“BLAME AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR CONTROL, AND A TIME FOR EVERYTHING.”

A Time To Blame

The inability to control what happens in the tragic and dark elements of life stands by itself in the ineffable experiences of peoples various lives. With a struggle to comprehend the complexity of some realities, at its basis tragedy with the left part of our logos mind must somehow be attempted to be explained. We want to understand why the Titanic sank, which the community eventually turned to blame. I wrote about this in a past post. Blame is what we use to scapegoat our misunderstanding or inability to comprehend a logical reasoned narrative to deeper unknowns behind the mystery of things.

Rene Girard as explained in this post here, coined this struggle to modern reference-able phenomena where communities must outcast an individual in response to our logical queries to resolve the unexplainable via our logos. The Scapegoat, or scapegoating. We need someone or something to blame. Who do you accuse to blame? Parents? Capitalism? Racism? Classism? Misogyny? (Howard Zinn’s “Peoples History of The United States”?) Extremist religion? Atheism? Political party? Alcohol life-style? Monogamy? Drugs? Psychology, ethics, values? It begins with the accusation, or the accuser.

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Duke Lacrosse Case featured on 60 Minutes on CBS in 2007.

We know from the Duke Lacrosse case (see my post on that here) that a mere accusation definitely does not mean convicted, and we also know that lack of conviction does not suggest wrongfully accused as well. Different voices around those two paradoxes find solace in the blindfold over Lady Justice. That there is some higher gravity to the impartial truth finally escaping all the attempts at being loopholed away and “coming to the light.” The question is, should accusations be tried court cases on live national television, podcasts, twitter hashtags?

The me-too movement long existed before the outing of abuses by certain Hollywood profiles (read my post on that here) more recently. Any local town with a public education teacher, or private education teacher, say a priest, or a doctor, or a police officer, or a politician, any position of power or authority, where the perceived outcome is a victim of a crime, and in most media reported contexts, is the accused perpetrator of a sexual crime.

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“A Time To Kill.” 1996.

A Time To Blur the Lines

In 1989 came the novel, “A Time To Kill” by John Grisham. The novel became the basis for a 1996 motion picture that cast Matthew McConaughey and Samuel L. Jackson, where the film is about an African American juvenile female that was raped on the way home from getting groceries, and the father of the daughter takes justice into his own hands on those accused. In this fictional depiction, the controversy is highlighted to involve both race, power, gender, age, and socioeconomic context for different elements of the culture and environment that people could argue did or did not contribute to the commission of such a crime.

The fuller depth of the story is that people make the arrival of avenging the racism and white privilege of the accused in concert with the other ineffable actions that the white men Samuel L. Jackson’s character Carl Lee Hailey kills to avenge injustice. That murder in that context (John Grisham writes) becomes okay, because they were perpetrators of not just crimes, but sexual crimes. There is stigma about really bad crimes being worse than other really bad crimes, when they are at certain levels all equally bad. The word for bad is actually evil. That which is harmful or injurious in a mild dictionary definition, which also lists, “The force in nature that governs and gives rise to wickedness and sin.” Sin theologically meaning a state of being through which harmful actions transpire, states of being through actions that depict man’s inheritable separation from God., what first John in the new testament would describe as, “The absence of love.”

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A Time To Accuse

The crowd must have answers. The crowd turns. The crowd accuses, the crowd blames. The crowd scapegoats, exiles, crucifies, reactively retaliates in any way that is by definition adversarial opposition and results in sanctions or penalty.

As discussed here, we saw this behavior in the media’s reaction to the reports of the Aaron Hernandez case, people calling for him to receive the death penalty. Then Hollywood actors were accused of sexual misconduct. This came after the Oscar season that Spotlight won best picture, a film that portrayed the staff of the Boston Globe uncovered the sex abuse scandal of the Catholic Church within the Archdiocese of Boston and other places. Suddenly the mainstream media would turn on that same Hollywood crowd in accusing (innocent or guilty) Rufus Buckley, the prosecuting attorney in “A Time To Kill”, played in the 1996 film by Kevin Spacey.

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Actor Kevin Spacey is accused of abuse from over twenty years ago. Other wealthy names that only name in the media because of their wealth have been reported also. The latest is MTV host of the show, “Catfish” Nev Shulman. His career is known for advocating for the proper treatment of individuals in romantic relationships, and outing fake secret admirers who take on alternate identities via social media in pursuing relationships with their crushes. The term for that is known as ‘catfishing.’ He has been accused and denies the allegations. San Francisco NFL player. Rueben Foster’s accuser admitted recently that she in fact made up rape allegations against him because she wanted revenge and actually stole $8,000 in cash from him. Just from talking about sexual topics you can be fired or ostracized, if it’s outrageous enough. This happened to Milo Yiannopoulos, and he over a year later still can’t go out in public.

Anchor journalists, Gymnastics coaches, and movie stars. A now former State Attorney General of New York. Former Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards. The name list get’s blurred from those accused of the unethical and those accused of the unlawful. Bill Clinton’s crime was perjury, pundits argue over the ethics of just what exactly the smoking gun is in and of itself. Hillary Clinton’s personal assistant’s spouse, Anthony Weiner. Again an example of the lines blurring together between criminal and merely unethical. Donald Trump, when he had his mob or wired money himself to keep a female porn actress quiet before or after the campaign. Was it a crime, or was it just unethical? Either way, the media paints this blurry grey line sometimes as equal, wherein the Grisham novel there is bad, and there is worse, and the bad get’s a pass, in retaliation of the worse. Selective justice like that removes contrast.

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Lady Justice Blindfolded in symbolic impartiality.

A Time To Kill?

The same traditional faith book that mentions these very crimes at different levels against interpersonal relationships is the same one that talks about certain reactions to those crimes being the same level of immorality, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” So the blindfold of Lady Justice then is to keep what is harmful, harmful, and not play nuance semantics when it suits a persons identity politics narrative above all other standards of justice too. The whole walk and chew gum at the same time concept. It is as written before, that all of us inevitably begin a fall or path of descent. Yet a time to kill in war or extreme circumstances is inevitable, as noted in this post about Barack Obama’s Noble Peace Prize speech.

A Time to Smear

The moral or theological question to certain people especially in sock puppet alter ego social media accounts ask who get’s a pass or who doesn’t have dirt? The constitution of the United States merely says after X standard is met such an accused merely get’s a day in court. The mere existence of a day in court is skepticism of the human condition to be as principal higher than to so as falsely accuse, embellish, sensationalize, “Alter facts”, skew, smear, defame, conspire, fraudulently report, etc.

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Twitter Wars

A Time To Divide

An incredibly gifted and talented starting pitcher for Oregon State University was removed from the mound last year after The Oregonian did a hit piece on Luke Heimlich’s past right before he would pitch to win the team to the collegiate World Series. The team lost without him on the mound. At the start of this season, Heimlich returned to the team. Luke has always denied that he ever did any part of the accusations, that he pleaded guilty only to resolve the legal matter and to move on with his life. Do you think that stopped the New York Times from publishing the story again as the season nears the baseball playoffs again? Corvallis Oregon and the beaver nations fans, most of them, receive him well on the mound and embrace his talent. Forgiveness and understanding seem to have happened at some levels of the community and, what a powerful statement that someone who addressed the accusations head-on, went through treatment, could now continue on his God-given journey as an incredibly gifted athlete. Luke one week ago had a career high of 14 strikeouts in one game, beating his earlier in the season record of 12 earlier in the year.

If there is any time or place for forgiveness to be a powerful demonstration for the rest of the world, would it not be now? Jason Stallman, editor of the Sports Page at The New York Times, does not think so. He continues to let reporters report on Luke’s past, with an inability to let go. Anything for a read. Anything to whip up these unresolved emotions, to squeeze on every drop of other peoples pain to get website clicks and revenue. Yet that won’t stop Heimlich from opening in tonight’s game. Nor will anyone wake up in the morning and think, wow, after that reported story, I sure need to subscribe to the NYT.

A Time For Court

In the constitution, the accused get’s an automatic “full stop” to whatever inertia is moving such a flurry of claims against a person (whatever the sources, be inside positions of power or a random childhood friend) to move forward so quickly. A pause gives a better than nothing second chance for the truth, in whatever direction it exists, to come out. While the truth is not guaranteed, the authors of this part of the constitution clearly must have intended that this was the more likelier than not scenario for the best chance for truth to come out in comparison to the alternatives. Yet we have this incessant obsession with the desire to punish as explained by hyper-intellectual and policing expert Michael A. Wood Jr. here in a selected soundbite:

Gateway to silence:

Ecclesiastes 3:

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

“Is the time to mend, now? What would it take for us to forgive?

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What J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, George Lucas, Marvel comics and The Bible all have in common. (Or why Thanos and Sauron are the same character). #NerdingOut

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Gollum gets transported onto a tarot card in this painting by: SciethA

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring:

“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”

In 1978 per Wikipedia, “Soul Gems were introduced in a Warlock crossover with Spider-Man, and the full set of six appeared as the death-obsessed villain Thanos attempted to use them to extinguish every star in the universe.[1]

Warlock’s evil alter ego, the Magus, next sought out the stones in Infinity War, a 1992 limited series (Infinity Crusade # 1-6 June – Nov 1993). This is paralleled in LOTR’s Morgoth who’s arguable alter ego is Sauron, who is always seeking the one ruling ring.

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The Song of the Nibelung was written between 1191-1204. Scholars believe someone at the court of Wolfger von Erl, The presiding Catholic Bishop of the diocese of Passau Germany, a branch of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising wrote the poem. In the now translated English version we can read glimpses of the origins of ‘the ring’ in lines from the Nibelung like 449:

The royal Brunhild’s prowess / with terror was it shown. Into the ring they bore her / in sooth a ponderous stone, Great and all unwieldy, / huge it was and round: And scarce good knights a dozen / together raised it from the ground.
It here people speculate that Wagner published his “The Ring Cycle opera’s” around 1876. Some speculate that Tolkien knew of both other original ring works and even when asked stated, “The only thing in common is that the works have rings.” The authors of the superhero comics infinity war could easily have had other musings to have an all-powerful gauntlet destroy the universe in lieu of one ring to rule all rings. Yet whether it is destruction of the stars in the universe or world dominion, lacking the One Ring to put all efforts in finding and achieving its power, or the missing stones designed for the all-powerful gauntlet as the only powers left from a supernatural source, we see the imitation and projection of evil.
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Whilst in the comics later books had the removal of free will to battle the good of an alter ego force in the comic universe, good exists in Tolkien’s world only as the absence of evil, which can only be apart from the ring and those who seek it. The ring is not only about metaphorical powers, but the symbolical imagery of belonging and allegiance to the reality behind the symbolism is a contrast to the reality behind the symbolism of not seeking and not wearing the ring. Gandalf is the only real glimpse of nonduality in both acknowledging the unknown of the power of the ring, manifesting the absence and resistance to the ring, and eventually an assertive effort to destroy it altogether. Tolkien takes it beyond a mere power to power face off in power in an of itself, but a collective destiny and journey of the whole in the fullness of time. (Stan Williams, 2003). These patterns also exist in the other tales compared in this piece, without going into depth we will just say generally that is the falling action after a climactic checkpoint in any drama, the counterpoint/pushback of other forces, in these contexts forces the opposite of evil.
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Gandalf to Bilbo, “You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? “you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!” ~ Tolkien, “The Hobbit.”
Yet there is no question that Tolkien and Lewis in taking a world religion class together including Norse mythology (used for Marvel’s Thor saga) yet it is Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that can be argued to be a muse:
“Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007), there are three magical objects –”an unbeatable wand, a stone to bring the dead to life, and a cloak of invisibility. When owned by one person, they are said to give mastery over death.” (Per the public Wikipedia page.) This and even the actual symbol mirror the philosophers stone (painted below by Michael Maier 1617, and rowling’s hallows symbol 2007 to compare) which some people try and tie to Judaea/ Christian faith, see details.
Dumbledore is always seeking these items and possessed each at separate times throughout the saga but never all three together. Rowling admits in an interview that because they were very British books, scripture was inevitable to show up in the series. This suggests she included it for monetary value. Yet she also said the two verses in the books summed up the whole series. She claims to attend the church of Scotland.
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Darth Vader and Wilhuff Tarkin monitoring the Death Star’s passage through hyperspace from Hyperdrive Station A-226. (Star Wars: A new Hope, 1977.)
In the George Lucas Star Wars Saga, there are different variations of finding and searching for the plans of the death star. Intercepting plans and designs of the death star, preventing the death star from destroying planets, and destroying the republic’s death star weapon. We see a pattern then, in the repackaging of stories with the same ultimate plot of getting ultimate power from items, and ultimately the attempt at the destruction of the cosmos as the climax to any plot.
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Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

 

The final Storm inside President Barack Obama’s Oval Office may have elected Donald Trump, per JAMES COMEY’s new book. (Or, despite partisan scapegoat battle, big issues remain.)

“A HIGHER CONTROVERSY, OR WHAT REALLY REALLY HAPPENED.” presidents_84197081 President Carter was unable to release American hostages in Iran as his Presidency came to a close. President Clinton left office in a constitutional crisis where the Supreme Court of the United States would decide his successor. President Bush Jr. left office with a car industry and banking crisis. President Obama would keep the tradition of parting office controversies with both of his successor candidates under criminal investigation. A final crisis seems to be the new outgoing gift to whoever holds that seat.

Former FBI James Comey wrapped up his media blitz this week after publishing his memoir of public service. In it, he details a final controversy that President Obama faced in the last six months of his presidency. Comey had an interview on ABC’s “The View” on April 18th*, where he described how he was ready to tell the public a hint about Russian interference in the election, even writing a draft editorial to send to a newspaper. He recalls that the President decided not to because that would let them win by having a President weigh in on a pending election, that that would be by definition allowing them to influence the outcome. This is in the light of that particular context in which most people admittedly including Comey thought that “Hillary was going to be the next President of The United States.” *Source Hyperlink.

One only wonders if Obama regrets his decision after the outcome, or in an odd twist finds some strange comfort that the American people will see Donald Trump self-destruct, and seal a new wave of votes and power for the Democratic Party when the pendulum comes full swing. We can see the Soros et al funding of the ‘Women’s March’ and now the ‘March for our Lives’ funding with Clooney and Oprah et al, an attempt to jump-start evangelization of young people and other minorities to show up to the polls. That a modern Nixon “forest fire” presidency would cement an awakening of mass consciousness to not allow ‘no-show votes’ to be a reason for the outcome of an election ever again. Comey’s admission of Obama deciding not to inform the public of the Russian saga during the election makes consistent the Susan Rice email to herself on Inauguration Day.

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Susan Rice & Barack Obama 2015

Then National Security Advisor Susan Rice emailed herself on January 20th, 2017, two weeks after a meeting at the advice of White House Council. (Note the absence of A.G. Loretta Lynch is a deliberate circumstance, without the context of if she was ordered not to go with Dep. A.G. Yates tapped instead):*

On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.

That meeting reportedly included a discussion of the Steele dossier and the FBI’s investigation of its claims.

On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.
That meeting reportedly included a discussion of the Steele dossier and the FBI’s investigation of its claims.
President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book’. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book. *source hyperlink.

What we can see here is that Obama must have known that dossier was funded by rogue ruthless elements of his own democratic party. It may have served as a flashback to the ugly primary he faced against the Clinton machine in 2008. Whether the dossier was true or not, the fact that this item was the foundation of going forward must have made people uncomfortable. It reeks of the Clinton ruthlessness. It also reeks of leaks within the investigative agencies of the Justice Department wings of the U.S. Government. Consistent with Comey thinking Clinton would win, in hindsight it’s hard to see that certain individuals would not have leaked information to the press on a larger scale regarding Trump associates and Russia.

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FMR FBI DIR. James Comey

The question remains possible that even government investigative officials didn’t know enough yet to leak if they had the chance before election day. It’s hard to think James Comey didn’t know his number two Andrew McCabe did not have a conflict of interest in investigating the newly revealed Anthony Weiner emails of classified information and the possible political damage of its public revelation by his boss six days before the election. Someone in the investigative body of the Justice Department tipped off the Clinton War machine to fund, compile, and then leak the steel dossier.

Comey was deceived by the Russians, by Andrew McCabe, and later by Donald Trump. His inability to foresee, foreshadow, or detect adversarial relationships will black eye his legacy, and justify, no matter who had become President, his termination from office.

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President Obama, unlike Comey, decided not to step into the public election. Decisions by both men that will be consequential and debated for years to come. Obama did not fire Lynch for a tarmac meeting, nor did he fire Comey for an unprecedented announcement during an election. Obama saw both the Clinton War machine and the Trump mob slobs, and one could only imagine how unethical both ego’s grabs to power were. I wonder how candid he will be about it in his Presidential memoir if the pattern of Comey under the bus will suffice. Comey covered his ass in advance on that by outing Obama’s decision not to go public on Russia.

With a mask on all day long, he will say Clinton was a better choice, whom he probably thought would win. Yet he will never forget the 2008 primary, we know that he must have been sad for this chapter of our flawed republic no matter the outcome. James Comey says that is the whole goal of his book, and why he is now a political independent. He wants this conversation to take place, so we can return to values over policies in selecting leaders of the most powerful institutions in our land. One only wonders if he would have written the same book, with the same message and intent, being fired by President Hillary Clinton. Will you get both sides of this topic in Hollywood screenplay, or more tell-all books to come?

Partisans want a scapegoat on either outcome of this election. Yet these big issues remain no matter who holds that office: see the ‘big issues’ list I wrote from August of 2016 by clicking here.  

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THE ORACLE, OUR OBSESSION WITH DINOSAURS, & WHACK-A-MOLE in Syria. (Or The Mirrored Impeachment of Donald J. Trump 20 years ago.)

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Will Smith and Drew Festel chat on Instagram Live 4/12/2018.

While a certain number of millennial’s are taking selfies in Coachella, this last week celebrity Will Smith debuted Instagram’s first ever live interview of the International Space Station. He put all his joking aside after asking if astronauts have experimented with procreation in outer space and asks a simple but complex question, Why are we, and why should we, be in space? Drew Feustel answers, “Well we know that so far not one species can last on earth forever, and we need to explore that question so that in thousands of years our species can continue. Our little blue ball here is all that holds us from the emptiness of outer space.” We don’t have to wonder why Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park film so enraptures the wonder of evolution, time and space, mortality, and the pertinence of everything. It’s why a successful reboot continues to have positive audience reactions.

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom June 2018

Jurassic World in 2015 was about the original park twenty years later, and it explores the mystery of why such a species as the dinosaurs went extinct. Astronaut Drew Feustel was basically saying Jurassic World is right, species have an hourglass here, and the mystery of searching and exploring should be part of the journey. It’s why the sequel coming out on June 22nd will have enormous success.

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In August of 1998, then President Clinton engulfed in a special counsel investigation and facing what would become perjury in testimony before Congress, was dealing with a plan behind the scenes to bomb Iraq as consequences of harboring, distributing, or using Chemical or WMD. You can read three of the New York Times articles from twenty years ago at these following links:

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Neo consults ‘The Oracle’ in “The Matrix” 1999.

Last evening, President Trump after a day of PR controlling scandals de jour, announced that the US, UK, & France with Israel and public support from Canada and Saudi Arabia, did symbolic surgical airstrikes in Damascus Syria which is in the midst of a ten plus year regional civil proxy war. One year ago last week I wrote the following in an original post viewable here: The World Sleeps 4/7/17:

“The presidencies of both Obama and Trump will now be completely tied to the unchecked actions of Putin and the international consequences. How many bodies later has yet to be written. That is the story of history and politics of this decade. News leaks, hacking, emails, etc, won’t even make the textbook. The pressure will mount on the West to confront Putin. If we fail to do that, in the name of preventing war, it will lead to war anyway.”

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NYT 2018

Today NATO coalition forces continued strikes on Iranian targets within Syria, leaving the controlled narrative of a ‘one-time strike’ from S.O.D Gen Mattis. While it is doing more than President Barack Obama, it is so limited that it is essentially in the same category. Symbolic violence without an achievable deterrence is less than even a temporary solution. It is not arguable to be a solution at all, but saber-rattling and grandstanding. Control of the narrative, propaganda and information wars. Two opposing sides debate the information on hazardous chemicals deployed onto human beings. As the saying from “The Dark Knight” (2009) goes, “Some people just want to watch the world burn.”

Bashir Al Assad will not stop at anything less than “victory.” Yet the 45th President hails the blast of a chemical facility yesterday a “mission accomplished.” Words his domestic and foreign enemies will now use in a crusade against him with one goal: removed from office, mission accomplished.

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Image meme going viral on the internet as of Wednesday 4/11/18.

Putin in causing discord within the United States despite whichever candidate won has bought time to divide and distract us internally while he and the USSR implement and plan geopolitical chess goals. I’ve mentioned several times Russia’s ultimatum goals for recreating the former soviet union states as a matter of its survival as discussed in the 2016 book, “The Accidental Super Power.” by Peter Zeihan.

Peter Zeihan really so far has proven to be one of many eerily accurate Oracles, and we do live among Oracles. Oligarchy looks more and more attractive in the Star Trek metaphors when we see the inevitability of history repeating itself in what Ken Wilber would definitely called a lower state of collective consciousness.

Holding up the mirror to today shows no contrast and that the other option, while I am not Mr. trumps biggest fan, wasn’t much of a difference from the 1998 Clinton articles. Different party, same circus. Pew Research’s article out today shows record number of millennials including me that are registered as an independent. The pendulum swinging soon is that a two-party system must evolve or capitalism is destined to repeat the trajectory of Ancient Rome – ruins and collapse by the blinding of collective ego and pride. I went into detail on this in my blog post last December, check it out here.

The Pendulum swings slower for Millennials in every category, approaching a consequential collective forecast for both the western church and states.

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Millennials are set to outspend boomers as consumers for the first time this year at 1.3 trillion dollars. (Seel 2018.) Over the next twenty years, a thirty trillion approximate value will transfer from boomers to their inherited successors. Millennials make up 23.4% of the population, at 75.4 million strong. (Seel 2018.)  Dr. David Seel in his new book The New Copernican’s brings us these figures with the same old song we’ve heard since the 1948 essay of Paul Tillich on The Protestant Era:

” In the United States and in Europe—namely, the social and intellectual situation of late capitalism—the problem of mass disintegration is relevant in America, too, though more as a threat than as an actually existing reality. By “mass disintegration” is meant the situation in which the group formations which grew up under feudalism and early capitalism break down and give way to amorphous masses, in which the laws of mass psychology operate. In such a situation the individual differentiation and integrations of groups and personalities are supplanted by identical mass attitudes; special traditions are forgotten, old symbols have become powerless; a meaningful personal life, especially among the masses of industrial workers, has become impossible. Disintegration, in the last analysis, leads to meaninglessness in the economic, as well as in the social and intellectual, spheres. The meaninglessness of existence is perhaps the most characteristic phenomenon of the period of late capitalism.” (Tillich, Chapter 15, The End of the Protestant Era?)

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The message is basically that left brain sermons aren’t working and in even some contexts backfire. People are at different spiritual levels. We cannot uniformly preach the gospel to the rich and expect any change at all from their words. It’s a social club, except for the second half of lifers. If it were that simple to merge the different individuals in the second half of their spiritual journey, it would be intergenerational both in those who are “awake” and in those “planted or rooted” but don’t see anything yet because they are not yet at the level of transformation.

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The Left brain is where we get our PHD in judging.

The Gospel of the poor (the beatitudes included) almost have to go directly the poor. Constantine in 300 A.D./C.E did a disaster for the Church in making the faith and it’s Gospels ‘the state religion’ hijacking Christ’s message to the rich and elite only to fall on deaf ears. (Rohr, Job and the Mystery of Suffering, 1998.) A change will take a crisis or a ‘now what’ moment for the mud to be removed from their eyes. (Mark 8:23) Our spirits cannot hear the voice of the spirit until we identify it’s lowest place in us and the reality in which we leave. We can only encounter God by experience. The experience of descending, the experience of surrender, what Chambers used to call, “At our wit’s end.” That is the Gospel is for the poor, and the poor in spirit.

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The 40% of ages 18-29 are religious ‘none affiliated’ which was only 20% in 1986. The first half of life is lasting longer for Millennials. While there are those in all generations at all ages who enter the first and second halves at different times on their individual journey, data suggests millennials have little to no preparation for the path of decent parts of life. Until our wit’s end, (poor in spirit) we will try and rationalize everything in the limited scope of logic and reason. We won’t hear until a now what moment, or the now what moment turns the volume up on our left side of the brain so much that we look to science, atheism, or enter a season of nihilism. (This goes back to Tillich’s prediction of the fear of meaninglessness and leads to contributions of the mental health and suicide problem within the western culture.) Books from atheist authors can get attention during this time in a person’s life. Yet where Albert Einstein got at the end of his journey was more an agnostic mysticism revealed in his quote, “I don’t know the answer, but whatever it is, it will be simple, and it will be beautiful.” That’s a definite switch from the left side of the brain to the right side of the brain at later discernment period for even Mr. Einstein.

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Until left brained individuals turn to like Job, silence from their questions, and must enter what Tara Brach calls the title of her 2004 book, Radical Acceptance to the mere presence of the mystery… Individuals may remain in nihilism, atheism, or worse yet turn to escapism that may damage or end their tenure here among us. Jesus can’t have a new context until our new pair of eyes has arrived. (Acts 9:18.) Dubbing this as a ‘now what’ moment. A crisis or unexpected turning point in one’s life. A death of a pet, or family member. A divorce. A collective tragedy like a shooting or 9/11. A heart attack, the loss of a job or lack of promotion. The inability to get or sustain a wholesome romantic and fulfilling relationship. Deterioration of friendships. These all happen simultaneously and in some contexts can be a toxic combination of circumstances.

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Pew Research from a 2011 Paul Taylor book The Next America, shows millennials are taking longer to get married. Which means they are taking longer to have kids, and or are having fewer kids. Also getting a salary for an independent autonomous living is missing. Of 75.4 million, it has been reported up to 60 million at one point lived with another person, or at home. 2011-milliennials-marriage-0611-3-11-16SDT-higher-education-02-11-2014-2-22.pngSDT-next-america-03-07-2014-0-02

College debt exists at levels unique to the generation. The highest immigration population in the United States are Asian Americans, who also have the highest college graduate level and reach higher incomes. The second highest immigration population is the Latino/Hispanic Americans, who have the lowest college rates in the country. Caucasians/white Americans will be a growing minority from now until 2050. Some Millennials even prefer living in travel trailers per Ted Doering’s book Myth of the Millennial. Yet Winograd and Hais from their 2011 book Millenial Momentum, put the best in summation of all this relevant data:

“Millennials are the most ethnically and religiously diverse, tolerant, and gender-neutral generation in U.S. history, and their unique attitudes about how life should be lived will cause a major transformation in the structure, composition, and behavior of the nation’s families. These changes will influence how we work, worship, as well as where we live.”

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The first half of lifers are least likely to end up in a church or their own journey of faith while building their tower of success until the second half of their life. (Rohr, Falling Upward 2011.) As baby boomers retire and go to see the king, tithing in protestant churches will fall, and an ecumenical merge between denominations will occur. Interfaith sites and unprecedented cooperative multi-use building spaces will exist like we have not seen before. Certain denominations have funding set aside to train laity in equipping skills to run churches. Pastoral shortages will exist, especially in males. Some first and second half of lifers are what author Rachel Lee-Chapman calls in the title of her book, Relig-ish. She suggests that people who are spiritual and not religious but value traditions and similar values for their families as well as sacred spaces or experiencing the divine outside of institutions are people of faith and non-religious. These people mostly in the millennial and boomer generation are “relig-ish.”

Not discussed at length yet as contributing factor: Public Relations propaganda and consequences from the ‘evangelical’ right wing support of Trump and or the church being seeing as too political, This tweet should sum it up:

 

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What BLACK PANTHER, 50 SHADES OF GREY, PUBF & DESTINY 2 all have in common with an expelled orphan outcast. (OR The United States of Entertainment, (except when people die.)

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                  Education is not transformation. 1234 So really the whole academic fallacy is moot. We don’t need statistics. Although partisans can spin numbers to fit narratives on both sides.  Leading spiritual, environmental, anthropological, and psychological leaders come to the necessity of there to be a transformed mind. This, unfortunately, occurs at the liberty of individual experience. Though the closest we ever came to a mass awakening was MLK’s march on Washington. That in the context of how far we still have to go shows that even as close as we got, (ending segregation) we weren’t even close.  A mind liberated from dualistic binary thinking has been freed from the chains of western saturation of win, lose, achievement and aesthetics obsessions. Words like them or they no longer exist. Grievances, victimhood, or the inability to forgive the past is transcended. At this stage heart and head are interlinked and in balance, while the left part of the brain has been sanded over into check.

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The Left brain is where we get our PHD in judging.

We are all us, at that stage of deeper consciousness in the contemplative mind. Both and, with paradoxical tension is to see and discuss reality as it is, and not waste time on what should be. Should be is an admirable goal. But we aren’t at the should be. We are where we are now. That is where the discussion has to take place.  I don’t have all the answers. I have some mentors who’s reflections seem to be true more often than not. I observe the same truth’s more often than not. Yet this idea of one size fits all solutions continues to appear from a mass vague consciousness and every time that surfaces we must call our attention to focus. I have watched both sides of dead horse manuscripts on reactionary government posturing the last week.

 

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Binary dualistic thinking is deciding who’s in and who’s out.

 

I literally saw a number of people in leadership lament about a current event, and then go to the movies. It’s kind of like people playing violent video games while watching IRL breaking news sensationalism live (If it bleeds it reads) on a separate TV at the same time. I try not to think about it. People saw the news last week and didn’t even stop. It was like a walking with our hands full waiting for the next justified reason to bash or cuss out the sitting President of The United States. “Thoughts and Prayers” sure got a beating. Apparently, a new bandwagon or piggyback fanbase on Twitter and Facebook is that people don’t want people to think, or pray? If I had to choose a winner in that whole exchange I liked this post from a Canadian Actor:

I love that Arnaud is able to see both and, a key ability that some in our opining soup de jour never develop in an entire lifetime. We can do all those actions mentioned, yet we however cannot fix people. The list of political problems that exist in America, including specifically the AR-15 assault weapons ban, was mentioned by me on August 2nd of 2016 predicting that problems would continue to exist no matter which candidate for POTUS was elected. See the original post in this link post here. The circle of influence on current event individuals is worth discussing. I heard only one commentator mention the entire context of our environment. The rest zoomed in a buzzword to play partisan ‘squirrel’ all in search for a scapegoat.

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Michael B Jordan as Erik Killmonger in “Blank Panther” 2018.

Black Panther is playing about every fifteen minutes in about twelve theatres per every ten miles in major suburban and city areas all across the United States. The premiere night for the general population was the day after the most current mainstream media reported shooting in a school located in Florida. Michael B. Jordan plays, “Erik Killmonger.” A person left ‘outside’ the family of Wakanda, a decision authorities made to keep him outcast and to remain left out. A character in the film describes him as, “A monster that we created.” Do you see any irony that the latest mass media reported shooter was expelled by a school, un-survived by his parents, and ditched by his alleged girlfriend? The comparison unavoidable in the proximity of the real-life events and walking into the Marvel Studios story.

“Erik Killmonger” turned to revenge because he was left out. The violence was not something that could stop him from his determination to get revenge. He was bound and determined to meet and become what was his only remaining destiny in a lonesome mind. The Black Panther? Apparently, in Wakanda it is the end all and be all to be a king, and to be the best warrior (the Black Panther) with the best technology. To leave everybody that’s not “One of us” in their mind, out. Do you see that anywhere in real life today?

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Eric Johnson as Jack Hyde in “50 Shades Freed.”

Or take Fifty Shades Freed, where Jamie Dornan plays Christian Grey, an orphan turned billionaire by winning the adoption lottery. Antagonist Jack Hyde played by Eric Johnson was the other foster orphan who didn’t get the billionaire parents. He believes his fate was to be in Grey’s place and sets off on envy, jealousy, and revenge. He blackmails women, turns violent, and has a dark side. The Grey’s had chosen Christian and turned Jack away.  Jack was left out. Jack had nothing and no one. Metaphoric, ironic, eerie. Tell me you see it?

PUBG’s (Player Unknown’s Battle Grounds) is a video game for PC and Xbox released in 2017 that reached over 40 million purchases with 3 million concurrent online players at a given time. Per Wikipedia, “In the game, up to one hundred players parachute onto an island and scavenge for weapons and equipment to kill others while avoiding getting killed themselves.”

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Most popular first-person shooter video game currently in the United States.

These are known as deathmatch games. Another first-person shooter game as a top seller is Destiny 2, another PS4, Xbox and PC game sensation published by Activision in the fall of last year. Per Wikipedia, “Players fight to protect the Last City from different alien races.” The expansion pack is set to release later this year to drag out consumers and gamers longevity in the game. Grand Theft Auto V, the last installment of the series where gamers can rape and beat women, steal cars, kill and run over pedestrians, and run from the police for glory. Per a Forbes article, the game was rolled out in different consoles from 2013-2015, it was still in the top ten selling games of 2017.

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While there is insufficient evidence to provide these media diets as a sole problem in the negative, I don’t think a culture of media glorifying violence is necessarily positive. I don’t think the shooters in 1999 having played “Doom” one of the original first-person shooters, is sufficient enough to provide the extent of determinable influence one way or the other. I don’t think it would be the most uplifting fact also. We are cutting people out while producing violent media in games, film, musical lyrics, and literature. When a crisis occurs, the journalist media turn the volume on all those way up.

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Screenshot of game, “Destiny 2.”

The individual free society to game, binge-watch, play, recreate, sing about, write about, all around imitate, until it’s actually happening, and people die. Then it’s only a matter of blame and default agendas. Dialogue almost cannot occur. So grab the controller, or drive to the theatre. This was just another week in the human dilemma, disguised and collaterally related to the physical, social, mental health, and individual realities of living in Wakanda.

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“Black Panther” film 2018.

A YODA HOLOGRAM’s MESSAGE TO NICK FOLES

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When you enter a party what is the most commonly asked question? Sadly it is not, “What is your name? That may have been once upon a time in a galaxy further away. Today I have observed the most common question at any new introduction of human to human interaction in any real context as… “What do you do?” This can be paraphrased as, “How do you chase the ‘American dream’ or as, “Besides male white privilege how do you live in the context of needing high costs of living to even be here to talk to me right here right now?” This suggests that people do believe in the cultural influence that your identity is what you do. What you do is who you are? Who you are is what you have done, or what you have, and or both?

 

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Jesus and the Fishermen (J. Kirk Richards.)

 

When we hold up living texts as a mirror we can see the same moments in our own lives. Sometimes we do lots of learning, preparing, training, hard work, and intense labor. In any of those have you ever got to a point of, “Now what?” In John chapter 21:1-14, Peter has been traumatized in denying that he even knew Jesus three different times. He had just seen his teacher and friend killed in the most gruesome fashion known to history. He has no idea what to do, and he doesn’t know who he is, or even yet, the meaning of everything that had just happened in his life. He decides to go fishing. This is to suggest that, fishing is who Peter really is now that the Jesus saga seems to be well, over.  In this context, Peter is going back to the old work he was doing before Christ said, “Leave your nets and follow me.” (Matt 4:19) He is going back to square one to sit around, and to wait… for fish. “I’m going out to fish.” (John 21:3) We can expect that Peter was heckled by the other local fisherman. “How did that Jesus thing work out for you?” Now what? I guess fish now. So the context is Peter fishing and waiting, the same context as when Jesus first approaches a dozen chapters ago. Peter waiting in the past has become Peter waiting in the present.

               “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” (Isaiah 40:31)  (Philadelphia and the NFL, Isaiah wants the trademark rights to the word eagles back.)

They who wait upon the Lord, shall be free, liberated, full of life.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

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He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of a large number of fish.

                Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.” Peter, who in his natural faith is customed to do his pass time work of fishing, has now been liberated again. In jumping into the water without hesitation he has, “Mounted the wings of eagles.” He again has found what he has already had the whole time. A shepherd in whom is salvation. It’s like God taking him aside and saying, “Peter do you understand who you are, and how big this is?” Peter is waiting on God again after putting back on the false self (being a fishermen) only to fall back into his true self. (Called by name as a child of the living God.)

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People hate Tom Brady for one of a hundred reasons so the bandwagon effect takes place when rooting for his opponent.  Fun and games are one thing. The guy does live luxuriously with a big house, a celebrity wife, and a lot of money. Nick Foles, however, is taking online seminary courses at Liberty University, where Jerry Falwell is the President of the institution. After the Not For Long League, he wants to join the wrong team in Christendom that peddles reward-punishment theology.

The last line of the campus doctrinal beliefs states, “We affirm that the return of Christ for all believers is imminent. It will be followed by seven years of great tribulation, and then the coming of Christ to establish His earthly kingdom for a thousand years. The unsaved will then be raised and judged according to their works and separated forever from God in hell. The saved, having been raised, will live forever in heaven in fellowship with God.

To paraphrase in case you are not understanding. Nick Foles and parts of The Eagles team and institution belief as a system of a football team that if you do not accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior that you will be in hell for all eternity.

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Nick Foles wears a WWJD bracelet

We look to championship winners in professional sports as role models in ‘climbing’ the first half of life ladder. Deflating some footballs okay maybe not great. What about taking one of the most sacred faiths with the most famous human being to ever live, and to say that he has any message other than love?  “Will be separated forever from God in hell.” How can you celebrate someone who believes that when it’s not a matter of believing? We don’t need to believe in Jesus, we need to experience (to know) Him. A Christ who’s ancestors prophesied before him, “As far as the East is from the West, so have your sins been removed from you.” (Psalm 103:12)

“The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, but even with so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.” (John 21:8-14.)

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I don’t see Jesus saying, “Come and have breakfast, only if you believe.”

I don’t see Jesus saying, “Come and have breakfast, except you who will burn separated from me for all eternity.”

Instead, we see Paul with a way more accurate depiction, “Who then will condemn us? No one–for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” (Romans 8:34)

There is no them. Only us. Them is us. We are us. We are them.

If Mel Gibson really is doing a sequel to the Passion of The Christ, it could only need to be this. The hologram of Yoda that appeared on Jedi Master Lukes mountain of contemplation and action shown in Star Wars The Last Jedi, needs to beam down to Nick Foles (and dissolve his W.W.J.D bracelet) and say,

Them are we, institutionalization of fundamentalism, your fault is not, small container Jesus impossible, bigger Cosmic, Jesus is, we all come, and have breakfast, we will. Jesus burn anyone, would not.” Fade to black.

 

PLAYING THE VICTIM, SCAPEGOAT FOR THE SHADOW SELF, & THE MYSTERY OF LENT

“Do not seek answers, live the questions.”Rainer Maria Rilke

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Breath of man, J Kirk Richards

There is a balance between logos (the principle of reason and judgment) and pathos (Greek for experience or suffering) between left brain and right brain. Between taking on and letting go. Carl Jung, Thomas Merton, James Hollis, Richard Rohr, Thich Nhat Hanh, Susan Muto, Thomas Keating, James Finley, and Oswald Chambers in unison write several times over that we must die to our ego. Chambers, “A man must get to his wit’s end.  Albert Einstein still flooded with questions got to an agnostic end (wit’s end) of a long search. “Whatever the answer, it will be simple, and it will be beautiful.” A sort of surrendering. A sort of faith that love is deeper behind all that is. The mystery of God. The unknowable resolutions to the tension of paradox. Buddha says sit by the tree. Christ says to take up your cross and follow me. We change from the why are we here to the what are we doing? That’s the ego only dying half way. Different things can get in the way of us getting ourselves out of the way.

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James Franco (Out Mag, 2017)

We glide along the surface, taking on our cues from the newspapers, or our neighbors, or the commercials on TV. They tell us what to desire, what to fear. Yet the more we listen to such voices, the less we know ourselves.” (Robert Ellsberg 2003, The Saints Guide to Happiness, page 5.)

Rene Girard unpacks this in traces back to Aristotle. The Greek word for mimesis translates as imitation. Not only do we not know what to desire and resort to imitation, but we need a scapegoat to reunite a divided humanity that claims victimhood. Deep dive further in the video below.

On desire, imitation, scapegoat:


On power of the group, and scapegoating:

See any scapegoating going on the news lately? ICYMI my last post on a modern example: Hollywood Scandal and even further back three years ago: James Franco, Masks, and Angels in Wyoming. Interesting how posts age… I will quote myself from that post which was published on May 15th, 2015: “We want to be ourselves, and we want people to stand and walk with us as who we really are. What happens to many people in different times of life, in the most vulnerable and fragile moments, they reveal an intimate part of themselves, and sometimes they are shunned. It is the ultimate betrayal to be rejected, exiled, ridiculed, bullied, protested and even in some contexts detested. I think that’s why so many people keep masks on for so long or even go back to hiding with them.” Again you can read the full post just Click here.


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Richard Rohr, OFM,

To dig even further back Richard Rohr OFM in a 1993 book entitled, Occasions of radical grace where he writes in the context and age of romantic expressionism: It may be acceptable to repress the objective issues of famine, destruction of habitat, medical care, and arms sales to everybody, but it is a mortal sin to repress any feelings, fears, or sexual fantasies. The psychological is bottomless and fascinating. You do not need to have a degree to enter into the conversation. In fact, a past experience of crime, abuse, or destructive behavior actually gives you authority. Psychological conversation provides both instant intimacy and a sense of control. Gaining power is playing the victim. Given the language of romantic expressionism, no one can criticize you without appearing to be crass and politically correct. To hurt, to suffer, to deserve sympathy is to have achieved a moral victory. Once you can prove that you are indeed a victim, no more can be demanded of you than the perpetual right to tell your story. The rest of us must feel the appropriate guilt and offer propitiatory incense. We all know there are real victims, and the role of the prophet is to proclaim their story publicly. But sophisticated, psychological society has used the…

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J. Kirk Richards

(cont.) profound Christian archetype of the Lamb to gain negative power for people who are often merely bitter with their own vendetta. The victimhood of Jesus is a matter of accepting, forgiving, and non-self serving.  The Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world, the victim lambs insist that the rest of the world has sinned against them. The first redeems. The second deadens and paralyzes. (pages 12-14.)

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Aristotle painted by Steve Hammond (Flickr)

To paraphrase, this enters the third concept of Aristotle’s three artistic proofs. Ethos, Greek meaning “accustomed place” translated as “character” that per Wikipedia, Is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community. Ethos forms the root of ethikos:  moral, showing moral character.” The Ethos that inspired Hollywood to make the film “Spotlight” realized that when the spotlight had boomeranged into their own front yard, that same Ethos had to apply to its own institutional members. Not only is victimhood being used as power, but scapegoats are also being used to unite what is an otherwise divided competing cultural tribe. To discover that maybe spotlight is a human dilemma that exists in all institutions because the human condition has what Jung calls, “The shadow self” is only the beginning. Hopefully describing some of the symptoms we are seeing provides some insight into why every other day another high profile person is trending on twitter for something middle-class husbands do every day of their life. This isn’t to justify it, but to highlight the selective outrage that comes with what Rohr calls the three P’s: power, possessions, and prestige. The false self always has an image to protect, many times due to the shadow self. 

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Portrait of Christ, by J Kirk Richards

The season of lent for mature adult Christians on deeper layers of consciousness and deeper chapters of the faith is to reflect and contemplate the spotlight on our own shadow self. That in the coming crucifixion of Christ throughout these 40 days, we see the connection between the God-self-replacing the shadow self. A true self is now discoverable, as the apostle Paul discovers and writes in Galatians 2:20, I live no longer, not I. Full verse text,I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Lent is about dying to our false self, before we fall into Ressurection. What will it take for your tomb to be fully empty so there’s room for God and neighbor?

Why I turned down a trip to Israel with Pastor Davey Blackburn. (Or will the real Jesus please stand up.)

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“TIMES UP” intersection for fear $elling Fundamentalism et al,

There are two paths, two different directions for Christianity. The past, and the future. An inclusive all-encompassing love which is true towards the life and message of The Risen Christ in our lives will stay alive and last. A separate, conditions-based, if only this, write a blank check here with selective and legalistic principles prideful version of the faith will die. The vast denominational differences on path one will merge, and the rest will scatter into the wind and become nothing. The Zionist Jews (extremists) who won’t recognize Palestine, the Wahhabi Muslims who use the Quran as a weapon (extremists), the fundamentalist fear selling cookie cutter Christianity (extremists) the institutionalized Atheists who have to be right (extremists), the over academic agnostics who cannot see beyond reason, have all hit an iceberg and are taking on water. “Time’s up.” To illustrate the two paths I discovered the newest example on twitter by accident, which takes the temperature of basically a randomly selected church and pastor. Here’s what was found.

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Pastor Davey Blackburn of Resonate Church in Indianapolis Indiana (Source: Christian Post)

Discovery: 

What tool could Matthew’s gospel have recorded of Jesus warning us how to find “religious people” in the ages to come who bear the real truth? Matthew 7:16 is the closest we get, “By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” 

Around January 20th of this year, there is a public invitation to anyone in the world that wants to join Pastor Blackburn and another church in a week-long pilgrimage to Israel. I have always wanted to go, and I strongly considered going. I poke around other Christian leaders to probe their fruit. If a sudden spotlight were to expose someone as THE ambassador of the whole Christian faith, say, like a social media trend or a national television interview or some guy named Pope Francis, just what are we proclaiming about God? What direction are leaders walking flocks of people? Toward love and justice and peace? Toward inclusion, forgiveness, and compassion? Just compare Pope Ratzinger to Francis, and you can see a stark contrast in, ‘the fruit.’ Just what kind of work shift to I have to sign up for to earn brownie points from God, according to this leader? If the answer isn’t “none” I get worried. Do they have all the answers? If yes, I really start sprinting to running away fast.

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The news media is a powerhouse of influence on millennials. A classic example is a nobody had heard of pastor began trending on twitter a while back after an ineffable tragedy late in 2015 happened to his family and others. I hope that the season of healing and grieving continues to find all involved with growing comfort, peace, and newness of life in the months and years ahead.

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The word pastor is a buzzword nowadays. I know this from having anything I post on twitter, facebook, or even conversation being combed through by a peanut gallery. Anything to do as a representative of the most famous human being to ever live and as a representative of God and whatever this word ‘church’ means, is to ask for ‘spotlight.’ Everything you do is watched, everything you say heard. You are never ‘not a pastor.’ You are never not representing the faith and God.  Peanut gallery’s nose through people with positions of responsibility to find a cause of offense, immorality, or political ammunition. People with respectability can never escape the ‘gotcha’ game. Ironically this occurs to Jesus in all four gospel accounts. He cannot escape the peanut gallery.

I became inspired by the grace and humility pastor Blackburn was seemingly and externally handling unimaginable circumstances. A gifted speaker, I could see the draw he has with both one on one communication and when speaking to a larger audience.

Surprise of all surprises I went to check out the church he leads and to see just how big of a Jesus was present in this faith community. What branch of fruit would be there?  Immediately I found the Jesus followed at Resonate Church to be way too small to be taken seriously. In week two (per Vimeo) of a sermon series titled, “What happens when you die?” is a sermon titled, “Does hell really exist?”

You had me, you lost me: 

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In the sermon, Davey talks about the bridged gap we have from the theology of the cross, etc. Then we take a really long right turn derailing straight from the pages of far-right winger fundamentalist Pastor David Platt’s books. “If you have not received the free gift of redemption, you spend all eternity in hell. If you have received the free gift of redemption, you are saved,” says Blackburn in the Vimeo sermon.

What Happens To You When You Die Week 2 – Does Hell Really Exist from Resonate Church on Vimeo.

Either or. You’re in or you’re out based on if you choose to receive a free gift that we do not deserve.  This is clearly a direct contradiction to John 10:16 where Christ says, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

SMALL JESUS? BIG JESUS? Will the real Christ please stand up? 

A much bigger Jesus is the Cosmic Christ. Jesus as God, cannot be pinned down into a container of requirements for salvation. In Pauls words, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have a peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)

Out of the 365 times ‘Do not be afraid” is mentioned in the Bible, Jesus in foretelling facing his own death says again, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.”  (John 14:27)

In 2016, Best Selling author and Franciscan Priest Richard Rohr nails the current problem with reward-punishment theology in a talk in Pasadena California:

Talk about a contrast of fruit. It’s not even close! You can get an extensive talk on this subject with Rohr by clicking here .

If I was touring Israel with Pastor Davey (and I did consider it), I wouldn’t help but notice that the Jesus guy he portrays to have walked around there is way too small. That the real Jesus has stood up, and long walked elsewhere. The path of division and selling fear is as past and bygone as the empty tomb. Jesus isn’t there. It’s just that very empty. The living Christ is within us, and we are the hands and feet of God who take light into darkness, love into division, and bring heaven into hell until we’ve all journeyed together. The definition of congregations is literally, “assembly.”  Jonah is still in the whale for that touring group. Hopefully, someone will spit out the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, to bring everyone into the same assembly.

Unfortunately, fear still sells as it did before The Reformation. A slow and painful pace of change seems likely. The security and comfort of money are too powerful. Why else would fear work as a business model? Why else would someone ever interpret a living book that says don’t be afraid every day for the year, and still come out on a webcast sermon and say the opposite? Grace is not a choice if it is a free gift. A free gift doesn’t have to be received. The gift is in the giving, and of the giver. That is the mystery of love. End scriptural food fights. Go outside your comfort zone. Follow Jesus beyond the old empty tomb and kindle the real living flame that is Divine love.Monk reading an upside down bible.

A WORLD OF SLEEPING MR. ISMAY’S, KNOWING WHO YOU ARE, & AN UPSIDE DOWN KING.

 

REFLECTIONS FOR THE SEASON OF ADVENT 2017 – #1

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There was a female guest preacher years ago at St. Luke Lutheran in Portland. Her sermon was titled, “The Upside Down King.” The line I remember as she wove out patterns of examples of how Jesus turned the world upside down, was, “Once you know who you are, then the trouble begins.” In the first half of life the trouble is in discovering who we are in a world that defines us over and over again, and the time it takes to realize we already were who we are. In the second half of life, once you know who you are, the trouble begins. At least Martin Luther King Jr. would most certainly agree. “We will not remember the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” In the age where “prominent” (in their minds) voices opine to real time punditry has become twitter. A classic post internet debut platform of pros and cons. If we speak out, or don’t speak out, we are effecting our consistency.

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For example President Barack Obama made comments about a Trayvon Martin case in Florida, but didn’t mention other controversial cases that were equally as unjust. So this example in the twitter world is, once you stand for something, and speak out, your silence can often then speak louder than your previous statements. You have to from then/now on make a statement on every ongoing current event to maintain consistency. If you do not, it will be implied by those who’s sphere’s of influence that you are will wonder. There is always at least one good two shoe student paying attention. You can’t win. You have become a binary vehicle in the binary consciousness that is partisan divided politics. The agenda to the other 50% of any audience you have is to discredit, out wit, and ad hominem your reputation until it is reduced and considered “defeated.” Imagine being Martin Luther King Jr, who couldn’t live with his own conscience if he didn’t speak out. Yet now we have folks who have selective outrage as entitled citizens trying to fit everything into a box of victim or aggressor in some kind of grievance.

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Ken Keyes J.R. (American Author, January 19, 1921 – December 20, 1995) said somewhere that more offense is taken than is given. How accurate that prophecy has sure become. I don’t even need to cite partisan politics again as an example, you know it. There is offense to be taken, but not as much as is actually given. That is to say we are by definition a peanut gallery collective that believe our individual voice will sway results  against agenda’s by corporations and wealthy lobbyists. We are entitled to expect, we are entitled to be entitled. Anything short is offensive.

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The Diests who wrote the Declaration of Independence inspired by the French Revolution forgot that freedom isn’t the ultimate virtue. Certainly not so in the gospel accounts of Christ who makes it abundantly clear that this current world must be turned upside down. That the orphans, poor, and outcasts ought to get the bulk of our attention, that is once we know who we are.  Identity and action are completely connected in every accounted moment of our Lord’s ministry.

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Boston Public Library September 2017

An individual society built by individuals resides to set itself up to be crushed by other individuals, with “the others” falling in the cracks as collateral.  It’s a market capital view combined with survival of the fittest, and we know that it thrives on the build up of the ego which can only absolutely break down. The rich man or woman doesn’t know who whom they are beyond making more money.  The deeper level of consciousness doesn’t have a clear pathway to awaken. There is only what can be lost at that level, which as the siblings of wealth are power, processions, and prestige. If you don’t know who we are, the trouble cannot begin. To find who we are, we have to die to our ego, and surrender the misguided (but not irrelevant or irreverent spirit) document created as “inalienable rights” (if you are white men) specifically designed to inflate it.

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Thomas Cole’s ‘The Fall of Rome’

See the fall of Greece and Rome. History shows us that national pride at the top creates the great collapse. It starts with the overconfidence of such first class individuals.  A rich man on the titanic known for schmoozing captain’s to his will, Bruce Ismay, had ambitions and dreams to be the best in his position. Those illusions came to break after Captain Smith’s error of thinking watch towers would have sufficient time to dodge ice. Is the mere presence of Ismay on board to blame for the increase in speed for headlines, at the peril of everyone else? It is the subject of heated debate since that tragedy to this day. Mr. Ismay was more focused on headlines to make money before the tragedy. Afterwards, he fought with every influence of his esteem to repair, vindicate, and counter assaults on his reputation. Blame, accusations, and scapegoating landed at his door. His ego was brought to it’s lowest end being slammed in the press. Until he got his way and the White Star Line insurance company indemnified him of any liability of the ships sinking. He had too much to lose, that he could never understand the picture beyond himself, his power, prestige, and possessions.

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MR. ISMAY (1862-1937) Chairman and managing director of the White Star Line

Have’s and have not’s make for a great illusion. Founders were wanting to capitalize on an ethnic tribal formed community, that every man could be a king, never mind the king of England. So Revere went riding on his horse not knowing the paradox he carried. On one hand echoes of William Wallace’s mantra for a, “Country of our own.” On another hand, an ugly journey for words to mean what they really do in the context of humans ability to be who they already are. (This is true throughout history, the whole time but were prevented from or didn’t know it. Classic binary pattern aggressor, victim.) In the meantime, history repeating itself. Class warfare, gender roles, hard labor etc. All born out of the inflation of the ego.

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Middle class is not at the same level of illusion but some illusions exist. While you were laughing to it’s a small world after all playing on repeat in the background, someone without a job or friends of compassion turned to drugs as a method to escape thoughts of meaninglessness. The Opioid crisis remains an unanswered crisis in all 50 states of the U.S.  Yes there are just folks who love drugs but we are not zooming in there.

Or on another NFL Sunday whilst washing your car, an orphaned person turned to crime in order to survive. Unnecessary roughness doesn’t seem that relevant of a penalty when the entire sport itself is by definition unnecessary roughness. How else do we get to CTE? Why doesn’t a mass consciousness care?

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Stages of CTE in progression from normal to severe cases.

 

Yes it’s okay to have a car as long as you are using Uber/Lyft to ride some of the less fortunate neighbors around. One less car off the road because of you might help the planet. A friendly ride might make someone’s day, but the fare should be free. The poor housed. The orphan surrounded by loving community. Yet we don’t live in what should be. We live in what is. What is, is…. we must change what is in the future to be now.  We must go from asleep, to awake, to know who we are, for the trouble to begin. The mystics have called this, “Action and Contemplation”.  To fight the what should be to become what is. What is, is all that is real. It’s not a line by Bill Clinton, “It depends on what your definition of is, is.” There is what is, and there is what should be. They are not the same. It is what it is in this moment.

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Agent’s of courage to “Be the change you want to see in the world” can come only, according to Christ, in a world that must be turned upside down. Which of course, can only be done by you, and those at your side, if you know who you are. The meaning of Advent and Christmas is supposed to help in that discovery or transition between the first and second halves of our journey. May we get to a place where the trouble begins, with only rising ranks and strength in numbers. To change lives. To steward the planet. The weave a new trail for what is now merely a circling repeat of history.

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