Monday, August 29, 2011

Reprioritization of Life

To all my readers,

I have been doing some moving around in my life lately.  My content on this blog, as you may have noticed, has suffered a bit.  I haven't been posting as often.

I will be moving away from heavy content on patriarchal subjects.  There are so many other good resources that have popped up and I just don't have the time.  From time to time, I will be writing about ideas that really light the fire under me on this subject matter.

You will see the content morph into a broader base.  I am very interested in moving forward and becoming a better and more available family man.  I am interested in politics of a different kind than the red and blue dichotomy we see in the news and will be writing on that, among many other things.

One day, I hope to make a living writing, but I see that as quite a number of years out there.  To prepare for that end though, my content here will be less splashy, better thought out, and will be in final draft form, rather than running my two typing fingers while I think.

I will also be ending my following of many blogs due to having no time to read the endless content.

I look forward to being your continued stopping place on the interweb.

Incongruous Circumspection

Monday, August 22, 2011

Daily Debate: August 22, 2011

What is the difference between a politician and a statesman?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An Ode to My Sisters

This post got me thinking...

When I was 7 years old, my single mother went to a Bill Gothard Basic Seminar and ate up every word.  Not only did she swallow every man principle he spewed forth, she also fell in love with the man.  Romantically.

This meant that, like how a fundie says, "If the KJV says jump, then jump....only afterward do you pray and ask God if you jumped high enough", she felt the same way about the G-man.

We began to dress like Bill wanted us to.  For the boys, it wasn't so bad.  It essentially meant that we couldn't wear shorts (which was only sparsely enforced due to the need to have gym clothes in high school), T-shirts alone, and shirts not buttoned to the top.  Even one button was slightly scandalous, though we did it anyway.

We were very poor because Bill wouldn't allow my mother to go out and get a job.  He said that it was the woman's place to stay at home.  Thus, we lived off of welfare and handouts throughout my entire childhood.  This meant we shopped at all the local thrift stores and wore the last decade's clothes.

When everyone was wearing tight jeans in the 90's, we were wearing their old bell-bottomed corduroys.  When the Air Jordan's came out with those cool full-width see-through air pockets, we were wearing flat-bottomed FILA's, given to us by the professional tennis player, David Wheaton.  He must have needed to clear out his old dusty inventory.  The bell bottoms weren't so bad because we could pin them tight around our ankles.  If you were creative enough, nobody would be the wiser.

It was different for my sisters.

Modesty for them was the boring old jumper.  Sometimes it was denim.  Other times, it was a print with huge flowers.  If it wasn't a jumper, it was the dreaded coolots.  Or, the skirt that had so much material in it, you could make curtains for three large windows.  Some of them may have been curtains at one time. 

My sisters' clothing was out of style before they ever bought them (or were given them...most likely people throwing away their ancient closet stuffers).  They were washed so often, all the material was severely threadbare.  The hems were shaggy with white strings dripping off of them like icicles.  In a Minnesota winter, being forced to wear a skirt was torture.  They could not wear snow pants so went with leg warmers.  That brought the house down with laughter.  People hadn't worn leg warmers for centuries.

While in school, I knew my sister's were coming around without having to see them.  All you had to do was listen for the "swoosh swish" of their skirts and you knew.  They even wore them for gym clothes.  My mother petitioned the gym teachers to allow a religious exception for my sisters to wear skirts while me and the other boys got to wear the correct wardrobe.

From what I remember, my sisters were so picked on that they hated school.  They were always hanging their heads when passing students in the halls.  They had very few friends.  Those they did have were foreign and could hardly speak English, and barely knew the latest styles.  They suffered much.

I've never put myself in their shoes to understand what they went through.

Now, after reading Darcy's post, I think I know.

I am so sorry.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Tale of Two Families

My family took a trip to St. Louis, Missouri last week on our way south to Oklahoma from Minnesota.  We were going to see some new friends, hanging out for breakfast together.  They had two boys, the ages of two of ours.  The husband worked as a federal security officer at the famous Arch.

While there, we witnessed a family that had half a dozen urchins and another family with two very sweet and uncommonly good kids.

When we arrived, we saw the family with six kids walking down the sidewalk.  The sprinkler system at the National Monument had just turned on and was spraying the concrete, keeping it wet, as well as hitting a few blades of grass.  The father of the urchins yelled out a militaristic order for the kids to skirt the spray's reach so as to not get wet.

Their oldest boy, who was six years old, decided to edge close to the spray while the dad was watching the other five.  He was almost into the water when his father's head spun around on his neck and hissed an order through his teeth.  I was sure that I heard a semblance of a cuss word escape his mouth.  The six-year-old decided that he had done his job of getting the proper reaction and skirted the water, as commanded.  The father then looked around to make sure nobody had seen him squeak at his son, grabbed the hand of his gorgeous wife, and walked on.

About that time, a young boy ran up to the family and inquired in a sweet voice whether or not they were the family his crew was supposed to see that day.  Apparently, these two broods had never met each other.  The mom and dad of the six beamed and the six kids enveloped the young boy, chattering at the top of their lungs.  The noise was deafening but the new friend ate it up like he was starved for more friends.

Soon, the family of six was greeted by the mother of the young boy, a younger son, and taking up the rear, the husband with a sharp covert ops cut.  The father of the six kids unobtrusively puffed his chest out, trying to appear as if he had been exercising his pecs his entire life.  The mothers greeted each other, hit it off immediately, and took no pretenses.

The eight kids all ran down to the blue ponds.  The two boys took orders from their dad to not jump in the pond while the six kids ignored their dad and did their best to try and jump in the smelly chemicals.  Every time one of them went close to the edge, the other seven would increase the noise level like a pack of hens and fourteen arms would grapple the neck of the one getting away and pull him kicking and screaming to safety.  They six-year-old boy from the family of six and his younger, two-year-old brother realized that this was fun and continued the frightening game.

Then, they all rushed to eat doughnuts, chocolate milk, fruit, and juice.  After getting all sticky, they went into the arch.

I lost sight of them until they came back from the arch tram and went into the museum.

The two boys stuck with their parents, doing exactly as the parents asked while the other six kids climbed all over the museum walls, rode the fake bull, jumped the ropes and picked at the stuffed grizzly hair.  At one point the little baby was put down by her father and decided to run away.  The mom of the two boys saw it coming and chased her down, much to the little girls delight.  The father of the six, doing nothing, seemed a bit shy when the covert ops dad softly commanded the six kids to stop climbing all over the walls and exhibits because it was a museum.  They listened.

I lost sight of them as the families hit the bathrooms. Then, the sounds of shattering glass and spilling liquids made it apparent that the family of six kids had entered the coffee shop.  Shortly thereafter, a wail came from the open shop door.  The youngest son had hung on the checkout counter, fallen, and knocked his remaining front tooth (not sure how he lost the other one...but it doesn't surprise me that he did) on the counter's lip on his way down.

The parents came out with cups of coffee in their hands, the two boys of the one family doing what their parents asked and the father of the six kids pretending he had no children.  The mother of the six was lost in conversation with the mother of the two and apparently expected her husband to handle his children.

He failed. 

They left the building, the kids splashing in every puddle from a recent rainstorm, getting dirty.  The father of the six valiantly tried to tell his kids to stop, then threw up his hands, saying something cute to act like he always let his kids be kids and splash in puddles. 

Apparently, I was trying to gain respect from my new friends that I was a good

Yep.  Story of my life.

The Reluctant Mother: A Drastic Change of Heart

My little baby sister recently wrote the following love note to her new daughter.  The note really hit home with me because I have gone through much of what she describes.   Enjoy the read:

One year ago my husband and I decided that we were ready to expand our family and bring a little one into our lives. Most people would think that I am like the rest of the general population, and that I would have made the decision because I wanted to start a family. Little did everyone know that every fiber of my being screamed against it. I knew that Nate wanted a baby and had been ready for quite some time. So... I guess I decided to do it for him.

The moment I found out I was pregnant was like no other. I was so excited that I almost cried and I couldn't get to Nate to tell him fast enough! That was the last moment in my entire pregnancy that I felt that way. Shortly after the excitement of telling everyone in our families that we were expecting, the reality set in for me. From that day on all I could think about was myself and how things were changing for me. Oh I put on a good face and knew all the right words and the right way to act when someone else was happy for me; but every step was laced with the dread that I could not now avoid the end result.

My body was changing and I hated every moment of it. I had taken pride in how I looked before and there was nothing I could do but stand by and watch this thing inside me change my shape.
We had three ultrasounds and during each of them I could see her and feel a little closer; but as I would leave the office the feeling would quickly fade. Part of the reason I felt this way was because of the way I grew up. I was seriously afraid of repeating the mistakes that were made in my childhood... you know; you repeat your parents mistakes yada yada yada.

People would ask me if I was returning to work full time and I would always respond the same way. "I would go insane staying home. There's no way I would want to drop down from full time work. I'm going to need that time away from her." I would talk about the people that were stay at home moms and scorn them behind their backs. (For those of you that know who you are I sincerely apologize!!!)
The week before I went into labor I was sitting at work knowing that the time was drawing ever closer. I had a panic attack thankfully when no one was around to see it.

When May 5th rolled around and I knew I was going into labor, I didn't have much time to think about anything else. I just knew the inevitable day had come and whether I wanted this or not it was happening. At 8:53 am on May 6th she made her entrance into this world. When they handed her to me for the first time, I made sure that I made it look like I wanted to hold her. I was very relieved when they took her away to clean her up and get her vital signs.

That whole first day I looked forward to every visitor that walked through the door. That would mean I didn't have to be left with her and have to face that fact that I had a daughter to care for. I was afraid to go home.

I'm not really sure when things started changing for me, but it seemed to happen fairly fast. How can you possibly look into the face of one of your own and not grow to love them! I find it silly now that any of those emotions had a hold on me at all!

Now every time I look at her, or think about her there is nothing more that I want than to be with her. To think that I talked about the mothers that stayed home, and now more than anything I wish I could be one of them! Joseline has changed me more than anything else that I have encountered in life and to that I say, "Thank you honey"!!!! You are the best thing that could have ever happened to me! The love that I have for you is unavoidable and unending!


How could you not love that face:)

Daily Debate: August 16, 2011

Which internet browser on which operating system do you use and why?

As a programmer, I enjoy Firefox for its plug-ins.  I like Internet Explorer for its crisp UI as well as the ability to harness ancient ActiveX technologies.  I haven't much gotten into Google Chrome but I like some of its features.  The new Pinned Ap Tabs are more than sweet in Firefox.

I freaking HATE Safari.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Daily Debate: August 15, 2011

Brisk Lemon Iced Tea or Brisk Raspberry Iced Tea?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Daily Debate: August 14, 2011

I'm from the great state that nobody knows about - Minnesota.  We have three politicians that originated from here currently and previously running for President.  Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Tim Pawlenty.

Timmy Boy was a decent Governor.  I especially liked his JOBZ program that allotted tax savings to companies who relocated or located to rural communities and created new jobs.  The recession hit that program hard, especially in my hometown for six years, Pipestone, MN.  The man also had a non-pretentious sense of humor, something he didn't show in the campaign.  In the campaign, he actually seemed to stand for nothing.

So...what do you think about Timmy dropping out of the race?  Is it a good thing for the Republican Party, regardless of what flag you fly?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Rogue "pastoral" Team: Act Eleven - Loss of Individuality in Christ

Start from Act One
Incongruous Circumspection was threatened by Mark and Annah's Henchman! 
Aww...the Henchman Apologizes...Sort of 
Mark Reid Tries to Preach Out of a Jam

In Act Ten, we saw Annah Reid tell Zach that, since he wasn't going to do what she wanted him to do, maybe he shouldn't be going to the church anymore.  Let's listen in as Zach attempts to ask some pointed questions and Annah tells Zach that she is his intermediary.


Zach: ...Christ in me is my hope of glory. I don't need somebody telling me, "No! You don't have Christ in you. Not in this way..."

Annah: Nobody said that you didn't have Christ in you, Zach...

Zach: Well, apparently one of His qualities is humility and submission, and I don't have that in me...
Nice one, Zach.

Annah: Okay Zach, guess what?! You've got Christ in you, but you're not perfect. And you're going to be brought from glory to glory. But if you resist God's discipline in the same way of challenging you to GROW UP, you've still got God in you, but you'll still be rebellious or immature. Okay? So, I've got friends that are 40 to 50 years old, still saying that they're going to hear from God some day, because they've never submitted under any leadership in the church.

Huh?  If Annah had her way, this world would be full of a bunch of zombie robots, standing stock still, waiting for their orders.

Zach: Well, I'm not trying to hear from God, I'm just living my life; God has put me on this earth to LIVE.

Unfortunately, Annah translates that idea differently than Zach.  When she hears that a person desires to live, she hears, "live for Annah Reid."

Annah: Yes, He has, but He has also given you authority to go through. People can minister to you to grow up.

Huh?  Where is that doctrine found?  Answer:  Nowhere.  And "authority to go through" and "people to minister to you" are two very different things.

Zach: So, you get to tell me how mature I am.

Annah: Ummm... I think you're immature right now in the attitude of submission. I do.

Annah Reid is telling a 25 year old that he is immature because he doesn't unquestioningly do exactly as he is told when another adult tells him they are getting another person's directions directly from God.  Yeah.

Zach: Okay, well that's your opinion.

Mark: Yes, it's my opinion...

Who asked Mark?  I forgot he was in the room.

Zach: ...based on some assumptions, but I guess some fact of body language, and non-exuberance...

Boo yah!

Annah: No, not at all, assuming is the lowest form of knowledge. I'm not assuming; I'm HEARING.

Okay.  Now THAT is hilarious.  She redefines the word "assuming" so Annah Reid can use it whenever she wants.  Now, the next time someone says, "Annah, you're assuming", she can say, "Yep!  And assuming is alright and dandy because, after all, it IS the lowest form of knowledge!"

Zach: You've got to start with an assumption though, and then you work it out to find the truth.

Annah: Well not really. No! I don't assume. I didn't assume. It's an observation. It's reality.

Give it up, Zach.  Annah Reid knows you better than you do.  Heck, maybe even better than God.

Zach: Well, you assumed about that thing in the restaurant.

Annah: But, do you know what, Zach? That's disrespect. It's – it's – it's disrespect, okay? It doesn't mean if you understood it or not, now you understand, that would be disrespectful, to walk by your pastors and not say, "Hi!... Goodbye!"
Crap!  We're back to this!????  What a narcissist.

Zach: Well, you're setting up all these rules that we have to be held accountable to...

Annah: Yeah, you're going to! And if you're not willing to be teachable, you're right, Zach, you are hitting it on the hammer (Zach: I'll assume she meant 'hitting the nail on the head')

Yep.  Narcissist.

Zach: It's just being petty and breaking up the love.

Annah: No! That is not breaking up the love.

Because she says so.
Mark: You're breaking up the love, Zach.

Now THAT is funny.  Zach is the one being dragged through the mud here for trying to be an individual human being.  And, because he is refusing to do (kindly, I might add) exactly as asked, HE is the one breaking up the love.  Whatever.

Zach: Be respectful of everybody. Don't seal your lips: say "Hi!" all the time...

Boo ya!
Annah: No! That's not it. It's like being respectful. Just being respectful to your pastors. Say, "OH MY GOSH!..." Here, Zach. I'll show you humility. Here's the difference between pride and humility: "Oh. You know what, I never even thought of that, Annah and Mark. I'm so sorry. Did I hurt you? Like, I will work on that!" That's humility. Okay?

Mwahahahhahahahha!!!!  Annah, that's not humility, that teenage foolishness.  LOL!

Zach: But, we know each other...

Annah: No! I just said, "That's humility."

Zach: ...too well to be, like, pretentious like that.

Annah: No! That's humility. I'm talking about being teachable. You're not being teachable, Zach.


Ok.  Gut buster coming up!!!!  Also, some serious eye opening statements.

Mark: Maybe you are too familiar with us and you don't respect us anymore.

Annah: Yeah!

Zach: Well, why can't it be that way? We're brothers and sisters. Why does it always have to be, "You look up to me.", or, "You look down to me." Yata, yata...

Boo ya!
Annah: Zach, you're not going to be equal to us.

Yep...she said it!

Zach: I'm not going for equality. We're all equal in the Kingdom. My faith in Christ is the only acceptance to the fellowship of the body of Christ. It doesn't have to be a whole bunch of rules that are lesser truths that we don't have to agree on all the time. We can agree to disagree, until we see eye to eye. But we can  compromise.

I'd continue to push their buttons and go for equality.  Zach's too nice, though.

Annah: Yes, but do you know what? We're just fighting with you, Zach. Would you stop fighting.

Yeah Zach...make it easier on them to control you.

Zach: Why stop fighting? A wounded soul can't fight anymore.

Annah: We're going in circles...

Mark: We're not going to fight...

Annah: We're not fighting with you; I'm now fighting with you. But you can't come in here and say, "...I want to learn. I might be really excellent at music, but you know what? I'm laying all that aside. I'm just going to learn to, you know, go with what they want, and not have to have my way." You're going to learn it sooner or later...

Is that a threat?  Translation:  Everyone who comes into Mark and Annah Reid's ministry loses their individuality and becomes part of their slave trade.

Zach: It's not my way. I was okay with my relationship with Jesus until all of a sudden you guys are talking about, "You're not submitting." Therefore, that puts something in between me and God.

Annah: I hope it does...


Aaaaaaand there you have it.  Annah Reid WANTS to insert herself between Zach and God.  Her religion calls for it.

Stay tuned for Act Twelve for more weirdness where Annah tries to explain her theology even further and digs a deeper hole.

Mark Reid Denies the Facts and Makes a Joke of It

Mark Reid's "sermon" on August 7th, 2011 (interestingly, this is the same day that I received the "cease and desist" email) was titled "Rejection and the Praise of Man."

This roped me in due to recent events.  I knew without a doubt that he was speaking of me.  And of course, I wasn't surprised when he tossed away the truth and made a mockery of his own words and actions.

You can find the full "sermon" (thankfully, only about 28 minutes long) here.  Drink a glass of water first.  Mark's dry mouth will have you needing one.  And please....please laugh at his jokes.  They are good, at times, and nobody laughs in his congregation.

Throughout the "sermon", he never mentions names but he is speaking of straw men here and there.  He specifically mentions my blog without naming the blog or his source (I will refer to that below).  And, when he is obviously talking about Zach, he wraps up Zach's issues as one that has been offended.

Offended?  Maybe he was, but rightly so.  Mark and Annah Reid willingly participated in name calling, character assassination, bullying, lying, propping themselves up as akin to Jesus Christ, and speaking as if they were God's intermediaries.  But to declare him as offended is to cheapen the search for truth that Zach has embarked on, the first step being to toss away the ball and chain of Mark and Annah Reid.

Mark puts a graphic up on the screen that quotes John 5:41.  In that verse, Jesus says "I receive not honor from men."

Mark stays on that point and suffers a while, trying to portray the importance of not being honored by men.  He casts himself and other Christians as "like Christ", saying that if they are doing what God wants them to do, man's honor is unnecessary.  But this is not how Mark and Annah Reid really roll in their "ministry".  When they confronted Zach about how he treated them at the restaurant they repeated over and over again that Zach was not entering into a "culture of honor".  Honor is a big deal to these two.  They see a demon behind every bush when even a little baby looks askance at them while sitting in church, sucking their little thumb.  I haven't counted yet, but this whole "culture of honor" business comes up a lot in the Rogue "pastoral" Team Series.  Essentially, Mark is being two-faced here.  He and Annah REQUIRE honor and yet act like they are like Christ, who rejects it.

If you are keeping time while watching the "sermon," at 16:53, Mark mentions that "someone said last week (not true...I wrote it months ago, but his audience doesn't need to know the truth) that I was a cult leader."  He turns around and puts on a pair of sunglasses.  Nary a chuckle.  He says, "Is that doing it for ya?"

Then, at 18:15, he says that someone (again, me) said that he was a king and Annah was the queen.  He puts on a crown and attempts to solicit a giggle.  Nothing.

Then, he sums it all up at 18:32 by saying "Do you think that everyone is going to love you if you're doing what God is telling you to do?"

Really, Mark?  If you read the whole series that has been posted thus far, you will also ask that question with more incredulity than someone who just heard that the Minnesota Twins can muster a World Series caliber team.  It just isn't true. 

If God is telling Mark Reid to do what he did to Zach over the four years and preach the kind of authority doctrine drivel that he and Annah do, I want no part of that God.  And I expect most of my readers would agree.

Then Mark goes on a tangent about how someone who takes up a secondary offense for someone who has been offended is the lowest of lows.  He tells that secondary offense taker upper person guy to go shove it and REALLY get offended and THEN come back and deal with the offense.  Yeah, real theology here.  Mark can't handle the fact that someone in his congregation disagreed with him and followed it up with gaining a bigger voice than Mark has about himself.

I am not singing my praises here by any means.  I am merely enjoying the position I have found myself in, by exposing the horrible and incorrect authority doctrine.  I desire to expose those who use it to squish the lives of others and hurt those poor souls in the process.

Mark sums up his "sermon" with an all-too-telling phrase - 26:35: "We need to get over a little rejection."

So, his congregation is now thinking that Mark is like Christ and is the hapless victim of individual dissenters.  People who aren't or cannot be part of the Christian faith.  Someone who has "taken up an offense" against him.

I just hope that one congregant present that morning actually does their research.  They would be surprised to know the real truth.  Unfortunately, for Mark and Annah Reid, my Google Analytics have shown a spike in those who have reached this blog by doing a Google search for the words "Mark and Annah Reid" since that Sunday "sermon."

The truth will set you free.

The First Henchman Apologizes...Sort Of

After the empty threats, clear misunderstanding of the laws of Minnesota, as well as Federal law, overt bullying, heavy-handed demands, and wading into a place that was clearly none of his business, Norman Pool has sent my brother and I an apology of.

The letter appears to be an apology, but upon closer examination, it is more of the same.  Norman Pool is continuing to defend the "pastoral" team of Mark and Annah Reid, giving them a complete pass (attempting to pretend that he is not, by indirectly referring to "others in authority that may have hurt you") and coming down hard on Zach and I.

As I predicted to my wife, he hit us with Matthew 18.  I'll comment more on that in my commentary below.

My words will be [like this] and Norman's letter will be the normal text.

Enjoy the read:


Greetings Zach and Joe:
I want to start by first apologizing to both of you.  I came across harshly when I should not have.  I said things that were not my place to do so.  So please forgive me.

[As you will see during the full text of this letter, not once does Norman William Pool admit he was wrong on the law.  In fact, with the words above and the repeated "The ball is in your hands" threat, he leaves the window open for other "What I really meant was..." threats in the future.]

Today God has been showing me His heart for the both of you.  The Fathers heart is grieved for what is going on in your lives and for the things that you are doing.  God loves you so much, and He only wants the best for you.  God was showing me that you have a wounded heart.

[Yes.  No mention of the instigation of the whole "Rogue Pastor Series" in the first place.  The facts are clear.  Mark and Annah Reid are the problem.  NOT Zach and most definitely not me.  It's funny actually.  Throughout this whole letter, he assumes that somehow I have been hurt or touched by this.  He has to assume that, or lump me in on purpose for a very specific reason - because, if he doesn't, Matthew 18 doesn't apply.  Oops....

Also, Norman Pool has just waded into a trap.  He is claiming that God is showing him something.  The problem is, he must be listening to the wrong God.  I don't have a wounded heart.  I don't even know how I would have a wounded heart in this whole mess.  I can't speak for Zach, but from what I know, his reaction to this whole story is one of relief.

Zach realized that he had pretty much wasted the last four years on this group of clowns and he is now making up for lost time.  In my view, he is free and loving every minute of it.  Wounded heart?  Hardly.  Unfortunately, Norman Pool is surrounded by people that claim they get divine messages from God when really they are just drumming up inner feelings that attempt to explain the weird or normal nuances of life.]

Just like when an animal gets wounded and is backed up into a corner, it ends up being aggressive and lashes out.  This is self-preservation.  God was showing me that there have been those in authority, be it in the Church or elsewhere, which have come up short and have wounded you.

[Great analogy, but it still doesn't fit.  In fact, its a slap in the face.  Mark and Annah Reid are the ones that are lashing out like a wounded animal and yet he turns it on Zach (and me?  Ha!).

The slap in the face comes into play when he says "there have been those in authority, be it in the church or elsewhere".  Again, Norman is not specifically calling Mark and Annah Reid to task.  He can't.  He is in bed with them.  In fact, he is trying to play the "others" card. 

Annah was very good at this with Zach.  Somehow, she got wind that Zach had been abused by his mother and from that day forward, abused that piece of information to further solidify Annah's control over him.  I can only assume this, but I am convinced I am correct - Norman is playing the "others" card because he has been prepped by Mark and Annah Reid that he can easily deflect the "abusive authority" problem onto Zach's mother, leaving the two fools smelling like a rose.]

I know personally what this feels like, I have been there.  Just like a wounded animal, we end up lashing out at others because we don’t know any other way to cope with what has been done to us.  So what ends up happening is the victim now becomes the victimizers.  The sin of another is now birthed in our lives.  We end up doing things to others that was done to us, because of self-preservation.  This is not walking in love as scripture tells us to do.

[Yadda yadda.  More of the same.  Except here, Norman tries to insert his own issues in the middle of his accusations - an attempt to soften the blow.  No mention of whose sin is "birthed in our lives" either (NOT Mark and Annah's perhaps?).  Also, he continues with his problematic premise that I am affected by any of this.

I am just the messenger.  The vessel to expose the lies and abuse of Mark and Annah Reid.  More of that later.

Additionally, this is a typical ploy of defenders of abusers.  They attack the abused and pretend to hold the only and exact definition of what "love" really means.  It is ironic that the victim is always the one that is expected to do the loving while the abusers get a pass.]

For instance scripture says, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”   Matt. 18:15-17 KJV

[And there you have it.  Zach and I have been hit with Matthew 18.  Its so predictable from these people (defenders of abusers, as well as the abusers themselves) , I should just start every piece of correspondence with naughty peeps by saying "...and Matthew 18 won't work on me."

There are several problems here.

First, I have received numerous emails and letters from victims of Mark and Annah Reid.  They all have the same theme.  They get into the church and do much.  Then, they see a small or large problem.  After praying or not, they decide to contact Mark and Annah Reid to either meet with them or pray about it together.  Before they have a chance to meet, or even after the first meeting, they are excommunicated and then their name is smeared through the mud.  This isn't a one-time occurrence.  This is a practiced and perfected craft by these two clowns and their ilk, Norman included.

Second, I was not affected by these people.  Mark and Annah Reid have (thankfully) done nothing to me.  Thus, Matthew 18 does not apply to anything I have done nor will be doing in the future.  It must be said, then, that I will not take kindly to Mark and Annah Reid attempting to drag me into this in order to force their view of Matthew 18 onto me.  It won't work as they will see by continuing to read below (which I know they are).

Third, the Bible is a poor rule book for all of life's little nuances.  To act like it has all the answers only causes a person to go insane when problems that aren't specifically addressed crop up. 

For example, what color car is a Christian supposed to buy?  Ok, that is a bit idiotic but that leads me into the true question.

What does Matthew intend for us to do when the leaders of the church have a history of refusing any correction?  After all, they lead the bloody thing.  They don't allow even the first step of "correction" to materialize.  One iota of dissension and voila!  The person accusing them is summarily dismissed.  Thus, to pretend that Mark and Annah can be the intended subject of Matthew 18 is only to remove the ability for Zach to do anything whatsoever about the issue, if he was hamstrung to only allow him to use what Norman calls "God's protocol."

I'm pretty sure Matthew's interpretation of Jesus' words had nothing to do with a brick and mortar church anyway.  The "church" was the full body that believed in Christ.  If you follow the passage through to the end, with all the history of abuse Mark and Annah Reid have, most importantly, the history of rejection of correction, they should be the ones being cast to the swine, called heathens, and turned their back on.

Finally, what is supposed to happen if the intended subject of Norman Pool's Matthew 18 Bible bashing does not see the Bible as the rulebook he does?  Or, that they don't believe the Bible was the inspired word of God, as I do not?  What then?  Is the "best encapsulation of Christ and the ideas set forth" then a protocol to follow, or maybe just a guideline of good thoughts from those that believe in God?  I would argue the latter.]

God has His protocol in how we are to do things.  This reminds me of an old testament scriptures about recompense.

And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.  Ex. 21:23-25 KJV

And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.  Lev. 24:19-20 KJV

[Why is Norman so caught up in quoting the KJV specifically?  Do other translations not give the heavy-handed nuances that he desires to set forth?  I don't know the answer to that question.  But, it would be fun to find out.

Also, this is another typical ploy by defenders of abusers.  Tell the victim to walk away because, after all, God will dish out the karma.  Essentially, this is exactly what Zach did.  Though, Norman and his friends can argue that Zach didn't do it according to THEIR rules.  After all, they hold the true and exact interpretation of all Scripture.

This is very dangerous.  What if Norman Pool was aware of physical abuse or worse by these "pastors".  Would he then be quoting 1 Corinthians 6:1 - 8 (thanks, Eric) at us? 

As human beings, we have many tools to deal with bad people.  The ways to do this would fill many books and have been hammered out through the annals of history.  The writers of the current canon we call "The Holy Bible" actually disagreed on the manner in which we are to take people to task. Some say don't.  Others say do.  Some say you're naughty to do so and should just let them walk all over you.  Others say to do it with gusto and even call names.  Even stories of Paul and Jesus Christ show violent outbursts of words and actions.  Then, we see the story of Stephen, as depicted by Luke in Acts, where he suffered death without much more than a word.

My take on all that is to say, we as individual human beings can decide what works best, making sure we are acting in love.  Heck, even write a book.  A thousand years from now, your version may be canonized.]

In the new testament (sic) there is a teaching about sowing and reaping.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.  Gal 6:7-10 KJV

[Tell that to Mark and Annah Reid.]

These scripture (sic) from Galatians are saying the same thing that the old testament scripture is talking about.  If someone has done wrong to you and they haven’t repented and asked for forgiveness, there is coming a day that they are going to reap that very thing in their own life.  If (sic) do somebody wrong, even if we can so call justify it in our own mind, there is coming a day that we are going to reap the very thing that we had sown.  This is God’s law and there is no getting around it.

[No this isn't God's law.  This is what you claim to be God's law, Norman Pool.  And you use it only for those you want to shut up.  Why have I not received correspondence from Mark and Annah Reid, apologizing for everything they have done?  Why are the victims of Mark and Annah Reid's false "ministry" still waiting for some sort of "making things right."  It's quite obvious.  The Scripture you say is the immutable law of God does not apply to them.  Only their false view of Scripture that states that everything an authority does is righteous.

If you want to speak about God's law, in the sense that there is no getting around it, what about stoning children when they are rebellious?  Nay, when they even give their parents the "evil eye" as in Deuteronomy.  What about all the sacrificial laws that are not for the forgiveness of sins but merely ceremonial and required by God for sweet aromas?  Why, why, why?  I could list hundreds of what you consider to be God's immutable laws that you yourself are not following to the letter.  Don't tell me what God's law is.  I know what the Bible says and I don't consider that to be God's law, among other arguments that I don't care to discuss here.]

We also must follow what is written in Mark 11-25-26 which say (sic),

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.  KJV

[So, if this is the case and you expect Zach to forgive (remember, I have nothing to forgive because I was not wronged (thankfully, again) by Mark and Annah Reid), then why did you demand all the crap you demanded in the first email you sent?  While misstating the laws of the State of Minnesota and the United States, you declared that we had done something illegal and needed to rectify it or you would do something odd like talk to the FBI and the Attorney General.  Why did you, instead, not preach a sermon at Mark and Annah Reid and tell THEM to forgive?  Why?  Yes...don't answer.  The questions are rhetorical.]

If we have something against another that was done against us, we are to come to the place where we are to forgive them even if they never come to us and ask us to forgive them.  While Jesus was on the cross, he cried out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34a KJV 

He asked the Father to forgive those who have wronged him and crucified him.  We are to do the same for those who have wronged us.

[Um.  Serious proof texting, buddy.  Jesus was dealing with the sins of mankind and Zach is dealing with bull**** pushed against him.  Hardly comparable.  Also, Jesus didn't say that.  Luke SAYS Jesus said that.  Keep that in mind whenever you are quoting the Bible at me.]

So with what I have shared, you must ask yourself, have you followed God’s protocol when you were wronged?  Did you go and point out the wrong to them alone?   If yes, did they repent?  If not, did you bring one or two more with you to confront them for the wrong done to you?  If yes, did they repent?  If not, than you are to bring it before the church.  Did you do this?  If yes, did they repent?  If not, than they are to be considered as a heathen.   Next, did you ask God to forgive them for the wrong that you received?  If not, are you going to do this?

[I won't write down the long laugh I just had.  This is very funny.  If Norman Pool had actually read my Acts 1 - 10, which he did but is choosing to ignore the obvious, he will note that Mark and Annah Reid actually CONTROL THE CHURCH in question.  The sort of exact methods he is declaring as "God's protocol" does not apply here.  It can't.  Mark and Annah Reid don't allow anyone to go to second base, let alone leg out a single.  With that in mind, of course Zach has not done so. 

With that knowledge, Norman William Pool can walk into their office and smugly declare that Zach is a horrible Christian and they have nothing to worry about.

Also, I received no wrong from them.  I have no forgiveness to receive nor forgiveness to ask.  And am I going to do this?  HELL NO!  I find no pleasure in walking into a hornets nest.  And indeed, that is what Mark and Annah Reid's "church" is.]

So to conclude this, God loves the both of you so much and His heart is hurting seeing what has been happening.

[You know this?  How do you know this?  You got the first "wounded heart" declaration wrong.  You misquoted all these verses at me, trying to portray that I have been wronged somehow and need to follow some sort of magical formula so that all will be well.  You assumed that I believe in the Bible as you believe in the Bible (God's Holy Word, inerrant, and completely inspired, not riddled with mistakes and inaccuracies, containing no ideas of men or the best possible explanation of events they witnessed or heard of).

You got all that wrong and then you claim to know what God is feeling about us?  Just because you claim that doesn't make it so.  In fact, I will emphatically declare that it ISN'T so.  If I were to gander a guess, and God was still in the business of striking down people he disagreed with, Mark and Annah Reid would be long gone.   They are in the business of themselves while lying through their teeth that they are in God's business.  They are wolves in sheep's clothing.  There is nothing pure about them, except the pure stench of the desire to be in control of other people and be noticed for THEIR place in the "church" business of controlling souls.]

You have to make a choice of either following God or doing your own thing.  If we say that we are following after God, than God alone has the ultimate plan for your life. 

[You mean...following Mark and Annah Reid.  I feel a verse coming on.]

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.  1 Cor. 6:19-20  KJV

[Yep.  And inapplicable, as well.  Is anyone even listening anymore?]

You are not your own, you have been bought.  God owns your life.  He owns my life.  He is God.  He has the final word.  Enough said,  You have a choice to make.  The ball is in your hand.

[Blah blah blah.  Oh wait!  There he goes again with the "ball is in your hand" and the "you have a choice to make" baloney sausage!  What ball?  What will happen if I don't do what you say I'm supposed to do Norman William Pool?  Seriously, are you going to eat your own words and then expect God to dish out my karma?  That's the sermon you gave me?

Or, does that mean that you'll try something else to get me to take down the Rogue "pastoral" Team series? 

Looks like Norman Pool is hell bent on harassment.  Much more of that and I WILL have to take more legal action than I already have.]

Shalom (Peace) to the both of you and your family.
Norman Pool



So there you have it.  A non-apology wrapped up in an apology.  Suffice it to say that I expected nothing less.  The lack of admitting Norman was wrong on the law, more thinly veiled threats ("ball is in your hands"), proof-texting Scripture, including Matthew 18, more ardent defense of Mark and Annah Reid, pretentious head jiggles toward nebulous "authority" figures without naming the real clowns at fault, etc.

In short, Norman William Pool hit the nail on the head.  He is still a shill of Mark and Annah Reid.

Norman, tell your leaders that THEY are the ones that need to talk to those that are wronged.  You have no business in this discussion.  If Mark and Annah Reid feel they have done nothing wrong, then let them defend themselves. Although, in the court of public opinion, I can't find a single soul that would agree with them in that regard.  Frankly, I am convinced they care more about saving their reputation and allowing themselves to continue in their verbal and spiritual abuse that their desire is to squash all criticism.

Sadly, I conclude by saying I never expect to hear any news of Mark and Annah Reid corresponding with those they have hurt.  I fully expect them to delegate more shills to try to cover up their evil.  And yes, this saddens me.

But mostly, I want to let my readers know:  I am writing this series to expose the evils of the "authority doctrine" in the church.  How it can ruin lives.  And Mark and Annah Reid stepped up to the plate as a premium example.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Rogue Pastor's First Henchman Responds

To all who have been captivated by the Rogue "pastoral" Team Series, I received an email from one of their strong men.  He is intending to bully me into removing all the posts and even has threatened legal action.

Unfortunately, he has not read the laws of the state of Minnesota or even been well versed in Federal law.  If you do a background check on Norman Poole, you can see that he hasn't been on the friendly side of the law.  I am just one of his next potential "victims".  I refuse to be bullied and so will post here the full text of his laughable email.

Norman, I demand that you read the Minnesota Statutes in full and come back to me with a 1000 page report on the laws of this great state.  Then, you have exactly one week to send me a certified and notarized apology letter.  It will be posted to all my readers.

(If you read the text of his email, you will see the humor in the above demand.)

Finally, if anyone has any history with people like Norman, I implore you to respond in the comments of how you dealt with the empty threats.

Text of email:

From: "Norman William Pool"
Date: August 7, 2011 9:07:19 PM CDT

Zach and Joe,

I just wanted to let the both of you know that you both are in violation of both federal and state laws.  Joe you have posted 10 postings on your blog “The Rogue "pastoral" Team Series”.  What you want to say is not in violation of law, but what is that there was a recording of a conversation between Zach and Pastors Mark and Annah Reid.  This recording was done in violation of both federal and state laws because it was done without the consent of all parties.   Than to further the violation of law this recording was transcribed and posted on a blog for all the world to see.  The recording and the transcribing of this recording is in violation of federal and state law.  To let the both of you know, Pastors Mark and Annah are aware of this.  I have made pdf copies of these postings and have posted it on a private link for you to see.  The link to these pdf’s is .  Each of you have one week to write a letter apologizing and asking forgiveness to both Pastor Mark and Annah Reid for what you have done.  This letter will be read before the congregation and recorded both in our audio recordings and video recordings of the service.  The next thing you will do is post the same letters in your blog for the wrong you have done.  Finally you will remove those postings from your blog.  If you do not do this, than I will forward the pdf’s of those postings to the FBI and to the State Attorney General for prosecution.  The letter must be in the hands of Pastors Mark and Annah Reid no later than 19 August 2011.  You will mail the letter to Freedom Christian Center, Attn: Pastors Mark and Annah Reid, 6937 U.S. Hwy 10 N.W., Ramsey, MN 55303.  Once you have done this, you will reply to this email that all of this has been completed.  You will also send me a link to the posting of that letter on your blog to me.  This is no laughing matter.  The ball is in your hands.  Do what is right and all will be forgiven.

Norman Pool

Note:  The pdf's have been pulled on the FCC site since this post was posted.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Leaving for Oklahoma

I will be away from Incongruous Circumspection for about a week.  My family is heading down for a much needed vacation to Oklahoma.  We will be driving through the night tonight and stopping in St. Louis to visit some new friends.

Then, we'll head down to Oklahoma to bed down at Kristine's relatives only to wake up on Saturday and head down to another new friends' cabin for some awesome fellowship (I hear).  Afterward, we head back to the relatives for a few days.

Then, we head over to West-ish Oklahoma to visit some dear friends of this blog et al.

We're leaving temps in the mid seventies and going to temps in the 100's to 110's.  Youch!  I know...crazy.

I will try to watch I.C. and answer any questions or pour some love on those who need it.  If not, you know I'll be having the time of my life with my smokin' hot bride and getting to know my kids again.

To R & R.

Daily Debate: August 4, 2011

Early rising or sleeping in?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Response to Doug Phillips "Christian" Response to Earth Day

This is going to be a lengthy post.  It is an answer to Dougy Boy Phillips' “article” on Earth Day.  Libby Anne is an atheist with a very unique perspective on life.  She is currently completing her Doctorate in History.  I am a Christian by nature of my belief in God, with a decidedly different view of life than many of Doug's conclusions.
You can find Libby's blog here.
Libby's words will be this color while mine will take on this hue.  Doug Phillips' words will be black.
Have you ever heard of a “straw man” fallacy? It’s where you misstate your opponent’s argument and then knock it down. Here is an example of a straw man argument:
 “Evolutionists think that man came into being through random chance! That’s crazy!”
See, the problem with this is that evolutionary scientists do NOT think man came into being through random chance. They think man evolved through natural selection, which has nothing to do with random chance. This is a straw man fallacy - you restate your opponent’s argument in a ridiculous way, and then easily knock it down.

Vision Forum does this with its opponents time and again. It blasts atheists, humanists, feminists, and environmentalists, but from its portrayals of these groups it becomes painfully obvious that Vision Forum doesn’t actually know anything about them. In fact, I would argue that the only thing Vision Forum is good at is completely misstating its opponents’ arguments and beliefs.
As you read what I have to say, keep in mind that I was raised on Vision Forum’s views and literature and am today an atheist, humanist, feminist, and environmentalist.

A Christian Response to Earth Day (A Christian, of course, by Dougy's standards)

By Doug Phillips

All men are religious because all men have an object of worship. All men have faith in something. In the end, men will either worship and serve the creature, or they will worship and serve the Creator. But they will worship something.

Doug Phillips and his ilk LOVE to cast a discussion as containing only two sides.  It makes it much easier to compare their view of evil to what they see as obvious righteousness or holiness.  There is absolutely no room for equivocation or color.  Life is completely black or white.

Okay, we need to get some definitions straight here.

Religion: the service and worship of God or the supernatural; commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.

Worship: reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power or an act of expressing such reverence; a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual; extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem

So first off, not all men are religious (or women either, believe it or not). In order to be religious, a person must believe in the existence of a God or the supernatural. I don’t. I am not religious. Second, there seem to be two main ways that the word “worship” can be used. The first has religious connotations and is directed to a deity. The second has no religious connotations whatsoever and involves “respect” or “admiration” or “devotion to an object of esteem.” I think that Phillips is likely playing fast and loose with these two meanings, using the word “worship” not in the sense of respect but rather using it to imply religious connotations.

I look at what Dougy says here and take issue with his use of the word “all”.  Again, in order to formulate arguments to control his followers and sell stuff on his website, Doug has to generalize all his reasoning.  Us against them is a favorite of his.  In this case, “all” is merely to ascertain the acquiescent up and down head jiggle he so achingly desires.  The problem is, it isn't true.  There are many who just don't care.

Even so, there is a grain of truth in what Phillips says. All men have ideals and things they value and work towards, whether they are religious or not. Some people, both Christians and atheists, serve only themselves. I personally am a humanist, which means that I believe in human potential and improving the world for humankind. I would prefer to serve my fellow humans rather than to serve some sort of imaginary deity. There are, however, also Christian humanists, who believe that God values humans and wants them to use their abilities to make the world a better place for all of humankind. So while we all do have ideals and things we value, it is nowhere near as simple as “all men either worship God or they worship the creature.”

In the 18th century, many (you can't argue with “many”!) began to worship the mind.

Much of the material of Vision Forum and those that preach their controlling teachings of patriarchy and the subordination of women contains the idea that “to think or reason is evil”.  After all, man's heart is wicked and deceitful.  Only the Bible matters.  What is not contained in the Bible is inherently evil. 

The followers never stop to question why the leaders and the men and women that swallow this crap whole, get to use extra-biblical sources and reasoning (asinine faulty logic that disagrees with even Biblical references it pretends to tout) to prove their arguments.

The religion of that day was rationalism. In the 19th century, this god morphed into scientism. But science failed to provide the answers to ultimate questions. The men of the 20th century looked for a more immediate solution to the problems of humanity — they chose to worship the State. This failed. Statism proved to be a harsh taskmaster. In the absence of any real solutions from rationalism, scientism, and statism, men fixed their attention on a new god — or rather, an ancient God that just needed a new facelift.

That god is the earth.

Wha? Vision Forum is just making stuff up here. As for rationalism and science, the mind and our senses are all we have. Therefore, rationalism, which is simply using our brains, makes sense, and science, which is simply using our senses to learn about the world around us, also makes sense.

Now, rationalism and science have not "failed" as Phillips claims. In fact, rationalism and science are what brought us vaccines, modern medicine, and fertilizers that increased crop yields and cut down on starvation. God never brought us any of this. Rationalism and science did.

I would simply add that Doug is acting as if science has completed its course in the history of men when, in reality, science continues to discover new realms and clarify mistakes of the past, as well as solidify old theories as fact.

As for "statism," it is true that many humans have turned to the state to fix problems that we see. And you know what? It's worked a whole heck of a lot better than looking to God. The state has curtailed child labor, guaranteed equal rights for all (Brown v. Board of education anyone?), brought about universal schooling, decreased poverty through welfare and other programs, decreased the infant mortality rate, and, in many countries, provided citizens of all stripes with health care. "Statism" has not failed (and I don't think it's fair to give it an "ism" anyway). If they're referring to communism when they say it was a "harsh taskmaster," I would point out that the Soviet Union suffered from totalitarianism more than anything else, and no one ever thought totalitarianism was a good idea.

My view of statism is a bit different.  Government was built up as the epitome of evil while I was growing up.  I distrusted anyone in a black suit that drove a black SUV and had a white, translucent earpiece.

As an example, a few years back, my wife and I ran a daycare and saw firsthand what our American welfare system has done to the livelihood and the work ethic of the poorest in our society.  It has elevated their livelihood quite well.  To starve in America today is a rarity, and yet still happens.  But it hasn't pulled people who depend on welfare out of the doldrums and propped them back on their feet to be successful, independent of the state.

Sure, everyone can use government for that purpose and I have taken advantage of it myself.  But I find fault in the nature of our welfare system as being too easy to take advantage of, losing sight of its true initial purpose – to be a fallback for the poor.  
On the other hand, I am convinced that much of Christianity has failed mankind.  They have lost sight of the purpose of the religion which is to show others love.  Love by doing service is a great way to start.  Instead, we are wrapped up in our theological differences and care only for the minds of those we agree with, rather than the lives of all.

Finally, mankind has found a new "god," and that "god" is the earth? This makes no sense whatsoever. “God” is a supernatural concept; the earth is the physical place we live on. There’s a difference there. Mankind did realize at some point that the earth was something that we could destroy, and indeed were in the process of destroying, and that this was a bad idea. Seriously, we had rivers that had so much trash in them that when lit on fire they burned for days. Smog so thick you couldn't see ten feet in front of you? Environmentalism is about protecting the earth so that we can live healthy lives and so that our civilization can survive, not about "worshiping" it or making it into a “god.”

Some people do worship the earth, though they have been doing it for thousands of years.  Tribal types. 

21st-century men are earth worshipers. They are sanitized pantheists. Of course, they don’t call themselves pantheists or earth worshipers, but religious devotion to the material world is the essence of this modern faith.

This religious devotion to the material world as god comes in many shapes and sizes, but it has become ubiquitous in our culture. The new pantheism is at the heart of the green movement. It is reflected in the priorities of Hollywood, in the agenda of politicians, and in the curriculum of the government schools. It is found in the marketing campaign of Madison Avenue, in the reality TV shows of cable television, and sadly, even in pulpits across the nation. The worship of the creation has become a defining undercurrent in our culture, even as it is reshaping many of the cultures of the modern world.

These two paragraphs don't make a lick of sense. Since Phillips simply makes assertions without examples or proof, there is nothing to refute here. Except to say that what they're saying is NOT true. First, “earth worshipers”? Really? Not sure where he’s even getting that. Secondly, environmentalism is not at all universal to our culture, and even if it was, it's not about worshiping anything, it's about protecting our environment so that we can have healthy lives today and a good future tomorrow. Also, materialism is totally different from and unrelated to environmentalism. Also, didn’t Phillips earlier say that man either worships the Creator or the creature? If that’s so, how is man suddenly worshiping the earth? Phillips is contradicting even himself.

And this is one reason why this Friday, April 22, millions of people (perhaps billions) representing the countries of the United Nations will stop to celebrate the high holy day of this religion as they pay homage to the earth God. Of Earth Day, evolutionary anthropologist Margaret Meade once explained that:

EARTH DAY is the first holy day which transcends all national borders, yet preserves all geographical integrities, spans mountains and oceans and time belts, and yet brings people all over the world into one resonating accord, is devoted to the preservation of the harmony in nature and yet draws upon the triumphs of technology, the measurement of time, and instantaneous communication through space. EARTH DAY draws on astronomical phenomena in a new way — which is also the most ancient way — by using the vernal Equinox, the time when the Sun crosses the equator making the length of night and day equal in all parts of the earth. To this point in the annual calendar, EARTH DAY attaches no local or divisive set of symbols, no statement of the truth or superiority of one way of life over another.

Nice quote mining. I do agree that one thing that is cool about earth day is that it unites everybody. Most holidays are specific to a religion or a location or a nation. Earth day is about the universals that bind us all - such as the earth that we live on. And I think we can all agree that the earth, which provides us with food and warmth and everything else, is something that we need to protect. Or at least I thought so until I read this article.

Should Christians care about the earth? Not only must we care about it, we have a holy duty to engage the earth. The difference between the objectives of biblical Christianity and radical environmentalism can be found in the religious assumptions of both groups.

Dougy is a huge Dominionist in the sense that we need to “subdue” the earth. To him, that means that we can do whatever we want because we were given that permission by God himself.  He'll give a head fake to the idea that we need to be careful with the earth, but its more about a PR campaign so he doesn't get accused of what he REALLY believes.  Watch some of his stuff sometime.  The guy would dune buggy on the last anthill on earth if he was given the chance (yeah...I just used “dune buggy” as a verb).

Four Lies of the Radical Environmentalist Movement
With Earth Day comes billions of dollars worth of environmentalist propaganda driven by their religious worldview. Some of the themes you can expect to hear repeated this year include the following:
1.  The Earth Is Our Mother: The very expression “Mother Earth” is popular parlance in our culture and reflects the old pagan longing to worship the physical world. Modern environmentalists, with their devotion to the idea that man is just another life-form to spring from the womb of the earth on the evolutionary journey of life, speak openly about earth being the mother of man.

I do not think it means what you think it means. "The earth is our mother" is something that is said figuratively. It means that we cannot live without the earth, that we cannot survive without the earth, that we cannot flourish without the earth, and therefore, we should protect the earth.

I second that!

2.  Human Life Has No Greater Intrinsic Value Than Animal Life: The notion that man is an insignificant blip in the universe and that our planet is almost as insignificant as man is an oft-repeated concept of the modern environmentalist movement. Radical environmentalists complain about the carbon footprints of humans, and the sin of “Speciesism” — man discriminating against lower life-forms.

This is true. Mankind is an insignificant blip. Heck, we've been on earth what, a couple million years? And of that written human history only goes back six or eight thousand years. To put that in perspective, dinosaurs were on the earth for a hundred and fifty million years. As for the supposed “sin” of speciesism, this argument is simply made by animal rights activists, not environmentalists as a whole, and it is in essence no more than an argument that “owning” animals, who are sentient beings just as we are, is akin to slavery.

3.  The Greatest Crisis Facing Humans is the Despoiling of the Earth: From the media campaigns of former Vice President Al Gore, to the film agenda of Avatar, radical environmentalists want you to believe that the single greatest problem facing humanity is the environmental destruction of earth.

This is also true. We are destroying our environment. We cannot live without our environment. If this continues, famine and disease will spread, natural disasters will increase, and wars over resources will proliferate. Not good.

I disagree with Libby Anne here, but my disagreement is only reflective of the debate about anthropogenic global warming/climate change (AGW) in society as a whole.  I see our world as cleaner today than it was 30 – 40 years ago and yet there is room for improvement.

4.  Absent a Radical Shift in Private Practice and Public Policy, the Environmental Crisis Will Lead to the End of Life on Earth: Modern pantheists care deeply about the future. One thing is clear: Radical environmentalists have their own eschatology. They see the end of the world coming because of nuclear waste, global warming, the loss of rainforest in the Amazon, or any of a host of perceived environmental hazards.

This is slightly drastic, but it is in some sense true. Mankind really could go extinct. It happened to the dinosaurs.  However, I don't think that will actually happen, and I don't think most environmentalists think it will either. I think it more likely that we will see a lot of death and huge changes in the civilizations of the world, which will then stabilize with very different standards of living and way of life.

Doug makes a grave error here and one that is quite offensive.  He tries to portray that all love for the earth is a reaction based on the calamitous possibilities of what man can do.  I see what man can do as I drive down the highway.  I don't want to jump into the Mississippi and accidentally swallow the water.  I see washing machines in creeks and bicycle tires in lakes and ponds.  I love the earth and desire for it to be clean.   And I will gladly be lumped in with those who don't want the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

As it seems, Dougy Boy wants the rainforest obliterated.

Four Christian Assumptions About the Earth
1.  The Earth is Witness to the Power and Authority of God the Creator Who Alone May Be Worshipped: The Bible teaches that the very existence of the earth is a reminder to all men of the eternal power and Godhood of Christ, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20). It reminds us that as long as the earth continues, the promises of God will remain faithful (Genesis 8:22; Deuteronomy 7:9). Significantly, the Bible warns us that the consequence for man rejecting the witness of creation is that he worships creation itself (Romans 1:22-25).

As an atheist, I totally disagree with this one. I see the earth as evidence of our past and of evolution. In fact, I find nothing about the earth that points to God. “The witness of creation?” Nope, sorry, actually I look at the earth and find it pointing me in the opposite direction.

As a Christian, I agree.  Staring at the stars, I get a true sense of God's handiwork. But I don't see that as an argument against taking care of the earth or even celebrating it.  And I really think Dougy is stretching a bit with the Romans 1:22 – 25 reference.  The author is talking about images that are different from the true God.  Those images happen to be an animal or creeping thing.  Nothing to do with worshiping the creation as he purports.

2.  The Earth Was Made for the Glory of God and the Benefit of Man Who Was Made the Pinnacle of Creation and of Infinitely Greater Value than Animals or the Earth Itself: Man is the pinnacle of creation and has more eternal value than the earth or any of the creatures who live on it (Psalm 8:5). Man is not a carbon footprint; he is the image-bearer of God. This means that the most “insignificant” human life (insignificant only in the eyes of man) is of inestimably greater value than that of a blue whale, a snail darter, a spotted owl, a mountain, or a tree.

I don't think this is true either. Mankind is not a “pinnacle” of anything. Mankind evolved just like the animals. We happen to have evolved a lot of higher brain function, but that is the only thing that makes us different. Now because I am human, I value human life more than that of animals; similarly, I think that if I were a fox I would probably value fox life over that of other animals.

I don't get it.  What is Doug arguing here?  I agree about the status of man but I don't see how that means we cannot try our darndest to take care of God's creation.  Sure, a blue whale wasn't fashioned in the image of God, but who cares?  Should we kill the last one and burn the fat in our lamps?

3.  The Earth Has Been Placed under Man who Has a Moral Obligation to Subdue it and to Exercise Wise Stewardship over the Earth: Man is God’s appointed steward on earth, and his core mission is to be His agent of dominion over it. Toward this end, God has placed all things under man to be used for his benefit and to be carefully stewarded and cultivated for God’s glory. “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:6).

Again, no. We were never “given” the earth by a “god.” However, the stewardship idea does make sense - we need to protect and care for the earth, not destroy it. So far, man has proved to be a terrible steward of the earth!

What the...?!!  Are you serious?  Ok.  Not surprised.  And here, Doug's Dominionist crap rears its ugly head.  He says environmentalists worship the earth.  I imagined he would argue the opposite for Christians and say that we need to worship God and bring others to Christ, but no, he claims that our “core mission” is to be God's agent of dominion over the earth?  And he pulls that stupid little sing-songy Psalms verse to prove it?  Foolishness.  Child's play.  Let's just hope that Dougy isn't a quiverful type, believing in spiritual dominion!

4.  The Earth is Not the Problem: The reason why the earth suffers is because of man’s sin that has plunged the earth into judgment. Man brought death and judgment to earth. In fact, the whole creation is groaning and waiting redemption (Romans 8:22-23). Despite the righteous judgment of God on earth, He is merciful and promises the continuation of the seasons and the fundamental stability of the planet until the end of time (Genesis 8:22), at which there will be a new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13).

Um, right. Man's sin released the carbon dioxide into the air and chemicals into the water and chopped down huge rain forests resulting in land erosion. Oh wait. That wasn't man's sin, that was man. Nice try.

He's correct on what the verses say but wrong on the application and even contradicts himself, as well.  Doug says the earth is groaning, waiting to be redeemed, wallowing in its demise due to man's sin, and yet he then says that God will take care of it anyway.  Seems to me you can't have it both ways.  But, I may be accused of splitting hairs on that one, so, let me approach it a bit differently.

Doug implies here that the earth is not perfect and that is the fault of sin, not man's doing.  Libby Anne alluded to that.  The problem is, the logical furtherance of his argument is to do nothing.  To shrug one's shoulders and blame the earth's condition on man's sin.  I'm sure glad Dougy has never been in charge of anything important.  If he was, rivers would still be black sludge and there would be no trees in Brazil.

All men are religious because all men have an object of worship. In the end, they will worship and serve the creature, or they will worship and serve the Creator. But they will worship something.  (Uh....not cool.  Don't repeat the introduction as your conclusion.)

You see the bait and switch with the word “worship”? We either worship the creator or the creature, Phillips says. By what definition of the word “worship”? Phillips is intentionally confusing the two definitions. Here, let me prove it. By the same definition of the word “worship” Phillips uses to be able to claim that someone can “worship the creature” (hold esteem and respect for), Phillips worships the family and worships the Old Confederacy. You see what I’m saying? Phillips is intentionally trying to confuse his reader by playing fast and loose with the word “worship.”

Earth Day, and the radical environmental movement that spawned this high holy day of pantheism, are at war with the Gospel because they perpetuate false worship. The Christian response to the idolatry of Earth Day might be reduced to this simple thought: Jesus Christ is the Creator, and He alone is to be worshiped. He created man as the pinnacle of creation and determined that humans would be the only part of creation to be made in the very image of God, and that man as the image-bearer of God would rule over the earth.

If there's a war going on between environmentalism and Christianity, there are a lot of people who have been left out of the loop about it. Plenty of liberal Christians are environmentalists, and they see no conflict between seeking to protect and serving God. In fact, for them the two are linked. Furthermore, environmentalists don't give a crap about whether someone is religious or not. Environmentalists come from all walks of life and all religious beliefs. Rather than being united by who they pray to, they are united by  the value they place on protecting the earth, which is necessary for life and survival. Also, just to be clear, environmentalists don't pray to the earth. They don't think it's a deity. Any "worship" taking place is devoid of religious meaning or trappings and is relegated to respect and esteem.

On a practical level, this means that Christians need to stop allowing the radical environmentalist movement to define the issue. We must cease from being the tail and become the head on the question of our duties, privileges, and responsibilities vis-a-vis creation. The Bible has a great deal to say about our use of the resources of the world and our relationship to the earth. Of all people, Christians who honor the Creator should have a passion for creation. We are losing the debate through subversion, silence, lack of vision, and because of the Christian community’s fear of the God-ordained, perpetually valid, creation precept called “The Dominion Mandate.” This mandate directs man to rule over the earth, subduing it and taking dominion over it for his benefit and for God’s glory. Implicit to the Dominion Mandate is the duty of man to cultivate, wisely manage, and carefully steward the planet.

I think we get down to the root of what is going down here. Phillips calls for Christians to “cultivate, wisely manage, and carefully steward the planet.” Wait. That’s what the environmentalists want to do! So can’t we just work together? No, and here’s why. Phillips also says that Christians need to "subdue the earth and take dominion over it.” Phillips believes that God has given the earth to mankind for his good and pleasure. “There’s a coal vein over there? God must have put it there for us to power our houses! Quick, dig it up and use it! What, doing so will cause damage to the earth? Well if that’s so, then why would God have put it there? Get the bulldozers!” Phillips doesn't want to think long term. He doesn’t want to think about the damage human action could cause to the environment. Instead, it's all about "taking" and "subduing." Sounds a bit selfish to me, and quite a bit short sighted.

The Dominion Mandate?  What a stupid idea.  Wow.  He's completely religious-ized a simple descriptive idea in the Bible.  Dumber n' a box 'o rocks.

Finally, man’s problems will never be solved through the elevation of human reason, the power of science, or the interventions of the state. Nor will rescuing the biosphere of planet earth save man or ensure him a future on this planet. You cannot save the earth. But human beings can be saved. And the only hope of salvation is found in Jesus Christ — the Creator! It is this Creator through whom we live and breathe and who by the very power of His word holds the worlds together. He will someday establish a new heaven and a new earth and will bring all of His people into Glory.

On the contrary, human reason, science, and the state have done much to solve man's problems. What has God done? Oh, that's right - nothing, except perhaps provide people with emotional comfort. No thanks, I’ll keep my human reason, science, and the state; I’d prefer not to return to the Middle Ages, when women lived in fear of death in childbirth, whole families fell to the plague, crop failure resulted in starvation, and I would have been burned at the stake for heresy.

I do think, though, that we find another main root of the conflict here. Phillips doesn’t care about the earth, because it will someday be gone. In fact, he believes that God will someday destroy the earth and make a new one, and that God has in the mean time given humankind the earth to use, to meet their needs, and to satisfy them. The earth is temporary and unimportant. It does not matter. All that matters are invisible human souls.

Environmentalists, in contrast, care about the earth very much, because without it we die. Environmentalists don’t put their faith in the assumption God is about to return and make us a new earth. Environmentalists are instead aware that this is what we've got, and we had better take care of it responsibly. They understand that humankind’s good is inextricably linked to the health of our home planet. This isn't about "worship" or a "new god." This is about being aware of reality and acting responsibly.

There is also a fundamental conflict here between humanists and fundamentalists. Humanists believe in man's potential; fundamentalists say man has no potential and is crap. Humanists believe in reason and science, which have time and again improved the life of mankind; fundamentalists believe in superstition, in a stone age religious text riddled with errors and atrocities, and in attempts to petition the aid of an invisible deity. Humanists believe that man's life in the here and now matters and that we should work to improve it for everyone; fundamentalists don't give a crap about man's life in the present, as we're going to have a glorious afterlife after we die.

I am a humanist, and as a humanist, I strive to do what I can to make life better for all people in the here and now. One of the ways to make life better for people is to protect the environment. Destroying the environment has disastrous consequences, and climate change may lead to the starvation, disease, death, war, and upheaval. I'd like to avoid that if possible. This isn't "worshiping" the earth, this is compassion, altruism, service, and love.

Let me finish with a question for Christians. Can you say for sure how long it will before Jesus returns and destroys the earth and makes a new one? No? Then isn’t taking care of the earth in the meantime, and making sure that the earth has a healthy future, a good idea? The reality is that Christians have been forecasting Christ’s eminent return for the past two thousand years. It hasn’t happened yet. What if Christ waits another two thousand years? Scientists have predicted that the effects of human-induced climate change will be seen in the next few hundred years, and that the effects will be disastrous as ecosystems are destroyed, cities are inundated with water, droughts spread, and new diseases proliferate. Do you really want to bet on Christ returning within the next fifty or a hundred years, knowing what your descendants will face if he doesn’t?

Environmentalism is not about religion or lack of it. Environmentalism is about valuing human life and wanting to ensure the survival of future generations. Somehow, Vision Forum has completely missed that. You see what I meant in my introduction? Vision Forum would prefer to set up and knock down straw men of their opponents’ views rather than actually engaging real arguments and issues.

I value the human soul.  But not at the expense of the earth.  Dougy Boy sees an either/or argument here.  It's either Jesus Christ or the earth.  I am an environmentalist that doesn't believe in AGW in the least.  I don't believe in any calamitous happenings in the here and now, nor the future, as being the effects of man.  I love God and his Son and yet adore and love the earth as well.  I see no conflict.

That being said, to then destroy our current earth, though we are here for just a fleeting moment is utter foolishness. 

I say, let's celebrate Earth Day!  Someone help me plant a tree (in my neighbor's yard, of course), mow my lawn and let's have a bonfire to get rid of all this brush!

The Christian response?

“Cold or room temperature beer after mowing the lawn?”