Faith of Abraham

The work on revising and updating my Ancient Truth Bible studies continues. Right now I’m revisiting Hebrews from the General Letters. In chapter 11 the writer mentions how Abraham was way past his prime and still had a son. God didn’t choose the most vigorous young man to father the nation to inherit the land. Instead, he chose someone whose heart was ready and used what was wrapped around that heart. Abraham walked a land he did not own as a promise that God would give it to them. Their inheritance was this vast unexplored territory of faith, and the land was just a visual symbol.

I’m seeing a tiny handful of people interact here in that same faith. A few of you communicate with me behind the scenes of the powerful changes God brings because of our shared message of faith. We have all been changed — are still being changed — and this is not the same world where we started. We are still exploring this territory of faith.

Do you suppose it’s possible that in the future some of us will be connected with meat-space manifestations of this virtual parish? Honestly, we should be surprised if various congregations are not started that way. For all my blather about what a fine thing it is God chose us to begin this work in virtual space, we could hardly expect it to stay that way. Don’t wait for me to tell you how it works; we are forging into territory new to all of us. Just start with those whose hearts call them to your side and make it happen. Whatever arises from the fellowship has to be good and right, at least in terms of procedures and such. All I ask is that you try to make it as much as possible like a family household from the Ancient Near East.

Right now, a visitor to our virtual parish might not see much happening. I consider this the calm before the storm. This is the time to survey the lay of the land from the heights of faith. Focus on preparing the moral space in your hearts. I, for one, will move forward as if all my wacko predictions are coming true.

Parabolic Training

A parable is not meant to offer a scientific model. A parable is a characterization of something that is alive on a level beyond what words can describe. So a parable is an invitation to explore something with your heart in hopes that your brain is obedient enough to implement some changes demanded by faith.

There is a very literal sense in which all Creation is alive. You will not be able to walk in the full power of the gospel message until you begin to respect Creation as an associate placed by God to assist you in discovering His glory. A part of you is the same stuff as the rest of Creation, but you cannot possibly gain all the benefits and blessings granted by His glory until you form a covenant relationship with Creation itself. It is alive with the moral character of God and He has endowed it with the power to respond to His glory, including His glory in you.

If I begin to make headway in the mission of making peace with God through making peace with His Creation, I am claiming some measure of my divine heritage. As a child of God, adopted through His literal Son Jesus Christ, there is a synergy on a level beyond words where I accept the things He as created and accept His revelation about those things. I cooperate as a child learning to love and conform to His image for me. I am laying claim to the things He set aside for me to use for His glory.

There is no concrete list of what that includes, but it means I can walk about in Creation and hear His voice in the song that registers on the ears of my soul. I can join in that song and celebrate my Father’s greatness. It also means that I learn what sort of stuff I should pray for and thus see my prayers more likely heard and answered. I am in a position to learn how something so clearly the best route to His glory yesterday is no longer the best I can discern today. I have gained in my capacity to respond and that opens doors that were previously invisible.

So for example, the bicycle I purchased in clear conscience three years ago is now not the best thing for my calling, so I begin to pray for a different bicycle. If you don’t see what I see, then you could decide it looks to you like boredom with old toys. That doesn’t hinder my prayer and my faith to believe. It’s not as if I’m seeking the highest priced carbon fiber racing bike, just something that fits into a different pattern of riding (though it will probably be more expensive than what I have now), a pattern that has to change because everything is alive and growing in my soul. Meanwhile, I keep plugging along because I learned long ago that my sense of timing is tied to my fallen flesh, and God’s sense of timing is incomprehensible at best, and certainly different from mine.

So it goes with a lot of things in my life. When I began to pray about getting a tower and some better networking hardware, that stuff happened way faster than I expected. And recently there were some changes in my perception about what made that hardware important for His mission in my life. Then again, some things I sincerely longed for a couple of years ago now horrify me. But if the prayer for those things presumed that it was not so important in itself, but simply the best I knew at the time, then my underlying request of God was for a better understanding.

Cycling has remained important in my calling since before I knew I was called. Somehow I sense that won’t change until I am simply unable to do it, but I consider it something I could drop without whining. I loved running far more, and whined about losing it, but I can tell you it’s gone forever — in this body, at least. I can tell that it still feels like a really big hole in my soul that I can’t run any more. Not everything I long for is what God has in mind, but there is no sense of condemnation about it either way. A major element in my sense of peace is realizing that some things simply defy my grasp this side of Eternity.

My dominion from His hand is limited. But that dominion itself is a living thing. I have to tend it like a valuable steed, because the underlying truth is that it is a living thread of the covenant with my Lord. And as you probably realize by now, that divine calling includes trying to help you, dear reader, to find your own heritage from the Father.

Sometimes the things I offer require that you submit in some measure to my dominion. That’s not my rules; that’s the fundamental nature of things. I can’t extend His authority in me beyond the boundaries of the feudal assignment He grants. By the same token, pulling you into my domain requires I surrender some of my prerogatives. You become a burden of care and I bear a major responsibility to Him for that. In other words, we embrace a covenant of shared dominion. But in the end, I’ll be far richer for it, so I do it gladly. I can only assume you’ll be richer, too. His glory shines brighter because it feeds on such things.

His glory is a living thing, too. It’s blasphemy on some level to act as if any part of our world is inert, or that it reacts only on a mechanical level. Faith literally changes your wiring so that your body works differently. When you focus your conscious awareness on living from the heart, it opens a wealth of living power to change your very literal existence.

While you might be tempted at first to anthropomorphize the stuff in your life, that’s a perversion of the real deal. You can’t fuss at your shoes as if they were impetuous children. Try to keep in mind that the world around you isn’t fallen; you are. Still, it’s no mistake to imagine that your shoes are alive on some level simply because all matter is. However, you are far more likely to experience fellowship and communion of worship with stuff that is more obviously alive and not made by human hands. Parables help to train your brain to cooperate with your heart.

Prickly Failure

I am human and there are limits to what I can do.

I confess there are a handful of people I don’t want to see; I struggle to be polite when I do see them. For a couple of folks in particular, I won’t even try. But I feel at peace because in each case I offered plenty of chances to seize onto my nice side. It wasn’t hatred at first sight. Very few people in my life so far have possessed such talent and spite as to infuriate me right away, and I haven’t seen any of them in ages. I generally approach everyone with an attempt to show them my Father’s love. And those who are on my bad side can always find terms of peace; I don’t enjoy animosity.

In this, I don’t stand on principle. I operate from the heart-mind.

At one time I moved among those who spoke often of “standing on principle” but I found it painful to operate their way. It burned in my heart even when I could pull off the results these people claimed I should seek. I was never really a part of that world, but they were all around me. I continue to see and read of their social encounters when “standing on principle” and it’s often pointlessly rude. They claim it’s necessary to preserve their God-given rights, but I counter that it’s not the God who made us that ever spoke of “rights” as they mean it.

It’s the wrong question. We should be thinking in terms of dominion and boundaries. The only time I yell and act forcefully is when someone threatens something I cannot surrender morally. It’s not about rights but about calling and mission. It’s not personal; it is morally contextual. I’m not trying to put someone in their place and make them adhere to some imaginary standard of justice arising from a heathen culture. I’m simply acting as my God demands, and most folks will certainly consider it inconsistent because they are trying to force God into a rational box. The Spirit of God doesn’t program us like computers.

I have no expectation that I can fix any part of this world. We live in a damned system, so I have no intention to trying to roll back imaginary violations against this foul system. I’m not going to use law and Constitutional rights to bludgeon other people who cross such man-made boundaries. If I can create a better atmosphere for smoother cooperation, I will. I’ll meet them halfway or whatever because it’s about people, not some mythical objective standard.

By the same token, I’ll be damned if I buy into the goofball middle-class bureaucratic “niceness” that quivers in fear at somehow violating their sacred social consensus. The social system around me is damned and I won’t pretend to care either way, but I also won’t go out of my way to start a fight. I’ll seek social stability on God’s terms, not man’s.

I’m often embarrassed to be around those rights activists because it looks like an excuse to spread hatred.

Perverted Professional Standards

There’s a burden on my mind about church leadership.

I’ll pick the occasion of Tullian Tchividjian’s professional meltdown for my opinionated screed. The linked story includes more detail than most accounts in the popular media. Let’s pretend it’s accurate, though I am no fan of the site. What matters is not so much this famous pastor’s experience as the entangling mess that made this whole thing worse than it should have been.

First: Don’t confuse pastors with elders, and don’t confuse deacons with elders. In the Bible, there have always been Two Witnesses, the king and the priest. Part of our problem is a horrific confusion over what those words mean, so perhaps it works better if we say sheikh and shaman. That helps you understand that the Bible is an Eastern document that presumes you already grasp that humanity is hard-wired to live in that moral milieu. Studying the Bible means first and foremost that you learn how to think like an Ancient Hebrew and ditch that Western intellectual model.

This link is typical enough of mainstream evangelical thinking about qualifications of a pastor. Right away we see that it confuses elder and pastor. I suppose it would require a genuine revolution with actual bloodshed before we get organized religion to do what’s right so I don’t expect this to change. But a pastor should be the ritual leader, a priestly function that calls to mind the higher meaning behind the symbolism we use in our worship and practice. The elder is the household ruler — the Bible presents the church as a defacto extended family household. The only time you see the two offices merged is when the church body is too small and too new to this whole game-change. Someone who operates in missionary mode approximates what the Apostles did and they were typically both pastor and elder until things got rolling. A deacon is a male or female attendant who helps both pastor and elder get things done, bearing some middling measure of authority.

The pastor is generally a full-timer, set aside for his mission. The elder might be full time as well, if the body can afford it, but he’s often a retired fellow who is already respected enough to rule. Pastors are appointed; elders arise naturally. In Judea, the first churches already had a protocol for selecting who among the various family chiefs would become the senior elder. The working relationship of the pastor and elder varied just as it might for an ancient sheikh and shaman.

But because Western Christianity has been doing it wrong since at least the time of Constantine when he suckered the church into participating in secular politics, we see some serious and painful side-effects. Not least is that a church organized as a Western bureaucracy or corporation will always be the wrong shape and size to meet genuine moral and spiritual needs. It cannot possibly do the work of God, not on purpose. His miracles will happen, but largely in spite of the perverted model.

The next most obvious flaw is the Western Myth of the Great Man. This is wholly absent in biblical thinking. While that linked list of qualifications is a proper quotation, it’s not a proper understanding of most of the Bible passages mean, because they are pulled from the specific context in which they were written. Still, it’s not hard to figure that you don’t want corrupt and violent thugs running the church. Charisma is the last consideration, not the first. Paul fought with that because he had precious little of it and people struggled (especially cultural Gentiles) with responding to him as a man of divine authority. I challenge you to tell me about the pastor of some monster church whose position doesn’t depend on charisma first. Paul would never make in Western Christianity.

On top of this, the profession comes with a false aura of moral superiority. The one bright spot in Tchividjian’s story is that he refuses to run and hide. I’ll let you decide whether that’s because of chutzpah or because he’s honestly trying to do the right thing and buck the broken system. I don’t take issue with his divorce or pursuing a fresh romance; I take issue with the apparent moral standards of his new girlfriend given her choice of costumes. I suppose we should wait and see if she improves on that. Still, his words approach the proper response to this mythology of church leaders as better than the membership. Biblical leadership is a matter of moral character, not performance to some artificial standard that few can sanely match. I can testify that being placed on a pedestal like that is a primary factor in temptation.

Not least is that you will try to hide things that normal people do. This is exacerbated by the perverted view of human sexuality held by most of Western Christianity, a view that arises from heathen mythology, not Scripture.

I’m starting to see glimmers of truth here and there in non-traditional churches, but nowhere near enough. Things are shifting quickly and I cannot guess how far or in what direction it will go, but what we see in the mainstream is ripe for collapse because it can’t keep up with the pace set by God’s wrath. It’s built on the wrong foundation and the flood will come and wash their sand away.

The Established Religion Crucified Jesus

The Devil is in the distraction.

It matters not what the fundamental issue is; if we focus on the wrong cause, we will take the wrong action. Satan has perverted God’s natural order of Creation so that we take personally things that are common to all humanity while dehumanizing other people. We put the personal in the wrong place, and remove it whence it belongs.

Ephesians 6 is an extended reminder that our real battle is with our own sin nature, not the broad sin nature of humans. The battlefield is on our knees in prayer. We are fighting our own fallen flesh that allies with Satan’s agenda. We can’t do justice if we condemn other humans for doing what we all do. So when you go to war against sin, it’s yourself that you need to defeat in that sense. Clobbering others, regardless how good you might be at it, won’t change anything if you take it personally in the wrong sense.

I cannot lay down for you neat and simple rules for something that is rooted in the moral sphere of God’s own character. All I can do is alert you to the presence of a vivid and living dynamic of good versus evil, and point out exemplary failures in our modern social culture that so cravenly fall at the feet of Satan. However, there is a broad general sense in which we need to personalize promoting justice and depersonalize responding to evil.

When I laid out the concept of The Cult, I took pains to warn readers that it wasn’t a matter of persons, but a perverse influence that stands out in history as the footprints of Satan. I wanted people to stop looking for individuals to blame. In my recent reactions to reading Glennon’s National Security and Double Government, I again noted how he correctly sums up that there is no particular individual or group that we can blame for this sorry situation. Our biggest problem is our tendency to go along with this crap. The political solution is not in mass slaughter of targeted individuals, but refusing to participate in a system that is inherently evil.

When surveying the wreckage of my own past failures, I can easily see that the worst moments were those when I came closest to surrendering to the depersonalizing forces of bureaucracy and middle-class perversion. The most insane moments were those when my heart knew I was wrong but my conscious mind could not hear that voice of truth. The inner conflict kept me close to suicide for long periods of my life. Persistent clinical depression was merely a symptom of my awakened heart and my brain’s ignorance of that moral voice. I knew I was wrong and had no clue how or why, and even less clue how to climb out of that pit. Those who exhibit no sense of conflict in this fallen world are truly dead already.

This is why we teach that the best way to handle fools is seize hold of whatever ground you can defend in that context. When you have no power, cynically play along when possible. When dealing with ostensible equals, refuse to react; engage tactics that surrender nothing. Don’t let them push your buttons, but respond from your own internal authority. When in authority, act within the moral boundaries against the sin, not the person. Always stand ready to hold out the olive branch except in those rare moments when the Spirit tells you to close the door and keep your distance.

From this ground it’s not hard to awaken a prophetic awareness that the West is doomed. Further, it’s quite easy to see why it’s doomed, and to shape your actions to exploit any changes in this world for the glory of the Father of Light. Western governments are not in the individual leaders, but in the bureaucratic fear factory. Yes, there are individuals who do astounding damage, but only because they have proven their loyalty to the damned consensus of the herd. Hate the global banking system? Those bankers are just the leaders of the bureaucracy; they are bureaucrats. We waste time blathering about the Rothschilds and Warburgs and Rockefellers and Morgans because whatever it was they started, it has long been hijacked by the same amorphous faceless bureaucracy. Yes, the basic agenda is the same, but the names are now mere symbols. They’ve been displaced by the likes of the Dulles Brothers who were but minions to a far deeper darkness than they themselves knew.

Today’s greatest powers are not charismatic individual geniuses with vast influence, but rather ordinary folks who are mere manifestations of the mass will of the bureaucracy behind them. Killing each of them would accomplish nothing at all, because the same awful evil will come through some other chosen servant. This is a spawn of The Cult and it takes a similar shape as an impersonal force that we must discern wherever it starts to leak into the work we do for God.

But the victory over this creeping death is to personalize redemption. Redemption is restoring the individuality of each person. We can offer divine justice only to individuals. You can’t pass compassion through a bureau without perverting it. To the degree any redemptive service participates in “good management principles,” it becomes a tool of Satan. This is why churches are generally dead, nearly useless against darkness. While good moments of redemption do take place in churches and their activities, those moments come despite the corruption that shapes the organization. Bureaucracy is inherently corrupt because it is death personified.

As you prepare your heart and mind for the rising tribulation of our age, one of the first victories you must win is breaking free from the deception about human organization. This is why the New Testament churches were inherently personal and familial. In this is life; calling your fellow church members “brother” and “sister” won’t breathe much life into the dead carcass of mainstream organized religion. The only real church is where an Eastern feudal family forms around God’s chosen leadership.

The bureaucracy will call us insane and eventually try to crush us. The only escape from that is to conform. Even in churches you’ll be labeled an evil sinner simply because you don’t conform to the bureaucracy and its false morals. Don’t. Trust God to show you the tactics that fit His glory at the moment, but never surrender to the soulless bureaucracy. The heart-mind cannot fit into any human organization.

The typical church is frankly a distraction from walking with Christ.

Psalm 94

It stood as a basic assumption in Hebrew minds that God’s sense of timing was not like theirs. In the ancient protocol of the Divine Sheikh’s court, asking “how long” did not mean for them what it means to us. It was rather like asking if God intended to put up with something; was there an endpoint? Did God intend to act eventually or should they get used to it?

It was also assumed He would act on the grounds that this was His domain and He wouldn’t let someone else abuse His people. Ancient Near Eastern feudalism was about people, generally a sense of familial kinship between the ruler and His real treasure, his household. A final paramount issue was His divine reputation. Was He going to let them insult Him this way?

It seems almost certain the psalmist refers to domestic troubles arising from bad leadership, and not some foreign oppressor. He opens with a reference to Jehovah as the God of vengeance; saying it twice adds dramatic emphasis. If there is to be revenge, it must come from the throne of God. It is His prerogative alone. Let the God who avenges shine like the morning sun! He, who is the final moral authority of all Creation, let Him blast with withering glory to expose the arrogant who dare to usurp His authority.

Here’s the main question, again repeated for emphasis: Do you have a plan to deal with this evil situation? These folks in power don’t bear much resemblance to Your servants. Their actions aren’t helping to build up your domain. It looks like they are wasting Your resources on their personal comfort instead of developing and making Your provision do more work. When was it ever just to kill those who are defenseless?

These people have the gall to suggest You aren’t paying attention, Lord.

Listen, you lowlife thugs: Do you need to be thumped with a divine clue? The God who gave us ears isn’t likely to be deaf Himself; the designer of the eye is not blind. Our first awareness of God was through His power to punish and destroy heathen nations. Do you imagine He won’t keep His own people in line?

God can read any man’s thoughts, all of them at once. To Him it surely seems petty and small. The only folks with any sense at all are those who pursued His revelation. Lord, Your demands of us are a blessing in themselves! If we can just obey You, no one can harm us. You consistently deliver on the promise to give us respite from human predation. Meanwhile, the predators will fall into their own trap.

No, we are Your treasure, O Lord. Sooner or later Your justice will deliver from sorrow those who honestly seek Your favor. We will march in glorious array in the train of Your divine justice. And if God lets things slide for awhile, there is nothing I can do but wait. But the moment I am in real danger, He’s there to deliver me. So I’m going to count my blessings to pass the time until He acts. There’s no way I could ever see God making alliance with these evil rulers, not as long as they violate His Word right in front of Him.

A whole kingdom of evil rulers is not enough to frustrate God’s promises to me.

British Israelism

Theology class today.

If you have never heard of this wild heresy, I find little to dispute with the description on Wikipedia. It’s all well and good to call it a heresy, but if you think about it, you realize that this weirdo religion is nothing more than a bluntly honest conclusion from the whole of Anglo-American culture.

Maybe you could take a moment to refresh your understanding of The Cult, too. Keep in mind that this is not a particular bunch of folks but a moral influence that appears as consistent in character across multiple generations. I maintain that my analysis of The Cult is as much as we can know for sure, and plenty for us to build an understanding of what we face today. The reason it matters is that Westerners are deeply infected with the fundamental subconscious assumptions behind what British Israelism dares to say openly.

The Cult’s primary weapon is the two-edged dagger: elitism on one side and secrecy-deception on the other. This is visible starting with the Pharisees, through the Judaizers and Gnostics, up through the capture of the Church under Roman government, the later survival of the Church after the government fell, and the eventual rise of what we now call Western Civilization. I’ve noted repeatedly that Western Civ is the marriage of Aristotelian rationalism, by way of Pharisaic legalism, and German Tribal mythology. By far the strongest thread of Germanic Tribal culture yet alive today was the Anglo-Saxon branch. Anglo-American culture is the bastard child The Cult hoped to raise up as their thug to take over the world.

If you want reliable servants for evil, it helps if they are an ignorant copy of yourself — ambitious but without the full bag of secrets. The Cult has withheld their secrets, but injected their elitist secrecy tendencies into the very soul of Anglo-American culture. The Cult created a ravenous beast that doesn’t quite understand it is actually the servant, not the ruler. The Cult still holds those invisible reins in their hands.

All the blather about the hidden power of the bureaucracy merely reflects the natural tendency of Anglo-American cultural assumptions about justice and government. The business of injecting that moral system back into Scripture is inherent in British Israelism, that the Anglo-Saxon culture was a better grasp of divine revelation. Thus, we have Ruckmanites who claim that the KJV corrects bad manuscripts and that the scholars who translated it were all the very saints of God. Nazism? Another offshoot from the same roots. (Zionist leadership delights in Jewish persecution.) Feminism? Just another branch where the Germanic Tribes venerated Oester. Socialism? That’s just cowardly bureaucracy in it’s most honest form, where tribal loyalty rules all. Communism? Just socialism on steroids. It’s all easily traced back to the mythology that the Anglo-American culture is a near-perfect manifestation of God’s own character, because the Anglo-Saxons are just Israel with a minor case of amnesia.

This has been used to justify the elitist arrogance behind the broad Anglo-American conquest as yet ongoing in the world. If our cowardly bureaucratic consensus government says America should have control of the whole world, but only in those things we want to control, then that is the sacred and only sensible policy anyone living can imagine. Doubters must of necessity be evil for not seeing the obvious blessings of such an agenda. This is God’s work, doncha know?

I haven’t even scratched the surface. How about that Stone of Scone? Ever heard the legend that Peter traveled to Britain and founded the Church of England? Given just a little time and study, you could easily trace this same nasty root system of British Israelism as behind all kinds of moral sewage in our world today. However, it is most persistent in reading Anglo-American morals and sense of justice (in all its flavors) back into the Bible.

Not Worked Up

What did you expect?

Just a reminder here: Our virtual parish belongs to a branch of religion broadly referred to as Christian Mysticism. Our brand comes with certain assumptions. When your moral orientation starts with the assumption that mankind is fallen, and you live in a world that denies it, there should be no surprise that you shift away from common expectations. Have you noticed how folks get emotionally engaged in stuff that no one can fix?

Seriously, folks — stop and consider the logic of our Christian Mysticism. Yes, mysticism does have a logic. It’s a different logic, but that’s no reason to say it isn’t logic at all just because it starts with wholly different assumptions. You should learn to distinguish between “different” and “wrong.” In the logic of Christian Mysticism we don’t go out of our way projecting an expectation of bad things from everyone so as to provoke those bad things. We know that most folks will tend to do okay most of the time, but we always keep in mind that we don’t expect very much because we know our own sins.

So we don’t foul the atmosphere any more than we can avoid, but we do prepare for the worst. Part of that is a fundamental assumption that any given system will fail. While systems rarely implode completely before our eyes, we will see the failure of systems repeatedly crunching up against human reality. When the people who devise these systems work from a false sense of reality, we know it’s going to come apart. We also know that somewhere up the chain of command that someone truly believes in the system and blames individuals for failing to live up to some imaginary potential. When someone says in all seriousness that they can’t get good help, it’s because their expectations are wholly unrealistic.

We aren’t aimless, but Christian Mystics also don’t struggle to accomplish things most people would notice. We aren’t entangled in the outcomes appointed by human reasoning. We do what we can, but not because we believe in the ostensible goals. There is a far higher motive of embracing the moral character of God, and it’s not the same as the moral character of any particular socially identifiable group in the world around us. They share some of our moral applications, but virtually nobody shares our moral assumptions.

So we handle notions of instrumentality in a totally different way. For us, reality itself is an instrument for something else. We can grasp the instrumentality others see, and even deduce when they lie about it, including when they deceive themselves. We remember what Jesus said about Solomon in all his regal glory unable to match the simple beauty in God’s creation, and that we might sow and reap, but remain deeply attached to the freewheeling spirit of the birds God feeds (Matthew 6:25-34). He didn’t say neglect human concerns, but to trust the Father and put things in a moral perspective that isn’t tied to material considerations. We reject lazy selfish indulgence and fearful materialistic thrift as two sides of the same lie.

We don’t care about what other people care about. And in a certain sense, we could care less that they do so care. But in another sense, we grieve over the “hardness of their hearts.” Actually, that’s a bad translation from a foreign idiom; we should read that as “hardened against their own hearts.” It means refusing to let your moral discernment guide you, and relying on materialistic human logic instead. It implies a complete lack of awareness of the heart-mind.

So we don’t have to debate with Cultural Marxists, but we do need to spend some time learning to recognize false consensus. We need to develop a talent for expressing a complete lack of interest in what drives them. Don’t engage them on their level because their whole strategy depends on dragging you onto their preferred battlefield. They are swine unworthy of your pearls of divine wisdom. So long as they root like pigs in the mud, kick them aside. Rude and blunt rejection tends to work well, while refusing to answer any questions that don’t serve your higher purpose. Like a patient adult waiting for a ranting child to calm down, we calmly stare until they say something we want to discuss. You do it all without the slightest hint of feeling, though I find a slight expression of amusement works well. They make themselves unworthy of taking seriously.

That does mean you’ll have to prepare for all the nasty human consequences of pissing them off, but that was the whole point in the first place. Ignore them when you can, but be ready to stand for God’s truth at whatever cost. Don’t invest yourself into some fictional deep concern for things they control. God will take care of the consequences long term. Recall the third pillar of Christian Mysticism: disentanglement.

We build our expectations on God’s promises.

Not What It Seems

Just a short reminder that most of the dramatic events making the news are not what they seem. However, I suppose by now you’ve discerned that whatever we are supposed to take as “terrorism” is coming to a theater near you. That is, the drama will be spread across Europe and North America. Probably a few other places, but in one form or another, with one mask or another, the time has come for amping up the fear factor.

I won’t try to bury this under a long discussion of who is doing what and why. All you need to know is that it’s very real violence and death and destruction, but it’s being guided by the people we elected to office in one way or another. It’s your tax money paying for it. I’ve already made note that The Cult made sure we would not be allowed to have good and decent people in government. Only criminals are allowed to run for office or be appointed. Despite appearances to the contrary, the whole thing is staged.

This is our “normal” and we need to get past that in our minds so we can discern the hand of God and exploit things for His glory. As much as possible, shed your fears and face the task so you can finish and go Home to be with the Lord. Nothing else you can do will be half so much a blessing to those left behind.

Church Ball-n-Chain

Church politics has not been good to me.

I’m gazing back over the wreckage of my life seeking entrance into the ranks of professional ministry. It would be easy to oversimplify and note that God never intended me to succeed at that game. At the same time, I know with a certainty that I was supposed to try so that I could be touched and changed by a particular kind of failure. None of that absolves the people who used and abused me along the way.

It’s not as if I wasn’t up to the par of those I worked with, but that was never really the question. Most people who spend time in the conditioning process of church activities can find their place; it requires no phenomenal talents that your average Christian can’t summon. Mostly it’s a matter of conviction, from whatever source, that you should be doing that work. You can’t just shove the discussion aside with God-talk, but most do that because it justifies their relative success as humans measure such things: admiration, influence, and some measure of wealth. I came close to those things at various times and it kept me believing that somewhere around the next corner I would be established as one them.

One of the greatest single causes of repeated failure was this thing in my soul that would come rushing to the front at those critical junctures. Like any human, I can find myself moved to lie and deceive about things, but at those singular moments on some threshold, I would speak with grave honesty among people who had something to fear from such frankness. With typical social conditioning, you might suggest I was offering the wrong kind of truth, but I would counter that my heart demanded it. If it shattered the illusions of the moment, then I would insist that it was the hand of God revealing to me in that moment just how deluded the whole system was. It’s not a question of whether folks want to know, but a matter of throwing pearls to swine.

That is, the question wasn’t whether they were swine — we all are in one way or another — but whether people understood the value of what was offered. Operating in a system that makes no room for honesty, a system that is fragile at those points most in need of God’s moral redemption, was the real problem. I didn’t fit. At some point I realized that I could not fit, and the system was not going to change. The people involved were too deeply invested in that broken system where self-disclosure was “inappropriate.” They weren’t morally better, but were unable or unwilling to look in the mirror the same way I did and refused to make allowances for how it opened the doors to moral integrity. They couldn’t cross over with me.

In my own mind, I was trying to point out the miracles of redemption in my life. I was lifting up the glory of God, but all they received was the shock of having to recognize that I was just an ordinary man. The professional ministry was founded on the illusion that some of us were somehow a cut above the common rabble. We were supposed to be “holy” using a definition that was inherently unholy.

At this point, I gain nothing by condemning them. The tears have evaporated and I am here instead of there. But for once, I know where I am supposed to be, and my impulsive honesty is not a hindrance. Now I have new tears because I see that a lot of people I still care about are stuck in a meat-grinder that comes with the collapse of the world they failed to leave. But I still want them to see and escape and join me at whatever point they can, and salvage whatever is left of their souls. Yes, I know many will go down with the system. There is no joy in watching those who closed the door on me refuse my hand of rescue.

My humanity finds it rather odd to be in this position, where for once in my life, my impulses are correct and God grants me peace I cannot describe. Granted, this is the wrong place for a lot of other folks, but I still want them to have that peace. I forgive because it’s part of that peace and I can’t find whatever it is that breathes life into ungracious gloating. I’m still no better, just very fortunate, and it’s a fortune that’s available to anyone who wants it. I’ve found that Pearl of Great Price for which I long searched. Some of them are not ready, not able or willing, to shed that pigskin and see the value.

They are still trapped in church politics. But I’m still hoping some of them work it out before it’s too late. They were as much victims as I was and I sense that I was granted an early rescue for their sakes.