Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Subtleties of Human Sacrifice, Not So Subtle

Here's the latest LA Times front page full of irony.

Three major stories here, at least considered major by the Times judgment. The biggest is the one about the California attorney general, Jerry Brown, formally arguing the case that Proposition 8, an initiative that put into the state constitution the words "Marriage is only between a man and a woman"--is a violation of basic human rights.

I wonder if he'd just as easily proclaim that prohibitions against rape or child molestation are a violation of basic human rights. Nah, I didn't think so. I guess I just wonder where he gets the idea that sodomy is okay.

The answer is nowhere.

The only place where it is acceptable and from which come all sorts of strident sophistry in favor of it is the minds of "progressives," and because there are enough of them, not a lot really, but enough, then it is pronounced a human right. Seems quite democratic, that's for sure--it must be good.

Because so many of those supporters hold the most powerful megaphones in the media, that sophistry gets uttered the loudest. But it has little to do with democracy in action. It has everything to do with powerful people capturing as many souls as they can for as much human sacrifice as they can get.

Very few people can make the most cogent argument against sodomy that there is, because they too are tied to the World System that gives its pontificators the highest platform. All you get are the most destructive salvos in the culture war.

Followers of Christ do not argue against sodomy because they have any self-interest at all, as if they are harmed by what another does sexually. They are in in His hands, their selves wholly given up to Him. It can't be about them.

They argue against it because homosexual activity destroys souls, just as much as heterosexual adultery destroys souls. The follower of Christ actually loves the one who is the victim of sodomy no matter how much that individual is hammered with the idea that it is who he is and that he must be true to himself and that he must not betray the great liberating cause of sexual autonomy.

The follower of Christ merely wants the seduced homosexually-minded individual to understand how much he is a walking, talking human sacrifice for a powerful liar somewhere.

This is precisely what makes the other two stories on that front page there so full of irony. The stuff happening in Mexico is ghastly, and it would seem few would disagree. The problem is the whole culture is wrapped up in retribution. Entire mausoleums are built to the warrior victims of the drug-war carnage, and their images are painted or carved with the most ethereally belligerent depictions you could imagine. The virulent culture of death that reigns there is only symptomatic of the insatiable need of World inhabitants from the grandest palaces to the filthiest slums for

Human sacrifice.

Then there is that third story, about the 10% pay cut. So what is it? Are these people worth x amount of wages or not? Are they or aren't they? What's the story?

The story is that the only way you can be truly wealthy is by Christ. He already did the sacrifice. The end. Without Christ, you and everyone else will be spinning, getting dizzy flailing about trying to get just how much you are worth. As it is here, 10% is being hacked off by Caesar. Could have just as easily been that for some time the workers were being overpaid and they were doing the hacking, making human sacrifice of taxpayers. But yeah, by the world's measure, who'd know?...

Just so you do know, Jesus said (and I kind of trust what He says, since He kind of made the universe and probably knows how it works), that your value would be 100 times what you think is so great. Not just in heaven but right now. The only thing is that He put two conditions on that bounty.

1. Gotta give up all that stuff you thought was so great--give it up, all of it. And
2. Expect to be reviled for it.

Wow. That's too high a price for many, I know. But, here's the thing, though...

That Times front page.

Look at it. That's what you're left with. And if you rationalize it away like so many do, then you're just as much into doing human sacrifice as anyone else.

Or, yeah-- again,

You can be free from the body of death.

There is only One Way.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Industry Standard for Usury Deception

It's kind of interesting, the two big financial stories of the day, placed side-by-side on all the newspapers and newssites.

The two stories: The assessment of the fallout from major investment player Bernard Madoff's elaborate Ponzi operation, and the Federal Reserve's slashing the federal funds rate to a quarter of a percent-- which is, for all intents and purposes, zero.

For those who dare to look at these items through the eyes of Christ, they may actually see the insidious ways imaginative deception is used as the chief tool of World operatives sworn to sustain expansive levels of human sacrifice.

It is funny to think how many people bought into Madoff's promise of 13% return on their investment--I'd even heard that those hit the hardest were residents of West Palm Beach in Florida, I mean, wasn't this the same bunch ridiculed for their inability to cast a ballot in 2000? Hey, gotta make sure my retirement is really secure.

In its simplest terms, Madoff got as many people in the plan as he could, and for those who actually looked at what was happening and those to whom others would ask probing questions, he just paid them a nice cut. Presto, chango-- it's magic: Something of value! Never mind that it was nothingness, as long as we all think it has value, then it's okay.

It was a grand lie, however, and a lot of people sure seemed to be steamed about it, except for one thing: Making people believe something has value when it doesn't is the sworn duty of World operatives.

Just look at the Federal Reserve, selling money now at rock bottom prices. In fact, effectively, at no price at all. Now, this makes me wonder...

Why were interest rates higher than that earlier? Could it be that the Federal Reserve was lying to us just as much as Bernard Madoff did? Is it possible that these powerful individuals and institutions (of course it does sound better when attached to a name like Long-Term Capital Management) are simply providing a service exploitees require?

You see, interest in the eyes of God is usury, a moral crime. It is such because it reflects a way one person (or group of people no matter how large) makes a claim on the productive value of another, in essence making him a slave.

Now yes, legitimate interest is by definition the opportunity cost of present consumption. In other words, if I lend you money now I must forego something nice I could have now for that thing later, and your interest payment is the incentive for me to forego that opportunity.

The problem is that interest in World practice is not based on that cost but rather on how much the borrower is willing to be exploited. It is all about demand, and lying. If I can convince a borrower he must have something (like a boffo house) and I can further convince him that the interest payment I'm charging is reasonable (particularly when part of the promise is the return--"Yeah! Housing prices always go up!") when it is truly a modern form of a detestable thing in the eyes of God, then I am merely extracting value from the borrower.

I am doing nothing less than human sacrifice.

The frightening thing is that there is very high demand for that service.

There must be that demand for all who have not appropriated Christ's final sacrifice for them. For you see, it is only by His blood that one can live outside of the World Financial's virulent body of death.

Sure Bernard Madoff will go on trial and have some penalty assessed against him, after which all the spectators in the the World Media Showcase coliseum will boo and hiss. Sure Ben Bernanke will again mess around with the price of money, and do it again and again and again, and each time it'll tick off someone but just as surely embolden some famished liar who'll take Madoff's place. There are so many of them out there-- Madoff is just someone playing the fool who tried juggling too many fishbowls.

Every banker, investor, bureaucrat, and priest who yanks themselves through the World System is ready to go on the stage, each one well-practiced at juggling something novel and fearing for their lives should they drop something.

Want out of this? Want out of the stench of World sewage? If you do, if you really want to live by love, by giving it up and letting go so others may actually love, by investing so others bountifully benefit and not just so you can shank off a piece of someone else's soul...

I don't know. I know there are just too damn many who would respond to the truths God speaks in His word with "That's not really what He meant" and continue their exploitation without blinking. "These are very complicated matters," they'll blither. "Don't go moralizing about these things, I don't want to be preached to," yet with their next breath it's "Aagh! Bernard Madoff! What a fiend! Aagh!"

But...

If you want life, actual real true vibrant Life, I'd love to meet you. Maybe even chat for a minute. I humbly confess I long to engage those who actually want 100 times what the World offers, just as Jesus said. I long to interact with those who have a desire to move mountains, just as Jesus said. My website is davidbeck.info. My email is in there. Send me a note.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Perfectly Fine Value Extraction

Happened to come across a story in my morning LA Times about a charitable group formed from the Service Employees International Union. In two of the charity's four years it raised $165,000 to be used to help members get low-income housing. Well, as you can imagine, none of that money went to the recipients, all of it went for expenses and overhead.

A couple of problems arise from this "travesty of justice." One is that every institutionalized charity must cover its operating expenses or you have no recipient benefits. Don't have a building and laborers to process things? The money can't get places to begin with. It is almost as if a charity must declare, "We must have x amount of money before we can actually make other monies available." This is just plain business reality.

The second problem comes from an inherent condition of "charity." In looking all around I don't see much about this condition addressed.

For context I came across another story having to do with charitable activity, one which dwarfs the SEIU problem. That story is here on the web if you want to peek at it.

Some big-shot rich guy pledging millions to charities has been found to be less than truthful about his financial situation. I'd imagine most would react in a similar manner as they would with the SEIU story: Rawwr! I'm really angry with these people! How on earth could they shaft those poor poor poor poor poor people?

This will happen when you rely on liars for your sustenance. The liar in the Washington Post story was particularly insidious, because he felt that as long as he wrapped himself in love and kindness and generosity, his method of value extraction was perfectly fine. We can excoriate him for his loathsome conduct, but really now...

How many of us can claim to be above that kind of thing?

In the end, only two answers to this question may be offered. One, "Why yes, I am above that kind of thing." Two, "No, I confess, I am just the same, only in my own way of doing it."

From that first claim, an individual will most likely continue to lie to themselves about their abject misconception, eventually destroying their souls and, sadly, those who enter into relationship with them. Furthermore they will enter into contractual arrangements with other liars because all know how likely they are to exploit one another. When charities are involved this requires onerous regulations such as 501c3 contracts and turgidly written laws and bylaws so there can be elaborate pretense of trustworthiness.

From that second claim, one can resign himself to wallowing about in the pity that must foment from such a realization, and this in turn can calcify into a pronounced victimhood sustaining huge demand for those charitable services. Yes, indeed, it is a racket.

The other option to the second claim is one I just don't think is authentically chosen as much as you'd think. You'd think it would be, seeing how many "Christians" there are, but the sobering fact is most Christian churches are just as much caught up in the codependent charity merry-go-round as any other. Churchianity is all over making sure there is some pitiful victim somewhere they can rescue and get a warm feeling about.

The fact of the entire matter is that if people actually did one thing then all this charity crap would go away. What is that one thing?

Put your faith in Jesus Christ and actually do what He says.

Whoa-ho-ho-ho there. Didn't Christ say to do charity?

Of course He did. But he also said that when people actually use their gifts and encourage others to use their gifts and people actually loved one another and didn't worry so much about getting something someone else has then guess what...

There would be no need for charity.

There would just be everyone doing their part to make everyone abundantly wealthy.

Yes, I know, I'm a Pollyanna. I just have this crazy idea that everyone would come to Christ and there would be His Kingdom on earth. Sorry. It does seem that people will still arrogantly claim they're above it all and that Cain's agency must continue to stomp on the liars to check their ugly behavior.

But whatever the case, I still just write because maybe someone will come across these words, which is only to get him to see His words. The upshot is that someone may see what's really going on, and then see how much Jesus would love to blow us away with His provision of all good things, not the piddle a really good liar offers.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's SUPER Hillary!"

My family and I recently spent a week in Walt Disney World, and there is enough Catholicist Nation fodder there for a writing episode at another time. I will admit much of it is quite fun, and after we returned from a six-day binge we had to detox.

I popped in a wonderful film, The Incredibles, something my children have seen a half-a-dozen times but I’d only seen once, back when it was in the theaters. As I watched it I was intrigued by its similarity to Watchmen, which I’d webzined on last month. I have to believe Brad Bird, the guy who put The Incredibles together, had to have been very familiar with Watchmen, because the Pixar film is a virtual children’s version of the classic graphic novel.

At one point in The Incredibles the superheroes are outlawed because they are saving people who don’t want to be saved. What do you think about this idea? I ask my Government students this discussion question: “We all have a right not to be beat up for no reason. But what do you think if the people who are fighting want to fight?”

I mean, really, what if some guy leaping to his death wants to commit suicide and his rescue by Mr. Incredible violates his firm desires? Can Mr. Incredible be sued? Should Mr. Incredible be censured or restrained in some way?

This brings up that profound puzzle regarding what people really want. It is said all the time, “He doesn’t know what’s best for him!” The question is, what is best for him? How does one know what that is?

The superhero conundrum comes up in another interesting place, this from one of president-elect Barack Obama’s latest cabinet nominations. Hillary Clinton has been slated for the Secretary of State job, one for which she is constitutionally ineligible.

Yes, Barack and Hillary are plainly violating the U.S. Constitution the minute she takes the oath of office at Foggy Bottom. Article 1, Section 6, Clause 2 plainly states that any sitting member of the Senate may not hold a cabinet position if the salary of that position was increased during her legislative service. The reason is simply to prevent the buying and selling of cushy government positions.

As it is anyone who brings this up is just one of those rabidly conservative kooks to be dismissed without a glance. I’m actually not even addressing here whether or not it is really an issue—the government has routinely violated the Constitution for eons no matter how many have screeched about it. Eh.

What I do want to point out is that potentates do anything they must—constitutional or not—if it is indeed perceived it is in the best interests of the nation. Do you really think agents of Cain don’t regularly lie and murder? The real question is how deftly they do it.

Just like really super strong Mr. Incredible, Barack, Hillary, and all the rest of the "transition" players are being handed seven-fold power over anyone who challenges their authority, even those who’d wave the Constitution in their faces. Hillary is indeed then a superhero, enthusiastically urged to take on the charge of gallantly zipping off to other belligerents and smiling at them so magnificently that they’ll either be nice to us or slink away so our stomping-about won’t be too expensive.

What is more remarkable is that what these "real" superheroes do is really not a whole lot different from what the fictional ones do: Putting on a damn good show. It's best to prominently bound about rescuing wailing victims somewhere somehow. Their most rigorous challenge is not the rescuing but making it look good in light of the reprobate behavior that must accompany it.

Just today some bipartison investigative committee on looking-at-bad-things-all-around released a very official sounding report that stated there is a high probability of a terrorist attack before 2013, most likely involving biological weaponry. How is this any different from "Emperor Ming, drat your nefarious schemes!"

But lo! There she is! Ta-da! SUPER HILLARY! Hooray! Thaaank you for saving us from the dreaded anthrax threat! It's a good thing you were there right there, right where you needed to be to dutifully defend truth, justice, and the American way! And thank goodness those cursed constitutional nitpickers couldn't deter you from your appointed rounds!

It does have nice ring to it. Perhaps it may be added to the show:

Hillary--hooray! Hillary--hooray! HILLARY--HOORAY!

For a bit more on the modern superhero saga, I've devoted my webzine home page this month to it. It is here.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Ordained Imagination Catastrophizer

A recent book by Barbara Oakley titled Evil Genes tried to work out the details of how innate genetic information can make someone psychotic, or, as the politically correct crowd would have us instead say, "exhibit antisocial personality behavior." She takes great pains to describe the characteristics of individuals who frequently through history have made their way into high level political positions--you know, the Hitlers and Maos and the rest of 'em-- and wonders how such people can position themselves to be so shamelessly Machiavellian, or as she calls it, "successfully sinister."

What a harrowing term. Successfully sinister.

How can you be that sinister and that successful at the same time? Naturally this conundrum possessed Oakley to look into it a bit, as many have through the ages -- I mean, wow, it does happen so often. While her thinking is engaging, she doesn't offer much beyond lots of anecdotes and neuroscientific jargon.

Few seem to see the answer in the pages of the Bible, and a lot of that is because even those words are obscured by the sustained efforts of a World System charged with regulating rotten behavior, managed by operatives just as rotten as those they regulate.

The latest home page piece in my webzine gets into this with some rumination about the latest motion picture feature that is getting tons of buzz. I'm speaking of the graphic novel Watchmen, and I invite you to peek at my take. Tell me what you think about the idea that all highly ranked officers in Caesar's service are supposed to be successfully sinister, for good reason.

In the meantime, I'd just now noted that as I'd recently gotten in deep with Alan Moore's seminal work, I'd been doing it during the exact dates of the main storyline: October 12th to November 2nd, in the year 1985.

That's November 2nd, just around midnight, give or take a half-hour or so. When the event happens.

Which is, hmm...

Tonight.

Again, thoughts on the one given the task of imagination catatastrophizing are here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Value Extraction Cure

In looking at the financial crisis upon us I can't stop reading about how the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

And then everyone dives right on into the horror anyway.

"U-u-um, y-y-y-yeah, I'm not afraid-nn-nn-duhduhduh lions and tigers and bears oh my."

All kinds of neat solutions are spit out by World operatives and inhabitants alike, all prefaced by the standard "Here's what really needs to happen," and all falling into one of two categories: (a) a rehashed way to do oppressive World-directed law enforcement--not a bad thing for those who like being whacked by the law, or (b) some foolish idiocy spit out by someone seeking attention.

I've written dozens of times that the only cure to the malady is Jesus Christ. It's not just me saying this. It's flat what it is.

The problem is He not the wuss Jesus Christ most people think about, the guy who's just another one of the religious club gods people like to hang on the wall. This is not the effete weinie glowing in church and a fairy tale to all the "serious" economists and scholars who rely on science and reason and really meaningful erudition to fix things.

I'm talking about Almighty God come in the flesh to rescue men from their own harrowing wickedness, especially that smothered in the most erudite-sounding spittle.

But that's all fine and dandy--"Nothing new there" a lot of people would blap. The question they ask is what is it about this ethereal superbeing that would help us now, here, on earth? So what's the real tangible answer to the problem?

It is simple. He merely expects us--and wholly empowers us--to treat one another the same way He treats us.

With self-giving love.

No, not everyone does that. Especially when the Guy who gets us to do that is thought to be a fairy tale. "Yeah I like Jesus and all but I can love others myself. Now get outta my face so I can get more more more from my 401(k)..."

Sigh. So many people don't love even in the face of them shouting that they do, so many thinking only of themselves in the face of abject fear without a thought about this pointless Jesus fellow. You'll hear this a lot from them: "Hey everyone, if we say there's a lot of fear then maybe we'll know so much about it being there that we won't fear anymore--brilliant idea, huh?"

Millions of Christians do the same thing, being firmly moored to the World through their World contracts and showing their impotency by having no clue about what's really going on with the world's finances and its benighted value assessment, and off they go joining all the other chickens stumbling around with their heads cut off.

If people just valued things the way God does, if we loved others the way He asks us to, the way He moves us to do if we'd just sincerely ask Him--if we loved another with the highest greatest compassion--then we'd have 100 times what the World has. Oh, yeah, you forget so soon. Look there in Mark chapter 10, there in the middle there.

100 times.

What would happen, practically, tangibly, authentically? There'd be a pool of capital available that would dwarf any $700 billion bailout, any $3 trillion federal budget, any $13 trillion yearly U.S. gross domestic product, or even any $250 trillion world asset value.

Christians all around will say, "Ooo, uh-huh, I know about this Jesus."

Then why don't you do what He says.

Why won't you get out of your Catholicist ratholes and off your asses and do missions like they did in the old days, ungrafted to the World. Why won't you stop mindlessly handing over the immense value of your gifts to Caesar or the Wall Street wolves, who just pour it into more and more human sacrifice.

The thing that is so mind-blowing is how simple it really is. If there is a severe lack of credit, it means a whole bunch of people don't trust a whole bunch of other people. Why is that? If you say you believe in God, don't you trust that He will provide gobs and gobs of what you really want? And that this will spill into the lives of others who, I'd think, would also want gobs and gobs of everything they'd ever want?

If on the other hand, you have to check in with Caesar every time you step out to do something, don't you see this is telling everyone "Don't trust me for I need powerful government to keep me clean!" If the law and the banks and the state-churches all supersede Christ's rule over your affairs, then what is Christ for? And why would anyone believe you if you said you knew Him?

When Jesus returns, will He find faith on earth?

It is the answer to that question that's the most frightening thought of all.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Reality of Value Enhancement

Today economics columnist Robert Samuelson wrote a piece called "The Engine of Mayhem." In some ways it was one of those typical "This is really what the problem is" pieces, yet Samuelson has a way of plainly elucidating what happens in markets.

He brought up a novel term for the wild misassessment of value going on out there right now. It is appropriate to flesh this out especially on a day when the Dow got the biggest bounce in history, jumping over 900 points, an 11% increase. This exuberance doesn't mean everything's fine, it actually means everything is just as unstable.

Samuelson's term was deleveraging, the practice of too quick a call for capital instead of debt. He concludes by pointing out that the financial system in place now is "inherently fragile" and what is needed is one with "firmer foundations."

What this means most plainly is this.

People are realizing that a whole lot of powerful financial people have lied about how well they assess value. The fluctuating market is simply the barometer for how much everyone can take stock in the answer to the question, "Can I trust you?"

Of course everyone and his cat have been saying "Oh, we must trust one another again." Blah blah blah. What is never asked is how the answer can be considered trustworthy.

World inhabitants can only say, "Wull, we'll just try really really hard to make good value assessments." They'll also turn to the government to rein them in and say, "Look! Government regulation! That's gotta be good!" And a whole lotta people buy it. Sort of.

How about this answer to the "Can I trust you?" question:

Yes. Yes indeed you may trust me, because I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Because He loved me by dying for me, I know I can love you. Because he has given me the Kingdom and all the bounty within it, I may invest His gifts within me in what you're doing that's good. And because I belong to Him I cannot disrespect you or your value in any way. Again, I can't.

Because I love you.

How many people can give that answer? How many people are so ungrafted to the World of fearful value extraction, hacking off values from others anywhere they can just to ensure they have something left for retirement?

How many can actually say that?

I'm ashamed. I think it is a tiny portion of people. I think most people in this World think of Jesus Christ as a banal religious figure to give lip service to. Here He is, the Firm Foundation that Samuelson speaks of, and people blow Him off.

Jesus knew about this. He knew people would believe in all sorts of what He called anti-Christs. What is so mind-blowing is how so many people can continue to treat the God of the Universe with such brazen dismissal.

I'll even share what I shared above, that Christ is the true foundation for value and reaping the bounty of all we'd ever want, and Christians will just shrug and say, "Yeah, you're right, uh-huh..." and still maniacally protect their useless contracts with the World, those W-4's and 501c3's and mortgage agreements that cede the lordship over their lives to usurers.

What would it look like to have a few more than the 0.01% of the populace fully abandoning themselves to Christ in this way? Communities filled with people invisible to World operatives and sowing tremendous wealth both material and spiritual--right now, in profound abundance? Growing in God's riches and exploding in His pleasure?

Samuelson pointed out that the value of all the world's wealth right now is estimated at $250 trillion. What if what Jesus said is true, that when we abandon ourselves wholly to Him we'd have 100 times what we had when we once prized our World moorings so highly? What would be the value of those things then? It'd be $25,000 trillion, or $25 quadrillion.

Wow.

Some will say they can't imagine an amount that big, so why bother? What's the point?

Sad. They can't even understand that the $25 quadrillion isn't just "stuff," but people.

In fact, Christ's blood makes the $25 quadrillion look like a rusty nickel to a millionaire.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Value Extractors After Putting on the Stunned Look Now Having a Bit More of the Kinder and Gentler Look

I enjoy plucking out the front page of the Los Angeles Times and putting it here on the web. I hope that the plain pretext will get people to see the folly of World affairs management. The photograph there was particularly striking.


As the Dow hovered precariously at 8,000 on Friday (oh it seemed like yesterday it was stretching stratospherically past 14,000, didn't it?), all the most powerful of powerful finance ministers were meeting to hash out things. The U.S. guys had already decided they were going to use some of the "bailout" money to buy U.S. banks, so I don't know what's with the screaming headline.

In fact, the U.S. pretty much "owns" every company anyway, whether it's a bank or not. Whenever a business becomes incorporated, it cedes control over itself to the incorporating entity. All the laws and by-laws of the governing authority are now preeminent, and any thought that you have some substantial management autonomy is because you are brilliantly deceived. Sure they'll let you be a bit imaginative and inventive, but Caesar has you reined in with a bridle that you've allowed him to jam into your face.

Sure they often do a crappy job, just look at the financial mess. But if you are surprised this is happening, you haven't been looking close enough. If you're outraged the government is doing this terribly socialist thing, you've been brain dead about how socialist things are already and have been for millennia.

But briefly, to the photograph.

I like it. There they are, all the finance big shots, hopping down a few steps to get right down in with the common people. Well, not too far now. See, that's the thing about this picture.

The guys (and a gal) from the ivory tower are willing to come all the way down a whole four--ooo, maybe five--steps to mix it up with you. And, of course, waaay down there at 57,000 steps higher than you rather than the standard 57,005, they'll eventually find new ways to jerk you around. With a smile on their face though. At least there's that.

These are the World guys.

Hey! How about the Kingdom Guy! The Guy who came from heaven and went down into the den of the most wretched people on earth, told them all sorts of wonderful matters, then went even further down, getting hanged upon and nailed to the very iconographic herald of Caesar himself.

Those finance geniuses of the World? Still right there up front, shoving you further into the dirt, telling you they're working reeeal hard to make it feel nicer.

Jesus?

He's way at the back, asking you to join Him there, extending nothing but His outstretched arms and open hands.

But, ahem, I wonder. Clamoring, clutching, clawing for your 401(k)s and your tax exemptions and Social Security entitlements like they were torn and tattered security blankets?

Seems like so many though want to stay up front with the finance guys.

It's good to talk with Henry Paulson, he has a nice comforting voice. Or, yeah, sorry, pretend like you're having any real conversation, as if he's really got your best interest in mind. Yes, you may gleefully pretend, no matter how much your teeth are clenched. That's cool, that's your choice.

On the other hand, what of the Kingdom? Where the truly awesome living is happening? Not anywhere to be seen there.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Value Extractors Remain Stunned-Looking

Today was the first weekday after the federal government finally authorized the dissemination of 700 billion pieces of green rectangular paper to its good-buddy exploiters, and the Dow responded with an appropriate clunk, dropping below 10,000 points for the first time in four years. At one point the drop was 800, a bigger plunge than last Monday's, but it rallied a bit late. Since its high of 14,000-and-change a few months ago, it has lost 30% of its value.

But goodness gracious! I thought Caesar's magnificent decree that worthless people were worth $700 billion was supposed to get people fired up to not be worthless? What happened golly-gee-whiz-whillickers??? Isn't Henry Paulson up to the job of being United States Hedge Fund Manager, deftly pooling the nation's future productive capacity as leverage?

When Congress passed this thing Friday, you heard a whole batch of Congresspersons say pretty-much what U.S. Senator from California Dianne Feinstein said about her affirmative vote: "It would be one thing if we had a choice. But I don't believe we have a choice."

Ahh. You have no choice. All you can do is wave money in people's faces to convince them they've got value. All you can do is offer a spiffy word as if anyone believes you're doing it for anything other than your political sustenance.

Well, Mrs. Congressperson, truer words were never spoken. You're right, you don't have a choice. You have no clue about anything other than the World. All you know is obsequious service to your superior, Caesar, who himself has a superior whooo... you may indeed not know about. This condition is simply a veritable result of Cain's banishment from God's presence millennia ago. Through the eons all who follow him whine "We have no other choice." They wave the rod around whacking many while working very hard not to cut down anyone they like.

The fact is any individual not thoroughly given over to the World's Top Executive does have a choice. That choice is between Caesar and God, between Cain and Christ. You may choose to trudge through the World or you may choose to thrive in the Kingdom. You may choose value extraction which is nothing other than nice-looking human sacrifice, or value enhancement which is simply giving sowing charitable love.

You may choose to live by the lie, or live by the Truth. No matter how much that Congressperson or any other agent of Cain deftly make the lie look attractive, it is still disguising worthlessness. Anytime someone says "It was those mortgage-backed securities, that was the core problem," you can tell they only know the World. When they say "Those sneaky credit default swaps are at the core of this mess," you know they can't see very far. Many will cry out, "It was all the easy money in the 90's! That's what's really to blame!"

It is all just mendacity disguising worthlessness.

The only way one can be worthful is by Christ.

But hey. Like the World and its fake worth? Mr. and Mrs. Congressperson like being your friend, so at least you won't be alone in your whining.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Value Extractors Even More Stunned

I'd like to humbly recommend a new word for placement in the English lexicon, if I may.

The word is dismendacity.

Please, allow me. Mendacity is the practice of willfully furthering falsehood, and the prefix dis- always means to go against, to reduce, to take apart.

With the new word in place, one may be a bit more edified when analyzing today's World events. Let's look, shall we?

By a narrow margin the House of Representatives voted down the infamous $700 billion "bailout package." Even as they tarried the stock market was beginning its record plunge, ending up 777 points down on the day, a precipitous 7% drop. (What's with all the 7's? Must be something biblical. Well, that in a minute.)

Enough members of Congress refused to bless it simply because they saw that they were about to compel their consituents to hand over gobs of money to enable rank irresponsibility. Financiers and Wall Street gurus of all stripes lent (whoa, lent, how are they doing lending? I dunno. But I digress...) --they lent their two cents worth (a princely sum these days. Oop, I can't help myself...) and it was all fine rigmarole about just what they think about how things will shake out.

Splendidly erudite economese, I must say.

But you won't hear squat from any of them about what's really happening.

At about 4:30 today on the local all-news-all-the-time radio station here in the Los Angeles area, USC prof Raphael Bostic was prattling on about the "crisis," and he said something very interesting. He said that the question that is being asked in some form is, "How much are we going to demand from these banking institutions up front?"

Think about that.

What exactly must that thing be, pray tell?

How meaningful will it be for the VAUNTED BANKING INSTITUTION to say, "We're going to pledge our carpeting, by golly. There it is, all 800 square feet of it, a good $57 at least. And hey, we've got toasters we haven't given away yet. Still in the boxes!"

Excuse us, Mr. Banking Institution Guy, but what about your assets, you know, that stuff of value reflected in what your clients have entrusted to you and your stockholders own?

"Guh? What's that?"

Precisely.

This is where the word comes in. Remember it? I'll remind you.

Dismendacity.

It is nothing other than the practice of not lying. Active real practical actual incessant vigorous not-lying, especially about the value of yourself or of others to the extent you would hold no intention whatsoever of carving out chunks of their value. Because in the end, at its core, all of this economic turmoil--all of it--is the result of plain mendacity.

In my last post I asked the question, essentially, "If all of this stuff that is going on is true, then doesn't it follow that people are worthless?" This may chafe some, but really, I'm just asking the question. I'm not saying they are. I'm not saying they're not.

What is the truth, however?

Sure people do awesomely wonderful marvelous things. They make neat buildings. They write boffo books. They dance spiffy mambos. Please, I'm not making fun. I love those things.

But really.

If you're dead, what difference does it make.

Right now the World is going crazy trying to come up with some solution to the mendacity problem. Look at Congress and the Bushies the past few days. You can almost see the lumps on their heads from banging their heads against the wall, that same wall from which Humpty fell, and they are just not getting how to put him back together again. People have done the exact same thing every twenty years or so for eons and eons and eons.

Lots of banging heads. Bang, bang, bang. What--are--we going--to do--about--this financial--collapse...

"Hey guys! How about this? How about practicing some dismendacity?"

Huh?

Oh, and they're not getting it just because it's a new word--ahem, thank you, thank you very much--but they're not getting it for one simple reason.

They're out of the Kingdom. In fact they're miles and miles and miles from the Kingdom. Not only that, but they like mendacity. All the head-banging is happening only because they've got to find more novel ways to continue doing value extraction. World inhabitants don't approach the mendacity problem to get rid of it, but to make the lie look different. As their heads hit the wall you can hear them slobber--listen close now: How do we do more mendacity but just make it better?

It is only in the Kingdom where you can unashamedly practice dismendacity.

Only by Christ and His love can you know what it means to be genuinely dismendacious.

Actually being transparent about who you are, what your value is (in Christ that's actually a lot, really!) how much you revel in using His gifts to build community and be sure everyone is cared for with all they need to be perfectly content. That, by the way, is a hundred times what the World offers. A hundred times. Jesus said as much, there it is in Mark 10. Look!

These pipsqueaks couldn't even spring for a piddly $700 billion.

Christ would give you the universe and every single thing that is beautiful, wonderful, and glorious in it. He is all over value enhancement, by the galaxy-load.

All it takes is some dismendacity. A breeze with Him.

Impossible with the World.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stunned Credit Contracters

As the current economic "meltdown" progresses, two axioms are confidently spouted by power brokers both political and economic: "We must restore confidence in the market," and "We must prevent a serious contraction of credit." Everyone hears them often and we all breathe a sigh of relief because it seems these guys really know what's going on and they're on the job to fix it.

But what do these two statements really mean?

What exactly is "confidence in the market," as if our trust must be in the place where buyers and sellers meet? For that is all that a market is, a place where buyers and sellers meet. Is there something wrong with that--are the market seats too lumpy? Are the market floors a bit too slippery? The lights in the market just too bright? Air conditioning doesn't work properly?

No, it is not the market that is at fault. It is the people who do business there. And why does "confidence" in those people need to be "restored"? It is simple.

It is because so many of them are liars and so many of them know they are liars that grandiose plans for elaborate regulation are demanded so we can be more sure we won't be lied to again. The point is not so much that Caesar is all over regulation of some kind, but that so many need to be put under his thumb. This from a populace that refuses to acknowledge its complicity in all of this, indeed abjectly dismissing out of hand any suggestion that there is a thing called

Sin.

And what about this "contraction of credit" thing? What's with that? The word credit is actually Latin for "he believes." If credit is being contracted, doesn't that then mean that the belief in someone--or better, the widespread belief about a whole bunch of people--is not really what it was thought to be? If "contraction of credit" is feared, then doesn't it follow that this means that, wow, people are worthless, and World inhabitants are simply making note of that? In other words, is it then indeed true that there are that many individuals who cannot be trusted to have the value they said they had or that some thought they had, and to some profound extent they've been lying and doing a really good job of it?

Whup, there's that thing again no one wants to confront.

Sin.

Oh, gee Dave, that's what those in the Middle Ages obsessed about. Go away, you with your Neanderthal religious ideas. We've got real problems to deal with, like trying to get everyone to believe people have value by waving 700 billion greenish rectangular papers in front of their faces.

Meanwhile, a group of pastors have decided to speak from their pulpits this weekend to brazenly endorse or reject certain political candidates, a no-no according to IRS rules. The purpose is to create a case for the Alliance Defense Fund to run with so it can challenge those rules in court and provide church leaders with more freedom to address political issues.

What does this have to do with the economic crisis? If you can answer two questions you may be able to connect the dots.

Who makes the laws that govern the World's assessment of value?

Who sets the value of those who've trusted in Christ and His work of salvation, and then committed to live in His Kingdom by His word and counsel?

Are these two the same?

Most pastors seem to think their Jesus assesses value the way the World does. They may say they know about Kingdom value, but I don't know. They get a nice hefty paycheck from the World by being 501c3 non-profit corporations. Interesting, they're engaging in blatant violation of IRS rules just to keep their tax exemptions--they want to spit at the World and stay on its payroll.

No wonder they have no credit.

Everyone running around like Chicken Littles, arms flailing and voices screeching "The market is falling, the market is falling! Credit is shrinking, credit is shrinking!"

Really, come on, this is a surprise?

Unless you take the World's cue and continue lying to yourself.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Stunned Value Extractors Circle the Wagons

A good friend of mine is a young financial analyst at Bank of America. We meet for a meal occasionally and talk about the things of the World. I've been interested in particular in his take on what I've written about value assessment. What is interesting is that even as a devout Christian himself, he very graciously confesses he just does not get what I'm writing, all of what I'm saying is just way over his head. He's even told me, "I just look at the plain words of the Bible."

This should bewilder me because this is precisely what I am doing. But I understand. I understand why, as smart as he is, he is oblivious to what the World does:

My friend has been fully indoctrinated in the things of the World by those who are sworn to keep him looking at only the World.

Many profound truths have emerged from the economic whirlpool in which the country is drowning right now. I submit that these truths are some of the simplest to understand, but I will say that it does require the mind of Christ to get. I'm no spiritual genius, but anyone may understand if they'd just ask God to share those things with him.

With a $700 billion dollar bailout of financial institutions of all stripes--add this to all the other money pledged and the tab is up to a trillion dollars and change--the latest "Too Big To Fail" entity is the American people themselves. Over and over you hear the most powerful big shots from Capitol Hill and the Bush Administration that they just can't let the economy tank. It is frequently said this way, "We just can't fail the American people."

But it is also quite clear that if you go around rescuing people from the consequences of their foolish choices, you enable them to continue to make those same foolish choices. This is called a "moral hazard," and every educated individual knows about it. It's just...

Few know what is going on as a result of that condition.

And this is where many get derailed from a quite simple, plain understanding of things. Many just cannot see that there are two different realms in which one may live.

There is the World and there is the Kingdom.

In the World is where you have good people in government, banks and investment firms, and even churches who will manage your foolish behavior if you let them do so. In a very real sense, when it is announced that $700 billion is being pledged to bail out whoever and whatever, the World System is simply putting a price tag on its job of sin management. In other words, if you are a sinner refusing to do what it takes to have your sinfulness eliminated completely, then the World must do its job of being your master.

And all week it has been easy to see how pricey that can be.

On NBC's Meet the Press this morning, Washington Post business analyst Steven Pearlstein performed with an exquisitely subdued exasperation and said this about the very wealthy financial mavens and the awful decisions they made:

"They were fooling themselves, they weren't fooling us, they were fooling themselves and they were fooling us at the same time..."

Guh?

What is also happening from this is that the most rabidly conservative Ron Paul supporter-types will screech red-faced about how socialist this all is (and it certainly is) and advocate running off to Montana with gold and guns in hand. What they don't get is that if they have Christ's name of their lips they are dishonoring Him by running away from being salt and light to a dying world.

If they do stay amongst those He'd like them to minister to, but they remain in 501c3 incorporations and all the other World contractual obligations designed to keep people's sin in check, they're immersing themselves in the very World they so revile--being abjectly double-minded as James so incisively wrote in the Bible.

This is just not rocket science.

But $700 billion.

There are that many people who just don't get it?

Who just don't get that this amount is dwarfed by Jesus' blood shed on the cross to get rid of it all completely?

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Stunned Value Extractor Show

This promotional photograph was issued yesterday for the premiere of another boffo Broadway hit. The spotlight hit the rising curtain and... Oooo! There they all were! The star-studded cast of that spectacular production We're All Really Upset About All This and We'll Really Take Care of Business This Time, Really.


An historic week on Wall Street has been capped by this entertainment extravaganza. Hey, it's the weekend! They're all there, the SEC chairman, Treasury secretary, and Fed chairman, deftly playing the parts of all the king's men working valiantly to put Humpty together again. Of course headlining the event are the most powerful legislative leaders, center stage, representing Humpty.

Humpty. As in Humpty Dumpty your average Joe and Josephine American, proud World inhabitants.

The story so far: Poor poor Humpty needs to be rescued from his toxic behavior. Because Humpty is so prone to fall off walls, and to push others off walls too, he definitely needs the Caesarian horde to frequently prop him up. The newest wall is called "Resolution Trust Corporation." A wonderful piece of set construction I must say.

I can't wait until the toxic hurricane reaches category eight! Then the most fabulous part of the show occurs: the helicopter (what a set piece that is!) drops gobs and gobs and gobs of rectangular greenish papers on all the stars (including Humpty!) in gargantuan piles reaching to the rafters of the theater. The stars smothered in papers! Gobs and gobs and gobs of papers that look really neat, spilling into the audience! Everyone crushed under the weight of papers that are really neat looking!

What a show!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So What Is It With Stunned Value Extractors?

To get the full context of this post, I invite you to read my post from yesterday. This is sort of an addendum to that piece.

I left my keyboard yesterday thinking about how much I wear my heart on my sleeve. Some of me thought "You blew it Dave. You slipped too much emotion into the issue. Let the facts speak for themselves." The other parts of me just thought, "So what. This is you, what you want, how you feel about that."

I also felt uncomfortable getting across the idea that I'm convinced no one understands the way Gods economy works. I have very good friends who I know do get it. The thing that makes me sad (oh no emotions again) is that it is very hard to see where people in some measured way are truly acting on what Jesus said. Actually being ungrafted to the World. I can only think of His words in Luke, there at the end of chapter six: "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?"

Yes, I confess there are times I don't do what He says. I'm still grafted in some ways that dishearten me, even grieve me. I still have a mortgage, for instance, meaning I've put myself in some profound state of servitude to the World System when that service should be to God exclusively. There are all kinds of considerations about my place in all that which I'm not going to delve into now.

I will add that a big part of my expression in any of these venues is so I may connect with ungrafted individuals who've been as wise as serpents and innocent as doves. They have gathered in faithful communities to worship God in spirit and in truth and give deep honor to the gifts He gave us to manifest the Kingdom here. Is that as a large bustling metropolis? Could be. Is that as a quiet pastoral village? Could be that too.

It is just the people are loving because they are Christ's.

And I know that is not happening in grafted churches plugged into the Roman church and Cain's Agency of Law Enforcement by girding 501c3 incorporations. There is one thing I see in those places, no matter how smiley everyone is.

Fear.

I caught this on MSNBC.com today, a quote from an unnamed senior investment strategist about the 400+ point drop in the Dow Jones today. “People are scared to death,” he said. But didn't the Fed just pledge $85 billion to AIG to bail them out? I thought everyone was supposed to be all chipper now that Caesar has made another righteous value pronouncement? I thought the stocks were supposed to rebound after that?

People instinctively know when they are being hosed. Even as much as they want to be exploiters they'll fight to the death the exploitation of them. The real frightening thing is that after they scurry off to their holes to protect themselves from the wolves, they'll just plot to do something else to exploit the exploiters, and really just end up with novel ways to do--

Human sacrifice.

This is why sometimes I get stunned by the exploitees being stunned, when really, I shouldn't. Why should I. Those without Christ--or better: those with a straw-man Christ--will do human sacrifice. They'll live scared to death. They weren't in a state of not being extraordinarily exploited before all this economic crap happened, they just did a better job of denying that they were.

This is the essence of why I want to live in a community among authentic Christ followers. This is not to abandon the world at all, but to be the freedom from the fear that people would actually want to have. They just don't know it because there are so many people lying to them and they've lived with it so long they don't know what it means not to lie themselves.

Just part of the fear.

I guess from what that financial guy said, today that fear just hurts more.

My question is, why have it hurt at all?

It's just there is only One Way it can't hurt.

Again, a whole treatise on the way the World does finances is here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stunned Value Extractors

Before teaching my Advanced Placement U.S. Government class the very first period of the day on Monday, I peeked at MSNBC's news site to catch any up-to-the-minute stories. Here was the headline I saw screeching across the top:

"Markets Stunned by Lehman Bros. and Merrill Lynch."

After my students filed into class, I displayed this on my TV screen and told them this:

"I'm stunned that they are stunned. Come on, what were they thinking?"

The they to whom I refer are indeed all the people who misassessed things so much that the current economic collapse is unfolding. I further explained this for my students using an illustration about a lender cheerfully handing over a home loan with $3,000-a-month mortgage payments to a gleefully willing guy earning $1,000 a month.

These people are stunned?

My students laughed at the abject folly of this.

Everyone is now beholding the idiocy of valuing things by the World, yet no one knows squat about what to do. Last night on NBC's national newscast, anchor Brian Williams literally toured the CNBC studio and approached four different financial reporters to assess the damage. All looking very dapper yet grim, they proceeded to provide the most elementary spittle about what's going on.

No surprise, this is the World talking.

What is so mind-numbing is that after the skyscraper-loads of financial experts pontificate about how it is this or that, they completely fail to see Who the answer is. Oh, I'll tell them.

It is Jesus Christ.

"Oh but he's just some silly religious figure. Please don't get me wrong, I respect your views, but get your butt outta here with your fantasy blitherings about Jesus."

No wonder they can't get it. They're nowhere near getting it, they're sworn agents of Cain, every one of them. After all, God sent Cain out of His presence. It's as if you told one of them there was a nose in the middle of his face and he said, "I respect your beliefs and all, but there's a--what's this you call it, a nose on my face? Ha! Now go away, this is serious business."

And it is serious business. Cain's economic agents are now going bananas trying to get frightened people to stay in the fold. That's what they do. Jesus is no part of it. Caesar is, however. Notice: whenever the feds spurn a failing TBTF* the market tanks. The Dow Jones yesterday dropped 500 points after the government said "No bailout for you, Lehman Bros." Whenever the feds step up to offer a hand, the markets rebound. Today the Fed issued no change in interest rates, and this was treated as the glorious word that things aren't as bad as they thought they were. (*TBTF: Too-Big-To-Fail)

There ya go. Caesar says it, and it is so. At least what we all think is so, we think...

Who are you following? Whose value assessments are you following? If you are following Caesar's, whether it is Congress or the Fed or a super-duper-uber-financial institution, then you are, in the end, toast.

What if, however, you were following Christ's? Yes, what if you actually valued things the way Christ does?

Think about it, a major reason the economy is so shaky right now is so many people thought their home prices would continue climbing. Why did people believe that? These poor, poor homeowners were exposed for who they really were, value extractors no better than the lenders who themselves were yankin' on the system.

Whose value assessment were they trusting? Come on, whose value assessment capacity are you trusting, and if it is not that of the One who made it all to begin with, why are so insane not to? Oh, right, fergot, your Jesus is just a hairy guy in a neat picture on the wall of your church. Sorry.

On a Sunday morning interview show former Fed chair Alan Greenspan said that until housing prices stabilize we're going to have this crisis. Guess which agent of Cain helped everyone believe their house values were going through the figurative roof? By pumping the economy full of easy money during his tenure in the 1990's and early 2000's, why Alan Greenspan, of course!

There are so many people who listen to these guys, so many exploitees working like crazy to be exploiters too. So many working, working, working the system so they can carve out value from wherever, from whoever. It doesn't matter who they are, lenders and homeowners jerking each other around, investors and bankers jerking each other around, Treasury Secretaries and massive securities brokerage firms jerking each other around, it doesn't matter.

It's the World at work, fully engaged in big-time human sacrifice.

The worst is not that there are so many doing these things, that's their thing, but that there are so many who say they are Christians doing it too. So many of them are plugged firmly into the World System and doing things exactly the way the World does them that there isn't a lick of difference between the jerkers and the people who really shouldn't be jerking anybody.

It's one thing that all of these financial geniuses are utter fools, it's disheartening that so many who say they believe in Christ are just as foolish for signing up with them. Frequent a church that grips its 501c3 like it can't do without it? Employed by a company chartered and required to register you as a taxpayer? Hold a property "ownership" agreement that grips you like a vise?

Why do I go on about it. Why do I exhaust myself saying any of this. I've already written a couple of homepage pieces on my webzine about this--the first is here, and the second is right after it. I'm repeating myself here. Forgive me.

I only do this because I hurt for them. That's all. I see the despair, I see them banging their heads with a frying pan and I just want to tell them about the way it won't hurt anymore.

"Hey, I got it, if you'll allow me. Try this. Maybe it'd help if you stop hitting yourself on the head with that frying pan."

All I get is, ""No, that's not it. Now go away with your crazy ideas."

Wham. "Ouch." Wham wham. "Ouch that hurts." Wham wham...

I know very few people will catch this blog post, if any. There are 57 gazillion blogs and web items out there drawing people's attention. That's cool. I don't really care if no one reads this.

But only if someone gets the idea from whoever somewhere. And that's what makes me saddest. I just see no one seeing this. Am I the only one who is saying anything about it? Because it seems that way is why I write this here, in case someone does by some miracle read this. Ahem, not just read it but get it. There is no way, no way I'm the only one saying get with Christ, get with the One who has the entire universe in His hands and get out of the World with those awful contracts that shout "I'm all about jerking people around no matter how wholesome I look!"

It just can't be.

Just, where are these people?!

Oh, and yeah, I should mention my latest homepage piece is about how I feel it at times. I do tend to let my heart drape itself all over my sleeve. That's here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Latest Feature in the 9/11 Extravaganza

It is 9/11 and the common sentiment is that we commemorate things today with solemn events and quite contemplation. I wonder how many think at all about how much our "imaginations are catastrophized," a term Tupper Saussy coined to describe precisely what World operatives are still doing to a large extent with grandiose 9/11 mythology.

Here is the latest that I saw:


This is the memorial for the Pentagon victims, and right when I saw this photograph I could not help but think, "airport runway lights." You tell me, does this not look like runway lights for an jet airliner to land right into the Pentagon building? Could this be a subliminal suggestion that we are to believe that what hit the Pentagon on 9/11 was actually an airliner? Furthermore shouldn't this be interpreted as a subtle message about the bright glory of a work which effectively mobilized the nation to battle evildoers on a grander scale?

The latest about 9/11 is from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which issued a report with the definitive word on how World Trade Center Building No. 7 collapsed. If you haven't seen what happened to No. 7, you should. Look for it, it's on-line all over the place. The official finding is now a hodge podge of theories strung together with the emphasis this time on the steel expanding and weakening and whatever other things steel does in a fantasy world.

Fact: Tower No. 7 collapsed in on itself within seconds with no visible cause.

Official version: Steel twisted and bent in odd but sophisticated ways to cause this to happen.

Question: How can that physically happen?

Response by authorized personnel: What are you, a bunch of wild-eyed conspiracy theorists?

Imagine if this kind of thing happened in the comfort of your home environs.

Fact: The laundry basket, once in the garage, suddenly whacked me at the side of my head while I was reading in the den.

Official version: The ground and air moved around in geologically and meteorologically sophisticated ways to cause this to happen.

Question: How can that physically happen?

Response by authorized personnel: What are you, some kind of a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist?

At this point many would seethe and rage against the media and their toadying government for behaving like this. "Let's start a new investigation!" they'll cry. Come on. This is where the 9/11 truthers really lose it. What exactly do they think they'll be told when there's a "new investigation"?

Deceit is job of the World operatives they're censuring. They're just as susceptible to more novel ways of catastrophizing the imagination. What a phenomenal tool this is to keep a grip on a populace immersed in fear, including the 9/11 truthers.

The only thing to do is this, something I end virtually every blog post with:

Get out of it all. Go to the Kingdom. Ask the One who has the ticket there, Jesus Christ. Let Him wash away your fear by putting yourself in His mighty grip. Do that by leaving your pathetic World incorporations that only stir that fear. The only thing that can happen when you put your hand in His is that

You'll love. And others you're around will love. Really, you'll have everything you'll ever want.

I'd like to call that

Rapturizing the imagination.

How about that. Rapturizing the imagination. You'd feel genuine joy, consume vibrant reality, behold the rich hearts of those who love with His love, immerse yourself in the beauty and wonder of Him and His domain.

Who is this "Rapturing" God? Some thoughts about Him are here.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Value Extractors at Work

This past summer I was visiting my father and we were out on the patio enjoying dinner discussing economic issues. The conversation drifted toward the question of why the dollar is so weak, and I offered some standard economese to explain. Eventually I got to the core reason any currency is valued as it is:

It has to do with the way people perceive value, and a currency is merely a reflection of that value assessment on a macro scale.

My stepmother couldn't understand. She wondered how that could be when our productive capacity in the U.S. is still so much stronger than that of other countries, particularly in Europe where the Euro has seemed to be doing a gleeful trampling dance on the sprawling dollar.

In today's Los Angeles Times Tom Petruno's column bears out incisively the exact point I was making. The dollar is making a comeback and the key reason has to do with perceived value. His main point is that the dollar is appearing attractive again because people are seeing that oversees industries are not producing what people thought this past summer they would against the U.S.

Sooo, the swing is back toward valuing U.S. productive capacity and the measure of that, the dollar.

Nothing has value except that which people do for one another. Nothing. Nada. Zipporino.

There are two ways people can do things for one another that have any value. One is to do it out of fear, from the conception that punishment is coming if you don't whip up something at your job. The law is all over making sure people drudge up some piddle of goop that others will find tasteful in some way.

The second way is actually kind of a radical idea, one that far fewer people utilize than they should. That way is to do it out of the love one has for the one he or she is producing for. This comes easily for the joyfully eager worker simply because he knows he is loved by a God who died for him and has an entire Kingdom available to him through eternity.

Yes, it's true the only way you can do it via that second way is by Jesus Christ. It is only through Him that you can value things with the most accurate assessment of actual value. The World can only bonk about with that perceived value, but followers of Christ know, and do, love. I wrote a whole homepage piece about it at my webzine, it is here if you are intersted.

In my latest homepage piece, however, I wrote about rage. And I thought about how I concluded it, and I think it was fine, but I left out something that wasn't necessarily required for the piece to be complete. I've still sort of scratched my head about it, and I'll elaborate on that here.

It comes from an important question. "If Jesus was so enraged about some things, yet He still went to the back of the line, dying at the hands of Cain's agents, well, what's the point? Indeed, what's the point of feeling deeply about things if we're all just putty in Cain's fingers?"

Note that I emphasized that Jesus allowed Caesar to have his way with Him for a moment. The key is that moment was critical for Jesus to demonstrate the kind of love we are to have for one another, and out of that comes the most paradoxical but quite veritable

Eternal life with Him in the Kingdom.

The thing is that World people will do their World thing. Tom Petruno will elaborate expansively on the rabid value extraction practices of rich powerful World operatives who not only exploit markets but people's combative desires to schlurp up stuff. What is so outrageous is how many people saying they believe in Jesus do this with such abandon.

It is just not complicated. In fact it is right there in Jesus own words:

Gain the World, lose your soul.

This doesn't mean we slosh around in rags pronouncing our great piety. It just means we live in the Kingdom by His love--as holy and living sacrifices I might add, sowing with precisely what God gave you to do that however much that is--and all the glory of the Kingdom is thrown in, right now, not just later in heaven.

Ah. This is just so elementary. I wonder why I even take the time to blog on it.

The point then is, really, how come so many just aren't getting it...

I very much struggle with that. What is up with that? I go way beyond rage into deep sorrow when I speak with Christian leaders and graciously point out Jesus' words right there and get a great big fat

"Guh?..."

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been in freefall for months, their top execs are about to get their fat rearends fired, and the taxpayer is about to bail them out whether he likes it or not. This is only a symptom of the wretched way the World does value assessment. Because so many of them are paid so much to go "Guh?..." I doubt you'll find a tiny handful of pastors who understand squat about what this means.

There it all is folks. I don't have to make this up.

The World, right there being wretchedly awful. And the Kingdom, right there, with Jesus' words making it as clear as bright shiny daylight.

Who is getting it?

The road is narrow, but I really hope it is not that narrow.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Politically Correct Rage

This week the Republicans are planning to "tone down" their national convention festivities, since ribald partying would be quite unfashionable when a hurricane threatens the Gulf Coast states. Never mind that people are dying all over the place at the hands of people who lie, cheat, steal, murder, exploit... If it's a big thing that'll be in the papers everywhere, and you're a politician of any stripe, then you've got to make big whoop-tee-do about how adept you are at championing whatever good thing you can do to stop it. Or help it. Or whatever you're supposed to do with it.

Now this kind of behavior doesn't particularly rankle me. It used to when I put my faith in the World System and sought entertainment from its elaborate film and stage productions. This is what Cain's agents do, it's their nature.

What does steam me a bit is when people who say they follow Christ sign up with this World System and then rage against anyone who calls them on their true devotion. I feel it also when people say they understand but when you look at what they say to justify that understanding you find they are just mimicing World operatives.

I saw one of those places in a book that some Christians are looking at these days called unChristian. Sure it has some eye-opening observations, but really, none of what they point out or suggest is new.

Same old refusal to truly understand, and to actually do what it takes to be wholly gracious.

I pounded out my webzine's home page about it this month, and if you're interested it is here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Little Caesars

The latest from the presidential campaign front is the appearance of both Barack Obama and John McCain at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. Apparently it was an event of such magnitude it got splashed all over the front of the Los Angeles Times:


Each candidate made his case separately from the other, and I believe Rick Warren took turns asking each a number of questions. From the little that I read and heard, the candidates assumed their most pious countenance--obviously one which would appeal to evangelical and modestly conservative sensibilities--and spewed the typical vetted answers.

Is it possible that this is all perfectly reasonable behavior by perfectly well-meaning Christian folk? To listen thoughtfully to responses from those seeking the highest political office in the land? To think deeply about who will do the best job leading the country?

Isn't this really a most noble endeavor? Aren't we supposed to have a say in who has some measure of authority in critically important matters? Isn't this what we're dutifully supposed to do?

Not if you listen to what Jesus says about it.

Among many other things He said His Kingdom is not of this World. Yes, I did deliberately cap the two realms, but I did so to make the clear distinction between the two, something that most Christians in this country simply cannot do. Oh certainly Christian scholars know about the distinction and some exclusivist Christian communitarian types scurry off to their remote cabin/compounds and do crafts and a lot of Christians do mouth the standard platitudes about the distinction.

But do any truly know?

I mean know in the deep relational sense, not the informational cognitive sense.

If they did, they'd be rejecting this kind of exhibition at Saddleback with every fiber of their being. They'd be so beyond it that they'd be drawing people to the power of Christ to save, heal, deliver, and engage so the McCain-Obama contest would look like a puppy fight in a sandbox.

I've been reading some of Amy Chua's book Day of Empire, which I'd blogged on last month. It basically makes the point that the nations through history that have been most powerful are the ones most tolerant. You can get the full idea here.

While comprehensively researched and adequately written, she concludes with the typically foolish assertion made by, oh, 97% of the scholars who look into such things. She first makes the quite apt case that the United States and Rome are pretty much the same thing. Bravo, Amy, very true indeed. She then states that Rome could make those it conquered part of its empire, which, of course, it did frequently.

Then she makes her mistake. She says the U.S. can do no such thing. Of course it can't--it's a democracy.

Oh, that's why. It's because it is a democracy it cannot make foreigners its subjects. Oh, I get it. That's why.

Horse-dookie.

Democracy in America is just a way to make a whole bunch of people Caesar. Caesar's work of brutal judgment is now just carried out by millions, and some of what they do is pick out the guy they want to be the administer of prosecutorial power over their evildoing, pretty much what the Saddleback people were doing there. This is kind of why Jesus said He wasn't so crazy about people who say they belong to God Almighty also pledging allegiance to Caesar from the other side of their mouths.

The fact is World operatives working in every political, commercial, and ecclesiastical domain labor in whatever way they can to do Cain's work--manage the sin of those who ask them to do so. When you invite a McCain or an Obama into your Christian assembly in order to assess their qualifications, you are confessing that you are a sinner in need of their law enforcement service.

See, that's what it comes down to, isn't it? If Jesus did indeed die for your sins, in reality, in real actual real historical reality took out your sins with His precious shed blood, what on earth do you need with that stuff? Do you really know who those guys are? Do you really know what God wrote about not only in Genesis 4 where He set it all in motion but the entirety of Scripture where He feels it viscerally when His beloved shacks up with a prostitute?

Do you really know what's going on here?

Funny, after Chua wraps up her little thesis about the United States being way more tolerant than Rome because doggonnit we're a democracy, she then betrays her folly by speaking about how powerful the U.S. actually is throughout the world. Dollar is dominant currency, English is dominant language, all the rest of it.

She then points out, "In short, large numbers of people all over the world feel dominated by--but no connection or allegiance to--the United States."

Okay, so they don't have any particular fondness for the Agency of Cain. But if they feel dominated by the U.S, is it just possible that to a large degree they are?

And as a good wholesome evangelical megachurch loving Christian, you really think Jesus is really okay with you being a part of that?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

High Level Value Extraction

We've been out and about since I've had some time off, and at one hotel stop I picked up a Wall Street Journal. I've never really read it before, but as I skimmed through this issue--this past Monday the 4th's, by the way--I was amazed at the breadth of material about the highest, greatest, deepest, and--as such, most repulsive value extraction there is.

Certainly a publication that goes into great detail about the goings-ons of the commercial and financial realm can't help but quite frequently elaborate on the most upscale human sacrifice practices of the day. Just wanted to briefly mention a couple of articles in the mix there, both in the "Money & Investing" section.

First there on the front was a story about how many hedge funds are taking a hit. Nothing really in it about how or why except that they simply guessed wrong about a number of things, like, for instance, the "unforeseen" jump in oil prices that hit some overseas stock markets.

Thing is, some funds that thought one way got whacked, but those that thought the other way made out like bandits (in a not-too-figurative sense). I'm not saying one thing or another about that situation.

It is just the way the World operates.

It lives by the law of Finders Keepers, and does so with billions of dollars.

What is interesting is that God allows it to happen. Short-selling is perfectly acceptable to God, who Himself commends the wealthy manager for yanking the talent from the one who buried it. Too fearful about the value God put in you? Don't think He did enough to make you His prized creation?

Sorry, but that value goes to someone else.

The other article in the WSJ, by the way, was about the SEC trying to work out how to jibe with international accounting practices. Seems everyone does value differently. The article mentions that the ensuing confusion will be a feeding ground for vultu--er-- hedge fund managers.

Ah joy. The joy of full World engagement.

Want out of this body of death?

Have I mentioned that Guy in this blog before?... The Guy who is completely not of this World?... The Guy who actually buys back those who'd like that, and as such would actually know their value (and that of others too)?...

For a tinch bit more on the whole value extraction thing, go here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Perfect Rationality of Irrationality, Erratum

Whoops, I blew it in my last blog post. This morning I blogged on how everything everyone does is rational, everything. There is nothing that is irrational, not a single thing. Then I made a mistake that belied my claim, and I wanted to clear it up here. First, read that post, just below this one, and see if you can spot the error in my logic. Oh, it is a perfectly rational error, and I'll explain that momentarily.

Halfway through that post I cited one of those questions asked through the ages. That question was: What is it that is reasonable, and how does one know that?

If my premise is true that everything is rational--which I firmly believe that it is true and any discussion about it would certainly bear that out--then guess what? Everything is reasonable, so the question "What is reasonable?" implies that something is unreasonable, a meaningless proposition given the premise.

The question should be "What is it that is righteous?"

In the context of the blog post, you'll see that's the one that most relevant. That is the question that should be asked, and my elaboration on that point is still applicable.

Why did I make that mistake? Again, it is perfectly rational. It is simply because sometimes I still think in those Greek terms. My past World indoctrination still bops around inside of me, seeps out of me too frequently, and sadly finds its way into many other parts of my life. Sometimes my mind is only oriented around those single terms belonging to the World. "Reasonable? Not reasonable?" Any considered differences between the two are just World pap, really--in the end of no consequence.

I confess I'm on the path to the Kingdom too, just like any other who desires Truth and Grace. Even that statement makes me wonder, is that too much of the World? The idea that we must only be in pursuit of the Kingdom? Never actually being there living gloriously in His embrace? Is it not possible we can actually be in the Kingdom loving others and blowing them away with His bounty in whatever measure that is?

Ergh.

On this path I thank Him always that He is righteous, and desires to share those things which are most important with those who do want to know them. Not all His wonderful matters at once, of course, which means there's that tension between the frustration with that still festering World gunk and the fantastic adventure that is discovering Him and that Kingdom.

Not all His wonderful matters at once, but enough.

The Perfect Rationality of Irrationality

A relatively new book by MIT professor Dan Ariely has caught my fancy. It is another of those "Freakanomics" type economics exposes where everything about why people decide to do what they do is thoroughly explained in an easy-to-read way. This particular treatment is called Predictably Irrational, and with it Ariely tries to share how so many things we do are irrational and by gosh why on earth would we do such irrational things?

The answer is that we don't.

Nothing we do is irrational. Not a single thing. In fact Ariely, when trying to say "Here's an irrational thing look how irrational!" actually shows how perfectly and, yes, predictably rational every single thing any given individual does.

The real question is this: Is any particular decision any given individual makes righteous?

The reason no one ever asks that question is because that would require some kind of moral judgment, and that, as we all know, is absolutely prohibited. That would mean one would be guilty of the crime of intolerance, bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and all the rest of it.

Funny thing, though. That prohibition. Isn't that itself a form of intolerance bigotry narrow-mindedness? It is said "Oh my, don't say something is morally wrong! That would mean you're saying your moral judgment is above ours, and that would mean you're arrogant and intolerant and mean-spirited! And certainly that is against the law!"

Ahem, what law? What moral judgment is in place to proscribe that behavior?

The fact is Ariely and all World pontificators only know the World way to assess things, and that is to gather some nebulous grasp of what most people think is pretty good and base their understanding on that. It is that classic Greek worship of the god of reason. Reason in and of itself is a terrific thing, but the key question here is one asked through the ages.

What precisely is reasonable? Furthermore, how do you know that?

To cut right to the chase, the answer is what God says. And how do you know what God says? It says it right there in His book. Sure millions read it and blab about it and many of those are World operatives who say "This is what it really means" with the sworn intent to keep you from actually seeing what God says. But all that doesn't take away from the fact that God pretty much laid out not only what is reasonable but more importantly

What is righteous.

Here's how what God actually says--irrespective of what World inhabitants and their masters says He says--explains the whole issue of rational-irrational, and it is in the way Ariely addresses the problem of procrastination.

Ariely did experiments with his students about due dates for assignments to see who did the best with their work in light of the fact that schoolwork is generally put off until the last minute. (Never mind that his "study" really had no proper controls so he could not effectively rule out other factors.)

He made a bunch of conclusions about procrastination after it was all said and done, speculations about the nature of self-control and the meaning of rewards and the concept of delayed gratification and the impact of socially or politically imposed deadlines and so on.

Nothing about why we actually procrastinate to begin with.

Of course he can't share that.

He only knows the World. He hasn't a clue about the Kingdom.

God knows. And He tells us. And we too can know what those things are. We just have to listen. World inhabitants (including quite a few higher education scholars) refuse to listen--for the reasons (perfectly rational I might add!) mentioned above.

The reason people procrastinate is because they see no relational value in a task given them. In other words, if they cannot see that what they immediately do will ultimately get them vibrant interaction with someone else or a group of someone elses who will express some notice of the given task considered for procrastination, then, voila,

You'll procrastinate.

It's all about relationship, discovery, accomplishment. Everyone has the need to belong, to experience, and to contribute, especially when that contribution is recognized by the people we long to have recognize it. The more we perceive those things won't happen--whether true or not-- the more we'll put it off. Or never do it to begin with.

God lays all this out in His word. More than anything else we want love and want to give love. When that is messed with in whatever way, we very rationally react, and sometimes those reactions are quite, shall we say, unrighteous. The payoff in all of this is that God loves purely, and empowers us fully to love ourselves. Without Him, yes,

Fughedaboudit.

You'll procrastinate everything to death, and live in misery.

But, hey, perfectly rational for one who doesn't know The One Who Loves.

Who is that One? Look here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So Who Is It Then? Who Stores Your Value? It Is Someone...

Peeked at The Newshour tonight on PBS and saw Judy Woodruff interview Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd. She asked some pressing questions to a bubbly financial exec who seemed to be going out of his way to distance himself from his company's abysmal performance.

Of course none of Woodruff's questions were of any consequence since she herself is a masterful World mouthpiece for further devotion to Caesar. The mere practice of addressing Mudd with such deep concern-- squinting those eyes to sear his soul, turning her head for that penetrating inquiry, jabbing that pencil in the air in front of her-- announces to all World inhabitants that this is serious business, this management of their sin.

A telling part of this fact was in one question I want to share here. It was something like, "Has Fannie Mae for some time set itself up to evade regulation? How do you answer that?"

Mudd effervescently responded by saying that he was all for the new regulation that Congress was putting together, and elaborated about how welcome that was and all that.

All I could think about was the whole principle of

The Law.

Ever look at the first letter of Timothy, in the Bible? The very first chapter there? Let me share something with you from that chapter. It is in verses nine and ten. Here's what it says.

"We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers..."

In other words, when Mudd smiles gleefully about "the regulator" being put in place for him, he is saying nothing other than "I am a lawbreaker and a rebel, ungodly and sinful, unholy and irreligious..." I'm not saying anything one way or another about this, I'm just pointing it out. This is who he is.

What should be noted in light of this is that this individual is storing the value of millions of people by administering a critical item many of those people have their measure of value wrapped in: their home. You don't even need me to loosely apply Scripture to Mudd's confession, you can look at the facts themselves: Fannie Mae's stock value plummeting, its books opened however much for all to see the awful decisions it's made, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson having to insist how great everything is everywhere he goes. (Sorry, can't help but think "He doth protest too much, methinks.")

I must also add that Mudd's tasks are legitimate. People who need this service from an agent of Cain will contract with that agent, and he will comply dutifully (if indeed ineptly).

In the recent issue of Newsweek, economic uber-columnist Robert Samuelson, in addressing the turbulent global economy, said this, something I thought was quite stunning. He said, “Today’s global economy baffles experts—corporate executives, bankers, economists—as much as ordinary people. Anyone who says differently is either deluded or dishonest.”

Hmm. Really.

Thing is, I'm not surprised about this. The reason is because so many

Just haven't the faintest idea of the Kingdom.

They only know the World. I really don't believe Samuelson knows why everyone is so baffled, even as he shares some solid ideas about why the global economy is so scary. Samuelson is himself a product of the World, knowing nothing of the Kingdom, flailing around like everyone else trying to grasp that always elusive

Value.

Cain and his legacy will always have seven-fold strength over any one else. Woodruff, Mudd, Paulson, even Samuelson are all in on Caesar's task of sucking the life out of the populace to sustain that.

Christ, on the other hand,

Loves.

Did you happen look at Mark 10, from the Bible, to get an idea of how-much-fold that value degree is? No? That's cool. You can do it whenever. Jesus has it there for you. He's good with you making Him your Lord. Oh Caesar can be your lord too if you want, but Jesus is good if you decide to make Him your Lord instead.

Thing is, He won't allow any World potentates or their subordinates to join Him.

It's either Him or Daniel Mudd.

It's either the Glorious Truth and Bountiful Grace that is Christ, or it is the Guy Who Needs the Full Force of the Law to Keep Himself From Totally Destroying You.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So Who Stores Your Value? Part II

An addendum to the folly that is the banking "crisis" addressed in the last post:

Today Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson testified before Congress to explain his announcement that the federal government has an unlimited line of credit available for banks, especially those teetering on the brink of insolvency. When asked why he won't declare some quantifiable figure for that amount, he said if he gave a figure it would be completely tapped, but if he just left it as "indefinite" then it won't be.

He actually used the analogy of a squirt gun versus a bazooka. If he announces he has a squirt gun, he may have to use it. But having a bazooka will mean he's less likely to have to pull it out.

Interesting metaphor, using weapons to make his point. As they said in Rome, Tam Marte quam Mercurio, or "As much by Mars (war) as Mercury (business)."

The key is how it is that Paulson can say the feds have an unlimited line of credit. Unlimited? Well not exactly. In fact, you can see precisely how much that is in the Bible. There in the fourth chapter of Genesis. Look.

It is a value degree of seven. That is, Paulson has at his disposal seven times what anyone else can claim to have to keep the city humming and all its inhabitants submissive. And from where does he get that capital? That is simple too.

He extracts it from those in his domain.

As a top financier of Caesar's empire, he can easily appropriate the value--the very productive capacity-- of those World inhabitants contracted to allow him to do so. He can't let on that this "indefinite" amount is indeed seven-fold, because he is certainly correct:

All those who covet and desire their cut of the extraction will make their claim to it as well.

Don't think those people are out there? Look at the front page of your morning newspaper. At least there on the Los Angeles Times today was a photograph of a long line of people waiting to withdraw their deposits from IndyMac Bank, recently taken over by federal regulators who said quite plainly, "Hey! How's it going? Terrific! Hey, just wanna let you know that we're good to go! Happy day! No bother! Don't sweat it! You know, FDIC, woo-hoo! It's all good!"

Yet still they lined up for blocks, a tacit statement that they all knew the feds, the bankers, the whole crew were still lying.

But that's what they do.

Paulson can't tell you he's got seven-fold liquidity. It's not just because he's lying, but because he'd be telling that to a bunch of liars themselves.

How nice the World is.

Oh, and real quick. Do you know the amount increase there would be if instead of Caesar, you actually asked Christ to be the measure of your value? Look in the tenth chapter of the gospel of Mark. You'll find it. It is, by the way, a teensy bit more than seven, and it involves a bit more than little slips of green papers.

Some thoughts about the quite fetid financial whirlwind of the World are here.