Faces of Democracy Part 2

The future of American politics rests not just in politics itself, but primarily within a society and the virtues that it chooses to exhibit. The polarization of congress reflects a growing trend toward the homogenization of neighborhoods and regions as Americans sort themselves out ideologically stated in part one. Many times, this is decided by where people choose to live and have their “being”. Geographies and neighborhoods greatly influence ideology rather than truth. The trend toward associating only with the like-minded is powerfully amplified by the media and the proliferation of communication channels ends up weakening the shared experiences of its citizens. The absence of shared experiences has been both naturally and spiritually destructive around the world.

The American political system’s ability to deal with its financial challenges is not only affected by the left – right polarization of congress, but also by the growth and power of entrenched interest groups such as trade unions, agri-business, big oil, energy, pharmaceutical companies, and especially, banks and financial institutions. These few examples do not even include the myriad of powerful lobbies which often promotes a veto on legislation that affects their wallets. All of these influential “voices” impact the landscape of our lives and greatly dilute the power of the vote.

It is perfectly legitimate and expected that citizens should defend their interests in a democracy. However, at a certain point, this defense crosses over into the claiming of political privileges. This dynamic creates a situation of gridlock where no one’s interest may be challenged. A political entity that gets nothing done is a clear sign of contentment for those who have a “special interest” in the current state of affairs! This is extremely dangerous and unless the culture and influence of interest groups is aggressively dismantled – our future will soon resemble the great Roman Empire which its citizens wrongly assumed was “eternal.” Reference the article “Back to Future” on my wordpress site for more information on the Roman parallel of American society.

These trends clearly show the growing populist (average citizen) anger on both the right and left that also reflects societal polarization which is at odds with the countries own legitimating principles. In other words, the American political polarization is a manifestation of societal polarization induced by methodical media conditioning which has removed the fabric of societal relationships and what is best for the nation as a whole. The complaints by Americans that the U.S. is dominated by Institutional Elites and powerful interest groups is true and reflects the reality of the increasing income and wealth inequality over a period from the 1970s to the early 2000’s. With said, “equality” in and of itself has not really been a problem in the U.S. political and societal culture which emphasizes the equality of opportunity rather than outcomes. But the democratic system only remains legitimate as long as people believe that by working hard and doing their best, they and their children have a fair shot at getting ahead and that the wealthy are prospering because they are playing by the rules. Not only by the rules, but by what is ethical and virtuous as being an American and a sense of its future that we will pass on to the next generation. We have retained these generational virtues at the family level, but somehow it has almost completely eroded at the state and national levels.

The truth is that rates of social mobility over the last 3 generations is far lower in the U.S. than many Americans believe them to be and lower than many countries that have traditionally been economically and politically rigid. It’s time for American citizens to wake up and the prophetic church to arise from it slumber and ignorance because it has failed to study and show itself approved in the affairs of mankind. Much of the prophetic church is of little to no earthly good and we wonder why the erosion of the cultural and political landscape has been so methodical. Far too many bury their heads in the sands of hyper-spiritual jargon or casually “prophesy” natural disasters upon the earth to mask our weakened state or lack of genuine understanding.

Over time, elites and interest groups are able to protect their positions of influence by gaming the current political system. They move their finances off shore to avoid taxation and thus transmit these advantages to their children through favorable access to multiple elite based institutions. Much of this became starkly visible during the financial crisis of 2008 – 2009 when it became painfully clear that there was little relationship between compensation in the financial business sector and real contributions to the economy. The goal of financial institutions and many other forms of corporate America is not contribution – it is compensating itself.

As I have stated in previous articles that “pure capitalism” without integrity, godliness, wise regulation and rule of law is essentially Darwinism reflecting survival of the fittest (the wealthy survive) and natural selection (the removal of neighborhood business for monopolized conglomerates). Today’s financial industry culture has used its considerable political muscle to dismantle healthy regulation that had been instituted in the previous decades. This is not a left – right or Christian – Non Christian statement. It’s common sense and godly wisdom, but the right-wing political and right-wing church body has rebuked wise regulation and much of what they have finger pointed as going wrong is a cause and effect of their anti-regulatory “doctrines.” The financial sector is still continuing to fend and fight off healthy oversight in the aftermath of the stated financial crisis with the blessing of a Laodicean church that would rather listen to the words of CNN or FOX to create their doctrine and platform rather than the Holy Spirit.

I have read which I tend to agree: “The power of the financial oligarchy in the U.S. is not too different from what exists in emerging market countries like Russia and Indonesia.” There is no automatic mechanism by which political systems adjust themselves to changing societal and business circumstances and technology. The story of the failure to adjust and the end result of political decay will be a certainty if not prayerfully considered and the spiritual healing for our nation(s) accepted as a priority by its citizenry…Especially the church.

There was no reason why the Sultan of Egypt in their season of testing couldn’t have adopted firearms earlier to address rising external threats of the Ottomans who ultimately conquered them. In other words, the knowledge of a potential downfall as well as the means to defeat it were clearly known. Nor was it apparent to the emperors in the Late Ming Dynasty that not taxing their citizens adequately to arm and defend the country from the Manchurians would lead to their eventual defeat. This was not naturally known but was prophetically known via ancient writings but not communicated to the political body in authority. These are just a couple examples of implementing wise political and prophetic mechanisms as the days unfold and how it will affect the U.S.

We must posses wise regulation that ensures that all people have an opportunity to be productive and successful because all are playing the same rules of law. We must politically adapt to a changing world to address external threats and correctly tax the citizenry to meet the basic expectations of social life and to properly defend from outside threats via a strong and equipped military as defined in part one. We all want a utopian world of peace. However, history does not side well with man’s conduct although he has come a long way toward becoming more civilized. Sadly, the influx of Islamic Fundamentalism is catching up within the growth of civilization to mimic the atrocities of Dark Age Catholicism. This has turned the clock back in regard to the leaps that mankind has taken toward just civilization since the Enlightenment.

The core problem in both examples was the enormous institutional inertia (immobility) existing behind the status-quot or what the common people understood. Once a society fails to confront a major crisis (such as the American financial crisis) through serious institutional reform, it is tempted to resort to hosts of short term fixes or solutions that erode and eventually corrupt its own core institutions…And even Constitution! These short term fixes involve giving in to various involved stakeholders and interest groups who represent people with wealth and power. The failure to balance the U.S. budget will lead to various and continual societal bankruptcies and further reflect the illegitimacy of the state itself. (These bankruptcies are both economic and moral based). You only need go as far as the causal effects of the French Revolution to see how our remarkably similar France’s fiscal situation turned out.

I will state that the U.S. may not be in as critical dilemma in this hour as the days were that led up to the French Revolution in France. But on the same hand, the real danger is that the U.S. situation will continue to worsen over time in the absence of some powerful force that will knock the current system off its dysfunctional and institutional equilibrium or swing. I am convinced that it must be a conscious effort from the U.S. citizenry to address elitist based political special interest and elitist based educational systems. More importantly, the U.S. must embrace the importance of God and an overarching rule or moral authority which was presented in the life and words of Christ.

A common thread links many of society’s anxiety in regard to the future from authoritarian backsliding in Russia, corruption in India, to failed states in the developing world, to entrenched interest groups in modern American politics. It reflects the difficulties in creating and maintaining affective political institutions and government that is rule bound and accountable. I am sure that this seems somewhat generic and what any middle school kid would understand but yet when considered deeply – these are truths that many intelligent people fail to understand. Why? The reason is twofold. The first is a lack of vision toward the future due to selfish tendencies at the expense of the next generation (our current and extreme debt to non-democratic countries). The second is a lack of historical and prophetic understanding which greatly affects the degree of selfishness in the later.

We need to prophetically understand why there is currently a “recession” of democracy in the world today, it’s forces, and its outcomes. The reasons for our disappointments and the failure of democracy to spread do not lie. Maybe, just maybe, the core issue is the effect of “ideas” within the current generation which is critical for political order. In other words, “ideas” either sustain, maintain, manipulate, or put to death.

It is the perceived legitimacy of the government by a populace that binds populations together and makes it willing to accept its authority. The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the collapse of one of democracy’s great competitors – Communism, which led to the rapid spread of democracy as the most accepted form of government. Note that this is true up till the present time of this message. However, we must also note that democracy is the “default” political condition to countries in political transition in the world today.

While democracy is not yet universally practiced nor accepted, in the general world opinion, democratic government has achieved the status as being taken to be generally right for mankind. Very few people around the world would openly profess to admire Vladimir Putin’s petro-hybrid nationalism in Russia, Latin American 21st century socialism, or, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Islamic republic ideology. No important international institution endorses anything but democracy as the basis for just and fair governance for the betterment of its citizens. China’s rapid growth is interesting but its exact model of authoritarian capitalism is not one that is easily described much less emulated by other developing countries. The prestige of modern liberal democracy is to the extent that today’s would be authoritarians are required to stage elections and manipulate the media from behind the scenes. These political manipulations will continue grow exponentially in the Middle East and Russia to legitimate themselves to a naïve and godless media and easily influenced world body.

Totalitarianism somewhat disappeared from the world and authoritarians pay homage to democracy by pretending to be democratic. Therefore, democracy’s failure lies less in concept than in execution. Again, democratic systems and their failures reside less in a conceptual breakdown than in the execution of the intangibles which strengthen a democracy. These intangibles point to governing bodies legislating what is godly and in the best interest of its populace as a whole. It also requires a people who are patriotic and willing to be productive, hard working citizens. Most people from around the world would strongly prefer to live in a society where their governments are accountable and effective and to deliver expectations in a timely and cost effective way. But this works both ways as a citizenry must be willing to provide a reasonable tax base and this comes through being productive rather than a continual drain on resources. Strangely, very few countries are able to produce both because institutions are weak, corrupt, purchased by special interest, or in many cases, absent altogether. Likewise, and as growing in Europe and the U.S., the citizenry is becoming more reliant upon state than being productive.

The passion of media, protestors, and democracy advocates around the world might be sufficient to bring about regime change from authoritarian or despotic based institutions to democratic government but it will not succeed without a long, costly, and difficult process of institution building rather than nation building which has been the case throughout history and which has ultimately failed. The truth is there are a great many cultures in the world who simply cannot understand the stewardship and principles of democracy due their engrained social and religious ideologies. With this said, there is a curious blindness to political institutions that has affected many people over the years. People who dream that we will somehow transcend institutional politics are either anarchists or highly visible fundamental religious entities including Christianity. This particular fantasy does not preface just the political left and right. These doctrines hinge on utopian mindsets that are not practical to everyday life nor God’s plan for humanity and the church.

Karl Marx (the father of communism) predicted: “The withering away of the state is once the proletarian had achieved power and abolished private property.” Liberal elites and media driven revolutionaries talk a good game but fail to offer the outcome of what will fill the vacuum of power once the current regime is removed (Example: Iran under the Shaw, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and now Syria). This is where contemporary prophecy has failed. The prophets of old were consulted as a pattern and wise political and governmental directional was provided. The rejection or should I say, the lack of a genuine prophetic voice and the embracing of nation building by elites has increased over the last 40 years up to the present time.

Anti-globalization groups state that economic injustice could be abolished by undermining the sovereignty of states and replacing it with a “network multitude”. Real world communism and communist regimes manifested just the opposite of what Marx predicted and envisioned. The building of massive and tyrannical state structures were required to force people to act collectively as it went against human or should I say, our created nature as the people failed to do so spontaneously. This in turn led to a generation of democracy activists in Eastern Europe to envision their version of statelessness where a mobilized civil society would take the place of traditional political parties and centralized governments. These activist were subsequently disillusioned by the realization that their societies could not be governed without political institutions. And when they experienced the nasty compromises required to build them…Much opportunity for true prosperity and social freedom had been squandered.

In the decade since the fall of communism, Eastern Europe is democratic. But is not necessarily happy with its politics or politicians. Western Europe sits on the other side of the spectrum entrenched in state or social dependency and increasing declines in productivity. This in turn has led to a godless society which places the state as their provider, beacon of hope, and definer of morality rather than God. The fantasy of statelessness and the church’s non-participation most prevalent on the right wing fringe in that the market economy will somehow make government unnecessary and irrelevant. Libertarians of various stripes have suggested not just rolling back an overgrown welfare state, but also abolishing more basic institutions like the Federal Reserve Board and the Food and Drug Administration. Look, it’s quite legitimate to argue that modern governments have grown excessively large and that they thereby limit economic growth and individual freedom. People are correct to complain about unresponsive bureaucracies, corrupt politicians, and the unprincipled nature of politics. But in the developed world, we take the existence of government so much for granted that sometimes we forget how important it is and how difficult it was to create. We must ask ourselves, what would the world look like without political institutions?

It is not only that we take democracy for granted, we also take for granted that we have state based government at all that can carry out certain daily and basic functions. As stated in part one – just try filling in a 10 mile highway stretch of pot-holes without political institutions. Just imagine all aspects of life without the value of political institutions. The goal of this second part is to paint a picture of the value and understanding that the U.S. political system was designed by Christians to be stewarded or sustained by Christian virtues. Should we continue to wonder why things are the way they are?

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FACES OF DEMOCRACY PART 1

From a spiritual vantage, is politics a cultural necessity or even an aspect of society that Christians should be greatly concerned about? Should Christians ignore earthy politics and simply focus on “heaven” or “God’s in control” or “I live in a theocracy” which I read and hear so often? Is this really God’s will and plan for the Christian that we think in such naturally generic and hyper-spiritual terms? Since “Christians” range from far left to far right, is there an opportunity and greater understanding that is being missed by the church in regard to political leadership and societal institutions? This message will be delivered in two parts. It is my hope that you would take the time to read and prayerfully consider the importance and necessity of political institutions and the role democracy plays within them.

I grew up near the Great Lakes with lot’s of snow and ice every winter. At the start of spring I could count on a city wide obstacle course of dodging large pot-holes due to the expansion and contraction of ice. It was fully expected by all citizens that these cursed pot holes would be quickly filled before a myriad of flat tires, bent wheels, and even broken axles would become a certainty. I always just assumed that it would get done and quickly! But stop for a moment to think about the evolution of human societies based on political institutions that makes this possible. Government solely reflective of what’s spiritual is of no earthly and practical good to everyday life. Earthly based government without the overarching authority and wisdom of God to clearly define morals is corrupt and ineffective. The future of democracy in the U.S. and elsewhere will hinge upon restoring accountable government, trust within its populace, moral certainties, and strong leadership to follow through for the best interest of the nation as a whole.

The recent wave of anxieties about the future of democracy is interesting whether from a natural or spiritual perspective. Many are looking for abolition of contemporary government and the growth of socialist based governments reflect this mindset. It seems that all of us take political institutions for granted and fail to understand where they came from or how they came into existence. This part of the two part article will lay a foundation. Part two will focus more on cause and effect along with prophetic insight of our future state depending on the collective choices we make as a nation.

During the 40 year period from 1970 to 2010, there was a stark upsurge in the amount of democracies around world. For instance, in 1973, 75 of the world’s 151 countries were counted as politically and culturally free according to the criteria of Freedom House. Freedom House is a NGO that compiles and produces measurements of civil and political rights for countries in all continents of the world. As early as 1973 – Spain, Portugal, and Greece were dictatorships. The USSR and its Eastern European allies reflected a strong and somewhat stable society on the surface which deceived many western academics. Of course, the mask of communism would later be removed to reveal a fractured and torn social fabric. China at this time was being brain-washed in the grip of Mao Tse Tung’s Cultural Revolution. Africa saw the consolidation of power by corrupt presidents as I spell out in my wordpress article: “The Invasion of the Political Intelligentsia.” And most of South America came under military dictatorships who’s platform was geared toward the societal poor or disenfranchised.

The following generation realized the political and societal stress cracks and dictated momentous political change with democracies and market based economies spreading throughout the world except for the Arab Middle East (The Middle East rejection minus Israel is interesting in and of itself and I have discussed this in detail in other wordpress articles) By the late 1990’s some 120 countries around the world (more than 65% of the world’s independent states) had become electoral democracies. Electoral based democracy became part of the politically accepted landscape at the beginning of the 21st century and the future seemed bright.

Underlying these political systems was a massive social transformation as well. The shift to democracy was the result of millions upon millions of predominately passive individuals around the world who organized themselves and participated in the political life of their city, society, and nation. This social mobilization was driven by a myriad of invisible factors. Greatly enhanced access to education proved people more aware or conscious of themselves and the political world around them. Information technology spread the rapid transferal of ideals, ideologies, and knowledge. Inexpensive travel allowed people to vote much easier if they didn’t like the existing or current government. Lastly, greater monetary prosperity or ease of life in general demanded better protection of their rights and personal possessions.

However, something stunted the democratic invasion and in the 1990’s a “Political Democratic Recession” occurred. One in five countries that had previously swept into the democratic revival either reverted to authoritarianism or realized a significant erosion of democratic institutions and democratic ideology. Freedom House noted that 2009 marked the 4th consecutive year in which democratic freedom had declined around the world. This was the first time that this had happened since Freedom House had begun measuring freedom within a matrix tool since 1973.

Is the world politically anxious or just expressing a poker face knowing that the cards they have been dealt by the political dealer has been stacked?

At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, political and spiritual laziness reflected many forms and manifestations. The first was the outright reversal of many democratic gains that had occurred in countries such as Russia, Venezuela, and Iran to name a few where elected leaders were busy dismantling electoral or democratic institutions by suppressing or manipulating elections, closing or buying independent media outlets, and persecuting opposition activity under the guise of “patriotism” and if you can believe it, “tolerance.” The interpretation of “tolerance” around the world will be the catalyst of the antichrist spirit in how it captures the heart and soul of democratic based societies. Remember, the enemy of Christ is a counterfeiter and not a creator. The interpretation and implementation of “tolerance” will have great prophetic and political significance as the days unfold.

True democratic freedom is more than majority voting in elections. It is a complex set of institutions that restrain and regulate the exercise of power via societal law along with a system of checks and balances which the U.S. Constitution wisely reflects. In many countries today, an official acceptance of “democratic legitimacy” is also accompanied by the systematic removal of checks and balances by unrestrained executive power and the erosion of specific societal laws which work hand in glove with democracy. In other words, the mask of “democracy” is initially promoted but quickly adulterated.

Likewise, in other regions, things have become a shade of grey where political entities are neither authoritarian nor democratic. Many successor states to the Soviet Union such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan found themselves in this political and institutional situation. There was a naturally simplistic and spiritually immature assumption at the time and fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 that virtually all countries were transitioning to democracy. Prophetic articles written at that time if read today would cause the church to blush at its spiritual naivety and ignorance. It was thought that all socialist and communist ideologies would be simply overcome through the passage of time and the power of democracy would prevail in the end.

This western mindset was deceived by the fleshly pull of “assumption” which has plagued the naturally uneducated and spiritual novice throughout history. The truth is that no authoritarian elites had any interest in implementing democratic institutions that would dilute their power. The prophetic insight points not so much that political bodies around the world become or remain democratic, but rather, their failure to deliver the basic services that citizens should expect from their governments when certain “pot holes” become a reality. The mere fact that a country has a democratic institution tells us very little about whether it is properly or badly governed. The systematic failure to deliver on the promises of democracy possesses the greatest challenge to the legitimacy of such political systems.

Many may remember the Ukraine as a good example. The Ukraine surprised the world in 2004 when thousands upon thousands of people tuned up at what is now Independence Square in Kiev to protest the exposed manipulations of the presidential election. The protest became historically known as the Orange Revolution. It was this revolution that would stage the rise of the political reformer Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko as president. However, once in power, the Orange coalition proved to be no more than a string cut from the previous political cloth bringing great disappointment to the Ukrainian people who had tremendous hopes.

The government quarreled and fought internally, failed to address the Ukraine’s chronic corruption problem, and could not rightly govern the global financial melt-down between 2008 and 2009. The end result was the election of Viktor Yanukovych in 2010 who is ironically the same man accused of stealing the 2004 election which had triggered the revolution that previously removed him!

Many other societal features plague democratic countries. It is well understood that Latin America has the highest level of economic inequality of any geography in the world. Class hierarchies often correspond to racial and ethnic differences. The rise of populist (socialist) leaders such as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia, is less a cause of instability than a symptom of economic inequality and the feeling of social exclusion felt by many who are nominally citizens due to a lack of opportunity. Persistent poverty often breeds other kinds social dysfunctions such as gangs, drug trafficking, drug usage, black market activity which undermines healthy taxation, and a general feeling of insecurity in the part of ordinary people.

In Columbia, Mexico, and El Salvador organized crime threatens the state itself and its basic political institutions. The failure to deal effectively with these problems has undermined the legitimacy of democracy in many countries around the world. Again, democracy in and of itself or as a term means little until it meets the basic needs and expectations of its citizens. India for example, has been a reasonably successful democracy since its independence from Britain in 1947. This achievement is remarkable considering its poverty, ethnic and religious diversity, and large geographical size. Nonetheless, Indian democracy is kind of like sausage making and looks less appealing the closer one gets to the process. Nearly one third of Indian legislators are under some form of local or national criminal indictment. Some for serious crimes such as murder and rape.

Indian politicians often practice an overt form of patronage politics in which votes are traded for personal favors. The fractured like state of Indian democracy makes it very hard for the government to make major decisions on such major investments or necessities such as infrastructure and utility projects. Like a Siamese twin joined at the hip in every glittering Indian city of high tech expressions, sits even larger areas of African style poverty.  The apparent chaos and corruption of democratic politics in India is in sharp contrast to the quick and efficient politics in China. Chinese rulers are not constrained by the rule of law which is required for genuine democracies or democratic accountability. If they want to build a large dam or bulldoze a neighborhood for manufacturing, or mount a rapid economic stimulus package – they can do so far more quickly than democratic India. These quick decision making capabilities can easily be reflected in democratic countries. If not, due to the current U.S. polarization as I will touch on later, we will find ourselves at a tremendous global disadvantage. Expedient decision making will be demanded by the global dynamics which are prophetically ahead.

On a livelier note, modern and global capitalism has in fact proved to be productive and wealth creating above the dreams of anybody living before 1800. In the period following the oil crisis of the 1970’s, the size of world economy quadrupled. South East Asia based on its propensity to trade for investment, saw much of its population join the developing world at this time. However, global capitalism has not found a way to avoid high levels of social volatility…Especially in the financial sectors. Global economic growth has been plagued by cyclical or periodic financial crises. In recent history, these have struck Europe in the early 1990’s, Asia in 1997 – 1998, Russia and Brazil from 1998 -1999, and Argentina in 2001. This instability culminated in the great crisis that struck the U.S. (the home of global capitalism) in 2008 – 2009.

Free markets embedded within a democracy are necessary to promote long term growth but they are not self-regulating. This is starkly apparent in regard to banks, energy, oil, and other large financial institutions. The system’s instability is a reflection of what is ultimately a political failure. That is, the failure to provide sufficient regulatory oversight at both national and international levels which is in the best interest of all citizens.

The cumulative effect of these economic crises has not been to undermine confidence in capitalist or market based economics. I believe that sane and spirit led individuals can comprehend that global market based economics has and will continue to play a role in providing a quality of life never before experienced if stewarded well and is flexible enough to adapt to the winds of change which are certain. A prime example of our political shortcomings is how the world politic would deal with an environmental or global catastrophe. Some political bodies in particular countries would be efficient and others would be inefficient due to special interest entities which would prefer to profit from any means…Even a global catastrophe. Individuals and corporate entities are in fact that shortsighted and greedy if a buck is to be made. Democracy embedded with virtuous governors submitted to the authority of a higher moral power and wisely regulated for the benefit of citizens is the only hope for global peace and prosperity in natural terms. Salvation through Christ is paramount but not the focus of this message

China, India, Brazil and other so called emerging market countries continue to perform well economically based on their willing “participation” in global capitalism. However, it will only last as long as the countries who truly reflect market based capitalism within their political systems and are willing to wisely regulate potential abuses such as special interest, unchecked spending, and the environment. Part of the goal of this message is finding the right political regulatory mechanisms to tame capitalism based volatility which has not been found in secular based programs, theories, and current political philosophies. Nor has the church or the prophetic body offered much help or insight. Again, only the combination of electoral democracy woven within the tapestry of divine morality through belief or submission to a loving God (a higher authority) who has clearly defined acceptable human conduct can true political advancement be recognized.

With this said, what should we expect in regard to democracy’s future -Especially in America? Political institutions develop slowly and painfully over time as human societies strive to organize themselves to master their environments and enhance the quality of life. On the other hand, political erosion and even death occurs when political systems fail to adjust to changing circumstances or events both locally and globally. When the surrounding environment changes and new challenges arise, there is often a dislocation or disconnect between existing institutions and present societal needs. The situation in the U.S. is that most institutions which affect our lives are now supported by legions of entrenched stakeholders who oppose any fundamental change which has compounded over the last 40 years.

American political institutions and systems are in the midst of a major test of their adaptability and survival. The American government system was built around a firm conviction that concentrated political power constituted an eminent danger to the lives and liberties of its citizens. For this reason, the U.S. Constitution was wisely designed with a wide range of checks and balances by which different parts of the government could prevent other parts from exerting tyrannical control. This system has served our country well but only because at certain crucial times and cross-roads, strong leadership and quick decision making arose and manifested. It has been historically true in the U.S. to bring political consensus in addressing national issues. Consensus was carried through not just by leadership in an of itself, but by political and market based leadership joining together in one accord for the common good of all people. Prophetic insight is pointing to the erosion of consensus as well as the eroding of political institutions and systems as originally designed in the U.S. Constitution.

We must understand that in a free society, there is no set guaranty that the U.S. political system as designed will always check tyrannical power. This is a loaded statement but true. Yet, we must allow exercise a degree of state or elected governmental authority when the need arises. The later depends on the condition of a social consensus on political ends and this has been lacking in American political life in recent years. The U.S. currently faces a series of tremendous challenges with the primary challenge being two-fold: Our continued partnership with Israel and fixing our long term financial situation (foreign debt). Over the past generation or two, Americans have spent money on themselves without paying their own way and societal bills through wise taxation. This is a situation that has been exacerbated by years of far too easy access to credit and over-spending at both the household and governmental levels. Taxation has become a curse word to those on the political and religious right. However, we (you and I) have decided to spend and wage war at a great cost and the money for these choices does not grow on trees.

Who’s responsibility is it to fix the pot-hole? Where does the money come from and who’s supposed to pay for it? You would be surprised as laid out in part two of this message.

The U.S. financial shortfalls and foreign indebtedness threatens the foundations of American political and societal power around the world. Instead, we are experiencing countries like China grow in relative financial stature. The Chinese currency to date is challenging the dollar on many global financial, economic, and institutional fronts. The good news is that these challenges can be overcome and it’s not too late. However, we don’t have a large window of time to move through and slay these giants. We must act in this hour before certain tragedy hits the next generation. This movement and crossing into new political and financial territories will be painful but necessary. The promised land is not about comfort, easy debt, and “free fast food:. It’s about quality of life, relationships, freedom of movement through fiscal responsibility, and spiritual development. Sadly, I am personally learning how painful it is but also how liberating and truly free I have become.

The U.S. political system which should facilitate the power of consensus and movement is instead contributing to the problem. The U.S. Congress has become highly polarized which is making the passage of needed legislation extremely difficult. Both major political parties in U.S politics have become much more ideologically homogenous and deliberative or constructive debate between them has deteriorated. These types of divisions are not historically unprecedented but in the past have been overcome by strong presidential leadership which has not been forthcoming.

To be continued…

ARE YOU DISGUSTED YET?

I often wonder about the vast differences in viewpoints and what is socially as well as morally acceptable between individuals. Why do some people abhor abortion and yet others find it acceptable? Why do some people embrace communal type dependency and other people embrace strict individuality? Why do those who go by the name of “Christian” possess political views that are far left and also far right? I believe that the church has fallen out of being in “one accord” for a very obvious and specific reason that I will get to after I briefly summarize a wonderful little story from the late 1800’s titled “Flatland.”

Flatland is a two dimensional world whose inhabitants are geometric figures. The protagonist is a square. One day the square is visited by a sphere from a three dimensional world called Spaceland. When a sphere visits Flatland, however, all that is visible to Flatlanders is the part of the sphere that lies in their plane. In other words, they see a circle. The square is astonished that the circle is able to grow and shrink at will by rising or sinking into the plane of Flatland. Even more astonishing is the ability to appear and disappear in a different place by leaving the plane and then reentering it.

The sphere tries to explain the concept of the third dimension to the two dimensional square. Although the square is skilled in two dimensional geometry, he doesn’t get it. He cannot understand what it means to have thickness in addition to height and breadth. Nor can he understand that the circle came from up above him where “up” does not mean from the north. The sphere presents analogies and geometrical demonstrations of how to move from one dimension to two and then from two to three, but the square still finds the idea of moving “up” out of the plane of Flatland ridiculous.

In desperation, the sphere yanks the square up out of Flatland and into the third dimension so that the square can look down on his world and see it all at once. He can see inside of all the houses and the guts (or insides) of all the inhabitants. The square recalls the experience:

“An unspeakable horror seized me and there was darkness and then a dizzy sickening sensation of sight that was not like seeing. I saw space that was not space. I was myself and not myself. When I could find voice, I shrieked aloud in agony. Either this is madness or this is hell!”

The sphere calmly replied, “It is knowledge; it is three dimensions. Open your eye once again and try to look steadily. “I looked and behold – a new world!” The square is awestruck and he prostrates himself before the sphere and becomes the sphere’s disciple. Upon the squares return to Flatland, he struggles to preach the gospel and truth of three dimensions to his fellow two dimensional creatures. It all seemed in vain. But was it really?

All of humanity is much like the square before his enlightenment. We have all encountered something that we fail to understand, yet smugly believe that we understood because we couldn’t conceive of the dimension to which we were blind. Then one day, something happens that makes no sense in our two dimensional world and we catch our first glimpse of another dimension or reality. The socio-moral, economic, environmental, and political issues today are continuing to degrade due to two dynamics which are only prophetically discerned. The first is that we cannot extend wisdom and supernatural (third dimensional) solutions if humanity and the church is content to live outside of God’s government and pattern for life. We are growing more impoverished as we continue to lose sight of this dimension (the kingdom of God) and are collapsing deeper into two dimensions (humanistic thought and humanistic government). On the other hand and at the other extreme is humanity’s “religious” efforts to create a three dimensional society; it has imposed its doctrines and dogmas upon mankind without love and personal example, which is the hallmark of religious fundamentalism. Secondly, humanity is methodically loosing the gift and value of “Disgust.”

I believe that many within the church have and are receiving the revelation of the church’s current immature posture as we have failed to earnestly pray for the very things which it abhors. What the church refuses to pray for in regard socio-political environments, will manifest as its greatest frustrations. The modern and especially western church would prefer to criticize rather than intercede. The two dimensions in the Flatland story I will prophetically present as a representation or symbolic of the flesh and soul without the Holy Spirit. The prophetic and symbolic third dimension is representative of living by the Spirit in the Feasts of Passover (Salvation), Pentecost (Empowerment of the Spirit), and Tabernacles (Intimacy with God through Christ) which defines life and morality. With that said, I will not address the first dynamic or issue as others within the prophetic community are covering this rather well; I will focus on the eroding power of “Disgust“.

The truth is that we can find divine and just morality within the embedded nature and expression of disgust within all geographies and people groups. Only when our triune being is established in Christ through the Holy Spirit can right from wrong and what is moral and immoral be clearly defined. Attempting to process life without moral absolutes is the embracing of chaos which always leads to destruction and a life of instability for our children and youth. If we study cultures and religions from around the world, we will find that food, sex, menstruation, and the handling of corpses is common within the nature of disgust or what is typically disgusting. I always thought that morality was how people treat each other. However, it runs much deeper and much more supernatural than I previously realized. Nor did I realize how much the eroding sense of disgust has set the course in motion for societal decay on multiple social and governmental levels (from the nuclear family to national political bodies). For instance, why are women in many cultures forbidden to enter religious temples or touch artifacts while they are menstruating or for a few weeks after giving birth? Is it a sexist effort to control women? Why is eating pork an abomination for Jews, Hindus, and Muslims? Is it a cultural and health related effort to avoid trichinosis? Of course not! If we discern with prophetic maturity, we will clearly see a pattern and logic. The logic clearly points to the powerful feelings and expressions of disgust and how it defines godliness from what is ungodly. God has placed this recognition within all mankind. However, it’s the systematic desensitizing of cultures through external sources such as the flesh laden media that has accelerated humanity’s ignorance and blindness of evil and its reality.

To many, disgust is mainly about animals and the products of animal bodies. Very few plants and inorganic products are what we would call “disgusting.” Disgusting things are interesting in that they are contagious by touch. Therefore, disgust seems to be somehow related to the concerns of organic (human and animal) body products, blood, excrement, washing, and touch. This is clear in the Old Testament, along with many other religious books, cultural writings, and traditions within most global societies. The goal of this message is to define how “disgust” impacts everyday life, as well as defining the days ahead from a prophetic vantage. Will “disgust” play a role in the church’s and humanity’s growth or its regression?

I’m convinced that disgust had a primary part to play for people to decide what to eat or nourish the body after the fall of man. As man’s production of tools and weapons increased, so did their consumption of meat. However, when early humans decided upon eating meat, including experimenting with the carcasses left behind by other predators, they exposed themselves to a myriad or microbes and harmful parasites. (Please attempt to recognize spiritual or prophetic parallels) Most of these are contagious in a way that plant toxins are not. For instance, if a poisonous berry were to brush up against your baked potato, it wouldn’t make the potato harmful or disgusting. But what if just the antenna of cockroach brushed up against your baked potato?

The first attribute of disgust is that it is designed by the Lord as a guardian of the mouth. It gives an advantage to those who choose to go beyond the sensory (or even spiritual) limitations of a potential edible object such as, “Does it smell good?” Likewise, it triggers thought patterns such as, “Where did that come from and what did it touch?” Species that routinely feed or touch corpses, excrement, or refuse piles such as rats, vultures, buzzards, flies, maggots, and cockroaches trigger disgust in us. Simply put, we won’t eat these species although they are edible and anything that they have touched becomes contaminated. Humans are also disgusted by most of the body products of other humans — particularly excrement, blood, and respiratory mucus which may transmit diseases to other humans. Disgust distinguishes desire and physical hunger; it also motivates purifying behaviors such as washing, bathing, and vomiting if tempted or indulged. Is there a spiritual parallel?

Disgust doesn’t guard just the mouth. It also guards the body when it is recognized and revealed by the Spirit as the temple or habitation of its Creator. Disgust also plays a role in sexuality, similar to food selection, by guiding people to their socially acceptable or healthy partners as well as healthy sexual acts. Again, disgust turns off fleshly based desire and motivates fleshly separation through the means of natural cleansing through spiritual revelation which bares witness to our spirit-man.

Disgust is also stimulated or gives us a unnerving feeling when we see people with skin lesions, deformities, amputations, extreme obesity or anorexic bodies, and other violations of the culturally ideal outer envelope of the human body. Obviously, it is the exterior expression that matters if we’re to be honest with ourselves. Cancer of a lung inside the body or a missing kidney is not disgusting. But a tumor on the face or even a missing finger is. This expansion from guardian of the mouth to guardian of the body (temple) makes sense from a purely natural point of view. However, the spiritual understanding and implications going forward for the church are paramount. The recognition of disgust and what is truly disgusting must be clear and concise if the Body of Christ is to impart health to a world racked with illness and pain.

We must understand that humans which lived and moved on the ground, rather than trees as most evolutionary text books erroneously point out, were more susceptible to the ravages of microbes or viruses and parasites which spread by physical contact. Disgust instills a sense to be careful about who or what we come in “contact with” or choose to “touch.“ This is clearly laid out in scripture as we are not to become unequally yoked. But the most fascinating aspect about disgust is that it is recruited to support so many of the norms, rituals and beliefs that cultures use to define themselves. For example, many cultures draw a sharp line between humans and animals. This inner sense or awareness of humanity’s eternal nature or longing points to God’s specific creation of man in His image and our unique place in the universe.

The human body and Body of Christ in scripture is referred to as a “Temple” which houses or contains what is divine, or of the Spirit. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you which you have from God and that you are not your own. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20). The Spirit of God within us has provided us a guardian of what we ingest by mouth which points to what is both naturally and spiritually ingested. The Spirit of God is also guardian over the body in general and is representative as the church founded in Christ Jesus. Morality is defined and set in stone within the nature and power of disgust, which our spirit-man bares witness with the Spirit of God in defining the government of kingdom life.

Imagine visiting a town where people wear no clothes, never bathe, have sex doggy style in public in front of others humans, defecate openly, and eat raw meat directly off the carcass. The truth is that all people, whether they were Christians, heretics, agnostics, atheists, or everything in between, would naturally feel degraded or brought low (earthly) in a very real and substantial measure. We cannot ignore this feeling and it’s there for a reason! Most sane people would feel disgust at this behavior stemming from other human beings which verifies our uniqueness in God’s image. We would instantly and intimately know that there was something very wrong about these people and their behaviors.

The body or temple can get dirty by what is received internally, accepted externally, and what we have been desensitized or numbed to embrace as socially unacceptable. The point of this message is that the internal and external lines (spiritually and naturally) are no longer defined, but have become obscure and even unrecognizable within much of mankind as media and social desensitizing has eroded the instant recognition of disgust. As stated earlier, disgust is the guardian of the temple, which is our natural body and soul; it is confirmed within our spirit by the Spirit of God when we are in communion and one accord in Christ. In this soulish and imaginary town that I painted which humans more resembles animals, the guardians have been killed and the temples are overgrown with the tares of compromise. Communion in Christ is nonexistent in a godless society and man has become a god unto himself continually seeking soulish and selfish pleasures with no regard what another may think. These cultural evolutions toward evil represent Sodom and Magog and the great falling away in Scripture and is happening before our eyes. Although we should pray for and expect a great revival of souls…The Bible does not confirm this. However, a great falling away is confirmed and our posture should be of drawing souls unto eternal life by the expression of morals and the defining of disgust in our lives. Our garment was never meant to be a shade of grey.

The Lord is not concerned with the old adage, “cleanliness is next to godliness,” in regard to our physical bodies. He is concerned about the internal cleanliness of our hearts and the outward expression of that cleanliness. However, if we do not perceive the “third dimension” as the square did upon visiting Spaceland (or should we say, the spiritual or kingdom reality), then disgust fails to reflect the true revelation of Jacob’s Ladder as it is rooted in the Earth by our biological constraints, but leads people toward heaven to a place that is “up!”

I wholeheartedly believe that much of the decay that we see in cultures, societies, and governmental institutions today around the world is advanced and spread by the decline or erosion in what we recognize as disgusting. Without a prophetic understanding in regard to the power of disgust, it will be difficult to proclaim and intercede with accuracy the events and political/societal decisions which are set to unfold. Nothing will truly bring lasting change or repentance on both a corporate and personal level unless the full degree of disgust has taken root in the consciousness of mankind and the church.

We are abhorred at the expressions of abortion, prostitution, slavery, child pornography, socialist agendas, extractive political and economic institutions, persecution of Israel, and the list goes on and on. However, until nuclear families, local societies, states, and national governments become disgusted with the paths we have chosen, we are dancing with the evil and the spirit which is the antithesis of Christ.