This true story first ran in 2015
Seems like slim pickin’s in news the latter half of this week. Another “Draw Mohammad” contest lining up outside an Arizona Mosque, (we should have them in every state!). Officials in Baltimore who gave hoodlum’s their “right to riot” are now asking for taxpayer funds to clean up the mess. (No surprise there!). Isis is threatening a bomb attack on Southern Israel at Eilat. (‘nuf said).
Warning: meandering thoughts ahead!
The Dis-Connect of the Plugged-in Generation
Just about everyone that I know, is either blissfully and purposely unaware of the extent of what is going on in our present world and here in the U.S., and mostly invested in being happy and peaceful in a certain degree of ignorance, or else they are depressed due to what they do recognize taking place. People in their middle-age years and nearing (the mythical) “retirement age”, are frustrated with the fact that the companies they work for have put ignorant college graduates with worthless degrees and all ability to think stripped from them, in charge of their departments at work, and who know only how to stick to the algorithms they’ve been programmed with, whereby any conversation with them which entails plain “common horse sense” simply does not compute. Talking to some of those “kids” these days is like getting caught in a telephone menu with only a finite number of options, and if what you want to discuss is not one of those options, they’ll just continue to loop through it. Here is an example: Last year sometime, my son dropped his cell under his truck when he was working on it, (of course one month before upgrade date) and we ended up in the Verizon store looking for a replacement. I incidentally had spent the morning on the phone with Verizon prior to the phone-smashing incident, getting rates and usage and stuff ironed out to the cheapest we could qualify for, and you know how they do, they tell you you’ll see one number billed, then you’ll see a pro-rated notation showing that the plan changed in between the bill dates, etc, but in the end it will all work out with your new rates.
As a person who suffers from extreme hearing loss, and 2 sleep disorders-which effect my ability to process information and to concentrate, being on the phone with some young customer service person who is operating via menus and scripts on a computer screen, well, a call like that can be quite a workout. It’s like I as a fifty-year-old and the twenty-something on the phone, speak two different languages and we are trying to communicate, but so much of it seems to get lost in translation. The “generation gap” used to be a whole “generation”, in other words, folks born 20 years apart could understand one another pretty well, because things didn’t change all that much in 20 years, and so at least a forty-year-old could act as interpreter between, say, a thirteen-year-old and a sixty-year old. But not so anymore. It’s getting so that if civilization stays intact much longer, people born ten years apart might not even be able to understand or relate to one another.
So, anyway, back to the Verizon store. I sort of hung back and let my son and the young clerk speak their language until a new phone was decided upon, (my son paying for this replacement himself), and then came the time for me to sign papers because this would be another 2 year contract on our service bill. My question to the clerk was “will anything change about all the stuff I negotiated with the CSR on the phone regarding our service just this morning?” At first she didn’t understand the question, but once I got that trough to her, she then said that it shouldn’t effect that. As we are at the register doing all the stuff they do up there, I asked again, and this time I was told that, “oh, actually, yeah, we have to cancel all of that in order for you to get this deal today”. I said, “Now wait a minute. You just told me that it wouldn’t change any of that. Now you are telling me it will. Why should I lose the discounts and such that I spent over an hour on the phone getting, just so you can give my son this other discount on his phone? The girl then proceeds to show me on her IPad, the menus that she has to go through, and why if this certain thing is there, she has to take it out, because it is a pending change, and then she can put the other in. I said, to her “you are showing me a program on your iPad, telling me you can’t physically give me the discount because of certain buttons you have to push and blanks you have to fill, I am not interested in that. So maybe you can’t help me, but maybe there is a manager or someone who can do something different?!?” She says: “do you want me to get you a manager?”. I said, “yeah, that would be a good start”. So the sixteen-year-old looking sales girl came back with her seventeen-year-old looking manager, who, I kid you not, did the exact same thing she did, only he said everything slower and louder, as he pointed out the display on her Ipad. By then, I am pretty sure my blood pressure was redlining. I tried to make them understand. I don’t know, maybe charades?
The long and short of this ridiculous experience was that they in fact did have to remove the previous “service change order” so they could enter theirs, but they also could put all of the previous items in with the new order, and I’d still get all of what I negotiated with the person on the phone that morning, and my son still could have the deal on the phone he was buying. Two “service orders” are not allowed to be pending at the same time, apparently. You know, because of how the computer program is set up that handles all of that. The folks working at the store knew only the little sliver of the whole which their own job entailed, and all the rest of what I was saying to them, simply did not compute, and they were only able to speak in terms of a menu. They had no understanding whatsoever about the bigger picture, what the other work order was about, and how their company worked as a whole. They are the worker drones, they don’t need to know.
That’s the problem in most everything now, everything from medicine to having a car repaired, is so “technical”, so specialized and so compartmentalized, that no system, from healthcare to our military and ESPECIALLY our government, works as a cohesive unit anymore.
Do you remember when if you wanted shoes, you went to a shoe store? Do you remember when if you wanted to buy a shrub or two, you stopped by the nursery? And the drug store for your prescriptions. Do you remember when your doctor could examine you, ask you questions, and come up with a diagnosis all in the same visit?!?!
We humans are really good at complicating things.
And really, it all comes from some elusive and unquenchable thirst for “more”. More of everything. Bigger, faster, fancier, hotter, newer, edgier, much, mucher, muchest, muchester. We will have to start making up new words after a while. It’s insane.
And it is the same feverish lust for “more” that is driving a large swath of the church. Everything else is all about “me”, self, and what self wants. (Me and my “felt needs”). The Bible is not enough for this sector. No, it’s not personalized enough for them. Everywhere we turn these days there are folks getting all kinds of “direct and personal revelation” from “god”. God seems to be telling a lot of conflicting tales. Which is kind of telling. If you’ll pardon the pun.
You got your “Dominionists”, a.k.a. “Kingdom Now”, alias “Manifest Sons”, (among other labels) who essentially believe God is empowering them to take over the world and conquer it for Christ. Because, you know, He couldn’t do that on His own. These folks view themselves as the New Apostles and Prophets of this age. They all have visions of a “flood” in these coming days, and they are big on “intercession” that is meant to “call down the spirit and holy ghost power”, because the spirit can’t move unless they groan and cry and wail and babble and shake and fall and convulse. If we are among the poor unfortunate “Christians” who don’t hear personally from God, then we are not among the “anointed” and we have not been found worthy of special revelation, probably because we are so devoted to our “idol” the Bible. That’s what they think. Seriously.
Then you have some of the separationists who think that their highest calling is to toss a tract on the table at a restaurant, and never go any place where they might actually have direct dealings with the “unwashed masses”. Because they are “called to separation from the world”. Now, I’m not saying that we are not a called out people. Christians are. We are called out from the world, and not to be partakers of unclean things, but we are to do this while being also commissioned to go into all the world and take the gospel to everyone. But so many church bodies are now just a monument to their own traditions and legacy. Hollow facades.
In-grown. Each doing what is right in their own eyes.
The world is a mess, governments are a mess, churches are a mess, and civilization is in trouble.
But how many graduation speakers will still tell this year’s crop of graduates to “reach for the stars”?
May I suggest that perhaps there’s been a little too much reaching for stars and not enough grounding. Too much “listen to your heart” and not enough “engage your mind”. And way too much “Believe in Yourself”. If I didn’t have something better than myself to believe in, man, you may as well shoot me now.
I read a Lighthouse Trails article today by Ray Yungen, that’s pretty interesting in light of the present state of mankind. Here is an excerpt:
And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign [indication] of thy coming, and of the end of the world [age]? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (emphasis mine)
In the past, I have heard two basic ways of interpreting verse 5—“for many shall come in my name, saying, ‘I am Christ;’ and shall deceive many.” The first interpretation is that there will be various ones claiming to be the returned Jesus Christ. The other view, which has gained greater acceptance in the last ten or fifteen years, is that a number of messiah figures would appear and gather followers to themselves in a fashion similar to Jim Jones or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. I now feel both of these interpretations may be incorrect. It is in light of some predominant New Age viewpoints that these verses take on major significance.
He goes on to say that a major component of New Age thought, is the belief that Jesus traveled the world and studied at various occult centers and mystery schools during his life, thus attaining “one-ness with his Higher Self”, which is otherwise referred to by New-Agers as one’s “Christ-Consciousness”. He points out that the Matthew 24:5 word for “many” as in, “many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ, and shall deceive many” is the word “polus” which he says means millions and millions.
He also points out that in the phrase “many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ” the word “Christ” is italicized, which means it does not appear in the original text and was added by translators for clarification. So if you remove it from the text, the phrase becomes “many shall come in my name saying I AM”.
Weeeeeeel, now, that’s a whole different kettle of fish, isn’t it?
Oprah says “I AM”.
Beyoncé says “I AM”
There is a rapper who calls himself “Will.I.AM”
Mark Shultz and Kirk Franklin sing about I AM (but I’m not entirely convinced it is the I Am of the Bible for these two Christian artists)
There is a fragrance called “I AM“, and the ads say all sorts of new-agey things like “I am Ascending”, and “I AM Divine”
Joel Osteen preaches about the “Power of I AM”
There is even an “I AM University” whose stated purpose is: We are a global education platform with the goal in mind to provide education for the Age of Awakening
It’s interesting that in this “Age of Aquarius” the New Agers are convinced that those who reach enlightenment all achieve that “Christ Consciousness” referred to as “I AM”. Jesus told us that one of the signs of the end would be a prevalence of those who will be saying “I AM” and warned us not to be deceived by them. How about that?!
But guess what? All that “meditation” and practicing mindfulness by emptying the mind, apparently has been proven by some researchers to lead to depression and psychosis.
Well, my consciousness is telling me that all that “I am-ing” is just one more sign of the times that points to the soon return of Christ.
The other phrase we were told to expect hearing a lot is “Peace and Safety”. The Pope is all about reconciling all the world’s religion for that cause and of course in the end, there will be one guy, and he will claim to be both the “I AM” as well as the world’s answer to their “peace and safety” problem, all rolled into “One”.
See what I did there? Clever, huh?
Half the world believe they are God, a quarter of the rest of them believe there is no God, two to five percent of the population believe they are internally a different gender than their physical body indicates externally, five percent of the population is gay, and gay marriage (falsely so-called) is becoming the law of the land, the world’s governments believe that we can have a more robust global economy by going into more debt, and yet it’s us Christians who are brainwashed?
That’s fifty shades of crazy right there!