Thursday, April 20, 2017

Orthodox Rod Dreher's "The Benedict Option" Promoted by Christianity Today

The Benedict Option

The culture wars and Dominionism is growing extreme. In the first video, Dreher, tells us Christians are in "exile" from our pagan secular culture, and the best option for Christians who want to live "lives of virtue" is to withdraw and form their own "communities". I find this idea of structured community, interesting given that spontaneous community in America especially among mainstream culture has failed. In the churches I have visited at least locally, I see no more spontaneous community. Everything is planned, formal and authority from the top down. Be careful of what sounds good but is not.

The church system is rapidly going Communitarian, as someone who has needed "charity" at times in the form of church food pantries and co-ops, the churches are intertwining with  governmental, corporate and other groups. At a recent food co-op, we had a visiting nurse and a local job's program person show up to the meeting with the distribution of food. Among the church helpers, is this false, that if we "become more responsible" or "work harder" our poverty will end. There is no discussion of the economic realities of American life today. Even the odd class blindness that most poor people unless disabled are already working seems to have escaped our middle class and above benefactors, as they seem to think mowing some lawns or fast food work is going to rescue people from poverty. They don't realize most in the room are already working for minimum wage.  They are selling everything that isn't nailed down already. Economic despair and the realities of our lives remains suppressed. There's little free speech.

I told my husband, "while we will go when we need to help" and desire to stay polite, we have to be sure to protect our privacy. These are people who will not understand an older man who can't stand for more then 10 minutes due to vein problems, and his work needs. The idea of the "Religious experts" getting together to form "Communities of virtue" scares me. Imagine the "rules", the "pious" would unleash among their set apart exiles.

The idea of some removed "Christian" community as a bulwark against the unbelieving hordes sounds like the dystopian novel "Handmaid's Tale", not only will they have the  subjugated women, they will have the Catholic inspired neo-feudalism to go along with it. 

Do you remember Fanatic for Jesus's other blog, "The Communitarian Trap"? The church system is rapidly going Communitarian. The idea of "Christian" communes or "Utopias" such as what the Shakers set up is nothing new, but you wonder about new marriages between government and churches and neo-feudal set-ups like what is proposed in Dreher's book.

 The Communitarian Trap defined Communitarianism thusly:

"Communitarianism is a global agenda toward world government. It uses a coalition of government, business, and church who shore up the social, moral, and political environment, while slowly robbing the freedom of the participants. A Communitarian adopts and advocates concepts such as a cooperative spirit of community, selfless commitment to community service, and the duty to work for “the common good.” It's tied from the U.N. directly to Agenda 21, the Third Way, Common Purpose, laws, community objectives, Total Quality Management, education, food delivery systems, and the collectivist thinking pattern of the global community. It uses the Hegelian Dialectic to create the synthesis needed to develop the New World Order - and ultimately the totalitarian utopia of the Elite's New Atlantis.

In the first video, Dreher advocates for Christians to separate from mainstream American culture, and tells us that only "culture" can save Christianity.  The many verses that warn against the "love of this world" from scripture contradict his philosophies that are very much of this world. This is advanced Domininionism. The message being that Christians must rule, and build their own kingdoms on this earth.  Around the 10:39 mark he quotes an early church historian Robert Lewis Wilkin.."that apologetics and intellection cannot save Christianity only culture can. By culture I do not mean high culture, Box B high mass Caravaggio as a colleague of St Matthew I mean the total harvest of thinking and feeling to use TS Eliot's phrase the pattern of inherited meanings and sensibilities encoded in rituals, laws, languages and practices and stories that can order and inspire the behavior thoughts and inspirations of a Christian people."  That just sounds like a nice way to advertise some thought control.

In the second video, Fox news interviews Dreher. He mentions the "catastrophic" departure of millennials from churches and Christianity. This actually happened with Generation X. To be frank, most of the young, have become far beyond disgusted with the "culture wars" especially in a culture where our economic disenfranchisement has become so acute. The reality is many of the young have rejected Christianity as a whole. The culture wars actually helped. I was planning an article to do soon, where I predict a "church" bubble bursting like the college bubble. People who can't afford rent, aren't going to be tithing. Millennials are not having children to fill the pews with.

 I can already see on the local level, the churches remaining strongly middle class and above, while poorer people while we may be in the church to get some food, they are not part of the church. I am someone who has left the church system but for the average poor person, they know they do not belong and stay out of the system by default. What happens when mostly more affluent Baby Boomers die off? That said Dreher will ensure more millennials racing for the door, especially with his authoritarian vision of religious life. Of course I always wonder if the race for the one world church door, will be implemented via severe economic collapse or war in America, but as things work now, the churches are not addressing the needs of the young.

Is Communitarianism or a Commune in Your Future? 

Videos three and four are interesting to me because it shows a Bruderhof young woman, advocating for the Benedict Option. Some may ask me, what's so interesting about that? I knew about the Bruderhof, because I am someone who has read quite extensively about intentional communities. They are a religious community where people live in common and their beliefs are very akin to the Hutterites in America. Intentional communities are defined by Wikipedia: "An intentional community is a planned residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle.". The Bruderhof is a religious one, they share housing, meals and a very close and social lifestyle.

While I know the new world order, is going to use arranged communities and intentional communities [aka today's modern communes], I have had a personal interest in that way of life. Modern American life for many and especially the poor has become very empty.  One ponders escape to a better place.  In my case, I wondered if any true independents and spontaneous associations existed outside the "communitarian" system. I even had fantasies about finding a place that would accept someone with severe chronic health problems but my husband's response to these alternative lifestyles was an unequivocable, "NO, I am not going to live with a thousand brothers and sisters".

I fantasized about finding a loving community to join where someone of my Christian views would be welcomed, but I never acted on this, I was too sick and disabled.  I also noticed someone who renounced Catholicism and the ecumenical vision for Christianity probably wouldn't be too welcomed either. Why am I sharing this? Well in lonely American culture, these new ways of life seem VERY ATTRACTIVE and were/are to me personally. I believe as society goes into more economic and other chaos, selling these ideas will not be hard. As the economy in America crumbles and life for many becomes more hard, people are going to be seeking "new solutions".

Sadly human reality usually steers towards wickedness, this is NOT new stuff that Dreher is selling, American Utopianism especially of the "Christian flavor" took off in the 19th century, with the Shakers leading the charge. Back then these communities also were run like "communes" with new social rules and ways of life. Sadly a majority went into major corruption with false leaders, religious and spiritual abuse, and extreme doctrines. The Shakers died out renouncing all sex and marriage. There was a lot of abuse with wolves in sheep's clothing claiming power and control over people and many grew into out and out cults.

I even looked myself into co-housing, because life in America especially for a childless older couple without a family can feel very isolating but for some reason, they all seem to be relegated to the wealthy and for those of a certain ideological bent. I looked at "Christian" communities and had a fascination with them, on an intellectual level, so yes I knew about the Bruderhof. It does not surprise me that one of their own, is supporting Dreher's book or that Dreher visited one Bruderhof community in America called Fox Hill. [see video #3] Perhaps there is a planned marriage of "Christian" intentional communities with Dreher's vision of set apart Christian villages and communities. Here one sees the ecumenical movement in action as Orthodox meets Ana-baptist.

The Benedict Option has become a best-selling book and made the cover of Christianity Today. Definitely these view-points are being pushed by some powerful interests. The rooms full of wealthy academics and others are on display in the videos.  The question now is to ask Why?  What are they planning?

I asked in 2013, "Is Communitarianism or a Commune in your future?" In 2013, the blogger on The Communitarian Trap, warned about the efforts to turn Christians into an army of workers for the new United Nations sustainability and social justice efforts:

The Hands and Feet of Christ and the Identifying Marks of a Communitarian Social Justice Agenda.

This is definitely one direction the one world religion is building, with different denominations joining together. Rick Warren got this ball rolling. Evangelicals now take no issue with a vision of Christian life based on a Catholic religious order.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

War With Syria?

Trump lied. Are you surprised? I'm not. He promised his voters he would end the "USA as policeman of the world" nonsense. Nope he's another "owned asset" continuing the neo-con war agenda of Bush, Cheney and company as planned in the Plan for the New American Century. The Middle Eastern wars are to be continued. Some Trump voters have expressed outrage over this. Well, they got played.
The globalist march is not to be ended. Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, and now Syria and soon to be Iran. General Wesley Clark warned of "The Pentagon's New Map" wars years ago.  Per usual lies and propaganda are used to "sell war". The would be clashes with Russia, are a disturbing part of the puzzle. They tried pushing war with Syria since 2013 and well now they could be getting their wish.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Phoenix Preacher Becomes an Anglican

Why I am {Becoming} an Anglican.

Phoenix Preacher or Michael Newnham used to be a Calvary Chapel pastor.

His blog warned of many Calvary Chapel scandals after he left. He is now becoming an Anglican. Often over the years I have talked about how the deficiencies of evangelicalism lead some right back into the Catholic, and liturgical church system. One of his commenter's wrote; "I like my freedom way too much to be an Evangelical “christian” (small case on purpose). Well with all the Dominionism and authoritarianism shoved down people's throats on the religious right, I'm not going to argue with that guy. Phoenix Preacher [interesting name] is basically entering the left/liberal wing of the Catholic church. Anglican and Episcopal services which I have visited in my past, match, the Catholic mass very closely.

It is sad to read the comments and how many became fed up with the superficiality of false evangelical teachings and churches and how this led them right back into Rome's gaping maw. Religion is like politics, choose your side, "right or left", evangelical/Protestant or Catholic. Both the red and blue pill are poison. Us outliners who have left the system, it's hard I know. We have supposedly "invented our own religion" when all we did was get saved and actually read the Bible. It's sad to see thinkers fall for Rome's lies and false traditions over and over again.

Other mentions of Phoenix Preacher

Growing Number of Christians Don't Go to Church

Growing Number of Americans Love Jesus but Don't Go to Church, Barna Finds
Growing Number of Americans Who Love Jesus Don't Go to Church

"Barna has released a report on the first of a two-part exploration of faith and spirituality outside the church, looking at the "fascinating segment of the American population who, as the saying goes, 'love Jesus but not the church.'"


One-tenth of the population comprises those who self-identify as Christian and who strongly agree that their religious faith is very important in their life, but are "dechurched," meaning they have attended church in the past, but haven't done so in the last six months or more, the Barna study says, adding that only seven percent of the population belonged to this category in 2004."


They found 10% of self identifying Christians admitting they don't go to church. I believe there's definitely people in my boat and many reader's who have seen through the church system and have abandoned it. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Goodbye To Fundamentalism!

I still am a Christian. I still believe in God's Word. I am sure many would consider many of my beliefs "classically fundamentalist" when it comes to belief in God's Word, I see fundamentalism as just another "ism" to kick to the curb.

That said I have to be honest on this blog and have to admit, that I no longer consider myself a fundamentalist, and my ongoing division with the religious right and the rest has grown stronger. How much of "fundamentalism" in America has absolutely nothing to do with God or Christianity and has become about nothing but "control", "fear" and "punishment".

It's sometimes scary because I know I am in a place that "defies" the labels. It can make communication more tougher. People want to figure out where a person is coming from and the short-hand labels serve as an easy marker. Many of us who have left the church system sometimes do feel like we are floating out in space. People ask us, "What are you?" and besides saying "Christian" what do you tell them?

Dealing with that spiritual abuser and false "deliverance" person has led me to some more self examination and theological musings. It has changed me not only to have left the last IFB in the last 18 months, but also that whole process and examining spiritual abuse issues. I hope I never have been spiritually abusive to anyone judging them on high, I definitely have examined some of my own tactics.  I don't want to be like that person who messed with me and preached legalism and religiosity beyond measure. She probably was a closet Satanist but there's many who believe themselves to be Christians causing a lot of damage to people. They take self righteousness to new heights and the Bible warns about those people with the "appearance of godliness". There's a lot of people being hurt by false religion and legalists and I never want to be one of those doing the damage to someone else.

Recently I have been in some strong spiritual battles, I have even feared my own falling away they have been so bad. Some unanswered prayers have piled up and my own relationship with God has entered a very troubled area. Imagine the metaphor of a marriage when it comes to God. There have been arguments, railings and slammed doors and then apologies and repentance, but then more arguments. It has been a mess. Some of the arguments with God even had to do with "how my life has turned out" and feelings of deep grief. I have to apply SOME OF THINGS I MYSELF warned about on this blog years ago, where false fundamentalists teach things like "a good life here" means you are "blessed by God".  I suppose real communication is better then trying to be fake in front of God. Spiritual tests and battles will come to people. 

I have battled dealing with feeling that God does not love me which I posted on already and trying to stand on scripture to fight Satan's lies. I have overcome some of these problems but still remaining in some struggle. It is related to personal and other issues. False fundamentalism can damage someone's relationship with God. It did me. That spiritual abuser planted some terrible seeds, and almost could have succeeded in destroying my faith. Spiritual abuse has repercussions and I have faced them. Those who speak only judgment and no kindness and love can drive a wedge between someone and God. Fundamentalism in America has become nothing but. The love is gone. Love is an issue I am thinking on a LOT lately and Love between me, God and others.  Choosing between cold people who claim they stand on sound doctrine and have no love, and the mushy world of liberal "love" where anything goes is not much of a choice is it?

I think about people who walked from God deeming God "their enemy" because He did not bless them or their lives became full of more problems. Its a lot of people. "Perfect" Fundamentalist Frank and Francine with their Quiverful family and white-picket fence lives and Moral Majority culture wars, have sent many people fleeing what they think is Christianity. Some people just want to have some love, and comfort and feel like God cares about them. The regular world sees "Christian" fundamentalists as evil and while some are in that category of being offended by true servants of the Lord, giving them the gospel , many see the power-hungry, mean and others using religion to bash people in the face, make money and get power.

I know the religious right world is a world I have warned of for years on this blog but it is a world I know I will never fit in. In many ways I never fit in the "fundamentalist" world either though I tried for years to find a place in the IFB churches with my first experience being more positive, and the second more negative and me changing along the way.

The fundamentalist world is JUST another system to be rejected. I have warned of the excesses of fundamentalism. I have warned of many of them for years. Many will tell you that if you reject the religious right, the anti-intellectualism, and the authoritarianism, this means you must add in the rejection of God's Word and beliefs based upon it. Some will shout that your rejection of these things means you no longer hold to scripture and Christian beliefs. They are wrong. Stand on what you know.

This is where the forced squashing into either one of the sides of the "right" and "left" religious and political matrix can become the worse. I meet fellow Christians like me sometimes who have left the "system" so to speak and the automatic reaction is that you "have turned liberal" and ready to join the world of the Presbyterian USA denomination or United Church of Christ, or the mainliner or liturgical world, and that you will want to read Sojourners. That is simply not true. This can be like walking through a thicket. Here is where you will be told, you have "formed your own religion" and if you are the "only person" who believes this way, then you have "formed your own cult". Trust me I have undergone some major self questioning ABOUT ALL OF THIS.

For those out of the religious system, maybe you have dealt with this stuff too. One person said to me, "If your beliefs are so strange, that you don't fit anywhere and cannot find one tolerable church you are in a very extreme place." This means most every other Christian holds very wrong beliefs except for YOU and this probably means you need to "rethink" your ideas and conform somewhat."

Talk about laying on the pressure. One thing they don't realize that inside, conforming would have been the easiest path. Too many have conformed from the first place and didn't say NO to the excesses, otherwise why did the churches run off the rails so much? Is the only alternative to crazed and mean "Christian" Taliban Dominionists running into the arms of those who reject scripture, and teach that all religions lead to the same place?

Yes conforming would have been the EASIEST path. I wouldn't feel so alone in this. I spent a lot of time trying to find a place where I would "fit" and "belong" and never did.  It hurt a lot. I had some dreams about THIS LIFE, that died. Because of my past history, the desire for a church "family" was very strong, but I've been enough places to know I could not just sit somewhere and digest what I was told without thinking about it and examining it. If I had found a place where open communication was allowed and iron sharpening iron, that would have made all the difference, even with minor disagreements I could have handled it, instead of just being spoon-fed from on high. I suppose those places are very rare now. I believe I myself am responsible for what I know and it's true of every person.

I'm done with fundamentalism. Right now it's not just the excesses, but the whole ball of wax.

One wants to seek after God's love, and lover for others too. I don't mean in the mushy enabling of evil way either but where we feel love and able to give love to others. The power and control matrix of what passes for "Christanity" today has reached absurd levels.

I am not sure where I am going with all this, I am in my own path of exploration. Where am I going? My mind is changing on some things but definitely not the truth of God's Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

She Has a Point

Self-Centered Religion Fashions a Self-Centered God
March 11th, 2017
American Evangelicals and Fundamentalists are often about “a relationship” with God, which, as one critic has observed, is a step better than being unconcerned with God. But relationship-based religion has got some problems.

First, if my religion is based on me having a great relationship with God, then if I don’t have a great relationship with Him, God has failed. If I have tried everything, offered everything (including my hours playing on the XBox) as praise to Him, tried to see every single trouble from the coffee not brewing properly to the toilet backing up as God taking action in my life to develop my relationship with Him, then when I get frustrated, mystified, and pissed-off, it’s God’s fault.

American Christanity talks a lot about "being broken" by God. You'll have a hard time finding the Bible speaking this way about believers. Christ was broken for us.

To get around that attitude about God, relationship seekers have formulated their own code, thanks in great part to the likes of Tozer and Murray, in which they talk about God breaking us, shattering us, maiming us, clobbering us, spitting on us, kicking us down the steps, letting the air out of our tires, and so on. Does this sound like blasphemy to you? Well yes, it is blasphemy. It’s definitely blasphemy. Any religion founded on the idea that God breaks us and shatters us for as long as He likes, while in addition He sends all of life’s littler vexations to drive us batty as we crawl blindly after Him, wondering what He wants us to do to fix the relationship, until He has reduced us to jelly in order to scoop us up and inject us into the mold that He chooses is blasphemous. It’s also imbecilic. It’s horrible, and it’s repulsive. And, way down deep at it’s heart, it makes man the center of the religion.
We who are in Christ have peace with God. And God established our peace with God, through Christ.

Evangelicals and Fundamentalists have, in many ways, lost the point of it all. God has not elected jellys to mold into shapes at His whim. He has elected saints, heroes of the faith, to know Him through obedience. And, to share in their lot and be their salvation, He has become one of us, leading us along the path of doing good, withstanding hardship with dignity, loving others all the way to death. That’s a far cry from the self-centered, jelly-based religion of American Christianity. We have not been put here to be broken, smashed, and shattered until we sit, absolutely stone still in resignation until the next blow of the hammer does or doesn’t come. We have been put here to open the doors of the prisons, make devils flee before us in our Master’s name, break the chains that oppress, and throw down evil in high places.

Are we going to suffer as we do these things? Well….yes (as in Duuuh!). God Himself when He walked among us, the Son of Man, suffered. He suffered all the nuisances and nonsenses of life, and He suffered poverty. Then He suffered rejection, abandonment, and crucifixion. He didn’t suffer these things because God the Father was breaking Him in order to have a better relationship with Him. Christ suffered because He put Himself into a fallen world under the dominion of sin. He suffered a lot of the nonsense of this life simply because it is the lot of fallen man to suffer. And though Christ was unfallen, He took on our lot in order to be one with His People. Furthermore, He suffered because He brought love and light into the world, and all the forces and energies of the world oppose such things. But He showed us that even as He participated in our suffering, that we His People can use our sufferings to participate in His sufferings. And we don’t have to live in terms of our pain. We can live in terms of love, mercy, and kindness.

God’s first and greatest commandments to us, echoed by Christ, are to love God first, and love others second. And the two commandments hinge on each other.

 Years and years ago I used to see Jeriwho on that Fighting Fundamentalist board, which I still believe has many interlopers on it. She seemed sincere and was someone who came out of fundamentalism herself.  I didn't always understand what she was writing about as I was new to fundamentalism myself just coming out of the Catholic church. I was a different person though I definitely had some empathy for those who suffered abuses she exposed. I would go on to expose things on this blog that outraged me too in the fundamentalist world.

Those were years I was still in the first IFB so we did not agree on everything. I don't agree with everything now, I believe she attends a conservative Presbyterian church but she has a point about the false fundamentalists who teach a self focused [I have written about this as the "best life now" theology] faith where everything is about rules, and toeing the line to "keep blessings" in this world. Her other writings seem to have many truths about the fundamentalist world.

 I have thought of the fundamentalist world a lot and about my own experience with that spiritual abuser and asked myself, "Where is the love?" Isn't God supposed to be love and not just a cruel being, who smacks us around if we step out of line or listen to a secular song? That said, rule based authoritarian people who worship a "God" of cruelty operate out of the desire to "control and punish others" which sums up so much of the religious political and religious right. They believe in a "God" that wants to break them, instead of God who said this:

1 Peter 5:7 KJV Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you