Quips & Quotes — January 15th, 2009

Posted by Rural Missourian on Jan 15th, 2009

I think it’s very important for us to try to put out the fire. I think it’s good advice in general, that if there’s a fire burning, you try to put it out first, and then you think about the fire code. — FED Chairman Bernanke’s reply to a question asked of him after his speech at the London School of Economics on Tuesday, January 13, 2009, which questoned the Keynesian inflationary policy of our nation’s central bank.

Since when do you put out a raging fire with gasoline?  Yes, there may be deflation occurring, but that happens when reckless gamblers of credit start a raging fire that undermines the economy by their various “investment” schemes of borrowing and loaning fiat currency at usury.  Naturally, as the fire burns the tinder box house of paper wealth, the floors cave in (deflation).  Then along comes the fire department that started the fire and it pumps into it the only flame retardant it knows, the explosive incendiary of inflation that comes from the powerful pumps of their enormous printing press.  This only makes the fire much worse, as we will see and history has proven, time and again.   

You say: “There are persons who have no money,” and you turn to the law. But the law is not a breast that fills itself with milk. Nor are the lacteal veins of the law supplied with milk from a source outside the society. Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in. If every person draws from the treasury the amount that he has put in it, it is true that the law then plunders nobody. But this procedure does nothing for the persons who have no money. It does not promote equality of income. The law can be an instrument of equalization only as it takes from some persons and gives to other persons. When the law does this, it is an instrument of plunder. With this in mind, examine the protective tariffs, subsidies, guaranteed profits, guaranteed jobs, relief and welfare schemes, public education, progressive taxation, free credit, and public works. You will find that they are always based on legal plunder, organized injustice. — Fredric Bastiat in The Law (1850)

The whole idea that the Federal Government can wave its magic bailout wand over the “needy” corporations and banks to save them, of course for the salvation of everyone’s “economic interests,” is all out plunder for there is no other way to fund these massive bailouts but by putting Americans into further debt, who will have to pay through ever increasing taxes and inflation, to no avail.

Organic farming may be healthier and better for the soil, but it is not any more sustainable in the long run than chemical farming because all that happens in most systems is replacing chemical inputs with organic inputs. These inputs still come from somewhere else and still cost money. With the imploding economy, it might not be to far into the future when we just can’t afford to truck in kelp or green sand from half way across the country. At some point it seems we might exploit these resources the same we have oil. I can also see the farmer/gardener being a slave to organic input companies just like other farmers are slaves to chemical companies. — Scott Terry from his blog Homesteader Life.

I agree with Scott that we need to be self-sustainable in our agrarian endeavors, as in the realm of gardening where one produces their own fertilizers and various soil improvements from the land they work so that they are not trapped as addicted consumers of gardening input products, which can cost a fortune and become hard to find, especially in a major economic downturn.  This concept needs to be applied to all the various elements of a diversified farm, especially as it applies to preparing the fields, sowing, cultivating,  harvesting, etc.  Draft animals fit well here since they can be bred on the farm, used to raise their own fuel (feed), and their dung put back into the soil to improve it.  Yes, there are health costs involved in using draft animal labor, but the price for fuel and parts for modern machinery is far higher. 

The word sustainability is used so wrecklessly and politically today that its meaning is perforated. Sad, because we need the word or its essence to hold water for us as we work to define and understand right livelihood and the human future on this planet. We must understand that true sustainability, that capacity for systems to regenerate and sustain themselves, is at war with the gods of commerce and the corporate ethic. And in true Machiavellian-style the enemy is hard at work to usurp the word “sustainability” as its own, redefined, retooled, and priced to sell. — Lynn Miller in the Small Farmer’s Journal (Fall 2008)

The most important earthly wealth one can possess, especially if one values true political and economic freedom, is good land and the means of production with the goal of producing as unto the Lord in league with like-minded Christians, as stewards of the Lord’s earth according to His word, and sustained through the godly generational continuity that comes by being faithful to the everlasting New Covenant. 

While the USDA [following WWII when it pushed tractors as the ultimate replacement for horses & mules – TCM] unflinchingly advocated increased efficiency and greater productivity in agriculture, it also expounded the virtues of self-sufficiency and the family farm. Over time, however, efficiency and productivity won, and in the end, the “USDA did not simply propagate improved methods—it became the Church of Information and Technology (with its own missionaries) for millions of modernizing farmers. Its experts eventually embraced any machine or chemical that promised increased production regardless of how technological change would affect farm families or the environment.” The USDA did not immediately embrace technology without question, nor did department officials always wee tensions between the efficiency and self-sufficiency. Officials constantly stated and apparently believed that American farmers could have the best of both worlds. Despite the fact that a conflict had long existed between the family-farm principle and the political exigencies of modern statehood, the USDA insisted that the Jeffersonian and Madisonian ideals could be harmonized on the American farm. It was perhaps a naïve view, especially in the southern context, but one generally held by agricultural officials who, according to one scholar, had not pushed mechanization hard enough. — George B. Ellenberg in his book Mule South to Tractor South – Mules, Machines, and the Transformation of the Cotton South

It begs the question. What is true efficiency and productivity? One that turns self-sufficient family farmers into consumer slaves of agribusiness products and technology . . . or one that maintains the freedom of the family farmer through sustainable, scaled down farming that is sustainably productive, regenerative, and biblically environmentally friendly?

Free For The Harvesting

Posted by Rural Missourian on Sep 5th, 2008

I am ever delighted by the cornucopia of God’s creation. Today, my family and I took a peaceful, invigorating stroll along a meandering road that lies in close proximity to Rayville. The stretch of road we walked is bordered on one side by a dense growth of various native trees and shrubs which extends for about three quarters of a mile. They are not cared for by anyone and tend to look rather shabby and overgrown, but the fruit is free for the harvesting.  Earlier in the summer my wife and daughter picked numerous quantities of delicious mulberries, blackberries, gooseberries, black raspberries, and wild strawberries along this extended wild berry grove. With fall now descending upon us with cooler, shorter days, the time is coming soon to harvest the various nuts and nut fruit that grow along the same short stretch of road . . . walnuts, hickory nuts, and persimmons.

This, of course, is nothing unusual for Missouri, where just about anywhere you find clusters of native trees, you’ll find all kinds of fruits and nuts, which is typical for much of the Midwest. Though there are not any Pawpaw trees along the road, as it is too exposed to sunlight, I am fairly sure they are close by since not too far away there lies a deep creek bottom darkened under a towering canopy of large sycamore, maple, and oak trees, an ideal place after the first frost to find the delicious Pawpaw fruit hanging from its tropical looking branches.

Fall also means sorghum syrup time and the sorghum crop looks great this year with the abundant rains we have been blessed with, though it has been the worst year to bale hay since the floods of 1993. The annual Sorghum Festival of the Crooked River Working Horse and Mule Club is coming up the first Saturday in October. That just begins the fun and work, as there are plenty more sorghum patches to be cut, squeezed, and cooked. This has also got me to thinking about Boxelder syrup . . . that’s right, Boxelder syrup.

Though it’s considered a trash tree by many, the short-lived Boxelder is a member of the Maple family and its seeds are an important food source for deer and other animals during the winter. I must admit that it doesn’t hold a candle to the majestic Sugar Maple, which also grows in these parts, though not nearly as much as the Soft Maple, which grow like weeds around here. Many of the Indian tribes along the Missouri River made syrup from the Boxelder, not to mention the early pioneers who first settled the territory. I’ve never tried it, but I am game to give it a shot. May your fall harvest be a blessing to you with God’s blessing. — The Rural Missourian

“God will make their names break forth as the light”

Posted by Rural Missourian on Jul 19th, 2008

When I first came into the ministry many years ago a good brother and fellow pastor in the Lord, who oversaw and helped me in the early days of pastoring, gave my wife and I excellent counsel, which has proved immensely helpful. Among the many things he shared there were two that stood out.

First, he said that sometimes those whom you help and risk the most for will hurt you the most later. My wife and I have learned this painful lesson more than once and likely will for years to come, as it is one of the unavoidable hazards of the ministry. It’s a risk for anyone who makes themselves vulnerable in helping people in need. The Apostle Paul surely had his share of painful experiences. “Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia” (2 Tim. 4:9-10). I believe this also one of the reasons that some eventually leave the work of the ministry in seeking to distance themselves from the pain and frustration that comes from betrayal.

Second, he said that no matter what you say or do slander will eventually come and the temptation will be great to spend hours in angst trying to defend your name and honor, a futile effort and tremendous waste of time. His advise to us: “Do not waste one minute seeking to clear your name with those that slander you for it is better a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly” (Pro. 17:12). The more one tries to clear their name, the worse it gets, like sinking into quicksand.

This advice has proved quite valuable. I also greatly appreciate the sage council of Jeremiah Burroughs, a well-known Puritan preacher of the 1600’s, who came under all kinds of suspicion (from “bad reports” . . . slander) back in the “good old days” of the Great Reformation, Let not men therefore who are of public use, having their consciences clear, yet because they under suspicion, throw off all in anger. Such a temptation many lie under, but let them know this temptation cannot prevail but upon the distemper of their hearts, the exceedingly sinful forwardness of their spirits. They should trust God with their names, their esteem, and their honor, and go on in their work. The only way to deliver themselves from suspicion is their constant industry and faithfulness in all opportunities of service which God puts into their hands, and the more quietness of spirit and the less noise they go on with, the sooner will the suspicions they were under wash off and vanish to nothing. God will make their names break forth as the light. Those weeds, having no ground to take root, will wither and die away. This gem comes from an excellent book by Burroughs, Irenicum, Healing the Divisions Among God’s People, which I highly recommend.

Burroughs’ counsel is truly sound, as it is biblically proactive in preaching and living out the Gospel, which glorifies Christ, and not reactive, which leads to nowhere and glorifies no one. We must learn to extinguish the nagging fear that as the slander continues and goes unanswered the less likely one will ever recover from it. What hurts the most, however, is the slander made against one’s family and congregation. Even though we were warned by the Apostle Paul that persecution would come, Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12), it’s hard to believe that any blessing will come of it, especially when one is aware of their own sin and weaknesses, as though we deserve the slander. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake (Mat. 5:11). I believe the blessings come when we truly surrender our name, esteem, and honor to the Lord and leave them in His hands, something that I am slowly learning to do, which comes with great peace. Though the thought occasionally crosses one’s mind to move to the remote regions of Australia’s Outback to live a quite life of a mule farmer, it is, nonetheless, always right to stay under the humbling hand of God where He has you, no matter how painful or difficult. One is nowhere safer than in the middle of the will of God.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11)

One last observation: in the spiritual battle we are all called to fight we are told by the Apostle Paul to take up the shield of faith to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. I think many of us primarily think of these darts as those aimed directly at us, but we also must learn to extinguish those slanderous darts aimed at others that come to our ears, less we receive them and thereby be poisoned against them. The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body (Pro. 26:22). We must never think that we are exempt from the warnings of God’s word, as though we can eat the tasty treats of a talebearer and be unaffected by its poison. — The Rural Missourian

A Good Thunderstorm

Posted by Rural Missourian on Jul 18th, 2008

Our resident Mizzurah poet, good friend, and sister in Christ, Jan Wyller, knows how much I like a good thunderstorm, which we have plenty of here in the show-me-state. Below is a poem she wrote for me about them. It’s an awesome sight to behold a furious thunderstorm roll through at night from the balcony seat of an upstairs window of our home. The incredibly spectacular light shows and deafening booms thrill me, as I know my Maker and Lord ordains these storms. They not only speak to me of His absolute majesty and wonderful glory, but also of His humbling justice and holiness.  Thanks Jan.

¡THUNDERSTORM!

God’s gracious countenance

Shines often

on us,

BUT

I love a good thunderstorm!

to let its winds whish ’round,

pummel me with tepid rain,

to hear heaven’s rifles crack –

BOOM!

not reporting (whom, or) what they shot,

Echoing away, Deeper volleys encoring . . .

I love to see, sharp against the bullying dark,

some distant

torched tree a-sizzle,

Love laughing, watching your hair

frizzle, stand erect

in electric air!

Ozone’s fruity fragrance teases

nose-zones.

Greening above announces: ¿HAIL!?

YES!

Under grey-yellow skies,

we picked (and ate) from flat green grass

its icy globes

dropped just for us!

I’m grateful His summer cycle’s

not tight,

Its clean freewheeling blessing’s

Bright, warm—

But

I still love a good

THUNDERSTORM!

“Evil Will Not Let You Alone”

Posted by Rural Missourian on Jul 14th, 2008

There is a quote from Charles Spurgeon that has had real meaning for me lately. You must either be overcome of evil, or you must yourself overcome evil: one of the two. You cannot let evil alone and evil will not let you alone. You must fight, and in the battle you must either conquer or be conquered. The words before us remind me of the saying of the Scotch officer to the Highland regiment when he brought them up in front of the enemy and said, “Lads, there they are: if ye dinna [don’t] kill them, they’ll kill you.” So does Paul marshal us in front of evil, and like a wise general he puts us on our mettle by saying, “Overcome, or be overcome.”

One thing I can really bear witness to is that evil will not let you alone, no matter how much you seek to live a quite life of peace as a follower of Jesus Christ (2Tim. 3:12). This has been painfully true in the small community I live where taking a stand for the Lord in the public square, especially in seeking to establish a just government accountable to the people, has brought a nonstop attack by a small handful of individuals obsessed with lighting fires of slander and lies fueled from whole cloth to stir folks against each other and to cause a constant state of hatred and confusion. The level of verbal attack by these human agents of hell tells me that our simple desire to see an honest and upright government established here and the fact we have taken real steps to see it through is something the enemy of God greatly fears and resists vigorously.

We are confronted with two choices. We can either stand our ground in fear and trembling before the Lord, looking to Him to make the way . . . or retreat in pragmatic compromise, driven by fear to placate those who hate God in hope they will leave us alone and grant us a measure of “peace,” of course temporal, which I believe American Christendom has been guilty of for the last several generations. But the fact of the matter is that evil will not let you alone. The peeling veneer of peace between true Christians and the rising God-hating paganism that dominates our nation is growing ever thin. Though one can still flee to the relative quietness of an isolated rural life, the battle is at the door whether one likes it or not, and someday soon there will be no where to flee the spiritual battle.

I believe the day is soon coming when Christians will greatly regret having not undertook the battle when they still could come together to take a stand. That their shameful efforts in blending in with our pagan society so as not to “rock the boat” in hope that evil would pass by them (so they could live their lives without conflict while preserving their little financial kingdoms) will be repented of by them in agonizing heartache and pain, as they find themselves alone and surrounded with few, if any, who will stand beside them because the risk to do right is too costly. I speak from the little but costly experience I have had here; true liberty and good government comes at a huge PERSONAL price that most people are unwilling to pay.

I thank the Lord for the saints here that have come together in standing the ground given them by the Lord . . . standing, as it were, back to back in pressing the cause of Christ in the public square. Yes, we are greatly outnumbered here, but numbers have never been as issue with the Lord, only with the Lord’s people who, through fear and compromise, will quickly settle for the lesser of two evils if they can win a “majority.” As few as my fellow brothers and sisters are here, they have stood their ground faithfully, and I am honored and humbled to be amongst them.

Does this mean the fires of slander have taken away our peace? No, the peace that God gives His people is not dependent upon the absence of conflict. Does this mean we are without fear? No, we are not so foolish to think that our cause does not present real risks, but perfect love casts out fear, something we look to the Lord to perfect in us who tremble as we press up the steep slopes of reformation. Does this mean we are without hope? No, on the contrary, we are learning that the hope of the true Gospel of the Kingdom prevails no matter what the gates of hell can throw against it. Does this conflict mean that our success is guaranteed? No, but whether the Lord grant us victory or not, the duty is ours, and we hope to see it through by His mercy and grace. Nonetheless, we believe more than ever that it is our Father’s good pleasure to give His people the kingdom, but this doesn’t happen in the mythical vacuum of peace and tranquility, but in the hot crucible of real spiritual battle, for we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.

The Lord strengthens, establishes, and settles His people through those sufferings He ordains for them. We know that the few trials and fiery conflicts we are engaged in here have been are ordained of God. In as much as I would prefer to live without them, I know they are for our good, as He uses them to strengthen and toughen us for the long hard days of repentance and reformation that are ahead for us, as it is for all His people. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 5:10-11). — The Rural Missourian

Living Closely Among The Sheep

Posted by Rural Missourian on Jun 25th, 2008

I want to thank my good friend Allen Shropshire at Promised Land for sending me a timely word of much needed encouragement along with a poignant article, So You Wanna Be a Shepherd, written by Christian film producer and author Bill Kinnon. It’s not often that I get such a kind affirmation from outside the small congregation I pastor, though I must say that the flock here in Rayville is a great encouragement to me, even with all my faults and weaknesses. Mr. Kinnon’s poignant article is both a breath of fresh air and a sober reality check, a reminder that some jobs are not always pleasant nor sought after in this world, unless of course they have been modified and “upgraded” to keep up with it. In these cases “pastoring” can be quite alluring and lucrative, for by covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words.

The true job of a biblical shepherd is to faithfully work closely in and among the sheep of his care and that within the sweaty fields of the real world where the offensive stench of the old man, both of the sheep and the shepherd, can be smelled by all. These less than idyllic realities shock many young pastors, which is why many leave the calling every year, as the meager pay and pain that often goes with such dirty work is simply not worth it. The statistics for pastors leaving the ministry are most grim. Likewise, the difficult earthly realities of living in regular, close fellowship is also why many sheep steer clear of close relationships with each other, as they prefer the independent life where others can be kept at a pleasant smelling, manageable arms length. Is it any wonder that American Christendom is as shallow as the world, if not worse? You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men (Mat. 5:13).

For a pastor or elder, therefore, to get truly close to his sheep—as a fellow sheep with blind spots, sins, and weaknesses—is to set himself and family up in a fragile glass house where stones inevitably land, because they can never please everyone, nor should they seek to, less they become mere manpleasers. I speak from years of painful experience, the glass house life is particularly difficult on the pastor’s family, and those that end up hurting you the most are usually those you get closest to from within the flock. A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle (Pro. 18:19). Get seriously hurt a couple of times and the desire to exit stage right or create thick walls of protection become overwhelming.

This is also perhaps why many pastors seek the anonymity of large churches where they can remain at a safe distance from the flock through various layers of relational and bureaucratic insulation. And since many sheep expect their leadership to live near flawless lives, according to their own exacting expectations, it becomes easier to live up to these ideals by maintaining a healthy distance from the sheep where many of their own human weaknesses and faults cannot be seen by them. Adding to the difficulty in this age of the “victim mentality” is the fact that one can be sued for just about anything. Sadly, it has come to the point where getting close to others means working with very real liabilities, which is why many pastors withdraw in calculated isolation so as to protect and bring a measure of peace to themselves and their families. And to be quite frank, I do not blame them at all. Living life in close relationship with the flock becomes a real quandary for the true shepherd, a most difficult tight rope to walk, where the stress can be most debilitating.

My thirteen years of experience as a pastor in serving the Lord in a small flock reminds me of a scene from the movie, To Kill A Mockingbird. Miss Maudie Atkinson, a neighbor of Atticus Finch, tries to explain to his son Jem the very painful difficulties and real world liabilities his father faces as an attorney in seeking justice for all whom he is called to defend . . . and this within a small town where certain folks vehemently hate others on the basis of race. Tom Robinson, a black man and client of Atticus Finch, has just been tried for the rape of a white woman and found guilty when it was quite obvious he was not. Tom is soon shot to death in a frantic escape attempt just after the verdict was read, as he knew that he likely faced certain death in prison at the hands of those so affronted by such a culturally repulsive crime. Not only has Jem witnessed the trial and verdict, which devastated him, but he also witnessed firsthand the many times his father was publicly accosted, slandered, spat in the face, and threatened for defending Tom Robinson. Many were the bad reports of his father that were spread and readily received throughout the community by foe and supposed friends alike, all of which developed his “bad reputation.” In this very powerful scene Miss Atkinson seeks to make sense of it all to a troubled Jem by telling him, “I don’t know if it will help saying this to you, some men in this world are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us, your father is one of them.” Some aspects of biblical pastoring falls into this category.

The Apostle Paul had much to say concerning all he went through as a shepherd of the sheep (2 Cor 11:28). He was a common man called to take on a very difficult and, I am sure at times, unpleasant task. He had this to say about his experiences in living out the calling given him, But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things (2 Cor. 6:4-10). I believe he would have the same to say today had he served in our generation, as the nature of fallen man and sheep have not changed.

Much of what Paul suffered was at the hands of those that professed to be Christians, as a friend and fellow pastor recently reminded me, Ironic, is it not, that for us that love the Lord and have devoted ourselves to His church that often the greatest pain we endure is from those who profess Christ?! Hands on, close pastoring is hard enough as it is, which is why I believe the Scriptures have this to say to the sheep about the account their pastor and other elders must make before the Lord for thieir souls, Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you (Heb. 13:17). It would behoove all saints to walk in their pastor’s moccasins for a bit, so they might appreciate the difficulty of their calling.

Let me end this posting by making it clear that it is not the bemoaning of sour grapes that I write this. Pastoring has been and still remains highly rewarding for me, though it has its difficult, stressful times, and not only for me, but especially for my family, who have been most supportive and longsuffering with the calling. As hard and frustrating as it is at times, the Lord has enabled me to stay the course, but only by His abundant grace and mercy. Whether it always pleasant or not, it is His calling for me, which means that in serving Him in it I’ll find the greatest fulfillment and joy as a believer, trials and tribulations included. Until such time as He is pleased to relieve me from my duty, Lord willing I will remain at the post He has appointed for me.

I have never sought to make pastoring a career or means of advancing up the ladder of the corporate church. And in these days of rampant antinomianism, preaching the Word of God as the absolute, transcendent standard for the whole of man for the whole of life does not build large congregations, especially when the truth steps on the toes of those who serve and worship our sacred American, debt-based economy. Yes, I have made plenty of mistakes that have really hurt and not only myself but others around me. This painful awareness coupled with an acute knowledge of my own human shortcomings has tempted me on many occasions to leave the ministry altogether and for good, as moving out of the glass house of leadership into the more private sanctuary of civilian life, as just another sheep, can be most appealing.

This is why I personally thank all of you saints that have supported and stood beside me through thick and thin. I am sure all pastors worth their salt will agree with me that having members of their flock that are loyal and supportive of them, even having smelt their human weaknesses, is a treasure of great value and not all that common in these days of rampant church hopping and bad reports. For all of you faithful sheep that haven’t let your pastor know how much you stand behind him, do him a very encouraging act of appreciation, tell him, and then back it up by being there for him, consistently, giving him the benefit of the doubt knowing your own human tendencies, for he is just as much a sheep as you, only he must lead the charge up a very steep mountain in living out the true faith once delivered to the saints.  Besides, who knows when the Lord may call some of you men reading this to the office of a shepherd of the flock and some of you ladies to stand beside your husband as a helpmet to him in this difficult calling? — The Rural Missourian

A Quick Update

Posted by Rural Missourian on Apr 27th, 2008

This is a quick update on the article, The USS Pagan Dominion, the Ship of Fools. Thanks to the sharp eyes of many of you readers, several corrections and improvements were sent to me which have been incorporated. Also, I was informed that it does not print, which was my error in disabling this function when I created the PDF. This has been fixed. HERE is the link to the article.

In one of the comments the question was asked:

I was wondering though; have you written anything which lays out in some detail the biblical case against our current economic system? While the ship of fools is persuasive to me, it might not be to Christians who know little about the Bible’s teaching on these matters.

Wherein I replied:

As a matter of fact, I wrote a book on the very subject you have inquired on, going into depth on the ungodly nature and history of usurious debt-based economics, its implications, and ultimately where we all need to end up . . . in repentance and reformation on a multi-generational basis. It was recently edited by Chad Degenhart who did an excellent job. It still needs some additions and clarifications before publishing. Pray that the Lord provides the time to finish it up, as well as, the resources to fund its publication.

I encourage you all to comment on the article, as this can be most useful for clarifying issues, etc. Thank you for your loyal readership and support.  Please comment HERE, rather than at the bottom of this post. This is because so many comments have been made to the original post, I would prefer keeping all the comments together.  Thanks and God bless.   — The Rural Missourian

The USS Pagan Dominion, the Ship of Fools

Posted by Rural Missourian on Apr 25th, 2008

Alas, I finished the article I promised some weeks back. It’s entitled the USS Pagan Dominion, the Ship of Fools. It deals by way of allegory with our present economic system and its growing deterioration from the viewpoint of a sinking ship, one that its designers knew would sink from the beginning. Here are a few excerpts:

“Did you know that in 1898 a little known novel was penned entitled Futility, the story of a huge, “unsinkable” ocean liner built with but a few lifeboats, which during a voyage across the northern Atlantic in April hits an iceberg field and sinks with great loss of lives? The name of this fictional ocean liner was the Titan.  Sound familiar? Fourteen years later on April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic slams into an iceberg in the northern Atlantic and sinks the next day, taking some 1,517 people to their deaths (according to a United States Senate investigation). Yes, it too had an insufficient number of life boats. But then again, who needs lifeboats when you have conquered the laws of nature’s God? It’s no coincidence that both ships derived their names from the mythological race of the Titans, powerful gods that claimed to have conquered nature. According to myth, the god Zeus later destroys these prideful challengers and sends them to Tatarus, a deep gloomy abyss in the underworld . . .” .

“Though the Titanic was huge for its day, displacing some 52,310 tons and measuring over 882 feet long and 94 feet wide, it was but a toy boat compared to the huge ocean liner that Americans were forced to board nearly ninety-five years ago when banker JP Morgan, the financier of the Titanic, helped form the Federal Reserve as one of its key players. Christened the USS Pagan Dominion in commemoration of the great economic coup of 1913 when the Federal Reserve (FED) took dominion of America . . .”

“Though we were forewarned, the drunken credit orgy of the last sixty years has hit the whirlwind of its own making and the casualty list is yet to be written, and many there will be from among the Lord’s own people who were loyal passengers on the Ship of Fools. They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; it shall never produce meal. If it should produce, aliens would swallow it up (Hos. 8:7). Yes, we have lived in relative peace and seeming prosperity, as it has taken many decades for the storm to develop, but America is finally reaping the righteous whirlwind that comes from sowing iniquity through devising evil by law . . .”

If these excerpts have wet your appetite for a meaty article on biblical economics, then you can view and download it HERE.  It has been posted in a PDF format for easy printing for those that prefer to read a hard copy. Please leave your comments, as I hope it produces a hearty dialogue among my readers. Also, please forgive any misspellings or grammar errors, as I didn’t have the time to have it edited thoroughly given all that is going on these days. You can send your list of corrections via the “Contact Me” selection found on the green bar at the top of the homepage. God bless — The Rural Missourian.

A Continuation of “Food For thought — April 15, 2008″

Posted by Rural Missourian on Apr 17th, 2008

In reply to my recent post, Food For Thought – April 15, 2008, one of my readers, Christine, asked a very good question for which I thought I ought to publish an answer as a whole new post. Here is her question: Repentance might be heartfelt and actions might be taken in accordance to the repentance, but the consequences of sin are still strong ties that can’t be unloosed responsibly. How would you propose we start reforming our ways locally?

For sure, the strong ties of our sins must be loosed responsibly. The word responsibly is derived from the word responsible, which comes from the two words, response and able. In Christ, by the empowering of the Holy Spirit (John 14:25, Rom. 8:9, 15:13) within the regenerated believer (Titus 3:5) whose has the law of God written upon their hearts (Heb. 8:10) as new creations in Him (2 Cor. 5:17), we have been enabled by the Lord to keep His commandments (1John 5:3-4, though not perfectly 1John 1:9) as we walk after the Spirit (Rom. 8:4) in establishing the law (Rom. 3:31), that is, to make it the standard for the whole of man, for the whole of life. For Christians that are truly new creations in Christ, therefore, to responsibly loose the ties of their sins means to repent and reform their ways according to God’s law as equally yoked believers, united together as one man (Judges 20:1 & 8-11, Ezra 3:1) under the New Everlasting Covenant (Luke 22:20, Heb. 13:20-21), who repent and reform their ways together as accountable members of the one body of the local church . . . and not as atomistic individuals that happen to attend a church who rebel against the just chastisements of the Lord in autonomous independence, going their own ways out of a carnal reaction to the bad things happening around them.

Responsibly loosing our ties to sin as it applies to what is happening economically today also means that we are not to seek and protect, as though it is the highest priority, the “financial security” and monies (paper investments) we have developed in embracing our wicked economic system, as we have for so many generations. My advise is to cash out of all investments and anything comprised of fiat currency (the US dollar which is dying fast)—though the repentance price of costly penalties and taxes may really hurt—and immediately convert it into tangibles that you steward directly, such as land, animals, tools, etc. Even here, priorities must be kept right, as it is far more important to you and your family’s wellbeing that you covenant together locally in a church of likeminded believers than to acquire land and other tangibles, as important as they are. The day of lone ranger Christianity is rapidly coming to a close, as well as, the days of seeking one’s own financial and material security first over the Kingdom of God.

I’ll probably step on plenty of more toes here, but biblically lawful wealth is tangible and is to be stewarded locally according to the Lord’s commandments (Pro. 27:23-24), it is not paper (virtual) wealth that grows by means of usurious increase. Repenting economically, which is absolutely essential since American Christendom has been worshipping mammon for many generations, will mean forsaking these forms of pagan wealth and cleaving to the Lord, wholly trusting in Him to make the way to responsibly depart from evil while establishing a godly economy that uses honest weights and just measures, that is, the biblical money of gold and silver. This very difficult transition of moving into a God blessed culture will not happen overnight; it will be vigorously opposed by those who worship our debt-based economic system, both believer and unbeliever alike, so faithful patience and humble perseverance will be required for many generations to come, which is also a vital part of responsible repentance and reformation.

We must remember that the children of Israel were repeatedly judged for taking unlawful spoil or dishonest gain. When they came under the just chastisement of God for such actions and their many years of covenant breaking the people asked who will survive such fiery judgments. The sinners in Zion are afraid; Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” [The answer is most interesting] He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, He who despises the gain of oppressions, Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from seeing evil: He will dwell on high; His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; Bread will be given him, His water will be sure (Isa. 33:14-16). With our economy rapidly declining the vast majority of the pensions, 401ks, bonds, and other forms of “savings” Americans are trusting in will soon be destroyed through the loss of purchasing power (inflation) or by default (deflation). This, too, is the righteous harvest of the economic iniquity sown for the last several generations. (I am about to post an article, The USS Pagan Dominion — the Ship of Fools, which deals with our iniquitous central bank, the Federal Reserve, and the credit orgy of the last 60 years).

What I mean by LOCALLY is that repentance and reformation begins FIRST at home, locally where believers live and worship together, and not at the highest levels of a central government (unbiblical) where we try to elect people who “represent our values” to fix our myriad of problems at the national level, a futile endeavor that has no biblical precedent. No, the biblical precedent is and always has been local first, as the Lord blesses the local church and community . . . the national element will follow if His people remain faithful, as we saw with the founding of the united States. In building a genuine Christian community that will bless future generations with a tangible culture and productive land blessed of God, godly government and economics must be established locally in parallel with building the local church, which over time grows by God’s blessing, displacing wicked government and culture as it goes. The last thing to be established in a godly republic, therefore, are the national authorities. And contrary to the all-encompassing salvitic purposes and power we have given them, they are to protect our national borders under very limited power and under the close vigilance of the previously established local authorities who act as strong checks and balances as interpositionary protectors. As part of their covenant breaking, one of the chief reasons Christians today are increasingly being persecuted and shut down throughout the nation, especially the public square, is not because of increasing numbers of militant unbelievers, as they are merely a symptom of the church’s growing apostasy (Deu. 28:43-46), but because God’s people will not come together and live locally by covenant to build the local church and establish lawful local government, which is the bedrock foundation by which a godly nation is built, and in our case, rebuilt.

Sadly, mainline Christians prefer to keep their unequally yoked relationships with the heathen that surround them while participating in the polytheistic pluralism of “democracy,” all the while proclaiming “God Bless America.” “Besides, to obey God in keeping covenant with Him means certain conflict and suffering and who wants any of that in the age of grace and comfort we have today, let alone threatening the many personal financial kingdoms we have worked so hard to build?” In a world where the gates of hell proactively seeks to destroy the church building Christ’s kingdom through preaching and living out The Gospel as a city set on a hill (not as individual lamps scattered among the heathen) will always come with a price. The Puritans understood this well, “Spiritual warfare made the Puritans what they were. They accepted conflict as their calling, seeing themselves as their Lord’s soldier-pilgrims, just as in Bunyan’s allegory, and not expecting to be able to advance a single step without opposition of one sort or another. [from the] The Character of an Old English Puritane or Nonconformist (1646): His whole life he accounted a warfare, wherein Christ was his captain, his arms, prairers and tears. The Crosse his banner and his word [motto] Vincit qui patitur [he who suffers conquers].” (Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were, Zondervan Publishing House, 1986)

To reestablish godly civil authority means that believers must repent of their autonomous freelance ways where they live their lives comfortably mixed in among the heathen as a small minority while embracing their peace and prosperity in building their personal financial kingdoms together with them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. According to the testimony of the Scriptures and the Law of God, God’s people are to live in unity as a locally covenanted people under Him as their Lord (King), a biblical theocracy, wherein they are able to build local godly government FIRST that acts as an interpositionary authority in protecting those under their care, as the early Puritan colonies did. Whenever God’s people have rebelled in seeking a king (or government) like the heathen nations around them they have suffered devastating consequences (1Sam 8:3-18, 10:17-19, 12:11-12), just as we are today. The answer is always the same, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Repentance, reformation, and national restoration begins first when believers come together as covenanted members of the local church where they live in close proximity to each other (a must), working together towards becoming the majority so they can elect godly rulers from among themselves who are directly accountable to them according to God’s law (Deu 17:14-20). As these lawfully established bodies grow by employing God’s law as their standard, so the Lord has promised to bless them in increase, both materially and authoritatively, as the head, and no longer the tail of the culture (Deu 28: 1-14). — The Rural Missourian

Food For Thought — April 15, 2008

Posted by Rural Missourian on Apr 15th, 2008

The price of the Lord’s people turning their back on God’s law is quite high, always has been and always will be. The economic whirlwind we are reaping today was sown many generations earlier when American Christendom forsook the law of God to seek the peace and prosperity of the “modern world.” We have no one to blame but ourselves and the Lord is most just in judging us by rendering upon our heads the consequences of our autonomous ways. Economics are not complicated, as we are led to believe, they are simply the monetary and financial expressions (and results) of our disobedience or obedience to God’s law, measured in real life blessings and curses, as we are experiencing today in the rapid decline of our pagan nation. We have become slaves in the large and rich land given to our Christian founders.

Nehemiah 9:33-37

However You are just in all that has befallen us; For You have dealt faithfully, But we have done wickedly. Neither our kings nor our princes, Our priests nor our fathers, Have kept Your law, Nor heeded Your commandments and Your testimonies, With which You testified against them. For they have not served You in their kingdom, Or in the many good things that You gave them, Or in the large and rich land which You set before them; Nor did they turn from their wicked works. “Here we are, servants today! And the land that You gave to our fathers, To eat its fruit and its bounty, Here we are, servants in it! And it yields much increase to the kings You have set over us, Because of our sins; Also they have dominion over our bodies [labor] and our cattle [wealth] At their pleasure; And we are in great distress.

Abraham Lincoln

The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. They denounce as public enemies all who question their methods or throw light upon their crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe. Corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow. The money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed.

From the article, Mind The Gap, of the Financial times, April 8 2008

Between 1979 and 2005 the pre-tax income for the poorest households grew by 1.3 per cent a year, middle incomes before tax grew by less than 1 per cent a year, while those of households in the top 1 per cent grew by 200 per cent pre-tax and, more strikingly, 228 per cent post-tax. The result of this lopsided distribution of income growth was that by 2005 the average after-tax income for the bottom fifth of households was $15,300, for the middle fifth $50,200 and for the top 1 per cent just over $1m. Looked at from another perspective, in 1979 the post-tax income of the top 1 per cent was 8 times higher than that of middle income families and 23 times higher than the lowest fifth. By 2005 those ratios grew respectively to 21 and 70. The process reached its extreme point with US President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley estimates that in the economic expansion of 2002-06 the plutocratic top 1 per cent captured almost three-quarters of income growth. Figures for wealth, derived from the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances, are less up-to-date but the picture is similar. The share of US wealth owned by the top 1 per cent of households rose steadily from 20 per cent in 1976 to 38 per cent in 1998.

The answer to our national woes is not found in the White House nor Congress, but in the genuine repentance of God’s people and the reforming of their ways where they live first, LOCALLY, according to the righteous commandments of the Lord.  If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

— The Rural Missourian

« Prev - Next »