October 26, 2007

Strange Days…..

Category: News — Ira @ 7:08 pm


“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.
Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what
it isn’t. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn’t be, and what it
wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”
—Alice in “Alice in Wonderland”

These are strange days. The fractured splinters of existence plunge and roll along in two dimensions. In the normal one, life proceeds; I go to work, where we are in the middle of a very busy fall run. The blazing colors, the chilly nights of fall, my favorite of the seasons. I am immersed in football, the World Series, planning one more fall hike, all the daily things I look forward to and enjoy. Life is good.


The second dimension, a bleak landscape shimmering in the black haze of threatening skies. It never stops. Bizarre and extraordinary things unfold as a matter of course to the point where they are ordinary and expected. One waits for the next explosion, the next eruption, the next blow to the pit of the stomach. It always comes, and the shock of the last one recedes into the distance of yesterday or last week or last month. I wit-ness unhinged and irrational behavior, bordering on madness. With no visible regard for any consequences. It is a crumpled, confused world of opposites, a fragmented false reality: down is up, west is east, wrong is right, and night is day. Weak is strong. And death is life, in this life.

In the aftermath of the latest events that have unfolded, some have prayed to the Lord to open eyes that cannot see. I have not and will not. Those who have deliberately chosen not to see will walk into the destructive consequences of their choices. To them, darkness is light. And light darkness.

They who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind. God is not mocked. I believe that. I also believe the present whirlwind in my own life may well be the result of my own sowing the wind on the long trail of a checkered past. Who can say? Lord knows I have done plenty of that. Sowing the wind, I mean. In most separations, there are no adult innocents. And ours is no different than most.

A lot of crap has come rolling down the pike in the last few months. Some of it is known, and some unknown. Some has passed and some comes soon to fruition. And some, I’m sure, will emerge from the sulfuric darkness of the second dimension in the near future. All of it will be “proclaimed from the rooftop” into the light of day on this blog in due time.

These are trying times. But not unusual. Such things have been with us always. It’s just unusual in that it happened to happen to me and others close to me. And I don’t want to hear any blather about how we can all use this situation as an example of the falling away of the end times. We can’t. Pious end-time platitudes do not apply. (I consider end-time teachers to be false prophets anyway.) We can view these strange days as an example of the vile and fallen condition of the human heart. That is all.

These are uncharted waters. For those involved and the extended families. And there ain’t no instruction manual. Overall, I am doing remarkably well emotionally. My mental status remains amazingly stable and calm. The thought flits through my mind that I may be in shock and will at some point erupt into madness and rage. But I think not. So much has transpired over the last ten months that little jolts me anymore. The defenses are up, the flaming arrows pierce but do not penetrate an invisible shield. Below that shield, I stolidly proceed with the remains of the day. And the remains of my life.


In the current situation, I almost feel worse for my family than for myself. My siblings and their children view the unfolding events with horror, mostly from a distance. They almost cannot comprehend or process the brutal reality of what is happening. They think it cannot be. As do many others.

But it can be. And is. And will be, apparently.

They hurt for me. I feel it from those nearby. And from those afar. And I appreciate it. A lot. To them I say, “Thanks and I love you. I’ll be there when it rains on you.” In battles of this nature, the participants cannot pass off their burdens to others, regard-less of others’ willingness to take them on. The battle must be faced alone, by those involved. However brutal the terrain, however long the duration. Whatever the cost.

Battles have collateral damage. At the very center, in the eye of the hurricane, two families. Then four extended families. Then those around them, including members of a little church nestled at the top of the hill in Gap, PA. The church house is probably a hundred years old. What has all transpired inside those walls over the course of years has been lost in the fog of history. The church sat vacant for many years. Then a hopeful, optimistic little group began a new church. It was considered a bit out-there by the surrounding conservative communities. But it prospered and blossomed.

But, unknown to anyone, part of the foundation was infirm and rotting from the start. Earlier this year, the optimistic little group took a direct and devastating hit. The con-gregation exploded. Many left. A shaken core hangs on. The remaining leadership has endured a lot of heat. Fairly or unfairly. Although decisions were made that I did not understand, I did not criticize. Monday morning quarterbacking, so easy in retrospect, benefits no one. Then or now. I believe the leaders did the best they knew with what they knew, at the time they knew it. Including some pretty heavy decisions this past week. But twisted piles of wreckage mar the landscape. Collateral damage. From demonic warfare. Now wicked realms rejoice.

As I walk the fields of my memories as a child, there was one who was present from my earliest recollections. One who was always there, somewhere, in every facet of my development from childhood to young adulthood to the present years. One I trusted, one who I had not the slightest doubt would be there always, until death. It was not to be. Now those fields are shorn and vacant, swept by desolate winds, the memories shattered and defiled. I know him not at all and wonder if I ever did. And that jolts the core of who I am.

One day, soon, I will curse him. Before God. Right here, on this site.

These are strange days. An evil pulse throbs and resonates below the surface. I con-sider and absorb many things. I am not afraid, but there are crevices in my mind I have refused to enter or examine. It hurts too much. It’s a bitter harvest, reaping the whirlwind. It’s a heart blown to smithereens in the vast and barren infinity of the second dimension.


This site was down several times this week. I apologize. Occasionally, the site just disappears for no discernable reason. My webmaster says it’s for maintenance. Of course, when it goes down, it’s always in the evening, right when site traffic reaches its very peak. I would think the maintenance could be done at 3AM instead of prime time.

Well, the Red Sox made it. For any who care to check (9/21 blog), I predicted they would reach and win the World Series. Of course, the other team I picked, the Mets, promptly choked and crashed. I felt bad for Cleveland and actually was hoping they would get to the Series, but the Sox pitching just overwhelmed them when it counted, especially Josh Beckett in Game 5. And now, in the Series, the scrappy Rockies are suddenly down 0-2. I kind of feel bad for them; they made a great run to get there. But it’s not over until it’s over.

In college football this weekend, I will grit my teeth and cheer for Ohio State against Penn State. Both fan bases are pretty obnoxious, almost equally so. But I so despise Penn State that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But just this one night. After that, I will go back to booing Jim Tressel and his team as usual. Just like I did in last year’s championship game against Florida State, in which the Buckeyes were badly kicked about and soundly beaten. It was a sweet and joyful night.

I have not hiked for more than two months. Now with the fall colors, I plan to take one more loop around the Tucquan Glen trail, maybe as early as this Sunday. If the rain stops. This late in the year, I won’t have to worry about Lyme’s disease, and if I hike on a Sunday, the hunters either. In PA, it’s illegal to hunt on Sunday.

Jason requested a definition of “regressively conservative.” While I have not been around the little church I defined as such for many years, I remember that when I left in the early 1990s, a lot of families were joining from Amish or other plainer settings. These people tended to drag with them certain severe practices, ie galluses, long beards, etc. Even some little black hats. Unfortunately (in my opinion), they influenced the church in a plainer direction, which I resented. I recall grim somber faces (but few names), little humor, and much talk about the virtues of serving soup instead of fancy meals to Sunday dinner guests. As if that will make one holier. (Not that there’s any-thing wrong with soup. I eat as much as the next guy.) Once I was admonished that the red shirt I was wearing was too loud, and therefore sinful. If that isn’t regressively conservative, I don’t know what it is. All that said, I don’t know if that condition remains in that church today. I have no beefs with anyone there and wish them well.

Special thanks to Ray and Maggie (my sister) Marner for the box of healthy goodies.




  1. The words “I’m Sorry” never seem to stop, yet it still hurts me every time I offer them. While I know we cannot take away the pain or the surprises, we (your family and friends) can and will continue to support you in any way we can.

    On a completley different note, due to some unnecessary comments about my lack of comments on your blog……I thought I would confess now that…MANY years ago I stole your favorite Vincennes T-shirt, you may remember it, gray with blue and yellow letters. I’ve worn it for many years (never around you of course). The yellow has long since worn off, it has teeth marks from a slight run-in with one of Steven’s dobermans, and is now paper thin…and NO you cannot have it back. (This is what I was going to post last week!)

    Comment by Janice — October 26, 2007 @ 10:07 pm

  2. Pullin’ for ya, uncle!
    Jason Yutzy

    Comment by jason yutzy — October 27, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

  3. I’m with Jason!

    Comment by ella — October 27, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

  4. Dear Ira,

    We always like to read your letters although sometimes they are rather scattered and not quite clear as to the real meaning between the words, but guess that’s the sign of a real writer. In all your readings have you read the Holy Bible and believed the things written therein? I think your eyes would be opened to a whole new world. I especially wondered who your friend was who seemingly has now left you and will never come back. I can understand your confusing upbringing. M.M.

    Comment by Chris P. Stoltzus — October 28, 2007 @ 6:36 am

  5. Those who call darkness light are painting the blackness white. It will be revealed someday, no matter how much they paint. I’m a stranger to you, I came across your post because someone recommended it. You are a good writer; it’s stuff that sticks in your head, and your pain is palpable. I would caution against the cursing. At the risk of sounding trite, you probably know to Whom vengeance belongs. I like your honesty, and she surely is the one that lost the most.

    Comment by Anonymous — October 28, 2007 @ 2:43 pm

  6. As always, another thought-provoking blog. I hope you understand that the silence on my part is not because of a lack of support. I just don’t feel that there is much I can offer other than wishing you all the best as you look to the future. I look forward to your postings every week and usually check your site on Friday evening, looking for the new posting.

    I hear the hunting committee at work has gained one of your co-workers:-) How bout dem Birds!

    Comment by Smucker — October 29, 2007 @ 4:23 pm

  7. It is written, ‘ye are gods’.
    This is true.
    We are all ‘mini gods’.
    We can believe what we want, write what we want, speak what we want.
    We all have ‘knowledge/wisdom/understanding’, to one degree or another.
    That is fine, as long as we realize and recognize that only when our knowledge/wisdom/understanding line up with HIS, that we have a TRUE picture, or TRUTH!!

    Realizing/recognizing this is absolutely essential.
    Our own knowledge/wisdom/understanding can be ‘king’ in our lives…OR…we can strive to let His knowledge/wisdom/understanding reign and rule.

    Christianity is a mixed up mess of diverse/conflicting doctrines, ALL being derived from ONE BOOK!!
    Seems impossible that so many different ‘voices’ could spring from trying to discern ONE BOOK!!
    1001 voices out there….all crying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it!!”
    Each one convinced in their OWN mind that THEY have the TRUTH…because…why…’MY BELIEFS are based upon the Scriptures’!!
    1001 voices…! [ 1000 =’s ‘a large number’. That ‘1’ =’s the voice of God!!!]

    It is written, Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

    After the O.T period came to a full end in AD 70, [God gave those living in the time of Jesus one generation to repent] any teaching/prophesying is done by the discerning/opening up the scriptures.
    {This means the Revelations [which is the last book of prophecy] was written BEFORE AD 70}

    [The scriptures are multi dimensional…7 to be exact, or we could say, 7 levels of understanding ]

    There are 2 ways to [try to..?]discern/open up the scriptures.

    1.Man can attempt to. [There IS a way that SEEMS right to man….]
    If man does it, the result will be MAN MADE doctrines.
    Man made doctrines are ERR…doesn’t matter how many scriptures they qoute.
    Man made doctrines will bring about confusion/division/denomination upon denomination/diverse and conflicting doctrines.
    Mans way =’s broadroad way. This way..that way…another way…all acceptable! Just ‘believe’ and one will make it!!

    2. Thru the Spirit.
    If the SPIRIT does it, the result will be TRUTH…a TRUE picture…doing it as HE would!!
    The way of the Spirit leads to the ‘straight and narrow’. [One way…that’s it!!!:) But, it IS His way. so that’s ok! He is the one that set this up….not I. If it were up to ME i would save EVERYBODY!! :) ]

    True and false doctrines are based upon the SAME BOOK!!
    [Depends on how the scriptures are ‘divided/interpreted’]
    We can learn from nature…consider the precise order/arrangement of each ammon acid in order to form a particular protein!!
    Get one out of order and the end product won’t be the same.
    Same way with doctrines. They are to be ‘built’ in a certain fashion….gathering scriptures….here a little..there a little…but in certain order/arrangement/meaning.

    If we get one out of ‘line’ we end up with false doctrine.
    Who knows how? Not me, nor you, nor any man.
    Only God and only man thru the help of the Spirit.

    God WILL let His people know what TIME they are living in…and what the SIGNS OF THE TIMES ARE!!!!!!!!!

    Please, do not make the mistake of including HIS voice in with ‘blathering and falsehood’!!!

    I Thess 5 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
    2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
    3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

    Yes…I ‘hear’ the voice of a ‘god’ speaking from this web page!!!
    But, the voice of the TRUE GOD…?
    Ahhh….i think not!!!
    Sounds like just another of those 1000 voices!!
    And yes….maybe I’m just another….!!
    And…maybe not!!:)

    Comment by fritz — October 29, 2007 @ 11:38 pm

  8. I admit, shamefully, that I have become lax in my prayers on your behalf. I enjoy your blogs tremendously – your writings stir emotions deep within. Rarely a week goes by that I’m not jolted by an incident that has just happened or words that have just been spoken, and I immediately recall your story of the schoolboy. I was touched deeply and it applies to all stages of life and business.

    I wonder, in certain situations, if things would have been different if I would have spoken out or taken action instead of being a silent spectator. Regretfully, I’m sure some would have been – but I still looked prim and proper, not a hair out place, no shoes or elbows scuffed and my world still intact. I’m not called to preach/teach, Lord knows that’s not culturally accepted here, but I’ve become quite passionate about people and what’s going on in their world and what I can do to help.

    I see/hear the babbling of others on here and wonder how much different they would be if they took the time to search their own hearts and were silent before the Master and spoke out of love and the true best interest of others rather than to bash with Scriptures – even Scripture spoken without love and in vainness is empty. Enough said.

    Comment by Judy S — October 30, 2007 @ 9:35 am

  9. I am nearly speechless (by Webster’s definition: ‘temporarily deprived of speech by strong emotion’) both by the content of your latest post and by the audacity of some of these comments evoked. God help us all!

    Comment by sms — October 30, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

  10. My, my, confessions in the beginning and nameless shots from the dark at the bottom, and that’s just the comments. Great post, Uncle Ira. Keep on keep’in on. We love you and support you 100%.

    Comment by Andrew Yutzy — October 31, 2007 @ 12:47 am

  11. Several questions for Fritz

    It is now May 20, 1919. The Great War has exterminated 16 million lives in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, including the Holy Land. The H1N2 influenza virus (AKA Spanish Flu) is just finishing out its horrible career as the deadliest event in human history; killing up to what we in 2007 think was 200 million people. Germany is in disarray with widespread poverty and hunger. France and Great Britain have been bled white of both a generation of youth and their national treasure. The Bolsheviks are prosecuting a successful war in Russia to defeat a series of White Russian armies on their way to forming the USSR. Is this not the END TIMES?

    It is now June 2, 1942. The Japanese have swept the Allies from the Far East. The US Pacific naval forces of note are three aircraft carriers and a lot of steel on the bottom of Pearl Harbor. A vast Japanese invasion armada centered on the most powerful aircraft carriers and battleships in the world is approaching Midway Island, bent on capturing that vital outpost to cut off communications between Australia and the United States then onto Hawaii after that. Germany’s Army Group Center and Army Group South are surging forward again in their second year of offense in Russia. Army Group South is thrusting towards the city named after the most sinister butcher of the 20th Century (no not Adolfgrad, Stalingrad). The Afrika Corps is pushing British forces relentlessly backward towards Egypt, General Rommel bent on capturing the Suez Canal and sundering the British Empire. Is not Adolph Hitler the Anti-Christ? Is not Benito Mussolini his False Prophet?

    It is now August 6, 1945. The Japanese city of Hiroshima has just witnessed a practical physics experiment involving a slug of enriched uranium fired down a 155 mm gun barrel into another piece of uranium. The resulting neutron storm, hard x-ray burst and thermal bloom are the last events in about 70,000 Japanese lives. The Second Great War has upped the ante to 50 million dead including about 10 million in the German genocide. If the atomic bombs fail to force Japan to surrender, another 5 million should die. Comrade Stalin and his nation of Gulags and secret police is now busy pulling Eastern Europe, China and assorted smaller Asian countries into the wonders of atheistic Communism. Europe is a smoking ruin. The Cold War is coming with two world blocks staring each other down with several hundred megatons of thermonuclear weapons in each of their arsenals. Surely, NOW IS THE START OF THE END TIMES.

    We could consider 1242, the absolutely lethal Asiatic horde of Genghis Khan ready to plunge into Europe after annihilating eastern European chivalry in Poland. What about 1348 as the Black Death disembarked in Venice harbor to kill 1/3 of Europe? How about any of the 30 years between 1618 and 1648 as the Thirty Years War depopulated the Germanys by 30 percent in a series of atrocities that would have turned Heinrich Himmler’s (Hitler’s SS leader) stomach with revulsion.

    I do believe that there will be an end time and that time will be seven years in length, transitioning from a time of apparent peace to the most horrible travails of human history. This end time should be marked by very obvious events such as an epidemic that kills billions, not hundreds of millions, large objects falling from space that kill billions more and a horrifying world war. If I add seven to any of the dates that I listed above, I do not get to 2007. Obviously the end times did not start on any of those dates. The end times could start 1 November 2007, the day after I write this. The end times could start 750 years future to 2007. Most likely, you Fritz will see your individual end time before the world sees the END TIMES. This is the end time to spend time preparing for, whether needing to find Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour or having once done so, submitting to His Sovereign leadership and building up rewards in Heaven so that He will say, come you that are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

    Comment by Mark Hersch — October 31, 2007 @ 4:25 am

  12. …to add to Mark’s list of historical “end-times”. My favorite is the Plague of the 13th and early 14th centuries, which eventually led to un-cloistered clergy and the renaissance. Another interesting one is the ending/restart of the Pre-Columbian long count calender – which explained the sacrificial carnage that the Spanish wandered into.

    Comment by Glo — October 31, 2007 @ 9:14 am

  13. I don’t like endtime preaching, as preachers don’t know nor do other people. Before Christ’s birth the religious groups had it all figured out, where and how He would be born and what Christ will do when he is their earthly king. In the end they missed the whole nine yards. While only the few that knew God, recognized Christ at his birth. I am especially thinking of Simeon and Anna in the Temple.

    All I want and need to do now in this present time is to walk with God. God will take me through the end times or be in heaven before the end times.

    Comment by Katie Troyer — October 31, 2007 @ 3:49 pm

  14. I am very sad when I think of all that has happened in the Wagler/Graber worlds this year. I cannot begin to grasp what it all means or where it will all end. Maybe I should just concentrate on things I do know and do understand. God is a God of love to all mankind, but to the victims of this terrible thing, including innocent children, my prayer is that God grant them peace and calm in this storm. We love you, Ira and will be there for you in any way we can.

    Comment by Rachel — November 1, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

  15. All I can think of to say tonight is “I’m sorry…”

    Comment by wilma wagler — November 1, 2007 @ 11:09 pm

  16. I would like to apologize to Ira, as the webmaster. The last couple of days, i’ve been contemplating the manner in which i’ve written, and i feel i was in the wrong. I’ve never written to such a ‘bloq’ and didn’t sit down and try to weigh out the principals involved in doing so. I feel i failed rather badly. We could look at this site as a ‘world’ that Ira has created and is in charge of, so to speak.

    I feel the manner in which i wrote was rather disrespectful, so i sincerely apologize. I didn’t mean to…simply didn’t think things thru to well. There is no guile in my heart towards anyone.

    I am a strong advocate in the thot that the ultimate viewpoint is His (God’s) viewpoint. What does HE see…what does He think. But, there is a right way in which to do so, and a wrong way. I feel i was very wrong in the manner in which i wrote.

    I should of seen that ‘comment’ section as simply a ‘welcome’ from Ira, into that ‘world’, and should of seen it as a privilege, but not to be ‘abused’. Now, I will disagree on many things, no doubt. But, hopefully i can do so in a respectful manner.

    This is not written for any other reason…than i feel badly…and feel i broke many principals involved in the matter.

    Ultimately…we are ALL living in HIS (God’s) world and He is the ‘webmaster’…and He has granted us a ‘comment’ section. [to have our own viewpoint] To always have that respectful attitude towards Him….will go a long way towards Him working with us..


    Comment by fritz — November 4, 2007 @ 12:27 pm

  17. To Mark…
    I find it rather amazing….Jesus came to establish and set up a ‘kingdom’, did he not?
    Did he fail?
    Jesus, speaking, told the scribes/pharisees, ‘The kingdom of God shall BE TAKEN from you’ [meaning they were in it/had it {had O.T salvation}] and be given to others…

    The ‘kingdom of God’ was going thru a ‘transfer stage’.
    From Old to the New. Those accepting/believing in their “Messiah” simply were transfered, so to speak. Those rejecting him, didn’t make it into the ‘new’ and lost what they had.

    New kingdom came/opened up at Pentecost, and has been around ever since.
    Old came to a full end at AD 70. Destruction of Jerusalem signified it.

    Entering the kingdom of God is done here and now.
    Folks were looking for a literal kingdom back then, and still are.
    What is the ‘inheritance’?
    God/Jesus/Spirit dwelling in one’s heart.

    Already got it.
    Present status;
    Spirit is saved.
    Soul is BEING saved.
    Flesh is lost/mortal/corrupt. [is to be brought into subjection by the ‘soul/spirit’. Quite a battle…yes it is..am waiting for it’s ‘redemption’ to a glorified/immortal status]

    I suppose you will also be looking for a woman standing on the moon…clothed with the sun…?

    Comment by fritz — November 12, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

  18. Uncle Ira, please permit me to comment on your words: “One day, soon, I will curse him. Before God.”

    Satan´s children curse their enemies. Christ tells them the Father will not forgive them. (Matthew 6:15) Christ’s children-for children they are, very simple-love their enemies. They hate their lives in this world (John 12:24). The hurt of their enemies is of no consequence. With joy they haste towards an eternal kingdom.

    Comment by olen yutzy — January 1, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

  19. Sigh.

    First I’d like to say I’m glad you are over this horrible season in life. Nothing is more painful than matters of the heart. Nothing. Murder, insanity, hatred, regret, revenge, all stem from such a delicate place. But if one is of sound mind, even if it takes a while to get there, all of the hideousness will dissipate and one is left with compassion and experience. So long as one gets better and not bitter. So long as one does not give up on love. Of course, these remarks are always kept till the last if at all.

    My friend is going through a divorce. Her daily morning visits, paid before her son needed to be dropped at school, are something I miss now that school is closed. Tears, confusion, rage, and depression permeated our conversations or moments of silence. But as the months are passing I see her changing. She’s standing up for herself now. No! is now a part of her vocabulary. I told her she was growing a pair. She laughed, but it’s a beautiful thing to witness. No woman should be hit or cursed at and all the other stuff that went on.

    There was no love lost between she and he. But there are children and he’s behaving badly. Doesn’t want the boys involved in church. He hates God. But she and the boys love God. The courts are siding with her, seeing the benefit of church in their lives. Anyhow, if there ever was an ugly and there is, it’s in full bloom in the midst of divorce.

    Hope you had a nice visit with your dad and other family members. You’ve been busy as of late, both physically and emotionally. Take time to rest, friend. Slog about the house in your jammies and leave the dirty dishes. You deserve some down time.

    Comment by Francine — June 22, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

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