Scupoli’s ‘Spiritual Combat’: Advice from 1589 for modern men seeking virtue

Spiritual Combat

It has always been my belief that the vast majority of men, if not all men, have seriously wondered at some point how they would fare on the field of battle. War, for all of its wretchedness, offers men a clear picture of their inner virtue — or lack thereof. These “What if?” games are unnecessary, however, as Dom L. Scupoli Apulia’s The Spiritual Combat and a Treatise on Peace of Soul demonstrates.

The Italian author pointed out in 1589 what many men in 2016 fail to realize — bombs are already dropping all around us. Spiritual warfare rages in all directions. A man not only can be a war hero, but he must — his very soul depends upon it.

What men often fail to realize is that they are stuck in a no-man’s land reminiscent of World War I. This is a bad place to be. Man’s rational faculty is called from both sides in the only war that matters: “God moving it by His grace, and the flesh by its appetites.”

Being “neutral” in this war is not an option, and since tomorrow is never guaranteed it is best to pick a side now.

Fully mastering patience, humility, obedience and numerous other virtues is a difficult task. Scupoli details a few of the stumbling blocks we experience:

There are some who are so overwhelmed by their sins that they never even consider the possibility of breaking their chains. Others want to free themselves from this slavery, but they do nothing to accomplish this. Some think they are secure, and for that very reason are very far from being so. Others, after attaining a high degree of virtue, fall all the more heavily.

When the devil has enmeshed the soul in sin, he uses every means at his disposal to distract its attention from anything that would enable it to recognize the terrible condition into which it has fallen.

The devil is not content to stifle every inspiration from Heaven, and to suggest evil thoughts in their place. He endeavors to plunge it into new faults, either of the same or a more vicious nature by supplying dangerous opportunities to sin.

Thus the soul, deprived of Heavenly guidance, heaps sin upon sin, and hardens itself in its evil ways. Floundering in the mire, it rushes from darkness to darkness, from one pit to another, always moving father from the path of salvation and multiplying sin upon sin, unless strengthened by an extraordinary grace from Heaven.” (Scuplio, Dom. The Spiritual Combat and a Treatise on Peace of Soul. Tan Classics, 2010. 89-93)

In many ways the soul is the beacon which directs a man towards virtue. If a man is not careful, a sinful calcification can take place around the soul. It soon becomes difficult, if not impossible, to hear or see the beacon and before long the captain of the ship “rushes from darkness to darkness.”

If you seek to become a virtuous man or woman, then The Spiritual Combat and a Treatise on Peace of Soul is a must-read. If you are a Christian who has ever wondered, “Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God foist trials and tribulations upon me?” then Scupoli’s work is for you. I would rank it with Francis De Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life and Saint Augustine’s Confessions as an essential addition to your library.

Editor’s Note: I will send a copy of “The Spiritual Combat and a Treatise on Peace of Soul” to the first regular reader who asks.

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Media’s next goal: Sell public on non-monogamous marriages

It was just this past summer that NY Mag contributor “Michael Sonomore” attempted to make the case for “open marriages.” Tech Insider has now jumped on a new study by Journal of Marriage and Family to basically say, “Hey, did you and your spouse ever think of becoming a swinger? Maybe you should.”

First the goal of popular culture was to divorce the definition of marriage from Christianity. Then the goal was to strip people of the idea that the union between one man and one woman is so integral to building a healthy civil society that it should be cherished with its own institution. Sometimes sociologists describe marriage without ever using the world “love,” and now it’s essentially “marriage means whatever we say it means,” (i.e., it means nothing).

“Marital Monogamy as Ideal and Practice: The Detraditionalization Thesis in Contemporary Marriages” includes the results of surveying 90 Canadians who were questioned on monogamy and marriage. Researchers spoke with 26 heterosexual females, 21 heterosexual males, 21 gay males, and 22 lesbians. Most of the couples were relatively young.

Tech Insider reported Wednesday:

“Research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family suggests that another big change is happening in how people think about marriage: Some no longer consider monogamy an absolute essential. …

The first questions the couples answered revealed that people are becoming more open to the idea of non-monogamous marriages. Less than half of all the heterosexual female respondents, about one-third of the heterosexual male respondents, and “relatively few” homosexual couples felt that marriage and monogamy were inseparable, the researchers concluded.

Most people interviewed thought that monogamy isn’t something that a marriage necessarily requires. As one participant explained:

‘I’ll say that it’s different for everyone … and you have to find what works for you … [maybe] you’re committed to each other and you’re married but then you guys decide every Friday night we’re going to swinger parties and that’s what we want to do, and that excitement is what brings us together, then awesome. But is it going to be for me? No. Am I going to say, you can’t do it? No.'”

Where is this idea coming from? We know the New York Times has been exploring it since at least 2011:

Although best known for his It Gets Better project, an archive of hopeful videos aimed at troubled gay youth, [Gay-rights activist Dan] Savage has for 20 years been saying monogamy is harder than we admit and articulating a sexual ethic that he thinks honors the reality, rather than the romantic ideal, of marriage. In Savage Love, his weekly column, he inveighs against the American obsession with strict fidelity. In its place he proposes a sensibility that we might call American Gay Male, after that community’s tolerance for pornography, fetishes and a variety of partnered arrangements, from strict monogamy to wide openness.

What does it say about a culture when a growing number of couples see nothing wrong with taking other human beings, objectifying them, and then using them as nothing more than masturbatory devices?

Popular culture does not promote loving relationships — it promotes lusting relationships.

The spiritual fulfillment that comes when two adults have a proper understanding of marriage — and then they put in the effort to realize its potential — is unmatched. It takes patience, perseverance, humility, selfless sacrifice and a whole host of other virtues to arrive at the final destination, which is why “pornography, fetishes and a variety of partnered arrangements” are peddled to the public instead.

Is it easier to act like an animal or act like an angel? The answer is self-evident.

Yes, it may bring “excitement” to act like a beast on occasion, but marriage was never meant to bring two beasts together. Marriage unites human souls, which is why perverting marriage’s proper definition and function is a travesty.

Here is what the modern American male is up against: On every level — physical, mental, and spiritual — there are forces at work to turn him into glorified cattle.

On the physical level he is encouraged to embrace sloth and gluttony; on the mental level he is encouraged to become a servant of the state; and on the spiritual level he is encouraged to become a libidinous pig who drags his wife into the muck.

True happiness can be found, but the path does not begin by taking directions from the purveyors of moral relativism.

‘The Imitation of Christ’: Antidote for Media-addicted America

Politicians and pundits use every election cycle to talk about the need for “new” ideas. Increasingly secular yet tech-savvy societies are always looking for the next “new” idea, and yet they wonder why the same old problems persist. The more I read, the more I think that many “old” ideas should be dusted off and embraced.

Take Thomas à Kempis’ “The Imitation of Christ,” written in 1418, for example. Just like our good friend Saint Augustine, it’s been a while since he walked the earth. Regardless, Kempis’ devotional book is one that would be beneficial to Christians and non-Christians alike. Even if one were to weirdly strip out all references to Christ, much of the wisdom regarding the right way to live would still remain.

Atheists say that Christ was not the Son of God, but if you asked them if the man — from a purely historical point of view — lived a life worth imitating, then the vast majority of them would probably say yes.

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchap. CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC and FOX. Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo. Warner Bros, Sony, Disney, Universal and Netflix. NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and UFC. Amazon, Ebay, Microsoft, Apple and more, more, more always vie for our attention — and we give it to them.

Addiction to the temporal is a horrible thing, but it is hard to recognize because it sneaks up on a man. It slowly slithers around the psyche. Its initially brings warmth and joy, but in the end it’s all a ruse. When it has completely enveloped the whole of a man’s being it constricts like a python and suffocates his soul while he sleeps.

In the addicted man’s waking state he is, on many levels, unaware that the most important part of him is in peril.

He is sad. He is lost. He does not know why he is never complete, and so he turns to the very thing that fills him with venom while he dreams.

Enter Thomas à Kempis, who breaks down the blueprint for a happy life into four parts: 1. Useful Admonitions for a Spiritual Life. 2. Admonitions Concerning Interior Things. 3. Internal Consolation. 4. The Blessed Sacrament.

Ask yourself if there is a reason why politicians never mention “The Imitation of Christ” as one of their favorite books.

“Who is so wise as to be able fully to know all things? Therefore, trust not too much to thine own thoughts, but be willing also to hear the sentiments of others. Although thine opinion be good, yet if for God’s sake thou leave it to follow that of another, it will be more profitable to thee.

For I have often heard, that it is more safe to hear and to take counsel than to give it.

It may also happen that each one’s thought may be good, but to refuse to yield to others when reason or a just cause requires it is a sign of pride and willfulness,” (Book 1, Chapter 9).

Interesting, isn’t it?

“Don’t listen to those ‘old’ ideas, kind voter. Listen to me, [Insert Politician’s Name Here], because I’m never wrong and my ‘new’ ideas will fix all your problems.”

Kempis continues:

“How happy and prudent is he who strives to be such now in this life as he desires to be found at his death.

For it will give a man a great confidence of dying happily if he has a perfect contempt of the world, a fervent desire of advancing in virtue, a love for discipline, the spirit of penance, a ready obedience, self-denial, and patience in bearing all adversities for the love of Christ,” (Book 1, Chapter 23).

It takes just two sentences for the author to give readers seeds that will bear a harvest of joy for all the years of their lives. As a Catholic, I would implore readers not to take Christ out of the sentence, but I will concede that doing so does not negate the rest of the advice embedded in the text.

America faces many challenges in the years ahead. If you are interested in giving yourself mental and spiritual tools for the task, then I highly suggest reading “The Imitation of Christ.”

Editor’s Note: I will send a copy of the book to the first regular reader who asks.

Yes, dead relatives can visit you in your dreams

My day job requires me to be a voracious reader. Over the past few months I’ve read a spate of articles on why increasingly technological and science-minded societies cannot shake off spirituality. There are many reasons for that, but one is visitation dreams.

If you don’t believe your friendly neighborhood Catholic blogger, then perhaps you’ll listen to Patrick McNamara Ph.D., of Psychology Today.

Dr. McNamara wrote in October 2011.

My father and mother died over a decade ago and about one year apart. Approximately 6 months after each death, I had at least one vivid dream with one or both of them in it. In both cases the dream did not feel like the typical run of the mill dream.

Instead the dream had a kind of hyper-real intensity to it. I felt that I had been touched or visited or communicated with. I could not easily shake the conviction that my father and my mother had communicated with me from beyond the grave. Now if I, an individual who studied dreams with a skeptical scientific cast of mind, could not shake the conviction that I had just communicated with my dead parents, how much stronger must be the conviction of someone with a less skeptical approach to dreams than me?

The general rule of thumb about a visitation dream is that if you have to ask yourself if your were visited by a deceased relative, then you probably were not. Regardless, here are a few signs that someone was trying to communicate with you:

  1. Visitation dreams are like dreams in high-definition.
  2. The deceased relative does not look sickly or old. If they are old, they will have a glow to them.
  3. The deceased relative will be direct and to the point. They have a message to get across and a short amount of time to communicate.
  4. You will wake up with a sense of relief.
  5. You will wake up and know in your gut that you were visited.

Since it would be rather rude to say “This is real” and then not share an example from my own life, I will do so now.

My grandmother died four years ago. We were extremely close. When she was in the hospital with a blood clot, I remember staying with her and brushing her teeth. When she was sick in her late 90s, I remember sleeping on the floor next to her bed so I could be there to help her get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. She moved in with our family when I was born and always said, “We came here together, Douglas!”

She was, for all intents and purposes, a second mother to me.

Prior to my grandmother’s death, my mom called and said I should buy a plane ticket as soon as possible. I secured a flight home that night, but sadly I did not make it from Washington, D.C. to Chicago in time. My grandmother visited me in a dream within a few days.

In my dream — my “high-definition dream” — I was standing over my grandmother’s bed. She was “dying” again in a way where I was allowed to be there, but she looked at peace. I told her I was sorry that I couldn’t be there in time. She told me not to worry and that she was okay. She said she had to leave and that she loved me. I told her I loved her and kissed her on the forehead and she disappeared. I woke up and my lips felt like electrical currents were running through them. I was crying tears of joy because I knew in my heart it wasn’t a dream — and my “official” grieving process ended. I knew she was at peace, and there is nothing anyone on earth can say to make me believe otherwise.

There are other ways the dead sometimes communicate with the living, which I am happy to talk about, but the five points above are tell-tale signs of a visitation dream.

If you’ve had a visitation dream, feel free to share it below. I’d love to hear about your experience. Or, if you just have questions about dreams in general, then I’m happy to talk about that. Regular readers know that I am a lucid dreamer.

 

 

Merkel mess: Migrants bring mass sexual assault to Cologne

Colgone trainstation

If at least 100 women in Cologne, Germany, are sexually assaulted by gangs of Arab refugees in a single night, and the national media doesn’t report on it, did it ever happen? Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker and Chancellor Angela Merkel act as if the answer is “No.”

Most Americans have not heard about the wave of New Year’s Eve sexual assaults that happened in dear old Deutschland. Luckily, your truly, Herr Ernst, checks out Huffington Post Deutschland, where even self-described feminist Anabel Schunke was shocked that a.) national media refused to report on the Cologne Central Station crimes, and b.) those local stations that were covering the issue refused to describe the suspects.

At least 1,000 men lit firecrackers into crowds, brawled, and sexual assaulted women. Germany’s national media went mute for days.

“The media’s handling of this issue is a slap in the face for every victim,” Schunke said, just days before Mayor Reker told women they should adopt a “code of conduct” to deter future attacks.

Pro-tip from Ms. Reker: Stay “at arm’s length” from groups of men who are trying to gang-rape you. Seriously.

Regular readers of this blog will remember the tale of Sumte, Germany, where officials were told a population of 100 would be forced to accept 750 refugees. They will recollect Benedict Cumberbatch saying “f**k the politicians” in the U.K. and Europe who worried about the sociological ramifications of accepting a large volume of Middle Eastern men.

When the culture refugees come from says it’s okay to stone women and mutilate their genitals, it should raise red flags — and yet Merkel brought in 1.1 million in 2015.

Where is Marvel’s Dr. Strange, now? He most certainly isn’t in a Cologne police station listening to victims describe their attackers.

Benedict Cumberbatch

A Police officer in Cologne told Express.de on Thursday that 14 suspects in custody came from Syria and 1 from Afghanistan.

What makes the whole scenario even more disgusting is that German officials have responded to the outrage by cutting a deal with Facebook, Google and Twitter to work with authorities on identifying “hate speech.”

The Washington Post reported Thursday:

German authorities, meanwhile, have reached a deal with Facebook, Google and Twitter to get tougher on offensive content, with the outlets agreeing to apply domestic laws, rather than their own corporate policies, to reviews of posts.

Critics call it the enforcement of political correctness, raising the question of what constitutes hate speech and sparking a national debate over free expression. Germans have been outraged, for instance, by reports of more than 100 sexual assaults and robberies in the city of Cologne allegedly committed by gangs of young Arab and North African men on New Year’s Eve. Some Germans are questioning whether their online comments could be taken down, or whether they could be charged with incitement, for publicly pondering whether refugees could have been among the assailants.

When Germans become livid that mass sexual assaults are happening in formerly peaceful towns, the response is to police the people experiencing righteous anger.

Fact:  Roughly 200 policemen were needed last Friday night in Cologne to restore order, and when the sun came up it was obvious they were overwhelmed.

This is only the beginning of many dark days ahead for Europe, and the sad thing is that they brought it upon themselves.

Editor’s Note: I shouldn’t have to say this, but it appears as though I must. There is a certain level of discourse that is expected here. Comments that do not reach long-established standards will not be posted.

Schools: ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ bad, shahada good

Charlie Brown Christmas

For a glimpse into the politically-correct minds of school administrators in the U.S., one simply needs to consider two stories concurrently unfolding in the news cycle.

In one instance a Kentucky public school district cuts any reference to Christianity during a theatrical version of A Charlie Brown Christmas. In the other, a Virginia school district defends a calligraphy lesson prompting students to write: “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

America 2015: Linus Van Pelt is too dangerous for the minds of elementary school children, but the shahada — the Muslim statement of faith — can be an official assignment given to high school students.

calligraphy VA school

Fox News reported Wednesday:

A Virginia school district is defending a classroom assignment that required students to practice calligraphy by writing the Muslim statement of faith, “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

Female students at Riverheads High School in Augusta County, Virginia, were also invited to wear Muslim clothing — a story first reported by The Schilling Show. …

“Neither these lessons, nor any other lesson in the world geography course, are an attempt at indoctrination to Islam or any other religion, or a request for students to renounce their own faith or profess any belief,” the district said in a statement provided to Fox News.

Students were also asked to try wearing traditional Islamic attire as “a part of an interactive lesson about the Islamic concept of modest dress.”

The district asserts that the teacher — who knew exactly what she was having students write — was merely asking her class to explore Arabic’s “artistic complexity.”

Meanwhile, Johnson County Schools in Paintsville, Kentucky, are adamant that a rendition of A Charlie Brown Christmas is tantamount to endorsing religion.

WSAZ reported Superintendent Tom Salyer’s statement Wednesday:

Superintendent Tom Salyer said the district received a complaint last week about the play having religious references.

The district then announced it would remove any religious references from all of its Christmas plays. …

Salyer gave WSAZ this statement:

“As superintendent of Johnson County Schools, I recognize the significance of Christmas and the traditions and beliefs associated with this holiday. Over the past few days, there have been several rumors indicating that there would be no Christmas plays this year at our elementary schools. I want to clarify that all programs will go on as scheduled. In accordance with federal law, our programs will follow appropriate regulations. The U.S. Supreme Court and the 6th Circuit are official capacities and during school activities. However, our district is fully committed to promote the spirit of giving and concern for our fellow citizens that help define the Christmas holiday. With core values such as service, integrity, leadership, and commitment, our staff and students will continue to proudly represent our district as recently demonstrated by our many student successes.”

Got that? Schools can have Christmas plays — provided the holiday’s core inspiration, the birth of Christ, is never directly or indirectly addressed.

In the same month that an Islamic terror attack killed 14 and wounded 21 in San Bernardino, California, high school students are asked to practice writing ,“There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,” but a classic Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon is somehow deemed a violation of federal law. Classic.

This is why home-schooling looks increasingly attractive to young parents with each passing year.

German court: ‘Shariah police’ patrols are wunderbar

Germany-Shariah-Police

Imagine, if you will, a situation where the “Jesus police” were arrested in 2014 for harassing citizens as they went into bars and casinos.

Imagine, if you will, a situation where that German court ruled one year later that the “Jesus police” — adorned with bright orange vests that specifically saying “Jesus police — were granted permission to continue their “patrols.”

Would U.S. media cover it? Of course it would, which makes its silence on the very-real “Shariah police” ruling in Germany this week stand out even more.

BBC reported Thursday:

A German court has ruled that Islamists who patrolled a city’s streets as “Sharia police” did not break the law and will not be prosecuted. …

The group of Salafists – ultra-conservative Islamists – included Sven Lau, a preacher whose passport was seized this year after he visited Syria and a photo surfaced, showing him posing on a tank, with a Kalashnikov rifle slung around his neck.

He is suspected of trying to recruit Muslims to join jihadists fighting in Syria or Iraq and has spent some time in prison previously. He said he had gone to war-torn Syria in 2013 on a humanitarian mission.

Media will occasionally report on “no-go” zones in France. Similar debates have been made about parts of London. These “debates” are odd since it is quite obvious to objective observers that mass migration is radically transforming Europe.

The nonprofit organization Gatestone Institute reported in January:

  • A 120-page research paper entitled “No-Go Zones in the French Republic: Myth or Reality?” documented dozens of French neighborhoods “where police and gendarmerie cannot enforce the Republican order or even enter without risking confrontation, projectiles, or even fatal shootings.”
  • In October 2011, a 2,200-page report, “Banlieue de la République” (Suburbs of the Republic) found that Seine-Saint-Denis and other Parisian suburbs are becoming “separate Islamic societies” cut off from the French state and where Islamic Sharia law is rapidly displacing French civil law.
  • The report also showed how the problem is being exacerbated by radical Muslim preachers who are promoting the social marginalization of Muslim immigrants in order to create a parallel Muslim society in France that is ruled by Sharia law.
  • The television presenter asks: “What if we went to the suburbs?” Obertone replies: “I do not recommend this. Not even we French dare go there anymore. But nobody talks about this in public, of course. Nor do those who claim, ‘long live multiculturalism,’ and ‘Paris is wonderful!’ dare enter the suburbs.”

People wonder why Donald Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslim immigration resonates with primary voters, but they never put that support within its proper context: The “Average Joe” can see what is happening in Europe — and he sees what empowered “Shariah police” in Syria and Iraq have done — and then the president of the United States literally says terror in the name of Islam has nothing to do with Islam.

The police are the enforcers of the law. The threat of physical violence for non-compliance always looms when they are present, which is why unauthorized “police” forces are so frightening.

Non-religious activists like to say things like “all religions are the same,” but that is not true. All religions are not the same.

There are no serious Christian terrorist networks around the globe, and there are certainly not communities where groups of men go out dressed as the “Jesus police” to harass people.

Christians are called to be witnesses. They will attest to the glory and power of Christ, but they are not naturally disposed to violence.

They would much rather “turn the other cheek.”

They would much rather “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.”

They celebrate life — because Christ defeated death.

Fire and brimstone speeches given by certain preachers speak of God’s coming judgment — not some human responsibility to carry it out for Him.

Christian beliefs are worlds apart from “police” forces and suicide bombers and tens-of-millions of Shariah Law advocates — who would rather have people “behave” at the point of a gun than allow them to use the free will God has given them.

Who is the better person — the man who is free to do evil but chooses good, or the man who only “behaves” because he lives in a physical, mental, and spiritual police state?

Germany will have absorbed nearly 2 million refugees from the Middle East and North Africa by the end of next year. It doesn’t take a genius to realize there will be more “Shariah” problems in the decades to come.

Scott Weiland exits life’s stage too soon, but leaves musical blessings behind

STP concert 2009

In 1992 there was a kid with a chip on his shoulder from Illinois who listened to “Core” by the Stone Temple Pilots for the first time. The attitude and the energy and the raw power exuded from singer Scott Weiland blew the teenager away. There was something truly special about Mr. Weiland, a gift from God wielded with grace and authority that began a life-long love of his work. That kid was me, which is why the news of his death on Friday cast an heavy pall over my mind; it could only be removed by sharing the sincere sorrow.

The Los Angeles Times reported:

Scott Weiland, the charismatic rock vocalist who first gained fame with 1990s rock band Stone Temple Pilots, has died, according to his wife.

The Grammy-winning singer, 48, who struggled with addiction, earned post-Pilots success with the platinum-selling supergroup Velvet Revolver. His cause of death was not immediately available.

His wife, Jamie Weiland, a photographer, confirmed his death to The Times in a brief conversation.

“I can’t deal with this right now,” she said, sobbing. “It’s true.”

Scott Weiland rose to stardom in the 90s, but he wasn’t “of” the 90s. At his best he rivaled David Bowie in terms of his ability to seamlessly experiment with musical styles. He was in a rock band, but he fit in right along Sinatra during the holidays with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” He could do punk, but he often soared with ballads — and no matter what genre he was swimming in from song to song, you always felt as though he was trying to give you a glimpse into the depths of his soul.

Scott Weiland

Life is a lot of things, but part of it involves the slow realization (put beautifully by The Flaming Lips) that everyone you know will one day die. That actually isn’t as pessimistic as it seems — especially if you believe in God — but it can be painful when someone who has touched your life in profound ways passes over to the other side.

I never met Scott Weiland. I never broke bread with him or had a chance to help him wrestle his demons into submission — but he still affected my life in ways most people cannot fathom.

Doug STP concert

If nothing else, this post is a thank you that perhaps Scott can read from the “Great Beyond.”

Thank you for blessing me with your music. Thank you for the memories you helped me create with my sister in our youth and my friends as an adult. And thank you for helping everyone else out there whose problems were temporarily kept at bay by your talent.

We achieve greatness when we grab hold of the potential God has granted within us and manifest it in the physical world. We see the beauty of all souls when we witness those rare individuals who can give us a high-definition musical photograph of their own.

Scott Weiland exited this earth way too soon, but his life’s work left indelible marks in the minds of millions.

Instead of being selfish and cursing God for allowing Scott to leave us early, we should take comfort — the singer’s questions, “What does God look like? And angels’ wings?” have been answered.

Fans chant ‘Allahu Akbar!’ during terror victim ceremony; Comparison to Green Bay telling

Turkey soccer team

A moment of silence for Paris terror attack victims in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was ruined when a single fan out of 78,000 screamed “Muslims suck!” The outburst was condemned by Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers.

Two days later a stadium filled with 17,000 Turkish soccer fans shouted “Allahu Akbar!” during a similar ceremony in Istanbul. One would think the two incidents would be worthy of comparison, but for the most part media would like to just do the, “Move, along. Move along. Nothing to see here” coverage.

Time magazine covered both incidents, but there was zero mention of Lambeau Field’s fans during coverage of the fiasco at Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium.

Here is what Rogers said after last Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions:

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers publicly called out the fan who made the remark during his postgame press conference, .

“I think it’s important to do things like [the moment of silence]. We’re a connected world, you know — six degrees of separation,” he said. “I must admit, though, I was very disappointed with whoever the fan was who made a comment that I thought was really inappropriate, during the moment of silence. It’s that kind of prejudicial ideology that I think puts us in the position that we’re in today, as a world.”

In a different world, Rogers would be able to acknowledge just how amazing it is that in a stadium filled with 78,000 fans who just tailgated for an hour prior to taking their seats, only a single fan decided to make an outburst like a character straight out of an Adam Sandler movie.

In a different world, reporters would circle back with Rogers and ask him what it means when thousands of fans in Turkey chant “Allahu Akbar!” during a moment of silence for the 129 killed and 350 injured in last Friday’s terror attacks.

Aaron Rogers press conference

Here is what Time reported in response to Nov. 17’s fiasco in Istanbul:

The incident, reported by Reuters and other news outlets and depicted in videos uploaded to Twitter, took place before the Turkey vs. Greece game, as the players from both teams stood silent to honor the 129 people who died during the attacks last week. One well-known commentator on Islamic issues wrote on his Facebook page that “it has become common practice for Turkish fans to chant during moments of silence [to] honor the victims.”

But the Turkish team’s manager condemned the fans’ behavior, saying it damaged the country’s image internationally. “If we don’t act like we did today, we can prevent sports from being sacrificed to terrorism,” he was quoted as saying.

The Green Bay fan who screamed “Muslims suck!” acted very much like a pathetic clown, but it should not be lost on Americans that such individuals are often responding to the very-real culture of intolerance permeating the Middle East and North Africa.

Think about how sick and twisted a culture would have to be in order to get thousands of attendees at national soccer game to chant “Allahu Akbar!” during a ceremony for terror victims.

If Aaron Rogers wants to really experience “prejudicial ideology that … puts us in the position that we’re in today,” then perhaps he should buy a few tickets to sporting events in the Middle East.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer dies at 75; speaker truly lived ‘the wisdom of the Tao’

Dr Wayne W DyerDr. Wayne W. Dyer passed away over the weekend. He was 75 years old. The speaker and author was often referred to as a “self-help guru,” but in some sense that distinction does not do him justice. The term “self-help guru” can conjure up images of men who find ways of helping themselves — to other people’s money. Dr. Dyer was no con man. He was a student of the spiritual world who became a master. One does not need to agree with everything a man like Dr. Dyer says in order to admit that he was an excellent teacher.

In memory of Dr. Dyer, here now are a few excerpts from his book ‘Change Your Thoughts — Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao’:

Living from the Void:

Consider the paradoxical term nonbeing as you ponder your own beingness. You’re comprised of bones, organs, and rivers of fluids that are encapsulated by a huge sheet of skin molded to hold you together. There’s definitely a distinctive quality of beingness that is “you” in this arrangement of bodily parts — yet if it were possible to disassemble you and lay all of your still-functioning physical components on a blanket, there would be no you. Although all of the parts would be there, their usefulness depends on nonbeingness, or in Lao-tzu’s words, ‘what is not.’

Imagine lining up the walls of the room you’re presently in, with all of the elements present: Without the space of the center, it’s no longer a room, even though everything else is the same. A clay pot is not a pot without the emptiness that the clay encapsulates. A house is not a house if there is no inner space for the exterior to enclose.

A composer once told me that the silence from which each note emerges is more important than the note itself. He said that it’s the empty space between the notes that literally allows the music to be music — if there is no void, there’s only continuous sound. …

Ask yourself what makes a tree, a tree. The bark? The branches? The roots? The leaves? All of these things are what is. And all of them do not constitute a tree. What’s needed to have a tree is what is not—an imperceptible, invisible life force that eludes your five senses. You can cut and carve and search the cells of a tree endlessly and never capture it. — (Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Change Your Thoughts — Change Your Life. Hay House, Inc., 2007. 53-54)

Living by Emulating the Sea:

“Be humble. Never put yourself above others or see yourself as superior to anyone. The highest power is a yielding valley. Become a servant, not a dominator. When even the tiniest waterways are left alone, they uniquely carve out a path that leads them to the sea. And the great ocean never lords its greatness and power over the rivers and streams: It doesn’t rise above them and demand devotion, nor does it threaten them with punishment or extinction if they refuse to cooperate. The sea knows instinctively that the streams and rivers will naturally gravitate toward that which stays low.” — (Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Change Your Thoughts — Change Your Life. Hay House, Inc., 2007. 313)

Although the loss of Dr. Dyer will be felt by many, it is comforting to know that those closest to him realize the end is also the beginning:

“Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night. He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying. Our hearts are broken, but we smile to think of how much our scurvy elephant will enjoy the other side.”

Rest in peace, Dr. Dyer. You will be missed.