Tag Archives: christian

Light into Darkness

I find myself needing the sacred seasons and holy days of our Church more each year. As the storm clouds seem to be gathering on the horizon, it is more important than ever to set aside these special times to reflect on that which God has done throughout history and will do at the end of all things. What follows is a poetic meditation on the advent.

In this world of rock and dust,
As time moves on in relentless procession,
The sensation is often inescapable,
That the days are darkening and the water rising.

Often we are forced to watch unfold around us,
Events of deep despair,
When children starve and violence spreads,
And hate appears the victor.

All around we look and see,
Undeserved pain,
Unforeseen trials,
And our own inability to stand in the face of the flood.

Despair creeps in,
The tears run down,
Our hearts are slowly breaking,
And we weep for our broken world.

Is there are hope for love in a loveless world?
Or for joy in a world of despair?
When great evil seems to reign,
Is there any hope for good?

Yet my soul remember,
As the sacred season comes,
Through ritual and sacred ceremony force your mind to this,
The reign of evil is but a farce and good has conquered yet.

For when the darkness of sin seemed at its peak,
And our world was a swirling vortex of misery and despair,
The light struck the darkness like a lighting bolt,
In the form of a sacred infant.

Seemingly helpless,
Seemingly weak,
But Lord of all the earth,
Darkness trembled at His birth.

Born to die,
That we might live,
To be like Him in our lives and deeds,
Our lives remade by nail scarred hands.

Light in darkness,
God in flesh,
Hope stronger than despair,
The author of all created things has come to dwell among us.

He has come and He is coming,
The work is begun and will be finished,
Evil is already defeated,
And will soon be no more than a memory.

So strengthen trembling hands,
And still shaking knees,
Fear not the darkness,
For in your faith it fears you.

Rise up in broken victory,
And be a bolt of bright light,
In a world of deadly darkness,
In the pattern of the Master.

Take heart this sacred season,
Remember the hope you have,
Ours is not only the Creator God,
But also the Savior.

This is a time to reflect on that which is real,
In a world of illusion and farce,
For truth and justice do reign ,
In Jesus Christ the babe of Bethlehem and Savior of the world.

We need this time of sacred remembrance,
In dark days more than ever,
But the light has overcome the darkness,
So let us remember and rejoice!

Marriage as a Sacrament

These thoughts are the results of over 5 years married to the most gracious, wonderful, and beautiful woman I have ever known.

The Roman Catholics maintain seven sacraments; most Protestants have only two, which they don’t really take very seriously. While I’m not prepared to embrace the full Roman Catholic understanding, I definitely believe we need to go back to viewing marriage more sacramentally.

In the most classical Christian understanding, the sacraments are means of grace for mankind. It is faith in Christ Jesus our Lord which ultimately saves, but the sacraments empower and enrich the sanctification part of our salvation. Thus Baptism and Eucharist are not simply symbolic rituals but actually have real power for the believer who par takes of them, and according to St Paul real danger to those who partake apart from faith and righteousness before a Holy God.

While marriage may not be an ordained sacrament in Scripture, it is certainly an ordained action for our well being. All of the use of marriage as metaphor in the Word illustrates just how highly marriage ought to be viewed by those who follow Christ. That marriage is an important aspect of our sanctification and growth in the knowledge of God can be easily illustrated. This doesn’t mean marriage is ordained for everyone, but it does mean that to those who. It is given it should be taken very seriously. In a society that under values marriage, as a the Church of Jesus Christ we need to restore a proper understanding of its sacred significance. What follows is a list of the ways that marriage has been sacramental in my life, 5 years from now and no doubt I will have even more thoughts on the subject.

Marriage reveals how self-centered and petty we are. In premarital counseling, the difficulty of the first year of marriage is often a subject of discussion. Many married couples can look back to the first year and the trials they overcame together. The reason behind this is our own self-centeredness. Living together in a covenant relationship draws out our selfish tendencies so the Holy Spirit can purge us of them. This becomes painfully clear when we are quick to anger over the smallest of household operations. What it really boils down to is that we just want our own way that bad. The marriage relationship draws this selfishness to our attention in areas we couldn’t even see it before.

Marriage demonstrates the importance of covenant and unconditional love. Only in a firm commitment to love one another until death does marriages true teaching about unconditional love and covenant relationship hit home. When we find it easy to love, or to accept love this lesson is lost. When, ontheotherhand, love is painfully difficult or we find ourself feeling completely unworthy of love, the message of God’s love begins to dawn on us. When for the first time you receive love from your husband or wife while still behaving in a way you know is completely unworthy of that love, the cross stands in the background with new meaning. When we come to the full realization that no matter how bad things get, our love for each other isn’t going anywhere, God’s unchanging love becomes more real than ever before.

Marriage is an important part of our sanctification. As I mentioned above marriage often puts a spot light on issues we didn’t realize we had. This becomes a key part of the process of sanctification in our lives. A godly spouse becomes our primary source of accountability, and because they see us at our worst our spouses cannot be tricked by the pious show we often put on for others. When we allow our marriage to bring sin in our lives to mind, and then walk through repentance together, we overcome issues we likely would have missed on our own.

Marriage points out areas of unforgiveness and unhealed hurt in our lives . It is always interesting how previous pain and heartache can impact a marriage. Often actual arguments ensue simply because something was said that touched a sore spot. After some reflection and personal growth, it becomes clear that the marriage isn’t the problem. Instead previously unhealed areas or areas where hurt someone else did is still unforgiven must be addressed for the happiness of the home. This healing and forgiveness process is not always pleasant and that is why, when given the choice, we shy away from it. In marriage we quickly realize how much harm we are doing to ourselves and others by hanging on to the past and are forced to confront our own heartache, God is then able to step and heal our broken hearts.

There is a great deal more that could be said on all the different ways that marriage is sanctifying and sacramental, but the point remains the same. God has established marriage for our well being and help, we should treat it with reverence and allow it to do its good and healing work in our lives.

The Image and the Likeness

A meditation during Advent

Made from the dust of the earth,
God breathed life into the man,
And there arose our ancient forefather,
Adam, father of us all.
Firstborn of mankind,
Crowning jewel of creation now complete,
Made in the very image of God,
And walking daily in His presence.
Endowed with authority over all Creation,
Blessed with mind and might.

Would that the story ended there father Adam,
For now the image is broken,
The presence taken away,
And the power and might turned toward harm,
The presence that brought you life,
You no more may see,
And the image in you becomes corrupt, unclean.
Deceived and deceiving you fell away,
Pulled down by false desires conceived in your own pride,
Destroyed by thine own hand.

Now the image of God in our young race,
Is broken and almost lost,
Shining through but from time to time,
In a world whose hope is gone,
Violence grows,
And darkness rages,
As our race despairs,
We see not the image,
Still planted though broken in each heart,
And turn away blind and broken.

Yet through it all the rumors spread,
Of a coming King,
A new Father,
A Prince of Peace,
One who will bring us life,
And restore our hope,
The renewer of the Image,
Hands that heal,
What will our healer look like?
When will He arrive?

Only begotten of the Father,
Firstborn of all things,
Creator of heaven and earth,
All hail The Lord Jesus,
Descended to our broken world,
Born in a backwater town in a backwater nation,
In image like one of us,
But in Likeness God Himself,
Lying vulnerable in a cattle trough,
And come to die that we might live.

His hands are healing,
Yet they are pierced,
We must look on the one whose stripes heal us,
The King of all Creation came,
And we killed Him on a tree,
The broken Image could not stand before the Likeness,
And we walked instead in the violence we knew so well,
Yet see how he conquered our hearts,
For even in weakness and death,
The Likeness conquers over our darkness.

The barrier to the Father removed,
By the atoning death of the Son,
That Likeness was placed inside our chests,
In the person of the Spirit,
Restoring the Image anew,
Beyond even father Adam’s first condition,
We become something new,
Redeemed men indwelt by the Savior God,
Bearers now of the Likeness,
The Image now being restored.

So let the Likeness reign in your heart,
By walking with the Spirit,
And become this Advent season,
That which our Savior was,
On the day of His advent,
Bring in your person the Likeness of God,
To a world where the broken Image is still all many men have,
In a world of know hope,
Release the Likeness to its good work,
And leave the Spirit to heal the rest.

Zinzendorf 2.0

In a world increasingly defined by its crises, it is time for a radical shift back to an old approach to Christian community. The 21st Century has barely begun and already we are confronted with a growing plethora of complex challenges that must be overcome. The global economy that has defined much of world politics over the last 100 years appears to be increasing in instability. The ecology of the planet is increasingly taxed by unsustainable human practices, some of which could very well bring in the devastating effects of droughts and famines. Technology has allowed for great leaps forward in human wickedness, including the massive growth of the pornography and sex trafficking industries. In addition, here in these United States, the political situation is rapidly increasing in instability since our government has broken loose from its Constitutional moorings and has been careening wildly towards Federally imposed tyranny limiting free speech, freedom of religion, and the other freedoms American’s claim to hold dear. In the midst of all these difficulties the Church of Jesus Christ, as a body called out to serve their fellow man and seek and save the lost, has an incredible opportunity to take the lead in resolving these difficulties.

From its inception, this blog has been about Faith, Sustainability, and Liberty. The idea that follows is still in the rough, it needs refining and tempering, but above all it needs people of God to be willing to make radical changes in obedience to Him. What follows represents Thetonedeafbard’s total solution to the crises that are converging around us. Please join the conversation by leaving a comment or sending me an email at thetonedeafbard@gmail.com

That this shift is definitely necessary needs to be made clear, but effort has been taken to not overly dwell on the problem. The following is a brief summary of the problems looming on the horizon of the 21st Century, details of each issue are abundantly available from other sources.

The Problems
As this post is rather long, those well acquainted with the difficulties I mentioned in the first paragraph may skip this section.

First and foremost, the Western Church is facing a crisis. Much of it is becoming increasingly irrelevant to young people, while simultaneously many churches are selling out core Christian values and in the process giving up any influence they had left. Even good churches struggle to accomplish their Biblical role because their members aren’t really doing life together. Even for those who are still truly following Christ, it has become increasingly difficult for their worship not to be crammed into one of several compartments in their lives. At the end of the day, Christianity must be communal to survive in an increasingly antagonistic post modern culture, and right now it just isn’t.

Simultaneously, the Global Church is experiencing a massive transition. The success of Christian Mission in reaching the unreached, while not complete, has seen massive success. So much so that the West no longer makes up the majority of the Christian world. Western influence is still very strong, but will likely begin to wane in the near future, as our Majority World brethren take more and more responsibility. In the meantime, there are still thousands of unreached people groups perishing without the Gospel. The Church needs to make a concerted effort to make a functional hand off of this task, before the Western Church drops of the scene more completely.

Industrial agriculture is failing. All the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, genetic tampering, monoculture, etc. is beginning to take effect. The global food supply is increasingly vulnerable to disease and an increasingly unstable climate. In particular soil degradation and deforestation are taking a heavy toll, causing decreased crop yields, alterations in weather patterns, drought, failure of the soil to retain moisture, increased plant disease, aquifer depletion, and a whole host of other environmental issues. Our expensive fossil fuel based inputs are yielding more and more diminishing returns. Sooner or later, as yields decrease and soil depletes industrial agriculture will no longer be able to feed the earth’s growing population.

Our cheap energy era has also come with tragic human consequences. Urbanization and industrialization, while allowing some to reach levels of prosperity never before imagined, have also created massive pockets of urban poverty. In many of these pockets people are unable to meet their own basic needs for food, water, shelter, healthcare, hygiene, etc. Those living in these areas are suffering from daily deprivations, and are also more prone to exploitation such as that by the global sex trafficking industry. The Church of Jesus Christ has a Biblical command to meet these physical needs while introducing the Savior. At this time we have seen great strides towards relieving this suffering, but what is needed most deeply is a cultural shift that will address the larger problems causing poverty and suffering.

Exacerbating all the problems listed above is the increasing risk of economic collapse at the hands of rogue nations. The United States has led the way in treading a path towards tyranny and economic slavery. Americans are losing more and more of the liberty they cherish, while supporting a military industrial take over of the rest of the world spearheaded by super corporations. The tragic results are that, while even American’s who have more traditional ability to defend themselves against the rise of authoritarianism are giving up their liberty, those in the rest of the world with less resources are also paying the price for our negligence. As the cost of all of this government increases, the entire globally connected economy is facing increased threat of hyperinflation and collapse. Since this is happening simultaneously to these other global issues, the entire world could face massive amounts of suffering and loss simultaneously as much of what we have thought of as civilization risks passing away.

With a series of issues of this proportion and level of interconnectedness, a giant game of whack-a-mole isn’t going to work. These solutions call for a concentrated solution that will address all of the dangers and suffering that are happening now and are yet to come. The good news is, that solution has already been found. There is a historically validated answer to the current situation, that can be implemented today.

A Historical Solution

Count Nicolaus Zenzendorf and the Moravians provide one of the most fascinating expressions of Christian community available. While not historically well known in many circles, the Moravian community continues to have a disproportionate historical impact. The Moravian community launched the Protestants into world mission well ahead of the “Father of Modern Missions” William Carey. Their community life influenced the thoughts and practices of both John Wesley and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Even now there are churches all over the world who originally received the Gospel through the ongoing ministry of the early Moravian missionaries.

The Moravian Brethren were originally from a variety of theological backgrounds that were being persecuted in other parts of Europe. Count Zinzendorf provided them with shelter and allowed them to form a community on his estate. When theological infighting grew intense, Zinzendorf decided he had better take a more active role in the community. He sat down with the various community leaders and they studied the Scriptures continually until the issues were resolved. What came out was not a unified doctrinal statement in the traditional sense, but instead a set of standards for Christian living in community. Over time this deliberate practice of Christian community in sharing of the word and life together developed into a mission sending community the world has not really seen the like of since.

With an emphasis on practical skill development such as agriculture or various useful trades, the Moravians went forth equipped to provide for their physical needs while physically serving those to whom they went. They went forth with a passion for Christ so deep that several literally sold themselves into slavery to reach unreached African slaves. A survey of the modern mission movement, and how disproportionately it has been touched by this small community of brothers and sisters, gives us a great deal of insight into the effectiveness of doing life and mission in intentional community.

The temptation when looking at such an effectual community as that of the Moravians is to think that such a place must have been a historical anomaly. The fact of the matter is though, it has long standing in the classical Christian tradition. Eusebius records communities such as this one as early as the first century, and while it is not entirely clear, the Acts gives us some clear indicators that the New Testament Church was living in a very communal setting as well. All the way through the medieval period, and even today in the Roman Catholic church, the monastic tradition emphasized life together as a means to know God and serve man better. The trouble with discussing the monastic movement, for the purpose of this conversation, is that many today focus on how withdrawn members of the monastic movement were from daily life so much that they fail to see the innumerable acts of intentional mission performed within it. Suffice it to say, that the Moravians provide an excellent example to work with, provided it is recognized that they stood on the shoulders of others and did not represent some entirely new idea.

The New Moravians
The question then is: How could such intentional living impact the difficulties faced by the Church today? This kind of intentional living comes with an impact that has the power to reverse a great many of the problems faced today. What follows will be a brief outline of the impact of a return to Christian community in the Church today.

Many of the problems faced in the Church, especially the western churches, stem from a lack of true Christian community. Despite being active members of local churches, regularly attending services, and even partaking in a plethora of church related activities, many Christians are not in anyway getting the kind of community required for a vital Christian faith. Biblical Christianity cannot be had apart from Biblical community. This is why we are a called out body of believers, not merely called out individuals. The Christian life can simply not be attained without Christian fellowship.

This is particularly true when we are talking about purity and relevance. Purity cannot be maintained in the face of a hostile post-modern society without a community for support. Even if a theoretical individual had the will not to give into perceived social pressures, the ability to recognize the numerous areas where ground had already been given would be absent. Only in community can individuals see the dangerous flaws in the societies they have grown up in and then actively reject those flaws through their actions. This is a process, it doesn’t happen over night; but it can’t even begin if there apart from a group of people doing life together.

Without community, Christianity is also largely irrelevant. The Gospel was written for communities, not individuals. The command to love one another only applies if there are others to love. How can the transforming power of the Gospel be modeled before a broken world, unless radical disciples submit themselves fully to the life together. When Christian interaction is limited to intentional times of worship and fellowship and then each believer goes back into a largely secularized environment, what is put on display? Nothing more than the actions of a single individual. However, when a body of people do life together in a way that reflects the love of Christ in them, then their individual witnesses joins together into a compelling case to a different kind of life – a life in Christ. Separated Christians have very little opportunity to impact the world around them, but in intentional community whole communities, and even nations, can be transformed by the power of the Gospel.

Not only is intentional community required for basic Christian life in purity and relevance, it is also vital to the Christian mission. The Moravians successfully sent a disproportionate number of laborers into the harvest field largely because they had the community support structure to do it. There was a community to hold accountable each individual to the call of God to the nations, but there was also community in place to insure that each individual was equipped and supported in living out that call. No one left for the fields unsure of who would be upholding them in prayer 24 hours a day. In a time when the global leadership of the church must transition, nothing can be more unifying or missional than moving back towards this kind of intentional life together. As the majority world church rises to influence, now is the time to insure that the Church moves forward rooted in solid community, rather than empty times of fellowship.

This isn’t simply a matter of transitioning to a better form of Christian community while we transition to new leadership. Moving towards more intentional community will also make this transition more smooth and effective. The Western Church has gained a tremendous amount of insight, through experience, over the years into how to Biblically and effectively reach the unreached. As much of this knowledge as possible needs to be shared with our brothers and sisters around the world as quickly as possible, so that they can begin to fulfill their role in the mission of God. Unfortunately most Western education structures, among them colleges and seminaries, are not very compatible with the majority world church. Even if they were more compatible, they have often proved to be a barrier to those headed toward full time Christian service. The model Jesus provides for us, and that the Moravians displayed so well for us, is that of the life together. The disciples experiences with Jesus were ultimately the base of their entire ministry in the book of Acts. In the NKJV, Acts 4:13 says of the Pharisees “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” It was this act of doing life together that resulted in the Apostles missional effectiveness and understanding of the Gospel. Life together takes education and information sharing out of the classroom where it is theoretical and out to the streets where it is practical. Not only is this a more effective tool for teaching and equipping God’s people, it is also universally applicable in all cultures because community life is defined by those who live it.

At this point it is clear that community, as modeled for us by Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians, has a powerful impact on Christian living, but what about some of the other 21st Century issues in discussion? In an age where our agriculture system is such clear trouble, there has been a growing movement of people “back to the land” who are focused on subjects like self sufficiency. The reality is, there is no such thing. The success of our ancestors in living sustainably off the land was rooted firmly in community not individualism. That said, if a dedicated community chooses to radically focus on Permaculture as a sustainable design system, it can live in a way that not only protects the community itself from the growing list of short comings of our current system, but that, whether urban or rural, also protects the larger community around it. The ability to design and work together in restoring natural patterns of design in the land, provides the ultimate opportunity for communities to live out the already present positive alternatives to our failing industrial model.

This kind of sustainable living together also answers the questions posed by urban poverty and suffering. Focusing on sustainable food production and high quality community healthcare that combines modern knowledge with natural patterns allows us to not only alleviate the suffering of the poor in the short term, but also to educate poverty out existence by modeling a better way forward. Hands on education that demonstrates the success of those who practice it can cause the whole economics of poverty to be abolished. Especially where we are talking about greening the food deserts and equipping people with the ability to meet their own basic needs. This is especially true when intentional Christian communities make the choice to set up in the heart of poverty blighted urban centers. The end result of this change not only removes poverty, but also makes impossible the all to uncommon exploitation of the poor that is too common today.

Finally solid communities doing life together in a way that is sustainable by design to the glory of Christ are not only hedged from the destructive effects of sin and temptation, but also from global economic uncertainty and the growing push towards statism. How this ecological liberty impacts poverty and redefines local economies has already been discussed, all that needs to be added is that this redefinition removes those local areas from the chaos of global markets by bringing all of the most important economic needs of the community back within the community. When all of these needs are met locally, communities are not so adversely impacted by the larger scale economic problems we face.

Community also lies at the root of solving our problems with the push towards Federal control of everything. First, it reverses the push to honor the state as though it were God through dependency, instead asserting the value of each member of the community to assist in living sustainably before God. Second, in community, those who love their God given liberty can more effectively work to protect it. Since small, self sustaining communities are already economically fairly autonomous and free, they are much less susceptible to being bullied by the State. With so much of the aggressive tyranny happening at the local level, replacing local governments with deliberately free communities puts a stop its growth. Not only that, but the kind of community being discussed here also sets forward a model for free living that can continue regardless of what happens in the country as a whole.

Intentional communal living then is a key tool for educating and equipping the church to carry out its essential mission. In addition, it is the key to sustainable living on this planet and will assuage and shelter against the suffering present and coming in our nation and world. It should be a great comfort that this has been done successfully before, and, while perhaps not being done as completely as discussed here, is being done successfully even in our times. It is time for the Church to make a concentrated effort to return to vital Christian communities, communities that heal people and the earth they inhabit.

The Next Zinzendorf

Only one thing is lacking. The leadership necessary to begin implementing and calling for this change needs to emerge. The Moravian community was successful to a large degree because of the passion and commitment of Count Zinzendorf to the success of Christian community. In a day in age where much of the Church has moved far away from such principles of community, it will take strong leadership to return to it. The call and push towards effective community is urgent and time is moving quickly.

Would the next Count Zinzendorf please stand up?

The Bard’s Book Reviews: History of the Church, By Eusebius

History of the Church by Eusebius is the oldest known history of the Christian church. It begins at the life of Christ and ends with the formation of the peace under Constantine.

To be honest, particularly since it is now in the public domain and available free for the taking, this book should be required reading for everyone who calls them self a follower of Christ. This book provides a basic overview of the various church fathers beginning with the apostles and through the period of early persecution and the eventual rise of Constantine. The events that take place are the events that shaped the church in its infancy and in many cases we are still living under the effects of these events. I have long been concerned that the church is losing touch with its oldest and most cherished values, this book is a great starting point on this path. Being well aware of the testimony of the most ancient and apostolic Christian witness’s goes a long way towards preventing false doctrine in the church today. For example it would be very difficult for any serious reader of Eusebius to cling to the false notion that the Gospel brings with it prosperity and worldly riches, seeing as the book is filled with the stories of individuals who gave up everything for the Gospel’s sake.

In addition, tracking the available sources Eusebius references will give the reader an even larger reading list of early church leaders that would be difficult to compile elsewhere. This allows for an even more thorough reading of early church history.

And finally, in addition to reacquainting the godly bard with some very important historical reference points, this book will help the modern western materialist to reembrace mythic Christianity. The testimony of the early church is full of true stories that will bring you out of your comfort zone and force you to accept the fact that God is not limited by our perception of scientific law.

As I said above, this book is a must read for all godly bards, and all Christians in general. When I finally release my recommended reading list this book will be in the top tier.

Almost Love

Why is it that I want to do the right thing,
Yet seem always drawn to do the wrong?
Why is it I know to say words that will heal,
But curses always come off my tongue?
I know how to do the things that are loving,
Yet I find myself consumed with selfish blackness,
And self-righteous judgment,
Here I am in the place of almost love,
I can almost work to heal your broken heart,
And almost say the words you long to hear,
I can almost trade my life for yours,
And shed my blood to show you the love,
That you so desperately need to see,
But almost is never actually real,
And halfway still isn’t there,
In the end my good intentions don’t matter at all,
You need true love,
But all I have to offer is almost.

Abba take me to the fountain,
Where love drips down,
From the bloody man on the cross,
Where love to the uttermost burst forth,
Into this sad planet of almost love,
Wash away my selfishness with that bloody love,
Teach me the way of sacrifice,
Jesus teach me how to love!

The church stands before the world,
And tries to hold out the hope,
For a new way filled with life,
But it seems like for all our efforts,
All of our good ideas,
Our well planned training,
Our organizations and small groups and out reaches,
Something lacks among us,
Why are we so quick to attack and devour each other?
Why can we not maintain the purity of the word,
Must we always twist it to our own gain?
Will we always seek to be more righteous than one another?
As if our righteousness even counted for something?
We are filled with almost love,
Almost reaching out to heal and save,
Almost interceding for the hopeless and defenseless,
Almost laying down our lives for something bigger,
But almost doesn’t really count for anything,
Because almost still never happened,
Halfway still isn’t there,
The world needs true love,
But all we offer is almost love.

Abba take us to the fountain,
Where love drips down,
From the bloody man on the cross,
Where love to the uttermost burst forth,
Into this sad church of almost love,
Wash away our selfishness and pride with that bloody love,
Teach us the way of sacrifice,
Jesus teach us how to love!

In the end only one stands,
With true love in His hands,
Jesus alone is the healer,
He alone can save and offer truest love,
From His hands on Calvary,
Dripped the only sacrificial love,
That history will ever know,
We may never fully overcome,
Our selfishness and almost love,
But Christ our King proved once for all,
That His love was enough!
We have nothing to offer but almost love,
But if His blood fills up our veins,
Then we will have the healing love of His,
Which alone can transform the nations!

Abba take us to the fountain,
Where love drips down,
From the bloody man on the cross,
Where love to the uttermost burst forth,
Into this sad church of almost love,
Wash away our selfishness and pride with that bloody love,
Teach us the way of sacrifice,
Jesus teach us how to love!

No Magic Bullets

I won’t lie, there is a lot wrong in the world today. I won’t say things are worse in the United States than the rest of the world, but we have begun the process of decline and that will probably come with some very extreme consequences. Just think about some of the things that we are now facing:

*We have entered a period of total moral depravity, and the church, in most cases, has chosen either to endorse wicked behavior despite clear Biblical contradiction or else fails to take any significant action other than petitioning the government to outlaw such behavior.
*Mixed in with this moral decay is a level of narcism, materialism, and hedonism rarely seen except in the death throes of a society. As a result of this many members of society are too focused on themselves to even notice the early markers of societal collapse.
*We have so totally destroyed our nation’s topsoil reserves that we could very likely see a famine sometime in this generation.
*In the meantime the food that we are producing has been so processed, genetically modified, chemically altered, and degraded that we are all getting sick just because of what we eat.
*Our economy is exhibiting all the early warning signs of a hyper-inflationary collapse, and the national debt has soared so high that we are only a few short years from having the interest payments on said debt exceed our GDP.
*We have a political class that largely believe that it knows better than the people and can take whatever liberties it wants at our expense.
*This same political class is largely bought and paid for by a relatively short list of major corporations resulting in an unholy union of government and big money. The result of which has been the rise of a new aristocracy with tendencies every bit as oppressive and tyrannical as any before it.

I could go on like this for quite some time, but I think my point is sufficiently made. No doubt you have many of your own issues that are deeply effecting the lives of Americans and others around the world today. There are a growing number of people well aware of the difficulties that we have created, the problem is that most people don’t recognize the solution. We have a tendency, as human beings and more specifically as Americans (who love convenience), to want to find some miraculous solution that will put everything right, what I refer to as a magic bullet. “If only we could elect X” or “if only we could pass a law doing Y” are phrases that get tossed around constantly.

Now if you pay attention to nothing else, pay attention here. The fundamental problem with these kinds of phrases, and even with several recent grass roots political movements, is that they fundamentally believe government is the answer. They are rooted in the belief that if we change some governmental issue then all will be well. The thing is, there is no quick fix or magic bullet for the litany of problems we are facing down as a nation. It is time to remember who we are as Americans, and more importantly as free human beings. The answer isn’t some mystical “them”. The answer lies with us. Americans have always been a people who find ways to overcome extreme odds, a people who pull together their own creative genius to find new and better ways to overcome unbeatable odds. The problems we face today, while certainly influenced by those who benefit from them, are the result of millions of poor decisions made over time. When you change yourself, and then begin to take a positive role you aren’t just changing things, you are becoming the change that needs to take place.

This isn’t an easy thing to embrace. It means that we bear ultimate responsibility for each and every situation we encounter, and that means that in areas we have yet to change ourselves we have to accept that we are part of the problem. At the same time though, it is time to do away with this nonsensical notion that nothing can be done. Stop behaving as though those in power will do whatever they like and no one can change it. You can change it! You, yourself can take actions that will ultimately result in total transformation of our society, because you are society.

Is your faith deeply offended by the American church culture? Be the change, get repentant before a Holy God, become a person of prayer and holiness. Then find a church that is actively engaged in the Great Commission, in local ministry, and teaching the word of God unadulterated and with authority. Can’t find one? Then start a home fellowship, church isn’t about a building it’s about the fellowship of believers. Don’t just passively endorse false doctrine or total inaction by your continual attendance every Sunday.

Does the media’s constant drivel of wicked programming bother you? Turn it off. Seek out new and more uplifting means of entertainment. There are millions of books, many of the greatest classics are now free. Besides that, there are millions of activities you could be doing together as a family that will make you stronger and closer rather than weaker.

Does the encroachment on American liberty by the new aristocracy deeply disturb you? Take back your liberty! Stop voting for lesser of two evil candidates and instead vote only for those who actually represent your values, you may not win right away but you will at least not be part of the problem anymore. Get involved within some of the 3rd party and independent grass roots movements. Demand pro-liberty legislation, especially at the state and local levels. Educate your fellow citizens, many of them probably don’t realize that they are surrendering their liberty bit by bit every day. Wake them up and show them how to stop. The Son’s of Liberty had to do exactly that prior to American Revolution, otherwise we might still be under British rule. Remember that depending on where you live you may have to vote with your feet, and you may also be forced to commit civil disobedience.

Are you concerned about the economy? Fix your home economy. Get rid of your personal debt load even as you raise the alarm about our national debt crisis. Build a strong home economy that will have enough redundancy and resiliency to stand up under a wide variety of economic conditions, including collapse. Pick up a productive trade in addition to whatever you already do for a living. Then, help re-form the Daughters of Liberty. They worked together to make sure American’s weren’t overly dependent on imports, especially British imports. Even as the Sons of Liberty were preparing the people to start a revolution, they were making sure that American homes were adequately prepared to do so. Band together with your friends and neighbors to form your own micro-economy, one which is free from the industrialized economy and not dependent on our failing currency.

Are you tired of the constant assault on our nations agricultural resources? Feed yourself. Grow a large garden. Or, better yet, get a hold of some land, whether borrowed or bought, and become part of the small farm revolution. Purchase what you can’t produce from healthy, local producers. These skills are slipping away from us quickly, read as much as you can on the subject and relearn the proper ways of producing food. Rediscover your own kitchen, prepare your own food from raw ingredients rather than letting some massive producer prepare it all for you hundreds of miles away.

These suggestions are only the beginning. There are literally millions of small action steps that you can take, and help others take to become an important part of the necessary change. I hope that we can discuss these others together as more time occurs, if you have a problem or answer you would like to discuss drop me a comment.

At the most fundamental level, the first thing you must do is change your mind. Recognize that our situation is not hopeless, we have overcome worse situations before. The Great Awakening occurred at a time when public morality was so poor, many thought the church wouldn’t survive. The revolution was carried out against the world’s most powerful empire. The Constitution was created, in large part because of a inflationary and debt laden monetary crisis. We are the answer, and with God’s grace, providence, and guidance we will overcome these crises as well.

It’s time to stop complaining about the problem, and become part of the solution.