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


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