By Charlie Johnston
I take a certain pride in personally responding to all emails I receive. Yeah, it often takes me two, sometimes even three weeks. But man, some of you folks ask some complicated questions or are working really hard to bear some intense pain or grief. I try to give serious, carefully thought-out answers to serious questions. Of late, I have been being hit with some malicious nonsense from some backwoods preacher types who use the Bible as a bludgeon to beat people down. These I have just started to delete rather than to respond. Clearly, they have some sort of semi-organized effort to spam me and waste my time with mere tendentious arguments. There is another type I have decided to just automatically delete – and some are from people who mean well, so I thought I would notify you from here.
I get four or five emails a week questioning my authenticity or demanding I prove myself. Some are silly, wanting me to do magic for them or be their psychic friend. Others are of the “gotcha” variety, trying to discredit based on some expectation they have that I don’t meet. A very few touch on some serious matter of faith or theology that is worthy of consideration. While I will continue to respond to the latter, I am going to start deleting the silly and the “gotcha” requests without a response at all. I had been growing more and more frustrated with both the silly and the gotcha varieties, but it came to a head when a semi-regular reader the other day questioned how I could be authentic when I give “scary” advice on things that might happen…that that is not allowed in authentic visitations. This was just plain bizarre: had he never heard of Fatima, Akita or Kibejo, all approved apparitions that are, at times, utterly terrifying? I think he meant well, just desperately trying to find some way to convince himself there will be no Storm, even as it is already raining all around us – and that rain is taking on a driving, pounding quality. I understand that, but as I get more deeply swamped, it is a distraction for me to keep responding to what I have already responded to.
I have emphasized that the heart of what I have to say is encapsulated in the formulation of “acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you.” I have encouraged people to be skeptical of the visitation portion of what I say, but take to heart the practical center of my message. Anyone who does that seriously will do well and have a growing faith regardless of what happens. The visitations are useful support to what I say, but are not central to or even really necessary for the fundamental message. I could continue propounding exactly what I do without publicly referencing them at all. I considered doing just that last fall. I ultimately decided against that course because it seemed that, for many, the few parts of the visitations I do choose to share have been a comfort to most here – and the readers were growing wonderfully in focusing on what is really important, which is mostly contained in the ordinary.
One of my priests reads every post and comment I make, in order to fulfill his duty to direct me. I am gratified that I hear privately from a large number of priests from around the country and Canada every week, who have taken heart from this site – and a few Bishops who read regularly. I have plenty of serious people watching me. As I said, I will still respond to serious theological inquiries on the matter – with particular attention paid to any comments from authentic clerical authorities. I have deep affection for our Priests, Bishops and Deacons who are both gulping and girding their loins to defend their flocks – and I am heartened to know there are a LOT of them. But my primary job is to help give people – and clerics – heart to endure this Storm and get safely to port on the other side of it. I resolved decades ago that if this time came, I would be directly responsive to all. Now certain sorts of inquiries are distracting me from the primary job. So, with some fear that I may occasionally be deleting inquiries from serious people who are just scared, I let you know I will not routinely respond to such questions any more. You don’t have to make a decision on whether my visitations are authentic to assess whether my advice is sound. If the latter gets dicey, no amount of claims of such things support it: if it is sound, they are not even necessary, only consoling. So that is how I will handle these things going forward.
Several readers have persisted in asking me to be more direct about what happens to or what advice I have for the elderly and infirm if final crash should come. In times of great crisis in the world, the most vulnerable are always at most risk, specifically because they are most vulnerable. I have said, emphatically, that YOU are God’s plan for helping the aged and infirm. Put bluntly, if you do not help and make them a priority, as your circumstances allow, many will be martyred. (When I say as your circumstances allow, I do not mean whether it suits you – but whether you are reasonably able to do so without neglecting your first duty to your family. Parents with several young children must always put their children first. Always live first your duty to those souls God has put directly in your care).
Oh, there will be a few startling miracles – but even in those times most abounding in miracles, only a small handful of people are directly affected. The most important miracles are the ordinary type, the miracles of the heart, people resolving to be steadfast in helping others. My reader, Petra, yesterday brought tears to my eyes with this statement of trusting docility to God and courageous resolve:
“I live in a large city (Chicago) and I sure don’t want to go to a relocation center, and I don’t know if I’d be able to escape to a rural area in time, but your post got me thinking — if I can’t get away, maybe I’ll walk myself over to a nursing home (I can think of a Catholic one and a Lutheran one, each within a mile of my house) and volunteer to care for the elderly. Surely they are not going to try to evacuate nursing homes or people who are working there, because of the level of care needed for the patients, and I have tons of experience having taken care of my paralyzed mom for 15 years in her home. Although I have no formal training, I know a lot about wheelchairs, and bed sores and positioning and swallow problems and incontinence and even a little about suctioning and feeding tubes, and am not shy about getting my hands dirty. So, maybe that’s where I need to be, and if others run for refuge, or are taken away, I’ll be needed as a kind of nurses aide.
I think I’d feel safe and happy there – doing what I know how to do and not being corralled, as long as martial law doesn’t include extermination of those who can’t help themselves. Oh my! Lord, have mercy!”
He thought seriously and deeply about these things and came up with a magnificent decision fitted to his specific circumstances, That, above all, is what I am trying to trigger. I don’t have all the answers for all the details – but when you put your creative problem-solving capacity to use, collectively we all do.
Earlier CrewDog, another reader and popular commenter, put up a piece from a friend of his, encouraging older veterans to network with each other, with younger friends and make what preparations they can. It was a marvelous, straight-forward piece of practical advice as I reprint here:
“This came in my e-mail today posted on MILINET blog. Written by a retired Special Forces Chief Warrant Officer that I thought might be interesting and food for thought even for non-veterans. Ideas here that can be useful in your home, neighborhood, civic groups or Church. We will have to band together to survive the worst.
GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!
2) 2nd Resp “Ciudad Juárez neighborhood scoffs at report of Islamic State terror cell in its midst”
Gents, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. That’s why I have a special list of friends I forward this email to everyday. What I’d recommend is that you keep in mind that regardless of how many aches and pains you have as older combat veterans and military veterans the bad guys don’t care. If you whine about it you are a soft target. If you do something about it you will become a hard target.
I’d suggest you take a special interest in making new friends by joining a local VFW, AMVETS, or Marine Corps social club. You can even join your local Special Forces Association Chapter as an associate member.
Remember the buzzword for the computer age since the 1990s for getting great high paying jobs is networking. You need to spread your wings, get out of the house and socialize. When you meet people of like minds you get together, have cook outs, enjoy your favorite beverage be it ginger ale, diet Pepsi, or something of the frosted hops or malt or single malt variety on ice…but the main objective here is to meet people who you can eventually exchange phones numbers and email addresses with and call in the event of an emergency.
Produce a monthly social calendar and schedule things like going to the local sheriff dept or law enforcement shooting range and get to know the deputies and officers who patrol or drive through your neighborhood. Become friends with them. Donate 25 bucks a year to the local sheriff’s or law enforcement support group and place the yearly bumper sticker they send you on the bumper of your car, on your mailbox, on your garage and even on the front door of your house.
Of course you know not to rush right up with your heart on your sleeve and shout a bunch of craziness like you’re out of control…feel people out and drop a few hints in conversation while making small talk. Be alert that there is another level of law enforcement that believes veterans are a bigger threat to national security than Muslim extremists. So be cautious that you avoid being black listed by the DHS or the scoundrels of the current administration.
The main thing is figure out who you think you can trust and start a list and start a back up plan for if things go to s*** in your neighborhood. When you go to the store buy an extra case of bottled water and start a stack in the garage…call it your rainy day stack. Buy a few extra cans of your favorite beef stew, spam, whatever you like and put them aside in a foot locker or storage box in the garage or basement. When you go to Wal-Mart or where ever pick up an extra box of ammo every month or so and squirrel that away as well. A big bag of oriental rice is cheap and a couple of twenty pound bags of rice can go a long way especially used as extender to go in the same pot as your favorite big can of stew.
Another thing to do is start attending your local city council meetings. Take an interest in your local politics. Those meetings also draw the leadership of the local subversive groups so keep an eye out and pay attention to what people say at those meetings. After a couple of visits you’ll start to get to know people and figure out who in the city government you can count on and who doesn’t think like you so you can keep your eye on them as well.
The bottom line is get involved in your community, interact with others and find like minds to create a support net so you’re not caught with your pants down.
Although your days of running a six minute mile in combat boots and fatigues is over, make the commitment to firm up your personal combat chassis. You’ll feel better once you get moving and you’ll appreciate knowing that you’re not alone and you won’t be alone in the event that a natural or man made disaster takes place where you live…finally keep vigilant.
You’ll be perceived as a hard target and that often times is good enough to keep the punks and small time bad guys away from your door and you’ll be ready to face the wolf if he ever shows up. Now, watch this video and think about it. Then make a plan to help yourself and others will naturally want to get on board with your program. While you may not be surrounded by a fire team of Marines, you will have the friendship and support of people who will watch your back and cover your six.
We are over inundated with information about an up coming fall of the dollar, a crash on Wall Street and the economy and quite frankly, we don’t have Al Gore’s money and stock pile of gasoline, food, water, back up by professional security. But having the support of a few well intentioned friends who are willing to pull their own weight and watch your back are worth their weight in gold. So watch this seven minute video and think about it. Then follow your heart. Godspeed!
Yours in the brotherhood and Semper fi,
CWO4, USSF, Retired”
These two comments encapsulate much of the heart of what can be done. Older folks – network with the younger, healthier people you know. Younger folks – do the same with the older people you know who may need special help in crisis. Everyone, do what you can wherever you find yourself to be a sign of hope to as many as you can – and contemplate the magnificent sort of plan Petra came up with – but fitted to your own circumstances. The hard but simple truth is that God calls you to be the miracle wherever you are. If we do not respond, we will have a meager harvest of miracles. Go forth.
Just recently, our good friend, Mark Mallett, had some difficult news that caused him to contemplate his mission in a very deep way. As with noble souls throughout history, his troubled contemplations led him to create one of the most magnificent pieces he has ever written. Given the superb quality of his work generally, that is high praise. Sharply pruned, he has not withered, but responded with fresh, vigorous new growth.
I am kind of amused. Whenever I get an email notification of a new piece by Mark, the notification looks exactly like the personal emails I get from him. I have got to be one of the few people who, when I get a notification of a new piece, am slightly disappointed it is not a regular personal note. In this case, my disappointment only lasted until I had read the marvelous piece.
If you are not reading Pelianito’s Blog, you really should. She has been on fire lately. Her pieces have such a striking combination of delicacy and strength, inspiring one to want to rise to the occasions while simultaneously giving them real consolation and hope. I love almost all of her gems, but this recent piece captured me. There does seem to be a striking convergence of prophetic voices these days. (By the way, I loathe being called a prophet. There are certainly prophetic elements to my work, but I see the work in more homely terms – the Good Lord has hired me on to help encourage His people and help give all heart to endure the Storm and carry them safely to port on the other side. That is how I see myself…the other stuff is just tools to help me get the job done.)
I know many people deeply want to believe that dire things cannot happen where they live. Understand, most people who lived through dire times did not think it could happen where they lived – until it did. I tell you, it has already begun. This story of how a morally bankrupt Milwaukee prosecutor abused the trust he holds to tyrannize, persecute, and terrorize innocent people for their political beliefs is hideous. It is more evidence that not only can it happen in America, but that more and more it already is.
I do not have much respect for laws that make cabalistic rules handcuffing the police’ hands in catching criminals. More and more, if police do not say the precise “magic words” at just the right time, thugs and murderers are set free. That offends justice and rips at the fabric of social cohesion. But intentional betrayal of public trust to criminalize dissent and assuage one’s own power and ambition is beneath contempt. These people are the equivalent of the serial killers of social cohesion. Sadly, it is more and more common. It enrages me that people like this prosecutor, the prosecutor in the Duke LaCross case, IRS Commissioners who predatorially stalk people for their political beliefs and smirk at Congress when called on it – that these people, at worst, if called to account, lose some of their privileges. Is it any wonder that public confidence in our institutions of justice have collapsed when the law is routinely used to protect actual criminals and to persecute political opponents? People who hold the public trust and use it as a bludgeon to try to jail political opponents and dissidents need to spend some serious time in prison themselves. They better hope I am never dictator – because that is where they will find themselves. I have a list.