"And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies." - Num. 10:9
BACKING OUT OF BABYLON
Part 1, of a Series
In This Issue:
THE JESUS REVOLUTION
LOST SENSE OF COMMUNITY
TECHOLOGY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
THE JESUS REVOLUTION
Back in the 60’s my wife and I were living in Chicago, Illinois, going through the routines that most other denizens were going through, working 9 to 5. It was a real rat race.
My oldest son was due to start school in a matter of months and the one he would have attended, was about two blocks from where we lived. But certain enlightened social experimenters had come up with a brilliant idea.
Why not ship children from the north side of Chicago down to the south side and bring up some of the children from down there, to the north side, by bus.
When I approached a certain city councilman with my questions about whose children would be choosen for this experiment, I was told in no uncertain terms, that my wife and I would not have any say in the matter.
Well, as it turned out, this just happened to be the one last straw that would break the camel’s back. I had been working three jobs, sometimes coming home at 10 o clock at night, which didn’t leave me much time to spend with my wife and two sons.
For awhile, my wife also found it necessary to work, but it killed us when we were forced to listen to the heart breaking cries of our youngest son, when we attempted to leave him with a babysitter.
The companies that I worked for, had retained me to do collection and repossession work that others could not or would not do - everything from repossessing cars and replevining furniture, stereos, carpets, etc.
It certainly gave me no joy to walk into a home and unplug the TV, while children were watching it and walk out the door with it. No, it was not easy work, especially when someone tries to prevent you from driving away with their car or chases you with a gun (as happened on a couple of occasions).
Sometime, when a company began thinking about replevining furniture from a home, I would not be able to get past the front door, to do a quick inspection.
But the company wanted to know what condition the stuff was in, before they would apply for a Writ of Replevin and get the sheriff involved.
So, I sometimes found it necessary to come back when the ‘debtor’ was gone and peek in the windows. On one occasions, a police car came around the corner, just as I was leaning over, looking through a window.
Naturally, they arrested me for disturbing the peace and my employer was forced to come down and bail me out of the hooskow. It was tough trying to walk a ‘spiritual path’ and at the same time work for the ‘company store’.
Eventually, my wife and I decided to sell everything and ‘go west’. We didn’t know where we were going but we knew that there had to be a better way.
What we did not know at the time, was that many other young people were thinking the same way.
Some began their journey of breaking away from their parent’s lifestyle, by attending ‘rock concerts’, where they often as not, were introduced to mind altering substances such as LSD or marijuana.
Some bought Volkswagen buses and headed out across the prairie, not knowing where they were would end up. But they were told by the radio, "If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair."
In our westward migration, my wife and I eventually wound up on a 36,000 acre ranch in Seeley Lake, Montana, where I got a job at the local sawmill.
It didn’t pay much but we were able to get by comfortably. The ranch, due to some unfortunate circumstances had wound up in bankruptcy and someone (or a family) was needed to watch over the place and keep the ‘hippies’ out.
So, that’s how we ended up living on the beautiful Double-Arrow Ranch.
Well, my wife couldn’t help herself. Whenever a Volkswagen van, full of young people would pull up in front of the lodge, the first thing out of her mouth would be, "Have you had lunch?".
After a few hours, she might be heard to ask, "Where are you folks going to spend the night?"
As you might have guessed, we usually found ourselves inviting them in for the night. It was while living there, that I began to publish a pitiful rag of a newsletter, which grew into a glossy magazine called THE STANDARD.
It had no subscription fee and was funded strictly by the donations of our readers.
For many of those young people this was a heady time, when they found themselves care-free, foot-loose - wearing sandals, blue jeans and strumming their guitars.
They developed friendships and often as not, experimented with communal living. And some of these young people even found religion, but it was not the religion of their parents.
Their mentors, who introduced them to the ‘Jesus Revolution’ often had long hair, tattoos, a banjo and a Bible. They conducted their gatherings around campfires, in bucolic settings and old cafes. Everyone was loved and accepted.
Often as not their experience with the ‘Jesus Revolution’ left many of them with a quiet disdain and scorn for their parent’s Christianity - pew-sitting, meet-you-at-the-church-
door-after-Sunday - service Christianity, which most evangelical Christians are familiar with.
To most of the veterans of the ‘Jesus Revolution’, this type of Christianity was nothing more than a pathetic, pitiful shadow of the kind of community they had experienced during the ‘revolution’.
Many churches, seeing the popularity of the ‘Jesus Revolution’, began imitating the informality of the movement.
Pastors moved out from behind their pulpits, took their ties off, adopted the attire (and in many instances, the long hair) of the ‘revolution’ and began to preach from a stool and to mingle with the audience as they spoke.
They started house-groups (after, of course, carefully inserting their "own people" into leadership roles in them, and carefully orchestrating their discussion.)
Some churches even encouraged religious ‘rock bands’ and they threw away their hymnals and began using overhead graphic projectors instead.!!!
Others started dance troupes and began encouraging ‘congregational dancing’.
Almost all the Establishment Churches opened themselves up to the "charismatic gifts" (even the Catholics and Episcopalians), and if they didn’t necessarily encourage them, they at least tolerated them.
Even the Baptists relaxed their stand against them. But for the most part, it was nothing more than a facade - a deceit; a mask; a camouflage.
LOST SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Most of us, whether consciously or unconsciously, possess a deep yearning for a real sense of ‘belonging’.
Evangelical Christians derive great pleasure from attending Bible Conferences, sometimes at ‘Bible camps’ where they make life-long friends. Some experience this on their college campus.
As for the ‘flower children’, try as they might, to rid themselves of such unbecoming sentiments, the lingering nature of these feelings had created in many of them a never-ending and morose melancholy - a wistful longing for the "purpose in life" and the friendships that they had experienced so many years ago - and all this despite the fact that, in the end, the revolution had ravaged and wasted most of them, leaving countless numbers of them thrown up on a myriad of lonely beaches.
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting communities (notice I did not say ‘communes’) that were more of less self-sufficient.
Some have been based on agrarian experiments; some were urban shared housing co-ops. etc. Some were religious and had strong leaders, others were secular and had almost no government (and usually broke up after a couple years or so).
Also, in my travels, this student has run across groups of Christians, who refuse to build ‘church’ buildings.
Instead, they meet in homes and fields and occasionally rented halls. This is a practice they have known and practiced since long before
the ‘hippie era’.
Usually such groups are not ‘communal’ but may be ‘sacramental’ and are marked by strong authority or at least, the leaders are respected enough, so that if they warn one of their members against certain types of activity, they will be obeyed implicitly.
It is because of this strong discipline, that Fundamentalists and Evangelicals like to label such groups as ‘cults’ or ‘sects’.
One of the things I admire most in those groups, is that they do not seek state approval or recognition.
They refuse to reveal to the I.R.S. who their ‘pastors’ are or how much money they receive in tithes and offerings. The I.R.S. has been able to exert a measure of control over churches that seek 501c3 tax exempt status.
To maintain their IRS 501c3 tax exemption, churches are required to refrain from endorsing political candidates, and from dabbling in politics.
Therefore, I believe, to obey God's command to "come out from her" would require that we not support churches that have incorporated themselves under the 501c3 status.
In this series of articles entitled ‘BACKING OUT OF BABYLON’, I hope to share with my readers, some of the fascinating possibilities for those wishing to pursue ‘community building’.
I also intend to provide some personal warnings about assaults that will be made by the emerging cadre of ‘thought police’ being employed by Big Brother.
For those seeking to walk the true Christian path, some of these warnings may prove timely.
To begin, let’s take a look at some research done by Susan Bryce, an investigative journalist and researcher.
TECHOLOGY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
by Susan Bryce
Excerpted from NEW DAWN MAGAZINE
The gloomy view of our watery globe grows to haunt us every night as we soak up blood and battles via the cathode ray tube. Our planet is slowly choking to death, we are told, as concerned scientists warn of emerging new diseases and viruses that are resistant to medical treatment.
Plans to put nuclear missiles into space are underway and the entire nuclear arsenal remains on full alert. Our fragile planet is only a push button away from Armageddon.
The possibility of technological disaster in the form of Y2K made us increasingly aware of our dependence upon, and subservience to, the industrial and scientific components of modern technology. If the system breaks down the consequences could be very painful.
Dangerous technologies mixed with arrogant bureaucracies are one of the most destructive ingredients threatening planetary security today.
But as we enter the 21st century, there is an increasing use of technologies and a growing awareness of principles, which promote self sufficiency and self responsibility, rather than self destruction and self indulgence.
Community connections are being renewed, alternative avenues for political and social action are emerging. Sustainable agriculture, earth friendly architecture, cleaner methods of transportation and financial services and money systems which rely less on electronic processes are providing the impetus for positive change.
An inspiring story for the 21st century comes from Columbia, where for 25 years, 200 people have been running the Gaviotas community.
Founder of Gaviotas, Paolo Lugari, established the community on the premise that the only deserts, are deserts of imagination. Gaviotas is located in the middle of a wasteland.
At Gaviotas, solar technology runs everything, including lights, phones, water pumps and heaters.
The children’s seesaw is used to draw water from the well. The village grows its own food, and cooks it using methane from cow manure. The town hospital is "air conditioned" using an ancient Egyptian technique.
Power generators using renewable energy, power the water purifiers, and the community even has solar-powered refrigeration that operates on ammonia instead of freon.
Gaviotas is truly inspiring as a village to reinvent the world. Housing, health care, and food are free.
Everyone earns the same above-minimum wage salary. With no poverty, families remain a manageable size and there is no crime, hence no police.
There is no need for laws or written rules. In Gaviotas, there are just codes of common sense.
With the planting of over a million Honduras pine trees, which thrive in poor soil conditions, the community has even managed to re-establish an ancient rain forest, and a thriving renewable industry to go with it.
The continuing viability of Gaviotas would be a remarkable feat anywhere. That it has been accomplished in Colombia is astounding.
Colombia is as battle-scarred as any nation on earth. In one decade alone over two thousand politicians and two presidential candidates were murdered.
Through all of this Gaviotas has thrived and willingly made changes when needed. The community has shared unstintingly with those in need, while staying consciously unarmed, despite being surrounded by warring vigilantes, government troops and guerillas.
As the new millennium is increasingly seen as an opportunity to renew, repair and replenish the earth, people are coming together not only physically but also virtually.
The global village is strengthening via the world wide web as the thirst for knowledge and exchange of information grows.
Futurists such as Alvin Toffler have described the confluence of knowledge and power at the edge of the 21st century, as a "power shift" — from those who had power in the form of money or political/military might, to those who have knowledge — made possible by the personal computer.
An infinite array of virtual communities constituted by people interested in particular topics of on-line discussion has fostered computer-mediated communication (CMC). In terms of political activism, cyber-citizenship can be used to increase electors access to their rep
resentatives and representatives responsiveness to their voters. Advocates of cyber citizenship, such as former US Presidential candidate, Bob Dole and the Microsoft Chair, Bill Gates, argue that when voters are ‘wired’ with online personal computers, the present structures of democracy and powers of citizens will improve.
Direct interaction among people via bulletin boards can create virtual communities that are another powerful tools for political action.
The defeat (so far) of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, is widely credited to the grassroots campaign waged via the internet. In June 1999, the first in a series of successful world wide protests and direct actions against globalisation and the expansion of transnational companies was organized via the web.
The availability and accessibility of the internet became a medium of inspiration for the ‘J18 campaign’, as protesters world wide, posted the results of their actions on to the web for others to see.
The success of the European campaign to reject genetically modified organisms and employ strict labeling is also attributed, in part, to consumer pressure, generated via activist networks on the world wide web.
In response to genetically engineered ‘terminator’ and ‘traitor’ seeds and the relentless drive towards control of food supply, millions of people have embraced permaculture, biodynamic farming, organic gardening and sustainable systems.
With common goals of reducing and eliminating dependence on pesticides and herbicides, there clearly are viable alternatives to the many products of biotechnology.
A good example is crop rotation, that keeps pests under control by depriving them of the continuous food supply they need to build up large populations.
Crop rotation has many advantages. It controls a broad variety of pests rather than just one or two.
It does not select for resistance genes, as do chemical toxins and genetically engineered crops. And it does not result in ongoing pollution of air or water.
As a pest-control strategy, crop rotation is far preferable to both chemical insecticides and genetically engineered crops.
Conversion from industrial agriculture to sustainable systems that depend less on chemicals eliminates the need for many of the currently projected products of biotechnology.
Ecovillages and communities that rely on renewable energy and employ permaculture ethics are on the increase. In permaculture, a threefold ethic is embraced:
care of the earth; care of people; and dispersal of surplus time, money and materials towards these ends. Such ethics pervade all aspects of environmental, community, economic and social systems.
Many people have come together in villages such as Crystal Waters Eco Village, near Maleny in South East Queensland and on communities in Northern New South Wales, including Tuntable Falls and Lilyfield near Kyogle. In Western Australia, a vibrant alternative community culture exists in the Margaret River area.
Such communities are living examples of alternatives at work. Many utilize appropriate technology and energy from nature.
These systems are inexpensive, small, simple to maintain and have little demand on capital. They employ technologies which simplify life, instead of cluttering it and emptying the environment.
Some positive technological developments include cleaning and recycling of grey-water; reduction of water use by using composting toilets; the use of water saving devices such as low volume shower heads; street and navigation lights that can be powered by solar energy; water powered pumps such as the Glockemann; solar pumps; water driven exhaust fans for the shower, and even pedal power to operate centrifugal juice extractors and blenders in the kitchen.
Nimbin’s Rainbow Power Company is an example of a living and working environment which uses power provided entirely by its own renewable energy system. With enough solar energy falling on Australia in one day to provide all the current energy consumption for the whole year, there is growing encouragement and acceptance of energy from nature.
A step in the right direction has already been made by the Queensland government, offering a 75% rebate for remote Area Power Supplies that utilize solar, wind and hydro power.
Many new buildings are employing earth friendly architectural design principles that capture natural breezes and the sun’s energy and light. By using solar water heating systems, energy use in buildings can be reduced dramatically.
These renewable energy practices save money, improve the environment and strengthen the economy by reducing the need for fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
Sunlight, landscaping, natural breezes, and the choice of building materials can all reduce the need to use and pay for fuel and electricity.
Passive solar design — the use of a building’s structure to capture sunlight and store heat — can alone save up to 50 percent or more of the energy used in a home. The addition of energy-absorbing thermal mass material, that stores and slowly releases heat inside a house can help maximize its use of sunlight.
The future of commuting looks cleaner and greener with new technological developments on the horizon.
Vehicles that will help reduce air and water pollution, global warming, and oil consumption are now on the road. These vehicles emit less pollution and achieve greater fuel economy than traditional combustion vehicles.
Clean vehicles eliminate tailpipe pollution and enable drivers to break free of petrol consumption.
Some clean vehicles, combine hydrogen with oxygen to produce electricity. High efficiency, zero-emitting fuel-cell vehicles are fast approaching as every major car manufacturer pursues this technology.
A General Motors fuel-cell van, which appeared in the 1999 Paris auto show is the latest vehicle using this clean technology. Such fuel cells are currently used in buses and
could be powering passenger cars as soon as 2003. If fuelled by methanol, the fuel cells can double the fuel economy while virtually zeroing out smog emissions.
Natural gas, propane, methanol, and ethanol, are other building blocks in store for a clean-car future that combines advanced technology vehicles and environmentally friendly fuels.
As the face of finance changes and bank demands that consumers rely more on telephone banking, internet transactions and anonymous call centers to conduct business, the concept of the community credit union is growing across Australia.
This has been a very successful development in Maleny, South East Queensland, where the Maleny and District Community Credit Union has been instrumental in reviving a declining rural economy, supporting sustainable and alternative communities, small businesses development and environmentally friendly initiatives.
Cooperation, not competition, is the key behind many other alternatives arising in response to the mainstream financial and monetary juggernaut. LETS stands for Local Energy Trading System and arrived in Australia from Canada in the 1980’s. It is run as a non profit system, which records offers and requests (credits and debits) transacted by its members.
In terms of finding a new economic system that serves community needs, the use of LETS helps reduce reliance on cash and credit cards as well as decrease dependencies on technologies such as Automatic Teller Machines, EFTPOS, smartcards and biometric identity systems.
The concept behind LETS arises from the belief that a community’s wealth lies in its goods and services (i.e. the skills of its people) rather than just the amount of money available in the community. Everyone has some skill or service to offer their community whether they are self-employed, conducting a small business, employed, unemployed or retired.
It’s a way of both creating employment and developing new skills.
LETS improves upon the old barter system which required the necessity of two "wants" to be successful. Members pay a joining fee to cover administration costs and start with a nil balance in their ledger.
The "currency" is given a name by the local community, "bunyas" in Maleny, "sapphires" in the Bega Valley. The ‘currency’ bears no relation to dollars. There is no interest charged on a debit nor is there any time limit to pay the debit back. No interest is paid on credits either, so there is no benefit in hoarding them.
Members regularly receive a list of all offers and requests, and transactions occur on a one to one basis at which time and amount is agreed upon. That transaction is recorded in a central register and a regular account is sent out to keep members informed of their dealings.
"What do we lose, and what do we gain?" is a good question to ask when new technologies are first deployed in societies.
It’s not too late to start asking the question, and to start embracing and promoting positive technologies, as opposed to technologies that threaten our very survival.
In a world where most of us doubt that positive things can really be accomplished, working examples such as Gaviotas provide real hope for the future of our planet.
"Earth is one giant living entity of which the human race is the equivalent of microbes on its skin. If you think of this planet as one giant living entity, then any inappropriate action on our behalf is going to cause Earth as a living entity to be unwell, and in turn threaten our own wellbeing.
As a direct result of mankind’s exploitation of Earth’s resources, its biomass is on a constant decline. Appropriate action is an action that meets our needs, and at the same time is an action that looks after the health of the planet as a whole."
(Energy from Nature, Renewable Energy Handbook, Compiled by Peter Pedals, Rainbow Power Company, Nimbin, NSW Australia)
The 21st century could either find us retaining the technologies and practices that endanger our future planetary survival, or reaching for new visions and new futures that will truly provide us with balance and harmony, peace, hope and prosperity.
Which ever we choose, it will be a legacy for generations to come.
Susan Bryce is an investigative journalist and researcher. Her interests include democracy and freedom, the technologies of political control, environmental health and global politics. She can be contacted at PO Box 66 Kenilworth Qld Australia 4574, or on +61 0754 723060. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dmitry Chernikov writes, "Make no mistake: when a person joins the army, he for all intents and purposes defects to the former Soviet Union and asserts a preference for life under total state. Consider:
1. His life will be strictly regimented by his superiors to an extent which would have horrified a Soviet miner.
2. During the time of his incarceration he will be completely useless to his fellow man.
Instead of starting a business or learning a trade, he will be learning how to destroy in the blink of an eye what others have spent years and even centuries building.
3. As a result of the brainwashing he will receive in the army he will run a serious risk of losing his ability to think critically.
In addition, I fail to see how a man who has killed in an unjust war and has not repented can be a moral man or a believer in God.
4. He will be turned into a weapon to be used according to the whims of the General Secretary of the Republican-Democrat party in Washington, D.C. He will be used to kill innocents, disrupt free trade, prop up tyrants at home and abroad, and foment hatred for private American citizens.
5. He will be used as a guinea pig in government experiments, and, if he goes to war, he will likely be exposed to chemicals, radiation, and such the like without his knowledge or consent, all of which will cause him to die well before his time.
Now I do not want to be unfair and overlook the benefits of military service. In general, a young man should consider joining the army if
1.He likes to kill people and destroy private and public property.
2.He thinks that he will enjoy recreations such as driving a tank or shooting big guns.
3.He believes that the military will give him ample opportunity to rape local women and use the services of prostitutes, e.g. while on shore leave.
4.He wishes to acquire certain rare skills, e.g. the skill of demolition or piloting airplanes or even hostage negotiation.
5.He lives in a society where the dominant type of relationship is the hege monic bond, for instance, a barbarian tribe or a military state geared for conquest, such that the most expeditious path to advancement is through a career in the military.
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