Thursday, December 29, 2005

Beasts on Film

The two biggest movies out during the holidays now are The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and King Kong.

There is one thing that both have in common besides being reasonable hits, and I'll elaborate on that in a minute. But first some thoughts about the films.

I loved the Chronicles of Narnia book series, and like all C.S. Lewis fans I reveled in the way he made what was biblical into fantastic allegory. There are just flatly certain things we long to engage in, and brilliant, beautiful fantasy helps us connect with that. Lewis acknowledged wonderfully that God did not give us imaginations for nothing.

But I must say that I was disappointed with the film. As much as Christians all around have said that Disney kept all the "Christian" stuff in, for one, that's not exactly the point, and for two, it was still a grand Disney simulation. Being completely Disneyfied, it was not only missing critical dialogue, but all the uniquely enchanting Lewis charm was eviscerated. Some even said it was The Passion of the Christ for kids. Nah, it was more like The Lord of the Rings for kids, and I for one can't stand the Lord of the Rings.

King Kong was one of the groundbreaking films in the 1930's that blew away audiences, and it was as much its horror as its astounding (for its time) special effects. This year's effort was pure silliness. Director-of-epics Peter Jackson plus state-of-the-art special effects does not equal magnificent filmmaking, and I think everyone thought it would. There were just too many times my suspension of disbelief was brashly spat upon (when it so didn't have to be) that the whole thing just became exasperating. After about the 14th time the Naomi Watts character and Kong looked lovingly into each other's eyes, I'd had it.

So here're two widely promoted and very expensive features panned by me (with some reservations). The key thing that got me about both films, indeed the one thing that concerns me most about them, is that each had a beast.

A beast. In Chronicles, it was the lion. In Kong, it was the gorilla. Both were in some measure the featured character, if not the protagonist all together. And both died for the love of another. So in a very profound way, they were both Christ figures (with the lion Aslan the more unashamedly obvious one).

But the thing I want to point out here is that they were both mere images. They were deftly-drawn, graphically-impeccable, computer-generated images. Ironically, in Kong is a scene in which they are deep into the distant terrifying Skull Island, and the filmmaker in the film, played by Jack Black, comes across a wide gorge filled with Brachiosauruses (you know, the big hulking dinosaurs we used to call Brontosauruses). As he cranks his 1930's movie camera, he asks his male lead movie star to step into the scene. This is so the people who see the movie back home won't think what they are witnessing is fake.

Well, it is all fake. And the fakeness is looking more and more real. I couldn't help but think while I watched Chronicles, and confirmed watching Kong, "they worshipped an image of the beast." Now I don't exactly think moviegoers will bow and sing hymns to either image at the theater.

But if they don't know Christ-- the true risen Jesus Christ of Scripture-- then how susceptible will they be when the media experts make remarkable images of things they want them to worship?

Thing is, they already do. The question is how much further lost will the Catholicist be when he or she gets sucked into better and more meaningful idol worship, as produced by the grand Walt Disney simulation machine?

Want to see a list of a lot of those idols? Click here.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Best Television Show Ever

One of the most wonderful matters of all time is the show that is being broadcast right now on channel 7. (I'm blogging about it now because I saw it when it was shown last week.)

It is "A Charlie Brown Christmas." No, it is not merely the best Christmas show ever, but the best television thing ever to beam across that medium. Why is it the wonderful matter that it is?

It is thoroughly and enchantingly imbued with all that does matter: relationship, discovery, accomplishment in all of its bountiful glory.

In and around a Vince Guaraldi soundtrack that is phenomenally brilliant (something few would deny), children interact with one another to find what the season is really about. Linus actually takes precious secular airtime to speak some of the most beautiful words ever spoken. They are from the book of Luke, chapter 2, verses 8 to 14. All they do is make plain pronouncement of the One thing that rescues man from his utter abject desperation.

Charlie Brown represents that part of us that desires what is real, and in his quest he encounters so much turgid opposition that it seems hopeless. But he perseveres (the accomplishment), he does so with the eventual support of his friends (the relationship), and he finds what it is all about after all (the discovery). It all concludes with all of them singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," and every time I see that part I weep buckets.

Why on earth would I do that? It's a cartoon for goodness sake! It's not even one of my favorite Christmas hymns! And they're all standing there next to a dog house in the snow, all part of mediocre comic strip drawing (as Charles Schulz himself confessed)!

I do it because all of who Jesus Christ is and what He's done is made profoundly meaningful. That one moment as they sing and shout "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown" is like touching paradise.

Why is Jesus all you would ever want? Click here to see.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Dramatized Pope

A couple of renditions of Pope John Paul II's life were on television the past couple of weeks. The ABC version was called Hear My Cry, and CBS featured Jon Voight as the pontiff. Looking at Voight's regal depiction of John Paul in the teaser promos made me think of one thing: yes, this man is the Ruler of the World.

I saw a bit of each episode, and the little I saw was filled with all the typical pleasantries of mundane Catholicist drama featuring every facet of his person: the courage-- bringing down communism; the sensitivity-- attending children's events; the inclusivity-- dining with individuals of diverse religions and ethnicities; and the mercy--sitting with his would-be assassin in prison. It was all peppered with the pithy wisdom of the man who keeps the World on track to destruction.

Neither show got many viewers, at least according to the expectations of the networks. You'd think this is because no one cares, and that may indeed be the case, but it isn't because the Pope has no meaning to them. Most Catholicists just don't know how much the Pope is in charge of their sin management, and that's probably just fine with the Pope. The less they know about his true role as Cain's legacy, the more they'll continue in their evildoing, and the more he may continue to be their condemner. It's best they just see him as some stuffy religious character who was a pretty decent world figure, his anti-progressivism aside.

Can't say it isn't good work. Just look at the publicity. Pretty spiffy.

But the fact is he'd be out of a job if everyone actually allowed the Son to take out their evildoing completely.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Look at

My latest take on the World is at my webzine The Catholicist Nation. I critique U2 lead singer Bono's, a program he feels is going to eliminate poverty. I don't think that will exactly happen, and I write about why.

Go here to read it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Roman Catholic Church Is the Government

On the same day the press leads with the story about President Bush's latest nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court being all about religion, it is revealed that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles allowed at least eight priests to continue their sacerdotal duties even after receiving formal complaints that they had molested children.

The media's spin will always bring about the desired result for the hyper-attentive populace of the Catholicist Nation. What is the reality verses the perception in all of this? It is so frequently laid right out there by the media, but people are so Catholicized they don't see it. Consider if you will:

Perception: A nominee for the Supreme Court should not be given a "religious" litmus test.
Reality: Religion is always a criterion for consideration of a judge. If it was revealed that the nominee was a practicing Satanist, do you think for two seconds he or she would be confirmed? Even when new Chief Justice John Roberts declared at his confirmation hearing that his own "personal beliefs" would not interfere with his conduct as a jurist, this does not mean that it doesn't. In fact, it is foolish to believe that he is "belief neutral," if you will, and yet he must play the Catholicist game like everyone else does.

Perception: The priest molestation scandal is about a few bad priests who will be duly punished.
Reality: The priest scandal is a direct result of the core practices of the church itself. Everything is about religion-- just as Bush's Supreme Court nomination is, yet we're surprised when he admits as much. It is all about religion because everyone is serving one of two masters, God or the devil. What is noteworthy about this is that the devil never looks like the devil-- how stupid would that be. In this instance the devil moves in such ways to get priests to commit horrific crimes by working diligently through the centuries forming an profoundly idolatrous institution with occultic hierarchies like the priesthood. It allows the real power-brokers to have wonderful excuses to look good by promising to fix the problem.

Perception: People who actually see the corruption in the Roman Catholic Church will be so disheartened that they will actually leave it.
Reality: To the devout Protestant that would seem to be something to cheer about, but the fact is without something like this ministry to mitigate their sin, the Catholic will flounder and it will be agony. Even if they fall back on their "Jesus," he is still a straw-man Jesus, a fantasy unable to do anything but tickle them for a moment. Others may introduce their Jesuses to the Catholic, but the Catholicist Nation has so many counterfeit Jesuses that all it amounts to is switching clubs. For some this offers a bit of stimulation in a hopeless world; for others it is so daunting that they'll stay in the idolatry, dejected, despondent, angry and hurt, but with nowhere else to go. The only place anyone may go and find true joy and freedom is in the embrace of the Jesus of Scripture.

Perception: Those responsible in the Roman Catholic Church should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Reality: The Roman Catholic Church IS the government. Do you ever notice that when they speak about the priest scandal, prosecution by the authorities is rarely ever mentioned? This is not just because the Roman Catholic Church has their own disciplinary procedures, but because it is the prosecutorial administration for all sinners. Sometimes it acts out of its ecclesiastical manifestion. The form with which we're most familiar is the federal government, or the local district attorney. They've all been duly authorized condemners since Cain was first assigned the task after he murdered Abel.

So when newly-named Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is said to "have religion," and that this was even a defining factor in her selection, why is this news? It is because Cain is so good at making so many believe it is news, when it really isn't.

The media know the perception game is just so much more fun. If we actually knew the reality, it would be boring.

Or just too damn threatening.

Oh that they would know The One Who Truly Loves.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

More of the Same in Major League Baseball

I've spent a lot of time exposing what I call the "Aristocratic Conspiracy" in major league baseball. Just thought I'd point out that this year's American League playoffs feature teams from the top three metropolitan areas (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago). The fourth team (Boston) is from the seventh largest. Over in the National League two of the teams are from the tenth and eleventh largest areas (Houston and Atlanta, respectively).

This doesn't happen by accident. It is because of the nature of the conspiracy: the major leagues simply know they can't survive if these top large media market teams do not frequently appear in the playoffs and vie for the World Series. Free agency makes that happen, and it is no different than giving the Yankees an extra out every time they go to bat.

I listened to a morning radio show a couple weeks ago in which famed pundit and christened baseball expert George Will said that the $200 million the Yankees spent on their players this year had bought so little. I wanted to pull his head through my car radio, grab it at the sides and shake it so his brain would be put back into its correct position, saying plainly: "George, the Yankees are in first place." Now I actually like George Will, he's a smart guy, but this is just too damn sycophantic. My respect for him as an authentically articulate iconoclast just dropped several notches.

Indeed I do feel resigned because I like baseball so much, and yet I see how horribly it is exploited. And I can't stay silent, hoping at least a few others would see what I see, and -- after a few ripples are made -- hope against all hope that I can enjoy it once again.

For more, check out my page on baseball here.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A Take on "Lord of War"

I saw Lord of War with Nicholas Cage the other night, and I enjoyed it because I like finely crafted morality plays even though it was, indeed, spiritually wrenching. What made the film especially profound was that it exhibited several characteristics of the Catholicist Nation. Just wanted to note a few of them here:

1. The Catholicist will rationalize his questionable behavior so frequently that eventually he will become an expert at it. This is essentially the practice of casuistry, making some sophisticated case for an act no matter how evil it is. The World System militant operatives' influence in enabling this practice is brilliantly displayed in Lord of War. Cage's character knows that his elite gun-running operation contributes to the death of thousands, and his wife confronts him about it. He struggles but is resigned to his addiction because he confesses "I'm so good at it." He takes what is good (accomplishment from the talent God gave each of us to do great things for Him), and in his devotion to Mammon he twists it into a counterfeit that destroys (the essence of idolatry). His pat response to all who censure him in some form or another is that he is not responsible for the things his buyers do, or that those who use his weapons are legitimately defending themselves. Makes you shake your head, either because these claims are too stupid or, worse, that we never refuse to let them slide.

2. The Catholicist cannot escape the wretchedness of his world, no matter how valiantly he tries to evade it with his sophisticated rationalizations. At one point in the film, Cage's character says, "Someone once said, 'Evil prevails when good men fail to act.' They should just say 'Evil prevails.'" The choking despair reflected here is the most pronounced declaration the Catholicist can ever make. It is truly all he's ever left with. The only way out is by grasping the extended hand of the One who can actually rescue him from it: Jesus Christ. But in the fully Jesuitized Catholicist Nation where is He? He is certainly portrayed in any of his thousand straw-man forms, but they're just religious toys. He could also vibrantly be in the hands and feet and hearts of his disciples, but where are they? If they're grafted to the World through things like 501c3 contracts, then their pleas are all too often seen as mere solicitations to join another club.

3. Without Christ, the Catholicist will always fully be engaged in cutting down others in some form or another. In the World, all motivating desires, concerns, and convictions come from fear. How could it not be? Who's really there to be there, to care for you, to love you? No one! Cage's character even had a trophy wife, a top-class model throughly devoted to him. But his conception of her was one of a "straw-woman" if you will. The Agent of Cain makes his affections known to the Catholicist, but just as driven by fear he's the top gun-runner of them all. He deftly uses the education and media power networks to make sure conflict is sizzling wherever however. It is pointed out at the end of the film that the top five gun-dealing nations are the very same ones that occupy the permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.

4. The Catholicist cannot help but be on the track from deception to murder. In other words, unless he is in the embrace of Christ and out of the workings of the World, all of the lying, deception, deceit, falsehood, and manipulation will always lead to his abject destruction at some point later in time. This is really it, what the World operatives want. The subversive directive for the committed Romanist official is for as many people to die without Christ as possible. If they are indeed "disguised as servants of righteosness" as it is written in Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, and doing exactly what their master wants, then all they can be about is getting people dead while deep in the worship of Cain. The film does a striking job of depicting that "body of death"--places like Sierra Leone and Liberia, hell on earth, that way only because the lie got started somewhere, somehow.

5. The Catholicist can be extraordinarily likeable, indeed there is nothing he does that he is not convinced in some way is very good. But it is all just evil. The reprobate Catholicist has his conduct down so durably that he has expertly caked it with spectacular moral pretense. This is the defining aspect of Cage's character. He is the quintessential anti-hero, we actually root for him in his neverending predicament. Through all the agony we still cheer him in his joy of making that big deal with the corrupt warlord-- it resonates with us, that we'd be as successful in our endeavors. At the end of the film it appears that he does "get his," to our great relief-- we simply can't be allowed to be too pleased with his phenomenal exploits. But after a good tongue-lashing from the Interpol agent who's chased him around the world, Cage's character says, "My wife and son have left me, my family has disowned me, and my brother is dead. I do appreciate the gravity of my situation. But I will not spend one second in a court." Why? Because the government values his service too much. He is a now a fully deputized agent of Cain. What else can he then do but continue to lay waste to more people's lives, both personally and professionally?

Sure the film is patently anti-war, anti-guns, expose-the-truth-of-what's-what, but in this point it can't be emphasized enough: The government is evil, indeed, but it is a necessary evil for all those who refuse to come to Christ to get out of that evil. Want to pretend you're not evil? That's okay, Rome is there in all its gun-running glory to smack you around, to manage the Lie so you don't find out about it too soon and escape the inevitable death by actually leaving to go to Christ and His kingdom, and to the joy and freedom that is there.

And that's the key to this film. If you're a thorough-going Catholicist, it's just an idiosyncratically fun movie with violence and sex and intrigue and stuff-- it's just a Hollywood production, it's not really like that. But for someone who wants out of the hell it depicts, a hell all too real to one who is authentically honest with himself, maybe he won't just resign in the despair.

Maybe he'll turn to Him.

What does that term "Catholicist" mean? If you want to know, click here.

For a little bit more about this Jesus, click here.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

God's Wonderful Matters

A long time ago I dreamed of having my own website in which I could just write about the things I see that destroy people, things that maybe those people would look at and see for themselves and not be mixed up with those things anymore and find true joy and freedom and contentment. I planned to call it "The Pascalian Cynic," first for the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal, an iconoclastic figure of the highest order; and secondly for the kind of person I see myself as: a cynic who so desires to see authentic expressions of the life that God made in each person. I find that I either rejoice in that expression or I withdraw because it pains me so to watch so many so willingly and often gleefully dance with death. In many ways I've been trained by good Catholicists not to say anything because, well of course, I'd be intolerant narrow-minded bigoted and all the rest of it.

So now there's the Internet. Joy! Here I can boldly lay out my case about what the World is really like and what it is really doing to draw people from that One source of genuine contentment. Yes, I confess, there is a measure of safety here. I do enjoy this-- writing in my modest webzine The Catholicist Nation and blogging here-- but I also know that this cannot be a fellowship community, that I must be with people, with them in physical proximity, worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth. This is the vibrancy of the Acts 2 church. Sadly, I believe many consider the only way truth-telling communities can thrive, at least for now, is in cyberspace. While understandable in the sense that the church has been so corrupted by the World, we cannot settle for mere cyber-interaction. Jesus wants us to be His "flesh and bones," as Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians.

I've called this blog "Wonderful Matters" because my absolute favorite passage in the Bible is the entirety of Psalm 131. Here it is, it is rather short, but in it you may see why I've adopted the title.

"My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore."

It is phen0menally amazing to me that God has wonderful matters for us, most of which we don't even need to know about. In fact, I believe the first step to getting derailed and screeching headlong to one's destruction is to try to figure out things that one shouldn't be trying to figure out. Those engaging in such presumption take the place of God--it was the very first sin in the Garden! The critical wonderful matter here, however, is that one is with Him. Once we turn to Him and allow Him to do that with what is His, once we tell Him we'd like to do whatever it is He wants for us, once we enter into His family as His adoptive children and as such rejoice in being heirs of all that is His, He lets us in on an extraordinary breadth of understanding regarding that which matters.

The first thing, though, is to quietly, serenely walk with Him knowing He provides--just like the weaned child whose hope, whose life, is in Him.

As it is, that is too wonderful.

And it makes me all the more want to direct people to that wonder and beauty and grace as they trudge through a violently wretched World. By all means I don't know everything. That's exactly the point. All I need to do is "know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge" (also from Ephesians). I'm a cynic not so much because I hate the World, but because I see enough of how awesome the Kingdom is, how magnificent His care is, how profound His mercy is, and how stunningly people are convinced they're into wonderful matters without Him.

Look here for my take on why Jesus Christ is the source of anything that matters at all.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Help for New Orleans Part II

One of the remaining issues now along the gulf coast in the wake of hurricane Katrina's devastation is what the final "body count" will be. By some estimates it will be as many as 10,000 dead. One of the questions frequently asked of someone who believes in God is, "Okay, so we ask God for help. Well, what about them. What about those who died. How come God didn't help them?"

The funny thing is that in all the media-generated discussion about whether God is responsible for this or for that or for none of it or for all of it, it is never brought up that Jesus addressed this exact question.

Look at the book of Luke, chapter 13. The account is not in any of the other gospels, it is only in Luke. Here some people ask Him, essentially, "Hey, Jesus, what's the deal with that tower that fell on a bunch of people killing them? And what about the people who were sacrificed for pagan rituals, what's the deal with that?" (In other words, "Why do terribly bad things happen to good, fine people?")

Read Jesus' response for yourself. Right there. Read it. Then you'll really know what the deal is. Paraphrased here for you, Jesus basically says that whether any of them was good or bad is beside the point. Oh, what is the point then? To Jesus, the point is

Are you, the one asking these questions, good or bad? And if you are bad, then you should probably think about being good. Because someday you're going to die, too. And where will you be then?

In fact, Jesus doesn't pull any punches. He says here--as He does in other places-- that no, you're not good. You really need something, ahem, Someone, to make you good. Indeed you're so bad you're dead already. So that stuff about falling towers and human sacrifices? Pointless really.

You're already dead.

So maybe you should think about being alive.

And the only way to be alive is with Him.

"I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, even though he dies, will live." That's from the book of John. Check that out too, while you're at it.

It can't get any more clear than that.

And it can't get any more urgent, because if you're asking that same question, He's talking to you.

For a bit more on why Jesus is the only way to life, click here.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Help for New Orleans

Looking at all the people now screaming for help in New Orleans after the devestation of Katrina, hearing about how much more George Bush could be doing, listening to only the stories on the media of people whining and complaining and groaning, I just wonder what would happen if they actually asked God for help.

No, actually asked Him for help, not demanded it or cajoled it or bargained for it. It is just that I read in the Bible about just asking and you'll be fed. He fed thousands with a few fish and bread. He said we're more valuable than some birds. He said if we asked we'd be able to move mountains. I'm just saying that's what I read in the Bible.

I actually think there are some people doing great charitable things for God there. I really think there are a lot of people doing that. I think some people are being really blessed in some way somehow there. But it seems all I hear about are those who're being shafted-- at least that's what the media tells us. I think, this is just what I think, that we're being given the story they want to give us so we'll all give more homage to Cain's agent. Think about how much you hear about how little George Bush is doing-- "Come on, get crackin' Mr. President you loser get your rear in gear and get us stuff."

Again, why don't they ask God instead of George? I truly think they'd find abundance, miraculous abundance, and all they have to do is ask-- and maybe just thank Him a little bit.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

What We're Supposed to Think About Origins of Life

In the Los Angeles Times this morning there was a feature piece and an editorial of note regarding the origins of life. The Times is pretty set on ridiculing anyone who doesn't buy into the story of evolution*, and today's episode was no different. The interesting thing is that in smugly dismissing those crazy creationist young-earthers, they are indeed revealing the inadequacies of many Christian's understanding of what really happened millions of years ago. All this makes for more fun in the Culture War.

The feature article was about the people near Palm Springs who've built some large dinosaur models we can all see from the freeway, and with their expanding "Dinosaur Park" they're making the case that dinosaurs and humans lived together at one time. Again, the entire tenor of the piece is that these people are really stupid for not getting the realtrueactual science of the issue.

The editorial is from columnist Rosa Brooks who takes her shot by revealing the hypocrisy of a religious community who is asking for intelligent design (thoroughly ridiculed in the piece, as expected) to be taught in schools along with evolution. Her point is that the very same people who assert the truth of their view are now being relativists by saying a variety of views should be taught.

What Brooks doesn't get is that the people who truly know--one of whom, Hugh Ross, was quoted in the dinosaur story-- firmly posit that Darwinism is false, and that it is true that God created the world and the life in it with no help from something that never happened, namely evolution. The problem is that at this point it is very difficult to get misled biologists (and newspaper columnists for that matter) to see the plain flaws in Darwinism, and that we must settle for at least putting on the table the much more reasonable prospect of God--yes, I'm not afraid to state it is the God, not just some "intelligent designer"-- setting it all up over millions of years of creation that are described in Genesis as "days" only as a literary tool.

Perhaps when the sound arguments of intelligent design are indeed taught in the classroom next to the fantasy of evolution, then people who truly want to know the truth will see it. I really believe, however, that people like Brooks, the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, and all those beholden to Cain and his city will continue to brainwash children with World System theology further destroying their souls. They like to live in and around the destruction of their own souls, and can't fathom anyone not doomed as they are.

Oh, and what would Brooks say about this? That I'm the one who's stupid and not paying attention to real science and all that? Well then, let's talk about it. Let's look at exactly what happened millions of years ago. Let's look at exactly what the "truth" of evolution is, and why then intelligent design is being offered to consider. And yes, Rosa, to your credit, a lot of Christians should do exactly the same thing, because it is indeed sad that people who unwisely blither about things like dinosaurs and humans living together do a great disservice to the gospel.

But then, that's probably why they're interviewed all the time and show up in the newspapers and on the television. They can be made to look stupid by the media powers-that-be, and that's just fine with them.

BTW, astrophysicist Hugh Ross has some awesome things to say about all this. Check him out at Reasons to Believe. He's got the biblical and scientific case for what really happened millions of years ago.

To know who the power brokers are in the World System ("Cain and his city")-- the ones that are so phenomenally successful in getting so many to believe in things like Darwinism, go to this page of links.

(*By evolution, I'm using the standard definition that elaborate life forms developed from other earlier more-primitive life forms by purely naturalistic means. I am not refuting natural selection, which has clearly occurred throughout natural history to some degree or another.)

I don't presume to be an expert in biology, so please let me know of your expertise! What do you think?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"We're Not Afraid! Really We Are!--er--Aren't--er..."

I just put up my latest webzine home page piece about the novel web gallery of all those who "Aren't Afraid" in the face of grave terrorist threats. Click here and it'll take you there.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

What Is It That She Really Wants?

I am fascinated by the attention Cindy Sheehan is getting. I'm not surprised, because she is the perfect tetherball for both armies in the culture war to slap around the pole. I am reticent to blog about it for fear of getting sucked in myself. I offer just a few additional thoughts on it, only because I believe no one, the least of whom is Mrs. Sheehan herself, knows what it is exactly she wants. In fact I don't believe anyone who is on one side or the other knows exactly what they want.

I noted the other day that she wore a t-shirt with "I want the truth" above a peace sign. Does she really want the truth? My conjecture, and please correct me if I'm way off here, is that the truth she wants is to get her grief assuaged after a good scolding of George Bush. She's literally expecting some sort of cathartically emotional massage afterwards. As such, maybe it would be good for her to give Bush a thorough "what's what," because then she will get her truth: the profound realization that whatever she says will mean squat, that after any sort of purging she'd be precisely where she started.

Maybe at that point she'll actually see The Truth.

Later I caught the blogged message she offered to the bloodhou-- er-- media, who gobbled it up like giblets and gravy, in which she declared that it wasn't about her but it was about the war. I must say that, yes, quite a bit of truth is here. It is about the war. It is about the war each of us wages in our hearts against one another, a brutal conflagration without which there would be no other wars. None in Iraq, none in Sudan, none in Sri Lanka, none anywhere else. So...

Yes Mrs. Sheehan! You go after The War! You tell the Peacemaker to use the only diplomacy that ever worked, the Son of God dying for you to end your war--and then-- you go girl!-- then you go tell the world about this Peacemaker and what He did. And what He does.

And what He will do to take out all wars forever.

But be careful. Because when He takes out all war, those who wage it will go with it.

And it's not just George Bush who's in trouble.

For a bit more on the culture war, visit here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Niger:How Many Times Has This Happened Now?

I was thinking about the situation in the African country of Niger, currently enduring a famine the media typically term a "humanitarian crisis." As I looked at the sparse attention given to it, I noted how much even the most well-intentioned people just don't get it.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assert-- I know, this is daring-- that the reason for the abject ignorance is because they all refuse to look in the one place where they'd get it, and that place is in the pages of the Bible.

What does the Bible tell us in light of what is going on all around us?

It tells us that God put Cain in charge of the World System to mitigate the sin of those who refuse to put their trust in Him. (You can read about it in chapter four of the book of Genesis.) The way Cain and his agents do that is

1. Build a city and command allegience to receive the benefits of its glory.
2. Entice people into destitution in order to rescue them.
3. Gratify the wide demand for violence among his followers by engaging in war and writing profound mythologies.
4. Use the humanist modality that man alone can be good enough to solve all problems-- philanthropy, community service, and the like.
5. Keep religious people in state-churches through incorporation as non-profits, thus grafting them to the World, oath-bound and fearful.
6. Exploit that fear in dozens of imaginative ways to keep people in subjegation. (Just look at the dazzling campaign of terrorism-counter terrorism.)
7. Mobilize people with the spectacular media extravaganza, the idea: "Whatever the media cover is worthy of our attention, what they don't is meaningless."

This is in contrast to Jesus' way, which is to
1. Take out the one thing that causes the problem to begin with: man's sin.
2. Interact vibrantly with those whose trust is in Him.
3. Demonstrate real love so they'll know and express love themselves, driving out fear in the process.
4. Pour out blessings upon blessings (material and spiritual) that exceeds anything Cain can offer.
5. Mobilize His followers to step out in His love, and with His gifts change the hearts of those they encounter.
6. Use Cain and his city as a footstool-- the key idea: people will see the horrific bankruptcy of the city and turn to the Kingdom.
7. Establish a community of those who truly care about one another, and will sing hymns and praises to Him out of the fertile joy that results.

What does all this have to do with Niger? It is simply that the Niger famine destitution problem has happened a million times over history. Why does it keep happening?? It is because no one ever considers trying the One thing that would work! Christ!

When asked to consider this option, as I am asking right now, the humanitarian powers-that-be almost invariably say, "Oh but that's just religion. We need more than pie-in-the-sky piddle. These people need to get fed!"

Of course they do! But you've tried food banks and World Banks and foreign aid and all the other things for years and years and years and they still come up short. No one has ever tried Jesus--the real Jesus, not one of the fake ones that abound in the World. The real Jesus fed 5,000 people with a half-a-basket of fish and bread. Another time he fed 4,000 with the same amount of capital. What is interesting about these stories is that when the people came back for more, do you know what Jesus said? He said no. He said no! Oh my, how mean and cruel of Him.

Why did He do that? He explained it very clearly. He knew that they needed more than just food. They needed understanding. They needed wholeness. They needed healing. They needed to be assured their souls were safe in the hands of the Living God. With all of this, ahhh, then they could use those wonderful gifts God gave them to work and plant and sow and harvest and feed themselves for a long time.

This is what the people in Niger need right now. As much as they need any food, they need The Word, and then from Him come a whole bunch of "little" Words who sow.

It's funny, the director of the Inter Region Economic Network in Africa, James Shikwati said, "When aid money keeps coming, all our policy-makers do is strategize on how to get more. They forget about getting their own people working to solve these very basic problems. In Africa, we look to outsiders to solve our problems, making the victim not take responsibility to change."

Mada Roufa, an employee of Doctors Without Borders, added, "We need to find other long-term solutions. We can't just address emergencies."

There you go. Cain's way is to keep people in that destititution so he can keep rescuing them and showing everyone what a great guy he is. People who don't try Jesus keep buying it, and keep going hungry.

But then there's The Long-Term Solution.

What do you think about that Solution? Why don't people try it?

For a bit more about how to be a part of the Solution, click here.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Misguided Siege

Who in blazes is Cindy Sheehan? She's exploded onto the news as the woman who's camped outside President Bush's Texas ranch and will stay there until the president meets with her for one hour to explain why her son died during combat in Iraq. And why do we know all about her? The media have grafted the most powerful, muscular legs on the story, and it is now running all over the country. If anyone with any mind thinks about it, though, what exactly is going to be said should the desired conversation take place? It would probably go something like this:

Mrs. Sheehan: "Mr. President, why oh why did my son have to die in a war waged with the most deceptive pretense, for a cause that at this point in time is extraordinarily questionable?"

The President: "I'm sorry you feel that way and I am very sad about the loss of your son. But we are winning the battle for freedom and democracy for which your son died, and if we stop now the terrorists will win."

Is there possibly anything else that can be said here? Would anything be added that we don't already know? Does this amount to anything beyond the provocatively violent psychological pugilism with which the media and their patrons satiate themselves?

What I'd like to do is camp just outside of Mrs. Sheehan's entrenchment and ask her for an hour of time. What would that conversation be like?

Me: "Mrs. Sheehan, the fact that you grieve so viscerally over your son means something. I don't think you'd dismiss knowing exactly why that happened, but whatever George Bush tells you will mean nothing. That is because whether you want to accept it or not, George Bush is assigned the task of kicking evildoers all over the yard, and he will do that job no matter what you or a billion anti-war protesters do here or anywhere. In fact, right now you and your emotional turmoil are being prodded and played and spun--none of these people care about you. They'll pretend they do, but they don't--it's all just a game and you're the football.

"If you'd really pay attention to who George Bush really is and what he is about, you'd see that the only way for you to find solace is to end your addiction to the World, and enter into genuine joy and peace in the embrace of the One who actually loves you. If you stay here, you'll continue to be kicked around. If you go to the One who invites you into His kingdom, you'll be free."

Mrs. Sheehan: "What are you talking about--who is this 'One' who actually loves me?"

Me. "He is Jesus Christ, the One who died for you, and is the Way the Truth and the Life."

Mrs. Sheenan: (She could conceivably answer just about anything, but let's assume she does say...) "But I believe in Jesus."

Me: "Really? You may be trusting in a brilliant straw-man Jesus, because you are here trying to find answers from the World System of which Jesus is not a part. This here is Cain's domain, Cain, a murderer and liar from the beginning, his contemporary charges also murderers and liars as long as God allows the System to thrive. And it does so every time someone commits a sin and doesn't seek the forgiveness of Christ and wholeness in Him. Yes, God put this System in place for those who don't want Him and His offer of true freedom. With Cain the World was put out of His presence, signified by a mark that gives it the power of seven-fold vengeance. George Bush has that power now, and he is just carrying out his sworn duty to prosecute habituated evildoers-- here, there, wherever."

Mrs. Sheehan: "So you're saying the war is good? My son is dead because of that war."

Me: "Please don't misunderstand me. The war in Iraq is a wretchedly horrific thing. It should not be happening, period. No one should ever die like that in those kinds of things. But those things are there, because sinners are not only around, but they like sinning, and lay waste to everything in their path. Only two options are available in this scenario: Cain or Christ. Bush does the Cain thing. For you to presume the president will do anything different because of your little siege here is nothing less than misguided. To believe that anything he says to you would not be the most abject deceit is downright foolish. Unless, of course, you are just as much part of the World System and enjoy the game you are playing. In that case, please forgive me, I'm speaking to the wrong person."

Would Mrs. Sheehan understand this? If she allowed Jesus pull the scales from her eyes she would. If she stayed blind she'll keep being led by blind people. So yeah, in that case I'd be just as much of a fool for talking to her as she is for talking to the president.

What's more, if she were to ask Jesus to free her, guess where the media goes? They're outta there in a flash. Which is why, of course, the media would never in a million years cover my conversation with Mrs. Sheehan. They really have no clue at all about His kingdom, they want the prize fight, Sheehan vs. Bush. But, that's okay, they're doing their World thing.

At least Mrs. Sheehan would find True Joy.

What do you think? Would Mrs. Sheehan see it? Or am I indeed talking to a brick wall?

And if you're wondering, Why Jesus? <-- Click here.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Are You Afraid?

No, really, are you afraid? If so, why? What exactly is it you are afraid of? We all have fears of some things, certainly. But have you ever noticed that someone may be genuinely frightened about things you wouldn't even think of fearing, while you may express great fear about something another shrugs off.

The fact is, we are all afraid of some things, and in a very real sense, all of our diverse fears are surface manifestations of those core universal fears. Funny how it's always pointed out that more people fear speaking in front of a large audience than they fear death. But there is great truth in this phenomena: It's not that we fear death, we actually fear something else.

We fear loneliness. Really, that's it, that's the core fear. We don't want to be separated from those things that truly give our lives meaning: being with another and liking them and them liking us. The most simple and definitive reason some commit suicide is that they fear the abject pain of loneliness, despair, and boredom that they are now enduring more than the imminent death they are about to impose upon themselves.

But how is it possible for us to have that vibrant interaction we so desire, when there is death and the end of hope for that interaction? There is a way, a very real route to relationship and away from death, but sadly too many don't seriously consider taking it because clever people throughout history have disguised it and driven people into their ultimately worthless world. The Catholicist Nation is about exposing those designs and perhaps even helping to convey some idea of Who that Way is.

To find Him, first look here.

Then for a bit more on the Catholicist Nation and its vast deception, look here.

What is fear? Is there another option to cope with it than Jesus?