Fleecing a Church

…and a Nation

This story is true and is congruent with current affairs.

When I was younger (late High School or Early College), I operated a sound booth at a local church.  My parents attended a Assemblies of God church (my father had resigned from the ministry by this point and was working as a painter) in our area.

Leading a Service into Darkness

On this one Sunday, we had a guest speaker.  This in itself was not unusual, but the speaker would turn out to be quite the character.  His message was about a ministry he claimed to have worked – focusing on fighting abortion in the United States.

I can’t tell you for certain what his main activities were, as his emotional outburst was so extreme it overshadowed any actual data he may have presented.  He spoke with a magnetic personality.  His mannerisms, verbiage, and tone were all curt and borderline hostile.

As his message continued along, it grew increasingly dark. He had images and photos and diagrams of the unborn. He talked about the details of the abortion process.  Women gasped, and men grew angry.  I could feel the anger in the room.

I looked over at the pastor, who had a hand over his face – obviously unhappy with what was happening.  He was watching an outsider take his congregation into hell.  Not an eternal hell, but a mental hell of dark emotions.

What do you think?

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  1. Interesting story, however I think you are getting too sucked into the Trump phenomena, and quite frankly I don’t think you understand it. I think it is that individuals who are more left of the political spectrum never took Trump seriously, than he won, and now they take him literally. Trump never wanted to be a saint otherwise he would have been a monk. Why he is popular is because he is an anti-hero. The world is fed up with the holier than thou hypocrites and liars that make up the political class. Obama, Hillary, Bush, Bill Clinton, lie to your face and the media gives the ones with a D next to their name a pass (excepting FOX). Bill Clinton’s treatment of women is no different than Trumps yet one is forgiven by the media and the other is not. Trump is an antihero in that he is for the most part unapologetic for his sins. He is a real “ in your face” individual who has a low tolerance for political correctness and other B as in B and S as in S that plagues the political process. Really I would challenge the individuals on the left who follow the pied piper tune of CNN, Maxine Waters, Nancie Pelosi et all to look in the mirror and realize just how much they have become like the Pharisees that put Jesus to death, hypocrites, backbiters, full of envy, deceit, malignity, whisperers…… Trump didn’t disguise himself like an angel of light ie Barack Obama who did great evil in the world or any other politician. Trump basically said, “I am what I am, I think I can do a good job running a country, if you want a saint elect the pope, otherwise vote for me.” If one is interested in intellectual honesty, true honesty write down all the things you are thankful for in a president Trump if you cannot come up with a single thing you are close minded. I can think of numerous things I was thankful for with Obama, even though there were many of things I disliked.

    • Hi Ellis, I knew he was going to win – I expected it. I saw the animosity, hate and evil within people – within my own family. I saw their intolerance and cruelty. When he spoke it was like the reaction germans gave hitler, it inspired them in their lowest nature. Whenever a man of vigor brings large groups of people together under the banner of anger, fear and hate – they usually win… and the results are usually not good.

      You compare Clinton’s treatment of women… while you may be right, the real hypocrisy are those “Christians” who demanded we NOT vote for Bill Clinton for his indiscretions – and YET those same “Christians” praise a man who has done the same, if not worse.

      You have not really understood my point. Trump is not simply “I am what I am I think I can do a good job.” He is quite literally the representation of all our worst emotions – the opposite of the teachings of Jesus. The exact inversion of Jesus. He is perhaps a logical pick for someone who believes the answer to the world’s issues is anger and fear. But this is not where his support comes from. His support comes from the religion of American Christianity.

      This is not about who runs the country, it’s about a nation of people who sold their souls. “Oh but Obama was a hypocrite too…” Sure, he was human – but he also didn’t run on the Christian ticket as the savior for Christians. “But Clinton…” sure, but he/she isn’t running on a platform throughout the churches of America.

      When the person religious leaders back is someone affiliated with dark emotions like hatred, intolerance or even racism… it’s a travesty of the faith.

      When a person says, “I must vote for individual XYZ” that’s fine. When they say that and pick the most vile person on the platform of 12 other candidates… when they embrace the anger and zeal and hate… I start to wonder how people lost their way.

      You can not be Pro Trump and a follower of Jesus, Buddha or Hindu at the same time. It’s an impossibility. He stands against the spiritual – he represents the extreme carnal. He isn’t just a “businessman” his words and actions showcase hatred. It’s the same problem of being a Buddhist and a supporter of Hiro Hito. It just can’t be done at the same time. Either you follow the spiritual, or you follow the carnal… combining the two is impossible. That same spirit from that time period is present now.

      It was Trump who played dumb, when asked if he accepted the endorsement of the KKK (saying, “I don’t know what that is.”) That alone should have dismissed any rational person from his choice and gravitated to one of the other dozen people on the platform. It was Trump who bragged, “I could shoot someone in the face and not lose a single vote.” It was Trump who said, “I could look a refugee child in the face and tell them to go.” It was Trump who has tried to kick people out of the country because of what nation they were born in, even though they have legit visas. It was Trump who has said that the way to win against terrorism is to “take out their families.”

      Conversely, Jesus was opposite to each of those feelings. Jesus represented a force in the world of non-fear in the face of death, who helped others in need, regardless if they were “untouchable” or popular. I don’t expect the leader of my country to be a perfect Jesus clone – but when the leader of the country is the opposite of Jesus and at the same time praised by the church as the answer to our problems

      That is the problem for me.

      It isn’t that he won… that’s NOT the issue. It isn’t that he deviates from the Christian faith…. It’s that the church system has raised him up as solution to our problems, when he is simply the opposite of Jesus – and for the church to be focusing on solutions to this world, is the problem in the first place!

      It’s like the church raising any politician. If the church raised Clinton with the zeal of Trump, I’d raise an eyebrow. But Clinton isn’t Trump. Trump is a whole new level of childish, anger, hate and zeal. This is real darkness… and when it appears the only people who see it are non-Christians? What’s going on here?

      I don’t buy the “anti-hero” argument. I’ve seen his campaign. I’ve seen his followers. They are mostly white. They are angry. They are intolerant. They are scared. They blame others… I’ve read about these people throughout history. It’s the same people who slaughtered people in Uganada, Germany, who populated Bosnia… They are people who are so angry and emotionally dark that they simply are lead by the nose to bond over the communal hate of a different group. Whether that group is illegal immigrants, legal refugees, muslims, christians, jewish people…. it’s the same old story – the targets are replaced each time.

      “Oh but no one is getting killed,” not yet. Maybe it won’t escalate to that degree – but hatred, for me, is like killing. It’s bad enough to have a nation brought together under the banner of hate.

      You know what the real christian answer here is? It’s simple: Don’t get involved in politics. Jesus said it, “This is not my Kingdom.” This world is not where we should store our treasures. This is not the world to live for. While we live in it, it’s a testing ground of our morality… to TRY and be our best, not Embrace the worse. To try and be kind and loving to others – not dismissive because they were born someplace we look down upon. Not angry or judgemental because someone asks for help.

      It’s ok to not be a Christian. I’m not one. I walked away from the Christian faith a long time ago. I believe in Jesus, but not Christianity. What isn’t ok, is to say you’re one thing and embrace the opposite. To say, “I’m a believer in Jesus and I’m very political” is bad enough. But to say, “I’m a believer in Jesus and I have a zeal for a man who flirts with hate groups, who is scared of refugees, hates his enemies, will cripple and destroy others… who isn’t afraid of the darkness inside” – that is the problem of American Christianity.

      I will not debate this with you because there’s nowhere to go from here. His words are public and neatly collected in locations like: http://unmaskedchristianity.com/donald-trump/

      I feel I must take a side step and also mention that this is personal for me as well:

      Do you know how alone it is, to see 99% of my family agree with a man who would gleefully toss people I love out of the country? I knew there were racists in my family. When Dwight wrote me a letter calling my first wife a “nigger” and a race of Cain… I knew he was lost to his own hatreds. He was never close to me… but it was still hard to remain married with that type of hate in the family. My first wife saw that letter. What fear she must have had to even marry me. Yet now I see every aunt, uncle, etc… with the exception of perhaps a few individuals, I don’t even feel comfortable being around them. Not because they voted a different way – far from it. Becuase they have a zeal for someone who embraces hatred. Someone who flirted with the KKK – while I have a daughter who is half African American and a son who is half Latino. It was the realization that I am alone.

      And in case you’re wondering, I don’t think I’m better than Trump (or his followers)… I too have problems and mistakes – the difference is that I don’t embrace my lower nature. I work daily to try and do better than it.

      I also do not hate Trump (or his followers)… I care for him (and them.) I pray for him. He’s the most lost individual I know. He’s the most hurting individual I know.

      I would ask you politely not argue this point. There’s not much else to say. We know what he has said and done – as a matter of public record… we know it’s opposite of the teachings of Jesus and we know that Christians have supported him as the necessary need for the current time. This is the problem from my vantage point. You disagree… and there we will leave it.

      • Brian, I too am alone, I have a Chinese wife and a half Chinese son, and I am not a Christian at least not in the conventional way. I am not afraid of the future. While I know you are correct in that there are vile people on the political right, there are also vile people on the political left. Both sides are encouraging the baser instincts of their supporters and no one, no one is calling for calm. Obama to the right was the Antichrist, Trump to the left is the Antichrist. Neither person is as vile as the imagination makes them. We make an image of politicians in our own mind and use this projection to cast all our fears and hate or love and admiration onto this image which only exists in our minds. While you do not wish to discuss it, as it is very painful for you just be aware of what you create in your own mind. We create monsters and saints in our own minds, the world rarely produces them to our extreme criteria.

        • I agree with you. I agree 100% with that statement. But you aren’t alone. I don’t know the rest of your side of the family. I’m sure they agree to one degree or another. You’re a smart guy and I know things will work out. I too am not scared of the future. I expected something horrible to happen this year and the opposite occurred. For which I’m eternally thankful. There is a lot of anxiety and a lot of fear in the world. But things seem to work out. I just feel bad you feel alone, as I didn’t think that was the case with your situation.

  2. Thanks for your statement. To clarify I am not completely alone. My dad and I are close as we both share a deep love of engineering and science. My brother didn’t approve of marrying a non-believer and almost-almost said I was going to hell for some of my beliefs when we were discussing certain aspects of the bible around old testament theology. Mom initially also did not approve, but she came around before we got married, but I can tell she is still “worried” about me. My brother and I had a blow out about a year ago around religion and he was so mad he didn’t talk to me for a couple months. After a thorough study of lots of evidence, both scientific and religious I told him I was more of a follower of Marcionism – albeit with some different nuanced ideas. We have talked since but mostly non-religious stuff, although I think he is thinking about some of the things and maybe softening his stance on it. Time will see. But yes, I am outside the mainstream canonical Christianity – thus my views on the topic are heretical in many circles. My primary interest is the truth and I think one can use both science and religion to close on the truth. I don’t think we will ever know the truth of our existence, but I believe we can make the square pegs more round and the round holes more square and arrive at a consistent unified theory. It always bothered my how dualistic religious people are in the sciences they flip a switch in church and believe in the garden of eden, the flood, and resurrection, than in the science mode they talk about human evolution and the origin of life from abiogenesis. I thought there has to be a more unified consistent theory, and so I spent the better part of my free time last year and this year coming up with thoughts and ideas on the topic.

    • In the Tao Teh Ching, it opens with a statement: The tao that can be told
      is not the eternal Tao
      The name that can be named
      is not the eternal Name.

      for me… this means that the spiritual (Tao or God or Emptiness) is best experienced. Leaving each of us to discover truth for ourselves. when we harden a thought into words and description, it often goes with demands for others to think the same way. That’s my take on spirituality. Which is why I entertain and respect a lot of different religions.

      In my own path, I have been a Buddhist, a Hindu, Unity, Rosicrucian, a Scientologist and a member of about a dozen spiritual societies. At the end of it, I saw overlap. I saw the best and the worst in it all… i guess I just opened to accept any/all of it, as long as it benefited the believer. I don’t see the hard rules of heaven/hell for believing or not believing. But that’s my path, which i don’t intend to push on others. At this point in my life, I try and work on my own problems and accept help from any spiritual belief that manifests itself as helpful. but that’s my path. Yours will work out for you, but yes we will have hardships along the way… your relationship with your brother for example. In the end though, we believe the way we do, not to keep our relationships positive but to find truth – wherever it manifests. I’m actually very proud of you. You’re one of the few family members I’ve talked to, who has had the courage to look behind what they were instructed. Good luck!

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