It came as a breath of fresh air to me to hear the Pope's Christmas message to the English speaking countries:
"The child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed bring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place he was to be the Saviour of all people throughout the world and throughout history. And it was not a political liberation that he brought, achieved through military means; rather, Christ destroyed death forever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross. … let us give thanks to God for his goodness to us and let us joyfully proclaim to those around us the good news that God offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down…"
Though I'm not a Catholic, I haven't called myself a "Protestant" since I escaped the cult I was brought up in as a child. In escaping, I made up my mind never to let another person think for me. I didn't reject God because of them, but from then on I purposed to have no other point of reference than the Bible – of course, with the internal help of the One who wrote it. Until today, I remain open to all but dependent on none, a denominational "independent."
If there was once a case for the Catholic Church as being embedded in the governments of this world, the boot seems to be on the other foot today. It has now come full circle and if I do find myself protesting, it is more likely to be against "Protestant" churches.
The Church of England is a case I point. It exists by state privilege, its bishops are given seats in the House of Lords, and it says by and large what the state wants it to say. Of course there are good individuals in there, just as there are good teachers in the state school system. It's the state itself that is the problem, together with the many sycophants, career opportunists, ideologues and outright worshippers its bureaucracies attract.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is a Blair appointee, which doesn't mean he's not a sincere man, but does mean his views are broadly government approved. So, what did he talk about over Christmas?
He said the "rich" are not carrying a fair share of the load. That some developed nations “appear deeply indifferent” to the United Nations’ development goals. That world poverty through these development goals should be halved by 2015. He expressed concern for the military and reiterated that the war on terror was necessary, but that these development goals should be added.
I suppose this is only to be expected from a government appointed head of a state approved church in a country where the size of the government has now exceeded the size of the private economy.
Because to him and many other misled Christians, the State and the Saviour are one, provided the proclaimed views and direction of each is regularly tweaked so as not to stray too far from popular opinion. The trend of course in popular opinion is that the State should increase, and the Saviour should decrease except when useful to morally rubber-stamp the State.
But where does this faith in the State come from?
More to the point, where does any faith come from?
The answer lies in what is seen and heard on a daily, even moment by moment basis. A thought considered and accepted becomes a belief, and if consistently reinforced along with others, it becomes a worldview.
Government is a cult. It propagates its beliefs through a regulated mainstream media, and especially a State owned media. In Britain, this is very extensive. The BBC audience is as big as and sometimes bigger than all private media put together. The private media is basically Rupert Murdoch and a few other chosen ones who have agreed to toe the line.
Not that the people themselves are not at fault. Many sit down for many hours in front of the BBC or other television each day. This is truly behind the decline of Western civilisation.
The subjects of the soaps consistently glorify and encourage dependency on the state: police, social workers, nationalised healthcare, spooks, etc. etc. Serving the government as an official is portrayed as admirable and beneficial; life as a free individual is portrayed as hopeless and impossible.
When the daily life of individuals is portrayed, it conveys a norm consisting of vice ridden helplessness crying out for government intervention. The subjects of popular soaps, like the top rated BBC "Eastenders" consist of continuous crises and strife, screaming, despair, hate, depression….
The effect of this cannot be overstated; it is the continuous meditation of the hearts of millions of British people on a daily basis. No wonder last year, in the UK, a country of 50 million, there were around 40 million medical prescriptions for depression.
Let me encourage you to choose your own thoughts this year. I for one refuse to meditate on depressing subjects. Sure, I can take negative facts as they appear – but I always seriously doubt their effect on me and mine.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever"
The reason is I choose to believe the extremely Good News known as the "Gospel." Not just as a religious sentiment, but I actually expect God to help me in life: To direct me inside, to give me a break, to help me succeed, to fix me up if I get sick or get in trouble…
But the State is not the Saviour – do your soul some good and stop thinking the thoughts its agents dish up for you. There is only one King and one true Kingdom. The kingdoms and governments of this world produce nothing and only know how "to kill, steal and destroy"; but the Kingdom of God is the truly benevolent rule of the great Protector and Giver of all life, liberty and property.
"Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
Whether verbatim or as a pattern/template, realize whenever you pray the Lord's Prayer that by inviting the Kingdom of God on earth, you are expelling its usurpers and in concert with your words and actions – in doing so are making the world a better place for it.
January 3, 2011