All the powers of darkness tremble at what they've just heard.
One of the most viscerally expressive contemporary worship songs is He Reigns by the Newsboys. Its verse is about the wide diversity of those across the globe who genuinely lift praises to God, and its chorus is a desire for Him to show His glory and an affirmation that it shines brilliantly nonetheless. Its thrust is simply that no matter what is happening He is always advancing his Kingdom in astounding ways.
Certainly those who claim some affinity for Christ would concur, but there are quite a few who would push away such a sentiment with any of a number of dismissals.
One is “How can you worship a God who ___?” Fill in the blank with any unfavorable item, most often it is “allows children to die” or “left my brother in a wheelchair.”
Another is, “That’s just fine for you. You have your god and others have theirs.”
I understand why these kinds of things are said, even given such prominent airplay. People are intensely emotional and often speak from broken hearts. The autotheist hurts when his conceptions and expectations of God are not confirmed in reality. The henotheist hurts when faced with the searing logical truth that a very nice person must be very wrong if someone else is right. It is just as rational that these feelings are calcified when one’s purview of truth reaches no further than the boundary of the World System and the teaching of its duly sworn, highly paid operatives.
I’ve always pondered what God does do in His sovereignty regarding those who could not care less about Him. If we treat the lucid exposition in the fourth chapter of Genesis as the firm establishment of the System outside of the presence of God, if we consider that Christ does have supreme authority over all of the universe, and if we further acknowledge that He indeed executed the most sublime act of devotion by being executed on behalf of all including His executioners, then what does Christ do in ruling those who themselves have nothing to do with Him?
The simple answer is that God has already set forth the law and its enforcement apparatus utilized to govern the affairs of those who refuse to live by His truth and grace. The more complicated answer comes out of the observation that so many claim to be Christian and do so many Christian-like things, yet are so tied to the System. How often do I hear things like, “It doesn’t really matter who’s in charge they’ll still be wretchedly corrupt bastards. But vote anyway.” Or this gem, “We reject all the principles of socialism in which wealth is redistributed and people are forced to comply. But let’s get back to the Constitution where government can force people to be good and wholesome.”
The Kingdom is abundantly expressed in the hearts and minds of those who love with His love and they have no need for any World System paraphernalia. The equipment of passionate charity has many different forms, but voting is not one of them unless your vote is for Christ every morning you wake up. The flag-draped U.S. Constitution isn’t one either unless it comes with the gracious acknowledgment that the document is the authoritative treatise for sin management of, by, and for Americans who reject Christ.
Jesus directly reigns over His own through the counsel of the Holy Spirit, the light of Scripture, and the fellowship of the saints. He reigns over those in the World outside of His presence by sustaining the legacy of Cain and his vast enforcement of the civil law.
How then does Christ reign over World System Christians?
To answer this question I thought I’d draw on a source that may be of interest to those whose pursuit of the most penetrating truth is unquenchable, and their desire to share bountiful grace insatiable.
In the latter part of 2004, Tupper Saussy emailed me a proof of a piece he was planning to post on his website and invited me to share with him my thoughts. It was titled “How Jesus Rules the United States.” I went over it, offered some remarks, and he emailed me back with some changes he’d made. It was never published. I do not plan to publish it here because of his request that it not be, and even though he passed away in March of 2007, I will still respect his wishes. I do wish to address some things from it, however, and will work hard to stay faithful to his intent.
Saussy said five kinds of Christians live in the United States, classified by their particularly idiosyncratic relationship to the System.
The first is the one who is given over to submission. This individual “submits to every bureaucratic command as if serving Jesus.” This usually accompanies great dread from temporal authority and is a basis for zealous legalism. Many in incorporated tax-exempt churches cannot fathom ending their 501c3 obligation to the System for this very reason. They’ve been taught extraordinarily well to act appropriately on that anxiety, always tight-lipped and dutifully toeing the line. In a perverse sense, the state is their Christ. The submissionist tends to make an idol of grace, trembling at what a markedly illuminating truth would mean.
The second is the one seeking domination. Please note this is not quite the same as the dominionist, one who follows dominion theology, although there are similarities. This individual “strives to make government more Christian by electing Christians to public office.” He will also do any number of other things to make the country more “Christian.” Often it is accompanied by platitudes like “We must get our country back to its Christian roots” or “If we can just get enough Christians to the ballot box.” He can make an idol of the truth, sincerely recognizing the evil but shunning any gracious understanding that secular temporal government necessarily requires evil-waging individuals to effectively prosecute evil-doers.
The third resigns himself to limited separation. He will “abstain from participation in civil government unless compelled by due process.” This is the person who goes about living his life without much thought about political affairs. By striving to keep up a very mainstream composure, he does all that he believes is required for civil order. Often shrugged off as passing nuisances, he will trudge to vote in a presidential election, serve on a jury, and pay taxes without a blink (but sometimes with a sigh).
The fourth is committed to complete separation. He is so exasperated with the growing moral rat hole he sees around him that he responds with some substantive action. In abstaining from any participation and resisting declarations of compulsory behavior from civil authorities, he may go as far as to withdraw to an environment where he feels more comfortable. That may be as innocuous as homeschooling a child; it may be as dramatic as shuffling off to Montana to live in a commune espousing some degree of piety or asceticism.
The fifth kind of Christian is the one that Saussy later felt should be added after thinking through his classifications, and I’ll share that one with you in a moment. But first, among the four kinds of American Christians identified here so far, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who does not fall into any of those categories. You could make out whole churches, entire religions, full-on spiritual movements associated with each of the categories. Even if not detailed in any standard historical texts, these Christians behave en masse under the seductive power of their respective lords who themselves behave at the command of a single superior officer.
When Saussy initially elaborated about the four types, he discussed the role that a precise definition of appropriate tax liability, a firm monetary standard, and a strict constructionist view of the law plays in their engagement. Indeed it was these lawful accoutrements, if you will, that he felt encompassed Christ's rule over them. I find it tremendously ironic that the U.S. military is becoming one of the most evangelically provocative forces on the planet—not as much for its dissemination of Americanist doctrine but for spreading the gospel, yes, the gospel—service personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan developing a reputation for so brazenly handing out Scripture to the locals!
Saussy's deft observations highlight significantly greater truths, however, about the striking contrast of the Kingdom and World—truths which I don’t think even Saussy appreciated. Even when he shared his addition of that fifth type he was still concerned about how the Constitution was considered as if it must somehow be a reflection of Christ, neglecting to stay true to the revelatory distinction he so insightfully elucidated in his book Rulers of Evil.
Those first four Christians predictably live and work from the ministry of condemnation, demonstrating their conscription by being absorbed with System involvement, the minutiae of routine reprobate behavior, and the burdensome functions of the law.
The fifth kind is one occupied by reconciliation, as Saussy wrote.
Reconciliation. Very, very different from the other four. When I saw that he’d added this one, I scratched my head. The reconciler isn’t a World inhabitant.
He is a Kingdom dweller.
In his plans to include him among the Christians, Saussy didn’t elaborate much on the reconciliationist, as I will call him.
But I do know what he meant.
The reconciliationist is that Christian who is so secure in his relationship with his Lord that he accepts the hard truths of things with a deep inner strength and peace. He knows the World has been legitimately set out to do the things it is supposed to do to crack heads of sinners. The United States government, the Roman Catholic Church, the Federal Reserve banking network, all have prominent roles in the oppressively brutal task of merciless law enforcement. What does the reconciliationist do with that knowledge?
Precisely what Scripture asks him to do.
He prays for those who do it. The reconciliationist knows potentates do as much evil as those they pursue, but that’s what God instituted after Cain established himself as the first in a long line of governors. Government in whatever form works gallantly to restrain the rank wickedness of the sinner, first to provide fertile ground for the realization of one's predicament and the subsequent 180 degree turn to Christ, then secondly to endow Kingdom workers with whatever benefits the temporal entities are already ordained to provide. Yes, that may entail Spirit-led intercession for System leaders.
He loves them with Christ’s love. No matter how much they operate outside of the Kingdom, Jesus was unequivocal: love your enemies. Don’t pretend they are your friends then fake it. Just confess it yet love them with your life. Christ died for Pilate as much as He died for me. Should Caesar do an unjust thing with me I will do precisely what Paul and his companions did, sing hymns and pray for God’s will to be done however that happens. Caesar may even do a just thing for me, perhaps quite often really. The thirteenth chapter of Romans declares most eloquently “Rulers hold no terror for those who do right.”
He leaves Caesar and his laborers to do their work and has absolutely no hand in it at all. He does not select their officers, he does not tender taxes, interest, or tithes as tribute to those with whom he is not indebted, and he does not expect them to provide anything in return except that which God has already divinely arranged for the reconciliationist in His task. And that task? Self-sacrificially sowing into the lives of others with everything that is His. When World blinders are removed this is easily seen. People do want real love, real joy, real reality. But all they see are His counterfeits.
If you are a Christian, do they see Him and His robust life in you?
Or when they scratch you a bit do they discover someone who just gulps down whatever Caesar says about anything, or who gets a kick out of yelling and hollering at him, or who floats along earning good-deed points for the most proper civic drudgery, or who thoroughly checks out altogether?
“How can you label people like this?” I hear. “You’ve got all this ‘autotheist’ and “reconciliationist’ stuff. Who are you to say?”
That’s right, I agree. Labels don’t really matter. I only want to know truth. I only want to understand. I don’t like labeling anymore than name-calling, but I don’t see how one who says “You’re just a labeler” is any less guilty of the crime he censures.
I am into classifying things as a tool for understanding, though, and if I’m wrong or inaccurate I’d love to ask for your gracious correction.
But if what I share is the truth, then it means one simple thing.
Jesus was a classifier too, and he ultimately broke them all down into two.
The wheat and the tares.
The sheep and the goats.
The Kingdom dweller and the World inhabitant.
The most meaningful part of this simplicity is that you are one of them.
The World’s classifications are only meaningful to show people how meaningless they are in the long term, indeed the eternal term. Jew or Greek, slave or free, barbarian or Scythian—ehh. Black or white, gay or straight, conservative or liberal—whatever. Autotheist or henotheist, both bathe in the most fetid folly. Submissionist or Complete Separationist, both trust man in some hopelessly benighted ways.
If I share these and you still fail to understand how they may in fact authentically portray one’s condition, then yes, I am most pitiful, a clanging cymbal whose clamor vanishes in the distance. I am of no matter here.
All that matters is what are you truly doing with the One with Whom you will have to do.
So far, some have already come to terms with this and have acknowledged what is a truth above all truths, and they do like it. Others have but they don't like it, and they may not like it forever. But in the end everyone will confess, whether they like it or not...
It is funny how splendidly exhilarated we get when finding something considered lost forever. It is quite intense when we've yet to retrieve it but there is real hope for finding it after all, and even moreso when the cost to do so is not only large but is being paid for in some way.
Such was played out in dramatic fashion a couple of weeks ago when 33 trapped Chilean miners were all rescued after waiting for 70 days, 2,000 feet below the earth’s surface.
Jesus spoke about how wonderful it is to eventually find that lost yet very prized thing.
Still, it is funny.
Why is it we rejoice so viscerally over the found when we have so many good, nice things in our grasp right now? This easily applies to people, and I thought about the parable of the prodigal son when each miner emerged from the slender rescue capsule and was greeted with tears, hugs, and smiles.
There is no question each miner is set for life, but then the immediate question hit me. How many of those men have the discipline and wherewithal to manage their newly acquired status? Will some be so irresponsible that the life they led before will be much more appealing than this one now?
The sticky issue of finding valuable things cuts to the heart of what we try to do all the time, and that is simply…
To perceptively identify and accurately assess the true value of things.
I submit to you that there are only two ways through which this may be done. One has thousands of different routes that will ultimately bring an individual to one destination: Hell. The other has One Route that will ultimately draw one into an infinite number of expressions of rapturous joy in another place: Heaven.
The former comes through a haphazard mishmash of value disassessments usually executed by ivory tower dwelling people given tremendous power to do so by those who lie and are lied to about the authority of those disassessors to actually know what a thing is. The latter comes through those whose unwavering devotion to that One Way put them in a position to value by the only measure that matters: impassioned, abiding, charitable agape. And they do it only because The One Who Is That Way did it for them first.
To get an idea of how whacked-out the value assessments of the World are, all you have to do is look no further than the openly broadcast machinations behind the most comprehensive value assessment operation the World employs, the Federal Reserve.
This upcoming Tuesday many will go to the polls and cast their ballots in a civil election to pick their political value assessors. The day after that, however, the Fed’s Open Market Committee will meet and it is no secret that chairman Ben Bernanke will buy a bazillion dollars worth of bonds. The question is how many bazillions he will buy and what impact it will have on the economy.
The whole point is that he wants to put more and more and more dollars into that stagnant economy. What is less well understood is that when he lays all that money out there, it goes into the hands of a few powerful financial institutions and they must decide what to do with it. The idea of course is that they should get it out to the people.
The fact is the dollars don’t mean anything unless they are backed by, yes, you got it, something of value. In this instance the people who take the money must be able to pay it back after they've done something productive with it however they do that. The problem comes when those institutions look out across the horizon of the economy and find many fewer people to get that money to. How often have I read what Annie Lowrey of Slate wrote recently about all of this: “They don’t see anyone or thing worth lending money to.”
Could it be? Could it be that they are simply exasperated as they scan the landscape and all they see are worthless people?
Ahem, “worthless people.”
How could you. How disrespectful.
Yes, I know. I don’t ingratiate myself to anyone referring to anyone as “worthless.” But I’m not saying it.
The economy is.
And yes, Jesus did too. In no uncertain terms He said “Give up trying to be somebody. If you don’t, you’ll lose your soul no matter how much of the world you get.” The Old Testament has a great quote, one that is not atypical: “Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.”
The World System operates by trying to get people to think they are something without Christ. For all the economic nitpicking about the concept of inflation, it is something very simple really—the overestimation of people’s value in their own eyes, demonstrated on a macro scale. Many economists believe Bernanke’s move will lead to a severe inflation, but I don’t hear many explaining why.
It isn’t that complicated, unless you continue to be fooled into thinking you are somebody. The World typically believes that, so it’s understandable. There will certainly be inflation when those bazillions of dollars get into the economy and in the hands of those who didn’t do the commensurate things of value to earn them.
Presto: artificially goosed consumers with gobs of debased currency chase too few goods. Inflation results, yadda-yadda, all the standard Macro 101 stuff. At least that's what we kind of get. It is much more complicated when the World System does its real whack job on value assessment.
Now what about those things of value, irrespective of any of that? Come on, don’t some people do truthfully valuable things like actually make pizzas and sunglasses and automobiles we value? Where does the worthlessness argument stand there?
For one thing, all of that means nothing unless there is something meaningful in life to which it may be attached. With Christ you have that: His love for you empowering you to love others and receive their love. Heaven. Without Christ you just look good in a fast car with cheese and tomato sauce crud on the seats. The realization of that pointlessness is a pretty good start to understanding Hell.
But the more telling thing for the purposes of this piece is that the World just does a rotten job of getting that value down. So, back to Mr. Bernanke, if you will.
In September I attended a special educator’s forum the Federal Reserve put on for teachers around the country. (It was humbly titled, “Meet the Experts.”) Each district and a few branches invited a small number of economics teachers, about 30 each, to visit their buildings, take a tour, and then listen to a teleconference featuring—ta-da!—the maestro himself, fielding questions from those teachers.
Needless to say I jumped all over this, wanting to look at everything I could to share it with you so we’d get a better idea of the World-Kingdom contrast—the entire purpose of my webzine. And yes, I submitted my own question, which I’d like to share with you now. Ahem…
“Often I hear Fed chairmen quite candidly speak of their job, with some exasperation at times, as ‘reading tea leaves’ or ‘looking in a crystal ball.’ [That they have said these exact things is documented in their speeches.] How do you feel about the truth that what you really do, ultimately, is gallantly strive to manage the value assessment of millions of people who at best simply have no conception of how things are truly valued, or at worst live their lives rigorously seeking newer ways to hack off larger chunks of value from others?”
Yes, I was genuinely hoping he would answer my question. Sadly, mine wasn’t among those selected. One teacher's question was allowed from each district/branch—there were about 15 or 16 in all tuned into the nationwide teleconference; Mr. Bernanke himself was sitting at a table in a room with other educators in Washington D.C. Some of the more keenly penetrating questions for which he had the most scintillating responses were “What is the importance of consumer confidence?” “What are the greatest challenges of the Fed in the medium to long-term?’ and “What would have happened if the Fed were not so aggressive in responding to the financial crisis?” (I assure you any perceived sarcasm here is purely intended.)
But I’m not surprised mine wasn’t picked. I’m sure Mr. Bernanke never even saw my question. And that is not necessarily because he didn’t read it. It is just
No World System devotee even knows what it means.
Sworn operatives working deep within that System know what it means, however. The Fed policy's chief architects—seen by very few and identified by even fewer—they know about the question. They fully understand it because it is premised on the truth that World inhabitants regularly practice human sacrifice and that the Federal Reserve is an important institution in administering it, valiantly working to make it all appear very clean and sanitized.
All those who scream “End the Fed!” really don’t know what they’re getting into. The Fed is simply doing its job for those without Christ who eagerly ask it to do that job. If it didn’t, the rank sin of human sacrificers would reach intolerable levels. Those operatives are the business of provoking the rage and then watching it fester and foment because they thrive on rebellion, which in turn is a fine way for entrenched value extractors to secure their human sacrifice victims on a regular basis.
It is fascinating just how much doublespeak the Fed must use to keep people in the fold. Regarding his November 3 intentions Mr. Bernanke said recently that he must work out the “appropriate quantity and pace of purchases and to communicate this policy response to the public” and that “nonconventional policies have costs and limitations that must be taken into account in judging whether and how aggressively they should be used.”
Translation: “Even though I look at a lot of numbers handed to me, I haven’t the faintest idea how much I should value people who in the end have no value.” Those wholly given over to World management of their affairs listen to Mr. Bernanke say this stuff, and they’ll either work to exploit it or simply shrug and allow themselves to be exploited by it.
It’s why when the Chairman speaks, people listen. It’s the World game. Either way the players will still end up where their disobedience to God’s call to love self-sacrificially will find its just place—exactly as it was with Cain, sent out of God’s presence as the consequence for the first human sacrifice.
Back in April of this year Bill Gross, the guy who runs top bond-holding company PIMCO, sent out his monthly essay and in it he shared the short story from D.H. Lawrence, “The Rocking Horse Winner.” It was actually kind of a creepy thing to read, considering Gross holds about a bazillion dollars of Bernanke’s (re: the public’s) debt.
The story is about a little boy who wants to earn his mother’s love by picking horse race winners after he hears his mother incessantly say “There must be more money.” The boy rides his rocking horse shouting “More money! More money!” He does this so vigorously that eventually he falls off and dies from his injuries.
It is twisted because this is precisely what bondholders want—worthless people laboring desperately for their masters. No matter how low the bond yields, the debtors keep on keeping on and the bondholders’ income remains steady. Should those people get the itch (helped a bit by Mr. Bernanke and the large institutions shoving green rectangular papers in their faces) and they overestimate their worth, it would spell doom for the Bill Gross’s of the world—at least until they move on to other areas of exploitation.
This conflagration of value disassessment is precisely what makes the System hum.
It is the World.
But there is the Way of the Kingdom.
His name is Jesus Christ, but He is not the Christ of millions who scurry off to church or some other wholesomely American endeavor every Sunday and then through the week willfully aid and abet the human sacrifice machine that is the World System.
I don’t know anything about Diane Swonk except that she frequently speaks on an NPR morning radio show. She is a top analyst of some kind for Mesirow Financial, and I’d venture to say that wherever she is on any given Sunday or any day of the week she’s a pretty decent person.
But on one such radio show, this one airing on Thursday September 23, I caught her in a candid moment sharing with us the object of her worship. She may have just said it off-the-cuff, she may just think because she’s on a financial reporting show it is what she's supposed to say, she may just be blapping the World vernacular that is habitually tossed about by all immersed in it—I understand that.
After commenting that Mr. Bernanke had made a pledge to do whatever it takes to prevent any more bad economic things, she said,
“This is a man who invented bullets out of thin air during the crisis. So my faith is in him.”
My faith is in him.
Who do you follow? Upon whom do you put your trust? Who do you listen to about the most important things in life? Who do you believe has your best interests in mind?
Really now, who exactly is your Jesus?
It is somebody. If you aren’t following Christ and living richly in the Kingdom reveling in every spiritual gift God abundantly pours out for His own, then you’re following Mr. Bernanke and waiting for his “bullets.” The truth is you are not only following him but you are enslaved to him, even more to those who mold and shape the things he and every other dutiful exploiter does.
You are in the clutches of the powers and principalities who securely hold the deed on your soul.
Want your soul back?
It is simple. Confess you are worthless without Christ. Acknowledge the World powers-that-be only want to deceive you into thinking you are something special so that they may continue to put you on the altar for their human sacrifice. Become “worthful” by Christ and with His love draw others into His “worthfulness.”
And then come together and sow by the ways of the Kingdom.
I am always saddened by how little I read or hear about genuine followers of Christ saying “Here’s how to solve the financial crisis. Get with other disciples and sow.” This means valuing one another as Christ does and moving capital about through these disciples completely free from the often comical and always lethal World constraints of the Bernankes and Grosses and Obamas and Benedicts and all the others whom World inhabitants follow.
Thing is, if you find your soul, it’ll be like finding that valuable thing you once lost. As you watch others finding their souls again, it’ll dwarf the overwhelming ecstasy of the miners and their families in Chile a few weeks ago.
There’s a reason why finding things makes one so happy. As the famous hymn goes, I was lost, but now I’m found.
God likes to find things too.
Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. (from the 22nd chapter of Luke)
"We just have to research it."
Barack Obama is a quite misunderstood man.
One of the most revealing aspects of his political character was his confession on a national television news magazine, "Leadership isn't just passing legislation. It is making an argument people can understand."
The wide perception of Obama's overreach in his efforts to be understood can be seen in this editorial cartoon. The president believes if he peppers his speeches with enough profundity and pithiness, everyone will come right on board with his brilliant fixes.
What strikes me about the image is the large teapot pouring something distasteful into the stomach of Joe American. It appears Pat Oliphant has an unfavorable impression of "tea party" precepts as he showcases establishment Republicans' dismissal as well as Obama's impotency in reigning it in.
Seems to me there is a more insidiously administered dosage of information coming from a much larger pot not belonging to tea partiers, and as one of the most celebrated and renowned political commentators on the planet Oliphant must know he's among those doing the most pouring from that one.
What precisely is that idea Oliphant is trying to pound down, and Obama is scratching and clawing to articulate?
It is simply that
The World System needs more funding to address more awfulness all around.
It is quite the challenge because of a relatively new economic consideration called Hauser's Law. This is the idea that a people will only tolerate about 20% of GDP handed over to government. When a percentage higher than 20% starts to be confiscated by Caesar, the result isn't just tea party types beginning revolutions (or worse). It is that a serious disincentive to produce is created, and the extent to which it grows and festers is what hammers an economy.
Oliphant and Obama are indeed faithfully doing their assigned jobs: labor industriously to manage their constituents' sin and mitigate its effects. They know it is quite costly. A fully Catholicized nation like the United States has large numbers of people who want to lie, cheat, steal, murder, and extract yet want to pay only a small portion of their income to keep it moderately in check.
A truth only Kingdom dwellers will fully grasp is that wholly obligated World System incorporation employees signed on to the most severe tribute liability do not pony up just that average of 20%. Every dime of their income is given over to Caesar. As slaves to their sin, they pay the Agency of Cain to keep their conduct from destroying them and all those around them, and they do so with the complete measure of any productive value they have.
It may not even go to civil government in the form of taxes. A good chunk goes to the Roman Church and all its sycophant satellites in tithes. Another goes to the authorized banking institution through interest payments. Huge amounts are dumped into the laps of business titans snuggling up with Caesar protecting their value extraction proceeds.
The World inhabitant is the modern-day slave. Instinctively holding this knowledge he cuts and slashes and devours, having no clue about about true value enhancement.
How much am I worth? How much are you worth?
Indeed the very first words of this piece were shared by a bank executive responding to a drowning homeowner given the relentless runaround about mortgage restructuring. What is it that needs to be researched? The same thing Obama works feverishly to try to figure out.
How much of a person's value can be hacked off at any given time.
How much slave labor can be appropriated and still keep a people's quasi-happiness sustained.
How much human sacrifice can be cultivated from those who are generally worthless as payment for processing their own necessary value extractions of other worthless people.
An equally important corollary to that truth is that some have their devotion to the One Who Reigns in the Kingdom, Jesus Christ, and their contribution is also 100%, not the chintzy 20%. A key difference is that they know they are giving 100%. They acknowledge that as worthless people they have nothing—it is only Christ from whom they have anything. They then make themselves the very seeds for sowing rich bounty of both spiritual and material wealth into the lives of those around them.
When those who claim to be Christians shimmy into the clutches of the World System through their W-4 tax liabilities, 501c3 non-profit incorporations, voter registration practices, and all other such contractual agreements, they join the throngs who wage battle about how much fruit of their product goes to Caesar and how much they get "to keep for themselves."
It's kind of a crack-up hearing the remarks of even the finest World pontificators who swallow and gag and choke and spittle about the slicing up of mammon. May I just share a few with you here, a random smattering from some of the World's Sunday morning network interview pap?
"You have to get more money from somewhere. Are you going to get it from the person who served me lunch today or are you going to get it from me?"
This was from über-financier Warren Buffet, who seems to feel Caesar must force him to use his bazillions to sow abundance into the lives of others. What do you do with that question? Would someone like Buffet even remotely know the meaning of an answer that is actually about abandoning the standard cut-throat institutionalized value extraction altogether and making a firm commitment to genuinely being sacrificial truth and grace?
"There are not a fixed number of jobs."
This was shared by über-entrepreneur Bill Gates, who is echoing the strident plaint often squealed from those who feel that jobs must be "created" in some way. They can't fathom that God made each individual to sow his gifts into the lives of others, and that if every person would unselfishly offer that gift in His service and others would sincerely honor that work, there would be an effective unemployment rate of zero.
"We need new ideas... but I believe in the goodness of the American people."
This remark was shared by a much less-known rich businessman featured on the program with Buffet and Gates. I hear this kind of thing all the time, too, and those who say it are oblivious to the abject disconnect within it. World inhabitants will continue to wallow in the inability to adopt "new ideas" because they refuse to start with the veritable idea that they are worthless. Only then can they catch on with the Greatest Idea of all, that God gave His life so they may live by His "worthfulness."
Oh yes, God did make us wonderfully good, but regrettably, we are the ones who made us not good. It is only Christ who can make us good again, even better alive again in the splendidly unique way He created each of us.
This is the customary idea of the gospel. Less prominently considered is the further truth that Kingdom dwellers do the richest sowing, which is the only way to effectively address the current temporal awfulness because it obviates the human sacrifice that is at its core. I've spent some time over the past couple of months contemplating this idea of sowing, and I assembled a new webzine page that elaborates a bit.
There are indeed a lot of people God made, and He put in each of us the capacity to sow great things into the lives of all of them.
The first issue this year of National Geographic has a simple title on its cover:
"Population 7 Billion."
For those who follow these things, it is easy to see this represents the total number of humans the planet will reach this year. The issue doesn't quite explicitly convey the disgust many have for the condition of "too many people," but to its credit it does elucidate the real problem: resource mismanagement.
Barack Obama is indeed working gallantly to convince the American people to give up their pound of flesh for the greater cause. Pat Oliphant does it with some artistic flair. They aren't alone. World operatives have been doing it for centuries, frequently employing their idiosyncratic Jesuses to get the goods.
The NG piece closes with a remark by that famed population vs. resources expert, Thomas Malthus, who concluded that there is one thing that will compel man to properly manage the resources he needs to keep up with the exponentially increasing population.
Essentially, man will do right because he has to.
Yeah yeah, that's a pretty decent motivating factor. Slaves can be motivated to do some good things, that's for sure. Some pretty good producing has gone on for some time to help out some people. Some of it is pretty spectacular, in fact.
But most of the world is still consumed by the rank evils of man and subjected to the provocative duties of Caesar to keep them in that state.
Has anyone thought about abjuring the World, shedding the fear that drives it, embracing a God who pours out His Kingdom to all who seek Him, and sowing from the one thing that would bring people true joy, peace, and contentment?
That would be His love, and it dwarfs necessity.
Do you really know what it looks like?
If you don't, would you be willing to research it a bit?
Doesn't take much.
Just introduce yourself to a sower.
Someone who understands and knows the Sower.
"Indeed there are many gods and many lords."
- I Corinthians 8:5
The great pithy theologism generator G.K. Chesterton once famously remarked, “The only Christian doctrine for which there is empirical evidence is Original Sin.” That there is overwhelming evidence for interminably virulent sin inside every human heart devastating lives throughout history is indeed plain enough.
There are a few other empirically grounded truths just as incisive which I don’t think a devout Catholicist like Chesterton had the slightest of clues about. One of them is particularly ignored, even willfully dismissed in a world saturated by industriously disseminated humanist propaganda. That truth is
Everyone follows someone.
This is not a ridiculously mundane observation about the nature of Twitter aficionados. It applies to every human on the planet, yet one reason the truth is perilously shrugged off is because so many are in maniacal denial about it, much like they are about their sin. “I’m my own kind of person” they boast, their comfortable delusion often accompanied by firm refusal to identify the experts at convincing them of this first principle deception. They follow them just the same, their behaviors, habits, attitudes, lifestyle choices and loudly bleated platitudes trailing precisely in line. Hence, the irrefutability of the truth.
Yes, I follow someone too. I’m not immune. I’d like to believe that the someone is a Someone, yet my soul also wrestles far too often with the flesh and the World so I know I must actively seek to understand His ways and do His things.
And as He's responded, He’s also shared a bit about the many gods who command the devoted attention of every individual who does not ask the Lord to be his Savior. I make no special claim to knowledge. To anyone who’d allow Him to give them sight, God has revealed Himself, His words, and the real character of the millions of idols so many viciously embrace.
I really think they don’t avail themselves of such a wonderful matter because they like their idols too much.
Recently I’ve been looking out through my electronic window and watching some things happening that are profoundly penetrating evidences of the empirically unequivocal “You do have a Jesus of some kind” truth. It is interesting how the extravagant parades of codependent adoration for flesh-and-blood idols are being paralleled in such striking ways. One is proceeding overseas, and the other right in our backyard.
Here it started in Wisconsin, where the governor had taken steps to keep public employees from embarrassing lawmakers into paying them more than their budgets can handle. The reaction was quite dramatic, hundreds of those workers—joined by the interests who make a living from the conflict—rallied, protested, and made a general stink about it all.
It has carried into Ohio, New Jersey, and is projected to expand to several states where they’ve realized they’d given away too much of the farm to people who have politically incestuous relationships with their masters. I’m not necessarily criticizing the public employees’ position. Hey, if sin management is required in a thoroughly entrenched Catholicist population, then why shouldn’t those who administer it all get paid handsomely for a highly demanded service?
The Middle East, meanwhile, is exploding in a similar display of furious affection for their lords. This procession started in Tunisia, carried over to Egypt, is blowing up in Libya after major rumblings in Bahrain and Yemen. People are shaking in their $500 Old Gringos that it’ll reach Saudi Arabia.
What you see are swarms of people in widely diverse venues flailing about clamoring for their lords to shape up. Projectiles of various kinds and sizes are hurled, propelled, expended, and people die—human sacrifice digitally enhanced for global consumption. The goal is to have one puppet tyrant replaced by another who doesn’t look as menacing and will say he’s a bit softer and gentler with his sin management techniques.
I guess that’s something.
Thing is, this kind of fomented fist-shaking has been going on for millennia. For just as long World operatives have worked fastidiously to arrange newer ways to keep the masses seething. What is fascinating is that they seem to have hit on a quite splendid way to embolden legions of sneering wives waving their rolling pins at their drunken husbands stumbling in at three in the morning. The happy rebellion is reaching severe conflagration levels today because social networking information enables individuals to observe who else is getting in the face of their beloved masters and they are more encouraged to act.
The Company must be very proud of its fine work.
More foaming at the mouth, and even more channels through which the foam can flow.
In all of this the question still arises, the real question in it all.
Who are these noble rebels following?
The demonstrators at the state houses demanding the protection of their union bargaining privileges, who are they listening to and heeding when they do anything? The protestors in the streets of North African cities insisting on the installment of their political and economic opportunities, who are they paying attention to and obeying when they take their next breath?
And even if you carefully distinguish all the special interest groups and powerful lobbies, and you insightfully pinpoint the highly organized sects and charismatic revolutionaries—all of them deftly moving the disaffected to hit the pavement wherever injustice rears its ugly head—the question still remains…
Who are they following?
I can share it with you.
I can share the answer to that question right here in this website.
You’ll have to look around here a bit to find it, but I think you'll find the adventure of discovery worth it.
Again, I’m no one special. Anything God has shared anyone else can know too. The most important place to find the answer is in His word, and you’ll note I have a link to that on every page in this site. Look there first and foremost, then scan the pages of human history and peruse the things going on around you in the world right now. Only then should you seek confirmation in what I’m sharing. I’ve put nothing here that I don’t firmly believe is derived from His truths or grounded in factual events. And if you see something that isn’t, please let me know. I’m happy to know about it either to correct it, or to have some conversation with someone who may want to make a boldly volitional commitment to genuinely follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The trick is that it is a challenge for clouded eyes to really see and contaminated spirits to fully grasp who it is that World inhabitants follow—that one individual those without Christ ultimately worship. There are simply so many layers of lords and gods one must get through to make him out. All I can really do is humbly invite you to flip through the pages of this webzine, stop occasionally at places that may be intriguing, and read a few words—and only then with Scripture open in front of you so you may eventually behold the contrast between the prince of the World System who will always labor to keep one enslaved to his or her sin, and the God Who Truly Liberates by offering the way out of the venomous spiritual violence that is being heaved up all over the capitol building floor in Madison and the streets of Tripoli.
Codependency is as insidious a counterfeit of love as a World Jesus is to the Real One. You’ve experienced it if you’ve ever manipulated someone to be dysfunctionally responsible for your care, or you’ve been expected to be such for another. It keeps people in the ugliest bondage to sin and death, and this truth is being slopped on every newscast and dumped into our living rooms every night—or your palm every moment if you’re watching on Facebook.
Idolatry is the sin God hates most, and if you are actually reading His word you can’t miss this truth. The worst idols today are not made of gold or silver but flesh-and-blood, and they are governors and union organizers, tyrants and revolutionaries alike. It doesn’t matter which side you are on, if you aren’t following Christ you are following the extraordinarily powerful people who keep you sloshing around in the filth of rage, jealousy, dissension, envy, and selfishness.
Denial is the salve that makes all of this slightly tolerable, and what makes it particularly wicked is it is largely manufactured by those powerful people who’ve certainly just recently found some novel way to keep it humming. No matter how successful the rebellion and gentle the simmering rage, the participants will always fall back on contracts those operatives expect them to sign so they’ll agree with the latest sin management terms. Those who say they are Christ’s dive into the sewage with their 501c3 incorporations, their W-4 commitments, and all the other significations that they are still under the distended thumbs of their myriad lords.
I can’t help but think of the couple of times in the book of Jeremiah God says very plainly, “Everyone is stupid… and their idols worthless.” Jesus even spoke about this in more practical terms, suggesting that when you show up, you wisely take your place in the back lest you be humiliated.
These millions of revolutionaries across the globe, shoving their way to the head of the banquet hall—it really isn't as much that they are fools...
It is that they are lunch.
In the end there are only two that you follow.
You follow one of them.
It isn’t just between God and Satan, between some robust white guy with a long beard and flowing robe, and a skinny red guy with pointy horns and wavy cape. These individuals are indeed real, albeit with caricatures contrived by those operatives to keep you dismissing them and their impact.
The fact is you are following one of two types of flesh-and-blood people presently walking the earth who represent the maintenance of their respective domains.
It is either the very much alive-and-well-right-now superior officer directing the actions of his thousands of minions yanking the sinews of their millions of devotees. If you are at their table it means you’re being dined on. Doesn’t matter how spiffy your outfit is, how smiley your face is, how bulging your wallet is—a better liar is sticking a fork and steak knife in you right now.
Or you are otherwise following a quiet, caring, kind, faithful disciple of Christ who listens to what Jesus said, actually does those things, and simply wants to share them with others. Don't be mistaken, it is Jesus after all. If you are at His table, you are enjoying a banquet of joy, peace, charity, fellowship, and all good things abundantly provided for those who simply accept His invitation to dine with Him.
One last thing before I close. Real quick.
Since this is about proof, the proof of what I strongly consider is an empirical truth, may I offer a test. A very simple way to check who is the object of your true devotion.
A new book has come out just this month that is the most unabashed primer on human sacrifice in the world of business and finance. It is called, appropriately enough, Eat People by Andy Kessler. It gets right at how the World does its requisite value extraction.
Read it. Skim it if anything. Surf the web for what's said about it—excerpts are at Kessler's own blog.
Then look at what your soul thinks about it.
What is that?
Do you aspire to be a Creator, and if so, ask yourself this question.
Where did that idea come from? And do you honestly want to know the answer to that, or are you simply about getting yours and living your life and being whatever it is you say you want to be no matter who you have to eat to get there?
Or do you acknowledge there is Someone Who Is Creator, and He Is Who He Is irrespective of how many are lobbying to hold the title themselves?
What do you think?
That may very well depend on who you follow...
The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.
- Proverbs 29:13
Not too long ago I was driving north on the 101 freeway near the Norman Mineta Airport in San Jose, and I looked up to see right above me a Bombardier Global 5000 private jet rapidly ascending. As it soared into the distance, a very simple question seeped into my brain. It is one asked by others many times before, and it is one that will be asked again and again with a wide variety of nebulously arranged answers spat forth with a typical quasi-confidence.
Who is it with that kind of value to afford travel in such a way?
The more important question that infrequently follows, and one that even more rarely gets even the most remotely close answer is this one:
What is the true measure of that value?
To give the question the most respectable consideration of merit, let’s assume that the one being transported in that jet is an expert surgeon, the only one in the world with that particular skill set, jetting off in haste to transplant the newly acquired heart for a four year-old child who by absolutely no fault of his own is in dire immediate need of such.
I can’t think of a single individual who wouldn’t rousingly cheer the expense.
Skip to the other end of the spectrum, and assume it is instead a hedge fund trader sucking in loads of cash on the heels of bad deals gone worse. Essentially someone else made a financial bet he or she thought was a good one, well intentioned, perfectly aligned with the most prim and proper capital movement—and… it blew up. With barely a touch of a keyboard this dude pockets millions.
I’m not sure this latter scenario would be met with the greatest favor.
It is easy to argue that the rapacious financier simply provides the service of keeping capital shifters honest and therefore the jet travel is worth every penny. Furthermore a quite criminally cynical individual could even say “So what” if some kid doesn’t get his vital organs, the world will keep spinning after he’s gone and such an expensive excursion is a true waste of resources.
The key question in all of this is a variation of the italicized one above.
Come on, what is the value of any of that? Really, truly, actually—who says?
I recently read that the platinum-iridium cylinder housed at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (it’s in a nifty glass case and has an even niftier name: “Le Grand K”)—the very item that serves as the official standard for the kilogram considered the ultimately correct measure of weight—
Has been losing mass.
About 50 micrograms over the past however-many years, equal to the weight of a grain of sand. The writer of the article from which I gleaned this fact treated it with some degree of concern. Understandable. I mean, come on, how could we really truly actually have honest weights and measures when the very standard for that value is surprisingly unreliable, even if by mere micrograms?
This development is but a trifle when compared to the conflagration that rages regarding the ways that World inhabitants treat the value of one another. The kilogram catastrophe is a scratch on the knee compared to what has been happening to another key standard, something everyone downright gets exhausted yawning about.
Right now gold is hovering above $1,500 an ounce, which is kind of a shock if you’ve just awakened from a state of cryogenic suspension you’d endured since 1944. Just before going under you’d felt confident that the those wise Bretton Woods lads ensured the measure of your assets were secure at $35 per ounce of the very shiniest yellow rock.
Gotta admit, that’s quite a stretch, a biiit more than the loss of kilogram value. But again, who cares. As long as everyone’s value is so inflated it really doesn’t matter much. Except that as “the business cycle” characteristically proceeds, some schlurp up more of the contrived value assessment gravy than others. What’s more, it is merely symptomatic of the institutionalized human sacrifice that is executed as a matter of practice by all World inhabitants, with some naturally hacking off larger chunks than others. This is always followed by the visibly pronounced instances of this injustice, resulting in more raging culture war skirmishes and greater vigor with which Cain’s administration can crack heads.
Please know that this entire writing endeavor is in no way about challenging the paychecks of the reigning value assessors. They do their jobs well and should indeed be compensated appropriately. They quite often deserve to whoosh about in $30 million aircraft.
I am all about sharing an Alternate to this body of death with those who’ll listen. And one way is by illuminating the state of the World, often through economic conditions such as they are.
The most bleating response to the gold-gone-haywire situation comes from those who want to get further up on the value extraction bandwagon themselves. They often market their product by screeching about society’s impending economic doom, hollering about the certain looting and riots as a result of the rampant hyperinflation to come. Some quite amusingly refer to it as “financial porn.”
Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that the World is terrifically harrowing as it is, so this stuff is really just peanuts. I don’t really believe there’ll be such trauma, at least in the United States. But I am a pretty regular reader of the Bible, and I do kind of seriously consider what it has to say, and to be honest with you, the effects of God’s wrath on liars and murderers makes all of this a kiddie ride at the parking lot carnival.
Take a read of Zephaniah. It's a little past half-way through your Bible, close to the end of the Old Testament. Just start reading there in the first chapter. Get a whiff of that “porn.” Sure Americans sometimes whine loudly about the present economic woes, but it is mostly shrugged at, and anything resembling God’s judgment is waved off as happening sometime much later. How oblivious we are to the reality that life without basic necessities already ravages people in other parts of the world. Hundreds of millions of people are utterly destitute and even dying in places where famine is common.
Think human sacrifice isn’t clobbering them? Think the things God says in Zephaniah about it all doesn't make for a sobering appreciation for the breadth of His justice to anyone with a microgram of common sense?
People without Christ are destined for a life of misery, whether in this temporal existence or after the final judgment. World inhabitants are in such a condition from no other reason than they want to be. Even the mildest forms of financial porn are the high price of sin and of the commensurate insatiable desire to chomp on a nice meaty piece of another individual's value. Ask any hopelessly dejected unemployed person in this country about it, they know.
But enough about poor dumb porn victims. Let’s talk about me and my retirement. So let me get this straight. If 50 micrograms evaporated from each ounce of my gold, then it’s really only worth $1,534.29 instead of $1,534.86. Okay. Just so long as I know. Just so I know the true value of things. Good thing.
Come on. This would be comical if it weren’t tragic.
Inflation, deflation. Deflation, inflation. Up and down and up and down. This boom and that bust. This bust and that boom. Collapse then panic then a few mildly pleasant days—thennnn another collapse and panic and running around scared. Recession, depression. Depression, recession. Double dip recession not quite depression and certainly not double dip chocolate vanilla ice cream cone.
All of it is just the spectacular showcase of the Great Lie, plastered on every electronic finance ticker in bright sparkly (now digitally enhanced) numbers. Every single market eruption in history, every single one, is the result of the natural convulsions caused by World inhabitants’ twisted relationship with the ordained value extractors. Value assessment by the World is not merely the standard utilization of the biggest and best lies, but it is legitimately executed for the human sacrifice of all who live by that World. That these things most often happen imperceptibly—like the frog in the simmering-to-boiling water—only means more time spent comfortably splayed on the altar.
Just as benighted is that most do know the truth about the lies. But because everyone living by Cain’s precepts can only know the power of that deceit, they mindlessly sustain an extraordinarily typical, wholly intractable, and abjectly hideous attitude best encapsulated by author Peter Firestein.
He wrote a book about trying to get people to be oh-golly all honest again, especially at the highest levels of commercial activity. He pointed out that many of those who had their money with Bernie Madoff confessed they knew he was taking advantage of “certain illegalities” I believe was the way he put it. After he noted how eager they were to still consciously keep him on, Firestein wrote
“They seemed to say, ‘So what if he’s a crook. He’s our crook.’”
Take a good look at that set of words. Just look at it. Seen for what it is, it kind of exposes the brutal ugliness of World living, doesn’t it? It isn’t just the mantra of Madoff investors, it is that of all who fear magnificently, especially those who are in profound denial about that fear.
Either the financial porn will continue to be meaningless wild rants, or it will actually happen. It really doesn’t matter. Either way, your destiny is determined by whether you are a follower of Christ or of Cain. Either way World inhabitants will continue their human sacrifice practices and try really hard to slink off the altar themselves, while Christ followers will joyfully sacrifice themselves because they love others.
You’d think that when the value disassessments become much more pronounced people would really think about getting out. You’d think when yet another collapse and panic strikes—like this latest episode of virulent exploitation by the gargantuan megabankers, clever mortgage packagers, slippery hedge fund gamblers, simpering bureaucrats, brainless borrowers themselves, or the dozens of other shameless louts in the mix—you’d think people would flock to Christ for salvation.
Well, some do!
Sadly the most reprobate extractors just slobber over the chance to invent slicker lies. It is one thing when the authorized agents of Cain do it—it's what they do so exceptionally well. It is another when so many are the most wholesomely religious people on the planet. This is why Jesus said very little about Caesar's officers but reserved the most scathing remarks for the priests, professors, and publishers.
There are only two ways to do value assignment.
There is the World way, comprised of an entire smorgasbord of methods: the embrace of popular precious metals, the pronouncement of official fiat currency, the girding of stalwart banking institutions, the immersion in arcane mathematical computations, the enforcement of severe regulatory requirements, the association with large entrenched organizations and their colossal public relations arms—all of which elicit the more veritable stumbling and bumbling about trying to get it right. Or more likely they do a splendid job of looking as inept so they can insidiously evade detection as liars and murderers laboriously whacking other liars and murderers.
There is also the Kingdom way. It is based on only one simple thing, really.
The Son’s blood.
That’s the value.
The secret to knowing who’s on to that value—and really, it is no secret, it’s just World inhabitants go waaay out of their way to deny it, dismiss it, reject it, ignore it, maniacally worship other things with the puniest value at their peril—
The secret is to look closely at what kind of sacrificer any given individual is.
One living by the World is an other-sacrificer, cheating and taking and hacking and killing to get his or hers. Even if you gain the entire world, riches and comfort beyond belief, you still die. Essentially, the other-sacrificer starts out draining the life from others and ends up dead.
One living in the Kingdom is a self-sacrificer, already empowered by Christ to love with his or her life. Even if you are murdered in the most heinous way, you live. The self-sacrificer acknowledges he is no better than any other-sacrificer, recognizes the horrors of his lifestyle, and has turned to the One who gives life and clothes with real righteousness, not the fine counterfeit righteousness of the World. It is demonstrated quite plainly in the love they extend to others. They don’t just give of themselves but sow of themselves.
They are doing the exact opposite of the other-sacrificer.
Instead of taking, they are putting in.
They are putting in nothing of their own realizing they have nothing of their own, yet they still thrive with the most expressive servant’s heart because what they have to offer is what Christ has already. Which is—here is the amazing part—
Literally, everything anyone would want is His.
And He wants to give it to you.
You just have to give up the World. Be warned, it only means something if you take in Him. But again, He'll wait outside until you've evicted all challengers to His lordship—or at least asked His help to let Him do so.
That means jettisoning anything that would rival His place in your heart, anything that is a part of the World System. This includes all the meaningless contracts a devoted follower of Christ would never have a use for: the non-profit contracts and the tax liability contracts and the debt obligation contracts and the voter registration contracts and the government leasing contracts and the church tithing contracts—all of these compromise one’s integrity as an individual cleansed from his sin by Christ’s blood, the only thing that represents true, authentic, abundant value enhancement for anyone who avails themselves of it.
It is His love that is the only value.
And from that He wants to give you everything.
And if you have everything, what can Caesar possibly give you?
Kinda makes joyriding in a Global 5000 seem boring, huh?
Okay, maybe not.
But how about doing it with the One who loves you, wants to spend eternity getting to know you, wants you to revel in knowing Him and experiencing the beauty and glory of His vast Kingdom…
"Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them...
Seek righteousness, seek humility, perhaps you will be hidden
In the day of the Lord's anger."
- from the Book of Zephaniah
O miseras hominem mentis, o pectora caeca!
While doing my standard web venturing to discover more of the typically benighted characteristics of the World System and its virulently extractive practices, I had splashed before my eyes these words in bold, flashy font:
"Position: A Relentless Pursuit."
It was an ad for a financial services firm, and the message is unmistakable.
Oh how splendid it is to be in the right place at the right time for the next big investment score.
As I've firmly posited on this webzine for years, when the haze has lifted and people recognize where they are, there are really only two such positions.
Ultimately you're either clothed in the righteousness of Christ and addressing others with His self-sacrificial love, or you are sweating and shaking under the nostrils of someone else exercising his will over you and telling you the sweetest sounding lies about the actual nature of your position.
That's it. Only two domains within which every individual positions himself or herself.
The World or the Kingdom.
The World features a million different spectacularly decorated storefronts, each one leading right into the oppressive existence that is the law. Its enforcers are not just sworn federal agents of some stripe but priests and peddlers extraordinarily proficient at cracking heads. The façade could be the imposing courtroom, glorious cathedral, or stratospheric skyscraper—doesn't matter, they all lead to the temple containing the altar with your soul's imprint engraved upon it.
The Kingdom is simply the manifestation of life that is in Jesus Christ through those who choose to die with Him and in turn share the bounty that is His inheritance.
Two relatively new books have caught my attention this month that elucidate this premise.
One is American Grace by David E. Campbell and Robert D. Putnam, a tedious catalogue of the ways American civil religion is played out. Gorged with demographic data elucidating the religious behavior of World inhabitants, it is sprinkled with delightful anecdotes to add that gratuitous human flavor (the peppered terminology of spiritual cannibalism there is wholly unintended, but quite fitting). While claiming to be about the wide diversity of religious life, nothing in it persuades me that it all isn't just the splattered blotches that comprise the monolithic Catholicist Nation.
The other is Cornered by Barry C. Lynn, who does a masterfully thorough if not annoyingly prosaic job of detailing the ways the commercial world is run by a few inveterate entities. His main thrust is that all companies are intractably beholden to what amount to a nation of monopolies. The pages of his tome are filled with meticulously distended examples of the way business enterprises slice and dice markets to their exploitive advantages, all perfectly legal, fully constitutional, and of course, inspeciously moral.
This is all so compelling because it audaciously demonstrates that the World is indeed quite the domineering hegemony. No matter what entity is squawking about what thing, be it commercial, political, or ecclesiastical, if it is not operating out of the precepts of Christ, it is doing so from those of Cain.
Certainly there are those who consider they have some affinity with this Christ fellow, but you'd be surprised how many betray that declared affection by hooking up with Cain. They do so in a number of ways, plugging into any of a number of Cain's law enforcement contraptions and coming under his prosecutorial domain.
Sign a W-4 at work? You are telling Cain to withhold some of your dough because you have put yourself under his authority. Since you can't be trusted to hand over the proper tribute at the due time (usually that's around April 15) you've got to willfully enlist your employer to do that.
Have a Social Security number? You are telling Cain that you can't love others and others can't love you enough for all of you to take care of one another for the duration of your earthly lives. It is Cain who must arrange your financial affairs by administering your pathetically tilted value assignments.
Trust that your church or charity is a 501c3 non-profit tax-exempt status? You are telling Cain that your organization can't be trusted with the wealth it would use to spread the gospel and expand the Kingdom. You've handed over to the World System the management of your work, because…
These things are perfectly legitimate and critically essential for those whose sin incessantly requires ruthless management by Cain's most dutiful agents. Doesn't matter how bouncy and gleeful and zealously on-fire-for-God you are, you're being squashed by Cain's thumb.
The individual who seeks to live exclusively under the government of the Kingdom, on the other hand, only requires
The I Am.
God explicitly defines the measure of strength and grace He offers to those who'd follow Him, and His words are filled with warnings of obligating oneself to the law instead.
But then, it makes perfect sense really.
As many entrances as there are to the World System, there are just as many Jesuses standing at the doors.
Tom Toles recently drew a marvelous political cartoon illustrating this truth and exposing the true intentions of the World System.
It is easy to see his implication. Uncle Sam there in the boat should be a tad more understanding of the character Economy's plight, perhaps doing a little bit more to help, like, say, tossing him a life-ring attached to a rope which is what most considerate folk would do, dammit.
Kind-hearted Christianly minded individuals may even jump right in and bleat, "Hey, wait a minute. I'd like to tell you that there is another boat! The one with Jesus on it! He's the one with the real life-line! Woo-hoo! Hey you drowning loser! Grab that rope and really be a winner in life! Awright!"
The problem is that this Jesus is simply not the one presented in Scripture. It is a very common conception of Jesus, one held by those who dine regularly on the delicious fare of humanism baked by the finest Jesuit chefs. The Jesus on that boat is just one of those thousands of World icon manifestations cleverly designed to be put in front of World operatives whose job it is to facilitate human sacrifice. Go ahead, really, imagine the face of the icon you worship on Uncle Sam in the picture. Whoever that is.
Barack Obama, or the bureaucrat handling your complaint (or interminably fumbling it). Ben Bernanke, or the banker holding your mortgage (well, not really—your mortgage is held by however-many investors, each with a nice little chunk of it). Pope Benedict, or your parish priest (or your through-and-through nondenominational church minister, rabidly anti-Catholic except when he accepts the Romanist benefits offered by making his assembly a tax-exempt non-profit). The cartoon makes a great case for the ubiquitous Life Coach, and most resolute Americanists are ludicrously serious enough to grab the weights and start lifting (think Oprah, Dr. Phil—I just saw a new one on the air, "Father Albert"...)
Anyone's face can be slapped over Uncle Sam's there, as long as it is a power broker of some stripe, has an inviting countenance, and is an idol of your affection for the protection of your earthly existence. It is definitely that person to whom you lift up your eyes for your salvation however you define that.
It cannot, however, be Jesus.
No, Jesus is the scraggly guy who swims up to you—no boat, no life raft, nothing but the slimy tattered clothes He's had on slogging through the ocean to get to you. He approaches with barely a breath left, and simply says, "Take my hand. Yes, I'm going under for good in a minute also, but I'd like you to come with me."
Oh my. Who in their right mind would join Him for that?
"I will tell you the truth," He adds as He gulps and spits water. "When we go under, we will be eaten by a large fish. Yes, you will die. But the fact is you have nothing already. You can face that truth and give up the struggle with me now, or you can keep flailing about hypnotically believing that the huge barbell the World throws at you there is actually a life line tossed by a smiling Jesus caricature.
"If you come with me, you will later emerge joyously alive, with a whole new body, all you've been fully meant to be. Even more, I will give you the Kingdom. Just wait until we get there—I really want to show it to you."
As you may have figured out, in contemplating Toles' cartoon here I could not help but think of the sign of Jonah which Jesus spoke about regarding His death, as well as the fact that Jesus said we must die to ourselves and be crucified with Him in order to truly live.
It is important to note that this character Economy is not some nebulous blob of fancy erudition. It is the whole of flesh-and-blood people producing things that are intended to make the lives of other flesh-and-blood people better. The key is that if these people are lost in their sin, they are nothing more than barely bobbing bodies about to drown. Toles is correct—the World cannot help but crush them under the weight of their own hopeless conditions. The World is just as much about making it look good, but that doesn't change the truth of our predicament.
Jesus loves each individual who makes up Economy and offers His life for each one. The World Jesuses not only can't do that, they are experts at fattening and seasoning you for placement on the human sacrifice altar.
Don't think you're a human sacrifice? How much are your quite substantive tax payments, and where do they go? How much is the massive amount of interest on your mortgage and debt bill and where does that go? How much is the tithing and giving contribution handed over to the ministers of guilt mollification, and what do you think they do with it? How much are all the excessive "markdowns" on all the spiffy products you buy, and where does all that go?
Like a hog on a spit, value extractors spend their entire lives salaciously basting you.
Toles revealed the skewer in the cartoon.
Lynn dangled the cooking strings in his book.
Putnam and Campbell highlighted all the garlic butter religious enticements that keep you over the flames for so long.
I close with a couple of especially noteworthy things that make the World–Kingdom contrast most striking.
One is in a Putnam and Campbell vignette about a woman who worked hard to regularly attend one of those trendy affinity groups many churches toy with to try to get people to find community. She expressed discouragement about the "very fluid" nature of the group which offered "no sense of deeper connection between the participants." She discovered a profound truth: the seduced Catholicist is so confused about meaningful relationship because she can't know The One Who Is Relationship, and all she can do is flutter about searching for the next social high. No matter how dazzling it looks, the Grand Civil Religious Extravaganza cannot satisfy the longing for God and His viscerally impassioned matters.
Then there is the section from Lynn's book titled appropriately, "The Politics of Milking." It is about the modern day yeoman farmer, and he describes the plight of one of the last remaining stalwart stewards of the earth. His point is obvious: There's just no way anyone can do this anymore with the overbearing World and its extraordinarily powerful sin management operation capturing and culling the value manifestations of the populace.
This captivated me because all too often I see followers of Christ feeling very alone in a World teeming with followers of Cain pretending to be followers of God. They identify all too readily with the yeoman farmers, each one living on their own land, cultivating it all by themselves, praying for others to step up and be authentically gratified about the bounty of its produce. They wade through the sewage of deceit trying to fellowship with those who are fully Christ's, but they only find Catholicists wearing some kind of Jesus mask and the full body armor of World obligations.
More tellingly, why can't the follower of Christ work with other followers of Christ in any endeavor no matter what it is—ministerial or commercial, rural or urban—amply providing a good or service without all the licenses, contracts, permits, charters, and compulsions the World browbeats them to have? Why can't that enterprise employ dozens, hundreds, even thousands of those who'd honor—indeed love the ones they serve without having Cain regulate the measure of that commission?
That there are so many frightened paranoid yeoman farmer Christians means the world is so wretchedly Catholicized that we all end up just striving to keep ourselves from being exploited. We think Cain helps us do that but he's only putting us on that altar! If we meant it we'd abandon Cain's protection racket and dash into the arms of Christ, and there find all the power we'd need to thrive.
The key is in the we.
Churches today go gonzo trying to invent with the next big spiritual thing to keep the "we" all cozy and comfy. All the newest marketing devices only represent scrawny little buds on the civil religion tree Cain already tends. People are desperately longing for rich abiding relationships with genuine representatives of the Kingdom, and all they get is the dry, sappy bark of Rome—in 217 flavors!
Oh the unhappy minds and blind hearts of men!
I honestly believe there is only one dynamic that is worth anything short of Jesus actually returning when He does.
The next major apocalyptic event comes only with incisively full recognition of the distinction between the World and the Kingdom, the commensurate understanding of the way the World produces false Jesuses to keep people looking and behaving "Christian," and the veritable mobilization of large numbers of Christ followers acting on this knowledge. When that happens there will be explosive revival, true authenticity among worshippers of God, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit spoken of by Joel and repeated by Peter.
It will only happen with that. Nothing else will do—nothing, absolutely nothing but the complete abjuration of the World System by large communities of those who have the fiercest desire to be His.
When God sees people wanting it enough, and showing it by leaving Cain and his agents to do their thing outside of the Kingdom work that Christ's disciples do, He'll make it happen. I even think He will make it happen when people simply take the smallest step and humbly pray to God for His deliverance from the body of death Cain administers.
Are you in a position to do that?
To then revel in its wonder and beauty and glory?
Some photographs inserted above may not have attributions.
Some were taken from the web. Please forgive me for not including attributions.
I make no money directly from this web effort.
Thanks nonetheless to those who posted them so I may reproduce them here.
This page was originally posted by David Beck at yourownjesus.net on October 30, 2010