Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Final Death Throes

I think we are beginning to see the final death throes of the nation state known as the United States of America.

A state, as you will recall from your Political Geography, requires three things:  Territory, Borders, and Sovereignty within those borders.  A nation - again, recall your Political Geography - is a group of people that has a shared language, culture, and mythos or founding story.  As a way of example, the Kurds for many years have been a nation but not a state, while German speaking peoples both a state (Germany) as well as a nation (Germany, Austria).

From the state side, the US still has territory but it has limited (if any) control of its borders.  It's sovereignty exists (although parties in the government and society are actively seeking to raise international law above national law).

It is the nation side that is rapidly falling apart.

For 40 plus years - my lifetime -we have slowly lost the nature of shared language.  Now, we are completely losing any shared sense of culture or a founding myth or story.

As a people, we are rapidly reaching the point where we have anything in common -even, any more, symbols of the nation.

Ponder that statement for a moment.  Imagine a country where there is nothing binding the inhabitants together except the fact they all live under a particular set of laws and in a particular geographic location.  That is all.  No shared sense of belonging to the place in which they live.

What happens under such a scenario?

No longer am I my brother's keeper - after all, we no longer revere the same things.  I have no more obligation to help him than I do to help someone in a nation far away, as we share nothing in common.  An attack on the state - not my issue as I no longer have a sense of a greater thing beyond my circle.  I am only going to be more and more concerned about myself and my own the community that I have around me.

Such a scenario will be played out across thousands of cities and towns and rural areas.

What comes out on the other side?  Perhaps something better, but only through an incredible period of disruption and hardship.  But maybe not something better - there are no guarantees.

We have finally slipped over the cliff.  Our rate of fall may be slow or fast, but I feel it is predetermined at this point.  We are actively chopping out the rafters that support the roof over our head, forgetting that the whole edifice will fall directly down when it does fall.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Autumn is Coming

Autumn seems to have wandered in, almost on cue with the actual turn of the season.

Oh, it has not done anything drastic - the heat has only slightly abated to less than the face of the Sun levels and the humidity has edged off slightly.   But in minor degrees, it has.

The Black Eyed Peas - the only thing that survived Rabbitcaust 2016 - have started dying off, signaling the end of the season is drawing nigh. The volunteer pumpkin may finally be on its last legs, I having only been able to beat the local insect population to two of them.  The lemon and lime trees have put themselves into blossom and tiny fruit buds are now appearing.  The peppers are as green as ever - will they survive another mild winter?  Something to look forward to.

The days are already starting to get darker a little earlier every night, the sun rising a bit sooner. Darkness at 7 will be here before I know it.

The cast of the sunlight has not changed - for me, the sign that Autumn is truly here - but everything else is trending that direction.

Time to finish out the last batch of Highland Games, plant the Winter Garden, do a few maintenance chores outside while the weather is cool and the rain not yet falling, and settle in for a winter of garage cleaning and thinking and waiting for Spring.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Failure of The American Church

The American Church has failed - or perhaps has largely failed.

To hear polls, more people believe in "God" than ever.  The American Church is involved in all the trendy and important social movements of the era.  In some cases they build larger facilities than the cathedrals of Medieval Europe (but, however, not nearly as lovely).  The American Church is more available - by radio, TV, Internet - than ever.

And yet the society around us bears none of the marks of a society regenerated.

I recall Henry Blackaby's description of the Welsh Revival in 1904-1905, how society was changed:  bars were closed, churches were filled, sins were repented off.  In other words, there was an outward manifestation of the inward changes in the lives of people.

How can the American Church say that it is doing better when the society is doing worse?  How can anyone seriously look around today and say that the Church is truly making an impact in the way we live.

Are we more holy as a society?  Is sin being reduced in our society, or our we finding new ways to accomplish it?  Are we manifesting the works of the Spirit as a society:  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Self Control?  Or does society continue on as it ever has, or worse?

I wish I had a solution.  I do not, beyond that which Scripture calls out:  Pray, Repent.  Preach the Word.  Be Holy.  Read the Word and Live It.

But woe to the American Church if it continues to dwell in a decaying culture and yet somehow convinces itself it is more powerful than ever.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Quail Experiment Ended

So the quail experiment ended last week - the last quail, the male, expired quietly while I was at work.

On the whole, I was moderately pleased with the whole thing.  Once worked out the kinks with living quarters - the biggest challenge of them all as it turned out, until we got things more or less settled - the whole thing worked okay.

What would I do differently?  Single biggest thing is to have an actually housing area.  The final incarnation - a 50 gallon Rubbermaid with a screen on top - worked okay in the garage but it would have been ideal to have something outside (quail can't be trusted to come back to the coop at night).  But, as we found out, outside here might not be the best thing in the world - raccoons and possums abound.

Was it a wash financially?  Not sure.  We had eggs for about a year which probably did for me but not for our family - we would need a bushel more quail to make that happen.  My best was 3 eggs a days, which make about 1 hens egg.  By that math, we would have need 36 eggs to get to a dozen.  And with the feed and bedding I am pretty sure we lost money.

Bright side?  Quail are eminently doable for the homesteader.  They are far easier to manage in the smaller urban environments (and chasing a quail around, while perhaps a bit exhausting, is ultimately easier than trying to grab a chicken).  They are compact.  They do supply protein (both in the egg and, I suppose, the bird form).  And if you get the right kind (Not Texas A&M for sure), they are pretty noiseless.

Will we have a go again?  Not right away I think - the housing thing is an issue.  But it is one more thing to file away under the "There are possibilities and they are feasible" for urban homesteading.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Silence Before The Plunge

Sometimes I realize what it really must have felt like to be at a civilization's end.

There comes a certain tearing away, a certain removing one's self from ongoing concerns.  The damage is already done and the edges are fraying; to continue to worry about them or knit one's brow in concern of them has become a pointless exercise.

At that point one turns inward to self and family and home, perhaps to the voices of the past seeking a way through the storm - after all, there is nothing really new under the sun.  Fixing things becomes less about fixing the world at large and more about fixing your private world.

Why?  Perhaps because the realization has come that there is simply is nothing that you can do to turn the tide.  Events are grinding inexorably on; the laws of cause and effect have taken over and it is simply a matter of time.  Further attention in the matter brings neither comfort nor resolution, only more anxiety.

Ultimately we all die of course, and hopefully realize before then that most of the great efforts and exertions of our own and others in the power games that we play towards one are pointless, small tempests that matter not in the light of eternity.  There is a certain amount of peace that comes when one realizes that this is true of the world around us at well.

Prepare hard.  Pray hard.  Work to surround yourself with good and like minded people.  This is perhaps the best any of us can actually do.

And patiently wait for the slow groanings that presages the fall of the edifice.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Philosophy of Stone

One of the great thing about having a plethora of interests is that you get to meet a lot of interesting people who do a lot of interesting things.  One of them I have met - one of my favorites - is The Stonecarver, who makes his living by following and practicing the ancient art of stone carving.  He has just started a blog at Philosophy of Stone.  He is just starting but do yourself a favor and go check him out.  All the pieces you see displayed on the blog were made by him.

Thursday, September 15, 2016