Quote of the Day: Are We Winners or Losers?

 

Winning means getting Russia to withdraw from Syria, the Donbas and Crimea. A diplomatic victory is when China agrees to dismantle military bases on artificial islands in the South China Sea. Success involves getting Iran to stop arming and funding armed militias and terrorist groups in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

Losing, on the other hand, is something the West has become quite good at. Losing is watching construction continue on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as Russia declares the country’s largest opposition party an illegal conspiracy. Losing is moaning about Chinese behavior in the South China Sea as the military balance tilts toward Beijing. Losing is crafting intricate webs of ineffectual sanctions as Russia’s reach and control inexorably expand. Losing is wringing one’s hands and issuing eloquent critiques as China intensifies its crackdowns in Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

–Walter Russell Mead

Quote of the Day: Partiality

 

balanced scales justiceAnd I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’
— Deuteronomy 1:16-17 (ESV)

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.  For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
— James 2: 1-4 (ESV)

As Critical Race Theory is imported even into the Southern Baptist Convention, despite deceptive denials from the previous and new leadership, it is worth going back to the texts the Christian church has long professed to reverence as the Word of God. Racism and sexism are not “sins” named in the scriptures. Instead, what is consistently condemned and prohibited is “partiality” or “favoritism” in judging between people or deciding how to treat them.

Member Post

 

Day 3 (Wednesday June 16) didn’t have much in the way of roadside history, but represents the first use this year of the Helinox Chair Zero that I got two years ago.  Yes, I carry my own chair with me on long bicycle rides.  How degenerate is that?! Sometimes it’s nice to take a break […]

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Member Post

 

GENERAL ORDER NUMBER 3 General Order, No. 3 The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, […]

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Member Post

 

All aboard! We have plenty of seats open on this month’s schedule for group theme writing. Share your own journey with Ricochet readers. Stop by and sign up now for June’s theme: “Journeys.” There are two major monthly Group Writing projects. One is the Quote of the Day project, now managed by @she. This is the other […]

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Adoption & the Journey to Healing

 

It was on Tuesday, June 13, 1967 — 54 years ago yesterday — that a nineteen-year-old girl gave me the precious gift of life.

Then, from a place of love and fierce protection, my birth mother gave me the precious gift of unselfish love and made the tough choice of allowing someone else to raise me as their own, in the hopes that I’d have a better life than she believed she could provide.

Member Post

 

You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. — C.S. Lewis The notepad on my desk is perfect for jotting down the quick notes, reminders, and tasks I need to remember. For someone whose brain leans aggressively in the direction of ADHD, it’s a valuable (and necessary) tool to […]

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Patrick Leigh Fermor: A Gift for Journeys

 

It’s been a terrible year for travel–locally, nationally, and especially, internationally–and while things seem to be easing up some on the domestic front, it looks as if it may be a while before other countries feature prominently on anyone’s itinerary.  So this month’s group writing theme of “journeys” has come at just the right time for me, and has already transported me to Jerusalem, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Ireland; as well as filling my head with musical, literary, and cultural whimsy and insight.

I can’t wait to see where we go next!

Just for today, though, I’d like to step back into the realm of the written word and take a quick look at the man who’s often been described as the best English-language travel writer of the twentieth century, and in particular, at the book that established his reputation.

My Winding Spiritual Journey

 

by Rembrandt

When we relate a story about our past, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of viewing that memory through the same lens, with the same high points, low points, and final outcomes. Recently I realized my journey to a deeper spirituality (which was really a story about relating to G-d) had taken on a richer and more vibrant meaning than I’d even realized. That’s what this updated post is about.

At first glance, it probably looks like I couldn’t make up my mind about what I wanted to be when I finally became a serious faith practitioner. I’d grown up in a nearly secular Jewish home, where my parents had little connection to Judaism and made a half-hearted effort to expose me to my roots. I don’t think they had the religious understanding to do more than send me to Hebrew school and Saturday school. I also chose to go to Israel in my junior year to study at Tel Aviv University. I was mainly curious, realizing how little I knew about my heritage or the state of Israel.

Hours of Transport

 

“What are men to rocks and mountains? Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend! And when we do return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of any thing. We will know where we have gone—we will recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers, shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor, when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarreling about its relative situation. Let our first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travellers.” – Elizabeth Bennet, in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Let me attempt to describe the particular scenes we enjoyed on our recent journey from the flat, swampy terrain of southern Texas to the sandy shores of slower-lower (as the locals say) Delaware. The greater part of our first day was spent driving to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Arriving as the sun started sinking in the sky, we were rewarded with stunning views of Lake Hamilton from the road above. We opted to find a restaurant in the historic part of town and were again pleasantly surprised to find a delicious pizza at SQZBX, a place that showcases its origins as a piano store/repair shop. We learned that our friendly waitress was from Memphis, and she reminded us of the bridge closure that we’d have to navigate the next day. For breakfast, we found a diner that seemed popular with locals. We enjoyed the food, hearing the local accents, and taking in the lake view as we ate.

Quote of the Day: Am I Doing Enough?

 

The good we do lives after us. It is the greatest thing that does. We may leave a legacy of wealth, power, even fame, but these are questionable benefits and sometime harm rather than help those we leave them to. Our true legacy is the trace of our influence for good. We may never see it, but it is there.  —Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Every now and then I look around me and wonder, what am I doing to help make the world a better place? I look at the parents who are protesting Critical Race Theory on behalf of their kids; or the people who are speaking out to promote the work of our Founders in spite of the harassment they receive; or the community leaders who push back on foolish mandates that their leaders are using to control them. Those people are the ones demonstrating courage, fortitude, and resilience in the face of many obstacles. In my day-to-day life, I am not taking any kind of stand to match theirs.

QOTD: “Lucky you” (Harry Potter)

 

I don’t know how many Harry Potter fans are on Ricochet, considering that I’ve never seen a post about it before, but as a typical millennial, it’s probably my favorite book series. I’m currently listening to them on audiobook for the first time (the Jim Dale versions), and I recently finished book 5, Order of the Phoenix. As always, this particular conversation between Ginny and Harry jumped out at me, and since it includes one of my favorite quotes from the entire series, I thought I’d share: 

“We wanted to talk to you, Harry,” said Ginny, “but as you’ve been hiding ever since we got back–”

Journey to Jerusalem

 

I was fifteen the summer my folks took me to the airport and waved farewell, as their number one son set off on a journey halfway around the world. I had no traveling companions, there were no cell phones, but I had traveler’s checks, a suitcase packed to the packing list, and a clear set of written coordinating instructions from Tel Aviv to the hotel in the Arab sector of Jerusalem. I was the first of three siblings to take roughly the same journey on the same archaeological expedition over a bit more than a decade. Remarkably, my folks had no serious reservations about turning me loose on the world, in an era of hijackings and occasional Cold War flavor terrorism.

Why?

Where Have You Gone, Samuil? A Journey Through Identity and Exile with Vladislav Khodasevich (Borscht Report #9/Group Writing)

 

When it comes to pre-WWII Russian literary critics and poets, Vladislav Khodasevich is not well known, particularly in the West. Compared to someone like, say, Bunin or Tsvetaeva, he’s been largely ignored. But Khodasevich deserves attention, both as a skilled memoirist and poet, and as one of the few who chronicled the whole journey of his generation through the realities of WWI and the White exile, grappling with issues of right, honor, and Russian identity, especially for those who carried non-Russian blood in the vast multiethnic empire. 

Born in Moscow in May of 1886, Khodasevich was the son of a Polish nobleman and a Jewish woman. Unlike the union of Vera and Vladimir Nabokov, though, theirs was not an unusual act of mutual tolerance. Jacob Brafman, Khodasevich’s maternal grandfather, was a famous convert from Judaism to Orthodoxy, who wrote The Book of Kahal, a forerunner to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He entered the law faculty of Moscow University in 1904, then switched to history and philology the next year, staying on until 1910. It was during his time at the university that Vladislav met Samuil Kissin, a law student and aspiring poet from Orsha who was a year older than he. Twenty years later, he said Kissin, whom he affectionately nicknamed Muni, was “как бы вторым «я»” (like my second self) and reflected on how “we lived in such a faithful brotherhood, in such close love, which now seems wonderful to me.”

Despite his training, Khodasevich did not want to be a historian or a philologist, but, like Kissin, a poet, and dropped out in the final year of his course. He frequented Moscow’s literary salons and cafes, and published articles and poems for famous literary magazines, like Golden Fleece and Libra. Although he was the descendant of a noble family, his father had come to Russia impoverished, and Kissin, who hailed from an observant Jewish merchant family (he was trained in Hebrew and the Talmud at home during his childhood) actually had a much more secure financial position, though he was always willing and happy to support his friend along with himself. 

Member Post

 

“These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.  Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem.  You are men who in your […]

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It happened on Sunday, September 20th, 1992, around 3:00 p.m., while driving with my fiancé through Nebraska—during that long straightaway on the I-80 freeway that begged for cruise control. We were several weeks into a bliss that I had never experienced up to that point in my life. I had conversationally revealed something about myself […]

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Journey Over the Keys

 

Sometimes the journey is downhill: a gentle slope to aid our run.
Sometimes the journey is uphill beneath a burnished, scorching sun.

And if we move our feet each day (although we do not go so far),
The steps add up o’er months and years and memories of tears and fun.