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.
The congregation was wound up tight. They were (for the most part) in-sync with the speaker. As he shouted about babies being killed, people were vocalizing their discontent right along with him. This continued – soon men were shouting with him about how wrong abortion was… women were crying.
He had the audience in the palm of his hand. It was here in this vulnerable moment that he shouted with dramatic effect:
“What would you do, if an abortionist put a baby on the altar here,” he gestured to the church altar before him, “and raised a knife above the unborn babies heart and drove it…” his words were grinding, loud and angry. He didn’t even finish when men stood up in the congregation to answer him, “We’d KILL HIM!”
They shouted that they would kill such a man. Women and men were all enraged and held in the hands of this speaker. They’d do whatever he wanted, to ensure not another abortion ever occurred.
From my vantage point, I could see most of the congregation below me. Most of them were screaming or crying about how abortion must be stopped. My father and the pastor, however, looked like they were witnessing a crime.
After the windup, the congregation was wild. The speaker then told how his ministry is working on ending abortion (although it wasn’t clear how), but lacked funding. He took up a collection before the pastor could stop him. With cash in hand, he also handed out his cards and pamphlets to get others to donate.
The pastor took over as the man ended his sermon – I believe the pastor didn’t know what to do, so he went along with the narrative… and thanked the man for his message.
The man was evidently a con artist. My father felt it wasn’t right. I knew it wasn’t right. But it was my first taste of this medicine. The medicine of dark emotions.
Emotions are wonderful. Yet there is a time when emotions can get the better of us. When we are not the owners of our emotions, but rather the emotions are driving us, we turn over our own logic and humanity to them.
This is what I witnessed that Sunday so long ago. I am very thankful I witnessed it. Had I not, I may have had a harder time understanding 2016.
As it turns out, the speaker that wound up the church disappeared. The pastor gave a talk the next Sunday explaining that it was unfortunate that this man gave the talk on Sunday. He apologized and informed the church that the speaker was not legit. Evidently, people were calling the speaker to give even more money but his phone wasn’t working, his address didn’t exist… they were confused and couldn’t accept that they had been scammed. So they approached the pastor, who felt he had to tell the entire church that this man was up to no good.
People seemed shocked. They were confused. How could this man with such a great message be fake?
How People are Controlled
It is very hard to control someone who has no fear. However, if you can scare someone, then they are easily manipulated. Once scared they simply fall into anger. A speaker like this will resonate at the same emotional tone (fear and anger.) While acting this way, the speaker appears to be on the same page as the listeners, who then turn over their reasoning. Instead of thinking from their spiritual place, they think from their mundane realms. Instead of praying about it, they want to smack down the “bad people.”
It’s hard to tell someone in this state that they are acting contrary to their ideals. I have learned (even recently) that you have to let people work themselves out of this type of situation.
People will find all sorts of odd “evidence,” to back up a claim to their spiritual values mixed with the antithesis. This level of illogical thinking simply can not be discussed.
This Problem Repeats
Until a person learns to think for themselves and finds a truth that is eternal, this problem will continue. Look at past leaders, such as Jim Jones who led so many to knowingly commit mass-suicide.
I’ve heard that such failures were due to people not “tuned to God.” But really it’s the result of people who are tuned in to fear. The last message of Jim Jones (to his followers) was also one of fear. You can read the transcript of Jim Jones’ last sermon here: http://employees.oneonta.edu/downinll/mass_suicide.htm
Throughout the message he talks about people coming to “take their children,” and he reiterates this fear with, “…and we had better not have any of our children left when it’s over because they’ll parachute in here on us.”
People ask, “how could people kill their own children?” When people are led by fear, they are capable of horrible decisions.
I knew many Christians who thought those people were deluded and stupid. Yet in 2016, those same people made a similar divergence from their faith.
You see, the problem repeats and it will continue to repeat.
Decisions Made in Fear
Perhaps in pre-history, fear based decisions helped save our lives. Today, however, it is rare that a decision in fear ever works to our benefit.
Even in the most mundane fear based actions, we see failure. How often we hear, “SALE ENDS TODAY,” or “ONLY 3 LEFT, ORDER NOW!” This fear based marketing gets people motivated. “Oh no,” they think, “this is my only chance to get it!”
I’m just as much a sucker as the next guy. How many times I’ve dropped down some money to buy something at the “end of a sale,” only to regret the purchase soon after.
In Kabbalah (as taught at the Kabbalah Center), they teach people to never make a decision rashly (such as with fear or anger.) Strong emotional decisions are often our worst enemy.
Continuing the Narrative
The thing about human nature is that often after it’s committed to the narrative, it doesn’t deviate – even it if turns out to be a falsehood. Look at the folks at the Jim Jones compound. They had to know that their whole lives were built on a lie, but they continued on. So did the suicidal group Heaven’s Gate.
Sometimes people’s doubts are alleviated with falsehoods… such as those Christians who put their hope in Donald Trump and then were exposed to his real nature. They waived their angry fist with Trump, as he spoke against the undocumented… but then it was revealed that Trump was recorded 10 years ago talking about his sexualization of women and how he dominates them sexually. Conflicted with this new information, church leaders like Franklin Graham stood up and poopooed this behavior saying, “that was 10 years ago.” Others said, “it was locker room talk.” These arguments in themselves do not resolve the fact that this person (whether a good President or not) is outside their Christian ideals. After all, regardless of how long ago someone did something, they probably are still harmonious to their past (unless they’ve made great effort to change.)
Another defense mechanism was in the argument that one doesn’t need an ethical leader anymore (which was the original requirement of the voting Christian), but rather one needs the “anointed” leader (the key being that an anointed leader doesn’t have to be ethical.) Hence the Cyrus anointing was created, as a man made doctrine. I wrote about the Cyrus Anointing in a past post. The idea of needing to be involved in government affairs is in itself a diversion from Jesus. But even more so, in the raising up of a leader who defines ego, pride and injustice.
As these same Christians watch their country tear itself apart, I wonder how far they will go with the narrative… and then I’m reminded of Jim Jones, Nazi Germany, Bosnia, Rwanda… and I remember that people will go to extreme lengths to continue the narrative.
We all have different opinions. I am not about berating someone for their choice or opinion. For this reason, I stayed off the political spectrum for most of my adult life. Spiritual people can be found in any (or no) political faction. Yet something different happened in 2016.
This wasn’t simply a conservative vs. a democrat. This wasn’t a Bush in office, or a Ted Cruz. This was a man who openly negated Christian theology, and yet many Christians framed him as the Holy (and only) choice. This was a man who openly flirted with racism and hate groups (even pretending he didn’t know what the KKK was when interviewed about their support of him.)
I can’t blame a fox for acting like a fox. I can’t judge a farmer for mistakenly letting the fox into the hen house. But when this becomes the norm, we can’t simply sit by and watch it happen. We have to point it out. It’s not about judging, but rather this is about reminding people of their higher calling.
Donald Trump repeatedly brought up his feelings about the world. He said at one time or another, during his campaign:
- The families of terrorists should be killed or tortured
- Tortue tactics should be more aggressive
- He (Trump) could shoot a man and not lose a single vote
- He (Trump) could look a refugee child in the face and tell them they have to leave the country
- That refugees aren’t welcome
- That the undocumented workers are a threat and must be removed
- That Muslims are a threat and must be controlled (even put in a database)
- He (Trump) was skilled in mocking people (women, men, the handicapped)
These ideas are dangerous… they lead to mass incarceration, deportation, family destruction and perhaps even worse. The nation’s hate crimes have skyrocketed and the narrative the believers follow is that “it’s always been like this.”
I have concluded, that the Christian community that elected Donald Trump will not remove their support, no matter what happens… because I’ve never seen followers of fear and hate every change their course.
He owns them. They wear his mark in their hearts.
At this point, there is little we can do in the form of discussion. If you inform a believer of their error, they will double down and tell you (as they tell me):
- “I couldn’t vote for Hillary”
- “He won’t do the bad things.”
- “He’s amazing, all the things you tell me are lies from the liberal media.”
The above points are simply smoke screens. You see, it was never about “voting the right way,” it was about being true to one’s own beliefs – which may mean abstaining from a vote. Or voting a write-in.
At this point, we can’t argue out the failure of logic. All we can do is pray for them, in our own ways. If brought up we can remind them of their faith. We can leave messages like this one, for when they are ready to return to their spiritual calling. We can pray for Donald Trump as well. I know for some that’s pushing it… but if we believe that God is within all of us, God is in Donald Trump, as well as me… as well as you, as well as Hillary… everyone is touched by God.
I don’t hate Trump. I don’t want to hate anyone. It is the actions of his supporters that frustrate me the most and they deserve our compassion as well. People are not seeing clearly. We must see them in love and believe that there is a purpose here that is working itself out.
As Paul Selig would say, “I am Word, through the ones before me. Word I am Word.” May we visualize and discover the love of God through all we encounter (especially the difficult ones.)