Thursday, August 27, 2015

The New Order of Things


It is quite common for one to inadvertently recoil upon hearing the words "New World Order" because any topic of conversation revolving around these words seems steeped in conspiracy theories and riddled with crazies. The mainstream media has done a fantastic job of demonizing this segment of the population but they have not been completely unaided, as the proponents of these theories have done much to indict their own credibility in the first place.

I'll ask you to consider the tendencies of humanity though and perhaps you can ponder the greater bearing these tendencies may have on the future.

Why has man, throughout the ages and despite constant historical warning, continually submitted to consolidated power bases? 

Why have charismatic leaders been so easily able to manipulate the public time and time again?

This is because mankind is perpetually searching for benevolent dictatorship. Sounds strange, I know, but we are searching for that lost piece of the divine puzzle. Our relationship with God is fractured and we continually try to patch the break with hopeful aspirations of a utopian state. We all long for safety, prosperity, peace...all subjects which those with ambition to power exploit to the profit of their designs.

And here we are again, you and I, the world on the brink of darkness. Europe financially unstable, China incredibly volatile, Russia looking to collapse the dollar, terrorism on the rise, an American empire which is bloated with excess, uneducated and complacent. This country is peddled the wares of fear by the media merchants in order to manipulate us into submission. An entire population which is starved for leadership. 

The stage is set.

We are prepared to accept ideologies that fair scrutiny would unwittingly object to, and abdicate our natural freedoms in the interest of security.

One world government was never a possibility before, yet the technology which connects us as a global community makes this sort of coordination possible. A global economy makes this necessary.

I don't have definitive theories about who, or when, but I do believe that the course of human history has led us ever increasingly toward this historically fabled outcome. The possibility exists now, whereas half a century ago it did not.

Just something to think about.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Freedom of Labour & Legacy

It is difficult for me to comprehend how people can live an unconcerned life. How can one simply "not care"  beyond a given night? The YOLO culture of self-indulgent narcissism is a plague, voluntarily accepted, yet partially foisted upon the human spirit which was itself divenely destined for greater cause.

To me this carefree mentality runs contrary, religious arguments aside, to the basic logic of survival which is as natural to man as breathing air.

Yet, as humans, our history has repeatedly counteracted this logic when mankind lives long in the state of prosperity. Prosperity, a state of plenty and void of want, is an insidious agent spreading the contagions of nihilism, excess, and self-hatred in even the noblest of countenances.

What is it about this state of plenty, or void of want which destroys man's desire to live deliberately. Repeatedly throughout the ages we have vivid depictions of man being the agent of his own ruin immortalized, yet forgotten.

This, I believe, is the preeminent evidence of a flawed nature, which many blindly deny as they jubilantly march the path trodden by their fallen predecessors.

It is a decay embedded deeply within the core of our being, devouring our former glory, our ancient immortality long forgotten.

This is why I believe labour, toil and legacy are as vital to our redemption as mortals as a physician's remedy is relieving to a malicious malady. Plenty allows complacency and a loss of perspective in regard to true value of that which is accomplished. Work and toil allows one to appreciate the merit by which and end was accomplished. They allow for reflection and contribute to a calculated, moderated approach to all future endeavors.

Legacy counteracts plenty, plenty which argues to consume immediately without hesitation is balanced by legacy which looks to the eternal wellbeing of the posterity. Plenty demands man to be subject to the momentary passions whereas legacy implores him to be governed by the good of others.

Abundance then, is an opportunity to use the tools of labour and legacy to combat the cancerous condition of self serving indulgence which all men have available to them in a society of plenty.




Monday, August 24, 2015

Anti-Pop

With my recent lifestyle subtractions there has, in fact, been a notable addition which I feel is worth mentioning. That is the implementation of regular listening to classical music.

This addition has actually spurred my motivation to recommit to the other activities I've been undertaking, and has really added an extra sense of clarity and invigoration to my life. Seems strange doesn't it? I mean, it's only music; old, dusty music at that, what's the big deal?

In our current culture the concept of being a renaissance man (or woman) is as common as seeing a Packer fan cheering for the Bears. That is to say, it's virtually nonexistent yet it is that type of personality which is so desperately needed in our culture. 

Here is why:

In a culture starved for substance much of what you and I are fed as the consumers of the system is garbage. Not all, but certainly most because this system isn't set up to create innovators or thinkers. Our education system isn't designed to train the scrutinous mind, but rather the subservient spirit. Our food industry isn't created to offer beneficial nutrition, rather it is designed to mass produce cheap chemical compounds which convert the individual into a regular customer. 

The same goes for our music industry. Pop music, though catchy, is all part of a business scheme to acquire your money in exchange for a 3-4 minute "sugar" high which is over in a matter of a day or two, until the next formula is created. The music industry by and large isn't created to enhance artistry. That is why so many great artists are in the underground.

Yet, for all the flaws of monarchies past, those societies of history did value one thing, the genius of a composer. Listen to Beethoven's symphonies! Mozart, Handel, Mussorgsky, Dvorak, Wagner... Listen to the intricacies of the music. Explore the history behind the symphonies and why they were writte, and in what context. 

The sheer emotion conveyed through masterful musicianship, and the way these masterpieces echo throughout eternity is something the pop singer of today could only hope to dream of and certainly never aspire to.

These works tell stories far more profound because they aren't simply focused on the singer's person. 

Sometimes, when I'm prepping for work in the morning I will bring up a symphony on YouTube and allow the sounds to carry me on a journey for 30-45 minutes before I have to leave for work.

On these particular days I arrive at my place of employment with a deep contemplative sense of awe. My job, being montonous allows me time to reflect on the brilliance and intellect of the works which have stood the test of time. 

They inspire me to find my own niche and to excel, spurred toward the ever glorious calling of the destiny which my God has given me.

This is something that pop music certainly could never do.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bread and Circuses


I am a big proponent of reading, especially history.

There is a huge difference between reading for leisure and reading for study, but even the distance between the two kinds of reading broadens to a chasm when it becomes a comparison of reading to general media consumption. General media simply being the consumption of television, video games and other kinds of, what I call, "candy" stimulants. 
This is why I view the state of our dying Republic as a tragedy unfolding before our very eyes. The point of reading is to challenge and exercise your brain. Reading stimulates thought and contemplation, it provides a variety of worldviews to the reader as well as revealing patterns of human conduct throughout the centuries.

There is a reason that many of the darkest periods of human history were the product of the uneducated masses ruled by the "enlightened" elite. Think of the feudal system, serfs were taxed a hefty portion of their income to live in subjection (or as it was promoted, 'under the protection') of a lord. There were no schools or libraries for the serfdom, they simply accepted their place within the system. 

Now think of the Enlightenment era, the emergence of new, counter cultural philosophers brought to the forefront of humanity new ideas about life, liberty and property. People began to shake off old ways of governance and take part in self rule. Systems that promoted the freedom of the individual emerged. All because of education.

Think of what the fascists and national socialists did to consolidate power. Their goal was a state based curriculum in schools, approved by the elite. Books were banned and burned. Coercive power always fears the questioning individual. Instead those who want to obtain and maintain power over others will generally say "we know what's best for you, trust us". Those who won't shut up are violently silenced while the majority lies in contented compliance.

I say these things because human nature has an extraordinary capacity to tolerate evil, yet we also have a drive for freedom within us. We must maintain that balance and constantly challenge the predominant power structures. 

We mustn't be content with being entertained constantly, but rather we should perpetually seek out our purpose in our brief moments here.

Reading is the way to enter that journey. Too many people my age don't hunger for truth and knowledge. They are happy glorifying themselves on their narcissistic social media sites, they are consumed with following the newest reality TV drama, or if they watch a political debate it is simply to see a famous personality rather than to civically engage.

This is a recipe for tyranny.

Life isn't about benefitting ourselves. It is about seeking God and securing freedom for others so that they may seek God as well. It's about living in such a way that we diminish our self importance, and elevate others.

As the Roman Republic waned their Republican form of government was corrupted by self serving senators, large business special interests, a massive state which caused the wealth gap between rich and poor to widen ever incrasingly. Sound familiar?

The rich get richer. The poor get poorer. Politicians were bought and paid for.

Julius Ceaser was a champion of "the People" crusading against the cronyism of the Republic. He ignited a civil war and succeeded in that endeavor. He also became Rome's first dictator, issuing in an era of emperors both good and bad, but the Republic died with him.

Eventually the empire collapsed and Europe was thrust into the dark ages. 

I see our country following our ancestor's footsteps. It won't be long before we have our very own Dark Age. 

The only way to prevent this is to unplug. To study and talk to others. To engage in our political process and change the game. To learn what a gift freedom truly is.

Don't be content to be entertained. Revolt against the businesses who fleece you for profit and view you as some target demographic. Assert your place as a person. A person of character and virtue. 

A person of wisdom who won't be fooled by bread and circuses.




Friday, August 21, 2015

Glory

It is a curious thing, glory.
A station only attained through the crucible of suffering.

Few, if any, have endeavored to change this world without experiencing a baptism of suffering, a gauntlet of endless trials.

Those who do not endure are forgotten relatively quickly.

What is it about a glorious death which captivates us so?
Why is it that those who bring to us the profoundest sentiments are only celebrated after passing?

Glory, perhaps, is actually an exercise in faith. It is an ideal adopted, and nurtured under no other pretense than one is acting in the right. Those who undergo its fatigues to claim it as their own have no guarantee of its end result for, often, this cherished state is attained against the painful, grating friction of predominant thought.

So, then it is through faith in right which we are this glorified.

Put another way, glory, then is the right of the faithful.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Ekklesia's Duty

In the past I've written much about experiential aspects of faith in God. Throughout my experiment with blogging I deliberately focused on these aspects over all else because it was first and foremost a personal endeavor. That I was privileged enough to have people actually follow diligently, and share in that experience far exceeded any and all expectations I could have had for that experiment.

Now I gingerly turn the page and venture into a brand new chapter of this journey, for in the past several years of blogging simply about aspects and ideas of Jesus within the context of my personal experience I am now faced with the turbulent realities of the community of faith, and the turbulent world in which it finds itself.

The truth is that we live in a very dark world. True, there is much light in it, but this light is rapidly fading because we as individuals have forgotten our role in this cosmic drama which is unfolding.

Those who are depraved wallow in their depravity. Those who are men and women of faith choose to simply ponder what God's action will be in response to the darkness. There has been an unconscious abdication of human duty in this divine narrative which is being written.

The church, the body of Christ, is not a passive institution (and I say "institution", but not in the traditional sense of the word which many would ascribe to corporate cronyism) but rather ought to be an active, powerful priesthood within the world. We ought to be the torchbearers sharing light that isn't our own but, rather, simply carrying that light where we are led.

Does this sound strange? Does it sound like something out of a fantasy novel? 

Think of any great epic in literary history. Think of the dire circumstances, the masses desperately crying for hope and heroes desperately sought after. Think of the forces of darkness, mighty and daunting closing in until defeat seems inevitable, yet at the very last moment the heroes appear (led by a fearless king) and fight back the darkness restoring justice, hope and light.

You and I live in a painfully average world of our own creation. We have lost our sense of wonder and have confined it to the storybooks, but ask yourself this:

What if this story were true, and its implications eternal?

Stories like these don't only exist in the fairy tales. The beauty of reading history is that it can strip away the lackluster elements of the everyday grind and reveal that very same narrative running through the fabric of the human experience.

Churchill was ridiculed and laughed at.
Lincoln was reviled. 
Cicero was exiled. 
Jesus was crucified.

These men didn't assign themselves to the station of the ordinary, the unremarkable passive existence of men without character. They lived lives rooted in character, tinged with flaws (which are common to all mankind) yet trusting in the greater purpose for which you and I were designed to live.

I don't believe that the Ekklesia, the physical manifestation of the Christ to mankind, are relegated to a life of irrelevance. We are each stewards of the capacities and talents God has hardwired within us, and we have a duty to use those to our utmost ability. This means that we can and must speak every opportunity we get. The Gospel isn't a systematic theology it is simply Good News that Jesus has done what we ourselves couldn't do. He brought reconciliation with God. Now, you and I are free to engage the world without being saddled with religious requirement.

We are charged with actively instituting the Kingdom of God among men. A kingdom which defies all worldly convention and breaks down barriers. A kingdom which seeks to defend not only our own liberty, but the liberty of others as well.

Does this mean moving outside of your weekly church service? Without a doubt. 
Does this mean making active personal sacrifice? Certainly. 
Do we actually have to pursue politics? Depends on your calling. 

I have in the past avoided politics on this blog, perhaps because I was fearful of automatic assumptions of others clouding the overall observations I was making about faith and experience, but I realize that God works through His chosen in all capacities whether civic, religious, national, community or family related. Because God Himself isn't divorced from any aspect of live, neither should we as the Ekklesia be.

So herein lies a new train of thought, one which will take a definitively different approach than previous blogs on this particular space. It will be primarily externally focused over personally contemplative. I hope that these musings will continue to challenge and cause the reader to think about the greater story being told.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Searching for Simplicity

Life, as of late, has a crowded sort of feeling attached to it. Have you ever just reached your "end"? We all have a threshold that we can reach, a place where unplugging is necessary. A place where the noise of life becomes far too much and seeking solitude becomes a tantalizing, yet elusive aim. Every single day you and I are fed.

You may not realize it fully but while we think (as consumers) that we are the ones in control, the truth is that we are simply guinea pigs in the laboratories of business. I've always been a proponent of capitalism, I think it is the only human system thus devised that allows for the maximum amount of liberty to the individual. Socialism, fascism, theocracy, these systems have all shown their flaws through and through. However, capitalism is also beginning to witness its very own fallacy exposed.

The truth that slavery exists in the very real, physical sense, but that there is also slavery of the soul. You and I have everything we could possibly desire at our fingertips yet we still come up empty. There is a hole left within is that acquiring things cannot fill. After beginning to realize that we are simply target demographics to marketers, numbers on paper in the ever expansive quest to attain worthless bits of paper and illusory prestige, we can truly begin to appreciate the callous nature of the slave-masters and their ingenious system.

A system designed to free the body but imprison the senses, I believe that's an accurate paraphrase of Tocqueville, although he merely referred to democracy, not economics.

So what then is our recourse against the injustice we have allowed ourselves to be subjected to?

Simplicity.

You do not need things to be complete. You do not need to conform to the world's idea of complete.

I've spent a large part of my life buying what I was told I had to have, simply to find that it was only a short lived euphoric blur. Then it was on to the next new thing.

I'm sick of being a slave, aren't you?

I've abandoned my social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter), the one Twitter account that remains is for podcasting purposes, but even that requires a desktop unit to access and deliberate planning.

Nearing the second month ending of my lifestyle fast and I have found myself free of patronizing businesses who sell me cheap poison to ingest, and have supplemented that mostly with whole foods. I have limited my wardrobe to one set of clothes to remember those less fortunate, and I have re dedicated myself to reading and study.

These actions aren't for the purpose of legalism, but a conscious practice in rebellion. Rebellion is a right we've always had but is seldom talked about. It isn't in the interest of the power structure.

You have a right to revolution and this revolution to counter the emptiness of materialism, to gain freedom from mental and emotional slavery and abuse, this freedom lies in but one word...

Simplicity.