Tag Archives: Ted Cruz

Save us from the serious authoritarian, Lord!

Gov. Whitmer of Michigan went to Kalamazoo County last week to survey damage from the tornadoes that destroyed seventeen mobile homes and damaged 173 more. The state had just passed a law to require mobile homes to be anchored in a sturdier way, since storms have become more severe. “It’s undeniable,” the governor said. “We’re seeing intense impacts from climate change….We’ve got to continue to evolve…(We need to) think about how do we protect one another and combat these impacts.”

Meanwhile, in neighboring Wisconsin, their senator, Ron Johnson, recently entered the World Climate Declaration into a Senate committee record. That statement says there is no climate emergency and aspects of climate change are actually beneficial. You can read the rebuttal here from a couple of years ago. Some people trace the disinformation in the declaration to oil companies (like the Koch conglomerate), which would not be surprising.

I don’t want to get into that argument, even though a lot of us are amused by endless wrangling. I just bring it up to ponder what is really happening these days. I’m still wondering if I am up to the demands of 2024. For instance, my church is about ready to enter their annual summer slowdown. It’s a thing. I have my own summer festivities lined up, too. My clients often take much of the summer off from their psychotherapy! Yet I keep getting info, like it or not, that something important is brewing. You can see it underneath Gretchen Whitmer fighting someone for the authority to name the impact of unusual tornados. Maybe we are too sleepy.

Are people really trying to take over the country sans election?

One of my friends sent me a podcast from the Meidas Touch Network, which three brothers started during the pandemic and now has billions of views on YouTube. It was an interview with Steven Hassan, a psychotherapist who has dedicated his career to undermining the many ways people are lured into cults. He, himself, was a member of the Unification Church (the Moonies) for 27 months. He was proselytized when he was getting a poetry degree in college. I would not recommend the podcast to you, just because I don’t trust garage-born internet sensations (although Mr. Beast keeps trying to win my favor). But it did bring up some things I had to look into.

As a result of looking, I would recommend we all have an educated opinion about what is happening in the country! I do not believe democracy will save the world, even if it has done a great job since World War 2. And capitalism is really kind of degenerative. But I do think the authoritarian types who are taking over governments, school boards and condo associations (and maybe your Mother’s Day celebration) are even less likely to save the world, even though they are saying they are going to do just that.

For instance, Trump did say he was going to save America when the eclipse came around:

I don’t think Trump really believes much of anything except Trump. But there are many people who seriously believe in some version of an ascendant, anti-democratic philosophy, which they think Trump can help put into action. They are better organized and funded all the time. You can see their influence in almost every discussion we have these days at almost every level of society.

For example, I just want highlight two authoritarian movements which are publicly and vocally calling people to join their intention to conquer the world for Jesus. Seriously.


Steven Hassan was on the podcast because he had firsthand experience of how someone can be lured into an authoritarian organization and become a foot soldier for the cause. He followed Sung Myung Moon, who presented himself as the second coming of Jesus; that’s the unifying “truth” of the Unification Church.

Sean Moon with his “rod of iron”  and bullet crown in Rolling Stone (Click pic for article)

I talked about “Moonies” the other night at a dinner party with twentysomethings and one of them leaned over to an older person to ask, ”What is a Moony?” I honestly had not thought of them much, either, until a few years ago when I found out they had a church/compound not far from my former house in the Poconos. After Father Moon died, his wife and sons had a fallout (sounds a bit like Sunni and Shia and every other power struggle after the founder is gone).

The sons claimed leadership and moved headquarters to Pennsylvania. Sean Moon and his wife founded the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary near Newfoundland. The Pocono Herald heard about it and voiced the neighbors’ concerns. The church recently bought properties in central Texas and eastern Tennessee for retreat, self-sufficient agriculture and firearm training.

Key scriptures for them include Psalm 2:8-9

Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession, You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.

They think this is their mandate to bring the world under their rule. It is all on their website. Part of their statement of belief includes a “constitution” for the unification of humankind under God’s law. Here is the prologue:


In the beginning of human history in the Garden of Eden, God’s original world of freedom, liberty, conscience, and relationship with God was to be established. It was to be a world where the powerful archangels were to be the servants of the children of God. However, due to the Fall, Eve committed adultery with the Archangel and tempted Adam into sinning against God. Thus, the world of Satan’s domination over mankind was established. History has shown centralized powers, either governmental, religious or financial, use artificial structures and power to rule over mankind, sometimes taking freedoms gradually and sometimes eliminating them by brute force. God’s Kingdom on Earth must be established where the artificial structures of power, representing Satan, shall never again rule over mankind and humanity.

The Constitution of the United States of Cheon Il Guk is not an ecclesiastical Constitution of a church or religious body, but is a Constitution for an actual, sovereign nation which will be the literal culmination of God’s Providence. Read it at http://www.sanctuary-pa.org/constitution.

These are not the only people working at this. But they are the ones in your back yard, Philadelphia.


The Speaker of the House is often called a “Christian nationalist” (here by another member of Congress). No one wants to be called that, since it would not help the cause. But the title has fit a number of politicians for decades. Ted Cruz is at the top of the list. Cruz’ father was a leader in the “Dominionist” movement that got going in the 1960’s and 70’s with R.J. Rushdoony. Here is a Christian Century article that tells you all about it. If you want to hear about the more radical, Pentecostal version, Salon wrote about it extensively in February.

There are many people who are “apostles” of this new movement, which is determined to take the reins of U.S. (and world) government for Jesus. Paula White was praying for Trump to succeed on January 6. Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, is often seen as working towards Texas implementing a new order along the line of Dominionist principles.

Hurches in Israel funding a mobile ICU. Being grafted on to Israel lays the foundation for Christ’s return, he teaches.

Larry Hurch and New Beginnings Church in Bedford, Texas (between Dallas and Forth Worth, of course) is a well-known pastor who is also leading the charge. In the church’s statement of beliefs they teach:

We believe through the redemptive work of our Lord, our enemy, satan, is a defeated foe. That by the power of the 7 places Jesus shed His blood every sin can be forgiven, every generational curse can be broken and every covenant blessing can be restored.

The “power of the 7” refers to Seven Mountains Dominionism, also known as the Seven Mountains Mandate or 7MM. It has become a more prevalent manifestation of “Kingdom Now” theology since the early 2010’s. The mandate proposes there are seven “mountains” that Christians must control to establish a global Christian theocracy and prepare the world for Jesus’ return: government, education, media, arts and entertainment, religion, family, and business. The mandate is based, among other things, on two Bible passages:

In the last days / the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established / as the highest of the mountains; / it will be exalted above the hills, / and all nations will stream to it. see Isaiah 2:2-3

The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come. This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.  — see Revelation 17:1–18

There may be a dominionist constitution out there. I have not seen it yet. But there is no doubt the growing movement wants to “establish God’s kingdom” now. And they don’t mean “in your heart.” A think tank called The American Vision is one of the organizations which would be delighted to provide you with a “restorationist” worldview. Their website can tell you a lot, also this article from the Texas Observer about them.

What does one do?

In the podcast, Steven Hassan repeated the common image, “Cancer cells are selfish. They will kill their host.” The authoritarian movements seem cancerous to me. The host is the wildly successful United States and its very fruitful church. The reformation of Christian theology into a lust for power has always been cancerous, if common. It is a wonder the church survives at all. It may not survive here in the near future if we take the year off.

It is hard to say how many of these movements are springing up. There is a zeitgeist you can probably feel when you are in a meeting and you are not saying anything because you don’t want to confront some potentially violent bully. I think we need to have an opinion about this zietgeist. We need to say something.

I think I had better be more serious about standing up to bullies and out-organizing them when it comes to building community. Just this week a member of our condo association board was called a “predator” by a woman who was threatened by him when they were arguing about an association matter. He threatened to bring a lawsuit if she did not offer a public retraction on the bulletin boards of our complex, doubling down on the bullying. Sound familiar? It is a trickle-down leadership style. I’m not sure of all I can do about it, but I will definitely dare to ask God what might be my next steps.

In all of this, I think we can be at rest without flaking out (do we still say that?). Hope is a state of being, not just an outcome. Peace is trusting in God, not just in what comes after we’ve solved all the problems. Love is the ground of reality, the engine of each day, not just a reward for being good or performing well. We’re not meant to live off the crumbs falling from the owner’s plate or by whatever we can seize for ourselves, we’re already a cookie.

Impending doom? Time to shine.

It is a great day to be a young church….

philadelphia, philly, south jersey, church, churches, non-denominational, Christian, Jesus, St. Benedict, non-denominational, radical faith…And it is not the first time. I hope I won’t lose you in the third sentence, here; but let me remind you of our encouraging ancestor, Benedict. His era might have been even more challenging than ours.

Benedict of Nursia’s society is falling apart in the 500s after the Roman Empire has finally disintegrated. Warlords are fighting for territory in Italy. Before he dies, the Byzantine emperor from the east, Justinian, will increase the violence even more when he attacks Italy as part of his grandiose and short-lived plan to reunite the empire. Local systems are overburdened. There is recession. There are major outbreaks of the bubonic plague. Back on March 21 (Benedict Day), I sat with him and God and prayed, “This all sounds very familiar.” We’re experiencing the same damned things he did.

Benedict did not just lament, lash out, or defensively react in some other way. He built something from faith. He saw that there were people, like him, who wanted to follow God. They banded together and created the basis of European monasticism: what became the Benedictine Order. It was a simple idea: we’ll seek God together in community, set a rhythm of work and prayer, be self-sustaining and make a safe place for the beauty and healing of Jesus to flourish. The Rule of St. Benedict has been guiding people ever since.

Our world seems like it is falling apart from the inside and out. People are tempted to escape into vidiocy or drugs, and are lured into enslavement by corporations or the military because they don’t know where to turn. Just list the large problems that everyone is talking about and it seems like any one of them could run us over:

  • The economic system is rigged for the rich.
  • The cities are rapidly gentrifying with rich, childless people.
  • The government and educational institutions indoctrinate people with hypermodern philosophy.
  • Debt seems to drag down every young person, especially if they go to college.
  • More technological connecting is resulting in less human connecting.
  • Men, especially, are indoctrinated for sex by porn.
  • Global warming is changing everything.

But just like in the time of St. Benedict, it is a great time to be a young church. In every era of the passing-away world, Jesus manages to find people with an eye on the age to come. Jesus followers are immensely creative at being the presence of the future. As an historian of that fact, I’d say that the worse things get, the better some Christians will get. Would you say things are deteriorating? Then it must be time to shine.

We can react to the disasters around us with judgment and fear, or we can create something wonderful to make a safe place for the truth and love of Jesus — a place for beauty, for healing, and for creative kingdom of God building. We are trying to do that. Working together with Jesus will build something beautiful right where it is most needed.

We have a lot of great people. Can they stay together and work together? We have a great workable paradigm. Will we work it and evolve it or let it calcify?

philadelphia, philly, south jersey, church, churches, non-denominational, Christian, Jesus, St. Benedict, non-denominational, radical faithPlus, we have a great niche. I don’t mean we have the “latest thing” to sell to people who have everything. Our niche is “next” — what’s “new” when all the stuff you thought was newer and greater is worn out (again). I keep finding out about just what we’ve got when I am around other Christians who are still fighting the battles of yesterday, or who have to watch their words all the time lest they offend the powers that dominate them. Thank God we are not stuck looking for Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders to save us, as if either of them can or would! We have the Way of Jesus to keep discovering and completing.

We have a wonderful opportunity. And we are about ready to begin mapping it. Who knew Philly would transform and repopulate, and our whole region (the whole megalopolis!) would be the center of development? We find ourselves, like Benedict, at the center of the empire as it falls apart into something new. He and his friends made such a creative and courageous stand for Jesus in the face of what was happening that people are still inspired by it and even following his rule! If unexpected barbarians find me, I hope they find me doing something like that!

philadelphia, philly, south jersey, church, churches, non-denominational, Christian, Jesus, St. Benedict, non-denominational, radical faithIt seems like everyone and everything around us is getting shaken up in the Yahtzee cup of who-knows-what. When we find out what has been rolled, will we trust God? Even more, will we get into God’s game and perfect unshakeability? I think we will.

[Original post appeared last week at circleofhope.net/blog]