No Walls: No courage = No Victory

RE:  Richard  Armitage, British Actor @RCArmitage

Dear Richard,

It is of course your absolute right to choose what to write and what to delete on your timeline and I would always respect your choices and freedom of speech or lack of it, just as I hope others respect mine. I feel compelled however to express my deepest sadness to learn this morning that you have also deleted the very first tweet you sent to Mr Trump with the images of the Berlin wall and the #nowalls tag.

When I ponder on the Annals of History, I always end up with the same reflection: How many awful trends, atrocities and human suffering could have been avoided if only more people had been courageous enough to make their voices heard in the face of evil, greed and pride? I often imagine myself living in those episodes of history and try to honestly gage what I would have done in those situations; what I would do now, if a similar situation arose. This is a mental exercise I do often to pluck up the courage to speak up when I know it matters; when I know it counts. It is scary and it comes at a price, but I am not here to win a popularity contest. Life is too precious, too exquisite to simply settle for that. I guess, I do what I’d call a “John Proctor” drill. God knows this world is becoming an increasingly hostile place and the time may well come again for all of us to make such impossible choices.

I feel we are very much on the onset of such a situation, but as in previous chapters of history, for so many of us our attention is focused on all the wrong things, the trivial things, things of no real consequence to the wellness of humanity and this world in general. So many of us have become complacent and voyeurs in others’ lives whose reality is so much worse than our own and yet, we often dismiss it as not our problem. It is their life it affects after all, not ours.

The whole world is watching, because the whole world is looking for answers, the right answers. In a world where social media has such predominance and worldwide reception, it seems to me it is the optimum platform to make some waves which in turn create bigger waves that ultimately can pulverise some of these issues threatening the very delicate balance upon which our world stands today.

I was so elated when I saw you tweeted that hashtag to Mr Trump. It gave me hope that things can change; that there are those like yourself who act on their sense of responsibility to the wellness of those beyond ourselves, responsibility to stand up and be counted as another voice who is prepared to risk everything for a reality so much bigger than our own, and yet so intrinsic to our own. It blew me away to learn that someone of your popularity and following would have the courage and character to stand up to Mr Trump and speak up. After all, when I do so, I am not really risking all that much, or at least not yet, but for someone like you, there is much more at stake. The ripple that your wave will create is multiplied by the thousands, whilst mine may initially have some impact but soon dies away.

There are so many youngsters and adults even who wait by your side every single day, virtually anyway, to hear what you have to say or not say. So many completely at a loss as to what to make of what they see in the news and in their towns, on their doorstep. So many seeking direction from voices like yours, voices which belong to individuals that are already placed in a strategic spot to be able to change the course of events, to influence through their gifting, their work, their mere presence, the very fabric of history.

Perhaps I am mistaken and the ripples that your tweet to Mr Trump created are not as powerful as I believe them to have been, but I am certain that the effect of you taking that tweet down will be monumental. I fear that it will take the wind out of the sails of those who are inspired by and aspire to emulate the behaviour of the people they see as role models, exemplary, trust-worthy. Not to mention that Mr Trump’s following and anyone who is watching will regard it as a retreat. Another battle won. Let’s go on our merry way to win the whole war.

I do not sit here in judgement. How could I? I know nothing about your circumstances besides what we read in the media and what you put on twitter. You obviously have your reasons for your change of heart. I am no one to judge you one way or the other. As I said at the beginning, it is your absolute right to do as you will. I simply wanted to share my sadness this morning as one of the thousands of people who are inspired by your character, integrity and moral and social conscience, that you have retraced your steps on what I felt in my heart to be a gigantic leap of courage and extraordinary behaviour in this current climate of self-exultation, self-absorption and self-glorification, qualities which Mr Trump is the true champion of.

With my love always,

Mercedes Underwood

 

Seeds planted deep into our DNA were meant to grow into fruitful mighty trees

Screenshot (757)Screenshot (758)Dear Richard,

Your Christmas message on twitter moved me so deeply and struck a vulnerable chord in the fabric of my being. I am a foreigner living in the UK. In the current climate, not a day goes by when I don’t give thanks for the opportunity to live in a country which is not my own, to have been welcomed with open arms and to be able to immerse myself in another culture, learn and hopefully give something back too. My folks are all in Spain and though I do not see them as often as I wish to, this is due to the life I chose and not a set of depleting circumstances forced upon me, beyond my control. To think that things could so easily change and I could be forced out from my own home, family, friends and livelihood here in the UK shakes me up to the core.

I miss my large family back in Spain terribly at times but I am blessed and lucky enough to be able to get on a plane at the drop of a hat and go and see them, just like you do. I cannot even begin to fathom what it must be like to feel such terror and threat of staying in your own home that you feel you have no other choice but to drop everything and everyone and flee for your life into the unknown and sadly sometimes into a worse fate than the alternative.

I was out at a Christmas party on Friday night and there I chatted to a Belgian guy who visited Syria many years ago. He told me about this stunningly beautiful country where people used to enjoy the affluence you speak off. Many lived in villas with swimming pools and enjoyed the luxuries and comfort that so many of us take for granted and feel a sense of entitlement to in the West today. And then he told me about the Evil that hit and tore this country apart, the rapes, the violence, the cruelty, the utter annihilation that has engulfed this nation. These people and anyone fleeing their own countries are no more deserving of this hell on earth than you and I, but they sure deserve our compassion and empathy, our love and support. It could just as easily be us having to face, for whatever reason, displacement from our homes and a total alienation from or being robbed off the life that we have always known and enjoyed. Suggesting closing our doors, borders and hearts to those in need is not progress but regressing into a mentality of the survival of the strongest, where the humane part of us is gobbled up by our animal instincts. It is regressing into a primitive state of ignorance and savagery, of dominance and control, a state of staleness and blind spots where cultures and races can no longer learn from each other and enrich each other’s points of view and gifting, be it intellectual, artistic, or even humanitarian. Closing our borders, hearts and minds is regressing back into chapters in history of oppression, annihilation, fear, dominance, holocaust, suspicion and stagnation, creating the perfect environment for yet more radical and extreme individuals to thrive in and take away the core values so many fought so valiantly and sacrificed so much to give us today.

Richard, you are absolutely right. Who are we to judge who can and cannot have what we enjoy every single day? What sets us apart from others to feel with such pride that we’ve earned a life of freedom, civil rights, choice and affluence? Absolutely nought. What makes us so darn special and sets us apart from those who live in the Kibera Slums of Nairobi or the Favelas of Brazil, those who are persecuted for their faith or discriminated against because of their race or religion? Absolutely nought! It is mere chance that has placed each and every one of us in the place we live in, to be born within a particular race or colour and to be brought up to be guided by a certain creed. To think otherwise is to lead humanity into a dangerous downward spiral of selfishness, self-centeredness, narrow-mindednes, greed and success at the expense of innocent people’s suffering and destruction; the most despicable legacy or lack of anyone could leave behind.

There is, however, a point in which I wholeheartedly disagree with you. Your profession as an actor not only does not automatically discount you from voicing your opinion in these matters, but rather places a heavy responsibility on you to do so. Whether you recognise it or not your celebrity status, your reputation and outstanding work as an artist precedes you and makes you into an exemplary role model to thousands of people out there. You have an exclusive and unique platform to not only vent your opinions but to stand up and be counted as a person who will use their influence and global presence to make a vital difference in the course of events in this turbulent world we live in. God forbid we leave the fate of this planet solely to politicians. It is specially people like you who through artistry but also through the multitudinous following you enjoy in today’s most powerful tool, social media, can actively fight the threat posed by the far right views you refer to and challenge the views and opinions of those who blinded by their own egos and agendas are willing to sell their soul to the highest bidder, even when that means putting at risk the lives of millions of innocent individuals.

My wish for this Christmas and indeed for the year ahead is a wish for more courageous men and women like you in advantageous and strategic places in society to follow their true calling or the fire in their belly, the flame that burns within at the core of their being to come forth and challenge relentlessly radical and extremists views at the hands of those who can do the most damage to democratic multi-culturally, intellectually and artistically rich and vibrant societies. I am a great believer in investing my life in exploring and pursuing without fear those little nudges we all get, the quiet small voice in our head that is telling us to push forward in certain areas, to go beyond what we are good at and into what ignites us, what we are most passionate and uncompromising about. Everything about you, starting with the name you have been given, shouts out leadership, righteousness, courage, sincerity and above all an incandescent and latent social and moral consciousness, an unwavering determination to fight for what is right. Yes, you are an actor, but I see another side of you coming through, striving to make itself heard, burning up in everything you do and say. I see a man with remarkable, exceptional qualities, qualities which are not only required but which are essential to fight the good fight, to fight to the end for the things that truly matter in this precarious world we live in.

 May the force be with you! God knows I am.

With love,

Mercedes

Celebrity Culture is the most inexcusable form of ignorance

In an age where Social Media is King, personal interaction and family values have become the next casualty in a long line of species which have and are becoming extinct. Celebrities have become our God. As long as the distance between them and us is kept, so is their perfection and inability to do wrong in our eyes. We live in a world full of awe, mystery and wonder. We find ourselves right at the centre of it, and yet we are utterly lost, confused as to what is our purpose, the meaning of our endless toil and weariness throughout our brief lifetime in a vast expanse of infinite, glorious space and time. We spend our life desperately looking for answers in all the wrong things; we pursue happiness through all the wrong avenues. Yes, some do make the journey slightly more bearable for a time: alcohol, drugs, money, sex, you name it, but after the hysteria and adrenaline ebb away, after each binge, comes an even bigger fall, a deeper pit we struggle to get out of, as we come once again face to face with the bottom-line realisation that we are flawed and in desperate need of rescuing.

And so having tried all the usual avenues for a quick fix and despite the fact that history has taught us time and time again that all these paths lead nowhere, like dogs we go back to our vomit; we become suckers for punishment, and then we pridefully pat ourselves on the back and remind ourselves and each other that it is our intelligence that sets us apart from the animal kingdom. Something is different today, though. We have gone from an age of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism, etc. to the worst and most SELF-DESTRUCTIVE alternative: Discarding the logic possibility that a God could have made us into His own image and believing instead the nonsensical illusion that it is us who can make Gods in our own image and be sustained, rescued and healed by them.

And so it began, an Era where we no longer entertain the possibility of a Superior Being, a spiritual reality which has brought about the heavens, the earth and everything that is in it. Instead, we use our superior intellect to come up with the alternative of making Gods of other people, venerating them and putting them on a pedestal. So long as these celebrities remain distant and out of reach, we can sustain the illusion that it is they who define the optimum state of being that any human can aspire to: to be successful, internationally recognised, to look aesthetically pleasing, to have charisma, sex appeal, do good deeds, champion a cause or dip in an out of altruistic pursuit often enough to sustain the lie that their life is more selfless, worthy of recognition or called to a higher purpose than that of the rest of us mere mortals.

Social Media lends itself perfectly as the optimum medium, the ideal environment which  can turn celebrities into our own personal Gods with the mere click of a button. But let’s remind ourselves at this point that those of us who look up to and even adore celebrities are not the only culpable party in this sad and cancerous fallacy. Celebrities for the most part willingly feed and thrive in this lifeline that evolution and technological progress has handed to them. Yes, there are many whose reputation precedes them for their dignity, honesty, hard work, dedication and commitment to their craft, but these values are not present to any lesser degree in a mum who dedicates her life to sacrificially giving of herself to her children, or a husband who sacrificially commits to making his marriage a success. I could give you a thousand examples of “everyday” people, faceless individuals whose lives are full of honour, dedication, hard-work and sacrifice, but the difference being that what they do is done in secret, without expecting anything back, or assuming a self-righteous sense of entitlement to special treatment by the rest of us. These faceless individuals are the true unsung heroes of our time, the real human beings who live with purpose, whose unassuming presence and unapparent progress causes invisible ripples of transformation and goodness which ultimately make our world a better place.

What is the number one criteria which defines a God? Perfection. Our human intellect and life itself give us enough proof that no human being is perfect, but add to the mix the convenient ingredient of creating a virtual reality, a cloud where the only acceptable currency is “make believe and having more than a hundred thousand followers”, and presto you can produce a God out of any celebrity in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, celebrities can keep that God image alive infinitely by intervening in the proceedings every once in a while and feeding their devoted worshippers the next delicious morsel by way of a twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. entry, which will keep them loyal and prevent them from becoming defiant until the next time. How easy it is to help others put us on a pedestal when we create a safe distance where no one has access to who we really are behind closed doors, to who we really are when no one is looking or reading. How easy it is to appear humble, focused, committed and dedicated to a higher cause than our own success and development, when we don’t have to surrender anything, make any personal sacrifices, or give any of our choices and everyday luxuries up in order for that to happen. Simply retweet a link to a charitable cause or endorse someone else’s altruistic work and let the thousands of followers/worshippers reach into their pocket and do the rest for you , raise that much needed profile, reputation and awareness across the earth in a matter of seconds; raise the millions needed to bring action to desperate places and people with the click of a button and get all the credit and further veneration from your loyal subjects.

The longer a celebrity can sustain their mysterious aura, that manufactured image which followers are desperate to trust and believe as real, the more their Godly status will be enhanced and accepted, and how can one do this? By cleverly marketing themselves and surrounding themselves with smart PR companies who know what sells and how to sell it. Study your target market carefully, what your fans crave for and then just feed them exactly that, never letting them see WHO truly lies at the core of that illusion they have created and which you have done nothing to dissipate: a flawed human being in search of answers to deep existential questions just as much as you and I, an imperfect being on an unending quest for love and acceptance as much as the next ordinary person.

This Celebrity Culture however, sustained by the elusiveness and lack of accountability propitiated by social media, is doomed to self-destruct from the onset, for even those celebrities turned into Gods can’t live up to other people’s unattainable expectations, and inevitably they trip and fall along the way, just like the rest of us do. Some can hide it better than others, but nothing truly goes unseen or unheard any more in this electronic world we live in; in this Big Brother existence we lead. Many celebrities create an image of humility, integrity, consistency, goodness and selflessness, of living for others and not themselves but soon enough thousands of shreds of evidence to the contrary circulate globally. They paint themselves in a particular light but a picture here or a quote there betrays their secret and their chimera no longer stands.

And so it finally dawns on us that being a celebrity is not all it is cracked up to be; that so many celebrities have earned the right to look at the rest of us from up high on their lofty pedestals on no other grounds than because we were weak and ignorant enough to put them there.

THE SPIRIT OF JOHN PROCTOR HAS WOKEN UP A SLEEPING GIANT

The run of The Crucible at The Old Vic Theatre in London finished a few days ago, and to my utter suprise and annoyance, I have not been able to function properly since then. I have been carrying deep within in the pit of my stomach a strong sense of bereavement, a sense of deep loss of something that brought back to life, something that unearthed a SLEEPING GIANT in the hearts and souls of so many people all around the world. I have been bewildered by the knowledge that some people have travelled from as far as places like Australia, the States and some Asian countries in order to witness what will turn out to be, in my opinion, a highly regarded and respected chapter in the history of Theatre and a catalyst for change in people’s attitudes toward Truth, Love  and Freedom. Indeed, there have been so many who bewitched by the sheer power which Drama possesses to mirror life, have been unable to be content with seeing the play once or twice, but as many as seven times. Crazy, one may think initially, but having experienced the play twice, I can only but relate to that uncontrollable urge and desperate attempt to not let go of something so beautiful, so transcendental which once delivered by the actors acquires a life of its own and moves high and far beyond the rows of seats in a theatre. A rare thing indeed in this world we live in dominated by speed, urgency and the shallowness and ephemerality everything we experience is tainted with.

The Crucible, as recently rendered at The Old Vic Theatre in London has released an unstoppable force spiritually, something which challenges the status quo and the complacency of a human race which right now sits pretty for the most part and in denial as the most abominable of evils, perils and injustices are happening all around us.  It is ironic that a play which is dominated by the subject of false accusations of witchcraft can carry with it such “supernatural” force for transformation, for good, for justice, truth and freedom, rare values indeed in today’s world and because of their rarity made all the more precious to audiences and onlookers across the world.

Granted that the character of John Proctor and his evolution throughout the play cannot exist without the other characters, just as human beings cannot grow and develop unless sharing life with others. Having said that, it is solely the gradual and “supernatural” ascend of John Proctor’s soul throughout this play that leaves behind a blazing trail of glorious notions such as: TRUTH, COURAGE, HONESTY, INTEGRITY, AUTHENTICITY, LOVE and COMPASSION. These are notions which have laid dormant for far too long in our world; notions which were long ago replaced by their evil counterfeits: GREED, DECEIT, PRIDE, FEAR, COWARDICE, HATE, MERCILESSNESS. As I said in my previous post, these are forces which have been contending in the world for thousands of years, but today, right now, the good guys are losing this mighty battle. “The Crucible” as I have experienced it and as I have seen, read and heard others experience it, is fast becoming the antidote to a poison fed to the world daily which has numbed our senses, blinded our eyes and switched off our brains rendering us ineffective to live lives worthy of living, to leave behind a legacy worthy of remembering, and an inheritance worthy of being shared with others. For is a life well lived one that leaves this world exactly as it found it and in so many cases much worse than it found it?

There is in all of us an innate, inherent and deeply rooted longing to live for something that transcends the triviality, the immediacy of our daily grind. For some, it is a religion, for others a worthy cause such as Equality, Freedom or Justice, a charitable enterprise, being the best at what you are gifted at. That deep longing that we are all born with slowly but surely gets numbed and put to sleep by the pressures and fears that daily living brings, and little by little as we age, the brave soldier within us that once carried so much promise, surrenders a small piece of that lofty enterprise we felt born to pursue, one sorry day at a time. The glorious quest we set off on in our youth is slowly but surely annihilated by the cynicism, and everyday demands which chain to the ground our bodies, our hearts but most of all the ability for our souls to ascend, as John Proctor’s soul ascends, in those moments, seasons of our life when we come face to face with a choice to stand up, be counted and fight for what is right, for what is truth, for what is just.

Our world is dying of hunger and thirst right now, a hunger and thirst for the John Proctors that have existed throughout history but who shine for their absence today; a thirst for individuals who led by humility, integrity and courage and the acknowledgement of their own fleetingness and mortality are able to spiritually transcend beyond the carnality of their existence and give their all, even their last breath in the quest for the truth, even if that truth means losing everything that is dearest to them. Hardly anyone seems to be prepared or willing to go that extra mile, to lead from the front, to lead by example, to jump off the precipice as eagles do in order to reach glorious and new heights, in order to conquer new enemies, in order to enjoy that elusive freedom we all think we have. But are we really free, free enough to overcome the fear of rejection and alienation from others if we consistently and to the end swim against the current of tyranny, pride, conformity, lukewarmness and deceit?

This is for me where “The Crucible” and particularly the depiction of John Proctor by Richard Armitage have shifted the tectonic plates of a world dominated by inactivity and the lack of a fire in its belly in the face of adversity and evil. I deeply believe that what this play has achieved in London goes far beyond what our eyes can see and our ears can hear. It is my utter conviction that something has shifted and been released into the four corners of the earth through the spirit of truth and love that this wonderful piece of literature carries.

I am in absolute awe and truly humbled by this rare breed of individuals like the play’s Director, Yael Farber, and the actor playing the lead role of John Proctor, Richard Armitage, who go far and beyond their artistic flare and vocation in order to use their gift not only for their own profit but because their life’s mission is also to use what they have, their gift, talent and resources to create a channel through which others can travel and see too that a life worth living can only be a life pursuing even to the death those things we know deep in our hearts to be true, to be right. Anything else is not living, but dying one day of conformity and indifference at a time, short-changing ourselves of the supreme quest that it is to pursue “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

This Sleeping Giant has most certainly been re-ignited in me through this play. I was there twice and I felt it; I felt its power and its weight. I saw that the people who left the theatre were transformed from the people they were when they first came in. It is for this reason that I sit here today with a heavy heart, praying that was has been released through this play is not diluted by the one other million things thrown at us, put in front of us each and every single minute of the day. When one witnesses truth, it is impossible to continue on our journey as before.  How can anyone witness through the character of John Proctor what living and dying for love and the truth truly is and at what cost, and then not have the unwavering determination to make our lives shine as they should, as they were always meant to?

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MANIPULATION, DECEPTION AND CONTROL ARE ALL SUSTAINED AND FED BY LIES, SUBTLE LIES, BUT LIES NONETHELESS- PART 2

Continued from Part 1

“Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans – “bunny believers” who hop around from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment. Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.”

Let’s take a closer look at the magnitude of the deceit that lies within these lines above. “Today’s culture of independent individualism”, so far so good. Reader is engaged by a statement that no one can deny. But then the author goes on to associate this independent individualism to be the direct cause of being “spiritual orphans”. Can such a type of Christian really exist? Not according to the Scriptures that I read, not according to the Father that loves me and promises me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. No term used by Church Leadership and Church Growth Gurus gets me more enraged than this one: “Spiritual Orphans”.

No person who accepts Christ to be Lord and Saviour in their heart and soul can be a spiritual orphan. This is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron and proof that for the author of this devotional and all those who follow him and so many like him, when they call Christ Lord, that is where in their minds His lordship ends, because God, our Heavenly Father, is clearly not sufficient as a Father to anyone who comes to Christ, He is not the Head, the pillar upon which everything stands and has its being.  Christ is clearly not enough in order for God to act as our Heavenly Father who tends to our every spiritual need; putting his son on a cross is not enough. Membership in a church or even attending one is what is truly needed for us to be true sons and daughters of the LIVING God. Indeed, if not being part of a church family makes me a spiritual orphan, you are saying that God is not my Father, for orphans do not have one. Such a statement denies the very core purpose for which Christ died on the cross: the veil was torn, God’s wrath satisfied and the door now open for anyone who is in Christ to have direct access to The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Where in that can one come to the conclusion that anyone called a Christian who is not part of a church is a spiritual orphan? The deception and false teaching in this is so huge, so on your face, so obvious, that sometimes it is the very fact that it is staring us in the face, that makes us mistake deceit for truth, because our eyes are only focusing and our discernment is being impaired by what is seen and not by what is unseen.

The patronising, arrogant and insulting litany goes on as Christians who are not members of a local church are described as “bunny believers” who have no identity, accountability or commitment. Identity? I thought it was Christ and our faith in Him alone that defined our identity. Sadly, today being part of a local church only defines your identity as that of someone who supports this or that vision of a particular pastor or church leader. Accountability? Easy to be accountable to people who buy into what you are selling, who believe in your authority, because it is they who put you on a pedestal and even if you err from what is Godly and truth, you will not be made truly accountable, because it is easier to go with the flow and the flock than to be singled out and ostracised for being true to the voice of the One and Only Shepherd who deserves our sole worship and blind obedience, for trying to put a stop to the lies, falsehood and deceit.

Commitment? Commitment to what? To a set of rules and obligations I must abide by in order to comply with what is expected of me as a Christian individual who defines himself as a member of this or that Church Family? Yes, I have experienced that kind of commitment. The kind that puts a yoke round your neck and fills you with guilt if you do not pick up a chain and pull as hard as you can  in order to sell and market whatever it is this or that pastor is trying to sell to the world so that they can earn their claim to fame in Christendom and beyond. The kind of chain that makes you feel held and secure, a part of something bigger than yourself, something worthy, something lofty, only to then one day look down at your hands and feet and realise that what you are actually enjoying is an illusion of freedom, freedom  to sacrifice, serve and financially support the leadership and captain at the helm of that vessel you have been chained to. Then one day you finally pluck up the courage to stand up, be counted, demand your true freedom in Christ, seek after the Holy Spirit’s guidance to fulfil what it is you were called to fulfil in the sphere God has placed you in. It is on that fine day that your chains will be cut and your body and soul thrown into the open seas. Whilst evil intended for any shark to feed on the carnage that such fleshly crusades leave behind, God will use this painful experience to peel off the layers of bondage and deceit thrown upon you by the very ones who pride themselves in helping you to discover freedom in Christ. You will be immersed in abundant waters that will never run out; you will never be thirsty again and you will know what true freedom in Christ really is meant to be.

But here is the mother of all lies, la crème de la crème of deception which seeks to manipulate and control under the guise of passion, love and devotion: “Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.”

Again, we must be reading scripture inspired by two different Gods. The one I read conveys there is no such thing as a “good Christian” for we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Can it be that the person who has written this has established this distinction in order to convince his readers that there are two camps within Christianity: the good and the bad ones, the godly and the ungodly, the saved and the unsaved perhaps? Not explicitly said but thrown in there as a little hint, a mere implied suggestion just to catch the attention of those who can be easily swayed by fear and the kind of truths that are made truth just because an ” important” and influential majority in a particular field has declared it so.

I think what the author is really trying to say here is “in order to be a genuine, true Christian” and not a “good Christian”, for again this term is another oxymoron. If there were good Christians as opposed to bad ones, wouldn’t that mean that the need for Christ in their life would become obsolete, that God gives them a special treatment just because they are good and where is that righteousness come from: them being in Christ or their own achievements and goodness? Again, statements like this one challenge the very pillars the Christian faith stands on, on a monumental scale, so I will not be the one to read something like that and swallow it whole in the hope that it will go down and produce the effect it was intended for. It is easily done, just put “God would strongly disagree” at the end of your statement and that will surely have the desired effect on the reader. Where is the grace, the non-judgementalism, the humility that surely should be so characteristic of those who ceremoniously like to label themselves as Christian Leaders or biblically put “servant to all”. Now there is an incredible contrast between what Jesus defined as “leading” and what church leaders have decided it should mean instead. Such utter violation of what is truth in Christ should send our alarm bells ringing, but do we listen? No, it is easier to go on as we are and pretend we have it all figured out.

I hope one day the person who wrote this article looks back and ponders on the question: Did my words bring freedom or bondage to millions of Christians out there who are not part of a church/church family? Did I transmit grace to those who do not share my views or did I cast them out as “not good enough” with my judgemental heart? Did I truly manage to convince non-church going Christians that they are in the wrong, that they are lost, without a compass or did my frivolous, obnoxious assumptions only serve to confirm the very reasons why they either broke loose from the Church system or stopped going to a particular church in the first place?

MANIPULATION, DECEPTION AND CONTROL ARE FED AND SUSTAINED BY LIES, SUBTLE LIES BUT LIES NONETHELESS – PART 1

PART 1

The following devotional written by a very well known church leader was forwarded to me this morning.  I am not one to take on personal attacks. I believe God’s truth is powerful enough to vindicate me, but I also know God has put a fire in my heart to stand up and be counted for what is truth. I am also not one to witness outright lies about something as important as what defines the authenticity of a Christian, and remain silent or do absolutely nothing. There is a fine line between Christ’s teaching to turn the other cheek and the lukewarmness which allows deception to take root and strangle and snuff out the LIFE that the Spirit of the Living God brings, for if we do nothing in the face of darkness and bondage we only serve to condone and perpetuate it.

Please read the article below which is offensive and insulting to me and so many thousands of Christians out there who are not part of a church and/or church family (another conveniently made up term that serves to make the yoke of legalism even heavier).

The devotional reads as follows:

A Church Family Identifies You as a Believer

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35 NLT)

The Bible says a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock, or a child without a family. It is an unnatural state. Ephesians 2:19 says, “You belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (LB).

Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans – “bunny believers” who hop around from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment. Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.

The church is so significant that Jesus died on the cross for it: “Christ loved the church and gave his life for it” (Ephesians 5:25bGW).

Except for a few important exceptions referring to all believers throughout history, almost every time the word “church” is used in the Bible it refers to a local, visible congregation. The New Testament assumes membership in a local congregation.

A church family identifies you as a genuine believer. You can’t claim to follow Christ if you’re not committed to any specific group of disciples. Jesus said “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 NLT).

When we come together in love as a church family from different backgrounds, races and social statuses, it is also a witness to the world (Galatians 3:28).

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Deception begins from the very title of this “Devotional”, for a Church Family is not what identifies us as believers, at least it is not what identifies me. What should identify us is our love for God above all things and our love for one another, our acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, repentance of our sins and a desire to become more like Christ, to honour, praise and worship Him in everything we think, say and do.

I would be failing my calling to follow Christ, and I would be falling way too short of that calling, if people said of me that what identifies me as a believer is belonging to a Church Family. What a pathetic state of affairs that would be, personally and for the whole of Christendom. There is no biblical foundation to support such a statement made on the title of this devotional. Period!

Paragraph 1. Where in the bible does it say that a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock or a child without a family and that it is an unnatural state? Do you see with what subtlety someone’s words and conclusions can put chains on people where Jesus meant to use us to bring freedom to them, freedom from the religious legalistic spirit that the Pharisees displayed in abundance just as so many Christian leaders display today? Then the author of this devotional goes on to quote Ephesians 2:19 as saying: “you belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (LB). My Bible actually says: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with CHRIST JESUS HIMSELF AS THE CORNERSTONE” (Emphasis is mine). From where in that Scripture can we conclude that a Christian without a church is incomplete, lost, without guidance or not cared for? Last time I checked, Jesus said to me: “My sheep know MY voice”. It is therefore the Shepherd’s voice and guidance which make me HIS, it is my obedience to Him that define me as His and not the being part of a flock, as nice and comforting as that may be.

It all comes down to the ongoing debate about what constitutes The Church: is it a physical building, a concrete gathering of believers or rather a SPIRITUAL body made of hearts and souls which are sold out for Christ?

To be continued in Part 2

A new wave of freedom from the Religious Spirit is at hand

This really blessed me today. I too believe things are about to get interesting. I recently had a dream where I found myself inside a boat that was being violently tossed and shaken by the fiercest of seas. It very much felt like I was all alone in there but I also felt  an urgency to tell people that staying  inside the boat was our only choice of salvation.  Not entirely sure yet what this dream meant as I have lost some of the details in the past few weeks, but dreams of terrible tsunamis are a constant in my life, and they are not waves of mercy or grace, but of judgement and the devastation they leave behind is of biblical proportion. If anyone can throw any light on a possible meaning for this dream, that would be appreciated. I am open to other people’s views with the exception of the notion that the boat represents a local church. The Holy Spirit led me out of the Church System a while ago now so I know with certainty that is not what the dream is about.

Be blessed!

Gross Negligence by Priscilla Van Sutphin

5/4/14

I want to talk to you today about gross negligence because so many have gotten distracted by all the things in the world so much so, that they only put me last, or give a few minutes of their day thinking about Me or the Word. Even in ministries, people get so busy due to demands on them, that they don’t set priorities rightly in putting Me first.

Have I not said, that if you put Me first, seeking MY righteousness, that everything you need will be taken care of? The darkness has been filling the earth and gross darkness the people around you, therefore I AM ARISING. I am arising to destroy their favor, their finances, their lies & all deception. I will uncover their skirts, that they may be seen for who they really are. Did I not say that I will humble the proud and arrogant in heart?

This is the day of MY HUMBLING of the WICKED, whether in the world, or in the church. As persecution has begun here, it has already been severe in many other places, but it will also expose the darkness in My church that is called by My name. For many are deluded into thinking that everything is ok, and everything will go on the same as it has, and they know not how to rely on Me and MY provision. They grovel at the door of mammon. They make their disciples every bit the sons of hell that they are, and I will no longer allow that to keep going. I am merciful and I am LOVE, but I AM ALSO JUST.

It will work to their salvation that I uncover them. I will see to it that they cannot continue to produce sons of hell with their religious spirits continuing to condemn the lost and continuing to condemn the righteous for what they cannot envision, or what they cannot understand. For MY WAYS ARE NOT YOUR WAYS. I AM GOD, and the enemy is only a counterfeiter, and phony. He tries to copy everything I do. If you truly understaand that, you will not condemn My Holy Spirit of kundalini, as if what I DO is the same as He. He may cause shaking, but when I come down the mountains shake and tremble. Thus can I not shake a man who is far less than a mountain?

If anyone confesses ME as LORD and Savior, not just I believe in GOD, but I believe in Yeshua; Jesus, Then they are a believer. Learning to trust me is a path of growth for every believer, and it takes longer for some than others, depending on the depth of hurt and ravaging of the enemy in their life. But the days are coming and indeed are at hand, when that growth will be SO spontaneous, and SUDDEN, that people will be changes magnificently by My Glory moving through you and around you.

You will go to the coffee shop, and people sitting next to you will get up and leave sometimes because they are so convicted, or because they are impenatrable due to hardness of heart. Others will start coughing out demons. Others will feel My power surging through them and be drawn to talk to you because they sense ME in you.

Don’t be afraid of shaking, or laughing or roaring in My people. Did I not say I would ROAR out of Zion ? Who is Zion but Israel and My church? YOU are the church. And you will find that those who Roar, ROAR in the sense of speaking out TRUTH, that brings deliverance to My people. For I AM THE DELIVERER, and I will work mighty miracles through My deliverers in the earth.

I will squash the kundalini witchcraft acquired by dabbling in witchcraft, Islam, sun worship, freemasonry, Mormonism, and other cults, and pagan religions in people, but as it manifests, be discerning, ASK ME what I am doing in them. For many in this nation are inhabited by these spirits due to freemasonry’s perversion. Many in the church have never been delivered and need to be. So don’t stop praying, for MY GLORY WILL COVER THE EARTH LIKE THE WATER COVERS THE SEA. I will use you to redeem many out of darkness, if you will only learn to talk to ME, to depend on MY opinion.

Understand that a religious spirit brings divination and will use scripture out of context and in condemnation and accusation. You are subject to these if who you sit under in the church moves in this. You must not agree with religious attitudes or you will be under the influence of these spirits of divination, rooted in pride, hating and condemning others, just as the pharisees of old condemned ME and crucified Me.

Jealousy is rampant in the hurt and abused. It makes one think & internally scream, what about ME, WHAT ABOUT ME? Bitterness is so rooted in many that are not healed from all the pain and rejection. My church is meant to be a hospital. And those who know how to heal broken hearts, will now be given AUTHORITY to heal and deliver such broken people from their bondages in greater measure than the church has seen for a long time.

So come aside with ME beloveds and spend yourselves on ME that I can heal any leftover brokenness in your heart, so you are ready to be filled with My Goodness, but know that even if you aren’t whole, when I come I will break all the chains that have bound you, and you will not have to STRIVE to do what only I can do anyway. GREAT GRACE is coming like a flood, and with it a TSUNAMI of My love, that I’ve told you about. It will change EVERYTHING in your lives. Hold tight to what you can hold in your heart, and not in your hands.”