Well, this is what half the world thinks; might as well throw it back in their faces. Ride that dogie. All the way down.

I’m writing this Wednesday night. It’s been a calm day. Grim sense of relief, really - for the last year every day has seemed like we’re climbing a mountain trail, and every corner turned revealed another corner up ahead. Today we knew we were on the straight short path to war itself. For better or worse the waiting was over. In retrospect the runup to this event will be three, maybe four paragraphs in the history books; what counts is the significance of the event itself, what tonight's events will lead to. As someone said on a webpage I flitted across today - World War IV, SW Asian Theater, Mesopotamian campaign.

Just watched the President. It all comes down to that moment: the man at the desk. That's the progression: the Congressional podium, the UN podium, the dais shared with allies, the uncomfortable colloquy in the marbled hallway - then the words from the desk where the buck flutters to its resting place. The speech was what I'd expect - curt words, guarded hopes, noble goals, stern resolve, humble benediction. As I’m sure everyone will be saying tomorrow, this is hardly how we expected it to begin. We were told it would be a massive attack at night under a moonless sky . . . so it starts with a small attack at dawn after a nearly full-moon. Surprise! Not this time. We all remembered the way the last one started - that alien-green sky alive with tracer fire, gauzy detonations, muffled thumps, unconsolable sirens. Surprise! Not this time. Makes sense; you cock your fist for a year, people are going to look at the fist. And then you grind a spike heel into their foot.

In any case, it’s obvious tonight this isn’t SHOCK AND AWE, which brings me to the Library of Congress. Years ago ago I was standing in the LoC, looking up at the glorious ceiling, and I saw a curious phrase painted above:

The true shekinah is man.

That quote stuck in my mind, because I had no idea what it meant. Later I looked it up.

A visible manifestation of the divine presence as described in Jewish theology.


Sound it out.

Okay, I’m off to the sofa to watch it all. No more tonight; what is there to do but watch and wait. You want something else? Here’s some churches to contemplate while we white-knuckle through the next few days. This is a rough version of a site I’ll be updating in months to come: postwar modern churches. Only five pages now, more to come.

I’m not a praying man. But I am a man, praying. Go figure.

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