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On Thursday, March 23, 2017, RMC (French talk radio) had a morning discussion on the London attack which occurred the day before.

Les Grandes Gueules (The Big Mouths) discussed the trend for vehicle terrorism, an ISIS-approved method which started with the July 14, 2016 attack in Nice. The Berlin Christmas market attack on December 19 was the next spectacular. On Wednesday, it was London:

The day after the London attack, Belgian police detained a man in Antwerp for driving at speed along a main pedestrian-only street. Reuters reported:

“At about 11 a.m. this morning a vehicle entered De Meir at high speed due to which pedestrians had to jump away,” a police spokesman told a news conference, referring to the street name.

He added the driver was later arrested and additional police and military personnel had been deployed to the center of Antwerp, but did not give any further details.

The Daily Mail reports that the attacker is French-Tunisian. The article has good accompanying photographs.

French media now call such attacks ‘low cost’ terrorism, meaning that no equipment other than a vehicle is required. The radio show panel debated on whether this was appropriate terminology. Opinion was divided. Some found it demeaning to the victims. Others thought it described the situation objectively.

Regardless, the London attack has raised the same reactions and the same questions of previous attacks.

American military veteran, author and film maker Jack Posobiec summed it up on Twitter:

An Englishman, Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars editor-at-large, tweeted:

He also made a short news video in which he put forth the inconvenient truth about the London attacks and others:

People have been speculating incorrectly on the significance of the date the London attack took place. Reuters has the answer (emphases mine below):

The mayhem in London took came on the first anniversary of attacks that killed 32 people in Brussels.

The article also stated that Khalid Masood — formerly Adrian Elms, then Adrian Ajao — whom police shot dead:

was British-born and was once investigated by MI5 intelligence agents over concerns about violent extremism, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement issued by its Amaq news agency. But it gave no name or other details and it was not clear whether the attacker was directly connected to the group.

Police arrested eight people at six locations in London and Birmingham in the investigation into Wednesday’s lone-wolf attack that May said was inspired by a warped Islamist ideology.

About 40 people were injured and 29 remain in hospital, seven in critical condition, after the incident which resembled Islamic State-inspired attacks in France and Germany where vehicles were driven into crowds.

The assailant sped across Westminster Bridge in a car, ploughing into pedestrians along the way, then ran through the gates of the nearby parliament building and fatally stabbed an unarmed policeman before being shot dead. tmsnrt.rs/2napbkD

“What I can confirm is that the man was British-born and that some years ago he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism,” May said in a statement to parliament.

So far, four people have died:

It was the worst such attack in Britain since [July 7] 2005, when 52 people were killed by Islamist suicide bombers on London’s public transport system. Police had given the death toll as five but revised it down to four on Thursday.

Some found it strange that the March 22 London attack took place on the same day that Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan said:

that Europeans would not be able to walk safely on the streets if they kept up their current attitude toward Turkey, his latest salvo in a row over campaigning by Turkish politicians in Europe.

While that is strange, it probably remains a coincidence. Erdogan is angry with the Netherlands and Germany at the moment.

Once again, we have the lone-wolf narrative. Patently wrong, as it has been in other terror attacks. Notice Reuters says police arrested eight people. Therefore, how could it have been a lone-wolf operation?

On the notion of normalising terror in big cities, Tucker Carlson had this to say:

Although it sounds clichéd, it is true that prayer — public and private — help greatly at a time like this.

We can pray for the families and friends of victims PC Keith Palmer, fatally stabbed by the attacker, as well as the two civilians who died: Aysha Frade (wife and mother of two daughters), Kurt Cochran (an American tourist, husband and father) and the latest victim, a 75-year-old man. We can pray for Mrs Cochran, who was injured in the attack and is in hospital. We can pray for the 40 injured. Their lives will never be the same again. They will need God’s help for physical and mental recovery.

In closing, The Sun has an excellent set of photographs which tell the horrific story of the March 22, 2017 attack.

In Britain, Mothering Sunday — Mother’s Day — is always Laetare Sunday.

This year, mums are shortchanged, as our clocks change to British Summer Time on Sunday, March 26, 2017.

Laetare Sunday is the joyful Sunday of Lent. Some traditional Anglican and Catholic clergy wear a pink chasuble. The faithful look towards the promise of the Resurrection on this day.

The traditional Epistle read on this day was from Galatians 4 and included this verse (Gal. 4:26):

But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Hence the ancient tradition called Mothering Sunday, when people made the journey to their ‘mother’ church — often a cathedral but sometimes a large parish church — for worship. Afterward, some congregations ‘clipped’ the church, which involved worshippers gathering outside, forming a ring around the church and holding hands to embrace it.

The notion of the church as spiritual mother began to extend to earthly mothers, which is how Mothering Sunday developed.

Find out more in my post from 2012:

Laetare Sunday is Mothering Sunday

I wish all my British readers who are mothers a very happy day.

On Friday, March 17, 2017, an anti-Trump billboard went up at a prominent intersection in Phoenix to coincide with the Art Detour event last weekend.

Local NBC affiliate 12News reports:

The billboard art was commissioned by the billboard owner, Beatrice Moore, a longtime patron of the arts on Grand Avenue.

“Some of these issues are so important you can’t not speak out,” Moore said in an interview …

Moore said it would remain up as long as Trump is president. 

The billboard is in a can’t-miss location at 11th Avenue and Grand.

The artist is California resident Karen Fiorito, who has collaborated before with Moore (emphasis mine):

This isn’t the first time Fiorito and Moore put up controversial billboard art.

In 2004, Fiorito created a billboard of President George W. Bush and top government officials for her master of fine arts thesis on political propaganda at Arizona State University.

“Dear America,” the billboard said, “we lied to you for your own good. Now trust us.”

Of course, the billboard of America’s 45th president elicited strong reactions:

Moore and Fiorito did expect blowback from Trump supporters.

Fiorito said she has received death threats over the Trump billboard.

“A lot of hate. Things have gotten a lot more escalated now,” she said. 

“I just hope that everyone involved in helping bring this message out is safe and that we all get through this unharmed,” Fiorito said.

Hmm.

Death threats — if, indeed, they were made — are beyond the pale.

However, as the old saying goes: if you’re gonna play, you’ve gotta pay. No one sensible can put up something like that without expecting a negative reaction.

According to tweets that Twitchy published in their article about the billboard, the left-wing artist depicted the symbol of a fringe group called the Capitalist Right.

In other news, an Arizona man was arrested for bestiality with a goat: details and photo.

It’s a mad, mad, mad world.

On Monday, March 20, 2017, Britain’s singing legend Dame Vera Lynn, celebrated her 100th birthday.

Dame Vera is as iconic as the Queen.

Incredibly, on March 17, Decca Records released her latest album, Vera Lynn 100: We’ll Meet Again. She is thought to be the first centenarian to have a new album on sale.

The London Evening Standard reports (emphases mine below):

The record comes eight years after Dame Vera became the oldest living artist to land a UK number one album and also marks the wartime singer’s 93 years in the industry as she made her stage debut at the age of seven.

New re-orchestrated versions of her most beloved music alongside her original vocals will feature on the music release …

The album also features a previously unreleased version of Sailing – a surprise find as it was not widely known she had recorded the track.

Dame Vera recorded the songs with young British talent, including Alfie Boe and The Ayoub Sisters.

A photo of her with a Happy Birthday message was projected onto the white cliffs of Dover, also the name of one of her greatest wartime hits. Others, too numerous to mention, included We’ll Meet Again and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square:

Dame Vera still lives at home in Ditchling, East Sussex.

Yesterday, the BBC reported that she participated in a Skype call from home with students from her old school, Brampton Primary School in East Ham, east London. The students serenaded her with a selection of her most famous songs.

The Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity held a daytime party on top of the white cliffs of Dover. It was very windy that day, but:

veterans, re-enactors and the Singing Sweethearts serenaded Dame Vera and sang happy birthday.

A military-style salute and flag-waving carried on regardless, all in support of her children’s charity but also celebrating the 100th birthday of our own Forces’ Sweetheart.

The Evening Standard reported:

Dame Vera said: “It is an unprecedented honour to have my birthday marked in such a beautiful way and I am truly thrilled by this wonderful gesture.

“As we look to the white cliffs on Monday, I will be thinking of all our brave boys – the cliffs were the last thing they saw before heading off to war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw upon returning home.

“I feel so blessed to have reached this milestone and I can’t think of a more meaningful way to mark the occasion.”

BBC Radio 2 asked her for her advice on ageing:

… she said: “Be active to your full capabilities.

“Keep interested, read books, watch television and try to keep in touch with life and what people are doing, seeing and enjoying.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 2, she added: “While you can do that, I hope you will continue.”

Finally! Someone who defends television! Thank you, Dame Vera!

Dame Vera gave an exclusive newspaper interview to The Sun:

“I try not to worry too much about anything any more, and enjoy every day as it comes,” she says.

“There is always something we can be concerned about. The secret is to rise above it and do whatever we can to make the world a better place.”

As for the young Second World War troops who loved her and her music:

she is still full of praise for the true Brits who gave up everything to bring peace to future generations.

She adds: “The war was a dark and difficult time but it was quite easy to keep faith when I saw for myself the sacrifices being made by the boys on the front line and everyone on the Home Front.

“The community spirit and collective sense of patriotism saw us all through.”

Also:

“The white cliffs were the last thing they saw before they left for war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw to tell them they were home.”

The Sun reminds us of why Dame Vera was The Forces’ Sweetheart:

To borrow from the familiar lyrics, millions of men and women didn’t have the chance to meet their loved ones again some sunny day.

But at least Vera gave them hope and comfort in the darkness and it explains why she ranks her people’s title of Forces Sweetheart as highly as any official accolade.

“I consider it to be one of my greatest achievements,” she affirms. “I feel very honoured that people regard me in this way.

“I am exceptionally fond of all the brave servicemen and women who have worked, and continue to work, to keep us safe and secure, and protect our values.”

The BBC has a great retrospective, complete with family photos, of Dame Vera’s life and career. Highlights follow:

Vera Welch was born on 20 March 1917 in East Ham in London. Neither of her parents were involved in showbusiness – her father Bertram was a plumber and mother Annie a dressmaker. But by the age of seven, the talented young Vera was singing in working men’s clubs – an audience she described as “great” – and soon became the family’s main breadwinner.

This is my favourite:

When she turned 11, Vera took her grandmother’s maiden name of Lynn as a stage name. She had no formal singing lessons as a child – and just one as an adult. She said: “I thought I could extend my range but when the teacher heard me sing she said ‘I cannot train that voice, it’s not a natural voice’. So I said: ‘Well thank you very much madam’, and left.”

I do wonder what that teacher thought later! You know what they say: ‘Those who can’t do …’

Dame Vera started singing professionally at the age of 15 and released her first single at the age of 19:

By the age of 22 she had sold more than a million records, bought her parents a house and herself a car.

During the Second World War, she went on tour:

it was during World War Two that her reputation was made. She frequently sang to the troops at morale-boosting concerts, becoming known to posterity as The Forces’ Sweetheart.

She married Harry Lewis in 1941. They had a daughter, Virginia. Harry died in 1998. Mother and daughter are still very close.

Dame Vera appeared on radio shows. Below, she is the lady in the fur coat:

Dame Vera’s career and fame continued after the war ended:

She was appointed OBE in 1969, made a Dame in 1975, and a Companion of Honour in 2016. Her wartime fame meant she was never far from the television screens …

She enjoyed meeting new talent:

She made the acquaintance of glam rock band Slade in 1973, when they gathered round a piano at the Melody Maker Awards.

Her records continue to sell very well and she:

holds the record for being the oldest living artist to achieve a top 20 UK album.

Over the years, Dame Vera has participated in many Second World War commemorative events.

In closing, this is what the Queen wrote Dame Vera on her 100th birthday:

You cheered and uplifted us all in the War and after the War, and I am sure that this evening the blue birds of Dover will be flying over to wish you a happy anniversary, Elizabeth R.

Many happy returns, Dame Vera Lynn!

Last week, I introduced Percy Dearmer and his 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, first published by Mowbray in 1912.

I mentioned Dearmer was an avowed Socialist. He seems to have been a bit to the left theologically, too.

In Chapter 3 of his book, he introduces the title page. This alone is worth about three posts, so I shall focus on Dearmer’s dislike of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, painstakingly written and agreed upon in 1563 by a convocation of Anglican bishops.

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Archbishop Cranmer (1489 – 1556) wrote most of the Articles, the number of which varied depending on the monarch. Under Henry VIII, there were ten, then six. Under his successors, they increased to 42, then decreased to 39 in 1563, under Elizabeth I. She subsequently removed Article XXIX, which denounced transubstantiation. She did not want to offend her Catholic subjects.

In 1571, Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I. Article XXIX was reinstated.

The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion are the official positions of the Church of England. Dearmer might have objected to them because they state particular things that could offend Catholics (the nature of Holy Communion) and Anabaptists (no mandate for commonly-held property).

You can read the full list here, along with the introduction. Today’s Anglican clergy downplay them a lot and actually discourage people from even reading them. Yet, they are still obliged to affirm at ordination that they accept the Articles.

However, as the Church Society notes:

the wording of the declaration is now such that many feel able to say it without meaning what a simple reading might suggest. 

The Thirty-nine Articles have their basis in Holy Scripture. I have no problem in affirming them, although I will never be asked to do so. Wikipedia states:

the Articles are not officially normative in all Anglican Churches …

Now on to Dearmer, who points out that the Thirty-nine Articles are not on the title page of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, although they are included in it:

It makes no mention of the Thirty-nine Articles; for they form no part of the Prayer Book. They are bound up with it …

Their inclusion bothered him, because they are not binding on Anglican churchgoers:

it is a mistake of the printing authorities to compel us to buy the Articles whenever we buy the Prayer Book; and it gives Church folk the impression that the Articles are binding on them, which is not the case — for a layman is perfectly free to disagree with the Articles, if he chooses.

However, I found them helpful when I was converting. I wanted to know what this denomination believed and why before I made a commitment. It took me some time and reading to understand what a few of the Articles meant and why they were included.

Dearmer was of the impression that they were a living document and should have been updated to reflect the times:

Nothing has been done to improve them. The needs of modern thought have indeed been partly met by altering the terms in which the clergy (and they alone) have to give their assent; but this does not help the average Briton, who, moreover, is without the assistance of the learned commentaries which alone can prevent serious misunderstandings ; while in other countries, both East and West, the presence of the Thirty-nine Articles in the Prayer Book continues to do grave harm, by giving to other Churches a false idea of the Anglican theology.

Whilst I agree that the average Briton does need learned commentaries, I just did my own research. Anyone interested in doing so can. Clergy in Dearmer’s day could also have held classes on the Thirty-nine Articles so that the congregation could better understand them.

Where I disagree with Dearmer is that the Articles could be somehow improved. He could not have been more wrong! An Anglican who follows the Thirty-nine Articles will end up much further along the road to sanctification in thought, word and deed.

I much prefer what the Church Society says about them in fewer words (emphases in the original):

Officially the Church of England accepts the full and final authority of Holy Scripture as the basis for all that it believes. Some of these beliefs were summarised in the historic creeds, and at the time of the Reformation the Church adopted the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as giving a concise and systematic statement of the teaching of Scripture.

It’s a pity that more Anglicans do not understand the Articles or believe, as clergy are wont to say, that they are ‘historical artifacts’.

For decades, Anglicans have believed anything they want. Some of them are more Quaker, Baptist or Methodist than Anglican.

Dearmer did have excellent insights on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer, more about which next week.

During the 1990s in the UK, women were pushing for private gentlemen’s clubs in Pall Mall, London, to admit ladies as members.

Many did. Those that did not continued to receive opprobrium from females.

Twenty years later, in the United States, women are paying dues to be able to partake of ladies-only ‘workspaces’.

You can’t have it all, ladies. Be consistent in what you want. If you want your own private space, then allow men to have their own clubs.

Bloomberg explains these women-only workspaces:

Co-working is hardly new; industry trade magazine Deskmag estimated there would be 10,000 co-working spots worldwide by the end of 2016. But female-focused spaces have become a niche in the industry as a response to contemporary feminism and a reaction against fratty venues that advertise kegs and pingpong. “Women are craving community, connection, and confidence, and that’s what we’re going to give them,” says Stacy Taubman, 38, founder of Rise Collaborative, which is set to open in St. Louis this month and will offer members networking events, a book club, and a chance to mentor teens. Then there’s SheWorks Collective, also in Manhattan; New Women Space, in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Hera Hub, in Phoenix, Southern California, Washington, D.C., and Stockholm.

The Bloomberg article focusses on The Wing in Manhattan, founded by 29-year-old Audrey Gelman:

the co-working space and social club she co-founded this October [2016] in New York. A man walks through the elevator doors, and Gelman throws him a friendly wave. “That’s our AV guy,” she says. “He’s basically the only man that comes through here.”

Admittedly, when the English controversy over gentlemen’s clubs was going on, Gelman was in primary school — and in the United States. Nonetheless, what if 29-year-old male contemporaries of hers wanted men’s-only clubs? The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

Bloomberg pointed out an interesting fact from the 19th century (emphasis mine):

A hundred years ago, there were more than 5,000 women’s clubs nationwide whose aim was self-improvement and social reform. Membership in these clubs peaked in the mid-1950s but has been on the decline ever since. “We’re resurrecting this concept,” Gelman says, an assertion reinforced by the Wing’s location on Manhattan’s historic Ladies’ Mile, where women were first allowed to shop without a male escort in the late 19th century.

One wonders if women looking forward or backward.

The other day, I ran across an old link to Percy Dearmer‘s Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, first published by Mowbray in 1912.

Percy Dearmer was an Anglican priest who lived between 1867 and 1936. He was a High Church Anglican, although one who championed the English Use rite used before the Reformation over Roman Catholic rubrics.

Dearmer was an avowed Socialist (unfortunately). That said, he served in various London parish churches and wrote several books about the Book of Common Prayer, liturgy as well as a history of King Alfred and a travel book about Normandy. In later years, he was a canon at Westminster Abbey, where his ashes are interred.

Dearmer was also a lecturer in ecclesiastical art at King’s College, London from 1919 until his death at the age of 69.

He was also interested in composing and compiling hymns. He and Ralph Vaughan Williams published The English Hymnal in 1906. Two more hymnals followed: Songs of Praise in 1926 and the Oxford Book of Carols in 1928.

Incidentally, when Songs of Praise was expanded in 1931, Dearmer wanted a hymn of daily thanksgiving, which is how Morning Has Broken (made famous 40 years later by Cat Stevens) first became known:

In Songs of Praise Discussed, the editor, Percy Dearmer, explains that as there was need for a hymn to give thanks for each day, English poet and children’s author Eleanor Farjeon had been “asked to make a poem to fit the lovely Scottish tune”. A slight variation on the original hymn, also written by Eleanor Farjeon, can be found in the form of a poem contributed to the anthology Children’s Bells, under Farjeon’s new title, “A Morning Song (For the First Day of Spring)”, published by Oxford University Press in 1957. The song is noted in 9/4 time but with a 3/4 feel.

“Bunessan” had been found in L. McBean’s Songs and Hymns of the Gael, published in 1900.[3] Before Farjeon’s words, the tune was used as a Christmas carol, which began “Child in the manger, Infant of Mary”, translated from the Scottish Gaelic lyrics written by Mary MacDonald. The English-language Roman Catholic hymnal also uses the tune for the James Quinn hymns “Christ Be Beside Me” and “This Day God Gives Me”, both of which were adapted from the traditional Irish hymn St. Patrick’s Breastplate. Another Christian hymn “Baptized In Water” borrows the tune.

Dearmer, his wife Mabel and their two sons all served in the Great War. Dearmer and his wife were stationed in Serbia where he was a chaplain to a British Red Cross Ambulance unit. Mabel served as a nurse with that unit and died of enteric fever in 1915. Their younger son Christopher died in battle that year. However, their elder son, Geoffrey, survived and died at the age of 103, and, at that age, was one of the oldest surviving war poets.

Dearmer remarried in 1916. He and his wife Nancy had three children: two daughters and a son. Sadly, their son died in active service with the RAF in 1943.

The reason Dearmer’s book Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book caught my eye is that the second chapter is called ‘The Question of Set Forms of Prayer’.

One of my personal bugbears is going to a traditional liturgical service and hear a priest substitute his own improvised prayers for the special intentions which precede the prayer of consecration. If he (or she) simply prayed them out of the Prayer Book, he would find that all his prayer needs were satisfied outside of names of national leaders or the sick and dying.

Their waffling — ‘uhh, mmm’ — and their poor prose has me praying for patience and calm just as we are about to reach the apex of the service with Holy Communion.

This is what Dearmer had to say about that and also dispensing with set prayers altogether. Remember, he wrote this in 1912, so this is somewhat surprising (emphases mine):

It is worth while, therefore, asking ourselves at the outset, Is liturgical worship a good thing, or ought the minister to make up his own prayers?

Now, there is very much to be said for extemporaneous worship in church; it is often a most useful instrument in mission work, it is an indispensable way of bringing the idea of worship to the ignorant, it secures the necessary element of freedom; furthermore, it may bring spontaneity and vitality into a service, and be a good corrective to formalism …

Nor is there anything alien to Church ways or wrong in principle about extempore services. Indeed in the earliest days of the Church the celebrant at the Eucharist used to pray thus. The service went on certain general lines, but the “president” filled it in according to his own ideas, and offered up “prayers and thanksgivings with all his strength,” the people saying “Amen” (as is told on p. 185). it was only by degrees that the prayers thus offered became fixed. Those, therefore, who argue that everything which was not done in the first two or three centuries must therefore be wrong, should logically include liturgical worship among the things they condemn. But perhaps sensible people in the 20th century no longer argue thus.

Well, often, that was because the celebrant could not read very well. Also, parchment was highly expensive and there were no printing presses until much later, in 1439.

Dearmer then mentions John Milton, an irregular churchgoer. Milton was all for extemporaneous prayer. Dearmer points out:

Milton’s mistake, was, in fact, a very simple one. He thought that every minister, would be a Milton. He did not realize what a deadly thing average custom can be, what a deadly bore an average man can make of himself when compelled to do continually a thing for which he has no natural gift. He did not foresee the insidious danger of unreality and cant. We should all, of course, flock to hear Milton praying extempore, if he were to come to life again ; but there are many mute, inglorious ministers whom we would rather not hear.

To put the prayers as well as the sermon in the hands of the officiating minister is indeed a form of sacerdotalism which the Church most wisely rejected many centuries ago. We know what a joy and help it would be to hear an inspired saint, with a genius for rapid prose composition, make up prayers as he went along; and opportunities for extemporization do exist outside the appointed services. But the Church has to provide for the average man, and has to guard against that form of clerical absolutism which would put a congregation at the mercy of the idiosyncrasies and shortcomings of one person. For extempore services, which should be a safeguard for freedom, can easily degenerate into a tyranny.

Indeed!

Before defending a set liturgy, Dearmer points out the importance of a sensory church service, one which will escape people who worship in plainly:

history and a wide knowledge of Christendom show us that good ceremonies are a great preservative against Pharisaism. The reason for this is that action, music, colour, form, sight, scent, and sound appeal more freely to the individual worshipper, and more subtly, relieving the pressure of a rigid phraseology, and allowing the spirit many ways of rising up to God, unhampered by the accent of the workaday voice of man. It is only thus that the wonderful intensity of devotion among the Russian people, for instance, can be accounted for: we have no popular religious affection in the West which can compare with the evangelical spirit of this hundred million of Christians, who yet have used nothing but their very ancient forms of prayer during the thousand years since their race was first converted.

Precisely. This is what old school churchgoers refer to as the mysterium tremendum, which is very rare in our time.

Although he allows for some extemporaneous prayer, Dearmer concludes:

we may be confident that liturgical worship is the best of all. There is some loss in the use of printed words; but there is a greater gain. We have in them the accumulated wisdom and beauty of the Christian Church, the garnered excellence of the saints. We are by them released from the accidents of time and place. Above all we are preserved against the worst dangers of selfishness: in the common prayer we join together in a great fellowship that is as wide as the world; and we are guided, not by the limited notions of our own priest, nor by the narrow impulses of our own desires, but by the mighty voice that rises from the general heart of Christendom.

Our Lord had the ancient forms of the Church in which he lived often on his lips, and in the moment of his supreme agony it was a liturgical sentence, a fragment of the familiar service, that was wrung from him— “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” We have a richer heritage, for it is a heritage dowered by his Spirit; and from our treasure-house come things new and old …

… there is a place and a real use for extemporary prayer, and a still greater use for the silent prayer which is above words altogether. These very things will keep fresh and sweet for us those old set forms, in which we can join so well because we know beforehand what they are about, and in which for the same reason all the people can come together in the fellowship of common prayer.

My advice — and my hope — for clergy improvising their own prayers is to sit down and write out the text in full, revising and perfecting it for however long it takes.

I was a member for several years of a large Episcopal church which had perfect prayers. The curates wrote them themselves or read them from books by other ministers. They were beautiful prayers, worthy of God. The congregation also listened and silently prayed intently. You could hear a pin drop.

Here in the UK, things are different. I blame it on the seminaries. However, if they feel it so necessary to express themselves, Anglican priests should take up the challenge to have an outstanding set of prayers of their own that fit with the language being used in the liturgy.

Jesus is our friend, but let us not forget the many Bible verses about our rightful awe we owe to Almighty God. This is the second part of Ecclesiastes 12:13 (ESV):

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

In opening remarks to his staff on March 6, 2017, the Secretary for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Dr Ben Carson, commented on slaves, saying they were ‘immigrants’.

The media and other ‘experts’ verbally ganged up on the retired brain surgeon, best known for his pioneering surgery on conjoined twins. Those outside the United States will be interested to know that Carson is black and grew up in Detroit.

Yet, Obama made the same comment in 2015, and no one said a word. Why is it that Carson was criticised but Obama was not?

The Daily Caller had an article on the media storm:

“That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity,” Carson said during a speech at HUD’s offices.

“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

Liberal pundits blasted Carson’s remarks, saying that it is insensitive to use the term “immigrant” to describe people taken to a new country against their will.

This is what Obama said two years ago at a naturalisation ceremony:

“Certainly, it wasn’t easy for those of African heritage who had not come here voluntarily and yet in their own way were immigrants themselves,” Obama said.

“There was discrimination and hardship and poverty. But, like you, they no doubt found inspiration in all those who had come before them. And they were able to muster faith that, here in America, they might build a better life and give their children something more.”

That was not the only time. He spoke at an earlier naturalisation ceremony in 2012:

“We say it so often, we sometimes forget what it means — we are a nation of immigrants.  Unless you are one of the first Americans, a Native American, we are all descended from folks who came from someplace else — whether they arrived on the Mayflower or on a slave ship, whether they came through Ellis Island or crossed the Rio Grande,” Obama said at the ceremony.

The Daily Caller looked for media mentions of the 2012 and 2015 speeches. There were none.

Everyone harping on about Carson is simply angry that he is a black Republican in the Trump administration. ‘How dare he?’ they think.

Of course, Carson had to issue a statement. He said this (emphases mine below):

“I think people need to actually look up the world ‘immigrant,’” he said in an interview with Armstrong Williams. “Whether you’re voluntary or involuntary, if you come from outside to the inside, you’re an immigrant. Slaves came here as involuntary immigrants.”

Obama’s family and slavery

It is highly possible that both sides of Obama’s family owned and sold slaves in the past.

In 2009, Cynthia Yockey, a former Democrat turned conservative, wrote ‘Obama’s Kenyan ancestors sold slaves’, which is a remarkably well researched article not just on Obama’s ancestors but also on the nature of the slave trade in general. It continues today and is a Muslim practice in certain countries. This is a good article to share with older children and summarise for younger members of the family.

Yockey wrote about the topic because, on July 12, 2009, Obama visited Ghana. She said that he had to:

hope no one in the state-run media would think to wonder why he didn’t choose Kenya in East Africa, the land of his father and his father’s tribe, the Luo, which also was a major slave-trading center.

She added:

One reason may be that New World blacks would be descended from West Africans. However, I am suspicious that another reason is that on both his mother’s AND his father’s side of the family, Obama is descended from people who owned and/or sold black African slaves. How ironic that Obama received almost universal support from blacks who are here because their ancestors were grabbed up and sold into slavery by other black Africans, including Obama’s father’s tribe.

Yockey notes that, in 2007, the Baltimore Sun fully researched the slavery angle involving Obama’s white side of the family.

Having read the Baltimore Sun article, I want to point out to you this interesting bit near the end:

Author and essayist Debra J. Dickerson wrote in a January salon.com article that she had previously refrained from opining about the senator because “I didn’t have the heart (or the stomach) to point out the obvious: Obama isn’t black.”

” ‘Black,’ in our political and social reality, means those descended from West African slaves,” Dickerson said.

Back now to Cynthia Yockey’s research. She saw that there was an article on About.com — no longer there in 2017 — which was reproduced elsewhere, called ‘Obama’s African Forebears Were Slave Traders’. It describes the thriving Muslim slave trade in Africa in the 18th century:

Muslims encouraged warring tribes, Obama Jr’s Luo ancestors included, to capture “prisoners of war” and sell them into slavery.

Kenya tribe leaders, also exported slaves and ivory that had been exchanged by Africans from the interior for salt, cloth, beads, and metal goods. The slaves were then marched to the coast and shipped to Muslim Zanzibar (an island South of Kenya), to be traded again.

The British ended the practice by law in 1847.

However, Yockey reproduced other articles saying that African Muslims had traded slaves for centuries before that. Furthermore, European buyers had to go through a Muslim slaver to buy black slaves. They could not operate independently.

Yockey’s research uncovered another important point: Muslim slavers from Kenya looked African but, in fact, were Arab, just like the Luo tribe of Obama’s ancestors.

White indentured and enforced servitude

In the history of the United States, black slaves were not the only people who arrived involuntarily. White Britons did, too.

I don’t know if history books still include indentured servitude in their coverage of Colonial history. If not, they should re-introduce it.

One of my best friends has ancestors who arrived in the US in the 17th century as indentured servants.

Indentured and enforced servitude were one up from slavery. However, sometimes slaves were treated better than indentured servants.

Indentured servitude involved someone in debt or other hardship becoming the temporary property of the person to whom he owed a debt or a better off person. The person who acquired them — the master — worked them for a certain number of years, after which the indentured servant became a free person.

However, it should be noted that there were also cases where men just wanted to leave their homeland for a new future in the colonies. They voluntarily sought and signed such agreements.

USHistory.com has an excellent article on indentured servitude, which came at a time of severe unemployment in England and a boom in the new colony of Virginia. These bonded servants worked in the tobacco fields or as house servants. A summary and excerpts follow.

Most indentured servants were men, however, women also signed these agreements. The master paid for their passage to the American colonies and provided them with food, clothing and shelter during the years of their servitude:

Perhaps as many as 300,000 workers migrated under the terms of these agreements. Most were males, generally in their late teens and early twenties, but thousands of women also entered into these agreements and often worked off their debts as domestic servants.

There was also enforced servitude, involving miscreants:

Vagrants, war prisoners, and minor criminals were shipped to America by English authorities, then sold into bondage.

The masters’ treatment varied, just as it did with slavery:

In some areas, slaves were treated more humanely because they were regarded as lifetime investments, while the servant would be gone in a few years.

There were also terms and conditions the servant had to abide by:

The length of servitude could legally be lengthened in cases of bad behavior, especially for those workers who ran away or became pregnant

Masters retained their right to prohibit their servants from marrying and had the authority to sell them to other masters at any time.

The only upside to indentured or enforced servitude was access to the courts and the possibility of owning property, provided one hadn’t died from overwork.

Upon being given their freedom:

many workers were provided with their “freedom dues” — often consisting of new clothes, farm tools and seed; on rare occasions the worker would receive a small plot of land.

Some former servants could not find jobs after being given their freedom. Men in such a position often ventured westward, which, in the 17th century, would have been as far as Kentucky or Tennessee. (The big move to the West did not begin until the 19th century.)

Servitude, slavery and the law

Each colony — later, state — had their own laws governing indentured or enforced servitude and slavery.

The Law Library of Congress has a detailed and interesting article on how colonial and state law applied to indentured servants and to slaves. The article focusses mainly on Virginia but provides a useful overview. Excerpts and a summary follow.

Both practices ended on January 31, 1865 with the Emancipation Proclamation, however:

many laws and judicial precedents that had been established before that date would not be changed until the mid- or late-twentieth century.

Before that happened, most of the laws around these two groups of people involved women, illegitimate children and racial intermingling.

In 1662, Virginia:

passed two laws that pertained solely to women who were slaves or indentured servants and to their illegitimate children. Women servants who produced children by their masters could be punished by having to do two years of servitude with the churchwardens after the expiration of the term with their masters. The law reads, “that each woman servant gott with child by her master shall after her time by indenture or custome is expired be by the churchwardens of the parish where she lived when she was brought to bed of such bastard, sold for two years. . . .”37

The second law, which concerned the birthright of children born of “Negro” or mulatto women, would have a profound effect on the continuance of slavery, especially after the slave trade was abolished—and on the future descendants of these women. Great Britain had a very structured primogeniture system, under which children always claimed lineage through the father, even those born without the legitimacy of marriage. Virginia was one of the first colonies to legislate a change:

Act XII

Negro womens children to serve according to the condition of the mother.

WHEREAS some doubts have arrisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a Negro woman should be slave or free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shalbe held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother, And that if any christian shall committ ffornication with a Negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the ffines imposed by the former act.38

Because of this law, slave masters were keen to procreate with young female slaves, so they would have a steady supply of slaves to come:

There are a number of court cases concerning slave women who either killed their masters who forced them to have sexual relations or killed the children rather than have the children enslaved.39

Racial mixing, including sexual congress, was not unknown in that era. In 1691, Virginia amended their aforementioned 1692 birthright law, under which a child born to a white woman and a black man was free:

This amendment stated that a free white woman who had a bastard child by a Negro or mulatto man had to pay fifteen pounds sterling within one month of the birth. If she could not pay, she would become an indentured servant for five years. Whether or not the fine was paid, however, the child would be bound in service for thirty years.

Conclusion

Both slaves and indentured servants had a miserable life.

And, there was nothing that Ben Carson had to apologise for, especially as Obama had spoken similarly on two occasions during his time in office.

I hope this brief foray into American history, past and present, has helped to enlighten and fill in gaps on what was known as ‘human chattel’ and immigration, regardless of race or origin.

The Riverwalk has appropriate Bible readings for the Emancipation Proclamation — 152 years on — that we would do well to read and remember today.

Many American conservatives are trying to figure out President Donald Trump’s game plan.

Common comments I have read over the past three months on a conservative site, which will go unnamed, typify the uncertainty:

  • If Trump wants to drain the swamp, why is he employing people closely tied to it?
  • He doesn’t seem to be very alert as to what is going on.
  • Why isn’t he doing anything?

Two online comments — one from The_Donald and another from 4chan — clarify the 4-dimensional chess game that Trump is playing. Emphases mine below. I have also slightly edited spelling and grammar to make the messages clearer.

It’s far more strategic than the average person can appreciate.

This is the analysis from a commenter at The_Donald:

Donald Trump our president is a pragmatist and a businessman, a highly successful international one at that. Everything he does, for the most part, is part of a larger strategy [and people] would be foolish to think otherwise.

I personally believe that he presents these charges such as voter fraud, Hillary’s illegal activities, the Obama wiretap and then purposely doesn’t follow up right away, because if he did they would try to bury them or slant the narrative. For example, they would be pushing the argument that it was legal for the wiretap if he provided based evidence.

Instead, however, by doing it this way all over the media, they are saying “well yes it would be wrong if it happened but it never happened.”

This saturates headlines for a few days to a week and gets in the public knowledge for most people.

He’s been doing this bit by bit and then, I believe, when he drops the hammer of evidence for these accusations, [there is] now much larger public knowledge tha[n] the[re] would have been otherwise, which can radically shift public opinion once he presents the evidence.

Additionally, who knows what other angles he has, but I guarantee you he’s not tweeting for tweeting’s sake.

The second analysis comes from a thread on 4chan, a forum mostly used by Millennials, particularly gamers. If what the Anons say, e.g. FBIAnon, is anything to go by, 4chan threads attract the attention of people working in some federal agencies, because they can find out what Americans are really thinking. It’s a far from politically correct forum and, at times, is actually offensive.

These government Anons also participate in 4chan political discussions to boost the morale of Trump supporters.

The following comes from such a conversation, which must have been hijacked by paid commenters for the Democrat propagandist David Brock, who is desperately trying to shut down anything that opposes the narrative of the Left.

Here is the screenshot, which was posted on Twitter. It comes from a Secret Service Anon. You can see the Secret Service lapel pin from the inauguration to the left of the post.

There must have been some discussion of World War III breaking out because of Iran. Also referenced is the investigative trip that congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) made to Syria and Lebanon after the election. Secret Service Anon says that the World War III narrative is a smokescreen for breaking open ISIS:

Iran and Trump have an agreementIran is going to release the names of US Officials that supported and supplied the terrorist groups. This is Trump’s plan to get Iran to release the evidence instead of him calling them out. This is why he sent Tulsi Gabbard to Syria, and she made the statement that there [are] no rebels, and Obama / Clinton / Kerry were sending guns to ISIS. This was required in advance of Iran releas[ing] the names, so it would not look like it was all made up, because it is 100% the truth. CNN and other media outlets will not be able to twist things to fit their narrative.

Everything you see about Iran is for show. Trump is a genius. Everything he does has been planned, everything that appears to go wrong, was planned.

Why do you think he hired Rex Tillerson? Rex Tillerson knows the inner workings of the entire system. He has met with every foreign leader, these leaders respect him, and, no, they respect Trump. Do you think that these leaders of other countries actually like these Globalists controlling every move they make? Of course not. On to Betsy DeVos, her brother is Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, the people Bush and Obama hired to deliver said weapons. Erik Prince was around Trump during his entire campaign.

Bannon has all of Breitbart’s research, Bannon knows people, and has [had] contact with CIA/FBI for years. That is why Trump hired him. Bannon is also not the “secret president” like you people claim. He is a well informed man that is completely red pilled.

Get with the program, people, Trump is 10 steps ahead, and once he kills ISIS, and release[s] free energy tech to the world, it will be the beginning of world peace. He will go down as a hero, and people will build monuments to remember his leadership [as] leader of the free world.

You [“]never[“] people that pretend to hate Trump, and make these CTR/CREW posts just want to watch the world burn.

The only problem is the Republicans are stalling approval of Trump’s cabinet appointments. It will then take several months for confirmed appointees to get their own staff in place. In some cases, that will take until the summer, at which point, half the year is gone.

Just as a point of comparison, by early March 2009, Obama was able to get four bills successfully passed — and signed into law.

Trump needs to put pressure on head Republicans — Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan — because Congressional elections are coming up in 2018 — 33 Senate and all 435 House seats — so, time is of the essence. If a large chunk of his platform does not pass this year, it will be an upward struggle next year and, possibly, in 2019.

That aside, these analyses explain Trump’s strategy. He’s dumb like a fox.

Yesterday, I profiled a Millennial who made the journey from the Left to becoming a Trump supporter.

Visit MAGA1776 for the full account in ‘My Story’.

The person contributes to The_Donald under the user ID CorruptionISTreason.

MAGA1776 has several sections tracking Donald Trump’s progress as president. There is also a news section. The latest items concern serious scandals from the Obama adminstration. Each has its own infographic and another user on The_Donald put these all together in one graphic, reproduced below.

These are the real reasons why Democrats — including Tulsi Gabbard, darling of Trump supporters until last week — want Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stand down. They do not want any of this investigated (click to enlarge):

BIGLY THANKS to /u//CorruptionISTreason - Combined Infographic: F&F, Uranium Ore, Iran Ransom, Martyr Transfer, Slush Fund & Tarp Heist

More details about all of these are online. More will come to light as the year progresses.

Fast and Furious

In 2009, Fast and Furious sounded good to millions of Americans. After all, it was supposed to root out Mexican drug cartels. Wikipedia describes the operation, which had also been done under another name during Bush II’s second term. Regardless of when these operations took place:

The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, with the expectation that this would lead to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels.[6][8][9]

However, the programme was such a disaster, that millions of other Americans wonder if it was deliberately planned to fail spectacularly.

As Judicial Watch explains:

The ATF ran the Fast and Furious experiment and actually allowed criminals, “straw purchasers,” working for Mexican drug cartels to buy weapons at federally licensed firearms dealers in Phoenix and allowed the guns to be “walked”—possessed without any knowledge of their whereabouts.

However (emphases mine):

The government lost track of most of the weapons and many have been used to murder hundreds of innocent people as well as a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, in Arizona.

Also:

A mainstream newspaper reported that a Muslim terrorist who planned to murder attendees of a Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas last year bought a 9-millimeter pistol at a Phoenix gun shop that participated in the ATF’s Fast and Furious program despite drug and assault charges that should have raised red flags. Judicial Watch has thoroughly investigated Fast and Furious and has sued the Obama administration for information about the once-secret operation.

Investigations into Fast and Furious have proven inconclusive and murky.

On June 20, 2012, Obama invoked executive privilege over 1,300 pages of documents that the Department of Justice had not turned over to Congress.

The following week — June 28, 2012 — Eric Holder, then Attorney General:

became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in criminal contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives for refusing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena. The vote was 255–67 in favor, with 17 Democrats voting yes and a large number of Democrats walking off the floor in protest and refusing to vote. A civil contempt measure was also voted on and passed, 258–95. The civil contempt vote allows the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to go to court with a civil lawsuit to look into the US Justice Department’s refusal to turn over some of the subpoenaed documents and to test Obama’s assertion of executive privilege. Holder dismissed the votes as “the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided—and politically motivated—investigation during an election year,” and the White House called it “political theater rather than legitimate congressional oversight”.[19][20]

In September 2016, The Hill wrote about Fast and Furious in light of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death in December 2010.

Asking ‘What alarmed agent Brian Terry?’, The Hill states that, when clearing out Brian’s effects, his brother Kent Terry found notes in a pair of his work boots:

These notes are both confirmed to be those of Agent Terry and according to his family are completely consistent with his handwriting.

Before then, just after Brian Terry’s death:

and directly after his dad had discussed with U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke the three emails Brian had sent to the National Border Patrol Council, fourth amendment search and seizure violations ensued. The government ransacked Brian Terry’s residence without a warrant and removed all electronic media devices. The family received the devices back after approximately one year. The devices were thoroughly and completely wiped clean by the government. Again the persistent question remains: Why?

The agent ran across some curious things in his work, such as multiple weapons caches buried in the desert. His superiors did not seem concerned. Three weeks before his death, The Hill says he confided in his mother:

how concerned he was about “something bad was going to happen”

and that there were

“two bad agents,” as Brian described them to his mom on that same visit home, who “aggressively confronted him”.

Just as bad, possibly worse in some respects, is the alleged international reach of these ‘walked’ weapons — across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Hill states that the nexus of Fast and Furious was the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix:

These weapons have not only been involved in killings of hundreds in Mexico, but were found at Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s hideout, and could be linked to the Bataclan terrorist attack in France on Nov. 13, 2015.

‘Could be’. We don’t yet know. However:

Did Agent Terry unknowingly stumble not only upon Operation Fast and Furious but a larger, international gun-running operation as well? A July 1, 2011 meeting at a Border Patrol office in Las Cruces, New Mexico at which Border Patrol Intelligence personnel from all of the area sectors attended, suggests that might have been the case. Was the underlying reason for this meeting what alarmed Brian Terry? Or perhaps because in all of this there are more questions than answers; more people willing to “Let ‘em through” than to thoroughly investigate and more hollow words than meaningful action. Perhaps this is what truly alarmed Agent Brian Terry, and lead to his prescient action regarding his journal notes.

In June 2016, Judicial Watch gave details on the possibility — a certainty to them — that one of the firearms was used in the Bataclan attack:

One of the guns used in the November 13, 2015 Paris terrorist attacks came from Phoenix, Arizona where the Obama administration allowed criminals to buy thousands of weapons illegally in a deadly and futile “gun-walking” operation known as “Fast and Furious.”

A Report of Investigation (ROI) filed by a case agent in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) tracked the gun used in the Paris attacks to a Phoenix gun owner who sold it illegally, “off book,” Judicial Watch’s law enforcement sources confirm. Federal agents tracing the firearm also found the Phoenix gun owner to be in possession of an unregistered fully automatic weapon, according to law enforcement officials with firsthand knowledge of the investigation.

The investigative follow up of the Paris weapon consisted of tracking a paper trail using a 4473 form, which documents a gun’s ownership history by, among other things, using serial numbers. The Phoenix gun owner that the weapon was traced back to was found to have at least two federal firearms violations—for selling one weapon illegally and possessing an unregistered automatic—but no enforcement or prosecutorial action was taken against the individual“Agents were told, in the process of taking the fully auto, not to anger the seller to prevent him from going public,” a veteran law enforcement official told Judicial Watch.

Yet:

An ATF spokesman, Corey Ray, at the agency’s Washington D.C. headquarters told Judicial Watch that “no firearms used in the Paris attacks have been traced” by the agency. When asked about the ROI report linking the weapon used in Paris to Phoenix, Ray said “I’m not familiar with the report you’re referencing.” Judicial Watch also tried contacting the Phoenix ATF office, but multiple calls were not returned.

There we have it.

This is but one reason why Democrats want Sessions to resign — immediately.

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