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Douglas Feavel

AUTHOR OF : "Uncommon Character: Stories Of Ordinary Men And Women Who Did The Extraordinary" (Previously titled: "A Storyteller's Anthology: 26 Inspiring Character Portraits For Our Time")

Author

Douglas Feavel

The author retired from a career in technology marketing and management. He holds a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and a master’s in Christian education from Bethany Divinity College and Seminary. Barbara and he have celebrated more than fifty years of marriage. Appleton, Wisconsin is their hometown, but Vincennes, Indiana is their current base. They volunteer at non-profits in teaching, outreach, and ministry roles domestically and abroad when not with their children and grandchildren. The author and publisher partner in international outreach to regularly distribute thousands of complimentary print and e-book editions of Uncommon Character to correctional institutes, recovery centers, youth villages, assisted living centers, military bases and USOs, veteran’s homes and hospitals, schools and education supporters, camps, and missions. Soon after publication release, Uncommon Character attained status as a modern classic within the non-profit marketplace. Book requests are welcome via the author’s e-mail: contact@DougFeavel.com; for additional information, updates, and resources visit the author’s website www.DougFeavel.com.

Discovering Purple: On Behalf of Social Resolution

    Due to the growing stridency, distance, extremism, and animosity between right/conservative/Republican (“red”) and left/liberal/Democrat (“blue”) proponents, the center (“purple”) is a harmonious location increasingly unshared in America. To describe the red’s fixed position, I borrow authors Alexander Betts and Paul Collier phrase “heartless head”; and to describe the blue’s I borrow their phrase “headless heart”. Journalist James Traub seems to advocate synthesizing these otherwise incompatible mindsets when he suggests reasoning with our hearts and feeling with our heads. The pure tone of the truth is the center, and it’s the only credible place for us, as a bifurcated society, to engage. It’s the magnetic pole that we should endeavor to be drawn toward.
    The proliferation of exclusions to and opposition to free speech (e.g. college campus protests) exacerbates our collective loss of opportunities for civil social discourse and reduces our ability to learn to understand the other side and thus to merge factions. I’m modestly suggesting, rather than over-reaching for general agreement, that each of us simply recognize the problem (i.e. a lack of congenial discourse) and then do our best to rise above it by avoiding the excesses and the caricatures all-too-frequently promoted by those who are morally-failed dividers or just plain noisy advocates of our side. All publically espoused positions come with both blemishes and beauties that need to be carefully and creatively sorted like the wheat and the weeds, the sheep and the goats.
    Let’s invest the individual time to seek the truth as we also adhere to this five centuries-old advice: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity” (translated from the Latin original of an unknown source). No matter how much or how many of our predilections have to be shed to get there, the cost of doing so is incontestably worthwhile for crafting the healthy environment so needed by our individual souls and the larger community spirit.
    Historically, we Americans have faced not dissimilar deep ideological national chasms during and after the Revolutionary War, Civil War and Vietnam War; each respectively occurring slightly post mid-century (1760s-70s, 1860s-70s and 1960s-forward). The signing of treaties and the cessation of fighting after the Civil War did not come close to automatically healing hearts and uniting minds. A national rapprochement was called for by inspirational leaders like Lincoln, Douglass, and Grant. Arguably, today’s bifurcation of the population began with the liberal-conservative split during the Vietnam years and has continued to widen and remain with us since. Another cry for rapprochement should be clarion today, and it can only effectively come from those among us, especially those in leadership, who determine to rise above the common us and me petty politics with its attendant name-calling, contempt, and selfishness. Lincoln’s plea is still in season: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” The failure to attain national discourse leads to continuing escalations, and most any escalation – as we have already seen – leads to outbreaks of violence of a Brown Shirt and Antifa nature. Who among us is not already familiar with Jesus’ warning that a house divided will not stand? If we believe it, our actions should reflect it.
    Healing change comes one heart at a time starting with our own (see “frown power” in the Stetson Kennedy story). “Uncommon Character” presents two dozen individuals – from a variety of locations, vocations, and ages – who have successfully modeled selfless commitment and altruistic behavior for our collective follow-up. Good character knows no political affiliation or religious denomination. It rises above roadblocks like political correctness and name-calling. It is not driven by politics or economics. It comes from having relationships in harmony. This not to say that our American way of life does not have real enemies whom we must resist in lieu of them subverting us. We do have them, many of them. But, we must be able to identify our true life-and-death adversaries from our fellow travelers, with whom we could productively compromise and turn into allies for two and three-fold strength in the real battles.

Why Are Government Entitlements Growing?

Conservatives rightfully ponder whether there exists any upward limit to the non-stop expansion of the welfare state with its escalating governmental intrusion consisting of more regulations, taxes, entitlements, and free stuff; i.e. whether there is any point where the liberal mindset would be satisfied and willing to rest from further agitation against traditional values and fundamental check-and-balance processes. That is to disassociate from an ill-advised mindset that Marvin Olasky has variously labeled promiscuous material distribution, subsidizing of disaffiliation, universalizing depersonalizers, culture of delegated compassion, and false comfort. Each of his descriptors peels away and exposes a layer of liberal falsehood, obfuscation, and deceit as associated with their programs and orthodoxy.

I don’t believe there is a point where leftists will say, “Entitlements and/or government are too big” or, “They are not working.” The left is far less interested in resolving poverty-related problems than in simply continuing to gain from the on-going visibility produced by perpetually defending and funding them at their status quos and beyond. Bob Woodson of the Woodson Center says, “There are a lot of perverse incentives against people being independent” and that these prevent the welfare system from being applied in the manner it was intended.  It was intended (but not correctly designed) “as an ambulatory service, not a transportation system [again, Mr. Woodson speaking].” The right understands and holds superior and more practical positions on helping the poor and the victimized recover, become independent, and continue succeeding; but it is deficient at marketing them at the street level and their solutions are generally long-term; that is they take longer to implement, but they last longer – unfortunately, short-term, ineffective fixes are an easier product to sell.

I hold the following five reasons as support for my position. First, “solutions” like increased welfare spending sound so simple. They sit right at the top of the stack of quickie fixes and are easy to grab and run with, especially since that would be safely traveling incognito and in the same direction as the rest of the pack. Conservative real solutions require thorough thinking, research, and implementation planning with post-execution monitoring and accountability; doing so causes one to stand out, perhaps alone. Because these contrary solutions are opposed and ridiculed by the liberal pack – often accompanied by personal slander and harsh recriminations, the advocates must be exceptionally brave and, therefore, are few in number. (The deliberately hurtful negativity expressed in some of their “reviews” of Uncommon Character stand as clear personal evidence of the strident intolerance of ideas that differ from their own).

Second, they are a practical and proven Machiavellian-like method to secure the support of the masses for purposes of gaining and retaining political power. Fabian George Bernard Shaw says, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”

Third, liberals believe problems like poverty and education are solved by spending more money; they don’t know that solutions require depth, sacrifice, and time (see the first reason above). Liberal thinking is: see the problem, throw money at it; still see the problem, throw more money at it. If the problem remains, it must be because conservatives are preventing them from throwing enough money at it. In reality, the money often is or becomes a significant part of the problem.

Fourth, liberals haven’t thoroughly dealt with three underlying personal issues. One is personal sin, such as resentment, rebellion, and envy; sin on the part of those allocating the supporting funds and on those receiving them. Another is their genuine guilt (rooted in personal sin and overriding rebellion toward God). They falsely assume that this guilt can be avoided or alleviated by mindless funding of issues related to poverty. Until these two factors are recognized and addressed, they remain surreptitiously negative influences. Effective remedying of sin and guilt requires responses that promote the healing of their relationships with God, man, and self. The last of the three underlying issues is their erroneous belief in the essential goodness of mankind. A brief review of just the twentieth century should be convincing proof to the contrary.

Fifth, giving tax money to the poor is an outlet for liberals to feel self-righteous. Attempting to appear virtuous is valued as the equivalent of the actual practice of virtue. Leftists live outside of a truly righteous relationship with God and they are not motivated by Biblical principles such as true charity; i.e. giving of personal time, care, and money. Therefore, tax-based giving is desirable as an inoculation against having to deal with the underlying truths and the sacrificial giving, both of which are preferably ignored. After all, big government is their god, so let their god give; that’s what gods are for.

Advice on Coping for Success

Not everyone has a significant special gifting, aka talent, with which they may choose to heavily practice, modestly practice, or leave entirely unpracticed. Some may even have physical, mental, or circumstantial handicaps encumbering them beyond their natural dearth of talent. I believe that I qualify herein and that I’ve found a helpful path around the roadblocks. There are surely additional routes that I don’t know, and certainly many wrestle with more substantial challenges than I do; but regardless, there is value and balance in my sharing what I found to be a life-enriching, survival tool. I refer to it as developing a coping mechanism.

The following are real examples of my weaknesses, followed in the parentheses by my passable/plausible lifelong adopted solution for coping with each: incapable of understanding higher mathematics (focus on alternative social studies and language disciplines), not well-coordinated for team sports (participate in individual sports like pole vaulting, swimming, and gymnastics), attention deficit disorder (think outside-the-box, be creative and entrepreneurial), slow reader (listen to audio books and read book reviews or abridged editions), challenged both phonetically and with foreign languages (substitute science classes to meet the degree requirements), poor memory (take lots of printed or recorded notes), shy (stretch comfort zone through public speaking, volunteering, and teaching), low to average student with mild learning disabilities (study longer and harder, do extra credit projects, befriend smart people, avoid noisy/distracting environments, and deflect the pain of criticism by exercising a sense of humor and granting forgiveness), tone-deaf and incapable of playing a musical instrument (collect quality recorded music and attend concerts), modest IQ (fully utilize it by being intellectually curious- this is a supplemental type of intelligence), inferiority complex (find meaning in things greater than yourself and have a close relationship with God), raised in a broken home (develop close friends from solid families and court/date discerningly), socially awkward (avoid crowd situations in favor of one-on-one), financially poor background (work both smarter and harder, set goals, and be money-wise).

Your weaknesses will vary from mine (which are ADHD-driven); but regardless, always keep in mind: There is no shame in concealing your vulnerabilities from the public; it’s exercising wisdom to do so. Restated as an illustration: If the traditional path can’t be made to work for you, then find or make an honorable alternative one that is better suited to your limitations. Good character will always triumph in the end, so finish well.

The Other “One-Percent”

The primary purpose of business is to turn a profit; the profit then propels continued creativity, research, employment, equity-investments (open to all comers), capital expenditures, wages, retirement programs, grants/scholarships, and – above all else ­– the on-going provision of ever-improving needed goods and services that are beneficial to a wide range of stakeholders far in excess of the immediate corporate board and executive committee. This loop is how businesses serve mankind’s common good as well as their specific markets.  Business people are public servants as much, or more so, than senators, governors and the others who are mislabeled and self-promoted as public servants. Those who hold these high government offices are well compensated in many fashions including executive pay; thus they are not modestly serving us, and often their priorities are their own and not that of the public. Unlike business owners/managers and employees, they produce no good or service or profit; rather they consume the taxes paid from the profits and pay of productive businesses and workers. If a business primarily worked to please itself, and not the public market, its existence would be brief. This illustrates how capitalism works and why it is a positive philosophy that is far greater than alternatives like socialism.

There’s no shame in advocating capitalism with its adherence to market forces, personal property, and reasonable profit motives; i.e. the promotion of free enterprise and equal opportunity. Proof of its positive nature is overwhelming, historically sound, easily observed, and – many believe – substantiated by the Bible. Capitalism also does best when the means of production are fully in private hands. When government controls and/or owns the means, it is not true capitalism. It’s been labeled corporate fascism because inefficient, greedy, regulation-prone, controlling, prejudiced, and unseasoned bureaucrats operate the economy from myopic fair-share and personal-share agendas. Ayn Rand exposes this concept effectively in her enduringly relevant novel Atlas Shrugged.

This is not to say capitalism has never been abused; it most certainly has, just as has been religion, medicine, science, education, politics and every other positive element of life. There is, however, too much focus on the top one-percent in business when there’s a ninety-nine percent of the population ­­– including all the government bureaucracy – that also benefits either directly or indirectly from the fruits of corporate business. Let’s move some of that negative one-percent focus to those many career-politicians sitting for life in Congress who abuse the people’s faith and the democratic process by entrenching and enriching themselves in excesses while refusing to recognize term limits and declining to act as honest brokers of the public trust; i.e. they do not exhibit the requisite servant mentality (e.g. they exempt themselves from the laws they pass and apply to the public). Congress’s pandering to the lowest common denominators in its constituency about the greed of the corporate one-percent is a smoke-screen to cover their own greed by shifting our attention away from monitoring their proliferate spending. They represent the top one-percent of the biggest “corporation” in the world: the federal government.  We need only to view their lifestyles and examine their use of big money for lavishly living in multiple homes, socializing and traveling conspicuously, and purchasing personal influence, recognition, and favor. As stated above, all good things can be exploited, including politics. Privileged politicians only consume as they spend tax receipts; and, as it is all-too-often reported, they waste, reallocate and give it away as well indulge illegally in self-enrichment, cronyism, graft, and kickback. They do not produce wealth as does capitalistic business. Their real interest in penalizing the one-percent of business is to extract more tax dollars which, in turn, increases their power, control, and influence. Socialism is a giant give-way program that buys selfish politicians the votes that ensure their continued tenure in public office. The engine of this socialistic spending is fueled by the excess outcome of capitalism. Businesses are like the proverbial geese that lay the golden eggs. The eggs are the excess outcomes of production (profits, wages, research and the like). When the geese sicken or die from starvation, overwork, and abuse or lack of care; the egg production declines or ceases as do the many other attendant benefits, including tax revenues.

If we are looking for true public servants in the government’s employ, they are rarely found at the top of the pyramid. There are positive exceptions within any over-simplification statement, and inside the vast government bureaucracy these are amply identifiable deep within such fields as fire protection, the military branches, and law enforcement.

Obituary Not Required

Our Western Gregorian calendar marks the year of this Man’s birth. He was conceived contrary to the ordinary laws governing natural life. His birthplace was a barn, He grew up in an obscure rural village, and His parents were plain-living peasants. Their ancestry was fully Jewish – known as God’s chosen people, but often hated by the nations of the world. They were a typical poor, young couple lacking any formal education and possessing neither wealth nor influence.

Yet His arrival was announced by angels and caused panic in one king’s heart and elation in the hearts of three other kings. As a baby, He was prophesied over twice by strangers at the temple during His dedication. As a toddler, He was visited by a team of accomplished foreign scholars who traveled and searched for months in order to locate Him. Approaching his teen years, the wisdom He shared impressed, engaged, and surpassed religious professionals and highly placed lawyers. As a young man, He apprenticed quietly in his father’s carpentry shop until age thirty, after which He worked for the next three years as a traveling preacher without a church building for shelter and without a congregation to support Him.

In the final years of His unnaturally short life, He belatedly demonstrated the fullness of His nature by walking on water, commanding violent storms to be at peace, converting water into fine wine, healing the sick, raising the dead, and multiplying a handful of fish and loaves sufficient for the satisfaction of thousands of His hungry companions.

He never held an elected office, and never had a title; yet multitudes wanted to proclaim Him their king and were prepared to forsake all other appointed and inherited rulers in exchange for just this one Man. He never owned a home, never married nor had children, never attended college, and never gained any formal credentials or positions. As an adult, He never lived in a big city or traveled more than a hundred miles from the place where He was born. He had nothing in this world beyond the simple clothes He wore.

He never wrote a book, and yet all the libraries in the world contain books written about Him. He never wrote a song, but hundreds of thousands of songs have been written about Him with more being added daily. He never painted, sculpted, or drew; yet the greatest artists in the history of mankind have consistently sought to honor Him by selecting Him as the subject of their masterpieces. He never founded a college nor earned a degree, but all the schools in the world cannot claim as many students. He never commanded troops, drafted a soldier, planned a troop movement, won a war, or fired a gun; and yet no other leader has ever had more volunteers and followers – most of whom are prepared to die for Him.

He never practiced psychiatry nor studied pharmaceuticals; still, He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors of the world. He cured countless desperately afflicted multitudes without medicine or instruments – even raising several from the dead. He turned no one away while they were suffering, never acted inconvenienced, and never charged for His services. His only incentive was the benefit another would receive.

He was no film or rock star, and He played no professional sports. He never appeared on television, spoke on the radio, blogged or tweeted; yet His words are broadcast worldwide on a daily basis. He turned the world’s concept of greatness and fame upside down while demonstrating true servant leadership. Although He never did any of the things contemporary society considers an indication of greatness or importance, He was a true hero and His life remains worthy of imitation by every generation.

Despite all His good deeds, He was criticized for befriending society’s outcasts and for resisting popular influences and powerful personalities. His words and deeds were forcefully opposed by the ruling elites. His family doubted His motives, and at times thought Him mentally unstable. The tide of popular opinion turned against Him while He was still young. Many were jealous of Him and many others hated Him. Friends deserted Him, one denied Him multiple times, and another bitterly betrayed Him to His enemies. He was arrested by His adversaries, and suffered the harassment and lies of false accusations and a mock trial. Although wholly innocent, He was pronounced guilty, whipped, spat on, beaten, pierced, and sentenced to a criminal’s public death in a painful, bloody manner. He was nailed to wooden crossbeams, set high between thieves, speared, ridiculed, and cursed. As He was dying, the executioners gambled for His only remaining possession, a simple robe. His last words were those of forgiveness and love for the very men who were persecuting Him.

For His burial, He was to be laid in a borrowed tomb donated through the pity of a stranger. At the moment of His death, the earth shook violently and split open, the skies thundered, the sun darkened, and graves yielded their dead who then walked the streets – all bearing witness to His innocence and to the promise of mightier things to come. Although His enemies had tried, they couldn’t destroy Him because even the grave was soon proven unable to hold Him.

Had there been an obituary written at the time of Jesus’ sacrificial earthly death, it would have read similar to this:

Jesus Christ, aged 33, died late Friday afternoon in Jerusalem on Mount Calvary, also known as Golgotha the Place of the Skull. Born in Bethlehem of Judea, He spent his childhood in Egypt and his youth in the northern village of Nazareth. Jesus was sentenced to death by the state for crimes against the Roman Empire and the Jewish religion. He was crucified along with two other criminals by order of Prefect Pontius Pilate with the approval of King Herod Agrippa. Causes of death were extreme exhaustion, severe torture, unrelenting pain, and profuse bleeding. Jesus was a descendant of Abraham, and a member of the royal Jewish House of David. He was the firstborn son of the late Joseph Ben Jacob, a respected Galilean carpenter. He is survived by His mother, Mary, three brothers and two sisters, twelve apostles, and numerous disciples. He was self-educated and spent most of His adult life working first as a carpenter and then as a pastor, teacher, community organizer, and social worker. The entombment occurred just prior to the Sabbath in a nearby hillside cavern previously owned by family benefactor Joseph of Arimathea. In lieu of flowers, the family requests honoring the deceased by embracing His instruction and the example of His life. Monetary donations will be forwarded in his name to local charities.

There was, however, no time or need for an obituary, because three days thereafter, He was resurrected and back even stronger; teaching, speaking, preaching to His friends and family in full view of hundreds. He departed soon thereafter on His own terms and timing. As He left, He promised an imminent future return while leaving His immortal Word and providing a great, new Gift intended to comfort us in the interim. Jesus lives yesterday, today, an always.

Soon the world discovered that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the governments that ever were established, all the kings who ever reigned, and all the presidents who ever held office have not affected history as powerfully or as positively as this one Man’s life. Although more than twenty-one centuries have come and gone since His brief time on earth, He’s continuously been the centerpiece of the human race as its greatest source of guidance and divine inspiration. Many times every week the world over, countless multitudes gather to study His teachings and to show their respect for Him.

The modern world still has difficulty understanding Him. Schools are reluctant to teach about Him. Leaders can’t succeed if they ignore Him. Historical revisionists have tried but can’t erase Him. Scientists remain baffled by Him. Communism, Nazism, and atheism failed to silence Him. New Agers, Hindus, and Muslims can’t replace Him. The proud can’t accept Him. Religion can’t sanitize or convolute Him. And none of the commercial commentators on TV or radio are able to explain His continuing popularity and influence.

Time itself recognizes His earthly presence by its division between that which came before and that which came after His birth. Today, His followers celebrate the date of His arrival on earth as both a holy day and a holiday. Without ceasing, His enemies dispute antagonistically against the mere mention of His name and are hostile to any display of the symbols relating to His humble birth and life. They harass public officials and school boards, they wear out the courts with endless mean-spirited petitions, and they disrupt the celebrations enjoyed by a majority of the population. His symbols are not their issue; it’s the Man Himself: His heavenly ancestry, incarnate birth, Jewish heritage, pure life, selfless death, church on earth, eternal and unchanging existence, renewing resurrection, claim of being God, universal authority, kingdom of saints, eternal judgment, second messianic coming, and His everlasting presence.

The names of the eminent statesmen and thinkers of ancient Greece and Rome have come and gone. The names of past scientists, philosophers, and theologians have also come and gone. But the name of this humble Jewish man multiplies more and more with every season that passes. His life, works, and words are continually studied in minute detail from every possible perspective: historically, educationally, doctrinally, practically, comparatively, medically, critically, devotionally, prophetically, and analytically, and there is always enough to satisfy everyone while keeping them hungry for more. Even though more than two thousand years lie between our generation and His time on the earth, the Son of Man’s name still lives on – JESUS.

What is Faith and What is Fact?

Today, science is believed to be more advanced, and we’ve replaced these old faulty apriorisms — like the earth is flat or the earth is the center of the universe — with new (hopefully) accurate ones. Or, have we?

Are we certain that our current scientific facts about the creation of the universe are correct? Carl Sagan and his colleagues say the universe positively always was and always will be. In saying so, they appropriated and then distorted the language of the Bible, which greatly preceded them. They go on to state that the universe itself resulted from the explosion of a super-compressed grain of pre-existent energy and that, thereafter, the diverse life found within the earth simply evolved from nothing more than a random mix of base chemical elements. Consequently, there’s no god other than the universe itself, and that’s a god with a very small g. There’s no all-powerful, caring, eternal Creator God with a plan. Sagan and his colleagues have a majority of the population deceived into following along with their apriorisms. Perhaps their beliefs really are as foolish as, and more dangerous than, those fifteenth-century ones about the earth that now cause laughter.

Are we certain that our current scientific facts about the creation of earthly life are correct? The Neo-Darwinian theorists who retain a religious-like faith in macroevolution have found no provable arguments in favor of their wild speculation or any against creation. When they look deep into the human cell structure, the only sustainable solution for irreducible complexity becomes intelligent design. From the outward universe to the inward cell, evolution would be a far greater miracle to have occurred than would have creation. Except for the existing apriorism against it, why not go with creation?

Are we certain that our current scientific facts about worldwide climate change (formerly known as global warming) are correct after already missing multiple forecasted dates as to when human life on our planet would cease to exist? Up to the 1970s, scientists predicted the coming of another ice age. Thousands of contrarian experts have put their careers at risk by registering disagreement with CC and backing it with alternative facts and predictions. With its attendant carbon offset credits on greenhouse gas emission caps, CC is more about political control and financial gain, than about saving the globe. The liberal majority says the discussion is over on climate – just as it supposedly is on evolution.  Their opinions are set in concrete and they will tolerate no more opposing research or dialog.

Are we certain that our current scientific facts about when a baby becomes a person endowed with inalienable rights (as well as a soul and spirit) are correct? More than half of the medical population of our nation does not believe that it occurs anytime between conception and when naturally exiting the womb at the conclusion of approximately nine months.  Perhaps, it is more accurate to pose their response as: Does not want to believe in personhood because a counter belief in a clump of organic cells justifies abortion as personally and politically more convenient. The evidence that a baby possesses the potential for an independent life far earlier than the usual nine-month term is incontrovertible and should be the accurate apriorism.

We may never again confuse a spherical earth with a flat one, but there are still plenty of other faith-like myths we accept as facts.

A Nation Divided

A country cannot have national character if a majority of its citizens – and nearly all of its leadership – lack personal, individual character.  If we retain a compromised spiritual outlook that cannot discern or is afraid to label evil for what it is, then we are once again Lincoln’s house divided against itself (quoted from the Bible).  We must be broadly and consistently willing to call evil and good for what they are by their very nature.  Many are selfishly and perversely labeling good as evil and evil as good.  Subsequently, the evidence of division is all around us and continues to grow with cancerous speed.

America and democracy (we really don’t have or want democracy as a form of government; we have and want a constitutional republic with some democratic processes) are not elements of Christianity; Christianity is always able to stand on its own.  Christianity will not be diminished by America’s foolish beliefs and behaviors.  It has frequently stood on its own elsewhere around the globe and in other historical times, but America and our form of government have benefited – like none before us – from embracing it.  America was never fully a Christian nation, but it was undeniably and verifiably a nation founded on the Bible and Christian principles.  It was birthed by people who soundly endorsed both, and the related tenets were practiced or respected by an overwhelming majority of the population.  Just as undeniably, God had (still has?) special purposes for America.

The unique form of government forged in America during the eighteenth century was successful here only because of our biblical foundations and practices. That’s why it hasn’t been successful when we quixotically attempted to transplant it into Islamic-fascist cultures such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and the rest of the Middle East, except Israel. That’s also why it will subsequently fail in America if or when our biblical foundations and practices are destroyed beyond God’s extended favor, mercy, and grace.

 

Second Rise of the International Terrorist Islamic Caliphate vs True Christianity

Europe, especially Eastern and Mediterranean Europe, and Africa, especially Northern and Central, have been nominally reclaimed as their permanent property by a second-coming of an international terrorist Islamic caliphate variously known as ISIS/ISIL or DAESH and by their many military factions like Hamas, Fatah, Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah.  These actions are premised on the aggressive religious tenet of once Muslim, always Muslim.  Arab-Persian based Mid-Eastern Islam seeks to again dominate and enslave these countries — yea, the whole world — in a manner not unlike, in more recent history, that of the German Nazis and the Russian Communists.  The Islamic religious-political system already repressively controls the lives of a quarter of the world’s population through sharia law internally, and jihadist violence externally.

Islam is accurately labeled a politically motivated repressive movement, or -ism, with a façade of holiness. When they speak of a caliphate, they mean a single, enormous Islamic state where all facets of life are controlled by one supreme religious dictator who enforces oppressive sharia law. The English word caliphate comes from the Arabic word khalifat, which means “something that has been replaced or exchanged.” They intend to replace Judeo-Christian law, religion, and ethics with their own dark brand. Islam’s goal is to ultimately exchange the one true God with their false substitute god. They will not stop after reoccupying and controlling previously conquered Arab and non-Arab lands; they’ll continue to press for worldwide domination. Political appeasement by the West will not prevent Muslim aggression any better than it did Hitler’s or Hirohito’s. The Chrislam religious movement, which blends elements of Christianity with that of Islam, will only weaken Christianity and promote the ascendancy of Islam.

The word Islam translates as “submission”; it refers, in part, to their core belief in the forced domination of all peoples to its idols and its tenets. Where Islam has gained strength and taken root, those of other religions have four choices: convert, submit as slaves, flee, or die; and their sanctioned means of murder is beheading. The Muslim world knows that jihadist Islam is based on the Koran and the life of Muhammad; they consider it the purest form of their religion. These violent followers are not doing anything that Muhammad himself didn’t do. Islamization is performed on places and heritages, as well as on persons. Muslims have a longstanding practice of forcefully acquiring the locations, buildings, and symbols of other religions, then converting their appearance and functions to match Islam, and, thereafter, claiming they had precedence (their religion permits them to lie to an infidel (any non-Muslim)). This is exactly what they did, for example, in the seventh century A.D. when they built (and rebuilt) the first of their two mosques, Al-Aqsa, on the site of Solomon’s Jewish temple, despite the fact that Solomon’s temple had previously occupied that space one thousand years before the birth of Jesus, and sixteen hundred years before Muhammad.  They’ve made many similar moves with Christian and Jewish sites in Israel and Europe, and wherever else they conquer. This Islamic practice began with Muhammad himself when he literally constructed his false, replacement religion on the far more ancient Judeo-Christian foundations, attempting to variously supplant or usurp our traditions. The Muslim’s purpose was, and remains, to undermine the legitimacy of the two older monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianity.

In December of 2013, Islamic leader Abubakar Shekau said, “As for killing Christians … Allah says we should decapitate, we should amputate limbs, we should mutilate…. We are fighting a religious war…. We are fighting Christianity.” This is not just an empty threat, as Muslims have been consistently killing Christians and Jews for the thirteen centuries since Muhammad, and they are continuing in an escalating manner to murder Judeo-Christian adherents numbering in the hundreds daily. They violate them with every beastly means they can muster: terrorism, kidnapping, hijacking, rape and sodomy, mutilation, Holocaust denial, indiscriminate and unprovoked mass murder, hostage-taking, church and synagogue bombing and burning, pogroms, lies, rioting, abducting and enslaving children, forced marriage and polygamy, beheading, threat, fear, torture, and denial. While all may not be officially sanctioned, all are permitted, overlooked, excused, and even encouraged at every level. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, “Radical Islam is a threat to our common civilization…. It worships tyranny and terror. They seek to impose a new dark age on humanity.” The violence threatened and committed by Muslims instills fear in the population worldwide, and that fear silences the majority of opposing voices – a significant deterrent to protecting liberty and a significant win for spreading tyranny. Express any cautions and you are labeled Islamophobic, promote contrary lifestyles (within a predominately Muslim country) or opposition (within a Muslim minority country) and you are targeted with a fatwā-based assignation notice. They operate similar to The Brand prison convict gang outlined in the Gregory Jessner story, but on a massively larger, and thus more terrible, scale. Many of today’s heroes are living under such death notices, and some of the organizations mentioned in this book have suffered acts of Islamic terrorism intended to cripple their operations and eliminate their leaders.

In the August 8, 2006, Wall Street Journal, Bernard Lewis reports: “A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook, is revealing. ‘I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another’s hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours.’”

The Voice of the Martyrs and Spirit of Martyrdom (VOM & SOM) organizations — and all true Christians — meet the Islamic enemy of our faith directly, not in kind, but with the Word and the love of God. It hardly seems fair; they don’t stand a chance – either accept grace now, or receive justice in eternity (without the alleged seventy-seven virgins apiece). Paraphrasing what Jeane Kirkpatrick said about Americans: Muslims need to face the truth about Christians, no matter how pleasant it is.

A preponderance of the ongoing ministry at the VOM-SOM is to imprisoned and persecuted people held in the Islamic nations. Initially, the focus was primarily to victims of Communism; today, it is primarily to victims of Islam.  As a singular but typical example, Monica (not her real name) was forced to watch terrorists murder her husband, and then she was partially beheaded and left to die slowly. VOM-SOM contacts obtained, and then financed, her life-saving medical treatments; later they placed her in a safe house and equipped her with a sewing machine as a means of income.

It’s a weak and an evil god who relies on his followers to make and retain adherents by means of such murderous coercion, and only dysfunctional disciples would commonly uphold the practice of rape, genital mutilation, subjugation, denial, honor killing, and physical abuse against their own wives, children, and kin.  Islam is and has long been the only major religion that – on a worldwide basis – sanctions both violence against all non-adherents, regardless of their nationality or race, and violence against close family members. Islamic actions are made all the more despicable when they call upon the name of Jewish prophets and the personage of our Judeo-Christian monotheistic God to justify their perverse behaviors.  They call America and Israel the big and little Satan, respectively, in that they are like the Pharisees who accused Jesus of having a demon while they were the ones operating under demonic influence or possession.

The one true God draws us through love, and shows us the way to purity of thought and action.  VOM-SOM expresses God’s love to His persecuted body in locations anywhere in the world. They call these nations closed and they number sixty, as of this writing, including a few non-Islamic, Communist countries.  From one perspective, closed means that Christians and Jews are not permitted to exit the country and are often deprived, imprisoned, tortured, and killed; or they may not practice their religion and/or are forced to practice a false one.  From the other perspective, closed means that the Bible, humanitarian assistance (food, medicine, clothing, funds), and missionaries are not permitted to enter.

VOM-SOM has five main purposes, which are based on Hebrews 13:3. They are:

  • Encourage and empower Christians to fulfill the Great Commission in areas of the world where they are persecuted for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Provide practical relief and spiritual support to the families of Christian martyrs.
  • Equip persecuted Christians to love and win to Jesus those who are opposed to the gospel in their part of the world.
  • Undertake projects of encouragement, helping believers rebuild their lives and witness in countries where they have formerly suffered oppression.
  • Promote the fellowship of all believers by informing the world of the faith and courage of persecuted Christians, thereby inspiring believers to a deeper level of commitment to Jesus and involvement in His Great Commission.

Life’s Most Significant Question

Who, then, is Jesus? In Bethsaida, Israel, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus’ question remains valid today. Many men presently say Jesus was a profound teacher and rabbi, a good example, a prophet, a wise philosopher, a miracle worker, and an exorcist, or perhaps, just a really nice or charismatic guy. Is He fully and wholly what and who He said He is: Son of Man, Son of God, Living and Incarnate Word, and Creator and Eternal God of the Old Testament? If one does not accept Him for all He said He is and all that He revealed about Himself to us, then one must reasonably conclude that He is a joker, that He is crazy, or that He is a liar. Jesus said He was the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

If one cannot believe all the wondrous things that Jesus’ apostles, evangelists, preachers, teachers, and disciples have spoken and written about Him, then do as Richard Wurmbrand sagely advised: Believe His powerful and worldly enemies. The Pharisees said, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do you care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men.” Judas said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” Pilate said, “Behold the Man!” “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person,” and “Behold your King!” The captain of the Roman guard at Golgotha said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

If one demands to see proof that Jesus is God, as His enemies often did, one must be willing to sincerely ask Him in faith for it, and then be teachable and open to receive and to act on whatever Jesus chooses to reveal directly into our spirit and/or into our life. Once presented with the truth, we are responsible for what we do with it. Jesus called Himself the Truth. He cannot simply be ignored; a decision must be made on who He is. The decision is a personal one, a mandatory one, and an eternal one. Once we have been informed, we are responsible for what we’ve heard and we cannot claim ignorance. Jesus admonished us thus: “It is written, have you not heard? Have you not read?” Paul said: “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” We’re encouraged to choose well from what is set before us. Is He Savior and Lord? Who do You say Jesus is?

 

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