Got an illegal robo-call on my cell phone yesterday from “Prophet Manasseh Jordan” which was basically an appeal for donations.
Manasseh Jordan is the son of Bishop E. Bernard Jordan, and is linked to T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Steven Furtick, and Craig Groeschel of Life Church. There are wider linkages — Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, James Robison, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar — because they are all part of a much bigger Word Faith movement, a relatively recent offshoot of the old Pentecostal movement. All of them have worked with each other, at least indirectly, offering many kind words about each other’s ministries, each with varying styles and portions of the basic teaching.
It’s a false teaching, typically ridiculed as name-it-and-claim-it. It’s a sort of magical invocation, using spells to obtain desired ends. It is, at best, a half truth. Please note I don’t say it doesn’t work that way. Anything you really want bad enough is likely in your reach, but at what spiritual cost? People who believe they can verbally demand something and see it happen are typically operating off the basic principle of desire. That is, if you are obsessed with something which is honestly possible, your subconscious will steer you into decisions which tend to optimize the opportunities for that obsession. It works often enough simply because that’s the way the world is, for now. It’s a portion of the moral fabric of the universe, just enough to get by with it in the context. Missing many of the finer points of God’s Laws, what they promote is little more than a newer version of Pharisaical legalism with a softer tone. Even when they talk about “born again,” it’s a matter of what man can accomplish.
Do they really believe the churches in Macedonia, wracked by poverty, was somehow lacking faith? Paul said they were quite faithful, fully loaded with grace. They gave sacrificially, painfully depriving themselves of worldly goods their bodies needed in order to participate in the gospel. They never harvested a vast reward of more money, but form of riches which ignored this world. They understood nailing the flesh to the Cross.
The bottom line is the Word Faith god is a slot machine which pays out more often than not — “seed faith giving.” Their measurable success does not mean their massive programs come from Jehovah as a good and blessed expression of His will. God will certainly give people enough rope to hang themselves. These folks are avid participants in the anti-spiritual crusade which forms the bulk of what Christians churches do. Church History is replete with rejecting the clear and sharp division between the Spirit Realm and the Fallen Realm, having absorbed without question Aristotle’s false unified reality. They read the Scripture with bald literalness by default, and insist symbolism is reality.
In the Old Testament, the terms “holy” and “sacred” did not carry the same pool of meaning and intellectual assumptions they do today. When Moses was told to take off his shoes before the Burning Bush, it wasn’t because the bush was holy, but God’s Presence was. Moses and most of his audience would understand those terms with that very kind of symbolism. You show respect as a commitment to God and His requirements, as One who rules over your very being. Calling that “sacred ground” was never meant to be taken literally. So when religious officials refer to their buildings as sacred, they often mean something completely different, and treat it differently than what the Law of Moses meant. The church serves the same mistaken assumptions which provoked a few Israelis to idolatry with the Bronze Serpent.
The Word Faith teachers treat stuff as literally sacred and blessed, and their whole world is a matter of what man can accomplish. They don’t even comprehend what it means to take up your cross and follow Jesus. They dumb down the meaning of nailing your life to the Cross of Christ to a simple mind trick. I wonder what their robust little kingdoms will be like when the underlying world economic system breaks? God only knows whether they will panic and start acting crazy, seek compromise with the Beast of human government, or get right and embrace the otherworldly ways of Christ. A real church needs nothing, only the people committed to Christ.
What they have right now, what they seem to believe is so all important, given by God, won’t be worth much against tribulation.
MRSA officially includes a wide range of Staph infections which resist antibiotics, but symbolizes our Western idiocy with demanding the biggest gun for the most minor discomforts.
Because of antibiotic abuse, which should be classed as malpractice, we now find visiting a hospital frankly dangerous, because MRSA is found there more than anywhere else. I tend to avoid clinical treatment for this very reason. But sometimes the crap finds you at home.
What’s left for us? Home treatments range between natural medicine and “unauthorized” home remedies. I have a recent experience with the latter which might save you money and some misery.
As someone given to sinus allergies, I learned some time ago how to perform a nasal flush. You can purchase over-the-counter kits for this; I use this one but it’s easy to find others which are just as good. You can even create your own. This is fine most of the time, but there are moments when flushing in an upright position won’t do. For those times, I lie on the bed with my head hanging off the end, and pour the solution directly up my nose. This guarantees a good full flush. I typically use an 8 oz. (.25l) squeeze bottle, with hot tap water and ¼ tsp. (1.25ml) of pickling salt (avoid iodized table salt if possible), and a pinch of baking soda to reduce the burning sensation. It requires you learn how to close the opening between your sinuses and your mouth. I give it a 90 second count and repeat at least once. I turn over and drain into a wastebasket, then blow gently to remove the residue.
At some point in the past month, I must have gotten a pretty serious Staph infection from somewhere, because the usual efforts didn’t relieve the constant misery for more than a day or two. It kept coming back, even when the allergen indexes were low. I decided to add something to the salt solution. I skipped the baking soda and added a scant capful of hydrogen peroxide. Granted, this burns mightily after the first flush, but isn’t harmful. The point is, this time it worked. I got a color indication in what I blew out.
But it wasn’t over. About an hour later, I had an itching burning sensation in one ear. It was a small discharge of something other than earwax, and it caused inflammation and infection around the ear opening. About the same time, I noticed similar symptoms in both nostril openings. The usual “triple antibiotic ointment” treatment had no effect on either, as they both grew worse. This was pretty nasty stuff. Nor did the likes of tea tree oil and Campho-Phenique® do any good.
For the ear, I tried a cosmetic puff (AKA “cotton ball”) soaked in hydrogen peroxide, pushed into the opening of the ear. I changed it every couple of hours after it dried. It needed about three days of this, round-the-clock to finally get the itching which indicated it was now attacking my skin, since the infection was gone.
This didn’t work for the nostrils. I actually had to resort to Dakins Solution (PDF). I had to cut the cosmetic puff in half to make it fit comfortably. I could only stand about a half-day of this at a time, and I substituted tea tree oil in the evenings to heal the skin, which was pretty roughed up by the Dakins. But after about three days, the symptoms abated. Yes, it burned harshly, but the dilution was low enough to keep me from worrying about inhaling noxious fumes.
Had I gone to the Veterans clinic, they would have shuffled me off with some series of antibiotics, whatever the government was contracted to purchase this month, serving merely to create yet a new resistance in whatever strain of MRSA this was, plus making me ill in the process.
Several small things on my mind today.
1. I’m a little concerned about official belligerence toward Pakistan. This won’t be the same as bullying Iraq and Afghanistan, or places like Libya and Somalia. I tend to think China doesn’t kid around and back down from promising to treat an outright invasion of Pakistan as an invasion of their own territory. The concern is we have such a large number of plutocrats who think this is a good idea, that war with China is worthwhile. If this proceeds any farther, I will regard it as confirming my predictions regarding a major change in things close to my birthday. This is really stupid and will bring about an apocalyptic change in things.
2. The Freedom Box is a little closer to reality. It’s a tiny home server, plugs into the wall as a single block about the size of a fat paperback novel. The box comes with software already to run, and the whole thing has scripted setup and configuration options so you really don’t have to know anything more than what you want from it. It has the capability of creating a local mesh network. If any one machine in that mesh can connect to the Net, you can share it with the rest of your local network. Best of all, it restores the balance of power to the user, by taking away the central points of surveillance. If every home has their own server, with built-in encryption, it cripples the government and corporate surveillance programs. The predicted price point ranges between $30 and $50 (US).
3. I’m watching with some interest the shenanigans in Europe regarding complicated deals to create a fund which will keep the banking system alive in the PIIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain). So far, every proposal has died for one reason or another. The situation is hopeless, anyway. Even the bigshots are saying Greece will default soon. Just how soon that is no one is saying, but it’s almost time to get out the popcorn and watch the show. Most experts believe when Greece defaults, the Euro currency will go down the tubes, and most of the European banking system will take a huge shock. It’s possible a great many banks will collapse and it will affect ours here.
4. In my series on the Oracles of Marriage on my other blog, I emphasize the Fall and how it affects the marriage covenant. I was asked if there was any way around this. Of course there is; grace trumps Laws every time (and by extension, trumps Game). We aren’t doomed to live with this totally. The problem is no one in the flesh will ever avail themselves of the full extent of grace’s power. The division is not cut and dried. So I use this handy rule: If your spouse, or anyone else, acts in the moment as controlled by the Fall, treat them according to the Laws. If they tend to show the effects of grace, give them more grace in response. A husband or wife showing no Fruit of the Spirit should be treated as bound under the Laws of God, and your expectations of their behavior should predict a lack of grace. Use Game strategies to handle them until they show the Fruit. Then make adjustments in your strategy to match so much as they have changed their response.
5. Yesterday’s rant about the Bible does not mean I don’t believe, I simply don’t worship the artifact. The biggest argument here is not whether I intend to obey the Scriptures, but how to read and apply them. Using the Bible like a book of magic, as if the very words themselves have some miraculous power, is contrary to what the Book itself has to say. Any comment which reflects the contents of the Book has the same power, because truth is truth. There’s nothing objective about this at all. Declarations about infallibility and verbal inspiration are moot points, because we don’t have any originals. But I hold myself accountable to the revelation contained in that Book as it now exists, and I find this one of the primary keys to how I discern whether someone should be treated as spiritually awakened.
Post questions in the comments section regarding any topic I’ve covered or one you imagine I might be able to cover. Answers may appear in the comments or a separate post. You can also use this as an opportunity to carry on a conversation with others in the comments.
By the way, I’m still convinced this month will reveal the end game for the US, at least. There are plenty of interesting things scheduled this month. Aside from the start of new fiscal year in the US government, there is that vote on Palestinian statehood coming up the 20th. A few folks are convinced it could easily start WWIII. I’m watching the banking and currency meltdown in Europe, and listening to the babble of Israeli government whining about Iran as it seems to reach a crescendo. Things are heating up between them and Turkey, and Egypt is beginning to back out of niceness with Israel.
I’m also watching as our black ops agencies are destroying Mexico. They fund and arm the narcotic traffickers while our public branches are pressuring their government to fight them. But of course, that’s how we have been doing it on this side of the border. I’m not smart enough to evaluate how all this will play out, neither as individual threads nor all together. But I reiterate I sense September will be the month of change, as I had sensed a few months ago. My point is not boost my personal credibility as a prophet or anything, but to point out once again such things are within reach, that a human talent for estimating where things are headed is more broadly distributed than most folks realize. It’s not simply inductive and deductive analysis, but intuition and other non-conscious processes we’ve been taught not to trust.
My intuition keeps offering the term “end game” — not the end itself, just the departure point from which there is no return. Maybe none of us will know how to characterize it, but those of us paying attention will recognize it when we see it. As I promised last year, if nothing happens, if it turns out all wrong, I’ll shut up.
Someone managed to trash my first Gmail account in a “Joe Job”. That’s where someone spoofs your name and email address and commits naughty acts which get you in trouble.
A few years back when Google Mail was brand new, I got an invite and set up my account. I used that address for people I didn’t know or didn’t trust. Much as I like Gmail, it’s still a throwaway, something not essential for my life. It’s nice the account unlocks other Google services, but only my Blogger account gets used for much.
You should never rely on free services for anything which really matters to you. Those people don’t know you, and don’t know when some idiot is masquerading as you. They can’t even really secure it from relatively light-weight cracking attacks, so treat it as expendable. Always maintain at least four such free accounts and make sure the people with whom you really need to maintain contact know all of them. I have at least a half-dozen on different services, and keep track of a half-dozen more free servics just in case I need a fresh one quickly. Just Google for “free webmail” and you’ll never run short. It helps if, like me, you can read a couple of foreign languages and register accounts on services in countries which use those languages.
It was with my old Gmail account I contacted the service provider for a spammer who was posting links to pornography one of my blogs. Turns out the service provider was the spammer. He cracked my Gmail account, registered for a large number of high traffic forums, then proceeded to post his nasty porno pictures on each one. Then he changed his domain registration and I couldn’t find him again. Meanwhile, all these fine people sent me torrents of angry messages about those nasty forum posts. Most had never heard of me, and haven’t heard from me since. I had to close that old Gmail account.
One forum he found I already had an account, the Ubuntu support forums. I contacted the admin from another address and explained the situation, and made sure my old account was deleted. He recognized the porn spam was not at all my style, and assured me I could create a new account any time I needed. He had experienced the bruising of a Joe Job himself.
People who know you will not believe it when they see something like that. Those are the folks who can always find you if you have to close one or more free accounts. For the folks who don’t know you well, you’ll just have to work at keeping track of those who matter for whatever reason. Not every one you meet in virtual space is worth that effort, and it doesn’t always mean it’s because they aren’t nice people. However, it typically does mean that. Some of them are predators of various kinds looking to take whatever they can for their use or simply for their entertainment. I won’t pretend to analyze the motives of them all, but the world is full of folks who would not missed if they disappeared. They are well represented on the Net, in part because it is so very easy to get away with things you can’t pull off in the real world.
It helps if you aren’t stupid enough to provoke people needlessly. This is another of the Net psychology things, in that most people act differently on the Net than any other part of their lives. It’s like “flaming” — sending vicious messages through email, Usenet or forums. Some of those people understand the Net better than you, and can do some very nasty things to you. I don’t regret hammering that spammer, even if he turned out to be running his own service. You can let a lot of stuff slide, but when they don’t quit after once or twice, you have to act any way you can. When deleting the filth didn’t work, I traced the source and complained. I should have taken it up one level, but I had no way of knowing that.
At any given time, I’m only a couple of incidents away from simply dropping off the Net. That is, while I would surely keep some things alive if I could, blogging is not a “have-to” thing. None of the forums are essential to my life. The people I really need to talk to know where to find me, and I can always get hold of them in other ways. If you have friends on the Net you truly value, now would be a good time to elicit their snail-mail address, phone number, or other means of contact.
“Don’t Taze My Granny!” shows even some sleepy places like El Reno can offer the most unspeakable stupidity among uniformed officers. Granted, it’s possible this article exaggerates things, but I rather doubt that. Cops are becoming the greatest danger to average citizens everywhere. Who needs terrorists when we have state thugs in uniform?
After all I’ve written about the Covenant of Noah, the requirement for a civil government, you’d have to know I’m not anti-government. Actually, I’m anti-state. That is, I find the Modern State, born and defined by the Treaty of Westphalia, is utterly abhorrent to God. Westphalia was an arrow aimed at the heart of God’s Word, and is one of Satan’s greatest triumphs in human history. So the term “anarchy” typically means anti-state, not anti-government.
Even among those who embrace Aristsotelian epistemology, you can find plenty of good logic to back up this position. Take a look at this older article from 2002, by Joseph Sobran: The Reluctant Anarchist. He tells how he slowly came to that position by conviction, not by choice.
So the people are bound to obey the government even when the rulers betray their oath to uphold the Constitution. The door to escape is barred. Lincoln in effect claimed that it is not our rights but the state that is “unalienable.” And he made it stick by force of arms. No transgression of the Constitution can impair the Union’s inherited legitimacy. Once established on specific and limited terms, the US Government is forever, even if it refuses to abide by those terms.
As Hoppe argues, this is the flaw in thinking the state can be controlled by a constitution. Once granted, state power naturally becomes absolute. Obedience is a one-way street. Notionally, “We the People” create a government and specify the powers it is allowed to exercise over us; our rulers swear before God that they will respect the limits we impose on them; but when they trample down those limits, our duty to obey them remains….
For most people, “anarchy” is a disturbing word, suggesting chaos, violence, antinomianism – things they hope the state can control or prevent. The term “state,” despite its bloody history, doesn’t disturb them. Yet it’s the state that is truly chaotic, because it means the rule of the strong and cunning. They imagine that anarchy would naturally terminate in the rule of thugs. But mere thugs can’t assert a plausible right to rule. Only the state, with its propaganda apparatus, can do that. This is what “legitimacy” means. Anarchists obviously need a more seductive label.
“But what would you replace the state with?” The question reveals an inability to imagine human society without the state. Yet it would seem that an institution that can take 200,000,000 lives within a century hardly needs to be “replaced.”
He shows it’s only logical to realize the bludgeons used to keep Christians in their place — “render unto Caesar” and “the powers that be are ordained by God” — can’t mean what most people assume they mean. The people who spoke these words defied their governments and died in the process. If we assume the Son of God suffered the same intellectual inconsistency of most fallen humans, then we have nothing to discuss, and the world is a very dark, dark place indeed. Don’t forget He openly claimed to be the Son of God, so you can’t cherry pick and say He was pretty smart, just mistaken on that one point. Claiming to be God Incarnate is either madness or pure hucksterism, unless it’s true.
Sobran came to the same position as I on government — in that the modern state is illegitimate by definition — even without the benefit of biblical epistemology.
Ignorance is not a crime. That is, those who are ignorant are not culpable for their ignorance. But one of the greatest crimes among humans is hiding information, and worse still is constructing an environment which discourages thinking.
The first step in human development is cutting the umbilical cord, and the last rite of passage is cutting the apron strings. What begins with physical separation, of receiving an identity as a separate living being, was intended by God to continue, with the last stage being a mind free to follow its own path. Every influence in your life which seeks to maintain and prolong dependence is intrinsically evil.
As I look around me, I see vast stretches of humanity still tied to one false mommy or another. In one sense, I have dedicated my life to ending that sort of thing. If I am the teacher, plowing the field of the mind to open it up for the rains of Heaven, I must first remove the slabs of dependence. The truth of God cuts its own path, and I’ll never know the mystery of it. What I do know is the part I play, and I am permitted to see the things I am called to change.
God, and God alone, holds the right to establish givens. In the final analysis, that is the only umbilicus you cannot cut. It won’t matter how much you might desire to ignore Him, He won’t go away. If He did, you would cease to exist, dissolving into the constituent sub-atomic particles which He now actively holds together so you can live. You can call it religion if you like, because you think a label is like a handle, and you can throw it away, but this is the fact of our existence. What is established eternally must be a part of your calculations, or by default you are attached by umbilicus to Satan. You don’t get to choose outside that binary foundation of all Creation.
Nor is it particularly spiritual to write these things. Simply because I eschew an utter dependence of Aristotelian epistemology, and in particular the modern Enlightenment foundation of assumptions, should not signal a move away from pure philosophy on a human level. This whole discussion is eminently reasonable and rational, as long as you embrace the wider breadth of human knowledge to include the ancient mystical ways of thinking. It’s convenient to label this as the talk of mere post-modern literary fashion, but it was around before any written language. To assume humans didn’t really know anything until the day the secularist Enlightenment dawned is not just ignorance itself, but stupidity, a case of intellectual dishonesty, self-delusion. To wrap your intellect in the warm embrace of pure objectivism is another form of childhood.
We have no place to rest. The essential condition of humanity is acknowledging the Universe as one big unanswered question. That fundamental fact leaks into every interstice. When you embrace your place in this world as unsettled, because all things around are essentially unsettled, then you are in the place to actually nail some things down. In a very real sense, the anchor of being is the self. Not as God, but as the only thing you can hope to really know much about. And even then, what you know will be cast in forms of tension between many different pulls and pushes. The tension never ceases until you die.
You can be an adult, who learns that question is the fundamental truth, and question everything around you. Every answer is tentative, something you live with until something better comes along, because you can’t really control anything, not even yourself. There is no time to rest, ever.