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Fall Feasts

“I made their ancestors live in shelters,” Leviticus 23:42

Life in the Borderland, in 2020, has been amplified by a crazy, intense, naturally disastrous spring and summer followed by a chaotic fall election season. The Nobel Peace prize, which apparently president Trump has been nominated for will be announced on the last evening of Sukkot: October 9, 2020. Sukkot is the last of the annual Fall Feasts. It is the holiday that commemorates the time the Hebrews spent in the Wilderness– the border between slavery and freedom; the border between being an oppressed people group, Hebrews and a nation: Israel.

The Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot is instituted in Leviticus 23 as the fever pitch of the Fall Feasts.

“For seven days you must live outside in little shelters. All native born Israelites must live in shelters. This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 23:42-43.

It is striking to me that God gives the Israelites the decree to celebrate and commemorate the time that He “made them live in shelters” while they were still living in those shelters!

The Lord commanded them to remember His faithfulness to them in the wilderness even before the wilderness was behind them.

This is not the first time we see this happening. In Exodus 12, God not only commands the Israelites concerning what they have to do to be saved from the angel of death on the first Passover, He simultaneously scripts out the ordinances for celebrating the Passover as “a day to remember” forever.

The Lord calls us to remember His faithfulness to us now, even while we a still in the midst of our trial.

The Feast of Tabernacles in modernity is called Sukkot or Succoth.

In Exodus 12:37, when the Israelites had just experienced the first Passover, Pharaoh begs for them to leave Egypt, and they head for a place called “Succoth.”

Succoth is a borderland. Exodus 13:20 says, “the Israelites left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness.”

Interestingly, even though Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles was established in the wilderness at Mt. Sinai, it is again given attention in Numbers when the Israelites are on the border of the promise land. Numbers 27 sees Joshua taking over leadership and Numbers 28 finds God commanding Moses to reiterate how the feasts and festivals are to be celebrated.

There, on the edge of the wilderness, again, God commands “remember me” before He commands “go forth.”

To celebrate being housed while you are still homeless is an act of faith.

“Have them celebrate to remember when—” But Lord we’re still here in these tents!

The Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot calls to remembrance God’s faithfulness in the trial.

The establishment of Sukkot at the “borderland,” reminds us that God wants our praise in the midst of the prayer, not just after it’s answered.

He is just as faithful in the wilderness as He is in the borderlands as He is in the promised land. 

Regardless of the changes in your circumstances, He is still the same.

We worship Him for His ability  to act, just as much as we are in awe of Him for acting on our behalf.

“I go to prepare a place for you.”  – Jesus

Feature photo credit: Lund University. Photo of Refugee camps representative of those erected in Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan for Syrian refugees from March 2011 on.
Testimony

We Will Always Be “New Christians”: The Spanish Inquisition and the Story of My Blue Island

Smack in the middle of the Atlantic lies my Blue Island. I have never seen it, nor stepped on its hot black sand beaches, or patted the pillowy hydrangeas that grows out of its volcanic ashen soil.

The Blue Island, Faial, is just outside the center of the Azores archipelago. On September 16, 1957, weeks after my father’s first birthday, the waters beneath Capelinhos began to boil. By September 27, 1957 Capelinhos began a once in her lifetime adventure– the monogenetic volcano erupted for 13 months. Happy 63rd Anniversary, Capelinhos!

The eruption of Capelinhos created a unique opportunity for residents of Faial. Though Azorean Portuguese had a long history of immigration to America via the Hawaiian sugar cane fields, in 1916 the United States Congress tried to pass a bill that established a literacy requirement to immigrate to America. This legislation was motivated in part to discourage Azorean Portuguese immigrants from making the move from Faial to Hawaii, Massachusetts, and California where they were dairy farmers, fishermen, and laborers. The “Dumb Portuguees” were considered to be unintelligent (obviously) and unhelpful to the American economy as their signature position as laborers in the Hawaiian sugar cane fields became less necessary. Capelihnos’ self-expression cracked open the American opportunity for self-determination to another generation of Azoreans in a big way.

My dad arrived in San Jose, CA in 1960 after he and his parents were granted asylum on grounds of natural disaster. They moved back to the state where my great-grandmother was born. My great-grandmother, born in California, settled back home in the Azores after the family had gained some economic stability in the States. This flow of migrants– Azorean citizens of America and American citizens of the Azores– moved between the two countries all throughout the 19th century. This transferred Azorean resources of manpower and American dollars between the two countries. Azoreans back home gave emigrees money to invest in real estate in the United States, and money earned in the States was shared with family still in Portugal. This was a very similar dynamic to California’s Mexican migrant population that has more of a trans-nationality than a singular place of origin.

Azorean Portuguese have always been on the move. The wayfarers and whalers of the Mid-Atlantic, my people were sailors and shipbuilders to the New World Explorers, slave traders between the African and American continents, and venturers who settled as far away as Portuguese India.

“The Autonomous Region of the Azores” as legally named, has a bittersweet history with its progenating country. In the mid-1400s, settlement in the Azores began to rapidly increase as New Christians found themselves forced from Iberia. New Christians were formerly Jewish citizens of the Iberian Peninsula that hadn’t been converted long enough to satisfy the suspicions of uber-Christian Queen Isabella and her henchman, King Ferdinand.

The Mattos family lived by a grove of small trees in Aragon for generations, hence the name meaning “brushwood” or “thicket.” Mattos, lusciously pronounced muh-toj, has the same meaning and pronunciation as my maiden name, Moitoso. Only in Portuguese could you soften and smoosh vowels to the extent that Moitoso says, muh-toj.

This Mattos family settled in Faial. They were a large, well established part of the Aragon community, and newly converted Christians that feared Isabella’s genocidal anti-Semitism. (By the way, Isabella is a transliteration of the name Jezebel. Goodness, aren’t names prophetic?)

Some Jews did move to the Azores because they had not converted, but most were escaping the xenophobia of not being assimilated enough to the Christian worldview. Before the rise of Ferdinand and Isabella, anti-Moorish sentiment had already began to percolate, so there was a contingent of Portuguese Jews that moved to the Netherlands. They lived in cuadrillas like the Basque– perfectly closed communities like the Hassidim. They even spoke a unique language similar to Yiddish that is now lost to history. As they became successful contributors to the Dutch economy, the age old Jewish conundrum of attracting too much attention by God’s favor led to persecution of these Dutch Portuguese Jews. They fled as the New Christians were doing to the Azores.

The last practicing Azorean Jew died in the spring of 2015. Now cemeteries are almost the only testament that the Azores has never really been Catholic. Well, only as Catholic as Esther was Persian. A tiny, little Magillat Esther written in Portuguese from the height of the Azorean Jewish community during the 1800s remains also. And tucked away in Sao Miguel “the Shaar Hashamayim synagogue is one of only a few remnants of Jewish culture in the Azores and in all Portugal.” It is hidden in between the walls of a commercial building. In the past 50 years, this synagogue has only been open once– in March 2009 for tours in recognition of the 420 years since Iberia’s Sephardim began to make the Azores home. Hints, rumors, and secret rooms are all that is left of the Jewish identity of Azorean Portuguese.

There is a sadness I feel as a first generation Portuguese American that I don’t speak Portuguese. That I have never been to the Islands. That I don’t know– except that I do know– that I am a Jew. The Azoreans have many agonias. In fact, our agonies are so many that they are a documented phenomena called the agonias.

Sociologists have found that there is a Azorean complex that predisposes us to feelings of unworthiness, ambivalence toward the future, and a belief that we will never achieve our goals. Researchers believe this complex of emotions and mindset is not just culturally engrained but is the result of an amalgamation of genes that ultimately add up to a world-record breaking prevalence of serious mental illness. What do the Azores win the blue ribbon in? Bipolar, schizophrenia. Not to mention the epilepsy.

Maybe we are cursed for our heavy participation in and enablement of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Maybe we suffer in the way God’s chosen do, as Tevye points out in Fiddler on the Roof : “I know. I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in awhile, can’t You choose someone else?”

Our history is in our genes. Trying to find answers about epilepsy, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia, scientists have mapped the entire genome of the people living in the Azores. On the islands for so many centuries, we are nearly an isolated people group. In other words, we are just barely not completely inbred. This makes our family in the old country a perfect control group to help in medicine’s struggle to understand the brain and nervous system.

Because our genome is mapped, there is a lot of open source information for the ethnic makeup of each island. Though Azoreans are decidedly Iberian, particularly Portuguese, there is a smattering of Flemish and Dutch genes that tell the story of those private communities of Portuguese Jews in Holland during the 16th century. Our Moorish ancestry and our participation in trans-Atlantic transgressions is evidenced by the variety of African haplogroups in our genome. This is especially prevalent in the western islands that were most involved in slave trading. The central islands, where my little round Faial is situated, have the highest concentration of J haplogroup. We are the most Jewish of the islanders with an average of 13% of our genome being “J.”

I have a vested interest in finding out whether I have Jewish ancestry. Both my father and my mother are Azorean Portuguese. My mom’s family stayed after their first migration in the 1800s. Marriages on my mothers side remained within the Azorean American community until my grandmother was born. This means there is a possibility that I have highly rare genes. Recessive/recessive genes are most likely to express themselves among isolated, consanguineous groups. Our genome is able to be mapped because it is “highly collapsed”– a nice way of saying what my dad phrases as: “Grandpa Tony wanted us to leave the island so we could get some new blood in the mix.”

I want to unravel the mystery of my bipolar disorder. I want to know if my moods are an unknown aura of temporal lobe epileptic seizures. I want to know if the mysterious 105 degree fevers I got frequently in early childhood, and the crippling stomach pains I suffered from elementary school through college are from Familial Mediterranean Fever. FMF also causes seizures in people with collapsed genomes. Stomach pains are also a rare type of absence seizure. Epileptics have a high co-morbidity rate with mental illness. My dad and his mom were childhood epileptics. So what do I really have? Why have I been in one form of pain or another my whole life? Is there a better treatment for my primary disorder? Did I expose my unborn child to lithium when I could have just adhered to a therapeutic diet for FMF?

Familial Mediterranean Fever is an illness nearly exclusive to Middle Easterners, particularly Sephardic Jews. Familial Mediterranean Fever is a painful periodic and recurring affliction caused by the overproduction of an intestinal protein. Though it causes pain, this intestinal protein is why Jews didn’t get the plague in near the numbers that Europeans did during the Black Death outbreaks in the 1300s. The Europeans blamed the Jews for the Black Death not understanding why Jewish homes weren’t as harmed. Racism, confused medical analysis, and lost geneologies are just a few of the bi-products of migration.

Even when migration is not forced, when you leave your homogeneous old country to the brave new world, there is loss of identity and a loss of reference for where to start looking to find any possible causes behind failure to thrive within a community.

In the 1970s, a strong boy named Rogerio was a star athlete. He trained by stacking hay bales on the dairy where his family lived and worked. After a long summer of buffing up, Rogerio went back to high school to find out that he had been put on second string. “They gave my spot to a white kid so I quit playing,” he said. “Dad,” I answered. “You’re white too.” He didn’t believe me. I later found his junior varsity football jersey. It said MENDOZA on the back.

As a little boy, my dad had learned English from the other boys on the farm. According to my sister, teachers thought my dad’s little brother had a learning disability. In reality, he was just shy and didn’t have friends from whom to learn English well enough to excel in school. No one noticed until he was in fourth grade. He has bipolar like me. They didn’t figure that out until he was in his 50’s, I think.

You might ask why I don’t just ask my grandma all my questions. Well, she doesn’t speak English. And I don’t speak Portuguese. And my dad speaks Spanish all day in the vineyards, so translating is a headache as he now speaks more Spanish than Portuguese.

Thank God for DNA testing. Now I can easily find the edge of the string to pull on and unravel this aching I have to understand why my brain just hurts so much sometimes. I have a My Heritage DNA kit that I’ve been putting off sending in. I wasn’t sure why I’d been procrastinating until writing this post. I’m afraid to find out that I’m not Jewish. That all these clues about my health, my history, my myopic interest in Judaism and Israel…that it’s just random. I’m just randomly sick, and that’s that. No context, no meaning, no path toward better medical interventions.

As I am writing so much about the election, and what I believe to be the spiritual context of American current events, it is not without feeling. It is not without an understanding of how history lives in us and breathes through us.

Black Americans will always carry the questions, illnesses, and trauma of slavery and oppression. As you pull the string on your history, you are entitled to self-determination and the decision making power in what therapies your community needs to heal. Calexi-Mexi-Amerifornians know that some of the white residents who also live in this fluid international space that was once Colonial Spain want to take the “American” away from them because that ooooone day they were born it wasn’t in “the North.”

I have an uncomfortable, complex identity as a participant in both American and in Azorean history. Origins birthed from rejection and discrimination, stained by sin, sustained by grit, and overshadowed with agonias, resonate so deeply within me. I am fortunate to know where I come from.

I’ll work up the courage to turn in my DNA sample soon. The results might show that I am not a Sephardic Jew. That’d make me sad, not just cause I think Jews are awesome and I’m kinda in love with Mayim Bialik, but because it would take away some of the more interesting leads on my health– not to mention greatly reduce how many centuries back I can read about my family history.

On the night that the Mattos Family was slipping quietly out of Aragon, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand thought the New Christians would always be Jews.

Not Catholic enough to be Catholic but not Jewish anymore.

Not Iberian enough to be Iberian but not Moors anymore.

Not European enough to be European so to the Autonomous Region of the Azores they went.

Tonight, I think that perhaps my family is not Jewish enough to be Jewish. Yet, we will always belong to Jesus enough to be New Christians.

Testimony

I Saw the Ghost of an Indigenous Californian While Psychotic in 2009.

Yep. I guess I could just leave it there, but I’ll go ahead and tell you the whole story and why it got brought up for me today.

In early September 2009, I was at a Papa Roach and Nickelback concert with my brother– I swear that says more about the 2009 version of him than me! I was so manic that people kept coming up to my brother and asking if we had anymore of what I was tripping on.

During the concert was the only time in a two month span of being in and out of psychosis that I hallucinated. I went out of the Shoreline amphitheater to send a “prophetic” text to my friend. I saw my Motorola phone sending 6/66 messages but the text would fail and then start resending by itself. I saw it keep sending the text over and over and over each time 6/66. My friend asked me later why I kept sending him that message over and over.

As I was walking back into the amphitheater I saw the ghost of an indigenous Californian in vaquero garb. He was like 4 feet tall. He was probably only chest height on me and I don’t clear 5′ 3″. He looked stunned that I was looking at him, like he couldn’t move. Like a deer in headlights. I snorted at him like a horse. Literally, it sounded like a horse. I snorted both intentionally and spontaneously. Then I kept walking.

Just this year, my husband and I took our daughter through the Mission San Juan Bautista museums. The last one we walked into had a glass case in its foyer with a full Spanish colonial era vaquero outfit on a stand. It was the exact outfit that the ghost I had seen was wearing 11 years ago. I felt so creeped out that I pushed my family to leave as quickly as possible.

This came up for me today because I received a very gentle and loving rebuke from a sister of color about my pro-Trump stance today. I was tempted to be on the offense, but realized it was a stumbling block of offense that my friend had fallen over and that making it about me would just pull me into the trap of “biting and devouring each other” that Satan orchestrates between believers (Galatians 5:15). So I started praying.

I was reminded in prayer of all the indigenous sisters and brothers I have and the way that they have expressed hurt over the discrimination they have experienced from white Christians. This discrimination was not in a worldly context, like course jokes, but it was in the church in the form of whites being patronizing and preferring white cultural practices over indigenous ones. This discrimination consistently presents itself in white leaders refusal to address Euro-centrism over their pulpits.

It is a stumbling block to Maori, to ethnic Hawaiians, to indigenous El Salvadorans, to Oaxacans to say “the derivatives of your indigenous religion and cultural norms are not allowed but the pagan-derived cultural norms of the Britons, Franks, Gauls, Goths and Visigoths are fine.” That is what viewing the Kingdom of Heaven as European does. It allows the church to give preference to the worldview and customs of the pre-Christian West, because we view ourselves as the originators of Christianity.

(Let’s put to one side that the Bible is Semitic. Homework: Research ancient Canaanite customs and beliefs for the best back drop to the biblical worldview on what is acceptable and unacceptable practice.)

If you read the Parable of the Mustard Seed, including Matthew 13:31-32, you hear: the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds yet it grows into the largest plant in the garden as big as a tree that is home to all kinds of birds. You must realize that the West is one of the many birds not the mustard tree itself.

I was moved to pray by name for my sisters and brothers who have had their faith confused by the contra-biblical and ungodly preferences in the church. I prayed 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians over them. I meditated on how difficult it must be to constantly be told to leave behind the sins of your native culture in order to participate in the sins of white culture.

Recently, my wonderful friend, Julia sent me a sermon (linked below) by Brad Haami about horses, the way Maori culture informs their Christian faith, and intercession he participated in in Israel. The story about the period of intercession in Israel involved a spirit that was residing over a specific valley. Nothing could grow in the valley because of this oppressive spirit. The spirit was there because of heinous blood shed and injustice in the past. They prayed until the oppression was rebuked. That valley is lush with plant life now.

That valley in Israel had been a site of child sacrifice. I am reminded of a sign in front of the Mission Cemetery at Mission San Juan Bautista. Meer yards away from a giant statue of John the Baptist and a white wooden Cross, there is a sign marking an area smaller than my parents patio where 4,300 “Indians, Spanish and pioneer settlers are buried.” The sign continues to memorialize “the mission’s first sacrifice to God,” a little girl. A child died on the altar of Spanish imperialism in 18th century California. There is nothing as anti-Christ as confusing God with empire.

The California territory would benefit if Brad Haami and his team of Maori and Israeli intercessors prayed over our valleys.

Interestingly, Mission San Juan Bautista is built along the San Andreas Fault Line. I used to love reading the seismograph when I was little. There are constant tiny earthquakes happening along the fault and you could watch the graph record them. Unfortunately they took it out. About now, we need seismographs, as we seem to have forgotten how to put our ear to the ground.

BRAD HAAMI SERMON AT ASSEMBLIES OF GOD TE AMUTU, AOTEAROA: https://www.facebook.com/reachteawamutu/videos/2743126285907775

Key Terms in Today’s Post:

Christianity— the belief system adhered to around the world that follows the ways and words of Jesus Christ, worshipping him in his identities as Son of God and savior of mankind, as well as to some extent his identity as human Messiah of the Jews.

Christendom— the geo-political powerhouse created by Constantine that became the social context of common era Europe. It is responsible for the spread of Christianity to all parts of the earth through the economic conquests of European nations.

Kingdom of Heaven— the transdimensional government that operates in the heavenlies and on earth. It is endowed by the spiritual authority of Jesus. This authority is entrusted to frail but faithful humans in the absence of its king, Jesus until his return to rule the earth. Not all who now participate in the Kingdom of Heaven are co-inheritors of the earth with Jesus– in other words, not all who exercise authority in the Kingdom of Heaven are children of the New Jerusalem (Galatians 4 & Matthew 7:21).

Mission San Juan Bautista, CA. At the bottom of the right side of the bell tower, you can see a little grove of cacti and the sign in front of that grove is the Mission Cemetery sign.

Testimony

Amy Coney Barrett: Jesuits Shake the World

Please excuse me ripping off the title of China Shakes the World: A Titan’s Rise and Troubled Future — and the Challenge for America by James Kynge. In 2007, the author brought to attention what the West seemed to be missing: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UHPARSIN. Our days are numbered.

Like the empires of Persia, Greece and Rome were both appointed to judge God’s people, and also appointed to fall for the violent way they accomplished this feat, so China has been appointed ahead of time to shake the world– to shake the concentration of God’s privileged people in their place of safety, America.

Find this dynamic of how empires are both amoral and moral agents exposited in the Book of Daniel. The way in which God uses this principle of world authorities is a foundational hermeneutic for understanding the violence in the Old Testament! It is also key to understanding how the election of Israel by God was not racist– an argument directly made in the Book of Romans and underlies the discussions in every New Testament epistle. God uses every tribe, language, people, and nation in a different way to accomplish His purpose of renewing the world.

This kind of spiritual agency that world powers have becomes even more interesting when you consider how to cope with the ways in which the Holy Catholic Church embraced kingdom theology as a way to justify committing genocide and forerunning the colonization of the whole world. The Church of England did not put their elder sister’s practice aside upon its joining with the Protestant reformation– nor did the Reformation demand it to.

What do you do when the Kingdom of Heaven acts like all other world empires?

The Kingdom of Heaven, were it a nation, would have twice the population of the most populous world nation. Its GDP would crush the market. Its embassies are already in every neighborhood, let alone every country. Nearly all world powers have normalized relations with it even now. There is no power on earth as hegemonic as the Church. This is why the Church needs to get wise about critical theories, including Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theorists can’t come after all oppressive powers without dismantling the worldwide church.

While we wait on Critical Theory to complete its full inundation into the next generations’ worldview, it’s a good thing for the principalities, powers, and rulers of this dark world, that we are a house divided on itself. A woman who tears down her home with her own hands (Proverbs 14:1). A man who refuses to let God do the building and work for us even when we sleep (Psalm 127).

The Jesuits are the Trojan Horse of Critical Theory into the Church’s belief system. The Society of Jesus is a fascinating religious movement and they have slowly infiltrated the entire framework of evangelical thought and practice.

The Jesuits, after oppressing and massacring the populations of South America for Christ– at least at twice the extent as the Franciscans did in California– changed their tune and became the champions and Templars of Liberation Theology.

The Jesuits were formed as a Counter-Reformation militant monastic order. The rest of Catholicism actually kept them at arms length because of their useful, yet optically inconvenient brutality for the sake of the pope. Their early persecution of Protestants is rivaled only by their early persecution of the indigenous populations of the Americas.

They were similar to other militant religious groups we’ve seen throughout world history that depend on channeling the spirit of ancestors through contemplative mystic practices as to become empowered for radical action. In the case of the Jesuits, this took the form of visualizing what the saints, apostles, and Jesus would have done until a form of transcendent union to the one spirit these past souls embodied was also coursing through the body and consciousness of the Jesuit monk.

The Jesuits were very influential in colonizing the Azores where my family is from. Necromancy, and mental illness, is still pandemic in the Islands. The fortress of the Jesuits remains in the Azores via the universities they founded there.

That was the modus operandi of Jesuits. They built the society of Jesus on a university system, forming the beliefs of their followers as intellectually as religiously.

Are you starting to see how the emergent movement within evangelicalism happened and how it has led us to this moment?

Jesuits are assuming the highest positions of leadership in the world both ecclesiastically and politically. They own the Law.

Catholics never wanted a Jesuit pope, and yet here we are with Pope Francis. His word is the law of God within half of Christendom.

Trump is more than likely about to appoint Amy Coney Barrett to the vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Interestingly, a country that once had papal-phobia has built and maintained a Catholic majority Supreme Court over the course of the last three administrations (20 years).

We have only ever had one Catholic president– and we killed him.

Trump has already appointed one Jesuit justice, Kavanaugh, and is likely about to nominate a second, Barrett. More than being a Jesuit, Barrett belongs to a tiny ecumenical covenant called People of Praise. They have all the markings of the Society of Jesus accept for that they are interdenominational. Though majority Catholic, People of Praise represents the full range of Protestant denominations and operates as a charismatic movement.

Unknown by many, especially those in California who idolize the Jesus Movement revival in the 1970s, it was the Catholic Church that spearheaded the Charismatic Renewal in America.

Even in my hometown, through ecumenical cooperation with the Catholic charismatics, the local Lutheran church that brought the move of the Spirit to my county gained awakening by embracing an interfaith mystic experience in India at an ashram. Let me break that down:

A local pastor from a decidedly uncharismatic denomination, partnered with the charismatic movement within Catholicism that was achieving great success in capturing young people back to religion. (My parents were actually congregants at a Catholic charismatic parish before being born again.) This pastor followed the yellow brick road from interdenominational Christian ecumenicalism to universalism. He gained what can accurately be described as “shaktipat” while in India and came back with the false holy spirit.

The Kundalini spirit, the false holy spirit, or often called the Christ Consciousness, dries people out spiritually and causes mental illness in people who are not adequately aligned in their chakras. That is information gained directly from Hindu sources, not from Christian critique. Evidencing this spiritual dryness that comes from the false holy spirit, my hometown (Salinas), even when joined with the neighboring city (Monterey), is the 14th most unchurched city in America. This is after Salinas-Monterey was one of the missional stops on a proverbial Camino Sancto during the 1970s revival meetings that birthed the Calvary Chapel and Vineyard movements and in the process this region witnessed the deliverance of scores of young hippies from drug addiction in Big Sur, on the Monterey Peninsula, and in Salinas.

The kind of mystic union to the Christ Consciousness that the New Age is founded on, the secret of the Void according to Kabbalah, the experience of shaktipat via Hindu spiritual discipline: these are all the same as the necromantic form of visualization (aka channelling) that Jesuits taught, and were most successfully introduced to the Millennial generation by the writings of Thomas Merton, Richard Foster, and Richard Rohr.

Similar to the way in which Jesuits changed their tact from slaughtering and enslaving South Americans to “save” them in favor of a more palatable and convincing approach via first syncretism and then Liberation Theology, the mode of obliterating Protestantism used by Jesuits went from murder to ecumenicism.

So here we are. In a discussion about societies, sects, and cults, let me answer the question that you might have been asking whilst reading my posts these last 5 days: Is Natalie a member of the Cult of Trump?

The answer is no. I view Trump as an equally amoral and moral agent by which the church in America will be both judged and delivered by God. As is consistent with every emperor we read about in the Old Testament, Second Temple writings, New Testament, and Early Church records.

Here’s the thing; Trump needs to be reelected because he’s not done shaking the world…and the House of God. Amy Coney Barrett is just one more evidence of that.

Testimony

This Week Your Baby is the Size of a Clementine

So, this mom is me. Feel free to share this meme.

Unsettlingly, right now is a time to fight for division not unity. We need division until we get things right. That’s what Black Lives Matter wants— division until we get it right. Black lives matter as a statement speaks that a human being doesn’t gain human status based on how you feel about that person. Wanting a person, liking a person, the nature of their physical size and ability, approving of where they came from and whether they occupy space you’d rather they didn’t: none of that determines whether a person is a person deserving of humane treatment. Don’t settle for a subpar ceasefire.

*please* WATCH my recent Bible teaching about why now is AN ORDAINED TIME OF DIVISION. Swords Into Plowshares: A Word Study on the Letter 7.