I would have hoped that Christmas 2008 could have seen better social news other than the expected mass layoffs at major corporations, financial bailouts for the automotive industry, massive business bankruptcies, and an economy that has lost over 2 Million jobs in the last 12 months. I would have hoped that even thieves like Madoff actually who "made off" with billions of dollars invested in fictitious schemes and scams and Governors of States like mine would have been stories confined to the pages of mystery and fantasy novels. Unfortunately, we've all witnessed that the truth is stranger than fiction.
Then, There Are Religious Leaders.
Then, There Are Religious Leaders.
Now it’s one thing to make a mistake in your message. I’ve done that before. Called a wrong date or a wrong scripture or even reversed a sequence. Those things can be corrected as any minister reading this can relate. However, one cannot correct a fundamentally flawed paradigm unless one is willing to change that paradigm. Most paradigm’s (for this writing-fundamental understanding of scripture) have develop over time. If your paradigm is flawed and the flaws are not corrected, or recast in the correct mode, then it is possible to build and even perfect a wrong understanding of scripture and make highly attractive displays out of foundation-less buildings of paper and glass.
Then there’s the area of psychology. Because no one sets out in life to have a flawed paradigm or set of beliefs. The next step is often to make your belief system seem "normal" or acceptable within the "system" or realm operation. One way to do this is to amass individuals who are in agreement with your paradigm. Another way is to shade your beliefs until it is warranted that they be exposed, and finally interconnect your beliefs with so many other things until it becomes cumbersome if not impossible for anyone to root up everything all at once.
Secular companies implore marketing strategies that have used this method of operation for years. In the banking industry for instance, it is called "relationship banking". You start with a free checking account or savings account then they cross-sell and offer you as many products as you can stand over a period of time. Ultimately if a customer decides to leave the bank, they will think twice before moving all of their deposits because not only will they have multiple accounts, but now you have services such as loans and credit cards and they are often paid by auto-draft from one of those "free" accounts. If you close your accounts you’ll have to worry about setting up a new payment methods etc which will take more of your time and cause you an inconvenience…ie: The bank’s aim is to get you in so deep until it becomes cumbersome for you to leave and to your advantage to not think critically or "sweat" the small stuff.
These same techniques are perfected in the streets. Drug dealers know how to keep regular clients by offering "freebies" or extra’s after certain clients have spent so much. Pimps have managed to learn how to keep certain women under control by defining their thoughts for them, and making them interdependent upon him and his "efforts" (even if he does nothing) and soothing it over with drugs and the pretense of "protection".
In both cases those individuals and victims, have been "cross-sold" so deeply that to change their situation is thought to be a laborious task with no end in sight. Often change does not occur until they are forced to do so by being totally and physically removed from the situation and environment.
What Happens When A Church Or Minister Takes This Same Approach?
In his recently aired 12/21/2008 Christmas message, "5 Points To My Star" Bishop T.D. Jakes set forth what I thought to be some pretty motivational and inspiring words. But it’s what’s before during and after those words of inspiration that is so utterly shocking and disturbing that I decided to write this post.
First of all, and I don’t claim to know his thoughts, but a 5 Point Star, which was the title of his message, is a pentagram. Now this is probably the easiest type of star to draw and one that most children learn in school, however a pentagram is a symbol of WICCA or Wiccan Witchcraft. In fact, even more disturbingly, an inverted, interlocked pentagram is a symbol of a Satanism aka Luciferianism and a demon icon called Beowulf.
Surprisingly this symbol is also prevalent within Hip-Hop similar to the peace sign which is a broken cross upside down as an anti-war symbol within rock and roll and the free-sex era (which will be addressed in an upcoming post).
It was interesting that Bishop chose 5 points when a more biblically centered symbol would have been the Star Of David, a 6 pointed star drawn from Judaism.
It was even more interesting as he mingled motivational utterances with his version of the gospel. He encouraged the individuals to know 1- That they have nothing to do with the promise of God upon their lives, 2- That they should grow "outside" the system ie: away from religious tradition and peoples expectations 3- They should remember that everyone that follows doesn’t necessarily want them to succeed, and 4- That they should keep their "gifts" hidden while they grow.
I don’t believe he got to the 5th point in that segment, but many of those points especially points 2 and 4 were disturbing because they come right out of the mind control handbook, (if there were such a thing). Secondly, he left the word "gifts" open to interpretation and one can only speculate as to what he means based on other erroneous doctrines that he espouses see :GCMWatch Jakes Exposed
But of equal importance was how concluded that segment and by defining the relationship of Jesus and Mary, his mother.
Using the events of acts 2:4 as his backdrop, Bishop stated that Mary identified Jesus aka the Holy Ghost because he had "been in her womb before." "Before Pentecost" says Jakes, "Jesus was in her womb as a baby but now he was in her womb as a quickening spirit".
Now, I don’t know how one makes the leap from a baby or physical pregnancy to the Holy Ghost indwelling of God’s Spirit, (other than analogously) But Jakes made the case that there was a physical and material identification by Mary to the Holy Ghost whom he identified as Jesus. Not only is this a literal and biblical untruth, it’s a total misrepresentation of the relationship between Jesus and Mary and God and HIS church. In other words what he espoused was rank doctrinal heresy.
Clearly there is an audience that not only cannot recognize when someone is divining their minds and spirits, but also does not care when the most carnal and subjective references and paradigms are used to interpret biblical texts and understand spiritual relationships documented within the bible.
In other words Jakes complete paradigm is not a biblical paradigm but a paradigm based on his personal thoughts and revelations, oneness Pentecostalism , subjugation of the masses through media and propaganda, relationship marketing strategies, and cross-selling ministry services.
If the audience is any representation of the multi-million dollar annual media sales it is obviously possible to get people so deep and intertwined in superficial and fluff, self promotion until whatever is said will always be reinterpreted to mean something different than what it was originally intended or understood to mean.
The Star in the biblical record (Mt. 2:2) was a supernatural event, designed to draw those who had eyes to see to Jesus. Neither Herod, Caiphas, or any of those in Judea could see the star (Mt. 2:7) as proven by Herrod’s inquiry that the heavens were not open to them, but it was open to those called "wise men" from the east who at a minimum had traveled a long journey west to see the star that rose in the east. This was a supernatural opening in which the light of the Lord shone through the veil of humanity. An opening that was reminiscent to the Baptism of Jesus in which the heaven’s were opened (Mt. 3:16, Mk. 1:10, Lk. 3:21) and one similar to that through which Jesus appeared to Saul and he was converted to Paul (Acts 9:3) see: T. Michael Davis "Christian Research Journal" Vol. 30 #6 2007 Pg. 19. In all cases the "light" led individuals to Jesus.
The point is that the star wasn’t the focus or the end of the journey, Jesus was.
It would seem that the church is struggling to learn that it doesn’t matter what the points of "our" star are. Jesus already knows what we have suffered that has lead us to this place. What we should remember that if whatever star we follow doesn’t lead us to see Jesus and learn who HE is, it’s a journey that is not worth traveling.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night(or day)