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Family Reunions

One of the hardest Gospel readings: Matthew 10:37-42

Some years ago, I heard a homily that has stuck with me ever since.  It was in Easter, and the priest noted that while we try to approach Easter each year with a sense of newness and wonder, for most of us, it's quite familiar.  We've celebrated Easter before, so what else is new?

He answered his own question by pointing out that every year is different.  We are older, we may have kids now, or our kids may be moving out, etc.  Life brings constant changes, even if they are incremental.

He was right, of course.  The Easter I celebrated this spring was vastly different from the one I celebrated in 2019, when lockdowns were unheard of, or in 2020, when we were unable to attend Mass in person.

So it was with this week's Gospel readings, which is the famous passage where Jesus creates a string of paradoxes surrounding faith, but also says that those who cannot leave their parents and children for him, are not worthy of him.  That passage always rankled with me, because how could a loving God demand that I put aside those people?  We are commanded to honor our parents, and what parent would cast aside a child?

This year I see it differently.  I realize that this life is not all that there is.  If God calls, we must answer, and He will see to it that my parents and children are taken care of. 

That is probably the biggest difference between believers and those without faith in God.  If this life is all there is, then death is a nightmare, the worst thing ever.  Pleasure must be taken as often as possible, because its joys will fade.

It is clear to me that the top rungs of the social ladder have lost faith in God, and believe that nothing else matters besides their time on earth.  Cheating is something they admire, and cleverness is superior to courage.  A person willing to die for faith or conviction is a sap and fool.

All of that is predicated on there being nothing else; on the Unseen being non-existent.  At this late date, I don't that that view is logically sustainable.  I have experienced too much of the spirit realm to believe otherwise.

I'm also starting to wonder if the "evangelical atheists" aren't trying to convince others to abandon faith so much as reassure themselves. 

This is also why one gets Yard Sign Calvinists, who - unable to reach God - seek social salvation through virtue-signalling. 

J.R.R. Tolkien had an interesting take on the "end game" of a society that turns to darkness.  His description of the fall of Numenor is very much reminiscent of where we are - people becoming status-obsessed, proud, willful, and above all hardening their hearts against God, doubling down on their rebellion.

There's a lot of that going on, too.


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Great post. We are here: Without God all things are permitted. Fyodor Dostoevsky.

So it goes beyond mere cheating and obsession with money and status, and has proceeded to the horrors we're seeing now (vaccine fraud and destruction of healthy bodies because of transgenderism) and the ones proposed by Davos man.

I also believe that the top rungs have not abandoned God so much as they've chosen to become Luciferians and become God, right down to the decision of who shall live and who shall die. And there is an annoying and delusional idea that there is some sort of immortality on the horizon for the few, as Jared Kushner has articulated. He thinks there is a good chance that he will not die. How do these people expect to do that? I've researched this a bit and the answers are always harmful for someone. Lara Logan goes down the adrenochrome hole, but I'm of the Conboy lab persuasion. Either way, no good for the "donor".

Yes, I think the evangelical atheists are looking for reassurance, as they are quite lost. But they seem less lost than the neo-pagans, most of them women, who have chosen the frustrating path of magical alternatives.

The second volume is quite as good as the first. I am also rereading The Good Soldier and it has become a better book. I felt the same way about The Sun Also Rises and Babylon Revisited. The real story enriches its fictionalized version.

On a sleepless night, I did some research on Ford's descendants, and I have noted that they do not mention him on their bios. They claim Ford Madox Brown but omit FMF. His treatment of Elsie seems to have done very lasting damage. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and others still have grandchildren and great grandchildren who trade on the name, but Ford remains rejected other than to sell off grandma's letters.

A.H. Lloyd

The neo-pagans at least admit that there are powers greater than themselves. It's not clear how the evangelical atheists think they will outsmart God, or avoid cancer, a car accident, a stroke, or any other of the countless ways we shrug off the mortal coil.

Ford's family being alienated from him is not surprising given that his two most famous works can be read as justifications for adultery. This is particularly the case in Parade's End, which absolutely takes the side of Tietjens having a mistress. The controversial fourth book in the series must have been particularly hard to take, as would have been the dedication of the reprint of The Good Soldier to one of his mistresses.

There is a particular irony insofar as Ford himself wanted to be a "genius," but his inability to fulfill his paternal and marital obligations ensured that none of his descendants would be nurtured in the same way.

One cannot help but contrast that with the Waugh family tree, which has proven far more loyal, and fruitful in terms of authorial skill.


Katharine Hueffer's children and grandchildren look to her husband, painter Charles Lamb, as their mentor and inspiration, so turned to art and the theater. Katharine chose a nurturer. Ford's grandson, Peadar Lamb was a rather renowned Irish actor, and Peadar Jr is an artist like his grandfather and Ford Madox Brown. One grandson is a CEO and another is an actor like his father. Katharine proved a good parent despite her MIA father. None of the kids or grandkids were writers and none could be classified as failures, just chose different paths.

Waugh's kids had their own issues with dad, no doubt, but I'm of the opinion that it was Ford's neglect of his children that caused this distaste and not the affairs. Scott and Zelda both had affairs without Scottie and the Lanahan kids hating them or rejecting the relationship. So is the case with chronically unfaithful Papa Hemingway, who still kept in contact with the kids and hosted them regularly. The descendants were loyal because the parent was.

After I finish volume II, I'm revisiting some of the books I read in French classes at MSU, starting with Boris Vian.

I know quite a few of women from my former synagogue who are easily classified as neo-pagans. It's their way of infusing Judaism with Shekinah, or so they say. This was around since the late 60s and early 70s, but is very popular and very sad and destructive. I find that they are seeking to make their group the higher power, as evidenced by their goddess circles and ceremonies near Philly.

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