The Corrective Sun

Many, maybe most, Americans are sun loving folk and when we think ‘vacation’ we think ‘sun.’   We go to rest and relax in sunny climes and are greatly disappointed if we encounter clouds let alone rain.   On the other hand, often the locals in these sun-worshiping locations are praying for rain. There is an old Arab saying:   “All sun? Makes a desert.”     It means not that sunny skies always will create desert conditions, but if all you ever have is sun and never any rain, you will end up with a drought and then a desert.

If we go back to the desert fathers, who lived in a climate of constant sun, they saw the sun as something other than a smiling yellow disc in the sky under which they vacationed and got a golden tan.  They certainly understood how the sun can relentlessly punish the careless soul.  And they resided in the desert and saw exactly what the desert is:

“Life in the desert meant something totally opposite of what we are inclined to think it was. The desert was a place of death, testing, repentance, and spiritual warfare. It was not a place of escape as much as a place of countercultural engagement. It was not a retreat but the frontlines of spiritual warfare. It is a place where the victory of Christ over sin, death, and the devil was proclaimed, fought, and won. Under the power of the risen Lord, it is where the heart was purified, the passions conquered, sin destroyed, and humanity renewed.”  (Gary M. Burge and Brad Nassif, Bringing Jesus to the Desert, Kindle 262-65)

So keeping in mind what the desert represented to the monastics who fled there, and also  how they experienced the desert sun, we might begin to understand their reading of verses like “the sun will smite/burn you by day” in Psalm 121:6.

“The Psalm says of those who are tempted by thoughts of pleasure, anger, love of praise and the like, that the sun burns them by day and the moon by night (cf. Ps. 121:6). Pray, then, to be sheltered by the cool and refreshing cloud of God’s grace, so that you may escape the scorching heat of the enemy.”  (St. John of Karpathos, The Philokalia, Kindle Loc. 9260-63)

How many of us moderns would use the metaphor of a “cool and refreshing cloud” for God’s grace?   Though perhaps those of us who have been baked and burned by this summer’s relentless heat wave – and certainly the farmers whose crops are being destroyed by the drought – can  appreciate the beauty of a cloud, and welcome it as a metaphor for a blessing.  In general we associate clouds with gloom, depression and darkness.  The desert though can teach us to offer thanksgiving for the clouds that move over us in life.

Praying (XI)

This is the 23rd  blog in a series exploring various aspects of “prayer.”  The first blog is “Why Pray?” and the previous blog is Praying (X).

Prayer means reconciliation with God.  This in turn implies that there is a proper attitude for approaching God in prayer: humility, admitting one’s sins, seeking God’s forgiveness, repenting and thus making the effort to change one’s heart and way of life.

 “Do not neglect prayer: it is then in particular that God will be reconciled with you when you on your own account appeal to him, when you present a mind purified, thoughts that are alert, when you do not make idle petitions, as many people do, their tongue saying the words while their soul wanders in every direction—through the house, the marketplace, the city streets.”  (St. John Chrysostom, OLD TESTAMENT HOMILIES Vol 3, p 60)

Prayer means reconciliation with your enemies. Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.”  If we can reconcile to others, we can eliminate our enemies!

In prayer we bring ourselves to pray for the world, including those who have offended us or whom we don’t particularly like.

“Abba Zeno said, ‘If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks.’“  (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers,  Prayer Book – In Accordance with the Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church , kindle Loc. 3662-65)

Prayer is an action we are to do at all times and places.  We are to pray unceasingly, and we do this if we constantly remember God.  When we become so involved in our daily lives that we forget God, then we forget to pray as well.

St. Maria Skobtsova

“Those who desire to free themselves from their corruption ought to pray not merely from time to time but at all times; they should give themselves always to prayer, keeping watch over their intellect even when outside places of prayer. When someone is trying to purify gold, and allows the fire of the furnace to die down even for a moment, the material which he is purifying will harden again. So, too, a man who merely practices the remembrance of God from time to time loses through lack of continuity what he hopes to gain through his prayer. It is a mark of one who truly loves holiness that he continually burns up what is worldly in his heart through practicing the remembrance of God, so that little by little evil is consumed in the fire of this remembrance and his soul completely recovers its natural brilliance with still greater glory.”  (St Diadochos of Photiki, THE PHILOKALIA , Kindle Loc. 8687-96)

Next: Praying (XII)

24 Prayers for Each Hour of the Day

St. John Chrysostom (d. 407AD) is credited with forming a series of 24 short prayers, one for each hour of the night and of the day, which are listed below.   Saying short prayers, and ones that can be repeated daily, has long been part of the Orthodox prayer tradition.  The most well known of such prayers is the Jesus Prayer which is known in several variations but its basic form is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”   Some give credit to St. Pachomius (d. 346AD) for making popular such short prayers including the repetition of “Lord have mercy.”

Chrysostom’s prayers for each hour of the night:

(1) O LORD, deprive me not of your heavenly blessings.

(2) O LORD, deliver me from eternal torments.

(3) O LORD, if I have sinned in mind, in thought, in word or in deed, forgive me.

(4) O LORD, deliver me from all ignorance, heedlessness, cowardice and hard indifference.

(5) O LORD, deliver me from all temptation.

(6) O LORD, enlighten my heart which has been darkened by lust.

(7) O LORD, I, being human, have sinned; being God, forgive me in your compassion, for you know the weakness of my soul.

(8) O LORD, send your mercy to help me so that I may extol your glorious Name.

(9) O LORD, Jesus Christ, inscribe me, your servant, in the Book of Life and grant me a peaceful end.

(10) O LORD, though I have done nothing good in your sight, grant that through your grace I may now make a good beginning.

(11) O LORD, shower upon my heart the dew of your grace.

(12) O LORD of heaven and earth, remember me, your sinful, shameful and unclean servant, in your kingdom.

Prayers for the hours of the day:

(1) O LORD, accept me in repentance.

(2) O LORD, do not leave me.

(3) O LORD, lead me not into temptation.

(4) O LORD, grant me good thoughts.

(5) O LORD, grant me tears, remembrance of death and humility.

(6) O LORD, grant me mindfulness to confess all my sins.

(7) O LORD, grant me humility, chastity and obedience.

(8) O LORD, grant me patience, courage and meekness.

(9) O LORD, implant in me the root of blessings – the fear of you in my heart.

(10) O LORD, grant that I may love you with all my mind and soul and that I may do your will in all things.

(11) O LORD, deliver me from evil men, from the devil, from bodily passions and from all unlawful things.

(12) O LORD, I know that you act according to your will; may your will also be in me, a sinner, for you are blessed unto all ages. Amen.

(Prayer Book – In Accordance with the Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Kindle Loc. 600-620)

[I’ll add a personal note:  I think the above mentioned Prayer Book  is one of the best Orthodox prayer books available.  For those who have a Kindle, the book is available as an ebook as well.]

Praying (X)

This is the 22nd  blog in a series exploring various aspects of “prayer.”  The first blog is “Why Pray?” and the previous blog is Praying (IX).

Christ began His ministry by calling people to repentance:

Repent, for the kingdom

of heaven has come near

(Matthew 4:17).  So naturally in the Orthodox prayer tradition repentance is a foundation for one’s self understanding and relationship to God.  Repentance is the basis for our prayer life.  God the Father sent His Son into the world to save us from sin and death.  We enter into that salvation through repentance – by admitting we are in fact sinners who are being drowned by our sinfulness and in need of being saved.  We stand in the presence of God as sinners, knowing our sinfulness and admitting our need for God’s forgiveness.

“The prayer of the sinner, whose heart is broken and humbled by remorse at the memory of his faults and failings, is better than the prayer of a boasting righteous man who is puffed up by conceit, who rides the horse of pride, and who conducts himself haughtily because he [seems to] stand firmly on the spiritual level.  When a sinner becomes aware of his failings and begins to repent, he is righteous.  When a righteous man becomes aware of his righteousness and his conscience is persuaded of it, he is a sinner.”  (St. Isaac the Syrian, THE ASCETICAL HOMILIES, p 424)

Icon of the Publican & Pharisee

Obviously in the above quote from St. Isaac, we recognize the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14).   That parable Jesus told about two men who went up to the temple to pray.  And while we are to imitate the Publican’s tears, it is not merely an external imitation of behavior we are aiming for.  It is a whole lot easier to bend our knees in prayer than to bend our stiff necks or humble our hardened hearts before God.  We can even repeat the same words as the Publican but not mean them.  The bending of the knee is an outward sign of our repentance, but it is the Publican’s heart we are to imitate, or that of the prodigal son when he came to his senses.

“For it is not the falling on one’s knees nor the placing of ourselves in an attitude of prayer, which is important and pleasing in the Scriptures, while our thoughts wander far from God, but rather the giving of the soul to prayer after rejecting all idleness of thought and every undue preoccupation with the body.”  (St. Gregory of Nyssa, ASCETICAL WORKS, p 154)

Undue preoccupation with the body” is another way of saying that prayer is not all about technique: standing ot kneeling, clasped hands or raised hands.  Prayer is being in God’s presence with all our soul, heart, mind and strength.

“When you are praying, watch over yourself so that not only your outward man prays, but your inward one also.  Though you be sinful beyond measure, still pray.  Do not heed the Devil’s provocation, craftiness, and despair, but overcome and conquer his wiles.  Remember the abyss of the Savior’s mercy and love to mankind.  The devil will represent the Lord’s face to you as terrible unmerciful, rejecting your prayer and repentance; but remember the Savior’s own words, full of every hope and boldness for us: “Him that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out’; and ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden’ – with sins and iniquities, and wiles and calumnies of the devil – ‘and I will give you rest.’” (St. John of Kronstadt, MY LIFE IN CHRIST, p 162)

God is merciful and accepts our repentance.  Too often we feel such shame or fear that we want to hide our sins from God, but the angels in heaven rejoice when we finally admit to our sins and decide to change our way of life (Luke 15:7, 10).  We can’t hide our sins from God, but we can admit to them before Him, being honest, and then receiving from Him His mercy.

I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Want to bring joy to heaven?   Then confess your sins and repent!   We pray almost at every Orthodox service “that we might spend the remaining time of our life in peace and repentance.”   This is not merely a pious wish but rather is to be our way of life.

Next:  Praying (XI)

Archbishop Nathaniel’s Letter and the Future of the OCA

His Eminence, Nathaniel, Archbishop of Detroit and the OCA’s Locum Tenens issued a Pastoral Letter for the Dormition Fast offering at least a glimpse into what the future holds for the OCA.

Archbishop Nathaniel states that the Synod of Bishops is beginning to make preparations for a Special All American Electoral Council at which a new metropolitan will be elected for the Orthodox Church in America.  He is calling upon all members of the OCA to use the upcoming Dormition Fast as a time for prayer and fasting to ask the Holy Spirit to guide our church in preparation for the Electoral Council.

The Holy Synod is in constant contact among members, acting according to the Statute to prepare for the election. In addition to daily communications, the Holy Synod will meet in a special session on August 13, just before the conclusion of the Fast and in anticipation of the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Virgin. Our agenda is to decide on what is necessary to move forward with a decision on the time and place of the Council. For this, we ask your prayers. Other matters, of course, will be taken up.

See also my blog The OCA and Spiritual Maturity

Praying (IX)

This is the 21st blog in a series exploring various aspects of “prayer.”  The first blog is “Why Pray?” and the previous blog is Praying (VIII).

In the wisdom of Holy Tradition, we encounter an idea which St. John Chrysostom repeats in several of his writings [see for example What is Prayer?  (VI)].  Taking his cues from how the world  was experienced in his day, Chrysostom contrasts how we can approach God in prayer with how the people of his day would go about seeking assistance from people of power in their society.   For in the 4th Century those seeking help from people in power needed to find advocates to intercede for them before the person of power, or they needed to bribe enough people to get the ear of the powerful.   For Chrysostom, the merciful God does not put between Himself and us layers of hierarchies which we have to weave through or beg for help in order to get access to the Lord God.

Icon of the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Chrysostom states that  the loving God hears our cries for help despite the din of noise that might be raised from all of those who think they are closer to God than us and who think they have a self-determined task to protect the holiness of God and keep others away from Him.  God is not unfair in His mercy nor does He follow human notions of favoritism.  God listens for and hears our prayers.  As Jesus taught in the parable of the prodigal son, the father was looking for his son and saw his saw coming even when the son was still at a great distance away (Luke 15:20).

“When we entreat human beings for assistance, then we must meet with porters beforehand, entreat parasites and flatterers, and embark on a long journey.  However, where God is concerned, nothing of this sort is required; rather, you can beg him without the interventions of an intercessor and money, and He approves your supplication without expense.  It suffices for you simply to shout with the heart and offer tears, and he will immediately enter into your soul and assist you.”  (St. John Chrysostom, ON REPENTANCE AND ALMSGIVING, p 51)

Prayer is an act based in love – in God’s love for us His creatures, and His desire to hear our voice and bestow His love on us.  Prayer is an act of love on our parts for others and for all of God’s creation.  Christ taught us to love God and love neighbor, and to love others as He loved us.  This is the basis for our prayer.

“When you pray, endeavor to pray more for others than for yourself alone, and during prayer represent to yourself all men as forming one body with yourself, and each separately as a member of the Body of Christ and your own member, ‘for we are members one of another.’  Pray for all as you would pray for yourself, with the same sincerity and fervor; look upon their infirmities and sicknesses as your own; their spiritual ignorance, their sins and passions, as your own; their temptations, misfortunes, and manifold afflictions as your own.  Such prayer will be accepted with great favor by the heavenly Father, that most gracious, common Father of all, with Whom ‘there is no respect of persons,’ ‘no shadow of alteration,’ that boundless Love that embraces and preserve all creatures.”    (St. John of Kronstadt in TREASURY OF RUSSIAN SPIRITUALITY, p 361)

Prayer is a way for us to practice the love that Christ teaches us in the Gospel.  Prayer is an act of Christian love – or perhaps more accurately, prayer is an expression of who we are in Christ. If we follow St. Paul’s teaching, “let all you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14), we realize prayer is an expression of our love for God, for others and for all of creation.

“I have said that one of the problems which we must all face and solve is: where should I direct my prayer?  The answer I have suggested is that we should direct it at ourselves.  Unless the prayer which you intend to offer to God is important and meaningful to you first, you will not be able to present it to the Lord.  If you are inattentive to the words you pronounce, if your heart does not respond to them, of if your life is not turned in the same direction as your prayer, it will not reach out Godwards.  So the first thing is, as I said, to choose a prayer which you can say with all your mind, with all your heart and with all your will – a prayer which does not necessarily have to be a great example of liturgical art, but which must be true, something which should not fall short of what you want to express.”     (Anthony Bloom, BEGINNING TO PRAY, p 26)

Next:  Praying (X)

The OCA and Spiritual Maturity

The recent resignation of Metropolitan Jonah has again caused some to claim the OCA is too immature to have autocephaly.  As proof of the OCA’s immaturity they point out that once again a problem has occurred with a metropolitan that required the Synod of Bishops to take action and request the metropolitan to step down.

Yet, maturity by definition means to have attained some fully developed state, and it seems as if the Synod of Bishops is acting in a mature way by seeing a(nother) serious problem and addressing it as is in their power to do.  There is accountability in the Church, and the Synod has a responsibility to deal with problems that exist at the episcopal level in the Church.  However much the OCA may be struggling with its stability and the office of the Primate, it is dealing with its problems in a mature way.  The Synod is not being governed by fatalistic determinism which would say “there is a problem with the Primate but there is nothing that can be done about it, we will just have to suffer.”   Rather they are taking an active role in guiding the OCA through difficult times.  And they are doing it with a certain degree of transparency.   They are not pretending there are no problems.

The situation reminds me again of the experience of Moses in the Old Testament which I wrote about in a February 2008 blog, Why Do  You Cry to Me?   (the context for that blog than as now was the OCA dealing with its internal problems).  I’ll quote the blog here:

In Exodus 14:15, the fleeing Israelites find themselves in dire straits – trapped by a sea on one side and the pursuing Egyptian army on the other; they have nowhere to go and bitterly criticize their “liberator” Moses for having led them to their scandalous and inescapable situation.  Moses boldly tells the tremulous people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.  The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be still”  (Exodus 14:13-14).No doubt, Moses believed every word he spoke, and he too intended to sit back and watch what God would do for them.  But the LORD, who has a habit of demanding synergy at the darndest times, “said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward’” (14:15).  The ball was in Moses’ court, not God’s.  It was Moses’ move, not God’s.  God is not going to do for His people what they have to do for themselves.

The Synod may have been looking for a clear sign from God, but they had to do what Moses had to do:  move ahead as the leaders of God’s people.  We have to act in concert with God.  From the same 2008 blog, the Noah story is edifying as well:

God warned Noah of the impending flood with which He was going to destroy the earth.  God informs Noah of this cataclysm, but does the LORD build Noah an ark?   NO.  God tells Noah to build the ark.   Salvation is not a spectator sport – you either participate or you lose.

So the OCA Synod of Bishops did what it had to do and what it is supposed to do when there are problems at the episcopal level of the Church.  That is maturity, for indeed it was a difficult decision to make considering our recent history.  No one, especially not the bishops, wanted to have to ask another metropolitan to step down.

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.”  (Hebrews 5:14)

The bishops were called upon to discern, to distinguish between good and evil, which is a sign of maturation according to the Epistle to the Hebrews.  I do see the decision made as being quite mature for the OCA, and it does for me call to mind two other passages from St. Paul that mention maturity.

St. Paul

“And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.   Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)

There was a need to speak “the truth in love” so that we can continue to grow into Christ.  The bishops exercised their gifts and their office to build up the Body of Christ and bring us to that mature manhood.

 “Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.   Let those of us who are mature be thus minded; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that also to you.   Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”  (Philippians 3:13-16)

The OCA was gifted with autocephaly and the bishops have demonstrated that they are holding onto that autocephaly which we have attained.  Like St. Paul the OCA continues to strain forward to what lies ahead.

See Archbishop Nathaniel’s Letter and the Future of the OCA

Praying (VIII)

This is the 20th blog in a series exploring various aspects of “prayer.”  The first blog is “Why Pray?” and the previous blog is Praying (VII).

One word frequently associated with prayer in the Orthodox Tradition is fervent.  Even in some liturgical books one of the litanies of the services is called the Fervent Litany or the Litany of Fervent Supplication.

St. Theophan the Recluse (d. 1894AD) says:

Touching a rhino for the first time

“You must never regard any spiritual work as firmly established, and this is especially true of prayer; but always pray as if beginning for the first time.  When we do a thing for the first time, we come to it fresh and with a new-born enthusiasm.  If, when starting to pray, you always approach it as though you had never yet prayed properly, and only now for the first time wished to do so, you will always pray with a fresh and lively zeal.  And all will go well.  If you are not successful in your prayer, do not expect success in anything.  It is the root of all.”   (in THE ART OF PRAYER, p 74)

St. John Cassian (d. 435AD) writes

“Prayer, if it is to be fervent and pure, demands that the following be observed.

First, there must be a complete removal of all concern for bodily things.  Then not just the worry but even the memory of any business or worldly affair must be banished from within ourselves.  Calumny, empty talk, nattering, low-grade clowning – suchlike must be cut out.  Anger and the disturbance caused by gloominess are especially to be eradicated.  The poisonous tinder of carnal desire and avarice must be pulled out by the roots.  …

So therefore before we pray we must hasten to drive from our heart’s sanctuary anything we would not wish to intrude on our prayers, and all this so that we might do as the apostle bids us: ‘Pray ceaselessly’ (1 Thess 5:17).  But we will not be able to fulfill this injunction unless the mind within us is cleansed of the contagion of sin, is devoted to virtue as its natural good, and feeds continuously on the contemplation of the all-powerful God.”  (Conferences, pp 102-103)

Father Yelchaninov (d. 1934AD) said:

“To pray fervently is given by God.  To pray as well as we can is within our own power.  So let us offer to God this weak, insufficient, dry prayer, as the only one we are capable of, like the mite of the widow in the Gospel.  And ‘God’s strength will flood thy impotence; and the prayer that is dry and distracted but frequent and resolute, having become a habit, having grown to be thy second nature, will turn into a prayer meritorious, luminous, full of flame.’ (Mark the Ascetic)”  (in TREASURY OF RUSSIAN SPIRITUALITY, p 479)

St. John of Kronstadt (d. 1908) writes:

“Thus prayer may become either a house built on sand or a house built on a rock.  Those build on sand who pray without faith, absently, coldly; such prayer is scattered of itself, and does not bring any profit to him who prays; those build on a rock who, during the whole time of their prayer, have their eyes fixed upon God, and pray to Him as to a living person, conversing face to face with them.”  (MY LIFE IN CHRIST, p 12)

A final thought about praying with zeal which also issues a challenge to us when we pray in time of adversity and our zeal for prayer wanes:

“Be careful not to let your prayer become weaker than the pain of the cancer.”  (Archimandrite Zacharias, REMEMBER THY FIRST LOVE, p 351)

There indeed are many forces at work in the world and many experiences that can overwhelm us.  Prayer can be a strength against those forces which would destroy us.  In prayer we place ourselves back in the presence of God, no matter what storms may be raging against us.   We need only remember the lesson of Peter at one moment glorious walking on water toward Christ, and the next sinking in total fear beneath the waves saved only by the presence of Christ (Matthew 14:22-33).

Next:  Praying (IX)

Deadly Colorado Shootings Momentarily Silence Campaigns

Fox News among many media outlets reported that the deadly shootings in Aurora  caused President Obama and GOP Challenger Mitt Romney to suspend their usual campaign advertising and rhetoric.

“The deadly shootings at a movie theater in Colorado have briefly silenced the presidential campaign, prompting both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney to cut short their schedules and pull advertising in the state out of respect for the victims and their families.”

Not being a fan of the negative presidential campaigns, my take on the political cease fire is that it suggests the advertising campaigns in fact have nothing worth saying.  In the face of real news and confronted by real life problems, having the campaigns go silent shows the rhetoric is pathetically (pathologically?) empty and devoid of any real content. If the campaigns can’t insult each other they are forced into remaining dumb.

I can’t even say the campaign rhetoric is drivel, for it is poisonous.  But then, it is not novel for American political campaigns.  Andrew J. Polsky  mentions in his book  Elusive Victories:The American Presidency at War that even in the midst of a civil war and the need for national unity American politics remained divisive and dirty.

“As Mark E. Neely Jr. observes, . . . Nor had American parties made a habit of cultivating moderation or political civility. ‘Carelessly pressing charges of treason and tyranny,” Neely comments, “was the way the system worked at election time and had for years.’”   (Kindle Loc. 1146-50)

Apparently political campaigning in a democracy is part of civilization that lacks all civility.  A democracy should allow and even benefit by serious policy disagreement.  But in American national politics these days any disagreement immediately gets labeled as seditious, traitorous, stupid or evil.  Such rhetoric discourages thoughtfulness or thinking and encourages bombastic name calling and abandonment of reason.

Liberty and Peace

Ironically but not unexpectedly, while Fox News reported the two presidential candidates both called for national unity in the wake of the fatal shootings and temporarily stopped their divisive campaigning,  it couldn’t resist taking the moment to stir the pot of partisan politics by the article’s then raising the speculation that the shootings would cause a renewal in contentious calls for gun control.

The media cannot stand a moment of political unity or calm,  for that is not very self serving to those who are trying to sell the news.   The media creates the news by constantly fueling the flames of polarizing and alarmist politics in order to seduce us to tune in to their reporting.  Sadly, propagandizing is now often pawned off as news.

It might be more interesting if the media outlets stopped reporting on the campaigns until the candidates actually said something new or newsworthy rather than constantly reiterating their stump speeches.