Tag Archives: Conscience

Amen for the Truth Tellers

Several years ago I had the opportunity to meet Ben Swann at an event he spoke at in Idaho. I’m linking the wiki page on him, because his career is incredibly noteworthy, though I am both amused and annoyed at their portrayal of him as a conspiracy theorist – simply because he questions official narratives. But, isn’t it actually amazing to have independent reporters that are not tooting the horn of mass media (Don’t look behind the curtain)! I am a huge fan of this guy, and I have been since he came on the radar of many friends and I back in 2012. This was when his segment; Reality Check, started questioning some of the shady goings on at county Republican conventions across the country, and doing honest reporting on the Ron Paul Campaign. Many believe that this was the time in Ben’s personal journal where he began to ‘go down the rabbit hole,’ as it were.

Ben branched out on his own, through the help of crowd sourcing, with a project called Truth in Media. Then, for a year, he disappeared. There was various speculation about what had happened to him, and what forces may have come against him to shut up his search for truth. Fortunately for all of us who value journalistic integrity, Dash crypto currency came along as a financial backer for Truth in Media, so that Ben could return to his great investigative journalism without the pressure of connected people trying to end his career.

Okay, so most of the people who have thus far read this blog, already know this story. They are, generally speaking, folks who have listened to Ben Swann. Other friends of mine, however, and many random people this blog will (hopefully, eventually) reach, might not have ever heard of Ben before. And, I think Ben is a guy worth knowing about, and listening to. He put a lot on the line to do some of the investigative pieces he has done while working with local affiliates.

I don’t remember a lot of Ben’s speech from the dinner I attended in Idaho, because that was more than five years ago. But, I do remember that he mentioned a rather well known verse from the book of Esther;

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14 (NKJV)

This reminds me that life is going to happen, no matter what choices we make. Pain and suffering come to us all, but will we rise above that and do something that could potentially save/help/enlighten others. I think Ben stuck to the point that you never really know but that you may have been put here for a reason. In fairness, it seems to me that he has made sacrifices in order to bring the truth to others – and that he continues to do so. He could have chosen to stay happy with his local affiliate, and cave to the pressure put upon him. But, (and this is what encourages me) he didn’t. And that, my friends, is worth a shout-out, a highlight, a thank you. Thanks for speaking the truth, Ben Swann.

 

Action Speaks Louder Than Words

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In my last couple of blog entries, I mentioned, or at least alluded to the power and/or responsibility of the individual. I think a lot about that these days, and about what might be asked of me.

Of late I’ve re-evaluated decisions I’ve made over the past few months.  A couple of things stood out. Oh, they would probably be considered really small to anyone else, but they impacted me because those were the times when I chose to disregard the quiet voice of my conscience. And, there were consequences, even if no one felt them but me.

Being a person of faith, I directly equate that little voice with the divine. Regardless of what you believe, however, we all have that voice inside, and sometimes it is just a whisper.  Following it sometimes means not doing something I want in the moment, or, potentially having to do something I find uncomfortable. In any case, let’s face it, we all give it the cold shoulder sometimes. On the aforementioned occasions, that is just what I did. I’ve been here before, of course, and I’ve learned that once I ignore my conscience, it becomes easier to do it every time thereafter, until sometimes, in certain areas, I have completely blocked it out.

I’ve been asking myself how this might affect me in the long run, when it comes to the really tough decisions.

Last week there was this interview with retired army General Wesley Clark, in which he showed support for internment camps for radicalized Americans. This certainly isn’t the first time the topic has arisen of late, the way having been paved by the 2012 NDAA. Increasingly, those who fail to follow the mainstream, supporters of limited government, Constitutionalists, among others, are being labeled as radical. So you have to ask yourself, who is going to decide what radicalized means, exactly?

This is only an example of what I’m talking about, but I know a lot of people who fall under these categories. So what happens when the government comes nosing around about people – even ones I don’t like? Do I keep writing when writing gets you in trouble? Or, with the increasing problem of police brutality, what happens if I witness something? Will I stand there? Would I put myself on the line? It’s easy to say yes, not having faced such things. But, have I conditioned myself to only do the things that I don’t find uncomfortable? Or, Have I conditioned myself to do what is right, even the little things, regardless of personal cost.

I try to remind myself that the things I do when no one is looking, matter. Not because I care what most people think, but because I am always conditioning my own self to be something. The question is what? Who do I want to be, and how do I make that a reality, rather than just words on a page? Words may have power, but actions are where the rubber meets the road.

 

The Blind Lead The Blind

Earlier I was involved in a conversation regarding a very large church here in Washington. I won’t go into the details. I’m sure it’s all over the Internet and if you are interested you can certainly seek it out. I feel nothing but grief for everyone involved and can’t offer anything constructive to that conversation, only my sincere wishes that there is resolution and healing.

However, the situation there, and the subsequent conversation with my friends, did bring up a very important issue that I think about fairly often, and which concerns me deeply. I think it can best be summed up by the word submission.

This is a word that often gets me into trouble.

On the one hand, most of the people I align with politically, are also wary of – if not outright hostile towards – the very concept. On the other hand, most of the people I associate with in a church setting, support it fervently, and seemingly without skepticism. Note that I did say *most*. I am aware that I’m generalizing a bit here, and that not quite everyone lands so firmly on one side or the other.

I personally understand the idea of submission in a positive, if generally difficult light. A child submits to a parent because there are rules that help us grow. One spouse submits to the other because we can’t always agree 100% of the time, and somebody has to lay their preference down (also true in friendship). And, we submit to leadership when we have entered into a beneficial relationship that we have come to learn from. In each case there is often struggle, and that my friends, is healthy. The meaningful issue is overcoming the struggle, and making a decision to submit; for the sake of the relationship, or in order to learn and grow.

You’ll notice that nowhere on my list does any kind of political figurehead appear. Neither, does any person without whom we have a relationship. And yes, I consider myself to have a relationship with God, so he would land on my list. Whether he lands on yours or not is your prerogative.

So here’s the problem…

I firmly believe that the church at large has damaged the concept it is so passionate about. It makes sense really. Regardless of arena, people are fallible, act wrongly, and will abuse power. The thing is, the church is supposed to be leading people in compassion, grace, humility, love, and freedom. They are supposed to be concerned with teaching people how to walk with and communicate with God for themselves. That means using the heart and mind that God gave YOU, people! Without that, Luther pretty much hung his thesis for nothing, and why bother continuing to print bibles for personal use?

Unfortunately, just like any bully anywhere, we sometimes brow beat people into going our way. I know, it’s a human failing, but one to which we should pay much more attention in ourselves. Often, we do this with the best intentions, without even meaning to. We do it by being sure that we know what is best for people, and expecting them to go along. I also think we do it out of fear. If we can just help people stay within right boundaries, we can somehow keep them from stumbling and crashing on their faces, which we are often afraid is going to happen in that big bad world out there.

When we raise people up and train them to have a posture of submission, not before God, but to man, regardless of relationship, and promote the idea that leadership should generally not be questioned (as they are ordained by God), we are telling people that leaders know better than them, and that they should trust the conscience (and divine witness) of their leaders, more than they trust their own.

So dangerous.

When combined with the overly fervent, unwaveringly patriotic mentality of most conservative churches, you are just asking for disaster. We have too many unquestioning idealists, who don’t want to be critical of other believers – because that’s not very spiritual of us. Of course George W. Bush could do no wrong. Heellloo?! He loves Jesus, don’t you know? What do you mean the Patriot Act was bad? Safety, people! And God, after all, ordained him to be president. Of course, God ordained Obama too, but apparently he does not love Jesus, so it’s far more acceptable to question his activities. Which, of course just means we can blame any ills on Obama, when really the problem is so much deeper.

It is impossible to fix a problem without the truth. The Bible exhorts us to see deeper truths. Ron Paul, quoting George Orwell, has said many times that “truth is treason in the empire of lies.” I find this so sadly the truth in the church today. It grieves me, deeply. We need to take back the idea of godly submission, and stop using it to train people to be lead by the nose.

In America, we snub our noses at history. We are modern and smarter than those who have gone before. We certainly cannot have been misled, and especially not by people we like. We do not conceive that we could have been those German citizens, in their church next to the railroad, singing louder as the trains went by. The truth is, we are those people. Flawed humanity. My sincere hope is that the American church at large will see the truth – very soon – and will start to lead the way by teaching people what freedom really looks like. Learning when it is appropriate to submit, and being skeptical of doing so too easily, is going to be a very important step.