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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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