Friday, September 8, 2017

For Home!


In Croatia just now, there is a horrid war of words. Most Croatians aren't really certain about what is going on, so it would be a surprise if many of my American friends had a clue. Perhaps, in my stumbling way, I can help.

The US has recently experienced a spate of monument destruction. These monuments have been in place for decades, and, in some cases, for more than a hundred years. First, plaques with the Ten Commandments were targeted. When the usefulness of that tactic wore thin, the target became statues commemorating anything at all to do with the Confederacy. Mostly, leftist "activists" have been spearheading these actions. Some people have noted that these leftist organizations have been notably absent in the relief efforts for those adversely affected by the recent Hurricane in Texas.

In a similar manner, in Croatia, leftists have been bent on removing plaques honoring defenders who fell during the Homeland War, or the War Against Greater Serbian Aggression, that took place in the nineties.

The howling is ostensibly aimed at words on the bottom left of these plaques. I say ostensibly, because centered on each of these plaques is a Croatian Cross. As in America, a goodly portion of the "left" has little love for the Cross. In staunchly Catholic Croatia, however, a good way to lose an argument is to challenge the Cross, so the target is the phrase "Za Dom Spremni," which the leftists decry as a "Nazi" slogan and, not so oddly, the western press echoes without checking the facts.

The facts are these: In 1866, Franjo Marković and Ivan Zajc wrote a patriotic song, "U boj, u boj" (To the fight! to the fight!). Zajc incorporated the song as an aria in his Opera, "Nikola Šubić Zrinski" in 1876 which honors Zrinski as the defender of Croatia, and thus, of Europe from a Turkish onslaught. In the song are the words:
"Into the fight, to the fight!
For the home, for the home now to the fight!"
For those who were taught that these words were the words of Zrinski himself in 1566 as he addressed the remnants of his troops before their final fatal charge into the Turkish lines where the Sultan was killed and the Turkish army fled the field, these are words fraught with a high degree of patriotic emotion.
"Nas mal, al' hrabar je broj!
Tko, tko će ga strt'?
Smrt vragu, smrt!
Za dom, u boj, za dom u boj
Za domovinu mrijeti kolika slast!"
which is to say:
"We are few, but courageous!
Who, who will bring him down?
Death to the devil, death!
For the home, to the fight, For the home, to the fight
To die for your homeland - such a delight!"

In the 1800s, Ban Josip Jelačić greeted his soldiers with the words "Za dom!" For Home! The troops replied with one voice "Spremni umrijeti!" Ready to die! There were no Nazis around for more than a hundred years so the slogan is certainly not "fascist."

In the Croatian language, "For the home!" is "Za dom!" Za Dom spremni recalls the words of the famous and beloved Ban Jelačić whose statue stands in the square named for him in the center of Zagreb, the capitol. So now you see where the slogan comes from, and surely you see that it arrived in the Croatian consciousness long before the Nazi folk were around. The slogan is ours, not theirs. As it happens, the fascists did use those words, even if wrongfully. Croatia is and always was ours, not theirs.

As it stands now, the HDZ, Croatian Democratic Union, does not have sufficient votes in parliament without the "support" of the HNS "Croatian Peoples Party" who insist that "Za dom spremni" are not words they wish to see, and so the present prime minister, Plenkovic, is hustling ways to remove the plaques. One was removed from a private residence because the owner did not have the proper permits. The howling and furor over the issue is deafening and, as in the United States, the left seems to have a poor knowledge of history, and much like the left in the US, they seem to like it that way.

So that's the story for now. Each day seems to bring a new permit to install the plaques and a new furor to have them removed. Here is a picture of what the complaints are about:



David Byler, aka Canovals


Wildflowers

Is an old man allowed sometimes just to muse on things he has seen or heard and to write about them? I do most certainly hope so because I am an old man and I may have seen and heard about this and that.

Tata moj, my father, and I used to spend some time just talking among ourselves while we were repairing fences on his place in Brazoria County, Texas. After he left this pale of tears, the neighbors bought the old "farm" and from what they have posted on Facebook, the road into the place has been under water since Huricane Harvey swept through a few days ago.

Once, he brought up the subject of a Texas law passed in the days of Lyndon Johnson and his wife who was a bit of a wild flower afficiando. Roadside wild flowers are a bit of a thing in Texas and during her days of influence the State began to operate a seed farm for them. Crews scattered wildflower seeds along just about every roadside where they had a chance to take root and self propagate. In the process of their work, we learned that "Indian Paint Brushes" do better along side "Bluebonnets" and vice versa so those two were sown side by side everywhere.

The law in question made these roadside flowers the property of the State, which seemed only fair because the State had gone to considerable expense and trouble to put them there. A person was allowed to admire the flowers as he went along the highway. It was permissible to stop and photograph them anywhere it was safe to stop along the highway. The flowers were there for the enjoyment of the all the people and tourists were duly informed as to how Texas had an abundance of wild flowers. There were even "Wild flower trails," where those who wished to revel in the flowers could drive and see them everywhere. There was one thing NOT permitted. One could not stop and pick the flowers. That was a crime - a misdemeanor of some sort - but whatever, the law was taken very seriously, "DO NOT PICK THE WILDFLOWERS." "Picking" here in Texaneese means "don't cut them and take them away. You would be fined if you did.

Tata said that was a good law and that one should apply it to other things in one's life. There were "wildflowers" of the human sort that one should enjoy and admire, but keep on going past them. "Do not mess with the wildflowers," "leave them be."

I mentioned that Jesus said "whoever looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery in his heart."

This is where the conversation got serious. Tata came back with the original greek for this from Matthew 5 which says "ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ βλέπων γυναῖκα πρὸς τὸ ἐπιθυμῆσαι αὐτὴν ἤδη ἐμοίχευσεν αὐτὴν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ." and then he quoted from the croatian text which likewise says: "Tko god s požudom pogleda ženu, već je s njome učinio preljub u srcu."

As Martin Luther pointed out, "look at the letters." What do the letters say? First "γυναῖκα" is either wife or woman when you put it on english. Likewise "ženu" is either wife or woman also.

So there it is in the tenth commandment: "Ne poželi žene bližnjega svoga," don't want your neighbors woman. Here's the thing, if you are breaking the tenth commandment, you are breaking the sixth commandment which has to do with honoring and not breaking relationships. Jesus leads off by saying "Čuli ste da je rečeno: Ne čini preljuba!" "You have heard is said: Do not do adultery," so he is first of all speaking to the ten commandments as they are written. He is not adding anything to them.

The second thing to notice is that Jesus did not merely say "Whoever looks at a woman..." He said "Who ever looks at a woman with covetousness ..." Tko god s požudom pogleda. You can't just say "Tko god pogleda" because that leaves out what He is saying. Is this just about what men do in regard to women and women can do what they want? I don't think so, but if it suits you otherwise, I am not your judge. God is your judge in these matters. If you have any questions, go talk to Him about it all.

So now, is it ok to just look? To say otherwise is to attempt to make one's self holier than God, if such a thing were possible. God Himself placed all the wildflowers of every sort for humans to look at, to admire, to enjoy, but don't pluck the wildflowers. Pass on by and leave them be while giving thanks to God that He has put beauty in the world.

Just yesterday, while I was bringing coffee to my dear wife where she was working, there passed a lady on the sidewalk with shorts so short that when she took a step you could just barely see just the very bottom tip of her glutemous maximus peeking out for a split second. She was walking a dog and she paused briefly across the street to pet the dog and see if I would notice. I did notice, briefly. Briefly enough that I caught my lady's eyes as she watched mine. I let my eyes gaze up and down my lady's body with that certain grin I have when I do that. My lady smiled. She knew that my eyes were telling her that she is the real thing and, anything else is just a wildflower which I would pass on by.

A little later, on the way back from the art supply store, a young woman on a bicycle passed by on the sidewalk. I couldn't help but notice that everytime she leaned forward, her rather thin skort would ride up to show just about the same amount as the dog walking lady. Hmmm I realized then that both of these women knew exactly how much of themselves they were exhibiting. I don't think either of them was trolling for a man. I think they were trolling for a bit notice, a bit of esteem, a way to see that someone else thinks that they were pretty. Wildflowers, both of them, and that's fine, wildflowers do this.

Still later, at the store, there was a woman "manning" some sort of table in front of the store. She was wearing a dress that was obviously tailored to show the shape of her breasts as though her nipples were standing up to attention. In a Walt Disney movie there was once a barely pubescent girl dressed like that, was it the "Shaggy Dog." At thirteen, I thought that outfit and that girl were so "hot." At 71, well ... I was more amused at the woman's need for exhibitionism than I was titillated. The dress was so tight and thin that her belly button was on display through the dress and certain other shapes were somewhat visible too. She was not "indecent" by any means but she was also being a bit of an exhibitionist for the same reason the other two ladies had been. Another wildflower. I said a friendly "hello" and passed quickly on by, not to say that I didn't enjoy the moment - I am male, and I do enjoy being male. Is this the time to declare that I identify as male? I always have, you know. I also enjoy women who make it clear that they identify as female. Maybe that is why I'm not offended by some occasional discrete exhibitionism. These days it may be important to make these matters clear to everyone.

This morning when I took coffee to my beloved, she was wearing that blue skort that I so much like on her. She came out to the car and I enjoyed every step she took cominig to me. She kissed me and we chatted for a few minutes. As she walked back into the house, I watched every step she took. Her legs are utterly gorgeous. There's not a pair of legs on earth to match how lovely hers are. Her skort was pulled up high enough that I could imagine that maybe a quarter of an inch higher and I would be seeing her glutemous maximus. I wouldn't have complained if I had seen but my imagination was sufficent. There was no one else around. This show was just for me. I couldn't help but shiver with delight. I smiled. I smiled deep inside me where no one goes. I'm still smiling. My love is not just some wildflower to glance at and pass on by. She's mine to keep and I am hers. I am truly a blessed man.

David Byler, aka Canovals

Friday, September 1, 2017

Mea Culpa ....


I have been honored to have this post ran as a guest blog on Victory Girls Blog on 2 September 2017 Victory Girls Blog


I have murdered a man. I have most surely maliciously murdered him. My heart was filled with malice. even with malice aforethought. You will have likely never read such a confession on Facebook nor are you likely to ever read one such as this ever again.


The particulars of my malicious deed: Hardly any of you who knew me in Wharton High School, or Crosby High School, where I spent my senior year, knew anything about me after I left those towns. I attended a bit of college, joined the Air Force, and wound up selling lumber and helping manage truck, rail, barge, and ocean-going transportation for what was once the largest Yellow Pine sawmill in the world. I wish some of the folks I ran with in those years were still alive so they could tell you, too, about the fellow who owned a big honkin' Chevy C10 pickup truck with oversized bracing and shocks and tires so big that the whole rig stood right near four feet off the pavement. That's me. No, I was not a "mudder," but I needed that rig to get in to see about my parents’ little farm over next to David and Gayla Neel's place on County Road 743 in western Brazoria County. I also lived on the high ground in a subdivision out on old highway 90 which tended to flood anytime there was any sort of tropical storm. Several of my co-workers lived out there too. We were all on high ground, and we all had big honkin' trucks to get around in when the water got up.

When the water receded, we old swamp rat types, my buddies from places like Votaw over in the Trinity swamps, and me from Wharton/Matagorda/Brazoria county lowlands, we picked our way through the water into Lakeway Church which was on our side of town in those days on what was more or less an island in these flood times. We'd carry some of our neighbors who needed to get their feet dry over there, and then, like as not, we'd be commandeered to take in some loads of water bottles and other provisions. We'd pick up people and stuff and carry them in there until our fuel started running low, and then we'd go home having done what we could. No, we were not no heroes, neither. If we let our neighbors down too much, they'd sell out after the flood, and our property values would go down. It was in our own interests that we done what we done so don't go trying to say we did something good. I do remember several times thinking that Lakeway had a population equivalent to a small town inside their facilities during the floods.

Years went by, and I became more of an outlaw redneck than just a redneck, but we won't go into all that. I wound up in college again, and then in Seminary, so I could take up a career that paid me less than ten percent of what I'd made before. One of the first things that happened in my first parish up in Paris, Tennessee, was that the Henry County Emergency Management people contacted me. That wasn't hurricane country; it was tornado country. It was virtually impossible to plan shelters for people against tornados, because when one happened, you had seconds to get in a basement or other low place. We could and did plan what to do with people AFTER the tornado had taken down their house or such.

Churches and schools were, of course, part of the network - if they were still standing and still fit to be used. We had teams organized in advance to provide support to the first responders. Someone needs to provide sandwiches and coffee to the firemen and police and such so they can keep working. There was a tornado once seventy miles away. The crew from "my" church was on the ground before all the first responders were in place. They had hot coffee, hot chocolate, and sandwiches for the rescue people and were serving and providing comfort to some very scared and bewildered victims of the storm as they were gathered under tents pending transport to overnight shelter. None of that happens without a plan. Pastors report which buildings were still usable for shelter. School officials do the same. The County Emergency Management folks then decide which facilities are most suitable for the circumstances. My house, for example, was where everyone from a couple of blocks around me came running when the warning sirens went off. On the other hand, if the creek over by me was rising, my basement was useless, and I took people on down to the church. Are you getting the picture yet?

I left there and went down to the Rio Grande Valley, close enough to the coast for hurricanes to be an issue. The County Emergency Management team contacted me before I had my bags unpacked. There was a plan. Not every church nor school building is necessarily suitable shelter during high winds. There are engineering issues to be considered. Not every church or school building is necessarily suitable shelter in high water. Elevation and accessibility come into play. Not every church or school building is provisionable for sustained shelter. There are all sorts of matters to consider, and that is what the Emergency Management people do, not after nor during the storm, nor hours or days ahead of the emergency, but months and years before the emergency is even on the horizon. It wastes resources, for example, to ferry people from one flooded place out to another which is destined to go under water. Old people and children, anybody for that matter, are under enough stress already having to flee to safety once, much less having to be evacuated again and again, so you try to have data long in advance so that what you are doing makes sense. Not a small matter, one of the considerations for any designated shelter concerns working bathrooms and running water.

Whether you know it or not, pastors wind up being among the first responders to a crisis. Everyone ought to know this. When there is a crisis at a school, counselors are called in. Guess who winds up with that task during and after a storm? Yeah. And it's not just spiritual counseling. I remember the eighty plus year old woman who called me in a panic just as soon as phone service was restored after a hurricane. A tree was on her house. Now by this time, I was no longer the redneck in my four-foot-off-the-ground, big honkin' pick-up truck, but I was the pastor who had been busy on the phone locating my congregation and checking to see that all was well, or whether there were needs. I knew who in the congregation had chain saws and were young and strong enough to rescue her from her predicament. One phone call, and off they went to get the tree off her house. They followed the path of the hurricane-spawned twister and got some other trees off of other houses. You see, that's what pastors do, and that's what churches do. Larger churches perhaps have staff to do some of this. Heroes? No, that's just what they do.

Having had all these experiences and more in these matters, first as a redneck, then as an outlaw redneck, and in several more instances as a clergyman, I should have known there was something wrong with the criticisms of Joel Osteen and Lakeway Church when I first heard them. I was duped. I was duped because I wanted to be duped. I do not especially like Joel Osteen, but that is a personal matter. I do not especially like Osteen's theology, but that is a professional matter. What is important is that I allowed my feelings to overshadow truth and I, myself, besmirched Osteen's name, the name of his ministry, and the Name of the Lord God Almighty.

Now let's look at the truth. Lakeway said on Facebook "Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding! We want to help make sure you are safe." Pictures promptly surfaced purporting to show that Lakeway was not flooded. After that, pictures surfaced to show that in fact portions of the building were flooded. Neither set of pictures has any bearing on the matter. Highway 69 immediately adjacent to the building was impassible. More than that, the building did take on water during Hurricane Allison. While the building was being used for secular purposes, it flooded several times. Those are all well-known and demonstrable facts which any responsible Emergency Management team would have, should have, and did take into consideration before designating the present Lakeway site as a primary shelter, especially in the face of a storm which they knew already to be worse than any the county had ever faced. To have done otherwise, would have risked a repeat of the Super Dome situation in which tens of thousands were housed with no water, no sewage, and no security for those housed. The circumstances of the structure demand that it NOT be used as a shelter until the waters have begun to recede and that is exactly what has happened. Please note that the building can SEAT 16,000 but no way can it house more than 3-4 thousand. No one died because of how Lakeway was used or not used. Bear that in mind as you consider that the storm was more powerful and dropped more water than Katrina did a few years back. Responsible planning may have been part of the difference.

Second, in the case of a building like Lakeway, as a storm approaches, supplies of various sorts - diapers, bottled water, non-perishable foods, and the like - are prepositioned above the levels likely to be flooded, so that they are near where people will be housed. This is exactly what happened as the church served as a warehouse and distribution point to several shelters.

Osteen mentioned that the church has a sixty-year history of responding to crises such as Harvey. I have personally known since the 1970s that this is most certainly true. Whether I personally like Rev Osteen is not important. Whether I much care for the theology of his church is beside the point. What is to the point is that both Osteen and the congregation he serves did exactly what Harris County Emergency Management called upon them to do, and they did it in a magnificent and responsible way. What is to the point is that I, David Byler, bore false witness against my neighbor.

I have willingly broken the eighth commandment in which I learned that as God's child I am not to be bearing false witness against my neighbor, but that is exactly what I have done. I have learned and I have taught others that, in breaking this commandment, we have also murdered someone, because when we slay another's good name, we have not protected the life and well-being of that person. Many times, we read how someone is bullied by others to the point that they take their own life. When we steal (uh oh, another commandment) their good name, we kill a part of that person. If indeed, they die, it is our fault. In this case, it is certainly not to my credit if Rev Osteen survives my onslaught, but it was my duty to protect him, his name and his life. In this case, I have also violated the fourth commandment which instructs me to honor not only my own parents but all who are in authority but I have, in my behavior, denied that there are those who are in authority in this matter - to wit: the Emergency Management Agency. In this case, I have taken the Lord's Name in vain by allowing and encouraging others to mock the name of the Lord. In doing all these things, I have placed myself above Almighty God Himself.

It is for this reason that I confess to God Almighty, before the whole company of heaven and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault; wherefore I pray God Almighty to have mercy on me, forgive me all my sins, and bring me to everlasting life. Amen.

David Byler

Friday, July 21, 2017

Predrag "Cune" Gojković


Shhhh, be calm my beloved, be quiet and listen...
You know how I have to tell the story. Shhhh, be quiet and listen but do not go to sleep.

Davno davno, long long ago... so very long ago... and still today, there are mountains in the Balkans which you have very likely never climbed, and it is very likely that you have never seen, nor is it likely you have heard much about them. The Šar (Shar) mountains are likely such mountains. When Polybius wrote of these mountains, he called them "το Σκάρδον ὂρος" or "the Skaradon mountains" (xxxviii 8), as did Ptolemy in ii 16 and Livy (xlii 20, xliv 31).

The Romans very likely would like to have not had to hear of these mountains, because in them lived the Scordisci, who for several centuries held sway over the area which is now Serbia - and more. We Croats have a bit of a taste of them remaining in the name of a small but important town. All our towns are important, so why did I say that? Just 11 miles out of Šibenik, at the gates of Krka, is Skradin, which under the Romans, and before, was called Scardona after the Scordisci. According to Livy, they showed up in the reign of Philip V of Macedon as allies against the Dardani and Rome. By the third century BC, they had become the most important power in the northern Balkans. It took the Romans three hundred years to defeat them, and before the end of the first century AD, the Scordisci were receiving Roman citizenship and the Scordisci began to disappear as a people.

As soon as they had control over the area, the Romans, being ants as they were, set about building a road, the Via Militaris, or Military Highway, which reached northward from Constantinople. Along the way, the road passed through Naissus, which today is Niš, which became the birthplace of Constantine the Great, after whom Constantinople was named.

Follow me now. Here at Niš, we go up on Suva Planina (Dry Mountain) and find the Sokolov Kamen (Falcon's rock). This is the highest ground around us. We are going to look north. Perhaps we cannot see our destination yet, but we know it is there. We are going to, hang on to your seats, we are going to the Hawk's Nest (Kragujevac). Trust me, it is a little way up the road but not so far. We go.

Not so far from the Hawk's Nest, we find a little town called Batočina. Not so far from Batočina, which itself is nowhere, we find the little settlement of Brzan, which is nowhere at all, except not too far from the old Roman Via Militaris. About 1754 people live here. I did tell you it was little, did I not? Yes, I thought I did. Brzan is so small that hardly anyone has photos from there. There are a few people, and a church. Oh yes, there is a little bridge I wouldn't drive over if you paid me a fortune to do it, but that's about all that is there.

Through all the history of the Šar, which are now really to the south of us, through all the history of the Scordisci, through all the history of the Romans, the Byzantines, the Bulgars, the Turks, and through all the history of the Serbs, nothing important ever happened in that village. Nothing. Not a thing happened there. Until 1932.

On the 6th of November 1932, Predrag Gojković was born there. In 1939, it was back down the highway to the Falcon's Rock, where he attended the Primary school, "Vojislav Ilić Mlađi," named after a famous nineteenth century Serbian poet. He finished high school at the Eighth Male Gymnasium at the Red Cross in Belgrade, where he attended and was classmates with future celebrated actors, Velimir Bato Živojinović and Danilo Bata Stojković. He was already singing by the time he was seven, so, by the time he got to the College of Commerce, he preferred the Tavernas to the classroom.

He was an actor in three notable films: "Tri majstora" [Three Masters] (1996), "Jagode u grlu" [Stawberries in throat] (1985), and "I Bog stvori kafansku pevacicu" [and God created Kafena singers] (1972)

Known as Cune, his voice was incredible with three octaves. He recorded over a thousand songs for Radio Belgrade. Some say that, altogether, he recorded over four thousand songs. Whatever any one thinks of the man, he recorded and preserved a major chunk of the folk music of the Balkans. While it is true that we have long since given up on the idea of a "Jugoslavia," we are south Slavs; we have been scattered at various times all over the Balkans, just like the Scordisci of old. A big portion of this music belongs to us at least as much as to anyone. The man preserved a bit of history for us, and for that we commend him.

There is a corner of his repertoire that we Croatians just pass off as "Mexican." Well............ remember there was an Austrian Archduke Maximilian once upon a time. No, not that one. The one Napoleon carted off to Mexico - along with a passel of Croatian soldiers who got left behind when Napoleon turned and fled Mexico. Christian men they were, staunch Catholics for the most part. Some of them were musicians, and their music became the music of northern Mexico, and, to some extent, of Texas.

The corridos of the Mexican Revolution of the early twentieth century were heavily influenced by the music of these Croatian soldiers, who, after the demise of Maximilian's adventure, married the widows of the men they had so recently been fighting. During the persecutions of the Catholic Church in Mexico during the twenties of the last century, they were, in many cases, the staunch die-hard Catholics who fled over the border into Texas for religious freedom. This music, Cune honored, preserved, and reintroduced to South Eastern Europe from which it came. For this, we commend Predrag Gojkovic.

Alas, this morning, 21 July 2017, word came that Predrag Cune Gojkovic had been called home to our heavenly Father. I will miss him.

There are many stories we could tell of the man. Some should be told, because they are wonderful, and I will let others tell them. Other stories, we will smile, and allow to continue to be mysteries.

Počivaj u miru, prijatelju stari. Rest in peace, old friend.


do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,
David Byler a.k.a. Canovals
21. srpanj 2017

PS -one of those Croatian Mexican Choruses from a hundred years ago which Cune recorded for us ..



Friday, July 7, 2017

The Affair


The Affair

reblogged from http://www.chadbird.com/blog/2017/7/6/the-affair with further comments

Chad Bird is an old friend who writes often concerning such topics and more. I recommend that you check out his blog.


There are times when a man and a woman, even though they’re good people, even though they’re both married and committed to their respective spouses, even though these spouses love them, find themselves falling in love with another person whom they think is their soulmate. It isn’t planned. They’re not looking to cheat. But out of the blue they meet someone and begin thinking, “I might be happier with this other person.” Then they have a choice to make.

That, at least, is the premise of countless TV shows, movies, and novels. Not to mention real life. So, if you’re in that situation, you might be asking yourself, “What do I do?”

Yes, that is the pressing question: what do you do? To begin with, you drop the pretense that you're still being faithful. You're not.

If you: (1) “fall in love” with another person; (2) confuse “falling in love” with real love; (3) know the other person so well that you think he/she is your soulmate; (4) are already imagining that life with the other person might make you happy, then you may not have opened your bedroom to that person, but your heart is already a mess of tangled sheets.

So it’s not a question of whether you will begin an affair, but whether you will escape from the one you’re already in.

There are countless articles and books about how to “Affair-Proof” your marriage, complete with lists of things to do to protect your marriage from infidelity. And many of these have helpful suggestions. I’m not writing another such list.

What I want to urge is one main point, one truth that undergirds so much of this discussion: affairs don’t begin with lust, or discontent with your spouse, or boredom in a long-term relationship. Affairs always begin by believing lies.

FALLING IN LOVE IS NOT LOVE

Chief among these delusions is that “falling in love” is the same as loving the other person. “Falling in love” has nothing to do with love. It is not the prelude to love, its foundation, or the ongoing nurture of love. What we term “falling in love” is stumbling into a state of emotional bliss with another person.

True love is the willful choice to act selflessly for another person, to commit yourself to that person, regardless of the emotional ups and downs. A man and woman who commit adultery together cannot love each other. It’s impossible. That’s like saying two people who are stabbing each other are giving life to each other. If they loved each other, they wouldn’t be harming each other through adultery, harming their spouses and children, and living a lie.

Adultery begins in selfishness, continues in selfishness, and breeds yet more selfishness. It is not, and cannot be, a relationship of love. They may mouth the words, “I love you,” but what they really mean is, “You are meeting my selfish emotional needs and I am meeting yours. We are using each other.


WITH A SOULMATE LIKE THAT...


A second delusion, so often believed by men and women who travel the adultery road, is that they’ve found their soulmate. They think that fate has led them to that one person, within the vast sea of humanity, whose soul is a perfect match for their own. Now, leaving aside the fact that soulmates are a figment of a romantic imagination, that no such thing even exists, let’s assume for a moment that they do.

Suppose that all of us have this soulmate out there, just waiting for us to meet them. Would such a person, so intimately bound to you, presumably wanting only what is best for you, actively encourage and participate with you in breaking the oaths you swore to your spouse, assist you in ripping your family to shreds, and become one flesh with you in a union God himself condemns? Of course not.

If you’re married, you have a mate. And that mate has a soul as well as a body. Your spouse is your bodymate, your soulmate, your heartmate—the whole shebang. No one else is. You left your father and your mother to become one flesh with your husband or wife. You are no longer two, but one.

To look elsewhere for this fictional soulmate is to deny that God has joined you to another person already in holy matrimony.

FANTASIZING ABOUT ADULTERY IS ADULTERY

Finally, the third delusion is that you can fantasize about having an affair without actually committing adultery. You can live out your fantasy vicariously through the million books and movies that revolve around this theme.

But, of course, you don’t need media for these mental games. You can daydream about what you’d like to do with that guy from work who is always flirting with you. You can close your eyes while you’re having sex with your wife and imagine she is that newfound friend who’s stirring feelings within you that you thought had died long ago.

The heart is the bed where most adultery takes place. As Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart,” (Matthew 5:27).

If you’re imagining that life with the other person might make you happy; if you’re romanticizing about him or her; then you have already betrayed your spouse. You have willfully chosen to adulterate in your heart. And your heart has your body on a leash; where your heart goes, your body is sure to follow.

ESCAPING FROM THE LIES

Affairs always begin by believing lies. They dress themselves up as sexy lies, beautiful lies, fun lies, but beneath this lovely veneer there is the stinking, rotting corpse of adultery that your lips seek to kiss.

I should know. I believed all these lies years ago. I committed adultery. And I witnessed the destruction caused by my actions in the lives of those I was called to love and serve.

Affairs are all about lies—lies that ultimately destroy. Christ is all about truth, and true love, the kind of love that pursues the rebellious to bring them finally to repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. Like the “Hound of Heaven,” he will not stop running after us until he brings us back to himself, to his Father, to the blood-soaked love that he shed for us all.

He did that for me, years ago. And he wants it for all who have entangled themselves in the web of adultery. There is healing, and that healing is in his wounds. There is new life, and that new life is in his death and resurrection, in his welcoming embrace of all who have gone astray.


If affairs always begin by believing lies, then repentance always begins by believing the truth: the truth that you are in the wrong, the truth that you have a God who loves you in Jesus Christ, and the truth that he and he alone can save you not only from adultery but from every sin that seeks to lead you down the path of destruction. You’ll find in him not only a Savior who forgives, but whose fidelity covers our every infidelity with the spotless garment of his grace and mercy.



----------------------

Chad, by your leave, may I add a couple of thoughts ...

another couple of lies may be involved in all this .....
One lie might have to do with what we think of as "adultery."
Let us go to Luther's translation of Mathew 5:32 where we see the word "Ehebruch," in his rendition. "Ehe" being "marriage, and "bruch" having to do with breaking. Of course in English common law and in common understanding "marriage breaking" would most likely have to do with sexual misconduct and I have no argument with that. English common law and the Webster's Dictionary, however, may be very poor sources of theological understanding. English common law has an agenda of its own. The sort of sexual misconduct that most frequently comes to mind is not necessarily the only sort of sexual misconduct that this topic deals with. St Paul, for example, counsels in 1 Corinthians 7:5 concerning a matter which we tend often to ignore - "Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time." There is more to all this too.

Chad, you very rightly said "If you’re married, you have a mate. And that mate has a soul as well as a body. Your spouse is your bodymate, your soulmate, your heartmate—the whole shebang. No one else is ... You are no longer two, but one." So well said, Chad, that I will yet in my career steal these words for a wedding sermon. But, but, sputter, sputter ... the pastor hears, "what about that dear close single friend of the opposite sex that I acquired during my single years? There was never any thing sexual about our relationship and never will be", or, "We just did things together sometimes to while away the lonesome hours of the night the way single people do," or, "of course we hugged and more but we did nothing single people don't do as a matter of course. So what? Why does this have to change? Why do I have to put distance between me and my unmarried friends? Why does my spouse have to be so unreasonable about this?" Or, "yes, once in my past, one of my exes swore that her ex was just that, an ex, nowadays a friend and no more. Then I caught my ex and her ex "ex"ing on the sofa but this is different." "My spouse had a similar experience in her past but this isn't the same at all, my friend and I are just friends and no more." Or, "why doesn't my spouse see reason at all? She is just so hardheaded. I am going to find a way to do what I want." I've heard the same or similar story from both males and females more often than you want to know about. It may well be that all the parties in question have had their had pants on and have no intention whatever of else. Nonetheless, there you have it, marriage bruising if not marriage breaking. The "oneness" of "no longer two, but one" is damaged.

I cringe when I hear a mom or more rarely a dad say "my children come first?" Ummm, just where in the Holy Scriptures is it written that "children come first" for either the man or the woman in a marriage relationship? Show me where it says "you are no longer two but you, a flock of children and your spouse." The oneness of "no longer two, but one" is thrown to the winds.

How many times did I hear from a wife that "my husband is no longer interested in me, I think he must have a lover." Then a few days later, from her husband, "my wife is no longer interested in me, I think she must have a lover." The grey-haired pastor asks each of them: "where does Junior sleep?" Each answers, "between us, in our bed, of course." And the grey haired pastor sternly says: "Get Junior his own bed in his own room and see what happens." In every case where the couple heeded the old grey-haired pastor the marriage was mended. In every case where they did not, the marriage failed. And yes, these marriages were bruised, and in some cases finally broken, because another person was allowed to intrude the relationship.

Oh, and there are other twists and turns all this may follow. It may not be lovers, or friends, or children, it may be parents. While Holy Writ says "Honor your Father and your Mother," Holy Writ also says "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh (Matthew 19:5)," followed by "what God has joined together, let man not separate." The point of which is that God has joined two so that they are no longer two but one, and, we are not to insert any other into that oneness of the one which he has created in this manner. Jobs, vocations, hobbies, even the office of the Holy Ministry are sometimes allowed to stand unscripturally between a wife and her husband.

Historically, we Croat types have had all these twists and turns and more. The stresses of war push all these at us. So do the stresses of having a considerable portion of our population at sea or working in foreign lands for extended times. Fleeing for one's life or struggling just to get by does all kinds of things to people. We haven't even talked about all the things that can come up when spouses have to be apart and there is no way out from that situation. No one deliberately jumps into the frying pan, or from the frying pan into the fire -these situations pretty much just happen and they can be problems when they arise. So what do do?

The solution to the problem which we humans seem to be so clever at creating is as Chad wrote: "There is healing, and that healing is in [Christ's] wounds. There is new life, and that new life is in his death and resurrection, in his welcoming embrace of all who have gone astray."



do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,
David Byler a.k.a. Canovals
7. srpanj 2017


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ej Od Buchlova - Květa Černá



Yes, I know this is on Czech language.   So why am I publishing this song on You Tube and Facebook and everywhere? First, notice the sahnovica hrvatska which the Czech eagle wears. The eagle is telling you something. It's up to you to go find out what he is saying. Most importantly, "Ej Od Buchlova" is part of my Texas heritage from my youth.   On the now gone and mostly remembered here Radio Station KFRD in Rosenberg, Texas, the Croatian DJ for the early morning show (almost daylight to 9:00 Am show) used to play this in honor of engagements and weddings that people told him about among the Slavic communities in those parts in those days..

I always wanted to dedicate this song to someone.   For all the years I listened to KFRD in the mornings early, I never had someone who would in any way appreciate the song.   KFRD is gone now, but I am still around after more than 60 years since I first heard the song.   Sad, da?  Istina?  Ne!  Now I have my someone.   I have my precious Teryne who loves me and who puts up with me. Today is Dan Valentinovo.   Teryne is my Valentine.   Now this song at last has my someone for whom I wish to dedicate it.

"Ej Od Buchlova" is a traditional wedding festivity song.   It commemorates a far away castle - at Castle Buchlov in Czech lands.   Far away and romantic.   Perhaps a place one could escape to with his bride, who knows?    We are still in our honeymoon.  Perhaps we shall always be in our honeymoon.  Perhaps someday we shall escape to Castle Buchlov and enjoy the beauty and the solitude there for ourselves.  Who knows?   We might you know...  At least we have the song ... and the romance ...

On English language, the words are more or less:
Ej, the wind is blowing from the town of Buchlov and it’s ruffling Kathy’s ribbons. 
Today a bride, tomorrow a woman, tonight you’ll start wearing the married woman’s bonnet.
1.You are Kathy a white rose, you didn’t need a man, 
you could have enjoyed freedom like the fish in clear water.
2.You are, Martin, a green tree, you didn’t need a wife.
You could have walked around free, like a pigeon on the roof

Of course on Czech language 
Ej, od Buchlova větr věje
už tej Kačence pantle bere
/: Dneska nevěsta, zajtra žena,
dnes večer budeš začepená :/

Ty si Kačenko bílá růža
tobě nebylo třeba muža
/: Tys mohla chodit po slobodě,
jak ta rybička v bystrej vodě :/

Ty si Martine strom zelený
tobě nebylo třeba ženy
/: Tys mohl chodit po galánkách,
jak ten holúbek po hambálkách :/

God's Blessings my darling Teryne ,,,,,,,,
yours David