two brothers. He WANTED them to know the peace he had found, but saw the greater good to be had as he remained hidden. Somehow he had the feeling he would have to confront them, but for now there was a great work to be done right where he was. He smiled as he allowed himself to be overtaken by contentment. The evening sun cast a golden light through the dome and the trees and walls glowed with its warmth. The little horses grazed on the college green. Little Lucy skipped out onto the green from her front door, having just returned from Narnia in time for dinner! Her parents followed her out the door and each took one of her hands as together they walked to the refectory.

(to be continued) [click to read]

Copyright © 2016, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved


Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume XI, Issue XXII

Nella fantasia io vedo un mondo giusto,
Lì tutti vivono in pace e in onestà.
Io sogno d’anime che sono sempre libere,
Come le nuvole che volano,
Pien’ d’umanità in fondo all’anima.

Nella fantasia io vedo un mondo chiaro,
Lì anche la notte è meno oscura.
Io sogno d’anime che sono sempre libere,
Come le nuvole che volano.

Nella fantasia esiste un vento caldo,
Che soffia sulle città, come amico.
Io sogno d’anime che sono sempre libere,
Come le nuvole che volano,
Pien’ d’umanità in fondo all’anima.

-- Nella Fantasia

Five hundred miles to the East, in the city of Fairgate… now renamed CORVINUS (in all capitals), another discussion of marriage was taking place. It had been a year since Alexey had BANNED it. Officials of Worldstate were forbidden to enter into marriage because Corvinus thought that it took away from their focus as officials and enforcers of the new world order. Throughout the wider Worldstate, it had been defined as pretty much anything you wanted. You could marry another of your own gender, or have multiple wives in succession. In government service however family was an unnecessary burden and after a long period of discouraging it with little effect, Corvinus simply banned it.

Younger brother, Corvinus the Prophet did his part. No marriages would be performed for Worldstate officials in the state church. This decree led to a surge in vacations to Israel, a land where the joy of the bride and bridegroom seemed to be rooted in the very fabric of the land. The state in turn restricted travel to Israel. This was a great disappointment, not only to young couples but to history buffs who wanted to see the construction progressing on the new Temple. Indeed, Israel seemed to be one of the last societies with any of the old freedoms intact. To a lesser degree, the Siberian Autonomous Republic held on to some basic freedoms but only for its own small population. It became a carefully monitored corridor for transport but not much else.

As ‘Joe’ went out to encourage the small groups, he found himself more and more asked to perform secret weddings. This is how he came to be called ‘Valentine.’ In 278A.D. a minister of ‘The Way’ had defied a similar edict by the Roman Emperor Claudius the Cruel and was put to death for performing marriages anyway. ‘Valentine’ as ‘Joe’ came to be known, would arrive in a place to minister and often have an eager queue of couples waiting for him. Though he rejoiced in this new office, he secretly wished on more than one occasion that he could simply be the groom!

The work of the Eternal Kingdom, however, left little time for socialization. How ‘Valentine’ missed the walks in the gardens of Big Diomede and the stories of Mrs. Greene and ‘Queen Lucy!’ He reassured himself that it was a noble thing to give this gift to others… but still his heart ached. Hidden in plain sight, he walked across the great bridge across the Tanana River in CORVINUS one day, surrounded by bustling officious souls, but quite alone. He was the only one to notice.

She stood on a railing of the bridge, hidden from casual gazes by the gargantuan light fixture she clung to… watching the icy river flow beneath her. She was a young government official, but she had entered into this life wearing rose colored glasses. Now, after seeing her ‘liberated’ state as nothing more than a dull and endless servitude, she had been cast aside by her last lover, a mid-level Corvinus enforcement chief. Though she wore the close-cropped hair and the genderless garments of a Worldstate official, her heart still stirred within her. Of late she had given up the drugs… she suspected there was another life within her and some maternal instinct drove her to do that.

The new clarity of mind that resulted from her decision was simply more than she was ready for. She could not simply present herself at the state health clinic to have her problem ‘dealt with,’ yet she saw no way to continue. She had found a copy of ‘Notes to Priscilla and Aquilla’ and tried to read it but her Worldstate conditioned mind solidly resisted. It was best, she thought, to end it all. Life was short and meaningless anyway. Surely this was for the best.

Valentine’ resisted the urge to climb up there with her. He was already known on Big Diomede for being ‘the reckless one.’ Staying hidden in plain sight was an art form and ‘Valentine’ was way too careless at it. Official Worldstate policy was that suicide was a noble act as you were stepping out of the way of others who needed the world’s limited resources. Society seemed to have lost the lessons learned in the great farms of the tundra. In the end, ‘Valentine’ was won by the core of his mission, that “Not any should perish!” He quietly climbed up with her.

After what seemed an awkward eternity, the two slipped down into the plodding crowd on the bridge. Most walked head down and if anyone saw them they probably assumed them to be complicit in a lovers’ suicide pact anyway… best for such to go ahead and jump in the river. But no one seemed to notice that they didn’t jump and slipped back into the throng. “Oh well, they’ll probably go through with it on another day.”

There was a little park on the riverbank and the two made their way to a place that was quite alone. The sound of the river made monitoring difficult here and the two talked. ‘Valentine’ was amazingly able to answer her questions. Her name was Claudia and she had come to CORVINUS to pursue her career. She was from Iowa in the ‘Lower 48’ originally, the child of hard working farmers who had tried to instill in her a sense of family. At her young age she had rebelled against their ‘archaic’ ways and their beliefs, but now she had been able to compare and contrast. Though her parents had been taken by the disappearances, it was they and not Worldstate who spoke clearest to her!

And Claudia gave herself to becoming a disciple of ‘The Way.’

Valentine’ met with the leaders of the church in CORVINUS. Surely it was best that Claudia disappear from the city because of her high profile. There was not much time to think about it but ‘Valentine’ and his partner in ministry were now scheduled to leave in a sealed freight container. They would head East into Canadian territory before obtaining a similar ride to Big Diomede. Claudia begged for a way out of CORVINUS and in the end, the two decided to include her in their cramped quarters. About a week later Claudia, blindfolded, was escorted by ‘Ransom’ through the tunnel into the biosphere.

Valentine’ took a brief rest and was gone again to encourage people someplace in the world, but Claudia became one of ‘The More Perfect Way’s’ greatest students. One day, some months later, she sat at a mirror in the ‘Northern Lights’ studio releasing her now lengthening hair. She rejoiced in remembering how it had cascaded to her shoulders in her Iowa youth and knew it would one day caress her shoulders once more. Her changing profile drove her to Mrs. Greene’s studio on a fairly regular basis now as she needed to find… in every sense of the word… a more expanded wardrobe. “How wonderful!” she thought, “to have a clothing line right here under the dormitory!” She jumped as Mrs. Kinsinger, the older lady ‘Ransom’ had brought to Big Diomede as her mentor, stepped into the room. She fumbled rapidly, attempting to place her hair back into the ‘Worldstate bun’ that her station outside the biosphere required, but she failed and gave a little groan. Kinsiger smiled and stroked the fallen hair gently.

Is it wrong of me to think so much of ‘Joe,’ er, ‘Valentine?’” she lamented. For indeed she had been caught in the act of ‘being feminine,’ a practice Worldstate did not, for its part, want to encourage. Here in the biosphere, Mama Greene’s rule superceded. Indeed femininity was a noble and good thing to be cherished. Greene’s influence was fondly and reverently remembered.

Kinsinger smiled, for she had seen all the signs of this coming. Everyone in the biosphere could, even ‘Ransom.’ “’Joe’ has spent a lot more time on the road lately. In fact ‘Ransom’ is about to force him to take a sabbatical! He pretends not to notice you, but every little handwritten note you give him he cherishes. Notice how quickly he responds in kind. I can assure you he is asking ‘Ransom’ the same sort of questions with which you pummel me! The Divine has His paints out, dear sister, and he loves to paint!”

Indeed, ‘Joe’ was on a mission to the Middle-East and was about to return in the next few days. Claudia was running out of the little notes in envelopes that he always left, ostensibly to ‘encourage’ her, but that always seemed to be in adequate supply for a ‘daily letter’ from a man who could use no public form of messaging.

We need to pray ‘Joe’ will have his ‘Stone Mountain Moment,’” Mrs. Kinsinger continued, referring to the storm on the great mountain in which the hard man who had built the great bridge proposed to his own dear wife. The story was part of the legend of the biosphere along with the mountain walk in which the Greenes became a couple. The Greenes, to their credit, had not required thunder and lightning! ‘Joe’ was a man focused on his mission. Some pyrotechnics might need to be employed.

Joe’s’ return to the biosphere came as expected, but instead of a casual conversation, he retired to his room without speaking to anyone. Claudia’s heart fell. Returning to her room, she saw the little envelope. In it was a simple invitation from ‘Joe:’ “Will you join me for dinner in the old president’s office?” was the only message. There was plenty of time provided to “pretty up” and Claudia shamelessly ransacked the ‘Northern Lights’ collection in the process. Two hours later she arrived at the paneled room that had been Jonathan Greene’s office and study. A fire blazed in the fireplace as ‘Joe’ met her, dressed in his finest dinner clothes. He had prepared the meal himself and seated her, serving the soup course and then he took his place.

Joe’ did not hesitate, but spoke from his heart. The dinner and conversation lasted long into the night. The ‘long distance relationship’ that ‘Joe’ had contrived really left little to be said in words, but much to be said by the eyes and the tender touch of a hand upon a hand. ‘Joe’ was indeed taking an extended sabbatical. He needed to put down in writing some of what he was teaching to the various groups. More importantly, he said: “I need to learn how to be a father.”

In the days that followed, Claudia found herself taking dictation and smoothing ‘Joe’s’ manuscripts. He was a hard but kind taskmaster and the two grew closer. One day he surprised her by insisting that they take a little break and walk in the tundra flowers. Though a storm rumbled in the distance it was a strangely warm and calm day and the sunlight played brilliantly off of the verdant summer hillside. ‘Joe’ pulled a little box from his pocket… he wanted to do this a little more stylishly than Zimmerman…

Though there was at the time no one who knew how to play the old pipe organ in the stone chapel, ‘Ransom’ found some old computer files where Greene had made midis of his playing the organ. They were sometimes accompanied by him and his wife singing duets and the combination of high quality voice rendition and the signal playing the actual organ made for a rich combination. There was not a dry eye in the little chapel as ‘Joe’ and Claudia became one. The music files were an added blessing as they had been forgotten for some time. It was as if the Greenes had returned from Heaven to bless the festivities.

Mrs. Greene and her husbands’ beautiful voices joined in the beautiful old song:

In my fantasy I see a just world,
Where everyone lives in peace and honesty.
I dream of souls that are always free
Like the clouds that float
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul.

In my fantasy I see a bright world
Where each night there is less darkness.
I dream of spirits that are always free,
Like the clouds that float

In my fantasy exists a warm wind,
That blows into the city, like a friend.
I dream of souls that are always free,
Like the clouds that float
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul.

The ceremony was beautiful and required many tissues. When it was over the couple had another surprise awaiting them. ‘Ransom’ knew that the young couple needed better accommodations than those provided by the dormitory houses but didn’t want to relegate them to the untended housing stock in the biosphere outside the college grounds. He wrestled with this for some time, not wanting to disturb or rekindle sacred memories, but in the end he and Mrs. Kinsinger lovingly cleaned and dusted the old parsonage and on the wedding day its lights blazed once more.

They named their daughter Lucy and once more the little biosphere had a queen!

Kris' house on Big Diomede. Graphic by Bob Kirchman

(to be continued) [click to read]

Copyright © 2016, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved


Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume XI, Issue XXI

This confusion is continually present in language as we use it. We appear to be saying something very important about something: and actually we are only saying something about our own feelings.”
– ‘Gaius and Titius’ in ‘The Green Book’
as quoted by C. S. Lewis in ‘The Abolition of Man

Indeed it was hard to find much ‘normal’ anymore in the world outside of the little biosphere. There was still much religion to be found, but it was mostly about feelings and little about truth. Coleridge at the waterfall, where one man called it ‘sublime’ and another ‘pretty’ would be hard pressed to express his disgust to the great thinkers of Worldstate, who scoffed at the notion of great truths and great aspirations (beyond the promotion of Worldstate). The world of art and literature had been pushed towards new levels of banality in the works funded by state. Intelligentsia wrote eloquent reviews of ‘brilliant’ works that were frankly undeserving of such accolades but served well the mission of subverting the whole notion of ‘sublime.’

Dr. Greene had asked his librarians to collect images of the great works, which now became important even as Worldstate quietly let them be forgotten if not outright destroyed by the hands of the ‘enforcers.’ The students studied the works inspired by Man’s nobler aspirations even as major galleries presented empty rooms and torn canvasses as ‘significant art.’

Many in the wider world felt a new level of hopelessness. In times past, noble values and virtues filtered out from the Faithful to enrich their society. Many had taken this virtue for granted as something inherent in the supposed ‘goodness of man.’ They were sorely disappointed in the ‘new human’ wrought by Worldstate. All too soon it was clear that men without a moral compass needed more supervision and restraint than a society could provide short of creating a climate of fear and oppression. Alexey Corvinus assured the people of the world that their ‘temporary sacrifice’ would usher in the great new world that was now finally possible.

Indeed it was necessary to provide ‘bread and circuses’ handed out with the most lavish oratory (talk being cheap), so that the people would comply with the added restrictions caused by the inevitable shortages. Joining the ‘enforcers’ gave you access to more necessities. Resisting them put you at the end of the line. The state was the provider of what little there was. Local community became increasingly irrelevant in the centralized Worldstate economy.

Gone were the myriad of local greenhouse farms where vegetables were grown without chemicals and genetic modification, being locally produced. Great collectives and industrial farms produced large quantities of pallid produce that was “shipable.” The chemical laden methods of the Twentieth Century were returned to as the great companies that produced chemicals and super seeds became public/private entities. The freedom won in the Alaska Revolution and the Northern Territories was lost. In a few corners of the Tundra there were people preserving heirloom species, but they were now considered almost as dangerous as those who adhered to ‘The Way.’

In fact, it was tempting to bury oneself in the monastic beauty of the biosphere and forget the world outside. One could find great solace among the ever-blooming gardens and the rich libraries.  ‘Ransom’ felt that that would be a great wrong. “Think of the level of substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide out there.” He said. “The world is seeing what it is like to live without the influence of the Divine, and they are not rejoicing over it. In fact, they seem quite lost when their diversions or their drunkenness are not present. We have a mandate. Though they have no love for us now, they too are those who the Master sacrificed His own life to redeem.”

Indeed ‘The Way,’ though much suppressed, continued to grow in followers and ‘Ransom’ often travelled to faraway places to encourage them, often riding in the cargo compartments of ‘sealed’ transport. ‘Joe’ was beginning to venture out as well. They would go out by twos and though they told many a harrowing story they always came home bringing reason to rejoice.

A Walk in the Garden

Joe,’ though he indeed was seeing fruit in his work, was restless. ‘Ransom’ sensed this and as they walked along the green one day he asked him about it. “Is it wrong of me to desire to find a wife… be married and all?” ‘Joe’ answered, returning question for question. ‘Ransom’ had quite naturally put that consideration aside, but empathized with his young friend’s concern. “In the past, the church often erred by promoting the celebate life as the way to ministry. Paul the Apostle wrote that it was good to be ‘as he was,’ but it is likely that he had been married earlier and his singleness at the time was not necessarily voluntary. It is likely that his wife died or that he was cast out of his community and suffered a divorce as a result of coming to ‘The Way.’ In any case, it was good for him as he traveled and endured beatings and imprisonment.

That said, it is NOT a prerequisite for ministry. In fact, Paul speaks often of his friends and colleagues in ministry: Priscilla and Aquilla. It is no mistake that he mentions them together and it is no mistake that her name is often mentioned first, for they TOGETHER taught ‘The More Perfect Way.’ The Divine is Spirit and Male and Female are created in His image. Thus it was a mistake for the church to discount the importance of women as image-bearers. The ‘enforcers’ diminish their women to the place of objects and that is highly disturbing.They are most indeed the poorer for it.

No doubt, you are drawn to the flowers, birds and butterflies here. They and a number of pleasant things here owe their existence to Mrs. Greene. Clearly there is a feminine side to expression of the Glory of G-d and we are privileged to experience it, although vicariously at the present moment.

You are not necessarily right or wrong to desire a wife, but you are honest! The Magnificent One will honor that and you should freely share that with Him in your heart.”

Joe’ replied: “I honestly desire a partner in life, yet we are at a time in history that one would call ‘unprecedented times.’ “ALL times are unprecedented,” ‘Ransom’ replied. “That is why we study so much history here. We learn that at Israel’s darkest moment… when the people were carried off to Persia and the Kingdom destroyed, the prophet told the people to plant vines, build houses and marry and give in marriage. We are always to seek the prosperity of the place we are planted. I cannot tell you how to proceed here, as you know we are a community of MEN, yet as you go out into the wider world, it might be that you will be surprised by joys you cannot now anticipate.”

But might there be sorrows as well?” said ‘Joe.’ “Yes,” said ‘Ransom,’ “I think you will find that in this life, joy and sorrow often walk hand in hand. From my own life though, I can tell you: It is a mistake to shut out joy in an effort to insulate yourself from sorrow. In the end you will have missed blessing and that in itself is the most bitter of all sorrows.”

In the Garden
Charles A. Miles, 1913, Public Domain

In the Garden. Photo by Bob Kirchman

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

I’d stay in the garden with Him,
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Oak branches in snow. Photo by Bob Kirchman

(to be continued) [click to read]

Copyright © 2016, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved


Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume XI, Issue XX


The Brothers Corvinus
The Sequel to PONTIFUS and 
By Bob Kirchman
Copyright © 2016, The Kirchman Studio, all rights reserved

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” – C. S. Lewis

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream” – C. S. Lewis.

I have found a desire within myself that no experience in this world can satisfy; the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C. S. Lewis

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there. It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime." – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Mister Bultitude’s birthday celebration was going on. The little college always celebrated this event, beginning on November 22 and ending on November 29th. In a happier time, the event was always punctuated by Thanksgiving Break, and the students would return to their families and more festivities. This was actually a celebration initiated by Mrs. Greene and the great bear was feted with her famous blueberry cake. The students would read C. S. Lewis’s ‘The Abolition of Man’ in preparation and they would use the old Gothic chapel as a backdrop as they acted out portions of the novel “That Hideous Strength.”

In happier times, the female students would fill the roles of Jane, Mother Dimble, Ivy Maggs and Major Hardcastle, but now there were only the few men remaining, so the dramatic readings were more subdued. In any case, Lewis’s dystopia had become all too real and this portion of the celebration now loomed even more as a call to action. They were still carried out in the evening with the great window of the chapel illuminated from within and soft “blue” lighting on the old stone without.

Ransom’ explained to Mátyás that his pseudonym was actually lifted from the book and he felt it really described his life. There was a clear picture in his mind of how the Magnificent One had ‘become sin’ for him and had indeed lovingly renewed his twisted life. ‘Ransom’ was not his real name at all. The hard-living maintenance supervisor of the college had retreated there from a failed marriage and failed recovery from substance abuse. Finally, in the climate of giving love and high expectations provided by the college shops, he had been clean for five years at the time of the disappearances. Even on warm days, he always wore an old sweater. He dressed for dinner in a long-sleeved jacket and tie. Anticipating the question he explained that he had been a special forces operative in his younger days... a tough man who had killed people. His arms were covered with tattoos!

Sadly, ‘Ransom’ had resisted the underlying Source of that love and felt he had simply had a ‘lucky break’ in coming here. He silently kept the walls up to prevent his consideration of any absolute unseen realities, but Greene, the president of the college, had planted a seed. It took root in the days following Greene’s mysterious departure, and now ‘Ransom’ was indeed the heir of his great work. Indeed it was the LOVE, freely extended by the residents of this place, to the broken girls as they learned the perfumer's art and fashion design and to him and his fellow maintenance men. Sometimes you'd find yourself working alongside a man like Zimmerman, who had built the great bridge, but he picked up litter and changed light bulbs with the rest of the crew. It was a community, Greene had said, not unlike that of the American frontier days. Everyone cared for everyone else. There was what Greene would call an overwhelming sense of IMAGO DEI, the stamp of the Divine on each member of the little village.

We are all wounded adopted children of the Master,” ‘Ransom’ said to Corvinus one evening as they strolled to the refectory. “Your conflicted feelings are not necessarily reflective of what is true about you, but they speak of areas where you might seek healing. All of us here have a story and if we examine ours with some honesty, we will see the Master speaking into it. We fit badly into this world, it is true, but let me tell you a secret… we were made for a better world!

Illustration by Kristina Elaine Greer.

Mátyás Corvinus had been born in Hungary. He was the oldest of three brothers and the three became known in their village for their daring exploits. Mátyás was the thinker. Middle brother Alexey was the one who often led them into great adventures and the youngest was reflective in a different manner. As youths, the three had managed to make their way across the Eurasian continent one summer hiding in rail cars. That this feat was considered quite impossible fired a bit of a legend about them in the minds of their fellow villagers. The Summer that the boys simply disappeared, only to show up in Madagan, far into Siberia, earned them not only beatings from their abusive father, but the unspoken admiration of every adolescent in their circle.

At university, the three excelled at football (soccer) and their studies. Mátyás studied Government and Philosophy, Alexey business and finance and the youngest gravitated toward theology and Philosophy. Alexey entered government as the others continued their studies. He served in the local assembly as he built a small communications company. Eventually He became the Prime Minister and the owner of most of the wireless network serving the Bering Strait Bridge Highway in Siberia.

The youngest became a priest in Poland and eventually was in the College of Cardinals. He was considered to be in line for the Papacy by some.

Mátyás, upon his graduation from university, was appointed as an ambassador to the United Nations by his brother. Here is charm and ambition set him on a path that would likely have him in line to be Secretary General one day. There were a few millionaire-philanthropists who longed to build a world federal state. They saw the brothers Corvinus as the means to that end. The silent investment of their new ‘partners’ insured that everything the brothers touched turned to gold.

Their path assured, the brothers Corvinus enjoyed all the pleasures and prestige this world had to offer. Their ‘handlers’ groomed them for a world crisis where they would take charge and offer solutions. When certain world leaders and the bulk of opposition were overcome, they would make their move.

That opposition became more and more defined in the years proceeding the ‘disappearances.’

Summarized, they might be seen as those who believed in any sort of reality greater than what was seen. Religion was useful to control human behavior, but dangerous if it motivated one to believe that there were things worth dying for. God, country and family could motivate those who loved them to reckless sacrifice.

Besides, such oversight of the human condition was easy to cast as ‘oppressive.’ You couldn’t enjoy the rich pleasures of the world because of archaic restraints. Many young people were all too ready to cast off the chains of restraint and define their lives in new ways. Society could now engineer the reality to match one’s personal preferences and ‘old thought’ stood squarely in the path of progress.

Government could better care for human needs and reduce the pull such philosophies had on their followers. Replace the community coming together to rebuild a barn or care for a sick child with a centralized solution and you dulled the pull of localism and faith. Though initially there would be sacrifices to be made, the more equitable distribution of resources through a centralized state would usher in a brave new world. All would be equal (though those who built the new world should enjoy reward for doing so). Refocus those individuals who sought significance through martyrdom into ‘enforcers’ of the new world order and you took that which created chaos and turned it to promoting peace!

As the United Nations continued to degenerate into an unruly collection of representatives for the despots of the world, Mátyás created the Centre for World Peace on the banks of the Euphrates and Tigress Rivers to begin this final solution to the world’s woes.

The problem that wouldn’t go away was the ‘thinkers’ who persisted in the notion that a ‘better world’ awaited them beyond what they saw. The disappearances had indeed decimated their ranks, but there appeared to be resistance still. The failed attempt to destroy Israel had resulted in the displacement of Mátyás Corvinus and his great work. His return to the Middle-East to suppress the opposition had resulted in something no one but the troublesome ‘Divine’ could have anticipated.

The three-legged stool of power was wobbling awkwardly. The leader of the Centre for World Peace and his crew were missing. Resources were concentrated by Alexey and Worldstate officials in the Middle-East. Israel was suspected in the disappearance of Corvinus, but in actuality knew nothing of it. Their investigation was thorough and convincing. They shared their findings freely with Worldstate.

Of course, the remaining brothers KNEW the likely true cause of their brother’s disappearance and as Worldstate bore down on followers of ‘The Way,’ they restrained their violence and sought to learn more of the structure of the group. Indeed it seemed to be centered in those nations which still practiced religious freedom, such as Israel and Kurdistan, rather than the more enlightened way of ‘tolerance,’ where you could freely practice your beliefs but you had better not interject them into the workings of the greater society. The violence of suppressing ‘The Way’ was temporary anyway and if they would just return Mátyás Corvinus, dead or alive, they would be eventually eliminated in due time. For now, it was necessary to keep open some channels of communication, for indeed it was likely that the eldest Corvinus was a hostage… and his life was in great danger.

What made the work of tracking down ‘The Way’ was the absence of wireless communication. Monitoring hard-wired infrastructure yielded nothing as well. Worldstate was at a loss. A movement that did not build itself on social media or public media was something no-one could monitor. Friend told friend. Books of Holy Scripture were not being printed. That was controlled by the government now. Men like ‘Ransom’ would learn passages and recite them verbally for their pupils in various places. These people would copy them and learn them for themselves, destroying the paper version when it was securely in their own minds. The verses contained in the ‘Notes to Priscilla and Aquilla” would be committed to memory, but the book itself was simply used as a guide to them. Many ‘Priscilla and Aquilla’ groups were meeting now with no visible evidence of that work in hand, simply the knowledge it guided to committed to the heart.

Though various threats and rewards were put forth by Worldstate, the likely fact that Mátyás was a hostage resulted in an effective truce. Local ‘enforcers’ still took it upon themselves to kill followers of ‘The Way,’ but official persecution was at a standstill.

Who wrote the “Notes to Priscilla and Aquilla?” Matyas asked ‘Ransom’ in one of their evening strolls together. He was surprised to be told: “We really don’t know. It is pretty certain that Dr. Greene DIDN’T write it, but it is suspiciously similar to the writings of his wife. She was a gifted novelist among other things, but no-one can be certain. In any case, there was a certain desire that the work be anonymous.

We have been looking at the Letters of Paul and Peter in our formal classes and how modern thinkers want to assign multiple-authorship and such to diminish their importance. All of these thinkers forget that the works were dictated and there was a certain desire of the human author to stand out of the way of the Divine revelation. Though our little guide is certainly NOT Divine in authorship, we see its anonymity as trying to stand out of the way of Divine revelation as well. That is why we use it to guide us to Scripture, then we purposefully discard it as we let Scripture teach us deeper things about itself.

You and ‘Joe’ here are on a path so that you yourself will be the guides… sort of like the book ‘Fahrenheit 451, where the books are banned and the people ‘become’ the books. [1.] That is the purpose of the wretched memorization, for one day you will leave here and carry nothing with you on your person to identify you as one of us.” Joe interjected: “so, will we teach what is inside us or simply answer questions from this reservoir or knowledge? How exactly will our fellow pilgrims be able to use what we have preserved?”

Ransom’ Answered: “We are purposefully vague about that process because we see it as requiring the direction of that same Spirit that made this knowledge available to us in the first place. If we were to prescribe a method, we might perchance find ourselves unwittingly suppressing a move of that same Spirit. Joe, you and Mátyás are both examples of a conversion that occurred outside of the ‘normal’ way of doing things. I think if you look at your own stories you will discover what I mean.”

Many people never realized that the 'Northern Lights' fashions and cosmetics were actually produced in Big Diomede...

...largely due to a very cosmopolitan advertising strategy.

(to be continued) [click to read]