In the midst of the modern world’s turmoils there is one dependable source of peace for the world, for nations, for families, and for the soul. It is the Prince of Peace, our beloved Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. With Easter approaching, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has produced a lovely, short, and inspiring video message about the Savior. It is well worth watching:
Niall Ferguson has published a brilliant and insightful essay on foreign policy in which the prospects for international order in our day are compared to those of Roosevelt. No, not that one, Teddy. Though long, it is well worth reading.
The disgusting bias of the major news media in the recent election may give us pause to consider the difference between journalism and propaganda.
Those of a certain age will recall classes in school–yes, public schools–about how Nazis and Communists and other -ists manipulate their messages to mislead the masses. That was during the height of the cold war and was important so the American people could more easily discern truth from error. More recent generations have not been given such information, just as they have long since stopped hiding under desks during air-raid warnings.
In the end, all such tools, just as the -isms which use them, are means to a common end: the exercise of power by one group over another. This was one of the themes of my book, All Enlisted, and is perhaps the dominant theme of all history.
An excellent review of how journalism becomes corrupted follows:
With enemies threatening on every side, it is worth remembering the great promises made to Israel–the state, the land, and the people–as well as what Jerusalem means to Christians and Jews and Muslims alike. To help raise funds for the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden on the Mount of Olives during the 1970s, my father printed, framed, and sold copies of a picture he had taken of an ancient olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here is the picture as well as the text he wrote for the back:
The tree is over 2,000 years old. It was present when our Lord suffered there. It was silent witness to the years of exile and persecution. It was still there when Israel was re-established as a state in 1948. Let us remember our brothers and sisters in Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Someone was recently quoted saying, “We should abolish the police.” I try to think kindly about people, but it seems about the only ones who would favor such a position are either criminals or stupid. Perhaps instead of calling them “police” we should use the more old fashioned term, “peace officers.”
Dad often spoke fondly of the sheriffs and deputies he knew while growing up in Price, Utah. They included Matt Warner, the reformed outlaw and crack shot, who as Deputy Sheriff and Justice of the Peace used to tell the children stories of life on the outlaw trail with his friend, Butch Cassidy, and others. The stories always concluded with an observation that it was not worth it and an admonition to do what is right. Dad’s experiences in those days included seeing several mobs up close. He hated mobs for their utter mindlessness, unpredictability, and uncontrollability.
Mobs are what we are seeing around the country these days, incited by scattered anarchists and rabble rousers (“community organizers”) for their own nefarious purposes. Surely there are few jobs more difficult than that of being a peace officer in a time when so many are being stirred up to anger and contention. Hats off to these courageous and dedicated men and women. Let us also remember them in our prayers. If Peacemakers are Blessed, then certainly Blessed are the Peace Officers, as well.
A great deal has happened since my earlier blogs, not least of which is our move back to Orting after three years away for work. Orting is a beautiful little town at the confluence of the Carbon and Puyallup rivers not far from the foot of Mount Rainier, surrounded by farms and woodland. It has been gratifying to reunite with our many friends as well as to be back in our home.
The new title of this blog, Be Useful For Good, is a quote from my great grandfather, Friedrich Raile. He was a multi-talented man, a German from Odessa who migrated to Utah via Jerusalem in a remarkable story of faith and courage which was recounted a number of years ago in a book titled The Joppa Door (written in the language and from the viewpoint of his wife, great grandmother Elisabeth). Among other things, he was a skilled herbalist. “Be useful for good” was one of the admonitions he put on the boxes of herbal tea he sold in Utah during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has become a family motto.
Surely, in this day of turmoil, to be useful for good is not only worthy advice for each individual man and woman, but for the nation and world in general as well. As part of my effort to be useful for good, I will be more consistent about blogging. Perhaps a word or two will prove helpful to some reader or another.