Saturday, November 24, 2012

The slayer of fell beasts

“Come, let us bow down and worship him;
  let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!”
                           (Psalm 95)

Tomorrow we celebrate CHRIST the KING:
He is the living hope who tramples the Dragon – and shrieking Ringwraiths and Hell Hawks – under his feet, ushering in the end of the great darkness.

It marks the final Sunday of the Church year.

"His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
  which shall never pass away,
  nor will his empire ever be destroyed."
                          (Daniel 7)


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Taylor Marshall blog

Mr. Marshall is invariably pithy and wise.  He has a deep understanding of masculinity and Catholicism.

Many thanks for all the good work of this erstwhile Anglican priest!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

ISRAEL: certainly no Goliath

The land area of Israel is not as big as the smallest country in Central America – El Salvador!

Israel – at almost 8 million population – is more than 20 percent Arab.

Jerusalem has 800,000 residents; Tel Aviv on the coast has about half that number.


[After the Civil War in America had ended, Mark Twain visited the Holy Land.  He described it as “a desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds – a silent, mournful expanse…”]

Michael Medved on a similarity between the American Revolution and Israel’s struggle for independence:
“In the end, an estimated 25,000 Americans died in the war – nearly 1 percent of the Colonial population at the time… Israel lost 6,373 fighters in its War of Independence – nearly 1 percent of the Jewish population of the nation at the time.”

UPDATE: Here is the most encouraging analysis of Israel I've seen in some time.

A partial timeline of modern Israel:

1948– Israel became a nation (May)

1956– Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal (July);
Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula (late October)

1967– Six-Day War (June)

1970– Egypt’s Nasser died at 52 (September)

1972– massacre at Munich Olympics (late summer)

1973– Yom Kippur War (October)

1978– Camp David peace accords with Sadat/Begin/Carter  (September)

1979– the Shah left Iran for exile (January)

1981– Israel destroyed nuclear reactor under construction in Baghdad (June);
Anwar Sadat assassinated (October)

1982– First Lebanon War began (June) with Israel invasion: they drove out the PLO and installed a Christian government;
Bachir Gemayel, the 34-yr-old president, is assassinated (September)

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Chinese truth-teller

"THIRTY-SIX MILLION people in China, including my uncle, who raised me like a father, starved to death between 1958 and 1962, during the man-made calamity known as the Great Famine. In thousands of cases, desperately hungry people resorted to cannibalism.
"The toll was more than twice the number of fallen in World War I, and about six times the number of Ukrainians starved by Stalin in 1932-33 or the number of Jews murdered by Hitler during World War II. 
"After 50 years, the famine still cannot be freely discussed in the place where it happened. My book 'Tombstone' could be published only in Hong Kong, Japan and the West. It remains banned in mainland China…"

Thus begins Yang Jisheng in his recent essay in the ‘NY Times.’  God bless the prophets who refuse to swallow lies.

Here is an earlier profile of the author; and a link to his book.

UPDATE:  Some interesting video from an old PBS documentary.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Four categories for better understanding the spiritual entities we call nations

Pence says this is the best way of laying out a realistic depiction of the historical landscape in which the Church and nation act in the divine drama:

I.  Physical Ecology (including physical geography, demographics, and a biome-driven assessment of food, shelter, and infrastructure strategies)

II.  Communal Loyalties (religious, ethnic, and language groupings)

III.  Military Assessment (the present force structure; allies & enemies – past and present)

IV. Biographies (the men who made the nation)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fall of a hero warrior

A few years ago I was able to attend an Ivy League baccalaureate service which featured General David Petraeus.  He was held in awe even by that crowd.

Take a look at this short video clip of biographer Paula Broadwell (West Point ’95).
Welcome to the new warrior class: part self-centered careerist, part radical feminist!

[In the coming week, Doc Pence will write about the general's resignation; and our duty to shake off our cultural confusion as we build up the Christian brotherhood.

Plus some thoughts of his on J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, specifically the “liturgical” mission of the Fellowship of the Ring, the nine assorted creatures charged with braving their way to Mount Doom, deep in Mordor.]

UPDATE (Sunday):  From a story about Broadwell and her mentor in this morning’s ‘Washington Post’

There were other controversies as well. Former aides say Broadwell’s attire — usually tight shirts and pants — prompted complaints in Afghanistan, where Western-style attire can offend local sensibilities. Her form-fitting clothes made a lasting impression on longtime Afghan hands, and Petraeus once admonished her, through a staffer, to “dress down,” a former aide recalled. 
“She was seemingly immune to the notion of modesty in this part of the world,” said a general who served in Afghanistan while Petraeus was commander there. 
Officers close to Petraeus grew concerned about her posts on Facebook, which they believed sometimes divulged sensitive operational details. The posts, intended for friends back home, were often playfully written and aimed at showing off her adventures in the war zone. 
Some senior officers thought Broadwell, who held a security clearance and had served as an Army intelligence officer, should have known better.

It’s funny that modern women such as her and Hillary Clinton end up carrying more baggage of imperialism and blithe ignorance than someone such as Rudyard Kipling – who spent many years living in the British Raj.

Saint Leo the Great (pope 440 - 461) convinced Attila's Huns to turn back

“The old man of harmless simplicity, venerable in his gray hair and his majestic garb, ready of his own will to give himself entirely for the defense of his flock, went forth to meet the tyrant who was destroying all things. He met Attila, it is said, in the neighborhood of the river Mincio, and he spoke to the grim monarch, saying ‘The senate and the people of Rome, once conquerors of the world, now indeed vanquished, come before thee as suppliants. We pray for mercy and deliverance. O Attila, thou king of kings, thou couldst have no greater glory than to see suppliant at thy feet this people before whom once all peoples and kings lay suppliant. Thou hast subdued, O Attila, the whole circle of the lands which it was granted to the Romans, victors over all peoples, to conquer. Now we pray that thou, who hast conquered others, shouldst conquer thyself. The people have felt thy scourge; now as suppliants they would feel thy mercy.’ ”

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The top fifteen states in population

1. California    (38 million)
2. Texas
3. New York
4. Florida
5. Illinois
6. Pennsylvania
7. Ohio
8. Michigan
9. Georgia
10. North Carolina
11. New Jersey
12. Virginia
13. Washington
14. Massachusetts
15. Indiana    (6 ½ million)

The four states in bold are the only big ones that Mitt Romney carried yesterday.  He was unsuccessful in the state where he had governed, as well as Michigan where his father had governed.

(In 2008, John McCain took two of the fifteen).

UPDATE: How about silk-stocking counties... who carried them?  CNBC has the answer.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The oldest building on the Princeton campus

Constructed a couple decades earlier, Nassau Hall suffered damage during the Battle of Princeton early in 1777.
(This was about a week after General Washington led the night-time crossing of the Delaware River to surprise the Hessians, whom he guessed would still be in their Yuletide cups).

The building – which remains the anchor of today’s university – served as the U.S. capital for several months in 1783.

(From there the seat of government moved to Annapolis, and then to the French Arms Tavern in Trenton.  The complete list of our national capitals may be found in this article).

Who was the only religious minister to sign the Declaration of Independence?  The Scottish clergyman John Witherspoon (president of the college from 1768-1794).

The emperor Constantine brought the Church out of the catacombs

It was 1700 years ago – in late October of 312 A.D. – that Constantine crossed into Rome after his victory at the Milvian Bridge (which still stands today).  The freedom that the new emperor granted to the Christians allowed the faith to blossom after long years of bloody martyrdom.  ‘Deo gratias.’

[While pacifists such as Stanley Hauerwas love to pillory the ol’ boy as no more than an imperial Judas, the most notable writer of late to come to Constantine’s defense is Peter Leithart.

One reviewer says that Leithart demonstrates how the emperor “constantly appeals in his writings to the Christian God who is the heavenly Judge and who, in history, opposes those who oppose Him.”]

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Libya has nine cities with populations over 100,000 – and all of them are on the Mediterranean coast.

The capital of Tripoli (1.8 million) and Benghazi (more than 650,000) head the list.

[Where would you go to find another Mediterranean port city by the name of “Tripoli”?  In northern Lebanon.]

The next largest cities: Misrata, Bayda, Zawiya, Zliten, Tobruk (near the Egyptian border, it was the site of important WWII battles), Ajdabiya, and Derna.

The area of Benghazi was originally founded as a Greek city.  The oldest coins minted there are from about 480 BC.
Benghazi was the first city to rebel against Muammar Gaddafi’s government in early 2011.

The coastal city of Surt (17th largest in Libya) was the final stronghold of forces loyal to Gaddafi.  Surt was his birthplace – and is also where he was captured and killed one year ago.

UPDATE: Be sure to check out this further link about Gaddafi's hometown, kindly sent to us by "Geographic Travels" blog.