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Saturday, April 19, 2014


 It's an odd truth:
reality is a slippery thing.

We often expect one thing and get quite another.

We awaken to a dark moment, expecting death and get life instead.

That's one of the lessons of Easter:

Three grieving women once walked to a tomb, wondering how they were ever going to roll the stone away.

Only to discover that it had already been done.

Don't sigh.

You haven't stumbled upon a finite man pompously spouting delusions about the infinite.

I am but a man looking up at the campfires of the night we call stars and seeking truth in their endless depths.

John Paul II
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” 
― John Paul II
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
― Adolf Hitler, born on this day in 1889.
On the other end of the spectrum:
 Outlaw is too mild and small a word for the monster Hitler was --
Shortly after his thirty-fifth birthday, while imprisoned for his part in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler began to dictate Mein Kampf
(“My Struggle,” shortened by Hitler's publisher from his suggested title, “Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice.”)
The book romanticizes Hitler’s formative years, and reflects his attempt to remake himself as a Schopenhaurian hero of will and idea.
The passage below is from Chapter Two, Hitler now an orphaned teenager in Vienna:
"The Goddess of Fate clutched me in her hands and often threatened to smash me; but the will grew stronger as the obstacles increased, and finally the will triumphed.
I am thankful for that period of my life, because it hardened me and enabled me to be as tough as I now am."

On this day in 1912 Bram Stoker died. The author of some twenty books, Stoker is known almost exclusively for Dracula, published in 1897.

The novel brought little fame or fortune in Stoker's lifetime —

 so little that he had to ask for charity at the end of his career. More surprisingly, Dracula raised few eyebrows, though modern critics find it a "veritable sexual lexicon of Victorian taboos."

On this day in 1822 Lord Byron's five-year-old daughter, Allegra, died in Italy.

She was the offspring of a brief relationship with Claire Claremont, stepsister to Mary Shelley.

The below quotation comes from an April 23rd letter to Shelley, in which Byron expresses his hope that time will heal his grief:

"I suppose that Time will do his usual work. 
Death has done his."   
     In another letter, Byron expressed his desire that Allegra be buried at St. Mary's Church, Harrow — Byron had often wandered in the churchyard when a student at Harrow School:
with a commemorative tablet inscribed, "I shall go to her, but she shall not return to me" (2d Samuel, xii. 23).
Byron's reputation and Allegra's parentage caused church authorities to deny the tablet, though an unmarked grave was allowed.

To which I think of another Bible quote:
"Jesus wept."

When Byron died (almost to the day, four years later: April 19, 1826), he requested burial at St. Mary's, but this was denied.

In 1980, a memorial plaque for Allegra was finally put up in St. Mary's, inscribed with the sentence from Byron's letter to Shelley.

“And now brothers, I will ask you a terrible question, and God knows I ask it also of myself.

Is the truth beyond all truths, beyond the stars,
just this:

that to live without him is the real death, that to die with him the only life?”
― Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat



  1. Allegra was still an innocent Child of God, no matter how she arrived here.
    Hitler was also a vegetarian and a painter, proving mass murderers come some of the least expected places.
    Ultimately, I will look to the rolled stone and the Miracle that rose for me on Easter!

  2. Alex:
    Church Fathers through history have sadly been often without the Spirit of He whom they said they represented ... as poor Allegra proved. Sigh.

    Hitler also loved puppies. Madmen have their virtues as well as faults ... but their faults bloody history.

    As will I, Alex. As will I.

  3. One of my favourite subjects is Christian Apologetics. Which lead me to ask why do I believe what I believe? Without the Easter Resurrection, the Cross of Jesus would be nothing.
    1 Corinthians 15:17 NASB
    "17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins."
    The Apostle Paul
    HE is risen...Happy Easter!

  4. As the daughter of a German Jew, Hitler and his followers are not outlaws. Obscene oxygen thieves.

  5. David:
    C S Lewis' MERE CHRISTIANITY is the best book in the Apologetics genre. It was based on his series of talks on the BBC given as the bombs were falling upon London. People didn't want "pie in the sky" but real answers to why their world had become nightmare.

    Elephant's Child:
    No, indeed not! Hitler and his followers were the worst mass murderers up until that time. Sadly, in Russia and in Asia, the mass murderers continued genetic cleansing. Sigh.

    Yes, obscene oxygen thieves and wasters of DNA are fit terms for them.

    In my mythos, Samuel McCord temporarily lost his faith after viewing the nightmare of the death camps first hand.

    Marlene Dietrich did lose her faith completely from what she saw in WWII.

    The Adversary wins when we lose heart. :-(

  6. Funny you should mention it MERE CHRISTIANITY was the book that got me into liking Apologetics.

  7. David:
    If you have not read it, you should try C S Lewis' GOD IN THE DOCK (Bristish word for Witness Stand). :-)

  8. What a thought-provoking blog and this very topical Easter post.

    Allegra was an innocent and Man has always perverted God's Word for his own ends which is generally power-based.

    Hitler was anything but an innocent and he did the devil's work as he slaughtered God's chosen in their millions. That he was a vegetarian and puppy-lover makes his atrocities all that much worse.

    Humans are given such a short time on earth in the whole scheme of things. My fervent prayer is that one day, one year, we fully understand how accountable we are for what we do to our fellow beings.

    We will all only truly know that extent once we are face to face with Him.

    Jesus rose this day and my hope lies in Him always.

    Happy Easter.

  9. Poor Lord Byron. I don't even have good words. Because the church is run by people, and people make terrible mistakes, it is inevitable that injustices happen in the name of the church. And, yes, I think "Jesus wept," is an accurate account of how He feels about some of the horrible things done in His name.

    Hitler. If we learn nothing from him, we should all be aware that there is power in hate. He used all of the rage that people felt over their plight (Germany was suffering a Great Depression and the people were poor and hurting.) and turned it onto the Jews and those with disabilities. Rousing hatred between races is an excellent way to further an agenda and rally a group of people.

    I hate to say this, but I see it happening more and more right here in this country. Our current President has done more to hurt race relations than anyone in the last forty years. By separating people of color from everyone else he is actually stirring the Hatred Pot. It is only when we stop seeing people in terms of color, race, creed that we will gain any traction. If you are actively pitting one group of people against another (and it is working) than you are using the Hitler model to gain political success. In a very short time, Hitler rose to power, killed off his opponents, and declared all political parties other than the Nazi one illegal. We should never forget how quickly one person can turn government into their own machine. It took less than two years for Germany to become tyrannical under Hitler.

    And while you didn't mention guns on this post... he never would have gotten away with it if he hadn't been able to enforce a ban on guns and their confiscation. Anytime the government wants to take your guns, think of Hitler and what came next. It wasn't pretty.

    Whew. Taking a deep calming breath. Today is a joyous day. Today is a celebration of Jesus rising from death. He did this so that we would KNOW that we, too, were eternal beings. Children of God, the Father. And that when we die it is a beginning, rather than the end.

  10. Happy Easter, Roland!
    May you enjoy this day.

    In my world view, each of us has a responsibility to do what we can to make this world better.

    We are finding out we have more relatives since MIL passed on. Sometimes people wait too long to contact those they love. Now they have regrets.

  11. Fe:
    Sometimes I think we make Him cry at our behavior and our treatment of one another and misrepresenting His Words. :-(

    I am so happy that you enjoyed my post. Don't be a stranger. Come back.

    If we can manage to head a mob of hatred we can be the funnel of great power. But in the end, the hatred always burns up those who use it ... always.

    Governments always think they know better than the average citizen whom they distrust and disparage.

    Sadly, our country has always been, despite its ideals, fragmented by hatred and by the hunger for more -- and when you are driven by the hunger for MORE, it can never be satisfied.

    Like you say, it is better to focus today on He who rose to give us the promise of Forever. :-)

    Happy Easter to you, too! I am just about to race off on another blood run -- saving the world, one ill patient at a time. :-)

    Sadly, those relatives have lost that which they can never reclaim. :-(

  12. Roland:

    Lovely, lovely post today. My husband's mother was a survivor of the Holocaust camps. She was a teenager when she lost her mother, father, grandparents and her four sisters. It was horrible to say the least.

    In her last days with us, she suffered Alzheimer's and what memory she did have tormented her with the time she spent in the camps.

    Hugs and chocolate to you!

  13. Shelly:
    Your MIL suffered too much in the camps to also to suffer from Alzheimer's as well.

    I wondered if God was tempted to wipe out Man during the time of the Holocaust and the camps. Those days and actions were certainly horrendous enough. Man hasn't gotten any kinder since then.

    Captain America, in the movie THE AVENGERS, says about the condition of the world in which he awoke after 70 years: "They told me we won. They didn't tell me what we lost."