'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

26 January 2014

Sunday Kipling

Sorry for the dearth of posts. We've either been recovering from the creeping gambu that kicked both our butts or getting ready for and shooting another 3 Gun match. Shot it yesterday. Did Ok and the shotgun ran perfectly but my pistol sucked. I'm getting the idea that the key to this thing is putting everything together and running all 3 guns at least competently at the same time. Apparently I focused too hard on shotgun and neglected pistol and it bit me just a bit. I didn't tank any stages but I can see where the improvement needs to come from. Consistency. I don't haz it yet. I also need to address long range better. The 1x4 optic and 16 inch barrel are fine out to about 300 yards but past that and I'm thinking I need something a little bit more directed. Man, I may completely trash that whole 3 Gun On A Budget Thang. My next match is on February 5th so practice and dry fire are very much indicated.

MIL came down with Shingles. It's on her face around her eyes. Doc put her on medication and says they caught it before it actually got into her eyes so I think she's going to be fine if very uncomfortable.

The house is so quiet with the kids gone. I miss 'em.

Today will be spent cleaning up from yesterday and generally resting. Maybe something tasty on the grill. The weather has been really nice. 62 yesterday. I do love me some Southern Utah winters. I hope you all have a great day. Go eat something that will give the nannies massive conniptions and love the fact that we're still here, unsilenced and loving being alive and thorns in the sides of Big Government. Maybe take an hour and turn money into smoke and noise. Ah, the joys of living free and fearless. Be well my friends.

Something fun today I think...

The Juggler's Song

Enlarged From "Kim"
When the drums begin to beat
Down the street,
When the poles are fetched and guyed,
When the tight-rope's stretched and tied,
When the dance-girls make salaam,
When the snake-bag wakes alarm,
When the pipes set up their drone,
When the sharp-edged knives are thrown
When the red-hot coals are shown,
To be swallowed by-and-by--
Arre, Brethren, here come I!

Stripped to loin-cloth in the sun,
Search me well and watch me close!
Tell me how my tricks are done--
Tell me how the mango grows!

Give a man who is not made
To his trade
Swords to fling and catch again,
Coins to ring and snatch again,
Men to harm and cure again,
Snakes to charm and lure again--
He'll be hurt by his own blade,
By his serpents disobeyed,
By his clumsiness bewrayed,
By the people laughed to scorn--
So 'tis not with juggler born!

Pinch of dust or withered flower,
Chance-flung nut or borrowed staff,
Serve his need and shore his power,
Bind the spell or loose the laugh!

19 January 2014

Sunday Kipling

It's another Sunday and I find January slipping away. How does that keep happening? DO and the kids are back home safe and sound. Lu and I seem to be finally recovering from the creeping crud we have all been saddled with for the last few days. Ugh.

3 Gun next weekend. This one will be a true 3 Gun as opposed to last weeks 2 Gun. I think I'm ready. The Principal is well and truly hooked. We're having conversations about gear and how many magazines are enough (The answer is there is no such number). He's doomed.

Football today and our Niners are in for a very rough game in Seattle. I love them but I fear the Seahawks are pretty much unbeatable up there. We'll tune in but if all seems lost I may end up in the Cave getting ready for my own competition. More fun anyway.

I hope this day finds you all happily looking forward to the new year. This will be an interesting year, perhaps seminal in the future of our country. Am I doing enough? Probably not but we do what we can and leave the rest to God. But in the meantime there is meat to grill, loved ones to kiss and money to turn into smoke and loud noises. Ah, life is good.

Happy Sunday my friends!

The Last Suttee

Not many years ago a King died in one of the Rajpoot States. His wives, disregarding the orders of the English against Suttee, would have broken out of the palace had not the gates been barred. But one of them, disguised as the King's favourite dancing-girl, passed through the line of guards and reached the pyre. There, her courage failing, she prayed her cousin, a baron of the court, to kill her. This he did, not knowing who she was.
Udai Chand lay sick to death
    In his hold by Gungra hill.
All night we heard the death-gongs ring
For the soul of the dying Rajpoot King,
All night beat up from the women's wing
    A cry that we could not still.
All night the barons came and went,
    The lords of the outer guard:
All night the cressets glimmered pale
On Ulwar sabre and Tonk jezail,
Mewar headstall and Marwar mail,
    That clinked in the palace yard.
In the Golden room on the palace roof
    All night he fought for air:
And there was sobbing behind the screen,
Rustle and whisper of women unseen,
And the hungry eyes of the Boondi Queen
    On the death she might not share.
He passed at dawn -- the death-fire leaped
    From ridge to river-head,
From the Malwa plains to the Abu scars:
And wail upon wail went up to the stars
Behind the grim zenana-bars,
    When they knew that the King was dead.
The dumb priest knelt to tie his mouth
    And robe him for the pyre.
The Boondi Queen beneath us cried:
"See, now, that we die as our mothers died
In the bridal-bed by our master's side!
    Out, women! -- to the fire!"
We drove the great gates home apace:
    White hands were on the sill:
But ere the rush of the unseen feet
Had reached the turn to the open street,
The bars shot down, the guard-drum beat --
    We held the dovecot still.
A face looked down in the gathering day,
    And laughing spoke from the wall:
"Oh]/e, they mourn here:  let me by --
Azizun, the  Lucknow nautch-girl, I!
When the house is rotten, the rats must fly,
    And I seek another thrall.
"For I ruled the King as ne'er did Queen, --
    To-night the Queens rule me!
Guard them safely, but let me go,
Or ever they pay the debt they owe
In scourge and torture!"  She leaped below,
    And the grim guard watched her flee.
They knew that the King had spent his soul
    On a North-bred dancing-girl:
That he prayed to a flat-nosed Lucknow god,
And kissed the ground where her feet had trod,
And doomed to death at her drunken nod,
    And swore by her lightest curl.
We bore the King to his fathers' place,
    Where the tombs of the Sun-born stand:
Where the gray apes swing, and the peacocks preen
On fretted pillar and jewelled screen,
And the wild boar couch in the house of the Queen
    On the drift of the desert sand.
The herald read his titles forth,
    We set the logs aglow:
"Friend of the English, free from fear,
Baron of Luni to Jeysulmeer,
Lord of the Desert of Bikaneer,
    King of the Jungle, -- go!"
All night the red flame stabbed the sky
    With wavering wind-tossed spears:
And out of a shattered temple crept
A woman who veiled her head and wept,
And called on the King -- but the great King slept,
    And turned not for her tears.
Small thought had he to mark the strife --
    Cold fear with hot desire --
When thrice she leaped from the leaping flame,
And thrice she beat her breast for shame,
And thrice like a wounded dove she came
    And moaned about the fire.
One watched, a bow-shot from the blaze,
    The silent streets between,
Who had stood by the King in sport and fray,
To blade in ambush or boar at bay,
And he was a baron old and gray,
    And kin to the Boondi Queen.
He said:  "O shameless, put aside
    The veil upon thy brow!
Who held the King and all his land
To the wanton will of a harlot's hand!
Will the white ash rise from the blistered brand?
    Stoop down, and call him now!"
Then she:  "By the faith of my tarnished soul,
    All things I did not well,
I had hoped to clear ere the fire died,
And lay me down by my master's side
To rule in Heaven his only bride,
    While the others howl in Hell.
"But I have felt the fire's breath,
    And hard it is to die!
Yet if I may pray a Rajpoot lord
To sully the steel of a Thakur's sword
With base-born blood of a trade abhorred," --
    And the Thakur answered, "Ay."
He drew and struck:  the straight blade drank
    The life beneath the breast.
"I had looked for the Queen to face the flame,
But the harlot dies for the Rajpoot dame --
Sister of mine, pass, free from shame,
    Pass with thy King to rest!"
The black log crashed above the white:
    The little flames and lean,
Red as slaughter and blue as steel,
That whistled and fluttered from head to heel,
Leaped up anew, for they found their meal
    On the heart of -- the Boondi Queen!

14 January 2014

Spam Fans

Like most of you who also blog I get my fair share of spam. Most of it is dreck but there are the occasional nuggets. And the love. I mean, really!

Let me clear up a few administrative matters first.

I do not speak nor read any of the Asian languages. I know, shame on me but there it is. What you gonna do amiright? I speak some Spanglish, enough to get by and know when someone is talking bad about my momma but that's about it. I appreciate the hits and all but really, you're kinda wasting your time. I apologize to my Asian readers but I tend to hit delete as soon as I see these comments. If anyone wants to wade through the prodigious amounts I'm getting please let me know. I suspect they're for penis enlargement devices. Speaking of which..

I really don't want any penis enlargement devices, breakthrough remedies, advice or, Lord help me, exercises. I mean, I'm not even entirely sure what that would entail beyond something obvious and distasteful. If my wife ever caught me doing such I'm quite sure her total and complete respect and admiration for me would go down a few notches. Not really worth it so far as I can determine. Besides, she assures me I am more than adequate in that specific department and she's never lied to me before. So I'm content to let sleeping dogs lie. As it were.

No, I don't want to buy your "Cheap, almost free even, no prescription needed we swear would we lie to you?" drugs. Especially the peepee ones (see above). Aspirin or the occasional anti inflammatory seem to be working out well for me and so far, knock wood (mmphffle!), I'm doing Ok in the 'other' department. I'm not even entirely certain a lot of that stuff is legal to be sending me through the mail and I really, really do not want to find out the hard way. Heh heh. The hard way. I kill me again. I'm way too pretty for prison (if you know what I mean and I think you do). I'm sure the meth is first rate and totally not cut with Baboon poop and Lemming urine but I'm just gonna have to go with No on this one. We can still be friends though. Right?

Now that that's out of the way.

I also get the odd comment containing the highest of praises, admiration and just general love and kudos from some obviously adoring fans. I mean, of course! I am a much beloved blogger after all and like any good high powered celebrity I'd be remiss if I failed to respond to each of them. (These are verbatim BTW):

Hi thеre, I found уour web site by meanѕ of Google whilst sesarсhing forr a comparable mattеr, your website got here up, it seems to be good. I have bookmarked itt in my google bookmarks. Hi there, simply changed іnto alert to your blog via Google, and locateed that it is really infοrmative. I am gonna wωаtch out for brussels. I'll be grateful if you happen to procеed this in future. Lotѕ of οtheг folks ωill likely bе benefited from your writing. Cheers! On Michael's Belts

I am so glad you found me whilst sesarching? I'm not really sure what that means but I'm certain it's quite awesome and all. Something about sailing perhaps? I must protest though as my website never once "got here up". I am quite sure it doesn't even know how to do that and if it does I don't want to know. I'm glad you think it seems to be good and are wwatching out for brussels, both the Belgians and the vegetables I presume. They're a sneaky bunch alright. If it ain't delicious chocolate it's gas, am I right? Your gratitude is heart warming but totally not necessary. I do accept donations though. Say, small, unmarked bills? I'll send you my bank account information soonest though you may have to have a discussion with a certain Nigerian barrister. He has first dibs.  I will most definitely proceed this in the future and I'll pass along your admiration to Michael. I know he'll be thrilled. And Cheers right back at ya! (Also, I don't know if you realize it or not but you said Hi there twice. The NSA considers that a Fox Pause and Terrorist Related probable cause for a ten fingered cavity search. Word to the wise)

see natural event!pain With Online mercantilism turn cyberspace selling miscarry. Be convenient. motion-picture show a prominent put up on the net. await done some of these borders present feel peachy in whites and greys as symptomless. favourable experts severalize and that you may fair end up frailness currency on Michael Kors Handbags Outlet it is prodigious that your contest is in focal point but obscure the prospect purpose be practically fewer emphatic and shy of what you take in to be successful. If your relieve oneself-up is not all stores all respectable. Do writer problem solving prior to constituent a influence online. Check tat you on Sunday Kipling.

Always good to see another Kipling fan out there though I'm not quite sure how to respond to this. Did you need some online, prescriptionless drugs? Perchance the ones devoted to the downstairs department? Because if you do I know just the guy. Totally legit. I swear. I'm afraid I don't have a contact for Thorazine at the moment but don't despair. I'm sure one will turn up any minute. Check tat with me later. I do in fact feel quite peachy in whites and greys though I don't think they're in fact symptomless. My wife gets queasy seeing me in them. It may very well be constituent a influence online but I can't be completely certain at this point. Thank you for your letter though I feel that I must point out that telling me that "it is prodigious that your contest is in focal point but obscure the prospect purpose be practically fewer emphatic and shy of what you take in to be successful" is quite unnecessary. Everyone knows that.

Fіne way of describing, aand fastridiоus post to get facts concerning my pгesentation subject matter, which i aam going to present in schоol. On Bald Head Care

Thank you. If I'm anything it's fastridious and I'm glad to see I'm finally getting the recognition I deserve for that. I'm not quite sure why you'd want to psesent a study of Bald Head Care at school but best of luck with that. What school does one attend for such a course of Study? Harvard? Yale? Bud's School Of Maimery and English Composition perchance? Whichever, I'm quite certain you'll get an A with such subject matter at your disposal. No. No need to thank me, I'm just proud to be a part of such a fine undertaking.

To all my wonderful and supportive Spam Fans out there know that I deeply appreciate the time you took out of your busy day shaving goats, fleecing grandmas, evicting family members and stealing from orphans to write your missives of love and devotion to me. I am humbled by your attention and promise to treat each and every message you send me with all the care and respect they deserve. I know I didn't get to every one of your oh so precious comments but never fear, I have them all archived and I will get to them. Each and every one. Pinkie swears!

Keep 'em coming kids!

Grand Poobah, Presidente For Life and Great On High Commander of the Golden Spam Fan Horde
Viva La Spama Revolucion!

12 January 2014

Sunday Kipling

Blogger is giving me fits this morning. Let's see if this works.

 Lu is down sick this morning so it'll be a quiet day around here. Nothing serious, just feeling poorly. She'll be back on her feet soon I am sure. Too much cheering and support from yesterday no doubt. She's a trooper that one. I'll be cleaning guns and gear. I shoulda done it yesterday but, as I've often said, I'm pretty lazy :)

We're enjoying our last few days with The DO and the kids before they have to fly home on Thursday. The house always seems so big and empty after they leave.

I hope you all have a great day. A day full of joy and good companionship. A day of love and hope. May The Good Lord bless and keep you all my friends.

Something light and silly this morning.

Cuckoo Song

(Spring begins in southern England on the 14th April, on which date the Old Woman lets the Cuckoo out of her basket at Heathfield Fair -- locally known as Heffle Cuckoo Fair.)
Tell it to the locked-up trees,
Cuckoo, bring your song here!
Warrant, Act and Summons, please,
For Spring to pass along here!
Tell old Winter, if he doubt,
Tell him squat and square -- a!
Old Woman!
Old Woman!
Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair -- a!

March has searched and April tried --
'Tisn't long to May now.
Not so far to Whitsuntide
And Cuckoo's come to stay now!
Hear the valiant fellow shout
Down the orchard bare -- a!
Old Woman!
Old Woman!
Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair -- a!

When your heart is young and gay
And the season rules it --
Work your works and play your play
'Fore the Autumn cools it!
Kiss you turn and turn-about,
But, my lad, beware -- a!
Old Woman!
Old Woman!
Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair -- a!

11 January 2014

Multi Gun Match AAR - Budget 3 Gun

Well, it went off without a hitch. Mostly. I did have one failure to feed on a brand new 42 round P-Mag on the very first stage. After that we had no equipment malfunctions. I shot well and so did The Principal. He also had a blast and is even now planning his own 3 Gun On A Budget strategy. I think it's safe to say he's hooked. Of course this was only a 2 Gun but the term applies in this case.

Stage 1 was the Shoot House. Here I am shooting the outside targets and steel. I'd show some of me shooting inside but I was...well, inside where the DO (Official Multi Gun Photographer) couldn't get a shot.

The it was off to Stage 2 where we shot these
From this. Distance was about 125 yards.
Then it was jump down (or climb arthriticly down in my case) and run across the road
To where we again shot a slew of steel with a handgun. Not much sport, they just sit there acting all screw you guys and nonchalant and stuff. Good eating though. Tastes like chicken.

Stage 3 was the long range stage. The red steel is at 50, 75 and 100 yards. Way off in the upper center of the picture you can see three white and red swingers at 225, 260 and 280 yards.
But first some handgun 'cause you can't have a Multi Gun match without the Multi. The day started off cold but by this point both it and I were warming up and I'd started peeling off layers.
The intermediate shooting position where we engaged the 50, 75 and 100 yard steel. I decided to show off by shooting them all standing offhand unsupported where everyone else used the sandbags as a rest. Hit all 4 first time too. You can also see one of the aspects that make this kind of shooting so much fun. Prior to engaging the steel we had to shoot those 3 paper targets in the foreground at about 15 yards. Makes scope magnification selection both a challenge and something to plan for.
From there it was the 3 long shots. I paid for my arrogance on the earlier shots here. I'm still getting used to the new Vortex optic and it took me a few shots to figure out my corrections. I had to walk the short shot onto the target. Once I rang that bell the other 2 longer shots went down quickly though. I do love my new glass! It was worth every penny I paid for it.

Stage 4. If you read through my Hard As Hell write up you may recognize that contraption as the Slide For Life. We shot steel at about 100 yards. Then...
Down the slide we went. Note please the excellent muzzle discipline if not the execrable form.
We shot a few more targets with the rifle
Then grounded it and ran the rest with the pistol

And that was it for the day. We got on the range at 0800 and left just after 2. A long day but a pleasurable one. And one that saw a brand new participant and enthusiast, my brother in law, The Principal. I'm really psyched to have a new shooting partner. What worked? Really everything. The glass needs a little fine tuning and I can see a real need to free float the rifle barrel but overall I am both pleased and content. Everything worked as expected if not better.

The match was pretty simple and straight forward. A See it, Shoot it Kinda thing. My favorite. Afterwards we repaired to the Red Robin for a fine repast compleat with tales of derring do, obfuscations, fanciful excuses, enhancements and general ribald story telling. The serfs were not amused.

The best part of the day was that my daughter, grandchildren and MIL got to see us both compete. That was awesome. We'll be discussing it for days. To those who have a morbid streak of curiosity, no I did not win (really, who was expecting anything else? Hands? No one? Good, I see you've all been paying proper attention to the subject of these missives. Namely my own bumbling self). Nor did The Principal but we both finished respectably and had a ton of fun. At this point in my life those two things are exactly what I expect from my hobbies.

I'm scheduled for another match later this month, weather, health and disposable income allowing.


09 January 2014

Budget 3 Gun - Match Prep

I've got a Multi Gun match on Saturday. It's distinguished from 3 Gun in that we will run only rifle and pistol. No shotgun. I'm still going to prep like it's a 3 Gun anyway. Good practice and I got some new gear to preview.

First you'll need some good range/gear bags. Since I also shoot USPSA and 3GN tends to mimic it's rules I keep my gear and ammo in separate bags. They don't like you handling firearms and ammo together anyplace but on the line, ready to shoot. Here's mine.
Just some plain Jane range bags I picked up for next to nothing many years ago. They don't count against my total because of the "Just Sitting There" rule.

In that same vein I'm running a venerable and long owned Sig P226. One thing I've learned the hard way is that familiarity breeds comfort when it comes to handguns. It may not be a top tier choice but if Hard as Hell taught me anything it was that I shoot this gun very well and that's good enough. No addition to my start up costs.

Here's the lineup, ready to go. Each of the long guns has it's own case. I've also added 3 items that will count against my total but that were totally justified. Totally. I swear.

The first is a compensator. That's a Jerry Miculek. Him being who he is I was confident in the purchase. And it did make a difference. More on that in a minute but I will say it was money well spent. 40 dollars.

The next was a couple of new mags. The stockers are getting a bit long in the tooth and I needed some extra anyway. Sig brand mags are 40 to 50 bucks. Yikes. So I popped for some Pro Mags at 20 bucks apiece. I got 2 with 1 on back order so at the moment I'm in another 40. I like them. They are well built and worked without a hitch. Thumbs up.  I have 2 new mag carriers. The partially hidden one on the right is a Blackhawk that cost me 20 dollars. It's meh but works. The other one, center picture, was a freebie from Lu. It's the stocker that came with her XDm that she "loaned" me. Works slicker than Owl snot. I'm keeping it but don't tell Lu.

Lastly I bought an AP Customs 4x4 shotgun shell carrier. It holds 8 shotgun shells in 2 rows of 4. You just reach down, pull 4 shells out and reload. I've been practicing and it's pretty slick. I like it a lot. 50 bucks.

So, if my math is correct, we've added $150.00 to my budget bringing us to a grand total outlay of $1322.00. It's all important. I need the mags to run the Sig on the long stages. My shotgun reloading was a disaster. Follow up,shots with the rifle was slow. Most of the targets require 2 hits to count and the comp makes that a lot easier. I shot the rifle with the comp on it today and it's night and day different. It's not that the birdcage flash hider equipped rifle was a shoulder buster but the comp makes the thing shoot dead flat with virtually no rise and a much reduced recoil impulse. My second shots are tenths of a second quicker and, frankly, I need all the help I can get. Besides, all the cool guys have one....

I cleaned and oiled all the guns and took them out today for a short session, just to make sure everything is working. I set up my belt and tested the position of all my gear to make sure it's exactly where I want it and easily reached. Oh, the belt. It's a CR Speed with an inner belt, both with Velcro so they stick together. Yep, just sitting there but if you buy one they're just a hair over a hundred dollars. I got mine on a clearance sale at the end of Nationals for half that. Ok, add 50 to my total. $1372.00. I filled the ammo bag and checked the ammunition I'll be using to make as sure as I can I have enough of the right stuff to shoot the match.

I walked through some of the range bays and mentally rehearsed what I'll see and hear. Range commands, how and where to stage my guns, what I want to be focused on. Mental prep is very important for me. It calms my nerve and increases my confidence. If I've done it in my head I can replicate it when crunch time comes. Mostly.

After that I laid out what I want to wear. Comfort is really important but so is warmth this time of year. Since I know it will get warmer as the day wears on and my activity level rises I'll do the layered thing. Moisture wicking next to the skin with successive layers of cottons and thermals I can easily peel off. Lu will put together a food bag tomorrow. Hydration and calories are vital. We have an agreement; when she hands me a food item I eat it or drink it, no questions asked and no refusals allowed. By this time in our lives together she can read my physical state like a primary reader and I've learned to trust her on this stuff. Don't get on Boss Lady's bad side, that's my motto. Oh and good boots or running shoes. I tend toward boots now but when the temps creep back up it'll be shorts and good trail running shoes. Pants are 5-11s but jeans will do nicely. I usually pack along an extra pair of socks in the match is long or the weather is crappy.

Everything is ready and most Ricky Tick. I like to be totally prepped a day ahead of time so I can have a breather, forget about the coming stress and try to remember what I've forgotten. Or something like that. You know what I mean. CRS is exaggerated by stress. Speaking of which, The Principal is also preparing and fretting. I sent him a STOP STRESSING e-mail but I don't think it'll take. Sometimes you just have to hold your nose and jump into the deep end.

So, that's my match prep. It will undoubtedly change over time as I get more experience and different equipment but the basics will stay the same. Guns, gear, ammo, clothing and snivel items. I'll have a wrap up on the match with photos late Saturday (or maybe Monday depending on how bad I sucked). My expense total is creeping up just a bit but at the moment I am very close to where I expect to be by years end. We shall see but unless I lose my mind we're very close to final. I think. Maybe. Possibly. Crap.

Wish us luck 'cause we're going to need it!

05 January 2014

Sunday Kipling

I hope the young New Year is finding you hale, healthy and happy. I feel pretty good today. I think my last post was cathartic. I know it was invigorating. All is well here at Casa Six. The grandchildren are a handful, as all children are supposed to be. They've become the finest brass miners any range has ever seen (though at 2 bucks a bag full I may need to renegotiate our deal). DO, Lu and MIL are coping though the tears and anger bubble up at unexpected times. This too shall pass.

I have a a couple of matches coming up. Two this month and the Utah Peace Officers Association 3 Gun in February. They invited bald, old, fat, retired cops and for some reason my name was at the top of that list :) My brother in law (Lu's brother and hereinafter referred to as the Principal because he is one) is going to be shooting 3 Gun with me. I am so happy about having a shooting partner, especially him, He's been a friend from before Lu and I got married. Now if I could only convince Car Guy to move out here my life would be complete. Crap, I'm rambling today.

Have a fine Sunday my friends. Eat well, watch some playoff football (Go Niners!) and enjoy your life. Don't let the bad times get you down for This Too Shall Pass. As your comments have shown so clearly we are not alone and so long as we have each other and our faith we can conquer the whatever evil befalls the world.

What the People Said

(June 21st, 1887)
By the well, where the bullocks go
Silent and blind and slow --
By the field where the young corn dies
In the face of the sultry skies,
They have heard, as the dull Earth hears
The voice of the wind of an hour,
The sound of the Great Queen's voice:
"My God hath given me years,
Hath granted dominion and power:
And I bid you, O Land, rejoice."

And the ploughman settles the share
More deep in the grudging clod;
For he saith: "The wheat is my care,
And the rest is the will of God.
He sent the Mahratta spear
As He sendeth the rain,
And the Mlech, in the fated year,
Broke the spear in twain.
And was broken in turn. Who knows
How our Lords make strife?
It is good that the young wheat grows,
For the bread is Life."

Then, far and near, as the twilight drew,
  Hissed up to the scornful dark
Great serpents, blazing, of red and blue,
That rose and faded, and rose anew.
  That the Land might wonder and mark
"To-day is a day of days," they said,
"Make merry, O People, all!"
And the Ploughman listened and bowed his head:
"To-day and to-morrow God's will," he said,
As he trimmed the lamps on the wall.

"He sendeth us years that are good,
As He sendeth the dearth,
He giveth to each man his food,
Or Her food to the Earth.
Our Kings and our Queens are afar --
On their peoples be peace --
God bringeth the rain to the Bar,
That our cattle increase."

And the Ploughman settled the share
More deep in the sun-dried clod:
"Mogul Mahratta, and Mlech from the North,
And White Queen over the Seas --
God raiseth them up and driveth them forth
As the dust of the ploughshare flies in the breeze;
But the wheat and the cattle are all my care,
And the rest is the will of God."

02 January 2014

Stop Pushing Me

In light of the way things seem to be going it seems to me that lines have been drawn and forces arrayed on both sides. Nothing new under the sun. Though the time to choose may well be upon us sooner rather than later. It's important to me to clearly state my position and openly declare which side I am on and who I am. It comforts me that so many have also stated in no uncertain terms what they believe and who their alliance is with. I can do no less.

I am an unabashed and unapologetic Christian. That means that I have accepted and embraced Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. That also means that I believe the Bible is the literal Word of God. In that light I also believe homosexuality is a sin. Not a crime but a sin. I only care about this as it relates to everyone's immortal soul. It horrifies me to think some will be going to Hell and it's my Christian duty to tell folks that in my view unrepentant sin is a one way ticket away from the Grace of God and into eternal damnation. My position is that everyone has a relationship with God. What that relationship is depends on each of us. I'm not in the eternal judgement business, that's God's purview, but I can make my own judgements on what constitutes sin, what the result will be and what I need to do to be right with The Lord. I'm a sinner, no less than anyone else. That puts me in the position of preaching but also looking after my own house. How you manage yours is your business but I will speak out. I will not be silenced no matter the cost. That makes me loving, not intolerant.

I also strongly believe in the rule of law and the fact that all people are created with inherent free will. I believe the term is Free Agency. That means they are free to choose the life they wish to lead and so long as that doesn't infringe on the inherent personal rights of others I support them. I'm supposed to love all and I strive to do just that. I do not hate anyone based on their culture, life choices or sexuality. Everyone is my brother or sister. If you're gay then you're gay. It doesn't effect our relationship only yours with God. It has nothing to do with me and if you've heard The Word then go and live your life as you deem fit. I have taken the same stance on gay marriage. It seems to me that it is in the best interest of a country to encourage the idea of Going Forth and Multiplying but in the end, as a libertarian, it's hypocritical for me to support the idea that everyone is not in fact created equal. I believe the Constitution is a divinely inspired document and it's silent on the specifics of marriage. Fine. Rule of Man's Law and rendering unto Caeaser. If that's where we are then let's get government out of marriage altogether and let churches decide who they'll marry and for everyone else it's a civil license. Perfect equality while respecting religious freedoms.

But. There's a limit and it's reached under duress and state coercion. Pope Leo XIII said this;
It is a high crime indeed to withdraw allegiance from God in order to please men, an act of consummate wickedness to break the laws of Jesus Christ, in order to yield obedience to earthly rulers, or, under pretext of keeping the civil law, to ignore the rights of the Church.
 Hence, they who blame, and call by the name of sedition, this steadfastness of attitude in the choice of duty have not rightly apprehended the force and nature of true law.

But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: “Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.”  To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good….Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace.
(h/t Ann Barnhardt) 

Now I'm not a Catholic but I deeply respect the pontiffs and Pope Leo XIII was a man I greatly admire. He tended to get things exactly right. This then is the position I and many others of my faith find ourselves in. By our very silence we encourage further persecution of Christianity. As a Christian it is my sacred duty to preach The Word to anyone who desires to hear and that's the key phrase. Who desires to hear. I do not preach to those who have rejected God or simply have no interest (which amounts to the same thing in my view but that's me). And preaching has a lot of different connotations. I'm a layman so I'm generally limited to a soft word, a prayer or an answered question. But I'm beholden to my God not to be silent. That is my Faith. Stop pushing.

What I strongly object to is the idea that I must celebrate any lifestyle at odds with my religious beliefs. Why isn't it enough that we can live together in peace and harmony without my having to deny my profound and deeply personal relationship with my Creator and literally abandon Him? I won't do that no matter the cost. Leave me alone and I'll return the gesture. Defend my freedoms and I'll do the same for yours. But stop pushing me. If you back me into a corner where the choices are between belief and non belief, between God and political correctness, there's going to be a fight because I'll choose God every time and I won't go down timidly. It has nothing to do with tolerance or bigotry or phobia or any of the other buzzwords being tossed out by a culture increasingly hostile to God. It has to do with my own personal and deeply held faith and the idea that I am either free to live my life as I deem fit or we as a people are a lot less free than we imagine. Thought Crime persecution isn't on my side, it's on the side of the rabidly atheist, humanist, politically and power driven left.

I desire no authority over anyone's life and it infuriates me that others do. On any side of the die. God is my ultimate authority and I desire no more than to be free to try and live as I believe he wants me to. In my world Christians are the Paladins, riding to the rescue and defending freedom and the forces of good and decency. Yes, we do fall and fail with maddening regularity but that doesn't take away from the core. The basic idea behind true Christian Faith. Love. Love for God and Love for each other. If you're like me, a sinner (and in my belief you are, we all are), then I love you. If you hate me I love you. If you persecute me I will still love you and I will continue to do so even if you force me to defend myself, my freedoms and my faith. And understand, in my opinion defense of self and faith is no sin. Defense of faith does not mean forced conversion to Christianity but it does mean active and forceful resistance to forced conversion to a belief system incompatible with my faith by those who view Christianity as something to be eradicated.

We were once a nation founded on the basic idea of live and let live. Cuique Sum," to each his own". We are seemingly no longer that country. I still see signs of it, in the words of some who are not of my faith, but I fear they are now the exception and not the rule. So let me state it for myself. My words and not those of any other. My understanding and not those of learned scholars. My misunderstandings, failures and weaknesses. My human frailties. My Faith.

We are all created equal in the sight of God. We all have the exact same chances, choices and inherent rights. We are all free to choose the life we want within the strictures of civil law. No one should be free to exercise undue and unfair influence on that basic equality. We should be free to practice religion, or the absence of same, as we deem right and fit without fear of repercussions or silencing. No one is created better or worse than anyone else. How we end up depends on the choices we make on this Earth. I love everyone to the extent that I am capable and within the bounds of my life experiences and how they have shaped me. I am fragile, fallible and imminently human. I am prone to mistakes and errors of both discernment and judgement. I am a terrible sinner who needs God's Grace and Forgiveness each and every day of my life. I am neither judge nor jury and have no desire to be either. I have enough problems ordering my own life to meddle about in others. Please stop pushing me.

And that's sort of my point in all this. Faith, or the lack of, is a deeply personal thing. It's in our hearts and the deepest and darkest parts of our minds and souls. It is an intimate matter between each of us and our Creator and no one else. In the end it's all that really matters in this life and to be so arrogant as to believe that anyone has the right to dictate what that relationship is, or even whether it will be allowed to exist at all, is the ultimate tyranny. Coercion is evil. Period dot end. My answer is an unqualified No.

I keep getting told that my faith makes me a hater and a phobic and a criminal moron. So be it. If that's what you believe then you are free to do so. You are free to insult me and hate me and preach against me and my faith. But understand that I, and a lot of others just like me, have more than a bit of the Old Testament in us and we absolutely will not lay down and die just because we're inconvenient to your view of the World as you wish it to be. I am most definitely an acolyte of the Church Triumphant. Anyone who has ever read me knows that I am hardly a fire and brimstone preacher. I consider myself a fairly quiet man on issues of faith preferring to let others seek and find as they will. Sometimes I worry that I'm too silent but my Libertarian side requires that of me just as my Faithful side requires obedience. I am not tolerant, I am an American who holds the idea that true freedom is given by God Himself and is the natural state of Man. Your relationship with God is your own business and I won't pretend otherwise. But so is mine. Please refrain from telling me otherwise.

I've come to the point where I have stopped begging and started telling. Stop pushing me into that corner.


h/t and thanks to Rev. Paul for once again giving of his wise counsel. I am grateful my friend.

01 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Never give up. Never lose the Faith. 2014 will be a great year!

From the Six clan. Happy New Year everybody!!
Six, Lu and Angus

"Man, that was some party last night. Wake me when the Rose Bowl starts will ya?"