Washington Dingbats Want Your Guns

Awake before it’s too late.

If you are a believer of what our forefathers wrote in the constitution and then amended it because the founders realized the dangers of government control, you are the minority.

They and we believe the Second Amendment was considered essential for its citizens to be armed to protect the rights for which they fought and died to  free themselves from the yoke of King George III who was really (Mad King George) during  part of his reign.

Today, in the United States, the central faction within the Democrat Party stems from Vladimir Ulyanov, better known as Vladimir Lenin who founded Communism and led the Bolshevik Party until the advent of Stalin or Stalinism an even more ruthless, murderous regime.

The Tsar abdicated his position in 1917 and within days, he and his family were prisoners of Lenin who authorized their murder to eliminate any possibility of Tsarism’s return.  The ruthlessness of Lenin was openly revealed and instrumental in   creating Russia into a totally controlled authoriarian state.

The methodology of Lenin was first to promise the Russian populace their needs such as basic food and sustenance.    The Russian people were destitute and totally sick of war and the terrible military losses,  so Lenin’s promises were openly accepted.

THE THREAT IS NOW IN OUR COUNTRY

The United States is in a state of rapid revisionism, a significant part of a plan to institute sophisticated Communism that Vladimir Lenin formulated, but lacked the foresight to train generations through our public schools.

The plan installs utopian ideas imbedded from the time a child enters the first grade.  What is interesting is that the parents are the radical dope smoking, fornicating misanthropes, who swayed to the rock music of Jimmy Hendricks strumming and pounding his guitar.  These were the core generation whose morals stemmed from the Biblical days of Sodom and Gomorrah. The misfits of the sixties were parents of the 2018 politically indoctrinated leaders of today’s communist revolution.

THE SECOND AMENDMENT MUST NOT BE A MYTH OF THE PAST WHERE AMERICANS ARE NOTHING BUT SLAVES TO THE WASHINGTON’S SWAMP LEADERS.

WE MUST STAND UP AND SUPPORT GUNOWNERS OF AMERICA AND THE NATIONAL RIFILE ASSOCIATION SO THEY CAN HELP US SAVE OUR NATION. 

© 2018 JW Kress – All Rights Reserved

E-Mail JW Kress: [email protected]

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New mental health program hopes to curb homelessness in Seattle

SEATTLE– The tan Seattle Clubhouse van rumbles to life with the turn of the key. Ryan Likes is at the helm. He’s a staff member for the mental health program returning to the Emerald City.

“One of the building blocks of Clubhouse is that everyone has something to contribute,” says Likes. “Just look at how important belonging is to people. And it’s essential. Without meaningful relationships we don’t function.”

Seattle Clubhouse is a club that has no dues and anyone with a history of mental illness is welcome. On this day, we’re picking up two of the clubs’ members. Janet and T.Y.

“He’s the self-proclaimed mayor of Pioneer Square,” says Likes driving through downtown traffic. “He’s always down by Yesler and 1st near the pergola.”

Seattle Clubhouse is part of a growing trend. After decades of locking people away in mental hospitals or de-funding mental health in the 1980s and pushing the problem to our streets. The pendulum is swinging back again towards treating mental illness locally.

“You walk in here, and you don’t feel like a client,” says Larry Clum. “You feel like a person.” Clum is Executive Director here, but he and his team work side-by-side with members. Whether just chatting or looking for jobs– this is a rehabilitative  program for those with persistent mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bi-polar disorders.

“What it provides for folks, is to focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities,” says Clum.

Chores here are doled out in the morning meeting. Today, T.Y. is making lunch for everyone. It’s his famous fried chicken.

“It’s cooking evenly,” he says as he mans the frying pan. He’s been in and out of homelessness, batting depression for decades.

“This clubhouse is wonderful,” says T.Y. “It gives me a sense of purpose. I’ve met some real good people here.”

Clubhouse Seattle is a concept that’s succeeded in many other places– and even in a Bellevue location that’s been operating for 12 years. Right now they’ve relied on donor dollars to get this Seattle chapter off the ground.

“Hospitalization are decreased. Incarceration is decreased. Homelessness is decreased,” says Clum. “All these wonderful outcomes just by having a community of peers of support.”

For a mental health program like Clubhouse Seattle, it costs about 70 dollars per member, per day. That’s far less than the costs of criminal incarceration. And for a year of Clubhouse Seattle treatment is less than a two week hospital stay. So in many ways, this program can pay for itself in cost savings to a community.

“People are finally recognizing there’s a need for communities of care,” says Clum. “In the communities they serve.”

And more clubhouses could be on the horizon for places like North Seattle, Everett, Burien, Tacoma and many more. And while they don’t directly get people on the streets– these kind of connections have a strong track record of keeping people from slipping back into being homeless or in jail.

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Obama: There’s a misperception that government workers don’t work hard

But it’s a myth that government workers don’t work hard, former President Barack Obama said on Wednesday speaking at a tech conference in Las Vegas. And he joked, the myth probably comes from dealing with the DMV. But there was a subtle seriousness to his …

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None Of Us Knew Why She Was Crying During Her Routine, Then She Bolted Toward The Stands

Seven-year-old Hailey McGregor has not had it easy the last seven months. Her father left home to continue his service in the United States Navy as an officer, and her mother gave birth to a newborn son. Now that Hailey is no longer the baby of the family, she is expected to help out around the house more and help mom with the infant.

It’s hard work. On top of her family issues, Hailey is still expected to excel at school and on her cheerleading squad. But with dad overseas, she is sad and misses the way things used to be when he was home.

After a few months, Hailey got used to the change. Although she missed her dad, she figured out how to cope with him being gone from the family while serving the country overseas. She continued to go to school and work on her cheerleading routines. Things were going well for her despite the hardship she faced at home. And she adored her newborn brother.

During the night when the video below was taken, Hailey thought it was just another school night. She didn’t think this football game would change her life forever. When halftime came, Hailey took her place with her cheerleading squad and waited for the music to start.

Instead, a scratchy voice comes onto the loudspeaker. And it leaves Hailey speechless with her jaw on the floor.

When the words finally hit home for her, Hailey realizes the announcer is calling a name she knows very well. It’s her father’s name.

For a few moments, Hailey is confused. Tears stream down her face. Why is she hearing her father’s name? Did he die? Is he home? She doesn’t get it. The emotions are running too high for her to figure it out logically.

Thankfully, her mother is in the stands nearby. She helps snap Hailey out of her confusion. Suddenly, Hailey loses control of her legs and bolts toward her mother in the stands. And at that moment, mom points to the other end of the field and tells Hailey to look.

Like a hero striding through an explosion, Hailey’s father beams at her from his position downfield. He has a smile plastered across his face and is overjoyed to see his little girl.

With no self-consciousness, Hailey runs to her father and jumps in his arms. After being away from him for seven months, she can no longer keep up the pretense of being cool in front of her friends. She missed her dad and is overjoyed to see him home safe and sound.

As Hailey and her father reunite for the first time in months, the crowd in the football arena burst into applause. This military family reunion was much better than a regular half-time routine.

Hailey had no idea that her father was coming home this day. It caught her by surprise, and she loved it.

Because it was on video, the family has the moment to treasure for years to come. I’m sure they will watch the clip at every family reunion.

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The Urban-Rural Divide More Pronounced Than Ever

America is increasingly polarized.

That isn’t news to anyone who’s been following the social research of the past couple years. After the 2016 presidential election, David Wasserman of FiveThirtyEight wrote that “America’s political fabric, geographically, is tearing apart,” and suggested this should be seen as a “flashing danger sign.” In Yuval Levin’s Fractured Republic, which came out in May 2016, he wrote of a hollowed-out society in which mediating institutions and social capital had all but disappeared from American life, leaving in their wake a jaded individualism and growing political rancor.

But a new Pew Research Poll suggests that this polarization—across geographic, cultural, and political lines—is growing even more pronounced with time. Our political differences are strengthening, with an increasing number of urban Americans moving further left and more than half of rural voters (54 percent) declaring their allegiance to the GOP. What’s more, most urban and rural Americans see themselves as judged and misunderstood by each other, with a majority from both groups saying those who don’t live in their types of communities have a negative view of those who do.

Urban and rural divides are not new, as University of Wisconsin political scientist Kathy Cramer told the New York Times. What’s unique about our moment, however, is that “cultural divides overlap with political divides, which overlap with geography,” creating a maelstrom of suspicion and disconnect.

This remarkable growth in polarization leads the Times to ask an important question: are we sorting ourselves, increasingly moving to fit in with those in our “camp”? If not, how and why are the numbers becoming so extreme?

Cramer, for her part, suggests that place-based resentment is becoming a sort of identity marker, especially as politicians employ “us versus them” rhetoric. Shopping at Whole Foods or going to the gun range have increasingly become political acts, talismans of personality and place with markedly partisan affiliations. Our sorting seems to have more to do with an increased tendency to tie cultural and social acts (as well as geographic identity) to politics than it does with a marked shift in our habits or moving patterns.

Alongside these differences, however, the Pew poll also shows remarkable (and somewhat alarming) similarities between urban and rural communities. Both groups are about equally worried over the impact of the opioid epidemic on their neighborhoods. Both are worried about job availability. Young people from both are more mobile and restless—although “Roughly a third (32%) of young adults in rural areas say they are very or mostly dissatisfied with life in their community; this is significantly higher than the share of young adults in suburban areas who say the same (21%).”

About four in 10 Americans across geographic divides say they don’t feel attached to their current communities. While knowing one’s neighbors, owning one’s house, and living in one place for a long period of time all increase the chances of community involvement and satisfaction, only three in 10 Americans say they know most or all of their neighbors—and a third say they would move away if they could. While a greater percentage of rural folks say they know their neighbors, that doesn’t mean they interact more often. Indeed, according to Pew, community involvement doesn’t vary much by community type: “Among those who know at least some of their neighbors, rural Americans are no more likely than their urban and suburban counterparts to say they interact with them on a regular basis.”

Obviously, these figures could be worse. Most Americans say they still know at least some of their neighbors; large numbers in urban, suburban, and rural communities say they remain close to—or have moved back towards—their families. But there’s still a marked sense of alienation, suspicion, and discontent displayed in this poll. Not only do disparate American communities suspect each other of unkindness and disrespect, many have retreated from neighborliness and association within their own circles.

These findings reminded me of the suggestion in Patrick Deneen’s recently released Why Liberalism Failed that the political ideology of liberalism drives us apart, making us more lonely and polarized than ever. As Christine Emba writes in her Washington Post review of Deneen’s book:

As liberalism has progressed, it has done so by ever more efficiently liberating each individual from “particular places, relationships, memberships, and even identities—unless they have been chosen, are worn lightly, and can be revised or abandoned at will.” In the process, it has scoured anything that could hold stable meaning and connection from our modern landscape—culture has been disintegrated, family bonds devalued, connections to the past cut off, an understanding of the common good all but disappeared.

That latter loss—of a common understanding of the good—seems particularly applicable to the Pew poll’s findings regarding polarization. Although our country has always struggled with an urban-rural divide, it could be that our lack of a common conception of the good has made it even worse. Left and Right subscribe to different liberal tenets that tear at association and community: on the Right, “classical liberalism celebrated the free market, which facilitated the radical expansion of choice,” while the Left’s liberalism “celebrated the civil right to personal choice and self-definition, along with the state that secured this right by enforcing the law.” As Emba notes, both forms of liberalism foster “a headlong and depersonalized pursuit of individual freedom and security that demands no concern for the wants and needs of others, or for society as a whole.”

Thus we disconnect in terms both broad and intimate, struggling to equate our political autonomy and self-definition with the demands of empathy, neighborliness, and service. The fact that our urban and rural communities are so suspicious of each other suggests a degree of navel-gazing and self-consciousness that is deeply detrimental, if not tempered by a proper degree of rationality and generosity.

Fixing these problems will require more than a distrust of our political leaders’ schismatic rhetoric, instrumental in entrenching our divide though that rhetoric has been. Turning to the state for answers or blame is one of the reasons we’re in trouble in the first place. A healthy effort to “plug in”—to connect at the local level, to dialogue with our political “enemies,” and to engage in civic and philanthropic efforts—may be the best way to cut back on some of this rancor and polarization.

In the conclusion of Why Liberalism Failed, Deneen suggests that we need to foster local “counter-anticultures”: bastions of community, civic engagement, philanthropy, and religion to counteract our cultural and social vacuum. Levin recommends something similar in Fractured Republic, turning to Edmund Burke’s “little platoons” and the reinvigoration of associational life as a balm for widespread fragmentation.

This newest Pew poll suggests that the more deeply we know each other—and the more time we spend together—the less lonely and restless we will feel. That isn’t a shocking revelation, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Those who feel nourished and cared for by their communities will feel less cheated by the state and more empowered to confront the changes and dilemmas in their neighborhoods. It may be that by itself this can’t bridge our deep urban-rural divide, considering how widespread our resentment and political differences are. But I do think a community that feels self-sufficient and nourished is less likely to harbor feelings of resentment and suspicion toward those outside its borders: there’s less temptation towards discontent, and often a deeper awareness of the issues we share in common. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Elizabethville, Pennsylvania, need the same things: committed citizens, generous philanthropists, passionate civic leaders, savvy planners and political leaders, strong local institutions, and vigorous community involvement. They often struggle with the same things, too: loneliness, despair, unemployment, fragmented families, weak civic and educational institutions, a lack of funds, poor urban planning, and so on.

While our national discourse champions rancorous politics, local associations and news celebrate self-empowerment, service, and communal ties. They emphasize every community’s desire to become the best version of itself. The more we can focus on these things, the better.

Gracy Olmstead is a writer and journalist located outside Washington, D.C. She’s written for The American ConservativeThe WeekNational Review, The Federalist, and The Washington Times, among others.

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This Bear Picked a Fight With the Wrong Elk

The video footage was taken near Flagstaff, Arizona and shows a bear cub big enough to kill the elk charging at it.

With mama bear nowhere in sight, a blond-phase bear cub faces off with a young elk in the woods by a photographer who gets a little too close for comfort.

From the footage, it looks like the baby bear was able to injure the baby elk. Unfortunately the footage doesn’t show what happened afterwards, but it’s possible that the bear was able to finish the job.

Young Elk Shot After Human Contact

Last year, a five minute video of a photographer getting cozy with an elk made the rounds. Sitting on the side of the road with his equipment, the elk gets closer and closer until he starts pushing the man with his antlers and head until the man had to run for his car to honk.

The poor creature was killed shortly afterwards by the rangers who felt the elk was more likely to approach other humans and cause future harm. It was killed because of a photograph and a video that went viral. The elk was euthanized because people wouldn’t stop feeding it, he kept approaching visitors.

Indeed, it was a great risk as especially the elk could’ve accidentally injured the photographers eyes and or face due to his carelessness. Any photographer or person with common sense wouldn’t be sitting on the road and would be using lenses to observe the animals in their natural habitat.

For another stressful encounter, bowhunters found themselves ten yards away from two adult male elk fighting. The hunter holds his bow as the animals slowly move away, but he managed to shoot one of them while they were still locked together without drawing attention to himself.

There must be something in the water near these elk grounds, because people just keep finding themselves far too close for comfort such as the video of the elk in Yellowstone.

Then, there’s the electrified deer that keeps getting the best of a hungry bear who never quiet learns his lesson. The North American brown bear, or grizzly, in the footage is filmed remotely and he keeps resting the waters until the electricity is disconnected.

A Montana grizzly bear attempts to retrieve an electrically charged, road-killed deer. The deer is electrified as an experiment to protect hunters’ game kills and, in turn, to minimize bear-human encounters.

Arizona Is Going Crazy

Recently, we announced that Arizona would be requiring people in the state looking to board domestic flights to purchase a $25 identification card expressly to fulfill a federal regulation that’s been on the books since 2005.

The airport in Flagstaff, which takes about 60,000 passengers every year is among the new airports that will require the ID.

“As well, these new identification cards will be required to access certain federal and military bases. But, minors traveling with an adult who fulfills the requirement of the new ID will be able to forgo needing to purchase one. It is unclear whether an Arizona resident may skip the trouble by driving to an airport in California or New Mexico.

The purchase cost of the IDs will be $25, half a day of wasted time in the MVD and they will last for eight years.”

More Animal Encounters

Recently, a strange looking creature was shot in Montana. The rancher called in the kill, thinking he had shot a particularly aggressive wolf, but local animal authorities sent the carcass off for more testing because he was missing some telltale signs of being a pure wolf.

The animal is suggested to be a rare wolf/dog hybrid, which is a type of animal almost exclusively bred in captivity owing to the territorial nature of wolves.

Hybrid pups can have varied appearances due to the mixed genetic bag, and their behavior is difficult to predict. Because of the difficulty in caring for a hybrid, thousands of pet wolves and pet hybrids are abandoned or euthanized every year.

So, if the DNA turns out that the strange beast shot in Denton, Montana is a hybrid, it was likely dropped off in the woods by an owner who bite off more than he could chew.

Source: Wide Open Spaces

The post This Bear Picked a Fight With the Wrong Elk appeared first on Joe For America.

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Homeless populations at high risk to develop cardiovascular disease

Among homeless individuals cardiovascular disease remains one of the major causes of death due to challenges in predicting initial risk, limited access to health care and difficulties in long-term management, according to a review published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology . In the U.S., roughly 550,000 people are homeless on any given night, and an estimated 2.3 million to 3.5 million people experience homelessness over the course of a year.

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Will “Rules and Regulations” Save Us?

Opinion

Open Carry
Personal, individual responsibility will save this civilization. Individual citizens boldly claiming their own magnificence

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- “America will collapse financially, chasing unceasing rules and regulations designed to save defenseless citizens from harm.” ~ Bin Laden

As a panicked and short-sighted nation, we’re hurriedly composing endless reams of new, confusing, and hopelessly inconvenient “rules” with regard to school security, most of it “theater” and little else

Endless billions of taxpayer dollars are being haphazardly thrown at this issue. More cameras and monitors (that no one is watching), more restrictions on entry and exit, more delays, more confusion, more inconvenience, etc

But wait!

How do we similarly “protect” buses, sports stadiums, playgrounds, day-care centers, parking lots, movie theaters, cruise ships, et al?

With all this growing, high-tech “security” (which is mostly wishful thinking), is anyone really any “safer” than before?

Look at the UK, where cameras have been installed on virtually every single street corner in the entire country, yet where violent crime is at an all-time high, and getting worse by the day.

Bin Laden made a watertight argument.

What will work without fail, and the only strategy that has any chance of working, is: “Individual Security”

Teachers and school officials need to go armed. Citizens need to go armed. “Security” needs to be thought of as an intensely, exclusively personal issue.

The entire false, failed philosophy of “Learned Helplessness,” endlessly promoted by leftists, needs to be majestically, audaciously thrown in the trash.

“Institutional Security” is a contraction of terms.

Personal, individual responsibility will save this civilization. Individual citizens boldly claiming their own magnificence.

That will save us. Nothing else will!

/John

Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

The post Will “Rules and Regulations” Save Us? appeared first on AmmoLand.com.

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Psychedelics & Danger

I am taken aback by the Christian readers who think that my speculations this week about Michael Pollan, psychedelic drugs, and what those drugs might be telling us about the nature of consciousness and reality, amount to me encouraging people to experiment with them.

I do not encourage that at all! I don’t encourage it because I have a strong sense that those drugs put one into a state of consciousness in which one’s psyche is more receptive and vulnerable to spiritual entities and forces that are actually there. I believe Michael Pollan’s interview subjects who said that good things happened to them on their psychedelic trips. I also take seriously this experienced guy, whose final acid trip went very badly:

These spirits looked much like the strange animals and creatures
depicted in occult books and dungeons and dragons monster manuals.

As intense as this was I was not afraid. Instead it was as much
a feeling of incredible power and evil and I could stand and it was exhilerating. It was then that Keely buried herself beneath a blanket and began screaming ‘I can see the demons around you!’ and I laughed. I was breathing them into the room and my friends were sharing this experience. With a tremendous intensity I summoned up a great figure who’s outline I could make out. This figure was standing in a circle and there was a gateway behind it. I could see a three headed dog and other smaller demonic creatures behind the great figure but it was forcing those creatures back through the gateway as they tried to escape into the house.

The figure itself was immensely beautiful. It was so evil yet so compellingly elegant and beautiful. It was wingless but it had horns and I could make out the facial features of its eyes and nose mouth and limbs although they were but an outline.

Pulsing within this great demon were all of the other spirits that combined collectively as a part of him. Where we would have veins and bone and muscle tissue, the angel of darkness had spirits that gleefully flowed throughout his frame. It was extremely intense. As he moved, the spirits that were making up his internals would constantly change form flicking from one shape to the next in an endless display of transformation.

More:

 As the monstorous form turned to me I was compelled to one knee. At this point my friends were watching intently. moments later though Keely had to watch off and on because she was so frightened she was trying to shut the site out by closing her eyes. Jon was nowhere to be found. Apparently he had left. The demon turned to me and outstretched his hand and flexed with great might as a display of power. His face flew off toward me and through me and this continued for a split second but it felt like hours. Gradually his form diminished as the ember from the incense stick burned out and the smoke was sucked out up the chimney of the fireplace. One by one each of the spirits traveled their way from where the demon form was standing and flew up the chimney. This was the last time I ever did acid.

It was incredible. It was intense. It has led me to the belief that acid is a gateway drug which can allow you to see into other planes of existance that run in parallel as our own, just at a different speed. I don’t know whether this was a mass visualization (3 people saw it including myself) or just a very intense hallucination from a mega dose of LSD and hash but it doesn’t matter to me. If my mind is capable of being that creative to be able to visualize something that intense (no artist could ever paint this.) I doubt it. I believe it was real. I believe and I will never see things the same way again.

Misspellings in the original. That appeared on the pro-psychedelic site Erowid.org.

Here’s an account from the Sydney Morning Herald about a teenager who had an experience with LSD that caused him nearly to kill himself. Excerpt:

At the fund-raising dinner which his parents are attending, Karl is perplexed when his phone begins to vibrate during a speech. Jasmine also grabs her phone, which is lighting up with messages from five different neighbours asking her to call them immediately. The couple hurriedly excuse themselves before Jasmine calls a trusted friend. “Tom’s all right,” she’s told. “But you need to go straight to the hospital.” On arrival around midnight, they’re greeted by a sight that haunts all parents: their teenage son unconscious in a hospital bed, covered in dried blood, with plastic tubes snaking out of his mouth and nose.

The outlines of this troubling story were sketched by Jasmine, who emailed me after reading a Good Weekend story of mine from June 3, in which I described my own (largely positive) experience with LSD. “LSD is like a monster in our house, sucking all the potential and opportunity out of my beautiful son… as well as creating massive stress for the entire family,” Jasmine wrote. “Let me tell you from my experience (and by the way, I am no LSD virgin), that for our precious kids, LSD is plain playing with fire. They can’t evaluate the high levels of risk versus the perceived mind ‘expanding’ benefits, and they are basically ending up, for want of a better word, completely f…ed.”

I believe that psychedelics ought to be studied for their possible therapeutic use. Pollan, whose book is now #1 on the New York Times list, discusses in depth the promise this class of drugs shows for depressed people, addicts, and others. I also believe that we should seriously consider what these drugs tell us about consciousness. But I also believe it’s playing with fire, and not a risk worth taking in most cases.

I have been reading other philosophical articles about psychedelics and the occult, written not by Christians, but by people who encourage the drugs’ use as a gateway to occult knowledge. I’m not going to post links. One I’ve just read is especially fascinating, because it’s about an academic who studies this stuff, and whose group of writers and academics sees the new interest in psychedelics as heralding a final smash-up of the Enlightenment. Their general model metaphysics and consciousness is surprisingly close to pre-modern Christianity’s … but it is occult. Again, I don’t want to post a link, but the Christianity of a medieval like Dante Alighieri, or of a contemporary Orthodox monk on Mount Athos, has a lot more in common with this way of seeing the world than it does, at least superficially, with average suburban 21st century Christianity.

Except a Dante or a St. Paisios the Athonite would clearly see the demonic element in this philosophy. The piece I just read, with its description of existence as an organic whole, direct experience of God, and so forth — it’s all there in pre-modern Christianity. It’s easy for me to see why bored and restless Westerners who think Christianity is about nothing more than dry propositions and moralism, would turn to psychedelics as spiritual seekers. If that’s you, I strongly encourage you to read The Mountain of Silence, an account of a modern-day Athonite monk who explains Orthodox Christian spirituality to the author, American professor Kyriacos Markides.

Markides is a sociologist of religion. As he writes in the introduction (which you can read on the “Look Inside” feature of that Kindle link), he lost his belief in agnosticism and philosophical materialism through his academic study of shamanistic and esoteric religious figures. He says that he explored Eastern religious traditions for years. He assumed that Christianity was withering away because it ignored the spiritual, mystical aspect of human experience. Then a friend on his native Cyprus told him he should go meet and study the holy men of his native spiritual tradition, Eastern Orthodoxy. Many of the things he found appealing about non-Christian spiritual paths were there preserved in Orthodoxy, from the first millennium of the Christian faith.

It’s an absolutely fascinating book, very readable for the ordinary reader. The lesson I take from it is that the people who turn to psychedelics in search of mystical experience aren’t necessarily wrong to want a non-cerebral encounter with the divine, but they are risking far too much, spiritually and otherwise, to approach it pharmaceutically, and outside the bounds of established Christian tradition. You’ll find in Orthodoxy that the monks who are the most spiritually experienced are very strong in cautioning spiritual beginners not to seek too much, too fast.

I need to find a way to write a book about what Orthodox spirituality offers to seekers after mysticism, as a truthful and holy alternative to the spiritual and mental dangers of these alternative traditions. E-mail me with your ideas. I’ll be thinking hard about this all weekend.

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Royal Oak High School students camp in cardboard boxes to raise money for homeless shelter

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Some Royal Oak High School students are starting off the holiday weekend by camping in cardboard boxes to raise funds and awareness about homelessness. More than 30 students from the school’s Interact Club built a “box city” at Royal Oak …

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