Ghosts that Haunt Our Politics

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2014 by jcwill5

“I’ll never do that again!”

All of us from childhood on have horrible experiences we don’t want to repeat, eras we never want to live through ever again, and mistakes we’ve paid a terrible price for committing.

So we make a vow–never again!

Then we build a life of reaction, a life organized against that outcome.

And whenever we come anywhere near that tormented place, or whenever we begin to feel like we’re in that place again, we go ballistic, shut down, freak out, etc.

We can learn a lot about ourselves by our reactions to life’s events.

We do this individually.  And we do this collectively and nationally.

Which is why I find it very interesting our current debate on the merits of going to war against ISIS to be revealing.

For the Republicans, some are haunted by weakness shown in the face of communism and the aggression that American weakness invited.

The solution is to stand strong and be resolutely tough when confronted by a world-wide enemy.

Other Republicans are haunted by the stalemated wars and fiscal ineptitude we displayed in Iraq and Afghanistan–conditions which led to wholesale Republican losses in the late 2000’s.

So their solution is to allow foreign nations to fight it out and not be involved at all.

On the Democratic side, the Vietnam war still haunts many of the aged anti-war activists.

They, too, have strong reasons to not involve us in a foreign war–not the least of which is they would have to admit they are just as bad as their parents or, worse, their parents were right after all.

It’s not easy to go from an anti-war protester in one’s youth to a warrior against terror in their old age.

Other Democrats are haunted by the debacle of the Jimmy Carter administration, and the charge that they were soft on communism and weak in standing up to it.

So they want at all times to be perceived as standing strong against any world-wide threats to our nation.

The problem with all the above is living life in reaction against something in our past is not wisdom.

It’s usually folly.

And people who can press our buttons and pull our chains can use our reactions against us.

The problem with reactions is they always pendulum into over-reactions.

Seeking to never repeat a mistake, we make the opposite mistake.

The strictly-raised child becomes overindulgent.   The overly indulged child become super-strict.

And so we pendulum back and forth, back and forth–with no insight, no wisdom, and an endless chain of over-corrections cascading down through the generations.

Which is why we are so prone as a populace to being manipulated by politicians, and why we are so delicious a target for terrorists.

We always reward any publicity-seeking group with overdrive publicity and national hand-wringing and over-aggressive (or over-dithering) responses.

We have too many ghosts from our past that still haunt us.

And the only way to exorcise them is to face them openly, squarely, and honestly.

It’s where we ask God to connect the dots between our past and our present reactions–showing us why we do what we do.

It’s where we admit we are trying to manage our unmanageable and painful past.

It’s where we admit we are powerless to avoid a repeat, and our self-constructed life of reaction will never succeed.

It’s where we realize that God has an agenda to recreate the feelings and the similarity of something we deeply fear, and to apply His love to us there.

And when we are loved instead of destroyed in the very place we most wished to avoid, then we are truly free.

This is true individually.  And this is true nationally.

Our reactive and counter-reactive politics will only change when leaders and followers on all sides get radically honest, stop finger-pointing and blaming, and humble themselves before God as lost, little children.

And until that day comes, I’m afraid we are doomed to endless reactions and counter-reactions that defy all superficial efforts to fix them.

As Jeremiah said long ago, “They cry, “Peace!  Peace!” when there is no peace.”

Healthy Realism

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2014 by jcwill5

We have this problem with false expectations.

We expect people to be naturally good, and then are surprised when they hurt, disappoint, and victimize us out of selfishness.

We expect the society to be naturally good, and are confused when people and nations are aggressive, war-like, and do evil against their neighbors.

We expect ourselves to be naturally good, and either cover-up our own evils or we put enormous pressure on ourselves to “do more, try harder, be better.”

The truth is we fail ourselves often, in many ways, and are haunted by the better person we wish we were but cannot ever seem to be.

You know, that person who makes great choices and who is thinner, smarter, and younger.

That person with the midas touch and a perfect family.

That person who manages life well and knows what they are doing at all times.

The person we wish we could be but never can be.

The Peril of Inflated Expectations

Some years ago I participated in a leadership exercise where we asked ourselves what we expected from the members of our organization.

The white board soon was filled with all kinds of good, even reasonable, expectations.

But, taken together, we laughed at ourselves because there was no way under heaven anyone could ever fulfill them all.

The point of the exercise was to bring us back down to earth and to help us meet people where they were at and not where we wished they were.

But our consultant was not finished.

The same question was asked of the membership of our organization.   What did they expect of their leaders?

And, again, the white board was soon filled with a host of expectations that were all good, but impossible for any human being to ever fulfill.

They, too, saw what we saw and realized they needed to dial back their unspoken demands and accept the fact that all leaders had limitations.

Then they brought both groups together.

Our guide told us that we had unrealistic, unspoken expectations of each other, had therefore disappointed each other and were silently condemning each other for failing to meet them.

And this false measuring, with a false pressure to perform and a false platform from which to condemn each other, was wrecking our working relationship and blocking much good from happening.

We were guilty as charged.

The sad thing was nobody meant to do it, and nobody really talked about it.

We just did it all the time to each other.

Instead of accepting each other as limited, sin-prone, broken human beings, and being grateful for what we did receive through each other, we were demanding things of each other nobody could possibly do.

And then we felt justified in holding each other to these impossible standards, and gave ourselves permission to condemn each other for failing to meet them.

Then, mark this, we gave ourselves permission to be irresponsible because we felt like the other guy wasn’t doing his job!

Talk about a downward, self-reinforcing, destructive cycle!

And we not only do this to each other, we do this to ourselves.

We expect natural goodness and natural perfection, then we condemn ourselves without mercy for failing ourselves.

Then we either get frenzied and try harder, or we give up and sink down into depression.

We, too, are trapped in a downward, self-reinforcing, destructive cycle of impossible perfectionism and irresponsible indulging.

There are many tyrants on the earth, but I believe the worst of them is the inner tyrant who is both the source of our inner corruption and the harshest judge of all personal failure.

You can tell it is at work when the words, “should”, “ought” and “must” come out of our mouths or are whispered in our hearts.

Notice this game has nothing to do with God, nothing to do with actual sin and real guilt, and everything to do with proving to ourselves we are OK and can be or stay OK all by ourselves.

The irony is God doesn’t expect natural human goodness.

He is the ultimately healthy realist!

He knows we are hopeless sinners and terribly broken people.

He knows we cannot fix ourselves no matter how hard we try.

He loves us even when we don’t like ourselves.

So He intervened at the Cross, took all our sin-failure upon His own Person, and judged it there forever.

It’s not unconditional love but an all-righteous-conditions-satisfying love that is full of mercy and kindness towards utter failures.

He expects us to fail, made generous provision for it, and receives us in love as failures who can’t manage our lives.

Then He enters into us and births new life in us, providing a new source of supernatural power and transplanted supernatural goodness.

In the fallen universe, all goodness among human beings is therefore a miracle of grace.

When anything right happens, when any good choices are made, when things go better than they should, we have received an undeserved, unexpected blessing.

In other words, we expect all human beings to sin–even ourselves–but we also expect God to intervene, heal, and redeem us in spite of it all.

We expect God to be God and His grace to be applied where it is most needed.

The pressure’s off.   The judging’s quieted.   And the celebration begins.

Remembering 9/11

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2014 by jcwill5

It’s hard to believe it’s been well over a decade since the horrific attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon.

Our first clue to the tragedy was a phone call that morning telling us to turn on the TV.

We were just in time to watch the 2nd tower collapse and see endless replays of the jets hitting the towers.    It felt like someone punched me in the gut and my gut felt punched for three days.

My one daughter drew crayon pictures of jets hitting buildings.

It was eerie that night to see no jets flying overhead, no vapor trails in the sky, and few cars on the road–we were all huddled at home wondering what might happen next.

In a word, we were all in shock.

There was this intuition that our lives would never be the same.

We wondered what might happen next, and there was a real sense of foreboding as well.

What would the terrorists do next?    Who was behind them?  What was our nation and all its armored might going to do?

America, in some way, lost her innocence, her sense of “it can’t happen here” on that day.

The terrorists made a mockery of our scant airport security measures, and used against us our naivety that hijackers wanted to live and there was no such thing as real evil left in the world.

To use jet loads of innocent people as missiles to destroy buildings full of thousands of innocent people was an act of sheer evil.

But it happened.

They exploited our innocence with precision and diabolical insight.

Commerce shut down on that day and only slowly did we get back into our daily routines of shopping and driving places and traveling again.

What Pearl Harbor was for my parents, 9/11 was for my kids–a defining moment.

And one wonders how our lives might have been, how our nation might have developed, had this vicious and calculated assault never happened.

I find there is a sense of fatigue and weariness in many souls–we’ve become an ever more jaded and cynical nation.

The outburst of patriotism and idealism has been eroded by a stream of countless ineptitudes by our government and our leaders, of vain and reversible results in our wars, of trillions of dollars in national treasure spent with little to show for it (like improved security).

We’ve become smaller and more self-absorbed.

We have become far more polarized as a society and far less influential in the world.

Some will try to turn the commemorative events into occasions of political correctness and “let’s be nice to Muslims” banalities.

Others will indulge in hyper-patriotism and xenophobia.

Still others will attempt to use these events to appear leader-like and more electable.

I have another suggestion:    national repentance and an inner renewal of our weary, cynical spirits.

It’s where we forsake both pacifism and militarism, and are exposed for what we are in the presence of a holy God.

It’s where we abandon all hope of saving ourselves through political or economic means, and give up on political parties and politicians as our salvation.

It’s where we cease looking around at someone else to blame, and look in the mirror and submit to heart examination.

It’s where our wounded national pride is exposed as a false god.

It’s where our wounded political pride, along with our efforts to force everyone else to bow to our political will, is abandoned.

It’s where our wounded economic pride, along with our efforts to spend our way out of trouble, is let go.

Instead, we take stock and stop pretending we’re so great and superior.  

We admit we’re broken as individuals and as a nation.

We admit we are out of control and enslaved to our personal and national addictions.

Then we come to believe and trust in a Christ who can restore us to sanity and who can intervene from the outside to save us.

We turn off our media devices and quiet our hearts.

We turn our personal and national lives over to Him and cast ourselves on His mercy.

So we keep crying out to Him and keep letting Him reveal deeper and deeper layers of our profound brokenness until we are so desperate we’ll give up anything for Him to save us–even our rights, our sense of control, and our very selves.

Then He’ll respond to us–not to be manipulated by us but to open us up again under new management through the power of His cross and resurrection.

And we’ll be new people with a new heart–having new relationships and building new communities based on self-sacrifice and giving ourselves away.

If such a thing were to occur on a mass scale, we’d have nothing less than national renewal and both our politics and our economics would be transformed because we would be transformed.

That’s my heartfelt prayer for myself and for us as we respond to 9/11.

De-Recognition and Our Response

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2014 by jcwill5

Among my many pursuits I am privileged to serve on a national board of a Christ-centered fraternity.

We have had at times an uneasy relationship with the universities, who want to promote free association and free expression and, at the same time, insure that all students conform to the reigning intellectual orthodoxy of the times.

The Universities are not so much centers of education as they are centers of de-education, re-education, and indoctrination into the ideologies of the day.

These conflicting mandates have been in play in the Free Speech movement in the early 1960’s.

The same radicals that led protest campaigns to say the F-word are now in positions of power, and they are using it to champion homosexuality as normative and a positive moral good.

As a corollary, this means they are trying to sanitize their campuses of religious views and groups which oppose/refuse this agenda.

Specifically, they are banning religious groups from using religious beliefs or moral standards as a qualification test for leadership–which is historically how Christianity has always chosen its leaders.

Nothing new here.

Powerful institutions and nations have ever required the Church to bow before their idols, and, when they are refused, have punished the Church for its defiance.

Like it or not, they will find we will never bow before the idols of tolerance and “all beliefs are equal”.   If we deny Christ before men, He says He will deny us before the Father.

So we defy any and all mandates to bow before any idols or to compromise core beliefs for the sake of conformity, human approval, threatened punishments, or promised rewards.

And they can’t understand why.   So they implement the punishment.

The Key Issue

The Bible clearly teaches that if you are not “sound in doctrine” or if your lifestyle is immoral or lacking in moral character, you are disqualified from leading God’s house (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1).

In fact, Christians are commanded and required to hold their leaders to the highest doctrinal, character, and moral standards.

It is a matter of obedience to God.

To jettison such standards is an act of treason against the express will of the Almighty, and a flagrant disregarding of the clear teachings of the Bible.

The result is “de-recognition” of any and all groups that uphold their faith and therefore cannot and will not let just anyone assume positions of leadership.

Here are links to a student leader’s experience at Vanderbilt University, and today’s news that the entire California State system has “de-recognized” Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at all its campuses.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/september/wrong-kind-of-christian-vanderbilt-university.html

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/september/intervarsity-now-derecognized-in-california-state-universit.html

So how will we respond?

First, let us understand that we are indeed powerless.

These institutions control all the privileges of access and approval.   We are the Davids, and they are the Goliaths.

But instead of getting angry and leading protests, I would graciously accept the fact that we are no longer privileged but, in fact, are now a hated religious minority.

So we will have to go underground, get highly creative, and become highly personal to survive.

In other words, we’ll have to learn how to function as most Christians in the Third World do–and maybe, just maybe, we will see a similar and exponential growth as an underground movement.

Second, we have a golden opportunity here.

There is no better place in ministry to American college students than to be out-of-favor, at odds with the Establishment, and defying their rules.

I would counsel us to glory in it, revel in it, and play up our unfavored, derecognized, subversive status for all its worth.

Jesus even tells us, “Rejoice and be glad!” when we experience hostility from the powers that be.

If these administrative bullies see us prospering, see their policies backfiring and producing the opposite result, then perhaps they will have to eat some crow and do a major rethink.

But even if they don’t, we still win in the end.

The irony here is there is no more powerful position than powerlessness.

When there is nothing they can give us because they have already taken it all away, then we are free.

When they remove us from their official control, then we are free to disregard their will at all times and in all ways and do only God’s will.

And when the system expels us, then we begin to live a biblical kind of 1st century Christianity as those not a part of the world system.

We are trained to be happy, courageous subversives and cheerfully suffering, revolutionary operatives for the Kingdom of God

So our colleges have the potential to become training centers for a freed-up, nothing-to-lose, radically committed kind of Christian.

This outcome promises to infuse the entire Church with a cadre of dedicated, radically committed leaders in the next 10-30 years.

There could be a very bright future for conservative, biblical, Protestant Christianity in the United States!

And we could have the narrow-minded, bullying universities to thank for it!

Three Cheers for Labor!

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2014 by jcwill5

A professor at UCLA once made this statement, “Christianity teaches that work is bad and is a product of the Fall.”

Although this false statement is found nowhere in the Bible, it implies that Christianity is the enemy of labor and therefore the working person.

The goal of this post is to show you otherwise.

Fact:  Adam and Eve were given work to do in the Garden of Eden–to tend, care for, and bring order to the place under their care–before the Fall.

Work, in other words, is not a curse.

Fact:  in Revelation 22 it says, “His bond-servants shall serve Him.”

Thus, throughout all eternity, we will be doing holy labors for our King of Kings and carry out assignments and holy adventures.

Before Paradise was lost, and forever after Paradise has been regained, we fulfill our Creator’s design to devote ourselves to good labors and holy tasks assigned to us by Him.

Work is good!

What God cursed was Adam’s disobedience, and it brought about futility.

Life outside the garden was full of “thorns and thistles”, of gardens invaded by weeds, of laboring “by the sweat of your brow” with creation working against us instead of working with us.

Work became frustrating, counter-productive, conflicted, and far more difficult.

And all the other people we’d work with, just like ourselves, would have a sin-nature and be inherently selfish and prone to quarrelling, jealousy, and back-stabbing.

What a mess!

No wonder we all have problems on our jobs!

Then add to all this the fact of bodily weakness, aging, sickness, and infirmities of our minds and one can see why people would assume the faith teaches that work is a curse.

But I take the opposite view, one revived by Martin Luther in the early 1500’s:   every kind of work we do can be done for the glory of God, and no work is more or less honorable than any another.

This teaching is far more revolutionary than anything Karl Marx taught–without destroying the individual in the name of the State.

It elevated the worker beyond anything the feudal era–which looked down on labor as beneath the nobility and the clergy.

One of the Reformation’s great liberating truths was destroying the distinction between “sacred work” of monks and priests, and “secular work” done by everyone else.

The bricklayer, the ditch-digger, the field hand could rightfully hold up their heads alongside the lawyer, the pastor, and the doctor.

All professions, all occupations, were honorable and could be used to bring good to the world and bring honor to Christ.

In fact, for the Christian, we are explicitly told to “do your work heartily as for the Lord” and “whatever you do in word and deed, do all to the glory of God.”

Our only boss and employer is Jesus Christ Himself, and how we do our work is a direct reflection on Him.

Work, in other words, is another way we worship Him.

Hence, the Protestant Work Ethic is really the Biblical work ethic.  

Our work is a part of our witness whether we realize it or not.

I do not mean to make an idol out of work, as workaholics do.

But I do intend to raise high once again the value of work and the worthiness of labor.

I do not mean to elevate businesses or unions.

But I do mean to Christianize, transform, and dignify the rank and file as well as the owners.

Christ desires His followers to be the best of workers–on time, hard working, putting forth a full effort, reliable, non-complaining, honest.

Just as Christian slaves won their slave-owners in the Roman Empire, we can win our bosses, owners, and managers to Jesus by how we labor–even when nobody is looking and even when we don’t “earn” anything on earth as a reward.

Christ desires Christian businessmen, owners, bosses and managers to treat their employees well–to grant them justice and fairness, to pay a fair wage for a fair day’s labor, to regard them as people instead of as commodities to be bought and sold and traded.

Sadly, an entitlement mentality has taken over.

Many workers want to be paid, but few will work for it.

Many owners want hard labor, but few are willing to pay for it.

Many workers want to be paid more, but few want to work harder for it.

Many owners want to pay less, and wonder why they receive worse labor.

Many workers want to be the boss, but few want to start at the bottom and pay your dues and work their way there or prove they can be trusted.

Many bosses want to keep people down and exploit them, but few know how to empower and dignify those who labor for them.

Many want the good things of life, but few are willing to work years and save and wait for it until they have the cash.

We do slipshod, minimum efforts for employers and wonder why we don’t progress in our field.

We treat employees like dirt, and wonder why their work is so slipshod.

American businesses and workers are caught in a toxic cycle that no government or economic fix can fix.

Be the exception.  Break the cycle.

But let’s do it for the right reason–to bring honor and fame to our Master, Jesus Christ, and not for material advancement or power over others.

It is no disgrace either to work or to employ workers.

In fact, nothing could be more honorable in the sight of God than to do our labors well and do them for Him.

And that is why I celebrate Labor Day and why you can as well.

It isn’t Magic

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2014 by jcwill5

The longer I journey with God on planet Earth, the less I believe in magic.

In fact, I will go so far as to say magic, far more than skepticism, is the enemy of all true faith.

Magic requires no effort.  Magic just happens if I wait long enough.

Magic is a form of pretending.  

It’s where it all works out in spite of reality and contrary to reality.

Our own choices aren’t important in a magical world.  There are never bad consequences for any choices.

So there is never any need to change, to repent, to learn the hard way, to suffer, to be patient, or to grow up.

It’s like a bad sitcom where the characters make the same stupid choices week after week, are none the worse for wear, and come back in the next episode to do it all over again while we watch.

Magical Quests

We look for magical experiences at magical places through magical leaders who perform magical shows to make magical things happen while we, the passive many, watch, applaud, pay, and praise them after the show.

Some of us are looking for political magic–the right party with the right programs with the right leader will make everything all better right away.

More spending, less taxes, and no deficits.

Some of us are looking for entertainment magic–the right network or label with the right programs with the right artist will make everything all better, right away.

More watching, less activity, and no obesity.

Other are looking for religious magic–the right church with the right programs with the right leader will make everything all better right away.

More services, less commitment and sacrifices, and no cross.

Some of us are looking for relationship magic–the right partner with the right body with the right personality will make everything all better right away.

More taking, less commitment and giving, and no ring.

Yeah, right!

One of the most painful steps towards growing up emotionally is giving up the magic.

It’s where we stop denying there’s a problem, and give up on denial.

It’s where we admit we’re wrong, out of control, can’t wish our problems away, and can no longer pretend we can manage it all.

It’s where we take full responsibility for ourselves, and hand back to all others the responsibility for their own self as well.

It’s where we come under God, get small and lowly, and hand ultimate, final responsibility back to Him.

It’s extremely painful.

Which is why most people relapse back into magical thinking.

It is hard to be relentlessly, ruthlessly honest with ourselves, with God, and with other people.

It is hard to look reality square in the face and not flinch and say, “That’s me!”

It’s hard to admit, “I will never be able to fix, save, rescue, or make all better anyone–even myself!”

It’s hard to give up the role of hero, messiah, and handyman.

But it is absolutely necessary if we’re going to seek and find the Truth.

America is full of magical politics, magical churches, magical shows, and magical coupling.

It doesn’t do us a bit of good because magic changes nothing.  Nothing!

Tired of pretending?  Exhausted from fixing?  Worn out by being indispensable?  Fed up with denial?

Let go of the magic.   Face reality.  Humble yourself.  Repent.  Return to God.  Take responsibility.

With His help, start taking the actions that, deep down, you’ve known you’ve needed to take all along.

Then you’ll actually get somewhere in life!

Over or Under

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2014 by jcwill5

In my long personal journey, and in my many interactions with many kinds of people, I believe almost every issue bedeviling our society boils down to a single, unspoken, underlying issue.

Is God, or is the individual, supreme?  

Is God, or is my self, in the position of ultimate control?

Do I unconsciously see myself as occupying the heights, looking out at all of life from a position of being over it?

Am I above all religions, moralities, philosophies, and perspectives, picking and choosing from among them to fit “ME”?

In other words, am I (or something I personally value) the standard?   Am I my sole and highest authority?

Or do I report to Another who is Ultimate Judge of all individuals in the end?

Am I the measure of all things?  Am I the center?  Am I the greatest?

Or is the Being we call God the Most High?  Does He possess all authority and every right to judge me, hold me accountable, and measure me according to His ways, His commands, and His rules?

Do I report to Him and live to fulfill His will?  Or does He report to me and exists to fulfill my will?

Am I self-created, or God created?

Over or under?

I believe our modern, high-tech society is permeated, immersed, and completely reinforces the “sovereign self” view of life.

It is setting the terms for all our societal moral debates.   It is undermining all institutions, sacred books, and all sources of authority beyond the SELF.

And I believe our very technologies and intelligent devices, all brought to us by the Internet, reinforce the unspoken view that we are the center of it all.

I scan the news, viewing all the events of the world in an instant, from a position of having all the arrows of information pointing to me.

This gives us the illusion of having all control and possessing real-time, everywhere-at-once, omnipresence.

I search all the images of the word, have at my fingertips all the articles and websites of the world on every subject–giving me the illusion of omniscience and, of course, all control.

We are each emperors and empresses of our virtual world, controlling what others see about us and projecting a vastly inflated picture of ego achievement and elevation.

Then we hit the real world and fall flat on our faces.

So it is a kind of pampered, overprotected narcissism run amok, where our own personal opinion on everything is the Final Word on all matters.

The problem is all the above is laughable.

We are that pathetic huckster behind the curtain, and not the booming, fiery projection of the Wizard of Oz.

We can’t even control our mouth, let alone our attitudes, let alone our secret self-destructive tendencies, can we?

And we certainly can’t control life’s events, let alone the doings of other people, can we?

We are all in need of a good ego deflation and a deep demotion into lowliness and vulnerability.

We are not in control, not in charge, don’t define ourselves or anything or anyone else, and are not above it all picking and choosing as a superior.

The truth is we are inferiors, little people, and, yes, even unrepentant selfish sinners who continuously provoke God to His face, defy His truth, mock His ways, etc.

We make lousy, pathetic, incompetent gods and goddesses.  

If we won’t resign, we ought to be fired at once and removed from the Throne.

We need a good come down so we might come to our senses and escape the cruelest, most boring imprisonment of them all:  slavery to self.

We are in desperate need of losing the illusions of control and those delusions of grandeur that torment us, and make everyone else around us miserable.

Our grandiosity will be the death of us.   Hubris is always followed by nemesis.

It comes down to this:   we have been living life, making decisions, and responding to the Most High from a totally false, completely undeserved position of aboveness.

It would be hilarious if this state of affairs wasn’t so tragic and utterly destructive to so much that is good.

Is it not a coincidence that the Twelve Steps begin with:   My life has become unmanageable and I powerless over…

Control therefore is not our friend, it is our enemy.

It is what drives all addictions, all idolatry, and all straight paths to Hell.  It is not to be coddled but eradicated.

Most people who call themselves Christians are actually practicing syncretism–a shell of Christianity surrounding a core of sovereign individualism (self-worship, the self controls and defines everything).

If we don’t teach our children and our churches to distinguish between these two diametrically opposed perspectives, and choose to be under God instead of over Him, we doom them to a spiritual death.

And, most frightening of all, we don’t see what’s happening or understand why it’s happening.

But this, my friends, is the great Apostasy of our times.  It is the acid that corrodes everything sacred and good.

It is what we need to be revived from.

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