You can ignore the moral laws of God all you like, but they don’t go away.
If you ignore them and build a science of prosperity based merely on what humans can perceive and reason about, you will inevitably find yourself on a roller-coaster. It’s unavoidable. Material prosperity as a goal, either alone or as part of a larger materialistic matrix, always ends up pulling too fast when God plans a slow-down. You cannot know about the slow-down because you have discounted God’s revelation in the first place, so He can’t tell you. Then you’ll miss rich opportunities when He’s being more generous for His inscrutable divine reasons.
God does communicate much in terms of precise measurement. While He is fully aware of our time-space senses, He suffers none of that. His perspective on time is from that of Creator. If anything, the experience of time-space constraints are part of the Fall, a part of the curse of human sin. The human rational view of linear time is what’s left when you exclude God. The mystic does not extinguish the divine otherworldly senses, and so faces the passage of time with a totally different perspective. Mysticism is necessary to understand what God is up to in this world; Western anti-mysticism is anti-Christian.
If you address yourself to the world from the mystical approach, you can still have material progress. You won’t be too concerned about it, which is part of the reason you’ll have it. It will be an ebb and flow and you’ll manage because there are far more important moral issues than human comfort and that feeble sense of security that comes from thinking you have control over things. The materialistic Western view looks only at the machinery of things and demands to know all the details and control over the levers. It won’t happen.
So we see a civilization based on rejecting fundamental truth and reality. You chase down all the best ways to have a better life and a longer life, because you can’t see anything beyond this life. So you make some kind of estimated optimum use of material resources, but you’ll always be chasing that more and better. It is inevitable that you will borrow from the future. Sooner or later, it must crash. God warned it would happen, but that’s not allowed in the Western material viewpoint. You can see a whole range of long-distance multi-generational planning that assumes God isn’t going to bring some surprises into the mix. Funny how the ancient mystical civilizations always had access to God’s warnings about such things. Remember Joseph in Egypt and the years of plenty followed by famine? Not permitted in the modern West, yet all part of God’s greater plans leading to the Exodus and some other events.
Brothers and sisters, please depart the prison of Western thinking.
Mysticism comes naturally for me.
It was no great struggle to adopt the idea that material wealth isn’t that important; most of my life was in poverty. It’s not sour grapes, just a different experience. When you spend so much of your time doing without, you realize what most people consider essential to life, isn’t essential. From there, it’s just a short hop to realizing life itself isn’t that essential. Thus, I say that in Scripture, life or death is just a circumstance.
You’ll notice it hardly affected my education. As with all humans, I have gaps because it’s a simple matter of exposure. At the critical time when I needed it, the school I attended taught phonics. At the critical time I could have learned it, I didn’t get very far with parts of speech. I learned grammar by feel, largely through reading so very many books up through middle adulthood. Somewhere around age 7 I discovered the power of reading as the means to exploring my world. What got me through the rest of my education wasn’t such marvelously precise grammar but a native language talent for which I cannot take credit.
Most of the lower classes understand far better than their superiors would allow. The educated poor are simply incomprehensible to the middlings. What we understand is that we can choose to be whatever comes in the package with middle class status, or remain in poverty and do what we like. Perhaps through exceptional artistry we can bulldoze through the middle class society because we have something they simply must have but cannot produce. It doesn’t happen often. But what shocks most people is the depth to which that different experience can change your perception of things.
Hostility is not at all necessary. Particularly when your poverty and education lead you to mysticism. I’m not hostile to the middle class, though I can regale you for hours with tales of their hostility to me and my kind. I won’t. The point is not what I’ve suffered, but what they suffer. A solid historical study of the rise of the middle class from the ashes of feudalism in Europe is so very informative. The middlings are the ones who burned it down. You discover the hideous materialism of Puritan religion, and how it is directly linked to the Pharisaism Jesus faced. And it’s no mystery where Charismatic name-it-and-claim-it religion comes from. The very assumption of the middle class lifestyle is the utter necessity and primacy of worldly possessions. Mammon is the god of the middle class, inescapably. All their self-professed virtues are deeply stained by it.
The endless pretense of being upper class in wealth without the social and cultural refinements is a huge blind spot. The original burgers at the end of the Middle Ages were desperate for the respect given nobility, and pretense is so very fundamental to their existence. This is easily the single greatest break between myself and the sizable collection of libertarians among the politically active middle class. They consider me a brother in arms so long as I don’t promote freedoms beyond the barricades of their narrow brand of American middle class liberties.
There is nothing sacred about dressing just so and behaving according to their social dictates. Nor is it particularly noble, but you can’t get that past their internal censorship. They see a threat in so very many things the lower classes really do like. The biggest stumbling block is contentious issue of “saving for a rainy day.” In the lower classes, rain or sunshine are mere circumstance, as with death and taxes. It’s simply part of what we face, and getting wet means nothing more than a few extra minutes here and there accommodating what it does to us. Nor is it merely the vagaries of weather, but the broader symbolism that goes with the popular phrase. We aren’t that interested in tomorrow because today wasn’t so wonderful, at least where it concerns material possessions. We are wise enough to recognize tomorrow is ruled by people who won’t let us enjoy life. It takes all we have to make it today, so saving for tomorrow is utterly meaningless.
Instead, if we can’t consume it ourselves — and we’ll try — we give it away to someone else like us who didn’t get their share. We fully expect to work until we die, and die working or begging. Begging is harder work than you imagine, wading through the stiff current of social resistance. Some of us would rather starve. Indeed, we’d rather starve than live in the world of the middle class. There is a lot of work we could do, but won’t because it’s just morally wrong. We see where the whole thing leads to a hideous, empty life of chasing things we don’t miss. Especially when the boss demands we think and say what he believes, in violent assault on our freedom of conscience. Your brand of help is a slavery too degrading to accept.
The American middle class and their virtues are no more representative of Jesus Christ than would be whales in the ocean or birds in the sky. Changing the particular mixture of minor points of virtue doesn’t change the underlying falsehood of things. You don’t like sagging pants and tattoos? Don’t look at us. Turn away; we’ll deal with that. You want to know why the suburban white kids are adopting prison gang habits? Because your social structure has made it impossible for their creativity to rise in any other way. You mean you didn’t realize you were putting such a very high portion of the lower classes in prison for no real harm, such that you have scooped up the whole of our random sprinkling of geniuses, too? Never mind your tastes compared to that of others; the suburbanites ape the prisoners because the prisoners have created a vivid alternative society, and you have forced them to be hostile to yours. That faux prison gang lifestyle is now the future, because you refused to capture the geniuses of tomorrow.
Do you think we look longingly at your fancy cars and houses? Some do, no doubt, but by no means all of us. That we don’t own a suit and tie is not an abomination to God. The only leverage you have for enforcing your dress code is not letting us work for you at your oh-so-important job. Whoop-de-doo. Meanwhile, if we can find a way to get what we really have to have by exercising our free market talents that you don’t understand, we’ll do that.
Sometime back around the middle of the previous century, a businessman with a good heart built a mattress factory in the area where the Ponca Indians lived in Oklahoma. It was the real deal, and he expected to bring prosperity and good paying jobs to them. Lord knows, they needed it. So he hired just about any Ponca who came to work. They worked until the first pay day, then disappeared for awhile. Yes, sometimes they got drunk, but that was merely a symptom of something much more important. The natives weren’t acquisitive. That is a heresy for the middle class. The men did really good quality work and turned out some really fine mattresses at lower wages than most white men would tolerate, but when they had enough for their basic needs of life, they had better things to do. It’s not a failure of work ethic; they did other work that paid little or nothing, but was the work they normally did. It was failure of greed.
You’d be surprised how much Indian blood there is among the poor whites of Oklahoma, including yours truly. Not just shared DNA, but their culture is a pure and easily identified version of what all the lower classes tend to share. We are the superstitious barbarians who find it easier to follow Jesus because we recognize things in His teachings to which you are utterly and adamantly opposed. Yes, there are plenty of predators among, same as with you. Ours share more with the middle class than the rest of us do. They want middle class stuff, but on their own terms. Instead of picking up on what the middle class say they do, the predators copy what the middle class did to them. The willingness to buy influence in politics is a classic symptom of the middle class; it’s how they got their original political leverage against the nobility of the Middle Ages.
Class envy and resentment didn’t originate with us. We learned it from you.
It’s hard to explain, but at the expense of oversimplifying it goes like this: The nobility once had access to wealth as a privilege of their position. They kept the rules and the means to enforce those rules. In the broader sense, the rules included a high degree of intellectual refinement, if unevenly applied. It was wrong for nobles to assume only noble blood could be intelligent, so this blind spot left them open to a subtle attack. They assumed no peasant was smart enough to pull any tricks, but a few ambitious and intelligent peasants took unholy umbrage at the system and vengefully attacked it. Instead of direct force of arms, they conquered the existing ruling class by other means. Still, the fundamental driving force was pure greed, not something easily found among the nobility. The latter weren’t greedy because they already had all the power and wealth, but they were arrogant. The middle class resentment of privilege and wealth, as is so very fundamental to the Puritan doctrine, made noble wealth an insult to God in their minds. Those nasty nobles didn’t “work” for their wealth, so it wasn’t possible for God to want them wealthy. It was some vast conspiracy of the Devil, and the burghers used good old Gramscian economic guerrilla warfare to take it all away. Communism is just as materialist as it’s primary ideological enemy.
The fundamental assumptions of the Enlightenment only half caught on with the burghers. They were somewhat educated, but could not tolerate the freedom of the lower classes. They didn’t depart from the nobles in their arrogance about lesser folk. Virtually the entire gamut of “quality of life” legislation, and almost the entire range of police activity today, is a direct reflection of the middle class spitefulness against other folks. Having worked in law enforcement, I can assure you the vast bulk of “crime fighting” has nothing to do with fighting genuine harm. The entire profession of civil policeman is a creation of the middle class. They enforce laws only the middle class care about. It was the middle class who realized the ability to dominate voting, so they demanded popular vote as the means to ruling society, with certain disenfranchisements, of course. Any other means to organizing government is anathema. Democratic government is holy, and only a child of Satan could wish any other form of government. Lip service to the rights of the minority didn’t last long in history, as we all know.
Aside from the rare reminders such as this one I write this morning, it’s not worth the trouble to explain our alternative viewpoint to the professional libertarians or other branches of middle class political philosophy. It’s all the same to those of us on the bottom, because it’s just an excuse to stomp on us for daring to think differently about every day life. I’m not in love with poverty any more than I care much about prosperity. It’s just a tool for things far more important than fleshly comfort or even this whole existence in the first place. There is no particular virtue in raising the common welfare through material progress. I know; shocking to say it, but there more important things. I won’t name names, but some really big shots have praised some of my other articles on this blog, but they’ll never read this one. If they do, they’ll be blind to how completely it applies to them.
Keep your freakin’ suit and tie and your material prosperity; you simply do not understand.
Preston swallowed a sip of tea and put his cup down. “So, Baby. Here’s Saint Vith. Was it what you expected?”
“Oh, yes. It’s beautiful. It’s one of the showcases of Belgian government subsidies and historical preservation. I still think it’s odd how often we run across ugly sights within meters of so much beauty. It’s part of what makes Belgium what it is.”
Preston cocked one eyebrow. “I’ve already shared some of my thoughts. Tell me what your experiences have taught you about the Belgians.”
Angie sipped her tea and thought for a moment. “You know if I say someone is Dutch, you generally know what to expect. If I say Belgian, you have no idea what that means. In a sense, there is no such thing as a Belgian. When you have a government-recognized lobbying group called the Catholic Goat Herders Society, you get a feel for how fragmented they are. And the moment you identify with any of their various interest groups, you become the enemy of everyone who belongs to another. If you tell a Walloon you speak Flemish, you get an dirty look. If you say Dutch, which is almost word for word the same language, they’ll do their best to stumble along in Flemish and treat you as a friend.”
Preston said, “I remember reading about the Benelux Treaty. It seems the Dutch are all progressive, dragging the Belgians into that and the EU and UN kicking and screaming the whole way. Placing NATO headquarters here seemed almost a means of keeping an eye on them. Meanwhile, the Luxembourgs actually get much the work done behind the scenes, providing tons of lawyers and banking expertise.”
Nodding, she added, “Do you know the TV tax scheme here in Europe?” Preston nodded once. “Yes, we have vans and cars rolling through the streets picking up on the signals to see who has a TV or radio and charging a small tax accordingly because there are almost no private broadcasters. So in the Netherlands, we have maybe a couple hundred drivers and vehicles with an office staff of maybe forty. In Belgium, they have maybe forty or fifty drivers but it takes over a hundred office staff to process. That’s not efficient.”
She went on. “The perfect example of Belgian inconsistency: Ronquières. That inclined slope for the canal. You have seen it? Two giant rolling bathtubs that slide up and down the slope carrying barges from one part of the canal to the other. It replaces over a dozen locks from old times. You see this marvel of engineering, look down at your feet, and a smelly open sewer runs by.”
They were quiet for a moment. Then Preston said, “The map shows a nice camping ground down the hill from here. I was hoping we might get farther down toward the Luxembourg border on the Our River, but I think we’d better stay here tonight.”
Angie nodded her agreement.
“Besides which, I have a feeling we need to check our mail again.” With that, Preston reached into his backpack and pulled out the laptop. There were several good signals, but all were locked. He finally snagged a rather weak signal from an open node that was good enough.
Angie scooted around to see, and Preston angled it just a bit her way. Then he had her take control and run through the passwords. First was the email account. The third message:
Lucky find; not a regular tour charter. Camping reservation for you in Echternach, German side on the river, under the name Forttensie. Meet you there tomorrow. Need you to read our position on something in the dropbox.
She looked over at Preston. “Let me guess: That bus has something to do with our new assignment. And maybe that barge thing, too.”
Preston shrugged. She turned to log into the dropbox. The script pulled up a PDF and asked if it should be saved. She pressed Y and let it delete everything else. Preston talked her through the PDF displayer.
“Oh, joy,” he said sarcastically. “It’s in French. That’s your department, Babe.”
Angie looked at the title, then read the first paragraph, which looked to Preston like an executive summary. She looked up and said, “Not here. I’ll translate it for you where we won’t be overheard.”
They loaded up and mounted their bikes. The main route out of Saint Vith ran southeasterly. It was mostly downhill. A short time later they spotted the campground in the valley on the left. They took a narrow lane down to the entrance. The reception office told them there should be space, and pointed out a lane that ran across the creek and out the backside of the campground to another area with an open field. After riding around to see, they realized it was perfect. The field was virtually empty, and they walked through the grass to a far corner.
After setting up the tent and securing things, Preston suggested Angie read the document while he went to do laundry and scout for dinner. After getting their clothes washed and wrung out, he placed them in a plastic bag. Their tent was close to the fence, which would make a good clothesline. He found someone selling small baskets of local fruit and decided it would be a good supplement to the canned food they had packed just in case. He refilled all their empty water bottles.
When he got back, Angie was standing along the fence, staring out across the open fields. He started hanging the laundry to dry in the breeze.
It’s not straightforward to install, but VMWare Player for Linux works very well on RHEL 6 and clones (I’m using Scientific Linux 6). However, XP does not work properly as a client, and you may not get it running at all. I had no trouble with Win2K once I got SP4 and the final rollup installed. Without those, you can’t install the VMWare drivers to make Windows run right. With the drivers installed, it’s fully integrated with the host system desktop and allows me to run a lot of software that WINE cannot handle. For security reasons, I don’t allow the VM to connect to the Internet, but it’s easy to share folders between the host and VM once you set it up. Now, under Windows 7, VMWare took quite a bit of power and was pretty slow. Under SL6, it takes some power to load, but then runs about as quietly as if I were running Win2K itself. I haven’t tried the built-in KVM because kernel level stuff is simply not necessary for this and way too complicated. The other desktop VMs seem more difficult in the descriptions so I went with what I knew.
Capitalism is bad. It’s a cruel and heartless economic system. Socialism and Communism are also very bad, and Fascism is worst of all. All of them are very bad because all of them are inherently materialistic. Each of them treats material goods and creature comfort as god. Humans become no more than a resource, rather than the whole point of things. God said we are designed to live under a tribal government with a family economic system. The modern secular state is one of Satan’s major accomplishments on earth.
In this real world, the American political system and culture are so horrifically evil from the very start, no economic system will work. Places like Europe are socially more boring, but the politics avoid the extremes of what people can tolerate, for the most part. Their governments and economic policies have a human face, where ours is all fangs and hatred. But socialism works out tolerably well there, compared to the idiocy of our welfare-warfare state system. Honestly, if I had the means, I’d rather live in Europe somewhere, but not the UK. I’m sure that leaks out in my writings.
My current fiction series will end with chapter 11. I already have a part 2 ready and I’m working on part 3. Same characters, similar geography, etc., but the core mission becomes steadily more obvious. I’ll keep posting it here, so if this fiction bores you, you’ll probably lose interest in this blog. Right now, this is something really important to me.
They did an awful lot of experimental shooting around the place.
To Angie, the camera looked like a fat smart phone. The lens was better than what one found on cellphones, and would telescope outward for most shooting. “It shares much of the same technology with cellphones,” Preston assured her. He pointed out that the only two external controls were a pair of buttons near opposing corners along one side. “Both are double deep. This one, the first click turns it on or wakes it up from sleep mode. Once the camera is activated, it does nothing. Press farther to the second click and it takes a still shot. The other button allows you to view through the lens on the first click to compose your shots, or records the view as video on the second click. Everything else, including power-down, is on the touch screen controls.” The entire back panel was a view screen.
The old man was a little nervous about them poking around the apple cider presses, but when Preston began discussing the various pieces of equipment and maintenance, he relaxed visibly. It was painfully obvious English was not all that easy for him, and he sometimes paused to think of the word for this or that piece of equipment. So while Angie practiced framing shots with high contrast and visually appealing angles, Preston learned about pressing and juicing apples, separating the solids and the fermentation process.
The man stepped away to do something or other while Preston discussed with Angie the results of her efforts. Suddenly, he stopped. One image indicated an anomaly his eyes had missed earlier. Among an array of pipes, one was not quite parallel with the others. He stepped around and took a look. His eyes chased the pipe back to see if this misalignment had any significance. He wasn’t sure, but it looked like a joint was bent back behind one of the vats.
The old man seemed only mildly irritated when Preston interrupted his work to ask about it. Preston showed him the image on the camera viewer, then pointed out what he saw. The old man looked back and forth between the two, then became absorbed in walking around the vat in question, back and forth. He went and got a folding ladder from the corner of the building and came back, opening it out near the corner of the pipes. After a bit of shifting it around, he climbed slowly, carefully turning himself for the best view. A bit more shifting and then he froze, starring at the backside of the joint. He touched it with his fingers, rubbing back and forth gently.
“Cracked,” he announced.
Preston had not forgotten any of his mechanical knowledge, and the old man seemed genuinely grateful for Preston’s help in replacing the joint. When they were through, the old man insisted on a careful inspection of all the rest, even asking Preston to take more pictures. Preston coached Angie through more shooting for the particular purpose of engineering analysis. They found nothing wrong, but a repeat of the earlier shot confirmed things were now neatly lined up.
From then on, the old man seemed to take a good deal more interest in their camera work around his property.
As they sat down to dinner that evening in their apartment, Preston said to Angie, “Tell me about camping in the dunes.”
She grinned and blushed just a bit. “At the orphanage, our presiding priest was old and pretty tame. We loved him. Unfortunately, his bishop was younger and not a nice man at all. Whenever he came to visit, at least one or two students always got raped. The nuns were powerless and didn’t seem to believe us, anyway. Three of us girls didn’t like the risks, so we would hide. There were all kinds of places around the school seldom used. When we got old enough to have our own student rail passes, we would find some excuse, like going to one of the museums or a music recital somewhere, coming back as late as we dared. As we got older, we took greater risks. Once or twice we simply stayed out overnight, coming back and taking our punishment after the bishop left. In our wandering, we discovered that spot. We pooled our money for a tarp and camped out there because no one ever bothered us. Over the years, I replaced the tarp once or twice and used the place just to get away.”
Preston thought for a moment. “Can you picture this? While you were going through that, I was here with the US Army running all over the countryside, completely oblivious to such things.”
The next day began the lessons on photo editing software.
They were interrupted when their hostess came by about mid-morning. She began by expressing gratitude for their help with the equipment. Regardless whatever else she and her husband were were doing, they still had to make a living and fixing the cracked joint before the system pressured up and blew apple juice all over the building saved them all kinds of money. Apple season was not that far away.
“It becomes necessary to explain a bit about your staying here and who we are. Naturally, you would expect me to avoid saying more than you really need to hear,” she said.
Preston knew all too well from his days in the service. “I learned to bridle my curiosity a long time ago. It’s harnessed to much more important things.”
She smiled. “Yes, I see that. You’ve been no problem at all for us. We simply told you not to leave because we can’t help you much otherwise, but no one here will physically restrain you. Your measured curiosity has served us quite well up to now and we want to encourage your apparently wise choices.”
Preston turned his head to one side as he looked at the older woman. “How much would you be able to explain about this ‘we’ that Angie and I have stumbled upon?”
Her smile faded somewhat. “That’s what I came to talk about this morning. Hendrik gave you a hint of the complexities and you appeared to accept, even if you didn’t exactly understand. We are nothing like your military, nor anything you might have read about regarding the various clandestine services. We don’t actually serve any particular government or the global banking system. Much more than that I shouldn’t say. Perhaps I could characterize us as people involved in a lot of other things who have agreed together that, once in awhile, someone should do something sane and actually help common people who may never know. We don’t pretend our goals are all that lofty because our decisions and our operations are more instinctive and philosophical than activist and political.”
She waved her hand as if to dismiss a world of things. “It’s almost like a hobby; we all have to pay our own way. We fail more often than we succeed, if you measure things in terms of objectives. Yet, we agree we cannot stop trying to do some things. There is no real structure; we each volunteer for each project. People come and go in our association; it’s been active since World War II. So far, nothing has ever come back to haunt us in ways we find unbearable. It could come apart at any moment and we would all go on with our lives still trying to do what we find we must do.”
Angie spoke up. “It sounds like a homily from my favorite old priest. He said the only worthy goal in this life is peace with God at whatever cost in human terms. Even if you don’t believe in God, it’s the optimal life to seek the place where the soul and conscience agree to rest.”
The hostess smiled. “That’s a more familiar way of saying the same thing. What holds our association together is not what we believe, but what we can agree on today as something we simply have to stop or we’ll never be able to live with ourselves. Instead of activists loudly promoting some popular causes, we happen to have stumbled upon an affinity among certain people who have talents and an acquaintance with greater political power and what goes on behind the scenes. We recruit very carefully. Hendrik is not in a position to become your case officer, as it were, but my husband and I are. We think you two would make a marvelous addition, adding capabilities impossible to duplicate without a far higher cost.”
Then she added, “We can’t hire you ourselves, but it so happens an associate of ours is hiring photographers for a legitimate publishing business.”
In God’s Laws, all debts must be personal.
There is no place in God’s Justice for impersonal business involvement. The corporate entity is from Hell. In ancient times you were personally liable for your debts to someone who knew you well enough to be a critical factor in your life before they made the loan. Nor are you permitted to invest mere money in any venture; you must be directly, hands-on involved where your money goes. Our culture has this all wrong, of course. On top of our greedy, whiny, needy expectations that lead us to use credit for food, this impersonal debt business is part of why we have God’s wrath on us.
So you might suppose there is coming a reckoning day on things like national debt, particularly government debt. There’s a limit, right? There will be a day when the herd of impersonal investors will decide the US government is no longer a good risk, and turn off the tap. Chaos follows.
But it’s not that simple. The vast herd of investors is not all one entity. The plutocrats are stringing along a very large number of folks who only think they are part of club. You’ll learn an awful lot when you see who gets the haircut during any defaults. Some of it is simple competition between big players. They aren’t all working together except in the sense they are playing a game we never get to see, and some of them will be big losers, too. Meanwhile, the game they play assumes all of us little people are losers already.
I have no solid concept to offer on how this will end. I’m utterly certain it will be in the next few years, maybe this year for some things. There are too many players gaming for different prizes from different angles. You can’t boil it all down to just global bankers, Big Oil, Big Pharma, the Rothschilds, the Jews, or whatever other labels are popularly slung about. What we can know is that most of us are the prey, and we live among predators. Most of the predators own the system and can insulate themselves from direct predation, yet still walk away with all the goodies. That sort of thing goes back before the days of Noah.
On the one hand: Yes, it’s a good time to invest in hard assets. Not just gold, but the means to keep on living and making a life when you have to recreate a system that comes apart. On the other hand: It’s much more important you invest in yourself. Hardware is good, but if you can’t hack the software, it just sits there reflecting your pitiful rage back at you. Make sure you know how to use all those means of survival. More importantly, make sure you don’t get so wrapped up in survival you miss the best opportunities to work toward death.
In this fallen realm, we owe God. Dying is not a sad end, but a happy release from prison for those of us spiritually alive. Those without a spiritual awareness are already dead and don’t know it. Human expiration will fall on them rather randomly, and a lot more of them in the near future. For us who seek a higher realm, we have to earn our death. We have to strive to be in the right place and time to accomplish the mission of glorifying His Name so we can go home to our rest.
Part of that mission is getting directly involved with people. Give your stuff — and certainly yourself — to others. Not aimlessly, but follow that divine call on your resources. Otherwise, you’ll have to stay around a lot longer suffering all this misery and sorrow. While you live, faithful holiness is the only relief. Don’t miss your ride home. Don’t be so hung up on the details you forget what they all mean together.
In the Bible, lending was a term that meant you expected God to repay, regardless whether the human recipient did.
I’ve decided to call our political non-party the Revelation Party. That’s in keeping with my final comment about the only reason I bother discussing politics is as a means to a prophetic platform. That is, I bring the Justice of God to the current reality so everyone knows why God is pouring out His wrath. Just as a reminder, I’ve already warned that, for Americans at least, protest and demonstration is fine, but actual resistance is a sin. Not a sin on general principles — quite the contrary; God’s Laws encourage resisting evil. Rather, it’s a sin for us now to resist because this is what we’ve asked for.
Does anybody have to explain why our prosperity has been evil? God promised prosperity on certain terms. Western Civilization as a whole fundamentally rejects God’s terms. It’s not as if God won’t allow you a few centuries to play games trying to dodge His moral laws. Go ahead and play that game, He says. So we have tried, and mightily. The credit system we use in modern economics is inherently evil, a vast global attempt to get around the moral laws by which the universe itself operates.
Instead of recounting here all my previous assertions about God’s economics, I’ll focus on something pretty obvious: If you don’t have it, do without. Sure, we say things like that in Western Civ, but we have yet to spend more than a day or so living it. As a civilization, we deny it completely. Have you ever read Aldous Huxley? We are there. We demand instant gratification of all our creaturely desires and it has been the means to our slavery. Look, there were times as a child my family lived in a broken down car for weeks at a time. We always climbed out of the pit, but not by mortgaging our future to the hilt. There was a time we reached the economic prosperity of the middle class, but we never could adopt the cultural habits. As an adult myself, after bouncing off it a few times and getting totally raked over the coals, it’s not hard for me to rise to this latter day call to Christian Mysticism and a rather anti-materialist view.
So it’s easy for me to say — “if you don’t have it, do without” — because I live it, but most of the Western world can’t even imagine it. That’s where the prophetic business comes into play. I’ve done it; you can, too. But I realize precious few are ready for it. Sorry about that. Austerity is the new luxury and I’m luxuriating.
Meanwhile, our entire civilization is built on the presumption we can buy now and pay later. We have no material foundation. We’re floating on a wing and a promissory note that means nothing. Several quadrillion dollars worth of paper and nothing behind it. We have allowed the bankers to talk us into borrowing for a luxurious “minimum standard” dream of the merchant class. They have all the property in legal ownership, and we have the debts. They want to own our souls, but there isn’t yet a standard by which they can claim them. So they simply reclaim the full gamut of what we rely on to live — the means of food production, the soil upon which we stand, and the entire system by which we all exchange goods and services. They own it all. You can’t even breathe without their permit.
The Pharisees approached Jesus with a false dichotomy. In their twisted mythological view of God’s Laws, it was wrong to pay taxes to Gentile rulers. But to declare such thoughts publicly was treason. If they could get Him to embrace either of the two horns of dilemma, they could either destroy His popular credibility or get Him arrested. He undercut their entire premise. Demanding one of these Pharisees reach into their pockets for whatever coins they carried, one of them produced a Roman denarius. Oops. Did this Son of the Law Pharisee carry around a gold graven image on his person? Was that not tantamount to worshiping Caesar?
If not, it was most certainly accepting the prosperity of the Roman economic system. How hard would it be to prove the Roman system was not what God had in mind? The Pharisee who benefited from the luxuries of Roman occupation (“Pax Romana”), whose very place and power in society depended on Roman soldiers, imposed on a population that barely tolerated their own rapacious Jewish leadership at this point — that Pharisee dared to split logical hairs with the Son of God. Speaking through His Son, God said, “If you insist on living in Roman luxury, don’t complain about Roman taxes.”
There you have it, Cypriots. If you were willing to live under the benefits of the Eurobank system, don’t complain when they come to collect. Thus saith the Lord. America, you may not be next, but you are on the list.
It’s not hard to figure this out.
In primordial times, humans knew instinctively there was at least one higher being with some measure of control over how well they survived. Western Civilization attempts to smother that instinct, but it’s standard equipment. Thus, it’s no surprise humans have always had an impulse to make some sort of offering to the deity or deities they could surmise. The Genesis narratives assume this common knowledge. Thus, you cannot read Scripture without grasping this underlying concept. If your efforts to feed yourself succeed in some measure, you try to share some of that success with God.
Not that He needs to eat, but you acknowledge Him by your willingness to share. What you do with that share is symbolism. In ancient times the symbolism was burning it or something like that. Since Christ, we easily understand the better symbolism is giving it to someone else. In particular, we are taught to look for someone who might actually need it.
Very early humans recognized that working together in groups would enhance the results of trying to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves. Families tended to stay as physically close as possible and keep working to create a system that made the most of everyone’s capabilities to contribute to the collective welfare. There was no question that those less capable still got a share. By extension, someone more capable of doing something equally important also got a share. So if you had a talented guard who spent time guarding instead of making food, you still fed him.
The fundamental concept of the king is actually warlord. This is no mystery. You feed this big brute while he spends his time improving defenses for the community. If there’s no immediate threat, he spends his time getting ready for the inevitable time they will come. So it goes all the way back to ancient times that you would pay some sort of tax for your safety. By extension, lots of people do important things that don’t produce food. Those who do produce food are able to produce more and live a better life because of what those who don’t produce contribute to that life. If you want to be selfish, try producing food without all those other folks. You may be lucky to survive.
The Ancient Near East built a cultural assumption that included all this. Somehow they arrived at the idea a tenth was about right for basic community maintenance, plus up to another tenth for community contingencies. This only ever applied to those who produced what was needed. In the Covenant of Moses, it was all about food. That is, eating was something you had to do every day. All the other stuff people produced that wasn’t food could wait until it was needed. So the ritual system of sacrifice meant food sacrifices on a regular basis commensurate with shared prosperity. If God allowed a good harvest, you shared more, but it was still a tenth of what you produced. You could offer anything you liked for other purposes; in that culture it was pretty common for people to feel like sharing, if for no other reason than generosity was a sign of greatness. The local bigshot always made sure he was the most generous; it was downright competitive at times.
We have a slender, dirtier version of that buried in the depths of Western Civilization. Our version is about showing off, while the ANE version was all about community welfare. They were looking at keeping everything stable and predictable as possible, since life is inherently unpredictable at best. The fundamental promise of the rainbow is all about God amplifying our efforts to conform to His expectations. If we genuinely seek stability according to what He reveals as the best way to achieve it, He feeds His power back into the natural system to make it easier. He’s already done as much as He’s going to, and the ball is in our court. The Western version tries to make man the deity, intensely selfish and arrogant, yet fearful and suspicious, by contrast.
The modern Western Christian notion of tithing is entirely a product of Western mythology preying upon the confused and ill-informed conscience of the people. The words about tithing do appear in Scripture, but what is taught and practiced is a blasphemous perversion compared to what Scripture says from within its own culture. People who don’t cultivate food plants or animals never had to tithe. Simply gathering wild produce, including fishing, was not covered under tithing, nor any other productive economic activity. All that other stuff was a matter of various offerings other than tithes. Pulling up all these mentions of giving to God as the psychological leverage to compel the conscience of Christians to tithe and then some from their income is criminal in God’s eyes.
It seems a deep illness infecting Western Christian leaders. They love to hammer “the little people” with abusive perversions of Scripture. I’m sure you are acquainted with how Romans 13 is twisted that way, trying to convince you God demands you love and support whatever evil government you happen to be born under. Nothing of the sort; Paul ends the chapter by pointing out how the sacrificial love of Christ is all the law we need. If you care and give according to the Spirit, reading it from the Mind of Christ, you realize God is pleased with your dismissal of human demands that conflict with His calling on your life. Sure, there will be consequences and you don’t go out of your way to provoke trouble. That’s simply the context in which you obey the Lord in this fallen world. You can disobey those alleged Christian leaders, too.
Here in our house church, we assume God can lead you to dispose of your resources according to His own plans. Sure, I have a donation page linked at the top of this blog, but that’s just because some have asked for it. I don’t pass the hat and you should feel not the slightest tinge of guilt when you ignore the hat or plate or basket or bucket passed in front of you.