The Last Disguise

The Annual War on Christmas Spectacle

I often wince when I hear of Christians in modern day America complaining of persecution or that their faith is under attack.  You know what I am talking about.  Every year Fox News and company have a segment on the war against Christmas.  They say we’re not allowed to pray in public anymore, or that we can’t read bibles in school, and that Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus or Atheists or Satanists or someone else wants to this or that which means they can’t do this or that any more.  I wince because it all starts to blend together.  I wince because it sounds contrived and hypocritical.  But more than any of that, I wince because it insults Jesus’ place on the throne of heaven and earth.

Nearly all persecution being touted today, in America, is a result of anti-christ theology in the Christian Church.  Anti-christ is the theology of exclusion, of saying these people are in the bounds of God’s love but those people aren’t.  This is right out of the Bible, but many Christians don’t see it because the exclusion runs so deep and has been stewing for so long.  The very meaning of “Christ” has been changed to be ones own personal savior from Hell, not the savior of all mankind.  But the truth is Jesus set up a kingdom that was open to all mankind and would work to help, save, and serve all.  He said if he was raised up He would draw all men to himself (John 12:32).  The prophecies about him said God’s spirit would be poured out upon all flesh (Acts 2:17), and within a few centuries after his resurrection his disciples literally took His teachings in some form or another around the world (India, China, the Americas, and who knows where else).  Every vision and miracle along the way showed that God wasn’t excluding anyone in his blessings.

But exclusion is a part of human nature, and it crept it’s way into the church.  Whereas Jesus simply taught love as the way of the kingdom, early on some demanded that new Gentile converts get circumcised to become Christians (ouch), or they would be excluded.  Later on, people had to recite a specific creed to be considered part of the Church, rituals were added, belief in certain passages as canon versus others.  People love religious exclusion because it’s a form of spiritual wealth, (note: blessed are the POOR in spirit) something that can be possessed that others might not have.  Needless to say, because of the antichrist spirit of exclusion, the Church fractured into hundreds (dare I say thousands?) of competing argumentative denominations that persecuted everyone else and one another for their own self printed currency of spiritual wealth.

Colonial Oppression of Australian Aborigines

And of course it didn’t stop inside the church.  Africa, Arabia, Asia, the Americas, and Australia (lots of A’s) were all conquered by European imperialism.  Indigenous peoples around the world who very likely incorporated some of the teachings of Jesus into their own spirituality centuries ago were brutally slaughtered and enslaved, all in the name of “Christ”: a personal, national “Christ” for each European kingdom, not the peaceful savior of the world.

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The Crown of the Holy Roman Emperor

Of course the kings wore Christian emblems on their crowns, and spoke of divine right for their rule.  They could never deny that Jesus was “the Christ”, but they could certainly ignore or pretend not to know what “the Christ” meant for the people they were killing.  But unlike every ancient ruler in times past, there was a boundary: they could not proclaim themselves to be a god to be worshipped like nearly every other ancient ruler from each Pharaoh to Nero.  Now the Bible didn’t say Jesus would exterminate the devil right away, it said He would bind the devil and after a thousand years the devil would be released.  When you realize that the number one trick in the devil’s book is to get a king to declare himself to be God and demand worship (think of the third temptation of Christ, Matthew 4:8-10), you realize this is a clear sign of the devil being bound, unable to show his true nature and cause the type of mayhem that he preferred. (Matthew 12:29, Mark 3:27, Revelation 20:2)

Recent Bombing In The Gaza Strip

But the Bible also says the devil had to be released after a period around a thousand years. (Revelation 20:7) People got sick of the corruption of kings and sought after more democratic forms of government.  But people are still exclusionary, and they vote in leaders who will bring greater prosperity for themselves at the expense of others.  Some still contend that the Civil War was about a way of life, not slavery.  Nazi Germany called the annexation of neighboring lands “living space”.  Israelis even today continue annexing lands for “Promised Land” settlements.  The same pattern always holds true, a “chosen” people’s dream is worth excluding others and trampling over human rights, and the preachers who go along with it are simply false prophets teaching the same anti-christ theology that’s been passed down the ages.  Disguised as part of the flock, the devil deceives the nations gathering them together for war (Revelation 20:8).  There have been times when it has looked like the world will literally end by the massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and of course it’s blamed on the other guys who are excluded in our picture of God’s love.  So of course Fox News gets dolled up for it’s annual War on Christmas charity ball because everyone else is to blame for making the world such a dangerous place for “Christians”.

Dr. Martin Luther King leading a civil rights march

But all the while, there have been people, inside and outside the official Church who have rejected anti-Christ, exclusionary theology.  Regardless of what faith they profess or who they think the most important prophet or teacher was, they agree with Jesus’ teachings.  Love your neighbor, treat others as you want to be treated, take care of the needy, turn the other cheek.  Let your light shine on the good and the bad, your friend and your enemy.  Never to hinder people willing to do good in His name (Mark 9:40) regardless of where they heard it.  And these are the people making a difference, and every step on the road to progress has been about ending exclusionary, anti-Christ institutions.  Abolition, women’s rights, labor rights, environmental justice, marriage rights, all these things were vehemently opposed by the institutional Church.  But brave people were willing to put their lives on the line to make these things change because they recognized people were being excluded, and they followed the seed of Christ that was planted long ago that such exclusion is wrong.

Now with the internet, social media, and a global economy, these people are being connected to one another, across national, ethnic, and religious boundaries faster than new lies can be manufactured to gather people to war.  They don’t care about creeds, conversions, circumcisions, or any of the religious baggage.  They want the world to be a better world for the sake of the whole world, and the only thing they hate are the lies that constantly try to propel the naive into exclusion and wars.  Unlike the excluders, they actually get persecuted speaking for peace and against injustice.  The Bible predicts they will succeed, calling their testimony a fire from heaven that comes down and devours the armies that the devil has gathered (Revelation 20:9).  It’s the same fire from heaven, the Holy Spirit, that filled the disciples at Pentecost, but now we are seeing it’s fullness spread across the entire earth.  Soldiers will walk away from the lines the devil has drawn to join these people, the true body of Christ, and we will see a new age of humanity where the Devil no longer deceives us with his last disguise.

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Lamps For Justice

Jesus taught His disciples in parables, using simple every day objects that could keep them contemplating the wisdom behind His plan.  One of those objects that we don’t really see day to day anymore is the oil lamp. Everyone knows it needs fuel, air, and heat to light up a dark place.  Simple enough, right?  Yet from that simplicity grows an analogy so complex and interwoven throughout the scriptures that I can’t help but try to share the little bit of it that I grasp.  It’s there in the awakening of a person’s faith all the way to the end of Revelation where evil is destroyed.  It’s the blue print Jesus left with His disciples and the assurance of its success.

So let’s take oil first. It was used in the tabernacle and the temple as fuel for the lamps and to anoint the priests.  Made mostly from olives, the individual fruits were crushed to let the oil flow out.  Bitter and fragrant herbs are added to give the aroma desired.  Now compare this process to Jesus’ life and death.  He was anointed with perfume before his death.  He was beaten and crucified, and fluid poured from His side.  Oil then, is the witness of that suffering, first of the Master and then of those He has anointed.  Now when you are touched by what flows from those who have been crushed, whether their tears or their blood, you know the truth: You have been anointed.

Don’t run out of oil.  In Jesus’ parable of 10 maidens, the foolish ones ran out of oil. It’s easy enough, just get comfortable in your own life, self involved, and spend your time and resources on storing up treasure here on earth.  Forget those who pray for justice, and fall asleep.  But you won’t be a part of the celebration when their suffering is turned upside down by the Master.

Then there is the air.  It seems obvious that this is the spirit, like the breath of life into Adam or the way Jesus described the Spirit to Nicodemus.  But the analogy takes you further in understanding.  Not only is it a waste of light to put a lamp in an enclosed place, but the lamp is quickly extinguished.  Rather, the wind goes where it will, you can not control Him.  What He has told you in secret, shout it from the rooftops.  The Spirit calls you like an eagle to any of the four winds, wherever and to whomever He wishes, gathering his own.

Don’t quench the Spirit, in yourself or in others.  Jesus said if he was lifted up He would draw all men to himself and He was lifted up into the air on the cross.  His Spirit moves where you have not seen it move yet, drawing everyone in ways you have not seen.  Follow where the wind leads, bringing your anointing.

With the oil and the air ready, the fire can begin.  Maybe it’s another lamp that starts your fire up.  Or maybe it’s coals from your own sin cast into the fire.  But now, energy is being released, you are saying and doing and leading others to say and do.  You are all lamps together with a purpose now.  Whatever pains, sorrows, shackles, or oppresses you or those around you is being illuminated and ultimately destroyed by the light from your lampstand, which is the network holding you together.

Don’t fear the fire.  Everything meant to stay in creation is made of spiritual gold and precious stones; so then are you because even your hairs are numbered.  But the works of the enemy are being consumed.  Every one grows a garden of treasures, some in heaven and some in the earth, but when they see the fire they decide what to keep.  The brighter there fire burns, the more pure your heart becomes, and the more clearly you can see God: because He is a consuming fire.  He has promised to destroy all evil and He ha given each one of us the opportunity to be a part of that plan.  Let your light shine so that men will glorify Him.

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God Loves Me Too Much To Tell Me I’m Wrong

“God loves me despite my stubbornness, my dogma, my pride, my idols, and my flaws.”

Real quick, just repeat that statement, and reflect on it with me. Imagine you are a child, drawing a picture of your father. Does your father cherish it, no matter how far from the truth it may be? Of course, he encourages the child to keep drawing, keep observing, and keep growing. The truth is in the process of the art getting closer and closer to the truth, it’s never in the snapshot in time, for there is always more detail and nuance than the young mind can capture.

When I started out on this journey with the Master, I was that child. The words of my theological profession drew a picture of Him, based on what those words meant to me at the time. And looking back at that picture, it was a stick figure.

Look at what people argue about theologically. The nature of God, creation, Christ, sin, angels, demons, the beginning and the end. In each of those is a topic deeper than thousands of books. Yet we debate over professions of faith barely a paragraph long. “My stick figure has bigger eyes than yours.” “Well my stick figure has longer legs.” We are nothing but kids arguing.

This is not to say there is no truth, or that truth doesn’t matter, or that God doesn’t lead you to the truth. But in our pride or ignorance, to hit us with the whole truth at once would be devastating. The equations would wrap around the room, while we were all asking what “x” means. We would give up, or we would make up meanings for all the symbols to suit our imaginations. In my opinion, so many people become atheists because they realize the imaginary meanings ascribed to the equations are bogus.

Instead, God starts with the simple things to build us up to the bigger things. You can’t understand God’s nature until you try to emulate Him. Make your sun shine on the good and who you believe to be wicked. Love your neighbor as yourself. Observe the flowers to know beauty. Watch the birds to understand what is in a good days work. Watch how a hen gathers and protects her babies. These and much more are pictures that God has given us to show us His glory and yet even these won’t capture it all. So your drawing will never be perfect, but He will always encourage it, He will always cherish it, and He’ll never tell you how much further you have to go. But don’t fall in love with your picture, fall in love with Him.

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A Journey Through Autism

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Xavier came into this world eyes wide open, looking around actively and as healthy as can be.  I cut his cord, held him tight, and my world was forever changed.  The first few months of his life, my favorite thing to do coming home from work was cradling his head in my arms dancing to music to help him get to sleep.  We were happy.

It didn’t last long.  Although he was born perfectly healthy, he started developing a lot of health problems.  He developed eczema, became fussy, but these were normal things we were told.  Then I noticed was the swollen lymph nodes around his ears.  The doctor suspected he had a milk allergy, so we had to put him on formula.  One afternoon he had a febrile seizure and we sped to the nearest hospital where they tested for meningitis with a spinal tap.  It turned out to be a bladder infection, so he was put on antibiotics.  His mother was becoming more and more depressed, and when he was about 4 months old she left me and took him with her back to Oklahoma.

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Xavier Before Autism

I was in transition, leaving my job as a physicist in the USAF and starting a new life in New Orleans in the Oil and Gas Industry.  For most of that first year, his health problems continued with ear infections or colds, and not being able to witness it all myself I could only take it for a grain of salt.  He was starting to talk, follow instructions, help get himself dressed like any other kid.  He’d say daddy to me on the phone and overall I thought things were fine.  But the health problems started getting worse and around 15 months his mother told me that he’d been losing developmental milestones.  He was diangosed with Autism shortly before his 2nd birthday.
I was probably in the denial and blame phase for about a year.  When I got visitiation, I could get him to do things like say “light” and “dark” in a game with the light switch.  He could put numbers in order up to 30, he could spell with magnetic letters and put the whole friggin alphabet in order.  My wife to be, Brandi was able to do coloring books with him.   MY BOY was still in there dammit!
But by the time we won custody a few months before his 4th birthday, even those milestones were gone.  He stared at the ceiling fan for hours just saying “Eeeeeee”.  He had tics, these 3-5 second pauses where he would freeze up and do weird things with his eyes.  He would often bite anyone who came too close and he could not bear to be held.  He would not communicate his wants.  I don’t know how Brandi stayed with me through this, we weren’t even married yet and she was helping me take care of a disable child who wasn’t even her own.  We got in touch with a DAN Doctor (“Defeat Autism Now”) in Baton Rouge, and that is when the problem solving started.

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One of Xavier's Tics

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His whole body was overgrown with yeast, even in his blood, keeping him addicted to sugars and in a drunken like state.  He had heavy metals, Uranium, Barium, Cadmium, and Lead in his tissues.  He had a number of viral and bacterial infections in his intestines, and inflammation in his brain.  So one by one we were able to peel back the layers of his many conditions.  As the yeast fog lifted, he became intensely sensitive to sound, covering his ears and screaming at ANY music.  This was because of the metals, and as that was treated the sound sensitivity went away.  Certain foods had to be eliminated, others added.  We slowly worked to where he would use a picture board to communicate his wants.  Then we graduated from just saying the food to “I want ___” and “no please”.  Many hours of occupational therapy, speech therapy, applied behavoiral analysis therapy, and many more hours of screaming, clawing, biting, and otherwise unspecified tantruming later, we have arrived where we are today:

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Xavier Running Between Feeding The Ducks

He gives people hugs and kisses daily.
He says “I love you” and “good bye”.
He eats vegetables now and loves broccoli and carrots.
He can use the microwave all by himself.
He is paying attention is school 30-45 minutes at a time.
He runs and can kick a soccerball.
He can pump his own legs to swing himself.
He can write his name and do crafts with minimal assistance.
And lots more that I can’t list all here.  We thank God every day for the progress,

But,

Why did it get as bad as it did?  He saw no shortage of doctors in Oklahoma, none of which ran the tests and prescribed the root cause tests that Dr. Cave in Baton Rouge did for us.  The primary care doctors we even saw before her only suggested sedative drugs to keep him from biting the other kids at day care.  I have to live with the outrage of knowing this:
If we had just trusted the medical establishment OUR SON WOULD BE A VEGETABLE
Please, please, please let that sink in.  Nothing about this adventure has been cheap or easy.  My wife and I are both engineers for one of the largest corporations in the world so we have good insurance and we have the problem solving training to dig deep and think of solutions.  But most people don’t have all these resources, and autism diagnoses are skyrocketing.  And all the lab tests to get to the root cause, well insurance doesn’t cover those AT ALL, because our government doesn’t acknowledge the many environmental factors contributing to this explosion of autism.  So actually finding the problem so it can be treated is all out of pocket.  Drugs to manage the symptoms are covered, but not the root cause.  So as we quickly approach 1 in 10 kids with some kind of learning disability, and the government is trying hard to say there’s nothing wrong with anything we are putting in our childrens bodies: pesticides, GMOs, highly processed foods, pollution, and vaccines are all perfectly safe and there’s nothing to see here.
Meanwhile the list of lawsuits and whistleblowers against the industries polluting our kids bodies continues to grow, and we are supposed to just trust industry-sponsored scientists to have an answer to all of the problems in a few years?  I’m not going to list all those here because I’m all but certain the list will continue to grow: as social media gives people an outlet to spread news contrary to the official story whistleblowers will come forward more frequently.  I welcome that with open arms: we need more transparency.  People shouldn’t fight Freedom of Information Act battles for years to find out what’s being put in our bodies or that scientific studies were manipulated to hide unfavorable outcomes.  We deserve to know today, and we deserve the privilege of choice and informed consent that should be the minimum standard of real medical care.  It’s not about being pro or anti anything, it’s about ensuring the transparency and objectivity that is required for the scientific method to actually work.

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